Welcome to my website
As you will all know by now, I have decided not to stand for Saanich Council in this year’s municipal election. Many factors influenced my decision and in the forefront is that all eight incumbents are seeking another term. Many people including myself believe that is not a good thing for Saanich. For many years the style of governance has remained the same and this is not indicative of a healthy council. We have seen significant issues which are defining how Saanich and the region is being governed and we need to move in a new direction.
One issue above all others stands out and bears serious consideration. In early October, Mayor Leonard and Council decided that it would be a good idea to place a non-binding question (normally called a plebiscite) on the ballot on November 15th. The question is
“Do you support Council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the Region?”
The question was designed to focus on Saanich first. All councilors were involved in crafting the question seemingly as a result of public pressure to have some sort of governance question on the ballot this year. Some of Saanich Council indicated it was an opportunity to “educate residents” about how things are done now. Some said there was no limit to what can be discussed, while others suggested a regional lens should be used. All council agreed that it was timely to be having this conversation with the community. Was this only for public consumption? All council seemed to believe that it is a foregone conclusion that the question will be answered YES by a majority in Saanich. I would argue, even if it is a no, this conversation about governance still needs to be a priority.
The most interesting comment came from the Mayor of Saanich when he said “if the question is supported, it will be owned by the community.” I wonder what exactly he meant my “owned by the community”?
If it is truly going to be owned by the community that ownership must start with the process to be designed in order to create the opportunity for all residents of Saanich to participate. We could begin with engaging each community association, perhaps through the Saanich Community Association Network. As the president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association, I have been attending SCAN meetings for some time. This group is clearly interested in sharing information and learning about specific issues. However, it is not now nor will be an advocacy group. That is fundamental as this group cannot act as a shadow cabinet to Saanich Council. What SCAN is able to do is make sure the community associations in Saanich are fully informed. Therefore, I would propose a committee of SCAN be created to work on the review of our governance structure and policies in Saanich and our partnerships within the Region. I would be happy to volunteer to chair such committee.
My focus will always be on building community and I believe strongly in building partnerships through collaboration and engagement. I believe Saanich needs a new governance mandate and we need to bring together experienced leaders in the community like myself who will continue to advocate for strengthening relationships with the newly elected Council.
When this campaign began I started a series of neighbourhood walkabouts. This is one of the first ones in the Cadboro Bay Community.
It is still time to act on:
Transportation and Land Use
Maintaining and Enhancing the Unique Character of our Neighbourhoods
Affordable and Accessible Housing
Preserving Green Space and Agricultural Land
Public Engagement and Accountability of Local Government