Monday, June 30, 2014

25 Victoria Road - Taxpayers' Interest Protected?

Is Anyone At City Hall Paying Attention?


I was alerted to the fact there was dumpster now sitting outside the city owned building at 25 Victoria Road on Sunday June 29. Being a curious fellow I went by and checked it out and snapped this picture. At about 5:00 pm on June 29 there was absolutely nothing in the dumpster and no activity in the building.

The group led by Camella Tang are vacating the building as of June 30 after having being paid $11,350 to manage the facility until the end of the year. ( Is the city taking steps to recover the $5675 they paid for the six months remaining in 2014?).

The question arises, what exactly is this group doing that requires a dumpster on site. They don't own the building and since everything attached to the building is the property of the city of Nanaimo, I can't imagine what they would be removing and putting in the dumpster.

I have sent a letter to our Mayor and Councillors and will bring readers up to date when I hear from them.

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Site For Proposed Nanaimo Boathouse

SITE OF ANOTHER MONEY PIT?


The Nanaimo Boathouse Society, headed up by Camella Tang was asking the city to grant them a right of use license or lease of the waterfront lot right beside the Brechin boat ramp and the area appearing in the foreground of this picture.

It would appear this $5 million facility, which basically is a warehouse for kayaks, dragon boats and such has no private funding and only letters of support from various groups. The letters basically say such a facility could be a good idea. However, the support goes no farther than vocal support.

The pitch, if I understood correctly, is the Boathouse Society would fund raise (primarily from municipal, provincial and federal governments), build the structure and then ask the city for $100,000/yr. as an operating grant and an additional $50,000 or so for upkeep.

During the discussions at the city council meeting where Tang made her pitch, Councillor Brennan (obviously a supporter of such projects) tried to point out that Tang was 'only' asking for a commitment of $100,000/yr. to operate the boathouse. However, if the city were to give this project the nod, according to city manager Mr. Swabey, senior governments are looking for matching funds to come from the municipality.

No More Vote-Buying Projects


A skeptic might say the only reason we have burned over $800,000 on the incredibly poor building at 25 Victoria Rd. was to pander to the 'arts' crowd who promise to deliver votes on election day.

If this Boathouse project is a viable commercial enterprise, then let private enterprise fund and operate it, not unlike a golf club. By no means should city hall open the taxpayers purse for another never-ending money pit. We already have quite enough of them.

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Good Use Of Space

Grow Weeds or Food??


I spotted this good use of what is usually pretty much wasted space beside the sidewalk the other day. The mulching will keep down the weeds and minimize the amount of water needed.

Kudos to a clever way to produce food on a space usually producing nothing but poor grass and weeds.

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Management Wage Hikes - 2008 - 2013

Nanaimo's Managers Did Quite Well, Recession or No Recession!

If you were to ask the senior managers at city hall if the current level of taxation needed to support the current levels of remuneration at city hall is affordable and sustainable, I am sure they will all reply in the affirmative.

I wonder how many households in Nanaimo would agree with that claim of being affordable and sustainable.

allvoices

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Here's A Word Game - Citizens of Nanaimo



While considering certain events of the past few years which have taken place at a certain location in downtown Nanaimo, which shall remain unnamed, two words kept rolling around in my noodle and I am unable to decide which is most appropriate.

Perhaps readers of this blog can help me determine which adjective would be more apt when describing a certain group of individuals who do have a large influence on the fortunes of Nanaimo.

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CDPPS Withdraws From Technical Committee



Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society Temporarily Withdraws from the Technical Committee



It has become increasingly clear over the last few months that the technical committee is not being directed by the goals of least invasive and cost effective measures for dam remediation.  Our questions are no longer adequately answered and our input disregarded.   We cannot support the current process which we do not feel is credible.

Although a comprehensive analysis has determined that our dams are in good condition and pose little risk to the community, the city is unwilling to step away from their entrenched position.  They have refused to retract their emergency message and take down inappropriate signage. They also continue to maintain that the dams may require remediation measures in excess of what may be required. 

CDPPS have acted as representatives from the community which has not yet been fully engaged according to the mandate of the T.C. The lack of transparency with this process has long been a major issue of concern. The public have not had an opportunity to partake in this process and have a real say in planning. Public (via CDPPS) have been given token representation at the Committee level with no actual authority in the decision making process.  There is no consensus regarding the options that are being considered which have dramatic cost and impact factors. Nor is there sufficient allowance for potentially other, more appropriate options. To date there has been absolutely no information volunteered to the public at large with respect to options or related costs. This is not acceptable. This is our public park and these are our tax dollars at stake. 

CDPPS has stated that:
- there is no urgency in making any decision regarding the park immediately as the risk has been qualified and it is minimal
- has asked for all documents from Golder and minutes from meetings to be released for public consumption.
- that current options  which are being considered and related costs be made public
- that the technical committee re-convene in a month’s time to review and plan accordingly

Jeff Solomon
CDPPS  250 753-0554

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Dr. James Lunney MP - Letter To Nanaimo Council



Mayor and Council
City of Nanaimo

Re: Committee of the Whole, May 5
Motion to cancel Leadercast event, May 9, VICC

Dear Mayor and council,

I am writing to express my profound disappointment and on behalf of concerned citizens who are left feeling confused and disenfranchised by council’s support of an alarming and unprecedented action that was based on innuendo and unsupported accusations.

The Leadercast event was broadcast to some 800 venues across North America including Victoria and Vancouver, SFU and UVIC. I note that the item was a late addition to the agenda, the proponents were not present to address council prior to the decision to cancel and a number of councillors seemed ill-prepared with background information to refute the mischaracterization presented by the mover. It seems to me that staff made it clear that the event was about Leadership. Councillor McKay, to his credit, pointed out that the event featuring such notables as Laura Bush and Rev. Desmond Tutu had nothing to do with the accusations of hatred, intolerance and divisiveness alleged by the proponent.

Notwithstanding Coun. Pattje’s empathy for the complainants, I am astounded that council would endorse a motion that is in itself divisive and doesn’t even make sense.

The motion instructs staff to advise VICC : “that any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia or other expressions of hate…” and goes on to advise VICC to cancel the May 9th event.

The Leadercast event was sponsored by the Nanaimo Daily News and the Coastal Community Credit Union. I am asking council what moral authority, what evidence of hatred and malevolence by this alleged subversive movement it possesses that would trump the good judgment of our own community sponsors and the 800 other communities hosting similar events?

I have attached a brief review of the 2013 event by Michael Hyatt whose leadership commentaries have been featured in the NY Times, the Wall St Journal, Forbes, Business Week and CNN; not a word about hatred anywhere. Please check it out. As for the GBLT, Q umbrage at the sponsor of the main event, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, who is accused of speaking in defence of traditional marriage, even the American Civil Liberties Union has stated though they disagree with his views they support his right to hold and express them.

I submit that since council has taken upon itself to take such unprecedented and apparently ill-considered action, it is now incumbent on council to address the potential precedent and confusion it has generated.

As I felt obliged to point out at the Central Vancouver Island Leadership Prayer Breakfast, the precedent established could call into question the very event that exists under the mayor’s patronage and sponsored by the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce; it could just as easily be applied to the April Good Friday community services held at another city-owned facility, Beban Park.

I do not believe it was council’s intent to disenfranchise tens of thousands of the good citizens of Nanaimo. I therefore urge you to act promptly: to address an apology specifically to the church community through the Nanaimo Evangelical Fellowship, to the sponsors who’s reputations and judgment were called into question, to citizens who had worked hard organizing the event and those who had to travel to Victoria to participate.

Furthermore, I encourage council to publically express regret for the unfortunate and apparently unforeseen consequences of an ill-considered action with assurances such will not be repeated without a thorough airing of the issue and convincing evidence of ill-intent.

Friends, no one bats a thousand; the Church and business leaders who have been insulted by this action are the most forgiving of citizens. I believe a sincere apology will help restore relations and the ability of mayor and council to overcome the backlash that is surely coming without corrective action.

Sincerely,
James Lunney, MP

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Nanaimo City Council - Letter From Senator Plett



Dear Mayor Ruttan and Members of the Nanaimo City Council:

I am writing to you to express my disappointment with the profound bigotry and intolerance expressed by many of you during the Committee of the Whole City Council meeting of May 5, 2014, and your ultimate decision to ban a leadership event because one company, who is graciously sponsoring the event, has an owner who has expressed opinions that are different than yours.

I received your prepared statement clarifying your reasons for banning this event; however, I do not believe that further explanation was necessary. Your perspective and reasoning were quite clearly expressed in the meeting.

The owner of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, supports the traditional definition of marriage and donates to organizations that promote traditional family values, as he is permitted to do by law. The leadership conference itself has absolutely nothing to do with these issues or perspective, as was confirmed at the meeting by the City Manager. However, because  one of the sponsor’s views on an unrelated topic do not align with yours, a motion was introduced and passed to not allow Nanaimo residents to view the material at their own publicly-funded facility. The event features world-class speakers and focuses solely on leadership.

The mover of the motion, Councillor Fred Pattje, also expressed concern with one of the speakers, Dr. Henry Cloud, because of his religious beliefs on homosexuality. To deem him “hateful”, “hate-based”, or as “promoting hatred” is ridiculous. Councillor Pattje, I would encourage you to do some background research on Dr. Cloud before making such preposterous claims. Contrary to what you stated, Dr. Cloud is not a psychologist and has never claimed to be. You will find that while he may have a different opinion than you do about the biblical definition of marriage and traditional family values, he has only promoted love for all people. I cannot find a single instance of Dr. Cloud promoting hatred.

With regards to Dr. Cloud, Councillor Bill Bestwick stated, “Personally, I don’t want to hear what this person has to say,” before suggesting that his segment should be blacked out in order to send a message. If Mr. Bestwick would like to rush to judgement about an individual’s credibility to speak on leadership because of a preconceived notion of what he thinks his religious beliefs represent, that is his prerogative. He has the choice to not attend that seminar. But to go a step further and suggest that nobody in Nanaimo should be able to watch this speaker is blatant censorship and an absolute abuse of government authority. I believe the citizens of Nanaimo are intelligent enough to make decisions about what they will or will not listen to and who they will or will not support.

Perhaps most offensive was the comparison of holding Christian views, or “very strong unbelievable Christian beliefs” to the kidnapping of the nearly 300 girls in Nigeria, which ironically were victims of Christian persecution by Islamic extremists. For Councillor Jim Kipp to suggest that this is an archaic viewpoint and “criminal” in this day and age is not only offensive, but absurd.

Gay marriage is currently at the forefront of debates across jurisdictions in North America, and as late as this week, there were extensive debates in several U.S. states surrounding this very issue. President Barack Obama changed his mind about gay marriage only last year.

Many religions hold traditional views on marriage, sex and family. This does not in any way make them hate-based. I must say, I am baffled by the logic that is evident here. You are suggesting your perspective is the absolute truth. Anyone who disagrees with this perspective is “promoting hate”, and therefore is forbidden to have use of publicly funded facilities. On that note, I imagine you are still content with receiving tax dollars for these facilities from Nanaimo residents who identify as Christian.

When you say your council is “progressive and open-minded,” I find the hypocrisy laughable. Your comments clearly demonstrate that you are tolerant of all people, except Christians (and certainly not “strong Christians”).

I spoke about this issue recently in the Senate Chamber when Ontario and Nova Scotia’s Law Societies  pre-emptively rejected future graduates of Trinity Western University’s Law School because the school’s code of conduct does not accept the act of sex outside the traditional definition of marriage. I applaud B.C.’s law society for upholding the rule of law. As I am sure you all know, in 2001, the B.C. College of Teachers was trying to deny accreditation of Trinity Western’s teaching degree because the school insisted upon the same code of conduct from its students. The court ruled in favour of TWU, because: “For better or worse, tolerance of divergent beliefs is a hallmark of a democratic society.”

I could not agree more. However, it has been made apparent again that bigoted, ignorant and discriminatory attitudes toward Christians are accepted and even politically correct today.

Thank you to Councillor Bill McKay for being the voice of reason in this and encouraging a fair platform to discuss this issue. Your voice came through strong and I am sure the citizens of Nanaimo are pleased to have you representing them.

While Councillor Kipp wrongfully believes that holding certain religious views is “almost criminal,” he should understand that discrimination based on religion actually is against the law. 



Regards,



Senator Don Plett

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Nanaimo Chamber - Leadercast Position

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce
Position on Nanaimo City Council Leadercast Cancellation

Nanaimo has been under a growing spotlight of negative scrutiny after a motion by Nanaimo City Council to suddenly and arbitrarily prohibit a video conference of global business, political and cultural icons speaking on the subject of leadership passed by a margin of 8 – 1 on May 5.

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce had agreed, with others in the community, to sponsor this international event presented locally by Glacier Media, publishers of the Nanaimo Daily News. Luminary speakers such as Desmond Tutu, Laura Bush, Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Sinek were booked. The Chamber had also sponsored a speaking engagement by Sinek less than a year previously.

City Council explained, in a lengthy presentation of individual opinions, their rationale for taking this questionable approach to an event that would seem, on inspection, a very positive contribution to the business community at the least.

The Chamber of Commerce has lost its investment as a sponsor of “Leadercast”, as did the presenters. All of Nanaimo missed an opportunity to hear a leadership message from global thought generators. In our assessment, the opinion of a small sector of the community, voiced through one or two individuals, was given unwarranted, special attention at the detriment of the larger community.

We support the City of Nanaimo in its efforts to reverse the unfavourable light cast upon our community. The Chamber will exercise its mandate to assist and support the community to rectify negative perceptions of Nanaimo resulting from this action, including short and long-term actions. Nanaimo remains an open and inclusive community respecting the diversity of race, religion, creed and opinion that is the basis of our social mosaic.

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Serious Legal Errors - Leadercast Cancellation


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


John Carpay outlines what he describes as 'serious legal errors' in the May 5th decision by Nanaimo City Council to cancel the Leadercast simulcast scheduled for May 9th in the VICC.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Can Nanaimo 'Unring' The Bell?

Council Action Rang A Bell Heard Across the Nation
and not in a good way!

Perhaps time has proven to this council there is so seldom any real result as a consequence of their actions, they think they can simply get away with anything.

Sadly, for the most part that has proven to be the case, as the slumbering Nanaimo electorate are either too lazy or uninformed to ever hold Council responsible for there actions. Beyond Council, city senior management seem to be able to duck consequence for their actions also. Everyone, who should be responsible seem to be wearing teflon suits these past few years.

In 2011, Mayor Ruttan and the council of the day, decided, behind closed doors to grant a multi-million dollar, untendered contract to build staff a shiny new office. By the time the public was even aware of this questionable decision, the ink was already dry on the contract, and in spite of petitions and public anger, they simply hunkered down and waited for it to blow over. Which it did.

In 2012, Mayor Ruttan and this council, under strong advice from city manager Al Kenning, decided to take Nanaimo on a costly and very contentious ride over the Colliery Dams. Remember, how the headlines read the dams would cost $30 million to replace, and there was a 40% chance of failure within 50 years? They actually went so far as to spend YOUR tax dollars seeking a court injunction against YOU before you had done anything.

In 2014, Mayor Ruttan and this council with the aid of city staff crafted and passed a motion which passed 8 - 1 in favour of ignoring the Constitution. All of this done in a recorded Committee of the Whole meeting where some enlightening insight can be gained into the inner thinking of most members of this council. Only Bestwick has come out and offered an honest apology for his support of that motion. As for the rest, I don't really know how they would apologize for expressing what they really think.

Yes, this city council has managed to get Nanaimo more publicity than hundreds of thousands spent on an ad campaign could ever accomplish. How they can ever UNRING that bell will be a real challenge.


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Nanaimo City Council's Favoured Sport?



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Nanaimo Canada Day Celebrations 2014



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Sun Media Ads Pressing For Rescinding of Motion


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



Sun Media is sponsoring 56 radio spots on Nanaimo radio in an effort to pressure city council to apologize for their decision to ban the Leadercast simulcast from the VICC. Sun Media is also demanding city council rescind their motion of May 5, which still stands as a Nanaimo law. Describing the Nanaimo statement as an ironic apology (city council is sorry some took offense), Ezra Levant is vowing to keep up the pressure until Nanaimo City Council rescinds it's motion of May 5.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Nanaimo Gas Cartel Strikes Again

Nanaimo Gas Prices Still Highest


How in the world the local gas retail monopoly keeps getting away with it, is one of life's mysteries. It would seem the local cartel realizes that the Nanaimo motoring public is just too timid or dense to make a fuss over what is clearly the result of having no real competition in the market place.

Come to Nanaimo and pay 11 cents more per litre than you would pay in Victoria. Does the local hospitality industry think this is really what we want to be known for? Contact your MP, your MLA, your Mayor and Council, the NEDC, Nanaimo Tourism and anyone else you think might have some clout, to see if pressure can't be brought to bear to break this gouging cartel.

Of course they might not actually be a cartel, it could be just blame dumb luck that all stations pump for the same price and there may be legitimate reasons why Nanaimo motorists consistently are paying more than other places on the Island.

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Nanaimo Property Tax Deadline - July 2

5% Penalty Applied To Outstanding Tax Balance

Nanaimo Property owners are reminded that the 2014 Property Tax deadline is quickly approaching. All payments must be made, and Northern and Rural Home Owner Grants must be claimed by end of day July 2nd to avoid a 5% penalty that will be applied to any outstanding tax balance.

Last minute payments can be made in our office with debit card, cash, or cheque during office hours, or by putting a cheque in our drop box located by the front doors of the Service and Resource Centre (411 Dunsmuir Street) at any time. You can also make internet or telephone banking payments, wire a payment to the City's bank account, or make payment at your financial institution providing you have a copy of your tax notice.

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MLA Routley Weighs In On Leadercast


The following is a comment posted on this website by MLA Doug Routely, I have checked with him and he confirms he is the author.


Would you accept a convention sponsored by the Klu Klux Clan?

The sponsors have attempted to overturn the Human Rights Act protected rights of a group based on their identity. Ezra Levant and Sun are the worst example of extremist media in Canada, as evidenced by their spin that Nanaimo banned Christians.

Levant appears to pass up no opportunity to foment division and undermine progressive Canadian values. He seems determined to "Americanize" Canadian politics and social discourse to the detriment of all of us.

Free speech is not without responsibility and the sponsors of that convention who have attacked the rights of Canadians now, ironically, challenge the decision of Council by invoking rights protected under the same act. This is a sad perversion of the intent of our Charter.

Do Christians feel comfortable being identified alongside the bigoted sponsors? I suspect that those who object to the decision of Council have never been chased down an alley or beaten in a school yard because of who they are. Kudos to the City Council of Nanaimo.

Doug Routley

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Gary Korpan Questions Mayor Ruttan


John;

I just read in today's Daily News that you  issued a statement that: "people of all faiths are entitled to utilize facilities that are owned or controlled by the City of Nanaimo".

That is most laudable and up until May 5, 2014 that has been the City's policy. However, the following motion adopted by Council 8 to 1 (including you) not only contradicts that long standing policy but effectively rescinds it.


MINUTES - COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE 2014 -MAY-05 PAGE 3
7.OTHER BUSINESS:(a)Councillor Pattje – Proposed Motion–Vancouver Island Conference Centre Events
It was moved and seconded that the City of Nanaimo advise the VICC that as  owners of the facility, any events that are associated with organizations or people that  promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate not be permitted and as such, advise the VICC not to permit in a City owned facility, the upcoming Leadercast event that is scheduled for 2014-MAY-09
. The motion carried
.Opposed:Councillor McKay

Perhaps if Council had asked for a Staff report, possibly a legal opinion, they might have realized the unconstitutionality of such a motion. Mind you, in the 2nd decade of the 21st century most Nanaimo citizens would have assumed their Council members would have understood, and abided by, the fundamental principles of the Canadian Constitution without having to check with others.

Please advise us as to when and where you called a special open Council meeting to rescind the motion of May 5th? While a mayor has the authority to call the Council to a meeting to reconsider a motion, you do not have the authority to unilaterally over-rule a Council motion.

Gary Korpan

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City Statement Re: Leadercast Cancellation

Statement: City of Nanaimo Council’s Leadercast 2014 May 5th Decision




The City of Nanaimo wishes to clarify its position relating to the resolution that its elected Council passed on May 5, 2014 and the resulting cancellation of the Leadercast 2014 event that was scheduled at the City owned Vancouver Island Conference Centre (VICC).

During the week prior to May 5, City and VICC management received correspondence and phone calls from members of the public expressing concerns that the upcoming Leadercast event may promote sentiments that are offensive to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.  In response to these concerns, on May 5, Council passed the following resolution: 

“It was moved and seconded that the City of Nanaimo advise the VICC that as owners of the facility, any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate not be permitted and as such, advise the VICC not to permit in a City owned facility, the upcoming Leadercast event that is scheduled for May 9, 2014.” 

With reflection and subsequent discussions with members of Nanaimo’s faith community, Nanaimo’s City Council regrets that its actions in passing the May 5 resolution has been perceived as being directed at or discriminatory against Christians or any other religious groups.  This was not the intent of the resolution and in no way reflects the beliefs and values of the City or its Council.

The City of Nanaimo and its Council fully support and are committed to upholding the fundamental rights and freedoms of all Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code

The City of Nanaimo and its Council also recognize that the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code apply equally to the protection against discrimination of Canadians of all races, national or ethnic origin, colour, age, mental or physical disability, religions, sex and sexual orientation.

And finally, the City of Nanaimo and its Council recognize that the fundamental rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code must sometimes be balanced between groups of Canadians having differing views and that the process of creating this balance is both challenging and complex.

Nanaimo’s Council accepts that, in passing the May 5 resolution, some Canadians support its actions while other Canadians do not.  However, if presented with comparable circumstances again, Nanaimo’s current Council is confident that actions similar to those taken on May 5 would not be repeated.

The City of Nanaimo and its Council strongly believe that Canadians of all races, national or ethnic origin, colour, age, mental or physical disability, religions, sex and sexual orientation are entitled to use any facility that is either owned by or in the control of the City in the same manner, subject always to the rule of law.

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New VIHA Building Coming Along

New VIHA Offices In Terminal Park


The new three storey office building in Terminal Park is pretty much finished on the outside but there is still much finishing work to complete on the interior.

Merchants in the mall adjacent this project have seen a considerable reduction in parking available for their customers as the construction area encompasses a very large area.

The building is expected to be occupied by the early fall of this year.

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Nanaimo Boathouse & Paddling Centre - Costly?


Note: Email subsribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view this video.



Listen closely to this exchange between city council and city staff with regards to the request for 'support in principle' from the Nanaimo Boathouse Society.

While the proponent claimed they were not seeking capital funding from the city, the response from our city manager would indicate, that given council support, the city would be obliged to match the funding from senior levels of government.

There are many additional details of this proposal which need to be scrutinized before council commits YOUR tax dollars to this project.

How much will this project actually cost Nanaimo Taxpayers - all costs in? Why can't this society, produce a business/operating plan that would not require taxpayer funding similar to the golf club, a tennis club or the curling club?

allvoices

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Nanaimo Taxpayers Wasted $5675


Nanaimo Taxpayers Nearly Wasted $11,350


In the overall scheme of things when you are talking about a city budget which exceeded $200,000,000 last year the saving of $5675 does not seem like much of a big deal.

However, it does illustrate how Nanaimo taxpayers hard earned dollars can be squandered with barely a second thought.

A Little Story With Huge Implications


This may seem like a long winded article for basically what many may consider as really small potatoes, but believe me it clearly illustrates a lot of what is wrong with how tax dollars are spent, not only in Nanaimo, but likely any municipality you would care to mention.

Centre Stage is the really poor investment city hall has made on behalf of Nanaimo taxpayers. Councillors wishing to support the arts folk in Nanaimo can rationalize providing a space for fledgling arts groups, and it seems that the money is no object, nor where the money is spent.

The building at 25 Victoria Road has an assessed value of $283,000 and so far has been supported with over $800,000 of YOUR hard earned tax dollars.

A group under the leadership of Ms Camela Tang has operated the theatre for the past three years, and during that time have been responsible for a nearly $40,000 bill being picked up by Nanaimo taxpayers due to burst pipes in an unheated building. Earlier this year the group pitched city council for a $40,000 operating grant, up from the $11.350 which council did approve.

When city council refused the $40,000 ask the group notified the city taxpayer they would no longer operate the theatre past the end of June 2014. They had already received the full $11.350 from the city to manage the facility and should only have been entitled to $5675 which would represent the amount due for six months operation. This is how Nanaimo taxpayers wasted $5675, and city council did not instruct city staff to recover the $5675. Why? A good question.

The Saga Continues


After issuing an RFP to find someone to replace Tang's group for the specified amount of $11.350 city staff came to council with a recommendation to accept a deal with a new group to run the theatre. The group was the only offer on the table.

The agreement staff was recommending said the new group would be paid $11.350 for the operation of the theatre for the balance of 2014. At this meeting I appeared as a delegate and tried to determine exactly what the new group would be paid for 2014. It was clear that Councillor Bestwick and Mayor Ruttan believed the new group would be receiving $5675 for the balance of 2014 in spite of how the agreement was written.

During that meeting when asked for clarity, Mr. Hickey a senior city manager first indicated the group would receive only 50% of the total for 2014. When I pressed, noting that is not what the agreement said, Mr. Hickey agreed that for 2014 the group would receive the full $11.350 for only half a year.

At this point city council had already approved the agreement which would have seen this new group paid twice what they thought they were agreeing to.


The Saga Continues to Continue


I asked city staff for an explanation and clarity the day after the meeting of council and was told that during discussions with the new group it was felt they should receive the full $11,350 for 2014 to help them get started.

I then asked staff when they had been given the authority to exceed the wishes of council, and have now been told the agreement has been adjusted so the new operator will only receive $5675 for 2014 rather than the previously agreed amount of $11.350.

The 'Take Away' From This Little Saga


On the evening of the council meeting, when council finally realized they had approved spending $5675 more than they thought they were, no one took steps to address the matter.

City staff would have changed nothing, had I not pointed out how this whole process was flawed, and that staff was acting beyond the authority given them by council.

A Small Saving Of Tax Dollars


As the President of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association I have appeared before city council on a number of occasions identifying what I believe to be wasteful spending or poor decisions. This however, is the first time I can point to a genuine saving of city taxpayer dollars.

The question remains: why has this council not instructed staff to recover the $5675 Tang's group received from the city for services they did not deliver?

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Say awwwwww




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Nanaimo Farmers' Markets June 27 - 29


 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets


nanaimo-info-blog.com
Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 2 - Oct. 11, 2014)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

We are proud to say that we believe our market is one of the prettiest on the island. We have a large base of drop in vendors which keep our market ever changing. We enjoy watching the eagles fly overhead, the boats coming and going and the planes taking off every Friday. Our vendors always have a smile for our visitors. Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at www.nanaimofarmersmarket.com or call 250-754-1998.


nanaimo-info-blog.com
Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Open Wednesday (May - Oct. 2014)

The Bowen Road Farmers’ Market was started by a group of people concerned about our ever quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant market. Weekly we feature musicians and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products produced by organic growers who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and meet the person who grows and produces the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May to October 2014, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information call 250-390-5199 or visit their website HERE.


nanaimo-info-blog.com
 Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 11 - Oct. 2014)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 11th through to October.

The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.

For information visit lantzvillefarmersmarket.com. or call 250-729-8646.



nanaimo-info-blog.com

Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 12 - Oct. 27, 2014)

Take a Sunday drive out into the country, park in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub, feel grassy field below your feet and talk with the farmer that grows your food.

Open from May 12 to October 27, 2014 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

For more information visit their website at www.cedarfarmersmarket.com or call 250-668-5783


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Nanaimo Bathtub Racing Season Is Here!

Neck and neck down to the wire!
Should not exit tub until you can touch bottom
Feet - don't fail me now!
True spirit of bathtub racing competition

Bathtub Race Fever Coming To Nanaimo

Local Shaw TV personality Kait Burgan has been training long and hard to compete in this year's Great International Bathtub Race.

This past Sunday, Kait had the chance to put her training into action with her entry in the 'all class' bathtub race held in Departure Bay. The race saw entrants with all class of tubs competing in their first event of the season leading up to the big race for all the marbles next month.

Kait had explained to me prior to the race, that being short worked to her advantage as she was able to 'stretch out' in the tub to avoid some of the body paralyzing cramps other entrants will have to endure on the day of the Great Race.

She seemed to have forgotten that being short also comes with disadvantage when exiting the tub at the finish line. When you exit the tub into six feet of water, and you are only five feet nothing, there is an extremely good chance you will have to swim to the finish while ingesting large quantities of salt water.

In the end, at the finish line, Kait and her runner-up shared the ringing of the bell, officially logging their times as a dead heat.

The tub Kait will be racing in (sponsored by Fairwinds) has actually won the Great Race in another lifetime, and Kate hopes that lightning will strike twice and she will walk away with the 'stock' championship later next month.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Is Kitty Happy ? ? ?

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Family Fun Night & BBQ



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Venture Capital Fund Headquarters In Nanaimo




VANCOUVER ISLAND VENTURE CAPITAL FUND LAUNCHES



The Vancouver Island Venture Acceleration Fund (“VIVA”) is the first dedicated investment fund targeting early-stage, high-growth technology companies on Vancouver Island. Providing more than just money, VIVA brings connections, knowledge and mentoring to bold early-stage entrepreneurs with game-changing ideas.

“The mission of VIVA is to be a catalyst in helping build the Island’s economy into a thriving center of technology and entrepreneurship – enabling companies to innovate, grow and succeed on the Island,” said Allan Wiekenkamp, Board Director of VIVA.

Business start-up and expansion is one of the keys to economic development at the local level. Most entrepreneurs agree that raising capital is the primary obstacle hindering their growth. On Vancouver Island, few venture or angel sources are making investments in early stage technology companies. Recognizing this challenge, VIVA was created for individual investors who are keen to see the Island’s knowledge-based economy prosper.

“The VIVA Fund has the potential to make a huge difference for Island technology companies,” said Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation. “We are very pleased that they have chosen Nanaimo as their headquarters for this new venture.”

For more information about VIVA visit their website.

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Nanaimo Council Decision Goes Viral

Council Motion Puts Nanaimo In Spotlight


If you Google Nanaimo Council Bans Christians it will return 72,900 results, Nanaimo Council Bans Conference  will return 11.800.000 results, Nanaimo Council Bans Christian Conference will return 11,500,000 results and Nanaimo Christian Conference returns 143,000 results. Notably, none of the references to Nanaimo are in any way favourable. Being cast as bullying, free speech hating bigots can hardly be doing anything to raise our profile in a positive fashion.

Now, if only the brain trust at city hall could figure out how to harness the power of the internet to promote something positive about Nanaimo, that would be a fantastic day.


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Last Weekend In Nanaimo

Aboriginal Day in Bowen Park on Saturday

Miners Picnic In Deverill Park

Law Enforcement 5K Torch Run

There was lots to see and do in Nanaimo last Saturday, so much so, I had a hard time getting to all the events until some were coming to an end. That said they were all well attended and enjoyed by those in attendance under a perfect day In Nanaimo.

The Aboriginal Day in Bowen saw visitors treated to a wide range of events and displays celebrating Aboriginal heritage. The event was at the picnic shelter in Bowen Park right beside the river.

Miners Picnic is perhaps the best attended, free family fun event in Nanaimo with free rides, music, rockwall climbing and much more including one of Gord Fuller's famous BBQ dogs.

The Law Enforcement 5K Torch Run was another success raising $2500 for a great cause which included the 5K run (walk or stroll also works) followed by the ever popular hot dog and hamburger BBQ ably staffed by Const. O'Brien and company. Superintendent Mark Fisher was busy after participating in the 5K event, he was off to a paddling event at Long Lake.

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Colliery Dam - A Trip Down Memory Lane


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


Last May you will recall council voted to remove and replace both of these dams, without any plans in place to accomplish what they voted to do. Remember? They then took the unbelievable step of trying to get a preemptive injunction against citizens who might oppose the removal of these structures. Remember?

Turns out this was another poor decision of this city council which has cost Nanaimo taxpayers untold hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. It also demonstrates some pretty high handed decisions, made under the direction of city staff which should likely have raised far more alarm bells than they did.

Remove both dams without a plan in place to replace them? $50,000 or so on legal fees to file an injunction against John and Jane Doe to stop any civil action against dam removal.

Turns out, that whole premise for that complete waste of tax dollars was a work of fantasy. The dams are not in jeopardy of  a catastrophic failure due to a phantom seismic event. Now our only real concern is another Noah's flood.

Really? Do different levels of government have nothing better to do, than try and figure out how to set fire to piles of taxpayers' cash?

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Legal Challenge To Leadercast Cancellation


Note: Email Subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view video.


Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom Offers Representation

$5,000 Pledged To Pay Legal Costs


The above six minute video clip was not included in the first link I published earlier to the Sun media report commenting on City Councils May 5th decision to cancel the Leadercast simulcast.

John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom says they are in discussion with people from Nanaimo who may be interested in mounting a court challenge to the Nanaimo city council motion.

Ezra Levant pledged to raise $5,000 to support the legal challenge, should a plaintiff step forward.


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Bowen Road Farmers' Market - June 25, 2014

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
 Open Wednesday

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market which is open every Wednesday from 4:00 - 6:30 pm has become a very popular spot for those seeking local produce, meats, bread, baking, cheese, preserves etc. etc.

Musicians add to the 'flavour' of the market which is truly a unique experience in Nanaimo offering a wide range of specialty products and quality food items.

There are many vendors offering locally grown produce that is as fresh as it can be, unless you grew it yourself. You will also find artisan bread, meat products, soaps, honey, organic bird seed (for your feathered friends) to name a few items.

So put a big circle on your calendar for Wednesday's and be sure to arrive early as some of the most popular vendors, simply sell out of product.

The market is located at Beban Park on the VIEX grounds ....... you can't miss it!

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Boathouse Society Asks For City Funds


 Society Asks For $100,000/yr. To Fund Operations


Camela Tang and Ian Niamath made a presentation to city council, pitching them on plans the Nanaimo Boathouse Society has for a multi story Boathouse and Paddling Centre to be built beside the Brechin boat ramp.

They presented letters showing a broad range of support from different members of the boating and paddling community who feel this facility could be an asset to the community. Their presentation did not include any credible feasibility study to support the long term viability of their venture, which does seem to have merit.

A question not addressed by city council was why they could not construct a business model which would not rely on the city taxpayer kicking in $100,000/yr for operating funds. Many similar facilities operate without city taxpayer assistance such as golf clubs, racquet clubs, curling rinks and the like.

It was also not very clear just what kind of arrangement was being made with the city for the use of the waterfront lot beside the Brechin boat ramp. Would the society lease the land from the city? Would they have a long term license of use? Where would they park their members vehicles? The boat ramp parking lot is quite often near capacity now.

In the end council voted in favour of the staff recommendation not to approve in principle the proposed Nanaimo Boathouse & Paddling Centre until Council has determined that this is a priority project.

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Nanaimo Council Gets Some Toronto Sun Ink

Councils Decison To Ban Leadercast Draws Attention

Nanaimo City Councillors Labelled 'Bigots'


Nanaimo City Council's May 5th decision to ban the Leadercast simulcast from being seen in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre has sparked a response in the Toronto Sun.

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity, but I am not sure that would apply in this case.  I think if actually thinking through the implications of their hasty action could be done over, Council would likely opt for a 'do-over'.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Signs Should Come Down NOW

A Testimony To Chicken Littles' Reign At City Hall
Impacting Property Values?

Why is the city of Nanaimo still in the business of championing a false threat? Should there be a class action against them for lost property values?

Now that the 'never was' threat of this instantaneous, catastrophic flood in Harewood as a result of an earthquake is proven to be pure fantasy, why in heck are these signs still up?

You might think city hall, would be quick to remove any reminder of their absolute folly of this past year, to which these signs testify.

Take the signs down NOW before someone sues us for lost property value.

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Boathouse & Paddling Centre - Concern

Boathouse & Paddling Centre Should Not Use Taxpayer Funds
 
Make it clear, I am not against the boathouse and paddling centre. If the SFN, VIU and the Dragon Boat festival are in support, that is fine, LET THEM FUND IT. Let them go to the bank and co-sign on the mortgage. The Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak club can take out a second mortgage or use their line of credit.  The Nanaimo Paddlers can hold fundraisers for as long as it takes.

BUT this project is for private enterprise and should NOT be funded by the taxpayer. The city does NOT fund bus tours, the city should not be funding Hotels, the city does not fund restaurants. There is no conceivable reason for the city to fund this boathouse proposal. 

Alberni Outpost already runs a paddling and adventure centre on the waterfront, and the city should not be helping one business enterprise put another out of of business. If the Boathouse Society wants, they could go to Alberni Outpost with their ideas and ask how they could help Alberni Outpost be more of a success or they could compete on a level playing field.

We have seen the record of the presenter. When city council asked her about fundraising for other endeavors- it was plain to see the response. When city council refused to buckle to her demands for management fees to be paid by the taxpayer, she bailed out -leaving the project at risk and leaving the taxpayer in the lurch. City Council was forced to go to the public and ask for help. She is here again asking for taxpayer funded management fees. 

When the Society first approached the city, 'the commission recommended that the society proceed with a feasibility study on the concept... '  What did the society do? I hear they went and suckered the NEDC to pay for this study.  They did not raise the money themselves, they did not call on their own so-called experts.. they got the city taxpayer to pay for the study. 

In reality, if this project had a leg to stand on from a business point of view, the group could get private financing and make money on the project.  They are coming to council because they KNOW they can't go to the bank.   

This Boathouse group is being predatory.  Like a smooth operator going to family.. knows full well no bank would support the project, they have amassed other family members to say 'Great Idea', but we notice none of the other so called family is prepared to put in 'their money'.  Now the predator is focusing on the rich aunt who is known to have a big bank account and a problem saying 'no'.   

City Council is in a win-win situation tonight. If this business plan is such a good idea, say no to risking taxpayer money and force the Boat house Society to obtain private financing.  If the Boathouse Society is successful, the city gets the tourists anyways. If they are not successful with private money.. the taxpayer loses nothing.  City Council wins either way.

Others here tonight call it 'trough feeding', not that they are wrong - I suggest being a little more polite. This may be a new concept in municipal politics for Nanaimo, it is called 'tough love'.  It is time to quit the coddling, let these projects take responsibility for their own fiscal duties. If it is to succeed, let it succeed on its own merits. 

It is not the taxpayers responsibility to risk or to pay for peoples dreams or hobbies. 

Tim McGrath

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Nanaimo City Hall Wages - Affordable? Sustainable?

Over $75,000/yr 'Category' Exploding at City Hall



The above comparison is a composite taken from the 2008 SOFI report and the 2013 SOFI report. It shows some startling trends with the wage trajectory at city hall under Mayor Ruttan's leadership.

It would be hard to argue that the workload at city hall has been on an upward climb since 2008, and I am hard pressed to see where city hall is providing anything in the way of more core services now, than in 2008.

During this 5 year period the total wages being paid at city hall to the over $75K category went from $10,886,263 in 2008  to $21,567,907 in 2013. Total remuneration in all wage categories went from $40,916,799 in 2008 to $49,694,491 in 2013.

Not included in these figures are the wages and benefits paid to the RCMP which in 2013 was approximately $19 million.

Is this going to be the legacy of this council? Nearly doubling the total amount being paid in the over $75K/yr club and increasing the total cost of wages by nearly 22%. How can anyone think those levels of increases are affordable in a community where the median income is $28,982? The average income is $37,656 and only 29% of all households have earnings in excess of $70,000.


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Why Is Communications Mgr Answering?

Why Didn't City Manager or Finance Director Take Question?

At the Jun 16 Committee of the Whole meeting the Municipal Annual Report for 2013 had been on the agenda after the draft version being made public one week ago. It had been removed before the meeting and Councillor Bestwick asked for a reason as to why.

You would expect either the Finance Director or City Manager to provide the answer, both of whom were present. However, that was not the case, as Mr. Cooper, the communication manager was front and centre and offered the following explanation:

"There was a number of deadlines that had to be recognized and we didn't recognize those deadlines, so it needs to appear next week rather than this week".

Councillor Bestwick did not ask for a clarification, so clearly he has a better grasp of bafflegab than I do. What deadlines weren't recognized when the draft version had been available a week previous?

I repeat why was this question fielded by the communications manager rather than finance director or city manager.

Curious????


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Nanaimo City Land Exchange Creates 44.5 Acre Park


Nanaimo Land Exchange Expands Millstone Greenway

Agricultural Land Commission Approval Required to Move Forward

The City of Nanaimo has entered into land exchange agreements with two property owners along the Millstone River to expand the Greenway system.  Under the land exchange agreement, the City will transfer  4.5 acres of land from a City owned parcel at 155 Westwood Road in exchange for 10.7 acres of land, north of the Millstone River. The land exchange agreement requires the approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to permit the adjustment of the property boundaries and for the construction of a pedestrian trail linking East Wellington and Westwood Roads.

On June 23, 2014, a staff report will be brought forward to Council requesting a resolution supporting the project be forwarded to the ALC. Council will also be asked for direction to publish a Notice of Disposition in the local newspaper. Once the Notice has run, Council will be in a position at the July 14, 2014 Council meeting to provide final approval of the agreements.

When complete this exchange will create a 44.5 acre park between East Wellington Rd. and Westwood Road.





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Caledonia Park Improvements Well Underway


If you have been past Caledonia Park recently on Wall Street, you will have noticed the old covered seating has been removed and a fresh concrete pad in awaiting the arrival of the new seating, which will not be covered.

There are also renovations and additions to the washrooms and changing areas as well. These improvements are all part of an upgrade planned to make the facility more suitable for Raiders Football games, and other teams using the field. The field has been in need of upgrades for sometime now, and Nanaimo got a bit of a black eye from the league the Raiders play in, when we had to provide temporary tented change facilities and woefully inadequate change and shower facilities.

As football fans will know, the VI Raiders have brought considerable fame and attention to Nanaimo during their illustrious football career, and the aged Caledonia Park was a considerable embarrassment , not only to the Raiders but the the City itself.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Nanaimo City Hall Wages & Benefits - 2013

 Nanaimo City Hall Remuneration, Benefits & Expenses 2013


Follows is the list of employees earning in excess of $75,000/yr and the summary of all employees total remuneration including city council. This list also reports expenses claimed by council and staffers.

This report does not include approximately $19 million which is paid to the RCMP. Since they are not considered direct employees their wages do not appear on this document.

Note: Clicking on the image will enlarge it making for easier reading. You can also increase the image size of your browser in some cases.









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