Monday, May 25, 2015

Departure Bay Beachfront Upgrades Underway


Improvements planned for Departure Bay beachfront

The City of Nanaimo is planning upgrades to the existing Departure Bay beachfront to improve accessibility and ensure safe and pleasant use of this recreational area.  The overall project will include several improvements to enhance the area including flatting the grade along the seawall walkway; installing new pedestrian access ramps; installing new street lights and walkway lights; improvements to parking facilities; and replacement of an old storm drain on Loat Street.

Due to the cultural and heritage significance of the area, the City is working with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and an archaeological consultant to complete research and onsite investigation work for the project.  The City has also met several times with representatives from the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association to implement some design features that support objectives identified in the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Plan.

Project information signage is now being installed at the beachfront.  A project information page has also been created on the City of Nanaimo's website.

Archaeological investigation along with detailed engineering design work is currently underway.

Construction of the project is scheduled for fall 2015.

"A few years ago, representatives from the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association presented ideas to the City for improving the beachfront. One of the priority improvements identified was flattening the grade along the seawall walkway.  City Council has approved this project for 2015 and work is expected to begin this fall. Once the project is complete the Departure Bay beachfront will be an even better place to visit and enjoy." - Bill McKay Mayor City of Nanaimo


Things on the net that make ya' smile


Suggest New Use For VICC - VIU Arts & Humanities

Reader suggests new use for Vancouver Island Conference Centre

It can happen here
VICC = VIU Arts & Humanities

Brock University will be one of the latest institutions to get into the act when it begins construction of an academic and cultural arts centre in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario, this year. In British Columbia, the University of the Fraser Valley announced plans to open a campus in downtown Abbotsford while in Alberta, Grant MacEwan University aims to become “Edmonton’s downtown university.” 

Many see these campuses as solutions to the problem of decaying downtowns in smaller Canadian cities. Universities, in turn, are reaping community goodwill – as well as badly needed expansion space.

Leo Groarke, U of Windsor’s provost and vice-president, academic, says the downtown campus will be “a tiny island [of renewal] in the middle of urban decay.” But it’s not just the city that benefits. “From a teaching, learning and research point of view, universities need to be where the issues are,” he says, calling downtown the heart of the arts and culture scene as well as an important connection point for those who rely on social services.

Dr. Groarke has been through this exercise before. As a former dean and principal of Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus in downtown Brantford, Ontario (infamously described by a former mayor as “the worst” downtown in Canada), he presided over the creation of that city’s new campus. He also wrote the book – literally – on what many see as the model of how to transform a downtown with a university campus.

Andrew Homzy


Sunday, May 24, 2015

First Cruise Ship In Nanaimo - June 5/15

Celebrity Infinity In Nanaimo 
June 5/15 7:00 am - 5:00 pm

The first cruise ship of the season will arrive in Nanaimo on Friday June 5 at 7:00 am and after spending the day will depart at 5:00 pm.

The ship has a crew of 840 and can carry 2170 passengers, accommodation is on 11 decks with 195 inside cabins and 780 outside cabins. She was built in 2001 and is registered in Malta, 965 feet in length, 105 feet beam with an average speed of 24 knots. The Trellis Restaurant can seat 1170 and the Ocean View Cafe has a room capacity of 754.

Tourism Nanaimo has a special welcoming planned for our visitors as part ot Tourism Week which runs from May 31 - June 6. Their street team will be handing our loca #ExploreNanaimo Passport of Specials and while quantities last will be giving out samples of Nanaimo Bar goodies such as the Bernard Callebaut and Tea Desire and spin the Wave Radio prize wheel for some amazing local prizes. The Harbour Air mascot will be on hand for photo ops, the life-size postcard will be set up for pictures with the cruise ship in the backdrop and they have a few other surprises as well.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Things on the net that make ya' smile

Nevr-out Bathroom Art

I've talked to that guy .... he was right...
Is this the 'Signman's' front door?


Nanaimo Summerhill Place Apartment Progress

Townsite Road view - 4th floor on

View off Dufferin

Summerhill Place Apartment Building Progressing

Nanaimo's stock of new residential apartments will be increased by 103 units when this 4 storey frame building on Summerhill Place comes onto the market.

The building's address is on Summerhill Place which comes off of Dufferin but the back of the building is fronting Townsite Road near Bowen Road.

When this building was first proposed some parking concerns were expressed by nearby neighbours as the owner/developer had sought a relaxation of parking stalls required per unit. The building is likely eyeing staff working at nearby NRGH and any of a number of medical professional buildings in the neighbourhood as future tenants.


Bike to Work Week - Nanaimo May 25 - 31


Friday, May 22, 2015

Food Carts Might Really Come To Nanaimo!!!

The following article appeared on Nanaimo Info Blog in September of 2010. To date we still do not have food carts/vendors in Maffeo Sutton Park. There are some new rumblings around town of an effort to finally drag Nanaimo kicking and streaming into the latest - greatest idea to hit North America.

There are even rumors that we might even see a food vendor or two in the park before summer's end, but I for one won't be holding my breath. I have been yammering about this since at least 2010 and all I have learned is that the wheels at city hall grind ever so slowly, and sometimes I don't think they are moving forward!!

Published on Nanaimo Info Blog in September 2010:
Maffeo Sutton Park NEEDS Food Carts
No Food Carts Acres of Space What A Waste
Vendors During Bathtub Days
Vendors During Dragon Boat Races
Diverse Food Vendors Become A Reason
To Visit The Park

Nanaimo is always looking for ways of promoting itself as a 'destination' city for visitors from around the world. We have a world class convention centre and casino of reasonable size, next year we will have a cruise ship terminal designed to entice world travellers to our shores.

With that thought in mind the city should encourage the addition of as varied a bunch of food carts as the business community can think up to occupy Maffeo Sutton Park and our delightful waterfront. Make no mistake, a specialty food, done to perfection will make people come downtown simply to satisfy their taste buds.

This idea of course is the opposite of the current city policy of limiting Maffeo Sutton Park to only one vendor. This is a policy which is difficult to understand and is opposed to the free market system. It is great news if you are the one vendor awarded the contract, but not so good if you happen to want a variety of food to sample.
I propose that city council give considerable thought to the idea of developing a diverse food cart business in our parks and along our lovely seawall. Leave the problems of what types of food to offer to the buying public. If vendors offer unpopular food, they will be gone soon enough. To encourage the development of what could become a reason for visiting downtown, whether you are a resident or a cruise ship passenger, I suggest they offer cart space for half price the first year to entice vendors to participate. This would be a win win win win situation as the business people operating the carts would make money, the visiting public can sample some great food, downtown businesses would benefit from increased traffic and the city would generate more revenue than a single vendor would be able to pay.

So, how about it, economic development committee, what do you say?

Story In Vancouver Sun Promoting Food Cart Ciusine
List Of Downtown Vancouver Carts
The city of Vancouver has gone all out encouraging a diverse food cart business and the above list, is the legend which accompanies a Google Map showing where the downtown vendors are. There are many different vendors serving the same type of food, but the list shows the wide variety that is offered by creative entrepreneurs.

Nanaimo is certainly not Vancouver, although we do want to convince cruise ship passengers to visit here rather than Vancouver. With that in mind, our vendors may only be viable during the best summer months and perhaps only on weekends during the late spring, early fall times.

But if properly done, a diverse group of vendors offering world class cuisine will draw a crowd wherever they are set up. People simply love to eat, and love variety. It could become something that Nanaimo becomes famous for, and in itself is a reason to visit downtown.

So, I repeat, Economic Development Committee, how about it? Will you provide staff some direction in this matter, or insist that only one vendor can operate in Maffeo Sutton Park and they must offer tofu and alfalfa grass even if people don't want it?


City Council Gets 'Bumped' From Shaw Auditorium

City Council get the boot for next two meetings

You will note that next Monday's meeting of Council will be held in the SARC building boardroom and the following meeting will be held at the RDN.

The reason we are getting the boot is because the Conference centre is hosting two conferences and the auditorium will be in use by those delegates.

Don't we have any priority??

Given the amount of money we have invested in video equipment and the recent $12,000 spent to re-arrange the council/staff seating, and the further $7,000 or so for new television screens, you have to wonder why we are putting money into a facility we have no say as to when we use it.

I presume this has never been considered an issue given the challenges the conference centre has experienced, but it does beg the question of where will council meet, if the conference centre gets as busy as hoped for??


Farmers' Markets Nanaimo and Area

 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Bastion Waterfront Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 15 - Oct. 2015)

Salutations Nanaimo Folk, Vancouver Islanders and visiting guests. Welcome to the Bastion Street Farmers Market 2015 Season! Starting May 15th, the market will be open every Friday from 2:00pm until 6:00pm. This market is located on Pioneer Plaza near the Historic Bastion on Nanaimo's Waterfront. This is the market's 18th year. Please join us this and every Friday until October.

The Bastion Street Market features local farmers and food producers so you can purchase your seasonal agricultural fruits and vegetables, bakery goods, meat, cheese, eggs, preserves, beer and wine, honey, coffee, tea, spices and more over the season.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza For more information visit them on Facebook at .

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Open Wednesday (May 13 - Oct. 2015)

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market is in its 8th year! Opening day for 2015 is Wed May 13th. The BRFM was started by a group of people concerned about our quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant. Weekly, we feature musicians, and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products, produced by organic growers, who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers Market and meet the people who grow and produce the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May 16 to Oct. 2015, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information visit their website HERE.

Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 17 - Oct. 25 2015)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 17 through to October.

The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.
For information visit their website or contact

Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 10 - Oct. 2015)

Take a Sunday drive out into the country, park in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub, feel grassy field below your feet and talk with the farmer that grows your food.

Open from May 10 to October 2015 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

For more information visit their website  or call 250-668-5783


Nanaimo Five-Year Financial Plan


2015–2019 Financial Plan available on City website
Public encouraged to review this information

The 2015–2019 Financial Plan document approved by Council on May 4, 2015 is now available on the City’s website.  In accordance with the Community Charter, municipalities must prepare a five year financial plan each year.  These plans must be adopted by municipal Councils by May 15th and they are required to identify the proposed expenditures, funding sources and transfers to or between funds.  The City’s planning process includes public consultation and is informed by policies and plans endorsed by Council.

The City’s 2015–2019 Financial Plan has been prepared in accordance with ‘best practices’ and provides comprehensive information on operating and capital programs as well as an overview of the City’s organizational structure and governance.

"The City's 2015–2019 Financial Plan provides a clear picture of the City's priorities.  All residents who follow City business are encouraged to review the plan." - Brian Clements Director of Finance City of Nanaimo

 Financial Plan
Click Image to view five-year plan


Nanaimo Core Services Review

One of the oft repeated promises during the civic election campaign was the importance of a Core Services Review at City Hall. The majority of elected candidates say they are in favour of the process while a couple don't support the idea at all.

Needing to get on with the Core Services Review (CSR) was often given as the reason to just get on with the budget this year without looking too hard for areas to save tax dollars. The CSR was offered as the best tool to properly approach the city's finances and intelligently examine the nearly one billion dollar five year financial plan.

During the budgeting process earlier this year, council passed a motion that service levels would not be increased until the completion of the CSR. Councillor Brennan made an amendment to that motion which included the language that there would also be no decreases to service levels until the completion of the CSR. In other words the status quo would prevail until the results of the CSR were known, which hopefully would provide the framework for sensible budgeting going forward.

That sounds like a reasonable and balanced approach if you see the CSR as being a valuable tool for assessing the financial health of the community and how money is being spent at city hall.

On February 2 council voted to proceed with a core review of the City's services and operations. On May 13 the CSR Steering Committe had their first meeting with facilitator Dr. Roshan Danesh who said these exercises will often fail at either the beginning or the end. The day was spent laying out the framework for the CSR which includes establishing what the committee hopes to accomplish from the exercise.

The City website has the following listed under the 'quick facts' on the CSR page: 

While the Core Services Review is underway, no additional City services will be undertaken until the review process is completed.

This would seem to imply, this council is serious about getting a firm handle on the city's finances and the direction we need to take going forward. Right?

Mayor talks of hiring more firefighters, police

That is the headline on a story in the local Daily of May 14 by reporter Spencer Anderson in which he reports Mayor McKay as saying he wants council to consider hiring additional firefighters and police officers next year, as well as a multimillion dollar proposal to upgrade city garbage trucks.

The story goes on to report that 20 new firefighters and 16 new RCMP officers and a $6.4 million capital cost for garbage trucks are a part of the additional expenses the Mayor seems to want council to consider. McKay said in the article that these expenses may not fit into the category of 'new services'.

If that is the opinion of Mayor McKay, then one might be forgiven for asking, what in hell is the point of spending a few hundred thousand on a CSR if he is already trying to stick handle his way around council's motion to freeze spending, pending the outcome of the CSR. 


Colliery Dam Update


Colliery Dam Update

During its meeting May 18, Council received a number of delegations and advice from the City Solicitor regarding applying for an appeal and stay to the Comptroller of Water Rights' revised Order, received April 29, regarding remediation of the Colliery Dams. The appeal to the Comptroller's Order would be made to the Environmental Appeal Board, who would consider the appeal and request for a stay which, if the stay is granted, would set aside the Comptroller's Order until the appeal is heard. After a lengthy discussion, Council directed staff to have the City Solicitor submit an application for an appeal and stay, plus request a meeting with the Provincial Deputy Minister responsible for dams in BC and the Comptroller. A further report regarding the Colliery Dams will be received by Council at its June 1 meeting.

Council has authorized the Mayor and a delegation to request a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and the Comptroller of Water Rights.

"The City Solicitor is preparing documents to support the application for an appeal and stay which must be submitted prior to May 29." - Toby Seward  Acting General Manager, Community Development & Protective Services City of Nanaimo


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Michael's Musing (4)

There was a revolutionary meeting of council last Tuesday and like all true revolutions, it wasn't televised.  It was scheduled on short notice for a Tuesday because of the Victoria day holiday and so Shaw didn't broadcast or record it. I'm told there will be an audio recording released but it wasn't fun to watch and won't be fun to listen to. That said, important and historic things happened at the meeting, mainly the city has no plans now to work on the dams but instead is choosing the "fourth option", defiance backed by Civil Disobedience.  While the Cities lawyer is instructed to make an appeal to the environmental review board and ask the courts for a stay of the work order and the Mayor will lead a delegation to meet with provincial decision makers, the actual strategy is one of defiance. Our message to the Provincial Government is  ' We aren't going to work on our dams, instead you work on your damn attitude.'  

 This happened more because of pressure and political circumstance than because anyone planned it. The consensus of a few weeks ago died and was replaced by frustration and fingerpointing. Without a least intrusive option the majority on council all but gave up on legal avenues and stuck with their conviction that nothing really needs to be done. The minority on Council is weakened by the fact that Councillors Brennan and Pratt seem to be taking turns missing meetings. This makes compromise less likely to succeed when the rare opportunity arises. So we will be in defiance of a Provincial order in a few weeks, subject to a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. So we will be fighting the final battle both on the ground and in the court of public opinion. Resistance to work crews will certainly happen. How will that play out?  Media attention will increase across the province and we will be able to tell a David Vs. Goliath story. Discipline within the Civil Disobedience campaign will be crucial to it's success. Strategically it will need to divide the Provincial bureaucracy from their natural allies in the Cabinet and the Courts. Tactically it will need to analyse the chokepoints into the park and defend them for a long time.  Nanaimo has sent many radicals to many places for these sorts of actions and it will be worthwhile to start calling in favours. Support work in media and court appearances are also important to these campaigns. Finding a role for those unwilling to break the law is worthwhile. 

 With all this in mind I have a mischievous suggestion. Lets call for a provincial referendum. the law allows us to campaign for one and gives us two or more months to do so. In this time period actions and injunctions may be delayed or at least discomfited. More importantly it will give us a mechanism to rally support outside the city. Lets be clear that this has less chance of making it on the ballot than the Marijuana initiative did but the process involves weeks of signature collection and tabulation. It will also give an important role to the Colliery dams preservation Society which has disavowed any sort of Civil disobedience. Just a thought. I covered the meeting on twitter. My account name is digitalwolfman if you would like to read them.


Nanaimo Council Endorses 'Slide the City'

City Council Endorses 'Slide the City'
July 4 or August 29

At the Special Open Council meeting on Tuesday, after spending over 5 hours debating the Colliery Dams Order stay/appeal issue, city council was able to move onto another issue involving water.

This time there was little discussion or debate and what  we witnessed was an unusually unanimous council decision.

Councillor Hong made the motion to endorse the event to take place on August 29 this year. Apparently the company had put either July 4 or August 29 forward as possible dates to come to Nanaimo.

The huge waterslide would go on the hill on Victoria Road and allow fun-seekers to slide down the vinyl slide on a cushion of water. A fee of $20+ is involved but the city hopes to see some free passes available.

The one day event is said to use the equivalent of 3 or 4 days water usage at a local water park, 80,000 gallons was the estimated amount to be used, which the city would be paid for by the operators.

The water would not be recirculated but rather flow into the storm system at this point. However a means of capture and re-use is being looked into. The company still has to provide officials with an acceptable plan to deal with water contamination. That said, if the water being used is coming from our chlorinated water supply and flushes down the slide, is not re-used, I suspect contamination is far more likely a concern using one of our lakes during the summer.

Let's hope this event gets over all hurdles, as this is a really BIG DEAL in which little ole Nanaimo beat out all the competition for this event on the entire Island, which includes that 'other' well known Island community, somewhere to the south of us.


Pro-GMO Rally In Nanaimo May 23

For Immediate Release
Pro-GMO Group to Counter Demonstrate at Saturday’s March Against Monsanto

What:  The first organized global effort to protest the annual March Against Monsanto demonstration. For the past two years, March Against Monsanto has drawn protesters to spread misinformation and fear about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). This year March Against Myths About Modification (MAMyths) has launched a grass-roots endeavor to curb that misinformation and help consumers better understand biotechnology.

* It’s been 20 years since GMOs were introduced and there hasn’t been a single documented incident of harm.
* Every major scientific body in the world stands behind the safety of GMOs - GMO crops are the most researched and tested technology inagricultural history.
* We care about the integrity of our food, we care about the environment, and we want to ensure a safe, available food supply for future generations.
* Biotechnology offers real tools to help solve issues likesmarter use of resources, ways to feed a growing population in the face of climate change; and ways to better the nutritional profile of our food.

March Against Myths About Modification - Nanaimo

Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 1:00 PM

Diana Krall Plaza
51 Gordon Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia

You can find out more about our event at:


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vigil for Nepal - Nanaimo May 24/15

Come and Support the Rebuilding of Nepal
Show your Support, Love and Solidarity
Tax Deductible Donations

Wear a Nepal T Shirt for $20

Sunday, May 24/15  7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Maffeo Sutton Park Pavilion, Nanaimo

Sponsored by:
Nanaimo Dental Group & Rotary Club of Nanaimo Daybreak


Nanaimo COW Monday May 25/15

Committee of the Whole Meeting
Mon., May 25/15
SARC Dunsmuir St.
4:30 pm 
Note: SARC Bldg. 411 Dunsmuir St.

  • Mr. Bruce Halliday, GM Port Theatre provides update
  • Conference Centre Hotel Agreement Extension
  • Shaw auditorium computers and monitors
  • 2015 Community Service Grants
  • Cedar Road Pump Station Upgrade Tender ($250,000 and above)
  • Delegations not related to a report to council: Mr. Holden Southward re: agricultural land reserve, Mr. Adrian de Jong re: cat licensing, Mr. Leo Boon re: transportation master plan, Mr. Dave. Eaton re:  Pickleball courts at Beban Park

 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.

As this is a new council with 5 new members it is important to note that the following decisions were not made by this council. I will leave it posted for a time as a reminder of the type of spending that council is capable of when the electorate isn't paying attention. 
If this new council makes questionable spending decisions as we go forward (and I am sure they will) It would be my intent to document them here and replace the following list with a 'new' list. Hopefully, it will be a very short list.


In spite of promises to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, the first thing this council has done is approve a 6% increase in wages for CUPE employees over the next 3 years. This is well above the settlements the province is signing with other unions.


On Feb. 2/15  a resolution of Council was passed with a 7:1 vote which was giving staff instructions with regards the Colliery Dams. This motion was ignored by City staff and this Council has shown no desire to see their wishes were carried out by City staff. As a precedent this is likely as disturbing as any fiscal decisions made by council. It goes to the heart of our whole democratic system.

Some Previous 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?


Nanaimo Watering Restrictions Start June 1/15

Water Supply Levels Update
Jump Lake currently at full storage

This is the third release on water supply levels.  Water levels are stable; inflow to Jump Lake has continued, but starting to diminish.  Storage is currently at 100% of full.  We are hopeful that we will remain close to 100% for the next 4 weeks.  Fisheries release to the Nanaimo River has started.

At this time, there is no need to increase Conservation Level above Level 1, contingent on future updates.  Conservation Level 1 will come into effect on June 1:- even numbered addresses can water on the EVEN days of the month (e.g. June 2, 4, 6). Odd numbered addresses can water on the ODD days of the month (e.g. June 1, 3, 5)

Nanaimo Engineering & Public Works staff continue to monitor water levels closely, and will issue periodic updates.

With zero snow pack this past winter, the City is concerned that water supply may be stressed. Rain will help keep the reservoir level full, but long stretches of dry weather can deplete the reservoir quickly. Reservoir Level is at 100% of full as of 11 May 2015, thanks to rain.

"Summer watering restrictions are an annual occurrence, helps ensure that there is water available for all, and keeps sufficient water aside for fire fighting.  Restrictions also help us be mindful of all water uses, and help keep a conservation mindset to protect this precious resource.  This year, due to the low snow pack, we want to ramp up communications with the public, so there are no surprises if we find it necessary to shift to Level 2 restrictions.

Our current view, with Jump Creek Dam at full storage, is that we should be in good shape at the start of summer
." - Bill Sims Manager, Water Resources Engineering & Public Works 


Mayor's Sign 'Policy' Still Unclear

Nanaimo Info File Photo Council May 11

At the May 19th Special Open City Council meeting, Mayor McKay asked a member of the gallery to put their sign down. He asked the person three times, and the person respectfully refused. It went no further, no call to the police to have the offender removed, but asking the person three times, by name would seem to be laying the ground work for something more formal.

Another member of the gallery was granted delegate status to speak to the issue of signs not being allowed in a Council meeting. The delegate's opinion is that displaying a sign at council is something covered under the Charter as a means of Freedom of Expression.

Councillor Brennan asked the delegate if they were aware that the Legislature, Canadian Parliament and the Court House do not allow signs in the gallery. She seemed to be inferring that would justify a similar ban in Nanaimo Council Chambers.

Mayor McKay asked the delegate if he was familiar with the 'Captive Audience Doctrine', with which the delegate was unfamiliar. Mayor McKay did not elaborate but seemed to infer this gave him the authority to ban signs in Council Chambers. It was later learned, that Mayor McKay had sought legal opinion on the matter which he chose not to share with the rest of council.

When the delegate said he disagreed with the Mayor's opinion that the Captive Audience Doctrine supported his decision to ban signs, the Mayor responded something to the effect that 'oh well, I guess we will get it on'.

I have asked Mayor McKay to clarify if it is now city policy to ban signs from Council meetings being held at the Conference Centre, as of yet I have had no reply.

Captive Audience Doctrine

From what I have been able to research, there is no case law which would seem to support the Mayor's decision to ban signs at Council meetings. In fact some of the support for the Freedom of Expression in publicly owned buildings would appear to support being able to display signs at Council meetings as a form of expression.

At paragraph 243, Justice McLachlin (as she then was) referred to Irwin Toy and recognized the values that act as the backdrop for the guarantee for freedom of expression, namely “(1) the seeking and obtaining of truth; (2) participation in social and political decision-making; and (3) the encouragement of diversity in forms of individual self-fulfillment and human flourishing by cultivating a tolerant, welcoming environment for the conveyance and reception of ideas”.

This simple finding would seem to strongly support the use of a sign as a means of expression protected by the Charter. Value (2) and (3) seem to be a most accurate description of the historical and actual function of an open city council meeting.

But hey, I ain't no lawyer in spite of my father's advice to pursue that career path when I was a much younger fellow.


Doumont Restoration Project - May 23


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

City To File Stay & Appeal - Dam Order

After a four hour marathon city councillors voted to instruct the city solicitor to prepare papers to file an Appeal and a Stay of the order issued by the Water Comptroller. The lawyer said it would be a hard uphill climb and offered little optimism for success.

Council also included in the motion that a delegation of Council would seek audience with senior government officials to also look for a political solution.

The order had been modified to include three options for the remediation of the Colliery Dams which the city has been grappling with since Oct. 2012.

As someone who has been on this merry-go-round since it was first fired up by Mr. Kenning and Mr. Simms I offer the following, which I state clearly is nothing but my opinion.

From the beginning the story that came out of city hall stretched credibility to most with a reasonable amount of common sense. Sudden catastrophe as a wall of water tore through Harewood claiming as many as 150 lives. Cost of up to $30 million to deal with the problem.

The council of the day behaved like a well trained flock of sheep who seemed to carry on just bleating out the official staff-generated story line.

A friend and I were musing the other day about what the hell is really behind the Colliery Dam saga, as the official version simply does not pass the smirk test. We agree, this will be the subject of a study and book one day, when/if the truth ever comes out.

We have spent $2.5 million and still don't know how the dams are constructed, yet are being told by the Province that we must spend further multiple millions to mitigate an event that might happen once in 34,000 years and perhaps cause a couple of million in property damage.

If this council can not finally bring some common sense to bear on this issue, I look forward to a long, hot, politically charged summer where some members of council and the public finally stand erect and tell DSS the standards they wish to impose on these two little ponds is absolutely absurd.


Wearing Signs At City Council Meetings

The Mayor did not approve of Mr. Stearman's sign as Council Chambers are no place for distracting signs.

I presume a message on the front of a shirt is not considered a sign? I may be incorrect, but I don't think Mr. Stearman was asked to put his sign away before the reference to Mayor Flip Flop.


Mayor McKay's Facebook Page - Reaching Out?

Mayor McKay accuses me of blood lust ?

The Mayor as you may or may not know has started a Facebook page to engage citizens in conversation for the purpose of perhaps listening to public opinion, or perhaps to promote his own agenda, only time will tell.

That said, the question was raised as to whether or not the Leadercast Investigation should be part of the Core Review, an idea which the Mayor does not support even though it was a part of his election campaign platform. 

Some people commenting on that thread said it had no place in a core review. The following is my reply to that point of view:

The following is the Mayor's response, which I have asked him to explain.

The reference of wanting to see a Leadercast Investigation (something as Councillor he was fully behind, and as Mayoral candidate promised to do) to a desire to see as much blood spilled as possible is one I have trouble with. Since when was seeking accountability and taking responsibility equated to wanting to see blood spilled? Interesting point of view from our Mayor.