Letter to council addressing water quality issues

Letter regarding water quality of Long Lake and Diver Lake sent to Mayor Leonard Krog and Council Members:
"The old Long Lake Nursery site is now under construction. The Wellington Action Committee was not in favour of RA397at 4900 Island Hwy that allows for a car lot, as members were aligned with the original plan for a mixed housing and retail development. But the owners persuaded Council that everyone including our city planner was wrong, so the rezoning application was passed in Spring 2019, and now we are getting a car lot in an area that seems even more out of synch with the neighbourhood of new, densely built, apartment complexes that have gone in over the past three years ago (with more on the way).
We discussed this topic at our last meeting and we are writing today because we are concerned that our neighbourhood watercourses and lakes are not protected from industrial businesses that may unknowingly discharge their waste into the municipal storm water system. Businesses like the car lot going in at 4900 Island Hwy so close to Long Lake are a reminder of the need to protect the water that flows off those properties and into our creeks and lakes.
We are working with the BC Ministry of Environment and the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust on a 3-year project to monitor water quality in both Diver and Long lakes. This work started in 2021, using community volunteers. We take water samples at 2-week intervals on both lakes from April to September, for analysis of phosphates and chlorophyll, along with monitoring several other parameters. Last year’s data showed troubling trends for Diver Lake that are making the lake unsuitable for fish survival. Both lakes are annually stocked with trout.
The City of Victoria has bylaws that clearly outline what can and cannot be discharged into their municipal sewer system. Please consider the idea that water bodies like Diver and Long lakes need protection too. Businesses that operate in close proximity to these lakes may discharge waste – i.e., something as simple as phosphates or oils and chemicals from repeated daily car washing on lots – into storm water sewers. A bylaw requiring industrial businesses to build in an intermediate process to capture and neutralize such waste water is long overdue for the welfare of Diver Lake in particular, and Long Lake too.
It is our aim to work with the City of Nanaimo to ensure that watercourse around Diver and Long lakes are protected so that future generations will enjoy them, and the two lakes can be promoted as healthy and productive places to visit and play in.
Thank you for considering this request.
From the Wellington Action Committee"

Who should decide pay levels for elected officials?

March 24, 2022
Responses to my recent column about who should determine the pay level for elected municipal officials. The responses are interesting.

MAYOR LEONARD KROG ­– Thank you Merv I think? Pay for politicians is the ultimate hot potato and not a topic any politicians like but having someone else dealing with it is very appealing.

COUNCILLOR ERIN HEMMENS – It would be so wonderful, and an extremely tough pill for the public to swallow. I had no idea the passion behind (the mayor’) view that elected rep pay is something basically not to be discussed. I get it, politically, but I also think that way of looking at it comes from the comfy position of someone at the end of their career, pensioned, with multiple properties. If we all went in with that padding, then his argument makes sense, but the reality is more and more of us don’t go in with that. Change has to happen at the provincial level for this to move forward, but I’m not sure it’ll get support. My second cup of coffee ramblings.

COUNCILLOR DON BONNER – I welcome the conversation.  A better compensation package for municipal councilors helps lower the barriers to many in our community who would make great leaders however can't afford to take off 4 years out of their career at a reduced pay.  When more people from diverse sections of our society are able to participate fully in the political process we get better decision making, in general.

While the mayor might have a problem talking about pay for politicians I welcome any conversations and decisions that help lower barriers for women, visible minorities, and young adults to fully participate in leadership of our city.

Exclusions bring back memories of a dark past

I've just read your column telling us that the NHL is excluding Russian born players and that CCM is removing Russian born players from it's marketing scheme and that "there's more".
During WW 1, people (mostly men ) of European or other descent from countries deemed to be allies of the enemy were put in any of the 24 Internment camps around Canada...one of which was right here in Nanaimo, because they were a possible threat.
During WW 2,  Japanese people, whole families this time, were rounded up and placed in internment camps.
I wonder if it were not for the threat of nuclear war this time around, people of Russian descent would have been rounded up and placed in internment camps.  This move by the NHL and CCM seems to me to be something akin to something similar,  though to a much lesser degree because the players have their other freedoms.
While I agree with seizing the riches of the Oligarchs in whatever form, will ostracizing hockey players merely because they are Russian not create a backlash in people's support of the Ukraine in Canada?   
~ Mary Daniel, March 8, 2022.

Community service should be required for litterbugs

Gary Korpan

GUEST COMMENT BY GARY KORPAN

I, and no doubt most Nanaimo citizens, appreciate and salute Errin Holtz in challenging the residents of Nanaimo to clean up litter garbage from their neighbourhoods as part of Great Nanaimo Garbage Grab. It is a sad commentary that our patch of paradise is polluted with litter, garbage, back road dumping, graffiti and illegal signs. Even sadder is the clear lack of interest by so-called authorities to do something about the abuses.

When I see folks voluntarily picking up the debris left by scofflaws I feel sad that people who do not pollute are trying to do the job that should be done by the polluters themselves.

If we cannot convince everyone to take pride in Nanaimo's environment by not littering in the first place, then such scofflaws should be required to clean up such debris through enforced Community Service. 

I call upon City Council to convince the provincial and federal governments to include Community Service as a required component to every judicial and administrative sentence imposed on a person violating our laws and regulations. 

The Community Service sentence component would be proportionate to the offence, include litter debris clean up, removal of backroad dumping, clean up of vandalized property, killing invasive plant species, etc. It would be a long needed addition to the traditional sentences and would be carried out after the traditional sentences in the community where the offence occurred.

This is at least partial compensation to the community's cost of enforcement and to the directly damaged property owner. 

Every parole order should include such a requirement, since such offenders are likely the polluting types to begin with.

May I suggest you and fellow citizens demand our governments amend the laws to make serious Community Service a requirement for all offenders. 

Call your Councillor, MLA, and MP.

The 2022 decision for the future of Lantzville

Lower Lantzville ––Photo submitted

220124 – The Lantzville District is in a quandary.  The small 1,600 single family home Mid Island community with an average house value well over $1 million is at the crossroads of some major council decisions. The interpretation of the “Official Community Plan” is at the centre of the controversy.

Lantzville’s OCP is a broad-based document trying to please everyone, sometimes incongruent and judging from social media comments objectionable to others. It is interesting to note the 2017 community wide OCP input survey had a response rate of only 37.3%. but now it seems everyone is involved

A recent rezoning proposal for the 50-acre residential zoned Ware Road property, shows every sign to meet the OCP requirements for housing diversity and relative affordability. It also has the potential for generating the critical minimum population to support a viable village centre and some jobs in the area. The project is expected to add 850 homes over an extended period to the Lantzville core.

Planning experts say the 17 units per acre is considered low to medium density. By comparison the Nanaimo Green Thumb proposal of 2500 homes on 42 acres or 60 units per acre would be four times the Ware Road density proposal. Both locations are approx. the same distance from the Nanaimo Woodgrove shopping area. 

While most residents and council members appear to support the OCP’s wording for more choice of housing, affordability, and village core revitalization, Others have a narrower view and consider the proposed density too high. Their vision is a continuation of large single family homes on large lots as the preferred  zoning for any future development.  

The challengers, under the umbrella of the newly created Lantzville Community Association (LCA) have taken the district to court and suggest the proposed density is far too high and exceeds the OCP limits. They have a point, but it is just that. The contradiction in their position is obvious. By default, their OCP interpretation would forfeit much of the needed housing diversity. Opinions run deep and by all accounts 2022 is going to be an interesting decision year for Lantzville’s future 

Jack de Jong
Former Mayor of Lantzville
Lantzville,  January, 2022

Please note, comments appear on the top right side of this page.

Gary The Grinch on real Christmas trees

Gary Korpan

I will, no doubt, be accused of being "a real Grinch", or worse, for this...but it should be said.

If we are seriously concerned about climate change, global warming, and leaving a good environment to our children, why are people buying "live" Christmas trees? A misnomer if there ever was one. As well as grossly hypocritical. 

Why are you paying exorbitant rates for a now dead tree that was removing carbon dioxide from the air before it was killed on your behalf?

Once you haul it home and, three weeks later, haul it to a gas powered wood chipper, or the land fill, you will have needlessly added more carbon dioxide to the environment. Nice going "environmentalist". Does the word "hypocrisy" come to mind? 

Once the tree is in your house in a pot of water you spend inordinate time covering its natural beauty with mountains of garish plastic lights and ornaments. All products of a wasteful misuse of copper, petroleum based chemicals, and minerals. Again, adding to, not reducing, global warming. Then, for 3 weeks, you power it all up with electricity too often generated by coal or gas fired power plants. 

Would it not be far better to donate to reforestation projects than killing trees for ceremonies Christians appropriated from others? It would certainly be less hypocritical. 
Merry Christmas. 
Gary the Grinch Korpan

Send a response to Gary's letter below or editor@nanaimonet.com