A homeowner whose taxes have almost doubled in the five years he’s lived in Nanaimo wants to bring his ideas about responsible spending, cautious planning and transparency to the city council.
Mike Hartlaub, a 54-year-old coating inspector, is one of 29 candidates vying for eight councilor seats in the Oct. 15 civic election.
In his trade, he works primarily on large-scale projects such as bridge decks and pipelines, ensuring that material coatings meet certain standards.
“It requires integrity because … you’re authorizing that you’ve witnessed the work done according to specifications,” he said. “So there’s an honor in that system and your word is everything in that field.”
He contrasted that with a lack of attention to detail or disregard for election sign specifications he’s seen from other city council candidates, including incumbents.
“We’ve lost moral fabric…” Hartlaub said. “People who hold office were held in high regard and did have respect but it’s obvious that this respect is not earned.”
Hartlaub moved to Nanaimo from Victoria five years ago and said his property taxes are “pennies away” from doubling. Although he recognizes that not all of that increase is strictly municipal taxes, he said the city is taking in millions more than it was and yet not one person to whom he’s spoken says the city is better now than before the current council took office.
He said one of the city’s tax pressures comes from aging infrastructure, and said the city’s “Band-Aid solution” has been to add density to try to increase the tax base.
Hartlaub is also concerned with the recently adopted city plan, which he felt did not have sufficient community input or support. He doesn’t see why the city felt the need to be a trail-blazer and trend-setter with planning, for example with complete streets and 5G network expansion.
“There’s a lot of things, when you’re the first, that you can’t see the pitfalls on, and they’ve absolutely put this city irresponsibly at risk,” he said.
Hartlaub, if elected, would ask for in-camera meetings to be eliminated, and if that leads to higher property acquisition costs for the city, “that’s the price we pay for freedom of information,” he said.
He’s interested in a safer waterfront which he said would help local business and tourism and have a positive impact on some of the city’s social problems downtown.
“I think this community’s got so much potential,” Hartlaub said. “We just have to steer the ship. It’s going in the wrong direction currently.”
Anyone running for mayor or councilor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview or invite us to a campaign launch event. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail [email protected]
Breaking NewsElection 2022