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