This section of Nanaimonet is dedicated to the October 20, 2018 Nanaimo civic election to assist candidates for all local government positions to reach the voting public. If you are planning to become a candidate and would like information on the process and how we may be able to help you, please email News@nanaimonetlcom

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:

Speakers series on civic leadership – course description

Course Descriptions

Introductory Session – Tuesday, April 24, 2018 (Mandatory) – Carrie Chassels

This session will provide an overview of the topics and issues that will be covered in the four main learning sessions of the Civic Leadership pilot initiative. Participants will review and discuss the broad range of key competencies and qualifications that contribute to the characteristics of effective councillors that enable a productive council. With the aid of a self-assessment tool, potential candidates will be guided through an evaluation of their readiness to become an effective elected civic leader.

Session 1: Day-to-day Duties of a Council Member – Tuesday, May 1, 2018 – Al Kenning, Gary Weikum, Brian Clemens

This session will offer an overview of the essential and basic duties of a council member. Participants will gain an understanding of the many competing priorities council members face, the decision-making process and Council’s relationship with the City Manager and with staff. Two fundamental areas that are crucial to a council member’s role will be featured: planning and budget responsibilities.

Municipal planning –  This section will provide an introduction to the framework for planning, an overview of major municipal planning documents and the processes used for adoption and implementation. Learn how planning is used to create bylaws that regulate day-to-day development and resident behaviour as well as create a long-term vision for the community. A range of matters will be covered, including: land use, social issues, community services, heritage resources, environmental health, economic development, traffic and parking management, and infrastructure.

Municipal finance –  This section will help participants to understand where the City of Nanaimo’s money comes from, where it goes, and what a councillor should know when reviewing and discussing budgets and property taxation. Municipal finance can be complicated, even for people who are used to dealing with budgets and financial information. Participants will learn how to navigate the City of Nanaimo’s website to access and decipher a wealth of financial information and key financial documents.

Session 2: Roles and Responsibilities of Elected Officials – Thursday, May 3, 2018 – Allison Habkirk

This session aims to explain the role of elected officials in our system of local government in B.C.  Participants will gain an understanding of their role and responsibilities, which will support them in becoming an effective elected official. This session will touch on:

  • the roles and responsibilities of local government elected officials;
  • the authorities and powers that underpin the work of Council;
  • the limitations and checks and balances on council’s authority;
  • the relationships with, and accountabilities to, other governments and agencies and the public;
  • the role of staff in our council-manager system;
  • the commitment associated with swearing the oath of office.

Session 3: Communications and Outreach – Monday, May 7, 2018 – Kim Smythe, Gary Weikum

The first section of this session will begin with a definition of stakeholders and community partners and various considerations for elected leaders and their administrators to communicate with them effectively.The section will emphasize that these communications only work when information is shared between all parties in a continuum of communications. Setting the foundation for a shared vision and goals is essential to initiating communications more likely to result in satisfying progress for both parties.

This second portion of this session will examine the continuum of public engagement processes that are available to municipal government to meet community needs and expectations. The pros and cons of various approaches will be examined with the goal to match an appropriate participation strategy with identified community issues and expectations. Public participation in civic affairs is an important expectation and foundation of our democratic system and of responsible governance, making it critical that Council understand the scope of an initiative, identify potential stakeholders and the appropriate level of public participation.

Session 4: Enabling a Productive Council – Wednesday, May 9, 2018 – Patrick Ross

This session will explore new ideas and strategies to enhance participants’ leadership capacities with a view to better understanding how effective leadership enables a productive and collaborative council. Fundamental leadership skills, such as communication, managing differences and disagreements, and co-creating a shared purpose to bring people together will be covered in an engaging and provocative session.

Six months before we can 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.

As soon as we hear some firm commitments, will launch a full-service election section on our site, complete with biographies, photos and advertising graphics. My intention is to make this the go-to site when it comes to the election, and that will include school board candidates.

Keep your eyes and ears open.

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