Three retiring Saanich councillors received public applause and gifts of appreciation during the last council meeting before the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Couns. Dean Murdock, Vicki Sanders, and Leif Wergeland are leaving municipal politics after 10, 14, and 22 years respectively on Saanich council.
Mayor Richard Atwell used the opening portion of Monday’s meeting to list their respective contributions to Saanich, starting with Murdock, whom voters first elected in 2008.
Murdock is retiring from municipal politics, citing family reasons and time commitments.
“You have truly worked hard to make the community a better place,” said Atwell of Murdock, in noting that the job of councillor is a full-time position in mindset, if not reality.
Atwell then praised Sanders, a long-time Saanich resident and community volunteer, for her contributions in multiple fields, paying special tribute to her recent role as chair of Saanich’s Canada 150 committee, whose activities climaxed in the sealing of a time capsule to be opened in 2067.
“I tip my hat to you, Coun. Sanders, as one of the true citizens of Saanich,” said Atwell.
“Last but not least,” Atwell turned to Wergeland, whom voters first elected in 1996.
Atwell said council then must have been very different from today, yet Wergeland has consistently been able to win the trust of the community by virtue of his character and contributions to the community.
Wergeland is a true humanitarian, said Atwell, who also used the occasion to look back on the last four years, which he called a “challenging” but also “enriching” time in his life.
Atwell is running for re-election against Coun. Fred Haynes, as well as Rob Wickson and David Shebib.
These changes in leadership mean Saanich’s next council will have at least four new faces.