CENTRAL SAANICH — There are eight candidates in the April 13 by-election for two seats at the Central Saanich district municipal table.
Ten candidates had announced their intent to run as of the deadline to file their nomination papers, however, two individuals have since dropped out.
The council seat became vacant after Adam Olsen resigned after accepting the nomination in the provincial riding of Saanich North and the Islands for the B.C. Green Party, and Terry Siklenka resigned after moving away.
Today, the News Review begins a series of candidate profiles to help our readers make informed decisions on by-election day.
The profiles are organized alphabetically by last name and will take place over the next few editions of the News Review, prior to the by-election.
The general vote is scheduled for April 13 and advance voting will be held April 3 and 10.
First two profiles:
After working for over two decades in management, sales and marketing and small business ownership, Central Saanich resident Alicia Cormier is setting her sights on municipal politics.
“This area has always been near and dear to my heart and I’ve seen how its been preserved and I’ve seen how its been at risk,” Cormier said.
“Because of my love for the area, I decided now that my children are grown that I would get involved in municipal politics. It’s a way for me to take my community involvement and my business experience and put it all together.”
Cormier has lived most of her life on the Peninsula and has spent time volunteering with various community organizations including the annual Brentwood festival, Girl Guides, Elizabeth May’s Green Party campaign and Extreme Softball. Currently she is focusing on her by-election campaign and also has a local business venture in the works.
Cormier has an interest in agriculture and sustainability and has taken courses in sustainability management and an Organic Master Gardening program.
“With my two daughters grown now, my focus and interests turned to municipal politics,” said Cormier.
The candidate added that should she be elected she’s keen on increasing interest and awareness in the agriculture sector as well as encouraging community engagement and careful fiscal management.
“(If elected) I plan to collaborate with business, agriculture and First Nations representatives to champion a local economic development strategy that will revitalize our cores of Keating, Saanichton and Brentwood Bay,” she said.
Cormier said that she would have her focus set on adding new technology-based businesses, agri-tourism and local food production facilities in the area.
“I feel that at this point in my life I have the time, energy and experience to dedicate to something like this,” Cormier said.
“And I have a sincere desire to put my knowledge and experience to work for the best interests of our community.”
Visit Cormier’s website at cormierforcouncil.com for more information on her candidacy in the 2013 Central Saanich by-election.
Christopher Graham is looking once again to add council member to the list of occupations on his resume.
Graham spent 12 years on council previously and ran for mayor twice. Now, if elected, he hopes his experience with municipal politics and his employment background will help guide council through the next year and a half.
“Municipal politics are something I really enjoyed being a part of and I feel like I was pretty successful at it,” said Graham. “I think the challenges that are facing council in upcoming years are something that I can really help with.”
He added his financial experience as a partner with Beacon Tax Services would be useful as the municipality faces the possibility of large expenditures for projects like a new Central Saanich municipal hall.
Along with working at Beacon Tax Services, something that occupies much of Graham’s time this time of year, he also runs a small family farm in Central Saanich and co-owns A Paddle in the Park Kayaking.
“My family has been in this community for a very long time,” Graham said, adding that his family has had farmland in Central Saanich since the 1800’s and the farm that he and his partner, Melissa Hailey (a councillor in Sidney) run now has been in the family since the 1920’s.
With the end of tax season a speck on the horizon, Graham said he’s looking forward to the nicer weather and the ramp-up of the busy kayak rental season.
“Kayaking is a nice break after tax season,” Graham laughed.
“It’s nice to go out in the summer and put in a full day of doing tours,” he said. “It’s a nice seasonal business in the way that you get to really get out and enjoy what we have here on the Peninsula.”
Graham’s major concerns in the municipality center around the district maintaining financial sustainability in the municipality in light of upcoming projects (like a new municipal hall), making sure agriculture is promoted in the area and that rural Central Saanich is protected and that the district focus on the economic development of areas like Keating.
“I feel very connected to this community and that’s why I want to get back into municipal politics,” said Graham. “I just feel like I want to be able to contribute.”
Visit Graham’s website at www.christophergraham.ca for more information on his candidacy in the 2013 Central Saanich by-election.