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Friday, January 28, 2011

Zoning Bylaw

The power of speaking out. The city has graciously decided to set up a meeting in the South of Nanaimo;

All locations:

Tuesday, 2011-FEB-08
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Nanaimo Ice Centre (Lounge #2)
750 Third Street

Thursday, 2011-FEB-10
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Beban Park (Lounge)
2300 Bowen Road

Wednesday, 2011-FEB-16
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Dover Bay School
(Multi Purpose Room)
6135 McGirr Road

Thursday, 2011-FEB-17
5:30pm - 8:00pm
Fire Hall #4
1425 Cranberry Avenue

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

City - Public Open Houses

As someone who lives and has lived in the South End for a number of years I have often been curious when it comes to the location of City run Public Open Houses around issues like the OCP Review, Parks Bylaw and most recently the Zoning Bylaw re-write. I for one like to participate when possible towards the betterment of my community but I also want accessibility in doing so. I am assuming that many in the community are also like minded

Regarding the Zoning Bylaw rewrite, I have been at a few things where it was discussed so was curious when it was announced at a PNAC (Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee) meeting that there would be some open houses for the public to view the progress to date. What got me even more curiouser, if that is even a word, were the locations of the open houses (see below). Once again there seemed to be a lack of any venue south of Third Street and while one might expect the Ice Centre to serve most of Harewood what about the South End, Chase River as well as other points south? Why?

What follows is a result of my inquiry.

Question to: Al Kenning- City Manager as well as cc’d to Mayor & Council.

Good day Al et al. I was at the PNAC Meeting when the open houses were mentioned for the New Zoning Bylaw, also noticed on council agenda (below), and it struck me as curious as to why there was no scheduled open house in the South End Area of Nanaimo. Is there some rational for this or is it just an oversight? It strikes me that a considerable portion of Nanaimo's population lives in the southern portions of the City and that an open house, say perhaps at the Chase River School, would benefit the area.

(a) New Zoning Bylaw – Public Open House Dates
Mayor Ruttan to announce the following New Zoning Bylaw Public Open
House Meetings:
• 2011-FEB-08 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre
• 2011-FEB-10 at the Beban Park Social Centre
• 2011-FEB-16 at the Dover Bay Secondary School (Multi-Purpose
All Open Houses will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thanks for your consideration in this matter.


Hi Gord,
When we booked the venues for the Open Houses, we considered the event at the NIC as being in the south end, the Beban event to cover the central area and the event at Dover as covering the north. I guess it’s a matter of perception.
We have used Chase River School in the past, notably for public meetings during the Sandstone OCP application process, and the School District always put us in the library which was totally unsatisfactory. Given the number of display panels and the number of residents we hope to attend, we needed to find larger venues, preferably in City facilities (as you can see, we were unable to book Oliver Woods for the north end session).
The draft zoning bylaw (text and map) is available on the City’s website and Planning staff have made presentations to neighbourhood groups, as well as other interested parties, upon request. The new zoning bylaw is a standing item on the planNANAIMO Advisory Committee agenda and a display on the new bylaw is available in the lobby of the Development Services department in the City Hall Annex. As you can see, while the public open houses are very important to seek input on the proposed bylaw, they are just one element of a much more comprehensive public consultation program. A second round of public open houses are scheduled for the late spring (dates and locations TBA). We’ll look at moving one of those events further south.
Thank you for your suggestion and interest in the new zoning bylaw. I hope you are able to attend one of the scheduled events.

Andrew Tucker
Director of Planning
City of Nanaimo

My Reply

Thanks for the prompt reply Andrew.

Interesting, I never thought of the NIC or really even the Aquatic Centre as being in the south end.

Part of the problem is that many in the areas south of the Ice Centre are seniors as well as low income people who may not have computers and also be at the mercy of transit. While the South End Neighbourhood association is fairly well attended and we do have an extensive e-mail list to get information out even this only accounts for a very small number of people in the area. While I recognize it may be too late at this point in time, though late February could be an option, to schedule something for Chase River or even Bayview Schools I do hope that in the future this area will be better served towards accessing these types of events.


City Council Meeting: January 24, 2011

Likely because of my initial inquiry, when the locations were brought up at the council meeting it promoted discussion. The result being that a location such as the Moose Hall, Chase River Firehall or some other venue in the area will be looked at to hold a Public Open House in February like the others.

What this shows is that sometimes one person can make a difference by asking questions of the right people, it never hurts to ask. It also helps that I showed up at the council meeting, they all know me, as a reminder to them.

Why should you care about the Zoning Re-write?

Really that is a subjective question in that if you rent it will have little or no impact but if you own property it likely will. Will the impact be positive or negative? That will be for the land owner to decide. It will also prove useful to developers to be able to locate potential projects in areas that would not require rezoning. So if you are interested here are some links and if you are able I encourage you to attend a Public Open House to give feedback.

Proposed New Zoning Bylaw explanation and links to Draft Zoning By-law and Draft Zoning Land Use Map

Friday, January 21, 2011

More Cold/Wet again

Quick update; Peoples First Radio on CHLY yesterday had a segment on the Shelter CHLY Radio PFR re Cold Weather Shelter . Kudoes to Councillor Fred Pattje for mentioning Wallace and I as well as for his support and efforts to secure the funding..

This in the Daily today First Unitarian church congregation will decide ............ Public meetings set for Wednesday the 26th from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and Sunday Jan. 30 from 2-4 p.m.

I hope a lot of folk show up and let the people representing the Unitarian Church, as well as staff and volunteers at the shelter, know what a great and hugely important service they are doing for the community.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

7-10 Club

Most people associate me with the 7-10 Club thinking that that is my paid job. Alas it is not, I work for Nanaimo Youth Services as their housing coordinator , but it is something I care about passionately.

I have been on the Board of Directors for the past 6 years and Chair for 4. Last weekend was the first weekend in 26 years that the club was open 7-10 Club will offer breakfast ......., a partnership between the John Howard Society, and we hope to have more partnerships in place so that it will be able to open every weekend.

Anyway just wanted to add something brief and if folks are interested in learning more about what I do in the community the can check the new page, About Me. I'm also very open to questions and comments positive or negative.

Cold/Wet human perspective

The following was a good story written on Monday in the Daily News. It puts a human perspective, I have known the person mentioned for 13 yerars, on the issue of homelessness and addiction. Also of use are the comments by the Vancouver Island Health Authority's chief medical officer.

As my letter, also below, says it is really a no brainer to have Winter Shelters accessable every night and not just when the weather is deemed extreme. I have sent the D/N story to other communities in hopes that they can also make changes to their winter shelter criteria.

It's the wet, not the cold, that's brutal during a Nanaimo winter
Despite our moderate climate, shelter for homeless popultion is vital
Lise Billingsley and Krista Bryce, Daily News
Published: Saturday, January 15, 2011
It's the wet, not the cold, that's brutal during a Nanaimo winter


Costs for not having shelter are much higher
Gordon W. Fuller, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Costs for not having shelter are much higher

Friday, January 14, 2011

And away we go. By-election 2011

Here are the first few stories from the Daily News regarding the upcoming by-election. I love the D/N for the comments you can make, and ease in doing so, on certain of their stories. In the event you check these out read the comments, some are simply hilarious.

Korpan considers running for open council slot, others announce candidacy
Derek Spalding, Daily News
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Mark MacDonald: Council needs forward-thinkers
Mark MacDonald, Special to The Daily News
Published: Friday, January 14, 2011
Nanaimo's chamber of commerce fights poor voter turnout
Derek Spalding, Daily News
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Pair of candidates ready to fill seat on Nanaimo council
Byelection set for March 26; McKay and Fillmore among those vying for empty position
Derek Spalding, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Diane Brennan: McNabb meant so much to community
Diane Brennan, Special to The Daily News
Published: Friday, January 07, 2011
Nanaimo must hold byelection to replace McNabb
Derek Spalding, Daily News
Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Nanaimo must hold byelection to replace McNabb

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cold Wet Shelter Finally

A Victory for the people.

After months of lobbying, City Council approved on Monday a grant of grant of $35,000 to have the extreme weather shelter open daily instead of just when the weather is deemed extreme. Shelter staying open for rest of winter. A huge thanx to mayor & council for seeing the benefit of this and acting upon it.

Kinda makes my last letter to the editor, Cold/wet weather facility needed for city published the same day, a bit moot but nice to see it anyway.

This is the culmination of a long effort, overall four years, and would not have happened without a coordinated approach this year by both Wallace Malay and myself. Wallace's in your face approach along with my skills in networking, lobbying etc. worked well together and as can be seen resulted in the desired outcome.

You will notice if you peruse the video, video council January 10 2011 (when it starts scroll to 3hrs14min10sec), of the meeting that the work Wallace and I did is not mentioned. I don't have a problem with that, don't get credit for many of the things I do and that is not why I do them regardless.

What I do have a problem with is certain council members patting themselves on the back and misleading the public when knowing full well that if Wallace and I had not made this a very public issue it would have been status quo. John Horn, our social planner is given kudoes by Merv Unger for the excellent work and extra hours he put in on this and yet he on a number of occasions was not overly enthusiastic about the Cold Weather format being implemented and in fact stated in an e-mail that council did not have a voice on this as it was not a rezoning issue.

It has certainly had its amusing moments, the above being one. Another; when what Wallace and I were trying to do was brought up at the last working group on Homelessness Meeting it was suggested by Allison Millward, former social planner now with VIHA's housing department, that a committee be formed to discuss the issue.

I really had to laugh at that as both Wallace and I could see the outcome being meeting upon meeting with nothing being accomplished. We told her and the working group sure no problem even though we fully intended to keep the pressure on the city to come up with the funding. We knew this to be the easiest and quickest way for funding to become available almost immediately and once secured the plan would be to work over the summer to get BC Housing to fund the shelter next year in a winter format as opposed to extreme weather format.

Intensly frustrating at times the success of our efforts on behalf of the homeless make doing this sort of thing worthwhile.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Extreme/Cold Weather Shelter.

This in the D/N on the 6th,Cold-weather facility has lowered criteria ..... , criteria be damned the only criteria should be that it is open 7 to 7 daily from November through March; a letter in response by Wallace on the 7th .Community should not leave anyone out in cold.

This letter sent by me but unpublished as yet;

I find it interesting the print story “Shelter offers homeless a warm, dry place for the night” is different than originally published on the website as “Cold-weather facility has lowered criteria for opening this year to deal with wet weather.” In fact when originally published on the inter-web the great work that Re/Max is doing was a standalone article.
This is an issue, not about lowered criteria but, of both choice and what is right.
A law was passed in 2009 gave the police the right, when weather was deemed hazardous enough to cause death, to transport the homeless to shelters. Despite this the person still had the choice whether to remain at the shelter or not, they were not legally obligated to stay.
Whether there is a “crowd,” I would say more appropriately a few, who choose not to use shelters it is their choice. The Extreme Weather philosophy, no matter the criteria to determine extreme, effectively removes any choice if shelter is not available due to the determination of someone who has a warm bed every night.
If this were truly, as it should be, a Cold/Wet weather shelter it would be open from November through March not simply when deemed appropriate. If one person contracts pneumonia, from the damp and cold weather, and dies because their choice is removed someone must be held accountable. We need to do what is right and see that this facility is open daily from 7pm to 7am November through March.

There has been some movement on this issue.

Both Walace Malay and I have and continue to lobby council to provide the funding to have the shelter open daily from 7 to 7 as opposed to only when the Social Planner, John Horn, deems the weather to be extreme.

I have put together a cost analysis and met with Councilor Jim Kipp prior to Christmas. As things progressed I then sent it to some of our other city council members, Fred Pattje and Merv Unger, who met with John Horn and Randy Churchil (by-laws) on the 7th. The following day both Wallace and I received this cryptic message from Councilor Unger; "Gord, Wallace, Would the two of you be prepared to serve in a volunteer role if we were to extend shelter at higher temperature levels? Supervisory assistance is one of the biggest challenges. MU"

Wanting some expansion, and e-mailing, re the would you be prepared to serve in a volunteer role we received the following from Fred Pattje, Morning Gord, We hop'e to have Unitarian Church, as well as that institution's neighbours', concurrence early Monday, at which time John Horn will have a clearer idea of what/who is needed to temporarily (till the end of March ) shift to a seven day operation. I'd suggest we wait till then. Cheers, Fred."

Any way both Wallace and I are willing to help out but not to the extent, at least on my part, of volunteering to staff the extra shifts. When the expansion happen it will require at least two more full time employees as well as a part time coordinator to schedule volunteers do payroll etc..

Me I already have one full time paid job and my volunteer commitments equal at least another onwe and a half. I also want to see this create some employment for the balance of this year and for the next one or two that the shelter would be eeded.

Soooo things are looking up and we could see this happen as early as this week. Will keep you all posted.

Election & Core Services Review

Both of these issues are on the agenda at council tonight Council Agenda January 10, 2011. Pgs 31 & 32 election and pgs 33 - 39.

If council gives the go ahead for an election it could be as soon as March 26th. I am pretty much ready in the event an election is called, have my signs from my last trys and have a commitment from someone to do some small newspaper ads. It will be interesting to see who runs. Will update, soon, the results of the discussion from tonights meeting.

The core review should also provide for some interesting discussion. My guess is that there are a lot of City Staff that would prefer this not to happen, might not portray their work in a good light.

Will provide a link to the video of the meeting tonight as soon as it gets posted.