Sunday, 19 October 2014

From the Campaign Trail

Instant Oatmeal and 10 Second Clips!
What do they have in common?

Now that I am a candidate, I of course have to be very cautious with my approach to reporting on my blog, as I don't want to be giving myself an advantage of some kind as I am not a third party sponsor.

That said, what I am quickly learning is that our whole system (which society seems to have created) makes it very challenging for any of us to make any kind of truly informed decisions about the candidates we are putting in charge of our city for the next four years.

There are 10 Mayoral candidates and 26 Council candidates, some names familiar and some unknowns throwing their hats into the ring for the city council seats to be decided on Nov. 15. Anyone willing to put themselves into the arena should have all of our gratitude and respect.

10 Second Clips

In about four weeks time all of these candidates have to try and convince thousands of Nanaimo residents they are the right folk for the job. This is where the incumbent have an edge as they have held the job for at least the last three years and some considerably longer. The place where that edge gets lost will depend on how many unpopular decisions they have made, and how long the electorates' memory is. As a candidate I intend to draw attention to some of those decisions, but as the author of this blog I must refrain.

So far a group in Nanaimo called Progressive Nanaimo has hosted to new candidates forums at Beban Park which has given new candidates a chance to get in front of some of the electorate. The last meeting was attended by 200+ interested voters. This group is to be commended for their involvement in the process and their desire to make a difference in voter involvement.

That said at the first meeting candidates had 3 minutes to introduce themselves and 60 seconds to answer some questions. The second meeting allowed 90 seconds for introduction and then a bit of a free-for-all format allowing voters to ask questions of the candidates.

The local cable company is allowing candidates to tape a 2 minute clip to help introduce themselves, the Bulletin is allowing a 500 word profile submission and that is about it for methods of getting known among a sea of candidates.

So, in four short weeks Nanaimo residents will be charged with electing a board of directors to guide our $200,000,000 corporation for the next four years. The tools available to candidates include:

Signs - (probably turn off as many as they turn on) but a necessary evil if you are fighting for name recognition. Remember the incumbent have been on the telly and in the papers for at least the last three years.

Candidates forums - which basically are nearly pointless as each candidate may get 5 minutes to convince you how wonderful they are.

Websites - are becoming one of the more productive ways for candidates to get there messages across. They can contain as little or as much information as you want, they can contain audio and video messaging and they are always available when the voters wish to look at them. In short they are becoming a very effective tool in the battle for a council seat.

Media Ads - the local media will sell you as much space as your sponsors can afford, which for some candidates runs into the thousands of dollars getting their message across. Of course, most voters realize the information in a paid advertisement is totally biased and should certainly not carry the weight of a proper interview conducted by a reporter, which seems to be a thing of the past as instant oatmeal and 10 seconds clips seem to be all the nourishment we seem to crave these days.


MMBC Creates Problems In Rural Areas

An article in the Times Colonist points to a problem the shift to MMBC has created for some rural communities which is endangering their recycling programs.

It does raise the question about how this change could also effect other recycling centres and their viability to operate as it seems MMBC have brought changes to the whole recycle business.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Small Business Roundtable Report Online

“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities, and the roundtable is working to ensure that more B.C. communities are operating in the spirit of the Small Business Accord. They are giving small businesses the support they need in order to thrive, and to help B.C. reach its goal of being the most small-business friendly jurisdiction in Canada.”: Naomi Yamamoto Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business

VANCOUVER – The Small Business Roundtable is celebrating a year of accomplishments and looking forward to helping small businesses to grow and succeed in British Columbia in 2014/15 as it welcomes new members.
Highlights from the Roundtable are laid out in their eighth annual report, which was presented to Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto at a Vancouver Board of Trade (VBOT) Breakfast in Vancouver today.

The Small Business Roundtable welcomes seven new members:
  • Sean Surerus, vice president, Surerus Pipeline Inc., Fort St John, B.C.
  • Angue Barnard, founder, TripTide Canada, Nanaimo, B.C.
  • Ingrid Hope, owner & president, Hall Printing, Trail and Nelson, B.C.
  • Sam Howard, senior policy analyst, British Columbia Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Bob Redden, partner & president, Environmental Dynamics Inc., Prince George, B.C.
  • Ashley Ramsay, founder & CEO, Yeti Farm Creative, Kelowna, B.C.
  • Jill Doucette, owner, Synergy Enterprises, Victoria, B.C.
  • Randy Richmond, vice president and partner,, Nelson, B.C.
B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable is responsible for identifying key small-business issues and opportunities, providing recommendations to enhance the small-business climate in B.C., and promoting small-business interests in the province.
The report also outlines what government and Roundtable members will work on in the coming year, including:
  • Continuing to ensure that the principles of the Small Business Accord are upheld.
  • Ensuring that government delivers on its commitment to consider small business when drafting all policies and regulations.
  • And continuing to work with local governments to encourage them to adopt mobile business licences.
In addition to focusing on economic development and trade opportunities, the Small Business Roundtable continues to advise government on issues, strategies and potential actions to make it easier to do business in British Columbia. The Roundtable was formed in 2005. Its members are small business leaders who represent regions, industries and associations throughout British Columbia.
The Roundtable has launched a new website to support their efforts. The website has a built-in feedback tool, so small-business owners, employees, stakeholders and members of the public can submit their ideas and suggestions on how best to support small business success throughout the province. The Roundtable will use this feedback to inform future policy and programs related to small businesses.


Friday, 17 October 2014



Just because there are eight city councillor seats on city council does not mean you have to cast your ballot for all eight!

If you really don't like ANY of the candidates you don't have to give your support to anyone, and if that is your informed opinion and your choice, then good for you. You have been engaged and informed and did not like any of the candidates running for office. Not voting just because you are too lazy and are ignoring your civic duty is another matter.

If however, there are only one or two candidates you think are worthy of your vote, then just cast your ballot for them, and don't vote for anyone else if you really don't like the options. Holding you nose and casting your ballot for people you are not sure about is not a great example of how democracy should work.

You are likely defeating yourself if you cast ballots for several candidates you really don't want to vote for, but do anyway just because you think you should.

If there is only ONE candidate you want to see on city council, then just vote for the one candidate and you will greatly improve their chances of getting elected.



GAS PRICES OCT. 16, 2014

Once Again Nanaimo Is Number ONE!
For Highest Price, That Is.

Following prices taken from Gas Buddy at 7:00 PM October 16/14.

Victoria 115.9

Duncan 124.9

Comox 115.9

Nanaimo 125.9 


Business in Nanaimo Magazine

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) is proud to present the 2015 Business in Nanaimo Magazine! This is the second annual production of Business in Nanaimo, and provides an in-depth look at the Nanaimo & Region business community, including key sectors, success stories, major projects and growing trends. This 2015 edition features articles discussing the new Medical Cannabis facility (Tilray), technology incubator SquareOne, Nanaimo’s newest major outdoor retailer Cabela’s, the increasing prevalence of foreign investment in the region, breakdowns of seven key industry sectors, and other compelling business stories.
The Business in Nanaimo publication is intended to highlight the great investment opportunities that are in the Nanaimo region.

The distribution of 25,000 copies will reach throughout Western Canada, with release in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Nanaimo City Council Meeting 10/20/14

  Nanaimo City Council Meeting

Monday Oct. 20, 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! 


        Rope Across Trail - Beck Road

         RCMP Photo

        Nanaimo RCMP are warning mountain bikers and trail riders to be careful after a rope was found strung across a trail at neck level.

        Danica Stewart was out for a walk with her husband and family on their way to look at spawning salmon when she came across a rope strung across the popular trail near Beck Road adjacent to the Nanaimo River hatchery.

        After taking it down, Stewart called RCMP, then took to Facebook to post a picture and warn others.


        Nanaimo Ratepayers President Resigns

        Effective immediately, Oct. 16, 2014 I have tendered my resignation as a Director and President of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association of which I am a co-founder.

        My running as a candidate in the Nanaimo Civic Election is the reason for tendering this resignation so as to avoid any appearance of a conflict in the upcoming election. I will remain a member of the organization which I am proud to have help found.

        I do not believe I am or would be in conflict, but wish to avoid even the appearance of a conflict.

        Jim Taylor


        The 'New' Commercial Street?

        While checking on the progress of the fountain repairs I snapped this picture of what looks like the 'new' Commercial Street. That is not to say that Commercial Street doesn't still exist, but if the amount of economic activity is the barometer, then Port Place is clearly the new commercial street in downtown Nanaimo.


        Italian Fountain Repairs Progressing

        You can't make an omelet without breaking an egg, and you can't fix a fountain without making a mess. The fountain in front of Port Place Mall is still in the process of having much needed repairs/upgrades done to the plumbing of the fountain among other things.

        New piping is being installed between the fountain and the pumping systems which have resulted in some considerable excavating. Many in the community think it is about time the city paid some attention to this iconic asset the Italian Community gifted to the city many decades ago.

        My own personal gripe, is why the developers of Port Place weren't held to their promise to fix up the fountain when they got all their permits to renovate the mall. Incidentally as part of that deal, they also got the permit which will allow a high rise residential building on their property facing Front Street. Another stroke of the pen that added millions to the value of this property, and the city has gotten nearly nothing in return.


        Wednesday, 15 October 2014



        This Saturday, October 18th from 12:00 noon until 4:00 pm I invite everyone to come to my campaign office at 486-B Franklyn Street for coffee and conversation. It isn't fancy, but bigger than my living-room. :^)

        I am looking for advice and input on what are the most important issues facing us as we elect a new council that will lead Nanaimo for the next four years.

        Anyone willing to support my bid for a council seat will be able to pick up some business cards, small signs, stylish tee-shirts and magnetic bumper stickers to help get this show on the road.

        I hope to see you there and honestly can say I value and am humbled by the show of support I have seen so far.

        I hope to see you this Saturday as we all work towards a Nanaimo we and our kids and our kids kids can afford to live and prosper in.



        Homelessness Action Week

        Homelessness Action Week raises awareness on Vancouver Island

        By Rich Coleman
        Deputy Premier and Minister Responsible for Housing

        October 14, 2014

        VICTORIA – As we spent time with friends and family this past weekend, we should keep in mind there are people in our communities who are unable to find affordable housing, or need to seek support at shelters on a regular basis. This week is Homelessness Action Week throughout the province, and it gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the individuals and organizations along the coast that give the extra effort to help reduce homelessness in our beautiful communities.

        We believe affordable housing is key to reducing homelessness on Vancouver island. Last year, the provincial government provided more than $56 million in housing support and services - including approximately $19 million for 1,500 housing units in the area.

        The Province’s homelessness outreach teams provide a support-system that provides help across the entire housing spectrum, connecting individuals with addiction services, health services and income assistance. On Vancouver Island, there are over 240 permanent year-round emergency shelter spaces. In addition, there are more than 800 subsidized units for the homeless. We also provided over 500 homeless rent supplements last year to help people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to find housing in the private market.

        We also support thousands of hard working, low-income families through our Rental Assistance Program.  Last year we assisted close to 1,900 families with rental supplements to help make housing more affordable. The Province also supports seniors in our communities through the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters, providing rental assistance to over 3,100 low-to-moderate income seniors.

        We will continue to build partnerships to increase affordable housing opportunities in Vancouver Island communities because we all deserve to live in healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods.

        Since 2006, more than 100,000 households in British Columbia have benefited from a variety of provincial housing options. This achievement would not be possible without the support and dedication of our community partners, organizations, staff and volunteers. They are the people that make Vancouver Island a better place to live – for all of us.

        Find out more about the Province’s housing investments on Vancouver Island:


        Tuesday, 14 October 2014

        Progressive Nanaimo Candidates Forum Well Attended

        The second new candidates forum hosted by Progressive Nanaimo was very well attended, with organizers having to bring out extra seating on two occasions.

        The event was held at Beban Park Social Centre and I estimate 200 were in attendance to listen to 14 candidates for City Council and 7 candidates running for the office of Mayor.

        The format of the forum allowed for city council candidates to introduce themselves for 90 seconds and this was followed by a time of direct interaction between candidates and members of the audience. In groups of three, candidates answered questions based on several predetermined topics. Topics included Public Engagement, Social Issuses, Environment, Governance and Development.

        This was followed by a forum of Mayoral candidates which also allowed for introductions and then each member had equal time to answer several different questions.

        The next forum is scheduled for Oct. 28 with the place and time to be announced at a later date.

        The level of public participation, this early in an election perhaps might be a sign of things to come with a much higher voter turnout.


        Bastion Street Parkade Partial Closure

        Bastion Street Parkade partially closed

        The Bastion Street Parkade will be partially closed from Monday, OCTOBER 6th, at 7:00 a.m. until Monday, OCTOBER 27th. Part of Level 1 and all of levels 2, 3 and 4, will be closed during required parkade maintenance. Please park on the upper levels of the parkade whenever possible.

        For alternate parking you can park in the Harbour Front Parkade (51 Gordon Street) or the Port of Nanaimo Centre parkade (101 Gordon Street).

        For more information please contact Parking Services at (250)-755-4468 or Thank you.


        Progressive Nanaimo New Candidates Forum