Former Central Saanich Mayor Jack Mar said he is running again on the encouragement from members of the public.
“I had so many people approach me and encourage me to run again, it only seemed natural to run again after having only been out of the mayor’s seat since 2011,” Mar said in an interview this week with the PNR.
Mar spent three terms on council in Central Saanich before running for mayor for the first time in 2005. After winning the seat in ‘05, he ran again in ‘08 and once again was elected. In 2011 he decided to take a break from municipal politics.
“I have definitely missed it, but I follow all three levels of politics closely. It’s something I’ve always been interested and will always be interested in,” he said.
Mar said campaigning isn’t at the top of his to-do list for this year’s municipal election.
“I feel like a lot of people already know who I am and I think my track record of being on council as both a councillor and a mayor speaks for itself,” he said, adding that he will put up some signs but won’t be doing any door knocking.
Should he be named mayor in November, Mar said he is still strongly in favour of creating a safer, more accessible intersection at Keating X Road and the Pat Bay highway, something he pursued while previously in the mayor’s seat.
“Having safe access to and from the highway and Keating X Road is going to be so important, especially as the area gets busier and busier,” he said, adding that once the Butler Brothers gravel pit reaches the end of its lifespan, development on that land is more than likely.
“We have to be looking ahead and planning for increased traffic,” he said.
Also on his list of things to tackle would be drainage issues in both the Maber Flats and Martindale Valley areas and looking at different ways to implement affordable housing, although he said he doesn’t necessarily believe in workforce housing.
“I’ve always said that people choose to work out here and the argument for workforce housing has never held water with me,” he said.
As for business in the Keating industrial area, Mar said he feels something like Sidney’s idea for indexing vacant properties would serve the municipality well.
“That way if there was an interested business who wanted to find property in the municipality, we’d have a go-to document that listed all the vacancies. I think it could be really helpful and it was something I tried to get off the ground years ago,” he said.
As for the Maber Flats deal the municipality currently has in progress, Mar said he hopes something can be done to temper the speed at which the conditional agreement is progressing.
“The Maber Flats issue is something I hope can be stalled so the next council and mayor can deal with it. I think there’s more work that needs to be done in terms of the price of the property.
“It’s too high and there should be more assessment done.”
Mar, who was born and raised in Central Saanich, has been farming in the area since 1987 when he and his brother purchased What is now Mar Farms.
“Living and working here, I know what’s important to the community and I think I have a fair perspective on what’s going on,” he said.
“Over the years I’ve been connected to so many associations, especially on the farming side of things, I’ve definitely kept myself informed and on track even over the last three years when I haven’t been involved in municipal politics.”
The municipal election in Central Saanich will take place on Nov. 15.
District of Central Saanich
William (Tex) Moodrey