Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Mayor Gary Korpan (left) and Larry Iwaskow

Diane Brennan and John Ruttan

The new convention center was the location of the Nanaimo Mayoral all candidates meeting sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, the Daily News and Chek News.

The Mt. Benson Ballroom was nearly packed as interested citizens came to hear how the candidates would handle the issues facing Nanaimo in the near and distant future.

The subject of the hotel adjacent the convention center once again was a hot button issue with all candidates expressing their dissatisfaction with the progress being made by Millennium on the construction of the hotel. Larry Iwaskow was the only candidate to clearly say he would tear up the deal with Millennium and seek a new builder.

The issue of whether partisan politics would influence future dealings as Mayor were directed at Diane Brennan and she assured the audience her labour/NDP affiliation would have no bearing on her ability to conduct the business of the City in the capacity of Mayor.

It was hinted that the Provincial Liberal party were supporting Mayor Korpan, an accusation which was categorically denied by the Mayor. In fact he pointed out that in past elections some of his opponents were members of the Liberal Party.

John Ruttans not having served on Council and also not living in the City of Nanaimo but rather in Lantzville were also raised as issues challenging his ability to serve as Mayor. He rebutted these charges with the fact he has owned commercial property in downtown for many years and also has operated businesses in Nanaimo for over 40 years.

A question from the audience suggested that Brennan had supported most of Korpans motions during her term on Council therefore concluding her policies would be no different. In her defense Brennan pointed to the purchase of the old church on Victoria Rd. as a project she supported and Korpan did not. To which Korpan repeated his opinion that spending $800,000 of taxpayers money for a 106 year old building built over an old mine was a waste of money, considering facilities already exist which could have met the need.

All in all the debate was civilized with tempers or passions only heating up on a few occasions. As you would expect in local politics there was little hard core attacks with all candidates doing their best to convince the audience they are best suited for the job come election day.

It was good to see the number of people who turned out but considering the number of voters in Nanaimo we still could do a lot better with our involvement in local politics.


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