View Royal election has two mayor, seven councillor candidates

View Royal election has two mayor, seven councillor candidates
Photo credit: Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

Two mayor and seven councillor candidates have stepped forward for the View Royal municipal election.

View Royal recently voted to expand the size of its council from having four councillor positions to six, as reported by the Goldstream Gazette.

This means, even though all four incumbent councillors are seeking re-election, there will be at least two new faces at the council table following the election.

In View Royal, most residents will also vote on school trustees in the Greater Victoria School District.

There are 13 addresses in the McKenzie Lake area west of Pike Lake where voters will instead vote for trustees in the Sooke School District.

View Royal will have two advance voting days on Oct. 5 and 11. Both will take place at the Town Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. General voting day on Oct. 15 will have the same polling hours, but the voting locations will be View Royal Elementary School and Eagle View Elementary School.

In the 2018 election, 2,244 votes were cast for a voter turnout of 25.3 per cent.

Mayor candidates

Two candidates for mayor have stepped forward, the incumbent David Screech and Sid Tobias.

David Screech

Screech has served as View Royal’s mayor since 2014 and has lived in the town since 1998. Prior to serving as mayor, he was a councillor first elected in 2002. He owns Gregg’s Furniture & Upholstery along with his wife, Jean.

If re-elected, he plans to finish the process of renewing the Official Community Plan, address transportation issues, invite public participation, continue development while ensuring the town isn’t overdeveloped, and address climate change.

In the 2018 election, Screech ran unopposed so he was acclaimed to the position.

Screech’s website can be found here.

Sid Tobias

Tobias has lived in Victoria for most of his adult life, and has lived in View Royal for 12 years. He currently works in the environmental assessment office in Victoria. Before working in the provincial government, he served in the Canadian Armed Forces. He has a masters in learning and technology from Royal Roads University.

If elected, he plans to advocate for an empty homes and business tax, increase engagement opportunities, donate any raise in pay back to increasing engagement opportunities, and honour the hard-working staff and volunteers in the town.

Tobias’ website can be found here.

Councillor candidates

There are seven candidates for the six councillor seats for voters to choose from.

Don Brown

Brown is a long-time resident of View Royal and served 32 years with the RCMP. He is currently the chair of View Royal’s Parks, Recreation and Environment Committee. He graduated from UVic and Dalhousie University, and has taught courses at Kwantlen University and Vancouver Island University. He was previously a school board trustee in Nanaimo and the Sooke School District.

If elected, his priorities are to ensure the town is a vibrant community, implement well-planned development with a variety of housing and community input, maintain and increase green spaces and recreation, improve traffic flow, and encourage more pedestrian and cycle usage.

Brown’s website can be found here.

Judy Estrin

Estrin worked with the emergency services support team with the View Royal Fire Department when she moved to the town, and has over 35 years of career coaching and learning development experience. She also has senior-level project management experience and her own business.

If elected, she plans to ensure: height restrictions are in place, variances to bylaws are consistently applied, workable traffic flow, growth is managed, there is green space, room for small businesses, parking, community access space, and walkability. She hopes to do things in a way that make sense financially, aesthetically and in ways that positively and meaningfully impact the community.

Damian Kowalewich

Kowalewich has served two terms as a councillor in View Royal and has lived in the town for 15 years. He has a masters in professional communication and works as a detective sergeant in major crimes for Saanich Police.

If elected, he plans to thoughtfully approach development, improve transportation, and remain fiscally responsible.

In the 2018 election, Kowalewich received the most votes with 1,581.

Kowalewich’s website can be found here.

Gery Lemon

Lemon is seeking her second term as a View Royal councillor, and has lived in the community for 30 years. She is “pretty much” retired from a career as a journalist and communications professional. She is a married mother of two, grandmother of four, and dog mom of one.

If elected, she hopes to complete the Official Community Plan and climate action strategy. As pandemic restrictions lift, she says she looks forward to hearing from and engaging with the community on a vision for the town.

In the 2018 election, Lemon received the fourth most votes with 1,307.

Lemon’s Facebook page can be found here.

Alison MacKenzie

MacKenzie works with the B.C. government focusing on responses to the labour shortage in the province. She has previously worked in the federal government and the U.K. civil service. She has a masters of comparative social policy from the University of Oxford and an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Ottawa.

If elected, she plans to explore solutions to traffic problems by improving the accessibility of a bike network and asking staff to look into possible solutions to ease traffic on the Island Highway. She also plans to grow amenities and services in the municipality to support a growing population, and commit to exploring ways within municipal practices to attract doctors to the town.

MacKenzie’s website can be found here.

Ron Mattson

Mattson has been a View Royal councillor for 25 years from 1990-2005, then 2011-2022. He has worked for the Ministry of Health for 28 years. He has a masters degree in public administration for UVic and was appointed by the minister of health to the Vancouver Island Health Authority board to serve a four-year term starting in 2019. He has lived in View Royal for 30 years.

If re-elected, he hopes to ensure any growth respects the town’s charm and character. The outgoing council has written an Official Community Plan, and the incoming one will finalize it. He says as written it could increase density, building height, tree loss and traffic in a number of single-family residential areas, negatively impacting the lives of many residents. He hopes to address the OCP to ensure it reflects the views and wishes of residents.

In the 2018 election, Mattson received the third most votes with 1,409.

Mattson’s website can be found here.

John Rogers

Rogers has been a councillor for over 25 years and has served as council liaison for Parks, Recreation and Environment, co-liaison for the Community Development Advisory Committee, commissioner for both the Regional Water Supply and the Juan De Fuca Water Commissions for the past 20 years. He has lived in View Royal for 51 years.

If re-elected, he has three main priorities: manageable growth, climate crisis, and responsible budget planning. For manageable growth, he will promote affordable housing, ensure quality development, and an effective and safe multi-modal transportation network without “destroying” the ambience, environment or quality of life. For climate change, he plans to reduce carbon footprint in buildings and transportation, and protect sensitive ecosystems and the water supply. For responsible budget planning, he plans to ensure a strong tax base, balance fiscal priorities, and maintain infrastructure.

In the 2018 election, Rogers received the second most votes with 1,464.

Rogers website can be found here.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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