Thank you, Saanich!!

On April 3, I announced my decision not to seek a fourth term on Saanich Council. I will not run for re-election on October 20, nor do I plan to run for Mayor or seek another elected office in the coming election cycle.

I love Saanich and I have loved being your Saanich Councillor for the last ten years. It has been an incredible honour to represent the great people of Saanich and be your voice at the Council table for three terms.

I didn’t come to this decision easily. The call to public service is strong and I will always have the desire to make a difference in my community – and the world, for that matter. Many friends and supporters have encouraged me to run again, or consider running for Mayor. I can understand that my decision may come as a surprise or even disappointment to them. A few years ago, I would have found myself just as surprised by today’s announcement.

As I talked about running for another term with family and friends, the decision ultimately came down to one question: If I wasn’t already in the role, would I decide to run for Council now? The answer was a resounding No, for a number of reasons. I have two wonderful children who will turn 9 and 6 this year. I’ve been a Councillor their entire lives, and I’ve missed a lot of bedtimes and family dinners to attend meetings and community events. In my professional life I have a job I love, focused on a subject matter I care about deeply. I manage the Healthy Communities portfolio for the Ministry of Health, where I’ve worked for 12 years.

This year will be only the second Saanich general election since 1999 in which my name is not on the ballot. By any measure, two decades in Saanich politics is a good run. It’s time to step aside and make way for new voices and new ideas.

I am announcing my decision now to give ample time for a would-be candidate to put together a campaign for the October election. There will be at least two vacant Council seats; I know there will be some excellent candidates stepping forward who will be a welcome addition to the Council table.

More than ever, Saanich needs leadership that will stand up for our climate and our environment. I intend to actively support candidates this Fall who put forward a vision of environmental stewardship – who won’t lead us into the past with decisions that strip away the natural environment and with it, so many of the things we cherish about this beautiful part of the world.

I am so grateful to the Saanich voters who took a chance on a 27-year-old young man all those years ago. And, I am proud to have been a part of some major steps forward for our community over the last ten years:

• A new Active Transportation Strategy to give people on foot, bikes and boards safer traveling options with better sidewalks, bike lanes and trails.

• A Food Security Plan to enhance local food production and ensure all residents have access to affordable, healthy, local food to put on their dinner tables.

• Permitting secondary suites, and now a move to permit backyard suites, has created some additional housing for renters and additional income for homebuyers to go towards those high mortgage costs.

• Beginning the work of Reconciliation. This term, Saanich started the process of forging government-to-government relationships with the Indigenous communities who are our neighbours and whose traditional territories we now call Saanich. In time I believe we will reflect on the development of those relationships as your local government’s most significant achievement.

I want to take the opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the skilled and professional staff at Saanich and the CRD. I have learned so much from, and been so impressed by, the thoughtful and dedicated people who serve this municipality, our region, and its residents.

To the supporters and volunteers who’ve given so much of their time and energy to my electoral success over the last decade, your passion for this community has been a constant source of inspiration. Thank you for your support and encouragement.

To my family, who has stood by me through every twist and turn of this marvelous journey. Through hard fought campaigns, election victories and a few defeats along the way. Every success I’ve known has been because of your love and support. I am forever grateful.

Friends, we are truly fortunate to call this beautiful part of the world our home. Let’s make sure we look after it, and each other.

All the best,