For months, Mayor Dean Fortin has dodged questions about the upcoming election, but on Monday morning he announced his intention to run for a second term.
“It has been a fantastic three years,” said Fortin. “We need to keep the momentum going. I want to make sure we maintain our focus on affordable housing, on public transportation and our commitment to the environment.”
Among his accomplishments, Fortin lists housing for the homeless and improvements to the downtown, resulting in a 26 per cent reduction in social disorder.
“We’ve launched our economic development strategy and we recognize that without a strong economy you can’t deal with those quality-of-life issues,” he said.
If re-elected he aims to implement the plan. “It must demand action,” he said.
Fortin will have at least one challenger for mayor.
Paul Brown, who ran for a spot on council during last November’s byelection, declared his intention to run for mayor in May. He’s been actively campaigning since then, focusing his message on the city’s seven per cent property tax increase for residents and the mayor’s “lack of financial discipline.”
When asked if these criticisms will resonate with voters, Fortin said it’s not what he’s hearing from residents.
“When we go out and engage with our community, which we’ve done a lot over the last three years, we really hear what’s important to them,” he said. “High quality level of services, making sure we do pay attention to affordable housing and homelessness. We hear strongly from our voters that what we’ve been working on have been there priorities.
• Meanwhile In Esquimalt, Barb Desjardins quietly acknowledged her intention to run for a second term as mayor in March. She lists the contentious policing agreements with Victoria, sewage and the Village Core Project among her top priorities if re-elected.
Municipal elections will be held provincewide on Nov. 19.