Environment and Grant Committees Axed

At the July 11th Nanaimo Council meeting it was announced that there would be a reorganizing of the Council committees.

Environment and Grant Committees Axed

The big news was the elimination of two standing committees — Grants and ACES (Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability).

The six new committees are:

  • Finance and Audit
  • Public Safety
  • Culture Heritage and Social Planning
  • Parks Recreation and Wellness
  • Public Works and Engineering
  • Community Planning and Development

Proposed changes to committees include:

  • Nanaimo Culture & Heritage Commission (NCHC) – amalgamate with SPAC (Social Planning Advisory Committee)
  • Parks Recreation and Wellness –  add ACES members
  • Planning & Transportation – add ACES members
  • Safer Nanaimo – enhance mandate
  • Social Planning  – amalgamate with NCHC
  • Finance and Audit – establish a subcommittee for grants

There were two members of the public who spoke about the lack of public consultation, and the new grant application review process using a sub-committee structure that only includes councillors and no members of the public. One speaker suggested a purchasing oversight committee.

Councillors Pratt and Brennan raised concerns about combining Social Planning with Culture and Heritage and axing ACES.

Here are some of the councillors’ comments:

Hong: …all committees at the RDN are select…they do it so we can too…I am okay with social planning and culture… poverty and silver spoon people can work together…let’s give this a try…

Pratt: …I find your silver spoon comment offensive…I love the idea of a lobby group we need to lobby the government…two full groups…social and culture…

Kipp: …we already lobby the government…

Brennan: …we need a stand alone environmental committee….we made a promise to the public that we would have an environmental committee …culture and social justice don’t go together…Lobby? We lobby through UBCM and FCM and we got the gas tax money…we need to be looking at the long game…Does this work for the public? We haven’t asked them…this is a full-blown dismantling …

Fuller:…culture…starving artists…they know about friggin’ poverty…graffitists…some become famous …culture and poverty and art go together; they fit…If you want to see culture go hang out with the homeless…

Yaochim: …’full-blown dismantling’?…how is it full-blown ??…same committee members as last time…we will follow common sense…

Bestwick: (on audio link)…call the vote…I don’t agree it is a full-blown dismantling…if it is not working…then we will wise up to make adjustments…we will learn as we go…

Mckay: …it is a complex issue…we all agreed we want to see committee numbers reduced….we have commissions but they have no authority…I like Langford’s style…but it doesn’t follow the community charter…select committee… is short term… I agree with the CAO…but I can’t support this if it goes against the charter…

The Vote

Councillors Hong, Yoachim, Bestwick, Kipp, Fuller voted to adopt the new changes. Mayor McKay and Councillor Brennan voted against. Councillor Thorpe was absent.

The pubic can give their comments at the July 25th e-Town Hall meeting starting at 7:00pm.

Is the City becoming anti-environment?

The dismantling of the ACES committee is an indicator of how the City administration views the environment.

Concerns about recycling, illegal dumping, tree removal, waterways, streams, watershed, urban forests, invasive species – where will these topics be addressed?

Paving last stand of trees for parking lot

One of the last treed lots in north Nanaimo is slated to be paved over for the expanded parking lot next to the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) on Hammond Bay Road.

Uplands and Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo
Uplands and Hammond Bay Road in Nanaimo