A city council candidate says even when it seems as though Nanaimo is divided, there’s a lot that the community has in common.
Peter Richmond will officially announce his campaign tomorrow, July 13.
A former data analyst and project lead with Shaw, Richmond was caught in the communications company’s recent restructuring. Before that, it was his part of his job, he said, to look for connections and co-operation among Shaw’s offices.
Paying attention to the City of Nanaimo’s workings and its council, Richmond said he’s seen an unwillingness to compromise and listen and it’s caused projects to stall or fail.
“There is definitely some consultation going on, don’t get me wrong. I’m not discounting that,” he said. “But that’s where I think our weak point is right now as a city and that’s kind of what I’ve specialized in for the last little while.”
Richmond said he’s been passionate about local government for a long time and considered running for city council previously, but his work weeks were unpredictable.
“This is the first time I’ve felt like I can do what needs to be done to make a good show of it, not to just do the minimal effort, but to really dig in and do what needs to be done for council to help fix the city,” he said.
He said “part of the strain” has been at the upper levels of city management, but he also thinks members of council haven’t been open to discussion because of personality conflicts.
“A lot of that has been really preventable,” Richmond said. “If you’re easy to work with from the outset and you pride yourself on being easy to work with, then you never have to let it get this far.”
He hopes, as the election gets closer, that candidates and voters will get a chance to have a conversation “about what the city needs, not just what we need to fix.”
He favours a systematic approach at looking at issues, he said, rather than championing one side or the other. Even with a challenge like tent city, where people may feel strongly that it should be dismantled or remain, Richmond said there are common goals, such as affordable housing and safety and security in the downtown.
“And I think if we start to look at those, rather than a yes-no, right-wrong dynamic, we’re going to find that we have a lot more in common,” he said.
Richmond’s campaign launch is Friday, July 13, at 6 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 256 on East Wellington Road.
To read other articles about the 2018 local government election, visit www.nanaimobulletin.com/tag/election-2018.