Veteran politician Chris Coleman announces bid for Victoria city council

Veteran politician Chris Coleman announces bid for Victoria city council

A veteran Victoria politician wants a seat at the council table once again.

Chris Coleman, a former six-term Victoria city councillor, announced Thursday that he will run for city councillor again in the upcoming municipal election.

Speaking to CHEK News, Coleman said the decision to re-enter politics comes to down to what he sees as a need to restore “good governance” at city hall.

“Council has been drifting away from the principals of good governance,” he said. “The reality is they have been doing spectacular politics, but politics is about division and governance is about binding together and I think they’ve lost that.”

“I think [the current council] has been very good at dividing people but that blows up in your face and I think council has been facing that recently.”

READ MORE FROM 2018: Longtime Victoria city councillor Chris Coleman announces he won’t seek re-election

Coleman has no shortage of local government experience, having served under four different mayors and spent eight years with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He has also represented Victoria on the Capital Regional District Board, the Regional Water Commission and the Waste Diversion Council.

“I have been profoundly committed to good governance and the trust of the public is something that should be cherished,” said Coleman about his time in politics.

He did not run in the 2018 election, but with Mayor Lisa Helps and current councillors Sharmarke Dubow, Geoff Young, Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Jeremy Loveday all not running, Coleman said there will be a lack of experience on the next council and believes he could help the newer group.

“I have some skills that I hope to be able to help the new council come to grips with the different components of good governance and assist other leaders coming up,” he said.

According to the former city councillor, over the past four years, all topics discussed by Victoria city councillors have become contentious.

“Every topic that has been brought up the last four years, whether it is bike lanes, camping at parks or the recalibration of Clover Point … everything has been a dust storm,” he said. “It has been contentious and people are frustrated.”

ALSO READ: Public opinion split on first day of Missing Middle public hearing

Coleman points to the Missing Middle Housing Initiative as another example of a contentious issue, saying he believes that the current council has been in a bubble and was caught off guard when the public expressed frustration.

“I think that was a bit of a shock, perhaps even a wake-up call, for a number of people on council,” he said.

Good governance, said Coleman, is about bringing people together for the “improvement” of the community overall, whereas politics is about “dividing” people.

“Good governance always has two components. You understand the intent and the intent of the missing middle housing initiative is about more housing and that is good,” he said. “But, you also have to understand the effect or the consequences and I think that has been misread and I don’t think the public buy into it.”

Coleman, who is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, said he has been “saddened” to see the direction council has been heading in the past four years but believes he can help bring back good governance to city hall.

“Politically, I am a moderate, I am a centrist. I tend to work with people of all different political stripes,” he said. “You try and ramp down the politics and ramp up the intent for good governance.”

RELATED: Victoria city hall faces a ‘historic’ shakeup

The municipal elections are on Oct. 15.

Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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