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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cost of food increasing (originally meant to be posted a while back)

This story in the Daily News on the 21st followed by a letter to the editor from my boss at NYSA .
Low income earners will be first to feel squeeze of 5% food increase
It's wrong to link poverty with crime

My comment, "there's a probability crime could increase because of the rising cost of food," which was misquoted in the letter "there is a probability of crime increasing due to rising food prices." was in no way meant to imply people living in poverty are more likely to commit crime in order to survive. In fact I think jumping to that conclusion is more of a leap than a jump.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

7-11 Hopes dashed

I am a bit pissed but having dealt with Nanaimo's City Council for over a decade I really shouldn't have been surprised.

On March 14th in a complete reversal from a majority of councillors asking city staff, on the 28th of February,to prepare an amendment to the Business License Bylaw to allow retail hour restrictions in the South End Community city council, in a vote of 6 to 2, voted against the bylaw amendment brought forward at the council meeting on the 14th. This effectively has squashed any hope of 7-11, when and if constructed, not being open 24/7.

The City's website has apparently caught a bug, Unknown virus shuts down city of Nanaimo's computer systems . More to follow as soon as the City Website is de-virused as I want to post the Videos of the two council meetings etc..

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Conference Centre Cop Out (re-edited March 11th)

Updated, on 11th, and corrected some figures.

This in the Dailey News. Conference Centre could get another helping hand

These particular comments pissme off; "Incessant criticism, however, will only hurt the facility and is ultimately a self-fulling prophecy, should more people subscribe to such a way of thinking, according to VICC manager Denise Tacon." "We have a much stronger momentum coming out of this recession and this community needs to embrace where we're going," she said. "Negativity breeds negativity and we will be deciding our own future, if that's the approach we take."

What a cop out and utter bullshit, blaming those that were against the NNC in the first place for its continued drain on the Taxpayers of the city.

The reality is that it is Denise Tacon’s job to get bookings and if it is not happening then it is her failure and not that of the citizens of Nanaimo. The other bit of smoke and mirrors in this story is when they talk about delegate days.

Below is what has happened and is estimated in terms of delegate days. Even were they to reach the 16,000 expected for 2011 that is roughly only 2.5% of the total possible. This is by no means anything to ber proud of and one can expect with numbers like this that we will again be subsidizing to the tune of over $1million.

Yes we need to figure out means to increase the numbers of events and conferences, yes we need to look at means to bring in local folk, we are paying for the damned thing so it is a no brainer that something needs to be done. To blame those who criticize this for its ongoing failure is ludicrous.

First on my list of improvements would be to make eliminate a little waste in the administration department of the NNC, first being Denise Tacon. Heads should roll and hopefully come the next general election folk will remember just whose heads those should be.

Delegate seats (and future bookings) at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 2008-2013:
2008 (sixth months): 9,800
2009: 15,900 = 2.5%
2010: 12,400 = 2.0%
2011: 16,000 = 2.5%
2012: 28,000 = 4.5%
2013: 24,000 = 3.8%

Percentages based on a maximum capacity of 1720 persons, excluding the 400 from the Newcastle Lobby and 143 from Museum Level, per day utilizing available conference rooms. Total yearly 627,800 in rooms, 146,000 Newcastle Lobby, 52,195 in museum meeting space.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

7-Eleven "Oh thank heaven"

On Monday February 14th, Valentines Day, the proponents for a 7/11 at the corners of Nicol & Milton came before council, Council Agenda 7-11 pages 107 – 118 to have their development permit approved by council.

Recognizing that they were proposing the 7/11 be a 24/7 operation, efforts were made by SECA directors, Douglas Hardie and !, to inform council that SECA had proposed, through a letter to city staff on April 13 2010, not having the store open 24hrs and that until we heard about the development comming before council on the 24th had had no contact since that initial meeting almost a year ago.

Flash back to April 2010 when the proponents for the 7/11 had come to the SECA General meeting with their proposed development. The general consensus was that we thought the proposed 7/11 could be an asset in the community. The layout was quite pleasing and the fact that a suite would be built above the store also appealed to members. It was also recognized by many at the meeting that when a 7/11 had been in operation on that very site in the past it had become a “focal point of loitering and disorder associated with mental health and addiction issues in the neighbourhood (quote from letter to city staff).”

As this had been a sensitive issue in the past our primary concerns were:
1). 24/7 operation
2). the possibility of a payphone being placed outside of the 7/11.

In the letter to city staff it was also stated that we looked forward to further discussion.

Flash forward to Monday’s Council meeting on the 14th. No further discussion had happened with the 7/11 proponent and they were proposing 24/7 operation. Due to our concerns expressed by phone and e-mail prior to the council meeting council decided to recommend that the proponent, city staff and SECA meet to further discuss the issue with the outcome of the discussion to come to the following council meeting.

From discussion at the council meeting it would appear that the easiest way to accomplish the non 24/7 operations would be to have been for the proponent to agree voluntarily. The reason for this being that otherwise a bylaw would have to be written that would not allow any 24/7 retail operations in the area.

A meeting was set for February 24th with 7/11, a couple of SECA Directors, City Staff and a representative of the Nob Hill group, whom we invited as they who would also be directly impacted. The Nob Hill group had never until then been invited to give feedback.

At the meeting on the 24th we made no real headway in getting the proponents for 7-Eleven to look at voluntarily reducing their hours. In fact what they did say was that if it couldn't be 24/7 then it wouldn't happen. At the meeting on the 25th Ken Ridell stated that we were projecting what might happen. I say that past experience speaks volumes and that it is more a concern of history repeating itself than that of projection.

And so we come to the Feb. 28th Council meeting, Feb 28, 2011 Council Meeting Video , at which both Douglas Hardie & I appeared as delegations. Council did decide our concerns have merit and as such have asked City Staff to look at acreating a bylaw for the area that would restrict retail service hours, this will in no way affect restaurants. Council also, at the meeting, approved the development permit variances which would allow Ken Ridell and 7-Eleven to start building if they so choose.

Since Mondays council meeting we have heard nothing more about the development.

News Story's:

March 3
Editorial: Store proposal worth discussion
March 2
Debate over 24 hour openings not new
March 1
South End unhappy with proposed 24 hr store

Daily News
March 2
Neighbours feel snubbed by 7-Eleven silence over proposed store
March 1
New 7-Eleven ok'd but may not be able to open 24hrs
Feb 25
Neighbours fear 24-hour store will defeat efforts