OUR VIEW: Looking ahead to a tight race

Let’s look ahead to the May, 2017 provincial election — with an eye focused specifically on the Saanich North and the Islands riding.

With the BC Day long weekend behind us, we can stretch our legs and arms and look ahead to some interesting issues on the horizon on the Saanich Peninsula.

There’s the ongoing commercial development debates still simmering in Sidney and North Saanich and, of course, transportation matters running rampant in Central Saanich.

Today, however, let’s look ahead to the May, 2017 provincial election — with an eye focused specifically on the Saanich North and the Islands riding.

In 2013, there was a three-person bottleneck during the vote count on election night. The race for the local MLA’s seat in the B.C. legislature was closely-watched, not only for how few votes would separate the winner from the also-rans, but also for the chance that the riding had a very good chance at providing another B.C. Green Party MLA.

Instead, three strong candidates split the vote with the NDP’s Gary Holman emerging victorious by 163 votes over the BC Liberal Party’s Stephen Roberts. The Green candidate, Adam Olsen, was third and only 379 votes off the lead.

Holman at the time said in taking the MLA’s office here, that he had to be cognisant of the tight result and try to represent broad interests.

He is, thus far, the only one of the three from 2013 that has not officially declared his candidacy in the next election. Yet, the PNR has heard (unofficially) that he plans to.

Already, Roberts and Olsen have been named their parties’ candidate in the constituency — setting up what could be another very close contest.

Prior to 2013, Saanich North and the Islands was held by the BC Liberals, who had held it for 12 years until that point. The candidates are already anticipating yet another close one.

In a riding with traditionally good voter turnout, that should make for a very interesting election night in 2017 and one the PNR will be following closely.

We hope voters will too and help make the next election have one of the largest turnouts in recent history.