Sydney Robertson, dressed as the Queen of Hearts, and Rebecca Chan signal a desire to “raise the bar” Friday on the steps of Nanaimo City Hall as the Our Nanaimo society gathered to mark the start of a countdown to the Oct. 20, 2018 local government election. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Our Nanaimo society counting down the days until the next election

The group held a gathering Friday on the steps of Nanaimo City Hall

The next local government election is one year away, and some people in Nanaimo are already counting down the days.

The Our Nanaimo society held a gathering Friday on the steps of Nanaimo City Hall to start a one-year countdown to the Oct. 20, 2018 general local election.

The group, which rallied opposition to the sports and events centre last winter and also evaluated candidates in this past summer’s city council byelection, announced that it will get involved in next year’s election, too.

“We’re a non-partisan group. We are not going to impede or obstruct anybody’s democratic right to run for election in this city,” said Fred Pattje, president of Our Nanaimo. “What we will do is we will try and identify worthwhile women and men who we can tell have the experience and the desire and the honesty and the trustfulness, but above all the civility … to get along with each other in a collegial way.”

He said members of city council need to be willing to consider opposing views in their decision-making and have to remain accountable to citizens after they’ve won a seat on council.

“There is more to democracy than just getting yourself elected,” Pattje said.

He said he won’t run for a council seat, and said Our Nanaimo will not run candidates.

About 30 people marched up the drive at city hall on Friday, Pattje gave a speech and then the group attempted to lift, with helium balloons, a painting of a Nanaimo bar to signify a desire to ‘raise the bar.’

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