There’s been so much change, sometimes it’s hard to know whether we’ve had more change in council or in senior staff.
Sooke’s municipal history appeared to get off to a great start in December 1999, with the election of Ed Macgregor as mayor. Not long after the Council’s first term was completed in November 2002, however, we suffered the loss of Mayor Macgregor who died suddenly in April 2003.
This photo shows how things stood in June 2003 after a byelection for two seats had taken place; the one contest for mayor, and one contest to fill the vacancy created when Coun. Janet Evans resigned to run for mayor.
Standing at left is Coun. George OBriain; retired from public service now, he remains a Sooke resident today. Next is Coun. Marcus Farmer; while he left politics after two terms, he is seen these days chatting with customers in his role as manager at Shoppers Drug Mart. Councillor John Farmer stands next to his son. Retired from a long career in pharmacy and merchandising, he still keeps his hand in the dispensary if called upon.
Coun. Tom Morino was once a Sooke resident, not only a practicing solicitor, but a business owner, with a restaurant in Evergreen Centre. We understand he continues a law practice with an office in the Western Communities. On the right is John Stephen, who won the councillor position in the byelection. Now passed on, John served this area for a number of years as a federal fisheries officer.
The two ladies in front of course, remain well-known today. Janet Evans was not only on the first council, but served as mayor from June 2003 to November 2011. She continues to be active in the community. Lorna Barry has had a long political career as well, in 1991/92 as regional director, and then two terms on Sooke council. Today Lorna’s life is quieter, especially enjoying visits from grandchildren.
The photo on the right shows Sooke’s first full-time CAO Tom Day. The staff has had many changes as well, and we have seen a continuing turnover in the CAO position. First, after council’s inauguration, was David Gauley, put in place by the province briefly to establish initial procedures. Tom Day was next, but left after Ed Macgregor’s passing.
CAOs that we have noted following in succession have been Peter Jmaeff, Evan Parliament, Gordon Howie and Teresa Sullivan. It should be interesting to watch how the next year unfolds at Municipal Hall.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum.