Voters Want to Know

This page will publish candidates responses to their approach to issues facing Nanaimo.

Issues and how candidate will deal with them.

TAXES policy vis a vis setting level of tax increases.

PUBLIC SAFETY (dealing with criminals, the addicted and mentally challenged)


Brunie Brunie

Taxes must be determined by electorate imput.  Taxes for homeowners must be kept as low as possible.  There is much useless city spending that cut be reduced like council salaries for starters.  The downtowncore is a mess because the POOR HOMELESS CITIZENS are not allowed to be anywhere. The worst atrocity of this time.  A campsite with bathrooms shower and hydro for cooking would get most out of downtown and keep the area clean. There are a no. Of empty stores that can be used co operatly by small vendors a real bus station with bathrooms and vendors for human socialabity and safe stress free travel with  smaller electric buses.  All housing development MUST have rooftop gardens and communal space under the jurisdiction of gov for NON PROFIT. HOUSING is an ESSENCIAL and cannot be for big profit and armchair landlords.

Sheryl Armstrong

Taxes. I believe we need to continue a 1 percent tax increase to go to asset management reserves. We have aging infrastructure and these funds need to grow so we have dollars put aside to avoid a very large tax hike.  An example of this is when the water line  broke on Bowen.  We had money in our reserves so we were able to fix it without raising taxes higher because of this.  We also need to be aware of contract negotiations as we have seen wages increase on average 2 percent.  So right off the start we are at a 3 percent increase.  I believe we need to listen to both staff and the electorate when looking at tax increases.  More importantly we need to determine if we need to move ahead with capital projects immediately.  All need to be prioritized based on need vs nice to have.  We will be seeing an increase in taxes, hopefully offset by new residents, as our city grows as we need to add firefighters and police officers.  We are below the average number of firefighters and police officers per population and calls for service.  If people want recreational opportunities these cost money to run and maintain.  

One thing I would like to see is all business cases must include a cost benefit analysis as well as operating costs.  It is fine to approve a capital project knowing we have grant monies etc but do we need to add more staff which is an operating cost and funded by taxation?  Prime example is when we add parks to the City and then do not have staff to maintain them.

Public Safety - For years the RCMP and Fire Rescue  have been under resourced. This has led to many minor cases not being pursued by police as they do not have the time. This council has added 15 more police officers over five years, 4 more bike squad officers this year, 12 community safety officers, and four firefighters. This will help address some of the issues. One of the biggest issues facing our first responders is burn out and mental health. If we do not have the resources we cannot get our first responders healthy which means crime goes up due to not enough officers on the road and public safety is jeopardized.  Our Fire Rescue is one of the busiest in the Province and they need more resources as our city grows and they take on more medical calls, inspections, and fire calls.  I believe the community safety officers will be an added benefit to the downtown core. These officers will be able to connect with some individuals who are part of the social disorder. Being in the area they will be able to respond faster than police officers and help deescalate issues immediately.  This will free up the RCMP officers to focus on criminal offences. As these are City employees we are able to direct where the resources go and how they are utilized unlike the RCMP where we can only set the priorities not the implementation nor where the resources are deployed as this remains with the RCMP Officer in Charge.  It should be noted the RCMP does set their priorities based on Mayor and Council input.

Many of the crime issues are not within the City’s control.  Chronic Offenders are responsible for many of our crimes.  We need to continue to push for these individuals to be dealt with. The province has just released its report and I’m hopeful that will help. We also need to advocate for more Crown Counsels as Nanaimo is short staffed meaning many minor offences do not reach the court. I would also like to see further investment in restorative justice as it is a very beneficial program with great success for many.

Local Economy. The newly formed Prosperity Group has just started meeting.  We need to hear what strategies they have to attract higher paying employers to our City.  We heard the time to get permits etc was very lengthy and we are now implementing recommendations from the review of the department.  One of the issues remains staffing some positions as we are in competition with Cities across the Country.  We have increased the number of industrial areas  which is now attracting more industry.  We continue to work with the Chamber to attract business to Nanaimo.  We must also look at retaining business and listen to their concerns.  An example of this was the impact the new bike lane in the Boxwood Industrial area had on the businesses.  When they are losing business because of our plans we need to work with them to mitigate the issue.

Housing - The city is seeing record number of new builds including rental apartments. Housing is a Federal and Provincial responsibility with the City assisting with changes in zoning and requirements.  We have received many supportive housing units, subsidized seniors units, Habitat for Humanity homes, Nanaimo Affordable Housing new builds, and we have increased our rent bank to help those struggling.  We have seen developers increasing the number of 2 and 3 bedroom apartments which are needed for families.  The best thing we can do is be prepared for Provincial and Federal dollars.  This can de done by identifying City owned sites, having zoning in place and if required starting community engagement immediately.

We can also provide incentives to developers to encourage more below market housing builds.  The other thing we are doing is the streamlining of the development permit process which will lessen the time for permits.

Peter Lee

TAXES: Fiscal responsibility will be my watchword when deliberating new city policies. I support putting a hold on all non-essential (outside of maintaining and repairing existing infrastructure) capital spending to reduce the tax burden on city residents. Although it is necessary to work with budgeting professionals on city staff, it will be my duty to advocate for tax relief and fight against excessive and wasteful spending.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Public safety is my top priority. I believe that tackling the issue from both its symptoms and root causes with an integrated and comprehensive vision is the way to go. Courts and jails are under provincial jurisdiction - collaborating with the provincial government to advocate for the end of catch-and-release is absolutely essential. Improving street lighting, allocating more resources for policing operations, and targeted bylaw enforcement against nuisance houses are within municipal jurisdiction - these measures will combat the symptoms of crime. Working with the province and local non-profits to deliver funding and services for mental health and addictions will go a long way to ensure that public safety is sustainable over the long term. 

LOCAL ECONOMY: I am committed to building a Nanaimo that welcomes business and has the foundation to make the city a better place to work, live, and play. I believe that collaborating with local businesses to identify ways for the City to encourage economic growth, in addition to reducing tax burdens, will make Nanaimo a more competitive place to do business and retain talent. Improving public safety and ameliorating the housing situation will make Nanaimo a more attractive place for talent to stay in Nanaimo and contribute to the local economy.

HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: Housing is under provincial jurisdiction - collaborating with the provincial government and BC Housing to deliver more non-market housing funding to Nanaimo is essential to improving housing stock within the community. Zoning is under municipal jurisdiction - I support densification efforts near transport hubs, streamlining zoning decisions to accelerate high-density development, and mandating a minimum proportion of rental units in large future residential developments.

Janice Perinno

TAXES: I spent 12 years as a councillor and a mayor and the true answer to this question is, you have to do both. City staff will tell you what tax percentage they feel they have to have and they will tell you why, given their expertise. It's based on infrastructure and project needs, and staff increases, both salaries and numbers of staff. It's up to council to decide given their experience with the public to agree with the staff or say they don't feel the public will tolerate an increase of that size so staff levels and increases, projects and infrastructure have to be scaled back.

In my opinion, given the current rate of inflation, the high cost of fuel and food, this is not the time for another hike in our property taxes. I understand the need for a one or two percent increase, sometimes for a three percent increase but right now, I think we have to be very much aware of how expensive everyday living has become. I would like to see a tax increase kept to no more than two percent for this next year.

PUBLIC SAFETY: One of the major issues with downtown is that there aren't enough people to help with programs, such as Neighbourhood Watch, especially in the evening. In our long term planning, anytime we build more office buildings downtown, we must insist that all buildings have residential floors above. Whether it is two floors or six floors, the more people walking around, shopping, going out the restaurants, cafes or other entertainment, the more protection the area has. People watch out for people. However, I agree that the area requires more help now, so hiring the 12 new Community Safety Officers is a good plan in the short term.

LOCAL ECONOMY: Jobs are the number one way to improve the local economy. Our Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, (NRGH) is in desperate need of an expansion. The hospital has only 344 beds but routinely runs with over 400 patients every day. This has to stop, we must push harder for a hospital expansion. Along with that, we need a Cardiac Catheterization Lab and a full Cancer treatment facility. As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, we are long overdue for a hospital expansion. The construction phase alone, of these three medical facilities would bring about 3,000 construction jobs to Nanaimo for at least 5 to 8 years. Then more specialists, nurses, techs and administration staff would be hired to fill the roles at the hospital.  This would be a huge boom for our economy for Nanaimo. Down the road, it is possible that our university could development into a medical school, bringing more excellent job opportunities to this region.

HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: Yes I do think there is more that can be done! To give you one example the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society is working on several projects to help offer housing to people who need a bit of help to get into a home. We can offer incentives to help reduce costs and we can move projects through faster to get more housing options available.

Mike Hartlaub


 I think taxes should be frozen, given that the Federal Government is printing currency at a faster rate and creating more inflation. The City of Nanaimo must recognize this inflationary fiscal policy and not contribute to further inflation by further tax increases. The current administration's 18.5 percent increase over the last four years is completely unsustainable. These tax hikes have put homeowners and business owners under extreme pressure (especially fixed income homeowners) which is going to put them out of their homes creating a whole new class of homeless. I believe the electorate's input into establishing a tax rate should carry much more weight than City staff's input.

Public Safety,

 I think instead of the City declaring a "Climate Emergency in 2019"  the City should have declared a "Public Safety Emergency" Money that is pouring into the green initiatives right now, should be directed into programs to deal with mental health and public safety.

Local Economy,

To support local businesses the City needs to streamline the business license application process. Fire inspection, building inspections required to grant an occupancy permit should be completed quickly. Some businesses are waiting months to fulfill these requirements for occupancy permits. To attract small businesses you can't expect them to wait for long periods of not knowing if their business license will get approved, especially when you're trying to lease a location.

Housing Availability & Affordability

This should be parked at the doorstep of the Federal government. It was the Federal government in combination with the banks whose policies of  low interest rates have created an inflated real estate market and therefore priced most people out of rentals and homeownership.

Jay Krishan


Reasonableness takes its colour from context. I cannot endorse one approach over another absent knowledge of circumstances not yet formed, but generally I will say that tax increases are seldom decisions that are taken lightly by leadership. If you place your confidence in me this election, I will help shape council thoughts and discussions on these important issues. I hope that residents will reach me about the matters that they care about if I am elected – I will bear their views and concerns close in mind.    

Public Safety:  

Generally, if I may say, I do not consider it prudent to make comment on this topic without data. Perception of safety are easily distorted by disproportionate reporting, strong opinions, – or media in general, and so to be responsible we have to see the data first. That being said, I will say that the City of Nanaimo is currently screening to fill the role of Crime Analyst. This role will produce the crime statistics so that there is a clearer idea of what the safety issues we are dealing with are in the City. I would want to know, for instance, what the nature of the occurrences is and in what areas the incidents are most prevalent. It would be important to know if the issues of public safety are related to organized crime, B&E’s, thefts, assaults, murders, arsons, drugs, etc. The Crime Analyst will be producing all this information in a systematic way. If I am elected, I will closely review the data that the Crime Analyst produces to help inform council decisions in this area. I am glad to see that the City has considered it important to systematically collect data, and I think there are other areas for which data should be collected as well. Data will help identify systemic patterns of victimization and criminalization so that we can work to address the issues in a more informed way.            

Local Economy:  

Port development, commerce, small-businesses, and tourism – these areas come to mind. I will be consulting with the numerous stakeholders to learn about ways in which we can see economic development if I am elected. However there are various pre-requisites to progress – numerous investments have to be made. For instance, in order to attract tourism, we need some efforts towards beautification and the construction and development of attractions. There are many factors – and not all propositions will be feasible, but I would work closely with fellow council members to explore options and implement the solutions that have potential.      

Housing Availability & Affordability:  

I have heard much on this topic this election. To the people who are affected by housing availability and affordability, the purely formal limitations of administrations can quickly affect confidence in institutions and governance. If elected I will work with fellow councillors to reach the actors who are in a position to make the needed decisions at the municipal and provincial levels. If laws that are supposed to be in the public interest fail to function as intended, the formal configurations have to be re-examined – and it is the leaders who must make the calls. Vote for me, and I will do that work in collaboration with fellow councillors and the mayor.   

Viraat BK Thammanna

Taxes: With efficient balance, I am for council setting percentage of tax increase or decrease based on electorate input (Collaborating with grassroots matters) in accordance with provincial guidelines as Municipalities are regulated by provincial government (BC Assessment). 

Public Safety: I am for hiring more Police Officers, Community Safety Officers and Municipal employees to support the RCMP. Further I would support engagement with Advocate General and Queen Council for effective solution on repeated crimes. Constantly co-ordinate (through UBCM if required) with Provincial Ministries to efficiently treat mental illness and addiction issue so that homelessness related cimes can be eliminated. Will advocate for amendments in Legislation and Judiciary, all through worshipful Mayor and Council. 

Local Economy: Nanaimo being a gateway for Vancouver Island, our city has very high potential. Will work for strengthening local businesses and farmers to start with. Upon cleaning city from safety issues, will insist showcasing Nanaimo to North America so that we can attract more investors to invest in our city by offering an initial attractive benefits. At the same time making sure through work BC., University and Colleges that we have the required skilled and able human resources to support the demand of raising economy.

Housing and Affordability: Yes, we can, pushing Provincial Ministry of Housing to set up or provide grants to city/non-profit social organisations to build affordable housing, special need housing, measures to invite developer and builders by facilitating priority rezoning and building permits. Council can provide the required help for city staff to speed up the process of paperwork in this regard. Taking steps to legalize basement/main level suites upon checking all safety norms complying with Fire Dept., and insurance companies. 

Alan MacDonald

TAXES: My spending priorities are community safety, health & wellness, housing affordability, and economic development. Taxation frameworks for municipalities need re-examination. Taxpayers and particularly fixed-income individuals should not shoulder so many of the necessary costs of future growth.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Community safety is imperative, as is our personal perception of it. My focus will be on securing addiction services, integrative mental health initiatives, supportive housing, programs to prevent homelessness, enhancing neighbourhood safety, and crime prevention. Supports for seniors is high on my list of priorities. These all demand the skills and experience of someone with a record of negotiating with senior governments. The following would be my approach to make Nanaimo a tough place to do crime:

Add Crime Reductions to the Community Plan as a priority goal.

Target policing at high crime areas and offenders including drug dealers.

Subsidize high-resolution video systems for businesses experiencing unacceptable crime levels.

Contract legal support to intervene in all criminal court cases involving prolific offenders and others posing a serious risk to community safety.

Provide the RCMP with the support and mandate to achieve priority community safety goals.

Invest in lighting and other proven crime prevention infrastructure.

Create strong relationships between RCMP, neighbourhood associations, and block-watches.

Provide the necessary communications and safety enhancements to watch and report.

LOCAL ECONOMY: Nanaimo has enormous economic potential in sectors like education, health care, government services, and the service industry. We need to support our University to facilitate its growth, continue to encourage the government to drive expansion of services at NRGH to tertiary care, expand our health care campus surrounding the hospital, and engage in finding solutions to our health professionals shortage crisis. Nanaimo’s economic development expansion must consider our foundations in order to expand our commercial tax base and ‘share the load’. Investment in our parks, waterfront walkways, and recreational amenities is also critical. 

HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: Our current zoning and permitting process drives up costs. By implementing some of the below solutions we can help reduce cost, making Nanaimo an affordable place for everyone.

Implements an online portal for building permit applications with the ultimate goal of a full electronic process for all application types. This is a digital solution for accepting and reviewing applications, drawings, and documents related to the development approvals process. Further, it would integrate with the electronic inspection capabilities of City staff to access digital documents in the field.

Self-Certification –  To shorten the review time for certain tasks, City Staff can authorize licensed professionals to prepare and “self-certify” plans, verifying that they are compliant with the building code or other standards.  Self-certification also shortens the queue for other applicants. To be eligible engineers and architects must have professional certifications and often must complete specialized training.

Fast Tracking – This solution establishes a separate “fast-track” permit application for qualifying developments. In some cases, dedicated staff members shepherd the application and guarantee a permitting decision within a set number of days.

Strong Leadership for Changing Times.

Ken Bennett

TAXES: With a more frugal approach and common sense to our spending on infrastructure needs, sticking with basic needs for safety and going for elaborate unneeded plans we can stick to minimal increases in taxes %wise 

PUBLIC SAFETY: our Provincial Government needs to be lobbied to step up on there end .. we need to get more beds for the rising mental health issues we are dealing with increasingly. Safe drop in centers with accessible help available that offers a nonjudgmental approach allowing for dignity and respectful treatment. Hurting people hurt, we need to heal those inner wounds. Community outreaches life 'Stone soup' and 'Foodshare' ideas need to be allowed to flourish and develop in other areas throughout our city  

LOCAL ECONOMY: A community led Shopping local campaign can lead a way to boast our local economy, supporting our local farmers via Farmers' markets are a good option. 

HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: We need more builds with multifamily rental units with fixed rates % of income based. The multifamily/commercial style developments appear to be a good start to a neighborhood approach meeting some of those targets but more units with attached income % ties would be helpful.

Paul Chapman

TAXES: I believe we need to set our taxes to cover the expense of needed infrastructure and services. Tax cuts today are tax hikes tomorrow and oughn't be bandied about for political points playing on the very real affordability concerns of our community.

PUBLIC SAFETY: Our sense of safety is declining. We rightly recoil and respond with fear and anger when we hear of a senseless assault or murder. I’m not going to try to score political points by making promises that a City and City council cannot keep.

I think the Community Safety Officers program may be a key component of community safety with the first point of contact for a person experiencing difficulty or displaying unsettling behavior being someone other than law enforcement who can triage the situation and deal with it or contact the appropriate services, perhaps health, perhaps police. I’d like to give the CSO program some time to work and if it proves effective to increase it.

The City has provided a budget for more officers it just that the RCMP doesn’t have the personnel to fill the positions. I’m not going to promise you more police when we struggle to fill the positions we currently have. The City may be able to support RCMP hiring if any of the barriers are related to affordability or other issues.

Most of the crime is committed by a small number of chronic offenders. We can lobby and support senior government to define chronic offenders in law so that appropriate sentences and services can be applied.

 LOCAL ECONOMY: Affordability and safety will have a direct impact on our ability to attract business. We have an opportunity to attract green businesses supported by infrastructure and zoning.

Downtown revitatilization can be supported by filling the empty commercial space downtown, and I’m talking about the spaces that sit empty for months and years because there is some strange math that make empty space more valuable than a space in use. As a City, we can look for ways incentives (be they carrot or stick) to fill these spaces. There are many not-for-profits providing essential services in our community that could use space to operate. If you want to revitalize downtown and make it a place to want to come to, lets think about ways to have artist studios is some of these places. No more dead zones of unused commercial spaces. If you want to create a safe and vibrant downtown, even after 5 pm, send in the artists.

 HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: On Affordability, we need to lobby senior government to fund affordable housing, and by affordable I mean 30% or less of income. As a City we need to be ready with zoning to provide and to build. We need to be ready as a community to support these efforts.

• We need to join with other municipalities to resubmit a UBCM resolution for the provincial government to explore vacancy controls in BC.

• We need to look at real world models to affordable home ownership.

• A resilient City has homes for working folks, pensioners and those on fixed incomes. Without this we cease to be a viable community.



Ian Thorpe

1. Taxes - The annual tax rate needs to be set after Council determines how much money is required to provide basic services necessary to our community. eg. policing, water, sewer, road and infrastructure upgrades.  This information is provided by staff.  Then, Council needs to consider what other projects they may wish to finance.  This is a political decision which can be influenced by input from electorate.  My general rule for tax increases is:  1% dedicated to infrastructure, plus ?% based on inflation for purchase of needed city maintenance supplies and cost of contracts.  Any large projects taken on must be done in phases to reduce the tax impact.  It is my goal that tax increases should not be higher than the rate of inflation.

2. Public Safety - I believe there are two angles of approach on this:  One is to support our citizens, businesses, and visitors by increasing budget to supply more security resources on the street.  Council has already committed to hiring more RCMP and community safety officers, along with bylaw staff, bike patrol, and a "clean team" to tackle vandalism as well as a vandalism relief grant for businesses.  We have to continue on this path in consultation with local business owners and the DNBIA.  The other angle of approach is to continue to push the provincial government to supply housing with proper supports including facilities to provide secure complex care for those that need it, and to take action to get chronic offenders off the street.  The city can offer land on which the province can build necessary supportive and complex care facilities.

3. Local Economy - We need development, commerce, and industry to provide a healthy tax base for our community.  Expanding the tax base helps keep taxes lower, which is what everybody is concerned about especially in this time of high cost of living.  More attention needs to be on fostering a healthy local economy, something which I do not feel enough emphasis has been devoted to in our new City Plan.  Land use planning is important here, as we lack usable industrial land.  Council must be more business friendly and reduce unnecessary roadblocks to industry based on personal philosophy.  An example would be turning down a small mall development in Chase River which the neighbourhood supported but was rejected because it was too "auto-centric" and contained a drive-thru restaurant.  We can provide more incentives for businesses to start-up, and expand the concept of Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption Program.  We can look at multi-year tax exemptions for construction of new commercial buildings and renovation, and continue to work to reduce development approval times.

4. Housing - The city has an Affordable Housing Plan, which we must continue to pursue, along with working in partnership with Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society.  Affordable Housing initiatives to examine include amendments to bylaw for expansion of secondary suites and coach houses, consider pre-zoning land parcels for housing in certain areas, incentivize family-friendly multi-bedroom projects such as the recent Harewood development, and update density bonussing policy.  The city is not in the development business, but it can take steps to encourage affordable housing development as per market demand.

Frank Pluta

TAXES: I believe we need to start by reviewing our annual costs and looking at ways at halting the rise to reduce the impact on taxes.

There are several projects that have had cost overruns, and others that have been “overdone”, Metral Drive as a clear example.

More time needs to be put into the design and impact as this and other projects have had severe repercussions.

We should attempt to freeze our taxes for at least one year and give our residents a break from the continuous rate increases.

SAFETY: At $2.5 million, I believe that we should look at other previous methods and incorporate new ones. I’m all in favor of restoring the Auxiliary RCMP program that used “Volunteers” and incorporating VIU Tourism students as ambassadors for our community throughout our busy season and at special events.

LOCAL ECONOMY: Embracing small businesses and supporting their attempts to stay OPEN through our past few years. Find ways to make it easier to get started; promote our community to people outside of ours; encourage the Chamber of Commerce to provide more training on how to get through tough times; lobby for lower interest rates; evaluate our motions with businesses and residents in mind; reach out and ask them what kind of help we can provide.

HOUSING AVAILABILITY & AFFORDABILITY: With our economy throwing a wallop at us….cost of living expenses is making this even tougher for all of us to manage. Council should review the housing permit process to perhaps improve it. They should look at proposed projects and encourage the developers to have end prices kept to a low price point. They should lobby our provincial government to assist with lower interest rates for 1st time buyers and critical buyers. The should lobby the federal government to stop the crazy increase in interest rates!

Cell Text: 250-713-0912


The amount of time available and the opportunities to connect with Nanaimo voters is not expansive. Therefore it is hoped this site will provide the electorate and candidates alike a worthwhile tool when it comes to charting the city's course for another four years.