Name: John Ruttan
Business person; mayor of Nanaimo, six years; former owner/operator, Nanaimo Travel, 32 years; downtown commercial property owner; former director, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce; former chairman, Nanaimo Port Authority; former director, Nanaimo Museum; former president, Tourism Nanaimo; former commodore, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society.
Why are you running for office?
After six years as mayor, I have been a party to a number of new and exciting initiatives, some of which are still underway. It is my desire to continue on as mayor to see these projects finished and to be present for the opening ceremonies. I am intensely proud of Nanaimo and as a 52-year resident of this city, I want to continue on with the promotion of Nanaimo as the best place to live, invest and play in the Pacific Northwest.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?
Maintaining the momentum which has been built up over the past six years. Importantly, we need to continue to build relationships with investors, both local and foreign, and to promote the value of investing in Nanaimo. Our community partners are an integral part of our plans moving forward and continued respectful relations with all levels of government are essential to the success of investments in our community.
Working collaboratively with Snuneymuxw First Nations to develop and expand areas of mutual interest. Exploring the potential opportunities that could be realized on Newcastle Island for SFN is clearly a priority for me. Aboriginal tourism offers tremendous potential for everyone.
Developing a comprehensive plan for the Wilcox property recently purchased by the city. This is a unique opportunity to create a true transportation hub for Nanaimo which could encompass a regional (local) bus exchange, docking facilities for a fast, passenger only ferry service to Vancouver, the possible re-establishment of rail service directly to Victoria from the Wilcox Yard with a same day return, and a long distance bus terminal for services such as Greyhound and the Tofino Bus.
How do you plan to manage taxes and spending?
Firstly it is important to receive input from the community in order for council to establish priorities. As a council, we are then better able to align our budget with the identified strategic priorities. We must monitor staffing requirements on an ongoing basis to ensure that wages and benefits are consistent with actual needs. That said, it is important to note that in this term, the management staff within in the city has been reduced by a full 10 per cent, and we are working closely with the city manager to ensure that positions becoming available are not automatically filled without prior confirmation of need.
What do you think it takes to lead Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
I am very supportive of a collaborative leadership style which builds stronger relationships with our community and community partners. It is a priority of mine to ensure that we continue to strengthen communication with the public and build on our current relationships with community partners. A collaborative and respectful council enables us to work in a friendly and effective manner in the many challenges we face moving forward.