Mediator wants to be part of a city council that can get along

Guy Beaulieu will officially announce on Tuesday that he’s running for Nanaimo city council

Someone who has resolved conflict for a living wants to bring that skill set to city council.

Guy Beaulieu announced that he will put his name forward to try to become a Nanaimo city councillor in this fall’s local government election.

“I’ve been following council and its various problems,” he said. “It seems like there’s a lot of conflict there instead of collaboration.”

He should know – he’s spent his career as a mediator and arbitrator in labour relations and as a human resources consultant. Based on his experience resolving conflict and trying to get people to work together, he can critique some of what he’s seen and heard about what’s been happening at Nanaimo city hall.

“It seemed like they tried some things, but as you know, they were spectacular failures,” he said. “Especially the pieces of paper under the windshield wipers and stuff like that that occurred. That would be just toxic for any kind of rebuilding.”

He said the current council has micromanaged certain files, but hasn’t overseen other files that required closer management. He cited the core service review as an example, saying councillors have seemed satisfied with asking generalized questions about it and receiving generalized answers.

“Council spearheaded this initiative and then they didn’t follow up on it,” Beaulieu said. “You’d think on some [major] initiative like that, they would have had key performance indicators to follow up on.”

As for other election issues, affordable housing is something the next council will need to continue to address, Beaulieu said, expressing concern that rent costs have reached the point where people are spending half their paycheques or more on housing. The City of Nanaimo can try to create conditions to attract better-paying jobs, including in the tech sector, he said.

He’d also like to work toward transit improvements – Nanaimo city councillors get a say on that regional district service, he said – and would like to do what he can, at the municipal level, to try to support expanded health services locally.

Beaulieu lived in the Nanaimo-Gabriola region for more than 15 years, moved to Alberta for eight years, then came back about three years ago. Announcing his council campaign now, he said, gives him time to meet more people and draw support.

“I was gone for awhile, so … I wanted to get an early start,” he said.

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