Nanaimo residents will get a chance to hear from council candidates at special events on two evenings next month, ahead of the Oct. 20 election.
The events are being staged by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the group OurNanaimo, which describes itself as a grassroots, non-partisan organization.
An all-candidates fair will be held on Oct. 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Citizens will be able to speak with candidates, who will have their own tables.
The fair will be followed at 8 p.m. by a one-hour moderated leadership debate with the candidates for the mayor’s job.
NDP MLA Leonard Krog, Don Hubbard, a former chairman of the board of Island Health, and Eike Jordan, a therapist and owner of the Naturally Healthy Clinic, have filed nomination papers to run for mayor. Current Mayor Bill McKay has announced he is not running.
A debate among candidates selected by the organizers will be staged on Oct. 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Dubbed the “Fishbowl Forum,” the event will see five questions on local issues presented to small groups of candidates.
Each group will debate one topic in a format mimicking discussion around a council table.
The number of candidates chosen to take part will be decided by how many meet criteria established by the organizers.
Each event will be held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon St.
The organizers said in a statement they are inviting only selected candidates because past all-candidates forums were ineffective due to the number of people running and the superficial level of discourse.
No candidate is obliged to take part, the organization said.
Application questions will be available for candidates on Sept. 14, the deadline to register to run for election. Responses will be evaluated based on content and knowledge, understanding of local issues and context, knowledge of local government laws and policy, and by overall quality, relevance, applicability and logic.
All responses will be posted to the chamber of commerce website.
To see the candidates who have registered so far with the City of Nanaimo, go to:
nanaimo.ca/your-government/ elections/2018-election/view-2018- general-election-nomination- documents/2018-election-mayor-and-council-nomination-documents