Garbage, Taxes, Square One and Oceanview Golf Course

The big question for Nanaimo residents is how much will property taxes be going up this year. Will it be 1.5%? There is a Nanaimo Council meeting planned for Monday, April 24th. Property taxes are set to go up every year as follows:

Tax increaseYear

2017 Property tax increase 1.5%

Why are taxes expected to go up 1.5% this year? Here are some of the reasons the City needs more money:

  • $1 million for General Asset Management Fund
  • $1.3 million for 2 new positions* and wage/benefits increases for all staff
  • $349,000 for RCMP
  • $393,000 for snow removal
  • $288,000 for road repairs

If the market value of your home has increased by more than 13.6% then your property tax increase will be higher than 1.5%.

In addition, there are RDN taxes as well as user fees. Taxes are due July 4, 2017.

*two new positions are Social Planner and Communication and Digital Content Specialist

User fee 2017 increases

User fees are also going up this year:

  • 5% increase for sewer
  • 7.5% increase for water
  • 2% increase for garbage

There was a presentation on the new automated garbage system at the last COW meeting. Unfortunately, the bulk of the garbage discussion was behind closed doors so the details of this massive upgrade are not known. Here are some highlights from the presentation:

  • garbage, recycling and organics to be collected by city staff
  • yard waste will be included soon
  • both sides of new trucks can be filled with different material
  • door to curb service available for residents with mobility issues
  • possible glass collection in the future
  • Cost is $169 for first year and $131 for years 2 thru 5

Council discussion:

Hong: …Who owns the carts …if it breaks who replaces it?

Staff: …The City…

Hong: …Is there one rate for yard waste and organics?

Staff: …estimated prices…

Thorpe: …public engagement?

Staff: …will be at public events…information with carts…stickers on carts…

Kipp: …no separate bins for parks, no recycling bins in parks?…

Staff: The RDN has an upcoming program…

Kipp: …Seven of us sit on RDN so we know what’s going on…City has trash everywhere …

Bestwick: …organics and yard waste pick up weekly?…

Staff: Yes

Hong: …are we going to save money? …options of bin sizes? …cost?

Staff: RFP for carts soon…

Bestwick: ..pick up days?…rotate as usual?

Staff: …looking at options…

Yoachim: …high price…but a service we need…City purchased 6 trucks before…not well thought out (not you)…people suffered [worker injuries]…[now] handcuffed to buy these new trucks…

McKay: …split packers…heavy loads…millions of dollars in bins and trucks…West Kelowna private rates $185…they are paying more than us…How much yard waste can you put in? …

Staff: 1″ or 1/2″ diameter branches can go in…grinder to mulch down…

McKay: …are commercial and multi family units going to use multi bins…what about front of house restaurant waste?…

Staff: RDN, that’s their area…free zero waste services for groups holding events…

Kipp: …Our dump is full…What about diversion?…We need to take it away from Vancouver Island…DBL has high diversion rate…Garbage should be sent back to stores like WalMart [where it came from]…

Kipp: …we have never voted on this in public…We never had a real debate we just had the presentation…I am disappointed that we voted about this garbage program behind closed doors…Therefore, I vote against receiving this presentation…I am registering this with the police (points to city clerk)…

Councillors Kipp and Fuller opposed to receiving presentation…

Organic Waste 20 Year Contract

RDN looks to negotiate long-term deal for organic waste for processsing. Nanaimo Organic Waste Ltd. plans to do an upgrade that will reduce odours but they need the RDN to enter into a 20 year deal to make it worthwhile.

Mayor’s report

At the last Council meeting, Mayor McKay showed slides of two new ships that Seaspan purchased for runs between the Mainland and Duke Point. These are truck ferries that can carry several containers at once. The ships will be put into service on May 5th. Will these ships be used to carry garbage for the incinerator proposed for Duke Point?

LED Street Lights

The City is planning on switching street lights to LED (Light Emitting Diode). You can check these lights on April 25th at the VICC from 8pm to 10pm.

A study was completed for the City by consultants for an unknown amount. The switch would have a potential of savings of $200,000 per year in energy and $25,000 in maintenance costs.

Council By-election

July 8th is “Election Day” in Nanaimo to fill the Council seat left vacant by Wendy Pratt. It will cost approximately $150,000 for the election process.

The final results of the March 11, 2017 referendum revealed that 35.3% of eligible residents voted.

End of Square One

Square One was to be a techno hub but ended up being a ‘hot desk’ facility. It was set up under the last Council by NEDCorp. Unfortunately, this type of startup takes a lot of money and needs many groups to ‘buy in’ to make it work. There was a presentation at the last COW meeting.  Here are the highlights:

Closing Square One costs:

  • $115,000 lost in 2016
  • $147,000 to close lease
  • $5,800 furniture lease

Council discussion:

Brennan: …canvassed the industry?…Best idea?…no desire to make it an incubator facility?

Staff: …not feasible…

Hong: …internet service, $6,000 savings?…

Bestwick: …fiber optic service $5,840 a month for 500mb – 1 office had 5x times greater contract? … this contract was done on a 7 year term?

Fuller: …How are we saving money? …we are paying more…looks like we are paying $82,000 more per year…I wouldn’t call it a savings…

CFO: …we can’t get out of the contract…

Coastal Douglas Fir

A presentation was made from a group called Coastal Douglas Fir and Associated Ecosystems Conservation Partnership (CDFCP).

The speaker talked about the Coastal Douglas Fir zone which is endangered as only 9% is protected and less than 1% of the old growth remains.  Also, 80% of Coastal Douglas Fir lands are in private hands which doesn’t include forest company holdings.

The speaker asked if the land at Oceanview Golf Resort and Spa in Cedar were to come before the community that Council members consider planning practices. Councillor Bestwick requested a report from staff on the topic.

Map of Coastal Douglas Fir

Below is a 2009 video about the proposed Oceanview Golf Resort and Spa.