Nanaimo's full-service election platform for October

This section is dedicated to the October 20 civic election to provide a platform for candidates for all local government positions. Go where people can find you – when you launch your own page how will people know you have one? Nanaimonet has the heavy traffic you want, with more than 500,000 page views in just over a year. Candidates get their own section with virtually unlimited posts and photos, with constant updating. If you are planning to be a candidate make the cornerstone of your campaign.

SEE all candidates' pages in the menu bar at the top.

Slim pickings in race for city council seats

0802 - The election website now has 15 names in the race for city council, but voters would be hard-pressed to find eight people with the qualifications to serve on city council.

We have less than three months to go, and we have heard of a number of possible additional candidates, including one past councillor. That list of possibles has some good candidates on it, so stay tuned to for the very latest if and when they announce. Once the whole lineup is declared it will be easier to sort the wheat from the chaff.

The mayor's race is still at two, but we're hearing from various sources that Mayor Bill McKay has not thrown in the towel and may make a run for re-election.

Yoachim not seeking re-election to city council

Coun. Bill Yoachim

0812 - Councillor Bill Yoacham has toid Nanaimo News Now that he will not seek re-election in October. Coun. Yoachim is completing his first four-year term which has involved considerable controversey, not the least of which was his support for a proposed Events Centre. That project was defeated by voters by 80 per cent.

Councillor Jim Kipp announced earlier that he won't run again after numerous terms on council.

There is still no word from Mayor Bill McKay and councillors Bill Bestwick, Jerry Hong and Gordon Fuller.

Councillors Sheryl Armstrong and Ian Thorpe will seek another term.

The next general local election is October 20, 2018

Requirements to vote

To vote in the election, you must either be a Resident Elector or Non-Resident Property Elector.

Resident Electors:

  • 18 years of age or older on general voting day
  • Canadian citizen
  • Have lived in BC for at least 6 months immediately before the day you vote
  • Have lived in Nanaimo for at least 30 days before the day you vote
  • Not be disqualified by law from voting.

Non-Resident Property Electors

  • 18 years of age or older on general voting day
  • Canadian citizen
  • Have lived in BC for at least 6 months immediately before the day you vote
  • Have owned property in the City of Nanaimo for at least 30 days
  • Not be disqualified by law from voting.
  • Have the written consent of the majority of the other property owner(s) to vote on their behalf.

Only one non-resident property elector per property may vote, regardless of how many people own the property; and, the owner must have the written consent of a majority of the other property owner(s) to vote on their behalf. 

Property owned in whole or in part by a corporation does not qualify under the non-resident property elector provisions.

Becoming a Candidate

To be eligible to run for local government office, a person must have been a resident of BC for at least 6 months before filing their nomination documents.  They do not have to live or own property in the City of Nanaimo.

In addition, a person must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older on General Voting Day
  • Be a Canadian Citzen
  • Not be disqualified under the Local Government Act or any other enactment from being nominated for, being elected to or holding office, or be otherwise disqualified by law

A person is ineligible to run for office in a general local election if they:

  • Have been convicted of and sentenced for an indictable offence and are in custody
  • Have been found guilty of an election offence, such as intimidation or vote-buying, and are prohibited from holding office
  • Are judges of the Provincial Court, Supreme Court or Court of Appeal
  • Are involuntarily confined to a psychiatric facility or other institution
  • Have been disqualified for specified reasons such as failing to file a candidate disclosure statement in a previous election, failing to make an oath of office, or failing to attend local government meetings in the manner and frequency required by the Community Charter
  • Have been otherwise disqualified from being nominated for, elected to or holding office under the Local Government ActCommunity CharterLocal Elections Campaign Financing Act or any other enactment or law

View the candidate guides and resources on the Province of BC website.

View Elections BC Local Election Candidate Guides.

More information on voting and running for office will be available in August.


What you should know about being a candidate

A number of people have contacted Nanaimonet seeking information on becoming candidate for the Oct. 20, 2018 municipal elections – city, RDN and school district.

There is no magic answer to that question, it involves numerous factors.

First, Why are you running? Is it because you really want to serve your community? The pay for the work involved in being a councillor is not good, so if that’s your intent, look around for something else.

Are there specific issues you are interested in?

How well is your name known in the community? Many people check the names they know when they vote, so if you are well known across the board, you have a better chance of being elected

Public participation in the past can establish your credentials. How much volunteer work have you done in the community – service clubs, food banks, women’s groups?

In the volunteer category, do you have experience in serving on boards of directors, or even chairing such boards? 

Awareness of issues is absolutely critical. Know what the issues are before getting into the race. Appearing uninformed hurts credibility. "Faking it" is the quickest way to get destroyed.

Do you follow council meetings on a regular basis, as an observer at meetings or on TV? That will go a long way in helping make up your mind if this is really for you.

If you have any specific questions, please send them to


The municipal councillor's handbook

What you should know when you are deciding to run for city council. There's a lot to be familiar with.

Civic leadership series hailed as a huge success

0511 - The Civic Leadership Speakers Series, created by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, OurNanaimo and Leadership Vancouver Island, over the last two weeks, was a great success.

Focused on the fundamentals of local governance, this pilot initiative had 45 attendees – declared candidates, others considering running for municipal office, and those interested in the necessary competencies for elected officials to effectively serve the community. This course was precedent-setting in B.C. and has sparked interest from other municipalities.

Comments from participants were overwhelmingly positive:

“Reconfirmed what leadership feels like.”

“I loved the examples of how citizen empowerment can work.”

“Presenters were thoughtful and engaging.”

“Thanks for an excellent, thought-provoking series.”

Chamber CEO Kim Smythe saids the positive feedback indicates success of the vision to provide a unique learning experience through non-partisan speakers and leaders on a broad range of local governance mattersC. 

The overall objective was to prepare potential candidates for city council, and to contribute to effective local governance. The series began with an introductory session, followed by four sessions related to the roles and responsibilities of elected officials.  

Sydney Robertson of OurNanaimo said the initiative was well-received and has made a difference in raising awareness about the serious roles and responsibilities of elected officials.”

Kipp planning to retire from city council in October

Councillor Jim Kipp

0414 - Nanaimo city council will have at least one new member after the October 20 election.

Councillor Jim Kipp told that he has decided to retire from council at the end of this term.

Kipp has been on city council for 10 consecutive years, beginning in 2008 and also served another three-year term earlier.

No other incumbent councillors have made their intentions known at this time.

There are a number of prospective candidates for council but to date none of them have officially announced their candidacy.

Leadership speakers series kicks off Oct. 20 election

0408 - Three Nanaimo organizations are kicking off the 2018 civic election campaign a civic leadership speakers’ Series focused on the fundamentals of local governance and elected officials. 

The series is the creation of The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, OurNanaimo and Leadership Vancouver Island. 

It begins with an introductory session on April 24, followed by four sessions about the roles and responsibilities of elected officials. Current and past council members are excluded.

This pilot initiative features a series of four talks, by subject-matter experts, for citizens considering running for council in October. The over all objective is to prepare potential candidates and to achieve better local.

The program will contribute to a better understanding of the skills, knowledge and serious commitment required to be a councillor, said Sydney Robertson of OurNanaimo. Kim Smythe of the Chamber said the group is committed to being non-partisan to educate and promote awareness of community leadership.

Leadership Vancouver Island President Russ Burke said this event fulfills his group’s mandate to help emerging leaders, their teams and their communities to address today’s complex challenges.

Advance registration is required, and sessions will be available only to participants who do not currently or have not previously held public office. 

Registration and information

Other Links: OurNanaimo:
Leadership Vancouver Island:

It's time to clean house at city hall

By Merv Unger

0408 - To a political junkie like I am, election campaigns cannot come soon enough and often enough. The next civic election is just over six months away, and not surprisingly the sleepy giant appears to be stirring. There’s no question that interest in the October 20 election for city council will draw a lot more scrutiny than in recent previous terms.

Hats off to the three local groups which are organizing a speaker series for prospective candidates. It is an excellent way for would-be candidates for mayor and council to learn some of the ropes before they decide if this is their cup of tea. (See details on this page).

We’ve had controversy in the past, but nothing matches the dysfunction of the present cast of characters at city hall. If we are to believe the way the tea leaves are swirling, vocal electors want to “throw out the whole bunch” on city council. It’s difficult to argue with them, given the laughing stock Nanaimo has become, not only in our own province but right across Canada.

The interest appears to focus on the mayoralty, with four or five possible candidates rustling the bushes to see what shakes out.

We don’t have to guess about Norm Smith, the former Mountie, has been in the race since the last election. He’s declared, but the others I’ve been hearing about have not made their intentions public, so we’ll respect that until they do declare with all the attendant fanfare. From the names that have been touted, it should be a very interesting contest, and Nanaimo will likely wind up with an excellent mayor.

City council, with eight spots, is another story. Again, some names are being suggested, but those people have not stepped forward yet. We always have to look at the incumbents first, and that’s where it gets dicey. Will any of the Gang of Five even bother running again, or are they oblivious to the negativity they have?

It could be challenging if voters toss the whole bunch because there is danger in electing an entirely new council – experience does count. That puts the load on Diane Brennan, Sheryl Armstrong and Ian Thorpe to return and provide at least some stability.

It would ordinarily not be too bad with a total sweep of council, but with the precarious situation surrounding the current disastrous management of the city, that’s a real danger.

If anyone has intentions to run for city council, now is the time to get yourself known to the voters, exposure is everything. The first step should be to sign up for the speakers series to find out what the job is all about. Know what you're getting yourself in for.

Oh, by the way, if you hear of any prospective candidates, drop me a note at