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Coun. Bob Bell not seeking reelection this fall

Most councillors contacted said they’re undecided about running again
20160201 Ward 1 Councillor Bob Bell KA
File photo, taken in 2016, of Ward 1's Coun. Bob Bell. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday

There’s likely to be some new blood on city council after this fall’s municipal election. 

Though most sitting members of council say they’re undecided about throwing their hat into the ring, Ward 1’s Bob Bell isn’t planning to put his name on the ballot.

“I’ve heard there’s going to be a few very competent people who are going to run for city council this term,” Bell said of what inspired his decision. “I’ve certainly been on long enough and it’s been difficult holding down two jobs at the same time and I am getting a little long in the tooth.”

Bell, who is CEO of Wike Bicycle Company, was first elected as councillor in 2006 and was re-elected three times, for a total of 16 years on council. 

“The last couple years have been very difficult being a politician,” he said, explaining many people are generally angry about aspects of their life or situation. “They want somebody to blame and the first people that they blame are the politicians.

“It’s been a challenge for everyone, including politicians.”

Asked what he’s most proud of from his time on council, Bell was quick to point to advancements in active transportation infrastructure, followed by promotion of affordable and social housing in the city.

“Although we’re just starting to turn the corner on that, I hope I’ve been of some influence in that regard,” he said of the latter, adding he’s been “not too successful” in his efforts to see the city “hold the line” on spending.

At this point, Bell said his mind is made up. The only thing that would convince him to run again would need to be “something very special” that he’s “totally not aware of right now.”

Since joining council, Bell said the workload has tripled.

“The quantity of work and focus that we’re required to do now is vastly more than it was 16 years ago,” he said.

The nomination period for the Oct. 24 municipal election begins on May 2. Anyone interested in seeking a position on council during the next term has until 2 p.m. on Aug. 19 to file the necessary paperwork with the city clerk’s office.

City council consists of a mayor and 12 councillors, with two elected from each of the city’s six wards.

GuelphToday attempted to contact all sitting councillors to ask about their intention for the election. Of the nine reached, seven of them said they’re undecided at this time.

On the undecided list are James Gordon of Ward 2, Ward 3 representatives June Hofland and Phil Allt, Christine Billings of Ward 4, Ward 5’s Leanne Caron and Ward 6 councillors Mark Mackinnon and Dominique O’Rourke.

Ward 1's Dan Gibson and Rodrigo Goller of Ward 2 said they intends to seek re-election.

Councillors Mike Salisbury (Ward 4) and Cathy Downer (Ward 5) couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Mayor Cam Guthrie declared their intention to seek reelection this fall, something he made publicly known in December.


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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