Nanaimo Electronic Candidate Forum

Nanaimonet has developed an Electronic Candidates Forum for the Oct. 20 election. It is open to all candidates, and you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

Candidates were invited to outline their platforms and qualifications as candidates for mayor, councillors or school trustees, creating the largest one-stop information station in this election.  Candidates who have provided information appear in the COUNCIL menu at the top of this page. 

On their individual pages you can read what each candidate has presented for the voters, and you can follow up with written questions. Ask a candidate any question. We will submit the question to the candidate and post the response or non-response. That will be a good indication of how accountable and prepared they are to become a mayor, councillor or school trustee.

Please email questions to Enter the candidate's name first and then your question. Ask only one candidate at a time, (don't make a speech). "Gotcha" questions are out of bounds, they will not be published or posed to the candidates.

We require your full name and email address. Your email address will not be published.

Candidates, please send your responses to 

Question to Tyler Brown

Tyler Brown

From ARVON BRUNT - “How do you see council’s role in advocating and then supporting  provincial and federal services needed to alleviate the opioid crisis.”

TYLER BROWN - With respect to the opioid crisis, Council’s role is to support City staff, Island Health and the community to identify suitable locations for a supervised consumption site (SCS). In addition, amendments to the zoning bylaw are required to allow for a SCS which will require approval from Council.

Question for Erin Hemmens

Erin Hemmens

Question from Astrid Gordon - In your platform you say the following   "Encourage housing development in the downtown core by waiving Development Costs Charges and Property Tax for projects that fit pre-determined criteria;"

Could you please elaborate on what that criteria would be.

HEMMENS' REPLY - As of April 2018, the downtown core is no longer exempt from DCC charges under a new schedule passed by City Council (not-for-profit rental housing, however, remains eligible for a 50 per cent reduction in Development Cost Charges city-wide, including downtown). For emergency, transitional and supportive housing units, I would like to see a further reduction in DCCs; and I would also like to see some reduction in DCCs for market-rental units in the downtown core which is now at zero per cent.

All candidates meeting response

Gord Fuller

Robert Fuller to all candidates

Are you in favour of the Chamber of Commerce/OurNanaimo screening process for the Oct. 15 select candidates event?

GORDON FULLER RESPONSE - While I will attend and purchase a table for the fair on Oct. 9, I will not participatein the Candidate Forum on Oct 15.

The attempt to limit the ability of candidates to be heard, by eliminating so called ‘jokers' is a direct breach of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce bylaws and policy. 

I seriously question the Board's Choice or right in taking the direction they have toward a council All Candidates meeting without surveying their whole membership. What is clear, is that is the Board, perhaps not all, wishes to limit who is heard by the members and public. This has never been the case in the past and should not be now by a non-partisan organization. I cannot in good conscience take part in such a process as this and hope there are others that will not as well.

(Editted for length)

Question for Don Bonner

Don Bonner

Question from Astrid Gordon - In your vision statement you state  "Our City becoming a leader in stewardship of our environment, promoting sustainable agriculture and watershed management." Please elaborate what can be done at the municipal level to address these two issues?

BONNER'S REPLY - Watershed management in my platform referrers to two things.  

1) The city developing Water Balancing practices similar to the work in the Cowichan Valley and Gibson.  The concept is to reduce storm water run off through storm drains and return that water to the ground water system.  This is accomplished by using pervious surfaces to allow water to seep through into the ground instead of being collected into the storm drains.  We can accomplish this by using paving stones instead of pavement for our roads, driveways and sidewalks. We can do this work at the subdivision stage and when we are replacing existing infrastructure.  We can also encourage the develop of rain gardens in backyards to collect rain from the roofs and return that to the ground water over time.  

The environmental benefits of this is that we put more water back into the ground water which then puts more water into our streams and rivers.  We can then do restoration on our streams and creeks to bring back the salmon habitat through partnerships with organization like Streamkeepers.   

The economic benefit is there is less wear and tear on our existing infrastructure and we need to build less infrastructure for storm water which means that we have less to replace in the future.  The CVRD has a very good brochure on this practice.

2) The city needs to look at options for the watershed for our drinking water with the idea of securing title to this land so that the city has full control over it forever.  

Sustainable Agriculture. 

Sustainable Agriculture refers to the practice of farming techniques that help protect the environment, public health and animal welfare.  We need to find ways to encourage farming and food production not only in our city but in partnership with the Regional District.  One idea is to setup incubation farms to allow potential farmers the ability to “try it out” without having to buy property. 

We have a park on East Wellington Road that is being looked at by the city on how we wish to develop it. The park is basically a hay field that is harvested once a year and floods during the winter.  This property could be developed as small parcels of land to lend to people to work.  We could do this in partnership with the University to be a training ground for new farmers using sustainable farming practices.  

I would also like to see a partnership with the City and the 5 acres farm in Harewood with the idea of protecting the farm for future generations.

Island rail service should be fully restored

Gary Korpan

Barb Thompson to Gary Korpan - "Welcome back. One question. Where do you stand on the return of a rail service on the island?"
Korpan's response - I want, as I believe most Vancouver Islanders want, a full re-creation of modern rail service, including rapid light rail transit and parallel multi-use trails as options to fulfil the promise of Island rail service 'in perpetuity' as a condition for B.C. entering into the Canadian confederation in 1871. The question is who should pay for costs estimated in 2014 to be in excess of $160 million. I do not think any taxpayers should bear such a cost. Huge sections of Vancouver Island were given to the rail line builder/operators in land grants.
Over several decades more land grants occurred totalling more than 4,700,000 acres or 7,344 sq. miles or 19,020 sq. km. went to the private owners who profited from sales of land, mineral, logging, etc. rights. Since they reneged on their obligations and let the rail die I believe our senior governments should legislate to attain full rail restoration and/or obtain full restitution to Canada and B.C. citizen taxpayers from those who defrauded us and their successors who benefited unjustly. [It would likely require legislating under the provisions of the 'notwithstanding clause' of the Constitution to over-ride the 1994 Supreme Court of Canada decision ruling that the Federal Government does not have a constitutional responsibility to maintain rail service into perpetuity.]

Thank you for asking.

Question for Jim Turley

Jim Turley

Bob Wright for Jim Turley

As a councillor, would you support removing all the political agitators from the downtown tent city and identifying the truly homeless Nanaimo citizens?

Jim's reply - Yes, Discontent City is a blight on Downtown Nanaimo and needs to be dealt with. There is not a one-step solution so determining the individual issues is a first step. We can then determine what agency needs to provide assistance.

 Professional agitators have no place in a respectful solution to this problem. Let's focus on those who truly need help. An inventory of the challenges is a good start.

Question to Sheryl Armstrong on supportive housing

Sheryl Armstrong

Question from Laura McLeod to Sheryl Armstrong:
In Feb 2018 you were one of the councillors who voted "no" to Chase River supportive housing due to concerns re: school proximity. What efforts have been made to find a new location?
Sheryl Armstrong's response:
Locations were identified by staff and these were brought to Council. There was agreement on certain lots and when they went to purchase the land it had sold.
We are looking at all City-owned properties, however, many do not fit the criteria identified by BC Housing and the Province.
We also asked Pacifica Housing and the Province to give us more time for community engagement and were denied. I voted in favour of the Cranberry location originally based on the fact it was going to house those from the existing low barrier housing who were ready to take the next step and did not need a high level of support.
Council was advised then their rooms would be opened for those who were the hardest to house and needed full time support.  This changed and I heard about the change in criteria on Facebook. Originally it was to be six of the hardest of the hardest to house and then it changed to 30 per cent of the residents.
I feel this location would be great for those who have children and need affordable Housing. The Boys and Girls Club is there as is the school.
We are working on another Affordable Housing Project with partners, however, as the MOUs (memoranda of understanding) have not been signed we cannot discuss the project.

Don Hubbard

Angelle McDougall to Don Hubbard

Do you reside full time in the City of Nanaimo?

 Don Hubbard's reply 

Yes with my wife in North Nanaimo as much as possible. We still have a home office in Cedar by the Sea.


Question for all candidates

Robert Fuller to all candidates

Are you in favour of the partisan Chamber of Commerce/OurNanaimo screening process for the Oct. 15 select candidates event?

ERIN HEMMENS - I appreciate their efforts to provide an opportunity for residents to interact with Mayor and Council candidates, and for that reason, I support it. 

BILL MANNERS - I aim to engage with all residents of the city prior to election day and have been in touch with the Chamber of Commerce for quite a few months regarding any events they sponsor. I will be there.  The Chamber of Commerce has hosted all candidates meetings for as long as I can remember and like all others, I believe they will not stop candidates from attending.

ZENI MAARTMAN - The four questions that the Chamber/OurNanaimo ask pertain to the roles and responsibilities of a City Councillor, the process and procedures for implementation of ideas or initiatives, and the structure of City Committees and citizen input. These questions do not lean toward a bias, so I am comfortable for this “thinking outside the box” approach. The new council should be knowledgeable and prepared to implement positive change once elected. 

TRENT WHALEY - No. Unfortunately the chamber is hosting the only all candidates event, therefore to be noticed by those not already decided, one must attend. 

WENDY PRATT: I do not believe this is partisan. Everyone can exercise the democratic right to respond.  Everyone has the same opportunity here and none of us knows, based on a blind test, who will be chosen. I am counting on the integrity of both groups. I will respond to the questionnaire and participate if asked to do so.

BRUNIE BRUNIE - No, I do not agree with the Chamber process, it's very undemocratic. What right to they have to choose?

PETER KENT - Having seen the questions and knowing they go to all candidates, I have no problem with the process. No candidate knows the final outcome and if screened in a “blind” fashion, the outcome should be purely based on content of response. 

DON HUBBARD - No, I am not in favour of this. I believe every citizen has the democratic right to run for office unless legally disqualified. Both of my parents fought in WW2 for that right.

     EDITOR'S NOTE: The debate format does not impinge anyone running for council, it only
                              determines which candidates will be allowed to participate in the debate.

JIM TURLEY - I have expressed concerns about it, however, I would encourage all candidates to apply as none of us have any idea who will be successful or not. Life is all about competition.

FRED STATHAM - I have asked OurNanaimo my questions about the format/meeting criteria for the fishbowl forum. I am happy with their answers/clarifications.

DON BONNER - I disagree with the position that it’s partisan. That would mean that both organizations are favouring certain candidates over others which is not the case here. Each candidate has the opportunity to answer the questions. The answers will be blind reviewed by two groups - the Chamber and OurNanaimo. The two teams will not know who is writing the answers and MNP will tally their scores. The candidates who score more than 75 out of 100 will be invited to the event. That seems a fair, not unlike what will be happening on Oct. 20. While every person has the right to run for election, that is not the issue here. 

SHERYL ARMSTRONG - One of the concerns I have is there are four incumbents running for Council and the debate is being held on a Council night. Our first priority is to attend the Council meeting. The organizing committee has the right to hold a debate in whatever format they deem. My preference would be for all candidates be able to attend, however with the numbers it would be very difficult. I will be answering their questions in the hope they will be posted.

GORDON FULLER - It takes courage to put your name forward and no matter the reason for doing so you should have the opportunity to speak. Chamber is breaching their own policy.

Policy: 3.2.1 The Chamber, in all representations and actions shall not endorse or have the appearance of endorsing any political party at any government level. The Chamber shall also not endorse, represent or financially assist any candidate participating in an election campaign.