Councillor Sheryl Armstrong's council report

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong

0616 - Here is my latest update for the month of May into the first couple weeks of June. I attended the opening of the artificial turf field at NDSS. It is a great field and I look forward to watching many events there. From there I went to the Island Farmers market for their opening day. As per usual I headed straight to the baked goods and had to buy myself a pie and then went and bought flowers for my father. I Attended two community engagement sessions and the task force is working hard on their third presentation. If you want to have some input please go to the City website and add your comments to the Community Engagement task force. I have attended the RDN Directors meetings and their Cows this past 6 weeks as other directors from Nanaimo have been away. One of the highlights of the month for me was the Public Works Day. Over a 150 students took part in the days activities and they all seemed to love it. Luckily the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful warm day. I have already posted on this but I want to give another heartfelt thanks to Public Works and Engineering staff for a remarkable informative day. I also attended the open house for the Aboriginal Centers new building. It looks like it will be a great place for the staff to work. There were 4 special council meetings however I cannot speak to these as they were in camera. 

While the majority of Council went to the FCM in Halifax my father and I drove down to Rochester Minnesota for my nieces graduation. She graduated with a 4.0 and is off to Berkeley where she will study Science and Biology. 

On our drive out there I participated in the Special Council Meeting, Council meeting, and the public hearing via telephone. Technical advancements make it so possible to stay in touch, and I was not driving my father was!

I attended the year end bbq for the Kids 4 Kids program. It was great to see how much the kids enjoy the program.

The NRE presented at Council and the issue has been sent out to our lawyers for legal advice. What people need to understand under the Community Charter we cannot give out a loan to the NRE as they do not meet the criteria. We are also not allowed to provide financial support to a non-profit which is in direct competition with private industry. This is why a legal opinion is needed. I have asked staff to enquire if there is a non-profit, private, and City partnership if we could then provide assistance. Both groups said they would be willing to collaborate. I was very impressed with the work put into their presentation and plan. What I have heard is a one stop recycling place is the preferred method for the majority of the citizens.

Now for one of the biggest issues facing the City, Discontent City. I do not believe this is the best spot for this. Staff are trying to find alternate spots to have people camp etc. I think the best option is to try and find numerous locations and have smaller numbers. The problem is where. We have heard from many citizens and businesses who are negatively impacted by discontent city. There is also liability to the City if this is allowed to continue. Based on the information provided by staff I voted for removal and relocation. As has been stated by numerous people we need to find locations ASAP as the tent City behind Michaels will be coming down once construction starts there. We continue to have staff look at locations so we are able to take advantage of any new monies. I believe we need to start the engagement with the community as soon as a site is identified. One way to allay some of the fears is to have known vocal opponents of the Uplands Walk speak about their experience since it was built. Most have no issues. We need to have testimonials and once people are selected I believe an option could be to have an open house so neighbours can meet neighbours. This would depend on all persons being civil and listening to why events or situations led to their current circumstances. We also heard there are numerous people who do not want to be housed in a wet house. They do not want to be around drugs during their recovery. This too needs to be addressed.

I was very impressed with the work staff put into the hospital area parking strategy as well as hospital area neighbourhood plan. I would like to thank Jim Goldsack, President of the Hospital area association for taking the time to come to Council as a delegation and publicly thank the staff. As I have said and will continue to say we are very fortunate to have such amazing and talented staff.

Today I attended the opening of the Passive Housing project on Bowen Road. What a beautiful building and it will provide homes for 25 families. Congratulations to Chris Beaton and his team for an amazing project. I know it won’t be long before they are back to partner with the City and other groups on the next project.

Many people have asked if I will be running again and I will make my decision sometime in July. If anyone reading this is running for Council or considering it the RDN will be posting the requirements of being a Director. I encourage you to go to their website and review it.

Til next month

City Issues call for applications to Select Committees

0418 - The City of Nanaimo is currently seeking members for a number of Council Select Committees. Residents interested in contributing to decision making and helping shape policy at the City of Nanaimo are encouraged to apply for one of the following vacancies:

Board of Variance – 5 positions available.
Community Planning and Development – 2 positions available.
Community Vitality Committee – 2 positions available.
Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council – 4 positions available.
Public Safety Committee – 1 position available.

Select committees are established by Council to consider or inquire into any matter and report their findings and opinions to Council. The term of office for the positions listed above will be until December 2018, or as determined by Council, excluding the Board of Variance which has a three (3) year term.

The application deadline is 4:30 pm on Tuesday, May 1. For more information about committees including mandates, eligibility requirements, time commitments and responsibilities, please see the Terms of Reference, Operating Guidelines and application form on the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca under Your Government/Boards and Committees.

Strategic Link: Council Select Committees support Council's strategic priorities and community values.

* Interested residents may submit a completed application form to Legislative Services in person or by mail to 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6 or by email to Legislative.Servicesoffice@nanaimo.ca by 4:30 pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

* The term of office for the committee positions listed above will be until December 2018, or as determined by Council, excluding the Board of Variance which has a three (3) year term.

Residents invited to participate in Invasive Species work parties

0417 - This is the sixth year the City has led invasive plant work parties and offered drop zones, raising awareness of invasive plants and their effects on our parks and natural areas. 

Invasive plants have the potential to negatively impact local ecosystems. Plants, such as English Ivy, Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry are well established in Nanaimo while others, such as Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are spreading. The work parties will focus on the removal of invasive species at various locations including Linley Point Gyro Park, Beban Park and Pipers Lagoon Park. Also, residents who remove invasive plants from their own property can bring them to the two Drop Zones for safe disposal. 

If you are able to participate in any of the work parties please register through the City website or by calling 250-756-5200. Thank you for helping us maintain our natural areas and restoring the integrity of our native ecology.

Strategic Link: Invasive species control falls under Environmental Responsibility, one the four Pillars of Sustainability in the City of Nanaimo's Strategic Plan.

KEY POINTS

* Residents are encouraged to register for the work parties held throughout April and May.

* Residents can drop off invasive plants they have removed from their property at the Drop Zones located at the Wall Street entrance of Bowen Park on Sunday, April 22 and at Beban Park on Saturday, May 26 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Second Session Planned for Public Engagement Pilot Program

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong

0417 - The Public Engagement Pilot Program continues with a second engagement session taking place on Thursday, April 26, 2018 in the Beban Park Social Centre. Residents will have the opportunity to discuss a number of topics of interest with members of City Council, the task force as well as other residents during a "Micro Town Hall" session which runs from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, in the Beban Park Social Centre. 

The format will give residents the opportunity to sit at a table with one member of Council where they can ask the member of Council a question and have a discussion around that question. After 30 minutes, the member of Council would move to a different table and the questions would begin again.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP by April 23 via email PublicEngagement@nanaimo.ca or phone 250-755-7527. For more information on the second session and its format, please visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/engagement.

* The session will take place on Thursday, April 26 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm in the Beban Park Social Centre.

* The goal of this session is to ensure the public has the chance to raise matters they deem important directly with community leadership. Residents can bring up to three questions with them to ask.

* One table will be livecast so residents can participate online. More information will be available closer to the date on the City website, facebook.com/CityofNanaimo and twitter.com/CityofNanaimo

"I look forward to meeting with citizens in an informal setting and having an open dialogue. Please come out and share your concerns with a Council member," said Councillor Sheryl Armstrong.

Random Acts of Recreation Kindness Continues in 201

0417 -The City of Nanaimo is pleased to announce there will be eleven free swims and skates available to the community in 2018, thanks to a generous $10,000 sponsorship package from Coast Capital Savings Credit Union. This donation will enable Parks and Recreation to offer one free skate session and one free swim session per month, including some unique activities such as a Star Wars-themed Skate & Stick 'n' Puck on Friday, May 4, two outdoor swims at Kin Pool this summer and a Skate with Santa in December. 

"We are so excited to work with the Coast Capital Savings again this year. Their sponsorship priorities of youth, building communities and removing financial barriers is a perfect fit with Parks and Recreation," said Arenas Coordinator, Gary Paterson, "In addition to expanding our reach to families and youth in need, many people will get to try swimming and skating for the first time, which is fantastic." 

The Random Acts of Recreation schedule is now available in the events section on www.nanaimo.ca.

City to get grant from TD Environment Foundation

0417 - City of Nanaimo, Parks and Recreation is pleased to announce that it will get a $6,600 grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation on Earth Day, April 20, 2018. TD Friends of the Environment (TD FEF) is a national charity committed to protecting the environment and greening communities across Canada. 

"TD FEF is supporting Parks and Recreation's Adopt-A-Park Program, which allows environmentally conscious groups to complement and enhance the regular maintenance of Nanaimo Parks staff in contributing to a cleaner, healthier, safer, invasive-free environment in local parks," said Deborah Beck, Recreation Coordinator, "We appreciate all the support from the TD and are very excited to get to work growing this program."

“We know that green spaces are vital to our well-being and our communities,” said Mandip Kharod, Regional Manager, TD FEF, “At TD, our goal is to make a lasting impact through our contributions and we are thrilled to support this program. Green spaces are where communities come together to talk and play and where people find common ground and connect."

Invasive plant work parties and drop zones are being offered over the next few weeks in celebration of Earth Day and more information can be found at www.nanaimo.ca in the events section.

LINKS

Ex manager speaks out about city council shenanigans

Tom Weinreich

By Tom Weinreich
Ex-manager, City of Nanaimo

0203 - Attention City Council (Mayor Bill Bill McKay, Councillors Bill Yaochim, Bill Bestwick, Gord FullerJerry HongJim KippDiane BrennanSheryl Armstrong, and Ian Thorpe

Well now that the CAO has left the building, it’s time for Council to step back and reassess recent events. There have been a number of firings that have the organization reeling. In particular, the recent departures include Rod Davidson, and Brad McRae, two dedicated employees who, through no fault of their own, found themselves in the crosshairs of the CAO. 

In the case of Brad McRae, Councilor Jerry Hong was quoted as saying; “If Ms. Samra’s recommendation is to terminate, we as council, will support that,” he said. “If the choices were wrong then it is council’s job to deal with Ms. Samra.” The 5-4 vote to terminate Brad’s employment was clearly political and without true cause. A young man with a young family and a substantial mortgage, Brad has suffered greatly under the employ of the CAO. The choice was wrong. Ms. Samra has left for greener pastures and now it is Council’s job to right this wrong. 

The termination of Rod Davidson’s employment is perplexing. Originally brought in as the Manager of Parking, Rod also took over the responsibilities of the Manager of Bylaw position when Randy Churchill retired. Rod was an exemplary employee and was likely brought to the CAO’s attention when her use of a City vehicle for personal use was brought to light (Rod’s department was in charge of signing out City vehicles at City Hall and the Service and Resource Centre). The resulting organizational change (which, ironically put Brad McRae in charge of managing Bylaws) was poorly thought out and clearly a personal vendetta against Mr. Davidson. My understanding is that there is a current acting Manager of Bylaws so clearly there really never was a reorganization. 

It is my understanding that both Brad McRae and Rod Davidson will be filing suits against the City in the very near future. There is no need for this. Both of them would be willing to come back to the City if requested. 

We all try to do what we feel is the right thing. Council now has that opportunity and can direct the deputy CAO to rehire these two fine people. They should also provide them with back pay to the day that they were terminated. It’s the right thing to do. You know it, I know it, and the people of Nanaimo know it. Please do it. 

 

City plans nearly $43 million in infrastructure work in 2018

Bill Simms

0124 - The City is preparing to begin nearly $43 million in infrastructure and facilities upgrades, replacements and renewals in 2018. That includes more than $9 million for future growth in the city. These investments support the City's Asset Management Plan by ensuring the infrastructure remains in good condition and functions as needed. 

"Nanaimo has been conscientiously investing in its infrastructure renewal program for decades," says Bill Sims, Director of Engineering and Public Works, "In the last ten years, we've made major strides in our understanding and coordination of the needs of infrastructure renewal, looking out over the next 50 years. In 2017, we produced the Twenty Year Investment Plan, which lets the community know the levels of investment in the infrastructure that supports our daily lives. This year, we continue to invest in important infrastructure projects, with several major initiatives planned."

Major projects planned to begin in 2018 include: 

- Terminal Avenue paving, 

- Northfield-Boundary-Island Hwy intersection, 

- LED lighting upgrades, Frank Crane Arena ice chiller replacement, 

- Parkway trail redevelopment, 

- new roof on the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre,

- mechanical improvements at Beban Park, and

- beginning the replacement of Fire Hall No 1.

Asset management involves planning, designing, constructing, operating and maintaining infrastructure used to provide City services—this is a core function of municipalities. More recently, this function has been formalized across the entire spectrum of City-owned assets. For more information on the City’s Asset Management program along with recently completed and future projects, view the video series and read the information on Asset Management attached to the online version of this news release or visit

City changes question period rules – again

0105 - The City announced Friday that it will no longer require that citizens write down their questions for approval before asking them aloud at city council meetings.

Residents will now only need to provide their name and the agenda item to which their question relates.

“We want to make sure all residents are able to participate in question period. Given recent feedback, we felt it necessary to make some changes,” said Sheila Gurrie, city clerk, in a press release.

 

Davis gets her job back

1220 - Less than three weeks after being let go, the City's manager of sanitation is back in her job. Charlotte Davis will return as the City's manager of sanitation, recycling and public works administration, chief administrative officer Tracy Samra confirmed.

Samra said she reflected on the decision to let Davis go last week and decided to reach out "to explore an alternate way forward."

NANAIMONEWSNOW

Waterfront master plan pushed back to new year

The City has notified Ocean Discovery Centre that the Draft Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan agenda item has been postponed until the new year.

 The organizers advise supporters to keep checking the ciyt's website for the next meeting date, Jan 15, 2018, to see if it is included in that Agenda.
 
They would like you to contact your friends ask them learn more about the ODC and consider being an Ocean Discovery Centre supporter at www.ndda.ca.

We welcome readers' comments on any items related to city hall. Please use the CITY HALL COMMENT dropdown menu at the top of this page to post your comments. Comments are reviewed for legal concerns only.

Victoria bans single-use plastic bags

1218 - Victoria city council voted this week to ban single-use plastic shopping bags, effective July 1. The move is designed to reduce the number of bags that end up in landfills and the ocean.

The ban only applies to single-use plastic shopping bags. Small plastic bags for bulk foods,  fruits and vegetables will still be allowed, as well as bags used to wrap meat and seafood.

CHEK NEWS

Regional Board directors give themselves a pay raise

1214- -The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board has approved a pay raise in time for the new year.

Directors now get a base rate of $13,962. Rural area directors get an additional $11,532 and the chairman an additional $20,471.

The raises will be implemented in tow stages – the first increase in January, when directors will get a base of $15,000, rural directors an additional $14,000 and the chairman an additional $38,000. In November, after municipal elections, both base rate and electoral area compensation will increase to $17,000, while chairman remuneration will increase to $48,000.

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Summary from Dec. 11 Council Meeting

From City web page.

Amending user fees for 2018 
The rate for solid waste collection (garbage, recycling, organics) in 2018 from $133.08 to $165 per household passed three readings.
Section 10 a
Motion carried.

Addressing downtown social issues
Priority responses to the health, social and safety issues impacting the downtown area have been identified with a number of actions recommended as priorities for City response in the short and medium term. The City and its partner organizations will further review additional responses. 
Section 11 a
Motion carried.

Banning plastic bags
The City will look into the logistics of banning the use and sale of all plastic bags within Nanaimo city limits.
Section 16 e
Motion carried.

RDN - $150,000 for Ecoforestry cabin restoration

1214 -Regional District of Nanaimo will grant $150,000 of gas tax money to Ecoforestry Institute Society to restore a cabin of sustainable logging pioneer Merv Wilkinson.

The non-profit society holds 31-hectare Wildwood Ecoforest, where the cabin is situated. The society is now setting its sights on cabin restoration, part of a plan to establish financial stability.

Kathy Code, director, said the society envisions the homestead to serve as a learning centre with accommodation, where people can stay and partake in forest activities. It was built around 1963, and while structurally sound, it’s far from perfect, she said.

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City provides temporary security fix

1214 - Instead of diving in, the City of Nanaimo is dipping its toes into the waters of downtown security concerns.

At a finance and audit committee meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 13, which is comprised entirely of City councillors, it was decided to provide up to $60,000 for downtown security and cleaning for three months. The decision was made after discussion on a staff report about issues in the downtown core, which recommended nearly $270,000 in various projects and initiatives.

Nanaimo News NOW

Funding applications now available for downtown events

The City of Nanaimo is now accepting applications from community organizations seeking financial assistance to support downtown Nanaimo events through the Downtown Event Revitalization Fund. The fund supports events and initiatives that attract residents and visitors to the downtown. MORE

 

Meeting times and dates changed

The times and dates for the Public Engagement and City Council meetings have changed.

https://www.nanaimo.ca/meetings/pdf/2017_Committee_Notices/CE171220N.pdf

 

City scrapped controversial contract, then kept it secret

1213 - City officials quietly cancelled a widely-publicized management training program after being embarrassed by a News Nanaimo exposé, it emerged yesterday.

Officials failed to tell the public for nine weeks that the controversial program was scrapped due to the fallout over the article, which said the contract had been awarded in violation of trade laws because it wasn’t put out for bids.

The article also revealed that one of the instructors the city was hiring ran a $500-per-night sexual empowerment retreat.

DOMINIC JONES has more

City delays decision on banning retail pet sales

1213 - City council wants more information before deciding whether to ban dog and cat sales at pet stores.

The issue was debated Monday when councillors first voted against staff’s recommendation to regulate the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at retail stores, then began debating an outright ban before determining they didn’t have enough information to make their decision.

MORE

Legal or not, council votes to ban plastic bags

1212 - Plastic bags from retailers could soon be a thing of the past.

Nanaimo city councilvoted yo ban the bags during a special council meeting on Monday night. However, a ban won’t take place until city staff can determine whether the municipality has the authority to impose one. Staff are expected to report back to council as soon as possible, but no concrete timeline was provided during Monday’s meeting.

READ MORE

Council's action was irresponsible, at the least

By Merv Unger

1212 - Just when you relax just a little, confident that things could not get worse at our local city council, along they come and prove you wrong.

If reports from Monday’s council meeting are correct, Coun. Bill Yoachim and council voted to ban the use of plastic bags in the retail sector. Coun Yoachim pushed the motion through even though he admitted he didn’t know whether council has the authority to institute such a ban.

This is not about whether to ban plastic bags, but the arrogance in forging ahead before a staff report and charging ahead, legal or not. A staff report which will now come after the fact, could have spelled out options available to the city before making a final decision.

What was passed was a "mom and apple pie" resolution, with an attitude of "we'll see if it floats", pandering to a delegation before council. Even the spokesman for the delegation was surprised.

That attitude spells out that the majority of councillors don’t care about the rules, although we’ve known that for some time. Now they’re just flaunting it in the open. Legislating in such a manner is totally irresponsible.

Dangerous virus has infected city council

Brian Peckford

Dear Editor:

I read the News Bulletin online edition story about the Council discussion on retail plastic bags and whether they should be banned or some sort of levy imposed. 

Sadly , the virus had already struck . One of the councillors exclaimed that council should go ahead and ban the bags and find out later whether they had he authority to do so. I quote: 

‘Councillor Bill Yoachim, who made the motion, said there was no point of waiting for a staff report. He said the city should instead ban plastic bags from retailers and then figure out what they’re allowed to do.’ 

This is called called NPS – Nancy Pelosi Syndrome – after this US Senator, who a few years ago , exclaimed that the 1,000 page Obamacare legislation should be passed first and then the Senators could read it at their leisure. 

It is a very dangerous syndrome and it’s spread, now manifested in Nanaimo City Hall, could have long lasting repercussions; one of its lasting effects is the utter absence of common sense. 
Brian Peckford 
Nitinat Way 
Nanaimo

City management opposed to legal action over comments

Tracy Samra

CITY OF NANAIMO NEWS RELEASE

The City of Nanaimo administration wholeheartedly supports the proposition that freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our democracy and public institutions and public officials should be open to close scrutiny and lawful comment and criticism.
“Although the courts have made it clear pub lic officials are entitled to protection from malicious defamatory attacks, the City of Nanaimo administration is not recommending that Council authorize or fund legal action over any defamatory statements to date concerning unelected or elected officials, ” states Tracy Samra, Chief Administrative Officer, “Generally, libel lawsuits are not an effective use of public resources or taxpayer monies.”
The City intends to remain vigilant, however, alerting Nanaimo residents to misleading or inaccurate informatio n about the operations of the administration or Council when appropriate. We are particularly concerned about deliberate falsehoods, distortion, or half - truths, which do not advance or promote an honest and transparent public discussion.

Citizens can engage directly with Mayor and Council by attending Council meetings, committee meetings, public hearings and community engagement sessions. Other ways to get in touch are to send a letter, write an email Mayor and Council at mayor&council@nanaim.ca, ask f or an in - person appointment at City Hall or call 250 - 755 - 4400.

The City of Nanaimo a dministration employs 700+ staff whose primary goal is to serve their community effectively and enjoy interacting with people at various civic facilities. “We deliver progr ams and services and keep the internal operations running smoothly. Our job is to carry out the will of Council,” notes Ms. Samra, “ I f the public does not agree with Council decisions they need to let them know .” If something is broken or you are not satis fied with the level of service you are getting from staff, you can contact the various City departments listed on our website.

The vast majority of people who communicate with City staff are civil and conscientious. However, r ecently City staff have experi enced a surprising increase in uncivil telephone calls, belligerent emails and abusive posts on the City’s social media platforms. The City of Nanaimo, as would any responsible employer, chose to study the risks posed by increasing incivility for the safet y and wellbeing of City s taff in the workplace. In part , as a response to this phenomenon, the City reported some of the most virulent messages to the RCMP; in some cases, some users have been blocked from our online platforms.

The City encourages reside nts to visit our website at www.nanaimo.ca, twitter and YouTube channel for important updates and information regarding City operations.

Economic and tourism development update

In December 2016, City Council dissolved the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), bringing economic development and tourism functions back in house. Through this transition, a number of changes took place to ensure that both functions continued to operate within the community while providing a higher level of service to residents, businesses, stakeholders and visitors. 

Recently, the City placed its Economic Development department in the Real Estate and Business Development section of Community Development. This placement benefits the Economic Development team by placing them in regular contact with investors, along with staff handling development inquiries and issuing building permits. Bill Corsan, Deputy Director of Community Development, now oversees the Economic Development department.

MORE HERE

City accepting applications for revitalization funding

The City of Nanaimo is now accepting applications from community organizations seeking financial assistance to support downtown Nanaimo events through the Downtown Event Revitalization Fund. The fund supports events and initiatives that attract residents and visitors to the downtown.

MORE HERE

Samra looking to update staff expense policy

1209 The City's chief administrative officer Tracy Samra wants to update exployee expense policies. She released a statement Friday that she had asked staff to update employee expense policies.

In the statement, Samra said Nanaimo’s policies have not been revised for more than 10 years, are “out of sync with public service standards” and need to be reviewed.

The policies that will be updated relate to petty cash, alcohol expenditures, travel guidelines, travel expense advances and the company credit card.

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City managers have not met with CUPE over latest issues

UPDATE - CITY management staff and union representatives havenot met to discuss concerns. A statement posted on the city’s website late Friday afternoon, stated chief administrative officer Tracy Samra, chief financial officer Victor Mema and director of human resources John Van Horne “met executive of CUPE Local 401 to discuss mutual concerns.”

But union local president Blaine Gurrie said in an e-mail that the meeting was a couple of weeks ago and related to other matters.

On Thursday, hundreds of CUPE 401 union workers boycotted a city Christmas luncheon to protest employment conditions.

EARLIER STORY - City management staff and union representatives have met to discuss their concerns.

A statement on the city’s website late Friday afternoon said chief administrative officer Tracy Samra, chief financial officer Victor Mema and director of human resources John Van Horne “met executive of CUPE Local 401 to discuss mutual concerns.”

Hundreds of CUPE 401 union workers boycotted a city Christmas luncheon on Thursday to protest employment conditions.

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Nanaimo taxpayers need a deeper audit of city spending

By Don White

1128 - To paraphrase Kurtz in “Heart of Darkness”, “The questions! The questions!” In Nanaimo's current financial morass, where do we even start assessing our city's fiscal management?

City Hall is now claiming taxpayers need to pony up an additional 2.6% in property taxes, 7.6% more for water, 24% for garbage, 5% for sewer to cover a projected operating shortfall. According to our CFO, Victor Mema, the increases are necessary because our tax base hasn't grown enough to cover increased costs.

Does Mema mean Nanaimo's tax base hasn't grown enough in the eight months since the Event Centre fiasco in February, 2017? That's when the majority of this Council - along with Mema and CAO, Tracy Samra - claimed no tax increases were needed to cover a $5.4M annual payment on the $80-million arena mortgage this council wanted you to cosign. 

Read Don's entire column here. 

City views legal action for libel and slander

The City of Nanaimo hired a specialized law firm to review potential libel and slander instances.

Defamation experts McConchie Law Corporation began work for the city as early as November 1.

The North Vancouver-based firm has viewed Internet postings by residents and news articles critical of city staff and council.

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