Name: Al Thompson
Occupation/background: I was born in Medicine Hat, Alta., and moved to the Island in 1969 where I met my wife and got married in 1971.
Started working in the logging industry the first week I got to Nanaimo and finished my apprenticeship as an inter-provincial heavy-duty mechanic which led to working in about seven different logging camps.
Went to work at a few truck shops which led me into trucking. That worked well until the economy went in the tank so I moved the family to Alberta. In Alberta I started out as foreman, then service manager at Mack trucks Calgary. Was asked to and did join up with Laidlaw Waste as shop manager, which led to being Western regional equipment manager in charge of nine divisions. At this time I also sat on a board at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Well, seven years of cold winters got me back to Nanaimo and back into trucking.
Between trucks, I lived on the water for 10 years fixing boats and became a chief engineer, and shore captain for two 400-foot vessels down in San Francisco bay where I worked with the U.S. Coast Guard to clean up pollution that the ships were causing. Then back to Nanaimo and trucking and here I am.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues?
Jobs, we need jobs, this town is drying up, there is no work, our young folks are all moving to Alberta, we have to bring them back. With new docks coming to Duke Point this will help draw industry here. This can be done with out giving away the farm with tax breaks. Here is an idea, how about we give a $100 tax break to new industry for every one full-time job they create.
Tourism. Folks, we have to stop thinking that the tourists will save us; they won’t, we must do this ourselves. The cruise ship dock proves that point. If we can take control of the down town area docks from the feds we can build our tourist trap there. I am against the two hotel deals, they are wrong, we do not need more empty rooms. Let support the motels and hotels we have now. Lets make this town alive again, tourists go to live cities not dead ones.
How do you plan to manage taxes and spending?
The next council and myself will freeze taxes for three years and stop the wasteful spending the present council seems so fond of doing. We will use this money to get better day care for the young working families and more affordable housing. We will take back control of this town from the city management team and straighten out the folks that work with them.
What do you think it takes to lead Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style?
You do not need to be a rocket scientist to be mayor, check out the past and the present, what you need is the people behind you. A wise man once said, “if you are the leader of the pack, you must look back now and again to make sure they are still following.” This is something the present council does not do.