Only one Victoria city councillor, besides mayor-elect Lisa Helps, did not put her name forward for council this past election.
Shellie Gudgeon was elected as a first-time councillor in 2011, but decided not to run again this year.
“It’s been a complicated journey,” Gudgeon said. “This isn’t the best job I’ve ever had.”
Gudgeon said she did not feel welcome when she first entered city hall as a councillor, adding it was difficult to get support. However, she eventually found her place.
“Where I found the most support was from our neighbourhoods and the organizations that I worked with.”
Gudgeon said she had to fight for many of the initiatives she believed were important for the city, including reducing speed limits on certain streets to 40 km/h.
“It was crazy how hard I had to fight to get that changed,” Gudgeon said. “That was fighting the culture of ‘no’ at the city.”
However, she calls that one of her proudest accomplishments on council. She is also proud to have been part of starting the conversation of amalgamation.
“One of the strongest successes I had was starting conversation. Typically what I found being on council for the last three years, is in order to survive as a politician, you stay away from the difficult issues. I brought the difficult issues to the public to discuss.”
Gudgeon said despite the challenges, she feels she accomplished what she set out to do on council.
“I’ve learned so much about the depths of our community,” said Gudgeon. “It’s been a privilege.”