Top row, left to right: Jeff Annesley, Sheryl Armstrong, Ken Bennett, Don Bonner, Tyler Brown. Second row, left to right: Paul Chapman, Hilary Eastmure, Ben Geselbracht, Nick Greer, Derek Hanna. Third row, left to right: Mike Hartlaub, Erin Hemmens, Jay Krishan, Gary Korpan, Shirley Lambrecht. Fourth row, left to right: Peter Lee, Alan Macdonald, Zeni Maartman, Paul Manly, Janice Perrino. Fifth row, left to right: Frank Pluta, Peter Poole, Michael Ribicic, Norm Smith, Robb Squire. Bottom row, left to right: Viraat BK Thammanna, Ian Thorpe, Corey Trinkwon, David Wang.

Top row, left to right: Jeff Annesley, Sheryl Armstrong, Ken Bennett, Don Bonner, Tyler Brown. Second row, left to right: Paul Chapman, Hilary Eastmure, Ben Geselbracht, Nick Greer, Derek Hanna. Third row, left to right: Mike Hartlaub, Erin Hemmens, Jay Krishan, Gary Korpan, Shirley Lambrecht. Fourth row, left to right: Peter Lee, Alan Macdonald, Zeni Maartman, Paul Manly, Janice Perrino. Fifth row, left to right: Frank Pluta, Peter Poole, Michael Ribicic, Norm Smith, Robb Squire. Bottom row, left to right: Viraat BK Thammanna, Ian Thorpe, Corey Trinkwon, David Wang.

ELECTION 2022: Nanaimo city council candidate questionnaires

29 candidates are vying for eight city councillor seats in the City of Nanaimo

  • Oct. 5, 2022 4:00 a.m.

JEFF ANNESLEY

Note: Jeff Annesley did not submit a response to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire by press time.

According to his election candidate Facebook page, he favours less crime, less taxes, less government.

Stated platform items include fighting crime through empowering citizens and police, ending costly and unnecessary city projects, paying off Nanaimo’s debt and freezing tax increases, and building both density and single-detached housing.

SHERYL ARMSTRONG

Age 60 – City councillor, RDN director. I served over 35 years in the RCMP serving communities throughout B.C. After my retirement I ran in the by election and was fortunate to be the successful candidate. I ran in the general election in 2018 and was successful.

What are your priorities? Public safety. There has been an increase in crime. Chronic offender are responsible for many crimes. This must be addressed by the provincial and federal governments.

As population increases we need more first responders. Firefighters and police are under-resourced. Some people with mental health and/or addictions are partially responsible for increased crimes. We need continue to work with the province to address the issue. Supportive housing must have the right supports in place for residents. We need to advocate for early supports for those with mental health issues. We need to continue to advocate for secured complex care for those who need it.

Economic development. As a member of the Mayors’ Leadership Table we heard we need higher-paying employers in Nanaimo. We need partnerships with tech companies, Vancouver Island University, and Snuneymuxw First Nation. Encourage people to look at the trades. Plumbers, electricians, and carpenters are in high demand. The Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation was formed to assist with economic development. We need to hear back from the group as to what they believe will attract businesses to Nanaimo.

How will you manage taxes and spending? We must keep the one-per cent tax increase for asset management as we have aging infrastructure. All capital projects need to be prioritized and operating costs must be included as this will impact taxes. This is presently not done.

Why should people vote for you? I come prepared to meetings and am engaged with the community. I am a critical thinker and look at all aspects of proposals. I have a proven track record and would like the opportunity to serve Nanaimo for another term.

KEN BENNETT

Age 64 – I am a labour activist who believes in a living wage for all workers and the respectful treatment of workers. I believe working together as a team to build this into becoming a reality is crucial, so I naturally find myself drawn to like-minded people. I have loved and lived in Nanaimo for just over 25 years. For the past 15-plus yrs I have worked as a care aide working in a group home with persons with disabilities, prior to that I worked with youths in care.

I was elected and held a position on the provincial executive of the hospital employees’ union.

What are your priorities? See downtown Nanaimo re-energized, by bringing the arts back to life in our downtown core. Arts and Indigenous cultural centres utilizing possible vacant sites and buildings.

I would love to see more of our paths, parks and beaches made accessible for all our citizens. Our parks and pathways created with mobility and accessibility will be in all the starting plans of new work and upgrades as they need to be done. Nanaimo can work in harmony with agencies and organizations throughout the city to help it heal.

Making this city a safer place to live in, is high on my list of things to do. Community input coming alongside safe and inclusive driven drop-in centres will help those people struggling, supporting organizations and ideas like Stone Soup and Foodshare. Good ideas need to be nurtured into great solutions.

How will you manage taxes and spending? Watching over the city’s finances with a common sense approach to its capital spending. Proper and transparent decisions being made after a sincere effort for community involvement, clear and honest consultations are very important.

DON BONNER

Age 65 – Business owner website designer and hosting, business owner of an Indigenous-owned publishing company specializing in Indigenous children’s stories. Indigenous artist.

Father of five and grandfather of six. Born in Victoria, been in Nanaimo since 1966. Member of the Sharbot Obaadjiwan First Nation in the Bear clan of the Algonquin Nation. Past-president of the United Way, Rotary, and the Nanaimo Executive Association. Board member of the chamber of commerce for four years, member for 24 years. Spokesperson for the No Vote 2017 Society organized to defeat the $80-million events centre in a referendum.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? In no particular order, actioning the new city plan, public safety and social disorder, our environment, city committees, housing needs including affordability and shelter for our homeless, and arts, culture and recreation.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Each year staff come forward with business plans. Council deliberations review the business plans and then we add to the budget by accepting or rejecting the business plans. Then we add all the new taxation that has been created since the last year and look at surpluses and at the end of all this work we come up with the budget and how much is missing to balance the budget and then we set the tax rate. It’s my plan to review critically these new business plans and as well I would like to see a deep dive into the existing budget. As well I’ll be looking to find ways to make more money for the city other than tax increases allowing us to lower the tax increases to balance the budget.

Why should people vote for you? My role as a city councillor has shown that I have the willingness and ability to lead and make good decisions. I work collaboratively with others on council. I can achieve results that benefit our community.

TYLER BROWN

Age 36 – City councillor and Regional District of Nanaimo chair.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Over the next four years, I want to focus on building a more affordable, healthier, fulfilling, and sustainable Nanaimo. In my platform, I have attempted to put together policy positions – not just platitudes. I believe in pragmatic approaches to solving problems that utilize successful practices from elsewhere. I also believe at times you must take innovative approaches when other approaches have failed.

I am focusing on completing more recreational and cultural facilities for Nanaimo, reducing development approval times, focusing city departments on urban design over burdensome regulations, implementing known solutions to provide more affordable and supportive housing, and realizing tertiary care at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? City budgets should be focused on outcomes. For this reason, I have not consistently voted in favour of the city or regional district budget over the last term. I will continue to push the city to adopt outcome budgeting. Outcome budgeting is a budget process that aligns resources with results. In outcome budgeting, the budget is built every year to meet citizen priorities and remove unnecessary spending.

Why should people vote for you? There is an air of uncertainty around the world right now and Nanaimo is no exception. We need leaders who seek solutions and understand that we cannot passively wait for change. We need council members willing to act to meet the challenges of our time and the needs of our citizens. I have strived to bring a dependable, thoughtful, and pragmatic approach and I have forged trusting relationships with the goal of building community coalitions to solve our most pressing problems.

PAUL CHAPMAN

Age 54 – Executive director, Nanaimo and Area Land Trust. Have also worked commercial salmon fishing, circular saws and saw mills and some other occupations too.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Our community response to climate change, affordability, homelessness, and safety. We need to adapt to climate change, provide affordable housing for working folks, pensioners and those on fixed incomes, provide housing and services to deal with the economic and health-care needs of our homeless, and we need to feel safe in any part of the city. All of these issues and more will need to be worked on throughout the term of our next council and beyond.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I will seek partnerships with proven organizations for major acquisitions and will operate by the principle to live within our means and by the adage a stitch in time saves nine. This is environmental full-cost accounting and sustainable asset and eco-asset management.

Why should people vote for you? I’m going to make decisions looking through an environmental lens. We can no longer afford to operate in an ecological deficit. I’m a hard worker who seeks collaboration rather than confrontation. On Oct. 15, or on early voting days, if you want more parks and protected spaces, if you want practical action on affordability, compassionate solutions to homelessness and realistic efforts on community safety vote for me.

HILARY EASTMURE

Age 34 – I’m currently a case worker for the member of Parliament’s office. My non-partisan role involves helping residents navigate federal bureaucracy and advocating on their behalf when they need assistance – from expediting their guaranteed income supplement payments to getting their passports on time. I previously reported for 91.7 Coast FM, covering everything from city council to community events, and I’ve worked for Literacy Central Vancouver Island as their bookstore manager.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My top three are livability, accessibility, and sustainability. Livability includes housing affordability, access to health care, recreation, and community safety. Under accessibility, my platform includes prioritizing pedestrian safety upgrades, expanding transit services, connecting safe cycling routes, and ensuring city facilities and parks are welcoming for people with mobility challenges. Sustainability includes protecting Nanaimo’s watershed, enhancing our urban forest, local food security, and making decisions that reflect the fact that we’re in a climate emergency.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Ensure property tax increases are sustainable for taxpayers, prioritize needs over nice-to-haves, and get community consent for major capital projects by involving citizens in the early planning stages.

Why should people vote for you? With my background in broadcast journalism, I know how to listen closely to people, ask good questions, seek out experts, consider both sides of a story, do the research when more information is required, and clearly communicate what I’ve learned. My experience in federal politics has given me a strong understanding of governance structures and the many complex, systematic issues at play. I’m ready to put my energy full-time into municipal politics, where our local government can take a more proactive role in helping to address critical issues that have a huge impact on our daily lives.

BEN GESELBRACHT

Age 41 – I am a small business owner and first-term city councillor seeking re-election. I have a background in conservation biology and social work and worked as a registered clinical counsellor in the prison system. I owned and operated a tree service business for almost a decade and recently converted it to a worker-owned co-operative. During my time on council, I was elected by my peers to serve as a director-at-large on the Union of B.C. Municipalities. In that role, I lobbied the province on behalf of all B.C. local governments for greater action on affordable housing, homelessness, and climate change.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Like many B.C. municipalities, Nanaimo is facing some serious challenges. I am committed to achieving results on four main priorities. First, create more affordable housing for students, families, workers and seniors. Second, reduce homelessness and social disorder. I support a co-ordinated health, housing and community safety response to these issues. Third, move forward with climate action and environmental protection goals as outlined in our official community plan. And fourth, support a strong local economy that meets community needs. Reducing building and development approval times is one step towards this goal. Another is to continue to lobby the provincial government for urgent upgrades to the Nanaimo Regional Hospital.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I aim to keep tax increases to a minimum, but I also want to avoid burdening the community with large future tax hikes. Problems arise when we fail to invest responsibly in infrastructure and services.

Why should people vote for you? I have a strong track record of leadership, bringing innovative ideas to the council and moving important initiatives forward. With the community’s vote, I will continue the work for a safe and thriving Nanaimo that is environmentally sustainable and full of opportunity for everyone.

NICK GREER

Age 47 – Lawyer, mediator, commercial and international arbitrator. Downtown Nanaimo business owner. Former chair, Destination Nanaimo.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Instead of focusing on core city business, the current council has focused on ‘woke’ vanity issues: doughnut economics, declaring climate emergencies, and building bike lanes to nowhere. The core city business has been forgotten: keeping our city safe, roads working, and taxes and cost of living low.

As a downtown business owner, I see crime out of control. Statistics Canada figures released in August show a massive 44-per cent increase in violent crime severity in Nanaimo. Sending social workers to try to resolve serious crime issues is not a solution – properly funding and actually supporting RCMP is the solution.

Second, I have previously been a councillor in Australia where I led renewal of a downtown area not unlike Nanaimo, by partnering with business. I have a vision for the safe, vibrant and exciting downtown that we need.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? The city is run incredibly inefficiently. As a result, Nanaimo’s sky-high tax rates are hurting business and families struggling to make ends meet.

Tax take increased by a massive $18-million between 2018 and 2021 during the term of this council, much of it to fund vanity projects and yet more middle management positions in the city. I’ll place caps on new staff increases, and will set up efficiency audits at the city to keep taxes manageable.

Why should people vote for you? Residents are sick of the city wasting vast amounts of time and money on ‘woke’ projects that do little good for the community. I’ll focus on the core city business of community safety, roads, renewal of the downtown core, and keeping taxes and cost of living low.

DEREK HANNA

Age 63 – Mechanical engineer. I’ve worked in the pulp industry, on a variety of project teams involving multiple stakeholders. I’ve acquired a multi-discipline background and look for solutions to problems that help defuse opposing agendas for maximum buy-in from all involved.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Support initiatives to combat crime and assist those experiencing homelessness (solutions require other levels of government involvement). Control spending and limit tax increases as these contributed to inflation for the past four years. Some budgets may need to be trimmed. Work with city to shorten building permit approval process. This is necessary to reduce construction costs for home builders and developers while allowing growth to take place. Be a voice for industry to help bring jobs to the Nanaimo area. Preservation of green spaces that keep our city livable. Advocating for changes to the official community plan as required to meet these goals.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Looking to eliminate tax increases for the 2023 year; identify strategic projects and cost drivers to support this. Improve communication between city administration and council to limit costs or scope of projects. Saying no to special-interest projects if not aligning with the wider public needs. Review of department budgets to identify efficiency and/or cost-reduction opportunities. Scrutinize new hiring requirements.

Why should people vote for you? Rational thinker with experience to stand up for taxpayers. Support less government in our daily lives.

MIKE HARTLAUB

Age 54 – I am a NACE peer Level 3 coating inspector. My work requires the ability to decipher intricate contracts and specifications and convert them into real-world applications out in the field. I moved to Nanaimo five years ago from Victoria for several reasons, some of which include that Nanaimo is an amazing city and that my ageing parents live here.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To focus on reducing crime/homelessness in our city, and getting the streets back to a level of safety again that we have enjoyed in the past. I would also like to reduce spending and ensure that the spending that is required will be done prudently, and in an open and transparent way that is accountable to the public.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I plan on managing taxes by using my skills in being able to decipher intricate contracts and looking at each line item in our budget and making sure the money is spent effectively and efficiently and that it’s absolutely necessary. I would also like to reinstate committees’ input into our government as it was an amazing free resource that was used very effectively in our previous municipal government.

Why should people vote for you? The taxpayers should vote for me if they want to have a city that is safe for their families, provides accountable spending, and wants to have waste cut from our municipal spending.

ERIN HEMMENS

Age 44 – I’m an incumbent, seeking a second term on Nanaimo city council. I’ve spent 20 years in the community health field and bring a collaborative and passionate approach to my work at the council table and beyond. In the community, I manage a project aimed at improving access to pediatricians in Nanaimo; I’ve served my city/region as a coroner and was an early contributor to the research and funding which launched the John Barsby Wellness Centre. On council I co-led the health and housing task force, a collective effort by government, the non-profit sector, RCMP, Snuneymuxw First Nation and the local business community to re-tool how we respond to homelessness in Nanaimo. I’m the vice-chair of the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District board and the Vancouver Island Regional Library board.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Pursue the bold actions outlined in city plan; provide support to two new collaborative endeavours, built by the community and funded by the city: Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation and the systems planning organization; make arts and culture a key component of our city’s brand; build strong neighbourhoods; and enhance and sustain an attractive downtown.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I plan to manage taxes and spending in the same way I have these last four years: by carefully weighing each decision we make. Times are tough, we’re all feeling it, and council is sensitive to that while also managing a budget that is subject to the same economic pressures that any institution is.

Why should people vote for you? Nanaimo hired a good team in 2018. We represent a diversity of opinions, work together well and respectfully and we’ve built strong and lasting foundations upon which Nanaimo’s future will be built. If elected, I will continue to bring my skills, passion and experience to the work of creating a livable, sustainable and welcoming city for all.

JAY KRISHAN

Age 33 – I am the director of the Pacific Society for the Advancement of Employment Equity. I also serve on the board of directors of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. I have a B.A. in sociology from Simon Fraser University along with various other credentials that give me an interdisciplinary background.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I want the City of Nanaimo to be perceived as a modern, competitive, and diverse city. I consider it an important priority to work to reform the City of Nanaimo’s hiring policies and practices so that a more representative workforce is formed. Only a representative workforce can understand the needs of the diverse community. There are different age groups, faiths, cultures, and ethnicities in the community. University graduates and persons with disabilities need to be recognized. The City of Nanaimo is behind in this area. The definition and evaluation of merit has to be broadened to more readily recognize residents from diverse backgrounds.

Diversity, trade, employment, and culture are my four strategic priorities. Then there are the short-term objectives that need to be realized, such as forming a safe community. The downtown region is experiencing trouble in this area. I also want to see the City of Nanaimo focusing on architecture and design elements – we are situated close to B.C.’s capital city, and it should show.

I will work towards improvement and progress if elected.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? There is much potential for implementing sustainable solutions, promoting trade and commerce, and developing a vibrant, thriving culture; there are many positive changes to be seen. Together, with close community consultations and with fellow council members, I will make the decisions that we were entrusted to make.

Why should people vote for you? I have already stated that one of the things I will bring is a responsible style of discussion. That just by itself is a strong reason to give me your vote. Thank you very much for your considerations.

GARY KORPAN

Age 69 – Retired lawyer, former mayor of Nanaimo, former councillor and regional district representative.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Citizens, especially seniors, fear parts of our city, particularly downtown. We all deserve to feel safe throughout Nanaimo. I commit to ensuring city council acts decisively on public safety with the following motions: strict enforcement of city bylaws; strongly encourage police to enforce public safety laws; strongly encourage Crown prosecution of chronic law breakers; strongly encourage the courts emphasize public safety and deterrence in sentencing, especially for chronic offenders; strongly encourage senior governments to include community services penalties to all breaches of their laws; as well as updating all penalties to modern standards to better ensure deterrence and accountability.

Another high priority, if you elect me, will be good governance as witnessed by the positive co-operation of the diverse council teams I had the honour of serving with and leading.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Citizen taxpayers expect and demand fiscal responsibility. I especially hate wasteful spending. Nanaimo needs constant budgetary review of 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. Large budgets often contain unnecessary, wasteful spending that only benefit special interest groups. Control of spending must be council’s immediate priority.

Why should people vote for you? 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. As candidate for council I wish to help in our unending goal of making Nanaimo an even better, healthier, and safe place to work and live.

SHIRLEY LAMBRECHT

Age 57 – Just shy of three decades in the telecommunications industry, I was engaged in planning, industry research, economic and capacity forecasting, network design and delivery, emergency services/business continuity planning and implementation, customer relationship management systems development, documentation and training planning and delivery, and pay equity/job evaluation. I had the opportunity to work on local, provincial, inter-provincial, and international project teams. My volunteer experience spans nearly four decades working with a series of community-based service organizations, particularly with vulnerable and marginalized groups.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My platform is to create and foster safety, stability, shared economic prosperity, vibrancy, and a sense of place for all residents. My priority items are to tackle the intersecting issues of public safety, homelessness and housing accessibility, mental health and wellness issues including addictions. Developing a trauma-informed framework will help us to resolve issues at their source. I will seek to raise awareness of the climate crisis, its causation, and develop plans to both mitigate the effects of climate change as well as to prepare for climate disaster.

The lack of affordable housing creates a brain-drain on communities. Many of our young people are forced to leave because they simply cannot afford to live here. Businesses and service agencies have difficulty recruiting and retaining high quality candidates because they are unable to secure housing.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Taxation and spending at city hall responsibly entails a triage approach: assessing priorities, investing in the right services and programs, at times lengthening timelines to complete projects having lesser urgency. The challenges we face are interwoven. By solving one issues, we reduce the impact of others.

Why should people vote for you? I have a proven track record of leadership, prudent business judgment, and creative problem-solving. I make evidence-based decisions and am resulted oriented. I do not shy away from a challenge.

PETER LEE

Age 21 – I have been a Nanaimoite for 13 years, and I’m grateful to be a part of the Nanaimo community and to live amongst the city’s beautiful nature. I am currently a volunteer tutor with VIU and a Rotarian. I am a recent graduate of the University of Toronto, with an honours bachelor of arts in public policy.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Public safety is my top priority. Our city needs to regain the confidence to work, live, and play without fear. I will take the necessary measures to tackle crime, to reclaim our streets from violent and repeat offenders.

I believe in providing more affordable housing options to match people’s incomes, through encouraging high-density development and building more non-market housing for those experiencing homelessness.

I believe in sustainable development, encouraging new transit infrastructure and evaluating city policies through a sustainable lens.

I believe that collaboration is the key to good governance. By working for Nanaimo’s social and economic interests, we can unlock Nanaimo’s potential. I will work with non-profits to provide more integrated services for the most vulnerable.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Fiscal responsibility will be my watchword when considering new city spending. Given the current shortage and increased prices of both construction materials and labour, I am not in favour of big capital projects in the short term. By focusing on the city’s existing infrastructure and improving service delivery, I believe that tax dollars can be most efficiently spent.

Why should people vote for you? I will be a strong voice for improving public safety on council. I want a comprehensive approach to public safety – both addressing the acute symptoms of crime (more policing resources, improving street lighting, targeting nuisance houses) and its root causes (working with the province to secure more funding for integrated mental health and addiction services). I will bring a fresh set of eyes to find solutions to issues currently facing Nanaimo, as well as developing a vision for Nanaimo’s future.

ALAN MACDONALD

Age 56 – I’m the associate executive director at Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services, an agency with over 100 employees that provides wellness and family services to nine First Nations on the east coast of Vancouver Island. I also operate a small consulting business and I’m involved with various community sports organizations.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Safe streets. Creating safe neighbourhoods through targeted crime reduction in the downtown core and other high crime zones is imperative. Securing addiction services and integrating mental health and social services.

Housing. To succeed in housing for a sustainable community we need to recreate our zoning and building permits process and accept gentle densification, mixed housing, and other progressive alternatives such as cooperative housing solutions. Affordable housing for all citizens, especially seniors and the unsheltered who are able to resettle away from harmful influences.

Economic prosperity and livability. There’s enormous economic potential in education, health care, government, and service sectors. Additionally, planning for expansion of our hospital and investment in our parks, waterfront walkways, and recreational amenities are critical.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? My spending priorities are community safety, health and wellness, housing affordability, and economic development. Taxation frameworks for municipalities need re-examination. Taxpayers and particularly fixed-income individuals should not shoulder so many of the necessary costs of future growth.

Why should people vote for you? My experience as a senior leader, planner, and negotiator will help the city create clear channels of responsibility, integrate and coordinate current services, and access funding from senior levels of government to create a safe, productive, and sustainable community. I bring concrete ideas to reduce crime in our city and have 20 years of leadership experience implementing and monitoring outcomes. Those who know me professionally say I have the ability to elevate teams to carry out complex work assignments. My passion is providing service to my community is shown throughout my 30 year career in human services, as a director of KidSport, a volunteer hockey coach, and as the founder and president of Salish Storm Hockey.

ZENI MAARTMAN

Age 65 – I was a chartered insurance professional and recently retired from BCAA management team so city council could be my priority. I have served on school board and as past-president of Tourism Nanaimo along with numerous community organizations. The last four years on council and three on the RDN has inspired me to continue with good governance and the leadership that is required.

What are your priorities? Affordable housing that is rent to income, safety and security, advocating with senior governments to address social disorder, and focus on our five goals for a green, connected, healthy, empowered and prosperous city. I want to see the completion of the revitalization of downtown, our waterfront, and the success of the Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation, Tourism Nanaimo, and build on our arts, entertainment and sports culture. Food security, protection of public water, green spaces have always been important for me.

How will you manage taxes and spending? Fiscal governance requires one per cent every year set aside for asset management. Wages increase two per cent on average per year for all employees including fire and police. As one of the fastest-growing cities fire and police protection will require expansion. To keep our city as safe, accessible and inclusive as possible and protect our natural resources means we cannot avoid taxes. Practical and prudent decision making is needed. With the experience of four years on council I bring the skills of understanding process and decision-making at the city level.

Why should people vote for you? I have lived in Nanaimo for over 30 years. The past four years had many challenges with the pandemic along with social issues. I have the experience, knowledge and energy to keep on working hard for everyone. I care deeply about our city, now and for future generations.

PAUL MANLY

Age 58 – I am the executive director at the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter, the former member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, a filmmaker, local small business owner and community advocate. I’ve worked and volunteered with many local non-profit organizations to help them communicate their work and educate the public.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My top priority will be working on solutions to Nanaimo’s affordable housing, homelessness and community safety issues. This is work that must happen in collaboration with senior levels of government. I’m knowledgeable about the issues and ready to get down to work and make positive progress.

Equally important is strengthening the local economy, ensuring liveability and building community resilience. This means creating conditions for small and medium enterprises to thrive here. Increasing density and managing growth. Upgrading key health-care infrastructure. Ensuring robust emergency preparedness for disruptions and disasters caused by climate change. Encouraging more local food production. And creating more protected natural areas, particularly around the Nanaimo River.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Tax increases should be capped at normal core inflation rates which the Bank of Canada typically targets between 1-3 per cent. Spending needs to be managed carefully and prioritized based on the greatest community needs. Wherever possible, grants from senior levels of government and development cost charges should be utilized to fund infrastructure projects.

Why should people vote for you? I have a deep commitment to Nanaimo and have dedicated decades of work to the community. I have a reputation for working in a professional and cooperative manner. I understand the intersection of responsibilities at various levels of government. I have a track record of listening to constituents, researching issues, sharing knowledge, and responding to meet the needs of the community.

JANICE PERRINO

I was the CEO of the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation for six years, retired in June. Spent two terms as a councillor and two terms as mayor of Summerland. Also, regional district director and chair, regional hospital district.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? We must advocate for a major hospital expansion, cancer treatment facility and cardiac catheterization lab. We need to build more long-term care facilities, walk in clinics and bringing more GPs to Nanaimo. We have 35,000 residents without a family doctor. This is not acceptable.

We must do more to revitalize the downtown with more business and residential opportunities, which will help to reduce the crime issues.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I have a history of keeping taxes low especially with inflation today. When council is spending to fix infrastructure and underground utilities that’s when we add bike lanes, where it makes sense and is cost-effective.

We need to support more opportunities for business and residential growth for those needing lower-cost housing and making the city a safer place to live.

Why should people vote for you? After my years on council and in business, I know what we can do, and I get results. We must do more to advocate for better healthcare services. We can get our hospital expansion. In the Okanagan, we fought for a hospital expansion at the Penticton Regional Hospital. I’m proud to say that construction started on the hospital in 2014 and minister Adrian Dix came to open the new building in 2019.

Nanaimo is a beautiful city, but we must do more to revitalize our downtown which will help to reduce crime.

I believe we can do so much more for Nanaimo. I have the time and the energy to get Nanaimo moving in the right direction.

FRANK PLUTA

Age 66 – Administrator for V.I. Tree Service in Nanaimo. After graduating from California Polytechnic University in 1978, I worked in the business programming industry briefly before joining our family business in McBride, B.C. Years later, I’ve been able to make Nanaimo my home. I have a B.Sc. in accounting and a B.Sc. in computer science.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Let’s look at ways to reduce crime and provide safety for our community. Let’s encourage our RCMP to bring back the auxiliary RCMP program. Have them work with VIU tourism program students and create ambassadors to host tourists in the downtown and other areas/events.

Let’s have the freedom of choice and Information. Freedom to vote on council how the people want us to represent their voice. Freedom to say no to motions that don’t make sense or are not a priority. Let’s not just rubber stamp administrative recommendations; let’s understand what’s being presented and question it. Let’s lobby the federal and provincial governments for homelessness and housing solutions. For plans and funding to provide medical resources, health facilities and housing solutions for the homeless that are suffering from physical and mental illness.

For programs to assist companies in constructing and providing affordable housing for residents. For programs to residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes to reduce greenhouse gases.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Let’s find a way to provide homeowners and businesses to freeze or significantly slow the annual growth in property taxes. Let’s have a tough look at our city budget and organizational chart – what can shift, change and reduce to make this practical. Let’s reach out to other communities that have been successful at holding the line and learn from them.

Why should people vote for you? I am dedicated to bringing my abilities and experience to council with my commitment, leadership training and skills, council and regional district experience, over 40 years of business experience, common sense, independent, team player, facilitator.

PETER POOLE

Age 46 – Social worker with experience in Nanaimo at Work B.C., Justice Access Centre, Nanaimo Family Life. Currently self-employed as a DJ (the 2020 National DMC DJ Champion).

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I’m here to represent your (Nanaimo’s) voice in city hall by making the municipal political process accessible.

To help to make the tough decisions about what Nanaimo needs in the immediate and in the future.

To support the art, music and culture scene in Nanaimo – make Nanaimo a little cooler.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? It’s really important to keep Nanaimo’s spending and taxes down. I want to show fiscal responsibility in city hall, sticking to agreed budget planning and reflecting Nanaimo’s immediate needs, and not overspending on the unnecessary. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Why should people vote for you? Nanaimo is like an adolescent, it needs the right kind of support and guidance to grow healthily into maturity. I offer the perspective of a long-term resident with an elderly mother who is retired here, and a teenage son who will grow up here.

MICHAEL RIBICIC

Age 27 – Teacher, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Work towards addressing social disorder and homelessness. Advocate for affordable housing. Promote more public transportation. Offer fiscally responsible leadership. Support inclusivity and diversity in our community. Create a way forward to retain youth and young talent in our community.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I plan on advocating for no wasteful spending and will always thoroughly examine the budgets to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being allocated efficiently and effectively. That way, your tax dollar money is spent in ways that matter. I will also ask myself before approving developments if the project proposed will be a net-gain for the city or a net-loss. I will always vote with the taxpayers in mind.

Why should people vote for you? People should consider including me in their choices for council because I have the relationship building, advocacy, and listening skills that it takes to be an effective city councillor. I also bring with me a wealth of board and committee experience. I currently serve as the VP of the VIU Alumni Association board and my Rotary Club. I also serve as a director on the Nanaimo Art Gallery board, past-president of the Brechin Hill Neighbour Association, and the alumni rep on VIU’s Senate. I have also previously served on several other committees/boards in our community. I am running for council because I am passionate about our city. I have lived here my whole life and have a proven track record of involvement. I want to be able to look back four years from now and be able to say that I worked hard every single day for you, and for our beautiful city.

NORM SMITH

Age 57 – I am a retired RCMP Traffic Services unit commander with 31 years of service, 25 of those years in Nanaimo.

What are your priorities? Public safety, the unhoused, and dealing with high taxes. Our citizens deserve to feel safe in their own homes and when they travel about around the city. Prolific offenders are not being held accountable for their actions and are released to commit further crime. As a city, we need to put pressure on the courts and both the provincial and federal governments to issue stronger sentences to deter future criminals and protect us. When dealing with the unhoused, we need to assess each individual to determine what their underlying issues are (cannot afford rent due to lack of a job, mental health, addiction issues). Through a collaborative effort from the city, social services, and community programs, we may be able to determine a course of action to help these individuals.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? As businesses and citizens are recovering from COVID, we must be fiscally responsible not to overload everyone with higher taxes on projects that are not needed at this time. Focus on fixing our basic infrastructure first before vanity projects. Common sense is needed to say no to the wants of a few and deal with the needs of the many first.

Why should people vote for you? I believe communication between council and the citizens of Nanaimo is of utmost importance. Listening to concerns will give councillors a better understanding of the needs of our citizens.

ROBB SQUIRE

Regional sales account executive for Vancouver Island, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, member of the Nanaimo Newcastle Community Association, and member of the Nanaimo Skating Club, as a longtime member, interim secretary and program assistant, casting assistant for Hallmark.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Public safety, homelessness, mental health and addictions, economic development, transparency

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Wisely, after much consideration and discussion with other members of council and the public, one person can not do this alone, it takes a village.

Why should people vote for you? What I will bring to the table is enthusiasm, with fresh new positive ideas, and a desire to make everyone in our city feel safe, welcomed and empowered. I want small businesses to thrive and to welcome new businesses to Nanaimo. I really want to work together to make this happen, as we face tomorrow today.

VIRAAT BK THAMMANNA

Age 55 – Corporate business operations management and Canadian Forces operations.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Inclusiveness of grassroots in local governance to work on the safety and security of citizens and local businesses. Advocating for treating mental health and addiction. Lobbying for affordable housing, co-op housing and housing for special needs. Increase footprints in downtown by implementing effective measures to make it an interesting destination. Working with a team to bring accountability, reliability and transparency in functioning of city council. Cordial relation, co-ordination and co-operation with multi levels of governments. Supporting local economy, food security and sustainability.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Continued efforts for smart and efficient financial cost controls, balanced budgeting with inclusion of local critics and experts, this method will prevent council for wise taxation management. Will engage community associations and members in planning and spending for non partial user-friendly infrastructure developments. Exploring federal and provincial grants for large scale projects of betterment, so that no dependency on property tax dollars.

Why should people vote for you? I have energy and will to work hard to give back at full capacity, using my knowledge and abilities for the positive transformation of our community and beyond. I am looking forward to serving the city full-time as a city councillor without conflicts of interests, and no personal or family business ownership. My success in management, military career and existing financial stability will allow me to give all energy and devotion to shared goals of the community. I have been deeply connected to grassroots through volunteer engagement with various boards, committees and social organizations since last four years in our home town Nanaimo and region, I feel the pulse of my city.

IAN THORPE

Age 70 – I am a retired educator who had a 35-year career here in Nanaimo, with an extensive history of community involvement. It has been an honour for me to serve on council for the past eight years. During this term I also served two years as chair of the Regional District of Nanaimo, and am currently chair of the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District board.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Aside from maintenance of good civic governance, a main priority is to deal with public safety and increased social disorder. Residents and business owners deserve a safe and attractive city, and they need support. Another priority will be to hold the line on taxes. With high inflation and cost of living, people must feel confident that tax dollars are being spent responsibly. The city needs to increase available affordable housing. I want to continue pushing the provincial government for more supportive housing and treatment facilities for those with mental health/addiction problems, and for much-needed improvements to our Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I am a proponent of encouraging economic growth and sustainable development. A strong economic base is necessary in order to keep taxes at their lowest possible level. Basic safety and infrastructure spending will be necessary, but in the current economic climate some expensive projects will need to be put on hold. Taxes should not exceed the rate of inflation.

Why should people vote for you? Two terms on council have given me valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing our beautiful city. I believe I am well qualified to continue in a leadership role, and I want to bring my experience and knowledge back to the table. I strive always to bring a professional presence and common sense, to listen carefully, and to make informed and thoughtful decisions that reflect the wishes of the citizens of Nanaimo.

COREY TRINKWON

Age 34 – I was born and raised in Nanaimo and I am a Red Seal journeyman electrician. My wife Tenille and I live in the Uplands area with our two children and another baby boy due in November. I graduated high school from NDSS in 2006 and went into the trades. After a few years I decided to pursue electrical and I currently work as a maintenance electrician for Island Health. I was an on-call firefighter for five years before having to leave for work and family commitments. I have been involved with many different volunteer programs throughout my life such as coaching community floor hockey at Georgia Avenue Elementary and football at NDSS.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Nanaimo’s population has boomed in the last few years and we need to focus on the infrastructure to handle it. I would be looking to improve many of the amenities such as buses, parks and recreation and putting pressure on the highways to improve the bypass.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I believe together, with the other councillors and mayor, we can find the best way to manage the taxes and spending on what we deem most important for Nanaimo. In saying this I will be wanting to focus on the amenities that help Nanaimo grow as a community and help keep up with the needs of an ever-expanding Nanaimo.

Why should people vote for you? I believe people should vote for me because I have the best understanding of where Nanaimo has been and where it’s going and I have a clear vision on how we can get there. I grew up here and care about the city and only want to see what’s best for it.

DAVID WANG

Age 42 – Currently not working but have worked a large variety of jobs – hotels, landscaping, clerical, carpentry, restaurants. Three years of BA majoring in English at VIU.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? My No. 1 priority in Nanaimo is crime, and the directly correlated issues of substance abuse and homelessness. I call the approach to the problem ‘Tough Love Nanaimo.’ We’re compassionate people. We want those who are struggling to get the help they need. Homeless people need to be interviewed and the root cause of their homelessness understood, so they can get the services that are best suited to their situation. People who commit crimes though, especially ones resulting in property destruction or physical violence, simply cannot be in Nanaimo with peaceful citizens. In a very real way they are making a call for help, and as responsible leaders, our job is to get them that help, but my goal is to make Nanaimo a city of law and order for law-abiding citizens first.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I want city council to be accountable to Nanaimo residents and to this end I will push for ‘My Tax Money Nanaimo,’ a smartphone app and website where residents can quickly and easily see exactly how city council is spending their money and how council plans to spend their money. Property taxes have increased at an alarming rate, and it’s past time residents know exactly where all their money is going.

Why should people vote for you? I love living in Canada which is founded upon the principles of freedom and individual rights. The current council has approved an official community plan which will make Nanaimo Canada’s first ‘Smart City,’ the first city in Canada to have a 5G network, and the first city in Canada where the goal of the global elites to create a surveillance state begins, under the guise of efficiency and saving the planet. I resolutely stand against that movement.

ELECTION 2022: Nanaimo mayoral candidate questionnaires



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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