When newly elected Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor calls the inaugural meeting of the recently elected District council to order on Monday, his goal will be to facilitate a receptive and caring atmosphere for community residents and businesses alike.
“As mayor, I have the chance to set the tone of council and help to identify and facilitate areas of common vision for Central Saanich,” said Windsor. “Naturally every councillor brings their own vision to the table, but I see my job as helping to find or create some common elements on council so that we can make a real difference … help to make our community stronger.”
One of the issues already recognized by Windsor involves land use.
“A lot of our land is held within the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and that presents us with some definite challenges for housing and development,” said Windsor. “The trick now is to accommodate things in spots where they are best suited, keeping in mind our own strategic planning process.”
Windsor said that those accommodations can be trying since council members may potentially hold conflicting views regarding development.
“In the end I think that we’d be well advised to doubt our own infallibility and be prepared to listen to the viewpoints and positions of others before making a decision.”
Another, particularly vexing issue for Windsor involves the problem of derelict boats in Brentwood Bay and the pollution they may cause.
“This is a concern of every municipality with a coastline,” said Windsor. “But it’s something that I mentioned during the campaign and I intend to see if we can’t do something about the problem.”
As the youngest mayor within the CRD (he is 34 years old), Windsor is still not the youngest member of council.
“We actually have a great mix of ages on council. There’s a great blend of youthful enthusiasm and energy with some older, more experienced representatives of the community.”
Another positive development, according to Windsor, is the lengthening of the council’s term to four years.
“With the previous three year mandate it was sometimes true that councillors spent the first year learning, the second year governing and the final year campaigning or winding down. The four year term gives us time to follow through on projects … make sure they happen.”
However council is structured and whatever the issues may be that come before them in the next four years, Windsor is committed to listening to his constituents.
“The people who voted for me have the right to expect that … that I’m going to be accessible … and I’ll listen to their concerns,” he said. “When we forget to be a little humble and when that causes us to stop listening to our residents and our businesses … well that’s when we fail. I’m committed to not let that happen.”
— Tim Collins/News Contributor