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Nanaimo mayoral candidates have their say on cleaning up city hall, homelessness

Click to play video: 'Decision 2018: Nanaimo hoping for renewal' Decision 2018: Nanaimo hoping for renewal
WATCH: After a tumultuous season of civic politics, Nanaimo residents are hoping the civic elections will give them a council that can deal with growing big-city problems. Kylie Stanton reports – Oct 16, 2018

With incumbent mayor Bill McKay is not running again, change is coming to Nanaimo city hall.

To say it has been a tumultuous term at Nanaimo city hall would be an understatement. There has been turmoil within city council and the City of Nanaimo dropped legal action against McKay, who was accused of leaking confidential information to an employee.

BC NDP MLA Leonard Krog has officially launched his bid to become the next mayor of Nanaimo. Krog will be staying on as an MLA during the municipal election campaign and will only quit if he wins the mayor’s job.

READ MORE: Long-time MLA Leonard Krog launches bid to become mayor of Nanaimo

Global News asked the mayoral candidates four questions — about cleaning up city hall, homelessness, attracting visitors and any other issue they thought was important.

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The responses are posted below, unedited from the candidates who replied and also identify those who are running but did not respond to the questions before deadline. Candidates were asked to answer each question in less than 100 words.

Leonard Krog

1) The issues at Nanaimo city hall have been well documented including threats of city councilors suing the mayor and alleged threats from a former city bureaucrat directed at council members. How are you best served to clean up the mess at city hall?

I have served Nanaimo as an MLA for almost 20 years, and am a lawyer by profession.

I have the experience and leadership skills to work with a new Council. I know rules of order and how they should be applied. If elected Mayor, Council meetings will be about business, not egos.

2) The Nanaimo tent city has now moved on after 5 months. But the issue of homelessness and support for the homeless still lingers in the community. How would use address the long term issue of homelessness in the city?

Nanaimo residents are rightly concerned about what happened this past summer.

Homelessness, poverty and addictions issues are not new, nor are they solely a

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Nanaimo problem. I will work hard with senior levels of government to ensure that

Nanaimo gets its required share of resources to make sure that we are able to begin to address issues that have gone with adequate resources for far too long.

3) Nanaimo is well positioned to be a tourist and economic hotbed in the province, but is often just driven through by people heading elsewhere on the island or passed up for other destinations. How do you attract people to live in and visit the city?

This is a key issue for me. We need to do a better job of attracting investors and building employment opportunities in all sectors. We have an incredible natural environment that we must preserve and utilize. I would hope to set up a new Economic

Development and Tourism agency to provide Council with specific ideas and programs.

4) What issue – not covered above – are you hoping to address in your community?

Transportation is a big issue. Nanaimo needs the proposed passenger ferry to

Vancouver, as well as significant improvements in local public transit. I also intent reengage residents through Advisory Committees and Neighbourhood Associations.

READ MORE: B.C. municipal election 2018: Nanaimo results

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Don Hubbard

1) The issues at Nanaimo city hall have been well documented including threats of city councillors suing the mayor and alleged threats from a former city bureaucrat directed at council members. How are you best served to clean up the mess at city hall?

I will bring good governance back to City Council. Council, Staff and the public are expected to act in a civil manor at all time while doing the business of the City. I have a track record of working with people and making the hard decisions as a group.

2) The Nanaimo tent city has now moved on after 5 months. But the issue of homelessness and support for the homeless still lingers in the community. How would use address the long term issue of homelessness in the city?

I have a five point plan on my web site that is far too long to put in this answer but in brief I believe we must bring in the senior governments in a collaborative way. The issue of homelessness is not one answer it has multiple faces and causes and will have multiple ways to elevate it. The main causes are low income with high costs, substance addictions, mental illness and lack of support.

3) Nanaimo is well positioned to be a tourist and economic hotbed in the province, but is often just driven through by people heading elsewhere on the island or passed up for other destinations. How do you attract people to live in and visit the city?

First clean up our image. Get the city looking like it is a place you want to visit and live. Build on our success with great retail and restaurants. Create an environment where people feel safe to invest and create opportunities for employment for citizens. Improve our transportation system make it elderly friendly.

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4) What issue — not covered above — are you hoping to address in your community?

Housing affordability is a huge issue in Nanaimo with low average incomes and high average housing costs it is affecting a huge part of our population. We must reduce the costs of developing and building in Nanaimo. Waiting times of permits and approvals are far too long. We also must look at economic diversity with high-tech and manufacturing. We have untapped opportunity being only 50 km from the largest market in western Canada

WATCH: Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections

Click to play video: 'Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections' Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections
Global News launches new Focus BC series, with eye on coming civic elections – Sep 21, 2018

READ MORE: Live B.C. election results 2018: Find your riding and candidates

Ray Farmere

1) The issues at Nanaimo city hall have been well documented including threats of city councilors suing the mayor and alleged threats from a former city bureaucrat directed at council members. How are you best served to clean up the mess at city hall?

Firstly, if I win this election I will sit down with the councilors and identify what some of operations were in the past between the former council and former mayor. As a mayor I would recognize that the councilors are the voice of the people the voice of Nanaimo and they need to be heard. As a council member as well I will always put the interests of the people of Nanaimo first. Also after I first come into office I would like to have an audit done on every single city department. The purpose of the audit would be to tell us where we are now financially, then we will have a better sense what we do more of in terms of operations out of our  on budget and we will also have an idea of what we will need to look at getting provincial or sponsored funding for.

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2) The Nanaimo tent city has now moved on after 5 months. But the issue of homelessness and support for the homeless still lingers in the community. How would use address the long term issue of homelessness in the city?

I will reach out to government at the provincial and federal levels to seek funding to start a not for profit organization, the purpose of this organization will be to start a low income housing program for those in need. If we cannot find the funding at the provincial and federal levels of government assist with the homeless situation in Nanaimo. I will then look at getting partnerships and sponsorships for the city to help Nanaimo attain its goals if we cannot find what we are looking in the federal or provincial budgets.One part of mayoral job is to act as CEO of the city as a company as a branded business. That would
include helping the city find the money it needs to achieve its goals.

3) Nanaimo is well positioned to be a tourist and economic hotbed in the province, but is often just driven through by people heading elsewhere on the island or passed up for other destinations. How do you attract people to live in and visit the city?

Nanaimo has amazing fishing, an amazing harbour, an amazing seawall and amazing beaches. I would use the Nanaimo harbour as the face of the downtown core. I would like to possibly collaborate with and find a way to fix railway track that runs through the downtown core, and create maybe a historical train ride from the north side to the south side of Nanaimo. Also I would like make some additions to the transit system that make it easier to get around.

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4) What issue — not covered above — are you hoping to address in your community?

Finally I would like to look at what we can do to make Nanaimo a stronger more efficient community with all you the people’s recommendations. When I say the word win I mean let’s win together to make Nanaimo a better and more stronger Nanaimo a place called home for all of its people.

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