2.4% property tax increase, Multiplex, tourism services

The City of Nanaimo held the first meeting of the Finance and Audit committee this month which was chaired by Councillor Bestwick.

The 2017 budget was presented and a 2.4% property tax increase is estimated.

The four main reasons for the tax increase are to pay for:

  • RCMP $854,749
  • Fire Hall Upgrades $964,125
  • Welcox Lands $372,150
  • Public Relations position $77,145

Do we need to expand the Communications Department? There are already three people, why another position?

Increasing bureaucracy

How many new senior management positions has the City of Nanaimo created in recent years?

  1. CFO – Chief Financial Officer
  2. COO – Chief Operations Officer
  3. CSO – Chief Sustainability Officer
  4. FOI and Records Supervisor
  5. Director of Community Development
  6. Director of Communications

Why does the city need all these new positions? Why not flatten the pyramid?

In the meantime the City has axed the Culture and Heritage department which was formed in 2013.

Core Review

So far this year the City has spent over $1.5 million on consultants. Maybe some studies could be done in-house. If we cut out some of the spending on consultants could we then afford to keep our pool open and activity centre repaired?


The City of Nanaimo plans on spending $65,000 on a study to build a multiplex somewhere in Nanaimo. Why doesn’t the private sector pay for this study? Why the taxpayers?

A staff report from 2013 found almost all city-funded multiplex venues required annual operating subsidies.

The Abbotsford Centre recorded a deficit of $1.24-million in 2015. Langley’s mayor told the Vancouver Sun in May that their township continues to fund the Langley Events Centre to the tune of $1-2 million annually.

Construction costs keep rising. The 5,000-seat Prospera Centre in Chilliwack was built for $22-million in 2004. The Langley venue came with a $56-million price tag in 2009.

B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Jordan Bateman, who was a member of Langley council when they built their centre, says none of the different multiplex venues around the province make money.

So we know from other communities that we would be looking at a price tag of a minimum of $60 million for a multiplex.

Could we learn something from the conference centre which is costing taxpayers $2.5 million a year?

Councillor Bestwick was quoted in Nanaimo News Now as saying in the last five years he feels the city has “really come around” to the concept of spending money.

If you have a minute, please send an email to council and let them know what you think of the projected property tax increase.

Tourism Services

The contract with Atlific, the company that manages the VICC, will not be renewed in April 2017. The City of Nanaimo will be looking for someone to operate the conference centre as well as provide tourism services.

Will that mean the end of Tourism Nanaimo? Do we need Nedcor anymore? Can’t the people in the City communication office do some tourism marketing?

Many of the hotel owners who came to speak to council were very frustrated with the conference centre ‘stealing business’ so let’s hope something improves.

School Playgrounds

It is hard not to notice the sad state of the school playgrounds in Nanaimo. What could be better, a multiplex for a few who can afford events or playgrounds for all kids to play on?

Three Nanaimo schools are trying to win money from Aviva Community Fund to build/improve their playgrounds:

Uplands Park Elementary
McGirr Elementary
Ecole Quarterway Elementary


Meanwhile the province has just spent $470 million on a temporary work camp at Site C dam. What is the provincial government’s priority?