Susan Mason is seeking a fourth term on Central Saanich council. She sees a wide scope for sustainable progress, including industrial, agricultural and tourism opportunities.
“We need to take a more proactive role in our economic development,” she said. She sees a need for a more “open for business” attitude and supports a proactive and promotional approach for the district as key to attracting business, industry and tourism. Her vision for the Keating industrial park is for “a vibrant work/live environment including affordable housing for workers and young people.”
She is also a strong proponent of the ‘buy local’ movement, and gives priority to taking steps that will sustain, promote and protect farming in Central Saanich. She said she anticipates the completion of the district’s first Agricultural Area Plan and the formation of an Agricultural Advisory Committee. “It’s only common sense to have farmers advising us on farming issues,” she said.
Having world-renowned attractions such as The Butchart Gardens on their doorstep, along with other attractions, farms and wineries, Mason said, gives Central Saanich “boundless opportunities for tourism. I see enormous potential for culinary, wine and cycling tourism here.”
Transportation is a major concern. Mason said bus service, in particular, presents challenges for seniors and youth in Central Saanich. “I want to see transportation and safety issues addressed,” she said. “Including slowing traffic on local roads and continuing to push on the Highway 17 Strategy with our neighbours and the provincial government.”
She said during her last term, concerns voiced by residents prompted her to have the issue of residential densification put forward for more public input. Other issues she would like to see reconsidered is owner occupancy of homes with secondary suites, as well as the recording of council votes.
She said the next council will have some important decisions to make, while seeing the retirement of some senior members of district staff. “Now, more than ever, we need experienced, consistent, solid leadership as we guide our municipality through the next three years,” she said. “Given the revenue and infrastructure challenges facing us the number one priority has to be the district’s financial sustainability. We need to increase our tax base and maintain service levels. Taxpayers’ dollars need to be budgeted and spent wisely.”
“We need a stable, balanced council that will make common sense decisions ensuring that we maximize the opportunities open to us and find solutions to the challenges we are facing,” she said.