Monday, May 07, 2012

Is Nanaimo Rudderless or Leaderless?


There Are Many 'Rowers' On The Team
But There Is No Coxswain

For those unfamiliar with the rowing analogy the function of the Coxswain is to:
  • Steer the boat
  • Motivate and encourage crew
  • Inform crew of position relative to competitors
  • Make tactical race calls during the race
In Nanaimo we have many, many rowers which are represented by different power blocks all of whom exercise considerable influence over the economy of the city and the direction it will take and what it will look like in 10 - 20 years.

Some of the 'Rowers
  • City Hall Management Staff
  • City Council
  • Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association (DNBIA)
  • Vancouver Island Convention Centre (VICC)
  • Vancouver Island Universtiy (VIU)
  • Vancouver Island Heath Authority (VIHA)
  • School District #68 (SD68)
  • Chamber of Commerce (C of C)
  • Nanaimo Economic Development Corp.(NEDC)
  • Young Professionals of Nanaimo (YPN)
  • Misc. Associations and Special Interest Groups 
  • Various Labour Unions Including CUPE, IAFF & HEU to name a few
Too Much Analysis Eventually Results In Paralysis

There is no end to studies lining the shelves at city hall and other institutions around our fair city. That inventory will soon be added to by yet another Strategic Plan for the city of Nanaimo. The city manager says the reason a strategic plan had to precede a core review, is because without such a plan it would be virtually impossible to structure an organization or establish spending priorities. Since a strategic plan is necessary first, and we are now spending $120,000 to develop one, you might ask the city manager: "what in blazes have we been doing the last fifty years or so?".

The Chamber of Commerce undertook to develop their own strategic plan titled Successful Cities which provides their blueprint to guide the city forward into the brave new world. Yet another well thought-out plan for the navel gazers to gaze at.

The much heralded NEDC set up at a cost of $1.5 million to date has produced a tourism guide (which was produced by the same local company that has produced it for the past 10 years), and a revamped website. For whatever reasons, this corporation is also currently lacking a Coxswain.

No Clear Direction Or Captain To Point The Way

All these different groups made up of special interest groups and power brokers have different ideas as to where the city should go, and how we get there. All are likely valid points of view but without a Coxswain in charge of the boat we are likely going to be like the fellow who jumped on his horse and went off in all directions!

Sooner or later, I suspect someone will commission a study to study the studies already undertaken by these various groups to see why there has been no real forward progress.

Closing with another rowing analogy, if we are not all rowing in the same direction we will eventually just be standing still, or worse yet, we will have ripped the boat apart with our opposing efforts.

In the city there is no clear candidate for Coxswain but there are many individuals with the appearance of directing the boat but without any clear authority or mandate to actually cast off and enter the race.

allvoices

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