BYELECTION: Eight contenders vie for council seat in North Saanich

Byelection to fill vacant council seat set for April 6

Today the Peninsula News Review highlights the candidates running in the North Saanich byelection.

The North Saanich byelection is set for Saturday, April 6 with advance voting on March 27 and April 3. Voting is from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day at municipal hall in North Saanich.

We asked the eight candidates to send their top three platform objectives in point form, how they would make the municipality a better place and why run now, after council was acclaimed in October.

Romi Bongers

Rosemarie (Romi) Bongers

• Affordable housing

• Transportation

• Doctors/nurse practitioners

I live in North Saanich and I will make a great addition to the sitting council and mayor. I am an educated business woman entrepreneur for over 25 years. I am a mentor. I am a mom to my 24-year-old daughter. I have a great passion for North Saanich and the community. I want to help people with their concerns and have great communication with our neighbours here on the Peninsula. Together we are strong.

There are so many issues I would love to tackle including sea level rise.

I did not enter into the election earlier because I was worried who the mayor would be. Now that I know it’s Geoff Orr, I can work with this man and council. We will make a great hard-working team for you.

It’s humbling to inform people about ones self. To say I’m the best at what I do and can do in a team environment for you the people of North Saanich.

Arturo Huerta

Arturo Huerta

• I will work to preserve and improve agricultural, marine and rural assets, support initiatives that promote clean energy and environmental protection of our rich ecosystems.

• I will promote and support physical, cultural and artistic participation as part of a healthy community.

• I will use the OCP and community consultation as vital parts of the decision making process.

How would you make your municipality a better place? By doing the best job I can and putting the common good ahead of the special interests of one group

Council was acclaimed in October, why did you choose to run now? Because I care about my community. I moved to North Saanich last spring and I have used the time to get to know my community and the important issues it faces. I attended all municipal council evening meetings, including the swearing-in ceremony and local community and residents association meetings. I also feel that I bring a fresh perspective and diversity to council.

Del Elgersma

• Principled land use decisions – I support sensible development consistent with the Official Community Plan, while preserving farmland and the rural character of North Saanich

• Improved access to health care – I will work with stakeholders to attract doctors and support innovations in care delivery

• Increased consultation and engagement, especially with the upcoming review of the Official Community Plan

I will make North Saanich a better place by preserving what we love about this community while supporting initiatives that will see it thrive and prosper into the future.

I have long wished to serve my community as a municipal councillor. However, my focus was on building my law practice and raising my family. Last fall I was a busy swim dad, supporting my son in his sport and volunteering as an official. When he shifted from athletics to school and his job, I realized I now have the time to serve.

Dorothy Hartshorne

Dorothy Hartshorne

• Teamwork – a high functioning council is the result of cohesive teamwork

• Facilitation – facilitate individual community members in having their issues addressed

• Communication – listen to what everyone has to say and honour their viewpoint

I would stick to my vision of an inclusive rural residential community comprised of diverse and unique neighbourhoods managed by a dynamic team of council and staff.

I have been afforded something that never happens in politics, the chance to immediately try again! When I ran for mayor last fall I had the opportunity to speak with many North Saanich residents, and while the issues varied there was a common theme – the desire for teamwork from their elected officials. In my campaign last fall I repeatedly emphasized my desire to team-build. I have been watching this council and what I see is a team at work and I would like to be part of it.

Tiffany Joseph

Tiffany Joseph

• Climate change and sustainability – work on fire suppression strategies to keep North Saanich safe from potential wildfires; remove contamination from waterways to improve creeks and Saanich Inlet; supporting farming supports the environment, good farming practices can pull carbon from the atmosphere

• Community engagement – one-on-one conversations and reaching out to community organizations in North Saanich; connect people to benefit both the environment and strengthen community values

• Affordability and quality of life – addressing the transit needs of people with disabilities helps all residents have better transit options, safer sidewalks, and better parking where needed

I’m running now because I care about this Peninsula. When I heard of this opportunity, I felt this was a good way to put my energy into making a bigger impact on the well-being of the Peninsula, and deepening the appreciation that Peninsula residents have by providing my perspective as an Indigenous person of this territory.

Scott McEachern

Scott McEachern

• High property taxes

• Affordable housing

• Supporting the local farming industry

I know what my concerns are as a North Saanich resident and I also listen to what others have to say. The concerns I hear today are the same concerns I have heard over the years and nothing gets done about them. We need to get more council members who understand that we need to make change instead of fighting it. North Saanich doesn’t have to change completely, like neighbouring communities have, but by keeping in mind the farming operations and the need for affordable housing, we can make conservative adjustments that will only enhance this fine community.

I felt it was not the best time for me. Then I realized there is no perfect time and that if you want things to change, you need to be involved to help make that change. The perfect time to give back to your community is now!

Cam McLennan

Did not respond to the invitation to participate.

Patricia Pearson

Patricia Pearson

• Support implementation of the Communication Strategy and encourage dialogue and engagement.

• Increase food security, support existing farmers, and remove barriers for new farmers.

• Update and plan to meet the District’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

North Saanich is already an incredible place, and my values align with the District’s current vision. I have the education and experience to modernize policies and support initiatives to conserve this land and its natural ecological assets. I represent a demographic currently not on council. I will be the voice of the next generation, while actively working to connect residents with improved services, transportation and housing options, in a healthy, sustainable way.

I have been planning to run for some time. I intended to take the next few years to immerse myself in the issues and run in the 2022 election. When the opportunity arose unexpectedly, I knew I had to speed up the plan and take this opportunity.

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