Name: Ian Thorpe
I am retired from a 35-year career as a teacher and school administrator in Nanaimo. I worked part-time in radio broadcasting, and for 34 years have written a newspaper column promoting local sports: ‘The Thorpe Report’. Over the years I have volunteered with many local organizations and sports groups. I currently do contract work for the Justice Institute of British Columbia.
Why are you running for public office?
For the past three years I have gained experience as a member of the Nanaimo Parks, Recreation, and Culture Commission. I currently chair the Parks Committee, the Harewood Dry Floor Facility Committee, and serve on other committees such as the Grants Advisory Committee. My interest in those groups – together with a love for Nanaimo – has prompted my entry into civic politics. I think that Nanaimo is a wonderful place to live, and I want to keep it that way. But I think that wise leadership will be required as we move forward. Leadership that is strong, responsible, and part of a co-operative team. I believe that I have the necessary skills to help guide Nanaimo’s growth in a positive and responsible way.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?
Fiscal accountability – Nobody wants increased taxes, but we also want to maintain and improve services, facilities, and the city’s infrastructure. Long-term budget planning is required, and critical examination of budget items. An involved council would work with city staff to reduce expenses and make wise decisions on the spending of taxpayers’ money.
Council credibility – All councillors will need to share in establishing their credibility as open, responsible, and respectful elected officials. This will involve improved communication with staff, public, and each other. It will also require the effort to do due diligence and to examine all sides of any issue before reaching an informed decision.
Economic prosperity – Initiatives will be needed to attract clean business to Nanaimo, and to develop tourism opportunities that showcase our city’s rich cultural history. The Harbour City is still in many ways a Hub City, and we need to promote Nanaimo as a transportation and tourism hub for all of Vancouver Island.
How do you plan to manage taxes and spending?
I am a proponent of economic growth and sustainable development. A strong economic base is necessary in order to keep residential and commercial taxes at their lowest possible level. Inflation is a fact of life, and infrastructure needs will always be an issue. Council must be prepared to actively seek out ways to save money and operate more efficiently. Sponsorships and partnerships are one avenue worth pursuing.
What do you think it takes to lead Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
What it takes to lead Nanaimo is someone who is informed, articulate, responsible, and accountable – someone who can communicate their vision with others, and work co-operatively to make it happen. I am a believer in situational leadership, utilizing leadership styles appropriate to the task and individuals involved. I believe in conciliation rather than confrontation, and in the concept of accomplishment through team trust and co-operation.