Central Saanich mayoral candidate Ryan Windsor says community engagement is at the heart of his campaign this fall.
Windsor is a current council member who was elected during a 2013 by-election and works in the municipality with his family. He said he has been busy door-knocking and engaging with community members which he believes is of utmost importance.
“Council and especially the mayor should always be focused on community engagement,” Windsor said. “Council wants the public to be engaged because ideas come to the council chamber when members of the public bring new ideas or challenges. Since I’ve been on council, we’ve seen applications altered because the public has been engaged and I think a big part of the mayor’s job is one of overall engagement.”
Windsor said he feels current Mayor Alastair Bryson has done a good job with engagement but said he has some fresh ideas in order to keep up the momentum.
“Communication is at the centre of all issues in the District, whether it’s taxation, development or environmental. Engagement with the public is at the heart of all of those issues and the mayor’s job is to set the tone for that engagement.”
To that end, Windsor said, employing social media as it pertains to the District is on his radar should he be elected.
“I think it’s important we recognize that we use traditional forms of communication like the District’s newsletter and print media, but I think it’s also important to branch out. I think almost everyone is using social media to some extent and it’s never a negative thing to carefully analyze how we can better engage people.”
Among the issues he’s heard about from the public while campaigning, Windsor said, are derelict vessels and sewage dumping in Brentwood Bay, the business climate in Keating and drainage issues and farmland viability.
“These are all real issues that exist in pockets of the community that need to be dealt with,” Windsor said, noting that he has already spearheaded the District’s Economic Development Advisory Committee which will be on a one-year mandate following the election.
“The District will be seeking applicants in November for the committee which will provide a forum for business engagement between the business cores of Saanichton, Brentwood and Keating,” he said.
“Mayor and council won’t be the drivers of the committee but can at least be be a forum for local business and employers.”
Windsor said he also hopes to keep a keen eye on the District’s fiscal situation.
“I think we need to ask every year, ‘how are our taxes doing? Are we covering the costs of the necessities like roads, water and sewage or are we exceeding them?’ These are important questions to ask because we need to make sure those things are taken care of. They might not be glamourous, but they are essential.”
He added it’s important for the mayor and council to not micro-manage staff.
“Staff are experts in their respective fields and that’s why we hire them,” he said, adding he sees examples micro management all over the region. “If we, as a council, are trying to control every penny or every step of the process, we are essentially trying to do the same job as the expert, which makes no sense.”
Windsor has a degree in political science and studied public policy at UBC.
The municipal election is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15.
District of Central Saanich
William (Tex) Moodrey