LAVAL, QC, Nov. 9, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - After serving on Laval's municipal council for nearly 40 years, Gilles Vaillancourt announced today he is stepping down as mayor and retiring from politics. His decision goes into effect today.
"As a society, we are living through difficult, even painful times, with elected officials at every level being accused of all manner of wrongdoing," said Mr. Vaillancourt. "We're facing allegations that, even without proof, are irremediably altering the reputations of those in whom the public has placed its trust. Regardless of what I do or say, it's clear the damage has been done. I can only hope that the next steps following recent events will restore the trust that must exist between politicians and their constituents."
Mr. Vaillancourt was first elected in 1973 as a municipal councillor for the district of Laval-des-Rapides, where he was born. He was then appointed to the executive committee. He was thrice re-elected as councillor for Laval-des-Rapides, in 1977, 1981 and 1985.
Mr. Vaillancourt first became mayor in 1989 and went on to be re-elected six times, every four years from 1989 to 2009.
"I would like to assure the people of Laval that I have always acted in their interest, thinking first and foremost of their well-being and that of their family," Mr. Vaillancourt stressed. "My goal was always to build a strong community, one that cares for its members and has one undeniable characteristic: the unequalled pride that the people of Laval feel for their community."
Over the past four decades, Mr. Vaillancourt played a role in and witnessed first-hand the phenomenal development of Laval, a city created in 1965 with the merger of 14 small municipalities on Île Jésus. "Laval became a success that is recognized everywhere," he said. "Even the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has confirmed this, giving the Ville de Laval the highest rating of any Quebec municipality, better than the Quebec government or Hydro-Québec! Laval's achievements include three new metro stations, a new bridge in the east end, the Université de Montréal campus and the excellent financial situation we have been able to maintain over the past 15 years, with a variation in the residential property tax rate two and a half times lower than inflation, which, in 2012, represents real savings of $501 for owners of single-family homes."
Mr. Vaillancourt is convinced that Laval is poised to continue its balanced development, with the emergence of a new downtown core concentrated around the metro, educational institutions, and soon, an impressive sports and cultural centre. "The directions established in our Sustainable Mobility Plan and in our ÉvoluCité urban development initiative will take Laval positively into the future, with a responsible vision of development that will benefit both current and future generations."
"I will now leave it to others to continue with this remarkable collective project," concluded Mr. Vaillancourt. "I would like to remind you that I was born in Laval and I've lived my entire life here. I have always loved this city and I have had but one desire: to make Laval a success."
Basile Angelopoulos, vice-chair of the executive committee, will serve as acting mayor until the election of a new mayor by the municipal council, as stipulated in the Cities and Towns Act. This election will take place in the next few weeks, at a meeting for which the date has not yet been set.
SOURCE: CITY OF LAVAL
For further information:
Johanne Bournival, media officer
Office of the Mayor and Executive Committee
514 607-5507 − [email protected]