Mind’s Eye interview with Gary Korpan

Nanaimo's mayor speaks out on the Third St. connector, legalizing marijuana, youth curfew

Nathaniel Christopher The Mind's Eye [Nanaimo, B.C.] Volume Issue 6

I oppose curfew bylaws because I believe that they attack law abiding youth more than they prevent crime.

Mayor Gary Korpan

Have you ever read The Mind’s Eye?

Yes I’ve read it. I like how it’s strictly about local youth.

What’s your vision of Nanaimo in 10 years?

I hope that in 10 years time, we have a clean, healthy, safe city with no pollution, and salmon are back in our rivers.

Do you think the drop in the Canadian dollar has affected tourism in Nanaimo?

I understand that we have had more local visitors because it is more affordable to travel within Canada. We contribute $280,000 to promote tourists to come to Nanaimo.

Who is your favourite Spice Girl?

I don’t follow that. I do have an extensive record and CD collection consisting of blues, rock, jazz, and classical.

What are you doing to help the unemployed youth of Nanaimo to find jobs?

I meet regularly with people who are opening new businesses to increase the number of jobs. Also, Melinda Entwistle and her staff are working hard to encourage business.

Where do the profits from the new casino go?

Most go to the Provincial Government, some go to charity.

What are your opinions on the legalization of marijuana?

I’ve never been able to understand why anyone would want to get drunk or high on drugs, and I don’t think that it’s morally correct to promote drug use.

How do you feel the Third St. connector will improve the downtown core?

Our estimates of the traffic volume in Harewood over the next 5-10 years is going to be enormous. Unless we have a proper major road in that area we’ll have gridlock in all of the residential areas. It will also have safety problems because Third St. is the only major street that doesn’t go past an elementary school. Unless people are going to give up their cars , we’ll have to build roads that are safe to use.

How much did the Third St. connector cost?

About $5.5 million. That includes sidewalks and traffic lights.

I have heard rumours about the possibility of restaurants and gas stations being built along the new Third St. connector,is there any truth to this?

I don ‘t know where they would locate, there’s no property available. Rezoning is possible, though.

Many youth I have spoken to are outraged and disgusted on your handling of the construction of the Third St. connector when all the trees were cut down. How would you respond to this?

I understand people’s anger. I must emphasize that nobody, not council, not me, nobody wanted to cut down those trees. We tried to negotiate to get enough land to go around the grove, but we were unsuccessful. We will be replacing black locusts in that area when the road is completed.

At a recent meeting on the Third St. connector a majority of the people in attendance were opposed to the construction of the connector, yet the city had already commenced plans for construction before the meeting. In a democratic society don ‘t you feel that it would be appropriate to hold a referendum on such matters?

Council is elected to make decisions in the best interests of the community. We have an obligation to listen to the community and weigh that in our decision. Referendums under the Municipal Act are when we go to borrow money and that was not necessary for the Third St. connector.

How do you plan on making yourself more approachable to Nanaimo’s young people?

I am answering questions from your newspaper, and I have an open door policy if people want to meet with me. I go to dozens and dozens of events and meetings when I’m invited. People can also phone me at: 755-4400. I even have email: gkorpan@city.nanaimo.bc.ca

I also oppose curfew bylaws because I believe that they attack law abiding youth more than they prevent crime.

When ‘s the next election?

Not until November, 1999.

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, who has been blogging here for nearly 25 years. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings on my own online platform. From 1998 until 2017, I worked as a journalist, and I have posted most of my articles in the 'News' section of this website.