Democracy Denied at Nanaimo City Council

How are the citizens of Nanaimo being shut out from voicing their concerns with city council?

It all comes down to “is it on the agenda?”  Follow this maze and you will find that it is now very easy for the Nanaimo City Council to deny a resident the opportunity to speak.


Technically your only opportunity to present an issue is to put forward your requested issue on the Wednesday prior to 1pm then the person(s) will be given a chance to speak at the end of the 4:30pm meeting.

Otherwise there will be a vote to determine if you are indeed allowed to speak. What if several council members are not interested in allowing a person to speak?

Councillor Anderson announced at the October 8, 2012 Nanaimo City Council meeting, “I wasn’t even going to support [Pattje’s] motion to allow them to speak”.  Had it not been for the other councillors, it’s possible that the citizens of Protection Island may not have been able to present their case that evening.

Protection Island residents are about to lose their affordable access to the Nanaimo harbour which is set to be leased for 30 years to a private operator. This new lease agreement will increase the cost to moor boats substantially. In case you were wondering why people weren’t lined up to ask questions, they weren’t allowed. Unless someone signs up to speak on an agenda item, questions are not allowed, even for pivotal cases such as this one.

Citizens are once again discouraged because there are more forms to fill out, and if you do successfully fill out all the paperwork in time then you must also state your name and address to council on video, which many feel is an invasion of privacy.

Many other municipalities allow for citizens to ask questions after presentations and  allow them to make presentations without requiring a motion.


Note: here is Councillor Anderson’s response he made via twitter:

Councillor Anderson response
Councillor Anderson’s response October 29, 2012