Smith running for city council in October election

Norm Smith

Norm Smith is making a second try for city council on Oct. 15. The former RCMP member stressed community engagement and access to council members. 

One of the main planks in his platform is the housing; to resolve issues around mental health, drug addicted, and homelessness. 

Smith says he will also focus on public safety and social disorder; Our streets and city are not safe anymore and we need to find solutions to get our city back. 

Economic Development is also on his radar; Our city is growing very fast and we need to bring business and industry into our city to match our growth, but new projects must be for our interests.

Norm Smith believes in Nanaimo and backs it up with action

The RCMP Cram The Cruiser drive

I strongly believe that to be part of a community, we need to be active in the community. Since arriving in Nanaimo in 1989, I have served my community in whatever capacity available to me. Some of my service:
* Hockey coach and referee for Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association
* Basketball coach as the RCMP liaison officer at Woodlands Secondary School
* Spent Three days on a 40 ft. scissor lift twice to raise funds for B.C. Special Olympics and the Tour de Rock
* Director and parade co-ordinator for the Heritage Day Festival
* Celebrity waiter for 17 consecutive years for the SPCA Celebrity Waiter Night
* Served as director for the Brent MacDougall Foundation (started through the local RCMP) to help raise funds for equipment donated to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital
* Organized the RCMP-NHL Old-timers charity hockey games for 20 years to raise funds supporting the Brent MacDougall Foundation, the SPCA and other local charities
* Volunteered through numerous community groups to serve dinners to the less fortunate through the 7 - 10 Club
* Served as D.A.R.E. instructor teaching many grade 5 students about the dangers associated with drugs/alcohol abuse
* Santa Claus for the past 20 years for local community groups, RCMP, Fire Department and recently Rotary Club of Nanaimo-Oceanside
* Participated at numerous elementary school PACs, Child Development Centre and community organization fundraisers to raise funds for their various causes
* Served as D.R.I.V.E Program instructor (founded by the RCMP, ICBC and local driving schools) to teach at risk young drivers about driving safety
* I Am the co-chair of the Tour De Rock Nanaimo Committee raising funds to help children fight cancer
* Participated in the Coldest Night walk to help raise funds for the Island Crisis Society
* Served as Chair of the Community Engagement Task Force to facilitate communication between council and the public
* Past President and current member of the Rotary Club Nanaimo-Oceanside

Cram The Cruiser

Supporting the community

Nanaimo's Coldest Night of the Year.

On the rooftop

Salvation Army Christmas Kettles

Santa and Ethan

Norm Smith on housing in Nanaimo

In 1989, when first stationed as a police officer in Nanaimo, I was assigned to the Downtown Core/South Zone. I worked with those experiencing addictions, mental health issues and homelessness. Nanaimo had its problems, but no-one could have predicted the situation we face as a community today.

As complex as the issue is, we must work toward solutions that will bring our community together and not further divide it. I fully understand the difference between the unhoused experiencing mental health, substance abuse and poverty issues, and those who are wreaking havoc and committing crime in our community.

In 2020, the Nanaimo Homeless Coalition completed the “Point in Time” homeless count. In that count, 71% of the folks spoken with were from Nanaimo. 29% were from other areas of Canada. The number one reason for being homeless was insufficient income resulting in no ability to pay rent. Some were still working, but due to hours being cut, rents being raised etc., they were unable to meet their needs.

Thus homelessness, and in some cases that meant substance usage to deflect the reality of their circumstances. I want to help those who want help.

We must also address crime in our city. The apparent shift in the Judicial System, whether due to provincial and federal policy or COVID, is a detriment to law-abiding citizens. The blatant acts of crime and bizarre behaviour we are experiencing is costing our citizens financially while inhibiting the general sense of safety and well-being. When businesses suffer, families suffer. I wnt to help members of our community
Safety accommodates healing. As a city, we can amend or create bylaws in support of tiny homes or suitable structures that fit within city lots. The homeless are all over our city; north and south. These small communities to assist our homeless should be incorporated throughout Nanaimo with a view to blending in. Further, separate units should be on site to accommodate supporting agencies.

I do not support complexes such as Labieux Road and 250 Terminal Avenue. The lack of accountability (enforceable rules) placed unacceptable burden to surrounding homes. I accept that we cannot help or please everyone, but I hope to use my professional, personal and community experience to try.

Norm Smith on public safety

Public Safety is a complex and crucial topic. Our Criminal Justice System is rapidly becoming less and less effective. Evidence of this appears every day as criminals with multiple offences and failures to appear in court are not being held accountable.
If elected, I will wholeheartedly support strengthening the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to lobby the BC Attorney General and the Federal government for change. I believe my work experience has given me the tools to assist the UBCM to do this work. The only way to effect change is to work together for a common goal. I would also hope to engage the community to become more engaged in the Justice Process.

As a former police officer, I observed the justice system when offenders were held responsible for their actions. Today the justice system is soft, and we are below the standard of what most of us believe is acceptable. As community members, we understand the effects of trauma and the routes folks take to get themselves through it. However, there must be boundaries on what is acceptable for the average community member to shoulder.

The four pillars of our municipal government are police, fire, water, and sewage. As our city grows, so does the need to ensure the city remains committed to the safety and well-being of our citizens. The new City Community Plan recently released has five major goals for city for the next 20 years. Public Safety is not one of those goals.
Another area of concern is that The Privacy Act controls the ways in which personal information may be collected, used, and disclosed. In days gone by, community agencies worked together to solve individual and community problems. Today the act prevents the distribution of pertinent information and community agencies cannot share information. This act needs to be amended.

If elected, I will do everything in my power to respect and support the rights of contributing community members and taxpayers while supporting community agencies to assist those in need.
As a police officer and throughout my years of volunteerism, I had extensive partnerships with many social agencies ranging from the John Howard Society to MCFD and various people serving agencies. I believe those connections, along with my ability to make decisions based on facts, will assist me to serve Nanaimo well.

Finally, I respect and support the need to prepare for the future, but I am very much about repairing what is broken today. I repeat “common sense goes a long way” and if elected, I will bring that approach with me.