There were large crowds eager to cast their ballots at Nanaimo’s first advanced polling opportunity on Wednesday.

“It’s just so exciting that everyone’s interested,” said Nanaimo resident Sandy Macaulay.

“It’s actually quite busy,” said Nanaimo resident Kristina Sankey.

“A lot of folks going in there so it’s exciting.”

Another Nanaimo resident, Nanaimo resident Glenn Moffard, said people are fed up with the current council.

“I think this has really been an eye-opener,” said Moffard.

“Just wait to see the numbers. They’re going to be huge.”

Residents are voting for the next city council after a tumultuous term. The current council has been dubbed the most “dysfunctional in B.C.”

Councillors hurled insults at the mayor in meetings and openly called for his resignation.

“We’re going to make sure there’s change this time around,” said Macaulay.

Macaulay and her husband Dave were one of many who told said they had done ample research on the candidates in the wake of the last council.

“Oh we’re really educated this time,” said Macaulay.

“Last time we just came in voted for, you know. We didn’t really look into it and this time, we’re really motivated,” she said.

“Now we were a lot more prepared yes,” said Dave Macaulay.

“And hopefully it will work better than what happened last time anyway.”

More than 40 candidates are vying for either the position of mayor or the eight councillor spots.

Professor of Political Studies at Vancouver Island University Alex Netherton says its a sign of how strong the desire for change is in this city.

“We had a problem with governance and all of a sudden the community’s responded,” said Netherton.
“How this will sort out in just less than 10 days or whatever I don’t know at this point.”

With the number of candidates being so high, vote splitting could be a real possibility, which makes every vote that turns out count.

The next opportunity for advanced polling is Wednesday, Oct. 17. General Voting Day is Saturday, Oct. 20. For a list of voting locations, visit the City of Nanaimo website.

Skye Ryan