Damian Kowalewich is running for the vacant council seat in View Royal. The Saanich Police Det. Const. has lived in View Royal for 11 years. eo3 Photography Damian Kowalewich won the vacant council seat in View Royal. The Saanich Police Det. Const. has lived in View Royal for 11 years. eo3 Photography

Saanich police officer wins View Royal byelection

Det. Const Damian Kowalewich prides himself on his time-management skills. They will undergo a test over the next 11 months as the Saanich police officer gets ready to join the council of View Royal, after his byelection victory.

A police officer with 13 years service, Kowalewich defeated five other candidates Saturday to fill the seat left open since the resignation of Coun. Heidi Rast, who left council after nine years to advance her career out of province.

Kowalewich finished with 518 votes, ahead of Nathan Daisley, a student at the University of Victoria, who received 286 votes. Jodi Zwicker, Angela Hanes, Adam Flint and Mark Brennan rounded out the field of candidates, as View Royal (population: 10,000) cast 1, 295 votes.

“I’m excited to represent the community of View Royal,” said Kowalewich in an interview. “I’m proud to live here, and I’m ready to listen.”

While it is rare for police officers to serve as municipal councillors, it has happened, and Kowalewich’s political aspirations date back to days as an undergraduate student at UVic.

A View Royal resident for 11 years, Kowalewich said he is realistic about what he can achieve over the next 11 months. But he nonetheless wants to use his time on council to prioritize transportation planning for the region, and work with the public as plans for the repurposing of the Choices Transitional Home continue.

“It’s on the radar of View Royal residents and I want to make sure the details are communicated so everyone can have their say,” Kowalewich said in an earlier interview. “I think it’s a great idea. Getting people help for addiction is an important piece of the community, and I want people to feel engaged in that.”

Kowalewich, a father of two, joins its council with plenty on his plate already. Like most municipal councillors in the Greater Victoria area, he will have to juggle his political duties with his professional career and personal life. He also currently pursues a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Victoria, a choice that he may re-evaluate.

Kowalewich said he had consulted with his family, employer and the other members of View Royal’s council before running.

While Kowalewich said he is aware of what awaits him, he believes he can pull it off.

“I’m confident that I can do this,” he said.

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