Saanich council members and the public observed a rare minute of silence at their meeting on Monday, in honour of longtime councillor Vic Derman, who died Friday at age 72.
In front of Derman’s empty council seat were three large planters of flowers, including brilliant daffodils. In place of his agenda sat a pot of white azaleas and a bright bouquet.
“This is obviously a very, very sad day and weekend,” said Mayor Richard Atwell.
“He’s going to be dearly missed by all of us.”
Atwell read a message from Derman’s wife, daughter and sister, who said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring in honour of the retired teacher, who had served on council since 2002.
On the way into chambers, members of the public signed a commemorative book at a table topped by Derman’s photo and a message extolling “his legacy and passionate community service.”
Before taking his place at the council table, Atwell told the Times Colonist that he and Derman had met monthly or more for years at the White Spot at Quadra and McKenzie to share insights on issues. “Vic’s interest in the community inspired me to run,” said Atwell, who was elected mayor in 2014.
Flags outside Saanich Municipal Hall and on City of Victoria property were at half mast on Monday.
Council will look for a way to honour Derman’s memory in the near future, said Atwell.
Atwell said the two men met a couple of weeks ago and he put Derman in touch with people who were running a smart cities competition. “He was excited about the proposition. I’m not sure how we’re going to go forward with it.”
As far as a replacement on Saanich council, the Local Government Act mandates that “as soon as practicable” after a position becomes vacant, Saanich must appoint a chief election officer to call an election within 80 days.
Derman’s seat at the Capital Regional District board table is to be filled by his alternate, Coun. Fred Haynes.