Nanaimo's full-service election website 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.

The next general local election is October 20, 2018

Nanaimo voters will elect:

• One mayor
• Eight councillors
• Nine school trustees for School District 68.

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.

Last updated: April 5, 2018

Original posting by City of Nanaimo


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.

Check out the political events at city hall in 2018

If you want a quick reference on political events at the city in 2018, the OurNanaimo group has an excellent detailed list. This should be a must-read for anyone planning to vote in the October 20 civic election.

Check it out HERE

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


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:

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