McKay spends $30K to win Nanaimo mayor’s seat

NANAIMO – Statements show what all candidates spent during municipal election last year.

Nanaimo’s mayor clinched the top seat in the 2014 civic election after logging close to $31,000 in expenses – less than half the spending of rival Roger McKinnon, financial documents show.

Elections B.C. has released financial disclosure documents filed by civic election candidates, showing campaign contributions, expenses, and levels of financial support that incumbents and hopeful politicos received from developers and trade unions. The only statements not to make deadline are from Gail Adrienne, a council candidate, who must pay a $500 late-filing fee before March 16. Coun. Gord Fuller and mayoral candidate Kendal Csak received extensions because of ‘extenuating circumstances.’

Financial disclosure documents show big spending in the 10-way mayoral race.

New mayor Bill McKay took the win with $30,687 in expenses, the majority of which went to wages, salaries and professional services. His top backers were Vancouver-based Jamal Enterprises, which supplied $5,000 to the campaign, and Newcastle Wheaton, with $4,000.

McKinnon, a local businessman, spent more than double that of McKay to become the biggest spender in the civic election. His expenses hit $61,876 with more than $20,000 spent on brochures, flyers and pamphlets alone. The tally was higher than any other mayoral candidate in the previous three races.

McKinnon provided close to $24,000 of the expenses under his name and that of his companies, and another $2,400 came from the Top 20 Under 40 Corp, of which he is chairman. The largest financial backings were netted from West Coast Developments – $6,391 – and Mount Benson Enterprises, which gave $5,000.

Incumbent mayor John Ruttan self-funded the majority of his $35,839 expenses, only to fall to fourth place in the polls.

Unions backed more candidates during this municipal election, but doled out fewer financial contributions than they did three years ago.

Unions contributed $35,000 to eight candidates in 2014, compared to the $39,600 they spent on five in 2011. Bill Yoachim, a first-time city politician, pulled in the greatest support with $6,750 from trade unions while Wendy Pratt saw $500.

The two were elected to council, along with union-supported Bill Bestwick and Diane Brennan. The lion’s share of contributions came from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which put $27,000 behind candidates.

Developers and corporations also backed candidates. Mount Benson Developments and owner Norm Blattgerste spent $9,000 while Newcastle Wheaton, Newcastle Nissan and Laird Wheaton spent a combined $7,500. Island West Coast Developments and Concour Investment, both associated with Greg Constable, spent a total $8,751.

Third-party sponsor Nanaimo Ratepayers Association spent $5,000 on advertising with Tom Harris Holdings Ltd. funding $2,625 of its costs.

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