May 2018

A little more than four months before the municipal election campaign begins in earnest, things are starting to look up for good governance in Nanaimo.

The Speakers’ Series on Civic Leadership, which OurNanaimo, the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, and Leadership Vancouver Island is presenting, kicked off on April 24th at Beban Park. With 45 attendees – candidates, potential candidates, and others interested in governance – turnout was a hopeful and encouraging sign that many are committed to improving local governance. Further sessions continue through to May 9, and as of this writing, the discussion, interaction, and feedback has been thoughtful and positive.

With beautiful summer weather now upon us, many of our fellow citizens are understandably focussed less on issues like Nanaimo governance and city planning, and more on boating, barbequing, and gardening. Another gorgeous Nanaimo summer will take us right through to the formal launch of the election campaign after Labour Day. What can each of us do to help make sure our fellow citizens are aware of Nanaimo’s challenges and opportunities before September? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Have a governance-themed garden party. On the OurNanaimo website, you’ll see Tools for Voters and Essential Reference Material for Candidates. These resources can help guide discussion on what is important to look for and ask candidates during the campaign. Sometimes, these subjects can be a bit dry. We guarantee you it will be more fun talking governance on the deck or patio with a prosecco, lemonade, or beer in hand.
  • Hand out buttons to your friends. The elves at OurNanaimo HQ have been busy pumping out buttons for the last month. You may have already spotted some around town. If you have visited Protection Island, you’ve definitely spotted some, as we believe about 98% of the island population is now sporting one. You can order them here and here, where they are sold for a modest fee that will contribute to more initiatives to raise awareness about voting as the election approaches.

  • Sign your friends up to OurNanaimo’s mailing list. These monthly emails will increase in frequency as we head toward the campaign trail. Once the writ drops, OurNanaimo hopes to launch a number of initiatives to get out the vote and help Nanaimoites wisely choose the best candidates and future council members. This could include all-candidates debates or other tools that will help voters to research candidates, assess and evaluate their merits and to ask relevant and tough questions. All this will be shared on our mailing list, website, Twitter feed, and Facebook page.

Effective democracy, good governance, great city planning – all these things are hard work, but we’re Canadians. We can do this – let’s raise the bar, Nanaimo!