Twelve local business and property owners are in the running for six seats on the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association board of directors.
The business organization is also preparing to elect its executive membership, a process that will take place once the new board members are elected.
Nominations for the six seats closed on Friday. Ballots will be collected until Oct. 11, after which they will be counted by City of Nanaimo staff.
Four DNBIA board incumbents will seek to hold onto their seats: Jerry Hong, Linda Olson, Judy Stephan and Eric McLean, who was appointed to replace ex-board member John Pollard.
Eight new challengers are also running for a seat around the table: Shari Molchan, Nadine Shemilt, Tony Adema, Sunjay Sharma, Jae Valentine, Darryl Lenko, Brunie Brunie and Bernie Gobiel.
There are a total of 11 DNBIA director positions, elected on a staggered basis.
Four of the seats up for grabs are to represent business improvement area one, which encompasses the downtown and surrounding area. Three are for a two-year term, and the other is for a one-year term.
The remaining two seats will represent BIA two, which encompasses the Old City Quarter. DNBIA president John Cooper said he is open to putting his name forward to lead the organization again at the annual general meeting on Oct. 16.
He said the number of candidates for the six board positions is an encouraging sign.
"Sometimes it's a difficult proposition to get people involved," he said.
"... But people are excited to get involved and that's what this community needs."
Cooper acknowledged that with the number of candidates putting their names forward, there is a chance of a "substantive" change to the composition of the DNBIA board.
Cooper praised the current DNBIA board, but said he does not fear a possible shakeup.
"It's not something I'm scared of, it's something I'm anxious to see the outcome of," he said.
In June, the city held a 'petition against' process to determine if there was enough support within DNBIA membership to allow a tax levy bylaw to proceed. Only 19.8 per cent of DNBIA members objected.
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