Highlands’ new mayor

Groundwater, secondary suites next focus for Highlands

Four new councillors join three veterans at table in rural municipality

The ballots have been cast and the signs torn down; now Highlands is figuring out what’s next for their nearly all-new mayor and council.

“Our inaugural meeting is coming up and once everyone is sworn in, we’re going to try and establish our strategic priorities,” said Mayor Ken Williams, who  moved into the seat after three terms on council when Jane Mendum stepped down.

Continuing with groundwater protection initiatives and moving into public education is high on the list, as is furthering the discussion on secondary housing.

“That’s a biggie. It’s very important to throw that into the mix,” Williams said.

Longtime councillor and former mayor Karel Roessingh agreed.

“There are positives and negatives for sure (around secondary suites),” he said. “There are water issues and traffic issues and safety is really top of mind.”

Roessingh said council likely won’t be out in the community policing secondary suites, but they do need to ensure suites are safe. “Generally we know there’s lots of (suites). For fire safety, we really should make sure they’re safe.”

Every lot in Highlands is currently zoned as a single family residence, but there’s a chance that could be changing.

“We’ve done some work, but it’s been quite a while,” Roessingh said. “Council has had other things to tackle, and now other municipalities are coming up with plans and policies on secondary housing, so that will be a good guide for us as well.”

Williams will be looking for members for three newly established select committees: heritage, social sustainability and sustainable land use.

Then there are finishing touches to put on the East Fire Hall and the Highlands Community Hall, and the relationship with the developers at Bear Mountain to further explore.

“There may be some new development there,” Williams said. “But it will depend on what the community wants to hear and see.”

“We’re looking to see how the new owners want to treat the property,” added Roessingh. “And there will have to be a balance between how much water they use. Their own water supply is very good, but we have to make sure their neighbours are safe.”

With Williams moving into the mayor’s chair, Highlands council has four new faces coming to the table for the upcoming term.

Leslie Anderson, Ann Baird, Karen Burns and Gord Baird are all newcomers to their elected seats, and join incumbents Roessingh and Marcie McLean in plotting out the future of Highlands for the next four years.

“I think we have a tremendous amount of talent,” said the new mayor. For his part, Williams is excited to be stepping into the new role.

“It’s a listening role where we move together. I’ve been sitting on council for nine years, so I think it’s going to be really interesting sitting in a different chair.”

acowan@goldstreamgazette.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sewage installation to delay drivers along Sooke Road until early September

Construction starts Monday, August 10 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

Most Read