Newly elected View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias is set to sit in the big seat for the first time Tuesday (Nov. 1), with the new council being sworn in and the first meeting held.
Tobias unseated long-serving incumbent David Screech, winning with 1,291 votes to Screech’s 1,055, though Tobias said he was confident he was in with a chance on election night, as more and more people started to engage with his campaign as time went along.
“I learned a lot in the campaign process. I’ve never been a politician before. And so we didn’t come in with any assumptions even on how to do a campaign,” he said. “It was not my intent in August to run in the election. Plans change quickly and I think my wife supported the fact that I got it to create at least another option on the ballot so that we can have an opportunity to enjoy what a democracy is all about.”
Going in Tobias has identified advisory committees as an area he plans on tackling first. Currently View Royal has two advisory committees, one for community development and parks and recreation, but Tobias wants to expand that. He’s set to motion during this first council meeting on Nov. 1 for the establishment of committees for parks and recreation, environment, arts and culture, planning, development and engagement and transportation.
Tobias hopes those groups will act “as a sounding board to better understand how the public is really feeling about one thing or another.”
“I think probably what’s changed in the past few years is that government’s expectations on how it will govern, maybe haven’t changed, but people’s demand for timely information and input into decision making has changed. So unless we’re focused on keeping up with what that looks like, I think we’re slipping behind and missing a good opportunity to make better decisions for the future.”
View Royal was one of four communities that voted out an incumbent in this past municipal election.
“I still remain somewhat surprised that I wasn’t successful. But I think it was just a night of change. I think clearly the voters were, were in a mood for change, and I got swept up in that,” said Screech.
Screech says now he’s off council, he’ll have more time for his business, but still plans on being actively involved in municipal life.
“I see my role going forward as a little bit of a council watchdog,” said Screech. “We have so much good going on in View Royal. It’s a wonderful community. There, there’s a whole lot of good going on and I think it’s a real shame that we seem to be focusing on negative and what people perceive to be negative. I think we need to be aware of that.”