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COUNCIL CANDIDATE: Rob Wickson
Birthday: June 12, 1952
Personal Background: Born in Vancouver, I moved to Greater Victoria in 1977. The following year I married Claudia and began my studies at UVic. I graduated with a double major in Economics and History in 1983. While at university I started my Janitorial business which continues to this day. In 1988, we moved from Oak Bay to Saanich where both my daughters were born and raised.
Professional background: I am the principal at Discovery Economic Consulting, which provides litigation support, economic analysis and calculations for over three thousand files related to personal injury litigation, pension evaluation, and wrongful death claims. I also own R. J. Wickson Janitorial Service.
Political/community experience: Current president of the Gorge Tillicum Community Association. I was treasurer with the association from 1998 to 2009. President of the Greater Victoria Bike to Work Society. Past president, chair and governor of both the Greater Victoria and B.C. Chambers of Commerce.
What will be the most pressing issue for Saanich council to deal with in the 2011-2014 term?
There are a number of issues that Saanich has to address. Transportation – we need to get Saanich moving and traffic - too much, too fast, too much congestion. We need to find ways to encourage more affordable housing options including rental units and supportive housing. Council will need to work more closely and consult effectively with community associations to improve the decision making process. Increases in property taxes are a big concern for residents and businesses especially with the pressures on our transportation systems and a mandated sewage treatment project. Council will have to deal with the economic expansion of the University for Victoria and the resulting impacts on the neighbouring communities. Preserving green space while trying to accommodate various development proposals will be ongoing as Saanich strives to meet its sustainability goals.
What would be your main goal for the next term, if elected?
We are all partners in the evolution of Saanich and if I am elected I want to start challenging my fellow members to share solutions that will move our community forward. It is important that we ask the right questions, focus on our community and be accountable and transparent.
What has been the biggest failure of the current council?
From talking to local residents I do think that the current council could have been more effective and responsive to the community particularly when it comes to the issue of traffic management and speed restrictions. The Craigflower proposal is a good example where the neighbourhood has expressed serious concerns about the capacity of the new bridge and staff has come forward without that consideration even being on the table. Meanwhile, UVic has been sent back to consult with the community more. How come Saanich staff is not doing the same thing?
How do you attract unengaged voters to participate and be interested in municipal politics?
A dynamic, new council might help.