Rebecca Mersereau is once again running for Saanich council. She missed a council seat by 30 votes in 2014 and 102 votes in the 2017 byelection. Wolfgang Depner/Saanich News

Consultant to compete again for council

Rebecca Mersereau enters the race for Saanich council for a third after two close calls

Rebecca Mersereau is more than familiar with the saying ‘third time’s the charm’ as she enters her third campaign in four years for a seat on Saanich council.

Mersereau finished second in the 2017 byelection just 102 votes behind Coun. Karen Harper. In 2014, she finished just 30 votes behind Coun. Leif Wergeland. In short, Mersereau has come very close twice, only to fall short by razor-thin margins.

“I prefer not rely on luck,” she said in interview after announcing her 2018 candidacy. “I find the results quite motivating,” she said.

A utility management consultant, Mersereau enters the race as a presence on local and regional advisory committees, and as a familiar face in Saanich affairs, who nonetheless appears as an outside voice critical of the status quo. A self-described “policy geek,” Mersereau has also called for a less confrontational, more co-operative approach towards governance that promises to restore Saanich’s credibility among the public.

She said in a video announcing her candidacy that she is running to achieve a “more affordable, walkable and complete” community.

“We urgently need more leadership on regional transportation challenges and environmental stewardship to safe neighbourhood character and biodiversity,” she said. “We also need to manage our finances responsibly in a way that safeguards the well-being of future generations.”

She later said that her definition of a complete community is a community that incorporates land-planning decisions with transportation decisions. Next to housing, transportation is often the highest cost people face. A more integrated approach that increases density around transportation modes and amenities could reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and lower the cost-of-the-living by giving people more options to get around, she said.

Millennials, she added, are also less likely to have their own cars. Seniors would also benefit from a transportation system that relies less on private automobiles.

Saanich also stands to benefit both ecologically and economically from protecting its biodiversity. It contributes to the desirable esthetics of Saanich and helps protect the community against the effects of climate change, said Mersereau, who has been critical of Saanich’s decision to eliminate theEnvironmental Development Permit Area bylaw, without first considering recommendations from an independent review funded by Saanich taxpayers.

“It’s a natural landscape unlike any other landscape,” she said.

Mersereau also plans to protect the interests of younger taxpayers in expressing concerns about Saanich’s desire to keep taxes low in the present,thereby deferring future infrastructure costs to younger generations.

Saanich, she said, has done a good job of avoiding the mistakes of other communities who have neglected their infrastructure. Similar to private homeowners, Saanich should continue to set aside revenues to maintain assets, unless it is willing to accept diminished services, or face significantly higher costs in the future.

Mersereau acknowledges that this argument can be read as an argument for higher taxes, but she is unfazed. “I’m willing to take the heat,” she said.

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich farm hosts birthday party as wetland turns 10

The Urban Biodiversity Enhancement and Restoration Project invites community to 10th birthday for wetland

International migration drives population rise in B.C.

No joke, provincial population topped 5 million by April 1

Last remaining Victoria Legion faces $100,000 property tax bill

The Trafalgar/ Pro Patria Branch can’t afford to operate with such high taxes

Soul Shakers kick off free outdoor concerts in Oak Bay

Music fills the air at Willows Beach Park for series of concerts this summer

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques returns to Earth, sets Canadian space record

Native of Saint-Lambert, Que., set a record for longest single spaceflight by a Canadian at 204 days

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Stz’uminus dies from injuries

A male pedestrian was struck in the early morning of June 25

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from Vancouver furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Poll: Rising gas prices force B.C. residents rethink summer road trips

63 per cent of respondents reported gas prices are impacting their day-to-day finances

PHOTO: Moose cow and calf relax in Williams Lake flower garden

The homeowners got a surprise when they checked their most recent surveillance footage

Two in hospital after plane crashes in Okanagan Lake

RCMP say wheels left down caused landing plane to overturn on lake

The world’s Indigenous speakers gather in B.C.’s capital to revitalize languages

Organizers estimate about 1,000 delegates from 20 countries will be at the conference

Join talks on international treaty: B.C. First Nations mark ‘historic moment’

Representatives of the Ktunaxa, Syilx/Okanagan and Secwepemc Nations participated

Most Read