It would appear that Nanaimo now has a bylaw that will better protect our city parks, passed at Monday’s council meeting. I have been pushing for something like this for a few years, every time parks would come up at council, as prior to this bylaw a simple rezoning application could have been approved by council to rezone an area from park allowing use for development purposes. This bylaw is especially good for some of our largest parks, in general all parks, but there is one flaw.
According to the community charter, section 30, a motion could be moved to remove a dedication if adopted with approval of the electors. Approval of electors, that’s you and me folk, sounds good doesn’t it. The flaw, I’m getting to it, arises through how this approval is handled.
There are two means to gain this approval (see sections 85/86 of community charter);
1) Through referendum, which requires a majority of those voting;
2) Through alternative Approval Process (AAP), the number of elector responses received is less than 10% of the number of electors of the area to which the approval process applies.
The FLAW; in short 10% of voters would have to sign the approved form to have the rezoning squashed.
Governments use the AAP because it requires a huge amount of work and vast number of committed volunteers to gather the approx 6600 signatures, in Nanaimo, to defeat what is being proposed. The most recent example being the proposal to borrow $22million for the $65million dollar Water Treatment Plant in Nanaimo, only 3 people, me included, actually signed the approved petition form.
Why only three? Simply because the onus is not on government to spread the word about the process but on those opposed, resulting by and large in the failure of the opposition. The AAP, I have written other posts regarding the AAP, is in short the most likely means for government to pass things without the voice of the people being heard.
When elected to council I will be looking into the possibility of eliminating the AAP as a means of “Elector Approval”.
October 3rd Agenda City Council pgs 165 - 176
Community Charter Table of Contents
Section 30 Reservation and Dedication of Municipal PropertyDivision 2 sections 84 - 86 pertain Approval of Electors