Mark Leiren-Young for Saanich Council

Local government changes and saves lives and has a huge impact on our quality of life. When the world was in lockdown, I was so grateful for the friends we have here, our neighbours and this community and that’s when I knew I wanted to do all I could to serve the people of Saanich.

I’m aware of the importance of listening to you, answering your questions, addressing your concerns and staying in contact.

I know how to research, work with others and get things done.

I will do all I can to help our home thrive—and become more affordable, liveable, safe and secure.

My Priorities:

Value our natural resources

I want Saanich Council to adopt the Natural Assets Management pioneered in the Town of Gibsons BC, which places an economic value on water, wildlife and soil the same way we value roads, trucks and stop signs. Here’s a link to more information on this award—winning approach that explains how natural resources are part of are infrastructure and not, what some businesses like to consider, “externalities.”

Find solutions for affordable living

In Saanich there’s no one-size fits all solution. What’s right for Prospect Lake is not necessarily right for Gordon Head. I will put forward and/or support initiatives to increase supply and affordability and advocate for a different lens for “affordability” than “10 percent below market rent.” This may be a valid metric for some projects, but we desperately need more homes at a rate not based on prices in a market where housing is so scarce.


More Student Housing NOW:

I will fight for more housing for UVic students on and off-campus, and do all I can to support the creation of housing for Camosun students, provided by Camosun. Yes, I know this requires lobbying the BC government - and I look forward to convincing them that this has to be a part of any new housing strategy.

Improve community engagement

Saanich has a diverse population, and not everyone is comfortable with public hearings and formal council meetings. Listening to people is how I learn, and I will find ways to open communications channels beyond the world of formal settings and social media. How about a casual chat over coffee? How about keeping these casual chats going after the election too.

Strengthen Arts and Culture sector

I work as a writer of books, television, film and plays - even museum exhibits - and am currently employed at the University of Victoria teaching writing. I know how important arts and culture are for both community-building and the economy. This includes supporting community events and gathering places and the proposed new Camosun film studio - which has the potential to make an incredible impact on the local filmmaking scene. 

About that Camosun Film Studio...

Making movies and TV was "my day job" for decades. I also covered the BC film scene for publications like The Hollywood Reporter and ran Reel West Magazine - which covered western Canada's media-making industry. So I understand what studios do and can do and how they can support the community. I also know how well-run studios run. And one thing I will be advocating for when the studio proposal comes forward to council is ensuring that some studio time - and any downtime between bookings - is available at a deeply discounted rate to support BC's independent media-makers, with priority given to LOCAL media-makers. Also... parking... Studios need parking.

Build more/better community infrastructure

Yes, Saanich needs to keep building out sidewalks, bike lanes, car-charging facilities and other service infrastructure, as well as working on accessibility. But we need a coordinated plan with well thought-out priorities.

What you can expect from me as councillor:

  • Facts matter to me and I’m used to reaching out to experts from our community, our province and around the world.
  • Sharing information also matters, which is why I’ve included links to all candidates for Saanich council on this site. Much of my work focuses on explaining complex issues without getting lost in jargon and legalese. One of my goals as a councillor is to communicate clearly and effectively beyond the confines of council meetings and tweets.
  • If you’d like to know more about my thoughts on Saanich, I regularly update this site in response to your questions.

What you can do:

Email me here, or check out my calendar and find out where we can connect in person.

Help me as volunteer on my campaign. That would be fantastic. 

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And when it’s time to elect eight councillors, please save one vote for Mark Leiren-Young for Saanich Council and CRD Director.


Thank you for visiting and thanks for caring.


Mark Leiren-Young