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North Saanich council boots mayor from CRD

Dec 06 2011

North Saanich's new council got off to a prickly start Monday, with former mayor Ted Daly taking the seat on the Capital Regional District board that would normally have gone to incumbent Mayor Alice Finall.

CRD board positions have long been held by mayors from around the region, although there is no rule that says that has to happen.

Monday's scene was set when Daly regained a council seat in the November elections after losing the mayoral race to Finall in 2008. This time around, Finall won another term as mayor by acclamation.

There were close to 90 onlookers for Monday's inaugural council meeting, with the vocal component of the crowd clearly on Finall's side. Daly sat to her immediate left at the council table.

The meeting included an opening address by Finall and the handing out of committee, board and other duties for her six councillors. But after sometimes-heated debate, Daly ended up as the CRD board representative by a vote of 4-3, with Craig Mearns, Connie McBride and Dunstan Browne voting in his favour. Elsie McMurphy and Celia Stock voted with Finall.

Daly and those who voted with him were all aligned with a group known as Team North Saanich during the election. Part of the group's philosophy has been that North Saanich residents have been over-taxed and over-regulated.

"It's a departure and it's one that I think is not in the interests of the community as a whole," Finall said after the meeting. "It's unfortunate because the mayor is truly the one that carries the role of the head of the municipality and is the chief executive officer of the municipality."

She said that not serving on the board with the region's other mayors, as she has done for the past three years, will seem strange. "It will, because I've think that I've done a really first-rate job there. I carried it out with a great deal of energy, I have both respect and credibility at the board."

Despite the clash of ideas on Monday, Finall said council will be able to function as a unit.

"I think that we'll continue to run orderly meetings and we will continue to, from my perspective, work as collaboratively as possible for the well-being of this community."

Daly said he had hoped the discussion about the CRD board and other committee responsibilities could have taken place before the council session —instead of a public clash.

"I take no pleasure in having an inaugural meeting starting like this, I really don't."

Daly said part of the reason he went ahead with seeking the CRD role was that Finall offered him only one of six requests he had for committee positions. He offered a "compromise" where Finall would have been the CRD board representative while he would have covered labour relations and recreation at the regional level, but it was not approved.

jwbell@timescolonist.com