Thursday, 30 October 2014

COW Meeting November 3, 2014


Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, Nov. 3, 2014
4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Colliery Dams Update
  • Six delegations (not related to a Report to Council)

     Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
    Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

    If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

    You can view this Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

    If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

    The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.


     Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

    The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

    The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.

     
     Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

    Council decided to spend at least $200,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

    By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

    We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

    We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

    Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

    Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

    Council decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

    Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 





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    WHERE TO VOTE IN NANAIMO

    Click Image To Enlarge

    Voting Opportunities

    When Can I Vote?
    There are a few options available to all eligible electors regarding voting opportunities:

    1. Advance Voting Opportunities – Wednesday, 2014-NOV-05 & 12
    2. Vote by Mail – see below for more information
    3. General Voting Day – Saturday, 2014-NOV-15
    Voting for Advance Voting Opportunities and on General Voting Day is held from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. All ballots cast on the dates noted above including Mail Ballots are counted after the polls close at 8:00 p.m. on 2014-NOV-15.

    Where Can I Vote During the Advance Voting Opportunities?
    There is one location - Bowen Park Auditorium, 500 Bowen Road.
    Where Can I Vote on General Election Day?

    You may vote at any of the voting places listed below:
    • Chase River Elementary School, 1503 Cranberry Avenue
    • City of Nanaimo Service & Resource Centre, 411 Dunsmuir Street
    • Departure Bay Activity Centre, 1415 Wingrove Street
    • Frank J. Ney Elementary School, 5301 Williamson Road
    • Georgia Avenue Community School, 625 Georgia Avenue
    • McGirr Elementary School, 6199 McGirr Road
    • Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, 741 Third Street
    • Nanaimo Alliance Church, 1609 Meredith Road
    • Oliver Woods Community Centre, 6000 Oliver Road
    • Protection Island Fire Hall, 26 Pirates Lane (Hours 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
    • Wellington Community Hall, 3922 Corunna Avenue
    I Live on Protection Island – Where Can I Vote?

    Residents of Protection Island may vote on General Voting Day at the Protection Island Fire Hall at 26 Pirates Lane between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m, or, if in Nanaimo they may vote at any of the above locations. They may also vote at either of the Advance Voting Opportunities as well as by mail ballot as outlined below.

    Voting by Mail

    You can apply to vote by mail if you meet the following requirements:

    1. You are already registered to vote as either a Resident Elector OR a Non-Resident Property Elector; and,

    2. You:
    • have a physical disability, illness or injury that affects your ability to vote at another voting opportunity; OR,
    • expect to be absent from the City of Nanaimo on General Voting Day (2014-NOV-15) and at the times of all Advance Voting Opportunities (2014-NOV-05 and 2014-NOV-12).

    Electors who are eligible and wish to vote by mail ballot can apply by completing the required Application to Vote By Mail.

    For the complete VOTING OPPORTUNITIES document you may download a PDF version HERE.

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    Tales from the campaign trail

    I'm in the doghouse already!

    Wow, does this running for council take over your thinking, time and energy! Not complaining, just stating the facts.

    Started out yesterday morning early with my 'sign crew' cap on as I knew of a few signs beaten up a bit by the weather and one destroyed completely that needed attention. On the way around the corner I noticed my neighbour had put out his garbage cans and it hadn't even crossed my mind, although in the last 20 years I doubt I have forgotten any more than twice. That wasn't too bad except that last week I did the same thing and missed completely. With my 'thinker' in full-on campaign mode thinking about sign placement and how I can possibly speak to as many people as possible before the election there simply was no more capacity on my CPU.

    The rest of my day went fairly smoothly being able to accomplish what I had set out to do which hopefully helped me improve my chances of winning a seat on city council. It is indeed a daunting task and I must say I am always pleasantly surprised when I get some encouragement from someone I don't even know. Meeting so many good folk is one of the biggest unexpected rewards to this campaigning business as I must admit when I am constantly focused on the going on at city hall, it hasn't done much for my outlook. I am particularly impressed with the quality of candidates who have thrown their hats into the ring in an effort to improve their city.

    Anyway, the rest of the day went very well and the evening found me in front of my pc splitting my time with 'election stuff' and Nanaimo Info Blog stuff. at about 9:30 pm my son in Victoria called and after the usual pleasantries I told him I presumed he had something on his mind to be calling, to which he replied, that he was just calling to wish his mother (my wife) a happy birthday before the day was over!

    You can probably figure out now, why I am, in the doghouse!!!

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    No Signs For Korpan

    Korpan Vetoes election signs

    Mayoral candidate Gary Korpan has decided not to put up any of his large collection of election signs.  "I agree with the consensus that election signage has become gross over-kill. The motley mess of roadside media angers citizens.

    If we truly want to lead our community,  we must set an example. I choose to stop the visual pollution, not add to it."

    Gary


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    Municpal Spending Not Sustainable



    Rapid rise in spending threatens fiscal sustainability of B.C. municipalities

    Report shows operating costs grew 3½ times faster than population growth 2000-12

    VANCOUVER, October 30, 2014 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a new report today that reveals the vast majority of British Columbia’s municipalities have been increasing their operating spending at an unsustainable pace since 2000.

    The 7th edition of the B.C. Municipal Spending Watch ranks 151 municipalities based on 2000-2012 inflation-adjusted operating spending growth and the most recent spending levels per capita in 2012.  The worst ranked municipalities show inflation-adjusted spending far outpacing that of population growth, and had higher than average operating spending per capita.

    The municipality of Stewart ranked as the worst performer in this year’s report, while Lake Cowichan was best.  None of the provinces’ largest cities (population of 25,000 and over) were able to keep their spending to sustainable levels, with West Vancouver, Langford and Penticton being particularly poor performers. That being said, Penticton has recently taken steps to better control its spending. Vancouver and Victoria are ranked 86th and 105th, respectively, in this year’s report.

    “Far too many municipalities have charted an unsustainable course over the past dozen years. Thankfully, some mayors and councils have tried to curb their spending habit. But the rest seem to be okay with washing their hands of it, leaving the issue for future generations of municipal leaders to deal with,” says Richard Truscott, Director of Provincial Affairs.

    BC’s population grew by 15 per cent from 2000 to 2012 while total inflation adjusted municipal operating spending rose by 55 per cent, three and a half times faster. Only 8 out of 151 municipalities kept their operating spending in line with inflation and population growth.

    “A B.C. family of four could have saved on average $8,356 in municipal taxes over the last 12 years if municipal councils had kept their operating spending to the rate of inflation and population growth,” adds Truscott. “Spending growth of this magnitude is simply unsustainable.”

    “Those mayors and councillors who are spending within their means, including controlling the growth in salaries and wages for municipal employers, should be praised for their efforts,” says Truscott.  “When local governments keep their spending under control, both small businesses and residents reap the benefit by not getting stuck with tax hikes.”

    The CFIB report makes a series of recommendations to enable municipal governments to better control growth in operating costs, including: limiting spending increases to the rate of inflation and population growth, conducting formal core service reviews, increasing fiscal transparency, and adopting sustainable wage growth policies.


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    The 'Entitled' Arts Community?


    Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view video



    This clip from a 1936 movie could just as likely been made yesterday with it's depiction of the 'entitled' attitude of the arts community when it comes to how the business end of their world operates.

    Simply substitute Mr. Deeds with most city councillors and the 'board' as the Nanaimo arts community and you have a pretty accurate representation of what happened recently at city council with the Port Theatre rehearsal hall, and before that the $200,000 on a $300,000 building at 25 Victoria Rd. for which we have paid at least twice to have operated this year.

    That is the building that councilor Greves at one point wanted to tear down, and a few weeks later was sorry he didn't have the full $800,000 to spend on the $300,000 building which has already cost taxpayers $800,000 and would cost about $1.5 million to complete all the engineers recommendations.

    Remember how the group under Ms. Tangs direction kept coming to city hall expecting their entitlement to the point, they were not even attempting to raise funds themselves. Many of these groups think that fundraising consists of filling out government grant applications.

    The difference of course is that Mr. Deeds questions the operation of the arts institute that can't provide a product that enough consumers want at a price to cover costs and an operation being properly administered to at least break even.

    The arts greatly enriches our community and should be supported by the community, but there really needs to be some accountability on the part of the community when they come knocking 'expecting' tax dollars from politicians.



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    Wednesday, 29 October 2014

    No Fireworks In Nanaimo


    Enjoy a Safe Halloween Without Fireworks

    "Fireworks are banned in the City in the interest of public safety due to their high potential to cause personal injury and damage to property." : Ennis Mond Chief Fire Prevention Officer


    As Halloween approaches, the City of Nanaimo reminds residents of two important rules that enhance public safety. 

    Residents are also reminded that bonfires are not allowed unless a special event burning permit is requested in person at 580 Fitzwilliam for Halloween (Oct 31) and Guy Fawkes Day (Nov 5).  Both permits must be obtained before noon on those dates.  All other burning regulations apply.

    The City encourages residents to use caution when undertaking Halloween activities and to ensure any candles or other combustibles are fully extinguished after use.

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    Tuesday, 28 October 2014

    Diane Brennan Thinks Taxes Are Fine


    Click Image To Watch Video
    Councillor Brennan Claims No Taxpayer Fatique
    Uses Ipsos Reid Poll To Support Her Case

    At the electronic town hall meeting held March 26, 2013 Councillor Brennan offered her opinion on the matter of taxpayer fatigue in the city of Nanaimo.

    If you listen to the entire discourse of Councillor Brennan it is clear she sees no evidence of taxpayer fatigue. It is interesting she quotes the Ipsos Reid survey to support her claim there is no evidence of such fatigue.

    Now if you look at page 18 of the survey she is quoting here is what you will find:

     Click Image To Enlarge

    The question posed to those taking the survey asked if increased taxes or seeing a reduction in services was preferred. On this one question the respondents were split nearly 50/50.

    43% of respondents said to increase taxes to either maintain current levels or enhance services.

    41% of respondents said to cut services to either maintain current tax levels or cut services to reduce taxes.

    When nearly 50% of those who answered the question said they would sooner see services cut before any more tax increases, it clearly is a sign of taxpayer fatigue. It seems that Councillor Brennan did not give this survey a very thorough read.


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    All Candidates Forum Nov. 4 - Nanaimo

    Chamber of Commerce 
    Announces All Candidates Forum

    The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce released its plans for the 2014 Nanaimo All Candidates Forum on November 4 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre starting at 5 pm in preparation for the November 15th civic election.

    “We believe we have a unique approach to getting information from candidates to voters, recognizing that educated voters are the key to a successful government”, said Kim Smythe, Chamber President & Chief Executive Officer. “Because we have a high volume of candidates, we’ve coined the term ‘speed campaigning’ to get as many people through all the candidates they wish to speak with.”

    The Mount Benson Ballroom at the VICC will be divided into three sections, one for each of the candidate groups – School District, Council and Mayoral. Tables will be provided for each candidate to provide a focal point for discussions. School District and Council candidates will not speak from a podium. Instead, candidates will be able to present from their table and manage their own audiences engaging with them one on one.

    “We will ring a bell every 5-7 minutes to encourage people to move to another candidate’s table. We expect that most people will come with a list of those candidates they’d like to speak to in person, rather than try to research all 59 candidates in one night,” noted Smythe.

    School District and Council Candidate rooms will open at 5 pm. The Mayoral candidates’ room opens at 6:30 for one on one discussions. At 7:30 pm, each Mayoral candidate will be invited to speak and take questions for up to six minutes. At 8:00 pm, the format will switch to moderated, pre-screened questions for Mayoral candidates. The event ends at 9:00 pm.

    Young Professionals of Nanaimo are partners and will help voters on-site. Hilary Eastmure of Coast 91.7 FM will moderate the Mayoral sessions. Shaw TV will tape these sessions for future broadcast.
    Candidates are urged to visit the Chamber website to register for this event. A $25 plus GST table fee is required for cost recovery for every candidate wishing to participate or attend.

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    TEEN HALLOWEEN DANCE - NANAIMO



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    Tidewater Book Festival



    A full day of 10 workshops is scheduled for Sunday 2 November, offering informative sessions led by publishing professionals on topics ranging from the practicalities of self-publishing, through how to design and edit a book, to how to craft your pitch and sell successfully. These workshops will be held at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse, and a full-day pass is available, as well as the option to pick and choose individual workshops of interest.


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    Halloween Fun At Woodgrove Centre


    3 ½ year old Princess, Jordyn Good is ready for the Halloween fun at Woodgrove Centre.
     HALLOWEEN FUN SUPPORTS 
    NANAIMO & DISTRICT CRIME STOPPERS!

    Children 12 years and younger in costume are invited to Trick or Treat for Charity at Woodgrove Centre in support of Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers on Friday, October 31 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.

    A suggested donation of $1 per child can be made at one of the stations at the main mall entrances, where reflective wristbands will be distributed while quantities last.

    Families can also visit the “spooktacular” Halloween display in centre court near the water clock fountain.


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    Port Theatre Nanaimo Oct.29, Nov. 1

    ELVIS - The Moments
    Wed. Oct. 29 - 7:30 PM

    Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival
    Starting Sat. Nov. 1
    Harbour City Theatre 25 Victoria Rd.

    MAX & RUBY
    Friday Nov. 7 - 6:30 PM

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    Monday, 27 October 2014

    Progressive Nanaimo Public Forum


    Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view video


    This is a video of my introduction speech at the new candidates forum recently sponsored by Progressive Nanaimo. This was the third such forum and I was pleased to see the level of interest with over 300 Nanaimo citizens in attendance.

    To view all of the candidates presentations, including the Mayoral candidates visit Progressive Nanaimos' youtube channel.

    This video was from the Q&A regards the Colliery Dam.



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    Halloween Family Fun - Nanaimo



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    Sunday, 26 October 2014

    This Election Is Turning Into A Big Yawn


    ARE THERE ANY NEWS REPORTERS IN NANAIMO?
    IS THERE A CIVIC ELECTION THIS YEAR?

    I've had to be particularly careful in my approach and reporting on the election this year, as being a candidate has put me in a different position than I am accustomed to.

    That said, based on what I see in the papers and have seen around town, except for the usual proliferation of candidates signs, you might be forgiven for thinking there is no election this year.

    Where is the lame-stream media in all of this anyway? Do they ever actually get out of the office and interview candidates to see if any of them have anything meaningful to say? For that matter would the local press-titutes recognize a meaningful comment if it bit them on the nose? I doubt it.

    The 'legitimate' media (not lowly bloggers) offers candidates a bit of space to highlight their 'profiles' which of course they have to write themselves, giving free content to the publishers for their 'special election editions'. The primary purpose of these editions being to sell advertising of course. Getting candidates to supply free content is a stroke of brilliance.

    Since the publisher and editor left the Nanaimo Daily, they have quickly resumed their role of lap-dogs to city hall, happily taking their direction and content from Mr. Cooper I presume.

    I asked the fill-in editor at the Daily Snooze what would qualify as a legitimate news story brought forward by a candidate, and was basically told a candidate could say anything they want in an advertisement. Really? Is that what the 5th estate has become these days?

    Why aren't they interviewing our Mayor demanding that he defend his record of the past six years, of course that would require a reporter who has been paying attention these past six years. Likely, hard to find. How about some probing questions about all those in-camera meetings? Ever-increasing taxes? More golden handshakes and approving unfunded 'vote-buying' motions? To name just a few.

    What about the 911 decision which is costing us dearly? Whatever happened to the fire department report and the call for the economy of 2 man, rapid response trucks? Justify the Colliery Dam decision or the Leadercast fiasco. How about millions of dollars of hotel tax exemptions which will have zero impact on our failed convention business?

    In a 'real' newsroom those last few ideas would be all the fodder needed to get a journalists' blood boiling ...................... but then again, this is Nanaimo, don't you know.


    Note: the local radio stations of course are not worth mentioning, they have little interest in any story they can't fully report in 15 seconds.

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    Saturday, 25 October 2014

    Duncan Edges Out Nanaimo


    An article in the Financial Post points out that Duncan edged out Nanaimo in a CFIB survey which polled over 100 Canadian cities to find out how friendly they were to independent business owners.

    It examined three broad areas: presence (how many small businesses existed), policy (how positively local government policies affected business conditions), and finally perspective. This describes small-business owners’ attitudes towards business and living conditions in their local cities.

    In the overall ranking Duncan came in at #43 while Nanaimo came in at #54. Duncan had improved its' standing from 2013 when it was rated #73 while Nanaimo dropped from #42 in 2013. Duncan scored 54.3 overall while Nanaimo came in at 50.8.

    On the category of presence Duncan scored 8.9 while Nanaimo scored 9.9, perspective saw Duncan at 21.5 while Nanaimo was 14.8 and finally on policy Duncan was 24.0 and Nanaimo 26.0.

    What you can take away from these results, like most things based on statistics is questionable, but if nothing else it appears that Duncan is a friendlier place for independent business owners.

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    New WestJet Flight Starts Oct. 26/14

    Nanaimo Airport Welcomes Second WestJet Flight

    It's been 16 months to the day since WestJet Encore began daily non-stop service from Nanaimo to Calgary. During that time, the Nanaimo Airport has enjoyed strong passenger growth, which has resulted in the addition of a second WestJet Encore non-stop flight to Calgary.
     
    The new daily flight starts Sunday, October 26. Arriving in Nanaimo at 6:36pm and departing for Calgary at 7:06pm.

    "Developing service is key to Nanaimo Airport's continued growth to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents," shares Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport. "The addition of the second flight to Calgary, is a major indicator of how strongly the mid-island region is supporting the new service." This new flight brings the total daily scheduled departures from YCD to 14 flights.

    In the first six months of 2014, the Nanaimo Airport has enjoyed an average of 33.3% growth per month. Year to date growth in 2014 has been 21%. "We're optimistic the addition of this flight will help us maintain the strong growth throughout the remainder of the year," explains Hooper.

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    Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

    Apparently this Yorkie doesn't like crusts!

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    Friday, 24 October 2014

    Free Symphony Sat. Oct. 25



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    City Council Meeting 10/27/14


    nanaimo-info-blog.com

      Nanaimo City Council Meeting

    Monday Oct. 27, 2014
    7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
    Vancouver Island Conference Centre

          Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
          Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

          If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

          You can view this Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

          If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

          The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.


           Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

          The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

          The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.
           
          Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

          Council decided to spend at least $200,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

          By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

          We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

          We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

          Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

          Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

          Council decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

          Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 





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          Rex Murphy - Ottawa Shooting


          Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view



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