Birthday: August 26
Personal background: I am married with three adult children – a son living in Saanich, two daughters living in Powell River and Whistler. I have been a resident of Saanich since 1958. My deep roots in the community have shaped my commitment to, and my involvement in Saanich. My pioneer family settled in Victoria in 1859. My husband and I live in my family home “The Holly Farm” which is on the Saanich Heritage Register.
Professional background: I have a background in accounting where I have held several management positions. I am also a visual artist. In addition to having an art supply business I have taught varied disciplines within the arts. I am a property manager and consultant.
Political/community experience: I was elected to Saanich Council in 2005. I have been Chair of Saanich’s Environmental Advisory Committee for five years. I am a member of Saanich’s Finance and Personnel Committee. I am Chair of the CRD Arts committee, an alternate director on the CRD board, a CRD water commissioner, member of the CRD Solid Waste Advisory Committee and of the CRD Climate Action Steering Committee. I am also Council liaison to Silver Threads and to the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific.
My community work has involved, in addition to various positions on parents advisory groups, many years of volunteering with community associations from 1990 to 2005. I am a founding member of both the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association (QCHCA) and Camosun Community Associations. I held many positions including treasurer, land use director, newsletter editor, area director and president of QCHCA (2000 – 2005). I also was Chair of SCAN (Saanich Community Association Network) from 2000 to 2005.
What will be the most pressing issue for Saanich Council to deal with in the 2011-2014 term?
I believe that affordability will be the main concern in the next term: affordable services, affordable housing and affordable transportation. To address affordability, we need sound fiscal management backed by long range planning. Seniors, families and students need to know that they can continue to live in the community with access to services such as recreational facilities, arts and culture, clean air and reliable waste management. As well, that their communities will be safe, with bike lanes, sidewalks and well lit streets. But they also need to know that Council is overseeing all of these in a responsible and sustainable manner.
What is your proudest accomplishment from this current term on council?
There are several areas I’m proud of—definitely my environmental leadership, my work as Chair on the Environmental Advisory Committee where we were able to complete many initiatives including the Pesticide bylaw, elimination of bottled water from municipal facilities, and I was pleased to have been able to present at Saanich Sustainable Workshop “Heritage Energy Efficiency & Carbon Reduction in Saanich”. I am proud of my work as Chair of the CRD Arts where we implemented a strategic plan, initiated and approved a new grant program, and participated in a review of the economic impact of the arts in the region. I am also proud of my participation as council liaison to the Silver Threads board and as Council liaison to the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific board (HCP) where I have been able to advise on their redevelopment and rebuilding plans. I was able to facilitate the successful partnership between HCP and the Vancouver Island Sculptors Guild for the creation of a sculpture garden.
What has been the biggest failure of the current council?
The biggest issue people ask me about is sidewalks. But the failure isn’t of this Council— fiscally we just weren’t able to fully address the pedestrian environment. And that’s why I believe sound fiscal management and good planning are so important for Council, for the community and for delivering affordable services to residents. Council needs to address these types of issues in a sustainable manner, encouraging developers to design in a sustainable way for the future of Saanich.
As well, we have not been consistent with developers, and that is across the region. For this next term, on CRD, I want to lead standardized permitting guidelines so developers can plan better and save costs by only having to follow one set of rules. For example, low flush toilets, water restrictions.
How do you attract unengaged voters to participate and be interested in municipal politics?
I find the best way to engage residents is to ensure strong communication. Myself, I use technology – sending an e-newsletter with upcoming events and issues, meeting dates. I think the use of technology, especially for voting, will encourage residents to become involved. I’m also a strong supporter of community events where residents can come and meet one another and discuss issues that matter, like “Music In The Park”—this is a very popular community event supported by Council.