Election 2014: Mayoral race draws array of characters

Jim Routledge, Alisha Neumann-Ladret and Kendal Csak have joined the line up of candidates fighting for the mayoral seat.

Nanaimo’s newest mayoral candidate is making it no secret he’s served jail time as he enters the race for leadership.

Kendal Csak, a motivational speaker and musician, filed his nomination papers Friday, along with businessman Jim Routledge and childcare centre founder Alisha Neumann-Ladret. There are now 10 contenders vying for mayor.

Csak told the News Bulletin he has been in the city for about two weeks, moving to the area to be close to his daughter and because he loves the ocean.

He’s open about the fact he’s served jail time – including a stretch that lasted a little over a year. He called it regrettable, but pointed out that it would help him answer questions to do with crime, drugs, or related programs.

“People change and people learn and as far as I’m concerned my experiences there helped shape me even better,” he said.

Csak, who also ran in Toronto’s mayoral race in 2003 when he lived in the province, said if elected, he’d would be a decisive leader, easy to talk to and professional. His No. 1 priority would be to serve the public.

“How I do that is the same way I do it in my personal life and in my other professional life and that is I make sure that I am accessible always and open-minded and I like the word evolved because the world you know is changing so much,” he said.

Business owner Jim Routledge, a past contender for mayor and board member of Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, will also be looking to secure the mayor’s chair. He says he likes the idea of building a winning team and feels he has the energy, enthusiasm, education and experience for the job.

He would like to see Nanaimo participate in discussion around Metro Vancouver’s waste regulation bylaw, and sees opportunity on Newcastle Island where he’d like to help the Snuneymuxw with plans for the island park. Routledge also said there’s a mess that needs to be cleaned up, with issues like Leadercast where support structures have failed – and that he’d like to see a new city manager.

Ladret, one of two female candidates for mayor, moved to Nanaimo six years ago and has three degrees in English, political science and education from the University of Northern British Columbia. She’s also the founder of Inquiring Little Minds Education Centre in Ladysmith.

Ladret’s campaign platform includes promoting industry and business to more programming for youth and help for mental health, which she says is “vastly underfunded.” With a platform of environmental responsibility she’s also against an incinerator to burn garbage from Metro Vancouver and the proposed Hilton hotel encroaching on Georgia Park.

The first-time mayoral candidate also said if elected she’d like to donate her first paycheque to charity and every six months thereafter.

“I think it’s important that we give back to our community,” she said.