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.
The News Review is publishing 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.
Second set of profiles:
After living 13 years in Central Saanich, by-election candidate John Hannam is looking to get involved in municipal politics.
Since moving to the municipality, Hannam and his family have become active in the farming community and have established a hay and horse operation on their 36 acre farm. They currently have 10 horses on their property on Wallace Drive and harvest up to 4,000 bales of hay in a season.
“I believe that farming has to be both encouraged and practically supported by the municipality,” said Hannam about one of the reasons he’s running for council.
“There are many issues that affect our local farmers, including wildlife control, weed control, labour availability, access to markets and storm water management.
“Appropriate bylaws can assist where practicable but should not be an impediment to the functioning of viable farming operations.”
Before his foray into farming, Hannam spent 32 years as a public school teacher in the Sooke School District. During that time he involved himself in several school and union committees including time spent on the executive of the local of the B.C. Teachers Federation and 11 years as chair the Public Relations and Professional Development Committees.
While teaching, Hannam also served as a Canadian Naval Reserve Officer for 26 years and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Hannam, whose roots in Victoria date back over 100 years, also hopes to address tax increases in the municipality, another reason why he decided to run in the by-election.
“The tax base of the municipality needs to expand through business development within areas circumscribed by the Official Community Plan (OCP),” Hannam said.
“The OCP may require fine tuning, but the concept of having such a plan is good and it should be used as a blueprint to support the district, not as an impediment to progress. Tax increases have to be managed … and a balance must be struck between what the overall community wishes with what is achievable within the tax base that exists,” he said, adding that he feels this is something he could help with.
“(If elected) as a councillor for Central Saanich, I believe that I could truly assist in this endeavour.”
Email Hannam at email@example.com for more information on his candidacy in the 2013 Central Saanich by-election.
Long time Central Saanich resident and past council member Susan Mason is ready once again to step into municipal politics.
“After over a year away from council, I feel excited and energized and ready to take on the world,” Mason said.
Mason’s council experience dates back to 2002 when she first became involved as a councillor with the district. She finished her last term in 2011 and spent the last year and half doing things she loves like painting.
“It’s been great to have the time to myself and I’m prepared now to step back into a position of leadership should I be elected,” she said.
Mason, who has lived and worked in the area for many years, raised her daughter in Central Saanich and has also cared for her aging parents in the area as well.
“Raising my daughter and caring for aging parents has made me aware of the scope of different needs of people in our community,” said Mason.
She believes the development of a master plan for the Keating area is essential, citing the examples of Dockside Green, Yale Town, and False Creek.
“All of those places are industrial areas that changed course and attained their full potential. By encouraging a work/live environment in Keating, we could create a vibrant community and economic generator enabling our young people to stay in Central Saanich to work and live,” she said.
Mason is also keen on economic strategy in cooperation with the local First Nations and neighbouring municipalities.
“By partnering with our neighbours we could hire an economic development officer to help formulate a strategy.”
Continuing to aggressively explore and encourage development and economic growth opportunities in our core areas consistent with Central Saanich’s OCP would also be a priority, she said.
“We need to think outside of the box. Why not look at a municipal centre in the heart of Brentwood Village? It could have underground parking and combined services like a municipal hall, a police station, a library and even seniors assisted living. By partnering with other government agencies we could share costs and enhance services to our community and the old hall could be sold later to offset costs.”
Mason also noted sustaining, promoting and protecting farming in Central Saanich is one of her passions.
“I care passionately about Central Saanich and am very protective about the wonderful sense of community we have here,” she said.
“I want to see that nurtured and retained.”
Visit Mason’s website at www.susanmason.ca for more.