The three-term politician became the first to announce his intention to run for the leadership role in North Cowichan.
The next municipal election is Oct. 20. Siebring was first elected to North Cowichan council in 2008. Since then he’s served under two mayors and worked with a dozen different councillors.
Speaking at a kickoff breakfast on Wednesday, the former radio broadcaster said his “Common Sense for Community” campaign will focus on “broadening community input, building council cohesiveness, and reducing municipal regulations.”
Siebring noted North Cowichan has 3,706 bylaws on the books, dating back to 1914. His first campaign commitment — if he were to become mayor — would be to shrink that number by appointing a regulatory review committee.
“Some will be amended,” he said, “and some will be kept, but common sense tells me that a good number of them will be repealed.”
The past president of the BC Conservative Party also promised to unveil a “detailed strategy” aimed at council cohesiveness as the election draws closer.
“Often, being on council has been like being in a rowboat where four people want to go in one direction, and three others are rowing as hard as they can in the opposite direction,” he explained. “What we need instead is the kind of leadership that gives councillors a collective sense of identity, of collective priorities, to set a direction the entire group wants to go.”
To do that means the mayor and council must not bow to pressure from groups that “claim to speak for the entire community,” he said.
“Our decisions cannot be based exclusively on how particular groups interpret the needs and values of their local neighbourhoods,” Siebring explained. “While input from community groups should definitely be taken into account,” he continued, “any group that claims to represent an entire community is, by definition, not big enough. The Community Charter says the only ‘group’ with the legal legitimacy to represent the entire community is council itself.”
Siebring is the current chair of the Agricultural Advisory and Public Works committees. He also sits on the Audit and Protective Services Committees and the Joint Utilities Board. Siebring has been assigned to act as a municipal liaison with the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce, on the Cowichan Valley Regional District Board as alternate, with the Island Agriculture Show Steering Committee, and on the Island Savings Centre Commission.
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