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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Environment: Green Bins

Massive green bin program aims to take pressure off Cedar landfill

I have been participating in this program since it started in Nanaimo and am amazed at how much it has cut down on my garbage, usually have only one smallish bag every two weeks.

We need far more programs like this that will in the longrun protect the environment and build a better community for all..

Again with the Raise

As with all Daily News stories the comments are often better than the story

Sept 28 D/N
Darrell Bellaart:City councillors deserve raise Have to say that Darrell should be writting for rags like the National Enquirer or such as he really misses the boat on most stories and his main agenda seems to be creating conflict and spouting gibberish.

When he interviewed me he asked if I thought education should be a qualifier for siting on council and I stated no, life experience is just as valid a qualifier. When I mentioned that council wages were already more than 44% of the population of Nanaimo makes he asked, "how do you know that." My answer, go on the city website and pull up the Community Profile put out by the Economic Development Committee, the numbers are there. Sadly doing research is not Darrell's strong point and he, like many other reporters, would prefer the subject to do the research. Even then he has a knack for twisting it.

This raise that council has given themselves needs to be an election issue. So far of the comments by councillors and known candidates I am the only one who has stated I would make a motion to have the raise recinded.

My comment on the above story: "how many people on income assistance have experience running an ice cream stand," Nice Darrell, glad to know where you are coming from. Many people living on Income Assistance are there as a result of injuries suffered working or because of the 15% unemployment etc, etc.. People living on fixed income, including seniors, are far better at budgeting and keeping costs down. We need balance on council and not just those with a business background. Now I know why you said that my plan to keep my current job and donate half my council salary to charity didn't fit with your story. I have mentioned and will again that even at the current part time salary Councillors make more than 44% of those working in Nanaimo, with RDN pay more than 59%. I ask, are these folk not worthy of running for council because they may not have managed an Ice Cream Stand?

Sept 27
Citizens want a new vision for Nanaimo after November 19
The city needs an injection of new vision

Paul Walton: Ideology of right has failed I have added this one because in a way it also touches on Municipal Government. I love this comment about Democratic Socialism, “Democratic socialism is about creating wealth for all; but that depends on a shared ethic of being willing to forsake greed for a greater good.” I couldn’t agree more, puts into words my beliefs but one has to also realize that wealth does not just apply to money.

These stories and letters regarding the council raise from the Nanaimo News Bulletin

Sept 26
Council raise too extravagant Ron Bolin
Part time job paying more than most make Me
Councillors ignorant of financial realities Terrance Wagstaff

Sept 22
Editorial: Timing of raise inappropriate
Sept 20
24 percent raise in store for council

Sunday, September 25, 2011

More on North End Housing

Below a few more stories on the Supportive Housing Debate. Not going to say much as if other posts re this subject are checked you will get my views. You can also see them in the comments section of the stories as well.

Sept 24
Housing debate highlights city's north south divide
Sept 23
Nanaimo's homeless getting much needed help when Wesley St. facility opens
Darrell Bellaart: Anti housing debate stale

City Park Protection

Have wanted to post something around the issue of Parks in Nanaimo for a bit.

Recently, during the debate on the new Zoning Bylaw in Nanaimo one amendment was to return properties by Pearson Bridge that had been offered as an incentive to a hotel developer for the conference centre at a bargain basement price. I say bargain basement due to the fact the City had agreed to purchase 150 parking spaces to the tune of $50,000.00 per spot, do the math.

Anywho the properties that were to be developed for 2 - 26 story condo towers were recently re-designated park when an amendment was made to the zoning bylaw. After the council meeting I put to council, also the public, that these and any other park properties could still in reality be rezoned if the powers that be wished do so and that there needed to be stronger security for our parks. My suggestion, to in the park zoning that a referendum be held if any park property were to be slated for rezoning. At that point councilor Sherry mentioned using the Alternate Approval Process and shaking my head I left the podium.

For those that may be unaware the Alternate Approval Process (AAP) means 10% of the electorate would have to sign an approved petition in order to stop a process. Those that do not sign the petition are deemed to be in support of whatever is being proposed

The AAP is a typical move by government as they know far more often than not, unless the issue has significant meaning and backing of volunteers to gather signatures, AAP’s will fail. A referendum would be a far fairer means as it gives the voting population a chance to have a say, an honest say where in if you vote YES or NO both count and if you chose not to vote it does not mean either or.

Shortly after this council meeting I was heartened to hear that council was planning to take steps to protect the parks. While the two stories below mention Referendum they do not mention whether or not the Alternate Approval Process would also be a means to change the designation. The Community Charter allows municipalities either/or. What we need to do as citizens is demand that in the language of the bylaw a referendum would be the only means of ever changing Park Zoning.

Sept 16
Walter Cordery: Parks are worth saving
Sept 15
City takes steps to protect its parks from development

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Council Raise Pure Bullshit

Ya gotta love the story below and especially some of the comments. I, of course, was not interviewed which doesn't surprise me as I am the only one it seems who does not support the increase in pay. Then again it might be because I made a comment on a story Derek Spalding wrote saying how our failed convention Centre was responsible for the increase in visitors to the downtown and its revitalization; said it was the worst story he has ever written.

The story below reveals a lot. Brian Filmore does not have a high opinion of Seniors, "it's a small price to pay if it may help to attract strong leadership that's not currently collecting CPP." Saw him yesterday and he tried to backpeddle his comment.

Ted Greeves, strongly supported by unions, gives himself a 24% raise over 3 years and yet those very union workers that support him get a paltry 5% over the same time period. Council does not agree parity should be used in negotiations with workers andd yet choose parity when deciding there own salary; wondering if Greeves voted for parity.

Diane Brennan agrees with the increase, "recognizing the work load that most councillors take on." It's still part time work Diane and councilors make more than half of workers city wide.

Anyway check it out and my letter to the editor also posted in the D/N

Candidates support city council pay hike
Letter Council pay raise more than what poor will get

Council Remunerates Selves

And so they went ahead and gave themselves a raise. With the majority of Nanaimo Citizens making less yearly than council does at a part time position giving themselves a yearly pay increase of 8% a year over the next three years spits in the face of those that pay their salary.

This should be an election issue this November but will it be? It is unfortunate but Nanaimo has traditionally proven to be somewhat apathetic when it comes to certain issues. Will this be one?

I believe a large part of the problem is a reall lack of communication with its citizens on the part of council and to a degree this can be compounded by the upper echelons of city staff. More to follow on thecommunication issue.

Below is a letter I sent in regarding the raise as well as the Daily News story and Editorial. I have also posted a story printed the same day from the nearby community of Parksville, their councillors also giving themselves raises.

Sept 21
Letter Council pay raise more than what poor will get

Sept 20
Raise in pay for council given the OK
Editorial: Modest wage hike for council sensible

Parksville: Council members vote to increase pay

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nanaimo City Council Remuneration

City Council is once again looking at how much it gets paid and if some of the ideas are passed, at the Finance Policy Committee of the Whole(FPCOW) meeting on the 18th, they could ultimately see hefty increases to their pay checks.

As someone who has and is running for council I am adamantly opposed to this, in my opinion cost of living increases should be quite adequate.

Supporters of raises cite a better wage would result in more qualified and younger people running for council. I personally tend to not look at it as a job and believe it shouldn't be looked at as a job. Personally I look at it as a privilege to serve my community and I also believe that one should not be allowed to serve more than two or three consecutive terms. With a maximum term limit you would always get some new councillors with fresh ideas.

I look at this issue and think of the widespread poverty & unemployment in Nanaimo and I have to say; what the hell are they thinking. Even at the base rate of $26,414.00 this PART TIME position pays more than what 44% of the citizens in Nanaimo earn yearly.

When you consider that 7 members of council also receive between $10,000.00 & $11,000.00 from a position on the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) they then earn more than 59% of the population, not too bad for part time work. If looked at it from the point of median incomes throughout the City council salaries, including RDN, would be the highest and again this only for a part time position.

In looking at the information provided on the agenda for tonight’s Finance Policy Committee of the Whole a councillor attends approximately 34.5 council and committee meetings, per year, as per their role as city councillor. This breaks down to approximately $746.00 per meeting, a heck of a wage when you consider each meeting might run 3 hours.

Yes they may attend other functions but even then, in my opinion, they are more than adequately compensated and as I say in these economic times a cost of living increase is adequate.

Saying that the raise is needed to attract quality people, when the salary is already more than the majority of people make, is simply denigrating those that already make less with fulltime work than councillors do part time and states they are unworthy. Giving themselves any more than a cost of living increase is a slap in the face to the citizens of Nanaimo.
Median income 5 postal areas. $23,135 Downtown, $26,294 Central, $30,933 North, $35,594 North, $30,643 South

D/N Sept 17: Council salaries may see drastic increase to reach parity
FPCOW Agenda re Council Remuneration pgs 20 - 26
Nanaimo Community Profile 2010
Nanaimo Economic Development Research & Statistics

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Supportive Social Housing enters Nanaimo's North End

Post started as draft on 14th posted on 17th

The issue of Supportive Social Housing has reared its ugly head once again with the recent announcement of the location for housing in the North End of Nanaimo. I'm not going to go into a long diatribe about why I support this type of housing, my views can be seen on previous posts on the subject. Below are news stories to date, September 17th as well as a letter to the editor by me and a couple against the concept of Supportive Social Housing.

At the end of this post are comments from a housing provider in Seattle. They have 9 housing projects that house 800 with no conditions about sobriety and almost 100% accept services within 3 months. Very enlightening Comment.

When folk comment about abstinence based and a will to get clean they neglect to mention that Nanaimo has a number of small abstinence based houses, with more in the works, for people that have gone through treatment. What we need is a place to house people whom may at some point wish to access Detox and Treatment services. The Social Suppotive Housing ( Low Barrier) being built in Nanaimo will address this.

Sept 17 Invitation goes out to meet social housing clients
Sept 13 Uplands Drive identified for social housing
Sept 15 Editorial: Social housing needs open minds
Sept 16 Letter by me Social Housing needed city wide

Daily News
Sept. 15
Nanaimo housing strategy leaves city residents divided
Philip Wolf: Responsibility must be shared
Letter as published City must keep moving forward with housing
Sept 14
Government announces location of low barrier housing project
Editorial: North Nanaimo needs low-barrier project
Sept 13
Government refuses to say when it will announce location for new Nanimo low-barrier housing project

Letters against
Sept 17
Low-barrier housing does not belong in north end
Housing strategy about economics not people

This comment from a provider of Supportive Social Housing in Seattle seems to address what the above letters speak about;

"I would say that chronically homeless people are often mis-perceived as being dangerous when in actuality people who are living with major mental illnesses are no more assaultive than all the rest of us. Indeed, they are the victims of predatory crime, not the perpetrators. Your second question goes to the heart of the housing first concept, that being its services are not coerced. No one is forced to accept them. In our 9 housing projects with over 800 residents nearly 100% of the residents voluntarily accept services within 3 months of moving in. The reason is simple. Service providers in our housing projects are useful resources for residents helping them secure entitlement benefits, food, clothing and other life necessities as well as offering clinical treatment services."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Korpan Shenannigans

Also on the public hearing agenda tonight for rezoning are properties at the head of Maffeo Sutton Park in Nanaimo. When the whole conference centre process was started they were offered to the developer as enticement to build the centre. Prime waterfront real-estate they were slotted for the development of 2 26 story Condominium towers and resulted in the demolition of the well loved Civic Arena as well as the Foundry, a one of a kind heritage building.

If approved; City councils return of these properties to park designation at Maffeo Sutton Park will be in my opinion one of the best moves they have made in the last three years. While the news is good the property could still be at risk in the future and it would be nice to see some sort of covenant that would make it impossible for them to be taken away in the future.

This letter to the editor Not building condos will cost taxpayers dearly written by our former mayor. What he does not mention in it is that while the properties were being 'sold" to the developer the City had agreed to purchase 150 parking spaces from said developer at the cost of $50,000 per space or $7,500,000.00. If I am not mistaken this was far more than the city would have received for the purchase of the property so in effect we would have ended up giving it away.

Our ex mayor seems to have nothing better to do these days than continue his law suit against citizens Tony Parkin and Angela Negrin with regards to the infamous FREE NANAIMO FROM KORRUPTION bumper sticker and write the odd, very ‘odd’, letter to the editor.

I was given permission to print Mr. Ricker’s letter, below, in response to Korpan with the following proviso: “Feel free to put it on your blog with an appropriate notation that the Daily News continues to operate with a blacklist despite the prescriptive advice of the BC Press Council, which was rendered after I lodged a formal complaint against the admitted blacklisting policy of the current editor of the DN.”

Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 10:57 PMSubject: Gary Korpan, Philip Wolf and the final (?) bathos of the 2004 referendum plan

To the Editor:Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that defeated mayor Gary Korpan's angry letter in response to city council's decision to preserve as park land the area beside the Pearson Bridge, previously designated as part of the gift package to would-be hotel developers Triarc/Suro/Millennium, appeared the same day as another instalment of Philip Wolf's prolonged and amusing send-up of Mr. Korpan's downtown hotel/conference centre dream (August 25).

Mr. Korpan has no credentials as a city planner, yet he prattles on about high rises overlooking Maffeo Sutton Park as essential to achieving the city's population target for the downtown. Lewis Villegas, a reputable planner of some considerable experience, came to the city late in the 2004 referendum campaign and effectively demonstrated that this population target could be achieved by means of low-rise construction supported by a sensible overall plan for the downtown.

Mr. Korpan also continues to believe in offering gifts to would-be developers, even though all there is to show for his previous efforts is his spectacular failure to deliver the goods.

News story: Plans for towers adjacent to Maffeo-Sutton park could soon be shelved

Conference Centre in the News

Nanaimo's illustrious fiasco the Vancouver Island Conference Centre has been in the news a fair bit lately. On one hand you have a reporter talking about how it has been responsible for a positive impact on the Downtown PNC changed the downtown, "People have criticized the decision to build the $75million Port of Nanaimo Centre, calling it a giant waste of money, but when you look at the impact this facility has had on the downtown and this city, the skeptics don't have much of an argument anymore." " Without a doubt, the number of pedestrians in the downtown has increased with the opening of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre."

On the other hand you have reporters not so supportive, see links at end of post.

When I read the above story I was blown away by the bullshit and so sent in the following letter;

I strongly disagree with Derek Spalding’s synopsis of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre effect on the Downtown of Nanaimo.

He states “the number of pedestrians in the downtown has increased with the opening of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. And every year this award-winning facility has shown growth in the number of delegates coming to the city,” ludicrous to say the least.

While it has suffered growing pains since changing from the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership to the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association it is the many people and businesses involved in the downtown that have contributed to increased foot traffic. More open businesses on weekends and the ever increasing number of events have far more to do with increased pedestrian use than the VICC, it also being there is just mere coincidence.

Recently it was announced that conference centre usage was down 20% from last year and an earlier story in the Daily News mentioned a 68% decrease. Based on projected delegate numbers, when compared to delegate space, the VICC will only be operating at less than 2,5% capacity. How this equates to growth I do not know.

Certainly while the VICC now sits empty there are more and more people coming into the downtown; yes if/when uses for the centre are broadened then and only then will the VICC have an impact.

Above as published August 31st, PNC has not had an impact on downtown . Another letter I had published a few days prior also touches on the conference centre City has great potential to create prosperity

It is time that the truth was told and the folly admitted to by those responsible for the huge expenditures that taxpayers of Nanaimo are paying, and will for years to come, for the Conference Centre. Blame it on the lack of a hotel or the recession but the reality is and always was that these types of large facilities will always be a drain on the citizens of the communities they are in. The only way to mitigate this drain is to allow for other uses and make it possible for those uses to take place.

This in and of itself is another issue that the city and management of the conference centre have failed at doing, Liquor licence delay cancels body painting

August 31: Letter: Dan Appell Many reasons are behind downtown revitalization
Sept 7Taxpayers dole out big bucks to operate public facilities
August 25Unlikely profits mean conference centre hotel a long way off
Philip Wolf: No hotel, no big surprise

Water Treatment Plant Borrowing Outcome

Below links to the result of the process for borrowing 22m for the water treatment plant. This was an A1 farce on nthe part of Council and the City.

Despite saying they would get the information to the public only one info session was held, approx 40 people showed up. I had asked at a council meeting if they would do a mail out and was told no. A couple of Councillors stated they would ensure that the community was well informed.

At the public meeting I asked the head of the legislative services why the Alternate Approval petition forms were not with the rest of the information and 3 times encouraged they be put there, they were not. The whole info session reminded me of the Conference Centre in that it was decidedly pro Water Treatment Facility.

It is no wonder that there were only 3 of us that signed the petition and the way the AAP is set up that means the balance of the population approx. 64,000, voting age, were in favour.

Sept. 3: 65 million dollar water treatment plant targeted for 2015 completion date
September 2: Only five opposed borrowing 22 M

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zoning Public Hearing & Lobbying

Busy, busy with this one trying to rally the Neigbourhoods to speak up. The following was sent out to Neighbourhood contacts with a couple of developer letters, opposed, and a couple of Citizen letters, in favour. My latest submission follows with the submission of the developer it refers to following it.

Public Hearing September 8, 2011

Please be advised that ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW NO. 2011 4500.004 received first and second readings on Monday’s August 22nd Special Council meeting. This bylaw now goes forward to Public Hearing on September 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Shaw Auditorium, 80 Commercial Street.

Public Hearing Notice Scroll down to ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW NO. 2011 4500.004

Those that support 8.25 metres in established neighbourhoods need to tell the mayor and council, otherwise there is risk that developers will get their 9 meters. What is fair, is to allow a new height of 9 metres in new developments outside of established neighbourhoods where all properties on the same and adjacent streets will be built to the same scale. .

For those of you who may not be aware, the construction industry is planning to have a large delegation at that public meeting seeking to have council increase the height restriction for single family residential houses from 8.25 metres to 9 metres throughout the city.

If you are in favour of the proposed Amendment to retain the height of the previous Zoning Bylaw 4000 at 8.25 metres, it is important that your opinions be expressed.

This can be done by:
Clicking on the Public Hearing link below and indicating you are "in favour of the proposed Amendment to retain the 8.25 metre Height Restriction"

Sending an electronic submission (email letter to Mayor and Council) at:


You may wish to attend the public hearing in person.

It is important for residents to be heard.
My submission:

Honourable Mayor and Council

I am writing this submission in support of ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW NO. 2011 4500.004

It has been said that the most important purchase an individual or family will make in their lifetime is their home. People purchase for many reasons the most important being the ambiance of the neighbourhood and views.

On reading Ken Connolly's submission I have to say that quite frankly, I was appalled.

Mr. Connolly has referred to the citizens of Nanaimo, who do not support his position, as being "a handful of bullies", he has also stated these citizens "own self-interests blind them to the realities of the world around them".

Pretty strong language, if I do say so. Seems to me if there's a 'bully' in the group he might like to take a look in the mirror and if those self interests are the very reasons they purchased a home in the first place then should it not be so?

As to realities of the world, perhaps Mr. Connolly has been absorbing too much of Donald Trump, on the TV.

The following is the essence of Mr. Connolly's submission, with the position's reversed, from the position of one whose ‘interests’ might be affected if this zoning bylaw were not to pass. It read's as follows;

With utmost respect regarding the complexities of the decisions you are required to make, I urge council to serve ALL members of our community by accepting the arguments of local citizens who wish to roll back the building height increase allowed for in Bylaw 4500.

You are elected to serve the entire community, and not just a few individuals. You are expected to act with due consideration and a vision for the future well being of our community and its citizens.

Evidence abounds that Bylaw 4500, with the proposed amendments, is well reasoned and will help our community to develop in a financially sustainable fashion for years to come. As stewards of public policy in this community you MUST vote for the benefit of the entire city and approve the amendment.

How tragic it would be if we all looked back on this issue and recalled that this council bowed to the pressure from a handful of developers self-focused arguments at this crucial juncture. Please vote now to serve the citizens of the City of Nanaimo, not a handful of people whose own self-interests and quest for profit blind them to the realities of the world around them.

In closing, this is a matter of fairness and in my opinion that’s an issue you have to address by approving the amendment before you.

Developer Submission:

Ken Connolly has sent a Public Hearing Submission Online.
Address: 2664 Willow Grouse Rd, Nanaimo
Bylaw Number or Subject Property Address to Which they Are Addressing Your Comments: 4500.004

Comments: Council and Mayor:
With all due respect and with regard for the complexities of the decisions you are required to make, I urge council to serve ALL members of our community by rejecting the self-focused arguments of a very few vocal citizens who wish to roll back the building height increase allowed for in Bylaw 4500. You are elected to serve the entire community, and not just a few individuals. You are expected to act with due consideration and a vision for the future well being of our community. Evidence abounds that Bylaw 4500 is well reasoned and will help our community to develop in a financially sustainable fashion for years to come. As stewards of public policy in this community you MUST vote for the benefit of the entire city. How tragic it would be if we all looked back on this issue and recalled that this council bowed to the pressure from a handful of bullies at this crucial juncture. To have done so will be to have betrayed your entire constituency by saddling present and future taxpayers with yet higher taxation. Please vote now to serve the City of Nanaimo, not a handful of people whose own self-interests blind them to the realities of the world around them.
Ken Connolly