By Lyonel Doherty
The fun has gone out of local politics for Jack Bennest.
The longtime Oliver town councillor has resigned his seat, effective September 30.
Bennest was absent from Monday’s council meeting, and when freelance journalist Roy Wood asked the mayor to comment on his resignation, Ron Hovanes looked at Chief Administrative Officer Cathy Cowan and said, “The cat’s out of the bag.”
Hovanes said council only received the resignation over the dinner hour, and then proceeded to read the letter:
“Please accept this brief letter – my resignation as a member of Town council effective September 30. It has been a good run of almost 17 years – time to recentre as age is taking its toll. If I were asked why are you resigning I would put it simply – the
fun seems to be gone out of local politics.”
Hovanes said council accepts Bennest’s resignation and “sincerely thank him for his 17 years of service.”
The mayor said Bennest helped the community grow in many directions.
When asked if anyone else would like to comment, Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger said he respects Bennest’s decision, noting the veteran councillor will be missed.
Schwartzenberger said Bennest always advocated for the Town of Oliver.
“I always felt his knowledge was a great asset.”
Bennest is known for pulling no punches on council and saying it like it is.
He survived conflict of interest accusations regarding his work as a municipal councillor and publisher of the website Oliver Daily News.
A byelection is expected to be held to fill the new vacancy on council.