Veteran View Royal Mayor Graham Hill will have competition at the polls this November, the first time since he won the chair nine years ago.
Two-term councillor Andrew Britton believes it’s time for someone new to lead the Town and announced he will run against the incumbent mayor.
“Graham’s done a great job, but it’s time for a younger set of eyes to look at the issues facing View Royal,” 45-year-old Britton said.
In the 2008 election, Britton topped the polls with a couple dozen more votes than the other incumbent councillors. Since then, he’s chaired transportation committee, working to improve pedestrian and cycling corridors through the town.
As mayor, Britton said he’d work to diversify the tax base with more commercial development within walking distance of homes.
“People are getting in their cars to do their shopping in Langford or Victoria. We need to bring that here,” he said, explaining he’d like to see business nodes throughout the town, rather than a central strip.
“With big regional projects coming down the pipe — like sewage treatment and transit expansions — we’re going to need this (commercial tax base) to avoid raising residential tax,” Britton said. “We need to be proactive, so we don’t wind up broke — like Colwood.”
Hill said he’s looking forward to the dialogue that comes from a mayor’s race. “It’s good for the town to vote for who they want to represent them,” the 76-year-old said.
Hill, View Royal’s third mayor, won the seat left vacant by Bill Camden in 2002. Despite no previous council experience, he beat two other candidates by a healthy margin of at least 300 votes.
He’s spent his would-be retirement forming policy in View Royal and the region ever since, maintaining his seat by acclimation in the last two elections. Hill is director on the Capital Regional District board, and chairs the CRD planning, transportation and protective services committee. He is also chair of Capital Regional Hospital District board.
Hill said he hopes to be re-elected so he can continue this work.
“There’s lots of unfinished business to continue working on,” he said by phone from the Union Of B.C. Municipalities conference in Vancouver.
View Royal councillors are also eager to return to the table. Heidi Rast will seek a second term, David Screech a third term and John Rogers a sixth term.
With Britton running for mayor, there will at least one new face on council. So far, no new candidates have announced their intention to run for council. Nominations close Oct. 14.