Two new candidates have stepped into the race for a seat on Victoria city council in the municipal election this fall.
Marg Gardiner and Gary Alberts announced their intention to run for city council in a joint release.
Gardiner has lived in the region for 25 years, moving from Saanich to Victoria 15 years ago. She is running for both city council, and for the CRD board of directors.
“Victoria is humming. Cranes everywhere, streets being dug up, downtown [is] busy,” she said. “Yet there are disgruntled, even angry, residents and business owners.”
With a background in science and an MBA in public management, Gardiner has worked in four different provinces in the fields of federal civil service, public management, regulatory enforcement, program management, research administration and technology transfer.
She hopes to focus on environmentalism, and said she’d walk the talk rather than simply agree to be greener.
Gardiner said she’s proven her ability to do so through her work with the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, and in her advocacy for tighter restrictions for ship emissions, and for clearer language in the requirements for the city’s new sewage plant.
Gardiner also believes that Victoria residents’ voices need to be better heard.
“We’ve lost a lot in community voice, the city has very much muddled communication, consultation, and engagement,” she said. “They’ve treated them the same, but they’re different.”
The city will need to hear from residents about larger decisions, like amalgamation between Saanich and Victoria, which Gardiner is in favour of exploring. She co-founded Amalgamation Yes and is now one of its directors.
“During this election I will seek the views of residents and local businesses which are most affected by City policies and initiatives,” she said.
Originally from Ontario, Alberts moved to Victoria in 1992 and loves the many perks of living in the capital city, including heading to shows at the Royal McPherson Theatre, and wandering around the Inner Harbour.
However, Alberts said he’s unhappy with some of the things he’s seen in the city lately, things he doesn’t think are benefiting most of the residents.
“I could either do what me and my friends have been doing for many years, sitting in a coffee shop venting and complaining, or I could do something,” he said of his decision to run.
Alberts said he didn’t approve of the way current city councillors have been spending money, or the time it has taken to see projects finish.
“Some complaints I’ve heard and agree with are the cost of the Johnson Street Bridge, which was a few years behind schedule, and upcoming plans for Crystal Pool,” he said. “I think one thing they should be doing is looking at what they’re spending their money on, and not automatically spend tax dollars.”
Alberts works as a realtor with RE/MAX, but has previously worked in sales management and online media consulting.
“I live in James Bay, I think it’s a fabulous city and I think the residents here deserve better from their politicians,” he said.
Gardiner and Alberts join six other candidates running for office including Grace Lore, Laurel Collins, Sharmarke Dubow, Sarah Potts, Jordan Reichert and Anna King.
In the mayoral race incumbent mayor Lisa Helps faces Gary Beyer, Rob Duncan and Sean Leitenberg.