Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and your family, and best wishes in 2012!

I am truly grateful for your support throughout the last term and during the election campaign. It is an honour to continue to serve as your Saanich Councillor for a second term on Council.

2011 has been another busy and exciting year! I was proud to play a role in moving several key priorities forward this year. I look forward to new challenges in 2012. I welcome your feedback on priority initiatives for the New Year.

Promoting local food production continues to be an important focus for Council. We’re supporting local farmers by giving local food priority for Saanich events and food services with a Local Food Procurement Policy. I was pleased to sponsor a bylaw change to allow urban chickens. Farmers will soon be able to sell fruits and veggies at pocket farm markets with a bylaw change in the New Year. And, a new Food Security Task Force will look at new initiatives to buy and grow food right here in the community.

Saanich has long been an environmental leader. This year we became one of the first communities in Canada with a Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The plan complements Saanich’s Climate Action Plan and will help guide policies and practices through the effects of a changing climate.

The Healthy Saanich Advisory Committee sponsored the return of the annual community workshop. This year’s theme was Connected Communities – giving community associations and non-profit groups a chance to share ideas about engaging citizens. I look forward to building on the success of the workshop this spring.

For the first time in decades, Saanich will add acres of farmland to the ALR with the purchase of Panama Flats. We’ll kick start a community process in the New Year to determine the best use of the land. I hope to see part of it returned to active farming. The Haro Woods purchase is another good news story that will protect this natural woodland in perpetuity.

Finally, the Olympic Vista apartments at Mt. View opened this year. The new units provide affordable transition housing in our community. A beautiful new community park and playground also opened on the site. It’s already the hub of activity for neighbourhood kids.

What are your priorities for 2012? Send me a note or talk about it on Facebook and Twitter!

On a personal note, my wife, Keeley and I are thrilled that our two-year-old son, Caelum, is going to have a baby sister in the spring. We’ll have a busy household and we couldn’t be more excited.

Best of the Season to you and your family and a Happy New Year.

Dean Murdock
Saanich Councillor