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.