Sep 19

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent to leave politics

Westmount Mayor Peter Trent has announced he will be stepping down from public office.

“It’s time for the next generation to take over the mayoralty,” he said in a statement released Monday.

The political veteran first took public office as a city councillor in 1983, before being elected as Westmount mayor in 1991.

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    In 2001, he left politics over the forced merger with the City of Montreal on Jan. 1, 2002.

    “If it weren’t for Peter Trent, all 14 independent cities on the island of Montreal — including Westmount — would still be part of the City of Montreal,” explained city councillor Victor M. Drury.

    The merger was part of an ongoing re-organization of municipalities in Quebec by the Parti Québécois (PQ) from 2000 to 2006.

    Trent later documented the merger in his book, The Merger Delusion, which was named a finalist for the best Canadian political book in 2012.

    He was again named Westmount mayor by acclamation during the Nov. 1, 2009 municipal elections.

    “This is an incredible man who has applied himself in municipal affairs heart and soul for over 25 years,” said Montreal mayor Denis Coderre.

    “It is not only a friend, but a brother, who is stepping down today. I wish him a wonderful retirement from Montreal politics and hope he enjoys a well-deserved rest after so many years of service to Westmount residents.”

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    The 71-year-old was the driving force behind the Westmount Recreation Centre, completed in 2013, which houses what the city claims are the world’s first underground rinks.

    He has served five terms as Westmount mayor, always being elected without opposition.

    “I want to leave while still at the top of my game,” Trent, who is originally from Loughborough, Leicestershire, U.K., said.

    “A run at it in November would mean seeking a sixth term. That’s just too long.”

    Trent said he will step down in the next few weeks to allow Westmount city council to elect an interim mayor until the November election.