Election 2018: candidate questionnaires

News Bulletin’s questionnaire responses for Nanaimo, Lantzville, school board, regional district

To compile this Election 2018 special section, we e-mailed a questionnaire to all candidates last month. The questions are deliberately general – we’ve learned from past experience that the more specific we are with these questions, the less variation in the responses. We prefer that the candidates tell us their priorities, rather than try to tell them ours.

We hope this special section provides value as a voter information resource, but most of all, we hope you will find good reason to get out and vote.

NANAIMO MAYORAL CANDIDATES

RAY FARMERE

Age 36

Ancillary services marketing and technology clerk at Vancouver Island University.

What will be your priorities if elected? My priorities will be to help make more low-income housing available in Nanaimo, to make a Nanaimo where everyone feels welcome. I will bring back after-school programs and activities for children taken away by the hand of our former premier and the Liberals. I want to take a hard look at what we can do to make Nanaimo amazing. I will sit down with the councillors and realize that and hear what they have to see and work with them fully to do great things for the city.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? First I want to look at the city’s budget overall and find out where we are at and what we need financially. I want to look at each department, within the city and see how each department is doing. If there is room to lower taxes that is something I would like to do.

Why should people vote for you? I want to be a mayor for the people. I will listen to what the people have to say along with the councillors who are the representatives of the people. By hearing the voice of what the people, the voters, have to say, this is how we will make a great and renewed Nanaimo.

DON HUBBARD

Age 72

I have been senior executive managing and operating businesses in B.C. for over 50 years. I’ve lived in Nanaimo and area since 1958. I’ve been involved in many community organizations including Vancouver Island University as chairman of the Malaspina board of governors, foundation and international high school. Others organizations include Haven Society, Children’s Foundation, Ducks Unlimited and Rotary. I’m the former chair of VIHA and am presently chairman of Atlas Engineered Products Ltd.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Building a cohesive and effective council that can work well together. With the help of council and city management, restore the pride of workplace in all of our staff. Work with the B.C. and federal governments to create affordable housing, and begin the work of eradicating homelessness. Address seniors transportation, lead the city into a productive, co-operative relationship with our First Nations, and help Nanaimo become an environmentally friendly place to live and do business.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? The Province is off-loading taxes onto the city which will leave us very little room to spend money without serious scrutiny. We cannot add a further tax burden to our residents or our businesses. With council support, community and industry groups’ involvement we will implement strategies to attract and retain investment in Nanaimo.

Why should people vote for you? I have a proven leadership record and I am not a politician. I come from a business background where one makes decisions because they are the right thing to do, not the political thing to do. I’m running because I have the skills, abilities, and desire to help this city. I make things happen.

LEONARD KROG

Age 65

Lawyer and member of the B.C. Legislative Assembly.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Engage a permanent chief executive/administrative officer. Start to build relationships with other public agencies in order to increase our strength in dealing with senior governments, especially on issues beyond the city’s mandate, for example, housing. Review advisory committee structure and mandates. Establish an economic development agency. Develop a strategy to rid Nanaimo, especially downtown, of derelict sites.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? This question is one for council. I think there needs to be a focus on improving and maintaining basic infrastructure to ensure that taxpayers are getting value for their money. But there also needs to be a receptivity to working with others on co-operative ventures and seeking innovative ways to finance worthwhile projects that would improve Nanaimo and its services.

Why should people vote for you? I believe that I am the most experienced of the mayoral candidates. I have run a business as well as being in public office for almost 20 of the past 30 years. I am ready, willing and able to serve the city in which I have lived continuously since 1979 with passion, integrity and openness.

NANAIMO COUNCIL CANDIDATES

SHERYL ARMSTRONG

Age 56

Retired from RCMP after 36 years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Our asset management fund has not kept pace with the goals set by council. We need to have money in place to maintain our infrastructure and prepare for replacement of existing structures.

We need to start dealing with homelessness and housing affordability. Community engagement should be happening now. If a site has been identified for subsidized housing we should be meeting with the neighbourhood and ensuring they understand the type of housing proposed, hear their concerns, and take steps to address their concerns. We need to advocate for mental health and substance abuse treatment. If we do not address these core issues the problem will continue and grow larger, as we have seen.

Economic development – I believe the city needs to work with stakeholders to see if the Nanaimo Economic Development Committee should be revived or is there a better model. We need to attract businesses to invest in our community. In order to do this the council needs to listen to the subject matter experts and formulate and execute a plan to move forward. Council also needs to work together so the business community has faith in a council which will put the needs of the community first.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? One of the things we need to do is be ready to take advantage of provincial and federal grants, especially when it comes to infrastructure as they are quite often large budget items. The core services review identified areas where improvements could be made to streamline processes. We need to look at implementing the recommendations. We need to continue to advocate for our share of the taxes collected on the legalization of cannabis. There is downloading onto municipal governments and we need to ensure funding comes with the added responsibilities. We need to prioritize our capital projects. Some things may have to wait. It is important to ensure if taxes are raised the taxpayer knows why.

Why should people vote for you? I take my duties as a councillor seriously. I come prepared to meetings, if I am not sure of an issue I will research it by talking to staff, subject matter experts, and speaking to those who maybe affected by the decision to be made. I try to balance the needs of the entire city not just one area. I am consistent in my approach to decisions. I keep the citizens informed of my rationale for any controversial decision and what I have done for the month on my Facebook page. If I disagree with another councillor or citizen I do it respectfully.

GUY BEAULIEU

Retired human resources and labour relations consultant for 30-plus years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Affordable housing improvements by proactively sparking construction through aggressive lobbying for grants from provincial and federal governments for housing projects in the community.

Proactively seeking funding for healthcare upgrades so Nanaimo residents have medical care available in this community and don’t have to travel to receive mental health, addictions and many other treatments.

Increasing economic development efforts to attract investments and new businesses to Nanaimo as well as facilitating existing businesses here.

Good government by overseeing operations of the city in a responsible manner through efficient oversight of setting goals then always monitoring progress and updating when necessary. Integrity and upfront transparency so people know what their council is doing for them without residents having to file freedom of information demands.

Improvements for public transit, roads and sidewalks.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Encouraging efficient governance goals and practices while always being mindful of the budget and the taxpayer’s wallet.

Why should people vote for you? When I do something, I always do it with integrity, honesty and dedication and I am respected in my field as an honest, dedicated businessman. I’ve worked on many boards and committees and always work hard to solve the task at hand. This I will continue to do for the people of Nanaimo if I am elected councillor. I want to see Nanaimo and its citizens proud to be living in a successful, vibrant community and I will work hard to see that through.

DON BONNER

Age 61

Business owner of NISA, a website design, website hosting and custom software programming company. I am Algonquin, a Rotarian and community volunteer and organizer.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To deal with homelessness issues and implement the affordable housing and homelessness strategies. Working to find a new CAO and rebuilding city staffing. Strengthen the public engagement process, where the members of our community contribute to decision making. Create and fund a new economic development entity.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Taxes should not rise above the rate of inflation. Spending will be set by the budget which will be set to the rate of inflation. Spending beyond that should go through public consultation.

Why should people vote for you? I have the experience, leadership abilities and vision for a prosperous community. I have extensive training on board governance. I know how to read a financial statement. I have been on city committees for over seven years overseeing permissive tax exemptions and grants. I have a strong background working with arts and culture groups and social service agencies in our city. I have made numerous presentations to council over the last four years and participated in most of the open houses put on by the city. As the spokesperson for the No Vote 2017 Society, I, along with the rest of the committee, were able to defeat the Nanaimo events centre in the referendum in 2017.

BOB BREUKER

WIS employee, entrepreneur.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Lower property taxes and controlled spending.

Why should people vote for you? Vision and courage.

TYLER BROWN

Age 32

I currently work for the Regional District of Nanaimo in strategic planning, asset management and intergovernmental relations.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I believe in a vision for our city that is grounded in good urbanism, inclusiveness and collaboration. For Nanaimo to be an economically sustainable and prosperous city, it must have reliable infrastructure, fair taxation that makes sense, affordable housing options, a transportation system that works and strong neighbourhoods. Our government needs to be accountable and open to everyone. This includes working with business and institutions to advance our region, confronting challenges that face us, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, evidenced-based decision making, and ensuring citizen participation. A city should be a place for everyone to work, study, and enjoy life regardless of their age, abilities, gender, income, sexual orientation or heritage.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Land is the base resource from which our community’s prosperity is built and sustained. It must not be squandered. Through proper asset management and smart land use decisions we can develop a more efficient and responsible taxation model for our city over time.

Why should people vote for you? I am running for Nanaimo city council to help build a city for all of us that is based on a positive vision for our future. Together, we can make Nanaimo the best mid-sized city in British Columbia and I believe I have the skills, experience and energy to represent our city well.

BRUNIE BRUNIE

Age 75

Fashion retail and design, realtor, community advocate, voice for people on the street.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Pushing Nanaimo into a new era of green sustainability. Solar high-tech greenhouses providing health, wealth and many green jobs. Prioritizing the great need to provide homes.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Cultivating cannabis hemp for all our paper needs would provide more tax dollars and more more money to spend.

Why should people vote for you? I am not beholden to any union or corporation. Nanaimo is my home and native land. As an elder and grandmother I can be trusted to do what’s right because I care about the future I leave for my grandchildren and yours.

GORD FULLER

Age 60

Social advocate (homelessness and disenfranchised youths and adults).

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To follow through with core services and Deloitte recommendations.

Potential for saving millions to be used towards lower taxes, increased services and employment for a growing community.

Moving forward with the affordable housing strategy.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? See above, as well as implementing the core service review.

Why should people vote for you? I have been an outspoken community and social activist in Nanaimo for over two decades working with a number of different groups and organizations over the years. I know it is critical to recognize the importance of a healthy, diverse economy in providing meaningful employment, a leg up for individuals and families in need, and the necessary tax base from which to run our fair city. We need a strong advocate on council who understands the issues in all areas of the city.

BEN GESELBRACHT

Age 37

I grew up in Nanaimo and am proud to call this community my home. I’m a clinical counsellor and have worked in the prison system. I also own and operate a successful tree service business. Serving our community as a board member for several local non-profits and as a regional district committee member is a big part of my life. I’m also a co-founder of the Mid-Island Community Development Co-op, an organization devoted to improving the health and sustainability of local neighborhoods.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My first priority if elected is to restore a well-functioning local government that can work effectively with the community. Second, is to focus on housing affordability and homelessness. Without action, these two issues will worsen. My third priority is to guide smart urban development and establish a regional economic development program to ensure a Nanaimo that is liveable, environmentally sustainable and full of opportunity for everyone.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I am committed to ensuring that our taxes remain as low as possible while providing the services we should expect from our municipality such as effective public transportation and an efficient building and development permit process. We can accomplish this by focusing on smart development. Density increases our tax base to expenditure ratio because utility services cost less when they are not as spread out.

Why should people vote for you? With my professional skills, strong track record of service, and commitment to working co-operatively for community, you can trust a vote for me is the right choice for a liveable, sustainable and prosperous Nanaimo.

PELÉ GOUDA

Age 24

BA in political science, activist, political organizer, bartender

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Housing and homelessness. Taking a ‘housing first’ approach to homelessness, as this is empirically proven to work best. And altering zoning such that we can actually use the available provincial resources for supportive housing.

Maintaining communication with the provincial government, in conjunction with fostering good working relationships between city council and city staff. This way, we won’t be caught unawares when supportive housing resources come our way.

Environmental stewardship – making every decision from the perspective of environmental sustainability. Reinstating a municipal environmental committee, and pushing that that committee focus on industrial and infrastructural – instead of individual – measures of reducing our carbon footprint.

Prioritizing local entrepreneurs and businesses over kowtowing to outside capital with no stake in the success of our community; no stakeholder is more important than the ones who make their lives here.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I believe that flat property taxes absolutely should not be raised. People are having affordability problems as it is. But I believe other helpful tax options could be explored, like a progressive property surtax on Nanaimo’s most valuable pieces of property. This could be brought in gradually – so as to not to cause shocks – and it could have exemptions, for example, to those who have owned their property for more than 10 years. This would put more money in municipal coffers for much-needed services. Additionally, it may have the effect of deflating the rental and housing markets.

Why should people vote for you? Politics are my passion, and it would be an honour to bring that passion to council.

ERIN HEMMENS

Age 40

I hold a masters degree in anthropology and have worked for over a decade in the community health field, implementing programs, conducting research and acting as an advocate for healthy public policy. Currently I am a coroner with the B.C. Coroners Service.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My immediate priority will be to deal with ramifications of the tent city injunction and prepare for 2019 budget discussions. I would encourage council to undertake a strategic planning process with the community and review the current committee structure to ensure that it is both effective and empowering for residents.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? The capital project review carried out by Deloitte in 2017 noted that capital projects were not always aligned with long term community plans and there was no consistent framework for project prioritization. Both of these deficiencies affect not only compatibility with community priorities but also budgets and eventually taxes. Council and residents have to be on the same page with regard to how we grow as a community and what we need to do to get there. This is why one of my priorities is to update the strategic plan.

Why should people vote for you? I sit on two city committees, and through those, am actively engaged in understanding significant challenges facing our community, and working to identify solutions. I bring a background in community development, professional experience in evidenced-based decision making and am hard-working, honest and skilled at working in team environments. I am a good listener who truly values community voices, and I’m wel l practised at remaining calm, clear and discreet in difficult circumstances. I am a mother of two young children – a historically underrepresented demographic and voice on council. Lastly, I love this city; I’m invested in its future and believe I have the skills to support its growth in a way that serves us all.

JERRY HONG

Age 43

City of Nanaimo councillor and a director at the RDN, businessman.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Downtown revitalization and development of 1 Port Drive. Continue to work on the streamlining and efficiencies of city processes. Increase staffing levels and continue to work on the elimination of red tape to help ensure the timely delivery of development permits and infrastructure projects. Continue work with local tourism and small businesses to promote the city as a sports and outdoor activities destination.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I am committed to ensure all expenditures have a solid, well-researched business case before approval. Continue to work on discovery of efficiencies and staff implementation of essential projects, including infrastructure maintenance and upgrades. Current council has kept taxes at roughly six per cent total in the last four years. (or two per cent if you take out the four per cent we put aside for asset management)

Why should people vote for you? Nanaimo is my home. I’ve gone to school here. I have a family here and I work here. I feel a very strong civic responsibility to do all I can to make it a more liveable city for all our citizens. I have high expectations for myself, fellow councillors and city staff. I want to help create a Nanaimo with a vibrant and sustainable local economy. I want to support infrastructure that supports and encourages job creation and tourism. I promise to work hard to ensure that spending is responsible and that taxes are within our means. I ask that you allow me to continue to work towards these goals.

PETER KENT

Age 61

Squamish municipal councillor, stunt school owner and 35-year TV/film veteran. Raised in Nanaimo with my single mother who ran a boarding house for Malaspina University-College students, I went to Fairview Elementary, John Barsby and NDSS. My early years were at Harmac, Dormans Sawmill and Kelly’s Stereo Mart. I graduated from Columbia School of Broadcasting and at age 27, moved to L.A. in hopes to pursue my dream of working in TV/film. To make a long story short, I ended up being Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal stunt double for 15 years with my first gig working on the original Terminator. Fast-forward to now, I’m married to a wonderful nurse named Marcia (VIU alumni), have twin boys, a chocolate lab, co-own my stunt school business, teach at Spotlight Academy in Nanaimo and completing a booming four-year term as municipal councillor with the District of Squamish team. It feels great to be back home on the Island with my family.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Creating ‘team building’ initiatives with Nanaimo staff, council, and Snuneymuxw First Nations are important to working cohesively and effectively for our community. Expedite Nanaimo’s affordable housing strategy recommendations by accessing funding from the provincial and federal government. We must evaluate rezoning/donating/reserving lands with extensive public consultation. Aggressively pursue funding from senior government agencies to address shelters, mental health and addiction services in collaboration with community, Island Health, and RCMP on safe and suitable locations (for example, not near schools, etc.).

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? We will need to work with staff/CFO and council to assess each line item in the budget, qualify it and understand its ripple-effect implications. Only after that assessment can I truly make an informed decision on taxes and spending.

Why should people vote for you? I’m a fresh face with deep Nanaimo roots and municipal experience. With my unique background, skills, and sense of teamwork, it would be a privilege to serve Nanaimo and work towards a safe, healthy, prosperous and engaged community.

RAE KORNBERGER

Age 56

Statistics Canada field interviewer, host and producer of A Sense of Justice radio talk show.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To continue to implement the Nanaimo affordable housing strategy and the homelessness action plan recommendations, invest in land acquisition, and begin community revitalization.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? By getting back to basics – provide the services a municipality is responsible for and leave the big legacy projects to a later date. After talking with members of staff, I believe that taxes will be burdened with the encumbrances currently in place, so keeping to a strict budget will be very important to the municipality for the next few years.

Why should people vote for you? I believe I have the qualities to be a good civil servant because I am honest, fair, thoughtful, authentic, and quick to learn new environments, data, and systems. Having covered the issues in Nanaimo, on live radio for 10 years I believe I have a good grasp of the responsibilities of a city councillor. I also can relate and speak to many demographics in the community, sports, arts, education, seniors, parents, persons with a disability, and angel mother.

GARY KORPAN

Age 65

Retired, former lawyer and longtime mayor of Nanaimo.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Restore good governance; stop wasteful spending; ensure public safety. Restoring the ‘shared vision coalition’ of community institutions that worked cooperatively and successfully together and advocated jointly with senior governments to implement city-wide priorities should be expanded to include the aquaculture visitor centre proposal which would be an excellent tourism attraction when linked to revitalized Newcastle Island park amenities and Snuneymuxw First Nation cultural activities. Renew efforts for private investment in Nanaimo including visitor accommodation downtown. Permit higher density and height including mixed commercial residential projects to spur downtown revitalization. Update tourism and conference centre marketing and management.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Control of spending the current $180-million budget revenue must be council’s immediate priority. Clearly, Nanaimo citizens are not receiving good value. Severe homelessness, atrocious road conditions, poor park and trailway conditions, are prime indicators that better city government is sorely needed. With 23 years of analyzing city budgets I know where wasteful, unnecessary spending occurs.

The partial core review needs to extend to all city operations to ensure your hard-earned tax money is well spent. All organizations receiving tax subsidies should undergo a detailed audit to ensure they truly deserve your money.

I will recommend the new mayor use their authority to have all questionable funding decisions and budget line items reconsidered by a recorded vote in open session. We should know exactly who wastes your tax money and who acts to ensure you get good value.

Why should people vote for you? Nanaimo will have a new council. Most candidates have little municipal government experience. I can provide reliable experience as someone who knows our civic governance history and can provide important insights as council considers our serious issues. I have a degree in political science, a degree in law with emphasis in constitutional law, post-graduate courses in municipal government, 20-plus years running a law practice, nine years Nanaimo city councillor (1984-1993), 15 years as Nanaimo mayor (1993-2008), 20 years on the Nanaimo Regional District board. I have wide community knowledge that would benefit the new council ranging from city operations and budgeting, economic to environmental to social issues as well as experience in dealing with emergencies.

BRIAN LOOS

Age 34

Member of Local 514 ILWU ship and dock foreman.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Review and regroup. Smart urban planning – speak with municipalities five, 10 years ahead of us. Branding Nanaimo. Uniting municipalities. Value. All with accountability, respect and collaboration in mind.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? We need accountability. Not just in our finances but also our timelines as time is money. The council needs to ensure that there are efficiencies, timelines and people that can answer the hard questions to be accountable. Raising property taxes on property values that are increasing just does not make sense – it’s holding down our citizens and our economy. When we look at major projects we need to attract corporate and private sponsors.

Why should people vote for you? The potential is here. People are coming, businesses are coming. We need to attract them properly and tactfully. We have deep sea ports, an airport with room to expand. We have clean air, fresh water and stable government. The value, environment and principles we have now will only remain protected if we are prepared for this growth and I will ensure we are.

ZENI MAARTMAN

Age 61

Chartered insurance professional working as part of the management team at BCAA.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Social and environmental responsibilities go hand in hand with a healthy economy.

Strong leadership and good governance that creates a positive work culture for city employees, listens to our communities and becomes a green, clean city that all citizens will be proud to call home. Revitalize the heart of our City, action derelict and vacant buildings, create people friendly spaces.

Rebuild relationships with city partners and all levels of government, including the Indigenous community.

Economic development – capitalizing on opportunities such as the cannabis industry, tourism, and encouraging innovation, technology, arts and culture. Follow through on master waterfront plan, hotel for conference center and passenger ferry.

Protect our watersheds and environment, improve public transportation, bike lanes, a not for profit recycling to support zero-waste, support of farmers’ markets.

Implement and action the affordable housing strategy and the action plan to end homelessness as soon as possible.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? As salaries and expenditures for our health and safety are the majority of the budget, the remainder of the tax revenue must be spent diligently. My experience in the insurance and financial sectors have made me value responsible fiscal management.

Why should people vote for you? I will be a strong advocate for the citizens of Nanaimo. I am passionate, energetic and trustworthy. The skills I have developed throughout my career and community work in team building, conflict resolution, communication and decision making are crucial to serving on city council. I’m ready to listen and get down to work; to include public consultation and find consensus on issues. It’s not about the problems, it’s about the solutions.

LLOYD MacILQUHAM

Age 66

Lawyer for 29 years, 27 years practising immigration law. I have had extensive experience in politics working on many campaigns at all levels, especially with women who have gone on to become cabinet ministers and running in the 2004 federal election here.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Bring comity back to the council and the council back to the people, approaching community problems critically, objectively, viewing all sides, getting to the heart of the problem and taking an essential part in the careful construction of solutions in a fair, transparent and just manner, absent special interests, and, most fundamentally, serve the will of the people.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Transparency, and, by approaching issues critically and objectively taking into account all sides and facilitating input from, and reaching out to, those that must pay the bill, balancing imposition of taxes and spending of money to the great benefit of everyone.

Why should people vote for you? I feel my experience and educational achievements make me uniquely suited to approaching even the most difficult of community problems critically.

JEET MANHAS

Age 57

Small business owner/retailer. I have served on Nanaimo city council for two terms from 2002-2008 and on regional board 2005-2008. I have also served on the Port of Nanaimo board for eight years (2010-2018) and was chair for two years. Presently director of VIU Foundation board. Past member of Nanaimo Oceanside Rotary and served as a president for one term and achieved Paul Harris designation. I have always been involved in many Chamber and community events and have helped raised funds for many deserving charities in Nanaimo.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My first priority will be to rebuild the organization by hiring a qualified CAO that can lead, set goals and priorities to attract business and investment which will then foster prosperous, sustainable and vibrant community. My second priority is to work with all levels of government to tackle homelessness by lobbying funding on social housing projects. My other priority will be also to restore the trust of the citizens of Nanaimo by creating open and transparent government and also help create a safe and healthy environment by promoting arts and culture and diversity and inclusion.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I believe in socially balanced control on spending, without compromising the safety and security of our citizens. Property taxes should be always kept in line with the rate of inflation. My main focus will be to find other revenue sources to lessen the burden on our citizens.

Why should people vote for you? I have both experience, qualifications, passion and enthusiasm for this complex role and I believe in people working together in a collaborative way and all the members of society have same opportunities regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and socio-economic inequality.

BILL MANNERS

Age 63

Sales person, with a history in the transportation, retail management, photography and newspaper fields.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Expanding the economic development office so they will work to bring high-paying jobs to our city, so that we can raise our average median income (currently $27,620) and shrink our 9.2 per cent unemployment rate. We must develop jobs so more local people can work full time and afford a home; improving community engagement; implementing the recommendations of the core services review; ensuring that our city becomes more liveable by implementing better walking, better cycling and better transit strategies; I wish to get back to the basics by bringing our staffing levels at city hall back to where they were. We need a working environment that keeps our great city staff right here instead of moving elsewhere.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Nanaimo should govern future financial needs to improve staffing levels that allow Nanaimoites to get service levels they expect and deserve. Currently taxes over the next four years are anticipated to increase an average of 1.04 per cent plus a 1-per cent asset management tax. This leaves room for a slight increase if needed.

Why should people vote for you? I have spent the last seven years regularly attending or viewing online each council (and COW) meeting. I have been active in dealing with many departments of city staff in a positive manner. I have been involved with the community engagement task force since its conception and have been a community volunteer since I moved here in 1970. I have proven that I have the interests of the public foremost in what I do.

DARCY OLSEN

Age 45

Administrative assistant to the local MP, casual relief constituency assistant to the local MLA.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Affordable housing crisis, attracting investment to create good jobs, rebuilding community partnerships.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Taxes are never popular but are the foundation to a successful, healthy city. Taxes pay for: infrastructure you use every day; roads, sidewalks gas and water lines, sewer; our safety; Nanaimo Fire Rescue and the RCMP; public amenities such as libraries, public parks, our recreation centre. After four years of a council that has neglected to maintain a responsible level of taxation, we have seen a neglect to these services due to the lack of funding.

Why should people vote for you? I am rooted in the community and bring a diverse skill set to the table. I know the importance of a city connected to our communities. Our neighbourhoods are the foundation for growth and communication. Ensuring we are on the ground as a council discussing affordable, social and supported housing, rebuilding community partnerships, while ensuring responsible economic development are our keys to healthy community growth. I will work to restore trust in Nanaimo’s leadership and potential through co-operative interaction in governance, engaging in open two-way communication with citizens and a dedication to honesty and transparency.

KEN (OZZY) OSBORN

Age 53

Presently working at the Superstore as a general service worker. Formerly retired after a 25 year career and 14 years owning and operating of one of the last non-metallic electroplating companies in Canada, producing bronzed objects for a North America market with some international customers.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To help bring Nanaimo back from where it is now. Find ways to help the citizens house their families and better their lives and try to draw new industries to help revive the economy.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Having to live on a very fixed income and living style, I have always been able to come up with way to keep costs low and find deals that help keep me going. With others at the table I hope to be able to lend my skills to help keep spending at bay.

Why should people vote for you? I live by example and always put others first. My ethics, loyalty and diligent thinking can help make Nanaimo the heart of Vancouver Island again.

CONRAD PEACH and AVEL TURNIP

Conrad Peach and Avel Turnip did not reply to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire and declined interview requests.

Peach and Turnip appear together on campaign signs with the slogan ‘Make Nanaimo safe again.’

Earlier this summer, Peach identified himself to the News Bulletin as president of Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island, a group that, according to its Facebook page, is “operating under SOO Canada, fighting for your right to free speech, opposing illegal immigration, and helping our fellow Canadians.”

Via video posted to social media, he appeared to claim credit for a hoax in August when a Soldiers of Odin Facebook post suggested members would be taking it open themselves to dismantle Discontent City homeless camp.

ALEXIS PETERSEN

I am a retired social worker now volunteering with the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre board of directors, Cat Nap Rescue, Nanaimo Emergency Social Services, City of Nanaimo public safety committee. I have been a Colliery Dam Park ambassador for 15 years. I have a bachelor of social work (UBC) and a master’s in criminology (SFU). I have worked in social welfare and justice institutions for 35 years in Bella Coola, Yukon and here on Vancouver Island. I have lived in Nanaimo for 16 years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? In discussions with the community, housing has consistently been the top priority mentioned. Not just the housing needed for marginalized people, but for young families and seniors. Another priority identified is the need to revisit the transportation plan, assess the progress and revisit priorities.

I would support community consultations based on the model used in the affordable housing plan. It was inclusive, wide-ranging, involved all stakeholders and genuinely wanted to listen.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Nanaimo needs to watch expenditures and manage finances just as people personally need to do. We must be prudent on expenses and consider the larger picture of finances over a time frame anticipating large scale expenditure and planning for the future not just right now. With the rapid growth we are experiencing, Nanaimo will most likely benefit from increased revenue from property taxes which could result in smaller increases in business and property tax rates.

Why should people vote for you? I am a person of high integrity with an excellent work ethic. I form good connections with people as I am approachable, caring and committed to the City of Nanaimo. I have proven leadership in conflictual situations and I proactively practice collaboration with all citizens of Nanaimo.

WENDY PRATT

Age 71

Administration, executive director of Nanaimo Hospice.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Reset and rebuild – Governance, infrastructure, partnerships. The almost complete destruction of our city’s reputation and infrastructure (staffing, financial stability, arms-length organizations), community partnerships must be addressed.

Homelessness/affordable housing – I’m looking for made-in-Nanaimo solutions. We must work with and rely on city staff and partners to get it done.

Economic development and tourism – the 2016 core review stated that NEDC, tourism, and the DNBIA were all good models but council removed them. The OCP must be revisited to ensure it fits with today’s needs. We have an opportunity to examine what worked and what didn’t and develop something more efficient and effective.

Development approval process – Time is money to developers – we must do better by streamlining a process that is right now a deterrent to potential developers.

Transportation – bus and cycling routes, a fast ferry, and the establishment of a transportation hub on the south downtown waterfront must all be revisited. The 2013 Transportation Plan, as well as plans for the South Downtown Waterfront and the Terminal Nicol corridor must be revisited, and must include actions, timelines, and budgets.

Safety and security – We must work closely with the RCMP and fire department to ensure we have adequate resources.

Arts and culture and recreation – Young families, as well as retirees, want these aspects of community life to be well-established and accessible. The arts provide ‘heart’ in the community.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? City spending and residential and corporate taxes are directly related. Financial stability has suffered in recent years and we must address sustainability moving forward. I do not believe people resent paying taxes but they have to understand how that translates into a better community for all. We will be relying on the experts in this area to guide us as we make difficult decisions for the short-, medium- and long-term.

Why should people vote for you? I have the skills, energy and time to do this work and I can’t think of anything I would rather do with my retirement years than ensure a legacy that creates a vibrant, healthy, and safe community.

MICHAEL RIBICIC

Age 23

Fourth-year political studies and history student.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I am committed to rebuilding and strengthening our relationships with other levels of government, working with the city’s affordable housing report, advocating for more sufficient public transportation, rebuilding our culture and heritage department, working towards completing the waterfront walkway expansion, increasing tourism, bringing back a sustainability committee, working with the province to resolve Discontent City and our fast-growing homeless population, and giving the citizens of Nanaimo the transparent professional representation they deserve.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I am fiscally responsible and have no interest in raising taxes. When it comes to spending, I would base my decisions off of city budgets and reports, along with asking if what we are spending money on contributes to the well-being of our city and its citizens.

Why should people vote for you? I will always make my decisions as your councillor by questioning if what I am voting for is in the best interests of Nanaimo and its citizens as a whole. Having lived in Nanaimo my whole life, I care deeply about our city’s well-being and future. My age helps me bring a different perspective to the table because I am someone that thinks of the short-term and long-term impacts of my decisions. I serve on half a dozen committees at Vancouver Island University, including the senate, and currently chair the Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council. I have acquired a great deal of knowledge and experience from serving on these committees and boards. I know what good governance looks like, I understand the importance of planning, and I have acquired valuable lobbying skills. If elected, I would work hard for the citizens of Nanaimo every day.

NOAH ROUTLEY

Age 45

I am presently completing my term as one of your school trustees since 2014. Community advocacy in mental health and addictions, counselling, employment services and as a group home manager.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My main focus is to add your voice for change in the transparency and integrity of how council does business, while also clarifying your priorities for the region. Every issue should be brought to an open meeting. We also need to do a better job of making your priorities clear. We need a well-planned, inclusive community vision prior to large decisions.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? City council need to be more highly accountable with the spending of our taxes. Our region needs to improve housing, environmental infrastructure and also to attract emerging businesses. However to do this, we need progressive innovations such as requesting a provincial review of mid-Island tax structures and our satisfaction with local service delivery.

Why should people vote for you? I have stayed true to my pre-election promise of speaking up for our entire local community. My promise to the community is to add overall transparency and integrity to how council operates and by again adding your voice to council.

RICHARD SCOTT

Richard Scott did not return the News Bulletin’s questionnaire. However, he participated in the Nanaimo South End Community Association all-candidates’ meeting Oct. 3 and provided this introduction:

What I do have is the groundwork in being a blue-collar worker … I basically have turned my life around from rags to riches through dedication and some critical thinking and making some proper decisions.

Basically my pillars of my campaign are sustainable growth, mindful spending and streamlined processes … Streamlining processes would basically save our tax monies in not having city staff do the same thing over and over.

DAVID SIMPSON

Over 60

Retired Red Seal millwright. I am a business owner and former hotel owner. I have always been active in the community and enjoy helping others. I have sat on boards and do know about the Roberts Rules of Order that most committees have to abide by. I have integrity, which I believe sets me apart from most of the rest. There are at least six candidates who I believe would be a good group to work with for the better future for Nanaimo.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Clean up the downtown core to better promote the city with the tourists and the local business. To revitalize the streets with new décor and greenery. Keep the things that work and get rid of what does not work. The night market was very successful.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I have no intentions of voting for a raise in taxes. The budgets of every department should be looked at on a yearly basis as some years need more than others, just because one department needed more one year, they do not get it for a second year.

Why should people vote for you? I plan on making this a full-time job by researching all of the items that come before council. Using common sense to make my decisions, with integrity thrown in.

NORM SMITH

Age 53

Retired after 31 years of service with RCMP, 25 of those years in Nanaimo.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Regain trust between council and city staff, council and citizens; ensure that services being delivered by the city reflect the taxes we pay. If taxes go up, services must follow suit; work with community groups, provincial and federal governments to look at assisting disadvantaged citizens in our city to make life better for all citizens of Nanaimo.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I would like to see the finance and audit committee be separated into two effective committees. This will ensure that we have a committee with overview of our finance committee to check expenditures before we make them.

Why should people vote for you? My training in conflict resolution and crisis de-escalation will bring a calm, attentive person to council with the ability to listen and make sound, rational decisions.

RICK SMITH

Age 69

Retired, after 25 years in food and beverage management, and nearly 20 years as a counsellor, working mainly with alcohol and addictions.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Dealing with the problems of homeless people in our city; planting 10,000 trees to reduce our carbon footprint; bringing fiscal responsibility back to the city, reducing the burden of taxes for our citizens; helping my new colleagues work together to restore Nanaimo as a city that we can all be proud to call home.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Over the past 20 years, we have allowed the city staff to double in size, to almost 1,100 people. I propose a two-pronged approach. Stop hiring more new staff until we reach a sustainable level; provide all necessary training to ensure we can always promote from within the existing staff, rather than hire from outside the community.

Why should people vote for you? I hope the above gives reasons to vote. These policies would, over time, give this city the best trained, and best paid workforce, while saving millions of dollars. As a candidate, I am beholden to nobody. My campaign is self-financed. I will work for the benefit of the people of Nanaimo, and only the people of Nanaimo. I am a principled, honest man, who wishes to do some good in my retirement years, and help make my adopted city be great again.

FRED STATHAM

Age 57

Currently a community support worker for Carmichael Enterprises. I have 15 years’ experience as a teacher, two years’ experience as an elementary school counsellor, 12 years’ experience as a foster carer, 10 years’ experience as a community support worker. School trustee for Powell River between 1996-99.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My priorities will be to solve the 15-year affordable housing crisis that has plagued Nanaimo. Bring back good governance to Nanaimo city council. Revitalize downtown Nanaimo.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Nanaimoites have told me loud and clear: No more megaprojects. I think our economic focus should be spending money on revitalizing downtown.

Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me because all my decisions will be made with my grandchildren’s vision in mind. I will consider what Nanaimo will look like in 10, 20, 30, 40 years with every vote I make at the council table.

KEVIN STORRIE

Age 68

Retired. Former journeyman carpenter/building contractor.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Establish functional governance at city hall. Work with provincial government to obtain funding for affordable housing. Establish monthly forums for public participation in an effort to make local government more transparent.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Managing taxes through prudent discussions in setting the budget.

Why should people vote for you? I would hope that people will vote for my experience as a previous council member, abilities to work with senior levels of government and my quest to open up our decision making so that the public plays an integral part.

BALAKRISHA (VIRAAT) THAMMANNA

Veteran, Canadian Forces. Operations and management of service-oriented business.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Complete dedication to efficiently and productively working with a team of councillors and the mayor for the overall well-being of Nanaimo. Focus on the betterment of youth and seniors. Encouraging local produce and farmers’ markets. Better understanding and productive communications with partners and stakeholders. Improve/boost economy by various initiatives that result in job creation. Address affordable living and shortage of accommodation. Keep reviewing public safety and security. The list goes on and on.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Having a smart and realistic budget. Spending our tax dollars wisely, responsibly where it is genuinely necessary. Organizing, prioritizing city business operations with time frame. Training/refreshing employees’ skills for better and productive man hours. Efficient and transparent auditing of spending account. Encouraging and implementing alternative options for cost effective, quality, reliable procurement and vendors management.

Why should people vote for you? All these years I have proudly served our country and the world. Now it’s time for me serve our city of Nanaimo with dedication. I am a young and energetic trained, experienced, motivated, disciplined, organized, change-making, team-oriented person. Our Nanaimo require leaders like myself with vision to put our city shinning on the globe as one of the best city to live, work and do business.

AL THOMPSON

Age 71

At present I am a consultant for a company that sells distilling equipment. I consult, sell, order, ship, design, import and test the equipment. In the past I have been a milkman, farm worker, paper boy, licenced heavy duty mechanic, cab driver, and have owned my own company for over 40 years working as a product and freight relocation specialist. In the slow times, I worked in a coal mine, spent a few years as a shop foreman, service manager, western regional equipment manager for seven divisions in waste disposal and was the shore captain of two 400-foot ships down in San Francisco Bay, spent one year selling scrape steel to India.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Stop the wasteful spending and put a two-year freeze on all wages, stop using consultants and lawyers for everything. Clean the city. Revitalize the downtown core by building more middle-income buildings and stop over engineering everything that needs fixing.

Why should people vote for you? I am a nice guy, I work well with others and I listen and learn. I know how to balance a budget. I am for making Nanaimo for the the people of Nanaimo, tourists come second. I am for more industry, we have two ports, let’s use them.

IAN THORPE

Age 66

I am a retired teacher/school administrator who worked for 35 years here in Nanaimo. I have also worked in broadcasting, and for 38 years have written a newspaper column promoting local sports. After serving on the parks and recreation committee, I ran and was elected to city council in 2014. During the past term I have gained much knowledge and experience. Among other duties I have chaired the community safety committee and the parks, recreation, and wellness committee. I have also represented the city on the Regional District of Nanaimo board, and was elected as vice-chair of that organization.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Governance and credibility. There are many issues facing our city. However, I see the first and main priority as re-establishing proper principles of governance, where councillors and city staff know their respective roles and duties, and interact appropriately.

My other priorities involve such goals as promoting economic prosperity, fiscal accountability, and maintaining a safe, clean, and healthy community. Obviously housing and affordability is a huge issue that must be tackled in co-operation with the provincial government.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I am a proponent of steady economic growth and sustainable development. A strong economic base is necessary in order to keep taxes at their lowest possible level. Inflation is a fact of life, and infrastructure needs will always be an issue. Council must be prepared to seek out ways to save money and operate efficiently. Sponsorships and partnerships are an avenue worth pursuing. An involved council would work with city staff to make wise decisions on the spending of taxpayers’ money.

Why should people vote for you? There will be several new faces on council following the election. I believe I am well qualified to take a leadership role, and I want to bring my experience and knowledge back to the table to lead positive change. During the past term I tried hard to remain responsible and professional. I will bring a voice of reason and experience to an incoming council.

JIM TURLEY

Age 70

Retired retail florist; bachelor’s degree in plant science from UBC; many years of volunteering in the business community, minor sports, arts and culture, United Way and Rotary.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Encourage council to work with respect for each other. Improve our economic development process by partnerships with existing groups; improve the wait time for permits; be proactive rather than reactive in selecting locations for affordable housing; look into establishing an improved asset replacement process.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? While it is unlikely to reduce taxes without reducing levels of service, we may be able to reduce residential amounts with increasing the amount of commercial and industrial properties. This further enforces the importance of my second comment regarding economic development

Why should people vote for you? I have a lot of knowledge through my many years of involvement in Nanaimo plus I have spent a number of years on the board of the floral industries trade association so have seen how some issues have been dealt with in other cities.

PETER URQUHART

Age 49

Software developer, community advocate: I develop comprehensive business solutions that directly influence and positively impact the bottom line of mid-large scale enterprises and their customers. I am actively engaged in the community through a variety of committees and citizen-led initiatives.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Effective governance – increase openness and transparency through policy development and increased engagement. Innovation and growth – develop economic development functions which drive innovation to attract investment and accelerate small business. Streamline development processes. Empower and leverage community and stakeholder involvement. Revitalize our under-utilized spaces. Incentivize medium-density, mixed-use developments. Increased affordability – address housing affordability through policy and bylaw development that enables innovative affordable sustainable development and alternative housing. Prioritize sidewalk and transit infrastructure to reduce congestion and increase mobility aspects for residents to reach amenities. Develop buy-local strategies and address food security through improved co-ordination of food systems and initiatives.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Define financial and social ROI measures and apply them to all strategic projects in consideration. Develop budgets with greater granularity and separation of capital and operating expenses. Review and refinement of core services. Reduce external contractor usage where in-house staff or temporary hires have the required capacity.

Why should people vote for you? I’m committed to helping Nanaimo become a better place for everyone. As a detail-oriented, solutions-driven person I tackle decision making with solid planning, careful consideration, and forward thinking. As a strong advocate for community engagement and input I believe our community is stronger when decisions are made in a way that is inclusive of all points of view. A vote for me means your voice is heard.

TRENT WHALEY

Age 43

Computer technician serving businesses and industrial clients across Vancouver Island.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Better communication – between residents and the city, between communities within the RDN, and between regional districts; improved transit that is adequate to load, accessible, and connected to both other modes and other regions; improving pedestrian, cyclist, and motorist safety while reducing congestion through traffic calming; following up on previously approved community projects while improving processes for management for future city, city supported, and third-party projects; improving food security by supporting local agriculture and farmers markets and preventing the conversion of ALR land to other uses; making Nanaimo a city where every neighbour is a helper by improving access to first aid and other emergency skills classes; Reforming the city’s governance to prevent future issues due to the single reporting employee model

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Every council must keep tabs on both the cost and the value residents are getting for their taxes. Nanaimo has become over-reliant on expensive outside consultants – we must adequately staff city hall by promoting from within and allowing existing staff to accredit their job-learned skills.

Why should people vote for you? Council is made up of nine members – each member should have a different perspective to add. I feel my skills of meeting each customer (and soon resident, I hope) as they are and helping them resolve their issue makes me a good candidate. With your vote I hope to make Nanaimo and the RDN a better place while addressing some of the systemic issues we have had.

ASHLEY ZBOYOVSKY

Age 27

Student – studying psychology, addiction and mental health.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My main agenda if I make council is to reach out and consider what it is the people of Nanaimo want to see happen and change in our community. That being said I do have three issues I would love to tackle: Housing crisis in Nanaimo (No, to me this does not mean tent city). Cleaning up the streets of Nanaimo and finding permanent solutions and outlets to try and keep it that way (or at least under control). Public transportation running for longer periods of time and more frequently.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I believe we need to figure out and create some sort of system that allows the community to give their input on where they would like to see their taxes and money being spent.

Why should people vote for you? By nature, I am a problem solver. I can’t help but want to fix things and find solutions that work not only for the situation at hand but for everyone involved as well. I like to see a fair and reasonable system and I think that the people of Nanaimo should be considered more in the decision making for our community.

NANAIMO LADYSMITH SCHOOL TRUSTEE CANDIDATES

BILL BARD

Age 57

Businessman. Rental property manager.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Working collaboratively to ensure a team approach to goal setting with fellow trustees. Being updated by and reviewing with staff the current plan for facilities, including enrolment forecasts. My priorities will include visiting every school within whichever appointed school zone/catchment I am assigned. I will be accessible. Financial accountability that reflects educational outcomes. Consulting and directing staff to increase graduation rates district wide, including those of Indigenous students. Rebuilding inter-governmental relationships with the city, VIU, RDN and the province.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? The budget is set by the Ministry of Education. It is my hope that this government will stand behind their commitment to public education and ensure funding is adequate, which it never is. Therefore, the board is left with little wiggle room and can really only set priorities for where, and how too little can be spent. Careful oversight is required by trustees, and the board as a whole, of the budget. The SCC decision forced big changes to class size and composition. We must make every effort to balance the need for fiscal prudence with the overwhelming lack of supports to teachers and students.

Why should people vote for you? My experience on a board that worked very well together in spite of political and ideological differences will soften the learning curve. A trustee must be passionate enough to stand behind their decisions and sympathetic enough to realize those decisions are never clear cut. Real people are affected every time a vote is taken.

LISA MARIE BARRON

Age 38

Coordinator of a Vancouver Island health and wellness network and a former employee of the district.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To continue the work required to build education vital to the success of Indigenous students. Much work is required to improve relationships with Indigenous peoples through understanding and reconciliation. Another priority is to continuously build and improve upon processes for equitable and inclusive education for all students. Access to equitable education is a right for all children and youth, regardless of economic circumstances, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and physical and mental abilities. I am committed to ongoing dialogue to identify ways in which to best address our students’ complex and diverse educational needs. My final priority is to ensure all decisions made are informed, collaborative and in the best interest of our students.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I would ensure that all budget decisions are made taking into account the educational impacts, both short and long term, on students, families and communities. All budget decisions need to be informed and in agreement with the district goals and strategic plan.

Why should people vote for you? I am deeply invested in Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools as a past employee, graduate and a mother of two current NLPS students. I am confident that I have the skills, experience and passion to be successful as your voice on the NLPS school board.

TANIA BRZOVIC

Age 47

First-term trustee with over 20 years experience in non-profit boards and advocacy. I also have a BA in child and youth care

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Deliver effective governance which reassures the public that the board is clearly responsible for guiding the district’s vision and policies. Board members must understand their fiduciary and community responsibility to provide meaningful oversight of senior staff and district programs. Effective oversight will include regularly reviewing policies, procedures and programs to ensure they’re still supporting students. Review key programs, notably special education and community schools. Pursue a fair and respectful approach to collective bargaining. Update our facilities plan with an emphasis on gathering quality data about the areas where the district is growing. In particular, we must take a look at the potential overcrowding in the north end. Continue to work to improve student achievement by advocating for a stable, adequately funded public education system which allows districts to attain the resources needed to support the new curriculum. Work to implement strategies that will assist the school district in improving graduation rates for all students.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? Ensure we have data from all departments, gather input from the community and partner groups as to their priorities and direct staff to provide budget options that reflect the needs of students, along with the pros and cons of these options. Budget proposals must have a clear rationale and link directly to the district’s strategic plan and goals.

Why should people vote for you? My personal and professional background gives me insight into the education system. I strive to be approachable, to listen effectively, to be accountable, and to act with integrity. I approach issues with a big-picture perspective and a focus on the best interests of students.

JENNIFER CLARKE

Age 42

Worked in the health field for over 20 years and have been working in the financial sector in the last couple of years

What will be your priorities if you are elected? As a mother of two children, I am deeply concerned with the direction that our educational system is heading toward. My priority would be to propose policies that would be increasing parental rights within the school district. I would also be promoting greater parental involvement in all aspects of their children’s education. I will bring accountability to the teaching materials being presented to the children, by having full disclosure with regards to any newly proposed materials, ensuring appropriate curriculum for each grade and developmental level.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I would encourage trustees to balance fiscal responsibility, with having foresight in development planning for the rapid growth in population. I would be an advocate for bringing integrity into managing the budget, while keeping the parents’ and children’s best interest a priority.

Why should people vote for you? I have a high degree of integrity and sense of justice. I will be a voice, advocate, and representative for the citizens within our school district.

HUNTER EHRISMANN

Age 20

Computing Sciences student.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? We need to be more effective in obtaining funding with our five-year capital plans. This starts with trustees acting as community leaders and driving the conversation about education funding in an effort to make it a priority for voters in the district. This is time sensitive, a possible by-election in our district presents a huge opportunity with respect to March 2019 funding for capital projects. I would examine the decisions made by the previous board. We should identify areas where improvement is needed and move forward in areas where the previous board was successful. We must recognize that teachers, EAs and support staff are our district’s most important assets and ensure they have the funding and tools needed to perform their jobs effectively.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? It is crucial that decisions are based on facts and data. In preparing the budget it is important to hear from all stakeholders and partners. All decisions should be in pursuit of the board’s goals.

Why should people vote for you? I am committed to the continual improvement of education in our district by taking inspiration from innovative policies in successful districts across the country. I recognize that I would be only one of nine on the board and would approach fellow trustees, senior management, and stakeholders with an open mind and balanced perspective.

RICHARD FINNEGAN

Age 48

Architecture designer.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? In general, I’m concerned with our schools condition, safety and the closing and overcrowding of current buildings. My priority is to keep current schools open and review re-opening recently closed schools along with developing a plan to build a new high school with funds available provincially and federally for instrastructure. I will vote no to any further closures or demolitions that demoralize our staff and students and provides no alternatives for new classrooms for our growing population.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? Put simply, budgeting, getting value for money, and financial accountability. The board needs to create good forecasts of finance, review regularly to ensure there are no shortfalls and if there are surpluses, we need to create an operational reserve for unforeseen expenditures. As capital costs to re-open and build new schools is a main part of my platform, I plan to create strategies with the City of Nanaimo and the RDN to leverage our limited funds with the provincial and federal governments with one voice and one plan to show that we are united in improving our schools, our workplace and our outcomes for students.

Why should people vote for you? The current and past boards have wasted millions opening, closing and demolishing schools leaving us with less funds for operations and schools way over capacity in some cases and way under capacity in others. I will reflect the interests of everyone who lives in the district, not just those who have a direct interest or involvement in schools. As member of a board, I will act in a business-like manner and provide governance, strategic direction and advocacy to the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools for all stakeholders.

CORINNE FURTMANN

Age 45

Office administration with a medical specialty. I have also done contract work co-instructing the MOA program at Vancouver Island University.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My No. 1 priority is to work collaboratively with students, parents/families, staff, teachers, First Nations partners, city officials and the community at large to provide equitable, safe, supportive and inclusive educational opportunities for all students of our district, regardless of socioeconomic realities, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation/identification, mental or physical capabilities. I welcome the challenge of continuing to move our schools and our district in a positive direction.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? With the majority of our budget going to staff and operating costs, we must spend the remaining funds wisely. I promise to engage with and listen to all expressing an opinion as to what the most pressing issues are and where the monies would be best spent, with the hope of benefitting as many students as possible. With the fairly recent Supreme Court ruling regarding class size and composition along with our growing enrolment, these are exciting and changing times in our district.

Why should people vote for you? If you’re searching for an open minded, respectful, positive individual who has the time and passion for the challenge, and who genuinely wants to make a positive difference, I would be humbled to receive your vote.

PATTI GRAND

I am a retired interior designer, commercial baker, business owner, foster parent, Alzheimer’s respite caregiver, NCID trustee, alternate RDN Area A director and served as a trustee for one of the largest school boards of Ontario for 13 years. Past-president of the Thornhill Historical Society, past vice-president of the Port Theatre Society.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I understand the frustrating process of redirecting priorities in education and appreciate building a ‘budget’ that reflects changes. My priorities will always be arts-related, my dedication to all facets of the arts is never-ending. My approach to education is positive and productive not penalty-driven, children are naturally curious and should thrive and embrace self-esteem.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? Sadly, school budgets cannot be determined by an individual, it is a process that has been lacking vision for too long. I want to know students are taught more than theory and their education needs to forge stronger ties to our real community where experience is lasting. My experience with ‘bridging’ proves there are options to bigger budgets by involving employers and our business community.

Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me if they believe our future is with the success of today’s children.

STEPHANIE HIGGINSON

Age 43

Former secondary school teacher with an MA in educational studies. Vice-president of the British Columbia School Trustees Association.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I will guide the entire district, from Ladysmith to Lantzville, through this period of growth and demographic shift. I will work with all levels of government to build community schools and spaces that reflect the communities we serve. I will focus district resources on improving our indigenous and special education graduation rates. Improving learning conditions for these students will lead to improved achievement for all students.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? This period of growth means we can begin to add services to the system for our students. I will continue to ensure that every decision leads to improved student achievement and improved confidence in public education. After many years of austerity, the list of needs is long and we must be thoughtful about ensuring that budget decisions will have a positive impact on student learning. Concurrent to this period of growth, the government is undertaking a funding model review that will be implemented for the 2019-2020 school year. The board must remain engaged in this process.

Why should people vote for you? I believe my record of thoughtful decisions and positive working relationships with all stakeholders across this system speaks to my strong leadership and collaboration skills. As vice-president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, I bring a wealth of experience and relationships that no other candidate has. This role provides our district with access to top experts and decision makers that ensures we always have the most current information and opportunities. I am deeply connected to the public education system, as I have two school aged children attending schools in SD68.

GREG KELLER

Age 40

Registered professional planner with 14 years experience working in a local government setting working with community groups, senior governments, indigenous communities, and other stakeholders on official community plans, development applications, and other community projects.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Support the needs of students and teachers. Increase student access to mental health professionals and support services.Work collaboratively to increase graduation rates, especially for vulnerable and indigenous students. Advocate for improved facilities planning aimed at helping the board make better-informed decisions, breaking the cycle of school closures, and providing more certainty and stability for students and families. Focus on seismic upgrades, facilities renewal, and emergency preparedness.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I will promote a collaborative approach which focuses on maximizing student success. I will fight to provide students with increased access to educational assistants, child support workers, school counsellors, and other valuable support staff. With respect to facilities, I will give priority to seismic upgrades and enhancements which address capacity needs, create healthy learning environments, and realize long-term cost savings through energy efficiency.

Why should people vote for you? I represent a voice of reason as a person who approaches challenging decisions in a calm, collective, professional manner. I am a forward-thinking individual who strives to make rational and informed decisions that respond to the needs of students and families and reflect the values of those involved.

SCOTT KIMLER

Age 59

Semi-retired, at-home dad, web developer, trustee and paid-on-call firefighter. I have 20 years corporate experience as a geophysicist.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Eliminate politics from the boardroom. It has no place there. It’s not about the north end versus the south end or party politics, it’s about everyone working together to improve our school district and student learning. If we want a better community, a healthy economy, to reduce poverty – then education is key.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? By ensuring that we live within our means and maximizing the bang for our provincially funded buck by constantly assessing where we’re at, where we’re going and the best way of getting there. By judiciously spending surpluses on valuable one-off projects that help students. By advocating for increasing provincial funding for education to provincial averages because it is an investment in British Columbia.

Why should people vote for you? I am professional, smart, practical, creative, respectful, accountable, dedicated, and have the time to devote to the job. I give 110 per cent and am always thinking of ways to improve the district. My voice carries weight at the table because I am thoughtful, articulate and am a good communicator.

CHARLENE McKAY

Age 41

Medical transcriptionist.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My priorities if elected include focusing supports to increase our high school graduation rates, continuing work on safe, caring, and inclusive schools including ongoing work for reconciliation, and creating an updated facilities plan that reflects the new board’s values and commitment to student success with considerations for increasing enrolment.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? The budget should be managed collaboratively with stakeholders. We should work hard to prepare, discuss, and approve the annual operating budget in the early spring to facilitate staffing for schools for the upcoming year. Our annual facilities grant should be prioritized by balancing the needs of all schools across the district.

Why should people vote for you? I have attended over 275 meetings, consultations, and committees in the last four years in SD68. All in a volunteer capacity for the District Parent Advisory Council. I have spent the past four years representing PACs from across the district based on how they have voted during motions at District PAC meetings. My role was to represent them despite my opinion at times, and I followed through on that consistently. If given the opportunity, I look forward to serving our communities in SD68 with the same level of commitment and passion for student success as I have for the past four years.

CHANTEL O’NEILL

Age 41

Labour relations officer for B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers Union, experienced organizer, facilitator and negotiator. I have been politically active within the labour movement and community for over a decade. Bachelor of arts – history.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To work on and review current policies and procedures to ensure we have a strategic plan that works for our communities moving forward. Facilities planning in consultation with stakeholders with a values-based approach. I believe we can have space for all kids in our communities, and address varying needs. Inclusive policy and supports for all students. Fundamentally all kids deserve a strong start and I will continue to support SOGI123 resources, anti-bullying policies, arts and cultural programs. I believe we have to take a good look at all of the communities in our district and find ways to address the issue of out of catchment, with a goal to keep families together. This also means addressing in equities of resources across the district.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? First, establishing where and how funds were allocated in previous years, and second, where we see the funds going with a new strategic goals.

Why should people vote for you? I am an experienced leader in organizing and facilitating strategic plans. I am a strong advocate and spokesperson on education, affordable child care, child rights, equity and inclusion. I am dedicated do working collaboratively to find solutions for the common good, while holding fast to the principles of public education.

BILL ROBINSON

Full-time SD68 trustee. My background includes 26 years as a major market radio host and 11 years as a local newspaper columnist and inspirational speaker.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Developing an updated facilities plan because of the stress placed on the required number of classrooms due to the Supreme Court class size and composition decision and now our growing student population resulting from our city’s growth. A review of catchment areas is also something I will support. I hope to continue as co-chair of our reconciliation committee and, as I have for the past five years,. I also hope to continue as vice chair, or chair, of the education committee. I believe that community school coordinators play an important role in our district. I will work to see those positions maintained. I believe one of the most important things I do is to ensure that I arrange frequent visits with teachers during their lunch hour. I will definitely continue this practice. I will initiate a board discussion/debate regarding the value of our French immersion lottery system. I’m not sure that this system is best for parents and students. Last year I drew attention to the need for an accessible playground at Georgia Avenue Community School, home of our Life Skills class. First steps have been taken in that direction. I will work to see that playground completed.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? Working cooperatively with our board members, senior management and our partners. My approach is always – research, listen to others, evaluate and then, vote. My goal will be to continue to build on the success we had with the last budget. $4.3 million went directly into the classroom.

Why should people vote for you? Given my experience, I will continue to bring a calm voice of reason to the board, one that comes with no baggage and no hidden agenda other than a passionate commitment to help students and teaching professionals be the best they can be. I will pursue this goal through persistence, team work, consensus building and collaboration.

TERRYLYNN SAUNDERS

Age 64

Homestay mom to two students attending VIU. I have a business background. Former Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustee for 18 years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Governance – the job of trustees is to have a vision for the district and set guiding principles (policies) to achieve that vision. Once achieved does not mean trustees are now hands off. These actions require constant monitoring so there are no surprises for trustees, management, the employees or the taxpayer.Accountability – trustees must be willing to be held accountable for the decisions they make. As a board you can’t make a motion that would not state who voted for or against an issue. Consultation – in-depth consultations are necessary for trustees to make informed decisions about what is best for our students. Gathering and presenting information should be ongoing during the consultation period. Whatever time it takes to satisfy the public and trustee questions should be heeded whether it takes 30 days or a year. You can’t make everyone happy but if they understand the rationale behind the decision then you have succeeded.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? In order to create a workable budget, trustees must have all the information gathered from all departments. The rationale for cuts or additions must be clearly stated with options, along with the pros and cons.

Why should people vote for you? I have experience, historical and corporate knowledge, believe strongly in accountability and have always been accessible.

JEN SKOGLAND

Age 40

Member of the PAC, and as a DPAC representative. Graduate of Vancouver Island University with a BA in tourism management, major in recreation. Experience in public and private industry including non-profit organizations, business, unions, and co-operatives.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Advocate for students’ health and well-being. I want to prioritize creative and varied teaching approaches toward physical and mental health in our school communities. I believe food literacy, physical activity and mental health support are essential tools.

Good board governance to ensure effectiveness and accountability. I feel strongly that the board must work as a team for the overall success of our students. As an effective team member, I will work collaboratively with other stakeholders. I am committed to developing district policy to build stronger, healthier community schools.

Prioritize equitable educational opportunities for all students. All students have the right to education, regardless of circumstances. I recognize the need for a strong and relevant base curriculum which can be creatively adapted to meet the varying needs of students from all walks of life and with varying abilities.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I plan to work as part of a team to determine the best use of our resources for the Success for All of our SD68 students. I will ensure the annual budget aligns with our district goals and continuously review and evaluate the progress throughout the year.

Why should people vote for you? I bring many years of advocating towards building healthy community schools with equality, activity and nutrition. I will bring strength to the board with good governance, representation of the families, and being connected in our community.

JESSICA STANLEY

Age 46

University instructor, school trustee.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? The No. 1 priority of trustees must be student learning in inclusive and equitable schools. Prioritizing classroom-based funding will allow us to better meet the learning and mental health needs of our students in the classroom and on playgrounds. At a provincial level, I advocate that funding education is a proactive, preventative, and cost effective use of tax dollars.

Strengthening collaborative and respectful relationships with teachers, staff, and community members is another priority. Truly meaningful consultation leads to better programming, finding smart solutions to challenging situations (for example, facilities planning), and is necessary when formulating a strategic plan.

Transparent and responsive governance is another clear priority for me. Schools are the hub of our communities; decisions affecting our schools deeply impact our communities. The public needs to be informed of the actions of their elected representatives and of the school district. Trustees need to understand their governance role in the school district in setting priorities and in making informed decisions, and be held accountable.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? School boards are legally required to balance their budgets. I focus on classroom and school-based needs when deciding on budget priorities. I seek and value the input from parents and partner groups. All budgeting should be in support of student achievement.

Why should people vote for you? I offer an experienced, fresh perspective and have a track record of being a strong advocate for education funding and transparency. My professional background allows to me understand the learning and mental health challenges that affect our classrooms and the funding implications. My experience as a trustee in North Vancouver will be valuable as our school district faces the implementation of the new curriculum, the implementation of the supreme court ruling, enrolment pressures, and collective bargaining.

MARILYN SULLIVAN

Retired Fortis gas representative. Past president and vice-president of Extension and Chase River Schools PTAs.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Trustees need to look at the district as a whole and be accountable for decisions being made by the board and administration. The future of our children is an absolute priority along with making sure our schools are well managed. We need to examine and access the current model of delivery of education for students with special needs.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? The board of trustees needs to have access to all of the information gathered from all departments, and anyone else who has any input. Good decisions cannot be made without all of the information. How the budget impacts the students would be my first concern.

Why should people vote for you? I believe that I am responsible and can make good decisions. I have seven grandchildren in the district and one who has autism. In several schools I have assisted with school photos and have had the opportunity to work with a children’s reading program. I have been able to see how children interact with their peers and their teacher. I see children who are vulnerable as well as engaged and both need to be served in a positive direction.

MATT SZELER

Age 74

Banker for 30 years. Missionary in Haiti, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic for another 16 years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Ensuring age appropriateness of the teaching material. Creating policies in the school system to protect parental rights. Requiring direct parental involvement in the development of teaching material. Evaluating teaching material on the basis of peer review scientific research. Encouraging parental rights/moral responsibility and to trustees focusing on financial matters and academic performance. Research why we are closing schools and then purchasing portables especially when Nanaimo and Ladysmith are growing rapidly. Encourage the board of trustees to be more responsive and reactive to public concerns.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I plan to try and use my experience in banking to evaluate where, what and how we can use the funds we receive to give our students the best education possible.

Why should people vote for you? I am interested in our children and grandchildren receiving the best education possible. I want to encourage more involvement by parents in what is being taught in our schools.

ELAINE WILKINSON

Age 45

I’ve been a realtor for the last 11 years but I worked in SD68 for 13 years before that as a child and youth care worker. I have a Bachelor of arts degree in child and youth care. I’m always very involved in my community through volunteer work. I’ve been a part of my boys’ parent advisory councils, been a member and the chair of the Ladysmith Youth Advisory Coalition.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I have no specific agenda coming into this. It’s important to me that I remain open minded and listen to the people and their needs and concerns regarding education. I’m passionate about seeing our kids succeed in life, whatever that looks like for them, and I want the opportunity to support them to make that happen. Above all, I believe in a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

How do you plan to manage the school district budget? I believe that my background in the school system along with my experience in business allows me a unique perspective in managing the budget. I will always have our kids’ best interests in mind when making decisions but I also realize that the funding needs to come from somewhere. I would like to always be open to looking at things differently and being creative when possible.

Why should people vote for you? I am a strong, rational and fair person who isn’t afraid to speak my mind but also works well with others. I like to think outside the box and am open to new ideas. I promise to represent everyone within the school district in a fair and respectful manner.

LANTZVILLE MAYORAL CANDIDATES

BOB COLCLOUGH

Age 62

Semi-retired consultant and contractor following a 40-year career working in local government (Lantzville Improvement District, Regional District of Nanaimo), and as a consultant in planning, development and construction.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Good governance – if elected mayor I commit to working with council, staff and community in an open, respectful, and collaborate manner. Implementation of the two top priorities identified by the community through the recent OCP review: revitalization of the village and the provision of a variety of housing types – in particular for young families, empty nesters and seniors. Third is water to those that need and want it – cost effectively and in a timely manner. Key is to be open, collaborative, innovative and focused.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Focus first on needs, and only then look very carefully at the communities ‘wants.’ In everything the municipality does, be as efficient and effective as possible. Planning ahead, especially for larger one-time or periodic expenses like infrastructure replacement, is essential to avoid having to raise taxes for the expenditures that cannot be avoided.

STAN POTTIE

Stan Pottie did not submit a response to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire, but visited the newspaper’s office before the campaign started to discuss his intentions to run for mayor:

I live in Lantzville, I love Lantzville and I’m not happy with the way Lantzville looks right now. I think, as a businessman most of my life, I’m sure I can add a great deal to the outcome of Lantzville’s future and that’s why I’m running…

I’d like to see development in a nice slow manner that is conducive to a nice village environment. I’d like to see more events and festivals in the downtown core. You go to some communities like Qualicum and there is always something going on. It’s a vibrant community and I think Lantzville is missing out on that. Lantzville is a beautiful spot and I think there should be a lot more activities… It’s a beautiful little place, it just needs a breath of fresh air to get it going again…

I work within the community itself; I’m there all the time. So if anybody had a complaint or a question or an idea, I’m right there.

MARK SWAIN

Age 44

Practicing kinesiologist.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? The first is community engagement. Over my past term I have worked with community groups ensuring their voices are represented at council. This has resulted in numerous safety initiatives from crosswalks to speedbumps, the paving of the school parking lot, district support of protecting the Knarston Creek corridor, petitioning the Winds neighbourhood to understand water concerns, and addressing community concerns regarding development applications. This commitment to listening to the community leads me to the second pillar of my platform, adopting the community OCP. It is the best representation of the entire community on how they want to see development in Lantzville. This includes a variety of housing options and getting water to residents in need. My third pillar is restoring good governance to Lantzville. To me this means that decorum, respect, and transparency will be part of all council dealings.

Why should people vote for you? Over my term, I have demonstrated that I am not a one issue councillor. I listen to the residents and leave my personal agenda out of the council chamber.

LANTZVILLE COUNCIL CANDIDATES

JOHN DUNN

Retired, owner-operator commercial fisherman, President of Lanztville/Nanoose Streamkeepers.

What will be your priorities if elected? If elected I will work with my fellow councillors to re connect with the residents of Lantzville and represent to the best of my ability their views and concerns in regard to the future of the community. As I see it development is inevitable and will be one of the major issues the next council will face now the water connection is completed. All that remains is to bring that service to all existing residents who require a safe secure source of potable water as cost effective as possible. I believe that it is important for Lanztville voters to be made aware of all ties that the candidates have to the development industry. The community has a choice of voting for an unbiased council or one that will promote development in conflict with the OCP.

Why should people vote for you? I have a open mind, no ties to development, down to earth, reasonable, know-how to communicate and discuss issues and come up with actions and will represent the will of the community above outside interests. I will work to rebuild the community ecosystem of Lantzville, which has been lost over the past number of years.

WILL GESELBRACHT

Age 68

Lawyer and urban farmer.

What will be your priorities if elected? Provision of water to those who need/want water connections. Re-confirm the economic development committee to assist council, staff and developers to encourage development of the downtown village core, seniors and more affordable housing. Re-establish a community newspaper. Re-establish a downtown farmers’ market.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Taxes or rather “tax increases” are mainly a function of the ”core” and “non-core” parts of our annual budget deliberations. Both reflect basically the level of services and programs the public needs/wants. It is the function of council to balance the needs and wants while keeping tax increases to a minimum.

Why should people vote for you? Not only did I survive a tumultuous last three years on council, but, council, as a whole, was able to move forward many initiatives, like the Lantzville/Nanaimo water agreement, which benefits our community. I intend to stay the course, if elected, for another four years.

JOAN MOODY

Age 70

Retired. I held management positions in several national investment firms; analyst positions with the Alberta Stock Exchange; owner of Global Corporate Compliance Inc.; consultant, CAS Corporate Governance Services Inc. Member of the parks and recreation commission and other volunteer board experienece.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Maintenance of infrastructure: Roads, sewer, water. Beachfront maintenance: upgrade access points, beach cleanup committee.Village core beautification: flowers, upgrade of store fronts, parking spaces, landscaping. Controlled development reflecting OCP guidelines

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I have only one vote on the financial plan which is driven by the strategic plan and infrastructure priorities. I will keep an open mind on how tax money should be spent and on what that money should be spent.

Why should people vote for you? Why not is the better question. I am a ‘doer’ and I have ‘no fear.’ I believe in transparency and open communication. I intend to post on my blog a summary of council meetings which will include voting records of each member.

DOT NEARY

Small business owner, training supervision and administration, and retail management. Former SD68 school trustee and current Lantzville councillor.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Provide sound governance for policy decisions that align with the vision and values of the community expressed in the OCP, the water master plan and other foundational planning documents. Establish, with council, new strategic priorities building on foundational work already completed. Complete and adopt the new OCP. Consider and integrate the implications of the soon to be completed asset management plan.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Clearly articulated strategic objectives, aligned with the community’s vision and key values, assist in guiding spending decisions, while efficient, well- functioning district operations help to minimize costs.

Why should people vote for you? My experience will provide valuable continuity and stability to a new council facing the challenges of balancing competing interests and pressures in making decisions to meet the goals of the community. I want to continue working to create the conditions that enable the realization of Lantzville’s vision.

SCOTT NEIS

Age 47

Private contractor.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I think the idea of building an assisted living facility in Lantzville is something worth looking into. A place where people who live here can move into so they can stay in their community.

KAREN PROCTOR

Age 62

Recently retired teacher.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? The purpose of a councillor is to represent the will of the people. Councillors create bylaws and policies that reflect the will of the people. Council then directs staff to implement them. I would like to adopt the recently developed OCP and then use it to guide decision making. I would like to see the village core become revitalized. I would support and encourage development that is in alignment with the guidelines of the OCP. I support the preservation of the Knarston Creek corridor. I support improved pedestrian and bicycle mobility within communities and between communities.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Budget decisions need to reflect the values and needs of the community. The budget process must be collaborative, transparent, and open to public input.

Why should people vote for you? I believe that it is possible for the Lantzville council to craft Lantzville’s future in a way that all citizens can be proud of. As a councillor I would work diligently to ensure all voices are heard at the table. I will view community issues from all viewpoints and value all stakeholder input. I will encourage and role model skills that address conflict effectively.

DOUGLAS PARKHURST

Age 55

Chartered professional accountant. I am a partner at KMA Chartered Professional Accountants. I was on the district council from 2003 to 2011.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To work to establish a positive working environment for council and staff. We have come through a period of divisive and negative politics. That time has come to an end. No other priority will happen if we are a divided community.To implement the OCP. The residents of Lantzville want seniors’ housing and a mix of housing so families can afford to live here. They also want the village core revitalized. To find ways to get services to areas that want or need it.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Taxes are managed by council keeping the eye on the big picture. Council has to stand back and prioritize the requests, review the current spending and saying ‘no’ to some requests. In addition, council has to work to find other sources of funds. I bring a very strong finance background and familiarity with local governments.

Why should people vote for you? I bring a combination of experience, knowledge and a proven record of achieving the community goals. I want to see Lantzville thrive.

IAN SAVAGE

Age 67

School teacher, businessman. I was previously elected in Lantzville as RDN director.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? As a member of the OCP committee, I support our new proposed official community plan. I disagree with those candidates who want to remove the density limits in the OCP and allow far more development with less green space. The wishes of residents from one and a half years of input should be respected. The new plan promotes housing choices with lots of public greenspace. The plan promotes unique architecture, innovation and advanced green technologies. Lantzville can become a trend-setter in new development.

Nanaimo water coming to Lantzville will be expensive, so should be used wisely. Getting water to current residents with water problems should be a top priority.

To improve our village, I’m working with other volunteers building a village bus shelter which will be the most innovative in Canada.

Greening up the village and defining walkways should be the next village project. If elected I would like to create some public greenspaces on some beach road ends, and start an annual summer music festival to showcase all the musical talent in Lantzville.

CALVIN WILLIAMS

Age 55

Contractor.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Listen to the community which would entail following the OCP that is a concern for the residents of Lantzville. I have a lot to learn with regards to the OCP which I feel would create opportunity for Lantzville and council’s reconnection with the community. We work for the community not the other way around. It’s their tax dollars paying for our quality of life here. We have to respect their voice.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? As a councillor we definitely have to manage the taxes and spending in a responsible, accountable manner. Our tax dollars belong to our residents for services that enable our residents to enjoy a good quality of life they deserve. We work hard for our tax dollars and will not be frivolous and will hold my fellow councillors accountable as I would hope they would to me.

Why should people vote for you? I am for the community. I will be accountable and transparent. I know I work for the people, the residents of Lantzville. I am a leader not a follower. A vote for me is a vote for them. I may be a rookie but I will go the distance and have their back. Vote for me and you will see a voice not an echo. I will listen.

JAMIE WILSON

Age 43

Owner of Scholars Edge Painting Inc. and Superior Growers.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? If elected my priorities will be to vote in the new OCP. Development is inevitable in Lanztville and I am for it as long as it is sustainable development that is done responsibly and in line with our communities vision. I also will support getting water to all the residents of Lantzville who need it. I have no ties to developers and will use my business and leadership background to ensure fairness.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? My approach is ensuring that we are getting value for the money we are spending. I am not opposed to a moderate increase in taxes if we are getting something in return. Bottom line we need to ensure we are getting a benefit.

Why should people vote for you? I plan on working hard to unite our community and work with a council that works together in a positive way. I grew up here and remember the days when Lantzville for me seemed like it had a lot more to offer. I for one will not be going into meetings with an agenda of what ‘I’ want but rather will be going in staying true to what citizens of Lantzville want.

REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO DIRECTOR CANDIDATES

SHARON THOMSON

Age 65

Vocational rehabilitation professional. Trustee/director for the North Cedar Improvement District. Secretary and restorative justice coordinator and facilitator with Warmland Restorative Justice Society.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My passion is community engagement, trying to involve the whole community, identifying their interests and priorities, bringing us together to build a better community. One of the priorities that community members have already identified to me is to implement the development of curbside pickup for all recycling and solid waste, making sure this project is environmentally sustainable and accessible for all. Another priority identified by some is the updating of our official community plan, through the regional growth management plan. I would hope to work with community members to not only update but to make the OCP and any changes relevant, cost efficient and more easily understood and implemented. Community members in Cassidy, South Wellington and Yellow Point have identified the need for transit opportunities. It appears that currently there are barriers to transportation. Also water security, environmentally sensitive sewage options, and increased collaboration with Snuneymuxw First Nation.

KEITH WILSON

My business career mixes a broad managerial experience in major Canadian corporations with working in nonprofits and First Nations organizations. More recently, I consult to a number of nonprofits and First Nations on Vancouver Island and raise purebred North Country Cheviot sheep on a small acreage in Cedar.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My priorities, if elected, will be maintaining safe communities that work together across Area A, cautious development that retains the rural character of where we live and accountability – staying in touch with all parts of Area A throughout my four-year term.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? There is only so much influence that I will have over the entire RDN board of directors and their decisions on spending. However, I will use my experience in business to bring a cost-benefit lens to budget discussions and will push to manage taxpayers money in a responsible manner.

Why should people vote for you? My reputation is that I do as I say I will do and that my word is my bond. I am working hard to talk to people in all parts of Area A and to remind them that I will continue to reach out to people in the area through out my term. I want to be their voice at the table.

VANESSA CRAIG

Conservation biologist.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Good governance. Area B is unique in the RDN in that it has overlapping layers of local government. It is essential that our three elected representatives work together. I will reinvigorate the RDN’s relationship with the Islands Trust and improve communication with Area B residents. Work proactively to promote the RDN’s ability to support an attainable housing proposal coming from our communities. Update and reinvigorate the emergency planning process for our islands. Advocate for innovation leading to improvements in water security and building options.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I will advocate for a structured cost-benefit approach to ensure that our tax dollars are deriving maximum value for our communities. Where there is significant community support for increased taxes for a project then I will support the project.

Why should people vote for you? As a long-time resident of Gabriola, I am running for director of RDN Area B because I want to help our island communities thrive economically, socially, and culturally, while ensuring that our sensitive environment is considered in decision-making.

HOWARD HOULE

Howard Houle is the incumbent Regional District of Nanaimo Area B (Gabriola Island) director. He did not submit a response to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire.

For the e-edition version of this article, which includes photographs of the candidates, click here. For additional local government election coverage, click here.

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