Coleman’s retirement a chance for new candidates

The October 20 civic election has opened up for challengers with the decision by Councillor Chris Coleman to withdraw from the race.

Coleman cited the effect of politics over-riding policy at the local level in his move to retire. “I think we’ve been moving away from good governance to what is great politics, where the over-arching decision is based on re-election,” he said in an interview with The Record at city hall.

The first incumbent to step down, Coleman is a fifth-term and full-time councillor and liaison to Fairfield and Gonzales. He has been active with the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, devoting a month a year for much of this term to the CFM, the national lobby group on municipal issues.

He also sits on the CRD Water Supply Commission. After leaving city hall, he is considering pursuing a doctorate in limnology, the study of inland water systems such as lakes and ponds.

Incumbents generally have a wide advantage over challengers or non-incumbents in civic elections, an advantage extended this year by a shortened campaign period and tighter new campaign finance laws.

Thinking back to his first term in 2002, Coleman recalled earning his bruises in the council chamber. He sat between Councillors Bea Holland and Helen Hughes, two matriarchs who chastised him under the table with their feet when he misspoke.

In the last election in 2014, he finished eighth of eight councilors elected, with 8017 votes.

Nominations for this year’s election are open from Sept. 4-14.