New municipal councils to have distinctly different look

Graham Hill and Jane Mendum saying so long after current term ends

As West Shore residents prepare for the 2014 civic election campaign to begin in earnest, those in View Royal and Highlands know they’ll be crowning new mayors.

View Royal Mayor Graham Hill is retiring after four terms and for a while, it looked like Coun. David Screech would be the lone candidate for the top job.

Once the nomination period ended, Brian Burchill, perhaps best known as the chair of the View Royal chapter of the Association for Responsible and Environmentally Sustainable Sewage Treatment (ARESST), had added his name to the list for mayor. So has perennial fringe candidate David Shebib of Saanich, who is running in all 13 municipalities (see story page A7).

With Screech off the ballot for one of four councillor positions, it guarantees at least one new face at the council table. Incumbents Ron Mattson, Heidi Rast and John Rogers are in the mix, along with political newcomers Mark Brennan, Wesley Kennedy and Aaron Weisgerber.

In the tiny jurisdiction of Highands, Mayor Jane Mendum has decided to take a break after 15 years on council, the last six as mayor.

“It was a very, very difficult decision for me to make,” she said from home on Wednesday, given a reprieve from driving into Victoria when the scheduled CRD parks committee meeting was cancelled.

“Before every election I have always stated I would take a measure of the community and listen carefully to people before making my decision.”

Having looked at the healthy state of the municipality and the accomplishments of the current council on sustainability – as well as the newly extended four-year term – and decided she needed to “take some time for myself and my family.”

“I spoke with quite a few people and the four years was quite a factor in many of them not running,” she said, giving kudos to the nominees who have stepped forward.

Third-term councillor Ken Williams hopes to step into the role vacated by Mendum, once the formality of running against Shebib is done with.

With councillors Sigurd Johannesen, Allen Dobb and Diane Gill stepping down, Marcie McLean and Karel Roessingh are the only incumbent councillors running again, as is former mayor Bob McMinn. Joining them in the race for six spots are Leslie Anderson, Ann Baird, Gord Baird, Karen Burns and Sherry Clayton.

Langford Mayor Stew Young is technically not running unopposed this time around, with Shebib on the ballot.

Unlike in 2011, however, the six incumbent councillors won’t have a free ride into office this time around.

Lanny Seaton, Winnie Siefert, Denise Blackwell, Matt Sahlstrom, Lillian Szpak and Roger Wade have eight opponents looking to take their jobs. Of those, only one, Paul Barber, indicated any previous political experience.

The others include Pauline Adams, Dustin Finerty, Mark McInnes, Grant McLachlan, Andre Mollon, Jim Munro and Timothy Power.

In Colwood, Mayor Carol Hamilton is seeking a second term at the helm. She’s being challenged by Frank Kennedy and Robin Stanbridge, as well as Shebib.

The Colwood council table will look rather different after Nov. 15, with councillors Shari Lukens, Judith Cullington and Teresa Harvey stepping down. Incumbents Cynthia Day, Rob Martin and Gordie Logan are up against Lilja Chong, Darryl Clark, former councillor Paul “Buddy” DeVito, Steve Huneck, Natalia Lebedynsky, Duane MacNeill, Robb Marty, former councillor Jason Nault and Terry Trace.

Out in Metchosin, six-term Mayor John Ranns is up against former councillor Ed Cooper (and Shebib). Councillors Bob Gramigma and Moralea Milne are the lone incumbents to seek office again, with longtime council vets Jo Mitchell and Larry Tremblay stepping down.

Some familiar names are giving it another go, however, with former council members Kyara Kahakauwila, Chris Moehr and Karen Watson on the ballot with Andy MacKinnon and Anne Richmond.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com