North Saanich municipal hall. (Black Press Media file photo)

North Saanich municipal hall. (Black Press Media file photo)

Meet Your Candidates: North Saanich council candidates outline key concern

Three battle for mayor’s seat and 13 vie for six councillor positions

In the District of North Saanich, Nancy Borden, Peter Jones and Murray Weisenberger are looking to replace outgoing mayor Geoff Orr with 13 candidates running for six councillor positions. We asked each candidate to outline the most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents. Here are their responses listed alphabetically.

Mayor candidates:

Nancy Borden

As a fifth-generation Victorian and a 25-year resident, I am confident that I can lead council to advocate effectively for North Saanich. Whether with our neighbouring districts, the CRD, provincial or federal entities. I will make sure we represent your interests in protecting our pristine coastline, forests, agricultural, residential, and commercial lands.

We are a unique area that is also essential for transportation to and from this Island and as host of that corridor, we need to be on the front line in protecting the folks who reside and work here when it comes to growth – ours and theirs.

Peter Jones

I have worked with municipalities across Canada on behalf of national/world clients on diverse issues. I have 22 years of experience with OCPs and their direct effect on residents by zoning (land use) and property tax. North Saanich’s proposed OCP has become contentious. I will bring an updated OCP that has input from taxpayers and the high-quality experts residing in North Saanich – make an OCP that is homegrown, not top-down by consultants that live in Vancouver. I will bring fiscal responsibility – collaborate with council and staff to ensure your money is well spent as property taxes will increase significantly due to inflation alone.

I support the Regional Growth Strategy and no movement in the Urban Containment boundary.

Murray Weisenberger

North Saanich is one of the oldest and wealthiest communities in B.C., Most residents can live a good life as long as their health allows. When health fails there are few options other than moving to Sidney or further away. There is a shortage of doctors, nurses and workers in all areas on the Peninsula. We need to provide our share of suitable housing options that will allow seniors to age in place or enter care facilities and have access to healthcare professionals.

Councillor candidates:

Sanjiv (no last name on ballot)

Council needs to identify local problems, their regional and global contexts, and look for collaborative and compassionate solutions based on empirical facts. In the climate crisis era, there is an urgent need to ensure food security and environmental sustainability for our island communities. We need to strengthen the protection of farms, forests, and foreshore. Council also needs to map the issue of housing and provide local solutions using reliable data. With historically high vacancy rates, increasing building density has only benefited a few. The cost of building additional urban infrastructure will increase local taxes and further worsen the housing crisis.

Phil DiBattista

I believe the most important thing a municipal council can do is listen and actively seek feedback before making decisions and then communicate decisions in a way that people can understand why the decision was made. There are always a lot of ways that we can improve the quality of people’s lives but it all starts by building trust in the community, it is paramount, and that is going to be a main focus of mine if elected.

Erin Giesbrecht

I am running in this election to bring an unbiased voice to the council, to better serve and represent the people of North Saanich. I want the council to be a diversely represented group that can work together to make decisions. The most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is listen to the community’s wants and opinions, value difference of opinion, have transparency while decision making and have open communication between the community and the council members.

Tara Keeping

It is important for council to listen to and understand the needs of North Saanich residents. There is a need to balance the immediate needs of residents, while sharing their long term vision for our community and protecting its future. There have been pressures on our past council and there will continue to be new pressures on our municipality as we navigate a difficult period of rapidly increasing costs and rising interest rates. Managing these pressures and the needs of residents will require good listening and communication.

Jack McClintock

To reach out to the community through a robust communication and engagement plan to ensure that all voices are heard and reflected to support effective decision-making within a new Official Community Plan (OCP). This requires full transparency through every stage of the process and non-bias leadership that helps guide the process of consultation but does not present options that derail or influence the integrity of the process through personal or private agendas. The implementation of the OCP is the critical foundation to shape the future of North Saanich and the legacy of what is contained within the OCP will be with us for generations to come, so it is vital that the vision is community-led.

Irene Mcconkey

It is most important that our council establishes open communication with the community: including individuals, associations and First Nations. Open communication does not mean just listening to residents’ concerns. It means actually acting on those concerns while being open and transparent throughout the process. Decisions made behind closed doors are never in the best interests of the community. We are fortunate that North Saanich has community members with an incredible depth of expertise, life experience, and passion. We need to work collaboratively to make North Saanich a leader in livability without sacrificing things like sustainability and food security.

Morgan Mikkelsen

I believe that council’s main goal is to understand the identity of the district and what the residents love about their home and see how we can keep that identity strong while also adapting to keep the district fresh and welcoming for the future. This cannot be done without the constituents, and their voice is of utmost importance. Council should also be able to explain clearly how their vision of the community will help the residents and work with them to make it a reality.

Jon Rennison

In my opinion, the most important thing the council could do is push forward in all aspects of completing and adopting an OCP. There is a sense of division in North Saanich with many residents having differing opinions. There is not a one-size fits all solution for the OCP, we have had many consultants (gone over budget) and lots of public feedback in working towards the OCP. Decisions need to be made and I feel completing the OCP will give the North Saanich community a sense of direction and then we can work towards restoring being a proud, functioning community.

Terrie Rolph

I think the most important thing council could do to improve the lives of our residents would be to teach them how municipal governments work and how to navigate them effectively. The structures of meetings, bylaws and taxation, tend to encourage participation from those who have practice and experience working within them. This excludes many of us who may find the municipal government systems confusing or intimidating. To be truly democratic, we need places and protocols where all citizens can feel confident that their concerns will be valued and responded to without bias or favour.

Brett Smyth

Work together with a positive attitude and do its part to support initiatives that add value to the community and the surrounding area.

Celia Stock

The most important thing council can do to improve the lives of residents is to ensure that the provision of fresh, clean water, working sewers, roads, lighting, parks, bike paths, and a working landfill, in other words, the provision of hard services are all maintained and renewed/improved over time.

Maya Tse-Cotton

Maya is a strategist of 30+ years who is currently writing a book called Knowledge Hacking Wicked Problems. It aims to fill the localization gap with modern solutions that solve the big challenges of our times. She aims to:

· Help North Saanich make fair, informed, and forward-looking decisions as they finalize the Official Community Plan.

· Use her business acumen and corporate development experience to create social and economic value in North Saanich while bringing agriculture and climate innovations to the peninsula.

· Help heal the divide in our community through collaboration and transparent engagement. www.mayatsecotton.com

Majid Varasteh

To ensure that our municipality is welcoming and inclusive of everyone by supporting sensitive infill and creating housing options that meet the immediate needs of the residents in our community.

Advance voting starts on Oct. 5 with general election day on Oct. 15. For more information on how or where to vote, check out your municipality’s website. You can find election night results, and more coverage in the lead-up, under the election tab at peninsulanewsreview.com.

READ MORE: 2022 Election Coverage


 

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