Saanich News Candidate Profile

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Birthday: October 8, 1981

Personal background: My wife, Keeley, and I have both lived in Saanich for over twenty years. We grew up and went to school here, and we’re thrilled that our children will grow up in this very special place. We have a two-year-old son and are expecting a baby in April. We have two dogs – a beagle and a golden retriever.

Professional background: I am the Manager of Public Health Planning at the BC Ministry of Health. I’ve worked in the public service for the last five years. I have a Bachelor and Master’s degrees in Political Science from the University of Victoria.

Political/community experience: Elected to Saanich council in 2008. Chair of the Healthy Saanich Committee and past-chair of the Administrative Traffic Committee. Director at the Provincial Capital Commission. Commissioner with the CRD Water Commission. Past vice-president of the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association and Saanich Greenbelt Association. Past co-chair of the Saanich Community Association Network.

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What will be the most pressing issue for Saanich council to deal with in the 2011-2014 term?

On almost every doorstep, in every part of Saanich, the concern is about traffic and transportation options. We’re seeing traffic congestion in every direction. People are looking for better options to get to where they need to go. That means improving our public transit service and building proper sidewalks and bike lanes. Saanich residents deserve to feel safe when they’re walking in their neighbourhoods.

What is your proudest accomplishment from this current term on council?

Getting Council’s support for a “buy local” food policy was a major step toward food security. It’s the start of many initiatives that can make our region more food secure. I’m also pleased that we’ve doubled our investment in sidewalks. The new funds are badly needed, but there is a lot more that needs to be done.

What has been the biggest failure of the current council?

Council contemplated a policy that would have set a standard for financial contributions to affordable housing in new development projects. In my view, the policy failed because it only considered cash contributions rather than encourage the construction of housing. The policy failure meant that Council did not revisit the issue and we ended up without clear direction to developers, the community, or staff. I think we need to be more proactive and creative when we’re working with builders to get a mix of housing options.

How do you attract unengaged voters to participate and be interested in municipal politics?

I have yet to meet a single person who is ambivalent about the future of their community. In their own way, everyone cares about the kind of community this will be in the future. I think people deserve to know that their voice has been heard and that their vote makes a difference. Council needs to be more inclusive, open and responsive. Social media and Open Government present new and exciting ways of engaging and sharing information. More traditional forms of engagement like open houses, town halls, and even Council meetings can serve as forums for discussion that would meaningfully enhance communication and make local government more inclusive, open, and responsive.