Contact

Ph: 250 754 6389 / Cell: 250 797 0531 / e-mail: gorfathome@yahoo.ca

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Re My latest Letter to the Editor

Well the Daily News posted my letter today. I was comparing their version with mine and was pleasantly surprised to see it running word for word. Then I came to the last paragraph and low and behold they did not print the last sentence, "In either system you would hope that votes would be cast for those with the broadest knowledge representative of the whole community."

This sentence goes to the crux of the matter for those speaking against the Ward System. Often they view the Ward System as representative of the area only, where in fact, one would hope that the ward would elect persons with a broad base of knowledge about the community. We all know that the way things are does not necessarily mean we get that type of broad representation.

Nanaimo Food Charter

For anyone interested there will be a Forum on the 29th that should move us on our way to developing a Food Charter for the City of Nanaimo. Sponsored by Food Link Nanaimo, I was on their board the first few years after their inception, their press release is below the links to various Food Charters. Interestingly the revised Official Community Plan has a section 3.4 on Food Security. Hope to see you there on Saturday.

Vancouver http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/socialplanning/initiatives/foodpolicy/policy/charter.htm

Manitoba Food Security http://food.cimnet.ca/cim/43C1_3T7T4T97.dhtm

Toronto Food Security http://www.toronto.ca/food_hunger/


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 18, 2008
Grow Nanaimo!
Creating a local food strategy together

Nanaimo, BC – Food Link Nanaimo is set to host a Fall Food Forum to beginthe dialogue on how our community can work together to create a local foodcharter and long-term food strategy. The event will take place onSaturday, November 29th from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at Christ Community Churchon 2221 Bowen Rd. The event will be preceded by a screening of newlyreleased film, Island on the Edge, by local film maker Nick Versteeg, onFriday November 28, at 7pm, also at the church.

Elder Ellen White Kwulasulwut, Nanaimo Nation, will perform the OpeningBlessing, followed by Community singing led by Sylvia Wende. The event isfacilitated by Kxx Citton. The morning guest speaker is Richard Balfour,New City Institute (Vancouver), followed by the Plenary on MunicipalEngagement and Food Security that will include panellists Deborah Jensen,City of Nanaimo, Chris Midgley Sustainability Coordinator RegionalDistrict of Nanaimo, and Fred Pattje, City Councillor.

According to Sandra Christensen, Chair of Food Link, "In the morning, thegoal is to establish an overview for the work that needs to be done,beginning with some important concepts around relationship-building andcore values. As the participants move into more dialogue, by theafternoon they will be breaking into smaller groups so that all theparticipants will have their voices heard and recorded. "

The afternoon guest speaker is Jarrod Gunn-McQuillan, from VIHA, giving anIntroduction to the Food Charter Process. Afternoon workshops include:"Local food system and policy" - Sandra Mark of Edible Strategies;"Growing more food locally" - Jessica Snider of Nanaimo Community GardensSociety; "Working with Aboriginal community" - Tanis Daggert of BCHLA; and"School food & garden programs" - Anna Dodds of Foodshare Nanaimo.

Food Link has identified several anticipated outcomes that include:
-developing a stronger relationship between the City / RDN andthe community, by engaging in dialogue and visualizing how the communitycan unify its food action goals,
-facilitating relationship building and inspiring dialogue,
-creating a shared vision for our community,
-documenting many voices and perspectives on the issue of foodsustainability,
-laying the ground work to develop a community process forcreating a food charter and longterm food strategy for Nanaimo.

Please consider attending yourself, or sending a representative from yourorganization, school or business.

Registration and more information contact: info@foodlinknanaimo.com

This is a free event. Free childcare available. Local food vendorMermaid's Mug on-site. Food offering table. Sponsored by BCHC – BCHealthy Communities.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Letter regarding Daily News Editorial

To the editor;

If anything the results of our recent election show a great need for voter reform and revisiting the Ward System.

Why did those elected receive City Wide Support? Simply because that is the way the current system works. The only other alternative under this system is not to vote, which many did as can be seen by the lower voter turnout 32.25% in 2008 compared to 35.4% in 2005 and this despite a 2000 person increase to the voters list.

Five polling stations were removed in Nanaimo and replaced by two others. Did this have an effect? I have no doubt that it did particularly in the south end. While most going to Pauline Haarar School in 2005 could be expected to utilize the Convention Centre it is unlikely those who went to Bayview School would do the same. While some would go to Chase River or Georgia Avenue Schools many, without transportation, would have simply abstained from voting.

In 2005 Bayview and Pauline Haarar Schools accounted for 1733 votes. A simple analysis of the increases at Chase River (18) and Georgia Avenue (198) plus the votes cast at the Convention Centre (984), less than Pauline Haarar School in 2005, shows a total of 1200 votes. The resultant 533 vote deficit is significant.

With the current system there is no representation on council south of Ebert St. , the Ward System would see representation of all areas. In either system you would hope that votes would be cast for those with the broadest knowledge representative of the whole community.

To view the editorial I commented on go to: City council must take broadest viewpoint

Monday, November 17, 2008

Electoral Reform

I find it interesting that even less people voted this election than last time and I have no doubt that the population has increased in Nanaimo since 2005 as well. This does not say much for Nanaimo though I should also mention that places like Ladysmith amd Victoria had a far lower percentage of voter turnout than Nanaimo.

Five polling stations were removed in Nanaimo and replaced by two others. Did this have an effect? I have no doubt that it did. My focus here is the South End so I won't be going into detail with the closures in the North End (if someone else has the info I would be glad to hear it).

While most who would have went to Pauline Haarar School during the last election would go to the Conventions Centre it is unlikely that those who went to Bayview School would do the same. While some would go to Chase River School or Georgia Avenue School many of those without transportation would have abstained from going down to the Convention Centre or either of the aforementioned because of the distance. I have heard this from a number of people who just did not vote because of the distance.

Despite an increase of approximately 2000 people to the voters list for 2008 voter turnout was way down, 32.25% in 2008 compared to 35.4% in 2005. Comparison of 2005 and 2008 results of total vote for mayor, it is easier to compare turnout as one can only vote for one as opposed to a person being able to pick eight councillors, prove interesting.

2005: Baayview School = 660, Pauline Haare School =1073, for a total of 1733. Chase river School 2005 = 896, 2008 = 914, for a net increase of 18. Georgia Avenue School 2008 = 1326, 2008 =1524, for a net increase of 198 and a total increase of the two of 216. Now in 2008 with the Convention Centre as the new location we had a total of 984 votes cast. If you add the 984 with the increase of 216 from Georgia Avenue and Chase River you get a total of 1200 votes cast. This shows, albeit not conclusively, a decrease of 533 votes. This is significant and a direct correlation with the closure of Bayview and Pauline Haarer polling stations.

I know the above is complicated and if you want to do any of your own comparrisons you can find both the 2005 & 2008 total Mayoral Votes documents at the following links:

Mayoral Results 2008

Mayoral Results 2005

So what is my conclusion? Exactly that we need to have Electoral Reform and that the polling stations, especially Bayview School, should be re-opened for the next election in 2011. We should also seriously revisit the Ward System Concept as well as setting term limits for both Mayor and Council.

For another viewpoint check out the Go Nanaimo Blog.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

VOTE TODAY

Today, November 15th, is the day to make change happen in the city of Nanaimo. Please remember to get out and vote and encourage your friends, family and neighbours to do so as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Province Promises Cash for Housing

Good news indeed. With the provincial governments signing of a memorandum of agreement things should soon be in place to move forward with some much needed housing for the disenfranchised. Many people have worked long and hard on this, it is a start, but there is still much to be done as it will take at least two or three years before any of the new build housing is complete. Much can happen in that period of time, especially with a provincial election looming on the horizon.

Where will the homeless stay until we see some of this new housing? Unlike many other cities Nanaimo does not have a Cold Wet Weather Strategy and has opted for an extreme weather strategy instead. The former would have extra bed space, accessed between 8:00 pm and 8:00 am, opening up during the months from October through April. The latter simply sees emergency beds opening up when the temperature drops below minus 5 degrees Celsius. Hardly adequate for the homeless, expecting them to stay outdoors, when almost everyone would agree and many would bitch about how crappy the weather can be when it is cold and raining. Certainly not out of the ordinary for Nanaimo.

More needs to be done immediately so talk to prospective candidates and once the election is over continue the push to see some form of redress to the fact that many will have to suffer unnecessarily while the majority of us sit in relative comfort and warmth.

Province boosts city housing plan with cash

Homeless plan deserves the public's support

Housing plan gets kickstart

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kontroversy Revisited

A couple more versions of the FREE NANAIMO from KORUPTION bumper sticker have come my way and are attached below.

Other than the initial veiled threats to some members of Friends of Plan Nanaimo and the current Law Suits against Angela Negrin, council candidate and propriator of Pirate Chips, and Tony Parkin, long time advocate for Lifeguards at our public beaches and No High-Rises on our waterfront, I can find no instances of others being sued for displaying the Free Nanaimo from Koruption bumper sticker. Oddly enough, early on in his vendetta, Mayor Korpan had stated that he would track down and prosecute to the fullest extent those that displayed the Free Nanaimo from Koruption bumper sticker. So why pick the two he did? We may never know the answer to this but my guess is because both have been vocal on various issues within the city.

This latest in the daily news, "City kills $5,700 TV spot because of sticker."

There have been numerous documented occasions when our illustrious Mayor has chosen to humiliate and denigrate those who have come before council or public hearings, I myself have frequently been the brunt of his remarks. If a policy on behaviour does not exist then when elected I will work to implement one. Too often people put a lot of work into appearing as a delegation to council and get slapped in the face by council members who may disagree with their point of view. Is it any wonder why there is a prevailing air of apathy that exists in Nanaimo, why people believe that decisions are already made prior to public engagement?

I have one final thing to say on the subject, Mayor Korpan if you don’t want to be remembered by the public as a petulant whiner drop the lawsuit and apologize to Tony and Angela.




That's 4 versions I have tracked down and a fifth with VICC I haven't been able to. See if you can collect them all.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More on Millennium and the PNC Hotel

The issue of our non-existent hotel for the convention centre has taken off, much like I believe Millennium will ultimately do. In the Globe and Mail story, Stalled hotel….., current Mayor Korpan states "This is not a white elephant. Even without the hotel, this is going to be a success," he said. "I understand the operators have adjusted their marketing for smaller events and all of the areas are pretty much booked to the limit." He also states further on that, “Millennium has "reconfirmed" its financing several times in recent months, and changing developers could delay the project for another two years”.

I have a few things to say about this. If the PNC will be a success without the hotel why worry about the hotel being delayed even longer if we change developers? Make up your mind Gary which is it? While it is stated that the PNC is booked to the limit, how many of those bookings are City sponsored events? It’s nice to see that we as taxpayers are being hit twice in building and utilizing this venue.

It is time for the voters of Nanaimo to really look at this fiasco. Get out and vote and let’s see a total change on council.

Hotel issue should change the political landscape in Nanaimo

Stalled hotel weighing on mayor

City not on hook if hotel deal falls apart

Monday, November 10, 2008

Canadian Federation of Students: Municipal Candidates Questionnaire

1). A study of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities found that the percentage of renter households’ income spent on housing has increased dramatically over the last two decades. In addition, low vacancy rates in most urban areas of BC leave students with little choices for affordable housing. In 2007, Human Resources and Social Development Canada found that vacancy rates across the country were lowest in British Columbia. Do you support initiatives to help reduce rental costs in BC? How do you propose to increase the amount of affordable housing available to students and other low-income people in your municipality?

Answer

Yes.
I am well known in Nanaimo as a Community and Social Activist for the disadvantaged. I have considerable experience working on issues ranging from Homelessness, Food Security, and Anti Poverty, to Neighbourhood Development and Downtown revitalization. For a number of years I have fought for more affordable housing and as a member of the Nanaimo's Working Group on Homelessness had a hand in the development of Nanaimo's Homeless Action Plan.

When elected to council I will continue to make affordable housing a priority. I would like to see the creation of purpose built subsidized housing and would push to see such a concept enacted through advocating with BC Housing. I would work to make the development of rental units in Nanaimo more appealing to developers as well as any other means within my power to make housing more available for students and those with Iow-Incomes. I would also advocate with the province to increase the minimum wage and have it indexed to the cost of living.


2). For many students, the quality of public transit, or lack thereof, is a day-to-day frustration that affects our ability to travel to and from school and work. In all regions, increasing fares, infrequency of service, overcapacity buses, longer-than-anticipated commutes and inadequate service, including a lack of late night service, are of primary concern. According to the 2007 BC Transit Annual Report, between 2000 and 2006, BC Transit ridership increased roughly 31%. Service hours over the same period saw an approximate increase of only 13%. Do you believe increased funding for public transit is a priority? If so, would you work to put pressure on the provincial and federal governments to increase funding for transit infrastructure and quality across the province? What would you do to help improve transit in your municipality?


Answer

Yes.
Transit in Nanaimo is under the prevue of the Regional District of Nanaimo.

I would most definitely work with the RDN and Province to increase infrastructure funding as a viable transit system could reduce costs of use as well as encourage increased ridership and reduce emissions of toxic fumes into the environment. The primary way to improve transit is to increase ridership, to do this development in the community needs to take place in existing urban areas to create greater density. I would also advocate for smaller busses during non peak times.



3). Transit fares have increased numerous times in BC over the last decade. Students make up a significant portion of transit ridership, and have thus borne the brunt of fare increases. Furthermore, students and low-income families have been impacted by the escalating cost of living–as well as the doubling of tuition fees in the last seven years–making the higher cost of public transit a greater burden. Do you believe that transit fares are currently too high in your municipality? How would you work to ensure public transit is affordable for students and other low-income community members?

Answer

Yes.
I would work to make transit more efficient by having smaller busses in off peak hours, increased service during peak hours and create a greater density of housing. I would also look to implementing lower student and low income bus rates.



4). Part of building an active citizenry and representative government is facilitating involvement from the community in decisions that affect them. At every post-secondary institution, students are democratically represented by students’ unions, through which they are represented when decisions are being made that impact them at the federal, provincial, and local levels. Will you commit to working with your local students’ union(s) to facilitate the involvement of students on municipal committees and through consultations?

Answer

Categorically YES!
I am already acquainted with a few members of the Students Union at Vancouver Island University (VIU) as well as a number of instructors. I am often asked to speak to classes about Community Building and Activism and encourage participation of Students to take part in the community by becoming involved. One easy way is by working with their local neighbourhood association or with the students union on events. I have actively encouraged youth involvement in a number of organizations I belong to and work closely with the Popular Participation Movement, a group of active young people, many of whom are students at VIU.



5). In March of this year, the BC government cut allocated funding to BC’s universities and colleges by $55 million, causing program, service, and faculty and staff cuts. Recognizing the importance of public colleges and universities to local economies and social health, a number of municipalities passed resolutions in opposition to the cuts, despite post-secondary education being a provincial jurisdiction. Do you believe that municipal governments have a role to play in ensuring there is adequate funding of core public services, such as post-secondary education? How would you work, or have you worked, to protect public services that are not locally administered and funded?

Answer

Again YES!
As a fairly recent graduate (2002) of, at the time, Malaspina University/College I am fully cognizant of the issues facing students today. I believe municipal government can and should play a greater role in advocating for the needs and issues facing students. Part of this could be through lobbying both the Provincial and Federal Governments. I have and will continue to push for an increased minimum wage indexed to cost of living increases. I have spoken to and sent letters to both MLA’s and MP’s with regards to restructuring the student loan system and I have worked closely with and will continue to work with unions and community coalitions to protect and properly fund public services.


Link to CFS website and answers from other candidates

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Letter to the Editor re: Millenium Hotel

Preamble
It is important to remember that the hotel was to be an integral part of and completed at the same time as part of the Convention Centre. This was later moved to its proposed site, expanded from 20 to 24 then 37 stories, many floors of condos included, and then because financung couldn't be arranged scaled back to 18 stories of hotel space only. As part of the enticement to get the American company Triarc, Canadian subsidiary Suro, and their Developer Millenium to build Council approved lands at Maffeo Sutton Park to be sold to the developer for roughly 9 million dollars so as to build a couple 24 storie condominiums. While the price of the land was fair the idea of butchering Maffeo Surron Park was not. Also the city agreed to purchase 150 parking spaces at #30,000 a pop, total 4.5million. Great for the developer bad for the taxpayers of Nanaimo. Anyway, Triarc and Millenium have missed so many deadlines and with Millenium needing a $100 million bailout by the City of Vancouver for its Olympic Village development, it has become less likely that the hotel for our convention centre will ever be built by Millenium.

Letter regarding a few recent stories in the paper
Show me the money! Millenniums' appearance before the Development Advisory Panel yesterday, November 6th, was a farce. They showed a hastily prepared rendering that completely ignored Downtown Development Guidelines and the character of the surrounding properties as well as at one point even touting that they would look to accessing Pipers Park and its redevelopment to meet their needs. The DAP did not approve moving forward the request for a development permit at this time, kudos to them.

Vancouver's City Council has apparently, in camera (ie.secretly), agreed to provide Millenium $100 million needed to complete the Olympic Village. Are we to expect the same from our council? When will Jeet Manhas admit that this is a sham and that council should pull out of this deal immediately as they justifiably can. When will the rest of Council do the same? I have to wonder just how much of the taxpayers money has been spent to keep this process going?

A special meeting of the current Council should be called and this project squashed. Don't leave this mess for a new council to deal with.

Hotel cash source secret

Panel rejects hotel plan

City officials stay silent on $100M loan for 2010 athletes' village

Local News Clip:

Thursday, November 6, 2008

All Candidates Meeting – November 3rd

I have to say that given only one minute for an opening statement is a bit of a challenge but all of the candidates seemed to do pretty well in the limited time frame. Below is a copy of my opening statement which I managed to get through except for one sentence, underlined, used that one in my closing minute. Homelessness seemed to be mentioned a lot in the prospective council candidates opening statements, a number of questions were also forwarded to individual candidates on the subject as well.

I had toyed with the idea of saying in my closing that it was nice to here all of these new voices talking about the issue and that I hoped, whether elected or not, they would continue to do so after the election. I chose instead to acknowledge a group of people that were camping out at Vancouver Island University, for three days, to raise money for a memorial garden at Samaritan House Women's Shelter.

Students Sleep Out For Homeless

I then asked people to sit in silence and think about the disenfranchised that so often die without any acknowledgement. This year I have attended a number of memorial services and gatherings for street people who passed away. I find it sad that, in most cases, within 6 months they will be forgotten by many and only remembered by those of us who work with them or who like them face the same fate.

I have one simple request, when you walk by someone who is homeless, or looks a bit on the rough side, don't turn your head away ignoring their presence. Acknowledge them with a nod and a good day. Something that simple can do wonders to lift a persons spirit.

My spiel:
I am a long time Community and Social Advocate and have considerable experience working with committees and boards on issues ranging from Homelessness & Affordable Housing, Food Security and Poverty, to Neighbourhood Development and Downtown revitalization. I recognize the importance of a healthy diverse economy in providing social stability and the necessary tax base to run the city.

I believe many on council have become complacent in their positions and that we should limit council and mayoral terms to two. We should revisit the ward system and its potential for fairer representation of neighbourhoods on council. How can we provide security persons and yet not provide lifeguards at our public beaches, what cost a human life?
I support smart growth principals and believe we need to work towards a greener environment, create a viable transit system and increased density in existing urban areas. When elected I promise the same tenacity I am known for when advocating on Community and Social issues.

November 15th elect Gordon Fuller to Council

Links to All Candidates Coverage
Daily News

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nanaimo News Bulletin Q & A

Civic election questions from the Nanaimo News Bulletin. My answers follow:

Name: Gordon Fuller

Age: 50

Occupation: Coordinator of Housing ( Nanaimo Youth Services Association)

AKA - Social Worker, Child & Youth Care Worker

Political experience: Define political experience. I have run for council twice but one could also look at sitting on a Board of Directors as political experience. The following is a record of my community involvement

Current (2005)
  • Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society – Co Chair
  • Friends of Plan Nanaimo – President
  • South End Community Association – Vice President
  • Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network – Vice Chair
  • Nanaimo Citizens Advocacy
  • Nanaimo Old City Association
  • Neighbours of Nob Hill
  • Downtown Nanaimo Partnership – Housing Design & Development Subcommittee
  • Working Group on Homeless Issues
  • Mid Island Coalition for Strong Communities

Past

  • Crystal Meth Task Force
  • Nanaimo Alcohol and Drug Action Coalition
  • Working Group on Downtown Social Issues
  • Mental Health Advisory Council
  • City of Nanaimo Nuisance Property Committee
  • Nanaimo Social Development Strategy
  • S.A.F.E.R Downtown Nanaimo Project
  • Community Food Connection
  • Food Link Nanaimo
  • Action for Diversity Team
  • Nanaimo Food Share Society

Why are you seeking election?


It is time for change and I have the energy and commitment to make Nanaimo a better place for all of its citizens. I will bring the same tenaciousness I am known for as a Community and Social Activist/Advocate. I know it is critical that we recognise the importance of a healthy diverse economy in providing meaningful employment and the necessary tax base from which to run our fair city. I am a strong believer in the revitalization of Nanaimo ’s Downtown and most recently took part in the revision of Nanaimo ’s Official Community Plan.



What is the No. 1 issue in this election?

While there are a number of very important issues, homelessness, the economy, etc; I believe the number one issue is electing a council that respects all of its citizens equally and does not demean and denigrate those citizens choosing to speak before council on items individual members of council may not agree with. This was again recently brought home when Mayor Korpan proceeded to do this very thing at the last council meeting an instance witnessed by one of the Bulletin's own reporters. Repairing the divisiveness that this type of behaviour has created over the past few years is paramount.


How do you see the balance between the need for infrastructure/service and the need to keep property taxes under control?

It is a well known fact that infrastructure costs less if the focus is on densifying existing neighbourhoods. Using the downtown as an example, despite there being no DCC'S (development cost charges), the hope is to increase the population of the area by approximately 8000 people. The cost of infrastructure in an already serviced area is far less and is balanced by the taxes generated by the densification of the area. This has the effect of keeping taxes low and, with the increased tax base, not being a burden on existing taxpayers.


Nanaimo has a significant housing/homelessness situation. What do you propose as a potential solution?

This is a no brainer. The only solution to homelessness is to house the homeless. Housing First has become the primary philosophy in North America over the past 5 years, one I have been espousing in Nanaimo for the past 7, and is the one finally taken in Nanaimo 's Homeless Action Plan developed in 2008. With commitment from the city, province and feds this will be accomplished. It is the role of the city to provide land as well as advocate with other levels of the government to provide funding for purpose built as well as market based (utilizing existing rental properties) solutions.



Nanaimo is projected to grow significantly over the coming years. What measures would you propose to manage that growth sustainably and within existing city limits?

The city needs to focus on densifying its built up areas rather than focusing on areas that, with the expansion of the urban containment boundary to the limits of the municipal boundary, are at the edge of the municipality i.e. Cable Bay . This will make for a much more viable transit system, in turn decrease the need for individual vehicles, resulting in added congruent benefits to the environment.



The forestry crisis and wider economic slowdown has hit this area particularly hard. What response would you propose?

I would propose utilizing any such tax breaks or other benefits that are within the cities mandate. I would also strongly advocate for greater involvement of the provincial and federal governments where possible. The city must do everything within its means to protect union jobs and encourage the establishment of a minimum wage geared to the cost of living. While small business may be reticent in agreeing to this due to wage costs the benefits of citizens with greater income is that they will spend more in those very businesses.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network Q & A

"The Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network works to facilitate the development of effective neighbourhood associations through shared information, consultation and collaboration between neighbourhood associations and our municipal government. We are an umbrella group with representatives of ALL recognized and developing neighbourhood associations. We believe (and our OCP states) that neighbourhoods are the building blocks of our community; neighbourhoods full of vitality, spirit, pride and participatory citizens make a stronger Nanaimo. Our goal is to encourage every neighbourhood in Nanaimo has a local association to hear the needs of residents."

Queston:

Please tell us how and why you (should you be elected to our City Council) would support / develop / work with the Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network.

My response:

This may be tad unfair to others as I am the Vice Chair of the Neighbourhood Network and have been fully supportive of the group, its mandate, and its move to taking a greater advocacy role as the Umbrella group for Nanaimo 's recognized and developing neighbourhood associations. My experience with different Neighbourhood groups, South End Community Association as a director and currently vice chair, member of Neighbours of Nob Hill, acting treasurer of Nanaimo Old City Association, over the past 10 years shows my commitment to neighbourhoods and their development.

The revised Official Community Plan states in Goal 7.1, Neighbourhood and Area Planning, that "neighbourhood planning, and the development of Neighbourhood and Area Plans, is critical to achieving the objectives of planNanaimo." This is great and yet policy three states that "Neighbourhood and Area Plans will be adopted as amendments to planNanaimo and must be consistent with the policies of planNanaimo." Prior to the recent revision of Plan Nanaimo it was neighbourhhood plans that took precedent over the OCP while also working within the guidelines set out.

My personal opinion is that Nanaimo needs to revisit the Ward System so we have better representation on council from the different areas of Nanaimo . I believe we need to go back to the original Plan Nanaimo and put Neighbouhood Plans at the forefront of the Official Community Plan. When elected to council I will commit to fully supporting the goals and objectives of the Neighbourhood Network as well as the various Neighbourhood groups. I will also commit to pushing forward the implementation of neighbourhood plans in a speedy and orderly fashion.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NALT FORUM

Kudoes to NALT for putting on this all candidates meeting. It was however, from what I hear, a painful experience for many of the people that sat through the entire show. Having so many questions and getting the over 20 candidates present all to answer, randomly, each was just a bit too much for many people who ended up leaving before the end. By the time the forum ended less than half of the original folk attending were present. I know for a great many of the candidates the feeling was the same but when looked at this was good experience as well.

For those candidates without experience, who have never sat through a council meeting or a public hearing, this event offers simply a taste of things to come when elected. Council meetings can require much debate by elected officials and many issues will require them to sit through a large number of presentations by the public prior to debate. Public hearings on issues can see from 1 to 1000 people coming out to voice their opinion, something council must sit through and remain objective. Definitely not something for the uninitiated or those with little patience.

This brings home the value of the prior experience I personally have working with a number of boards and committees and in appearing, on a great many occasions, as a delegation before council or to speak at public hearings. Unfortunately only eight of the questions were asked but for those interested they can check out NALT's website http://www.nalt.bc.ca/ to see the answers of all questions by all of the candidates that replied to the questionnaire. While my answers are below in the previous post I did when asked at the forum answer some differently than posted. The ability to do further research and adapt information gathered, that was previously unknown, is also an asset to sitting on council.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NALT 2008 Civic All-Candidates Forums

Tonight is Nanaimo and Area Land Trust's forum for candidates running in the City of Nanaimo’s 2008 Municipal Election. It will be taking place in the Ballroom of the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo at 7:00 PM

My answers to the questions being asked:

Over-riding Question About Environmental Sustainability

1) Preamble: There seem to be many views on what is meant by “sustainability”.

QUESTION: Define your understanding of the phrase “living more sustainably”. As a decision-maker, what will you do to make Nanaimo, other RDN communities and rural areas of the RDN more environmentally sustainable to live in?

To do everything possible in your power to reduce your impact on the environment. Confine use and purchases to needs not wants. Recycle everything you can, grow your own food, purchase locally produced products, use your vehicle when necessary not out of convenience, conserve water and electricity, and look at alternative energy forms. I would encourage and support any means available to move sustainability forward in the RDN as well as lobby the provincial and federal governments to do so as well.


Questions about Environmental Quality

2) Preamble: In view of air quality concerns and global climate change, some cities have taken steps to ban drive-in windows for fast food restaurants and reduce the length of time that cars can “idle” their engines. Other cities have enacted bans or heavy user-fees on the use of plastic bags, disposable plastic utensils and dishes to reduce landfills and reduce the production of petroleum-based plastics.

QUESTION: If elected, will you work to initiate bans and/ or user-fees that would promote better air and water quality, and reduce landfills? If not, why not?

Yes. We must reduce our perceived dependence on the use of plastics and Styrofoam and encourage greater use of recycling. Any means of reducing the idling of engines, of all internal combustion vehicles, should be implemented.


3) Preamble: A bylaw to ban the use of cosmetic pesticides currently proposed for the City of Nanaimo applies to residential property owners only, while government-owned and Municipal and Regional properties would be exempt from such a bylaw.

QUESTION: Will you, as an elected representative, commit to implementing a universal ban on the use of cosmetic pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) in the Municipalities and the rural areas of the RDN? If not, why not?

Yes. Natural forms of insecticides, fungicides and herbicides exist and should be used. Fines for non compliance could be implemented and if these fines prove not to be a deterent increased incrementally.


Questions about Planning/Development/Growth Policies

4) Nanaimo City Council Candidates Only PREAMBLE: The first goal of Nanaimo’s new Official Community Plan is to manage urban growth and reduce urban sprawl by guiding development to areas that already have urban services. Plan Nanaimo states that under existing zoning for single family and multi-family residential uses, there are sufficient lands already available to accommodate future growth in Nanaimo for the next 20 to 25 years without using lands designated as “urban reserves”.

QUESTION: What steps will you take to ensure that lands available under existing development zoning are utilized first before allowing any “urban reserve” lands to be rezoned for development?

When elected to council I will not support the development of lands designated urban reserve. I will push to make the development process, for existing urban service areas, less onerous and time consuming; re visit the carriage house concept to allow for their use in lots with existing secondary suites; continue the push to increase density in the downtown and work to create a bylaw that will make development of urban reserve areas contingent upon the unavailability of other available lands for growth.


5) PREAMBLE: The Regional Growth Strategy is a good document, yet we are failing to meet most of its goals.

QUESTION : If elected, what specific steps will you take to ensure that the targeted goals of the RGS are met?

Despite Nanaimo’s extension of its Urban Containment Boundary I would promote the focus of development on existing developed areas before considering moving into the more rural lands, thus preserving their integrity, and I would push to have other communities strengthen their UCB’s. The eight goals of the RDN, Strong Urban Containment, Nodal Structure, Rural Integrity, Environmental Protection, Vibrant & Sustainable Economy, Efficient Services and Cooperation Among Jurisdictions, are indeed good. When elected I will push towards at a minimum meeting or when possible the improvemnet of these Goals.


6) PREAMBLE: The City of Nanaimo and many areas of the RDN are known for extraordinary views of the Strait of Georgia and offshore islands. An objective in Nanaimo’s 2008 OCP is to protect the character and extent of existing views of the inner harbour and Newcastle Channel; yet the bylaw limiting the height of buildings along the waterfront has been eliminated.

QUESTION: (Nanaimo) If elected to Nanaimo City Council, will you introduce and support a bylaw that would restrict the height of future residential and commercial buildings to 3 to 4 stories in areas where existing views of seascapes would be affected, and also limit building heights in other areas of the according to neighbourhood plans? If not, why not?
(All Other RDN Areas and Municipalities) If elected, will you introduce and support a bylaw that would restrict the height of future residential and commercial buildings in your area or community according to OCP guidelines and neighbourhood plans? If not, why not?

Heights of buildings are subject to existing zoning currently in place for the property, properties can be rezoned through process. Current zoning of the Chapel/Front St. area, Downtown, allows a maximum height of 6 stories. I believe that not only should heights along the waterfront be no greater than 3 or 4 stories but view corridors must be incorporated so as not to wall off the waterfront. I would support a bylaw restricting heights to those outlined in Neighbourhood and OCP plans as well as one that would put neighbourhood wishes above those of the OCP. City of Nanaimo: Zoning


Question about Transportation

7) PREAMBLE: Chief Judith Sayers, Co-Chair of the Island Corridor Foundation, has stated that “By working together to support development of the Corridor to its full potential, Islanders have the power to: preserve our environment; develop our economy; create safe, efficient transportation for our families; and to build a gateway to the world for our businesses for the next 100 years.”

QUESTION: Now that the Municipalities and the RDN each own a portion of the Island Rail Corridor, what steps will you, as an elected official, take to actively support the re-development and funding of our Island rail system?

I fully support the goals of the Island Corridor Foundation and when elected to council would take whatever actions within my means to promote, fund and support this valuable asset of Vancouver Island.
http://www.islandcorridorfoundation.ca


Questions about Food Security

8) PREAMBLE: Historically, Vancouver Island provided 80% of the food consumed on the island; we now produce only 6% of what we consume.

QUESTION: Considering the growing threats to food supply, such as climate changes and increased transportation costs, if elected, in what ways will you work to increase local food security and encourage innovative sustainable food production within the Regional District of Nanaimo (both urban and rural)?

Having worked as a board member on both FoodLink Nanaimo and Foodshare as well as with other food provision services I would maintain and expand on those relationships to develop a Food Policy and Charter for Nanaimo. The recent introduction of Food Security as a section within the OCP is good but it doesn't go far enough. I will support all of the policies outlined within the OCP as well as work towards making them stronger.
Plan Nanaimo: Official Community Plan


9) PREAMBLE: In the mid 1970’s, the BC Government established the BC Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) to protect agricultural lands from being chopped up into small parcels and developed; yet lands continue to be removed from the ALR and/or misused as small acreage holdings that have absolutely nothing to do with agricultural use – while our agricultural land base erodes steadily. Local government bylaws and the ALC Act regulate the use of ALR lands.

QUESTION: If elected, what will you do to ensure that remaining ALR lands are preserved?

I would work to maintain and strengthen the bylaws around use of ALR lands and lobby the province to do so as well. As a means of promoting Food Security we need to be looking at means of supporting local food production and the means for those providers to make a living wage.
 

Questions About Stewardship of Natural Land, Parks and Green Spaces

10) PREAMBLE: Even if a park is designated as such, under current zoning it may still be re-designated or sold by a Municipality or the Regional District for development or other purposes in the future. Conservation Covenants are strong and binding legal instruments which protect the natural state of the subject property even if the property is sold or changes ownership. In recent years, the use of Conservation Covenants, set up and monitored by an independent third party stewardship organization such as a land trust, has become a more common land protection tool in BC.

QUESTION: If elected, will you commit to having Conservation Covenants placed on all Municipal and Regional District natural parks in order to prevent the possibility of future compromises to their integrity as designated natural parkland? If not, why not?

My question would be are Conservation Covenants the best means to protect natural parks? If yes then I would support their implementation, if not then I would support stronger means of protecting our natural parks. I would also encourage many of the policies around parks outlined in the OCP, working to increase where feasible the contribution by subdivision applicants of more than the 5% currently recommended. I would also work towards protection for all of our parks, from natural to so-called tot lots, from rezoning.


11) PREAMBLE: Some years ago, a previous City Council ordered a joint Planning and Parks, Recreation & Culture project to re-zone all existing city parks. Neck Point Park and similar natural parks would become zone one parks. This project has been progressing very slowly and the proposed bylaw has not yet been passed.

QUESTION: (Nanaimo Candidates) If elected, will you support the park re-zoning bylaw and insist that city staff complete this project in short order? If not, why not? 

If elected, will you pursue the enactment of similar zoning to protect natural parklands in other parts of the RDN? If not, why not?
Yes I would support completing the project as quickly as possible. I would only support the bylaw if it meant that all parks would stay parks in perpetuity.

------------

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE COMMUNITY - to be answered by candidates in writing only, and submitted to NALT along with replies to the first 11 (above).

A) PREAMBLE: City of Nanaimo and RDN parks staffs have been working for some years to
develop continuous natural greenways along the Millstone River, Nanaimo River, and other significant waterways within the City and Nanaimo Region.

QUESTION: As an elected representative, what role will you take to encourage further expansion and stronger protection of natural green corridors for use by humans and wildlife?

When elected to council I will use whatever means are within my pervue to encourage further expansion and stronger protection of natural green corridors and speed this process along.


B) (Nanaimo Council Candidates only) PREAMBLE: After more than two years of review and debate, a newly revised OCP has finally been adopted for the City of Nanaimo.

QUESTION: In what way(s) do you feel that the revised OCP (including significant extensions of the Urban Containment Boundary) will or will not contribute to environmental, economic or social sustainability for the City?

This question requires a much more lengthy response, on a local level, than others. As a participant in the OCP review process I was greatly disappointed in the outcome. I will be posting comments regarding my disappointment with the OCP on my blog. http://www.gordonfuller.blogspot.com


C) PREAMBLE: Local food security is threatened by the implementation of greater regulations for meat producers that are not affordable for small local operations - forcing them to send animals off the island for slaughter.

QUESTION: Knowing full well that this issue falls under provincial jurisdiction, what would you do to advocate for the rights of local farmers to slaughter their own livestock so that customers can purchase local meat?

Without knowing a great deal about these regulations, it seems to me this is but another means to promote only those larger facilities at the expence of smaller more local producers and distributors. This has the potential to see many existing producers and distributers lose their livelihood. While I have no doubt the rational is to promote food safety and decrease the number of inspectors and hence the budget for their provision, one must look at the ultimate cost to people through the loss of jobs, increased food costs, loss of potential taxes to the government and a move totally away from local food production. I would work with local producers, processers, food security organizations and other stakeholders to increase the viability of all local food production.


D) PREAMBLE: There is a sign on Rutherford Road, at the top of the hill, bearing a fish symbol and saying "Please protect McGregor Creek” - implying fish habitat. Yet within 20 feet of that sign, a beaver pond has very recently had some kind of excavating equipment knocking down trees, and fresh survey stakes are now planted not more than 5 feet from the disturbed and sediment-filled waters' edge.

QUESTION: How do the restrictions about riparian set-backs allow this kind of occurrence to happen – again and again?

I am of the opinion that restrictions on riparian setbacks, and other restrictions, must be adhered to. Fines for non-compliance should and must be levied and those fines must be sufficient to deter breaching of policies set out by the Municipality and the RDN.


E) PREAMBLE: In 2006, the BC Ministry of the Environment published a document titled: “Develop with Care! Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development”, which addresses the maintenance of environmental values during development of urban and rural lands.

QUESTION: Are you familiar with these guidelines as they pertain to Vancouver Island? If elected, will you support adherence to these guidelines as a minimum requirement for any development to take place? If not, why not?

I have only had a chance to peruse the document but as a minimum requirement I would support adherence to these guidelines. I would however push for stronger requirements if these guideline proved insufficient for the protection of resources.
Environmental Guidelines for Urban and Rural Land Development in BC: Community Planning

Friday, October 24, 2008

Housing First

Housing First

The Toronto model and Housing First in general is actually in a way no different than what I put forth in Nanaimo back in 2002 when the initial Supporting Community Partnerships Initiative funding of $800,000 was awarded to the Salvation Army for its all in one complex that proposed 20 Shelter Beds and 5 Transitional units. At the time the allocation of that funding would have resulted in the eventual closure of Samaritan House, a 20 bed shelter, due to provincial infrastructure funding being moved to the S/A upon opening of theirs.

What I put forth was the idea of taking half, $400,000.00, and purchasing with 20% down-payments 25 houses. After renovations 20 would house 5 individuals per home and 5 would be duplexed for families. Rents based on Social Assistance rates of the time would have been adequate to pay off the mortgage, maintenance costs as well as hiring 6 support staff. 100 plus people housed with one time only funding. A novel concept that was doable at the time and many thought was great, alas it went nowhere.

In 2006 in response to a Daily news story, The cost to end homelessness by Derek Spalding, Published: Friday, December 22, 2006, my idea reared its head once again.
The story talked about the cost of 57million in construction costs and 14million annually for the continuum of support services. Thinking this a bit excessive I penned the following sending it to the newspapers, City Council, MLA’s and MP’s. I think this quite informative when one looks to what Nanaimo’s latest response to homelessness will cost. When looking at homelessness there is not one means of providing homes but there is one answer and that is to provide homes.
__

February 10, 2007


Regarding the story, The Cost to End Homelessness – Nanaimo Daily News, December 22/06, there is no doubt that if the political will was there homelessness not only in Nanaimo but the whole of Canada could be eradicated. As a person who has worked with the homeless and advocated for more affordable housing, I also recognize that in doing so we must look at the burden to taxpayers. With no disrespect to those who came up with the figure of $57 million, as well as the $14 million in ancillary costs per year, to house the 300 homeless taken from the last homeless census in Nanaimo, I believe it can be accomplished for far less. Firstly careful perusal of the census shows the actual number of absolute homeless as closer to 160, I will however continue to use 300 as a basis for calculations.

By my estimates it could be done for roughly $17.5 million, be sustainable requiring no more funding, create employment, as well as allowing for more monies to be put into more affordable housing. Take the 300 people divide by 5 (number of non-related people allowed in single family zoning) = 60 multiply by $275,000 (average cost of a home) = $16.5m, add $1m for Reno ’s = $17.5m, a far cry from $57m.

Now take the 300 again and multiply by $325 (shelter amount allocated by MEIA) = $97,500 multiply by 12 (months of the year) = $1.17m. For the sake of argument we'll say the average support worker makes approximately $34,000 per year multiply this by 15(a reasonable number of workers) = $510,000 plus $100,000 admin = $610,000 leaving $560,000 for taxes, maintenance etc. of the buildings.

Understanding that the BC governments own studies show a savings of between 8 -12,000 dollars a year per person; if the 300 homeless are provided housing the government would save between 2.4 – 3.6 million dollars per year. This would pay off the initial investment of $17.5m in as few as 5 years.

One could also for the cost of between 1.8m and 2.2m dollars per year place the 300 homeless in existing rental accommodations, single and family. This in itself, if the government is saving up to $3.6m, would cost the government of BC nothing, actually adding between .2 and $1.2m to their coffers.

Locally Kiwanis is building a 45 unit seniors complex for the cost of $6m through a secured loan from the province. Build six and problem solved for a mere $36m.

Looking at the ancillary costs of $14m, divide by 300 = $46,667. Given that amount anyone could live quite well. Taken further divide $14m by 1200 = $11,667. This would give 1200 people almost twice what is earned on social assistance and slightly less than that earned yearly on minimum wage.

Canada and BC studies have shown for years there is a monetary benefit to housing the homeless. Once housed and connected to the right services the vast majority of the homeless would be capable of self sufficiency within a year.
These are but a few examples of what could be done if the political will and money were there. While there is no doubt the latter is, a $13 billion surplus federally and $1.3 billion in BC, it is the former that seems unattainable. Perhaps the financial cost might be relatively high to begin with but as it stands now the Human Cost is incalculable.

Gordon W. Fuller - Social Advocate

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Letters to the Editor (part eight)

The following are some of my letters to the editor over the past couple years. I have found, since submitting my first many years ago, that this is a means, one widely read, to express an opinion on events in the city and realms further afield. I fully encourage people to write letters to the editors of what some fondly consider our local rags, though don’t be surprised when they appear and are edited by the paper. In one letter I submitted the editor changed one word, eliminated one sentence and totally changed the context of what I was saying.

2007
Re; Panel advocates housing homeless
Finally after years of saying just this, could it really be true, that Housing the Homeless will be a priority. If so the first thing that will have to happen is the will of all agencies and governments dealing with the issue to put aside their own agendas and recognize the agenda of the homeless, that of being housed safely and affordably.
One need recognize the homeless cannot be pigeon holed into any given category. Some are quite capable of living on their own, others may need a little support and still others support on a longer term basis. When we look at the homeless we are looking at men, women, children and families. We are looking at people with varying degrees of mental illness and addiction, those that have been abused and others that are simply unemployed. All have in common the need for safe affordable housing.
Like the different causes of homelessness housing also needs to be comprised of varying types. Shared accommodation will work for some, others may need varying degrees of support but the majority will be living independently. Single family homes can be purchased and converted to shared accommodation or by adding secondary suites to house two families. Purchasing a motel for instant accommodation as well as purpose built 10 to 15 unit buildings are other options. The point is to develop a framework which includes transitional, supportive and independent housing, ensuring that it is affordable to those who will utilize it.
Monies to accomplish this exist and can be added to further by the savings to government by actually housing people. Municipal governments can also add to the pot by requiring developers to contribute land or money to affordable housing plans. Let’s stop talking and do something, let’s house the homeless.


Re: NNC has been touted as a means to alleviate social issues
Since the $100,000 propaganda campaign, during the referendum, the NNC has been touted as a means to alleviate social issues in the downtown core. Most recently this was again brought up at the council meeting of February 12th. During question period I reiterated something I have brought up before, that being just how will the NNC do this. While hoping against hope that I would be hearing how the project would somehow help to combat, increasing homelessness and drug addiction or perchance the severe lack of affordable housing in the community, I was instead lectured by Councillor Brennan about employment opportunities.
There is no denying that a number of jobs have and will be created by the project. The problem as I see it is the construction jobs are primarily low paying labourer positions, which are temporary at best and the jobs created after construction will be predominantly minimum wage service industry, simply replacing jobs that were lost when the original businesses that occupied the site, prior to construction, were demolished. This to me alleviates nothing, least of all social issues.
If Council Brennan et. al. wish to get serious; Tiarc/Suro/Millenium’s failure to come up with financing for the hotel/condo tower has given them a golden opportunity to do so. Firstly, whatever company comes forward to build the hotel/condos should contribute a minimum of 10% of the market value of the Condos towards affordable housing or addiction services for youth, the later being in short supply throughout the province. Secondly, Maffeo Sutton Park properties should not be used as an enticement to developers but should remain, in perpetuity, a part of the park and improved accordingly for every citizen’s, as well as tourists, benefit. There are few enough free venues for those with low incomes to enjoy, our waterfront being one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Homeless Awareness Week

Homeless awareness week was from October 11th thru the 18th but in typical Nanaimo fashion the Working Group on Homelessness actually extended the period to a Homeless Month, September 18th – October 18th. As part of the working group and on the HAW committee (Brett Hayward, John Horn, Sharon Welch, France Tellier and Moi) it was definitely an experience getting everything together.

First off we had the homeless census on September 18th. Sharon Welch (running for school trustee) did a great job of coordinating this and there was an overabundance of volunteers willing to trek through the downtown area looking for people. The numbers were down compared to other censuses but these things are iffy at best and, when one looks at homelessness overall, seldom accurate unless done over a period of days. The final report should be out soon and I will post it or a link to it when it is.

Next was the Homeless Fair on the 20th of September. Talk about fun. It was my idea that we do something like this and it almost fell through due to a lack of commitment from service and non-service providers. On the day of the event I showed up at 7:00am, to make sure we had access to Maffeo Sutton Park, and was warmly greeted by 8 of our resident homeless who had told me the previous Tuesday that they would be there to help out. Most had spent the night under the gazebo in the park so I shot them a few bucks for coffee and headed off to gather some stuff for the fair. Brett showed up at around 8 and was somewhat shocked to see them and have all the tables and chairs he had arrived with unloaded in a matter of minutes. For the next 10 hours the homeless took part in availing themselves of some of the services that had set up as well as free hotdogs, clothing and hair cuts. Two volunteers, Leon & Effey, actually kicked me out of my role as head hotdog cook and took over for most of the day. While the fair shut down at 3 the haircutting continued till around 6pm because Barbara Ann Rivers, one of the two stylists during the day, did not want to leave anyone unshorn. As I say, WHAT FUN! We hope to be doing this on an annual basis.

This great event was followed up with a Thanksgiving Dinner on October 11th.

Charities Hand Out Free Meals

This was another great event that would likely not have been possible without the commitment of Sharon Welch to coordinate it. Typical of myself I showed up unannounced to help Sharon and her husband set up for the event and, when it came time to allow people in, took over the kitchen to make sure things ran smoothly with all of the food being brought by volunteers. As I mentioned to the papers the commitment of the many volunteers in bringing this off was phenomenal. Since the event I have heard quite frequently about how much the people enjoyed the food, music and non-judgmental atmosphere.

October 18th was the final event, the Streets to Homes Forum. Well attended the forum was about the “Housing First model”, a strategy used effectively to get people off the street and into housing. Iain de Jong, form the City of Toronto, was invited to speak about Toronto’s Streets to Homes program which has helped in the housing of the homeless in that city. The forum was very informative and well attended.

Daily News Story October 21st.
Woes Can Be Fixed: Experts


While I subscribe to the Housing First model, the only solution to homelessness is a home, I also want people to keep a balanced perspective. I ran across this website while doing some research on the Streets to Homes program and place the link here for your perusal.
Criticism of the Housing first model

Monday, October 20, 2008

GINO SEDOLA

While I only had the honour of knowing Gino Sedola for a couple of years I came to regard him with respect and admiration for his contributions to Nanaimo and the South End Community. The last time I spoke with Gino was the night he received the Freedom of the City Award on September 29th. Gino Sedola, Mr. Frank Ney, Ms. Gertrude Hall, Mr. Ray Brookbank, Mr. Ted Kelly, Mr. Ken Medland, Mr. Alex Virostko, Mr. Jim Moffat, and Mr. Alex Ferguson, all recipients, were members of the 1975 City Council that saw Nanaimo almagamated with other areas to become pretty much as it is today.

This was a great honour but unfortunately one Gino was not able to enjoy for long. In fact when I spoke with him on the 29th we talked about how many awards such as the Freeman of the City seem to be given be given posthumously or near the end of ones life. I think when we look at awards such as this it would be nice if they were given while the person still had many years to enjoy the honour.

We talked about other things that evening, his life in Nanaimo, his time as a City Councilor, his long time friendship with Al Gallazin, but regretably the time was short and I hoped to continue where we had left off. Alas this was not to be but I look back on the discussions we did have, considering myself the more enriched for knowing Gino and being considered by him a friend.

Sometime in November, with his family’s support and participation, a tree will be planted at Deverill Square Park in Gino's honour. A small gesture perhaps but one that will live on as will the memory of him in the heart and mind of the many people he touched over the years. Gino, you will be missed.

http://www.bclocalnews.com/vancouver_island_central/nanaimonewsbulletin/news/33247039.html
http://www.canada.com/nanaimodailynews/news/story.html?id=5cb00bfb-8662-4025-807c-6e6bdd3d4f4d

GINO SEDOLA Freeman of the City, Retired Teacher, Former Alderman and Past Chairman of the Nanaimo Harbour Commission. On October 9th, after living an extraordinary life, Gino Sedola passed away peacefully while holding the hand of his loving wife, Leona Trimble. Predeceased by 1st wife Elaine; mother Christina and father Angelo. Survived by his brother Fred and family; and by his “brother by choice ”, Alvin Gallazin. Dearly loved and sadly missed by his children Paul, Anne, Janine and their families; and Leona's children, Trish, David, Sharon, Karen, Art and their families, including numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; and many cherished friends. Gino was a member of more than 25 committees including founding member and original director of the Nanaimo Museum Society. A Celebration of Life will be held at the New Nanaimo Museum. 101 Gordon St, on October 26th 1:30 4:30p.m.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Letters to the Editor (part seven)

The following are some of my letters to the editor over the past couple years. I have found, since submitting my first many years ago, that this is a means, one widely read, to express an opinion on events in the city and realms further afield. I fully encourage people to write letters to the editors of what some fondly consider our local rags, though don’t be surprised when they appear and are edited by the paper. In one letter I submitted the editor changed one word, eliminated one sentence and totally changed the context of what I was saying.

2007
Re: Mayor accuses Friends of Plan Nanaimo directors of slander
I find it pitifully sad that that our Mayor sees fit to accuse Friends of Plan Nanaimo Directors and Members of libel and slander, for the bumper sticker that reads “FREE NANAIMO FROM KORUPTION,” when in fact without concrete proof he could be considered guilty of the same. This is nothing but further grandstanding on the part of a Mayor who has in the past called members of FPN Neanderthals and Liars, all of which occurred in the public arena.
I hazard to guess that in so vehemently publicizing the above bumper sticker Mayor Korpan himself may be responsible for furthering the want of it by community members. This may make his quest to track down those displaying it and “suing them into the stone age” a tad more difficult. I have one thing to say to his eminence and that is “GET OVER IT,” if you can’t take the heat Mister Korpan get out of the fire.

Re: Demand return of fees from Triarc
Why is it that our City Council is not demanding the return by Triarc/Suro of all development and management fees paid to them prior to their default of the agreement as outlined in the following section of the partnering agreement?
Sec. 18.5 If the Project does not proceed through an Event of Default of Suro, including Suro's inability to secure financing for the Hotel and Residential Complex following satisfaction of the Condition Precedent provided for in section 5.2, it is understood and agreed that Suro shall repay to the City all amounts paid to Suro as a Development Fee and Monthly Project Management Fee from September 15, 2004 plus all of the City’s reasonable costs, charges and expenses.
Council should be demanding all costs back as they, as well as city staff, have admitted Triarc/Suro were clearly in default. Allowing another developer to come into the picture at this late date, with the same incentives given to Triarc/Suro, is simply ludicrous. By all means continue construction but look seriously at other alternatives for the NNC, as it has been stated when the design was brought forward could easily be accomplished. Use the funds retrieved to hold another referendum, if the Citizens of Nanaimo really want this then surely it would pass by a larger margin than the previous illegal referendum. And for the sake of the city, whatever you do, take the lands at Maffeo Sutton out of the equation.


Re: Council pay increases again. March 10, 2007
I must say I am extremely disappointed in Councilor Holdom’s comment, in response to the $800 increase to his pay as a City Councilor, that, “"Maybe I'll get a new pair of shoes." This is nothing less than a slap in the face to the poor.  

Despite the economic boom in BC the Nanaimo Region is ranked 5th overall for human economic hardship in the province, 1st for a region with a population centre the size of Nanaimo or greater. 8% of families in Nanaimo earn less than $10,000 a year, $833 per month and the majority of those on income assistance earn less than $800 per month.

I challenge Mr. Holdom to step off his pedestal, give up his apparent life of luxury, and for one month try to live on $800 dollars. Perhaps then he will have a greater appreciation of the wages paid to him by the taxpayers of Nanaimo

Monday, October 13, 2008

Letters to the Editor (part six)

The following are some of my letters to the editor over the past couple years. I have found, since submitting my first many years ago, that this is a means, one widely read, to express an opinion on events in the city and realms further afield. I fully encourage people to write letters to the editors of what some fondly consider our local rags, though don’t be surprised when they appear and are edited by the paper. In one letter I submitted the editor changed one word, eliminated one sentence and totally changed the context of what I was saying.

2007
Re Obsession with security
What is it with Nanaimo and its obsession with Security Guards? We constantly hear what a safe place the Downtown is and yet we are soon to have security patrols through the night and on Victoria Crescent during the day. Seems to me this sends the opposite message to our citizens whom we want to come downtown and to tourists who we wish to see more of in the downtown.
Now we hear that Nanaimo Seniors Village has hired security to “keep the peace in the building”. What are the managers afraid of, insurrection on the part of the seniors? If so then I say good for the seniors, rise up and confront your oppressors. That Management would “lay off” 168 employees simply to attempt to rehire them at a lesser wage should be of concern to both the seniors and their families who rely on Nanaimo Seniors Village to provide quality care.
Lastly I am reminded of the offices of former Liberal MLA Mike Hunter. Shortly after the Liberal Party came to power in 2001 and promptly started implementing massive cuts to social and other programs, as well as bill 29 which allows the firing and rehiring of employees, Liberal MLA’s across BC were under siege. Mike Hunters office went from welcoming to having cameras and a security system installed, only allowing those deemed worthy to cross the threshold.
We certainly live in a strange world with Nanaimo being even stranger still. Perhaps that is what I love about living here, though lately I have been thinking I might need to hire security to watch my back.


Re: Victoria crescent security considered fascism
Mr. Rick Hyne’s plans to rid Victoria Crescent of the addicted and homeless are simply ludicrous. The idea that our public walkways would be reserved simply for the deserving smacks of fascism or discrimination to say the very least. While I empathize with business owner’s plight of open drug dealing and aggression we have laws in place to deal with this. Did not Mr. Hyne and others laud the Red Zoning (drug dealers/users banned from the area upon conviction) of the Victoria Crescent area, were they not in support of Nanaimo’s own aggressive panhandling bylaws despite a provincial bylaw already in place?
To think that in anyway this will be helpful is delusional on the part of Mr. Hyne. One cannot mandate people to “get help or get out,” unless in a court of law in which it would be get help or go to jail. One can however look at the broader social issues contributing to the problem in the area, one of the latest being the Vancouver Island Health Authority giving out free crack pipes. If this doesn't attract the very people the area fears I don't know what would, other than giving free crack out to go with the pipes.
Perhaps if this group were to put their money towards affordable housing or drug treatment, these addicts and homeless they so fear would have safe places to go and not have to frequent the streets of Victoria Crescent .


Re: Slumlord
That the building on Victoria Rd., recently declared a nuisance property, housing a variety store dealing in crack pies and other drug paraphernalia, caught fire would come as little surprise to many people in the downtown who have been aware of owner Paul Saroya’s propensity to provide little if any maintenance or security at his many rental properties in the area. This is the same owner of what used to be a beautiful Character Home at 365 Milon Street . The house was in good condition but shortly after purchasing and turning it into a rooming house, cramming as many people as he could into the building, inevitable deterioration soon followed. Within a few short years the building was condemned and demolished due to neglect.
After purchasing properties in the Gulf-view area for development, by Mr Saroya’s company Akal Developments, he had his business license rescinded in March of 2004 for deficiencies in many of the homes built. The company was again refused a business license in December of the same year. A long well documented history of the many problems associated with Paul Saroya’s properties can be found by looking back through the annals of Nanaimo and how often one or another has been before council as unsightly or having unresolved building deficiencies.
While it is sad that his behaviours, and those of certain other downtown landlords sometimes referred to as slumlords, continue it highlights once again the extreme need for safe affordable housing and a Minimum Standard of Safety and Maintenance bylaw put in place by the City of Nanaimo.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Re: Mayor Infrastructure Hotel and Taxes

October 9, 2008

Dearest Editor:

How nice of Mayor Korpan to try and put the squeeze on the feds for funding to the convention centre. This type of grandstanding is simply ludicrous when it would be far more appropriate for our Mayor, and Council, to be securing funds for much promised but never delivered infrastructure services to Green Lake Residents as well as other areas promised the same during amalgamation 30 plus years ago.

Equally of concern is the distinct possibility of Millennium Developments not securing funding for the long proposed but yet to be built Conference Centre Hotel? Councilor Manhas may not be worried but with ongoing issues past and present I certainly am. My guess is that even if the City did try to collect the penalties rightfully owed to us by Triarc/Millenium, for their past failure to build on schedule, they could possibly default on those as well.

Many believe the next big project should be a multi-plex sports facility. I have no problem with the idea but with city taxpayers on the hook for other over budget schemes of late the City’s only contribution should be the land it would sit on. Our taxes are high enough and we should not be burdened with even more.

Now is the time that Citizens have the opportunity to create change. On November 15th please get out and vote.

Gordon W. Fuller

Related News Stories:

Mayor makes PNC funding demand

Sewer promise has gone down the drain

Why so long for PNC's hotel?

Councillor sure we will have a hotel….

Proposed multiplex would be a major issue in city election

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

STAND FOR HOUSING

With all of the hoofoola regarding the federal election I noticed Homelessness and Poverty were sadly lacking from the agenda. Homes for All has been a passion of mine as a Social and Community Activist/Advocate for years and I was disappointed at the lack of these issues being brought forward by the candidates. Knowing there would be other stands happening in the province on October 4th I made the decision to challenge all of the candidtaes from both the Nanaimo/Cowichan and Nanaimo/Albernie ridings to take part (see press release below, an e-mail was also sent to each of the candidates). The front page story from the Bulletin (also below) is the reported outcome, oddly enough the Nanaimo Daily News reported nothing leading up to or about the event.  Not mentioned in the story from the Bulletin was that the North End STAND saw the candidates from the Liberal and Marxist Leninist parties while the Conservative and Green Party had no showing at either venue. A special thanx has to go out to the members of the Nanaimo District Teachers Association and the students from Woodlands Senior Secondary who also held STANDS that day.


Nov. 15th 2008
Elect
Gordon W. Fuller
To City Council 


City Takes A Stand For Housing
By Niomi Pearson - Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: October 06, 2008 3:00 PM


Nanaimo residents and politicians braved the rain and cloudy weather Saturday to take a stand against homelessness in the Harbour City. Two streetside rallies took place at Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue and in north Nanaimo. John Little, centre, president of the Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council, gets his point across to passing motorists with help from Nanaimo NDP MLA Leonard Krog, Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP MP Jean Crowder, and rally organizer and community advocate Gord Fuller.
NIOMI PEARSON/The News Bulletin


Federal candidates running in Nanaimo’s ridings put their political differences aside Saturday and joined area residents in taking a stand against homelessness.

The Stand for Homes for All brought together dozens of concerned members of the community and politicians on Pearson Bridge downtown and in north Nanaimo opposite Woodgrove Mall, as they waved signs at passing traffic and showed support for Nanaimo’s homeless.

Similar events were held in communities throughout the province.

“The issue of homelessness and poverty in Canada should be paramount in this election and I’m seeing very little with regards to it,” said Gord Fuller, who organized the event.

“Poverty is an issue that affects all people and affects all parties that are running in the federal election.”

Considering the high poverty rates in B.C., Fuller said candidates should be doing more to address the issue.

“I don’t think it’s been given hardly any coverage. They mention the environment and the economy and that’s great, but without looking after the people, how are we going to look after the environment?”

Nanaimo-Cowichan NDP incumbent Jean Crowder said she would like the city to do more to encourage new rental developments rather than condominiums.

Rally participants said the issues go further than the homeless themselves and into the realms of affordable housing.

“This is an important piece of raising awareness,” Crowder said. “It has to happen on three levels of government. We have to work together on a housing strategy.”

Jake Etzkorn, a local musician, said he is upset about the lack of affordable housing in Nanaimo.

“We want some more action on that but we also want people to be more aware that it is a really big problem,” he said. “People are basically living either in unsuitable conditions or out on the streets in their cars.”

Etzkorn said the problem is more visible to residents of the downtown, like himself.

“It’s a bigger issue than a lot of people realize.”

Brian Scott, Liberal candidate for Nanaimo-Cowichan, said he is confident in his party’s 30/50 anti-poverty plan, which aims to reduce national poverty over a five year time span.

“Part of the program, which is really important to this riding, is to bring back the Kelowna accord,” he said. “It was a Liberal program, and we’re trying to bring it back and one of the components of that is housing for First Nations and Metis.”


newsbeat@nanaimobulletin.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cops For Cancer

Canadian Cancer Society COPS FOR CANCER and the TOUR de ROCK

I recently attended the Red Blue Serge Dinner in Nanaimo, a fundraiser for the Tour de Rock. The Tour de Rock involves a number of police officers from across Vancouver Island cycling the length of the island and stopping in various communities where they meet and talk to the public raising funds to help in the fight against cancer. Here's a local news article.

This is a charity that is close to my heart especially as the monies raised go to help fight paediatric cancer including research and the operation of Camp Goodtimes the goal of which is to create “a safe and fun environment where friendships and lifelong memories can be made.”

At the dinner auxiliary Constable David Knott and Constable Cameron Thompson spoke eloquently about their reasons for participating in the event. Aux. Constable Knott talked about his personal battle with cancer as well as experiences he had at Camp Goodtimes working with the kids and how they offered support and understanding, beyond their years, to each other

Almost everyone I talk to has been touched in one way or another by Cancer. While it is no less hard for families to deal with when an adult is diagnosed with cancer it is the plight of a child facing the disease that really pulls at my heartstrings. Shortly after my wife Gayle passed away from Cancer in 2003 I was lying on a beach and listening to the radio. Interspersed with the music was a campaign seeking donations for the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and especially heart wrenching were the personal stories of the children. At that point I made a decision to go home and call the fundraiser to make a significant donation to the campaign, I still had some funds from a small insurance policy through where Gayle and I worked which allowed me to do this and make the donation in her name. While driving home I had put in a CD of Gayle’s favourite songs one of which is called Stolen Child by the Waterboys, by the time I arrived home I was in tears. I have attached a link to the song, listen to the lyrics and you will see why.

Gayle Lynn Fuller (1956 – 2003)


My stepson Erik, Gayles son, has had his fair share of dealings with this insideous disease. Upon returning from a stint with Canada World Youth he was faced with his mother's diagnosis as well as his father being hit by throat cancer. While the outcome for his father went well it unfortunately did not with his mother. Erik has moved forward in life graduating from the RCMP earlier this year as well as marrying his long time girlfriend shortly thereafter.

Erik Wedholm and Jennifer Boos (now Wedlolm) at Erik’s graduation from RCMP Training, March 2003



Gord & Erik at Graduation from RCMP Training

It was my distinct pleasure to sit with Constable Cameron Thompson, his wife Anne and their two children at the Red Blue Serge dinner and I look forward to getting to know the family better. The commitment of all of the riders, their support staff and the many others who raise funds in towns and cities throughout the Tour is to be commended and I would encourage anyone who is able to donate to this worthy cause. While the Tour has recently ended you can still donate by clicking here.