Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Save Colliery Dam Meeting Notes

A Few Observations From Colliery Dam Meeting

The crowd of 500+ while passionate were not rowdy or disrespectful towards the Mayor and city council who were in attendance. They included Mayor Ruttan and councillors Pattje, Johnstone, Kipp, McKay and Anderson. The fact they had not been consulted in any manner prior to making the decision to remove the lakes in Colliery Park was considered a sign of disrespect on the part of Mayor and Council.

The fact that Mayor and counil were not invited to speak (likely a welcome relief) clearly sent the message that this was the time for the people to speak and the elected officials to listen. Something which council negelected to do when making this decision. Making this decision in-camera has not yet been actually justified by Mayor Ruttan, we only have the oft-quoted reasons which 'may' be used to discuss city business in-secret. It has not been demonstrated how a public discussion would actually have been harmful to the city's position.

A point which may or may not have been lost on City Council is the fact people are watching the decisions being made at city hall which they feel were not a good use of tax dollars. The conference centre, the cruise ship terminal and the new staff offices were all referred to as examples of ways city council have chosen to unwisely spend tax dollars. They are now having a hard time reconciling the fact council claims unable to fund an alternative which would save the Colliery Park lakes.

If this first meeting is a sign of things to come as this group gets organized, funded and focused we could be witnessing an example of participatory democracy in action. Something which for the most part has been ignored by 73% of the Nanaimo population.


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