Laura McLeod was among the first to announce her intention to run for city council in the next local election. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo newcomer wants to bring her ideas to city council

Laura McLeod among first to announce she’s running in municipal election

A newcomer to Nanaimo would like to bring her perspectives to the city council table.

Laura McLeod, who works in communications for a non-profit society, was among the first to publicly announce her intention to run for city council in the coming election.

“Just because I am relatively new to Nanaimo, I needed a longer lead time than everyone else to kind of help people understand what my objectives are and what kind of things I stand for,” McLeod said.

She and her husband moved to Nanaimo late last year. Before that, McLeod had been involved in the provincial election campaign in the South Surrey-White Rock riding, and she had been following Nanaimo politics even before she moved to Vancouver Island.

“I was really struck with the discord and what seemed to be a lack of ability for everyone to work together towards common goals,” she said. “And I think that that’s really distressing, because it results in a council that really can’t move forward in any kind of real strategic way.”

She has a particular interest in housing, including supportive housing, and said it was “a lack of clarity and focus” within the city that caused the Chase River modular housing plan to fall through earlier this year.

“I do feel really strongly that eventually, to move forward in any kind of progressive way, city council needs to make some brave decisions and just move forward with the things that need to happen in the community to make things better for people,” McLeod said.

She sees that with development in Nanaimo, often “the developers lead the charge” and she thinks that the community therefore isn’t always getting the kind of housing that’s needed.

McLeod mentioned that zero waste and food security are a couple of other files she would be interest in advancing at the municipal level.

She suggested that a new council is needed because she sees that people in Nanaimo have a lack of trust in the current group’s decision-making.

“And therefore that creates a lot of difficulty when trying to move forward with large projects, because there just isn’t the level of transparency that’s needed, where people actually trust city council’s doing something that’s in the best interests of the community,” McLeod said. “That to me is the saddest thing about this situation.”

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