News

Victoria civic election races on quick simmer

To say Lisa Helps got a head start in this year’s civic election would be an understatement.

Helps declared herself a candidate for mayor in the Nov. 15 municipal election on Jan. 1.

Since then, she’s been quietly, according to some, putting together a campaign team, fundraising and door-knocking.

But Helps says she’s been anything but quiet as she attempts to unseat Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin.

“We moved into our Fort Street campaign office, have 173 volunteers ready to go and fundraising has been very successful,” Helps said.

So far, Helps is the only official candidate in the race. Fortin is expected to announce next week, although he did say he would seek re-election in a media interviews last year. He refused to talk about his re-election plan this week.

Also rumoured to be considering a run is Ida Chong. Chong lost her Oak Bay-Gordon Head seat in the last election to Andrew Weaver of the B.C. Green Party.

But the mayor’s race isn’t the only one heating up.

There will be at least two vacancies on city council with the announcement that first-time councillor Shellie Gudgeon won’t seek re-election. Helps’ council seat is the other vacancy.

Marianne Alto, Chris Coleman, Ben Isitt, Pam Madoff, Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Geoff Young all plan to seek re-election.

Helps said her run for the mayoralty has been two years in the making, and the Jan. 1 announcement was part of a strategy to be open and transparent and as a result of Fortin saying he would seek the city top elected position.

“To me Jan. 1 was the beginning of the election year and it was time to let people know my intentions.”

Helps said she’ll run her election campaign on leadership and open government.

Meanwhile in Esquimalt, Mayor Barb Desjardins told the News earlier this month she will seek re-election to the township’s top job, while councillors Meagan Brame, Tim Morrison and David Schinbein will also seek the electorate nod. Dave Hodgins, Lynda Hundleby and Robert McKie remain undecided.

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