WATCH: Candidates in Esquimalt-Metchosin suggest solutions for the infamous Colwood Crawl. April Lawrence reports.
The riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin has no incumbent. NDP MLA Maurine Karagianis has retired.
Barb Desjardins is a familiar face in Esquimalt.
She has been mayor there for eight years, and chair of the Capital Regional District for two ? with such a high profile, Desjardins is considered one of the BC Liberals best chances for a seat on the south island.
“I have experience, I’ve been sitting at the transit table, I’ve been sitting at various tables, and know many of the issues already in the riding,” said Desjardins.
“There’s no bringing me up to speed, I’m going to start at top speed,” she said.
But the riding has been an NDP stronghold since 2005, and political newcomer Mitzi Dean is hoping to keep it that way.
Dean is the Executive Director of Pacific Centre Family Services Association, a social service organization that serves 1600 families a year on the West Shore.
She says she’s jumping into politics after seeing years of funding cuts.
“People are really struggling in spite of working really hard and families can’t get by and we need to be able to help them,” said Dean.
Green Party candidate Andy MacKinnon is a Metchosin town councillor and a biologist who has spent decades protecting the environment.
“I’m not a career politician and I think it would be refreshing to bring a few more scientists into the Legislative Assembly,” said MacKinnon.
“By taking care of the environment often times we’re taking care of the economy,” he said.
One of the biggest issues is transportation ? the riding is home to the infamous Colwood Crawl.
All three major party candidates agree more transit options are needed, and quickly.
“So we could actually put commuter rail in, that would really help our community, we could put rapid bus transit as well,” said Dean.
Desjardins says they’re getting close to turning the E and N corridor into a commuter line.
“I’m absolutely certain there will be something we can get going on right away,” she said.
MacKinnon wants to see more transit and less construction.
“I think the McKenzie interchange may speed things up for a year or two for people, ultimately more cars will clog the system,” he said.
With new riding boundaries, and no incumbent, Esquimalt-Metchosin will be a riding to watch May 9th.