Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Larry Cross running for Sidney Mayor

Peninsula News Review
Larry Cross declares mayoral candidacy

By Laura Lavin - Peninsula News Review

Published: July 15, 2008 1:00 PM
Updated: July 16, 2008 1:27 PM

Larry Cross, coming to the end of his first term as Sidney councillor, has announced his intention to run for the Mayor’s seat this fall.

“The simple explanation is that people have asked me to,” said Cross, of his decision to run. “I decided a month and a half ago, but felt I wanted to get through the spring and commitments with several functions.”

Sidney Mayor Don Amos indicated he would not run again in the fall, on July 2.

“I have a huge respect for Don,” said Cross. “We don’t always agree on things, but I have a huge amount of respect for him … I have a lot of respect for him as a leader and as the mayor.”

Cross, along with the rest of council, and the mayor was acclaimed in Sidney in 2005. He has lived in the community since 1996; prior to that, he and his wife Dianne lived in North Saanich. “I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly,” he said of his first term as a politician. “I’ve learned that the municipal organization and structure is quite different from the school board and I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaws for guidance. One thing I’d like to work on for the municipality is to shape a strategic plan for the town — where we’re going, what stage we are at. It’s important people have a filter, a moral social compass to go by.”

Cross grew up in Victoria and graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Education. He followed that up with graduate studies in English literature at the University of BC.

He was a teacher in Fernie, Sooke and Saanich prior to taking a position as curriculum co-ordinator for the Saanich School District. Later he became the vice principal of Parkland secondary and principal at North Saanich middle school. He was also director of instruction for the Saanich School District, where he managed a budget of $38 million.

“I have a passion for the town,” said Cross. “This town is a very special town in my opinion. I’ve lived in other towns and visited many others. This one has a physical ambiance and vibrant attitude. Sidney has a very special main street that terminates in the gorgeous waterfront; not many town have that particular feature.”

Cross has been involved with the community on several different levels. As a member of the North Saanich Environmental Commission, the Friends of Pat Bay, chair of the Friends of the Sidney North Saanich Regional Library, chair of the Memorial Park Society and a member of the Mary Winspear Centre management committee to name a few.

“I’m concerned that the volunteers, in a sense, are tired. I’ve personally seen it in the Arts Council and in Peninsula Celebrations Society. Town leaders need to take an active role to ensure our volunteers feel supported in a positive way — not to take over — but to support the volunteers so that people are ready to step forward and participate in the leadership.

“I would like to see the volunteer committees brought together to talk, plan and look ahead. The Local Area Plan did the same sort of thing. I’d like to set up a meeting and invite community leaders from all sectors to talk about community issues. Get people to talk out of their silos. Somehow we’ve got to get people to look at the community in a broader sense, and how we as a community can get together and produce the synergy and energy that people together can do — there are all sorts of issues to deal with,” said Cross.

He says he wants to maintain and enhance the “special qualities” of Sidney and improve them with careful planning. “Concerning development, my concerns are larger than economic development, although that’s a key point. It involves the whole health of the community. We have to look after spiritual, aesthetic, physical, emotional health of our people and the town, we have to keep these things going.

“This is a real town. In Carmel and other American places, the main streets there are not real. They’re built for tourists with luxurious, high-end galleries and really touristy places, the life of the town is out in the mall. Sidney, on the other hand, is a real town with a hardware store, drug store, bakery, all the stuff people need to live; cafes and shops suited to the residents — people who live here.”

Cross is the second councillor to announce he will be running for the position of Mayor of Sidney; councillor Peter Wainwright announced he would be running for the position last March.

“I think I bring skills and a background that is different from Peter. People can look at both of us and make a decision,” Cross said.

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