NANAIMO COUNCIL CANDIDATES
George Anderson decided to run for city council Nov. 19 because he sees Nanaimo at a crossroads.
“It’s time for an approach to community development that sees everyone – families, singles, students, the disenfranchised, business owners – working together to make Nanaimo a really amazing city,” he said.
Born and raised in Nanaimo, the 20-year-old clerk with Canada Post enjoys playing sports, loves music and plays five different musical instruments.
He’s involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island, the Salvation Army, Leadership/B.C.-Nanaimo, the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society.
He said he wants to become the same kind of city activist he was growing up as a kid where ‘listening’ is a sign of respect, not a pause between arguments.
“All people matter, whether they live in the north end, the south end, Harewood or downtown. City council needs to see the issues through the eyes of the people of Nanaimo,” he said.
For more information, please search him on Facebook.
Bill Bestwick is seeking his third consecutive term on city council, looking to set an example and reinforce his commitment to Nanaimo through policy and action.
“It is imperative our city elects a strong and balanced representation of community leaders,” he said. “Leaders who have the strength, conviction, fortitude and vision necessary to take our city forward and reach its full potential.”
A lifetime resident of Nanaimo, the 57-year-old was a member of the original Nanaimo Clipper 1972 Junior A Hockey Club and received a bachelor of arts degree from St. Louis University.
Joining the Regional District of Nanaimo’s facility arena management team in 1980, Bestwick later managed the Great Pacific Forum in Delta and returned to Nanaimo in 1999 as general manager, head coach and later co-owner of the Clippers.
For more information, please go to www.billbestwick.com
In her first attempt at getting elected to city council, Arlene Blundell hopes to bring a little creativity to the position.
The 70-year-old retired teacher is heavily involved in Nanaimo’s theatre, dance and music communities, and is running on a election platform of creative leadership.
“I really feel we need more creative thought put into council when dealing with city staff, other levels of government and neighbouring communities,” she said. “Creativity is the engine of growth, and of course the foundation to creativity is involvement in the arts.”
Born in Weirdale, Sask., Blundell has lived more than 40 years in Nanaimo and was a member of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission’s cultural committee and the Nanaimo Film Commission.
She is a 21-year member of Altrusa Nanaimo and has just stepped down from a 20-year run as chairwoman of the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive.
For more information, please go to http://arleneblundell.ca.
A strong commitment to community has convinced Diane Brennan to run again for Nanaimo city council.
The 60-year-old sat on council for two terms in 2002 and 2005, but was defeated in 2008 in her run for mayor.
Enjoying her time on council, Brennan feels a lot was accomplished in her six years, but there is more to do.
“I think we are at a crucial point in Nanaimo’s history. We’re moving slowly but steady from a small town to a city and we have to make sure we get this right,” she said. “We have all the pieces to solve the puzzle of social and economic development. We can’t make a lot of mistakes along this road.”
A resident of Nanaimo since 1976, Brennan has served as a director on numerous non-profit and charity boards including the United Way, Nanaimo Youth Services Association and the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society.
For more information, please go to www.electdianebrennan.ca.
Brunie Brunie isn’t running a high-tech campaign for city council during this municipal election.
No website, blog or Facebook … Brunie’s only contact is her telephone number – 250-618-3859.
“That number is on my election signs because I want the public to talk to me. I want to hear what they have to say,” she said.
A candidate in several federal, provincial and municipal elections, Brunie, 69, said her No. 1 issue in this campaign is economic development.
“We’re living in the warmest area in all of Canada and should be producing all of our food locally and creating jobs through that,” she said.
Born in Germany, Brunie moved to Canada in 1948, has lived for 40 years on Vancouver Island and the last 15 in Nanaimo.
Past professions included teaching ballroom dancing, fashion consulting, owning a clothing boutique and selling real estate.
She volunteers her time with Nanaimo Community Gardens and Nanaimo Foodshare Society.
Chris Cathers is falling back on his education in hopes of getting elected to city council Nov. 19.
A graduate of the former Malaspina University-College, the 32-year-old holds a degree in business management and anthropology.
“Anthropology enables you to see from other people’s perspective. In politics, it’s definitely applicable,” he said. “You have to be able to see the point of view from everyone involved. If you can’t do that, you’re going to have a hard time understanding the problem and making decisions.”
Working in construction, Internet marketing and web design, Cathers is a member of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and a volunteer with the St. John Ambulance dog therapy program.
He hopes to bring leadership and momentum to council.
“My platform in based on a balanced economy, society and environment and how we can’t have one with out the others,” he said.
For more information, please go to www.cathersforcouncil.com.
A second place finish in Nanaimo’s March by-election for city council only whetted Brian Fillmore’s appetite for municipal politics.
Born in Nova Scotia, the 43-year-old has a degree in political science and says he has a passion for public service and is committed to Nanaimo’s future.
“I really feel we’re at an important point in Nanaimo’s history and the public is ready for change,” he said. “The biggest thing I learned in the by-election is these hot-button issues that seem to polarize the community are all about openness of government.
“I feel a lot of things in this town seem to get done behind closed doors and then thrown at the public last moment.”
A sales representative with ABC Precast and Ready Mix, Fillmore served on Nanaimo’s Crystal Meth Task Force, volunteers for the Salvation Army and is a youth leader at ET Family Church.
For more on Fillmore, please go to http://brianfillmore.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Gord Fuller first ran for a seat on city council in 2002, it was to try and do something about the lack of communication between the city and its citizens.
Now in his fourth election campaign, the 53-year-old social advocate says nothing has changed.
“I see this as even more important in this election,” he said. “The city does not do a great job in communicating and there are easy ways to improve that. Some might cost a bit more, but the benefit of including the citizens in the process of making decisions in the city far outweighs the costs.”
A child and youth care worker with Nanaimo Youth Services Association, Fuller is chairman of the Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society, and is involved in the Nanaimo Working Group on Homelessness, Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy and the Mid Island Coalition for Strong Communities.
For more information, please go to http://gordonfuller.blogspot.com.
Winning the city’s March by-election tgave Ted Greves a taste of municipal politics and the desire to continue.
The 60-year-old retired firefighter said he’s gained a lot of knowledge in his time on council but there is much more learn.
“I owe it to the people who voted for me to run again,” he said. “I’ve only been on council eight months and I’m just getting my feet wet.”
Greves said his desire to run for council came from his work as president of Nanaimo Professional Firefighters Union Local 905, negotiating contracts with the city on behalf of the union.
“I got to know the city, how it worked, what mattered, what didn’t matter,” he said.
Issues on his platform for the Nov. 19 election include the social housing site on Uplands Drive, a hotel connected to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and a foot ferry to Vancouver.
And avid cyclist, Greves also enjoys playing hockey and golf.
For more information, please go to http://tedgreves.shawwebspace.ca.
Diana Johnstone is running a for a second consecutive term on city council because she feels her job is not yet completed.
“There’s a definite learning curve and it’s not until halfway through your term that you become comfortable in your role. To just stop now just wouldn’t be right,” she said. “I’ve spent a lot of time and attended lot conferences at taxpayers’ expense to learn my position. I really want to put that knowledge to work.”
The 70-year-old said her top priorities are a hotel linked to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre and a foot ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver.
“It’s all part of the big economic puzzle,” she said.
Johnstone moved to Nanaimo in 1982 and has been a member of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission for the last 12 years.
She has also been involved with the Port Theatre Society, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Nanaimo.
For more information, please go to www.dianajohnstone.ca.
Having grown up in Nanaimo, Jim Kipp has always felt a responsibility to get involved with his community.
The 60-year-old self-employed custom residential and commercial designer and land use consultant is seeking his second consecutive term on city council. He sat on council from 1993-1996 and is the former emergency program coordinator for the city.
“I started my volunteering, service and advocacy in my 20s and have served in public office, but think of myself as a community activist,” he said. “Seeing positive change in our human and natural environments over the years is a reward.”
Key components to Kipp’s election platform include the economy, environment, social issues, planning and communication.
“Working towards the larger community visions of a strong local economy, community equity and clean, safe natural and human environment is what I see as our single biggest opportunity,” he said. “I am committed to help make Nanaimo a better place to live.”
For more information, please go to www.jkipp.ca.
Prior to being defeated in the 2008 mayoralty race, Gary Korpan served 24 years on council, 15 of them as mayor, one of the longest serving municipal politicians in the city’s history.
Having had a term to take a step back and recharge his batteries, Korpan is now looking to return as a councillor and, if elected, bring experience to the table.
But first, he said, he’s going to have to once again earn the backing from voters.
“To be realistic I think there is still a lot of negativity from the last campaign and I need to restore trust and confidence in me amongst the voters of Nanaimo,” said Korpan. “I thought I could be useful on council but it’s all up to the voters.”
While keeping an eye on the local issues, Korpan said his time away has allowed for his health to improve, but he said he feels “frustrated at lost opportunities as a result of decision making” by the current council, most notably the time it has taken to establish the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.
Still, serving the community is where he thinks he belongs.
“I truly believe that my calling in life is to serve Nanaimo,” he said. “Council’s top priority must be to encourage investment and spur business expansion and job creation within a sustainable community that ensures a great quality of life for all residents.”
More information on Korpan can be found at http://garykorpan.shawwebspace.ca.
Rod Lomas has been on the periphery of city business for several years, now he says he’s ready to take the leap and run for city council.
As an air traffic specialist with NAV Canada for the past 20 years at Nanaimo Airport, Lomas, 53, has taken an interest in learning more about solving transportation issues that face the mid-Island area.
From better use of passenger marine transportation to achieving provincial goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Lomas said he is working to generate ideas that will move people around more efficiently in Nanaimo, including passenger rail and ferry services.
“You can’t tell people to get out of their cars and not give them an alternative to get around. There has to be a choice and a plan,” he said.
To keep abreast of current issues locally, Lomas has also attended recent State of the Island Economic Summits and served on a parent advisory committee to help build playgrounds.
This is his first time running for Nanaimo city council. More information on Lomas can be found at facebook.com/Rodlomas or on twitter at twitter.com/Rodlomas1.
After two recent unsuccessful bids as an NDP candidate in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Alberni, Zeni Maartman is bringing her experience and community knowledge to the municipal table.
A chartered insurance professional at the B.C. Automobile Association by profession, former school trustee, past-president of Tourism Nanaimo, member of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, and chairwoman of the city’s Social Planning Advisory Committee, Maartman is well-entrenched in municipal affairs.
“I would be honoured to represent the people of Nanaimo to ensure that our natural beauty and surroundings are maintained, that we continue to work at being a sustainable and vibrant community with economic development, environmental stewardship and social responsibility,” she said.
Maartman isn’t new to the municipal election process. She ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2002 and 2005 and is a former school trustee.
For more information on Maartman visit her website at www.zenimaartman.shawwebspace.ca.
Two-term Nanaimo city councillor Jeet Manhas is making a bid to return to civic duties after a three-year absence.
Originally elected in 2002, Manhas stepped away for an unsuccessful bid in provincial politics in 2008. He said the time away from public office has helped him refocus.
“I’ve had some breathing room away from elected office since 2008 and made some changes in my business life,” said Manhas. “Both experiences made me realize one thing – I wish to serve my community in the best way possible, as part of a new city council with the vision to move Nanaimo forward.”
Manhas owns the FasGas franchise at Terminal Park and has been busy developing property around Nanaimo. He said one of his goals will be to make business easier to do in Nanaimo.
He currently sits as director at the Nanaimo Port Authority, is a director of the Vancouver Island University Foundation, is an active member of Oceanside Rotary, and volunteers with several local charities and fundraising events.
Manhas says a vote for him is a vote for a different direction with city council.
“Two things I want people to remember during this campaign – experience and change,” he said. “My slogan, Experience Change, encompasses two strengths I offer to bring to council.”
For more information on Manhas’s key issues, visit www.jeetmanhas.ca.
Running in March’s byelection was Bill McKay’s first foray into Nanaimo’s political scene, and while many of his platform planks from that campaign remain in place, one has surfaced that he says can’t be ignored: low-barrier housing.
While in favour of housing Nanaimo’s homeless, McKay said the process has failed the city’s citizens.
“We have to back to the drawing board provided we don’t lose the funding,” said McKay, 55. “By (Friday) the north end citizens have got more than 2,000 people supporting (Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo’s petition) and it’s the same thing in the hospital area with 3,000 people behind that group concerned with low-barrier housing. That’s not a small noisy group in my opinion.”
Topping McKay’s list of campaign issues include economic development and attracting investment to re-establilsh a foot passenger ferry from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver, as well as private investment for a multiplex in Nanaimo.
McKay said he will bring these ideas to many more doorsteps during the campaign.
“I was guilty in the byelection of not getting out to enough people and talking to them and by that I mean going do-to-door. I’ll be spending a lot more time meeting people individually this time around.”
Darcy Olsen said she learned a lot in her first attempt at running for public office in March’s byelection.
Responsible planning and development, protecting parklands, affordable taxes and aiming for what we can afford and what we desire as a city, and utilizing Vancouver Island University as a link to local industry remain key planks in Olsen’s platform, and she says she will be ready to communicate those ideas better to the electorate this time around.
“I got my points out, I just needed to do a little bit more studying as far as public appearances went during the byelection,” said Olsen, 38. “In politics I’ve grown up in the back room. I’ve worked for a premier, two MLAs and to be honest the limelight made me a bit nervous so I’ve been practising a lot and getting ready for debates.
Olsen finished third in the byelection.
A mother of two and owner of her own consulting business, Olsen also sits on the committee for Youth Sticking Together, an organization trying to beat the world record for the longest street hockey game to benefit local charities such as Big Brothers Big Sisters Central Vancouver Island, Jeneece Place and Harewood Youth Ball Hockey League.
“They need adults that need to help them so what we’re doing is bringing our skills to the table and teaching the youth our skills by pairing up with a younger person. My skill is fundraising so I’m teaching them that aspect.”
For more information on Olsen, visit her website at www.electdarcyolsen.blogspot.com.
Christopher Ouellette-Croucher has more of an informal background when it comes to issues.Instead of discussing the issues in the boardroom, he’s been on the road in his taxi cab listening to the concerns, ideas and complaints from Nanaimo residents.
“As Canadians we don’t seem to have a lot of opportunities to speak to people about the things that are important to us,” said Ouellette-Croucher, who has 10 years of post secondary education in engineering and science. “I think the taxi is one of the last bastions for good conversation and I’ve been getting chatted up a lot by local residents who have things on their mind.”
Attracting tourists rates as one of his key planks, an issue he said doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
Taking advantage of local institutions such as the Pacific Biological Station and Vancouver Island University, and listening to the stories and history of Snuneymuxw First Nation should also be key attractions that separate Nanaimo from other locations, he said.
For a complete look at Ouellette-Croucher’s platform, visit http://sites.google.com/site/cjouellettecroucher.
Fred Pattje could be enjoying his retirement, flying around the world on a whim thanks to his 36 years working for Air Canada.
Instead, he has chosen to run for council to earn his second straight term, making difficult decisions that will lay the groundwork for Nanaimo’s future.
“I think people know that I’ve worked hard for them, that I’ve done my research and my homework and my reading in order to familiarize myself with all sorts of things,” said Pattje. “But there is some really important unfinished work and I want to continue.”
Some of those issues include the launch of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation — Pattje currently sits on a board that oversees the organization’s progress; food security and urban agriculture; providing each area with a valid neighbourhood plan; and following through on the Housing First strategy which aims to house the city’s homeless.
He said it is also time to develop an asset management plan, a strategy that will help pay for maintenance and replacement on the $1.2-billion worth of infrastructure the city owns.
“We can’t do it on the backs of taxpayers,” said Pattje. “We are faced with the daunting task of starting to replace crumbling infrastructure and we need to start talking seriously about a plan.”
More on Pattje can be found at www.fredpattje.ca.
Peter Quinn Ramsay
Quinn Ramsay says he’s a regular hometown taxpayer who wants to be on city council to represent the average Nanaimo taxpayer.
Employed as the chief of maintenance at the Coast Bastion Inn, husband and father, the 39-year-old Lantzville resident said his local roots run deep.
“I’m the hometown candidate in many ways,” said Ramsay. “I was born at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, raised in Lantzville, my father is a lawyer and my mother is a teacher.”
Ramsay said he was inspired to run for council after attending the recent Vision Rally that featured Whistler mayor Ken Melamed and former B.C. premier Mike Harcourt.
“I hear the call for strong, fresh leadership, I hear the call for accountability in the process of how decisions are made and I hear the call for representation of working family taxpayers,” he said. “I want to highlight myself as the candidate that came out of the Vision Rally.”
Ramsay said key issues he feels need addressing include low barrier housing, the environment, and following the lead of other communities to create a sustainable city for current and future residents.
“We do not have to invent the model of a sustainable community,” said Ramsay. “We can follow the lead of others that have created cities with a prosperous economy, healthy environment and inclusion of all citizens.”
If elected, he said he would encourage corporate philanthropy, volunteerism and that he would work to attract creative, innovative people and businesses to Nanaimo.
Trent Snikkers is running for city council not only to bring inclusivity and transparency to the city’s politics, but as an example for younger people to become involved in the process.
“I support creating a more inclusive, transparent and accountable municipal government for Nanaimo while expanding civic engagement amongst all voters,” said Snikkers, 32.
A member of the Real Estate Institute of B.C. and professionally employed as a real estate appraiser, Snikkers said he believes Nanaimo has an opportunity to be innovative in job creation by attracting new sectors to the city, and that more support is needed for small business.
“We need to provide incentives to help them thrive,” he said.
Snikkers holds a bachelor of arts degree in urban geography and a diploma in urban land economics, both from UBC, as well as a diploma in music from Malaspina University College.
“I am a strong supporter of the arts as they are a catalyst for change and an incubator of economic activity,” he said.
For more on Snikkers, visit www.ElectTrentSnikkers.blogspot.com.
Rob Zver wants to make a difference in his hometown by running for city council.
Having already served his community as past vice-president of the Adriatic Club, past director of the Central and Northern Vancouver Island United Way, and past-president of CUPE Local 606 and member of the union executive for 21 years, Zver, 48, wants to use his experience to serve the entire community.
“As a person born and raised in Nanaimo, I share many of the same concerns that (other residents) have had in the past,” said Zver. “I share the desire to make our city the best place in which to live, work and visit.”
Zver said one of his first priorities as a councillor would be to address the low barrier housing issue, specifically revisiting the size of supportive housing units being introduced to each of the five sites across the city.
“I’m not opposed, obviously, to finding a solution to homelessness. I just don’t think they should be building 40-unit facilities in these places they’ve chosen,” he said.
Using the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation to its full potential to ensure attractions like the cruise ship terminal and Vancouver Island Conference Centre reach their potential are also important to Zver, as is providing incentives to the forest industry so the community is prepared to respond when that industry finds its footing.
“We need to work with the mills that are still here to continue on and expand when the sector improves,” said Zver.
Zver can be reached for questions at email@example.com.