Thursday, June 09, 2016

Nanaimo News Bulletin Article

Reveals a lot of the mindset on city council
when it comes to spending YOUR tax dollars

An article by reporter Tamara Cunningham starts off by stating a new football stadium, paddling centre and Internet 'backbone' are on city politicians wish list. The article was titled 'Councillors Identify Top Projects'.

Cunningham goes on to report: Councillor Brennan is quoted as saying ; "If this council is going to have an achievement to talk about at the end of our term, we need to buckle down now and agree on some works and then do them"

Mayor McKay indicates he is interested in a football or multi-use stadium at Rotary Bowl. He goes on to say council should pick 3 - 6 options and via a town hall approach let the city decide how to spend the money.

Councillor Hong is said to be interested in an Internet backbone that will allow for high-speed connections which will help retain bright minds in Nanaimo.

The presumption is that the city can afford and must continue spending .......

One of the comments made by the people who did the Core Services Review was that we could not continue to provide the same level of services as the city continues growing. It is simply not sustainable. It would seem that many if not all Councillors missed that memo.

Holding the line, or perhaps actually reducing taxes would be one 'talking point' that might carry as much weight at the end of their term as how they have imagined to spend more tax dollars.

Naive fellow that I am I thought that one of the outcomes of a CSR would be to determine just how many tax dollars city hall can extract from the local economy without causing harm. Remember nearly 85% of every tax dollar you send to city hall just pays wages and benefits, which doesn't leave a whole lot left over for a creative wish list.

Yes, we did change city council last election, and there is now a new CAO at the helm at city hall but there does seem to be a contagion that infects all who wind up in that seat of power, and that is assuming that they only exist to spend - spend - spend.

This admin is to be congratulated for bringing in a 0% tax increase. That said explain the $212.00 increase to the pensioner on a fixed income who thought that a 0% tax increase actually meant a 0% tax increase.

What business do taxpayers have in any of these 'top projects'?

Councillor Brennan thinks a paddling centre should be a top project which if I recall correctly was to be a privately funded and built project. The city would be responsible for on going operation but this was not a capital project of the city.

Building football stadiums and multi-plexs is something best left to the private sector given the deplorable record we have at building major projects, ie: convention centres.

Finally, what business does the city have with getting into the high speed internet business, companies like Telus, Rogers and Shaw are clearly the companies in that business and if the demand for high transfer rates exists, they will provide it. The idea that Councillor Hong seems willing to consider this a capital project using taxpayer funding is enough to make any council watcher more than a little nervous.

Here's a novel TOP PRIORITY

Figure out just how many tax dollars you can keep extracting from local citizens pockets and then establish a budget with spending constrained by the citizens ability to pay rather than linked to the creative thinking of elected and non-elected officials.

Remember, without projects certain parts of that behemoth on Wallace Street simply can no longer justify their existence.

Cogito ergo sum is a proposition that translates to "I think, therefore I am". I will not attempt a Latin translation but I would suggest a suitable proposition to explain the thinking of our elected and non-elected officials would be " I spend, therefore I am".

If I hear our highly paid city hall staff cry "we can't engage in a race to the bottom" or our spending motivated councillors cry "some people know the cost of everything and the value of nothing', one more time I think I will spit.

Did I mention that the CSR consultants said that the level of services currently being provided are NOT sustainable as the city continues to grow. Yup, seems that Councillors didn't get that memo.



  1. You point out those Councillor's cited. I would like to point out that all 9 just promised a further $ multi millions to add onto the Theater

  2. Well, there are 5 in total control of this. Let's see what they say coming out of their seminar? Don't hold your breath on holding expenditures.

  3. I couldn't agree more Jim.
    btw, I really dislike seeing comments by "annonymous" It's really easy to comment annonymously....You shouldn't allow it.

  4. I was thinking much the same. Since when did political achievement become equated with simply spending more (and lots of it) money. Instead, how about better governance? Or increased citizen engagement?

  5. FOOTBALL ??

    give me a break, certainly there are people who enjoy the sport, but not enough, in this little city, to warrant a stadium, for heaven's sake.
    how about finishing off the seawall ? how about starting to do something with the vacant waterfront area ? how about anything other than a white elephant 'multiplex'.

    What do they think this is, 1964 ?

    We are becoming a bit of a retirement town, not a mill town, with hundreds of young energetic families.

  6. My stomach curdled too Jim, when I saw the amount of coverage given to Brennan going on and on with her friend's boathouse money pit - the facility none of the supporters speaking at a council meeting said they would cough up their own money for. And then to say council could pay the upkeep!


  7. Nanaimo has no vision

    we live on the ocean, let's use it !
    Or we can just keep plastering the city together with no apparent plan, or willingness to be bold and creative. If we paid for and listened to experts to begin with, we wouldn't need this conversation. Instead we vote in mediocrity, and listen to frightened taxpayers and their constant whine.

    yes, we get what we vote for, and pay for. No one but ourselves to blame, no matter how hard you try to shift that blame.


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