Veteran councillors choose not to run again

Loyd Sherry, Bill Holdom and Merv Unger not running in upcoming municipal election

Throughout his 31 years as city councillor, Loyd Sherry said no to virtually anything that would cost taxpayers more money.

He’s said ‘no’ to tax hikes, ‘no’ to development projects, ‘no’ to infrastructure in parks and ‘no’ to urban chickens and organic recycling, among other things.

Now, the longest-serving councillor is saying ‘no’ to running for his 13th consecutive term, but he says he will continue to contribute through other committees and organizations.

“It’s not just Loyd Sherry that has been serving, it’s the Sherry family,” said Sherry, who sat on countless committees and commissions over the years, most notably the Heritage Commission and as a representative of Nanaimo on the Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors. “In our Sherry coat of arms, the motto is to be of service and that’s what I’ve tried to do over the years of service in the community and I’d like to thank the citizens of the community for giving me the opportunity.”

Sherry has seen many changes in Nanaimo, from the development of the city’s north end to the more recent development of Nanaimo’s southern neighbourhoods, but it was the day-to-day work and decisions that have really shaped Nanaimo, he said.

“There’s no one particular item that is a standout. They’ve all intermingled with each other to make it a bigger and better city,” he said, adding he doesn’t personally take credit for any decisions council made during his time serving. “It’s not one councillor or alderman. It’s the city council. You can’t do anything without the support of at least five members of council, so to try and take credit for this thing or the other thing, no, because that’s the way the system is.”

Sherry said he will miss personal contact and working with others the most, and has developed some excellent relationships with city staff and members of the community.

He almost missed the News Bulletin’s deadline for this story because a community member called him at home with a problem Wednesday morning. Sherry was out the door immediately to respond and provide a solution.

“It’s going to be a big change in my lifestyle, but then I thought when I retired from the mill I’d have free time then, too, but there are other groups in the community that I’ll be volunteering my time with. It’s coming up to Christmas time so I’ll be out there ringing the bells for the Salvation Army. There are all sorts of organizations my wife and I belong to.”

Coun. Bill Holdom, the second longest serving councillor, knew this would be his last term on council, though he did momentarily consider running for mayor after learning nobody had filed just a day before the deadline for nominations.

“I took out the mayor’s papers, but I was just toying with them I think,” said Holdom. “But I really don’t think I wanted to do it. I’ve had a wonderful time on council and I feel good about it. There are always things you regret but overall I feel good about it but I think it’s time for some younger people to get involved.”

Holdom first joined city council in 1987, running continuously until sitting out the 1997-1999 term. Combined, Holdom served eight terms for Nanaimo’s citizens.

Merv Unger, who is completing his second term as city councillor, also chose not to run again.