Nearly four months after their loss in the Nanaimo civic election, two former councillors continue to meet in a basement to conduct City business, apparently unaware of their electoral defeat.
Jerry Hong and Gord Fuller, both of whom ran for re-election and were handily defeated, have been meeting weekly — passing bylaws, adopting minutes, and issuing policy statements that will never go into effect.
“Honestly, we felt it was best for their mental health,” said city CAO Jake Rudolph. “We’ve taken steps to ensure that they never find out the truth, including having staff drop in and give them large policy binders to read.”
The pair have been meeting in an unventilated room in the basement of the Queen’s Hotel, a Victoria Crescent property owned by Hong.
So far, the pair have:
- enacted a bylaw declaring July 12 “Tracy Samra Day”
- directed staff to dramatically reduce the number of vowels used in City documentation (“with the goal of reducing vowel usage by 50% by 2021”)
- ordered the City repaint the rainbow crosswalk downtown to a plaid pattern
- prohibited panhandling and soliciting in cemetaries
- prohibited the attachment of sirens on bicycles
- removed bylaws that prohibit the raising of llamas in condos
- removed business licence fees and property taxes from any owner of a hotel on Victoria Crescent
The Beacon was permitted by City staff to interview the pair, but only under strict conditions which included having a City communications officer present and not being permitted to tell either man the truth about the election.
“We’ve really been proud of the progress we’ve been able to make since the election,” Hong said. “I’m not clear why the renovation at City Hall isn’t done yet so we can work from there, but we’re happy to use this space, home to Nanaimo’s best pub fare and live music.”
“Yeah, staff have been great through their renovation,” added Fuller. “They’ve been dropping off lots of reading for us, and even joining us for some exercise!”
Supervised outside walks are part of the strategy, said Rudolph, and the chaperones are careful to not let citizens come in contact with either former councillor.
“We had a close call last week, when they ran into Tyler Brown, who cheerfully asked what they were up to,” Rudolph said. “Our staff had to think on their feet that day.”
Hong and Fuller say they’re looking forward to the next four years of governance.