The Fruit Stand Capital of Canada will have to harvest a new municipal leader this fall.
Keremeos Mayor Walter Despot has announced he will not seek re-election in the November civic vote, capping off almost a decade of involvement in official village affairs.
“I put in nine years as mayor, which I feel is my pint of blood,” Despot said Tuesday. “I have other things I want to do. If you’re going to do a good job in that particular position, you have to be able to commit the time for it.”
Despot has been actively involved in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, particularly in his capacity on the hospital district board as chair.
Looking back on almost 10 years of service, he can’t pick one accomplishment that stands out as a highlight.
“There’s always projects you’re working on and some are major, some minor. Basically what you’re always working toward is to make your community a better place to live. Sometimes it’s small things, sometimes it’s big things,” Despot said, going a bit quiet when asked if he feels he is leaving on a high note. “I think I am. I may be wrong, but I like to think I am,” he said.
Despot said he intends to remain involved in the community. He currently sits as a director for the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation, which oversees fundraising for not only Penticton Regional Hospital, but health-care facilities in Keremeos, Princeton, Summerland and Oliver. “I’m hoping somewhere I’ll be of service,” Despot said.
The 72-year-old said he also hopes to do some travelling with his wife now that he’ll have less meetings to attend.