Name: Bill Holdom
College professor of English and First Nations Studies (retired), Malaspina University-College (now VIU), 1970-2001; Nanaimo school board trustee, 1976-80, 1982-86, chairman for five years; Nanaimo city councillor and regional board director, 1986-96, 1999-2011; Nanaimo Co-op board member, 1998-99; Vancouver Island Regional Library chairman, 2008-10.
Why are you running for public office?
I am running for mayor because I believe I can provide effective team leadership and good governance. I have the experience, know-how, and commitment to steer our council and community through the next four years. I want to focus on moving from Plan Nanaimo to Action Nanaimo – to act on the excellent set of plans generated by the current and previous councils after extensive public consultation. I offer a positive, progressive choice for Nanaimo’s future.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues?
Water. Predictions suggest that Nanaimo’s water supply will be inadequate by 2020. This issue goes to the heart of what it means to be a sustainable community. I would do my best to ensure that our water supply continues to be our No. 1 priority and challenge, and that we continue to move forward on identifying and implementing effective solutions.
Transportation. For both environmental and economic reasons, we need to continue to improve the ways in which we move around our community with or without a vehicle, and strengthen the public transportation links to other communities. I would pursue the ideas and proposals in the recently completed Transportation Master Plan. I am particularly eager to improve safety conditions for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus riders, and I will continue to seek a passenger ferry service to Vancouver.
Citizen engagement. Throughout my career as an elected representative, I have advocated open government. People should have a say in the decisions that affect them, and we need an effective process for that to happen. Recent issues such as the Colliery dams, the Hilton hotel proposal, and the public reaction to a plan to turn a pathway into a road in the upper Linley Valley all make this need more urgent.
How do you plan to manage taxes and spending?
To me, a livable community is an affordable one, so keeping taxes and fees affordable is vital. I have always tried to find a balance between what we need and what we can afford. Since we usually can’t afford everything we want, we have to set priorities, then stick to them – ensuring that we address the most essential priorities first.
What do you think it takes to lead Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
I think leading Nanaimo as mayor will take good chairmanship. That means knowing the rules, applying them fairly and productively, and ensuring that everyone has all the relevant information to make a wise decision. Patience, strong listening skills, thoughtfulness, respect for others, flexibility, and in the end the ability to provide clear direction are all vital qualities.