Ahead of the Game? or Out to Lunch?

Ron Bolin — October 6, 2010
How Progressive can any city be?  At Monday’s Council meeting, our Councillors, after a baffling discussion and in a five to four vote, decided that they should award a Development Variance Permit relative to a development bylaw that doesn’t yet exist.  Now that is really progressive.  It was a spectacle to see (and you can view it here .  When the video starts, you can jump through the document and if you go to items 11 (a) and (b) you can see the discussion which took place regarding the adoption of  “Sign Amendment Bylaw 2010 No. 7081” (To permit LED/animated signs) and then the discussion of the variance permit.

The Bylaw was moved up from agenda item 13 (f) so as to precede discussion of a variance permit to Bylaw 2010 No. 7081.  At its last meeting, Council overrode Staff’s recommendation for a public meeting on LED signs and gave the bylaw its first three readings.  See the video  here (sections 11 (a) and 15 (e) in the agenda).  On October 4, and  following presentations against either or both of the bylaw and the variance from the Province, from the city’s own professional Design Advisory Panel and from arguably one of  Nanaimo’s biggest and best developers advising that neither the
bylaw nor thus the variance were ready for prime time, Council, in its inimitable and too often incoherent fashion, sent the bylaw back to Staff for further review (a good move which kept the bylaw itself from final passage in its incomplete form), and then, having done that, proceeded to pass 5 to 4 a variance to that bylaw which permits three major variances to our present bylaw and an unknown number to the bylaw which does not yet exist.  Only in Nanaimo…

Keep your eyes and ears peeled.  Such nonsense will come back to Council.  Will you be asked for your opinion?

It is instructive to hear some Councillors hold forth about the coming business boom in Nanaimo once “modern technology” LED signs are introduced, apparently forgetting  about the fact that given the technology now available in car GPS systems, in Ipods and cellular and digital phones that LED’s signs are already redundant.