Meet Your Candidates: 23 running for Sooke council

Five incumbents seek re-election

This is the third in a series of candidates that are running in the Oct. 15 civic election. Today, we look at candidates running for the District of Sooke council. Candidates – listed in alphabetical order – were asked to provide their occupation and top three issues (up to two words each), and platform (up to 100 words).

•••

Rob Anderson

Occupation: Helicopter pilot and funeral assistant director

• Density

• Fiscal Responsibility

• Business Development

I was raised in Banff and witnessed the pitfalls of poor town planning and growth management. Sooke is a community with incredible potential, but understand that growth needs to be managed carefully. We need to limit high-density housing to keep Sooke, Sooke. Instead, we should explore other options to provide affordable housing, like developing tiny homes. Serious consideration must also be given to attracting businesses to provide decent-paying jobs and local employment. Councillors need to represent their constituents and support district efficiency. Finally, I pledge to utilize your tax dollars efficiently and for the benefit of all.

Steve Anderson

Occupation: Painting and drywall management

• Public discussions

• Ecologically-minded growth

• Economic savviness

As a service to fellow Sooke citizens, I want to take the time to listen closely, with comprehension, to the concerns of all Sooke people, taking the time to ponder and discuss all issues deeply, and all potential options until the best solutions are found. I believe in deep critical thinking and unstifled discussion instead of easy, quick fixes. I want things done correctly, not just “good enough.” I will stand firm for locally controlled economic sustainability, health/social wellbeing, ecological protection, and fiscal responsibility. I’m available to chat anytime at 250-920-6428.

Lorien Arnold

Occupation: Designer

• Small business

• Urgent care

• Youth issues

One pillar of my platform is providing opportunities encouraging young people to stay in Sooke. Another is to focus on the town’s many intrinsic attributes and sustainably and capitalize on them to keep our small business community thriving. The third is to ensure that the good health of our population is maintained through health care infrastructure and physical activity for youth and seniors. If our community continues to trend toward being just a bedroom community, we will lose out on opportunities that can allow for a flourishing, sustainable and engaged community.

Jeff Bateman

Occupation: Writer/editor (retired)

• Population Capacity

• Traffic Congestion

• Affordable Housing

I’m seeking re-election to continue the work of the last four years. I’ve grown more comfortable with the heavy workload and the process. I believe we’re on the right track. We must adopt the new OCP, then create a new zoning bylaw and town centre plan. In inflationary times, we must deliver municipal essentials first (roads, wastewater, police, fire, etc.) and proceed where possible with short-term actions identified in our master plans. Recognizing Sooke’s population limits given our two-lane highway, building out the bypass, advocating for better health care and creating affordable housing is critical.

Al Beddows

Occupation: Retired electronics communication manager

• Traffic congestion

• Manage growth

• Climate action

We are going through a turbulent time; good governance is needed. We need to manage growth, balancing housing needs with climate change concerns. Our infrastructure has not kept pace with growth, and we need to disperse traffic off Highway 14 by implementing a transportation master plan (Throup Road Extension). We need to look at the big picture by focusing on the needs of Sooke as a whole. We need sensible, realistic goals. I bring to council a balance to all the competing demands of building a community and keeping Sooke’s character.

Susan Belford

Occupation: Retired mediator

• Transportation

• Housing

• Local Economy

These linked issues affect community resilience in the face of climate change. Recent housing development did not create affordable homes, and it outpaced local economic growth, forcing more residents to commute for work, causing congestion and increasing emissions. It’s time to slow new development temporarily and focus on building the infrastructure residents need to live, shop and work in town. Priorities in the future should be fully implementing Sooke’s transportation master plan, supporting Sooke’s business community with needed commercial and industrial spaces, and creating a range of low carbon, truly affordable homes for the many Sookies in core housing need.

Karine Bordua

Occupation: Privacy consultant.

• Land Use

• Fiscal Responsibility

• Community Engagement

In a short time, Sooke has changed dramatically. Its increased population creates pressure on an already precarious infrastructure. We need an easy-to-read land use plan that protects farmland and supports economic growth and landowners’ ability to add housing to their properties while addressing high population density concerns. We need creative, cooperative, and inclusive solutions that support existing businesses, attract new ones, and increase employment opportunities and family resiliency. Above all, we need transparency from council regarding fiscally responsible plans that not only promise but ensure the limited and predictable impact on Sooke residents.

Owen Brandon

Occupation: Owner of Orange Taxi

• Road Congestion

• Housing

• Street Lighting

An economy based on pot shops and tattoo shops is not exceptionally bright. We don’t even have a Mac’s store here. The business mix has residents heading into Langford and Victoria to spend their money. If Sooke is to attract high-tech and manufacturing businesses, the housing crunch must be solved by council. No company will bring value-add jobs to Sooke if their employees can’t find a place to live. We need more buses and bus lanes that reach to Victoria. We have to cap Airbnb, which takes away more and more housing.

Herb Haldane

Occupation: Carpenter

• Affordable living

• Traffic issues

• Property rights

My platform is quite simple. I want to see young people and their families succeed. I want to truly find more affordable living in our town. I want to tackle the housing crisis and make it possible for home ownership while working and raising a family. Bring back pride in ownership of a home. Successful young people and families make better citizens, and better citizens make better communities. My generation needs to leave the world better than we found it, and I want to help our town succeed.

Robin Holm

Occupation: Project manager

• Climate action

• Equity/Inclusion,

• Resident Wellbeing

The land is the foundation our community is built, and the health of our environment is central to the health of our residents. We are facing an urgent need to change our relationship with our environment, and leadership at all levels of government is needed to transition towards a more sustainable, livable future for us and our planet. Thoughtful planning and decision making is key so that Sooke continues to be a beautiful home for all who live here.

Dana Lajeunesse

Occupation: Mechanical engineering technologist

• Economic Development

• Transportation Infrastructure

• Attainable Homeownership

Economic development remains high on my list of priorities. We need to create an environment that welcomes investment, which leads to another of my key urgencies: we need to invest in our transportation infrastructure. This element has been neglected for the past several years, given the recent accelerated residential growth we’ve experienced. And the third thing and one that I feel is often overlooked when discussing economic vibrancy is arts and culture. A healthy and diverse arts scene helps to attract and maintain residents, aka workers, which creates a wholesome appetite for commerce.

Megan McMath

Occupation: 911 call taker and fire dispatcher

• Traffic

• Health Care

• Community Safety

A 30-year resident, I previously worked for E-Comm 911, Victoria Fire, and the Sooke tourism sector. I’m currently a 911 call taker and fire dispatcher, supporting 18 fire departments, including Sooke’s, and am a Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications board director. In my second term as councillor, I will bring my education/experience forward to continue advocacy work on an alternative route into Sooke, justice reform around prolific offenders, and improving local health care issues. I will help implement the Community Healthcare Support Network to equip Sooke with tools and templates to attract, support, and retain family doctors and healthcare professionals.

Adam Noseworthy

Occupation: Building contractor

• Food Security

• Health/Wellness

• Waste Management

With rapidly rising inflation, supply, demand and transportation issues, food security is at risk globally. We should enhance Sooke’s resiliency, overall wellbeing, our immune systems and our economy by increasing our access to local, clean, organic produce and products. We should adapt by supporting local farmers and encouraging new ones. We all deserve access to health care in our own town. We should look to build offices and help startups for both holistic and allopathic practitioners. I’d like to explore recycling and composting initiatives. I trust the people of Sooke to make the right decisions for our community. Electionsforchange.ca.

Trevor Paul

Occupation – Provincial government employee

• Increasing sidewalks

• Alleviating traffic

• Protecting parks

I am running for council because Sooke needs a voice that will represent the best interests of families. More than 80 per cent of our streets have no sidewalk, and it’s unacceptable. I will make sidewalks a top priority for council. As someone who commutes daily for work, I know that traffic congestion on Highway 14 is untenable. As a councillor, I will push to explore unique, short-term solutions while planning for longer-term infrastructure. Finally, I am firmly against the paving of John Phillips Memorial Park and will move to quash any development proposal in our green space.

Kevin Pearson

Occupation: Retired

• Traffic/Infrastructure

• Housing Affordability

• Process Application/Timeline

My focus will be on improving the infrastructure in order to reduce the time people are spending in vehicles currently. We have exceeded our capacity. Creating opportunities for more affordable housing for all age groups is a priority as people want to age in our community and young families start their lives here. This will require such amenities as a senior centre and access to medical treatment 24/7. Last but not least is an improvement to the timelines of applications, reducing and creating predictability will improve costs and therefore improve affordability.

Maria Powers

Occupation: Life coach

• Health care

• Local Business

• Seniors

I am concerned about the lack of health care in our community. Everyone should have easy, quick access to doctors and treatments. I believe that we need to focus our downtown core on local business so that there are not so many people driving into Victoria for work. This will help to reduce the traffic on Highway 14 and reduce emissions. I am also concerned for our seniors and the lack of activities and social gatherings for them. We need to get the bus back and a centre where they can gather and socialize.

Anna Russell

Occupation: Management consultant

• Growth/Infrastructure

• Parks/Greenspace

• Climate Action

• Protect what makes Sooke special: our small town feel, parks and wild spaces, farmland and ocean views;

• Seek a better balance between development and the needs of local residents;

• Work towards truly affordable housing and traffic solutions;

• Deliver results on our made-in-Sooke answer to the climate emergency;

• Support a green, caring, and local economy .

Britt Santowski

Occupation: Executive director, Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce

• Affordable Living

• Small Business

• Climate Change

I have lived in Sooke since 2005, and I’ve raised my child here. I have two degrees (BA, MA, English), and I’ve worked as a motorcycle safety instructor, a cartoonist and a journalist, I founded Sooke PocketNews and operated it for five years. I also co-teach a tourism course at RRU, since 2018. I’m focussed on affordability for renters, residents, and entrepreneurs. More jobs in Sooke means less commuting. I have strong communication skills, excellent political savvy, and a genuine passion for the future of Sooke as a vibrant community where its residents can live, work and play. BrittForSooke.com.

Tony St-Pierre

Occupation: Farmer

• Housing Affordability

• Local Economic Development

• Food Security

In the past four years, the district has moved forward on its transportation master plan, increasing the supply of affordable housing and a new library, improving sewer infrastructure, and improving access to health care. This was possible by having many partners working together at all levels of government and a council that maintained a willingness to learn along with a high degree of civility and respect despite its relative inexperience. I hope to use this experience to address ongoing challenges, such as improving our development process, completing the OCP and continuing our community’s journey on the path of low carbon resilience.

Jeff Stewart

Occupation: Store manager, Western Foods

• Fiscal Responsibility

• Traffic solutions

• Affordable housing

My main objective is to deliver value to Sooke residents for their property tax dollars, using fiscal restraint, transparency and a common sense approach to local government spending. Property taxpayers are not an infinite resource. I believe it would be responsible for delivering Sooke’s 2023 budget with a zero percent tax increase in light of rising costs, interest rates, and inflation.

Stephanie Welters

Occupation: LPN orthotech and business owner

• Infrastructure

• Traffic

• Parks

Infrastructure needs to catch up and maintain with development. Sooke is the second-fastest growing community in the CRD in terms of population, and we need realistic and feasible plans to keep our infrastructure up. Sooke’s number 1 emission by a significant margin is on-road transportation. We should be looking at immediately opening auxiliary routes within the town itself to alleviate the burden on Highway 14 and get people home and off the road faster. I would also like to see revitalization and better utilization of our green spaces and increase them.

For election night results, and more coverage in the lead-up to the vote, go to sookenewsmirror.com.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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