Long-time municipal councillor Bev Berger has announced she will not be running for re-election, citing family commitments.
In a statement Thursday, Berger said the next four years will bring many changes to her personal life. During the next school term, a daughter is graduating, one is leaving to start her career in the Royal Canadian Navy, another is entering post-secondary studies, and her son is planning to move away to finish his degree.
“I want to be there for my children every step of the way, and do not want to let Sooke down in the process,” she said in the statement.
“The next term will be full of exciting and challenging times. Sooke needs a full-time mayor with a tremendous amount of leadership experience, and councillors should be prepared to spend hours revamping old policies, bylaws and planning for our ever-growing future.”
Berger was first elected as councillor in 2008.
In her 10 years on council, Berger was an advocate for proactive development and scrutinizing the budget.
Within the last year, Berger launched the land use and development committee to bring Sooke up to speed with new provincial regulations.
“We have just cracked the tip of the iceberg, so my hope is that this committee will continue to work to help update our current bylaws and policies, as well as work with staff to create more efficiencies,” she said.
“We are in the midst of a housing crisis, which means we need to plan accordingly.”
Berger has not completely ruled out a return to politics in the future.
“Municipal governance has taught me the true definition of diversity, compromise and strength,” she said.
“I have loved being part of the community that has helped raise me. If you’ll have me, I may be back in four years.”
Berger is the third council member who won’t seek re-election in the Oct. 22 civic vote. Count. Kerri Reay is retiring from politics, while Coun. Kevin Pearson is challenging Maja Tait for the mayor’s chair.