Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Council Burns Midnight Oil - Burns Through Agenda

Meetings Starts 4:30 pm Ends 1:30 am

In a marathon special city council meeting council burned through a huge agenda which had many items carried forward from the previous council meeting. It was a packed agenda which produced a large turnout of interested members of Nanaimo's arts and culture community eager to hear if council would adopt a new funding program assessment. 

For this topic 12 delegates were listed to speak with only two speaking in opposition, one of which was ejected from the meeting for refusing to lower a sign. The number of delegates and amount of time taken for this item was considerable given this was not about how many funds would be granted to arts and culture groups, but rather the method of dispersing the funds. At the last round of dispersments I believe 5 applicants received about 75% of available funds with the Vancouver Island Symphony receiving $85,000 of a fund containing less than $300,000.

The new process recommended by the Culture and Heritage Commission is said to make the playing field more level for all applicants and rejected the notion of a funding cap be put in place. It is also said to be more merit based which should allow newer projects to compete evenly with groups that have been around longer.

HIGHLIGHTS (more detail to follow)

HOTEL DEAL: Council agreed to extend the option to purchase agreement, giving SSS Manhao until Nov. 30/15 to obtain a building permit. This no longer requires the developer to have a shovel in the ground by that date, which I believe was the intent of Councillor Hong's previous motion.

The developer will also commit to providing $100,000 for improvements to Piper's Park and will no longer have the Right of First Negotiation for the VICC.

After this motion passed smoothly, Mayor McKay proposed bringing a motion which would tie the conference centre's future to the hotel. The response from the majority of council resulted in McKay abandoning the notion.


Council approved a recommendation to execute an Emergency Water Connection Agreement between the City of Nanaimo and the North Cedar Improvement District.


If adhered to Council will begin the financial plan presentation process in July of this year which should help them achieve the goal of dealing with the financial plan in an earlier fashion than previous years.


City council approved the purchase of two new automation ready split stream garbage trucks to replace two ageing trucks in the city fleet at a cost of $400,000 each. These trucks will be equipped with the ability to pick up garbage bins mechanically not requiring the refuse collector to lift the containers. More to come on this later.


Councillor Fuller put forward a motion which will result in city council sending a letter appealing to DSS to consider different options to resolve the Colliery Dam issue.  More to come on this later.


At eleven o'clock council is required to pass a motion going beyond that time. The last city council did not opt to go beyond 11:00 pm which is what resulted in many of the items on this night's agenda. 

At 11:00 o'clock it appeared as if Mayor McKay was wanting to not continue saying there was lots of items still to be dealt with and seemed to favour postponing to another meeting. Councillor Bestwick, noting that many members of the gallery were still waiting to be heard put forward the motion to go beyond 11:00 pm which resulted in all business being dealt with by approximately 1:30 am.


1 comment:

  1. Re: Hotel developer gets six-month extension.

    The sneaky underhandedness Bill McKay so despised when he was a councillor has now been adopted by him as mayor.

    No sooner had city council unanimously given a six-month extension to the hotel developer, McKay blind-sided colleagues with a proposed follow-up motion which cast a dark shadow over the evening’s momentous occasion which had just occurred. The mayor now wanted council to guarantee the money-losing conference centre would not be repurposed or sold. Say what?

    The hotel developer had already stated it was not interested in managing the seven-year-old white elephant. Its main goal is to bring 75-thousand Asian tourists to stay in its hotel. The developer actually gave away any contractual rights it had to the conference centre.

    Mayor McKay no longer seems to care about saving taxpayers over $1-million a year it costs to bail the VICC from the red each year, nor the interest we pay on the $72.5-million structure which sits virtually as an echo chamber.

    Luckily the rest of council saw the lunacy of the mayor’s back-door motion and it died its rightful death without a seconder.

    Something, anything must be done with the conference centre to save taxpayers’ money. The promises, the waiting, the BS has gone on long enough. I remember a councillor who looked at things that way. He’s gone and it has become, to use McKay's own words, a “dark day.”



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