Race for Nanoose Bay seat on RDN board now wide open

Director George Holme is stepping down after 29 years on the board; French Creek's Joe Stanhope says he will be running for re-election

Elections are in the air, and after 29 years in politics, Regional District of Nanaimo director George Holme has announced he will not seek re-election this fall.

“I will be stepping down,” he told The NEWS from his Nanoose Bay residence Tuesday afternoon.

The decision comes after nearly three decades of representing Nanoose Bay on the RDN board. Recently, Holme has been instrumental in pushing a major development project in the Fairwinds area forward while maintaining relations with the Snaw-Naw-As (Nanoose First Nation).

When asked what prompted his decision to leave the board, he said with a chuckle: “I guess old age.”

The 17-member RDN board has representatives directly elected in seven rural areas: Nanoose Bay, French Creek, Coombs/Errington, Deep Bay/Bowser, Cedar, Gabriola and Pleasant Valley. The remaining 10 members are appointed from councils in Nanaimo (seven councillors), Parksville (one), Qualicum Beach (one) and Lantzville (one).

Meanwhile, long-time French Creek rep RDN chair Joe Stanhope has vowed to seek re-election. Stanhope was first elected to the RDN board in 1996 and has been part of municipal politics ever since — serving as chair of the board for the last 12 years.

Stanhope said he was not planning on letting his name stand for another election, but he told The NEWS this week he decided recently to seek office once again.

“I wasn’t planning on it (running for re-election) but things have changed for me,” Stanhope said. “You need to make sure you are in tune with the community and I feel I am.”

Stanhope said he has some projects underway he’d like to finish including developing Wembley Road into a more pedestrian and cyclist friendly area.

Julian Fell, who represents Coombs/Errington, said he hasn’t made a final decision in terms of the fall election. “There’s some personal factors weighing against it (running for re-election) but there are also good reasons to run,” said Fell. “I haven’t arrived at a resolution.”

Similarly, director Bill Veenhof, who represents Deep Bay/Bowser, said he hasn’t decided if he will run or not this fall.

Those who want to be a candidate for an area director position in RDN districts including Deep Bay/Bowser, French Creek, Coombs/Errington and Nanoose Bay may pick up a nomination package the week of August 25. The nomination period begins Sept. 30. To get on the ballot, these nomination packages must be returned to the RDN by 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10. The RDN represents a population of 140,000 people. It is the third largest regional district in the province.