Erralyn Thomas

New chairwoman picked to lead economic development in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Erralyn Thomas is the new chairwoman of the board for Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.

New Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation chairwoman Erralyn Thomas plans to build the integrity of the organization within the business community, which she says is at an all-time low.

Thomas was elected as the board’s first chairwoman Nov. 3, after the resignation of Andre Sullivan.

Sullivan, former chairman, was among nine of 16 economic development board members who quit last month, following the firing of chief executive officer John Hankins, including past chairman AJ Hustins and Doug Kalcsics, vice chairman. Kalscics’ position has not yet been filled.

Another director resigned in September.

Thomas said the people who resigned have their reasons, a mess is left behind and “we have to pick it up.”

“It’s a very big mess in the organization and as chairwoman I intend to build the integrity of the organization within the business community. It’s at an all-time low and also it’s at an all-time low with the tourism industry, as well as the shareholders, Nanaimo mayor and council,” Thomas said, adding her goal is to “correct the wrongs that have been committed” and stand with Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer, and shareholders to collaboratively identify a path forward.

Thomas wouldn’t comment on what the main wrongs have been, but said it’s being looked into right now.

“You see our former CEO disparaging NEDC, disparaging the city and we will not tolerate that,” she said.

While Thomas calls heading up the board a tall task, she believes it’s one she can fulfill and that she can contribute to prosperity and economic growth through the corporation and in partnership with business leaders in the community and city council.

It’s not her first leadership position. Thomas is a Snuneymuxw First Nation councillor and president of the nation’s economic development arm, Petroglyph Development Group.

She said it’s a great evolution of her career, but a bigger factor in her mind is the opportunity to give back to Nanaimo, where she was born and raised. She also considers her roles as head of NEDC and Petroglyph Development Group as complementary.

“We could align our partnership or the economic development priorities that we have, not only between NEDC and Petroglyph Development Group, but also with other business leaders in the community,” she said.

According to Thomas, the corporation is working with the city to recruit board members, and while a new partnering agreement between the City of Nanaimo and the corporation is in draft form, she said they are finding consensus and working together with mayor and council.

Just Posted

Nanaimo hotel tax set to go up

Hospitality association lays out five-year plan for tourism in Nanaimo

Tour de Rock ready to start making its way down Vancouver Island

Tour de Rock takes place Sept. 21 to Oct. 4

Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

Organizers call for treatment centres, accountability for crimes, citizens’ task force

VIU students empowered to ‘shift the vote’ this election

VIU Students’ Union, B.C. Federation of Students launch ‘Our Time is Now’ campaign

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates ‘disappointed’ with prime minister over blackface

Situation a ‘nightmare’ for Trudeau and the Liberals, says VIU professor

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo athletes earn gold, silver, bronze at 55-Plus B.C. Games

Huge contingent of local participants competed in largest-ever 55-Plus B.C. Games in Kelowna

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Most Read