Maja Tait has many things going for her as she launches a campaign to win a third term as Sooke mayor.
The 48-eight-yeard-old wife and mother has served on Sooke council since 2008, winning first as a councillor and then as mayor, and although her challengers lack political experience, she takes nothing for granted.
Political neophyte John Knops is making his first attempt in a mayor’s race, while Mick Rhodes is pursuing a second run after gaining just 135 votes in the 2018 civic election. Williams Wallace dropped out of the race two weeks ago.
“Local government is all about the people. It’s my job to bring out the best in everyone,” Tait said.
Over the eight-year reign of Tait, with her compassionate style at the head of the council table, Sooke has evolved from a rural outback of the Capital Regional District to one of the province’s fastest-growing communities.
Over the last four years, there has been rapid development of housing, building infrastructure, a focus on economic development to bring more employment to the community and a strong recognition of the impact of climate change.
Still, promises of creating a new official community plan have stumbled over the last four years.
Many councillors hoped to adopt a new OCP.
This week council will hold a public hearing on the 238-page planning document. Councillors wanted to adopt it before this fall’s municipal election at the beginning of the term.
Tait said now isn’t the time, and councillors should push the proposed OCP to the next council .
“The vision is fine. Everyone agrees with that. It’s the implementation piece where there’s disagreement,” Tait said. “Our partner, the development community, is not on board, and we need to understand why in a less combative way.”
Over the next four years, Sooke faces challenges – not just on a local level but at an international one, too, Tait said, as the world deals with the war in Ukraine, hyperinflation and supply chain issues.
She expects more Ukrainian refugees to seek homes in Sooke, and there are municipal service delivery challenges. Work will also continue improving infrastructure, local employment and creating a range of housing and business space.
“There is always something we need to work on,” Tait said. “If council works cohesively and does the work it needs to do, then we can tackle those issues as they come forward.”
Tait captured 56.4 per cent of the vote in the 2018 election, easily beating Rhodes and former councillor Kevin Pearson.