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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nanaimo News Bulletin Q & A

Civic election questions from the Nanaimo News Bulletin. My answers follow:

Name: Gordon Fuller

Age: 50

Occupation: Coordinator of Housing ( Nanaimo Youth Services Association)

AKA - Social Worker, Child & Youth Care Worker

Political experience: Define political experience. I have run for council twice but one could also look at sitting on a Board of Directors as political experience. The following is a record of my community involvement

Current (2005)
  • Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society – Co Chair
  • Friends of Plan Nanaimo – President
  • South End Community Association – Vice President
  • Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network – Vice Chair
  • Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy
  • Nanaimo Old City Association
  • Neighbours of Nob Hill
  • Downtown Nanaimo Partnership – Housing Design & Development Subcommittee
  • Working Group on Homeless Issues
  • Mid Island Coalition for Strong Communities


  • Crystal Meth Task Force
  • Nanaimo Alcohol and Drug Action Coalition
  • Working Group on Downtown Social Issues
  • Mental Health Advisory Council
  • City of Nanaimo Nuisance Property Committee
  • Nanaimo Social Development Strategy
  • S.A.F.E.R Downtown Nanaimo Project
  • Community Food Connection
  • Food Link Nanaimo
  • Action for Diversity Team
  • Nanaimo Food Share Society

Why are you seeking election?

It is time for change and I have the energy and commitment to make Nanaimo a better place for all of its citizens. I will bring the same tenaciousness I am known for as a Community and Social Activist/Advocate. I know it is critical that we recognise the importance of a healthy diverse economy in providing meaningful employment and the necessary tax base from which to run our fair city. I am a strong believer in the revitalization of Nanaimo ’s Downtown and most recently took part in the revision of Nanaimo ’s Official Community Plan.

What is the No. 1 issue in this election?

While there are a number of very important issues, homelessness, the economy, etc; I believe the number one issue is electing a council that respects all of its citizens equally and does not demean and denigrate those citizens choosing to speak before council on items individual members of council may not agree with. This was again recently brought home when Mayor Korpan proceeded to do this very thing at the last council meeting an instance witnessed by one of the Bulletin's own reporters. Repairing the divisiveness that this type of behaviour has created over the past few years is paramount.

How do you see the balance between the need for infrastructure/service and the need to keep property taxes under control?

It is a well known fact that infrastructure costs less if the focus is on densifying existing neighbourhoods. Using the downtown as an example, despite there being no DCC'S (development cost charges), the hope is to increase the population of the area by approximately 8000 people. The cost of infrastructure in an already serviced area is far less and is balanced by the taxes generated by the densification of the area. This has the effect of keeping taxes low and, with the increased tax base, not being a burden on existing taxpayers.

Nanaimo has a significant housing/homelessness situation. What do you propose as a potential solution?

This is a no brainer. The only solution to homelessness is to house the homeless. Housing First has become the primary philosophy in North America over the past 5 years, one I have been espousing in Nanaimo for the past 7, and is the one finally taken in Nanaimo 's Homeless Action Plan developed in 2008. With commitment from the city, province and feds this will be accomplished. It is the role of the city to provide land as well as advocate with other levels of the government to provide funding for purpose built as well as market based (utilizing existing rental properties) solutions.

Nanaimo is projected to grow significantly over the coming years. What measures would you propose to manage that growth sustainably and within existing city limits?

The city needs to focus on densifying its built up areas rather than focusing on areas that, with the expansion of the urban containment boundary to the limits of the municipal boundary, are at the edge of the municipality i.e. Cable Bay . This will make for a much more viable transit system, in turn decrease the need for individual vehicles, resulting in added congruent benefits to the environment.

The forestry crisis and wider economic slowdown has hit this area particularly hard. What response would you propose?

I would propose utilizing any such tax breaks or other benefits that are within the cities mandate. I would also strongly advocate for greater involvement of the provincial and federal governments where possible. The city must do everything within its means to protect union jobs and encourage the establishment of a minimum wage geared to the cost of living. While small business may be reticent in agreeing to this due to wage costs the benefits of citizens with greater income is that they will spend more in those very businesses.

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