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.
All Candidates Forums
The Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society hosts a meeting with the candidates in the by-election on April 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Brentwood Comunity Hall.
A second forum is planned for April 8, hosted by the Saanich Peninsula chamber of commerce. It will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Center for Active Living in Brentwood Bay.
Fourth set of profiles:
Since the mid-1990s, agriculture and food have been Robert Thompson’s focus and passion.
Thompson and his partner, Heather (along with their various pets) have lived in Saanichton since 1991 and have always been active in various community organizations relating to the latter.
Thompson currently spends much of his time volunteering with the Saanich Fair, the Saanichton Village Association, the Saanich Peninsula Harvest Feast (as lead organizer) and the Peninsula Country Market.
He has also volunteered and worked with the Island Farmers’ Alliance, the B.C. AgriTourism Alliance and he is currently the vice-president for the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets.
Thompson’s day job involves him working as an agri-food communications and marketing consultant with Southern Vancouver Island Direct Farm Marketing Association and Small Scale Food Processor Association.
“Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked with local farms here on the Peninsula and up Island, which gives me a good perspective on the challenges of farming for a living,” said Thompson.
“Given that farming is a business, this has helped me get a better understanding of the difficulties facing local businesses in our commercial areas. Both sectors need more customer support, for example, and as a council, I believe we can do more to help promote business, whether it’s retail businesses in commercial areas or farm retail operations in the ALR.”
Thompson’s council experience dates back to 1993 when he spent a term on council. Again in 2002, he was elected to council for two terms and he ran again in 2011 but was not elected.
Thompson said his motivation to run in the by-election stemmed from his love for the community.
“I want to work with other members of council to make balanced and fiscally-responsible decisions that help maintain a sustainable community, reflecting our core values as expressed in the Official Community Plan,” said Thompson.
“I believe my experience will allow me to step seamlessly into the role of a councillor and have an immediate impact.”
Thompson said he has prepared for the election by attending all but a few meetings of council since the beginning of January, as well as sitting in on most of the annual strategic planning sessions and attending the recent tri-municipal meeting.
Among the issues he’d like to address if elected, Thompson highlighted financial sustainability and taxation, economic development and the creation of livable neighbourhoods.
“The challenge of financial sustainability is not just up to council. We need all of us as a community to take a hard look at our expectations of the level of services provided by local government,” Thompson said, adding that he supports a referendum on the town hall project.
Visit Thompson’s website at www.bob4council.ca for more information on his candidacy in the 2013 Central Saanich by-election.
Ryan Windsor is taking his second stab at a seat on Central Saanich council.
Windsor lives with his wife Helen and daughter Kyla on a small farm in Central Saanich, along with two pigs, two sheep, several chickens and a growing fruit orchard.
Along with maintaining the family’s farm, Windsor currently works as the Director of Marketing and Operations for his family business, De Vine Vineyards.
“It’s a privilege to live and work in the rural paradise of Central Saanich,” Windsor said of the area.
Windsor added that it was his belief in the importance of community that eventually led him into municipal politics.
In years past, he studied public policy with a focus on B.C. municipal affairs at the University of British Columbia and obtained a degree from the University of Western Ontario that included a focus on environmental policy.
Windsor previously ran for Central Saanich council in 2011 but was not elected.
Windsor spends some of his free time volunteering with the Peninsula Streams Society maintaining salmon habitat, something he said he believes is important for future generations.
He has also been actively involved in writing for the blog Saanich Voice Online.
Windsor said being a part of a young, growing family of his own in Central Saanich has helped him understand the needs of local families, especially when it comes to housing.
“I understand the need to diversify our housing strategy within the framework of the official community plan. This process begins with listening to the community,” he said.
“We must provide opportunities for young families to live, work and play here, while considering the needs of our seniors, so they may continue to reside in Central Saanich.”
Another topic that is a growing concern for him, he said, are increased property taxes in the municipality.
“Young and old alike, people want to be able to afford to live here. By reinvesting in the urban centres … small businesses will prosper and the increased tax revenue generated from these urban centres will provide some tax relief for residents.”
Windsor said he also takes into account that agriculture is an important business in Central Saanich and, he believes, more should be done to support farmers.
“For residents and farmers alike, we need to promote our agriculture. For instance, the new proposed visitor centre on the Pat Bay highway could highlight agriculture across the Peninsula.”
Windsor said he also feels that the municipality would benefit from greater public participation, something he thinks would be boosted by creating a new website for the district to replace the current site he describes as outdated and inefficient.
“Websites are often a first stop for residents of all ages, seeking information or as a means of contact with staff and council,” he said.
“A redesigned, user friendly municipal website could also be utilized to promote local businesses and agriculture.”
Visit Windsor’s website at www.ryanforcouncil.ca for more information on his candidacy in the 2013 Central Saanich by-election.