When Saanich council convenes for the last time before the Oct. 20 municipal election, it will mark the end of the political careers of three councillors, who collectively have served the municipality for more than four decades.
Councillors Dean Murdock, Vicki Sanders and Leif Wergeland announced earlier this year they would not seek another mandate.
Murdock — whom voters first elected in 2008 — was the first of the trio to declare his decision to step back from municipal politics, citing family reasons.
“I have two wonderful children, who will turn [nine] and [six years] this year,” he said in April. “I’ve have been [a councillor] their entire lives, and I’ve missed a lot of bedtimes and family dinners to attend meetings and community events.”
Wergeland, who first took office in 1996, announced his decision in August, after he had initially signalled that he would run again.
“Now is the time for me to devote more time to local and international volunteer service as there are people here and around the globe who have needs that many of us take for granted,” he said at the time, adding that council had become “complicated.”
Sanders, who first took office in 2005, had also intended to run this election cycle, only to change her mind later. Unlike Murdock and Wergeland, she signaled she would remain a presence in council chambers.
“I’m not going away,” she said. “I’ve been monitoring council meetings for 40 years and if there’s an issue I’ll come to speak to council, I’ve already warned them of that.”
Meanwhile, four incumbents are set to seek another term: Councillors Susan Brice, Judy Brownoff, Karen Harper, and Colin Plant.
But, with 18 candidates running, it is possible that Saanich residents will elect an entirely new group of eight councillors.
Coun. Fred Haynes will not be part of that group, having thrown his hat in the mayoral race, facing off against incumbent Richard Atwell, David Shebib and Rob Wickson. So, Monday’s meeting could also be the last for both of them.
Voters across British Columbia head to the polls Oct. 20. Residents in Saanich and Victoria will vote on whether to form a citizens’ assembly to study the amalgamation of the two municipalities.