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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Am I just lazy?

Have to ask myself the above question as it has been over a month since I posted anything and yet there is so much going on that I have been involved in. Minimum Standards of Maintenance, Homelessness, Block Watch, SECA, Council Pay Increases, the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership & BIA Renewal and the list goes on.

One interesting tid bit regarding the ongoing Cable Bay issue came up at the Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee on the 17th.

7. Old Business
ii. 950 Phoenix Way (Cable Bay Lands) – PNAC Recommendation

This is one of those times my brain isn't quite in gear. Either Timber Lands or Timber West were hoping to get a recomendation to council for a partnership with the Cable Bay Group. They own some property, zoned Industrial, with a deep sea port that borders the Cable Bay Lands. They wanted to get a portion of it rezoned Resort so they could lease it to the Cable Bay group so they could use it for a couple of holes on the planned golf course as well as give them some space on the waterfront to put in a marina. Good news, PNAC did not fall for it and moved to not make the recommendation to council.

Please, if you have a subject you would like me to comment on let me know

The following are links to some, will add more later, news stories which I had some feedback in.

Activists call for housing

Plan may boost low-cost housing availability

New home for the 7-10 Club

7-10 Club will stay on Prideaux Street

Struggling economy has Nanaimo charities worried

Recently published Letters to the editor (my version not the edited versions published)

Regarding the BIA & DNP

I have been a member of the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership's Housing Design & Development subcommittee since 2002. While I may not agree with everything the DNP has supported in the revitalization of the Downtown, the Convention Centre being one example, I believe they have done a pretty good job overall. As one, if not the only, member working in the Social Service sector I have chosen to work from within the DNP to advocate and educate regarding social issues in the downtown.

Spurred on by Rick Hyne, not a property owner but the minion of one, many businesses in the current BIA's are considering withdrawing their support for the BIA renewal. Mr. Hyne believes that the resultant loss of the DNP, if enough PROPERTY OWNERS are opposed to the renewal, could easily be accommodated by forming a new group. Would he also be alluding to himself being the head of this new group? If that is the case then I really fear for the outcome of revitalization.

Yes the DNP could be more open and accountable but eliminating it is not the answer. I believe the one good outcome of all the recent publicity will be positive change within the DNP and having met Matt Hussman, the DNP's new director, this will happen sooner rather than later.

Shelter closure may leave teens on street

To the editor;

This is just another example of Government bungling and ineptitude. There is no more valuable asset than the youth of a community, they are our future. Society is degrading to the point where more and more youth are simply unable to live at home, not to put blame solely on parenting, but at the same time have nowhere safe to go. Places like Friendship House are a much needed resource in communities and should receive priority funding. As a society we really need to implement more services for our youth, especially those in crisis, as well as looking at more permanent housing.

When I look at the amount of funds the current government has spent to host the Olympics, an event most people in BC are unable to afford, as well as what is spent to bailout corporations defaulting on construction commitments, I have to shake my head at these misguided priorities. In announcing that the government will be running a deficit the Liberals have stated we can expect cuts to health, education, and social services. Wake up folks, an election is coming so use your vote to show where your priorities lie.

Block Watch

I really have to give Doug and Tanya Hiltz credit for the effort and amount of time they have put in working to make the South End a better place. The amount of energy and their obvious commitment is commendable however as I have mentioned to Doug a few times they really need to set up some training, through the RCMP and Bylaws, for members of their group with regards to communication skills as well as the rights of the individuals.

That the BC Block Watch Society withdrew their support should really come as no surprise. Sooner or later, with all the publicity, someone will question where the donations of goods and money that Doug and Tanya receive are going and as the parent group Block Watch Society BC could ultimately be liable for any wrongdoing.

I would suggest that if the group wishes to remain active they form a legitimate society keeping accurate records of receipts and expenditures. Knowing the passion that Doug, Tanya and other members of their group have I would really hate to see anything negative come their way.

Council Pay Increases

Congratulations to Mayor and Council for not going forward with proposed pay raises of 8% and 16% respectively. The decision to tie pay increases to the cost of living was a wise one, especially in these tough times, and shows a level of respect for the majority of people in Nanaimo who will see little or no increases to their own income.

With the failing economy, deficits being proposed by both the federal and provincial governments, tough decisions will need to be made by all. The recent 40 billion dollar economic bailout package by the feds does little for the most financially challenged and while they do propose a billion of that towards affordable housing it is a pittance when spread across the country.

The province has committed over 400 million dollars towards purchasing SRO’s and building affordable housing in the BC., 160 units alone in Nanaimo . With the failing economy and a provincial election looming we need to ensure this commitment is met by all political parties and levels of government.

Recognizing the commitment of our current city council I hope other levels of government will take their lead.

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