Sunday, December 07, 2014

NANAIMO - REALITY CHECK


Note: email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view this video

COMPARISONS WITH A 30,000 POP. S. ONTARIO TOWN

Much is said about growing Nanaimo's economy and attracting and keeping those family-supporting jobs. Nanaimo has been flapping about this for the past twenty years or so and there are few results one can point to. There are a few success stories, which I think can be attributed to the enterprising folk who just made them happen, not because of what our officials are doing, but in spite of what they are doing.

Nanaimo has a world class reputation for not being business friendly, for opposing anything that even remotely resembles an industry which may have any environmental downside and an anti-business attitude at city hall that is legendary.

We boast about our location and outdoor lifestyle (and so we should) but unless you are fortunate enough to snag one of those highly paid government gigs you are faced with either standing in the food bank line, or heading to Fort McMisery to earn a living.

I have been pondering why that is. Regardless of how many studies we fund and how many committees we strike and how many consultants we hire and how grand sounding our postulating is, we simply seem to be spinning our wheels.

We spend $72 million on a buggy-whip, purpose built facility, which we only seem to think will succeed if we give tax exemptions to hotels in a desperate attempt to make a success of the convention business! We don't seem to recognize that expecting career bureaucrats to be able to run successful business enterprises is about as foolish as one can be.

WHY STAY HERE IN POVERTY BY CHOICE?

The recent stats saying that between 26% - 40% of Nanaimo residents are not earning a living wage, coupled with the need for 10 satellite food bank locations and a food bank service that is expanding every year, point to a systemically flawed community.

I decided to check out the area of southern Ontario where I grew up. The above video points to all of the 'selling' features we like to point to when telling folk why to move to Nanaimo. There are however, some astounding differences in these two communities.

Orangeville has a population of less than 30,000 people, yet their 10 'large industries' employ over 1300 people and a check of the help wanted for the region showed a current listing of over 13,000 job offerings. Housing prices are comparable or perhaps a bit less and taxes are pretty much on par with Nanaimo.

Granted, their winters are colder, and usually offers more snow to deal with than does Nanaimo. On the upside however, in the winter time there you are most often treated to clear blue skies and sunshine which many find preferable to that liquid sunshine we experience here.

Yes, Nanaimo is a delightful place to retire to, but not a terribly wise choice if you need to earn enough money to raise a family. If you aren't working for some level of government or able to start or relocate your own business, other than location and lifestyle, Nanaimo has little to offer.

allvoices

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