It’s double or nothing for former Sooke councillor Herb Haldane as he’ll appear twice on this fall’s civic election ballot.
Haldane, a house builder and longtime Sooke resident, will file to run for both Sooke councillor and director for the Capital Regional District’s Juan de Fuca Electoral Area.
“I’m not a politician. I’m practical and pragmatic and I think I represent regular people,” said Haldane, a two-term Sooke councillor before losing to Maja Tait in the 2014 mayoralty race.
The civic election is Oct. 20.
Haldane, 54, sat on the sidelines for the last four years waiting for his chance to get back into local politics. He regularly attends Sooke council meetings.
He said the council is divided on issues and many recent decisions have been done for political reasons.
“The tail wags the dog up there. It’s worse than its ever been,” Haldane said.
Haldane questions many of the council’s decisions, including spending on projects not tendered properly and which do not follow district policies and bylaws or even the expectations of the provincially-mandated Local Government Act.
And he puts most of the council’s failings on the back of the mayor.
“She (Tait) hasn’t looked after how business is done up there on any level, hasn’t delegated any responsibility to any councillors or staff and has no committees involving the public,” Haldane said. “She’s let staff do whatever they want, however they want, and when they want without delegating authority.”
Haldane, who has a reputation of a bully (a notoriety he dismisses and says he’s blunt in his assessments and “tells it like it is”), said he hopes to fix what’s wrong at municipal hall.
He would like to see more transparency brought to the council and the re-establishment of the development and finance committees (both started under former mayor Wendal Milne).
Haldane would also like to see more done to create affordable housing in Sooke, and other social issues.
Over in the Juan de Fuca, Haldane will run against incumbent Mike Hicks.
He said Hicks has done a “reasonable job.”
“Mike was acclaimed last time. In a democracy, we need need choices and someone needs to run against him,” Haldane said.
“He has a pretty good following and I don’t have any false hopes that I’m going to turn out to be some savior in the end.”
And Haldane would like a seat at the CRD, pointing out regionally the only way to make change is at the CRD board table.
“The CRD is a bunch of dinosaurs that’ve been there for 20 years. They have no fresh ideas, no practical ideas. So, the only way to change as a region is by getting some new people on there,” he said.
So, what if Haldane is elected to both positions?
He’ll take both on and rely more heavily on his alternate director for help with his CRD duties, but admits he’ll be putting more effort to get elected as a Sooke councillor.
He said he’s finding support for his council run.
“I think I’ll get lots of support from people who just want somebody up there whose willing to say what needs to be said.”
But he’s also pragmatic to understand he might not win either election – and that’s OK too.
He’ll continue to sit on the Sooke Community Association board and volunteer at the legion and with other community groups.
“I’m going to stay engaged,” Haldane said.