Comox Mayor Russ Arnott was on hand at the Courtenay Canada Day Parade. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott was on hand at the Courtenay Canada Day Parade. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Mayor Russ Arnott cancels re-election bid

Health issues force Arnott to drop out; Nicole Minions to be acclaimed as mayor on Oct. 15

Due to health issues, Comox Mayor Russ Arnott has cancelled his campaign for re-election.

Arnott had announced his intention to run for a second term in June.

He posted a message on his Facebook page late Thursday (Sept. 8) indicating his decision.

“I’ve had a great run these past four years (11 altogether as councillor) and cherished every moment serving you but life has very recently thrown me a curve ball that I did not see coming. So now Yolonda and my family look after me, it’s been a difficult road at times and we are not sure where I am headed but we are optimistic and keeping our heads up high and hopeful!

“I hate goodbyes but there’s not much else to say… this past month we’ve cried like babies, I’ve tried to console my family that all will work out, and did my will just in case.

“Thank you for the wonderful opportunity you gave me. Cheers!!!”

When contacted by the Record, Arnott said, “It was a tough decision but the one I’m dealing with is a lot bigger.”

When the nomination period closed at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, Comox Coun. Nicole Minions was the only one to file papers for the mayoral position and as such, she will be acclaimed as mayor of Comox.

Minions told the Record she had not intended to run for mayor prior to recent conversations with Arnott.

“It was my intention to run for council,” she said. “The news of our mayor departing was actually within the last week, so it was basically a quick pivot decision to decide to run for mayor. I had communications with (Arnott) prior to filing papers and then I waited for him to announce that he was not running, because I was not going to run against him.”

She said once the news came out that Arnott was not returning for a second term, she was committed to run, regardless of anyone else filing similar papers.

“There were no other nominations filed at that time, but I had openly communicated with everybody that I was going to run no matter what at that point,” said Minions. “Once the mayor was not running, I was putting my papers in.”

Arnott said he is confident Minions will do a good job leading the town for the next term.

“I think the town is going to be left in good hands with Nicole at the helm,” he said. “She has a very strong staff who will help her navigate the start of the term, and we will see what the council looks like, which is always a big factor in which direction the town takes.”

Minions said the acclamation is bittersweet, due to the circumstances surrounding it. Coincidentally, she was participating in the Mayors’ Cup Golf Tournament on Friday, when the nomination period closed.

“It’s different. People were kind of expecting celebrations yesterday, but it was a bit heavy, with having our mayor not run for health reasons… it was still new news. It didn’t have a celebratory feel about it.”


Comox voters will still have decisions to make on Oct. 15, as 10 people are running for the six council seats.

Incumbents Ken Grant, Maureen Swift and Jonathan Kerr will seek to retain their seats. They will be challenged by Steve Blacklock, Don Davis, Kealy Donaldson, Peter Gibson, Chris Haslett, Jenn Meilleur and Ruby Sidhu.

Incumbent Alex Bissinger, who had filed her nomination papers, withdrew her nomination on Sept. 16.

Comox will also have a new school trustee, as Tonia Frawley will not be seeking re-election.

Randi Baldwin, Susan Leslie and Vicki Trill are all running for the Comox school trustee position.

Go to to read submissions filed by candidates.
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