Love or harassment at council; Big red flags; Fire Station; Angry neighbours

Monday’s COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting was held at the City Hall. It appears that one councillor enjoys the new smaller meeting room. So was it love or harassment at Council?

It was extremely difficult to understand what anyone was saying; the audio was so garbled it was like listening to an old wax recording (see video below). For a city that can easily find a way to borrow $80 million plus on an Event Centre why on earth can they not get proper audio visual equipment at City Hall? Port Alberni is a good example of what should be done – speakers can be seen and heard clearly.

On Monday night there were two delegations— one spoke on the Events Centre and the other on the fire plan.

Big red flags on Nanaimo Events Centre

Here is some of what the speaker had to say:

Big red flags on the technical report regarding the Nanaimo Events Centre.

  • Soil mitigation concerns
  • Depth of bedrock on the site is about 17 meters or about 55 feet
  • Coal mine under the project
  • Sink hole possible in this area
  • Further testing of the site would be needed to be done to determine risks of collapse of mine shafts
  • Concentrations of coal gas (methane) would leak into the building above and be carcinogenic to people working in the building
  • Would have to drill to depth of 20 meters
  • Groundwater can seep in on this site

This Events Centre can’t be built for the price you got. The cost of concrete, soil removal, etc. would be about $68 million, so about $105 to $120 million would be the total price of the project.

Over half the councillors had their eyes glued to their ipads rather than paying attention to the delegation.

Hammond Bay Fire Station

Another speaker addressed the lack of a fire station at Hammond Bay:

Residents outside a fire response zone have to pay the same amount of taxes as those who are within one. Those living in the Stephen Point area are still waiting for a fire station. The City said it didn’t have the money. Now the City claims a Hammond Bay Fire Station is not a priority yet the CFO has found $5.4 million a year that can be accessed that will not increase property taxes to pay for the Events Centre. Why then, can we not build the fire hall? It would cost $2.4 million and could be built in the area of Morningside. This could bring the area up to the required fire service levels. When council is looking to do something after March 11th, they can look at building a new fire hall.

The 3 year fire service plan was approved for $100,000 and no new resources were requested.

Vote:
All in favour. Councillor Brenan was absent from the meeting.

Question Period:

  • What kind of foundation would the Event Centre be built on?
  •  When are we going to ask for financial aid for first responders?
  • Could we be borrowing $190 million for the Events Centre?

The speakers at question period could be heard but not seen.

March 6th Council meeting topics

The next council meeting is on Monday, March 6th at the VICC. Two topics of interest are a new store at North Town Centre and an residential infill project.

Retail store at North Town Centre

There are plans to put a 1 storey retail store at the northeast corner parking lot of the Nanaimo North Town Centre near the Oliver Road and Uplands Drive intersection.

North Town Centre – X marks new retail store

There are no traffic lights on Uplands Drive so that people can to turn left into the mall. There are pedestrian flashing lights but will this be enough in the future?

Many people complain that there are near misses near the Tim Hortons drive thru.

The North Town Centre is largely empty so why would the City permit a new retail store in the parking lot? Why doesn’t the City mix commercial with residential on this site? This would make more sense.

The X should be the site of a condo, not another store. A transit hub could be restored and people could walk to the shops.

Residential infill – angry neighbours

The owners of 5800 Sunset Road are requesting to subdivide their lot into 3 lots. They are also asking for reduced setback from the street.

Many people are seeing their mature neighbourhoods ghettoized by high density infill. Why are we not demanding high density infill on commercial zones instead of neighbourhoods?

Trees equal wealth.

Residents consistently rank treed boulevards and treed lots as one of the most valuable characteristics of mature neighbourhoods. In Nanaimo, there will be no more beautiful treed mature neighbourhoods only clearcuts.

Love or harassment

Was it love or harassment? During the COW meeting at City Hall, Councillor Fuller who was looking trim in snug denim pants and cotton t-shirt, moved his chair almost next to the CAO at the head of the table. At one point he stretched his bare arm under the CAO’s nose for her to smell his cologne(?) Maybe Councillor Fuller was impaired or in love as he seemed to be smiling and laughing at several intervals. Councillor Bestwick occasionally looked over with a frown and Councillor Kipp averted looking in that direction.

It is interesting to note that all the councillors took the same seating arrangement as in the Council chambers except Councillor Fuller who moved from his usual spot between Thorpe and Kipp.

At the beginning of this meeting, Councillor Yoachim complained about the attentions of a female resident who had accosted him at an Events Centre Open House. Mayor McKay nodded sympathetically. The COO commented that he would not stand for any harassment at the City; clearly the message was lost on Councillor Fuller.

Next week, Council will vote on the changes to the RDN regional growth bylaw. What is it? Will there be a full OCP review? Stay tuned.

Below is a behind-the-scenes look at the audio equipment at City Hall.