Sparwood mayor Cal McDougall speaking during the 50th anniversary of the Balmer North mine disaster, April 2017. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

Sparwood mayor will not seek re-election

Sparwood’s current mayor Cal McDougall has announced he will not be seeking re-election in the upcoming municipal elections, this fall.

After 13 years, he says it’s time to move on.

McDougall says his overall experience with the District has been positive, and he’s proud to see many projects come to fruition in his time served.

It was in 1995 that McDougall first ran for mayor and was elected. He then served for three terms (nine years) in a row, before taking a three term break. He then ran again in 2014 and was re-elected as mayor.

Asked what’s been the most rewarding part about his job, McDougall admitted that’s tough to pinpoint, but says getting through the downturn in the economy four years ago was tough for everyone. He’s proud they pushed through.

“It was tough for our community to get through,” he said. “We had some heavy financial commitments on the coat tails of great things happening … and we got through it all.”

As he steps back from local politics, McDougall says he hopes Sparwood will continue to grow and flourish.

“I think we have the opportunity now to do some real positive things within our community, to build the community, to make it more livable,” he said.

McDougall says that the District is working with Teck and other businesses to make the community more liveable. He says communication and work with Teck is getting stronger, but there’s still room for improvement.

“We’re in a position where I think Teck really needs to step up and make our community the beautiful place that it should be, and that it is really, but to sustain that, and help it grow,” said McDougall.

He says the solution to this is found through contributions to the community.

“I think building an office here would really draw this community together,” he said. “It would show some confidence in Sparwood and that confidence would, I think, spread out to other contractors.”

McDougall explained that, several years ago, Teck had proposed to build a large office, a hub, in Sparwood, but didn’t follow through with completing this project. He further explained that there have been a few companies and projects, including Joy Global, who have been waiting for Teck to make a move and show some confidence in the community.

“If Teck makes the move, then I think it will just instill a lot of confidence in everyone,” he said.

McDougall says that even after he retires, he won’t be leaving Sparwood.

“I don’t know where I would go,” he said, adding that in the 35 years he has lived in the mountain town, he has raised a family and now retired.

Cal’s wife Norma, retired last year as manager of the Sparwood Chamber of Commerce. Now they will be able to enjoy retirement together. They’ve already made plans to travel, as well as to improve their golf game.

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