Former NDP MLA and ex-Saanich councillor David Cubberley announced today that he will be running for mayor of Saanich this November.
Elected MLA for Saanich South in 2005, Cubberley served as critic for health and education until retiring from provincial politics in 2009. He was voted onto Saanich council four times between 1990 and 2002.
“I missed municipal government the whole time I was sitting as an MLA because when you’re elected to local government you are part of government,” Cubberley said at Rutledge Park, where he made he officially announced his candidacy. “Day to day you see changes that are a result of choices that you’re making and you’re connected with people who give you feedback on that.”
Frank Leonard, mayor of Saanich since 1996, was first voted onto council 25 years ago. During the last municipal election in 2008, political newcomer Harald Wolf challenged Leonard and lost by 4,972 votes.
Leonard abstained from commenting on Cubberley’s bid for the top job.
“Between now and October, we really don’t know how many names will be on the ballot and it’s not my focus,” Leonard said. “My focus is the relationship I have with the people of Saanich.”
Cubberley noted it’s been a long time since Leonard was challenged by an experienced candidate.
“I see that the community is missing opportunities,” Cubberley said, criticizing the Uptown development for its lack of walking, cycling and transit planning. “I don’t want to see us miss other opportunities of that kind.”
He also questioned Leonard’s interest in securing funding from senior levels of government, including gas tax dollars.
“It took lobbying to get that money,” Cubberley said. “(Leonard) didn’t participate actively in getting it. It’ll take lobbying to keep it and that concerns me because you simply can’t go to residential property tax for all of the needs that we have.”
Counc. Judy Brownoff sat on council for nine years with Cubberley and came out in support of his campaign.
“I think the residents of Saanich are looking for some energy,” Brownoff said. “I can’t tell you how many plans we’ve approved, how many things we’ve gone through (with) this whole planning process (in the) community and we’re not doing any of it.”
Rapid transit planning is among Cubberley’s key concerns.
“Come fall it will be a political time and that’ll be the time for my performance review,” Leonard said.