Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Seven Councillors Call For McKay's Resignation

Marathon COW Meeting
Finally Addresses 'Elephant in the room'

Monday's COW meeting began promptly at 4:30 pm and did not wrap up until 11:00 pm with the 'elephant in the room' finally being addressed.

The meeting got under way with a disturbing report from Dr. Hasselback, Medical Health Officer, Island Health addressing an alarming rise in the number of over dose deaths in Nanaimo, which are averaging 1.5 deaths per week since the first of the year. These deaths are due in large part to fentanyl being mixed with other drugs which are simply too hot. Females make up 25% of overdose deaths and males the other 75%, with approx. 3.5% of the population using drugs. As frightening as this is, the number of deaths from tobacco and alcohol still exceeds deaths from drugs.

Steps are being taken to try and address this upsetting trend which has seen the rate of deaths double this year from last. Those steps include distributing Naloxone kits which can provide a life saving injection to someone who has overdosed, but of course you need to have someone who can administer the injection. Firefighters are beginning training this Thursday which should help equip them as first responders to an overdose. It was not too comforting to hear that the School District is not a part of the working group trying to address this problem.

A presentation was made by members of the Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre wanting the city to adopt a new accessibility icon to replace the familiar stick figure of someone sitting in a wheelchair. The new icon is quite similar but suggest forward motion on the part of the person in the chair. The icon has already been adopted in several centres in North America and is now adopted at VIU. The request was not to engage in some massive replacement program, but was encouraging the city to simply install the new icon when old ones were being renewed.

After over an hour being devoted discussing funding for a Drinking Water Exemption Study for the Terminal Avenue Precinct, Council finally deferred the motion to a later date.

Opposition was expressed by some residents of the Lynburn subdivision to the fact that 10 of the large lots on Departure Bay Rd. can now be subdivided with a lot being able to be divided into as many as 6 smaller lots. The subdividing of these lots will greatly change the character of the area, as there are few properties in Nanaimo boasting lots of that size.


A few days ago, Councillor Gord Fuller made it known that he has asked the Mayor to resign on several occasions during in-camera meetings. He has claimed the Mayor had been abusive and bullying towards the new city manager, during her term as interim manager.

This has set off a small storm in the community with many members of the community expressing a desire for this Council to ask the Mayor to resign and barring that happening, passing a motion to basically strip him of any power (shades of Rob Ford).

By about 9:30  a community member took to the podium expressing her concern with what she was hearing in the community. The general tone of her comments were to suggest that Councillor Fuller should not be commenting about the Mayor in an open forum.

This delegation was followed by several others supporting the call for the Mayor's resignation, with Councillors keeping their cards close to the chest and not really commenting too much. I presume they have been advised by legal to be guarded at this point, waiting for the proper course of action to complete it's course. A course which clearly Councillors are not comfortable talking too much about.

Finally another member of the public took to the podium and seemed to be making demands of council making claims that the city's business was not getting done due to the division they perceived watching this Council. The tone was suggesting the Mayor should be supported and the cause of the dysfunction we have witnessed was the fault of a few councillors and not the Mayor. Followers of a Facebook page would recognize the citizen as what some have referred to as a shill for the Mayor.

They seemed to be pushing for a Work Safe Investigation into the conduct of Council, suggesting it would exonerate the Mayor. The Mayor by now seemed to have absented himself from Chairing the meeting as he seemed willing to let this person go on and on and on without asking a question specific to the meeting. 

Finally, Councillor Bestwick responded to the questions being posed and for any of us who have been watching council closely, reading between the lines made it very clear that members of Council had no concern about some kind of investigation being initiated and this whole matter being brought out into a public forum where the 'whole' story can be told.

Councillors Kipp and Fuller also addressed the person at the podium and let it be known that Mayor McKay is the source of the issues being grappled with currently.

Councillor Yoachim, not one to mince his words, stated clearly that it was not only Councillor Fuller calling for the Mayor's resignation but that seven members of council had also signed a letter asking for his resignation. That clearly addressed the elephant in the room, once and for all. It was made clear that 7 members of this Council do not have confidence in the Mayor and that this is not just an issue between Councillor Fuller and Mayor McKay.



  1. How about we start over with all of them .

    It seems 'council' itself is always the news, not what council should be doing !
    And it never seems to be good news.

  2. Before the public airing of dirty laundry....yesterday's CoW meeting had great questioning of issues, debate, discussion...calls for further information before voting. Agenda items were just not rubber-stamped.

    The bombshell of course came for that hour at the end, with the long line-up of questioners and comments from council about harassment and bullying at city hall and Coun. Yoachim publicly saying 7 our of 9 on council have penned a letter demanding the mayor resign.

    Wow! You can't even write a TV drama like this.


  3. I'm sure they'd all be happy to have a cross the board by election.
    But the only reason they're in the news constantly stems from the soap operas the mayor seems to cause. He should resign and let the city move on. Seems like so much energy wasted because of him.

  4. There is no power for WorkSafeBC to investigate "bullying" in and of themselves. That is a red herring.

    On the other hand, WorkSafeBC DOES require that an employer have a policy in place to deal with bullying and a system of investigation and punishment. A failure on the part of an employer to do so attracts WorkSafeBC penalties. WorkSafeBC could in fact investigate and punish an employers failure to investigate.

    In short, if the employer has not investigated, they need to get on it ASAP in accordance with their own policies.

    1. Gets very close to home when the alleged victim is the only employee of council and the CAO running the city/staff - especially when the head politician of the city is the one being accused of the bullying/harassment. Even more troublesome for a CAO so early into their position to be calling the investigation into herself and the head politician.

  5. I Thank Nanaimo Info Blog for writing about this as we can't count on Melissa Fryer and the Nanaimo News Bulletin to cover in detail these stories.
    Finally this "can of worms" is opening up and exposing the nasty sides to this drama. It's no wonder Council has had trouble appearing as functional. With claims of bullying by the Mayor against the new CAO. The leaking of in-camera meeting info by Dianne Brennan to her Facebook friends and they in turn mounting a "shilling propaganda spin" against the majority of Council, it has come to this?
    Two stubborn people against seven.
    I really appreciated the openness of Wendy Pratt last night in her comments, very telling of her commitment, Yoachmim and Bestwick too for trying to explain the difficulty this Mayor is causing to all.
    It will all clear in a bit, will just take some time for the bullies and the spin cyclers to deal with realty.

    1. Why does the reporter from The Bulletin leave before council meetings end? The best stories are coming at the end, like last night. And especially during Question Period.

  6. (submitted by Janet Irvine) Jim – I wish to provide some clarification and elaborate on something in your report, as I am that “community member”, being referred to, where you say: “By about 9:30 a community member ....... The general tone of her comments were to suggest that Councillor Fuller should not be commenting about the Mayor in an open forum.” ------- I confirm to you that I was making no such inference about Coun. Fuller’s rights. ------ I was told by the Mayor that I had 5 minutes to speak and I also stated that I did not intend to go over my time (after waiting 5 hours to speak.) Now having watched the recording of what actually happened during Question Period, I realize that I should have used Question Period ONLY, as it is clear that there seems to be absolutely NO limit on time, when a citizen uses Question Period!

    As I see it, Coun. Fuller (and every other citizen) has the right to comment about whomever he chooses, on his Facebook Group in cyberspace, as long as he is not spreading false information about that person. If he allows one of his male FB friends to personally attack me on his social media site in a malicious way, not once, but twice, and approve of that type of inappropriate conduct, then I will call Mr. Fuller on it. Fuller, himself, also posted comments to me and about me, regarding an event and his comments were not based in fact. Unfortunately, his memory of what took place at the event is poor and he chose to make allegations about me on his media site. He clearly deems his conduct in this matter to be appropriate, as he advised me in writing that he would not be deleting the comments.

  7. apparently we are not alone-----seems White Rock is going through the same council problem.

  8. sometimes it looks like the pot calling the kettle black.. without enough info to go on, that is mostly what i get here..

    thanks for your site jim.. you have essentially become the offical nanaimo internet news site for city related events in my book.. - james

  9. well we made national news again, with this story---one way to keep us in the spotlight, I guess.

    Cheap real estate, bodies and feet on the beaches, and bullying mayors !!!

  10. fresh beginning ...time for mr mayor to hit the streets ..do some honest work in our community.


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