Fourth candidate joins race for Saanich council seat

The all-female trio vying for the open council has turned into a mixed quartet.

Shawn Newby has declared his candidacy for next month’s by- election, promising generational change.

“I want to represent a new generation, who find it hard to rent or own in Saanich,” he said. Specifically, he would like to see Saanich run more efficiently. “I want to make it as efficient as possible for average residents and businesses as well.”

Newby, who is 38 years old and works as a salesperson for a local countertop company, joins Natalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau and Karen Harper as officially declared candidates to fill the council seat left open since the death of Vic Derman in March 2017.

Saanich has scheduled the by- election for Sept. 23. Nominations officially open Tuesday Aug. 8 and close on Aug. 18.

So if Newby advertises himself as a generational voice, it raises an obvious question: what has the current generation on council done wrong that he would do better?

“I’m not going to say that they have done anything wrong,” he said. But he would like to see Saanich work more pro-actively with the business community to generate the necessary economy that would allow Saanich to help protect the local environment.

Newby is joining the race as a familiar face after he had run in the 2014 municipal election, garnering 11,167 votes to finish among the top three non-winning candidates. He co-founded the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market with Marsha Henderson and has served as vice-president of the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association since 2016. He has also held several volunteer positions with various organizations in the community.

Newby said these opportunities have given him a deeper appreciation of Saanich’s history and the local knowledge that individuals in those organizations bring to the table.

If elected, Newby said one of his top priorities will be to be update local community area plans as part of a larger push for more density in certain areas, while protecting other areas.

“The faster we can update the local area plans, the faster we can focus on the areas that are appropriate for density and what that looks like,” he said, pointing to the Uptown area as an appropriate starting point.

Newby, however, stressed he did not want to prejudge this process as it unfolds, in promising to work with locals.