Former mayor Wayne Redekop thinks Fort Erie needs to be united.
That’s why Redekop said he's returning to municipal politics.
Redekop announced his bid for the mayor's office before a crowd of people at the Italo-Canadian Club on Tuesday night. Redekop’s news follows Mayor Doug Martin’s announcement on Monday that he will not seek re-election.
“I have known the mayor (Martin) since we were teenagers and I applaud his service to the community, Redekop said.
Redekop said he feels council needs experienced leadership which is why he has chosen to run for mayor.
“I believe elected officials all have to work as a united front for the town,” Redekop said.
He feels that Fort Erie’s council “hasn’t worked as a united” front for some time.
“I believe elected officials have to work for the good of the town,” he said.
“I think they could have accomplished more if they could look beyond certain distractions and worked together,” he said.
“There have been some big issues that have caused a division in the community." These issues included a scrapped 12-storey condominium project for Bay Beach and the Fort Erie Race Track.
Like Martin, Redekop said it “is important for young people to engage in the public life” of the community.”
“However, there needs to be a mix of people with different ages and diverse talents and skills for a community to succeed and prosper.”
Redekop, a lawyer, was born and raised in Fort Erie. He studied at the University of Western Ontario and Osgoode Hall Law School and Brown University.
He was the mayor of Fort Erie from 1997 until 2006.
During the time Redekop served on council, he said he oversaw the construction o the Friendship Trail. He also encouraged the revitalization of the Crystal Beach waterfront.
Through revenue raised through a slots facility, Redekop said the town also saw growth in its infrastructure.
“At one period, there was a lot of infrastructure completed within one year. We invested in more infrastructure than any other municipality except St. Catharines,” Redekop said.
During his eight years away from the political arena, Redekop has continued to remain involved in the community, serving as a member of the Ridgeway Lions Club.
He also has served on several boards including the Fort Erie Multicultural Centre and the board of trustees for D’youville College as one of the board’s first Canadian members.
“I feel my experience is valuable because I have both Canadian and American contacts that can only benefit the Town of Fort Erie,” Redekop said.
Redekop believes the Town should “form partnerships” that will strengthen the community’s local and international relationships.