NANAIMO — Don Hubbard elected to spend most of the last 60 years helping his community behind the scenes. Now he's taking a step into the spotlight.
Hubbard announced his intention to run for mayor in October's municipal election Thursday morning, marking his first foray into the political realm.
He said he's always stayed away from public office so he could make decisions to help the city based on what he felt was right, instead of for political reasons.
"I'm very proud of Nanaimo and over these last three years it became really concerning for me that almost daily I would see our town in the news in a bad light. It hurt a lot of people and took a lot of pride from a lot of people," Hubbard told NanaimoNewsNOW. "I watched the landscape to see what was going to happen in the next election and I just can't let that happen again."
The financial impact to Nanaimo from the political antics over the last three years was "dramatic," Hubbard said.
"Something the public doesn't see is people just don't inquire about bringing their business here or investing here. If you look at our downtown...We're at a crisis state down there."
Hubbard, 72, came to Nanaimo in 1958 when the city's population was about 25,000. Over the last five decades he's volunteered with a variety of efforts, including Ducks Unlimited and Haven Society. He was chairman of the Island Health board for seven years and chaired Malaspina's board as the school transitioned to a university.
He was Nanaimo's citizen of the year in 2007.
While Hubbard retired from Lafarge Canada in 2009, he doesn't consider himself retired, saying he's still an entrepreneur.
He believed he possesses the skill set to work well with a group of people to bring them together for a common goal, pointing to some dysfunctional boards he's smoothed over in the past.
Hubbard said he wanted to see an audit of the expenditures over the last term of Council to get a sense of why decisions were made.
"Very questionable legal fees, events centre costs and Hometown Hockey. Hockey is a great thing, but did we have to spend half-a-million dollars on it? What else could we have done with that money?"
Hubbard joins retired RCMP officer Norm Smith as those who have officially declared their intention to run for the mayor's seat. Smith came forward in late 2016.
Meanwhile, Nanaimo's current mayor Bill McKay said he hasn't made a decision about running for re-election and he won't until mid-summer.
"We as a Council have a lot of heavy lifting to do over the coming months and I wish to continue to concentrate on conducting the people's business," McKay said.
Several other names have been popular in the rumour mill.
Current Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog said "a great number" of people asked him to consider running for mayor.
"Certainly at some point I will make an announcement one way or the other," Krog told NanaimoNewsNOW.
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