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Community News

And the winners are …

Central Saanich

Ryan Windsor

(in order of votes received)

Niall Paltiel
Zeb King
Alicia Cormier
Carl Jenson
Christopher Graham
Bob Thompson

Should the District of Central Saanich petition the Province to fund a cost/benefit analysis of an amalgamation of Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney? Yes 3588 No 1489

North Saanich

Alice Finall

(in order of votes received)

Geoff Orr
Heather Gartshore
Jack Thornburgh
Celia Stock
Murray Weisenberger
Jack McClintock

Non-Binding Question:
Are you in favour of a study, provincially funded, to investigate the feasibility, costs and implications of amalgamating the three municipalities on the Saanich Peninsula of Sidney, Central Saanich and North Saanich? YES 2881 NO 1727


Richard Atwell

(in order of votes received)

Dean Murdock
Colin Plant
Susan Brice
Vic Derman
Fred Haynes
Judy Brownoff
Vicki Sanders
Leif Wergeland


Do you support Council initiating a community-based review of the governance structure and policies within Saanich and our partnerships within the Region? YES 21,437 NO 2780


Steve Price

(in order of votes received)

Erin Bremner
Barbara Fallot
Peter Wainwright
Mervyn Lougher-Goodey
Tim Chad
Cam McLennan

Non-Binding Question:
Are you in favour of a provincially funded study to investigate the feasibility, costs and implications of amalgamating the three municipalities of the Saanich Peninsula? YES 2566  NO 1232





Candidate Questionnaires

In the past few weeks many organizations, media outlets and special interest groups have offered candidates the opportunity to election2014_160clarify where they currently stand on various issues.

Saanich Voice Online asked the candidates in Saanich, Central and North Saanich and Sidney to talk about what they would like to accomplish by certain dates.

Below are links to a few questionnaires that we hope may help you on deciding who will best serve as your community leaders this week. You’ll also find a taping of one of the all-candidates forums that took place during the campaign – just in case you were not able to attend, or would like to review it.

If you know of others please send us an email or add it in the comments below.

Amalgamation YES

CFAX Election Guide


Community Action Plan on Poverty
(may have been a passive questionnaire and not a direct ask)

Dogwood Initiative

Fair Vote Canada – Greater Victoria

Peninsula News Review Candidate Q&A

Saanich News Candidate Q&A

Saanich Voice Online

Times Colonist election coverage

(Please note: a candidate’s failure to respond may have less to do with their lack of interest in the issue than the number of requests they have received, when and how the requests were sent out, or email miscommunication.)

Election 2014 Sidney Municipality

Four mayoral candidates and thirteen councillor candidates debate the issues presented by questions from the audience. Hosted by Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Peninsula News Review.

00 Opening statements
22:00 Affordable housing and urban amenities
37:30 Beacon Ave/Highway 17 overpass
41:40 Do you reside in Sidney?
48:00 Gateway to Sidney project
56:50 Fiscal control of municipal budget
1:01.00 CRD Arts Funding
1:11.00 Beacon Avenue: one way or two way?
1:16.00 Northwest Sidney issues
1:27.00 Amalgamation question explained
1:30.00 Mayor’s Task Force recommendations
1:47.00 How to recruit and keep family doctors in Sidney
2:00.00 Closing remarks

2014 Election Time Capsules

time_capsule_headersidney_banner saanich_banner central_saanich_banner north_saanich_banner

Election 2014 North Saanich


Three candidates for mayor and ten for councillor present their platforms and answer questions from the audience. Hosted by Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and Peninsula News Review.

Questions and comments:
00:00 Opening comments
22:00 How to make it easier to build a home in North Saanich?
33:20 Would you support a review of the OCP?
45:10 What is your vision for agriculture in North Saanich?
57:00 What are your views on amalgamation?
1:06.35 Should NS join CRD as a regular contributor to the Arts?
1:17.30 What’s your position on waterfront property owner’s rights
1:29.50 Do you think our OCP should recognize native rights?
1:40.30 Should NS have an affordable workforce housing policy?
1:52.00 What is your character strength you bring to the table?
2:02.00 Closing remarks.

Newbie Candidates Only

by Roger Stonebanks, citizen journalist

Saanich mayoral candidate Richard Atwell’s election campaign has organized two public “town hall meetings” for Nov. 4 and 12 – and they are only for six identified non-incumbent candidates. There are nine council incumbents who are seeking re-election. They and non-incumbent David Shebib are excluded.
The meeting notices state:

“The reason why we are holding “new” candidates town halls is to give Saanich residents an opportunity to learn about the new candidates,” Atwell told SVO.

“As you are most likely aware the debates, thus far, do not give ample opportunity to allow new candidates to truly express their thoughts, views and positions on current issues and how they would like to represent the citizens of Saanich. The new candidates are diverse and bring their own unique values and positions. This is not a slate this is merely an opportunity to allow Saanich residents to get to know who the new candidates are – we are doing so by way of popular feedback from residents.”

Sandra Menzies, who is listed in the notice as approving the meeting, is Atwell’s financial agent. She is also treasurer of Amalgamation Yes, according to its website.

One listed non-incumbent candidate, Colin Plant, has a previous engagement booked on the 4th and has sent his regrets. He will be in attendance on the 12th.

SVO welcomes comments by all candidates for election.


The Greenes’ Market Garden

by Ed Johnson, photos by Ed Johnson

Maintaining a garden is certainly easier for those who are not nine-to-fivers.Indeed the last four episodes of backyard gardeners in SVO have all been retired people who had the luxury of spending as much time as they wish on whatever they enjoy.

The situation is slightly different for Ben and Bernadette Greene of North Saanich. With a growing family, a mortgage, Ben a full-time teacher, and Bernadette working two part-time jobs as a church musician and a corporate coach you would think that there would be little time for a garden. But for Bernadette, the pull to get her hands in the soil is strong and she loves to challenge herself to see what can be produced from their one-acre property.

Bernadette began with cut flowers, a favourite crop of hers. “I soon I noticed our two young girls loved to go out to the small vegetable patch to feast on carrots, chives, parsley, and whatever else was in season‚” she recalls. “Their friends loved to graze in the garden, too.” The light dawned, and Bernadette realized how many more vegetables their girls would eat when they could pick them themselves! – More vegetables and fruits were added to the Greene’s garden.

When the garden produced more than the family could possibly eat, Bernadette took a friend’s suggestion and began selling at the local farm market in North Saanich. She went on to branch out into other markets, as well as selling to local restaurants. “I have been fortunate to connect with a local chef who occasionally has a specific request for vegetables which I grow just for him,” she adds.

In the spring, Bernadette has a plant sale that includes thousands of vegetable starts, tomato plants, perennials and herbs. “I especially love propagating plants,” says Bernadette, “and now have some loyal plant sale customers who come back year-after-year when they’re putting in their vegetable gardens in the spring.“

Bernadette’s parents, Konrad and Els Welle, emigrated to Canada from Holland in the 50’s to grow freesias. In the beginning, they shipped these across North America, before branching out into other flowers. Bernadette and her five siblings were expected to help out in the greenhouses, and over time, the family nursery grew to cover nearly four acres and employ forty employees during the peak season. In their family’s photo album is a picture of Princess Diana holding a bouquet of flowers provided by her father on the occasion of her visit to Victoria in 1986.

The Greenes bought the family home and property from Bernadette’s mother in 2004. They immediately began to expand the gardens that her parents had lovingly planted. The market garden portion is positioned where one of the large commercial greenhouses used to be. Around the house are many common and uncommon specimens of flowers, shrubs and trees that contribute to Bernadette’s garden palette. One tree in particular always becomes the centre of attention in the fall when its seeds ripen inside paper husks resembling a large round cherry fruit. Known as Koelreuteria paniculata, or the Golden Rain Tree to mere mortals, it is featured in the online video following this article.

Maintaining the garden makes for a busy life and Bernadette has had to make some compromises to make it work. “Although I freeze, dry, and juice what I can for the winter months, I don’t have time in the summer to do a lot of canning anymore. While I do grow some winter vegetables, it is more efficient for me to buy organic vegetables when I need them in the winter with the proceeds of sales during the summer.”

One thing you won’t find on her farm is broccoli, however. “I’ve eaten enough broccoli to last me a life time,” she laughs. She has this trait famously in common with a certain U.S. president.

“Broccolini, though – that’s another story.”

A Totem Tale in Central Saanich

by Judy Barlow, photo by  Ed Johnson

Where do old totem poles go to die?

That’s a trick question.

The answer, of course, is “Nowhere.”

Unless it’s in Central Saanich; then it’s anyone’s guess.

The five-foot Chief Thunderbird memorial totem was erected outside the municipal hall in August 1969, honouring Tsartlip Hereditary Chief Thunderbird, Jean Baptiste Paul, a champion professional wrestler who travelled the world and hobnobbed with royalty. The Chief has served as an inspiration to generations, especially among First Nations youth. 

Early settlers mistakenly viewed totems as pagan religious icons. Not so. They are venerated as monuments, representing and commemorating ancestry, histories, status, people, or events. 

A totem can last 100 years – even longer today with protection and treatment, according to master carver Carey Newman. 

But what if a decaying totem puts passersby at risk? 

According to a 2014 staff report, a 2003 assessment determined that the pole’s condition had deteriorated beyond the point of rehabilitation. Council was advised to move the original indoors and commission a replacement at an estimated cost between $4700 and $8800. Over the next five years the issue arose repeatedly, with inquiries into funding for preservation, relocation, and/or replacement. 

By 2008 the cost had risen. A supplemental request for $10,000 in funding for a replacement included in the 2008-2012 Financial Plan was defeated. The issue appeared to be in limbo. 

Until 2014, after a complaint in May, staff prepared a report with recommendations. On July 7, after considering an estimated replacement cost in excess of $15,000, Central Saanich Council elected to remove the totem. 

That should be the end of the matter, right?

Not really.

According to the official video log, Councillors Garrison and Jensen moved and seconded that Council adopt staff recommendations 1 (removal) and 2 (photo/plaque in the foyer). 

Councillor King asked about the relocation of the totem. 

Staff was stumped. 

Apparently, having deciding upon removal, little if any thought went into, “And then what?”

With no relocation plan, Councillor King, who grew up in Alert Bay surrounded by totems, spoke out against its removal. When it became clear that the vote would proceed without further delay, (despite the fact that neither Tsartlip nor Tsawout had been consulted), King asked to sever the motion, voting first on the removal of the totem, and then on a display in the foyer. 

While the video log clearly shows Councillor King’s sole opposition to the removal of the totem, the official minutes tell a different story, stating that the motion passed unanimously.

And so Central Saanich is now faced with the unenviable task of answering the question, “What does one do with an old totem pole?”

“The traditional practice with totems was to let them fall to the earth and go back to where they came from,” says Carey Newman. “So it’s a new question to determine what to do with a totem when it becomes a potential hazard or risk.”

Unfortunately, it’s a question bound to come up again. A totem can take months to carve. Accordingly, they’re not inexpensive. Commissions for poles today often come from corporate or civic entities, who perhaps appreciate artistry more than cultural significance. Ironically the Saanichton Village Association itself could serve as an example of a typical client, with its recent commission of four new welcome poles at a time when the municipality hasn’t figured out yet what to do with the old one. At some point future councils will be forced to revisit the issue. How today’s council handles the culturally sensitive situation will likely serve as a blueprint for future action.

There might be a solution here.

Although totems traditionally disintegrate in place, it’s not unheard of to move a pole. The famous collections in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, Victoria’s Thunderbird Park, and the UBC Museum of Anthropology were relocated from all over BC. 

Newman tells of a totem given by his family generations ago that after consultation was relocated to the U’mista Cultural Society in Alert Bay. “But it was a different situation because it had been kept in a protected environment.” He adds, “It wouldn’t make me happy if it was my family that had carved the totem and it just came down and a photo put in its place. And it may be that it’s time to come down and if that’s the case, then have a proper discussion around what’s to take place.”

Is that the answer for Chief Thunderbird?

If so – where will it go?

And not to be crass – but who’s paying for it?


Election 2014 Central Saanich

Election 2014 Saanich Municipality

Saanich Physio
Lana Popham
Rob Fleming
Colin Plant
Getz & Burden
Devine Vineyards
Fraser Plumbing
Orr - TY
Roseland Dental
Farmlands Trust
James Joinery
McGinnis Electric
Mc Ginnis
Cormier- thank you
Moodyville New
Graphic FX Signworks
Lifestyle Market
United SD61
Zeb King
Original Fire Creative Studio
Atwell for Mayor
Celia Stock - TY
Heather Gartshore
Fred Haynes