Sunday, November 11, 2012

Where Is This Open & Transparent Council?

New Council Just As Secretive As Last One
No Reason For Colliery Dams Decision To Be Secret

It seems like only last year when all those shiny, bright faces vying for your votes were running here and there declaring their deep regard for openness and transparency in city government .... remember??

Fast forward one year (nearly) and you have an example of once again a city council abusing the 'in-camera' process when it comes to the decision to forever remove a much loved facility in the Harewood area. Why all the secrecy? A cynic would be forgiven for thinking this council has no real desire to involve the public in the decision making process at all, in fact the less they hear from the public probably the better they like it.

Meaningful public scrutiny is something both city staff and city council seem to have a genuine fear of, even if they will declare on a stack of Bibles they want everything to be out in the open. Brings to mind, my ongoing battle to finally get the voting results for the annex brought out into the open.

Is Demolition The Only Viable Option?

Likely so, but unless you have complete unbridled faith in the competence and integrity of the staff calling the shots you'd be forgiven for wanting more than just their say-so that demolition is the only viable option.

For example, rather than spending $7million plus (equal to a 10% tax increase) to demolish the existing dams, what would be the outcome of using those funds to further shore up the dams? A letter to the editor in a local paper suggested displacing a large amount of water by simply adding rock to reduce the amount of water that is actually behind the dam. Too simple? Wouldn't work? Maybe not, but in the counsel of the whole community there is more wisdom than in a few 'professionals' working for the city of Nanaimo.

What is the likelihood and actual severity of this 'significant' earthquake everyone wants to try and guard against? If such an event were to occur, what would the state be of our schools? Our downtown? Our roads? Our water mains? Our sewers? Our civic buildings? Would Nanaimo even be  a location that would even be habitable after such an event? Don't forget the damage that an ensuing Tsunami would cause, between bursting dams on the one side and a huge tidal wave on the other, Mt. Benson might be the only ground not under water.

What level of calamity does it make sense to try and guard against? Will today's building codes be outdated in another 20 years? Will we keep tearing down and rebuilding in the unlikely event some catastrophe might befall us?

In the meantime, that openness and transparency that councillors were promising when seeking election is typical of what causes such cynicism towards politicians these days. Remember the same bunch promising fiscal prudence, and then for the first time in history approved a budget that was actually higher than what staff had recommended?

Council and staff have just approved the spending of another $50,000 to evaluate their competence to govern, indicating their own inability to do so themselves. It makes you wonder what exactly we are paying for with all that high/over priced management employed at city hall. First they couldn't develop a strategic plan, now they don't know how to govern properly.

I guess over $1.5 million for 10 staff just doesn't buy the quality you might expect.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the above. It is absolutely devastating to actually consider destroying this park. Staff are indicating that it will be "re-naturalized" but without the lakes it will be a shell of what it is now. The eco-system that currently exists with the fish and otter family and birds will disappear. After all, it has had a hundred years to become established.There will be no opportunity for swimming or fishing and will no longer be a draw for young and old alike to spend countless hours enjoying the water in the summer. It makes me ashamed to be consider residing in a city that will not see how important a park like this is to our quality of life. One user said that it is probably one our best tourist attractions. As for filling the lakes to minimize the ammoung of water and the corresponding risk. Sounds like a good plan but the deeper the lakes are, the healthier. Shallow water does not allow the same ecosystem as the water will heat and algae will grow. It cannot be enjoyed in the same manner. Shame on Council to make a decsion like this behind closed doors. There is a mtg. at John Barsby High School on Nov 20 at 7:00 to insist that the city remain open to options regarding this issue. We encourage anyone who feels that this park is worth saving to attend.


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