Mayor elect Maja Tait and outgoing Mayor Wendal Milne.

Mayor elect Maja Tait and outgoing Mayor Wendal Milne.

Wrapping it up and calling it a day

Former mayor Wendal Milne talks about his last three years

Pirjo Raits

Sooke News Mirror

The last official function for former mayor Wendal Milne was on December 1 when he placed the chain of office around mayor elect Maja Tait’s neck.

Perhaps there was a sigh of relief but for certain there was a sense of pride in what transpired in the last three years.

No, there wasn’t new community buildings or perfectly placed sidewalks, but there was a sense of completion in nailing down the priorities and making some headway on the district’s connector road.

Milne sat down to chat about his last three years as the mayor for the District of Sooke.

In 2011 he easily trumped his opponent and took on the role without having held a seat on council. Not an easy task by any means, but his business experience and willingness to learn served him well.

“It was a good experience and I’m glad I did it,” said Milne. “If I was younger I would have stayed at it.”

He said the mayor’s role is a challenge and one has to be “on it” all the time. The highlight of his term, he said,  would have to be getting everything in order.

“Our fiscal house is in order and all of council and staff understood where we stand financially. It forms the basis of going forward.”

The connector road known as Wadams Way became a reality just this year and the plans for further expansion are making their way through the channels. He is disappointed the roundabout wasn’t completed in the three years but he said the town is well situated for the next five years or so with rezoning.

He has concerns that new provincial building codes could raise the cost of building by making codes more stringent.

He would like to see the connector road completed from Phillips to Charters Roads and he said the designs are 70 per cent done and infrastructure grants have been applied for from the federal government. He would also like to see back access from Evergreen Centre.

The issue of sidewalks always comes up in any question put to the community and Milne said the stretch between Otter Point Road/Murray Road and the area in front of Village Food Markets is in the plans. Money to be used from that comes from funds leftover from the Wadams Way project. He said Councillor Rick Kasper was involved and helped get infrastructure money from the province for the road.

Milne’s personal campaign and advocacy is the health and well being of the community.  He believes it is a municipal responsibility, and with his influence and involvement doors were opened resulting in more beds at Ayre Manor for hospice and a physicians’ recruitment package.

“We need to continue this process… it’s about time not money… and advocacy. As local government we have the ability to make some changes and that’s really important to the community. I think Sooke is interested in its citizens.”

Advocating for health is his pet project and he hopes to continue being involved on a personal and community service level.

If he could change anything, one of the things would be the mayor’s salary. The mayor receives $20,000/year and he thinks they should be paid a little more, as there are lots of demands on the mayor.

“The biggest job is quarterbacking, moving issues through council in line with what the community wants. They need to seriously think of salary levels.”

As far as being mayor is concerned, Milne said he is disappointed in the way people were treated and that sometimes you just have to say ‘no’ but give them the reasons why and not to make knee jerk promises.

If he has any advice for the new council that would be to be serious about working together.

“It’s okay to have differences but they need to do their homework, get on with it and not be sidetracked by personal agendas.”

So, he’s put away that part of his life, but it doesn’t mean he still won’t be involved and volunteering in the community. After him and Wendy have done some traveling, Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre is on his radar and Wendy will return to her position on the board of the Sooke Region Museum.

“Sooke is a great place to live, we raised our kids here. Being mayor was a good experience and I’m glad I did it.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read