Paradise mayor stepping down

Bonnie Belec
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Ralph Wiseman File photo

For the first time in 40 years, Ralph Wiseman is going to stop and smell the roses. The Paradise mayor and former Liberal cabinet minister said Friday he is throwing in the political towel.

"I made the decision some time ago," he said. "I've been involved in (the) community for a long time and there comes a time in everyone's life when you need to relax, take a breather and go on with your life."

Wiseman said he discussed staying in municipal politics with his wife and son, and came to the conclusion it was time to retire and decided not to seek re-election in September.

"I've had a long career and it's time to relax for a little while. We'll see what happens after that. I have no specific plans what I might do after that, but I'm going to take some time for myself do a bit of travelling," he told The Telegram.

Wiseman served two terms as mayor of Paradise. He was defeated in 2009 by then 19-year-old Kurtis Coombs, who was declared the new mayor by three votes.

But a recount ended in a tie and, as per the Municipal Elections Act, a random draw was held to determine the winner. Wiseman's name was drawn out of a recycling bin.

Coombs' court challenge wasn't successful.

During Wiseman's eight-year tenure, he said the town has undergone a major transformation.

"There is all kinds of pride in terms of what has been accomplished. We have a new town hall, a huge community centre, we have a double ice rink under construction, the industrial park is really taking off. There are a multiple of things we can be proud of," he said.

Wiseman said when he took over in 2005 there were many challenges facing one of the fastest-growing towns in Atlantic Canada.

"In terms of financing, we were paying 23 cents of every dollar ... to the debt. That was nobody's fault. We didn't have the population, we never had the economics to support it, so we did something about," he said.

The mayor said the town constructed a road on McNamara Drive and industrial commercial revenues went from $1.4 million to $3.4 million.

"I haven't done it alone. I have had the support of council, the support of government and most of all we've got an excellent staff, the best in Atlantic Canada," he said.

Paradise also has an arrangement with the St. John's Regional Fire Services to build the town's fire station, which could be operational in about 18 months.

"We've had tremendous co-operation from the province. We've all worked together on common issues. We've made great strides, but do we have issues? Absolutely," said Wiseman, adding that he has no regrets.

The town's deputy mayor, Allan English, and Coun. Dan Bobbett have announced their intentions to run for the mayor's seat.

 

Organizations: Regional Fire Services

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, St. John's

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