Candidate Debate Application Questions

1) How would you describe the role you are seeking (mayor or councillor) and how do your skills, experience and qualifications prepare you to take on this serious and complex role?

In seeking a Council position, I will be entering into an important partnership with my fellow Council members, Municipal Staff and the Community. I can and will work diligently with council members to reach consensus on how to move forward on complex community issues. I will make the development of good communication with City Staff a priority and give respect to staff for their professional input. My focus on good community partnerships means that I will make a priority to connect with all the Neighbourhood Associations and participate actively in Open Houses/Townhall meetings on various topics where I promise to listen carefully and give serious consideration to all the neighbourhood’s concerns.

I bring years of professional experience to the job of City Councilor. My 35 years of social work in various positions in both the social/justice systems have taught me how to work well with diverse and sometimes challenging groups of people. It also taught me how to make challenging and unpopular decisions when they are necessary.

My experience as a front-line responder in child protection and as a Team Leader for Youth Protections has taught me the importance of listening and the importance of being respectful to everyone. I have also worked cooperatively with many of the First Nations on the Central and South Vancouver Island.

I believe that both my university training and professional experience gives me the analytical, prudent, and caring attitude necessary to seek a seat on City Council.

2) Outline the approaches and actions you think council should take to help foster a prosperous, vibrant, sustainable and diverse Nanaimo economy and community.

When considering the promotion and cultivation of a thriving, prosperous Nanaimo, there are several actions and approaches that can be taken:

(1) Continued support to the business community by improving communications with the Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, Nanaimo Homebuilders and other similar business associations.

(2) Consider more opportunities to consult with business owners in all areas of the City to listen and develop concrete action strategies to address local concerns.

(3) Continue to work with the Regional District to improve the Regional transportation plan with a view towards reducing traffic congestion and improving transit services.

(4) Formulate a motion directing each City Department to review their own operations and examine opportunities to reduce fossil fuel energy use. Build a timed action plan to move ahead on the Strategies outlined in the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy and the Nanaimo Community Plan to End Homelessness that includes complete consultation with the whole community at large.

(5) Encourage the development of more local events and activities throughout the city, similar to the Thursday Night Market.

(6) Continue to improve and expand the local recycling opportunities to cover all aspects of handling garbage.

(7) Revisit the Transportation Plan to update a number of crucial issues and implement an Action Plan to move forward with other outstanding issues that directly affect the quality of life of Nanaimo’s citizens.

3) Describe your vision, approach and tactics for how you as a council member and council as a body should engage with its various partners, stakeholders and constituents.

When describing my vision, approach and tactics for public/private engagement, I see a collaboration of openness and respect between all parties.

I would make the excellent consultative model that was used in the development of the recent Affordable Housing Strategy the model for moving forward in ALL development in Nanaimo. The process included a steering committee that was truly representative of public and private housing providers, home builders, representatives from real estate and Vancouver Island University. Stakeholder consultations with Government, service providers and the private sector, as well as many public community consultations, were held where there was a genuine opportunity for input. Taking this inclusive approach led to the development of a thoroughly comprehensive plan that should provide a blueprint for Municipal action for the next decade.

True community consultation and transparency could have prevented some of the local controversies that have arisen over the last few years such as the Colliery Dam issue and the proposed housing projects for people experiencing homelessness.

I believe the City has not had a comprehensive communication strategy for several years and would encourage that one be developed with a focus on true community consultation.

4) Nanaimo Council is served and supported by a series of committees. How should these committees be structured, mandated and governed?

The Committees currently identified by City Council and filled with selected volunteers could be so much more valuable to Council than they are now.

As a sitting member of the Public Safety Committee for the City, I can see the value of Citizen input but do not feel that the potential of advisory committees is appreciated to the degree that it should.

I will work with my fellow Council members and existing Committee members to make the Committee system one that better serves the needs of the City and that puts more value on the input from those Committees.

I would also work to establish a process that would bring all the Committee members and Council Chairs together as a group to better understand the Municipal Committee structure, the joint purposes of the various committees, and how they might work hand-in-hand to make Nanaimo a more vibrant community.

Better communication of the role of Municipal staff in the committee structure will be important to improving the system and solidifying the relationship of Municipal staff with the various committees needs to be explored.

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