Rick Smith seeking seat on Nanaimo City Council

Rick Smith

I have lived in Nanaimo for the past 15 years, and retired two years ago after my office in the Jean Burns building was destroyed by fire. Having been a counsellor for nearly 20 years, I have worked with many clients in the areas of drugs and alcohol recovery, along with relationships and other issues. 

Before coming to Nanaimo I lived in England for 24 years, working mostly in development of food and drink operations for several large breweries, and spent six years with the armed forces running food and drink services in 434 sites in five countries. During that time I moved into project management, responsible for major works and budgets of over $100 million. 

While I have never been an elected politician, I have served a term in England as a School Governor, and served on Nanaimo’s grants committee for three years.

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and two Diplomas, in addictions and in therapeutic counselling.

We have watched these past few years as our “leaders” have taken us from one disaster to another: the almost empty convention centre, the colliery dams debacle, the downtown multiplex, and of course these last years of political council infighting that have made our city a national laughingstock. We cannot go on like this. We need a clean sweep at City Hall, and a fresh start with a new slate of Mayor and Council to lead this City into a better future. We do not need a party system like Vancouver, we deserve a group of open-minded citizens all doing their best for the city.

Why not stop the multi-million dollar projects for a while, and straighten out the city’s finances. All the projects we need are less expensive than a new fire hall. Let’s complete the installation of sidewalks in the city, plant thousands of trees, to provide a better environment, and work together to clean up the city after we clear the tent city which still growing today, and  which is causing so many problems in the downtown core.  

In the coming weeks, I will provide detailed suggestions for gaining control of our finances so we do not need annual increases in our taxes, improving our environment without the need for higher taxes, and ridding ourselves of the homelessness issue once and for all. These are attainable goals. Sensible solutions exist for most of our problems, and I have spent a lifetime finding and implementing them.

I have been a union representative, and been the manager responsible for dealing with a union. I have twice attended the negotiating courses at Stone College in England, where the emphasis is on finding the ‘win-win” solution. As a student, I worked full-time to avoid having student loans, and was promoted five times, winding up in the Ontario head office of Imperial Oil by the time I got my degree.

In these last 15 years, I cannot think of a city that I would prefer to live in, as a retired person. I would like to have more industries here, so our young people could get good jobs, and will make that a priority, if elected.

I would like very much to have your support, enthusiasm, and votes in the election. If we win, we can spend the next four years getting the city’s good name back.

I’ll be back to talk about how we can close down the tent city, our most pressing problem, and return the downtown core to the citizens of Nanaimo.