A former city councillor and the architect of one of the most successful community events in Cornwall is leaving.
Chris Savard, who served three terms around the council table at city hall and helmed the Lift-Off hot air balloon festival for nearly every year of its existence has accepted a new job as the general manager of the Devonshire Mall in Windsor.
He has been the general manager of Cornwall Square for more than 14 years. That all comes to an end later this month, and Savard starts his new gig April 2.
“I always said it would take the right company and the right opportunity,” Savard said in an interview. “It was definitely not an easy decision to make.
“But it’s one of those jobs that you just have to take.”
Savard left a lasting impression around the city council table during his tenure.
“I always respected Chris,” said current Coun. Andre Rivette, who added there wasn’t always agreement between the two on municipal issues, but any animosity was forgotten when the mayor pounded the gavel to signal the meeting’s conclusion. “We would often go out for a beer afterwards.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Coun. Denis Carr.
“Chris took his role very seriously,” Carr said. “He did his homework. He was a pleasure to work with, and the city is going to miss him.”
Savard was a city councillor from 1994 to 2000, and then again from 2003 to 2006. He made an unsuccessful run as a Progressive-Conservative candidate for Queen’s Park in 2007.
But it was his time as chair and part of the organizing committee for Lift-Off that Savard says will remain near and dear to his heart.
“I’m really proud of what Lift-Off has grown to become,” said Savard, noting the event is still the only hot air balloon festival of its kind in the province. “Lift-Off has grown to be Cornwall’s signature event.”
As chair of the city’s waterfront development committee Savard helped oversee the addition of amenities to Lamoureux Park and the removal of the derelict oil tanks that once lined the St. Lawrence River.
“We have done some great things along the waterfront,” he said.
Savard will have some weighty responsibilities with his new job. The Devonshire mall is the largest of its kind in Ontario outside of the Toronto area, and is ranked as the 18th largest mall in Canada.