Ph: 250 754 6389 / Cell: 250 797 0531 / e-mail:

SUPPORT CHLY (FM 101.7) Independent Radio. Call 250 740 1017 or 250 716 3410 to make a donation or become a member.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Occupy Nanaimo

A tactic that is commonly used by City Staff and Council is to add late items to the Agenda of Council meetings that do not appear on the City Website until extremely late in the day of the council meeting. This happened on Monday when an Announcement by Mayor Ruttan regarding the Occupy site was added to the agenda.

Why do this? I believe the underlying hope is that if no one knows then no one will speak to the issue. As the regular meeting of council is televised this can seen as a good tactic to use if you do not want to keep the common folk in the loop.

Interesting with the meeting on Monday November 28 is that many from Occupy were on hand at the council meeting and while not appearing as delegations took the opportunity to avail themselves at question period.

The link below will take you to the video of the meeting and if you use the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen to go to i:10 minutes and you will catch the questions asked. Listen to them all and pay particular attention to the behaviour of our Mayor.
Council Meeting November 28, 2011

The following are stories related to Occupy leading up to their having to leave the Krall Space.

Dec 9
Judge gives injunction to dismantle occupy camp
"I was hopeful that we could resolve the matter without involving litigation, but unfortunately that was really the only remaining alternative," From when it was announced by Mayor Ruttan at council on Nov. 30th that the City 'MAY' seek an injunction it was a done deal. This was made abundantly clear by the two 'In Camera' motions made on the 30th that were included in the injunction papers. There was also no time given as the judge said remove forthwith and just to ensure that happened the top brass of the city were there to gloat. Kudos to all those who took part in the Occupy movement, not just in Nanaimo but elsewhere as well.
Editorial: Occupiers no longer welcome downtown

Dec 5
Occupiers issued notices for court appearance
This really came as no surprise and while the Occupiers were hopeful to get a continuance so they could to get afidavits refuting those that were in the City injunction papers the result alas was the above.

Dec 2
Occupiers angry they were blindsided with court action
The Krall space is not a park. Tents are not permanent structures and if they are considered such then every time an event is held at one of the City's parks then it is in violation of the By-Law. A costly injunction was not the way to go. The city could easily have agreed to allow the occupiers to keep their information canopy on site and as they already have the right to picket, protest or demonstrate 24/7 then in all likelihood the tents except for a symbolic few would have been removed peacefully. Wonder if the Mayor even thought of that as an option?

Dec 1
Nanaimo occupiers face fines after ignoring request to vacate plaza
Occupiers won't leave plaza until city provides new site
Activists say occupy camp gives sense of community

Nov 30
Occupy camp turns down city proposal
The picture used by the D/N is misleading in that while it implies the Occupy site is a mess it in reality is not. Between the tents is a pile of stuff that has been donated and is bagged and covered to prevent it from getting wet. Take a picture from the front of the Krall Space and you clearly see that other than the Information canopy and food tent the rest is not visible.
As for cancelled events, Halloween was great, the Santa thing was admittedly by the DNBIA moved indoors due to inclement weather and the use of the big screen to show the Grey Cup was not even advertised and could have been done for the enjoyment of those interested as well asd the occupiers.

The behaviour of our Mayor at the Council meeting on Monday was sad to say the least. People find it hard enough to speak without being denigrated and talked down to. The Mayor not allowing interested councillors to be a part of the negotiations smacks of dictatorship and yelling at the negotiators during these meetings is certainly not behaviour one would expect from civic leadership.

The occupiers are a group of well meaning citizens, many of whom hold down full time jobs, who just want to make the public aware of inequities in our system. Work with them and I am sure a peaceful resolution can be had.

City tells occupiers to vacate by thursday
The reality here is that there has been no ultimatum or specific deadline as the Mayor and Council have only said they MAY apply for an injunction.

There have actually been NO events cancelled. At the DNBIA meet and greet last week it was stated that the move of the Santa fly-in and workshop to the Museum was actually a good idea because of the weather and as for an alleged, at council last night by staff, use of the BIG SCREEN in the Krall Space to show the Grey Cup on Sunday that was the first time it had even been mentioned. Nothing has been cancelled.

As for the notice they received they are not in contravention of any of its points; they have not built a structure; they have not Occupied for Lodging, those spending nights have homes and the homeless that choose on occasion also have elsewhere to go.

The fact is there are no scheduled events and once gone the place will be dead space as it usually is.

Given time and with discussion the folk occupying would eventually leave on there own. Using threats is not the way to go. Business is benefitting from money the occupiers spend and there is absolutely no reason for anyone to fear going to the library because of the occupiers. In actuality more families should bring their kids down to show them what the true face of democracy is about.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

News Comments


Mid Island may see glut of jobs as boomers retire

This is all well and good for the Forestry, Construction and health industries, all well paying jobs, but it should also be noted that more and more seniors have to work after so called retirement because they do not have e

Yes in the mentioned industries retirement may open up jobs but with the increasing number of seniors having to work they will enter other sectors for employment thus negating the above which could have a huge effect have to work somewhere and

City Log: Residents can expect hike in water. garbage rates

And so they raise water rates in part to pay for the new 65 million dollar water treatment plant. Gee and I thought the borrowing of 22 million was supposed to pay for it along with reserves. Wait a minute, I think I get it. The water rate increase will pay for the interest we pay on the 22 million borrowed.

Nov 24
Elections BC wants young people pre-registered to vote
This is a good idea that should have happened ages ago. Youth are the future and if there is anything that can be done to get them involved and better informed then just do it. Enough Talk.

Sampson group converts cash to shares in Harmac
A true Nanaimo success story and model that can be used elsewhere. Let’s hope the next time we hear that the employee-ownership model is still in place and hasn't been co-opted.

Philip Wolf: We can only hope for more from leaders
There are many reasons for poor voter turnout, the one I hear most often being that people just do not feel involved and that their voice means nothing even when they do try to get involved. This council must do more to reach out to the community and ensure people are given a chance to contribute. An ad or two in local papers does not constitute community engagement.
One open house info session on an issue like the Water Treatment Plant does not promote Community Engagement. Use of the Alternate Approval Process to steamroll the passing of certain things does not promote Community involvement. I sincerely hope that this council will do better when it comes to engaging the public, I know if they do not I will be there to remind them.

Debate over barn stirs up Harewood's agricultural past
If Nanaimo loses this building it will be yet another example of how little history is valued in the community. When the Convention Centre was announced we lost the Foundry which was one of the only such style of buildings left in the province. A few years prior the first School House in Nanaimo was torn down. Both were unnecessarily removed, the lots they sat on remain empty, and could have been preserved by the city. Gradually if we do not step up to save some of the more unique buildings Nanaimo’s historic value will be greatly diminished.

Editorial: Election laws uphold system
Well said.

Nov 23
North-end group set to keep up fight
Normally I would say getting people out to vote is a good thing and the CCN certainly got people out to vote. It is when it is done through spreading fear and mis-information, like the CCN did, that I question the rationale.
Perhaps some of those involved with the CCN would like to start up a Neighbouhood Group and get involved on a more positive note. Instead of spreading fear and misinformation look at inclusion and creating a welcoming neighbourhood. The South End Community Association is a good one to emulate.

Putting ideas into action at top of mayors agenda
"....that says to me Nanaimo is supportive of our projects in principal and want to see them continue." Do not take for granted that because you were re-elected the voters agree. Get out and ask them.

Friendship centre official lobbies for off-reserve plan

Nov 22
Five interesting oddities from the campaign trail
Crap and I thought sure my comment at Oliverwoods when they had the CCN'rs and vote panderers there would have made it into the strange and unusual. Not too often someone will step forward and tell an audience he is not going to kiss their ass for votes:).
That the CCN was able to get so many out by their message of fear and misinformation is but a sad postscript to the election of 2011.

Father questions VIHA on communications procedure
This is simply shameful on the part of VIHA. C’Dif is a highly contagious disease and relatively easy to transfer. “VIHA maintains children and their families were never put at risk.” Ludicrous and a potential disaster waiting to happen.

Its a bad idea to sell our water
This would have huge ramifications if done. As the population grows we will need more water not less.

BC wants teens signed up to vote
A good idea but will doing so increase voter turnout?

Improving communication with residents, establishing consensus key challenges for new council
This is a given but not simply for the North End but in communication throughout the city and on all issues. Currently the policy would seem to be to do the least possible to inform and invite community participation. This must change.

Shelter visits up as weather deteriorates
Unitl the new housing that has been proposed is built a shelter like the Unitarian is but a stop gap measure. It is important to understand that many of those using this shelter likely do not fit the criteria for your standard shelter in that they may be intoxicated or they may simply for whatever reason not choose to go to the Salvation Army or Samaritan House shelters. Yes they are primarily on the street during the day with many making use of the 7-10 Club until 10:00am or the library once it is open.

Editorial: Voters happy with council? Turn out didn't show it
Perhaps another reason for poor voter turnout is that we actually have three less poling stations since the 2005 election and of those we do have they keep changing some of the locations. If we really want to encourage voter turnout then we should have more places to vote and not less.

Nov 21
Ruttan prepares for the future after securing second term
Well said, HERE WE GO AGAIN and CHRIS. Even existing hoteliers are leery of the tax incentive and giving themselves a raise of 8+% per year for the next three years is ludicrous when compared to the raises, if any, for the average person. SHAME!

Our Mayor has mandate and experience
“So, John Ruttan has his mandate. He has the confidence of the electorate to stay the course on matters of taxation, economic development and social planning.”

I would really have to beg to differ with this statement, John Ruttan does not have a mandate at all. The pathetic turnout, no matter the reasons, of 26% of voters could just mean the exact opposite. It could simply mean that people are fed up and do not think their votes count for anything as they see council blindly moving forward with their own agenda and not one for the people.

So, why the poor showing? Perhaps the above is one reason but I would also hazard to guess that the continually moving, and eliminating of polling stations also has something to do with it. The removal of Bayview School in 2008 can be directly attributed to low voter turnout in that area. The distance to polling stations makes it extremely difficult for many seniors and others to make it out to vote.

Looking at the distance in many areas the only option for people is to take a bus, average of 1.5 hours round trip, or cab which many cannot afford. With the latter one would actually have to pay to vote and this is uncontainable. Instead of making it difficult the powers that be need to make voting accessible.

Low voter turnout sad epilogue
No doubt the CCN slate had an effect on the numbers of votes for all of the candidates they chose to support; the fortunate thing is that only two got elected.

Funny that I do not see the fact that there are 3 less polling stations, as compared to 2005, as a possible reason why the voter turnout was so bad. There should be more polling stations so as to make it walkable for the majority of voters.

Then again, like the communication process of the city, do the powers that be really want to encourage citizen participation?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Campaign Q&A's and Links to candidate info

Elect Your Future
When you open the Councillors section you will likely have to zoom in quite a bit.

Chamber of Commerce Q&A
Chamber of Commerce Successful Cities

South End Votes
South End Votes. Starts with answers to question 3, scroll down for answers to the other questions

Nanaimo Info Blog
This one is a bit difficult as you have to scroll down through all of those that have answered the questions instead of just clicking on a name.

Nanaimo Daily News Election Coverage

Elections Civic Info BC


Candidate Interviews
Saturday, November 12th at 6:00pm
Monday, November 14th at Noon and 6:00pm
Wednesday, November 16th at 11:00am and 5:00pm

We are also happy to announce that on November 13th that the completed candidate’s package will be available on our YouTube page for you to share. You will be able to find it at

Broadcasts of the Coalition for Democratic Nanaimo All-Candidates' meetingIf you were not at the meeting, or want to see it again, you will have several opportunities this week. The video of the meeting, prepared by Manly Media and Mid-Island TV Society will be broadcast on Shaw Cable 4:
Sunday Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m
Tuesday Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.


Green Drinks Nanaimo Q&A (They have a website but nothing posted from candidates)

Should Nanaimo own our source of drinking water, or are we are well-enough served under the present "ownership" by Harmac and Island Timberlands?
Nanaimo should own the watershed.

If the former, how should we or could we gain control?

We would have to look at purchasing it keeping in mind Snuneymuxw claims. It would be ideal if Nanaimo could partner with the Snuneymuxw to do this?

If elected, would you call for a referendum on this question?


Should Snuneymuxw First Nation's historical ownership of the Jump Lake and Nanaimo Lakes watershed be recognized?

Yes. If Nanaimo were to support the Snuneymuxw claims then if there was a settlement by the federal and provincial governments we could partner with them to purchase the watershed.

Do you support recent moves toward more urban agriculture?


Do you support the ‘backyard chicken’ bylaw and its possible extension?


Do you support spin gardening, famer’s markets and other initiatives to support more home gardening?

Yes. What I would propose upon being elected would be to make the allocation for Urban Gardens equal across the board at 75% of the property.

Do you support pesticide use?


The recent Vision Nanaimo rally showed evidence that the municipalities that are creating more sustainable and affordable communities reject the call for an ever-expanding development ("urban sprawl"). Are you in favour of developing such places as the Cable Bay area or "in-filling" existing developed areas?

I am not in favour of developing Cable Bay and would actually like to, if at all possible, see the Urban Containment Boundary rolled back for that and other areas. Infill densification is the way to go and through that we can create environmental benefits such as a more efficient transit system and walkable communities.

A municipality has the mandate to protect it's citizens from potentially hazardous materials and effects. The Union of BC Municipalities and at least 23 individual municipalities have asked B.C. Hydro and the B.C. government to place a moratorium on “Smart meters” installation pending more information and review. They are ignoring this request and installing meters here, right now. What is your position on “Smart meters” and what will you do to deal with this issue more effectively?

I am adamantly opposed to Smart Meters as there is no justification for the replacement of existing meters. I am unsure if there is anything that can be done by the municipality now that they are being installed. People should however have the right to refuse them without fear of their existing meter being replaced regardless of their wants.

Given that Nanaimo City's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability is working on a plan to target community-wide Greenhouse Gas emissions reductions would you support a moratorium on further development of drive-throughs?


What ideas have you for a better transportation system? Your alternatives to big empty buses touring around? Revitalizing and better incorporating the rail system opportunities?

Infill densification, smaller buses on feeder routes, supporting Island Corridor Foundation to create commuter service using the rail system.

As a coastal community right on the Salish Sea what is your position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, the Kinder Morgan planned increase of oil tanker traffic out of the Port of Vancouver, crude oil tanker traffic on our B.C. coast in general and the possible lifting of the informal moratorium on oil and gas exploratory drilling offshore from the B.C. coast?

No pipeline and no oil tanker traffic and no lifting of the moratorium. We need to be looking at cleaner energy.

Currently large log booms are stored in the Nanaimo estuary impacting the bottom at low tide and destroying the eelgrass which is important for the survival of salmon as they adapt to the salt water. Should this practise be disallowed?

There are actually far fewer log booms being allowed in the estuary for that very reason. Ultimately the goal would be to not have them in the area where they do impact the eelgrass.

More in the News (actually posted Nov 18th)

Comments below on stories from both local newspapers.

Nov 18
Hot election issues may be shaking up voter apathy
We do indeed need to attract technology based jobs and work to create better opportunities for employment in Nanaimo. While we cannot rely on “pretty views” to attract business we can hype the assets we have in the community including these pretty views to attract business and people.

Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo will cooperate with police probe into election wrongdoing
True colours emerge from a couple of the candidates. It is never too late to disassociate oneself from something, especially if it is illegal and for Fillmore to call it silly and hype shows he simply has a disregard for the law.

Ron Bolin: Time to move on from housing debate and avoid bigger problems
Another excellent column

Turnout at advance polls in Nanaimo and Parksville well ahead of 2008 election

Opinion: Occupiers must move or be removed
Couldn't disagree more. If they were actually a problem then so be it move, but they are in fact not.

"The attitude of the Nanaimo occupiers seems to be that they are quite willing to share the square with others. The problem with that approach is that the occupiers, not the public through the city, end up controlling a space that belongs to us all."

The Krall Space is one of the most unused public spaces in the community. This group has kept the avenue open to the Library and Credit Union, the only two reasons for folk to even enter the plaza.

They are also responsible for bringing many into the downtown and hence spending money at downtown businesses.

Nov 17
Police will probe election activities of Nanaimo group

The big question is; for a group that pushes for transparency and communication why do the financial backers remain anonymous? There seems to be some hidden agenda by the CCN. I feel for those that are being snowed by this group, they should really be asking themselves who is actually behind this and what are the real motives.

Nanaimo's willingness to vote in civic elections has been waning each year
It is a shame that in an election which has the most potential to affect the population the population seems unwilling to take part. I hope this year we will see more people vote but I fear we will see even less than in 2008.

Editorial: Groups strive to fight apathy
A problem for years it is nice to see so many groups actually trying to encourage people to vote. The one problem I see is are people actually looking at the information on candidates or as is the case with the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo being influenced by a hidden agenda.

Philip Wolf: Earn your right to complain by getting out to vote
Another reasonably good column

Nanaimo ranks third in BC on operational spending
“CFIB did not include capital expenditures in their study.” Had they done so Nanaimo would probably be at the bottom of the heap. It is not just the capital expenditures but the means with which they have gotten approval.

Nov 16
Forum rejigs civic election
This was a lot of fun to participate in. A pleasant change to the standard All Candidates meeting.

Occupiers meet with City and RCMP to discuss concerns on each side

Young Professionals of Nanaimo urge young people to vote
One of a few groups working to encourage voter turnout. Let’s hope it works.

Grants in-lieu from province top up city with $371K
With all the downloading onto municipalities by the Province far more monies should be coming our way.

Ruttan seeking second term to finish business
"With the recession over," Tell that to the majority of those in Nanaimo who struggle daily to make ends meet. Drop the issue of a hotel for the conference centre. We tried to give away part of Maffeo Sutton Park to get this going and that didn't work, if a hotel is not happy with the city giving them the property on which to build then so be it let it go.

Nov 15
Graduation rate on the rise in Nanaimo-Ladysmith District

This is indeed good news. All graduates deserve kudos for their hard work. Keep it up and let’s see these numbers increase even higher.
BC Child advocate reappointed
It is all well and good that the Child Advocate wants to expand her mandate but what should really happen is she should be given more power to actually implement change.
Child poverty on the rise (related story from July)
It is a sad state that Child Poverty in BC has been the highest in Canada since the Liberal government came to power in 2001.

Nanaimo is particularly hard hit with high unemployment and a service based industry that pays little and often only offers part time employment. While the recent raise of the minimum wage will help I have my doubts that it will have that great of an impact.

Nov 14

Job creation among the topics in Nanaimo election
Councillors cannot create jobs but what they can do is work to make things better towards creating a more diversified work force. Limited Tax incentives, not at all like those proposed in an attempt to attract a Hotel for the conference centre, and a smoother process for development that benefits the community are things that can be done.

I constantly hear how difficult getting permits can be and how if you speak to more than one person the answers you get will more often than not be different. A smoother process is necessary so that we don't have things like the 5 months that it took just to get a permit to raise the height of the storage space at the food bank.

Walter Cordery: Department aids community
Our parks are one of Nanaimo's greatest assets and the more we can do to protect and enhance them the better. Some thought now needs to go into how we can purchase a large part of the undeveloped privately owned land in West Linley Valley.

Not only will our parks benefit the citizens of Nanaimo into the future they will also be an attractor for tourism and people moving to Nanaimo for the quality of life it has to offer. Our Parks need to be part of the new Economic Development Corporations overall agenda to create jobs by bringing business and tourism into the community..

Green light group emerges in support of low-barrier housing
Finally a group that is willing to put out actual information.

Council candidates debate issues among groups
As stated above, a lot of fun. Video of the event can be found at

Addiction treatment in strong demand
Treatment and detox for all kinds of addiction issues are much needed in BC. Expanded from the original 42 days operated by Surfside; Nanaimo John Howard has taken the program to 4 months which should give people accessing the program a far better chance of success.
When we look at the issue of Housing the Homeless and Low-Barrier housing we also have to put in place programs that will help those accessing the housing who have addictions. This one will be a big help but more and varied programs are needed.

Nanaimo Council Candidates
Not very in depth information for people looking at the candidates and trying to choose whom to vote for. Probably said this number of times but it behoves folk to look at all aspects of a candidate and make an informed decision.

If one has a few council candidates they particularly like for the position then they should limit their votes to just those candidates. Picking more, or all 8 in Nanaimo, could result in those one is iffy on actually beating out the candidates they person likes.

Column: Homelessness is everyone's problem
An excellent column by Rachel Stern of the Bulletin. She has an excellent grasp of the situation of homelessness and the many needs t address it. Rachel is one of my favourite reporters and has done some excellent stories in the past on homelessness and poverty.

North end residents need a wake up call

Perhaps the best letter I have seen on the housing of the homeless issue. This from a student at Dover Bay who had also wanted his opinion published in the school paper and was denied.

Supporters need to follow rules
Citizen group acts from a place of fear
Couple of good letters from the bulletin re the CCN groups illegal endorsement of candidates. Re the latter I believe the group knows exactly what they are doing and there is an underlying motive. If in fact, as rumours have it, Roger McKinnon and Norad Development are indeed funding the fear promoting ads and misleading the public as to why they should vote for their slate of candidates then charges should be laid by the RCMP.

Nov 12
A democratic lesson in misstep by CCN
There will be more on this issue as I have been in contact with a person who will be pushing for an investigation.

Nov 10
Concerned Citizens agree they are now campaign organizers

"Some city council hopefuls endorsed by the group say they did not give permission for their names to be used in campaign, but are unconcerned the group may have over-stepped the law." “But they also say they're unconcerned about any potential missteps made the group previously as unregistered campaign organizers.”
So let me get this straight; it is okay for some people to break the law and not others? Something is very wrong with this picture.

“Inglis said he has been involved in election campaigns at all government levels..."
One group with previous experience at all level was not aware and another with no experience was; something fishy here.

For a group that espouse to value transparency and open communication they have still not released the names of those funding their campaign.

This story has garnered more comments than any other; they are well worth the read.

Lobby groups may have crossed line into campaigning
No may here they did.
Election Promises: new council may find it difficult to cut taxes
Difficult but not impossible:)

Groups election efforts under fire as campaigning
As well they should be and charges should be laid.

Agriculture issue demands action
Solution should have been simple
A couple of well written letters on the Lantzville Urban Farming issue. As Municipal elections draw near, on November 19th, I hope that those living in the District of Lantzville will elect some progressive candidates to bring in a progressive bylaw.

Occupy group says they won't leave downtown plaza
Good for them.

Two candidates clarify stance on Uplands housing
Doesn’t surprise me that Jeet has flipped but Brunie on the other hand does.

Battle over low-barrier housing could have implications for candidates
It would be really sad if people simply choose one issue on which to base their vote. Really sad indeed.

Nov 8
Controversial project has industry officials at odds with politicians
A lot of coulds and maybes involved here. This Tax Break is a bad idea and if even the hoteliers in Nanaimo are saying so then it should not happen. Even if, big if, there were to be a new hotel it would not provide the rooms that are needed for what has been said to attract bigger conventions.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More updates on various issues

Nov 3
Get to know the 26 people running for seats on Nanaimo City Council
Interesting take on providing information about the candidates. You click the name of the person then get a bio and video link to the 5 questions asked.

They did however get my age wrong, I am actually 53.

Sisterhood contemplates sale of lakeshore grove

Great idea for a city purchase though if the Tennis Club is allowed to make their member only restaurant into a open restaurant club there will be no more tranquility.

City will force smokers to butt out in parks
This is one of those things where I think the City has gone too far. For one it is unenforceable unless of course the City proposes to hire quite a number of police. Most smokers are respectful of others and tend to smoke downwind or far enough away that the rising smoke does not go near others. If the city wanted to ban something around parks it should be vehicles as they cause far more harm than a few smokers.

Smoking as an addiction is extremely hard to quit but it is something most smokers contemplate doing.

Bus service aims to attract more patrons to downtown bars
Good idea. Not only will it bring them in it will also take them out. should see a bit iof a drop in the petty crime in the area and less garbage not to mention the potential to save lives.

Letter: Tax relief the start of headaches for taxpayers
An excellent letter regarding the tax break for hotels, especially related to the convention centre. How will these tax incentives be paid for? By you the Taxpayer, that’s how. Dumb move on the part of the current council; it will make it even harder to keep taxes down in the future.

Council votes down motion to freeze Uplands project.
Believe I commented enough on an earlier story from the Daily News. Good news and good on council.

Nov 2
Taxbreak proposed for hotel project
A lot of BS going on here. What is the current vacancy rate for hotels and motels in and around downtown? Is not giving them the property to build on enough of an incentive? How much will
the "apply to any development or re-development" end up costing

Hotel or no hotel the convention centre will always need to be subsidized. Has the license been changed yet from food primary to liquor primary? Instead of focusing on conventions lets get on with utilizing and encouraging its use for
other things.

Minimumwage hike draws mixed reaction from Nanaimo businesses and workers
It seemsthat every time the minimum wage is raised the same concerns are

By increasing the minimum wage it could help lift some out of abject poverty to just plain and simple poverty and the added benefit of the raise will mean that some have a bit more money to spend at city businesses.

What is also needed is to increase assistance rates and provide those on assistance with a bus pass so that they can look for work instead of spending all of their time just trying to survive.

Opinion: Raising minimum wage a balancing act
Not a bad column.

Bestwick says he's sorry if fellow councillors were offended by remarks on housing strategy

"dishonest at best and deceitful at worst." Not true.

I have stated often, and despite being in support of Supportive Housing and Nanaimo's action plan on homelessness, that the communication process has been flawed. This said it is flawed when it comes to most issues and that primarily because what communication is done is
to the bare minimum required.

When the Homeless Strategy was in development community was invited to get involved in
the process, very few chose to do so. It is the same with much else and it is only when something is believed to have a direct effect that citizens get up in arms. A direct result of the current
processes used by the City to inform the public.

A sad aspect of the whole housing thing is that a few people through fear and misinformation can galvanize so many. On a positive note the city can learn from it.

Information whether fact or fear can be gotten to the public relatively easily and doing so
well before the issue becomes an ISSUE is paramount

Nov 1
Proposed delay for low-barrier housing turfed by council
"I am not convinced there was any great flaw in the procedure and process and I certainly think we should carry through with the commitments we've made,"

Yes, it is about time that we moved forward as this will now allow us to work on the other aspects of housing proposed in the Homelessness Strategy. On the first part of Councillor Holdom's
comment I have to disagree.

The great flaw is exactly how the City communicates in order to get community involvement, not just on this issue but on all issues. Sadly a couple of notices in newspapers does not exactly encourage community participation in the Civic Planning.

Was there communication? Yes, but only to the minimum required. This has to change so that the City actually works to encourage community participation.

The blatant threat by the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo to actively seek to have people not vote for candidates that support the issue of Housing the Homeless is sad to say the least. To not vote for someone simply because they disagree with you on one issue is of great concern.

Sitting on City Council is no easy process because at times it does require compromise. Voters need to look beyond a single issue and look at what those running have done in and for the
community. Take off the blinders, research the candidates, and when you vote make it an informed choice and not one out of anger.

Businesses take differing views on Occupy Nanaimo's impact
I think the predominant view is that the occupiers are working well towards maintaining
the site to the mutual benefit to all in the Downtown. Kudos to the businesses that are actually

Nov 1
City can't afford to save west Linley Valley
Certainly the City could afford to save some if not all of the property. How much will the 10 year Tax deferment the City just gave to Hotels that choose to renovate cost us? What about City Park reserve funds?

There are growing questions being asked about the New City Annex and other City expenditures such as borrowing $22 million for the proposed $65 million Water Treatment Plant.

When choosing to spend the taxpayer’s money better choices need to be made. Choosing to purchase all or the majority of land in Linely Valley would actually benefit the City, its people and the potential for tourism.

Let’s protect the assets we have instead of focusing on grandiose schemes destined for failure.


Oct 28
Lantzville aims to clarify urban farming issue
I think a lot of clarifying will be done by the vote in the upcoming election and if they really want to clarify they will reform the committee that worked on the bylaw, making it more balanced, and rewrite the bylaw so that it is less discriminatory. At a minimum the allowed usage per lot should be 60% though 75% would make them more viable.

Election candidates featured at meetings
Two interesting links to sites mentioned in this story, & . The first requests input for its All Candidates meeting the second will link through sustainable cities to the answers to questions posed to the candidates.

Oct 31
Editorial: Mixed message worth hearing
One of the best editorials I have seen dealing with the occupy movement.

Reality demands public participation
Many years ago I chose the red pill; sometimes wonder if it was the right choice? In reality I do
believe my choice, well over a decade ago, to get involved was right; I have much more fun than I ever did back in the days of choosing other options.

Oct 31
Lantzville Council delays implementation of cotroversial urban farming bylaw
Probably the best move they could have made. The bylaw as it stood was literally a piece of crap.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

And More

Oct 30
BC minimum wage to increase
This will be a huge benefit to lower income earners and while businesses are concerned about bottom line it will actually allow more disposable income to be spent in those businesses.

Oct 29
Majority of council oppose idea of delaying project
I have learned, after attending on a regular basis over the years, that one should assume nothing when it comes to council making a decision. While I hope that the majority of council stand fast on the housing on uplands they must also as a block agree not to second Bill Bestwick’s motion. If they do this then it will not even be up for discussion/debate.

Yes the communication for this and much f what the city does has not been the best but with a new council we can assure this changes. To put this on hold will be to take a step backwards and who knows whom this might help but who will die while waiting.

Morally they must move forward and once they have then and only then will we be able to look at the other aspects of Nanaimo’s Homeless strategy.

Parksville-Qualicum MLA in hospital after heart attack
I may not always, and of late more often than not, agree with Mr. Cantelon’s politics but I wish him no ill will and a speedy recovery.

Jobs creation emerges as key municipal election issue
Job creation in the city with one of the highest unemployment rates should be at the top of issues in this community but sadly is not. It is unfortunate that a few individuals through spreading fear and misinformation have galvanized so many people into making housing the homeless the real top issue.

Cale Cowan: Time for real discussion on 'wet' houses
Cale, I may not agree at all times with what is said but I do find balance in the editorials and opinions. This is a complex issue that unfortunately gets hijacked by a few to galvanize the many with fear and misinformation. Bottom line for me is I know the housing will save lives.

More updates in the news

Oct 28
Bestwick calls on council to delay housing plans for uplands

This site should move forward and if I in anyway thought that there would be a rampant increase in crime or threat to the area I would not be speaking so adamantly for this type of housing. This area like all in Nanaimo currently has issues with drugs and alcoholism, it is sad but a fact. The people accessing this type of housing will at a minimum be at least contemplating change. The housing is low-barrier, not NO barrier and if a tenant brings violence or criminal activity to the building they will be evicted.

It is unfortunate that communication has not gone as those opposing would have liked but it is more unfortunate that the style used has predominated in the City for years and not just on this issue. This does have to change and the means to do so are readily available.

Tenth street housing project not a problem for residents
This was one of the 5 original projects. Despite trying to get it out to those opposed to Supportive Housing only 2 were originally proposed as low-barrier and this was not one. It is low-barrier in a sense in that while in their apartments the tenants can do their thing; then again they can do the same in any residence in Nanaimo. That said and the same goes for the proposed low-barrier sites the are low not NO barrier. Violence and drug dealing will not be tolerated and folk can be evicted.

Social media an effective tool leading up to election

Efforts to save Linley nature park not high on city's priorities
We must save what we can of this area. It would be a priority on my list and should be on the city's as features like our great parks, trails and harbour front are what will attract people and tourism to the community. The money that is being spent on the City Hall Annex would have covered the purchase of this area as well as paid for upgrades to the current city annex and had a few million left over to pay down taxes.

Happiness can't be measured by money
TOO true.

Oct. 27

Costs of Occupy Nanaimo encampment begin to build
By the headline I was expecting to see these huge charges being incurred by the city. When weighed against ones right to FREEDOM of EXPRESSION these costs are minimal.

City staff members embrace social media
"We were one of the first com-munities in B.C. to grasp the fact that this opens a new way to dialogue with our citizens." If only they would use it to do so. This could be a great means of getting information out to people about public open houses and other opportunities to take part in municipal process.

Owner of motorcycle shop happy with progress at Balmoral property housing project
Most people do not get the fact that the proposed housing projects, through-out Nanaimo are Low-Barrier and not NO-Barrier. Nice to hear from a neighbour of the project, he was not always supportive.

Oct 26
Time for occupiers to negotiate with city
It is the constitutional right of all too peaceful political protest. The group is causing no harm and are actually contributing to the economy of the downtown core.

Was at the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association coffee meeting today and Occupy Nanaimo came up. There is nothing in the wind yet as to when they would like to see it end though it appears they would. I had a chance to speak, as a candidate in the upcoming municipal election, and stated that the powers that be should allow it to go on and if it ends up being the last in Canada then that would bring attention to Nanaimo and show it a caring City. I also mentioned that it is an economic driver in that many people are coming into the Downtown to see what it is about and that those people are als spending money in the Downtown. It actually caught the attention of a few as they now can look at the Occupancy as a benefit to Nanaimo. Keep up the good work everyone:)that would bring it to the attention to Nanaimo and show it as a caring city.

I also mentioned that it is an economic driver in that many people are coming into the Downtown to see what it is about and that those people are als spending money in the Downtown. It actually caught the attention of a few as they now can look at the Occupancy as a benefit to Nanaimo.I also mentioned that it is actually an economic driver in that it is bring more people into the downtown core and in turn they are spending money Downtown. My comment actually piqued the interest of a few because they had not looked at this positive aspect. They can now view the Occupy Nanaimo site as a benefitJ.

Bulletin Oct 20
Editorial: New avenues inform voters
Somehow missed this one; t’is absolutely true there are new avenues that should make it even easier for people to get informed about elections and participate on all levels. While not into the twitter aspect I do have a FaceBook group Elect Gordon Fuller to Nanaimo Council

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oct 26
Nanaimo dragon boaters battle at AGM
Let folk become members and vote last year and didn't this year? I would want to check the Society's Constitution and bylaws on this one because if they cannot do this according to their bylaws those members that got in at the AGM last year’s should not have voted on anything and on the off chance someone just given membership was elected it was done illegally.
Explosive Lantzville land issue back before council
Will lay odds that the District of Lantzville Council will pass this one. It is sad relly because the issue has become personal. The bylaw proposed is flawed on counts, see my comments to story on 25th, and should be tabled until a new council is chose.

Oct 25

Lantzville Urban Farm bylaw is hotly debated
I went to this and despite being a Nanaimo Resident spoke to the fact that the bylaw is discriminatory. Those not wishing to farm can grow their own food and spread as much raw manure as they like where-as those looking to do small scale farming have to use composted manure. Only one non-resident would be able to work on these farms but yet the same does not apply to any other business and the list goes on.

The proposed bylaw is even more restrictive than Nanaimo's in that it states the land under cultivation for sale "shall not exceed the greater of 600 square metres or 30% of the parcel area." This is all well and good for lots under a quarter of an acre, 600square metres is roughly 15% of an acre, as for these lots the percentage would be far greater than 30% of parcel area. Many smaller lots could actually be entitled to utilize 100% of their properties.

For bigger lots of an acre or more the percentage drops to 15% or lower as the parcel areas grows. Even in Nanaimo lots larger than .6 of an acre can have 25% coverage and this percentage does not reduce as the lot size increase. One would think that in a largely rural area, with larger lot sizes, Lantzville’s bylaw would allow for greater growing area than that of a largely urban area like Nanaimo.

Bottom line; this once again discriminates against those with larger lot sizes. A fairer way of doing this would be to allow larger lots up to 75% for cultivation and sale. This is something I will be bringing up for Nanaimo’s bylaw once I am elected to council.

New CEO reveals ambitious strategy for Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation
“The plan is "very ambitious," according to Mayor John Ruttan.” Details John, details. Don’t get the rationale of the Conference Centre Kiosk. It is located in the dead-zone at the back of the Conference Centre and as for dispensing information about Nanaimo the joint is running at less than 3% capacity. This really aught to attract a lot of tourism, yes I am being sarcastic.

Opinion: Economic Development Plan a necessity
“Priorities addressed during the announcement Monday include finding a builder for a hotel to complement the downtown conference centre and luring a company to the city to run a foot passenger ferry service between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. Plans include everything from attracting new investment to retaining and expanding local business, increasing tourism and generating jobs.” Wonder how much they are paying for the CEO position? All sounds a lot like what has been tried already and if this is the best they can come up with perhaps I should try and get that job and screw being a City Councilor.
Paul Walton: Money isn't only election issue
It is not about having the money in a vault it is about spending what we do have wisely and in so doing also choosing wisely the things to subsidize. It is about taking much of the excess in that vault and using it to pay down taxes rather than to build facilities that could be refurbished. It is about engaging the public in a real way on the choices we make.

Occupy Nanaimo protesters have no plans to leave downtown
The folks doing this should be proud no matter how long it lasts; they are a part of history in the making.


Coalition puts twist on all candidates meeting
The more All Candidates meetings the better and I have it on good authority that this one in particular will be unlike any other in the past. The site they mention has potential though as a candidate it will be tough remembering to check it out on a regular basis.

Opinion: Scare tactics don't foster solution

This article does illustrate that homelessness is in all areas of the city. I too have seen the person mentioned as I expect most who have driven in North Nanaimo. He has been in the area for a few years now and I have never heard of him causing any problems.

“Does one portion of society deserve to be given a home courtesy of the taxpayer while others must struggle to make ends meet all on their own?” Giving them a home will actually save the taxpayers money as once housed the person will utilize other services, paid for by the taxpayer, less often. a savings of up to $18,000plus per year.

Oct 24
Newcastle Island serves economic and cultural role
Newcastle Island is one of the jewels in a box of many that Nanaimo has. The cultural history alone, both pre and post colonization, is well worth learning about. When we look at attracting tourism to the city this and the other jewels in the box need to be the focus.

Women's centre supports low barrier housing
As one of those that worked on the ad talked about in this story I sincerely hope that this story will spur the many other organization and citizens in the community to publicly state their support. We cannot allow a few people to spread fear and misinformation gathering others into their misguided endeavours.

Oct 21
Ron Bolin: Pay attention, then get out and vote
Ron is one f the smartest people I know when it comes to city issues and digging for information. Ron attends most council meetings and has since 2002. He is one of only a few, myself included, that take the time to follow what is happening in the city and the processes used by council to make decisions. He will be someone I keep in touch with when I am elected too council

Westwood residents’ concerned restaurant will upset quiet lives
This is a huge issue in the Westwood Lake area involving the Nanaimo Tennis Club wanting to scrap a land use contract in order to open their member only restaurant to the public. While they say it has been so for decades by allowing them to do this the city could open the door for an influx of people coming to the restaurant and the resultant noise there-of. Directly adjacent to the tennis club is Bethlehem Retreat, a place where people come to get away from it all. In my opinion the city should have been monitoring and enforcing this and any other land use contracts. Too often there is disregard on the part of owners simply for added profit.

Oct 19

City looks for feedback with culture strategy
This is an opportunity for the community and groups to get involved in working towards the benefit of Nanaimo. I hope many turn out to give their input.

Regional District hosting open houses to discuss agriculture plans
And yet the District of Lantzville chooses not to be progressive.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Much more on the Supportive Housing debate

Below are links to a number of news storys and letter on the Suppotive Social Housing debate. Many I have commented on and in a couple of the storys I am mentioned. PS; this may be a bit long for some tastes:)

Oct 24
Women's centre supports low barrier housing
As one of those that worked on the ad talked about in this story I sincerely hope that this story will spur the many other organization and citizens in the community to publicly state their support. We cannot allow a few people to spread fear and misinformation gathering others into their misguided endeavours.

Letter: Comments from meeting very discouraging
Letter: Fear mongering must not ruin opportunity
A couple other well written and informative letters about Supportive Housing; it is heartening to see many more of Nanaimo’s citizens writing in support of Nanaimo’s Homeless Plan.

Letter: Seniors also in need of affordable housing
This letter is right in that affordable housing is needed for seniors, it is also need for all ages. Where he does miss the mark is that many of the homeless are seniors with addictions and they will be helped through low barrier housing. There are many other seniors that suffer from addiction to prescription meds as well and they to need to be housed in an environment supportive of their needs.

Oct 22
Uplands site was the most suitable for low barrier housing says city planner

North-end residents vent at meeting about low barrier housing
This was the one where I lost it a little and did some venting of my own. The following is posted on my Elect Gordon Fuller to Nanaimo Council facebook page.
When I went to the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo Friday night I should probably have stuck with my original idea and just observed. Alas after listening to MLA Cantelon spout off, then Councilor Bestwick and a few other choice candidates in the election blatantly sucking up to the crowd for votes, the final straw came when prospective councilor Brian Fillmore came up and opened his mouth about the housing issue.
The meeting, I would guess three hundred in attendance, started with members of the CCN. One talked about how this wasn’t about pictures or spreading fear but about process. If that was the case why the photo shopped pictures, one of a family scene with a young girl in the background shooting up and obviously photo shopped into the scene? Why the rhetoric about crime and violence being brought to the area because of the housing when there is absolutely no proof of supportive housing doing so?

If this was simply about communication then I would have to agree with them; yes the process was not the best and sadly the same happens all the time and not just on the housing issue. I will talk more about communication at a later date because it is one of my pet peeves and a reason I am running for council.
Ron Cantelon got up and it was so obvious that he was vote pandering, at one point even asking how many people in the room lived in his riding. He mentioned how he had spoken with Rich Coleman and was assured that if the uplands location was put on hold the government would not withdraw the money. Yeah right, how many lies has this government told and should we trust them?
Councilor Bestwick got up and spouted on for at least 10 minutes. He has always been in opposition of the housing. About the only thing I can say I agreed with him on was when he mentioned too much of councils time was spent in camera; for those not in the know this means no public input and no need to release what the meeting was about or the decisions made there-in.
There were then a few other speakers, most talking about crime, drug addicts coming into their neighbourhoods as well as a couple council candidates. Their was also talk about research showing that smaller works better, abstinence based, and how pathways in New York place people in individual units and research showing smaller was better.
The reality is that while I do not disagree with this research there is also research that shows larger facilities work as well. There is one organization in Seattle where they have 9 low-barrier units housing 800 people and within a few months almost 100% are working with supports brought to the buildings.
If one were to actually look at Nanaimo's Response to Homelessness Action Plan page ES2 (more on pages 14 thru 20) they would see that in it is not just the 160 units of new builds for 5 locations but also creating 75 rent subsidies and 70 acquisitions of existing housing.
Personally I have always thought that the rent subsidies should have been implemented immediately in conjunction with the new build and housing acquisitions as outlined on page ES2. Rent subsidies would have allowed for almost immediate access to housing. Alas when the monies were put forward by the Province they were for new builds and have led to where we are at today.
Okay now we get to the losing it part. So, up until Brian Fillmore got up to speak, and after listening to rhetoric and vote pandering for at least 45 minutes, I was still just planning to listen. It was only during Fillmore’s spiel about drug addicts and how he had personally went to visit Warmlands Low-Barrier Housing in Duncan, found it not to his liking, and spoke with a business person and neighbour who allegedly told him that problems of crime and drug use in the area had gotten worse that I decided I had to get up and speak.
I found much of what he was saying to be so much bullshit that I was infuriated. Especially since we had previously heard from the school district about how well Warmlands, located next to two schools was working well and that Warmlands actually had a community garden where they were teaching school children about healthy eating. We had also heard from business and neighbours that since Warmlands had opened crime and drug use had actually decreased in the area.
As Fillmore was leaving the podium and walking by me I called him scum to his face. I have thought about this comment a lot since then and while I likely should not have said it, better I say it to his face then behind his back.
When I got to the mike the first words out of my mouth were, “I AM NOT HERE TO KISS YOUR ASS FOR VOTES.” I then said something to the effect that I stand by my views on Supportive Housing and am not ashamed to say so. One person in the front said well you are not getting my vote to which I replied if this is the only reason I am not getting your vote then I don’t want it.
I then went on to say that I agreed about the communication process but it goes deeper than just this one issue and I brought up the recent borrowing of 22 million for the Water Treatment Plant as an example, only one public meeting only about the borrowing.
I also went on to mention that when these public meetings were announced, and set up in the community, there was very little participation by the public. It is only when something was perceived to affect them directly that people got upset and banded together wanting the very input they could have actually given earlier on. The Homeless strategy is a perfect example in that when the community was invited to give input very few chose to do so.
I then talked briefly about the fact that the homeless strategy was more than the 160 units, also encompassing acquisitions and rent subsidies. At this point I was being nudged to stop speaking as my three minutes were up, though oddly enough others had been given more, and still pissed off as a wrap up stated that Brian Fillmore was a liar. I then promptly exited stage left, last thing I saw was Fillmore storming back up to the line for the mike looked like he wanted to hit me, with a few people thanking me as I left the building and a few thanking me outside as well.
The reality is that the only thing I specifically regret was accusing Fillmore of being a liar. I have to honestly say that I do not know this for a fact but then I also do not know that he actually went down to Warmlands in Duncan and talked to anyone.

Oct 21
Cantelon says city had other options for north end housing for homeless
Talk about intentionally inflaming the issue. He had told me on a number of occasions that he had been going out in the North End area with a few others speaking in support of the planned housing.
Our view: Cantelon has inflamed the housing issue
Extremely well written editorial, couldn’t agree more.
PS; I keep hearing about this 1400 strong petition. If getting people to sign it involved any of the blatant fear mongering tactics and false information put out by the Mythical CCN group then no wonder so many signed.

Oct 20 DN
Letter: Counter misinformation with factual information
It is unfortunate that when a few people spread fear and misinformation they gather many to their cause which makes giving accurate information even harder. Months ago I had mentioned to a couple of councillors and the social planner that they should be going out to the North End and speaking to people about the issues of Homelessness and Addiction; educate them about all the details of the Homeless Strategy. Had this happened the uproar in North End area would have been far less that it is now.

Oct 20
Social Housing debate continues
A sitting councillor or candidate would have to be nuts to attend this as it will very likely be a bitch fest extraordinaire. Hmm, perhaps I might just attend.

Oct 19
Letter: Residents campaign fails on several fronts
Letter: University women's group advocates inclusive community
A huge thanks to CFUW-Nanaimo for this letter.

Oct 18
Group continues fight against low-barrier housing project
Our View: Lies about low-barrier facility unhelpful

Oct 18
North End residents rally against low-barrier housing (Published as ‘Social housing opponents voice concerns)
I attended this council meeting and spoke in favour of the housing as well as thanking council for their ongoing support. Interesting to note that one of the delegations, the only person yet to admit to being part of the group Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo, refused to answer councils questions after her presentation. Amusing as one of their primary beefs has been a lack of communication and consultation.

If you check this link out Council Meeting October 17 2011 you may want to skip over the delegations prior to the ones regarding housing. I did not get to speak until after 10:00pm, 3 hours after the start of the meeting.

Letter: Are we a welcoming inclusive community
An excellent letter and something we need to work on.

Letter: Ad is a tasteless joke if sponsors are unknown
The ads can be viewed on this website

Letter: Many things wrong when looking at this picture
This letter speaks to the above

Oct 14
Citizens band together in effort to scuttle city's housing project
Oct 13
Opposition and support emerge on low barrier housing
Editorial: Resident takes leadership role
D/N Letters
Letter: Inflammatory pamphlet only spurs negativity
Letter: Lack of consultation for low-barrier housing
A very good quote at the end of this letter.

Oct 11
Letter: Residents must not exclude other people

Oct 8
Uplands land required lift on restrictions
This explains how the Uplands site came to be chosen. It is in essence a close to perfect site and in my opinion City Council could have done this in the open instead of in camera.

Letter: Dump low barrier idea for a workable solution

Cold Weather Shelter

Nanaimo's former Extreme now Cold Weather Shelter will be opening soon which will have a huge impact on the absolute homeless in the community. I was integral again this year in steering funding their way and when I look at accomplishments I have achieved it is this and other issues of homelessness that I am most proud.

Oct 20

Shelter offers comfort during cold weather
I have been in contact with the shelter to discuss the following. It would be better for the following reason if the homeless if the Shelter were to open on November 1st with a tentative closing March 1st.
1. November is far colder traditionally than March.
2. Extreme Weather Criteria, days that BC Housing will kick in funding to augment that already in place, has been lowered to 4 degrees with rain or wind. With colder weather expected this year these Extreme days will expand the amount of time the shelter can stay open into March and perhaps through to the end of March.
3. Opening at an earlier date will allow more time to secure the needed funding for March in the event extreme days are less than expected.

Oct 18
Shelter gets grant to operate for colder winter months
This is good news indeed, but as I have said , they should have kept the start date on the 1st of November with a tentative closing date of March 1st. November has a tendency to be far worse than March weather wise and it is also when Extreme Weather Shelter days funded by BC Housing kick in across the province. These extreme days will as it stands be balancing out the City Grant to allow a Cold Weather shelter and as the weather is expected to be far worse could contribute over the months allowing the shelter to stay open through March. In the event they do not then it would also give time to raise funds from the community to do so.

Oct 12 D/N
Housing shelter faces funding crunch

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Supportive Social Housing heats up again

It’s been a busy few weeks what with running in the upcoming election, dealing with work and all of my other commitments. Sadly it looks like the Supportive Social Housing will be one of the main issues.

With the announcement of the North End location things have really been heating up. A particularly nasty little group calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo has a website up, What’s Wrong with this Picture where a lot of misinformation and fear is being spread. They have a lot of money behind them and have sent out a card, with some of this misinformation, which people can send to their MLA and City Council. The group has also placed a number of full page adds, seen at the bottom of their home page, in the papers in order to galvanize and misinform the community.

As a response to this the Working Group on Homelessness decided to do an ad of their own thanking council for their steadfast support of housing the Homeless. On Monday the 17th I also appeared at council, council video Nov 17 2011, to reiterate that support personally. Go to the first delegation after Cathy Davis, 917pm, for delegations from the North End as well as my own.
Below are copies of the ad we put out, spent many hours pulling it all together with the help of Lynn Burrows and we still have more than 100 names that came in that we were unable to put in the ad, as well as my delegation. Have to head out soon to do some of my regular pickups for the 7-10 Club but wwill hopefully be able to spend the afternoon wwith more updates to the blog, things are pilling up. You can also find out more about what I have been doing by checking my facebook page for the election Elect Gordon Fuller to Nanaimo Council

Delegation to Council:

October 17, 2011

Gordon Fuller
604 Nicol St.
Nanaimo, BC

I want to keep this simple and to the point so as not to take up any more of your time than needed.

I personally want to thank the Mayor and all on Council who have steadfastly supported Nanaimo’s Homelessness & Harm Reduction Strategy.

The housing first concept, used throughout North America, has proven itself in alleviating homelessness and by attaching supports to meet the need of the individual has allowed many to move forward in their fight against addiction.

Some would like to see Nanaimo revisit its strategy a strategy based on the success of the Housing First concept. I and many others in the community spent years to develop this plan and to gain support of the province towards its funding. Should we start over? No, we need to keep moving forward with a proven strategy.

As an Advocate for Social Change on Homelessness and poverty issues in Nanaimo, for well over a decade, I have attended memorial services for far too many in the community who, I have no doubt whatsoever, would still be here had the strategy been implemented sooner. It is on their behalf, and the many this will save, that I so adamantly believe Nanaimo’s Homelessness & Harm Reduction Strategy must continue to move forward.

Again I wish to thank you and the many others in the community for your continued support of this valuable initiative.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Cost of Poverty

The article below is interesting in that it weighs the cost of poverty against the cost of a plan to tackle poverty and the political will to actually do so. In my opinion it is political will that has hindered and contributed to the problem of poverty not just in BC but across Canada.

I also believe that to a degree Municipalities can also have an impact in how they design their own social policy initiatives. An example is the current debate about Supportive Social Housing and Nanaimo's plan to spread out housing to all areas. This for me is a no brainer simply for the fact that spreading out housing and services does not allow for the creation of ghettoized areas. It will take all levels of government to solve the issue.
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives: Poverty comes with a high price tag

It’s no secret that British Columbia has a problem with poverty. Many of us do our part and contribute to food drives and other worthy causes. But how many British Columbians realize that poverty is costing us – all of us – a lot more than a few cans of non-perishable food and a new toy donated at Christmas? A new study released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has, for the first time, quantified the economic cost of poverty in BC. We estimate that poverty costs the average man, woman and child in BC as much as $2,100 each and every year.

The economic cost of poverty to society as a whole adds up to between $8.1 and $9.2 billion per year. That’s a lot of money –close to 5% of the total value of our economy. Our analysis shows that failing to address the root causes of poverty is very expensive, both in terms of current and future costs. Study after study has linked poverty to poorer health, lower literacy, more crime, poor school performance for children, and greater stress for families. Poverty takes an enormous toll on the people who struggle with it, no question about it. But at the end of the day, it’s society at large that is paying a very high price. British Columbians pay approximately $1.2 billion per year in higher. Public health care costs linked to poverty. We spend another $745 million annually on policing and criminal justice costs driven by poverty-related crime. Higher costs of income supports and lost tax revenues that come with inadequate earnings account for over $900 million per year.

Poverty also acts as a significant drag on our economy. BC’s prosperity is undermined when people are excluded from the workforce because they don’t have access to the supports or training they need to do better, or when they are stuck in low wage jobs in our polarized labour market. Underutilizing all the talents and human potential of poor British Columbians to contribute to society and to our economy is among the biggest costs of poverty ($6.3 to $7.2 billion per year). This is a conservative assessment of the cost of poverty in BC, as our estimates do not capture all of the costs. Notably, we exclude the costs that child poverty imposes on future generations by perpetuating the cycle of poverty. We also do not measure many of the less tangible costs, such as the impact of high poverty levels on social cohesion and our feelings of safety in our communities. Nor do we include the direct cost of providing frontline social services to those in poverty.

The BC government’s current approach to poverty is to deal with negative consequences as they arise. This is akin to handling a leaky roof problem by repeatedly mopping the floor. It makes things look passable when the guests arrive, but it does nothing to address the root causes of the problem. And like a leaky roof, poverty’s consequences only get harder and more expensive to fix the more we put off dealing with them. The high costs of poverty in BC gives us a purely economic reason to be concerned about our poverty levels, which are the highest in Canada. Seven Canadian provinces and two territories have recognized this and implemented poverty reduction strategies (or are in the process of developing them). In fact, poverty reduction has emerged as an issue that transcends party politics and ideology to receive all-party agreement in most provinces. It’s time for the BC government to rise up to the challenge and commit to a comprehensive plan to systematically tackle the root causes of poverty in BC. We estimate that once fully implemented, such a plan for BC would cost between $3 and $4 billion per year. That’s less than half of what poverty is costing us now.

Making poverty reduction a priority is the right thing to do. And our report shows that it’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do. The biggest challenge that lies ahead is that upfront investments are needed to bring savings down the line. The four-year election cycle hardly encourages long term thinking or investments. What’s needed is leadership, vision and a willingness to do the right thing for BC’s future.

Iglika Ivanova is an economist and public interest researcher at the CCPA-BC.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

In the News

Oct 8
Letter: Objective measure for council pay is required Nice letter. Interesting that Councillor Greeves, who receives a lot of support from unions, voted for the raise when even unions are receiving 2% or less. Even former councillor Brennan, running again this year after a failed attempt at the mayors’ position in 2008, also supported by unions is in agreement with the raise.

Oct 7
City takes possession of Oceanview properties in tax sale One can only hope that Canadian Property Investments neglects to pay within the one year allowable; the City of Nanaimo must not even give them one day extra. We have seen how well extending contracts for developers has worked in the past for the city; no hotel at the convention centre.

Council to reassess Maffeo Sutton Park plan Citizens of Nanaimo must get involved in this. If not we could see it developed towards being a private entertainment venue. The park must remain public and entertainment in the park must be accessible to everyone.

Oct 4 D/N Council will review plans for Maffeo Sutton Park
Maffeo Sutton Park improvements Jan 2009 This link to a copy of the brochure on the City website. In it it talks about a referendum but that referendum was actually about borrowing money for the convention centre. Just a tad misleading.

Oct 7 D/N: Volunteers continue battle to save Linely Valley While the title is a bit misleading, part of the valley Cottle Lake is already park, it is a cause that is worth getting behind. I once walked my dog through the forested lands between Rutherford Rd. and Hammond Bay Rd., phenomenal and an experience that should be enjoyed by all. If this group is successful many will be as able to enjoy it as I have and we will have another jewel in the city of Nanaimo.

Bulletin Oct 2: Moorecroft Regional Park planning
This is one of those things that irks me. The first open house for public input is between noon and 4:00, right when most folk are working. Despite an online survey, not yet available, I have to ask just how much they want your input?

Oct 7
Windley Contracting earns contract to build city hall annex Yeah right, as far as I know this contract was never put to tender and was simply given to Windley. “could crumble at even the slightest quake” What a crock. We have had many ‘slightest’ quakes over the years and the building is still standing. Another $16million of the taxpayer’s money well spent. Damn right I am being facetious.

Oct 6
Lantzville urban farming recommendations contested This has been an ongoing and vindictive attack on Dirk Becker & Nicole Shaw of Compassion Farm by the Mayor and a few Councillors of the District of Lantzville as well as their immediate neighbour. The goal, in my and others opinions has always been to shut down what is a prime example of Urban Agriculture on the Island.

Lantzvilles bylaw, as is Nanaimo’s is a tad unfair in that smaller residentially zoned lots are allowed 600 square metres of urban garden and larger lots 30% of the property. In many most cases, in particular in Nanaimo, the 600 square metres for smaller lots is far higher a percentage than the 30% for larger lots.

Personally I would like to see 50% for lots of one acre with that percentage rising incrementally for lots larger than an acre. For lots larger than 2 acres I believe 75% would not be be out of line.

It is also my opinion that the District of Lantzville is trying to pass their so called bylaw before the upcoming election. People in that community need to get out and vote for those friendly to urban agriculture, Andrew Mostad and Jaime Wallace for example..

Oct 5
North End housing concerns addressed by city A group or person, with money behind them, opposed to the Supportive Housing going into the North End recently put a full page ad in the Daily News. The ad, essentially a copy of the front page of a nasty little website that has been developed Whats wrong with this picture . They also have a facebook page Concerned citizens of Nanaimo .

I am reminded of a few years ago when the 7-10 Club was looking at rezoning the Harewood Fire Hall for its new location. A website was set up that put out all kinds of misinformation and actually bordered on hate. As usual it was a very small vocal group that had no qualms about spreading disinformation and lies.

Oct 4
Neighbourhood moms mobilizing in response to social housing plan
The idea of starting up a neighbourhood group is a good one. Usually these groups are started in response to real or perceived threats to the community but the challenge is to keep them going when things die down. These groups can be a great way to build interaction with neighbours and create a true sense of belonging as long as they are not simply reactionary. This can cause the opposite effect and divide the community if the group is not careful. links to stories and letters about the Supportive Housing issue