Saying there’s more work needed to steer the district toward better health care, transportation and affordable housing options, Sooke Mayor Maja Tait will stand for re-election on Oct. 20.
“It was an easy, but difficult decision to run again,” said the 44-year-old Tait, who is completing her first term as mayor. “I enjoy the work and love the community, but I needed to factor in that I have aging parents and I’m in mid-career.
“I’m excited and energized about the next four years.”
Asked about successes of the past four years, Tait points to persistent and strong advocacy for expanded primary health-care services and Highway 14 safety improvements, the roundabout along with its improved traffic flow and safety – not to mention the beautification of the town core area.
She also points to funding decisions supporting new and future recreational facilities: trail and park enhancements, SEAPARC’s acquisition of the DeMamiel Creek golf course and the planned $2.5-million expansion and planning for further trail connections.
Tait said she and council pushed forward with affordable housing initiatives, new business starts in the town centre, modernizing municipal operations and continued responsible fiscal management.
Dealing with unprecedented growth will take centre stage throughout the next term, she said.
“Our job is to make sure Sooke is sustainable and affordable.”
Tait wants a commitment – and real action – from the provincial government on access to family physicians and health care.
She also wants to see the municipality continue to improve roads and infrastructure, add more affordable housing, match growth with emergency services capabilities and expand neighbourhood green spaces.
“There is strong momentum in all these areas,” said Tait, adding for the work to continue requires commitment and resources from higher levels of government.
Over the last four years, Tait has been a tireless advocate as Capital Regional District director, first vice-president of the Union of B.C. Municipalities, and has a good working relationship with Premier John Horgan and members of the provincial cabinet, not mention numerous community groups.
Still, many critics, including mayoralty challenger Coun. Kevin Pearson, say the mayor and council could have done more over the last four years.
“So much we did wasn’t visible,” countered Tait, including the start of a $750,000 road rehabilitation program, taking over the management of the district sewer system that’s expected to save thousands of dollars in the years to come and adding more police officers and firefighters.
“If you want me out there cutting ribbons all the time, I certainly can do that, but for me there’s a long list of things to do, so you just move onto the next list of things that needs doing,” she said.
Tait first ran for council in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. She decided to run for mayor when Wendall Milne didn’t seek re-election in 2014, and squared off with then-councillor Herb Haldane. She beat Haldane easily doubling the vote count.
Tait’s married and has one child.