Nanaimo Chamber vs Nanaimo Council

Highlights from Monday nights Nanaimo council meeting included the presentations by the CEO of The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the small lot development on Kings Road which many residents spoke of their concerns. Councillors Fuller and Kipp were absent.

Overall the presentation from Mr. Smythe, CEO of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce was very gloomy. He spoke about the lack of progress that Nanaimo Council has made so far, the lack of respect that people have for one another, the lack of leadership, and the lack of a shared vision.

Mr. Smythe’s presentation covered six areas of concern:

  • Updating the 2012-2015 Corporate Strategic Plan – not yet started
  • Green Tape Committee – stalled while we wait for Core Review
  • Reviewing development and building permit procedures – initiated
    at staff level, but not reached Council table yet.
  • Overhauling sign bylaws – not yet started
  • Core Review – initiated the RFP in the past month
  • Freezing Commercial Tax Rate hikes – completed by freezing tax increases across the boards – other than the asset management allowance of 1%. *(this was an error as there was a 1.7% increase in taxes)
Comments

Bestwick: …you mentioned everyone who does business here has a negative experience…our single family and commercial developments are up since 2014…we don’t work at the City…are you talking about the hotel?…it has been on the books for 10 years…

…regarding big ticket items we have to make sure that they leave a legacy that the city can live with…I happen to know that there were three other interested parties in the hotel recently and we have chosen one so there is interest in the conference hotel…

…for you to suggest that we are not business friendly I find that offensive…everything we do is on social media…I learn more in the news about what is going on [some council members are being treated like mushrooms]…we should be working on the strategic plan…we need to have the green tape/red tape committee going, I don’t know why it’s not getting off the ground…

…it’s taking a long time to get to the core review…have you ever invited me for a coffee to talk about your concerns? when? (last December?) you know where I am. I am available to talk with you at any time…

CEO: I didn’t say that Council is not business friendly and I didn’t reference the Hotel project in my speech…

Brennan: …overall you and the chamber have some valid points…thanks to all the members of the chamber who are here…

Hong:…I love report cards. You are very generous…we raised taxes to 1.7% …we did increase taxes by .7% …I would like to see the sign bylaw changes…we need a strategic plan…

Thorpe: …thank you for the courage to give a report card that is not flattering…you make a number of valid points…things take time…we have not been respectful as much as we could be…I’m looking forward to the Watson Report…

Yoachim: …I look forward to meeting with the business community…we have an ‘F’ in that area in my view…we have an ‘F’ in external relations…we should be meeting with all groups…we have been working in silos for too many years…

Since the election we have not met once as a council to talk about our visions for the future…my patience is wearing thin…let’s get to work…

…the hotel people came to council and it was the first time we met with these people…we have to get some cultural awareness going…can we make it easier for people to get through red tape?…

Pratt: …It takes courage to come here and give your report…we are taking steps to move forward and I hope we are successful…we need to step up…

McKay: …It is not an individual effort to manage a council it is a collective…we have a long way to go…

Has Nanaimo council caught the Lantzville flu? Are people trying to run each other out of office? Who chose the $100,000 “get along consultants”? Who is really running Nanaimo Council? It looks like Mr. Smythe and Mayor McKay are working cohesively.

Kings Road small lot development

Many residents came to council to express concerns regarding a small lot development on Kings Road. Each expressed concerns about how the small lots would increase traffic congestion and change the look of the neighbourhood. After one hour of debate, Council approved the application for the development. Councillor Bestwick was the only dissenting vote.

This same story has been repeated many times at Council.

What is missing here is careful urban planning. In-filling neighbourhoods should be done with care otherwise neighbourhoods will quickly ghettoize. Pocket parks should be part of urban planning.



Don’t miss watching council meetings – that’s where the action is!