Report from the May 3, 2010, FPCOW Meeting
Lots of items were covered at this Finance and Policy Committee of the Whole meeting:
• Council approved the City of Nanaimo Community Plan for Public Art.
• Council approved the new Policy and Selection Criteria for the Civic Merit Awards for Sports, Arts and Culture.
• Council endorsed participation in the Transit Connect Electric Alliance of BC and is prepared to commit to the acquisition and evaluation of four to six Ford Transit Connect Electric light freight vehicles which are expected to cost approximately $69,750 each and bring a subsidy of about $23,100 each.
• Council approved the 2009 Annual Financial Report for the City of Nanaimo.
• Council tabled the recommendation for award of a five year Primary Water Works Supplier to review a legal opinion from the City’s solicitors. This contract had been held over for review from the April 19 FPCOW meeting.
• Council approved a recommendation to develop guidelines and an education program regarding blasting in the city and to bring back a report to determine whether a Blasting Bylaw is warranted.
• Council approved a recommendation to direct staff to draft amendments to Sign Bylaw 2850 that would permit LED/animated signage throughout the entire city on properties zoned for commercial and industrial use and on properties operated/owned by the city.
• (Editorial: To me it seems that this opens up a new “war” between those who can afford these expensive signs and those small owners who cannot. It is like the attack of those with guns on those with bows and arrows. The opening of new sign technology -as opposed to new methods of production or innovation- can lead to lots of expensive and essentially non productive competition. We all know who will win and who will die trying. The proposal contained in the agenda today appeared to be an almost complete capitulation to those anxious to see Las Vegas in Nanaimo. I would rather see the little guys stay around than see fewer, but bigger, commercial venues.) What do you think about the proliferation of LED/animated signs all over town?
• Council approved the purchase of a Vertical Split Stream Compactor Refuse Truck (Garbage/ Compostables/ recycling truck for $276,965.00. That’s a lot of truck. And we will be buying more to meet the requirements of our new compost collection program.
The agenda for the meeting with the supporting reports can be found on the city web site previously noted.
Great work Ron. There’s the blog at work reporting from this central and important committee that gets very little light shone on it. How do we recruit more civic politics geeks like us to attend these meetings and post reports? I’m planning to look in on the Design Advisory Panel on Thursday.
Upon reflection, I have discovered how mired I was in old fashioned thinking when I editorialized about electronic signs. I should have recognized that the time for signs is effectively over. In-car GPS systems allow anybody to seek for a good or a service and then, not only to get a list of suppliers, but get precise directions on how to get there from here. Who needs signs? And why should we allow them to pollute our streetscapes? This is codger thinking and just another reason why we need more young people on Council.
How to find more political geeks? It seems to me 99% of the community really doesn’t give a rip unless it affects one of their pet projects. Does anyone know how many people actually READ the paper any more? I think to some degree, this generation has been all ‘newsed’ out. But that’s another topic.
Anyway, does anyone here know what kind of research and planning has gone into this composting idea? How many other municipalities are using it and in the end does it accomplish anything and is it even remotely cost effective? Putting compostable material into a landfill site, doesn’t really seem all that bad to me.
There also seems to be some problems finding a contract for the compostable waste. That is the report in the Daily, sounds like they haven’t really got their act together and are changing things on the fly once again. Now it seems there will be a fee, but no $30 charge for the bin.
I can’t remember the public being consulted about this grand scheme either.
But, hey, what’s new there.
Way to go Ron – great reporting! Can’t wait to hear your comments regarding the “shake up” at City Hall today. Many think that City Hall staff – and management – are struggling with their work load now – changing/adding/restructuring the management portfolios will only add to the chaos.
Thanks for commenting Lizzie. We’d like to hear more of your thoughts on the “shake up” too.
The whole LED sign thing is nuts. Ron, I like what you have to say. For me its not so much about who will be able to afford these signs but how the City essentially went from not approving of them to now, it seems, allowing them essentially anywhere. This makes no sense and one has to wonder who is purchasing what and from whom.
Diverting compostables from the waste stream should extend the life of landfills, as well as produce landscaping material from the compost. There is some good information about composting at a large scale from UBC, who has been diverting compost from their waste stream since 2004. http://www.sustain.ubc.ca/campus-sustainability/composting.
The savings should add up, but I would sure like to see the accounting from the City – how many years will it take to recoup the costs? By how many years will the life of our landfill be extended?
I need to make it clear that as far as the new sign bylaw is concerned, we don’t have one yet. All that has happened thus far is that staff have been asked to draft a new bylaw that contains what I believe to be some pretty outrageous LED possibilities. It is also true that staff previously came to Council with a recommendation that LED/animated signs not be allowed. There was a push to ignore that recommendation by some Councillors. Then a Committee was established. Then it appears that, independant of that committee, some Councillors met with some staff and the new recommendations emerged on Monday. Persistence pays off, even in this case where the results of the only poll taken showed that the, admittedly slender, majority, voted against such signs.
The vote to ask for the development of a draft sign bylaw passed by a narrow 5 to 4 vote. The vote on the bylaw, when it comes forward, will be the important one. There remains plenty of time to discuss this subject, to determine what kind of visuals we want in town, and what direction we should give to our elected representatives on this subject. To get the conversation rolling, how do you like the LED signs on the Port Theatre and on the VICC? How would you like to see a whole bunch more at up to 100 square feet or smaller, apiece?
I think you are over rating the ability of a flashy sign to move business away from smaller businesses who perhaps cannot afford one. The same could be said for advertising budgets etc.
If the small guy is going to compete with the bigger guys, they need to do something better than the big guys.
A good example is Home Hardware in Brooks Landing, none of the big box stores can come even close to the knowledgeable staff that serve their customers. (I don’t work there. :^))
Personally, I think they could prove to be a traffic hazard, if they are too distracting to drivers. If they limit the timing on the animation, so they are no more distracting than a regular sign might be, I see no real issue with them.