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Sunday, November 27, 2011

News Comments


Mid Island may see glut of jobs as boomers retire

This is all well and good for the Forestry, Construction and health industries, all well paying jobs, but it should also be noted that more and more seniors have to work after so called retirement because they do not have e

Yes in the mentioned industries retirement may open up jobs but with the increasing number of seniors having to work they will enter other sectors for employment thus negating the above which could have a huge effect have to work somewhere and

City Log: Residents can expect hike in water. garbage rates

And so they raise water rates in part to pay for the new 65 million dollar water treatment plant. Gee and I thought the borrowing of 22 million was supposed to pay for it along with reserves. Wait a minute, I think I get it. The water rate increase will pay for the interest we pay on the 22 million borrowed.

Nov 24
Elections BC wants young people pre-registered to vote
This is a good idea that should have happened ages ago. Youth are the future and if there is anything that can be done to get them involved and better informed then just do it. Enough Talk.

Sampson group converts cash to shares in Harmac
A true Nanaimo success story and model that can be used elsewhere. Let’s hope the next time we hear that the employee-ownership model is still in place and hasn't been co-opted.

Philip Wolf: We can only hope for more from leaders
There are many reasons for poor voter turnout, the one I hear most often being that people just do not feel involved and that their voice means nothing even when they do try to get involved. This council must do more to reach out to the community and ensure people are given a chance to contribute. An ad or two in local papers does not constitute community engagement.
One open house info session on an issue like the Water Treatment Plant does not promote Community Engagement. Use of the Alternate Approval Process to steamroll the passing of certain things does not promote Community involvement. I sincerely hope that this council will do better when it comes to engaging the public, I know if they do not I will be there to remind them.

Debate over barn stirs up Harewood's agricultural past
If Nanaimo loses this building it will be yet another example of how little history is valued in the community. When the Convention Centre was announced we lost the Foundry which was one of the only such style of buildings left in the province. A few years prior the first School House in Nanaimo was torn down. Both were unnecessarily removed, the lots they sat on remain empty, and could have been preserved by the city. Gradually if we do not step up to save some of the more unique buildings Nanaimo’s historic value will be greatly diminished.

Editorial: Election laws uphold system
Well said.

Nov 23
North-end group set to keep up fight
Normally I would say getting people out to vote is a good thing and the CCN certainly got people out to vote. It is when it is done through spreading fear and mis-information, like the CCN did, that I question the rationale.
Perhaps some of those involved with the CCN would like to start up a Neighbouhood Group and get involved on a more positive note. Instead of spreading fear and misinformation look at inclusion and creating a welcoming neighbourhood. The South End Community Association is a good one to emulate.

Putting ideas into action at top of mayors agenda
"....that says to me Nanaimo is supportive of our projects in principal and want to see them continue." Do not take for granted that because you were re-elected the voters agree. Get out and ask them.

Friendship centre official lobbies for off-reserve plan

Nov 22
Five interesting oddities from the campaign trail
Crap and I thought sure my comment at Oliverwoods when they had the CCN'rs and vote panderers there would have made it into the strange and unusual. Not too often someone will step forward and tell an audience he is not going to kiss their ass for votes:).
That the CCN was able to get so many out by their message of fear and misinformation is but a sad postscript to the election of 2011.

Father questions VIHA on communications procedure
This is simply shameful on the part of VIHA. C’Dif is a highly contagious disease and relatively easy to transfer. “VIHA maintains children and their families were never put at risk.” Ludicrous and a potential disaster waiting to happen.

Its a bad idea to sell our water
This would have huge ramifications if done. As the population grows we will need more water not less.

BC wants teens signed up to vote
A good idea but will doing so increase voter turnout?

Improving communication with residents, establishing consensus key challenges for new council
This is a given but not simply for the North End but in communication throughout the city and on all issues. Currently the policy would seem to be to do the least possible to inform and invite community participation. This must change.

Shelter visits up as weather deteriorates
Unitl the new housing that has been proposed is built a shelter like the Unitarian is but a stop gap measure. It is important to understand that many of those using this shelter likely do not fit the criteria for your standard shelter in that they may be intoxicated or they may simply for whatever reason not choose to go to the Salvation Army or Samaritan House shelters. Yes they are primarily on the street during the day with many making use of the 7-10 Club until 10:00am or the library once it is open.

Editorial: Voters happy with council? Turn out didn't show it
Perhaps another reason for poor voter turnout is that we actually have three less poling stations since the 2005 election and of those we do have they keep changing some of the locations. If we really want to encourage voter turnout then we should have more places to vote and not less.

Nov 21
Ruttan prepares for the future after securing second term
Well said, HERE WE GO AGAIN and CHRIS. Even existing hoteliers are leery of the tax incentive and giving themselves a raise of 8+% per year for the next three years is ludicrous when compared to the raises, if any, for the average person. SHAME!

Our Mayor has mandate and experience
“So, John Ruttan has his mandate. He has the confidence of the electorate to stay the course on matters of taxation, economic development and social planning.”

I would really have to beg to differ with this statement, John Ruttan does not have a mandate at all. The pathetic turnout, no matter the reasons, of 26% of voters could just mean the exact opposite. It could simply mean that people are fed up and do not think their votes count for anything as they see council blindly moving forward with their own agenda and not one for the people.

So, why the poor showing? Perhaps the above is one reason but I would also hazard to guess that the continually moving, and eliminating of polling stations also has something to do with it. The removal of Bayview School in 2008 can be directly attributed to low voter turnout in that area. The distance to polling stations makes it extremely difficult for many seniors and others to make it out to vote.

Looking at the distance in many areas the only option for people is to take a bus, average of 1.5 hours round trip, or cab which many cannot afford. With the latter one would actually have to pay to vote and this is uncontainable. Instead of making it difficult the powers that be need to make voting accessible.

Low voter turnout sad epilogue
No doubt the CCN slate had an effect on the numbers of votes for all of the candidates they chose to support; the fortunate thing is that only two got elected.

Funny that I do not see the fact that there are 3 less polling stations, as compared to 2005, as a possible reason why the voter turnout was so bad. There should be more polling stations so as to make it walkable for the majority of voters.

Then again, like the communication process of the city, do the powers that be really want to encourage citizen participation?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Campaign Q&A's and Links to candidate info

Elect Your Future
When you open the Councillors section you will likely have to zoom in quite a bit.

Chamber of Commerce Q&A
Chamber of Commerce Successful Cities

South End Votes
South End Votes. Starts with answers to question 3, scroll down for answers to the other questions

Nanaimo Info Blog
This one is a bit difficult as you have to scroll down through all of those that have answered the questions instead of just clicking on a name.

Nanaimo Daily News Election Coverage

Elections Civic Info BC


Candidate Interviews
Saturday, November 12th at 6:00pm
Monday, November 14th at Noon and 6:00pm
Wednesday, November 16th at 11:00am and 5:00pm

We are also happy to announce that on November 13th that the completed candidate’s package will be available on our YouTube page for you to share. You will be able to find it at

Broadcasts of the Coalition for Democratic Nanaimo All-Candidates' meetingIf you were not at the meeting, or want to see it again, you will have several opportunities this week. The video of the meeting, prepared by Manly Media and Mid-Island TV Society will be broadcast on Shaw Cable 4:
Sunday Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m
Tuesday Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.


Green Drinks Nanaimo Q&A (They have a website but nothing posted from candidates)

Should Nanaimo own our source of drinking water, or are we are well-enough served under the present "ownership" by Harmac and Island Timberlands?
Nanaimo should own the watershed.

If the former, how should we or could we gain control?

We would have to look at purchasing it keeping in mind Snuneymuxw claims. It would be ideal if Nanaimo could partner with the Snuneymuxw to do this?

If elected, would you call for a referendum on this question?


Should Snuneymuxw First Nation's historical ownership of the Jump Lake and Nanaimo Lakes watershed be recognized?

Yes. If Nanaimo were to support the Snuneymuxw claims then if there was a settlement by the federal and provincial governments we could partner with them to purchase the watershed.

Do you support recent moves toward more urban agriculture?


Do you support the ‘backyard chicken’ bylaw and its possible extension?


Do you support spin gardening, famer’s markets and other initiatives to support more home gardening?

Yes. What I would propose upon being elected would be to make the allocation for Urban Gardens equal across the board at 75% of the property.

Do you support pesticide use?


The recent Vision Nanaimo rally showed evidence that the municipalities that are creating more sustainable and affordable communities reject the call for an ever-expanding development ("urban sprawl"). Are you in favour of developing such places as the Cable Bay area or "in-filling" existing developed areas?

I am not in favour of developing Cable Bay and would actually like to, if at all possible, see the Urban Containment Boundary rolled back for that and other areas. Infill densification is the way to go and through that we can create environmental benefits such as a more efficient transit system and walkable communities.

A municipality has the mandate to protect it's citizens from potentially hazardous materials and effects. The Union of BC Municipalities and at least 23 individual municipalities have asked B.C. Hydro and the B.C. government to place a moratorium on “Smart meters” installation pending more information and review. They are ignoring this request and installing meters here, right now. What is your position on “Smart meters” and what will you do to deal with this issue more effectively?

I am adamantly opposed to Smart Meters as there is no justification for the replacement of existing meters. I am unsure if there is anything that can be done by the municipality now that they are being installed. People should however have the right to refuse them without fear of their existing meter being replaced regardless of their wants.

Given that Nanaimo City's Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability is working on a plan to target community-wide Greenhouse Gas emissions reductions would you support a moratorium on further development of drive-throughs?


What ideas have you for a better transportation system? Your alternatives to big empty buses touring around? Revitalizing and better incorporating the rail system opportunities?

Infill densification, smaller buses on feeder routes, supporting Island Corridor Foundation to create commuter service using the rail system.

As a coastal community right on the Salish Sea what is your position on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, the Kinder Morgan planned increase of oil tanker traffic out of the Port of Vancouver, crude oil tanker traffic on our B.C. coast in general and the possible lifting of the informal moratorium on oil and gas exploratory drilling offshore from the B.C. coast?

No pipeline and no oil tanker traffic and no lifting of the moratorium. We need to be looking at cleaner energy.

Currently large log booms are stored in the Nanaimo estuary impacting the bottom at low tide and destroying the eelgrass which is important for the survival of salmon as they adapt to the salt water. Should this practise be disallowed?

There are actually far fewer log booms being allowed in the estuary for that very reason. Ultimately the goal would be to not have them in the area where they do impact the eelgrass.

More in the News (actually posted Nov 18th)

Comments below on stories from both local newspapers.

Nov 18
Hot election issues may be shaking up voter apathy
We do indeed need to attract technology based jobs and work to create better opportunities for employment in Nanaimo. While we cannot rely on “pretty views” to attract business we can hype the assets we have in the community including these pretty views to attract business and people.

Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo will cooperate with police probe into election wrongdoing
True colours emerge from a couple of the candidates. It is never too late to disassociate oneself from something, especially if it is illegal and for Fillmore to call it silly and hype shows he simply has a disregard for the law.

Ron Bolin: Time to move on from housing debate and avoid bigger problems
Another excellent column

Turnout at advance polls in Nanaimo and Parksville well ahead of 2008 election

Opinion: Occupiers must move or be removed
Couldn't disagree more. If they were actually a problem then so be it move, but they are in fact not.

"The attitude of the Nanaimo occupiers seems to be that they are quite willing to share the square with others. The problem with that approach is that the occupiers, not the public through the city, end up controlling a space that belongs to us all."

The Krall Space is one of the most unused public spaces in the community. This group has kept the avenue open to the Library and Credit Union, the only two reasons for folk to even enter the plaza.

They are also responsible for bringing many into the downtown and hence spending money at downtown businesses.

Nov 17
Police will probe election activities of Nanaimo group

The big question is; for a group that pushes for transparency and communication why do the financial backers remain anonymous? There seems to be some hidden agenda by the CCN. I feel for those that are being snowed by this group, they should really be asking themselves who is actually behind this and what are the real motives.

Nanaimo's willingness to vote in civic elections has been waning each year
It is a shame that in an election which has the most potential to affect the population the population seems unwilling to take part. I hope this year we will see more people vote but I fear we will see even less than in 2008.

Editorial: Groups strive to fight apathy
A problem for years it is nice to see so many groups actually trying to encourage people to vote. The one problem I see is are people actually looking at the information on candidates or as is the case with the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo being influenced by a hidden agenda.

Philip Wolf: Earn your right to complain by getting out to vote
Another reasonably good column

Nanaimo ranks third in BC on operational spending
“CFIB did not include capital expenditures in their study.” Had they done so Nanaimo would probably be at the bottom of the heap. It is not just the capital expenditures but the means with which they have gotten approval.

Nov 16
Forum rejigs civic election
This was a lot of fun to participate in. A pleasant change to the standard All Candidates meeting.

Occupiers meet with City and RCMP to discuss concerns on each side

Young Professionals of Nanaimo urge young people to vote
One of a few groups working to encourage voter turnout. Let’s hope it works.

Grants in-lieu from province top up city with $371K
With all the downloading onto municipalities by the Province far more monies should be coming our way.

Ruttan seeking second term to finish business
"With the recession over," Tell that to the majority of those in Nanaimo who struggle daily to make ends meet. Drop the issue of a hotel for the conference centre. We tried to give away part of Maffeo Sutton Park to get this going and that didn't work, if a hotel is not happy with the city giving them the property on which to build then so be it let it go.

Nov 15
Graduation rate on the rise in Nanaimo-Ladysmith District

This is indeed good news. All graduates deserve kudos for their hard work. Keep it up and let’s see these numbers increase even higher.
BC Child advocate reappointed
It is all well and good that the Child Advocate wants to expand her mandate but what should really happen is she should be given more power to actually implement change.
Child poverty on the rise (related story from July)
It is a sad state that Child Poverty in BC has been the highest in Canada since the Liberal government came to power in 2001.

Nanaimo is particularly hard hit with high unemployment and a service based industry that pays little and often only offers part time employment. While the recent raise of the minimum wage will help I have my doubts that it will have that great of an impact.

Nov 14

Job creation among the topics in Nanaimo election
Councillors cannot create jobs but what they can do is work to make things better towards creating a more diversified work force. Limited Tax incentives, not at all like those proposed in an attempt to attract a Hotel for the conference centre, and a smoother process for development that benefits the community are things that can be done.

I constantly hear how difficult getting permits can be and how if you speak to more than one person the answers you get will more often than not be different. A smoother process is necessary so that we don't have things like the 5 months that it took just to get a permit to raise the height of the storage space at the food bank.

Walter Cordery: Department aids community
Our parks are one of Nanaimo's greatest assets and the more we can do to protect and enhance them the better. Some thought now needs to go into how we can purchase a large part of the undeveloped privately owned land in West Linley Valley.

Not only will our parks benefit the citizens of Nanaimo into the future they will also be an attractor for tourism and people moving to Nanaimo for the quality of life it has to offer. Our Parks need to be part of the new Economic Development Corporations overall agenda to create jobs by bringing business and tourism into the community..

Green light group emerges in support of low-barrier housing
Finally a group that is willing to put out actual information.

Council candidates debate issues among groups
As stated above, a lot of fun. Video of the event can be found at

Addiction treatment in strong demand
Treatment and detox for all kinds of addiction issues are much needed in BC. Expanded from the original 42 days operated by Surfside; Nanaimo John Howard has taken the program to 4 months which should give people accessing the program a far better chance of success.
When we look at the issue of Housing the Homeless and Low-Barrier housing we also have to put in place programs that will help those accessing the housing who have addictions. This one will be a big help but more and varied programs are needed.

Nanaimo Council Candidates
Not very in depth information for people looking at the candidates and trying to choose whom to vote for. Probably said this number of times but it behoves folk to look at all aspects of a candidate and make an informed decision.

If one has a few council candidates they particularly like for the position then they should limit their votes to just those candidates. Picking more, or all 8 in Nanaimo, could result in those one is iffy on actually beating out the candidates they person likes.

Column: Homelessness is everyone's problem
An excellent column by Rachel Stern of the Bulletin. She has an excellent grasp of the situation of homelessness and the many needs t address it. Rachel is one of my favourite reporters and has done some excellent stories in the past on homelessness and poverty.

North end residents need a wake up call

Perhaps the best letter I have seen on the housing of the homeless issue. This from a student at Dover Bay who had also wanted his opinion published in the school paper and was denied.

Supporters need to follow rules
Citizen group acts from a place of fear
Couple of good letters from the bulletin re the CCN groups illegal endorsement of candidates. Re the latter I believe the group knows exactly what they are doing and there is an underlying motive. If in fact, as rumours have it, Roger McKinnon and Norad Development are indeed funding the fear promoting ads and misleading the public as to why they should vote for their slate of candidates then charges should be laid by the RCMP.

Nov 12
A democratic lesson in misstep by CCN
There will be more on this issue as I have been in contact with a person who will be pushing for an investigation.

Nov 10
Concerned Citizens agree they are now campaign organizers

"Some city council hopefuls endorsed by the group say they did not give permission for their names to be used in campaign, but are unconcerned the group may have over-stepped the law." “But they also say they're unconcerned about any potential missteps made the group previously as unregistered campaign organizers.”
So let me get this straight; it is okay for some people to break the law and not others? Something is very wrong with this picture.

“Inglis said he has been involved in election campaigns at all government levels..."
One group with previous experience at all level was not aware and another with no experience was; something fishy here.

For a group that espouse to value transparency and open communication they have still not released the names of those funding their campaign.

This story has garnered more comments than any other; they are well worth the read.

Lobby groups may have crossed line into campaigning
No may here they did.
Election Promises: new council may find it difficult to cut taxes
Difficult but not impossible:)

Groups election efforts under fire as campaigning
As well they should be and charges should be laid.

Agriculture issue demands action
Solution should have been simple
A couple of well written letters on the Lantzville Urban Farming issue. As Municipal elections draw near, on November 19th, I hope that those living in the District of Lantzville will elect some progressive candidates to bring in a progressive bylaw.

Occupy group says they won't leave downtown plaza
Good for them.

Two candidates clarify stance on Uplands housing
Doesn’t surprise me that Jeet has flipped but Brunie on the other hand does.

Battle over low-barrier housing could have implications for candidates
It would be really sad if people simply choose one issue on which to base their vote. Really sad indeed.

Nov 8
Controversial project has industry officials at odds with politicians
A lot of coulds and maybes involved here. This Tax Break is a bad idea and if even the hoteliers in Nanaimo are saying so then it should not happen. Even if, big if, there were to be a new hotel it would not provide the rooms that are needed for what has been said to attract bigger conventions.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More updates on various issues

Nov 3
Get to know the 26 people running for seats on Nanaimo City Council
Interesting take on providing information about the candidates. You click the name of the person then get a bio and video link to the 5 questions asked.

They did however get my age wrong, I am actually 53.

Sisterhood contemplates sale of lakeshore grove

Great idea for a city purchase though if the Tennis Club is allowed to make their member only restaurant into a open restaurant club there will be no more tranquility.

City will force smokers to butt out in parks
This is one of those things where I think the City has gone too far. For one it is unenforceable unless of course the City proposes to hire quite a number of police. Most smokers are respectful of others and tend to smoke downwind or far enough away that the rising smoke does not go near others. If the city wanted to ban something around parks it should be vehicles as they cause far more harm than a few smokers.

Smoking as an addiction is extremely hard to quit but it is something most smokers contemplate doing.

Bus service aims to attract more patrons to downtown bars
Good idea. Not only will it bring them in it will also take them out. should see a bit iof a drop in the petty crime in the area and less garbage not to mention the potential to save lives.

Letter: Tax relief the start of headaches for taxpayers
An excellent letter regarding the tax break for hotels, especially related to the convention centre. How will these tax incentives be paid for? By you the Taxpayer, that’s how. Dumb move on the part of the current council; it will make it even harder to keep taxes down in the future.

Council votes down motion to freeze Uplands project.
Believe I commented enough on an earlier story from the Daily News. Good news and good on council.

Nov 2
Taxbreak proposed for hotel project
A lot of BS going on here. What is the current vacancy rate for hotels and motels in and around downtown? Is not giving them the property to build on enough of an incentive? How much will
the "apply to any development or re-development" end up costing

Hotel or no hotel the convention centre will always need to be subsidized. Has the license been changed yet from food primary to liquor primary? Instead of focusing on conventions lets get on with utilizing and encouraging its use for
other things.

Minimumwage hike draws mixed reaction from Nanaimo businesses and workers
It seemsthat every time the minimum wage is raised the same concerns are

By increasing the minimum wage it could help lift some out of abject poverty to just plain and simple poverty and the added benefit of the raise will mean that some have a bit more money to spend at city businesses.

What is also needed is to increase assistance rates and provide those on assistance with a bus pass so that they can look for work instead of spending all of their time just trying to survive.

Opinion: Raising minimum wage a balancing act
Not a bad column.

Bestwick says he's sorry if fellow councillors were offended by remarks on housing strategy

"dishonest at best and deceitful at worst." Not true.

I have stated often, and despite being in support of Supportive Housing and Nanaimo's action plan on homelessness, that the communication process has been flawed. This said it is flawed when it comes to most issues and that primarily because what communication is done is
to the bare minimum required.

When the Homeless Strategy was in development community was invited to get involved in
the process, very few chose to do so. It is the same with much else and it is only when something is believed to have a direct effect that citizens get up in arms. A direct result of the current
processes used by the City to inform the public.

A sad aspect of the whole housing thing is that a few people through fear and misinformation can galvanize so many. On a positive note the city can learn from it.

Information whether fact or fear can be gotten to the public relatively easily and doing so
well before the issue becomes an ISSUE is paramount

Nov 1
Proposed delay for low-barrier housing turfed by council
"I am not convinced there was any great flaw in the procedure and process and I certainly think we should carry through with the commitments we've made,"

Yes, it is about time that we moved forward as this will now allow us to work on the other aspects of housing proposed in the Homelessness Strategy. On the first part of Councillor Holdom's
comment I have to disagree.

The great flaw is exactly how the City communicates in order to get community involvement, not just on this issue but on all issues. Sadly a couple of notices in newspapers does not exactly encourage community participation in the Civic Planning.

Was there communication? Yes, but only to the minimum required. This has to change so that the City actually works to encourage community participation.

The blatant threat by the Concerned Citizens of Nanaimo to actively seek to have people not vote for candidates that support the issue of Housing the Homeless is sad to say the least. To not vote for someone simply because they disagree with you on one issue is of great concern.

Sitting on City Council is no easy process because at times it does require compromise. Voters need to look beyond a single issue and look at what those running have done in and for the
community. Take off the blinders, research the candidates, and when you vote make it an informed choice and not one out of anger.

Businesses take differing views on Occupy Nanaimo's impact
I think the predominant view is that the occupiers are working well towards maintaining
the site to the mutual benefit to all in the Downtown. Kudos to the businesses that are actually

Nov 1
City can't afford to save west Linley Valley
Certainly the City could afford to save some if not all of the property. How much will the 10 year Tax deferment the City just gave to Hotels that choose to renovate cost us? What about City Park reserve funds?

There are growing questions being asked about the New City Annex and other City expenditures such as borrowing $22 million for the proposed $65 million Water Treatment Plant.

When choosing to spend the taxpayer’s money better choices need to be made. Choosing to purchase all or the majority of land in Linely Valley would actually benefit the City, its people and the potential for tourism.

Let’s protect the assets we have instead of focusing on grandiose schemes destined for failure.


Oct 28
Lantzville aims to clarify urban farming issue
I think a lot of clarifying will be done by the vote in the upcoming election and if they really want to clarify they will reform the committee that worked on the bylaw, making it more balanced, and rewrite the bylaw so that it is less discriminatory. At a minimum the allowed usage per lot should be 60% though 75% would make them more viable.

Election candidates featured at meetings
Two interesting links to sites mentioned in this story, & . The first requests input for its All Candidates meeting the second will link through sustainable cities to the answers to questions posed to the candidates.

Oct 31
Editorial: Mixed message worth hearing
One of the best editorials I have seen dealing with the occupy movement.

Reality demands public participation
Many years ago I chose the red pill; sometimes wonder if it was the right choice? In reality I do
believe my choice, well over a decade ago, to get involved was right; I have much more fun than I ever did back in the days of choosing other options.

Oct 31
Lantzville Council delays implementation of cotroversial urban farming bylaw
Probably the best move they could have made. The bylaw as it stood was literally a piece of crap.