3 mayor, 23 councillor candidates in Sooke election

3 mayor, 23 councillor candidates in Sooke election

Voters in Sooke will choose between three mayor and 23 councillor candidates in the municipal election.

The current mayor and five incumbent councillors are seeking re-election, while one of the incumbent councillors is seeking a seat on the Sooke School Board.

In addition to voting for the mayor and councillors, voters will cast a ballot for Sooke School District trustees in the Milnes Landing Zone.

Voters will have an opportunity to vote on the two advance voting days on Oct. 5 and 12, as well as general voting day on Oct. 15. Advance voting will take place at the Sooke council chambers, and general voting day will take place at Edward Milne Community School. Hours for all three days are between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Curbside voting will be available at all voting places for voters who can travel to the voting place but have difficulties getting into the building.

Additionally, voters can request to vote by mail.

In the 2018 election, 4,078 people voted for a voter turnout of 41.8 per cent.


There are three candidates seeking the mayor’s seat, the incumbent mayor, Maja Tait, John Knops, and Mick Rhodes.

John Knops

Knops has many years of experience in business, shipowners, insurance, oil and gas, and 25 years of territorial government. He graduated from McGill and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Whitehorse, and now Sooke.

He doesn’t have any priorities if elected. “A mayor is an administrator, so if that is a priority, then that’s it. What a community wants is set out by all the people of the community. I repeat: ALL. All residents must decide, not just one or a small group with its own interests.”

Mick Rhodes

Rhodes moved to Sooke in 1977, then to Victoria in 1992. He moved back to Sooke in 2009 when he was renovicted. He worked as a Class 1 truck driver at many industrial sites around B.C. He has been a social activist for over 30 years, studied journalism at Camosun College and has worked for a number of non-profit groups. He was a whistleblower that advocated, organized, and led a delegation to city hall to raise public awareness about the renovictions wave sweeping Victoria in 2009.

If elected, his priorities are to procure and create a waterfront park in the town centre to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Sooke’s incorporation, limit the rate of population growth by focusing on affordable home ownership alternatives, introduce traffic calming measures, and revive the All Day Sooke community celebration.

In 2018, Rhodes came in third place for mayor with 135 votes. He also ran in the 2019 byelection, receiving 13 votes.

Rhode’s website can be found here.

Maja Tait

Tait was first elected as a councillor in 2008 and served two terms, then was elected as mayor in 2014 and 2018. She has served on the CRD board since 2014 and stepped away from her work in property and project management to care for family. She has also served on the Union of BC Municipalities executive and was the president from 2019 to 2020.

If re-elected, her priorities are inclusion, collaboration and respect.

In 2018, Tait was re-elected mayor with 2,299 votes.

Tait’s website can be found here.


There are six councillor positions up for grabs in Sooke, with five incumbents seeking to be re-elected.

Rob Anderson

Rob Anderson has worked as a commercial helicopter pilot for over 30 years. He also works as an assistant funeral director and is studying to become a certified director.

If elected, his priorities are to listen and represent Sooke residents, address the shortfalls of the proposed OCP, put forward a satisfaction survey to see what citizens think of services provided by the district, ask for a full legal review of all bylaws, only approve and support projects that directly benefit all residents of Sooke and the community as a whole.

In 2021, Rob Anderson unsuccessfully ran in the federal election for the People’s Party of Canada coming in fifth with 2,995 votes.

Rob Anderson is running as part of a slate of candidates called Elections for Change. His page on the slate’s website can be found here.

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson is a long-time resident of Sooke who has been an active community member for many years, especially in the realm of performing arts and public event planning.

If elected, his priorities include protection of the environment, locally controlled economic sustainability, health and social well-being, and fiscal responsibility with all municipal funds.

Steve Anderson’s Facebook page can be found here.

Lorien Arnold

Arnold and his family have lived in Sooke since 2004 and have owned and operated a business there for over 16 years.

If elected, his priorities are sustainability, have a senior’s centre at The Gathering Place, and the environment.

Arnold’s website can be found here.

Jeff Bateman

Bateman was born in Ontario to a military family and moved all over. He met his wife when they were both studying journalism at Carleton University. They moved to Whiffin Spit in 2003. During his time on Sooke council he has served on a number of boards and committees including Vancouver Island Regional Library, Sooke Climate Action Committee and Sooke Homelessness Coalition.

If re-elected, his priorities are municipal operations like capital plan priorities and the Transportation Master Plan, planning and permitting, memorandums of understanding with the T’Sou-ke Nation and SD 62, community development, community safety, town centre and other new development, and a connected and compassionate community.

In 2018, Bateman received the fourth most votes with 1,785.

Bateman’s website can be found here.

Al Beddows

CHEK News reached out to Beddows asking for a bio, his priorities if elected, and any links to a website or social media but did not hear back. The story will be updated with information if it is provided.

In 2018, Beddows receivd the sixth most votes with 1,552.

Susan Belford

Belford grew up in Victoria and moved to Sooke in 2019. She is a retired mediator and has been active on a number of council committees including the Land Use and Development Committee.

If elected, her priorites are thoughtful and green growth, traffic that flows, a thriving local economy, homes for everyone, pleasant neighbourhoods, and healthy forested lands.

Belford’s website can be found here.

Karine Bordua

Bordua is a mother, friend, daughter and sister. She plans to move back to Sooke in the fall. She has a masters in applied psychology and various IT and privacy certificates. She has spent the last 13 years working for government agencies.

If elected, her priorities are to work with all levels of government to ensure the community gets needed resources, listen to the community and provide opporunities for involvement, explore a long-term vision for the community to be more self-sufficient, and assess the efficiency and satisfaction with Sooke services.

Bordua is running as part of a slate of candidates called Elections for Change. Her page on the slate’s website can be found here.

Owen Brandon

Brandon has a degree in mathematics from Carleton University. He was a member of the Canadian forces and worked as a civilian at the defense headquarters in Ottawa. He set up Orange Taxi in Sooke.

If elected, his priorities are to address the Airbnb “Wild West,” put in better street lighting, build an alternate route to Sooke, and call for better bus service.

Nick Dickinson-Wilde

Dickinson-Wilde has lived in a few Island communities, but mostly in the Sooke area. His job is web development, and he has experience in construction, gardening and care giving.

If elected, his priorities are affordable housing, responsible spending and use of time, environmental protection and active transportation.

Dickinson-Wilde’s website can be found here.

Herb Haldane

Haldane was born and raised in Sooke. He volunteers with the Sooke Community Association, the food bank, and Legion 54.

If elected, his priorities include finding housing solutions for the working class, fixing traffic issues, having more local shops in the district, finding a location for the Sooke Lions Club that doesn’t involve a valuable green space, and send the community plan back to the public.

In 2018, Haldane unsuccessfully ran for council receiving 1,217 votes. He also ran in the 2019 byelection receiving 82 votes.

Robin Holm

Holm is a project manager in the non-profit sector with a background in science and ecology. They understand that people are deeply connected to the environment, and a healthy community is not possible without a healthy planet.

If elected, their priorities are climate action, and representation, equity and inclusion. For climate action, they hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and building resilient and sustainable infrastructure, food, and energy systems. For representation, equity and inclusion, they would like to ensure government acts in the interests of all residents regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, socio-economic status, physical or mental health, age, and species.

Holm’s Facebook page can be found here.

Dana Lajeunesse

Lajeunesse has spent most of his adult life in Sooke. He worked in the forestry industry before sustaining a life-altering injury in 1989. He has a diploma in mechanical engineering technology from Camosun College, where he taught related courses for 12 years before taking a positions as an Industry Liaison Officer in the newly formed Technology Access Centre College currently known as Camosun Innovates. He took an early retirement in 2020 to focus his efforts on the needs of Sooke, after he was elected in a byelection in 2019.

If re-elected, his priorities are to work with the economic development officer, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce and neighbouring municipalities to expand and diversify the local economy. He also would like to address that the local transportation network has not kept pace with development which contributes to traffic delays, advocate new schools to be siutated in closer proximity to residential developmentsst, and streamline the approval process to keep housing prices in check.

Lajeunesse was elected in the 2019 council byelection, receiving 286 votes.

Lajeunesse’s website can be found here.

Megan McMath

McMath is a 30-year resident of Sooke and has previously worked for E-Comm 911, the Victoria Fire Department, over 10 years in the Sooke tourism sector, and as a member of the Sooke Economic Development Group. She currently works for the Saanich Fire Department as a 911 call taker and fire dispatcher, supporting 18 fire department’s, including Sooke’s. She is seeking to be re-elected for her second term as councillor.

If re-elected, her priorities include continuing to advocate for an alternative route into Sooke, justice reform around prolific and repeat offenders, and improving local health care issues. She would like to implement the Community Healthcare Support Network Pilot Project to equip Sooke with the tools and templates required to attract, support, and retain health care personnel.

In 2018, McMath received the third most votes with 2,184.

Sean Millard

CHEK News reached out to Millard asking for a bio, his priorities if elected, and any links to a website or social media but did not hear back. The story will be updated with information if it is provided.

Adam Noseworthy

Noseworthy has lived and worked as a carpenter in Sooke for 20 years. He is a business owner, a homeowner, landlord, husband and father.

If elected, his priorities are to build a strong and resilient community, protect and preserve Sooke’s identity, support local farmers, and look for ways to improve waste management, recycling and composting.

Noseworthy is running as part of a slate of candidates called Elections for Change. His page on the slate’s website can be found here.

Trevor Paul

Paul works for the B.C. government with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and is currently undertaking a masters program in conflict analysis and management at Royal Roads University.

If elected, his top three issues are making investments in sidewalks, explore solutions to ease congestion at peak times, and prevent paving of parks, including the John Phillips Memorial Park.

Paul’s website can be found here.

Kevin Pearson

Pearson was born and raised in Sooke and has lived there his whole life. He and his wife raised their three children in Sooke and now has five grandchildren all living in the district. He has been an active member in the community including with minor sports and several clubs and organizatiosn. He had an apprenticeship at the former Sooke Forest Products Sawmill as a millwright and subsequently moved to Canada Post where he became the Operational Manager for Greater Victoria. He was elected to council in 2011 and 2014.

If elected, his priorities are traffic and infrastructure improvement, housing affordability, focusing on process and timeline improvements with regards to permits and applications, and attracting doctors and seniors to the community with amenities like a senior centre and 24 hour per day medical access.

In 2018, Pearson ran for mayor of Sooke, coming in second place with 1,623 votes. He also ran in the 2019 byelection, coming in second place with 283 votes.

Maria Powers

Powers is a mother and grandmother. She has over 20 years of management experience and is a business owner, artist and facilitator of healing.

If elected, she commits to being of service and listening to concerns and visions for the future of Sooke.

Powers is running as part of a slate of candidates called Elections for Change. Her page on the slate’s website can be found here.

Anna Russell

Russell grew up on a sheep farm. She has a master’s in Public Administration and worked in government and as a consultant for non-profits, advising on strategic planning, and program and financial management. As the former vice-chair of Sooke District’s Climate Action Committee, she designed Sooke’s 7% Solution.

If elected, her priorities are to protect what makes Sooke special which are the small town feel, parks and wild spaces, farmland, and ocean views; seek a better balance between development and the needs of local residents; work towards affordable housing and traffic solutions; deliver results to the climate emergency; and support a green, caring, and local economy.

Russell’s website can be found here.

Britt Santowski

Santowski was born in Germany, raised in Ontario, educated in Newfoundland, and has lived in Sooke since 2005. She has two degrees, a bachelors and masters in English. She has worked as a motorcycle safety instructor, a cartoonist, and a jounalist. She founded Sooke PocketNews and operated it for five years. She currently works as the executive director of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.

If elected, her top three issues are safe and affordable living, small business, and climate change.

In 2018, Santowski ran for a seat on the Sooke School District, receiving 1,509 votes. She also ran in the 2019 Sooke council byelection, receiving 265 votes.

Santowski’s website can be found here.

Tony St-Pierre

St-Pierre is a local Sooke farmer who was elected to council in 2018. Over the past four years he says the council has made progress on a number of initiatives due to being able to have many partners and work together with all levels of government. He hopes to use this experience to address ongoing challenges.

If re-elected, his top three priorities are housing affordability, local economic development, and food security.

In 2018, St-Pierre received the fifth most votes with 1,579.

St-Pierre’s Facebook page can be found here.

Jeff Stewart

Stewart is a lifelong Sooke resident and has raised two children in the district. He is employed as the store manager at Western Foods and has worked there for 27 years. He served on Sooke’s first council after incorporation in 1999.

If elected, his top three priorirites are fiscal responsibility, traffic solutions, and affordable housing.

In 2018, Stewart received the seventh most votes with 1,536. He also ran in the 2019 byelection where he received the fourth most votes with 262.

Stephanie Welters

Welters is a nurse with Island Health, owns a trucking company, and is a volunteer with Sooke Minor Fastball and Sooke sailing.

If elected, her priorities are catching up and maintaining infrastructure, opening auxilary routes to alleviate the burden on Highway 14, and revitalize and better use green spaces.

Welters’ Facebook page can be found here.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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