Nanaimo city council candidate Ben Geselbracht speaks at his campaign launch event Monday at the Bee’s Knees Community Café. GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Recycling advocate announces he’s running for Nanaimo city council

Ben Geselbracht held his campaign launch Monday at the Bee’s Knees Community Café

A Nanaimo recycling advocate cares about the environment, and also about the environment at city hall.

Ben Geselbracht announced this week he’s running for city council and held a campaign launch Monday at the Bee’s Knees Community Café.

The vice-chairman of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange appeared before council several times this year, pursuing, unsuccessfully, taxpayer funding for the non-profit to build a new depot. Those dealings with council didn’t make him cynical, he said, but may have been some motivation in his decision to run for election.

“What we need on council are good people with common sense, respect for others, respect for the democratic process and a positive vision for the future,” he said. “Along with a tireless work ethic, I can bring these qualities to the council table.”

Geselbracht is a small business owner and a founding director of the Mid-Island Community Development Co-op which facilitates neighbourhood environmental and health projects.

His priorities, he said, are restoring well-functioning local government, strengthening community, ensuring a healthy environment and growing a strong, diverse local economy.

He said Nanaimo’s next council has the “wonderful opportunity” of helping to lead the creation of an updated official community plan.

“We can have full public engagement in the process and educate people on smart urban development, because if we can have the proper buy-in and a strong vision of what this community can look like to stay liveable, we will have a public agenda to build a very beautiful city,” Geselbracht said.

He favours densification rather than sprawl, energy-smart buildings, efficient public transportation, development of the local food production sector, and protection of green spaces, streams and watersheds. He remains a believer in recycling and said the Regional District of Nanaimo’s endorsement of a 90 per cent waste diversion goal presents an opportunity.

“I hope to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to implement that plan and move us forward,” he said. “And I know for sure that there’s going to be something beautiful that’s going to come of the recycling system here that’s going to put Nanaimo on the map being a zero-waste community.”

Geselbracht would like to see the City of Nanaimo not only restore, but expand the mandate of an advisory committee on the environment. He’d like the committee to review development applications that have environmental impacts, while also exploring other sustainability issues and initiatives.

Geselbracht said he’s motivated to join council and will demonstrate that by working hard at his campaign over the coming weeks.

“The city really wants a change and we have the possibility of getting some wonderful individuals onto our council to move forward an agenda that is really going to bring a lot of good to our city, get it ready for the growth and make it liveable, sustainable and full of opportunities,” he said.

To read interviews with other local government election candidates, click here.

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