Ernie Bourassa is leaving the Yukon.
The two-term Whitehorse mayor and former insurance company owner told the Star Tuesday he's given notice to the Yukon Chamber of Commerce and decided to move to British Columbia to pursue a new career and be closer to his family.
'I am (leaving); we've decided to move to Kelowna.
'We've decided to move closer to the kids and the grand kids,' he said of he and wife Linda's plans.
'One thing with losing an election, you have a chance to look at where your life is headed.'
Bourassa was defeated in last October's municipal elections by current mayor Bev Buckway.
He said he's thinking of getting into the real estate business once he gets settled South of 60.
Bourassa said he's put his Hidden Valley subdivision house on the market, is getting rid of all his possessions and has informed his employer the chamber of commerce of his plans.
'It's time for a change; I've been here most of my life and so has my wife.'
The territory, he said, has been very good to him and he'll be leaving with fond memories.
'Looking back, I've had a great sense of accomplishment with what's happened over the last 10 years, 20 years, actually.'
Chamber chair Rob McIntyre said Wednesday that Bourassa has been a valuable asset to his organization over the past four months and he is sad to see him go.
'He was a great guy for the brief time that we had him.
'In these four months, from a restructuring point of view, from a financial point of view, he did a great job,' McIntyre said.
'It's our loss, so we have to find someone else and the search is on.'
Coun. Doug Graham, who served with Bourassa during the former mayor's two council terms, said Bourassa's absence will be felt in the territory.
'I'm really disappointed to have him leave. He's contributed a lot to not only the Yukon but to sports,' he said.
'He was on the first Canada Games team.'
Graham said he also feels Bourassa had been a capable mayor.
'He did a good job as mayor. He always tried to find the middle road so everyone got a little bit of what they wanted.'
Buckway said Wednesday she has known Bourassa's family a long time and was surprised to hear Bourassa is leaving the territory.
'Ernie's mother (Irma) used to be my Grade 4 teacher.
'I was kind of surprised to hear he was going down south but I know he has family down there,' she said.
Buckway, also a long time Yukoner, said the city will miss Bourassa's contributions to the local economy, community and politics.