Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Victoria News on the Esquimalt Election

Big change expected on Esquimalt council

By Rebecca Aldous - Victoria News

Published: July 15, 2008 3:00 PM
Updated: July 15, 2008 3:30 PM

Half of the faces on Esquimalt municipal council will be new after this fall’s civic election.

With the untimely death of former councillor Basil Boulton late last year, the declaration of Coun. Barbara Desjardins as a mayoral candidate against Mayor Chris Clement and the bowing out of Coun. Jane Sterk and Hy Freedman, at least four of the six councillor seats are up for grabs.

Sterk is grateful for her term on council, but said it’s time to focus on her role as leader of the B.C. Green Party.

Sterk has been leader of the party since last October. She ran federally for the Green party in 2004 and provincially in 2005.

“I think I have gained a willingness to push buttons where I feel they need to be pushed,” she said of her time serving on Esquimalt council.

The position has opened her eyes to the realities of budgeting and the slow pace of government, Sterk said. The experience taught her how to get initiatives rolling and passed, she added.

Coun. Hy Freedman won’t be seeking a third term. After devoting six years to municipal politics, Freedman said it’s time to focus on his family and three new grandsons.

He is pleased with the work he was able to achieve while on council, which includes upgrade projects to Esquimalt Recreation Centre and Esquimalt and Craigflower roads.

Freedman was also instrumental in turning the Capital Region Emergency Service Telecommunications around. Freedman sat as chairman on the CREST board and helped implement multiple improvements to the radio system.

Coun. Lynda Hundleby will be seeking a third term. She said there are many projects she had a hand in starting that she wants to continue pushing through, such as the Esquimalt Village Project.

Esquimalt is facing an exciting time with important issues, like sewage treatment, she said.

Hundleby said she has enjoyed serving on the “yes” side of council this term when it comes to moving forward and hopes to offer her experience for three more years.

As council is sure to look different after the election, Hundleby said it is important for some continuity to remain at city hall.

Coun. Don Linge will also be seeking another term. The veteran councillor said there are many projects he would like to complete, too.

There is speculation that Esquimalt resident Ali Gaul will put her name in the election pool. Gaul is an active member of the Esquimalt Residents Association and a staunch supporter of saving Archie Browning Sports Centre.

Gaul expects to make a decision by the end of the month.
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