A Saanich Police detective is looking to spend his days working in Saanich and nights sitting on View Royal council.
Det. Const. Damian Kowalewich, an 11-year-resident of View Royal, is one of six candidates challenging for a seat in View Royal’s Nov. 18 byelection. The seat became available following the August resignation of Coun. Heidi Rast, who left after nine years on View Royal’s council to advance her career out of province.
Kowalewich isn’t the only Saanich employee seeking a seat, as Saanich Planning graphics designer Adam Flint is also running, as are Jodi Zwicker, Angela Hanes, Mark Brennan and Nathan Daisley.
If he can get in, it will be a balancing act for Kowalewich, a father of a two-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son, and a masters student in public administration at the University of Victoria.
“One thing about View Royal is its council sessions aren’t as long as Saanich’s, of course there’s lots of reading to do, but it doesn’t have the late nights of Saanich council,” Kowalewich said. “View Royal is a passionate community that takes itself seriously, even if it’s only 10,000 people.”
View Royal council meetings are the first and third Tuesday of the month, with a committee of the whole meeting on the second Tuesday and some public hearings.
It’s rare that a police officer sits on city council but it does happen. The 13-year police officer has been involved in some heavy Saanich investigations during his time but his political aspirations go back to his days a bachelor student involved in the Student Society at UVic.
“I talked it over with my family, met with my employer, met with the mayor and council of View Royal to make sure I go into this fully aware I’m able to comfortably balance both roles while maintaining work-life balance,” Kowalewich said.
On Kowalewich’s platform is the continued re-purposing of the Choices Transitional Home, the former youth jail in View Royal that currently houses 50 people who were previously homeless.
“It’s on the radar of View Royal residents and I want to make sure the details are communicated so everyone can have their say,” Kowalewich said. “I think it’s a great idea, getting people help for addiction is an important piece of the community, and I want people to feel engaged in that.”
Kowalewich, who is the chairperson for the Victoria branch of the Citizens Advisory Committee for federal corrections, supports Choices as a long term addiction facility with a more structured environment.
“We have pre-existing infrastructure there that needs to be used in a fashion that will help people. If it’s transformed into a long term addiction facility, maintained and supported, not just financially but by the community, but by Greater Victoria as a whole, everyone is touched.
“I want to help foster this community and ensure that all residents have the opportunity to be part of the community planning process.”