After four years in the mayor’s chair, Leonard Krog has announced he will seek re-election this fall.
Krog, a former NDP MLA for Nanaimo who handily won the mayorship in 2018, said Tuesday he wants to carry on the work of last term’s relatively peaceful council.
“I have worked with a very good council. I have not faced the challenges that my predecessor Bill McKay did. He faced some tough council members and some behaviours that gave this city a pretty unenviable reputation,” said Krog. “This council has worked well together. I’m proud of what the city’s accomplished in the last four years.”
Krog said that’s been evident in that there have been zero complaints made to the ombudsman in the last quarter. He also touted this council’s work on green-lighting building permits, saying $319 million in permits have been issued this year alone.
“If we issued not another nickel in building permits, that would be the second-biggest year in Nanaimo’s history,” he said.
Krog acknowledged the difficulty in facing the city’s addictions and mental health crises, an issue he says is “on the lips of every voter” he talks to, and said the city is doing what it can at the municipal level including hiring 15 new police officers over five years and approving the addition of 12 community safety officers at a council meeting Monday night.
He cited the recent high-profile attack by a prolific offender, who was experiencing a mental health issue, on a pregnant woman in downtown Nanaimo as a “heartbreaking” example of the downtown area’s “dire state,” and once again called for the opening of involuntary care facilities for such people.
“I have argued for this over and over again. The lack of secure facilities involving involuntary care for some of our citizens, we cannot continue to let people live and literally die in our streets or commit acts which in any other circumstance would not be brushed off as simply a mental health issue, would be treated as criminality,” he said.
Krog said if he’s re-elected, he wants to continue work on a potential waterfront walkway extension to Departure Bay, a new Nanaimo operations centre to replace “entirely inadequate” Public Works facilities and making the city more welcoming and accessible to attract more physicians to address the province’s doctor shortage.
Nominations for Nanaimo mayor and council are now open and will close on Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. No other candidates have come forward to run against Krog for the mayor’s seat.