Speed Bumps; Bike Lanes; Drug needles; Nanaimo by-election

Nanaimo by-election is in full swing!  Advance polls open next Wednesday.

Coming up this Monday, June 26th there is a Nanaimo Council COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting.  Some topics on the agenda include:

  • Bike lanes on Turner Road to Dover Road
  • Application process for social planning grants
  • Traffic calming project on Ross Road
  • InFilm project for $30,000 Bestwick motion
  • Infill housing guidelines Fuller motion
  • Abandoned boats presentation from MP Malcomson
  • Business plan for Tourism Nanaimo

Ross Road Speed Humps

Two temporary speed humps will be installed July to September on Ross Road for a cost of $22,000. Emergency services has identified Ross Road as a top priority because most people speed an average 64 km/hr. What can be done about Stewart Avenue? It is also like a speed way.

Two temporary speed humps planned for Ross Road

Bike Lane on Turner and Dover Road

A new bike lane and sidewalk are planned to be built this summer between Turner Road and Dover Road.  The blue line marks the new sidewalk to be installed.

Bike lane and side walk plans for Turner Road and Dover Road

Social planning grants

The City of Nanaimo has made $85,000 available to non-profits/faith groups who can apply for a Social Response Grant and a Community Vitality Grant. First staff reviews the grant application then it goes to the Finance Committee and then lastly to Council for a vote.

June 19th Council Meeting

Highlights from June 19th Nanaimo Council meeting include:

  • RCMP report
  • Selling City property on White Street
  • Victoria Crescent merchants’ request for security guards
  • Hammond Bay Road fish bowl

Note: Unfortunately the public microphone at the podium was not working all evening.

RCMP Report

Two speakers from Nanaimo RCMP spoke about some areas they are working on:

  • Crime Prevention (violence in relationships, drugs)
  • Youth intervention (5 full-time staff in schools)
  • Traffic (waterfront/marine/impaired driving)

Some stats given were:

  • domestic violence (3 domestic calls a day!)
  • traffic kills  (11 fatalities on the roads in Nanaimo)
  • drug deaths from fentanyl crisis
  • homeless youth (increased number of runaways)

Council Discussion:

Thorpe:  How many on bike patrol?
RCMP:  … eight on bikes…142 officers need more people to keep eyes on community…

Three domestic calls a day is a crisis. How much of this is due to financial strain brought on by the lack of affordable housing because of rampant speculation?

Mayor’s Report

Mayor McKay noted that eight by-election candidates were in the gallery.  The 2016 water treatment prevented a boil water advisory 70 times.  The City property at 100 Gordon street property is considered sold for $750,000. The City had six responses to the sale; the new hotel will have 118 rooms and is expected to be finished in early 2019. (Plus the hotel gets 10 years tax free).

Water Leaking from City Pipes

A presentation was given on water leakage from City of Nanaimo pipes. The speaker said 1900 mL (megalitres) has leaked from City pipes. This seepage is equivalent to 760 Olympic-size swimming pools!

According to a recent audit there was 498 mL of water leaking from South Fork to treatment plant equivalent to (200 Olympic-size swimming pools.

The speaker asked Council to consider water loss as a serious  issue.  What is the City going to do to fix the pipes?

Council Discussion:

COO: …this speaker sits on a committee…they can bring it up there…if we find leaks we will fix them…

Speaker: …we are consuming 14.4 million litres of water yet we are not billing for that… public works should take the initiative and get to work on the 2013 report….

Yoachim:…these water leaks are alarming…

CFO: …looking at an audit on leaks…

Downtown Drug Needle Problem

Council approved $45,000 to hire two private security guards and two people to pick up litter in downtown Nanaimo. Two needle boxes were donated and will be installed.

The Safe Injection Site proposed at 437 Wesley Street was rejected.  The $20,000 for litter pickup is for six months. The $25,000 for two private security guards will last until the end of September.

Council Discussion:

Fuller: …needle boxes…how many needles in each box each month?

Staff: …needle boxes are emptied 3 times a year…the one on Wisteria Lane is emptied 6 times a year…two more boxes are to be installed…for a total of nine needle boxes…

Fuller: …Someone is putting out brown bags of needles and crack pipes with notes not to use around the library at Wisteria Lane…are they educating people on how to dispose of these needles?…personal needle boxes are great…people bring them back to Harris House for more….

Staff: …regular users are informed…

Fuller: …random groups giving out needles are not helping…

Bestwick: …urban clean-up program…How many people participating in this clean up for two hours a day for two days a week?…16 hours…minimum wage…Old City Quarter has concerns about litter…we don’t know how many hours and how many people but just that we are paying minimum wage?…

Staff: …service provider will decide…before was one person…

Brennan: …urban clean-up program – why are we taking that from the study budget?…why not the budget for street cleaning?..we have been using that budget for other research initiative projects…

Staff: …$150,000 and $50,000 were spent on studies for affordable housing…Given that, we don’t need $30,000 on more studies…

Hong: …Why only two more needle boxes?…

Staff: There is a limit on how much I can ask public works to do…they haven’t yet pushed back…one day they will ask for more money to check on needle boxes…

Hong: …We need a needle box at the Military Museum…some groups get tax breaks; they can help out with the clean-ups…

Staff: …Nanaimo Community Living has been picking up litter five days a week without compensation…

Mckay: The budget is $45,000 to September…What about to the end of December?

Downtown Nanaimo Security Guards

Six people were signed up to speak about the problems with aggressive panhandlers and drugs in downtown Nanaimo. Here is some of what they had to say:

Speaker 1:
Years ago there were two women who would patrol the whole downtown; that seemed to really help things…then the bylaw department took over and they didn’t do a good job…It has gotten really bad since the Jean Burns fire…I was surrounded by six aggressive panhandlers who challenged me to a fight!…The other day homeless people were fighting with each other using baseball bats! I was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher for 15 minutes and then the fight was over…I will call the police about a drug issue and three hours later they may come…I call the police about issues near my business and they don’t come…

Speaker 2:
It has gotten really bad in the last 10 months…one of our staff was severely assaulted in December…we have called the police and their response has been slow…Three times a week we clean up drug needles…way more aggressive panhandling…

Speaker 3:
We talk to the police once or twice a week to have people removed from our property…we are losing business…extra security cameras…police have come to our calls when we have asked for help…we need more community outreach…we are at ground zero…Does the community policing office still exist?…

Council Discussion:

Fuller: …There is a more aggressive group of people around downtown panhandling…

Yaochim: …what could we do better…bylaw department?…

Speaker 2:Increase security patrols in early morning…

Hong: …I’m on that street…lighting new…LED will be brighter…
will that help?….

Brennan: …Do we still ban people from downtown?…

Staff: …we just do it through civil court now…

Why doesn’t the current bylaw enforcement team and RCMP work together? If there are 8 RCMP on bicycles and 5 bylaw staff members then that is a total of 13 people patrolling the downtown streets of Nanaimo – why would the City need to hire 2 more private security guards?

Even if the City gets these panhandlers and drug addicts to move elsewhere, that does not make the problem disappear. They will move into neighbourhoods and show up on peoples’ lawns or doorsteps. We need some provincial or federal help. This is a crisis beyond the scope of the City.

1411 White Street – future park?

The City purchased 1411 White Street in 1997 for $115,000 and proposed to sell it for $240,000 almost 20 years later in 2017.  It was purchased as part of a sewer plan. The house is currently being rented out for approximately $900 a month. The current tenants asked if they could buy it.

Mckay:  The notice in the newspaper was for a disposal of property; not a request for proposals…help me understand your logic…

Staff:generally we go for a request for offers…but we have a tenant who lives in the house who would like to purchase it…we usually aim to get market value…it’s just an easier process this way…

One delegation spoke in opposition to the sale:

I oppose this sale. The City owns the land next to this lot and it should be protected as a park.  The Millstone River is a fish bearing stream. There are concerns about flooding on this land. It should be a left as treed area by the river.

Council Discussion:

Brennan: …how about a covenant on the lot?…

Staff:The whole lot is in the riparian area…

Brennan:  (made motion on covenant)

Thorpe: … is the lot tied to the lot next to it?…

Yoachim: …leave as is…protect the river…

Bestwick: …we get $10,800 a year for rent from this property…it is in the riparian area…It doesn’t make sense to have it in private hands…

Mckay: …we could make $240,000 on this property sale…

Hong: …we have rules for riparian areas…have it as a right-of-way…the way it was set up to be…

Thorpe: …riparian setbacks are important…

Fuller: …How much rent are we getting for this house? $900 per month? (shakes head)…

Vote:
All voted to not sell the City property on 1411 White Street. What will happen to this land? Will it be made a park?

3217 Hammond Bay Road

A resident spoke about a new 10-unit development at 3217 Hammond Bay Road with plans for 20 parking spaces.  Three storey homes perched on a slope now overlook a formerly private lot. The resident spoke how the new development  has devalued their property by $20,000 and made his house a fish bowl.

large lot on Hammond Bay Road divided into 10 lots – no privacy, no trees

The homes are too large for small lots. Why aren’t the houses smaller to scale with the lots? Yet the shopping malls are one level with no residences above. As well, many of these strip malls are visibly empty. As an example, Woodgrove Centre does not have any condos above and there are five empty retail spaces.

Advance Polls open next week

Advance Voting polls open Wednesday, June 28th and Wednesday, July 5th at the Nanaimo Alliance Church on Meredith Road. General voting day is Saturday, July 8th.

Why only one location for advance voting? Why at a church? How much is the City of Nanaimo paying the Nanaimo Alliance Church for the polling station?  Why not use a publicly owned facility such as a community centre?

Scientific studies show that “subtle environmental cues in a polling place can significantly, but unconsciously, affect citizens’ real-world votes” mainly due to what’s known as the “priming effect” which “nudges voters in a predictable direction [leading] to a systematic, non-random bias in individual’s decision-making.”

Nanaimo residents can vote for one of the following thirteen candidates running in the by-election:

Sheryl Armstrong
Brunie Brunie
Sacia Burton
Leon Cake
Kevin Cantelon
Jim Mercier
Alexis Taylor Middleton
Noah Routley
Neil Saunders
Fred Statham
Kevin Storrie
Al Thompson
Kelly Whiteside

If you want to learn more about these Nanaimo by-election candidates and their thoughts on City topics, visit Our Nanaimo (ournanaimo.com).

Green Bin dilemma and Dog Waste to Energy

At Monday night’s Nanaimo Council meeting Councillor Hong as acting mayor requested speakers to give their addresses. People haven’t done that for years. Why was this done? Was it to intimidate the speakers, especially those speaking on the topic of sexual and gender based harassment at the city?

A member of the public questioned why Council approved spending $8 million for new automated garbage trucks and bins in an in-camera meeting. Why wouldn’t this have been voted on at a regular council meeting?

Here is how the big garbage question went:

Resident: When was the vote done on the $8 million garbage trucks and bins?

Hong: we approved the purchase of 6,000 bins and 6 more garbage trucks, discussions were in the open – we have approved the garbage bins and trucks …I thought we did that in a open meeting?

Staff: …March 27th motion was passed [on garbage bins/trucks] at a special meeting…

Kipp: …We debated it in-camera, behind closed doors, not in a public meeting …People didn’t know if it was kosher or not…

Resident: …if you can get away doing that kind of thing in-camera then …why do we need public meetings?!…

CFO: The approval done in-camera is appropriate…minutes of that meeting will come later…

Yoachim: …in-camera stuff is not working for me…we don’t get an agenda until we get here …then there is a million and one amendments…then we get accused of not being transparent…keep it out here so people know the truth…

Fuller: … anything we do can go in-camera…

Green bin dilemma

In 2011, the City of Nanaimo first introduced the green bin organic waste program to Nanaimo residents. Now the City has plans for another type of green bin that can be used by the new automatic garbage trucks.

What are we supposed to do with the old green bins?

So, based on the assumption that everyone drives an SUV or pickup, how many people are going to make the trip to the Public Works office to drop off their green bin? What about for people who don’t have a vehicle?

Does the City of Nanaimo have plans to recycle 40,000 green bins or will they sell them to another municipality to offset the cost of the new ones? Here are a few options:

  • Burn them in our future incinerator (or at the one in Spokane, Washington)
  • Sell them to another municipality
  • Re-purpose them

When Boise, Idaho needed to buy some recycling bins for their park system, they turned the problem over to their youth. High school students designed a recycling bin that could  be attached to the City’s existing trash bins. The Terra Luna bin saved Boise $50,000.

Terra Luna recycling bin

Dog Waste to Energy

Waterloo, Ontario plans to turn dog waste into energy. This city of 100,000 is just a bit larger than Nanaimo but it has identified dog poop as a big problem. And now they have a solution.

“It’s actually a big issue, dog waste. If you look at our municipal litter bins … it’s 40 to 80% dog waste.”

A dog-owner walking their pet will scoop up its waste, just as they would normally. But instead of throwing the bag into a trash can, they put it into a special bin.

Biodegradable bags of dog poop are stored in an underground container for 10 to 14 days. Using a process called anaerobic digestion, a biogas is created which can then be burned for heat and energy.

The drawing below shows the old system of dog waste ending up in the landfill. Next is a new system where dog waste generates energy for park lamps.

Dog waste to energy

Below is a video of a public art project from Cambridge, Massachusetts – “Park Spark” that converts dog waste to a biogas that powers a park light and a burner for making tea:

Town hall program, New developments in Linley Valley, Hammond Bay, Harewood

It has been over a month since Nanaimo Council has had a regular council meeting. But, a ‘special’ council meeting will be held Monday, June 12th at 7pm open at the VICC. What is a Special Council meeting? Is it a Committee of the Whole meeting or a regular council meeting or something else? Read on.

Coming up Monday’s agenda are some hot topics such as garbage collection, rails to trails, and a town hall pilot program! Some large developments up for approval include a 14-unit building at 1015 Park Avenue, a 72-unit building at 6025 Linley Drive, and a 7-unit mixed use building at 253 Victoria Road. A small lot development is proposed for 5030 Hammond Bay Road, where 1 lot will be divided into 5.

Speakers lined up for Monday night include the Canada 150 committee, Nanaimo Clippers, Nanaimo Gymnastics, and Women Watching Nanaimo will present a petition.

Town Hall Pilot Program

The City of Nanaimo is going to start a ‘Town Hall Pilot Program’ this fall.  What do people want to talk about? Hmmm…are we getting ready to burn garbage again? What mega project does the City have in mind this time? The City will first put together a group of people from Council and the community. Then they will hold two town hall meetings and an on-line survey to find out what people want out of this new ‘Town Hall Pilot Program’.

Are you confused yet?

New Garbage Collection – new user fees

Council has approved a new automated garbage collection system. This will require an increase in user fees for garbage over the next five years.

residential rate: $102.75 current / new $118.04
commerical rate: $137.83 current / new $158.34

Also, each resident must purchase a new green bin for $25 (old green bins don’t work with the new trucks). What are people going to do with their old garbage and green bins? Will the City collect them and sell them to another community to use? Or will 45,000 households have to drive down to the dump and pay another fee just to dispose them?

1015 Park Avenue

There is a proposed 14-unit, three storey development at 1015 Park Avenue – currently a forested ridge on a steep slope.

This area is currently being used by neighbourhood residents. The owner has indicated that they are open to dedicating part of the area as a park if the development gets approved.

Proposal for 1015 Park Ave in Harewood, 14 unit, 3 storey development

6025 Linley Valley Drive

There are plans for a 72-unit, five storey rental development with 19 underground parking spaces at 6025 Linley Valley Drive. The builder has made a request to reduce parking by 22 spaces for a total of 97 rather than 119.

6025 Linley Valley Drive proposal for a 72 unit, 5 storey rental development

253 Victoria Road

The original proposal for this lot was for an 18-unit development. The project has been scaled back to a 7-unit, 3 storey mix use live and work building.

253 Victoria Road, 7 unit, 3 storey mix use live and work building
Town home style building proposed for 253 Victoria Road

5030 Hammond Bay Road

The new owner wants to divide a single family lot into five. No lane is proposed, and the new homes are to be accessed from Williamson Road. The new homes will each have secondary suites.

Small lot development on Hammond Bay Road – 1 lot to 5 lots

Boxwood Road

Boxwood Road has really changed over the years. More industrial lots are planned in the red squares.

More industrial lots to be developed at the end of Boxwood Road

5264 Sherbourne Drive

31 people signed a petition against a development at 5264 Sherbourne Drive – Council approved the project at 3rd reading. Councillor Fuller was absent for the May 4th public hearing.

Old City Quarter

Old City Quarter Business Improvement Area was created and approved by Council on May 8th. The purpose is to collect taxes to make improvements to the Old City Quarter.

Rails to Trails

On Monday night Councillor Bestwick will bring forward a motion regarding Rails to Trails Vancouver Island to convert the rail system from Parksville to Courtenay with a trail; and,
complete a pedestrian trail from Parksville to Coombs because no money has come to repair the existing railway.

If you look at Europe and China, they are developing their rail systems, not ripping them out. When the population of Nanaimo reaches half a million in the next 20 years, how will people get around? The Island Highway and the Parkway will be gridlocked.

Nanaimo Council heads to Ottawa

Some Nanaimo council members are in Ottawa this week for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Conference (June 1 – 4). They will join 1,900 municipal leaders at Canada’s largest municipal conference.

The theme of the conference is nation building – how our cities and towns shape Canada.

Some of the issues to be discussed at the conference include:

  • affordable housing
  • public transit
  • infrastructure
  • water
  • refugee settlement

What ideas will Nanaimo council gain from this conference? Hmmm…

Public Transit

How can Nanaimo get access to some of the $3.9 billion earmarked for public transit over the next five years?

Did you know that every year in Canada $10 billion in productivity is lost due to traffic congestion? In Toronto, for example people are having to commute an average of four hours a day.

Transit problems are related to the housing crisis. Because housing has become unaffordable, people have to relocate farther and farther away from their work or school.

The three main problems facing Nanaimo and other BC towns are:

  • Opioid Crisis
  • Homelessness
  • Garbage

Opioid Crisis

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson chairs the Big City Mayors’ Task Force on the Opioid Crisis. More than 400 people in BC have died from opioids this year.

“The federal response so far isn’t reaching the frontlines in the way we need to save lives and tackle this crisis. Mayors are ready to help turn this around, but we need to be at the table. It’s time for all orders of government to get behind a coordinated action plan, before this opioid crisis spirals further out of control.”

What new steps are going to be taken?

Homelessness

More and more people every day are being run out of their homes because of rampant housing market speculation. This has reached a crisis in many towns. As of March 2017, there were approximately 70 homeless camps in the Lower Mainland.

There are three main branches to this problem:

  1. condos and houses are being marketed offshore to foreign buyers
  2. local property values soar which in turn cause tax assessments to increase
  3. rents go up to cover increased property taxes

Five homeless people per day are dying in the streets in Canada.

Garbage

Everywhere you look people are dumping garbage—it is a crisis.

Bill Veenhof, RDN chair said in a press release:

“I think there are a number of reasons why people dump illegally including lack of awareness about how easy and inexpensive recycling is in our region. In many cases, the dumped items can be recycled free of charge or for a small fee at any number of recycling depots in our region.”

Eliminate dumping fees and illegal dumping will be a thing of the past. The RDN needs to expand recycling services so that people don’t have to get into their vehicles just to recycle a few plastic bags and glass jars. SORT WASTE AND SAVE SPACE!

We can’t keep on with our waste dumping habits.

Yard Waste, Illegal Dumping, Rats and Donald Duck

The RDN has launched a new campaign to bring awareness to the problem of illegal dumping. What are they doing? What more can be done?

Illegal dumping is a huge problem on Vancouver Island. Sick of the destruction, many people have taken the task of cleaning up illegal dump sites themselves.

In 2016, the RDN recovered over 35 tonnes of illegally dumped material. Pursuant to RDN Bylaw No. 1386, those who generate,  deliver or abandon waste illegally can be subject to a fine of up to $200,000.

Illegal dumping includes but is not limited to:

  • household garbage
  • yard and garden clippings
  • construction and demolition waste
  • furniture, appliances etc.

Why do people dump illegally?

There are two main reasons people don’t drop off their waste at the landfill:

  1. dumping fees
  2. hours of operation

One of the biggest obstacles to residents is the cost of dumping. For example in Nanaimo there is a minimum charge of $5 to dump off yard waste at the NRE on Kenworth Drive. For a small truck the charge is $10 or for a trailer full it’s $15.

In other municipalities residents can drop off yard waste free of charge. The Regional District of North Okanagan accepts yard and garden waste FREE OF CHARGE year round at all RDNO Recycling and Disposal Facilities.

Then there is the added inconvenience of having to drive to a recycling facility. The one on Kenworth Drive is full of potholes and the road is terrible after a rain. No wonder people are “losing” their yard waste somewhere over the fence. How many people are just putting yard waste into their garbage cans which further adds to the landfill?

The solution is to make dumping free and convenient.

Invasive Plant Infestations

The Columbia Shuswap Invasive Species Society (CSISS) has discovered new sites where yard waste dumping has led to invasive plant infestations – both within regional landfills and at illegal dumping sites. Some invasive plants such as knotweed or ivy can re-sprout from small stem or root fragments.

The biggest question we have to ask ourselves is what kind of community do we want to live in? You either pay people to patrol rural areas looking to catch illegal dumpers or you take the same amount of money or even less and let people drop off their yard waste for free.

Also, when people throw their lawn clippings over the back fence or dump plants and prunings in the bush, the piles of green waste become breeding grounds for rats.

Reward Program

In Richmond, BC they have a reward program for citizens who report illegal dumping.  Citizens can collect $200 on the conviction of a dumper.

Garbage and Recycling App

Recently, the City of Nanaimo announced that they have acquired an app which would remind residents when to put out their garbage and recycling. What wasn’t mentioned was how much they paid a Vancouver tech firm, ReCollect to do it. The RDN also used the same company to answer a few basic questions on their website.

ReCollect digitized garbage collection schedules and maps in order to enable citizens to download it into their calendar or set up a recurring email reminder. ReCollect has made a hefty profit at basically no cost to themselves by using open source data – something an RDN staff member or a summer student could have done.

Donald Duck Litterbug

Everyone has met a ‘Donald Duck Litterbug’ but there is still hope for their offspring. If you see any dumping happening or has already occurred, report it to Solid Waste Services by calling 250-390-6560, 1-877-607-4111 (toll-free) or you can call the BC hotline Report All Poachers and Polluters at 1-877-952-7277 (#7277 from cellphones).

Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway; Dangerous intersection; Cone Man at council?

The last Nanaimo council meeting for May covered some interesting topics such as upgrades to the dangerous intersection at Northfield Road and Island Highway 19A, how Nanaimo Pride Parade almost got de-railed, and the plans for an expanded Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway from Departure Bay to Port Drive and more.

Northfield Road/Hwy 19A intersection upgrade

After a year of delays, Council approved $1.5 million to upgrade the Northfield Road and Highway 19A intersection. Complicating matters was the railway crossing at this location. Last year Council was unsure what was going to happen to the railway, was it staying or going?

Opposed to the improvements were Councillors Bestwick, Kipp, and Fuller.
In favour were Councillors Brennan, Hong, Thorpe, and Yoachim.

Intersection at Northfield and Island Highway 19A – NEW – no left turns from Boundary Ave onto Northfield Road. NEW – left turn lights for turning onto Boundary Ave from Northfield.

Council discussion:

Hong: Do we have an update on the number of accidents?

Staff: 1 to 2 accidents per week…

McKay: …$1.5 million cost …Ministry of Transportation will pay half of the costs?

Staff: …no high speed trains now…[won’t have to pay for higher standard of rail upgrades]

Kipp: Has staff looked at any other re-alignment options?…

Bestwick:…What’s the future of rail?…rails to trails…I don’t see rail traffic…only 8 to 16 cars a week on the rail…I don’t support millions of dollars being spent on rail crossing improvements…I prefer to see rails being removed…pending lawsuit from First Nations…No movement from provincial or federal government to make railway work…

Thorpe:…I don’t want to be here in a year talking about this….

Fuller: …potential of railway being removed…

The Design Isn’t Ideal

Hong:…This intersection needs work…the design isn’t ideal…needs a turning lane from the highway….It needs a merge lane off the highway…what about lights at Mary Ellen?…54 accidents in 2015 (compared to 82 at Bowen Road)…Buy the corner of the school property to fix the design…

Brennan: …Taking out the rails…is a much bigger question…deaths at this intersection…province willing to pay half…Council has a reluctance to spend on infrastructure…

Fuller: …Federal standards are different than provincial standards for railway…we are doing the minimum safety standard…How are we getting around this?

Mckay: ….railway is active…85% of intersections meet standards…rail tomorrow?… corridor is owned by 15 First Nations and 5 regional districts of which we are one voice…there are 19 others…

Kipp: …we are adding costs to this intersection…the busy road is Northfield…not much improvement…

Bestwick: …60% markup on goods ordered, must we still order through Southern Railway?…

Mckay: There are two makers of rail crossing goods…Southern Railway has chosen one maker…they do the repairs…

Bestwick:…they go buy it…they sole source it…I have seen the bills…markup is significant…broken rail arm at Bowen Road and Island Highway has never been repaired…

Note: On May 17th, Liberal and Conservative members of the House of Commons voted overwhelmingly against Bill C-322, An Act to amend the Railway Safety Act (road crossings), which would have forced railway companies to help construct safe road crossings.  Nanaimo MP Sheila Malcolmson voted in favour.

Nanaimo Pride Parade almost de-railed

A few months ago a group came to Council and presented their plans for a Nanaimo Pride Parade and requested barricades and signage for road closures along the parade route. They also asked if the City could re-paint the rainbow crosswalks which had faded. Their requests were approved by Council at the time.

Fast forward to Monday night, Councillor Brennan raised a motion for repairs to paint the crosswalks and barricades for road closure for the Nanaimo Pride Parade request.

Council discussion:

Brennan:  We have done nothing! Pride weekend is in early June…

Thorpe:… barriers and signage…are we being consistent…do we do this for other events?

COO (Chief Operating Officer): …this is not a City sanctioned event…

Hong: …City sanctioned event? What about Heritage Days? How are they doing barricades?

COO: …private company…

Hong: …who puts the stuff on the road?…

Mckay:…City crews bring the barricades down…then they collect them…last year… the [Pride organizers] had to go to public works and pick them up, put them up and take them down and take them back to public works…No service from public works…

Hong: How did we do it for Heritage Day?…Did they [parade organizers] do all that?…

CAO: …I find it odd that the City would have someone pick up our equipment and set it up…

Fuller: …$2,500 for the other two sidewalks…like to see the other sidewalks done…amendment to motion…to add …other two sidewalks

Brennan:…this was brought up several weeks ago…we didn’t pick up the ball…tonight it’s an urgent matter…

Yoachim: …I am proud to support an event such as this…We got to make this happen…

Kipp: …$5,000 to deliver the barricades and to pick them up?… is that a guess?…

COO: …yes…approximately…

Bestwick:…this is a downtown event…application for an annual event?…

Brennan: …we need to have a definition of ‘City sanctioned’ event…

All Councillors voted in favour of painting the sidewalks and paying for the barricades for the parade.

City Sanctioned Event Confusion

This was a very strange ‘event’ at Council. What happened? It appears that there is no one department that looks after parades. There should be a one stop shop so people don’t have to run around and ask 10 people for help. Does the City of Nanaimo already have a Special Events Coordinator? If not, this is probably something that can be given to one of the directors in the Parks or Culture departments.

Is it possible that the Pride Parade requests were overlooked because some people at the City have a personal objection to it? The COO repeatedly said it wasn’t a “City sanctioned event” but the Pride Parade had been approved by Council. Isn’t that direction enough for Staff? Does the City have a Special Events Policy?

Here is a good example of why a pyramid structure of government doesn’t work. The CAO is removed from any problems. Everything goes through the COO who is the new gate keeper. All departments including Public Works should report directly to the CAO.

Also, what happens with traffic control? The City could be held liable for any accidents that result from the misdirection of traffic.

Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway Plans

The City is planning on expanding the waterfront walkway. There are five areas that are proposed to be completed by 2018. The gaps in making the waterfront walkway continuous are:

1) Northfield Creek
2) Asia Pacific Yacht Club
3) Nanaimo Shipyard
4) Boat Basin
5) 1 Port Drive

Nanaimo waterfront walkway – 5 areas of the walkway to be filled by 2018

The 2.5 km section from Departure Bay Beach to the Departure Bay ferry terminal is controversial with the local residents. In 2002, there was a 480 meter trail installed from Stewart Avenue and Brechin Hill to Northfield Creek for $700,000.

Departure Bay Beach – waterfront walkway to continue along to Bay Street

In June a team of consultants will prepare some options for the walkway and a draft plan is to be presented to the public in September.

2.5km Cilaire Beach waterfront walkway  – concerns have been raised about cliff erosion and wildlife protection

New banners to show case Canada 150

Patrick Belanger won the banner competition for the second time. Only seven artists entered the competition.  Why did so few people compete for the banner contest?

new banners for Canada 150 in Nanaimo

At first glance it looks like a man playing bagpipes but it is a man with a miner’s lamp and someone playing a violin. Can you spot the number 150?

$99 Summer Transit pass for kids

Youth between the ages of 12 to 18 can get a transit pass that is valid from June 29th and September 4th. Passes can be used for youth drop-in recreation programs in Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach. There are 300 passes available.

In the meantime, there needs to be a shuttle bus for NRGH workers who clog up the highways driving from Ladysmith to Nanaimo and back every day.

King Cone

This is what happens when Public Works don’t pick up City equipment: