When Coun. Kevin Pearson decided last spring to run for mayor against incumbent Maja Tait, he made it clear to reporters: “we can do better” and bring a “fresh approach” to district politics.
“Since 2014 Sooke council has made plans and approved funding, but we’ve lacked leadership in delivering results,” Pearson said. “Under focused leadership, we can do better.”
Pearson said there needs to be a shared vision between staff and council on what everyone is trying to achieve.
He envisions empowering municipal staff to do more and work closer with the community on expectations and credible solutions.
“We need to do a better job engaging and listening to the people who live work and volunteer here. My attention will be what’s happening right here in Sooke, making sure we focus on the district’s priorities.”
And that focus will require strong leadership from the mayor. Something, Pearson said, he has plenty.
Pearson is a lifelong Sooke resident. He trained as a millwright and served his apprenticeship at Sooke Forest Products sawmill on Goodridge Peninsula. He moved to Canada Post and is the manager of operations, where he’s responsible for more than 670 people.
Asked about successes of the past four years, and Person points to Lot A, but that was one small marker in a cornucopia of items.
Work finished on the Sooke Road roundabout and construction of the new library begins this fall, but most of the work – or heavy lifting, as he calls it – on those projects were completed under previous administrations.
But, Pearson added, many other projects were dropped or abandon.
“Anyone I talk to tells me building sidewalks are a priority but this has not materialized,” Pearson said.
The councillor said he could have done a better job keeping things on track, but admits work and personal commitments forced him in the background occasionally. “A lot of times I wish I had spoken up. I think I could have done a better job.”
Still, he said there’s work to do in many areas, including more action on affordable housing, salmon enhancement, repaired roads, new sidewalks, downtown core improvements, and the hiring of a new chief administrative officer.
On affordable housing, he wants to work at creating more rental stock and investigate better ways to entice builders to construct more homes, both for renters and first-time house buyers.
Pearson plans to retire from Canada Post this fall, and promises, if elected, to become a full-time mayor.
“Our community of Sooke is at a critical stage. We need strong leadership and a clear vision moving forward in the best interest of the whole community, not just special interests.”
Besides politics, Pearson is active in the community, helping the Sooke Community Association and Sooke Lions Club with events, and as a coach in minor sports. He has served two terms on Sooke council. He’s married to Trudy and they have three adult children and four grandchildren in Sooke.