North Saanich’s mayor-elect Peter Jones said the incoming council will be representative and chart a middle-of-the-road course.
“We are not radical, period,” he said of the incoming council. “It’s going to be middle-of-the-road.”
He made these comments after Black Press Media asked him whether North Saanich’s incoming council exists by the graces of Save North Saanich. The group — which has been critical of that community’s review of the Official Community Plan specifically and concerned about the pace of the development generally — had endorsed him as well as four out of the six candidates for council.
Incumbents Jack McClintock, who topped the polls with 2,348 votes, and Celia Stock (2,207 votes), as well as non-incumbents Irene McConkey (2,172 votes) and Sanjiv Shrivastava (2,274) had all received the group’s endorsement.
“Even though that we were endorsed, or whatever term you want to call it, no one of us asked (to be endorsed) or even informed that this was going to be done by Save North Saanich,” said Jones. “We were surprised when we saw the list. We, the five, are in the middle. We want to keep North Saanich rural, but we also agree that we do need some development. It’s just that the development has to go where the infrastructure exists.”
Non-incumbent Phil DiBattista (1,617 votes) and incumbent Brett Smyth (1,540 votes) round out the slate of winning candidates.
Jones defeated Nancy Borden, who received 828 votes, and former councillor Murray Weisenberger, who garnered 698.
This outcome means that four out of the seven members of North Saanich’s new council will have never served in municipal government when taking the oath of office. When asked how much of a learning curve the new council faces, Jones said incumbents McClintock and Stock have the background that the non-incumbents lack. Jones said the new council will take about two months to get settled. But within six months, the new council will have done what it needs to do with the OCP as well as other issues, he said.
When asked about the future of OCP review, Jones said he will ask to stop the process for two months. “We will talk with people within the community that should have been consulted when this was first looked at two or three years ago,” he said. “We will put a hold on the consultant from Vancouver. We will talk with the vast experience that we have in North Saanich. A number of these people are prepared to step forward and help us to get an OCP that is reasonable and not radical.”
Looking at the rest of the results, Terrie Rolph fell just short with 1,462 votes, followed by Tara Keeping at 1,336, Jon Rennison with 1,219, Erin Giesbrecht at 1,106, Morgan Mikkelsen at 952, Majid Varasteh at 737 and Maya Tse-Cotton with 575.
A total of 3,789 ballots were cast in North Saanich, a turnout of 37 per cent of registered voters. That falls short of the 4,008 (43 per cent) who voted in 2018.
Black Press Media has reached out Weisenberger as well as Borden for comment.
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