Monday, October 27, 2008

' MEET THE CANDIDATES ' BLAKE MCGUFFIE

Blake McGuffie

I am a semi-retired Tax Consultant running for Nanaimo City Council

My extensive experience in community leads me to believe that I have the skills to be a part of the leadership of our City. This is a great community that deserves a City Council that welcomes input.

My community experience includes serving on the Boards of many local organizations including the Nanaimo Child Development Centre (for over 20 years), the Columbian Centre Society, Nanaimo Foodshare (founding member and currently Treasurer, Nanaimo Community Bingo Association.

I am also a member of both the South End Community Association and the Nob Hill Residents Association.

I have served for many years on various City Committees, including Parks Recreation and Culture, Parking, Grants Advisory, Advisory Committee on the Environment, Design Advisory Panel and the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership.

My extensive income tax and business experience give me an insight into the very complicated finances of the City of Nanaimo, which is a unique skill set amongst candidates.

The three most important issues are homeless, taxation and the hotel, not necessarily in that order.

I fully support the City’s initiative of housing first. This is very difficult. The management quality of the housing is essential, as is the spreading of the housing units throughout the community. We need to provide significantly enhanced RCMP resources. Drug-related crime issues in our City need much greater attention.

Taxation is higher than it needs to be. The City currently has over $ 125 million dollars in reserves. While some of this is required for future projects, some of it can be used to reduce property taxation.

The Hotel component is necessary to the success of the Conference Centre and clearly the present Council have hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. The current deal should have been terminated when deadlines were not met, and new interested parties could be found.

The only real reward of public service is the knowledge that one has made a difference to the quality of life in the community in which we live.

The challenge in public office is continuing to receive meaningful input. There is a real danger that the information received through the process is filtered to the viewpoint of the applicant. It is essential for a Councillor to remember the PUBLIC interest at all times.

We have much land that is already serviced and ready for development. The recent decision to open up areas in the South of the City is not good planning. The test of any re-zoning application must be based on what is for the good for the community. Council must manage growth.

PNC Hotel as noted above needs a new proponent. An active search must be taken immediately. Remember this hotel includes the right to 300 housing units on the Arena site. This should be a very marketable package, even in a slightly falling market. It requires a developer who has a long term viewpoint, not a build and get out of town approach.

The City taxpayer will provide the land for the Homeless plan. The total cost should not exceed 10 %, or $ 4 million. Typically the land is 10 % of any development cost. The City has most of the necessary land in public ownership now, so the CASH cost will be considerably less.

Blake McGuffie
Candidate
Nanaimo City Council


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