OTTAWA -- Three-term Ottawa city councillor Scott Moffatt says he will not be seeking re-election in 2022.

The councillor for Rideau-Goulbourn announced his decision on Twitter Saturday morning.

"Today is November 13, which is exactly 15 years to the date of my first ever election in 2006. I was 25. I lost. Politically, it was the best thing that ever happened to me," he said to start his 11-tweet thread, which closed with his announcement that he would not be running in the next election.

"While coming down from a loss will always be difficult for any candidate, I knew on November 13, 2006 that I’d be back on the ballot in 2010. That one went a bit better and there were many people who made that possible."

Speaking to by phone, the 11-year veteran at city hall said the time was right for a new chapter.

"I think it's healthy to have turnover," he said, noting his thread hints at his own prediction that he wouldn't stay much longer than he has.

Moffatt was first elected to city council in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018.

Moffatt said on Twitter that he was asked in 2010 about term limits for city councillors, something he opposed, but he predicted at the time that he did not expect to be a councillor for more than 12 years.

"While it can be fun to look back to the past from time to time, and I probably do that more often than most, you also have to look ahead. I suppose I did that in 2010 somewhat when asked about term limits. And now, after 11 years in office, it would appear my sentiment about how long I’d be a Councillor rang true," Moffatt wrote.

Moffatt didn't say what his next steps would be in 2022, but he said that he's not retiring.

"I'm only 40." 

Moffatt said he's enjoyed his time as a city councillor in part because he's able to be independent.

"I'm able to speak my mind. That doesn't always work in party politics," he said. "I've enjoyed working with my colleagues. We agree more often than not, but if I disagree with a colleague or disagree with the mayor, I can say that."

Moffatt currently co-chairs the powerful planning committee alongside Stittsville councillor Glen Gower. He is also the chair of the standing committee on environmental protection, water, and waste management, and is a member of the finance and economic development committee, the agriculture and rural affairs committee, and the built heritage subcommittee.

Working on the city's Official Plan, its Climate Change Master Plan and the ongoing work on the Solid Waste Master Plan are among the achievements of which he's most proud, he said, though he also said some things will be left undone.

"You never leave this kind of job completely finished," he said.

Moffatt described an attempt for many years to link Golf Club Way to Jinkinson Road, which was an issue in his ward when he ran in 2010.

"We just couldn't get it done. There were too many roadblocks," he said of the process, which ballooned in cost to the point where it was no long feasible.

"Those are the kinds of things that will be at the back of my mind."

Moffatt says implementing the new Official Plan and getting the Solid Waste Master Plan ready for the next council to approve will be part of the work he has left to do with the last year of his term. 

"I want to leave things better than they were when I found them and I think I've done that but, until then, we still have a job to do," he said.

The next municipal election will be held on Oct. 24, 2022.

He closed out his Twitter thread saying that on November 15, 2022, "a new Councillor will be sworn in as the representative for Ward 21, Rideau-Jock."

Ward 21 will be renamed "Rideau-Jock" in 2022. Moffatt moved to have the ward's name changed, dropping the "Goulbourn" from it that was derived from British politician Henry Goulburn, who owned plantations in Jamaica that enslaved people.

"Of note, he was never here, and he has no direct story to connect him to us and our communities. I only highlight that because he was also a slave owner. He was an absentee owner of one of the most notorious plantations in Jamaica," Moffatt wrote in a 2020 newsletter to constituents. "At one time, he owned over 250 slaves. They were treated poorly. He tried to improve their lives, but he stopped short of favouring abolition. Keep in mind that the slave trade had already been abolished by Britain in 1807. In 1826, he lost an election because it became known locally that he was a slave owner."

The name "Rideau-Jock" is derived from the Rideau and Jock rivers that flow through the ward.

His advice to anyone running to replace him? Be true to yourself.

"I learned so much from losing in 2006. I learned how to campaign. I learned that I had to own what I'm saying and believe what I'm saying," he said.

And it's not a regular nine-to-five job.

"I think a lot of people say they know that but it doesn't really sink in until you start doing it."

Research is another key element Moffatt said was important.

"If it's some obscure provincial legislation I need to know about, I look into that," he said.

Ultimately, he says success at city hall comes from teamwork.

"You have to keep an open mind. My 2010 message was based a lot on teamwork at city hall, and I think I've achieved that. If you want to get things done, you have to work together."

In reply to his Twitter thread, Mayor Jim Watson thanked Moffatt for his contributions to the city.

"It’s been a real pleasure and honour to work with you over the past three terms. Thank you for your dedication to your community and for your great sense of humour and leadership around the council table," Watson wrote.

Other councillors also responded to Moffatt's thread to congratulate him on his career.

"I was staff when you were first elected. I remember very well how you treated everyone at City Hall the same regardless of who they were. You’ll be missed," wrote Somerset ward Coun. Catherine McKenney.

"Thank you for sharing this, Scott. I will never forget your advice after I lost my first attempt at office. It bolstered my spirits at a time when I really needed it. It is an absolute pleasure working with you," said Innes ward Coun. Laura Dudas.

"A tremendous thanks and it was a privilege work with you on so many different municipal related issues that you know inside and out," said Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.

"We may not always agree yet we do surprisingly often. And at the end of day we can respect each other regardless. Your sense of humour helps keep everything in perspective. Thanks for your ongoing service to your community," wrote Bay ward Coun. Theresa Kavanagh.