Nils Jensen hopes to keep what he calls “the best mayoralty job in the CRD.”
The Oak Bay mayor announced Wednesday he will seek re-election in the Nov. 15 municipal election.
On the heels of council’s unanimous endorsement of the new Official Community Plan last week, Jensen said he is running to build on the revitalization initiatives of his first term and implement the vision of the new community plan.
“That was a major part of my campaign three years ago. I wanted Oak Bay to have a new Official Community Plan. It became a priority of council,” he said. “Now the heavy lifting starts.”
Jensen looks forward to discussing and implementing policies on climate change, infrastructure and heritage as well as housing.
“Those are all components to ensure our community character is maintained,” Jensen said. “There’s always unfinished business at the end of every term. Certainly the vision that comes out of the OCP is something that has to be implemented.”
Other projects left unfinished include the deer management plan and provincially-mandated infrastructure upgrades in Uplands.
“We want to continue moving Oak Bay forward in terms of arts and culture,” he said, noting this year Oak Bay added an arts laureate
“We’ve already seen the results of that, some of it albeit controversial. But the core of what we’re trying to do there is have a community that’s engaged with art and I think that benefits us all,” he said.
Something he would build on, should he return to the seat, is building bridges with First Nations. Early this term, Oak Bay held a special ceremony inviting local Aboriginal dignitaries to honour the Lkwungen-speaking people including the Songhees Nation.
“Work is commencing on a First Nations ceremonial pole for the high school,” he said. “We’re certainly starting now to continue that bridge building. That will take a long time. But again it’s something that’s necessary.”
Jensen was elected mayor in 2011 after 15 years as a councillor.
“The other piece of what I’d wanted to do three years ago is open up municipal hall. You see the public engagement piece in the Official Community Plan, you see a new website now, and the engagement of the public in meetings,” Jensen said. “In terms of the municipal council, we’ve worked very well together and we’ve been able to find solutions together. You compare that to some other councils where there’s deep divisions, … I’m certainly a part of building that consensus (in Oak Bay).”
“I bring years of experience, not only at the municipal level but at the CRD level,” he said.
A former law professor and Crown counsel, Jensen served for 12 years as the chair of the CRD Water Board and three years as trustee for the Library Board. Leadership and looking forward are also things he brings to the table.
“This past summer, we saw the results of the leadership at the CRD when up and down the island there were drought conditions. Whereas, as a result of the vision the CRD water commission had when I was leading it, we were in fine shape. … It’s that looking to the future and building for the future,” Jensen said. “It’s not about an election cycle, its about the long-term vision for Oak Bay.”