Regional District of Nanaimo Area A director candidates include Carl Delcourt, top left, Kate Poirier, Jessica Stanley, Keith Wilson, middle row left; and RDN Area C director candidates include Mark MacDonald, middle row middle, Lauren Melanson, Charles Pinker, bottom row left, Dean Toma and Susan Toth.

Regional District of Nanaimo Area A director candidates include Carl Delcourt, top left, Kate Poirier, Jessica Stanley, Keith Wilson, middle row left; and RDN Area C director candidates include Mark MacDonald, middle row middle, Lauren Melanson, Charles Pinker, bottom row left, Dean Toma and Susan Toth.

ELECTION 2022: Regional District of Nanaimo Area A and Area C director candidate questionnaires

Four people are running for Area A director and five people are running for Area C director

  • Oct. 5, 2022 7:00 a.m.

Four candidates are running for Area A director in the Regional District of Nanaimo: Carl Delcourt, Kate Poirier, Jessica Stanley and Keith Wilson:

CARL DELCOURT

Note: Carl Delcourt did not provide a response to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire by press time.

In an interview last month, he told the News Bulletin that RDN residents have been burdened with “completely out-of-control taxation” that can’t continue.

He also said municipal water system improvement is needed in outlying areas such as Cranberry, South Wellington and Cassidy.

KATE POIRIER

Age 38 – Community advocate and executive director of the Cedar Farmers Market

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Community consultation, parks and playgrounds, food security and agricultural promotion, sustainable development that protects our rural character, efficient development and permitting processes, strong advocacy for public safety and crosswalks.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? My first priority as director would be to consult with the people who live here. We need to focus on maintaining our core services and amenities. Inflation is causing our most basic expenses, such as housing and food, to skyrocket in cost.

I want to see progress on the issues that we are most suited to support, such as agriculture and small business.

We need more in-depth consultation on the plan to build a footbridge across the Nanaimo River in Cedar. It’s an expensive project with enormous sunk costs involved. It’s controversial for me to even mention this project, but there is an extensive amount of pushback in the community that hasn’t made it onto paper. Beyond the $2-5 million price tag, local homeowners and small business owners are very concerned that this bridge will lead to a rapid escalation of property crime.

Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me because I get things done. I advocate to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to improve road safety; I organize neighbourhood cleanups and food, toy, and clothing drives for low-income families and individuals; I helped to create a central Block Watch organization to combat a crime wave; and I am a member of two Regional District of Nanaimo committees (agriculture, Area A parks and recreation.)

As a member of the local government, I will bring transparency and urgency to dealing with the issues that our residents are most concerned with. I’m hands-on and I’ve shown that I don’t mind doing the hard work necessary to move issues forward.

JESSICA STANLEY

Age 50 – Two-term school trustee, farmer, retired psychologist and university instructor.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Prioritizing affordability and community well-being; protecting the rural character, agricultural interests, and natural environment of Area A; a community road safety plan with safe and active routes to school; sustainability and environmental resilience; identify priorities of the official community plan and taking action; responsive and active representation.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? Affordability is a major concern in our community and should not be ignored. Spending should be cautious, and taxpayers should feel they are getting value for their money. I believe that pooling our money to pay for community services provides much benefit, but the money should be spent in a way that reflects community priorities. This is why our OCP needs to be prioritized to direct possible spending. We can also be smarter with our money by streamlining the permitting process, requiring more from developers, and engaging with community volunteers for community projects.

Why should people vote for you? With development pressures, population growth, and a changing environment impacting the rural character of our community, we need a strong and active representative to advocate for the rural integrity, natural environment, and well-being of Area A. My eight years as a school trustee and track record as a community organizer prove that I am experienced in navigating and directing a large system and achieve results. My background as a psychologist and in farming means that I am someone who listens to people and to the land. I know that the well-being of the people and environment are necessary for a healthy community and prioritizing that health is an economically smart decision. I have the skills, experience, relationships, and dedication to serve my community well and effectively advocate for Area A.

KEITH WILSON

I have been humbled by the number of people who have asked me to run for my second term as electoral area director for Area A. In the last term, my work on getting an agreement with SD68 for the South Wellington School to be used for a community centre was one of the highlights. I was also pleased to be able to work with the Cedar Hall to get improvements to the hall and the parking lot, with NCID to fund part of its water treatment plant, and with Yellow Point Ecological Society on the Yellow Point Trail.

What are your priorities? In the next term, I would like to tackle the challenge of affordable housing in our communities. I have come to realize that, as long as we rely on the provincial and federal governments to build affordable housing, it isn’t going to happen. For that reason, I will work to develop solutions at the local government level that do not involve increasing taxes or asking those that are housed to subsidize those that cannot afford current market costs. Both home ownership and renting are out of the reach of many in our region.

I would also like to continue to work with the Ministry of Transportation and the RCMP to improve the safety for pedestrians on our roads. I have talked to many of you about safer crosswalks for school kids, walkers and those on bikes. We managed to get widened shoulders on a large section of Cedar Road and I hope to continue to press the ministry for more work on safer roads.

Area A is the next in line to review and amend its official community plan, hopefully in 2023. This is a process that I would like to see a broad cross-section of Area A residents involved in. It is important to me that the OCP capture the rural flavour of Cedar, Yellow Point, Cassidy and South Wellington, and that we don’t succumb to urban development pressures to develop more sidewalks, streetlights and related increases in taxes.

Five candidates are running for Area C director in the Regional District of Nanaimo: Mark MacDonald, Lauren Melanson, Charles Pinker, Dean Toma and Susan Toth:

MARK MACDONALD

Age 61- Publisher, former owner of Business Examiner and now president of Communication Ink Media and Public Relations.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? I have three priorities: protection, potholes and permits. Protection: From fires and the danger of bush parties by strongly supporting our volunteer fire departments. Potholes: There are far too many to count on RDN roads, and they must be fixed. Permits: It takes far too long to get permits to build anything in the RDN, due to puzzling delays that add unnecessary costs and headaches for homeowners. The process must be streamlined.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I have consistently opposed tax increases in the Nanaimo area for decades, and I am greatly concerned that RDN continue to escalate with very little regard or return for taxpayers. Taxpayer-funded spending must be examined and curtailed wherever possible.

Why should people vote for you? I have owned and operated our own successful publishing, events and communications family businesses for 17 years with my wife Lise (Business Examiner), and we have five college graduate children. A former Nanaimo Clipper goalie, I am an acknowledged community leader and contributor, and as president, guided the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce team to push for the expansion of Nanaimo Airport, and we were named B.C. Chamber of the Year in 2003. As managing editor of Nanaimo Daily News, I helped lead community resistance against the city’s drive to remove the Colliery Dam and save this beloved city park. I have been a director of South Forks Nanaimo River Community Association, and Area C resident for 12 years, and I am known for my ability to foster an open exchange of views and for encouraging best practices and teamwork.

LAUREN MELANSON

Age 33 – Health and safety officer

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Protection and support for our local fire services; rehabilitation and refurbishment of recreation areas, roads and public spaces; management of our local water sources and aquifers.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? As director of Area C I will only endorse spending tax dollars on projects that I believe will directly benefit residents. Too often the residents of rural areas are pushed into financially supporting services and projects that they do not benefit from.

Why should people vote for you? My deep roots in Area C drive my passionate approach to local issues. Our community needs a director with the energy to fight for what matters most to our residents. I believe I have the drive to pursue new ideas, while simultaneously protecting our community’s unique identity.

CHARLES PINKER

Age 76 – Retired, B.C. Ferries, 37 years; presently director Area C; alternate director for 15-plus years. I have lived in Area C East Wellington since 1954. Retired volunteer firefighter with 40 years’ service, retired trustee for the Mountain Fire Protection District (East Wellington) for 36 years, chair of Mountain Fire Protection District (East Wellington) for 20 years, parks and open spaces committee (East Wellington/Pleasant Valley) for 15 years.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? Expansion of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, safe drinking water throughout the entire RDN in the rural areas, maintain Agricultural Land Reserve land as much as possible in the entire RDN, make sure that RDN board is responsible/accountable to the taxpayers of the entire RDN.

DEAN TOMA

Age 38 – Utilities services worker, over 15 years in civil utilities, including water, sewer and gas.

What will be your priorities if you are elected? To bring a new, accountable and interactive approach to civil governance. To focus on the issues that are important to Electoral Area C, and all of the RDN, and to see those issues dealt with.

How do you plan to manage taxes and spending? I plan to manage taxes and spending with a conservative, accountable approach, transparent for all members of the district to see and scrutinize.

Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me if they are tired of the ‘same old’ in civil politics, and would like to see a fresh, energetic approach. New ideas, and new ways of helping everyone’s voice be heard will be top of mind.

SUSAN TOTH

Note: Susan Toth did not provide a response to the News Bulletin’s questionnaire by press time.

Her election candidate Facebook page notes that she favours extensive community involvement, advocating for the preservation of small communities and to ensure equal access to recreation and support services.



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Breaking NewsElection 2022