Farmer first to declare campaign for vacant Saanich council seat

Madrona Farm operator Nathalie Chambers seeks council seat in upcoming byelection

The first candidate has declared their intention to run for the Saanich council seat in the upcoming byelection.

Madrona Farm operator Nathalie Chambers made the announcement on Tuesday that she will campaign for the seat left vacant by the unexpected death of Coun. Vic Derman on March 17.

Chambers takes up the call as a farmland activist, particularly in the Blenkinsop Valley. She’s also an inspired fan of Derman, who was a founding member of The Land Conservancy and who encouraged Chambers (and husband David, whose family previously owned it) to restart the historic 27-acre Madrona Farm 17 years ago.

“I am stepping up to defend [Derman’s] legacy of environment and sustainability,” Chambers said. “Really, and truly, my apolitical husband and I are shaking in our boots as we know what lies ahead.”

Chambers has worked with organizations such as the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, The Land Conservancy and the Social Environmental Alliance. She’s spearheaded the campaign to protect local farms and stop the industrialization of the Blenkinsop Valley, and founded the Big Dream Farm Fund Society and the Farmland Protection Coalition.

She’s also a staunch defender of both natural and traditional First Nations ecosystems. The author of Saving Farmland aims to increase the protection of South coast soils for agricultural purposes and ensure remaining farmland not in the Agricultural Land Reserve is protected through enforced municipal bylaws.

“Oh yes, good old bylaws, yes,” Chambers said. “I intend on monitoring by map. It is time to stop rewarding the rule breakers at the expense of the exemplars and future generations.

“The public doesn’t want to subsidize non-permitted uses of farmland, only to forward the debt onto future generations.”

Despite the decision by Saanich council to postpone the bylection until September (thereby avoiding having the byelection shadowed by the provincial election and with the understanding summer is not ideal for elections), Chambers may have made the right decision to declare her intentions already, said Mona Brash, Camosun College political science instructor who follows municipal politics.

“It’s generally accepted that no one will pay attention while there’s a provincial election, or summer,” Brash said. “The risk is [this announcement] get lost in the next month.”

In Brash’s opinion, other candidates will probably wait until after the provincial election to declare their own nomination.

However, there is more to it. Brash had heard of three, possibly four other names who are also likely to chase the vacant seat on Saanich council.

With the next municipal election booked for October 2018, there is an added benefit to running for the interim position on council. It’s a chance to increase the all-important jump on both the byelection or 2018 election, which are both paid traditionally little attention, though byelections have an even lower than municipal elections, Brash said.

“[Chambers] certainly wasn’t one of the names I’d been hearing, and I did not know of her before,” Brash said. “[I anticipate] some people will put there names in now as they seek name recognition for 2018. Of the [potential candidates I know of] some already have name recognition, so perhaps it is a good idea [for Chambers] have her name out there.”

For starters, Chambers will need to create a web presence.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Project Zero aims to create circular Vancouver Island economy

Incubator to stimulate necessary changes to economy

GALLERY: Shots of the lunar eclipse from Victoria and beyond

Amateur and professional photographers capture the stunning celestial event

Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

VRBA director Casey Edge also questions Saanich’s commitment towards housing affordability

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

VIDEO: Hundreds enjoy lunar eclipse through UVic telescopes

Rare “super blood wolf moon” allows a closer glimpse at the moon’s surface

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

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

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Most Read