As part of the News Bulletin’s coverage of the city council byelection, we asked all candidates to answer questions about their background, candidacy and priorities. Responses have been edited for grammar, style and clarity.
FRED STATHAM, 55
Outreach/on-call support worker, Carmichael Enterprises. I was born and raised in Powell River. Graduated from high school in 1979, graduated from UBC (B.Ed-Elem) in 1989, fifth-year diploma, guidance studies, 2000. I fell in love with my wife in Nanaimo in the summer of ’92. Twenty-five years later, we live four blocks away from our four grandchildren.
Why are you running for city council?
The title of my campaign is ‘the grand campaign’ because I want to help make Nanaimo a prosperous city for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
What will be your priorities if you are elected and what do you want to accomplish in the 15 months before the 2018 civic election?
We first need to solve a problem that has plagued Nanaimo for 20 years: low-income housing. Secondly, we have to solve a crisis that has affected Nanaimo for the past 20 months: the fentanyl crisis.
Nanaimo needs a housing-first policy. I would like to bring Ted Clugston, the mayor of Medicine Hat, Alta., to tour Nanaimo, then host a town hall meeting to give us suggestions on how we could implement a successful housing first policy like he and his council did eight years ago.
A solution that I have for the fentanyl crisis is to have two safe injection sites, one beside the police station and the other beside the hospital. Also, I am willing to go to Ottawa, on my own dime, to get a solution to Nanaimo’s fentanyl crisis.
For a prosperous Nanaimo, we need to develop 1 Port Drive in a similar manner to Granville Island. The potential for economic development on our waterfront is excellent. Contrary to popular belief, the forest industry can still provide high-paying jobs for Nanaimo families.
I believe that Nanaimo still has the potential to be a tech hub, providing more high-paying jobs for Nanaimo families.
To conclude, the next 15 months are crucial to the future of Nanaimo’s economic development.