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Dates to Remember

World, Federal, Provincial, Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality No Comments »

Mayoral Luncheon

Mary Winspear Center
October 30th at 11:45am
Tickets $25 Chamber Members, $35 Future Chamber Members

Fundraising Dinner Gala (only 30 tickets left!)

Featuring speeches by Ryan Vantreight and Sean McNulty
Brentwood Bay Lodge and Spa
November 5th at 6pm
Tickets $125

All Candidates Meeting

Bayside School – 1101 Newton Place
November 6th at 7pm
Free Admission

All Candidates Meeting

Seniors Center – 1229 Clarke Road
November 12th at 7pm
Free Admission

Article by Paris

Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality No Comments »

Recently, I was approached by Paris who is a photo journalism student at the Western Academy of Photography. She was assigned to do an interview with a local candidate and chose me. The interview was a great time and produced a great article which you can read below. 

Sean McNulty, 24-year-old mayoral candidate, strives for the “real voice” of Central Saanich to be heard.   Over the past several months McNulty has set out to visit the 5500 households in the municipality to hear what is important to the community and allow residents an opportunity to meet their candidate face-to-face. The current tally is 3598 doors knocked. McNulty explains that currently the very vocal minority is a misinterpretation of the community as a whole. The people who come out to complain at council meetings, he says, are the only ones being heard, while the remainder of the community, many whom are busy with their own lives, are not.  McNulty’s goals include making council more accessible and transparent; to give what he calls “the silent majority” a voice at council. 

Concerns about deployment and preservation of the Agricultural Land Reserves became evident to McNulty when speaking with residents and he makes his stance on the subject clear. He opposes development on farmable land but strongly supports the rejuvenation of Brentwood Bay, Saanichton and Keating. The rezoning of these regions “for higher density commercial and residential combined use,” as laid out in his platform, would result in raised tax revenue that would then be allocated to municipal infrastructure improvements. One such example of rezoning is the Peninsula COOP proposal on Keating Cross Road and West Saanich Road. This is one indicator of how McNulty plans to expand the tax base instead of raising taxes in order to meet the needs of the municipality.

McNulty vows to make both his campaign and his plans 100 per cent transparent if elected. This includes his plans for efficient and responsible management of tax dollars, was unveiled in the posting of his Economic Game Plan on his website, www.seanformayor.com.

Another pillar of McNulty’s platform is the fair and equal treatment of all citizens, allowing everyone a voice at council meetings, from his experience that’s something, he says, that was not happening in the past. Continuing on his promise of accessibility, McNulty wants to make council agendas available for download by the public online, as well live webcasts of meetings available through the Central Saanich website.

Coming from a business background, currently running the Island View Golf Course and still involved with Five Star Paving, McNulty says he has the leadership and decision making capabilities to “run council meetings properly.” In response to those who are concerned about his age, McNulty hopes voters will judge him on his merits and his platform. “This election isn’t about who’s the oldest candidate, it’s about who is the best candidate.”

Economic Gameplan

Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality 15 Comments »

Below is my economic gameplan which can be found in PDF form under the “Platform” section of this website.

Central Saanich has major infrastructure requirements on the horizon, as well as decisions to make regarding how best to manage the municipal finances. Rather than supplying you, the voters, with the usual rhetoric about fiscal responsibility, I will outline the steps I’ll be taking to ensure a bright economic future for our beautiful municipality. My Economic Game Plan consists of three initiatives, which are growing revenue, utilizing debt and streamlining operations.

Growing Revenue

Approve new Peninsula COOP – estimated tax revenue of $150 000 annually
Approve Keating Industrial Expansion – estimated tax revenue of $1 000 000 annually, as well as $6 000 000 raised selling off surplus municipal land.
Approve Vantreight proposal – estimated tax revenue of $500 000 annually

Total additional revenue per year = $1 650 000
Total added to reserve funds = $6 000 000

By approving these three “made in Central Saanich”  ideas, we still maintain the area’s rural appeal as well as gain many spinoff economic benefits. The Keating Industrial Expansion will create good local jobs and allow us to improve our live/work in the municipality ratio which currently sits at 29%, the Vantreight proposal will bring in residents who will shop in our local village centers and the Peninsula COOP will create new jobs in their expanded store. These three initiatives will make a great place even better.

Utilizing Debt

It has often been boasted that we are a debt free municipality. Being debt free in itself doesn’t necessarily mean your fiscally responsible. Debt is a tool, and when used properly it can pose many benefits for the municipality.

For example:
Construction costs have been going up close to 20% per year. The municipality gets a great interest rate from the MFA (Municipal Finance Authority) when borrowing money which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 6%. Therefore, if you were to go the “pay as you go” route and save up for two years for a $1 000 000 project, that project in two years would cost you $1 440 000. Whereas, if you were to borrow the $1 000 000 that year and pay it back over the two years, the project would cost $1 063 694.60 after two years. A savings of $376 305.40, plus the project is completed earlier.

The revenue initiatives I support would generate an additional $627 000 per year into the general municipal fund. Off that revenue, Central Saanich could make the interest and principal payments on $8 109 558 (based on 25yr amortization at 6% interest). This is enough money (with the selloff of the surplus municipal land) to build the new Firehall on Keating Cross Road with no additional taxes levied on the residents of the district. Working with the elected council, this is the route I’d take to meet our future infrastructure requirements.

If elected Mayor, I will utilize debt to save the district money over the long term.

Streamlining Operations

From going to Council meetings for the last 6 months, I’ve come up with initiatives that will streamline operations at the municipal hall and get more output per tax dollar.

First off, staff’s time has to stop being wasted with councilors pet projects. The head administrator costs us taxpayers $55 per hour and it’s important the time is used efficiently. I’ve heard motions made and casually passed - that serve no benefit to the tax payer -that’ll take up hours of staff time. There are two actions I’d take to curtail this. One, as mayor I will not hesitate to vote down motions made by councilors that don’t pass the marginal costs vs marginal benefits test. Two, I will amend the council procedure bylaw so that motions at committee meetings require a seconder, which is standard in other municipalities.

Secondly, I will severely cut back the amount of consultants we hire to make decisions that our elected officials are supposed to be making. In 2007 alone we spent $382 519! This is an old political trick, as when Mayor and Council hire a consulting firm to do a study, then follow the findings of that study, if anything goes wrong they can blame the consulting firm and avoid accountability.

When used properly and in the appropriate situations consultants can be an asset. As Mayor, I will ensure prudent use of consultants.

Thirdly, I will apply the skills and knowledge I posses to gain productivity at municipal hall. Since I haven’t been involved in day to day operations as of yet, I will not speculate from afar the ways in which I will save you, the citizens, money. But I am a highly trained management professional and am eager to offer input into procedures, hold department heads accountable and make a good operation great.

Attack of the Mosquitoes

Central Saanich Municipality 11 Comments »

Central Saanich has a mosquito problem which has been getting progressively worse. In my early years as General Manager at Island View, I used to cut the grass as well. My routine involved getting up at 5am, throwing on a pair of shorts, then heading out and cutting the grass shirtless so I could soak up that early morning sunshine. Now that the range is more prosperous I hired an employee to do the Grass Maintenance, but he goes out covered head to toe to avoid getting swarmed! He’s not the only one getting assailed, when we have our early morning grass maintenance meetings I always come back with a few bites and our ball pickers at night cover themselves head to toe in repellent before heading out. It has progressed to the point now that we are starting to get customer complaints.

It’s not just Island View that is under attack, I’ve been contacted by a number of residents with the same complaints. Friends of mine across the valley just put in a vineyard and they can’t even go check out their crops at night it’s so unbearable! On his porch he has got a full barracks setup to combat these pests, complete with an electronic mosquito repellent machine and spray.

At a recent council meeting a gentleman came forward during the public input section stating he was from an organization called SCRAM. This is a collation of residents who’ve banded together to lobby the municipal government to do something about this infestation.

To my surprise, it turns out that Central Saanich does have a 4 year contract with D.G. Regan and Associates (http://www.dgregan.com) spending $15 000 annually to suppress the local mosquito population. Majority of the mosquitoes originate in the salt flats at Island View beach, which the contractor treats mid-April every year to destroy the larvae. Further treatment then occurs every 2 to 3 weeks. Mosquitoes live approximately 21 days with the females laying their eggs back in the flats before they die.

With these facts in mind, the problem is straightforward to solve as they must be building up their numbers and spreading throughout the community prior to the first application. I’d start spraying earlier and continue to ensure that the spraying is done within 3 weeks. The next initiative I’d take is change the contract length from 4 years to 1 year. This would allow for a review of the past years performance and enable us to adjust the application as necessary. Yes this will cost more, but if we’re going to suppress the mosquito population we should do it right or not at all. The current applications aren’t working effectively enough.

As Mayor, I will take the fight to the mosquito’s and ensure that you, the residents, are able to enjoy your properties to the fullest extent.

And then there was Brentwood…………

Central Saanich Municipality No Comments »

Over the last 6 months, the Silent Majority Tour has battled through the heat and the rain to learn what you want out of your municipal government.

I’m proud to say that I now have only one neighborhood to go, Brentwood Bay!

I look forward to hearing the desires of the fine men and women who make up the Brentwood Bay Village.

Sean

Yard Signs have arrived!!!

Central Saanich Municipality 3 Comments »

To get your Yard Sign email sean@seanformayor.com or pick one up at Island View Golf Centre (7081 Central Saanich Road).

Website Initiatives

Central Saanich Municipality 5 Comments »

Central Saanich has a fundamentally good website. It is relatively easy to browse and posses a large amount of information on what’s happening in the district. As Mayor, I’d build on this strong foundation three additional features:

1. Downloadable PDF files of Agenda Documents for Council and Committee Meetings.

- Currently if you want the whole agenda package it costs you $23 + TAX. I don’t have a problem paying and don’t expect other tax payers to subsidize my involvement in municipal politics, but I would like the option to print off the agenda documents myself. If you owned a printer the cost would be much less and it would allow you to only print off the sections that you were interested in thus saving paper (council agenda packages can be upwards of 300 pages). Other municipalities already have this feature in place.

2. Live Webcasts of Council Meetings

- This would be a first among BC municipalities and a great benefit for the tax payer. I’ve learned by going door to door for the past 6 months that most residents don’t go to council meetings and see the people they elect in action. By streaming live web video of council meetings, more people would be enabled to see their elected representatives at work providing greater transparency and accountability.

- Linksys just came out with a wireless webcam that accepts an external microphone plus features a built in stand-alone web server so no additional computer equipment would have to be purchased. It streams the video to a website that’d be made accessible off the homepage of Central Saanich. This system could be purchased for $200 and it’d be a great start. If it became a popular feature, I’d install a more advanced system. Read more about the webcam here: http://www.macobserver.com/article/2004/09/30.14.shtml

3. Business Directory

- With the greater emphasis on shopping locally now, I’d launch a page on the website that lists the local businesses. The information would be collected when they purchased their business license.

- After studying the stats on this feature, if it became popular, I’d expand it to a interactive map of all businesses in the Central Saanich district. The system would be user driven and therefore wouldn’t consume staff time. Local business owners could log on and input pictures and information on the products and services they offer for all to see.

With the innovations in technology as of late, these features can be incorporated at a low price point and provide a great value for the tax payers. Especially the live webcasts, as much of my motivation for running for Mayor was due to witnessing our council meetings over the last 3 years. I believe if more people saw them, we’d see greater civic involvment.

The most important part of any new initiative is measuring the results closely - which I’d do as Mayor and I’ve done in the private sector – then based on those results decide whether or not to continue with them. As Mayor, I’ll work to incorporate the latest technologies into all aspects of the municipality to gain efficiencies, save the tax payers money and make a great place even better.

*Post done with consultation from Honeycomb Webworks.

Sean for Mayor Campaign Presents the Fundraising Dinner Gala November 5th

World, Federal, Provincial, Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality No Comments »

This November the 5th, the beautiful Brentwood Bay Lodge will be hosting the Sean for Mayor Fundraising Dinner Gala.

Featuring a three course meal and speeches by Ryan Vantreight and Sean McNulty, the evening promises to be delicious and entertaining.

The Gala runs from 6pm to 9pm with a seating capacity for 104. Tickets are $125 and close to half of the tickets are already presold. We encourage anyone interested in attending to RSVP as soon as possible. You can do so by emailing sean@seanformayor.com, calling (250) 413-7279, or by purchasing tickets at Island View Golf Centre.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely,
The Sean for Mayor Campaign Team

Press Release - Youngest Mayoral Candidate Passes Halfway Mark in “Silent Majority Tour”

World, Federal, Provincial, Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality No Comments »

For Immediate Release:

Youngest Mayoral Candidate Passes Halfway Mark in “Silent Majority Tour”

Central Saanich mayoral candidate Sean McNulty, 24, has passed the halfway mark in his quest to knock on the door of every household in the municipality.  The political upstart began his trek this summer, several months after being the first to declare candidacy for the 2008 race.

“The municipality took an interest into the business I operated, so I decided to take an interest in what they were doing,” says McNulty.  “I was blown away by what I saw and found other residents were just as frustrated as I was.”

After wondering exactly how widespread these grievances were, McNulty set off to gather them directly by knocking on the over 5500 doors in the community.

“I saw it as a chance to supplement my knowledge of the municipality’s issues,” remarked McNulty of the tour.  “And what better way to let the residents get to know their candidate?”

Sean even bought a small gas-powered scooter so he could effectively reach all of the widely-separated homes in the mostly rural community.

“Initially people were skeptical that I would follow through with my promise, the scooter showed the residents I don’t just talk the talk I walk the walk. Now, 6 months later, we’re almost there!”

McNulty – already well-known in the community for his long-running “Sean for Mayor” billboard on the Patricia Bay Highway – provides day-to-day tracking of his “Silent Majority” tour on his website (www.seanformayor.com).  The site features articles, updates and insights gained from discussions with residents and personal views.

Municipal elections are being held on November 15th, and residents of Central Saanich can vote at the Central Saanich Municipal Hall.

Sean will be free for telephone inquiries or interviews at 250-413-7279 anytime.

Peninsula COOP

Municipal, Central Saanich Municipality 7 Comments »

I am a strong supporter of changing the designation of the long term use of the land located at the intersection of Keating and West Saanich from Rural to Commercial/Residential. By doing this, it makes it easier for the COOP to bring forward a proposal for a store on that location. If the long term designation is not put in it is still possibly for COOP to eventually build a store there, but will require amendments to the OCP which is a lengthy process.

COOP purchased this property back in 1994 and at that time the land was designated for future growth as it wasn’t in the ALR. When doing the 1997 OCP, the Mayor and Council of the day changed the long term designation to rural with no consultation with the land owners. I find this extremely concerning. Every piece of property comes with an intrinsic value that takes into account the future potential for that piece of land. Council should NEVER downzone or change the future land use designation in a harmful way, especially without the consultation of the property owner. To do so is a violation of their property rights and destroys part of the value that was within that land, essentially taking money right out of the owners back pocket.

There is huge support for this to be included in the new OCP. Pat Fafard, the general manager of COOP, submitted around 800 letters and a petition with over 1200 signatures. To put this in perspective, the total amount of people who participated in the OCP were as follows:

Open House #1: 120
Open House #2: 100
Open House #3: 100
Participants in public questionnaire on the World Wide Web: 328

TOTAL: 648 participants

Keep in mind those numbers assume that no one came to multiple open houses and filled out a web questionnaire (which I myself did so you can minus a few there). In reality, the public participation in this OCP was far less, I personally would put the number at around 350, and that’s being optimistic.

I’m not blaming anyone for this low turnout, it’s tough to get people involved in local politics and the staff took the appropriate measures to get the word out. What I am saying is that I find it extremely disturbing that when almost 4 times as many people come forward in support of a change to the OCP it gets denied by the current Mayor and Council. Is this OCP really the will of the majority as it is touted, or the vocal minority? We’ll find out on November 15th.

Traffic has been brought up as an issue, but frankly a gentleman at the Public Hearing for the OCP said it best when he stated that “traffic engineers can solve traffic problems”. Plus we are not talking about a small back road here; this is a commercial area located on a main highway into our municipality with a gas station, restaurant, Butterfly World and on route to Butchart Gardens. If anywhere should be designed to handle additional traffic this is a prime candidate right after the Keating Overpass.

Another gentleman at the Public Hearing made a great point that people are weighing in either for or against the store without even seeing the plan. This is just the beginning stages and all that’s being discussed now is allowing COOP to bring forward a proposal, which in order to get approved if I’m elected will have to be designed in a way that doesn’t negatively affect the neighboring property owners enjoyment of their land.

I know Pat personally and he is not looking to build a cheap ugly store, he wants to build something spectacular with lots of public input and ideas. After all the members - which in large part are the residents of Central Saanich – will be the owners of this store at the end of the day. Not to mention it’s in his best interest as a better store equals more customers which equals more money for the COOP. A beautiful win win!

A councilor questioned whether COOP should get special consideration for this re-designation. Councils job is to consider things, there’s nothing special about it. This proposal has broad support and the new COOP store could be a tremendous asset to the area. I stand behind this re-designation 100% and urge the councilors that voted against it previously (Chris Graham, Zeb King, Alistair Bryson) to do the same.

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