Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer won’t be running in the next municipal election.
“My intent was to seek another term,” Schaffer said in a statement prepared for Monday night’s council meeting.
“However, about 16 months ago I started having some health issues, and although I will be having a procedure in the New Year to correct this issue, it made me realize spending time with my family is so very important.”
Schaffer declined to be more specific about his health during an interview with The Times, only saying it was nothing more than “a couple of little health issues.”
By the time his term ends, Schaffer will have served 25 years on Langley City council, 19-and-a-half years as a councillor, and five-and-a-half years as mayor.
“I have enjoyed serving this community, but believe it’s time to retire,” Schaffer said.
This will mark his second retirement from politics.
Schaffer was first elected to Langley City council in 1990. He served continuously until 2008 before taking a three-year break and then won re-election in November, 2011.
He said he stepped away because of the overwhelming demands of a job he took after retiring from 35 years with the city of New Westminster. The job was in Gloucester Estates with a major hydro electric contractor, where he found himself putting in eleven-and-a-half hour days.
Schaffer was named acting Langley City mayor after the city council decided against holding a byelection to replace then-incumbent mayor Peter Fassbender, after Fassbender won a seat as a Liberal MLA in Surrey in the May 2013 provincial election.
At the time, he said he hadn’t thought about the mayorship before the provincial election, and wasn’t sure if he would run in the next election.
Schaffer, who was unopposed for the position, filled the acting role for the next 16 months until the municipal election.
Then, he removed the “acting” title by running and winning the election as mayor in the 2014 municipal mayoralty race, defeating his nearest opponent, Randy Caine, by more than 2,000 votes.
“It’s a big relief,” Schaffer said following his victory.
“I’m just going to work very, very hard for this community.”
Schaffer invited the unsuccessful candidates to “maybe put their names on a few [municipal] committees.”
When asked about his accomplishments as mayor, Schaffer said he preferred to talk about the achievements of council and municipal staff working together.
“I have the utmost respect for the City of Langley council and staff,” Schaffer said.
“They continue to work tirelessly to make this community a great place to live, work and play.”
He cited infrastructure projects, including improvements to roads, park and municipal facilities like the Timms centre.
During his term as mayor, Langley City became the first Canadian municipality to invest with the Bank of China, purchasing a $100,000 term deposit on terms that Schaffer thought were comparable to those offered by Canadian banks.
Schaffer said the agreement has encouraged developers to invest in Langley City projects.
“It opened up a lot of doors,” Schaffer said.
“It put Langley on the map.”
The process that led to the Bank of China deal started after another Canadian financial institution closed down its Langley City branch and the City began looking for a bank willing to set up shop locally.
While the Bank of China wasn’t prepared to open a branch, it was interested in a win-win agreement where the bank could show that it can handle municipal investments and the City could show it can do deals with international businesses.
The bank confirmed the Langley agreement was the first municipal government deposit it has received in the more than 20 years it has been operating in Canada.
Schaffer and his wife Jean have been married for 44 years and have lived in the City for 37. They are parents of two adult daughters and four grandchildren.
He said he and his wife intend to remain residents of Langley City, and he hopes to “volunteer in a minor capacity with a local group or organization” after his latest retirement.
Former City mayor Peter Fassbender, who lost his seat in the last provincial election, told The Times some people have suggested he should run in the next municipal election, but he has made no decision, one way or the other, about seeking a return to the mayor’s chair.
“I’ve made no long-term decisions,” Fassbender said.
“We’ll see what the future holds.”
Right now, Fassbender said, he’s busy working on the campaign of provincial Liberal leadership hopeful Todd Stone.
“That’s my focus,” Fassbender said.