Ph: 250 754 6389 / Cell: 250 797 0531 / e-mail:

SUPPORT CHLY (FM 101.7) Independent Radio. Call 250 740 1017 or 250 716 3410 to make a donation or become a member.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Strategic Plan Finale

Not a huge document by any means but the city will also have all of the info gathered, surveys, comments etc., if you are interested in seeing it.

During the upcoming discussions of the 2013/14 budget the city will try and put some costs towards implementation, ought to be amusing.
Disappointed that nowhere in the document is it mentioned that a core review should happen on a regular basis.

Contribution Conflict

The following is with regards to something that has irked me to no end for years and that I have posted about before.  Now don’t get me wrong here I am not opposed to development; what I am opposed to is development that contributes little to the community and the benefit thereof.

This story and the quoted comment appeared in the D/N just over a week ago: Council aims to make development more consistent  This guest comment is also of interest as it talks about the Frank Ney era in Nanaimo and as you can see things have not changed. 
At the end of this I have placed a link to the last council agenda, pgs 47-50 deal with the above, and to the video thereof.  Check out the discussion by clicking on 8 b - DPRC - Amenity Contributions as well as my comments at question period. The decisions in the report were made by the Development Process Review Committee, see link, a committee comprised of council members and those who profit directly from development. 

In a city that is constantly falling millions behind on fixing its infrastructure; paying 2-3% and growing of its budget towards interest on debt; lacking funds to purchase large properties for parks, such as Linley Valley West or now the controversial Pioneer Park and only sees the paltry sum of approx $165,000 going towards its Housing Legacy Reserve fund each year, there is a huge need to increase revenue.
Rezoning of properties, small and large, is usually brought before council and touted as increasing density which is a core concept in the Official Community Plan.  This in and of itself is a good idea and will ultimately help create a larger tax base but in saying this the taxes it will create are by no means enough to eliminate the ongoing deficit caused by the costs to maintaining a large city such as Nanaimo.

 These new ‘policies’ are no different than guidelines that have been used for decades and are a cop out on the part of council.  Huge profits are made on larger developments; in many cases even before ground is broken. 
A perfect example would be the area of Cable Bay known as the OceanView Golf Resort & Spa. Land worth about 3 million dollars once rezoned by a previous council is now up for sale at 60 million.  Proposing 2500 homes the community contribution would be a paltry 2.5 million and if built the value, at an average sale price of $300,000 would far exceed the 60 million sale price of the property coming in at $750 million; this without even accounting for the value of the associated businesses that would surround the golf resort and spa. 

Sure Development Cost Charges will help with installation of sewer and water but will the increased taxes provided by the subdivision pay for upkeep over the years; I don’t think so.  Nanaimo needs to get more realistic with its community contributions.
Increased density is the catch phrase for many potential developments, Cable Bay and Sandstone being the largest examples, getting their rezoning pushed through council. Never mind that for these two, one could just as easily use the words urban sprawl as the outcome.

Another purported benefit the community sees is that of the community contribution on the part of the developer for the privilege of density bonuses and potential millions lining their pockets.  Sadly, Nanaimo’s amenity contribution is archaic, nay pathetic, to say the least. Based on $1,000 per unit, these contributions usually amount to little more than a tot lot.
Vancouver requires 20 per cent of units, or the equivalent in cash or land, go toward future social housing. Langford, with one quarter the population of Nanaimo, has a one-in-10 policy. Based on a $300,000 average home value, Nanaimo’s contribution will equate to only one-third of one per cent.

With rising unemployment, poverty and an increasing population, the need for social housing, parks, paying down debt and decreasing the tax burden on its citizens dictate the need for Nanaimo to do better – $10,000 per unit or 3.333 per cent seems a little more equitable commitment and while nowhere near that of Vancouver and Langford, it could see some of those potential profits trickle down toward real contributions to the community. 
Vancouver, Langford, Kelowna and many other cities require a far greater percentage for community contributions as should Nanaimo.  Monies raised through the process, far more significant if the contribution were raised to 5 or 6 thousand and still quite profitable for the developer, could actually be enough to add significant funds to the future purchase of parks, paying down debt, adding to the housing legacy reserve fund and yes even lowering city taxes.  I am not against development but it must come with a more realistic benefit to the community. 


 Development Process Review Committee

Friday, June 22, 2012

A little can go a long way

RDN doles out homelessness grant money

While the amount might seem small it can have a huge impact. The monies allocated to the Unitarian Shelter helped to make it available for the chronically homeless every night from November through March. Had the funds not been available the shelter would have only been open on nights deemed extreme. There is a very thin line between cold wet weather and extreme weather and being open every night allowed the homeless the security of knowing there was somewhere to get out of our traditionally wet winter nights. I have no doubt whatsoever this saved lives.

Sadly it looks like the Unitarians are going to drop the Cold Weather aspect of the shelter opting just to do it on extreme days. It is hoped that they will change their mind or at least allow another organization to operate during the Cold Weather at the same location. If another group were to end up having to take it on at a new location it would add extensively to the cost in having to purchase cots etc. and lease space.

While I truly appreciate the work the Unitarians have done in the past they have now, in my opinion, become part of the problem. They have the capacity to do the cold weather and choose not to because it is easier for them. Nanaimo needs this; a shelter that operates every night from November through March and it will continue to need it until the new Supportive Housing gets built.

Empire Fading

Letter was published in the Daily News on the 11th, nothing in the papers since so I guess we wait patiently until next year.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Re-Writing Park History

Waterfront transformed into 'jewel' for Nanaimo

Truly a jewel in Nanaimo. “Civic Arena was torn down in 2006 to make way for a $1.8-million Spirit Square."  The Civic Arena was actually torn down to accommodate the building of the new road which was to allow access to 2 proposed 26 story condo towers as part of the deal with Millennium to build a hotel for the convention centre.  Thank the gods that this did not happen and the park remains open for all to enjoy.  The City should transfer its part of the property bordering Comox Rd to the Snuneymuxw who own the other part, or partner with them, to build some sort of First Nations interpretive Centre.  This would really be a draw for Tourists arriving in the City as well as for Nanaimo Citizens and enhance the park immensely.

More Empire than needed

Here are a couple of more stories Re: Empire Days, my comments as well as many others can be seen by clicking on the story.  Bottom line if we had a council with kahonees they could simply not approve next years proclamation of Empire Days when it comes up.  Will they do so; I doubt it but we can try.

Editorial: We need civil debate not more hyperbole

Here also is a letter by Simon Schachner who has been opposing the Empire for a while now.

I sent this one in but nothing as of yet:

Re:  Re: 'Chief takes to Twitter to criticize Empire Days moniker' (Daily News, May 29)

For almost a decade many groups and individuals have been proposing a change to the weeklong celebration of Queen Victoria’s birthday known as ‘Empire Days’ in Nanaimo.  While the controversy was slow to materialize this year Chief White’s comments have lit the proverbial fire once again in this ongoing debate.  This in my opinion is a good thing.
I think everyone can agree that the volunteers of the Empire and Lions Societies do a wonderful job; all we ask is for a change of name of the event/celebration.  No one is asking the Society to change its name; celebrate your accomplishments of the last 145 years, kudos to you all for your hard work. 

This said the time has come to change the name to something that all can celebrate.  Something that does not carry with it the baggage of a not too pleasant experience suffered by the colonized in the name of “Empire,”  something that celebrates the shared history of all whom now live in this land. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Empire 2012

For a brief while it looked like there would be no controversy over Empire Days this year but that was all undone, and rightfully so, by Chief Doug White twittering.

For me, being involved in trying to see the name of Empire Days changed to something less offensive for almost a decade, I had held off saying anything this year.  Usually I would have written a letter to the editor or tried to stir the pot in other ways.

The latter of the two following stories from the Daily News and the comments attached, mine included, show that this is a hot issue and will remain so until the name is changed.  As for next year, plans are already in the works:)

My comment:
"It was refreshing this year not to have letters to the editor or protesters decrying the origins of Empire Days and criticizing the society because it brought back memories of Great Britain's imperial past and the treatment of British Columbia's First Nations. Undoubtedly, these are part of our history but that's all - history." Empire was a part of our History and not a part to be celebrated. Kudos to the Empire Days Society and Lions Society's for putting on a great parade but lets do it in Celebration of Victoria Day as does everywhere else in the commonwealth except Nanaimo & Cumberland. The abuses against First Nations across the world were perpetuated by the Empire and in many countries these abuses continue. Empire to is a "part of our history but that's all - history." It should be quite simple for the Society to maintain its name but the City does not have to perpetuate the use of Empire as a holiday in Nanaimo.
One of my comments:
"There's a lot of admirable stuff we all have to celebrate and that's what we should be celebrating, not the ugly parts of our past and history."  Well said Chief White!  Mr. Linder your group can be admired for the efforts you all do to promote Victoria Day in Nanaimo but no one really knows that because it is held under the guise of 'Empire Days.' If as you say,  "We still have Queen Victoria's birthday, that's what we're really celebrating," or celebrating the Cities heritage then change the name. This City has far more heritage to celebrate than that of Empire..
For other comments on this subject view my facebook page

Communication or Spin

Some really thoughtful comments on this story
Editorial: City communications position has become untenable

In the TV news story mentioned in the Editorial I was mentioned as a social advocate, a tad more comprehensive and appropriate description than as just a homelessness advocate; though the latter is my passion. Mentioned also in the editorial was that the writer stated, "Forgetting for a moment how preposterous it is to think that scrapping the $140,000 communications office could substantively assist our community's homeless people," In response I supplied this little tidbit of info; actually if the $140,000 was put towards rent subsidies of $250 per month the city could provide 11.5 people yearly subsidies for 4 years. 
Suffice it to say that I agree this position should not be going forward and as stated in a previous post if the Mayor or anyone on council feel they do not want to communicate directly with citizens then they should resign.  In the case of city staff; managers should be able and willing to communicate to the public, at least in their area of specialization.  If they feel they cannot, look for other work. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Moral Dilemma

If you have the patience check out the Council Video from May 14th, in particular the discussions on 11-m. Revised planNanaimo Advisory Committee Mandate & Objectives and 11-r. Promotion of Municipal Tap Water.  Really would like to hear others opinions.  It helps if you have read the attendant reports in the agenda on both items.

Also as usual check out question period for more amusement.
This was one of the most painful meetings I have had to sit through in years and while I like George Anderson as a person some of his comments last night baffled me.  Once you have listened to Georges Comments i.e.; we need a staff report on declaring water a human right to see what the ramifications would be, then check out his letter to the editor.  Very amusing

Agenda: Council Agenda & Reports May 14, 2012

Councillor George Anderson - Letter to the Editor  As a city councillor it is my job to make evidence-based decisions, not decisions based on just my moral beliefs. There is a place for morality, but evidence should always supersede.” 

I beg to differ; Hitler & Stalin could offer all the evidence needed to commit the atrocities they did and we saw what the result was.  Even in the debate around Smart Meters in BC, if you listened to the evidence of BC Hydro one would think they are great, we have seen how well that one has gone.
Morals can and should play a big part in decision making.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Food Security?

The federal conservative party want to deny that there are issues with Food Security in Canada and yet we know for a fact that Food Banks are seeing ever increasing numbers. The Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society which provides a free breakfast and bag lunch to those in need saw its numbers increase by 18% last year and donations from individuals drop by 31%; tell me there is no problem.

It is a double edged sword for agencies like the Nanaimo 7-10 Club when it comes to cost of living impacts.  Not only do their costs rise but the number of people needing the service does as well and many individuals who may have donated or want to donate now find themselves unable to do so.

Utter Lack of Communication

Quite frankly Mayor Ruttan and any of those on council that feel they are too inundated with calls from the public should resign.  This is a part of their job and they are quite well paid to do it. There are many more out there who would gladly take on the positions and gladly communicate with Nanaimo Citizenry.

This sent to the Daily News as a potential letter to the editor:

Re: Search begins for new city communications manager.
I’m really sorry to say this but the comments, being so ludicrous, made by our Mayor would seem to justify the need in this community for a communication officer.
On behalf of the public, media and self-interest groups I would personally like to apologize for our making the job of Mayor & Council so taxing by inundating you with our many questions. We truly feel your pain. By all means feel free to add a propaganda; no wait I mean ‘Communication Officer’ to help allay your tremendous workload. Again I sincerely apologize for my and others behavior.
The taxpayers of Nanaimo pay, and pay quite well, for Mayor & Council as well as city staff to answer their questions. I suppose if we were to offer Mayor & Council another 6% raise then perhaps answering the public’s questions might be more amenable.
Stories and my comments on the D/N site
Search begins for new city communication manager

“The City of Nanaimo might have saved on the costs of a new communications manger if not for the "mind-boggling" number of questions from the media and public, according to Mayor John Ruttan.”
"So much time is wasted answering questions, it's ludicrous," Ruttan said. "If we didn't get the phone calls from the public and media and self-interest groups, then we probably would not need this position."  Now this is what's really mind-boggling;  I suppose if we were to offer Mayor & Council another 6% raise then perhaps answering the public’s questions might be more amenable.

Editorial: Communication Manager a Bad Omen
Communications manager a bad omen

"As much as city hall may need a communications manager, it's hard to believe from the recently released job posting that any good can come of it."   I can hear Mayor Ruttan's comments now, 'Well this just goes to show the need for a communications manager.  Staff can't even prepare a straight forward job description without it being interpreted as Mayor & Council looking for a propagandist.  This of course couldn't be further from the truth,’ Yeah right.  This Council has continually proven that transparency is not a priority. With 12 or 13 in camera meetings to date in 2012 we could be looking at twice the number held in 2011.

Unemployment or not?

Unemployment lowest in a decade?

If one were to add in those not looking for work, between 7,000 and 10,000 the true unemployment rate would be closer to 15% or higher and not the 4.8% reported. The way these stats are determined, cold calls to 150 phone numbers, is very suspect and really does not make the prospects of finding a job any brighter. As stated in the Daily News " data comes with a standard warning the Statistics Canada that it should be used "with caution," due to the small sample size."

Just think if the stats were true then former CEO of NEDCorp would be right in saying high unemployment in Nanaimo is an Urban Myth. Perhaps we should give her her job back? Yeah right!

T'is a fact that 40% of jobs in Nanaimo are part time and one cannot live and support their family with only part time work.  If things on the employment scene were really that good then why is it that meal programs and food banks are seeing huge increases in the number of folk needing their services?
News Items:

Monday, May 21, 2012

NEDCorp season finale

So in the season finale of the NEDCorp sage Ms Cudahy has left the stage and is off to what will no doubt be greener pastures in Ontario due to the $75,000.00 severance package given to her by the Board of NEDCorp.  This is a travesty in a long line of Nanaimo travesty's.  Where else would someone who completed less than a year of employment be given such a golden handshake?

The taxpayers of Nanaimo deserve answers!  Who on the board of NEDCorp sanctioned such a payout and why?  Will the Progress Nanaimo Board, which includes members of council demand answers?  As taxpayers who fund NEDCorp we need and have a right to know.

We often hear from a number of sources, Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals, the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association and others, that we need to focus on the positives in Nanaimo and that the Naysayers, which of course would include me, by their very pessimism are responsible for the bad image others have of Nanaimo.  Bollocks I say!  It is asinine decisions such as this that colour the image of Nanaimo abroad.

As long as we have those in positions of power that have a philosophy of what is in it for me, and not what is in it for the whole of the community, things will not change.  It is the naysayers and ner-do-wells that will continue, because of their love for the community, to try to inform the broader public and keep those accountable from burying the truth. Without them the community would be far less off.

The NEDCorp Saga will no doubt continue until answers are received; we can only hope that lessons learned will not be repeated in the future.

New Items:
Editorial: NEDCorp must keep focus on mandate

Snuneymuxw First Nation

Letter sent to papers regarding the recent Snuneymuxw Treaty Conference as published.  I used some of my commentary below to formulate the letter.  Bulletin: Recognizing treaty rights strengthens communities   Daily News: Recognizing treaty will benefit all of Nanaimo

I recently attended the Douglas Treaties conference and have to say as a conversation regarding treaties this was most enlightening.  It also was enlightening to see that only one member of our City Council attended the conference and while the Mayor of Lantzville was present our own was not.  Although the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation is having a bit of a tough go it even had a number of board and staff attend.  There was also no representation from the Chamber of commerce.  Do they not get that if we can improve the economic outlook for first nations it will also benefit the broader community and in doing so open up many joint opportunities for both.

Canadians like to think of themselves and the Country being a truly multicultural society tolerant of the race, religion and cultural beliefs of others.  While this may be far truer today Canada’s past, like that of many countries, has not always been reflective of tolerance and in fact has been blatantly discriminatory not just to immigrants but to its own peoples as well.  In fact, if truth be told, it has been far more discriminatory for far longer to its first peoples.

I grew up in a home with a father who was devoutly racist; an equal opportunist who would routinely devalue anyone who was not white and of English ancestry.  At an early age I can often remember him relegating all of Canada’s First Nations to the category ‘drunk Indian’, 'lazy and good for nothing.'  At an early age I also learned to disregard these comments as I had by then seen far more drunk white folk than people of any other race.    
I am often disheartened by the lack of empathy and borderline, sometimes actual, racist statements published in comments to news stories on the internet when it comes to First Nations and Immigrants. Truth be told we all have an immigrant background and should value our own and our shared cultures and history.
For me I have seen the good and the bad in all races.  I value all for what I can learn but I truly respect the honesty and integrity of those that strive to promote the betterment of others.
It is a testament to the strength and fortitude of the Snuneymuxw and other F/N's people that much of their culture and language has survived the attempts of governments to erase and assimilate.  By recognizing treaty rights and working with the Snuneymuxw towards their economic well being we will ultimately strengthen the economic wellbeing of Nanaimo as a whole. It is indeed time to build a future together.
If folk in Nanaimo have been paying attention they will be aware of recent news items regarding the Snuneymuxw and treaty rights.  A number of workshops and information sessions have been held which culminated in a conference at Vancouver Island University.    Word is some of the speakers comments will be posted.

A History of abuse:
Recent News Items: Sneneymuxw (IF these links do not work they can be cut and pasted to google)
Snuneymuxw First Nation
Douglas Treaties

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation - Annual General Meeting
May 14th, 3:30pm 104 Front St.

I believe I mentioned in a previous post about NEDCorp that I felt the CEO Susan Cudahy would likely resign or be forced out within a month and it could be I was right. If so it should be brought up at the AGM.
Heard from a somewhat relieable source that this would be happening and will be very curious as to what severance she will receive for just over six months work. In some ways it will be too bad if I am correct because she really has not gotten much of a chance to prove herself.

Yes she made a cople of doozy mistakes but I think it was her treatment by the public that may be responsible in the event she does leave. From what I have heard she has been accosted in public while with her child and messages of a not too flattering nature have been left for her as well as forwarded through her daughter.

Even for Nanaimo, if what I have heard is true, that is a level I would not advocate anyone sinking to.

Regardless of the above people should show up for the AGM. This is a taxpayer funded corporation to the tune of approx. $1.4 million and as such, despite their being a progress review board, it behooves us to keep an open eye to what the corporation is doing.

More Secret than ever?

Was having a chat with my friend Ron Bolin the other day, in fact there are a few of us that get together Saturday mornings to discuss municipal issues and goings on, and had brought up that we seem to be having far more 'In Camera' meetings than usual. It is also important to note that these meetings predominantly fall under sec 90(1) of the community charter, link below.

Key word in this section being, “‘may’ have to be closed." Have written other posts re this so am not going to go on other than to say council opts for the choice to have these meetings, under sec90(1) held out of the public eye.
Any who in our discussion I was wondering how to find out if there were more In Camera meetings and it appears Ron has delved into the question and come up with some answers and a very interesting graph that can be seen at

Seems to me that at some point in the not too distant past there was mention of council setting a timeline as to when "In Camera" meeting information would be posted; guess they forgot:)

While we seem to be making inroads into having council become more transparent, i.e. taping FPCOW meetings, council seems to also have found the means to do the opposite.

While we seem to be making small inroads into having council become more transparent i.e. taping FPCOW meetings, council seems to also have found the means to do the opposite.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Transparency again

At the council meeting on Monday the April 30th first three readings for "COUNCIL PROCEDURE AMENDMENT BYLAW 2012 NO. 7060.02" (General text amendments and amendments to meeting procedures) were on the agenda.  One of the proposed changes is to move delegations pertaining to non-agenda items at regular council meetings to FPCOW meetings. As I have mentioned previously the downside of moving these delegations was, at the time, that FPCOW meetings were not taped and uploaded to the city website and as such these delegations would not be able to get the word out to the broader community.

If you have been reading these posts then you will recall that at the last FPCOW meeting Councillor George Anderson had made a motion that while the meetings were held at the Shaw Auditorium they be videoed and uploaded.  The motion passed. What the motion did not allow for was the taping of FPCOW meetings once they are moved to the new city annex.

At question period on Monday the 30th I asked that council look into the options for and costs of implementing the means to tape meetings at the new annex.  Councillor Brennan, whom if you remember was one of the three council members to vote against having FPCOW meetings taped at the Shaw Auditorium, actually made a motion for staff to look at the options and interestingly enough councillor Anderson was the only one to vote against the motion.

While Councillor Anderson’s dissenting vote makes little sense to me; as by looking at the options and if choosing to implement it is easier and less costly to the taxpayer to do so while the annex is being built than after.  In asking after the meeting his rationale was to wait and see how many people actually choose to view the meetings videoed while at Shaw Auditorium.  As I say easier to implement earlier than later.

As for councillor Brennan’s rationale on choosing to make the motion; while I can’t say exactly my guess is that despite originally not wanting FPCOW meetings taped it makes her look good in the public eye to make the motion she did. It is important to remember that even though staff will look at options council is in no way obligated to implement anything.  I will be curious to see how his plays out.

If, as I think we would all agree, openness and transparency of our municipally elected officials is a priority; then it is up to the citizenry to take advantage of opportunities presented.  Once council starts posting FPCOW videoed meetings I will share the link; it is up to you whether you choose to watch them or not. 

If you believe as I do that both regular and FPCOW meetings should be available for the public to view online then please let Council know.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Council Transparency

At the FPCOW April 23, 2012 councillor George Anderson made the motion to "have Finance Policy Committee of the Whole meetings, while held in the Shaw Auditorium, video recorded and placed on the city website." (Report on pgs.32 – 34)  

The motion, after some discussion passed 6 to 3 with Councillors Brennan & Johnstone as well as Mayor Ruttan voting against.  While citing the cost and stating she would not be supporting Councillor Johnstone stated "but I do support transparency" guess just not in this vane.  Councillor Brennan thinks the Shaw Auditorium itself “constrains more open discussion” and also thought why bother when it would just be the same 150 people who would normally access regular council meetings on the City Website.  Mayor Ruttan stated he would not support the motion because the meetings would be moving to the new annex in 8 months and he also would not support such a motion when FPCOW meetings did move to the annex.

At question period, because the motion just dealt with FPCOW at SHAW Auditorium and nothing has yet been set in place for the new annex I asked the following question. I first told council I appreciated their decision and that ; “thinking ahead to when these meetings are moved to the new annex I am wondering that in the event council chooses not to continue with recording of meetings is there any reason a member of the public could not come in and personally record the meetings.”  The answer received from city staff was that there was not. 

This of course opens it up for future discussion in that if council wants meetings recorded in a so called professional manner they will in all likelihood ensure that the proper equipment is installed in the annex and meetings are posted to the city website.  In the event they choose not to do so I mentioned the possibility of Mid Island TV recording them and then uploading to YoutubeJ This could have the benefit of many others, than just the ‘regular 150’, uploading the videos and in essence be promotional for the City.  Of course you can bet they would not want to see this happen in the event one or another makes an ass of their self.

Believe it looks good for FPCOW meetings being available for view on the city website for the foreseeable futureJ  

Conference Center Reality

I sent off the following Letter to the Editor about the story 'Busy spring at convention centre' that appeared in the April 29th Bulletin. Unfortunately the story is only in the hard copy and not on the Bulletin website. While it is all well and good to look at world through rose coloured glasses it is also good to take a step back and look at reality. Until one is willing to look at things as they really are then it is impossible to look at means of making them better.
Re: Busy spring at convention centre
Anyone reading this story might assume that the VICC is on the right track and doing well; a modicum of research however shows that this is not exactly so.
First off the story states that 30,000 delegate days are expected this year. This is exactly the same number that was being hyped for 2011 and yet we see that only 13,980 delegate days, less than 2.5% capacity, actually were achieved.
Secondly it is important to note that included in delegate days are those of the weekly Sunday Church service the ‘Meeting Place’. At an estimated 150 people attending per week this accounts for 6500 delegate days during the year, almost half of all delegate days in 2011. If, a really big if, the 30,000 proposed delegates do materialize this year it would still account for more than 20%.
A quick perusal of the VICC website will show that for the last six months of this year, other than the ‘Meeting Place’, only one convention and one other event are scheduled.
Half truths expressed through stories such as this do nothing in moving this facility forward. We must stop looking at the VICC with eyes wide shut and dreams of a hotel as the only option of salvation. Only by openly recognizing the facilities flaws can we then move forward to rectify them.
As published: Delegate numbers fail to tell full VICC story

Bang for the Buck

At the FPCOW meeting March 23, 2012 a Local Preference Purchasing Policy was voted down.  The following is with regards to this and a couple of stories that came out in the Daily News.

It is nice to see consistency with NEDCorp; both the CEO and Chair of the board seem to see no problem with shopping for services elsewhere rather than promoting our local economy. It is also interesting that even the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce thinks the same.

I guess I am a bit naive but for some reason I thought NEDCorp , which is taxpayer funded to the tune of $1.4 million, was supposed to promote Nanaimo and its economic development.  I fail to see how this will be accomplished if they continue to encourage the contracting out of the community of services for Nanaimo.
Wally Wells of the Chamber of commerce states; “A local preference could have shut doors for companies selling outside the community.”   This would only happen in other communities that have ‘Buy Local” policies and so in essence they are already shut out of those communities.

A.J. Hustins, chairman of NEDCorp states; "Companies can't bid on jobs outside the community and then have outside companies banned from bidding here."  Of course they can and they will continue to do so.  The difference being that if a community they bid in also has a buy local policy then they will not be arbitrarily given preference for simply having the low bid.
The fact is that other communities already have such policies. Ladysmith, next door to Nanaimo, as well as Kelowna and other communities in the province have taken these steps.   It is a trend that is growing and it is doing so in part to protect local economies and jobs.

Perhaps one of the sillier comments was by Councillor Anderson who in one story is quoted; "We need to go for whatever is cheaper, whether it's by $500 or $1,000."  I am reminded of the old adage You Get What You Pay For. 
Bottom line is that no community will be able to produce all the goods and services they need.  There will always be opportunity for outside business.  Personally I believe we should support local whenever possible. 

Daily News:
26th  Nanaimo merchants at odds after buy-local policy rejected

FPCOW April 23, 2012 (Report pgs. 21 - 31)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tardy here but active elsewhere

Have been posting far more on my face book Municipally (A)musing page. Will atempt to get a few more posts up here shortly:)

GordFuller Municipally (A)MUSING

More on Nedcorp CEO

This interesting story in the D/N on Saturday Nanaimo mayor 'unaware' of Cudahy's status .

Found it amusing that the story did not allow for posting comments; have noticed the odd one that one just knows they do not want feedback on. Have also heard through the grapevine that certain folk have threatened to withdraw advertising of the local press does not cowtow to their wishes for just positive stories. Interesting!

Re the article; my thoughts are that within a month she will be gone and receive a large severance package that the public will only be privy to through an FOI request. This is after all how things are done in Nanaimo.

On another related matter I have heard that people have been taking it upon themselves to make personal and nasty attacks by phone, sometimes asking her daughter to relay the message. I have also heard that some nasty stuff has happened in public when she has been with family. It is one thing to attack her work as CEO of NEDCorp but totally uncalled for to launch personal attacks.

I think part of the problem might be that she has been mentored by the old gaurd, many of which sit on the NEDCorp board; too bad she didn't take me up on my offer of a chat when I first met her. I hear that they are even trying to ensure no focus gets put on social issues. The type of closed mindedness that does not see the total picture is part of what has been and still is the problem.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Developments about Development:)

April 10 Paul Walton: Defining the city not easy

Ain't that the truth. Personally I think Nanaimo should go back to being the HUB City instead of calling itself the Harbour City. Harbour in no way distinguishes Nanaimo from any other locality on the water.

Apr 11, 2912 Entrepreneurs remain eager to capitalize on popularity of food trucks

Our illustriuos Mayor has blinders on when it comes to revitalization. He seems to think that only Convention Centre, Hotels for such and Cruise Ship terminals will see us out of our economic doldrums. Far too shortsighted.

April 10 Let the marketplace decide what is viable

This applys to the story of April 7th regarding Food Trucks. It is in my opinion a no brainer to open up licencing and places where these vehicles could offer their wares.

April 7 Officials believe Newcastle Island's beauty could help attract more visitors...

If officials listened to the public they would have come to the conclusion about Newcastle years ago. While the convention centre is on track it is important to note that the MEETING PLACE, weekly church, accounts for about 6500 of the delegate days. Local user groups do not bring in the big bucks everyone touted back in the beginning of the convention centre. Hope they make the 30,000 delegate days; it would be about 5% of potential capacity but far better than previous years.

April 7 Mayor Ruttan unsure food truck program viable in Nanaimo

So the Mayor has finally joined the ranks of Nay-Sayers:)

Apr. 5, 2012
Nanaimo developer could build downtown hotel

Could is the word of the day here.

Editorial: Incentives for hotel are creating interest

We in Nanaimo have been hearing that developers have been expressing interest in building a hotel for the convention centre for years, will believe it when it happens. The question regarding the tax incentives would be how do you apply them to a hotel that would also likely have condominiums attached to make the hotel a moree viable option? In the event someone comes forward with a serious offer to build we must insure that the condo units do not receive the same 10 year tax exemption as the hotel.

Friday, April 6, 2012

NEDcorp re-visited

So; the day after my last post on this subject it came out that Susan Cudahy, CEO of NEDcorp, actually sent the Tourism Nanaimo website she had mentioned at council to a company she had worked with in the past in Toronto. Hate to say it, maybe not, but these are the mistakes an amateur would make not someone that is supposed to be a 'professional.' Check out all of the comments attached to the stories below, oddly enough a few people have no problem that the economic development CEO is promoting the economic development to Toronto.

In the story of April 4 it mentions Ms. Cudahy had taken personal time so was unavailable for comment. I have since learned, and this is anecdotal at best, that she has a serious family medical issue that she has been dealing with for about a month.

Don't get me wrong I am not trying to make excuses for her performance of late. She has numerous employees that she should be able to rely on and if the above is the case should have delegated some of her responsibilities to.

Sending the website to a Toronto based company was the mistake of a rookie, surely she would have asked her employees if there was a web developer in Nanaimo that could have done the job. I am sure if she had someone would have let her know that there are quite a few and had they hired local we would not have been subject to the shoddy work that the so called company she worked with in the past and trusted put up on the web and that in and of itself makes Nanaimo look like an amateurish place to do business.

Letter City could be showcased as the next 'Gong Show' April 4

April 4 Mayor hopes economic development CEO has learned a valuable lesson

I made the comment below the day the above story came out but they either neglected to post it or I forgot to hit the button to post it.

"There was no time to put the contract to tender, so a firm was chosen that Cudahy had done business with in the past and trusted." The caliber of the website was shoddy at best and if indicative of the companies work I would have to question why she trusted and did business with them in the past. "Cudahy, who board members say is taking "personal time," was also unavailable for comment on Tuesday." If she would at least have the integrity to admit, not make excuses, her mistake then perhaps it would be time to move on. Now, one has to question how much personal time she is taking and how much of that are we the taxpayer on the hook for?

April 2
Mayor wants answers about tourism website work sent to Toronto
March 31
Cale Cowan: Story grew in stature thanks to reader’s involvement
March 30
Work on tourism Nanaimo website goes to Toronto

Just found this story from December 2011
Dec 22, 2011 Sweeping changes promised by economic development CEO to help boost Nanaimo tourism

Interesting in that 3 months ago the website and its improvements was being discussed. Pretty sure in one of the latest stories Ms. Cudahy mentions the reason for sending the work to Toronto was because of a short timeline to get it up. Appears there is a bit of fibbing going on.

Conference Centre update

T'would appear that when counting delegate days at the Convention Centre they count the numbers of those attending the weekly church, The Meeting Place, which account for 125 delegates per week.

A little basic math: 125 x 52 = 6500 = 21.6% of the 30,000 delegates expected this year.

If you think of the 16,000 delegates they said they had in 2011 the Meeting Place would have accounted for 40.6% of these.

Below is a story about a conference that actually put the facility at capacity for a couple of day.
March 17, 2012 VICC hits capacity next week

I unfortunately deleted a couple of stories I had saved with regard to the conference Centre and its projected numbers for this year, 30,000 delegate days. In 2011 it had been projected that the conference centre would see the same 30,000 delegate days but only reached something in the effect of 16,000 or 2.5% overall capacity. In the event the centre does see 30,000 delegates this year it will only reach 5% capacity.

Will attempt to find the stories, as it is amusing to read the comments attached to them, and will post here when I do.