Back to business for Oak Bay mayor

Liberal candidate Christopher Causton concedes defeat at his Pandora Avenue campaign office after Monday's federal election. Causton returns to his job as Oak Bay mayor

Liberal candidate Christopher Causton concedes defeat at his Pandora Avenue campaign office after Monday's federal election. Causton returns to his job as Oak Bay mayor

Causton heads into the home stretch of 20-plus year council career

It was a series of firsts for Christopher Causton. The first time he’d ever used signs in an election. The first time he’d ever worked with an election team. And the first time he’s lost an election.

Causton returned to duties as Oak Bay mayor this week, after placing third in Monday’s federal election as Liberal candidate for Victoria.

He was subdued that night as poll returns showed not only a wide margin between him and NDP incumbent Denise Savoie, but that Conservative candidate Patrick Hunt had surpassed him.

“Can we change the program?” he said after federal Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff conceded defeat.

“I know he’s been badly beaten,” Causton said. “That doesn’t mean he wasn’t the right leader for me. What I like in someone isn’t necessarily what the country likes.”

After five hectic weeks of 16-hours days on the campaign trail, he resumed his Oak Bay council job, having confirmed he won’t run again as mayor in the November municipal election.

“There comes a time in one’s life when one says ‘OK, at this point there’s other things I should be looking at,’” Causton said.

He noted that he hasn’t yet decided what that will be.

He takes it as a compliment that so many people are asking why he won’t run again as mayor.

He expected to have plenty of work to catch up on at Oak Bay municipal hall.

“I will clear everything up that’s gathered in the last five weeks and will probably work twice as hard, Causton said.

“I will focus on the fact that I’ve got seven months to get all the files with problem issues (resolved) and will clear them all.”

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite said the mayor “will have to catch up on what happened at the town hall meeting and the whole Blair Gowie situation,” referring to the Runnymede Avenue heritage home facing subdivision.

Causton will also have to deal with the secondary suites issue and the ongoing Uplands sewerage system problem.

“The five weeks that the mayor was on leave was like a test period for council, which will have a new mayor come November,” Braithwaite said, adding that council worked well in his absence. “Because of the experience around the table, because most of us have been there for two terms … we basically know how to run the meetings.”

Causton said he found it amazing that of all the questions he was asked during the campaign, not one person asked about the region’s liquid waste treatment system expected to cost nearly $1 billion.

“And yet when I get back to work here, it’s the first thing that members of council are talking to me about.”

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com