The longest-serving member of Nanaimo city council would like to continue in his leadership role.
Ian Thorpe, who has served two terms on council, announced last week he is seeking re-election.
He said it’s “an honour and a privilege” to represent the citizens of Nanaimo, and said he enjoys meeting people, learning about the city, and being involved in various project.
“It’s very interesting work,” Thorpe said. “It has its challenges, but I on the whole enjoy it and I feel I have a depth of experience that I can bring back to the table. And I think I still have something to offer.”
His second term on council has been “a big contrast” from the first, he said. In the 2014-2018 term, Thorpe was part of the council that he described as a “dysfunctional” group.
“I think, in the past four years, we have done a lot of good things for the city. We’ve rebuilt our staffing levels, we’ve re-established an economic development function, we have re-established the downtown improvement association, we’ve re-established Tourism Nanaimo, and I think we’ve re-established our city’s credibility and our city’s good reputation.”
The current council hasn’t agreed on everything. Thorpe was one of two council members to vote against the Reimagine Nanaimo city plan, but if he is re-elected, he will nevertheless be tasked with working to implement the plan. Thorpe said he’s concerned about “some major components,” for example transportation planning that he suggested doesn’t sufficiently recognize the city’s growth and potential impacts on traffic.
“Yes, the city plan is in place – that’s not to say we can’t revisit aspects of it and fine-tune it or change it,” he said.
Thorpe also said that in an era of record inflation and cost-of-living pressures, the City of Nanaimo needs to “regroup,” consider closely what taxpayers can afford, and weigh needs versus wants.
“We have to really be careful with how we spend taxpayers’ money, recognizing that they deserve good value for the taxes they pay,” he said. “I’m going to be very leery of approving spending on … projects that I don’t see as really being needed at this time.”
He said it’s an “exciting time” for Nanaimo, with downtown revitalization encouraging, and he also wants to continue to work on challenging files such as affordable housing, homelessness and mental health and addictions. As a Nanaimo city councillor and Regional District of Nanaimo director, he’s had the opportunity to chair the regional hospital board and wants to keep advocating for health-care service improvements.
The longtime News Bulletin sports columnist promises voters that he will “work hard, play fair and show good sportsmanship,” and said around the council table, he’ll bring “experience and hopefully good judgment.”
For more information, visit www.ianthorpe.ca.
Anyone running for mayor or councillor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview or invite us to a campaign launch event. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.