Name: Bill McKay
Occupation/background: Nanaimo city councillor
Why are you running for public office?
Over the past three years, I believe that our community and current council have lacked direction and strong leadership. I have spent considerable time during my tenure exploring the best practices implemented by other successful and progressive cities, and feel that the knowledge I have gained, coupled with my drive and determination, will provide the vision Nanaimo needs to become a great city.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?
Colliery dams: To start, I will bring the new council up to speed and will seek simple, creative and cost-effective solutions that will satisfy the requirements of the Dam Safety Branch of B.C. All the research has been done – it is time for council to provide clear and concise instruction to our staff, as to how we will resolve this issue.
Public engagement: I will instruct senior staff to fast track a multitude of new public engagement tools, which will include: town hall meetings, neighbourhood meetings, monthly coffee meetings with the mayor and proven web-based solutions, so that our council has a direct line of communication with our citizens.
Initiate a program and services review: Rather than conducting a core review, I believe in a three-pronged approach. First, we need to determine what services the community would like the city to provide. Second, we need to establish how many resources or dollars will be dedicated to each function. Finally, we need to determine how we can deliver these services in the most efficient manner.
How do you plan to manage taxes and spending?
I believe that fiscal responsibility starts with solid planning. A program and services review will provide council with a roadmap to follow, in terms of how our community would like to see our dollars spent. It is important to have a leader who is not afraid to make the tough decisions necessary when considering all of the projects that are seeking funding. My voting record proves that I am ready to make the tough calls needed to keep our budget on track, and stop the unnecessary tax increases.
What do you think it takes to lead Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
During my term as a councillor, we did not take the opportunity to sit down as a group and share our vision for Nanaimo, nor did we talk about what we hoped to accomplish as a team. I believe this was a big mistake. Both our council and community lacked a strong leader, which has left us divided as a group, pushing our own agendas. As a council, we need to co-operate and stop pulling the rope in opposite directions.
As your leader, one of the first things I plan on doing is sitting down and collectively deciding what we hope to accomplish as a council over the next four years. Through increased community consultation, we will regularly monitor and evaluate our progress, which will allow us to adapt and change course, as needed.