There’s a third candidate emerging in the race this fall for the mayor’s chair in the District of North Saanich.
Dorothy Hartshorne, who finished a very close second to Alice Finall in the 2014 civic election, has officially announced she will be running for mayor in the Saanich Peninsula community. Finall announced earlier this spring she would not be seeking a fourth consecutive term of office.
Hartshorne, who has lived in North Saanich for the last five years — but who first moved to the community in 1969 before a stint in B.C.’s Cariboo region — joins Geoff Orr and Stephen Weller, both of whom have already announced their candidacy. Hartshone previously served two terms on North Saanich council from 1999 to 2005.
Hartshorne says she’s ready to take another run for the mayor’s chair, after gaining political experience and leadership skills she thinks will be important as the District looks to the future. She worked as a constituency assistant in the Cariboo Chilcotin riding, sits as a volunteer member of the Audit Council for the Auditor General of Local Government and is a member of the North Saanich Community Stewardship Commission. She stated she has nothing but respect and admiration for the current council — for putting themselves up there over the years — and thinks it’s time for a different way of leading the community.
“I have nothing but respect for council and the mayor,” she said. “It takes a lot to put yourself out there to do that job.”
Hartshorne said she’s not particularly issue-driven, as she seeks office in North Saanich, but “community-driven.”
“We have to listen to what the North Saanich people say,” she explained, “what they want and balance their needs. Each neighbourhood has its own unique presence and needs.”
While there will always be issues the community is talking about, Hartshorne said the challenge for elected officials is to listen to as many people as they can, to reach decisions that will benefit the community as a whole. And she said she feels to do that, there needs to be some change at the council level to accommodate it.
“A mayor has to lead the community and the council and ultimately have a vision and know how to reach it. To do it, you have to build trust, relationships, a positive culture and foster the ability for people to have access to the mayor.”
Hartshorne said she learned a lot during the 2014 campaign — where she came up short by a mere 158 votes to eventual winner Finall. While it’s still early yet to do a lot of campaigning, Hartshorne said she’ll be getting her face out into the community more, and expects to pick up the effort come the end of the summer.
“I think I have a good opportunity,” she said. “People want to have a say when there are things happening in this community.”
She said she thinks she can be instrumental in helping people speak to their councillors — and council will be listening back.
B.C. civic elections take place Oct. 20.