One of our city’s great strengths is its small-town feel; wander down by the waterfront, or to one of the small plazas that dot our landscape, and you’ll see small local businesses and maybe even people you know. A friend and fellow NDP member put it well the other day: “there are a lot of our members who think Nanaimo still has 2, 000 people and we all know each other.”
The fact is, though, Nanaimo has grown. At last count, in 2011, we were edging up on 84,000 people. While we may all have our home groups, those groups represent a vibrant and diverse city. We have urban, suburban and even rural residents, all with different needs and different ideas about what we want from our home. It’s become harder to hear a unified voice of Nanaimo, and even our Council has been having a hard time knowing just what we want.
It’s time for a change in the way we do politics in Nanaimo, and who better to bring positive change than our city’s progressive community?
The idea of a Civic Society is not a new one. The Burnaby Citizen’s Association, which has been a force in their city’s politics for over 60 years, has been a driving force behind their city’s being declared the “best-run city in Canada” by Maclean’s magazine. Civic Societies give like-minded people a chance to shape policy in a very real way, and voters a clear and understandable platform so that they know what to expect from the government they elect. They make voting more accessible by providing voters a slate of candidates who believe in the same vision they do.
I believe it is time to make government in Nanaimo more accessible to our citizens. That starts with coming together, but it’s a goal I hope we can take into every decision our city makes. My Nanaimo is inclusive, not simply representative.
We have an opportunity this November to form a Council we can be proud of, and to provide our friends and neighbours with a clear understanding of how we’re building a better city for all of us. I know that some of our members already feel the same. If you are among them, I encourage you to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org about your interest, and share your thoughts about what a positive, 21st-century city can look like.
Nanaimo’s BC NDP