Ten candidates have thrown their hat in the ring and are vying for the District Council seat vacated when Sooke’s beloved councillor, Brenda Parkinson, died of cancer on June 28 of this year.
The slate of candidates include some familiar faces as well as a few surprises, and one candidate who has been declared a missing person.
The candidates are Herb Haldane, Dana Lajeunesse, Jeff McArthur, Lorraine Pawlivsky-Love, Kevin Pearson, Mick Rhodes, Kenneth Robar, Britt Santowski, Christina Schlattner, and Jeff Stewart.
Haldane has been a vocal critic of Sooke District Council in the past and was one of the driving forces behind a demand for changes in what Mayor Maja Tait acknowledged to be a ‘broken’ building permit system. That system was subsequently improved, but Haldane has continued to watch Council activities with critical interest.
Haldane served on Council for two terms (2008 and 2018) but lost his reelection bid in 2018.
Jeff McArthur is another well-known name in Sooke, having served as the Staff Sergeant of the Sooke RCMP detachment until his retirement in 2019.
Well respected in the community, McArthur is known as an active community volunteer and his tenure with the RCMP saw him successfully navigate the sometimes confusing roll-out of legalized cannabis in Canada as it affected Sooke and a host of other challenges in the community.
For his part, Kevin Pearson also brings a great deal of experience and name recognition to his run for Council. He served two terms on Council before opting to run for Mayor in 2018. That effort was unsuccessful.
When running for mayor, Pearson expressed frustration with the last Council, saying that it had “talked about a lot of things”, but that he hadn’t seen a lot done.
Another of the current candidates, Mick Rhodes, also ran for mayor in 2018 in a campaign that focussed on what he claimed was uncontrolled growth in Sooke.
“What I see happening here is an influx of development. It’s hodge-podge all over the place,” he said at the time.
Rhodes’ signature issue involved a proposal to purchase ocean side property for the purpose of creating a signature park in Sooke.
Santowski, who is best known for her operation of Sooke Pocket News, a website that bills itself as a “hyper-local online newspaper that covers all things Sooke”. The website declares itself to be a “community anchored news service” and calls for submissions from the community.
Santowski has not previously served on Sooke District Council.
Lifelong Sooke resident, Dana Lajeunesse, has been active in the community, having served on the Economic Development Committee, on the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Economic Development, the Sooke Accessibility Committee and the Chamber of Commerce.
He said that his focus on council would involve economic development and bringing new, meaningful jobs to the community.
Schlattner operates New Alchemy Communications in Sooke, and her website lists her as a business consultant with a “love working with anyone who has a burning desire to support communities, the earth, and all its creatures.”
The site goes on to say that Schlattner has 30 years of experience in communications, education and marketing.
For his part, Stewart works as the store manager at Western Foods and is a lifelong resident of Sooke. He made an unsuccessful run for council in 2018, citing the need to deliver value for the property taxes collected by the District.
In a strange twist, Robar, the first candidate to declare his run for the council seat, has been listed as a missing person as of last Friday. RCMP ask that anyone with information as to his whereabouts contact them immediately.
This article will be updated when the Mirror is able to contact Lorraine Pawlivsky-Love.