Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc will not run again in May's municipal elections.

LeBlanc announced his decision Monday, saying he will not reoffer after serving 17 years on council, including the last eight years as mayor.

"We have had many challenges, tremendous highs, and some dark moments," said LeBlanc, whose time in office included the June 2014 murders of three RCMP officers and the 2015 hosting of the FIFA Women's World Cup of soccer. "But throughout, the spirit of the people of Moncton has lifted me and carried our community.

'Have some time to smell the roses.'
- George LeBlanc, Moncton mayor

‚ÄčLeBlanc said that he'd made up his mind some time ago, and that it's important to have fresh new leadership come in.

"It's time, I think that's the main reason," he said.  "I've always felt that those of us who are fortunate enough to serve should recognize that there's a time to stay and there's a time to go.  For me, it's time to hang up the skates and give somebody else a shot at it."

LeBlanc's time as mayor also saw city council decide to proceed with building a $107-million sports and entertainment complex in the downtown area.

LeBlanc said he will return to his law practice on a full-time basis. "I have been practicing law all along," he explained, but now will "be able to focus on my family and my law practice and to, you know, have some time to smell the roses."

As for running in a different forum, such as provincial or federal politics, LeBlanc took a never-say-never approach, but was pretty confident he was done with running for office.

"I think probably I guess," he considered.  "In politics it's always dangerous to draw a line in the sand, but for me I think I'm ready, so it probably will be."