Friday, March 13, 2015

Dams --- Mayor McKay & Councillors In Conflict?

Should the Mayor or any member of Council who is under the threat of personal liability be allowed to vote on the Colliery Dam issue? The following video clip clearly demonstrates that Mayor McKay is putting his personal interests above that of the City of Nanaimo taxpayers. At least one councillor has expressed their concern of personal liability if they don't proceed with an option before them to do with the Colliery Dams.

The fact is, there are enough credible doubts about the current options being considered that the taxpayers of Nanaimo should question if there is a need to spend upwards of $8 million on what to date is an unproven consequence based on arguably incomplete data.

The city manager wilfully ignored a resolution of this city council which was passed on Feb. 2 in a 7:1 vote. Our Mayor seems unconcerned that unelected staff not carrying out the wishes of a duly elected council. Rather than following the clear directions of the resolution, the city manager took it upon himself to submit the motion to the Dam Safety Section of the Provincial government for their opinion. At what point this should be considered insubordination is a question that needs answering.

In the meantime there can be no doubt that any member of council who is concerned about personal liability is in a clear conflict and should not cast a vote on this very costly and contentious issue.

The Community Charter states under 'Conflict of Interest'
100  (1) This section applies to council members in relation to
(a) council meetings,
(b) council committee meetings, and
(c) meetings of any other body referred to in section 93 [application of open meeting rules to other bodies].
(2) If a council member attending a meeting considers that he or she is not entitled to participate in the discussion of a matter, or to vote on a question in respect of a matter, because the member has
(a) a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter, or
(b) another interest in the matter that constitutes a conflict of interest,
the member must declare this and state in general terms the reason why the member considers this to be the case.
(3) After making a declaration under subsection (2), the council member must not do anything referred to in section 101 
101  (1) This section applies if a council member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter, whether or not the member has made a declaration under section 100.
(2) The council member must not
(a) remain or attend at any part of a meeting referred to in section 100 (1) during which the matter is under consideration,
(b) participate in any discussion of the matter at such a meeting,
(c) vote on a question in respect of the matter at such a meeting, or
(d) attempt in any way, whether before, during or after such a meeting, to influence the voting on any question in respect of the matter.
(3) A person who contravenes this section is disqualified from holding office as described in section 108.1 [disqualification for contravening conflict rules] unless the contravention was done inadvertently or because of an error in judgment made in good faith

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At the March 2 Nanaimo city council meeting, Mayor McKay explained why he was supporting a motion put forward by Councillor Thorpe which is in direct opposition to a motion put forward by Councillor Yoachim on Feb. 2 and passed by council 7:1.

If you listen to the above video you will hear Mayor McKay say:

"Very well respected lawyer in our community who is also an MLA said to me "you better be careful because once they place an order on you that you can be held criminally negligent". This didn't come from staff, didn't come from the dam safety branch, it came from a well respected member of the Legislative Assembly. Am I concerned, the reason I voted against, err, voted in favour of the motion that Councillor Thorpe put forward is because if something, if they start doing something, we don't know what they are going to do, but if they do, I want my vote to be on the other side of that because I certainly don't want to put my personal assets on the line, because we are going to quibble about a few, you know, cubic metres here or cubic metres there, we've been ordered to do something here, we're just going to have to see how it plays out."

Mayor McKay is clearly acting in the interest of his personal assets above the interests of the city of Nanaimo taxpayers.



  1. So, just as if you stand to gain financially from a vote, you shouldn't be voting . . . . You should also abstain if you stand to lose financially. Kind of a no brainer.

  2. Abstain Mr.Mayor and any councillor who is under duress.

  3. There was a motion passed by council on February 2, 2015 directing City staff, the CDPS and the local First Nations Band to work in collaboration to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Dam issue, for City councils consideration, this was not done, due to what would appear to be a stonewalling of the effort, by city staff.

    There is a long history of the city staff, not only stonewalling, but also of ignoring directions and instructions, received by them on issues pertaining to the dams, from not only city council, but also the DSB.

    It is my understanding that the dams are in compliance with the DSB, after the efforts made last year, which achieved a down grade in the risk, for their efforts.

    As per the DSB regulations, there is now a 7 year period given, before the next re-evaluation is required, subject to the regular monitoring of the dams, and the recording of the results. This monitoring has been consistently ignored by the city staff for an unknown number of years, due to their inability to produce any record of their ever doing so.

    It is painfully obvious that there are games being played with this issue, at public expense, by certain people, in a hope that an uninformed public will not recognize the folly of this fiasco.

    It is the duty of the city manager, to report directly to the City Council, not to the DSB, on issues concerning the dams. Any report that he had to make should have been concerning the progress of the collaboration. Why is the City manager going behind the councils back. The DSB is there to give a final approval to the plan approved by council, nothing more. The DSB has no mandate to give orders, especially, with out an obvious, impending threat.

    It is my recommendation that the council insist that city staff follows the directions that they were given on February 2nd, or remove themselves, so that others, more willing and able, may follow, to do the council's bidding.

    I find it extremely disappointing that the Mayor finds his own self interest, more important than the interests of the city. What other interests might come up that could test him in the same manner, that would put his own personal interests against the best interests of the city.

    We put our trust in Mayor McKay, when electing him, he obviously is not willing to reciprocate that trust, with a trust in the people of Nanaimo.

  4. Question: Why is the mayor allowed to carry on with the debate AFTER the Motion was defeated? Why do his personal opinions get voiced in such an obvious abuse of power and process manner? I can't believe a mayor can conduct himself with such a blatant disregard for Rules of Order and Procedures. Oh well I guess it reflects the true character of the man many believed when he was "blowing" before the election: "Enough is enough, the dams are just fine" Well Mr Mayor I think a lot of the disappointed voters are already saying "enough is enough" about your style of leadership. So now the truth is: Rules be damned. Dams be damned. It's every mayor for himself. Get out of my way or risk having my shoeprint all over your back.
    Cliff Marcil

  5. Charles Thirkill15 March 2015 at 20:35

    This farce has to end. The dams are unsafe and they pose a threat to public safety. Contort and twist it any way you like, but every member of the Colliery Dam Preservation Society is in a conflict of interest and they are responsible for any consequences of their actions. That is just plain common sense, something that is lacking in Nanaimo. The city has enough useless real estate in the conference centre. They don 't need another $50 million in damage from a flood.


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