“With my 12 years on the board of variance, together with 15 years on council, that’s 27 years – more than you get for murder,” jokes Oak Bay Coun. John Herbert.
This week Herbert announced he is commuting his own sentence and retiring from public service.
“I have enjoyed most of my time on council with a highlight being chairing the Oak Bay Centennial Committee,” he said.
At age 79, Herbert’s wit and wisdom are still sharp, but he says his wife Ann Marie Hamilton Herbert’s to-do list needs his attention.
“We have a little grandchild and my wife has been busy booking our next trip to Europe. We said we’d travel to Europe every year until we get old and the other day I told her to come over and look into the mirror with me …”
Herbert said the last years on council have been challenging ones with council turning down the rebuilding of the Oak Bay Lodge. “I couldn’t understand that. I think it’s a bad decision. … I feel some of the council have a bit of a different vision of the future of Oak Bay than I do. I’m not saying they’re wrong, just different. I’ve always promised to protect what we have,” he said.
“A lot of people tell me they like the quiet single family areas, that that’s what they came to Oak Bay for. Now there’s some discussion about secondary suites all over and lane houses, increasing density – that’s not why they’ve come here.”
He is grateful to the people of Oak Bay who have supported him over the years and says he has enjoyed working to resolve residents’ problems. He’s now looking forward to new challenges and is freely offering advice to those considering a run for council.
“A lot of people ask me if they can do it and work a full time job. Yes they can. Over the years I think I’ve sat on every committee that exists. Some meet at noon like the library and the McPherson Theatre, but he mayor will take that into account.”
His most challenging committee over the years was the Liquid Waste Management committee. “I was on that, I don’t know how many years. It’s a dysfunctional organization. When I think of these people wanting amalgamation, I get a vision of the CRD Water and Waste Management committee all sitting around the table yelling and arguing at each other and I think, ‘do you really want to do that?’” he says with a laugh.