The first shots were gently fired in the North Saanich byelection Wednesday night.
The North Saanich Residents Association held a smoothly run public event where the candidates introduced themselves, outlined their priorities and took questions.
During the course of the meeting, distinctions between the eight candidates became clear, presenting an interesting choice for voters.
After starting with handshaking, water pouring, after-you bonhomie, the hall stood for the national anthem, with all but one candidate singing.
Opening remarks were heard from all candidates before questions were answered and closing statements made.
The questions covered the topics of housing, environment, the Sandown plan and why run now?
Former Sidney councillor Cam McLennan called himself “right of centre,” and positioned himself as keen to address the housing crisis and said he had initiatives researched, crafted and ready-to-go.
Del Elgersma listed five key priorities and said he would bring his law expertise and experience from sitting on the Central Saanich police board to council meetings.
Patricia Pearson presented herself as a young mother, focused on green issues. She brought a fearsome knowledge of policy to the meeting, with an obvious attention to detail.
Former Olympian Arturo Huerta focused on his personal values of community, perseverance and honesty. He brought a friendly touch to proceedings, offering any resident the opportunity to drop by for a coffee and a chat.
The experienced Dorothy Hartshorne took more of a general approach, sounding fluent and measured on issues affecting North Saanich but not focusing on one in particular.
Tiffany Joseph offered an Indigenous perspective. Her platform is based on youth, small-scale community initiatives and greater First Nations collaboration.
Scott McEachern came across as the kind of guy you’d like as your neighbour. He acknowledged he wasn’t the most experienced but focused on his values and belief in hard work.
Romi Bongers offered home-spun charm and more of an alternative view. Interested in a number of issues, she felt it was the right time in her life to run for office.
The only controversial moment of the night was when McEachern said he was thinking about introducing a levy on BC Ferries and Victoria Airport’s passengers to raise council funds.