Gorge-Tillicum president joins Saanich byelection

Rob Wickson takes third run at Saanich council

Add Rob Wickson’s name to the group of seven candidates who’ve now announced they are campaigning for the vacant Saanich council byelection seat.

Candidates are are popping up fast as the 10-day nomination window closes on Friday, Aug. 18. Voting for the byelection is Sept. 23 with advanced voting is on Sept. 13 and 18.

This is the third time Wickson’s run for council finishing ninth in 2008 and 2011. The outspoken president of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association is well known in the community and is no stranger to council sessions, where he regularly attends on behalf of GTCA and on his own.

RELATED: Byelection a launch ramp for 2018 election

Wickson has lived in the Gorge area since 1988 and works as a partner in Discovery Economic Consulting, a firm which provides economic advice to the legal community. He’s also worked as an expert witness to the B.C. Supreme Court since 2010, is the past Chair of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, past-president of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and Bike to Work Victoria.

“Sustainability is big for me and really, I think we need to move forward on a lot of issues, transportation being a big one,” Wickson said. “We’re getting into knots trying to keep things the same as they’ve always been.”

Wickson was already considering running in the 2018 municipal election consideration but it was the death of former councillor Vic Derman in March that urged Wickson along. The two had shared many ideas, Wickson said.

With GTCA, Wickson co-founded the Gorge Canada Day Picnic in 1998 and has been on the organizing committee ever since. The picnic has turned into Saanich’s single biggest annual event, run by GTCA. In 2002, Wickson and other members of the GTCA forged ahead in partnership with Saanich to create a local area plan.

It’s a timely bit of expertise as Saanich in the process of updating its local area plans, Wickson brings a do-it-yourself philosophy. Saanich has an abundance and wealth in terms of skills and people with doctors, lawyers, plumbers, construction workers and teachers and in all kinds of skill and expertise to tap into, he said.

“I believe more neighbourhood associations need to bring this expertise to the table, create a local area plan, bring it to Saanich and have them look at it,” Wickson said. “Neighbourhoods can do that work on their own if they have the will and the energy. Don’t expect the city to do that for you. We figured out we need to learn things ourselves and do stuff ourselves and not rely on others, that’s what leadership is isn’t it.”

Wickson joins Ned Taylor, Mike Geoghegan, Shawn Newby, Nathalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau and Karen Harper as candidates who have declared for the byelection. At least one more candidate has told the Saanich News they’ll come forward in the coming week.

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