Kathleen Burton, executive director of the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary Society, is running for Saanich council in the 2018 general election. File photo

Swan Lake executive director seeks seat on Saanich council

Kathleen Burton to seek Saanich council seat

The executive director of Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is hoping to join Saanich council.

And she wants to bring a co-operative approach to a council that has its challenges when it comes to getting along.

Kathleen Burton has held her current position at Swan Lake since the spring of 2015. She comes from a background in both the public and private sectors and will bring a focus on the specific issue of the Environmental Development Permit Area as well as the issue of homelessness.

“From the outside looking in Saanich Council appears to work well together, relative to other Island councils who seem to constantly be in the press for what seems a lack of cooperation, which can be disheartening to voters,” Burton said. “I do see an imbalance since Vic Derman died. He seemed to add a voice of reason that I believe is missing at the table.

Burton has recently volunteered as a community engagement volunteer with the Saanich Police department, as a community producer and reporter with Shaw TV, and as a board member with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce from 2011 to 2015. She was also a director with the Victoria and Esquimalt Harbour Authority 2014 to 2015.

“Media can cast a light on things which may make things seem worse than they are for other councils but nonetheless it can be a wake up call for Saanich to move ahead, work together to get things done and not get caught up individual, personal agendas and egos but [focus on] prioritizing and working together to find common ground and solutions to building a stronger Saanich.”

In her announcement Burton said she wants to build a better EDPA. The initial EDPA was controversially rescinded last year. She hopes to work with council, staff and the public to develop a new environmental bylaw that protects environmentally sensitive areas in a responsible, considerate way.

Burton also said she will bring a voice of reason to council regarding homelessness, with forward thinking solutions to a complex issue.

“Homelessness is an outcome, it is not the root of the problem,” Burton said. “It is a puzzle with many pieces and many solutions. Council can guide the work of staff and encourage community partners to explore solutions that fit the various pieces that make homelessness what it is for the various people facing it. Putting up a portable toilet and offering a blanket is not a solution.”

Burton is a mother to two sons, Jess and Jacob, and is cycling in the 2018 Ride to Conquer Cancer from Vancouver to Hope over a period of two days in August.

To date, Burton joins council candidates for the 2018 general election, Nathalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau, Ned Taylor, Zac De Vries and Teale Phelps-Bodnaroff. Incumbent Couns. seeking re-election are Karen Harper, Judy Brownoff, Vicki Sanders, Colin Plant and Susan Brice. Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Fred Haynes have announced they will seek the mayoral seat. Leif Wergeland and Dean Murdock are stepping away from municipal politics.

reporter@saanichnews.com


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