Trio rounds out candidates for Saanich byelection

Marsha Henderson, Keith Andrew Davidoff and Art Pollard final to declare of 10 Saanich byelection candidates

A community activist leads the final trio of candidates running for the open seat on Saanich council.

Marsha Henderson, Keith Andrew Davidoff and Art Pollard were the final candidates to declare for the Sept. 23 byelection to fill the seat open since the death of Vic Derman in March 2017.

Henderson, Davidoff, and Pollard join Ned Taylor, Mike Geoghegan, Rob Wickson, Shawn Newby, Nathalie Chambers, Rebecca Mersereau, and Karen Harper in the race as nominations closed 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18.

Henderson enters the race as president of the Royal Oak Community Association, chair of the Saanich Community Association Network (SCAN), and co-founder of the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market, which she helped launch with Newby.

Henderson said she is running because she belives Saanich council would benefit from a “moderate voice” familiar with municipal governance.

“By moderating influence, I don’t necessarily mean, I’m middle-of-the-road,” she said. “I can listen to other people. I don’t take things personally. I don’t get caught up in personality conflicts between people. I can listen to the issues at hand. I examine the data. I’m well prepared for meetings…so I can make an informed and reasonable decision.”

So if Henderson offer herself as a moderate voice, who have been the extreme voices on Saanich council?

“Anytime you introduce change to an established group, you are going to have some tension, and we all know that Saanich council has faced some strong tensions, some difficult situations over the last couple of years,” she said.

Council is now starting to settle down, said Henderson, who does not want to see that momentum lost. “I’m not pointing the finger at anyone person,” she said. “It’s never just one person. It is always more than one, but it is difficult as a group to gel.”

While Henderson is realistic about her impact, she is nonetheless confident about being able to make a difference based on your work if not this year, then in 2018, when she plans to run again.

Davidoff, who currently serves on Saanich’s advisory panel, says he is running because he has always had an interest in municipal politics.

“Giving back something back to the community is a good thing, and I’m trying to install that in my [six children],” said Davidoff, who works as a project manager for B.C. Emergency Health Services.

Davidoff is a familiar figure in the local minor baseball community. He has served for 20 years on the board of Gordon Head Baseball, including several years as president.

Davidoff said he wants to make Saanich even better than what it already is. “I don’t have any hidden agenda,” said Davidoff, who describes himself as as an “outside-the-box progressive thinker” who wants to learn more about the issues that concern Saanich before pushing his own plans.

Davidoff said he does not want to forge ahead with plans without having heard from Saanich residents first. While Davidoff is entering the race late, he is nonetheless looking forward to an exciting opportunity to make a difference.

Art Pollard meanwhile enters the race as a familiar figure in the local golf scene and volunteer community, having served as a volunteer area co-ordinator for Saanich Block Watch.

Candidates have until Aug. 25 to submit original nomination documents. Advance voting will take Sept. 13 and Sept. 18 at Saanich municipal hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. General voting stations will be open from 8 a.m.to 8 p.m. on Sept. 23.

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