On this Valentine's Day, I've come to the realization that I love my new job. (And I insist it is no reflection of other reams of my life.) 101 days ago I was elected for the first time as a Saanich Councillor. Those 101 days have featured of some of the busiest, most exciting, and yet most intellectually challenging experiences I’ve had in my 35 years — which have consisted of more post-secondary education and forms of employment than I care to share.
Things are not as simple as they once seemed from the other side of the table. Every week, I’m surprised by the tensions that are present just below the surface of almost every item that comes before us for a decision. Tensions in the form of competing objectives and trade-offs that have to be weighed, often with limited guidance from policies and against the confounding backdrop of electioneering rhetoric of not-so-many months ago. Competing objectives like tree canopy & sidewalks, planning regulations & affordable housing, improving service levels & recognizing residents' willingness to pay — to name just a few. It's a good thing I like challenges.
I put a great deal of thought into every decision I make. But uncertainty about if I landed on the right side at the end of the day (or more commonly the end of a very long night) has kept me awake more than once or twice in my short tenure. This municipal council business is not easy. If there’s one thing I can assure you of, it’s that we’re not in it for the money.
The best thing about my first 101 days on the job has been the atmosphere of openness and encouragement that characterizes our current council dynamics in Saanich. We are a relatively diverse group (as far as age, gender, and elected experience are concerned) and yet despite this — or perhaps because of it — we are working together as I believe Councils should: respectfully, collaboratively, and thoughtfully. May that continue.