Few people realize what it is like to be a member of Summerside city council.
It’s not just one monthly council meeting and two or three committee meetings every month. It’s a 24/7 commitment. They are always on the job, whether it be in council chambers, at public functions or doing their grocery shopping. They are always accessible.
This commitment takes precious time away from the councillors’ families and their work. They certainly don’t do it for the money but they do it to try and make life better for everyone.
But there comes a time when this commitment takes its toll, when city business runs roughshod over family life.
That time has come for Cory Thomas. The Ward 8 councillor announced Monday night that he will not re-offer in the November municipal election, marking the end of an eight-year commitment to the City of Summerside.
Thomas worked tirelessly for his constituents and the entire city, but this year, he saw the writing on the wall.
“I knew this year during the budget process, and I hinted around to the deputy mayor, that when I’d get home from work and had to sneak out, my little guy would be crying when I was leaving,” he said. “That crushes your heart. I knew right then and there.”
This is another point the public should be aware of. Not only is there a commitment from the councillor but also from the family, the spouse and children who sacrifice their time together so the business of the city can move ahead.
He has his priorities straight. Family first. His commitment to his wife and two young children has, rightfully, taken priority over his commitment to city government.
Thomas has a lot to be proud of during his two terms as a city councillor.
As chairman of the city’s police services committee he was instrumental in setting up the Crime Prevention Advisory Committee.
Every initiative he led the charge on was done after consultation with the community. He held the belief that communities are not built from the top down but rather bottom up and this can only be done by engaging the public.
People using the walking track at Credit Union Place can thank Thomas that this service is free of charge.
Thomas was also a strong lobbyist for the city, whether it be with the provincial government, the federal government or various organizations to bring development and growth to the city.
While announcing his decision to leave politics, Thomas’ work is far from over. For the next six months he will continue to represent Ward 8 with one of his main priorities being a new Official Plan that will set the direction the city will take over the next decade.
It is hoped that whoever takes over as councillor for Ward 8 brings with him or her, the same dedication, commitment and drive that Thomas displayed during his two terms in office.