Conference Centre in the news
Gordon Fuller: March 11, 2011
So the NNC or VICC Vancouver Island Conference Centre makes the news again with a possible change in licensing from Food Primary to Liqour Primary.
Don’t know about the readers but I find this story, Conference centre could get another helping hand, and Denise Tacon’s comments in particular to be quite offensive. To blame those speaking out about the drain this facility is taking on taxpayers dollars is simply ludicrous and then to try and snow people about delegate days really does not say much for what she thinks of as our intelligence.
Incessant criticism, however, will only hurt the facility and is ultimately a self-fulling prophecy, should more people subscribe to such a way of thinking, according to VICC manager Denise Tacon.
“We have a much stronger momentum coming out of this recession and this community needs to embrace where we’re going,” she said. “Negativity breeds negativity and we will be deciding our own future, if that’s the approach we take.”
Does this person not realize that it is her responsibility and not that of the taxpayer, to ensure the facility is running well? To blame her failure on the public is shameful and in my opinion cause for dismissal.
Most people would think 16,000 delegate days in 2011 a good thing but were they to realize that this were in fact only 2.5% of capacity it would definitely give pause to think again.
Delegate seats (and future bookings) at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 2008-2013
2008 (sixth months): 9,800
2009: 15,900 = 2.5%
2010: 12,400 = 2.0%
2011: 16,000 = 2.5%
2012: 28,000 = 4.5%
2013: 24,000 = 3.8%
SOURCE: CITY OF NANAIMO
Percentages based on a maximum capacity of 1720 persons, excluding the 400 from the Newcastle Lobby and 143 from Museum Level, per day utilizing available conference rooms. Total yearly 627,800 in rooms, 146,000 Newcastle Lobby, 52,195 in museum meeting space.
Will a change from a food primary to liquor primary license help? It should, as I understand it, allow for a far greater variety of events at the conference centre and that would be a good thing booking and delegate day wise. If, however, in the end it takes away from other existing venues in the city then ultimately not so good.
My fault, my grievous fault. Mea culpa, Denise, about the failure of the conference centre. Particularly since I was a Nanaimo voter at the time but temporarily wasn’t living here, and didn’t do absentee voting. My memory may be faulty, but I believe the referendum to build the conference centre passed with only 51% voting in favour. Someone please correct this sinner’s faulty memory if necessary.
It seems to me that the conference centre and the adjacent empty land where a hotel was to go are indicators of “the two Nanaimos”: Nanaimo as some people would like it to be, and Nanaimo as it really is. Frank Ney, love him or hate him, may have expressed it best when he said (frequently) “Just goes to show you that we prefer corn to culture.” That man could sell darned near anything to darned near anyone. But he wouldn’t have tried selling this to Nanaimo, not in its proposed and present form. Nor would he have been taken in by promises made, not kept, made again, not kept again, ad infinitum, about hotel construction.
Denise Tacon’s comments are both simplistic and insulting. If it takes body painting and MMA events to fill those seats, do it. I’m not sure whether Vancouver city council has reached a final decision on construction of a mega casino adjacent to their convention centre and tourist bureau, but if they do, there’s a boost for a competitor for conference dollars. With a lack of adjacent, adequate, and appropriate accommodation combined with an increasing threat that Vancouver will pull conferences which might have come to Nanaimo, that worsens the situation. Add in the current situation in the Middle East which is pushing up the price of petroleum products and will end with more increases in fares for people coming to Nanaimo, whether by ferry or air. Our problems worsen even further.
Anything, anything, to fill the conference centre.
The notion that “negative thoughts” are adversely affecting the financial performance of the Conference Centre is quite ludicrous. People booking space at the Conference Centre couldn’t care a twit about Centre critics – no one is saying that the roof of the structure is about to cave in! Tacon is really advancing a parapsychology explanation; ie. that events are telepathically influenced by positive or negative attitudes. Unfortunately her comments are probably a negative about her competency as Centre manager.
Wonder if there is any way we all can telepathically give her the world biggest wedgey. Wait a minute perhaps that is already her problem.
ROFLMAO. Apologies to all. The devil made me do it.
As much as I am not a fan of the money pit downtown. I’d be prepared to cut Ms Tacon some slack, as she has been trying to push a large rock up a large hill since she started.
I don’t recall out city fathers consulting with her BEFORE they built the centre, with no guarantee our partner would supply the hotel component.
I think the current city manager may have had something to do with the way this whole thing turned out, and the rest of the drivers have left town…..Cantelon, Korpan, Manhas, Berry, to name a few.
Ms. Tacon’s comments are in the same vein as those that were being made by various people who pushed the project in the first place. FPN and others were labelled as Negative Nellies when they questioned the viability of the Conference Centre.
It has had a major (negative) impact on Nanaimo’s fiscal situation. Gone is the nest egg accumulated over the years. Replacing it is a large debt which will have to be serviced for many years and even worse, a large annual operating loss. Hopefully there is enough negativity out there that when the next bright idea (involving large amounts of public money) comes along it will be met with a resounding no unless it has been properly vetted.
I live with the vain hope that some day “The Nanaimo Daily News” might reprint a selection of the large number of pro-conference centre letters to the editor which appeared daily in the run-up to the referendum. It appeared to me as if a “supporter-coordinator” had a list of names and contacted people in advance telling them that “next Wednesday”, for example, was the day for their letter.
You’re right Wendy! some people booking space at the Conference Centre couldn’t care a twit about Centre critics.
To Conference Centre
Those ones who don’t care a ‘twit’ aren’t the ones paying a million dollars a year so you can have a job.
It is also up to our mayor and councillors to help bring bookings into the Conference Centre. They have to make this city approachable to organizations so as there is a reason to have their meetings and conferences here.
What is Tourism Nanaimo doing as well? The Dragonboat races were a couple of weeks ago and there was barely any advertising. If I was not volunteering there I most likely would have not known what was happening. One of the other people volunteering looked up the Tourism website and it (Dragonboat Races) should have come up right away. Nothing. We were all pretty shocked. This is a big event here!
I don’t believe it is just one persons responsiblity to fill the Conference Centre but those that we vote in as well. They are supposed to be crusaders for this City. What are they doing to encourage business here. Hopefully this new Economic Development Board can make a difference. Time will tell!
The operators of the VICC are supposedly the hired professionals who receive the ongoing profits from catering etc. and a subsidy from the taxpayer to the tune of $1 million per year. They actually receive RENT from the city of Nanaimo, every time the city has an event there.
They claimed to be the pros in the field, with all the connections and know how to capture all these conventions. The cold turth is, the convention business is brutally competetive and being situated where we are, is NOT a big selling feature to people comng from afar.
Add to that we compete with Vancouver and Victoria ………. add Nanaimo to that list, and where would YOU plan next years vacation for your company.
Someone, needs to demonstrate that there actually is a sound business model for this centre, which to date, basically takes business from other venues already in Nanaimo.
As for advertising the dragonboats, the city taxpayer hardly needs to start spending money advertising an event that already has spectacular ad support from Save On Foods. YOu would have to be living in a cave somewhere to not be aware of that event. What kind of promotional website did the dragonboat society have up?
Well Jim I guess I am living in a cave because believe it or not I did not see one ad from Save On Foods, nor do I shop there.
I would strongly suggest that the city managers and I mean mayor, councillors and the City Manager look at what they negotiated and start negotiations again. If the present operators are not making it work thenmaybe the City needs to hand it over to Economic Development or another area and get them working on it.
I also believe that if the proper promotion was done and venues in place then Nanaimo could get some of these conventions. There are many great things this city has to offer. The city needs to review how it goes about attracting people to this area and remove the road blocks.
The centre is here already, so we better find away of making it a sound model. Maybe it was a mistake to have the convention centre but what is done is done. Make it work.
Yes, Save On does a bang up job of promotion and the crowds that show up attest to the fact the promotion is working. Among other things, they display a huge banner over their front doors and include reference in their advertising.
As to the management of the conference centre, the city, in true fashion only got one proposal to operate the centre, and took it.
The convention business, as a business, will have a most difficult time making it in Nanaimo. Getting here involves a ferry or plane ride, and that is a deal killer for a lot of conventions. The number of delegate days this company has been able to sell is questionable if you remove the conventions that would have come to Nanaimo even without the new centre.
In the long term, someone is going to have to come up with a better use for that shiny new facility as it will always be a drain on the taxpayer with questionable benefits, except to a few adjacent businesses …… perhaps. The centre itself is well designed to capture the food and beverage trade you would associate with a convention, and in fact that is a major profit centre for the contractor.
This centre was a BIG mistake from the getgo and will remain a monument to at the very least poor management coming from city council and city staff.
If it is not going to work for the convention centre, then maybe the city should use it for its new offices.
Now that’s a good idea. Too bad its too late.
What is Tourism Nanaimo doing as well? The Dragonboat races were a couple of weeks ago and there was barely any advertising
Dragon Boats don’t sell real estate!!
Dragon Boats don’t develop!!
Dragon Boats,so far, are seen as either looking for a cure for breast cancer or just plain old fashioned good fun with no strings.
Damn; the thought of it.
This is not Nanaimo City oversite it is a down town business oversite.
The same ones that ‘expect” corporate welfare..as in Conference Centre & Cruise ship Terminal (for starters)
Any activity that is positive and brings people to this city is a good thing and should be promoted. You don’t know who is coming here and what they take away. The more a city has to offer something to their population the more it will draw businesses, hence more people living her, more money.
It seems to me the the Conference Centre and now the Cruise ship Terminal are both here and now they need to start pulling their weight, however that happens. If the contracts that were negotiated are not beneficial for the city, then find a way to open them up.
I am hearing a lot of negative thoughts about things that have already happened. You aren’t going to tear down the buildings so find ways of using them. Let this city be creative with what they are doing.
What is the Chamber of Commerce doing to help witht the development of Nanaimo. I always understood that part of their mandate is to also look for new business opportunities to come into the city?
The more a city has to offer something to their population the more it will draw businesses, hence more people living her, more money.
I disagree; you are chasing your tail!
Growth is not infinate.
Making things better has much more potential.
Can we say…
The Marine Festival is successful so is the Dragon Boat.
Could we not add a couple more marine activities to the summer?
Nanaimo’s greatest asset is it’s OWN people.
More downtown activites for the locals = more cummunity plus more economic activity.
The Calgary cowboys come & go leaving destruction in their wake.
As I see it, one of our major problems is that within the last generation or so we’ve gone from being a production-based economy to a service-based economy. When I first came here, commercial fishing was thriving, logging was thriving, and so was sawmilling. The only production-based business I can think of (at the moment) that survives at pretty well the same level as before is Harmac, and even that went under for a while, until workers, in effect, “bought their jobs back”. I can remember times when commercial fish boats were “rafted up” in the Newcastle Channel, especially during herring season and salmon runs. Anyone who wanted a job could get one within a couple of weeks, pulling lumber off a green chain at a sawmill. Loggers who didn’t work locally did the “ten in and four out”, working in logging camps for ten days and then coming out for four. Logging trucks would come into town with logs that were so big that perhaps four would make a full load. Lumber that was produced here went out of Nanaimo as sawn lumber, not as raw logs. Those production-based industries paid well.
Then things changed. The first of the food banks opened, and we all knew this was only temporary and things would improve soon. No. Any opinions of mine expressed here would end with me hanging from the tuning fork in the Krall Plaza, so I’m omitting them.
Now we’re mostly based in service industries, which don’t pay as well. As Victoria and Parksville-Qualicum priced themselves out of the “retirement centre” market, we’re getting increasing numbers of retirees here. Their biggest investment here is a retirement home, condominium, or town house. And they pay for services: gardening, housecleaning, etc. What those service industries pay employees is probably less than half what sawmills paid (adjusting for the purchasing value of a dollar). Kids graduate from high school, perhaps go on to trades training at VIU and then can’t get enough hours of work to continue their way through apprenticeships. Eventually they move to greener pastures, frequently the Alberta oil patch or the smaller BC oil patch. But they can’t afford to stay here.
Yes, Nanaimo’s greatest asset is its people, but many of those people, whose parents worked in, or were associated with, our old production-based industries because they worked in jobs that serviced the sawmills and the fishing industries, are beaten down into poverty that their parents wouldn’t ever imagine. This isn’t specifically a Nanaimo problem. It’s happening in a lot of other BC cities. This generation is the one that can expect they’ll never live at the standard that their parents and grandparents did.
That’s all well and good when the people have the money to spend. There is a lot of unemployment here. Eventually these people will have no money to spend, other than the basics of course. Nanaimo needs more businesses so there is more jobs, hopefully with better pay, more home development = more money into the city coffers.
What do you consider Nanaimo’s OWN people? Would that not be anyone living here? To help support the community you need something to draw people here, whether it is tourism or companies that are looking for new locations, education, etc. We need more business here, it is that simple. We need to get more cruise lines in here, we need the convention centre booked more, so people will want to come back either as a tourist or to become one of Nanaimo’s OWN people. We need people to come here and spend money, if they live here and pay taxes all the better, if not just leave the tourist money. Or come from other arounds around to shop, again leaving their money.
I don’t believe I am chasing my tail, but it sounds to me that you want no change, therefore do not understand the name Trailblazer. You can add what you want for the ‘present community’ but if it does not draw new people here, there is not a whole lot of new economic activity happening.
What would you do to make things better? Please tell because I have not read ONE thing from anyone that tells me what they would do to make this city better.
I have not heard of any destruction in the wake of anything, so don’t know where you are coming from.
What I would hope, happens here is that our city leaders and all of us presently living here look for ways to reinvent this town. Wendy you are very correct by saying that service industries do not pay well. I know there are many people here that have 2 or 3 jobs to make ends meet. Yet this means that someone else does not get a job because of the people have the 2 and 3 jobs.
The big logging and fishing days are gone but what can we do here? What new industries can Nanaimo support that are more than just the low paying service jobs. People need to be more aware of what Nanaimo has to offer. One of the ways but certainly not the only way is to get the people to come here.
Hopefully the new Economic Development person will come in running with some great ideas and that our city council does not make it difficult nor give the city away to new industries that want to be here.
You are asking a lot of good questions. Why can’t Nanaimo attract better paying industry? Well one question might be, honestly what does Nanaimo have to offer that many other towns don’t ? I have lived here 40 years, and obviously like the place, but we must realize that many communities are going to be courting serious business and there has to be some VERY good reasons to locate here.
Some challenges that clearly face Nanaimo:
Do we have well trained, reliable work force?? If so trained in what areas? Low taxes? We are the third highest taxes per capita on the Island, behind Victoria and Port Alberni. As a tourist destination we are dreaming if we think we compare to Victoria or even Parksville Qualicum. That is not naysaying, that is the simple reality.
Nanaimo has always prospered based on the sale of resources, in the beginning it was coal, then lumber and fishing. All of these are but shadows of their former selves and if it were not for the government jobs, Nanaimo would simply dry up and blow away.
I am not convinced that just attracting more retirees does anything for the actual improvement of the city. In 40 years I have seen the place grow considerably, but can’t honestly say it is any better place to live now than it was then. Just more expensive.
Anyone who thinks we are going to hire a $150,000 a year saviour via the EDC might want to reconsider that thought.
One of the biggest challenges Nanaimo is going to face, is the completely out of control tax burden being put on this and future generations to pay for things we arguably, don’t need, and certainly can’t afford. It already costs $400 per person, less in taxes to locate in Comox than it does in Nanaimo. Where would you want to retire??
Jim Taylor 1 August, 2011 at 9am
Jim I have watched you glower, take notes, and posture before council for as long as I remember: what have you accomplished?
“Do we have well trained, reliable work force??” Of course not! But where else does? This is the second decade of a world plunging into inequality and dark purpose.
Higher learning timeservers whose opinions of themselves are inflated by eager students currying marks to get out of the place ASAP inhabit our universities and technical institutions.
From what institute did you graduate Jim? And when?
Anyone who thinks we are going to hire a $150,000 a year savior via the EDC might want to reconsider that thought. True we have already tried that with The Downtown Partnership and look where it got us: at least two holes in the ground and 150,000 sq. ft. (at last count) of derelict commercial space.
One of the biggest challenges Nanaimo is going to face, is the completely out of control tax burden being put on this and future generations to pay for things we arguably, don’t need, and certainly can’t afford.
Nothing wrong with taxes Jim if they are judiciously directed and well spent. And comparing us to Comox, or any other municipality, is meaningless!
A little bit less condescension while ploughing more fallow ground (sprawl) will go along way to provide for Nanaimo’s future.
@ Jim Taylor 1 August
You ask . . .I am not sure what you consider condescension, so have no reply. Well, let’s take a look . . .
To Lynn you say . . . “You are asking a lot of good questions.”
Errrr . . . ummmm . . . and who pray are you to judge questions. We are all in this together, yunno!
Taking a superior all knowing stance, it’s called condescension Jim dearie . . . and judging by your blog . . . all puff and fluff . . .
. . . you are in no position to judge. You read like Hill & Knowlton selling Saddam and the Kuwaiti incubators.
I read your opinions on Nanaimo crime and consequences, then I turn to your Nanaimo News and Views. Never have I watched and read such pre-digested, super hyped-up sycophantic bullshit.
Saturated funk poop, it plays well for the yachting crowd.
You do little for the vast majority who are struggling. You certainly do nothing to challenge the status quo! And you certainly do nothing to move Nanaimo forward.
Is this what you do for a living?
“There is a lot of unemployment here. Eventually these people will have no money to spend, other than the basics of course.” Don’t take it as a given that people have enough money to spend on “the basics”. Many don’t, as some people active on this blog could tell you.
“We need more business here, it is that simple.” It isn’t necessarily that simple. Other cities competing with Nanaimo to attract more businesses to open or move here may very well be cities on the mainland, where businesses are not faced with the increasingly expensive cost of transporting materials onto the Island and shipping finished products off the Island. One way to attract more businesses would be to offer tax breaks and other perks, as Vancouver did to attract the film industry, which for a while turned Vancouver into Hollywood North. With Nanaimo’s history of cutting breaks for businesses, I don’t think many people in Nanaimo would consider that now. Any council that voted in favour of major breaks for new businesses would be out of office in the next election, and council members know it.
“We need to get more cruise lines in here, we need the convention centre booked more . . . ” The bulk of, if not the total of, funding to build the cruise ship dock was federal money, not City of Nanaimo money, as I recall. We’re competing with Vancouver and Seattle to attract cruise ships, because both of those cities are having difficulty attracting cruise ships to their docks. If given a choice, most people would probably opt for a cruise ship stopping in Vancouver or Seattle. Certainly in Seattle and Vancouver in the past, cruise ships picked up and dropped off cruisers, too, which I believe probably doesn’t happen here; or if it does, that would be a minimal number of people. And with the downturn in the American economy which, as of this weekend, looks like it’s plumbing new depths, there will be fewer American cruisers than there were even in what Americans had, until now, believed had reached its depths with the collapse of American banks, major manufacturers, and their subsequent federal bail-outs. What we’ve got here is a conference centre, not a convention centre. Up to 400 people is a conference centre; over 400 is a convention centre. Vancouver can play it both ways, and offers amenities, amusements, and shopping that Nanaimo can’t.
“We need people to come here and spend money, if they live here . . . just leave the tourist money. Or come from other arounds around to shop, again leaving their money.” We have that and it’s growing, with WalMart announcing that they’re renovating and expanding to a Super WalMart. Woodgrove is the second-largest mall on the Island, and *does* attract customers who live fairly far from Nanaimo.
“I don’t believe I am chasing my tail, but it sounds to me that you want no change, therefore do not understand the name Trailblazer.” Let’s not take it to that level, OK? Generally on this blog we don’t.
“I have not heard of any destruction in the wake of anything, so don’t know where you are coming from.” They may not have been “Calgary cowboys” leaving destruction in their wake. I have no idea where the two brothers live now, but their father, when last heard of, was living in the south of France. Under various company names which, when pursued by the City of Nanaimo for monies owing, turned out to be, in effect, shell companies, *those* cowboys left a wake of destruction in this city in the area where a hotel designed to accommodate conference attendees should have been. The City of Vancouver calls the work of the same cowboys the 2010 Olympic Athletes Village, which Vancouver is now trying to sell off at fire sale prices, to the point that people who had pre-bought at higher prices are launching legal actions against the City of Vancouver.
And then there’s the elephant in the room which I’m not going to address. I don’t relish the idea of David Suzuki and Al Gore, for example, turning up at my door. Nor do I relish the idea of being the first and only Nanaimo citizen found hanged on the over-priced rusting tuning fork. Yeah, folks, I know–the rust is part of the total effect. Blecckh.
I know that there are major issues for jobs here. I have not taken as a given that everyone has enough money for the basics.
I don’t believe that everything has to be complicated. Nanaimo does need more businesses, that is a fact. Vancouver and Seattle are large cities and I am not sure that Nanaimo can compete with them. Therefore we need to find a niche that Nanaimo can fill and they can’t.
I didn’t say that the city should be giving the city away by large tax breaks to businesses but it has to find ways to attract them. Our city leaders have to learn how to be creative. If the tax breaks backfired when used before, then don’t do it again or do it more wisely. I don’t know all of Nanaimo’s history as I am still fairly new here.
I know that Wal-Mart is expanding and about Woodgrove Mall. This is terrific but again both these places offer low paying jobs. Jobs that you can not support a family on. Nanaimo needs business here that will create large workforces and higher pay jobs. We can not rely on just one or two industries either.
I don’t know about these 2 brothers, you are talking about or what happened. All I can say to this is the city has to be aware of what they are doing. Sounds like we got taken somehow. Someone would have to fill me in on this rather than just making a comment and thinking I should know what it means
Again Wendy your last paragraph means nothing to me regarding a rusting tuning fork. Please explain that.
I also have a question, I read that the city is looking at putting in I believe it is 4 plugs for electric cars. How is going to be paying this bill. Not me I hope.
“Eventually these people will have no money to spend, other than the basics of course” in one comment, followed by “I have not taken as a given that everyone has enough money for the basics” in another. ??? Gord Fuller, a participant here, could give you a far clearer picture of how bad things really are. He’s one of the people in the front line trenches in the continuing battle to feed some of the people of Nanaimo.
“I don’t know about these 2 brothers, you are talking about or what happened.” All of the following is “allegedly” and “without prejudice”, to cover my nether regions legally. The two brothers, through their company (or companies–a lot of corporate card shuffling went on) contracted with the City to build a hotel adjacent to the conference centre. In return for that, among other things, City-owned lands and lands to which aboriginal people had laid a claim were to be transferred to the company building the hotel, basically a part of Maffeo-Sutton Park where the old foundry and the Civic Arena sat. The foundry and the arena were torn down in anticipation of the company building one or two highrise condo towers on the site. Realignments of streets to allow easier access to the two condominium towers were planned. Nothing ever happened. No hotel was ever built. I can’t think of a way to detail all the maneuvering and manipulation that went on without making this far too lengthy. Perhaps others here can find a way of giving a “Readers’ Digest” version of the whole thing. However, I think it’s reasonable to say that a great deal of taxpayers’ money was spent with no results. And more when the City tried to recover some of the costs through the courts.
I’m sure Roger Kemble can provide a much clearer summary.
“Again Wendy your last paragraph means nothing to me regarding a rusting tuning fork. Please explain that.” I refer to the large-ish art installation in the downtown Diana Krall plaza near the conference centre.
Whether you are a property-owning taxpayer or a renter: yes, you will be paying for the installation of plug-ins for electric cars, because if you’re a renter, the owner of the property will have added property taxes into your rental costs.
In my opinion, and remembering a Nanaimo taxpayers’ revolt in either the late 1970s or very early ’80s led by Pat Barron, Nanaimo goes through its troubles from time to time. There is a great deal of dissatisfaction among taxpayers, and the conference centre has simply become the lightning rod for dissatisfaction about a much broader spectrum of issues.
My apologies if I’m wrong, but I get the sense that you may be younger than some here on this blog. You’ve said that you’re a newcomer. I’m very glad that you have this amount of interest in what’s going on around you in this city. Trailblazer was right when he said that one of the strengths of this city is its people. And we need *more* people like you, newcomers and likely younger, to take an interest, to ask questions, and to participate. With so very few “younger” people displaying an interest, it’s refreshing and encouraging to read your comments. Please, do *not* give up. It’s in your hands and those of your peers that the future of this city will rest.
@ Lynn . . .
“There is a lot of unemployment here.”
Indeed there is:
Nanaimo Unemployment 15%+ to be precise and rising with 25% households (at last count) on some form of govt. assistance, other than OAP.
““We need more business here, it is that simple.” Well . . . errrrr . . . yes . . . you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. But everyone fled north and those that tried to remain couldn’t hang on.
Our genius councilor Holdom tells us sprawl is “not a zero sum game” to which I reply, it’s coming up lotsa zeros so far Mr. Councilor!
“ . . . other perks, as Vancouver did to attract the film industry . . . “ which constitutes 5% of total GCP! Hardly a winner . . .
“Any council that voted in favour of major breaks for new businesses would be out of office in the next election, and council members know it.” Highly doubtful since more or less tax breaks are not the problem (especially since staff are loading up a new annex, water treatment etc) and 75% Nan voters don’t give a shit one way or another and those that do are in someone’s pocket.
““We need to get more cruise lines in here . . .” Oh no we don’t. Official estimates say each cruise visit brings C$200g’s into town. How many cruise ships will it take to amortize, at that rate, the C$30M crabbing pier and given the state of most peoples’ pocket books how many can affords those booze cruises with tempting casinos laid on: less and less as the US congress approves more and more borrowing!
“ . . . we need the convention centre booked more . . .” Yes the VICC referendum won with 51% vote but even if it had been 25% in favour it would still have gone ahead. This is something FPN couldn’t, or wouldn’t wrap their collective heads around.
There was, is, a very small but very powerful local lobby that wanted that lemon . . .
For instance, there is a well promote CC in the Coast Bastion and lesser facilities in the Dorchester and Tally-ho. Had FPN partnered with them and realized there are many winning computations between win and lose we may now have a Commercial Street that could have won that deserved award without ignoring its corporate, architectural trashy part.
I find all of these conversations very frustrating. All I am hearing is what bad has happened, why it should not be done, who should not do it, how it should not be done.
Someone please tell me what should be done then to get this city moving. Because I am not hearing it from anyone. If all of you are so upset with what is happening, then find away to start turning things around. Oh sorry, someone is going to tell me you have tried and nothing will work!
All very frsutrating for a new person here.
Lynn dearie, understand this is a gossip forum for a lot of frustrated old pensioners, me included, to get their jollies off.
Mostly we have neither the courage, wit of compulsion to do anything but chatter . . . no one practices what they practice what they preach . . . except ME!
I believe I am separate in one minor aspect: I do practice what I preach . . . I live downtown, walk and use transit everywhere. I do not own a car or a mortgage and I do not brown nose . . .
I have had a very successful professional career recently winning an award for my Vivo. I was project manager-architect. for NRGH.
I have participated in local development, arts and committee work: I have paid my dues . . . I donated a very large painting to Nanaimo Youth Services. It has disappeared from its original place in the reception area. On enquiring as to its fate I am not even given the respect of a reply.
As manager-architect of NRGH I commissioned a large beautiful ceramic mural in reception by artist Robert Weghstein. I has disappeared. On enquiring as to its fate I am not even given the respect of a reply.
Nanaimo Cultural Capitol of Canada 2009: pure unadulterated dog droppings . . . and you can tell that to your grand ma because no one cares, least of all Nanaimo’s culture bureaucrats . .
As for the civic staff, council or the local arts and development community I have discharged my responsibilities to the full . . . and having said that, I wouldn’t sit next to any of ’em on the bus . . .
This community needs a massive clean out at every level . . . I do not see any change in my crystal ball!
PS . . .
Hell those bastards don’t use the bus for all their pompous “green” intentions . . .
I do understand that this is gossip or perhaps venting is a better word, but I still find it frustrating. Why can’t you (all of us)turn it around and try to make it positive.
I congratulate you on your award and all other efforts that you have achieved. A return letter as to where the painting and ceramic is are certainly in order.
We have all paid our dues some where but it does not mean that we don’t have to keep working towards what is right.
Great conversations. Tourism Nanaimo; believe it will be absorbed by the new economic commision. Poverty in Nanaimo, around 50% of the population. Unemployment 15.4%, bollocks, I would put it at more like 22% and then if you were to add the many folk trying to exist with only part time work add another 10 – 15%.
Part of the problem is that we have had councils that would put us up there with Victoria and Vancouver, misguided visions of gradiousity. Nanaimo is a great place with many assets but will never be a Vancopuver or Victoria.
The new economic development commision will need to realize this and focus on the assets we have and drawing folk to them. Cruise Ships patooey, if they show so be it bbut can’t be a focus. Conferences, there are far better facilities elsewhere and if we are down 20% this year from last the conference centre is operating at its lowest capacity since its doors opened.
We need to atract trade shows and allow the use of the conference centre for events like mixed use martial arts, body painting and music events, events events, events. More events are being planned for the downtown and Maffeo Sutton Park, these will draw people. We need events in the conference centre that will do the same.
Economically we should be trying to attract high tech or such. Nanaimo needs to start attracting the younger generation to town, those that will appreciate hiking, biking, fishing, camping and some of the green initiatives that Nanaimo is and can implement.
@ Wendy Smith . . . 31 July ’11.
“I’m sure Roger Kemble can provide a much clearer summary.”
Millennium Development, owned by Shahram and Peter Malek, of West Vancouver, late of Iran, were the developers for the VICC hotel and Vancouver’s Olympic Village.
Hindsight shows they were out of their depth.
After months of legal wrangling they are now out of the Nanaimo picture. The city lost money.
The Maleks also lost heavily on Vancouver’s Olympic Village and a West Van development on Taylor Way known as The Evelyn among other smaller developments.
Neither the company nor the brothers have been in the news recently. I know nothing of their Calgary operations.
OV, now owned by the City of Vancouver, is in litigation with disgruntled early purchasers.
Bob Rennie, Vancouver’s hotshot realtor, has been awarded the exclusive contract to market OV. I understand, with the reduced pricing, units are moving reasonably well.
I assume sotto voce litigation between C of V and the Bros will go on forever.
There are many great things this city has to offer. The city needs to review how it goes about attracting people to this area and remove the road blocks
Just how may road blocks can the City remove?
I obliterated the OCP & UCB to pacify Cable Bay & Sandstone!
All this against the wishes of the electorate.
The removal of too many road blocks is why we have the predicament we have ( & other Cities & Towns too)
The infrastucture provided to developers comes at a great cost to taxpayers.
Development seldom pays for itself even in the long run particularly when it is sprawl.
It would seem that we have yet another example of this with the emergency water project !! agreement with Harmac( & can we say Cable Bay)
Yes the good jobs are going but do they have to?
Do we have to have sawmills inactive whilst massive ships are being loaded with logs within site of our layed off millworkers?
At the time of this post there is one ship loading logs at the Nanaimo assembly Wharf & another at the old millsite ,now logsort, near Harmac.
Local mills such as Duke Point are layed off, no logs!!
In Port Alberni, Alberni Pacific Division workers are layed off whilst three ships load with logs not half a mile away.
The answer is not to build an extention to Wall*mart.
S Madill closed it’s doors in Nanimo losing over a 100 good jobs.
A sign of the times? Hell no.
Madill equipment manufacturing rights are now owned by Nicholson manufacturing in Sydney where they are producing Madill Equipment once again.
Are we selling ourselves short?
I think yes.
So many people in Nanaimo are quick to degrade our base industries & offer development & sprawl as the substitute.
It has not flown & never will, not with minimum wage jobs that don’t offer enough hours to even contribute to CPP ( thanks Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce)
Add to that 16% unemployed (oficially) but if you add in those working out of town in Alberta & the BC oil patch I am sure that figure will be well over 20%.
I must add that our expectations are also too high & so are the expectations of City employees at the top & bottom of the payscale.
Add to this the incestuous realationship between certain members of Council & developers & we have a difficult situation.
Damn it we even have a Mayor that makes his livelyhood encouraging people to leave town!
Gord, I hope that Nanaimo never becomes a Vancouver or Victoria. One of the great reasons to move here is because it is smaller, less traffic, 15 minutes gets you every where. Parking is inexpensive, although I do have to say hard to find parking downtown (on the street). It is quiet, smog free.
More events at the conference centre would be great. So what will it be? High Tech industries would also be nice to get here, but must watch again, look at what just happen at RIM in Ontario.
Trailblazer I don’t know why you say, ‘ our expectations are also too high & so are the expectations of City employees at the top & bottom of the payscale’., as well as ‘Add to this the incestuous realationship between certain members of Council & developers & we have a difficult situation.’..Please explain this. If there is any kind of relationship do they not have to excuse themselves from any discussions and vote?
Same for the Mayor, he would have to remove himself from the business he owned.
..Please explain this. If there is any kind of relationship do they not have to excuse themselves from any discussions and vote?
Do you really think that they do?
After receiving thousands of dollars from Cable Bay & cavorting openly with their principals some would say flaunting) did Mayor Korpan remove himself when it came to vote; did any of the others?
Our expectations are too high..
Year by our ability to pay taxes is shrinking (low paying jobs)
Therefore we cannot justify more tax payer expences for pet projects or infrastructure for developments the like of which have failed miserabley elsewhere,
We have Caviar tastes with a hot dog budget.
We should not, cannot, mortgage our offspring for our collective greed & mistakes anymore.
It’s time to wake up & smell the roses.
@ Gord @ 3.00 pm yesterday
“Economically we should be trying to attract high tech or such.” Ummmm, like very other Mayor on the North American continent: we’re way, way down the line on that one.
Commercial food production is our future: with all the waste sprawl at our disposal and real estate speculators hobbled for the time being Council has at least sanctioned garden plots.
But food is the next scarce commodity and it has nothing to do with the AGW nonsense so beloved of our college professors.
And talking of college professors you misguided FPN’ers listened to the wrong guy, the fallible Professor Don Alexander, who seems to be wrong on just about every thing especially the choice of that incompetent, inexperienced “leader” of your, deservedly ignored, charrette: not in my back yard!
You should have listened to some one who has the talent, experience to know of what he speaks . . .
True, Nanaimo has the potential to be a very livable, viable city again, as it was when I first did business here.
In the meantime the loonies have taken over the asylum!
@ rogerkemble (1 August 2011 at 11 am) Your question to Jim Taylor: “What have you accomplished?” Jim Taylor’s presence at council meetings is, to me, not so much a matter of “What have you accomplished?” as a matter of a citizen interested enough in the workings of city council and its bureaucratic life support system to be there and to be asking questions. That, in itself, is important. Sometimes I agree with him; sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I care whether or not his point is taken by council; sometimes I don’t. Nonetheless, a citizen airing his opinions and asking questions of those whom too few of us have elected (looking at the percentage of voters who actually do turn out to vote) is, to me, very important.
@ Jim Taylor: please continue your attendance at council meetings; continue your questions. I particularly enjoy the times when council members have to turn to their life support system members, who shuffle papers and then respond with something like “We’ll have to get back to you on that.”
Note to self: back to “The Yorkshire Lad” to digest and consider.
@Lynn. I to hope we never become another Vancouver or Victoria. While we would like to think there are strict conflict of interest guidlines Nanaimo’s are more like a sieve. All you have to do is look at where the elected recieved funds from when running and then how often they voted on something tied to the donators of the funds and it will make you sick.
@Wendy. It is good that Jim has started attending council meetings and asking questions, I hope he becomes a regular like Fred Taylor, Ron Bolin and myself who have been attending for years. We need more people to get out and ask the questions that need asking.
“Jim I have watched you glower, take notes, and posture before council for as long as I remember: what have you accomplished?”
Roger, do you have a short memory. I have only attended in person for less than six months, usually watch on Shaw or my PC. Do however attend as many of the non-televised meetins ie: FPCOW which I find much more interesting than the rehearsed regular meetings. As for accomplished? How would you measure that? Perhaps simply demonstrating that democracy is supposed to involve the participation of all the people, and not just a few is accomplishment enough. Could you tell me, what not participating accomplishes?
“Do we have well trained, reliable work force??” Of course not! But where else does?”
Roger, there is a reason most industry has for years been located in southern Ontario, and the work force is one of the major reasons. BC has had a bad reputation for labour for decades. As for a really reliable work force, there is a reason the Chinese dominate in the manufacture of just about everything
“From what institute did you graduate Jim? And when?”
No post secondary credits for me, I am not ashamed to say. If one looks at the world which is being led by graduates of higher learning, one might question, just what in hell do they tech there?
“Nothing wrong with taxes Jim if they are judiciously directed and well spent. And comparing us to Comox, or any other municipality, is meaningless!”
However, they are not being judiciously directed or well spent, hence they are out of control. As for the Comox comparison, it is not meaningless, if one is considering whether to retire to Nanaimo or Comox, the level of taxation is a definte consideration, as we hardly have any advantages over the Comox Valley as a retirement mecca.
“A little bit less condescension while ploughing more fallow ground (sprawl) will go along way to provide for Nanaimo’s future.”
I am not sure what you consider condescension, so have no reply.
Just read this (redacted by me) and I’m outta here–not to indicate support of Jim Taylor, but because some of it might be expected coming out of the mouth of a seven year old.
“@ Jim Taylor 1 August
. . . To Lynn you say . . . “You are asking a lot of good questions.” Errrr . . . ummmm . . . and who pray are you to judge questions. We are all in this together, yunno!
Taking a superior all knowing stance, it’s called condescension Jim dearie . . . and judging by your blog . . . all puff and fluff . . . you are in no position to judge . . . I turn to your Nanaimo News and Views. Never have I watched and read such pre-digested, super hyped-up sycophantic bullshit.
Saturated funk poop, it plays well for the yachting crowd . . .
rogerkemble1 August 2011 at 4pm”
@ Wendy 1 Aug.
“Just read this (redacted by me) and I’m outta here–not to indicate support of Jim Taylor, but because some of it might be expected coming out of the mouth of a seven year old.
Maybe it is as well you are oudda here Wendy.
I expected more of you.
I am sure Jim Taylor is a fine fellow but I am concerned he has an agenda.
His conventional, empty booster feel good stuff, as manifest here and on his blog, following council regularly, in presence, and on the CH4, betrays an out look that is no different to the present incumbent time servers.
Jim actions and writings tell me that, if he gains some civic position, he will do naught but offer more of the same.
As you say “ . . . expected coming out of the mouth of a seven year old.”
What this blogs need is less gossiping indignation and more organization: a really potent civic party to take over for real changes. Put our money were our mouths are! Practice what we preach. I do not see Jim there!
And actually, Wendy, as of your recent post, I don’t see you there either!
Yes, Roger I do have an agenda. And that would be to offer Nanaimo residents an alternative to the distilled ‘news’ offered in the local media.
I would hope that more people would participate in the democratic process so that we may have more accountability at city hall ……… a fading hope.
Roger, that is the extent of my reply to your attack, other than to say I suspect you secretly support the status quo and would sooner I simply shut up and go away rather than keep nipping at the heels of the establishment at city hall. I presume they have served you well in years past.
No, I don’t make a living from my blog, I am and have been retired for years, and since the blogs are non-commercial, it is a good thing I am retired.
The purpose of the blog is to serve the community, obviously you think it is coming up short, any constructive criticism would be appreciated, presuming you are capable of more than the diatribe presented here.
There are a lot of educated people living here in Nananio. Many who actually can not get jobs. I for one have my Business Admintistration, with a major in Marketing. No job. But who really decides how educated you you.
Story: I know someone, my cousin who was taking Marketing and Public Relations at a post secondary school in Edmonton. She had to write a report and went to the Economic Develepment Board in Edmonton to get assistance. Now most of these people had their MBA’s at the time. They were told to go see Mr. —– —— as he was the best in Edmonton. She was taken back, because the name they gave her was her uncle, my father. He did not have a post secondary Edmonton, but had been a Director of Marketing for a national/international company. By this time he owned his own business. She got her help.
I do not judge people by their book learning, but by their actions. People learn in many ways, those attending the meeting are accomplishing something by supporting their community. Everyone attending the council meetings no doubt has their own agenda. There are thousands of people out there that have built something without having a degree behind their name but I am sure many working at the city and other companies here operating under Peters Principle. I had to listen to one at a meeting I attended. Could not even speak on a subject which he has been working on for years without reading to the crowd from his overhead notes. For the record this city employee makes over 86,000 per year and spoke a few times about how he could not want to retire in a year and a half.
There is an open house this Wednesday regarding the AAP so I hope everyone will be attending.
“Stairway To Heaven”
There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying the stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for.
Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying the stairway to heaven.
“Errrr . . . ummmm . . . and who pray are you to judge questions. We are all in this together, yunno!”
And what would you say you are doing????
Roger you sound very angry.
As Hughie Newton used to say . . . “If you ain’t angry you ain’t paying attention!”
“And what would you say you are doing????”
For one thing scrutinizing your “Stairway to heaven” blog.
On the other hand do not take the city’s promos stuff seriously. For instance, the rendering of the water treatment plant is pure flim flam: just a little detail but a telling one.
. . . no black top roadway, no chain link fence, no parking lot, no security gate, no architect: sited in a pristine wooded glen fit for a latter day Lochinvar: and trust me no trees . . .
Sin embargo . . .
I commend you for questioning raw log exports: I have been watching this economic travesty from my window, for years.
But what are we going to do about it? We cannot rely on the other Taylor, or Ron B . . they’re up to their ass in committee minutes . . . missing the big picture completely . . .
One of your slides shows, I notice, has my sail boat passing Jack Point light tower: thanqu!
Good luck. Get a back bone!
Is being able to provide all these nice little quotes providing you with a backbone? You yourself said this is just gossip, so why be so mean spirited to those that are expressing their own thoughts such as you have been.
Lynn dearie, understand this is a gossip forum for a lot of frustrated old pensioners, me included, to get their jollies off.
Mostly we have neither the courage, wit of compulsion to do anything but chatter . . . no one practices what they practice what they preach . . . except ME!
I glad you had a great career you are proud of and a legacy to pass to your family, but this does not give you the right to condem what others are trying to achieve via this site and act with a condescending manner. And you did that when you called me ‘Dearie’.
You know nothing about me and what I have done or not done, so where do you come off saying you are the only one that practices what the preach is ? And attacking others for their efforts, because they are ‘possibly not up to your standards’ is mean spirited and not achieving anything.
Maybe I should have used the word, bitter rather than angry.
I apolgize Lynn. I over stepped. You sound like a lady with gravitas . . . R
Apology accepted. And I am assuming your other statement is with best of intentions.=)
In spite of Mr. Kembles assertion, there was nothing condescending meant by my reply. I must say I have pondered the same questions that you pose, for many years, and am just as frustrated as you are with what appears to be lack of concrete answers.
Rather than spending well over $75 million on a conference centre, I have often thought we would have been much better spending the money on the BIGGEST _______________ and the world would beat a path to our door just to see it.
I have also flown the flag for the idea of a Geriatric Theme Park complete with Geritol on tap at the water fountains and moving sidewalks everywhere. That plus an elevator to the top of the water slide ……. so far no takers on that one either.
It’s is refreshing to hear from someone fairly new to the area who wishes to actually participate in the process rather than just grumble and complain. Most people it seems take little interest in their community and much less interest in how it is governed.
A lot of frustration here!
Could it be time to focus this on those we are at odds with?
Is it time to lift a pint or whatever you drink & discuss the future with the intention to actually do something?
Casual at first & perhaps,hopefully, something more substantial later?
Where and when???
There has always been a lot of frustration and seeking of answers. Re the Convention Centre, yes it is a fiasco and those of us that fought to not have it built can justifiably say I told you so but it does nothing towards making it work or preventing our city government from grandiose ideas and over spending.
A pint might work, back in the day it was said mescaline would help to attain visions. Some of us meet on a regular basis Saturday Mornings at 10:00 over coffee, perhaps we can start from there. While we have met at Serious Coffee on Commercial we used to meet at the Vault which has re-opened. Perhaps those interested would be willing to meet there this weekend?
So the city of Nanaimo “forgot” to wire the council chambers in the new Annex for sound. So they’ve opted instead to continue holding their council meetings at the VICC, rather than pay another $90k to wire the new council chambers up for sound and internet.
I find it highly unlikely that they actually forgot to include the proper equipment and wiring in their plans for the new Annex. I think they purposely forget to do so, with the intention of keeping their council meetings at the VICC. Because if they stopped holding their meetings at the VICC, who knows what those delegate counts would look like next year. Undoubtedly the Nanaimo city council and their meetings account for a huge chunk of the VICC’s annual “delegates”, and also make up a big portion of the VICC budget. To pull out would only make the VICC boondoggle look all that much worse. So this way they look frugal by not spending an additional $90k to wire the Annex up, and also don’t sink VICC’s boat.
Can anyone tell me if the attendees at the council meetings which are held in the Shaw Auditorium, are counted as VICC delegates?
Brendan; the city actually did wire the New Annex. When that decision was made they did not agree to the Video Equipment being installed and actually continuing to have the COW meetings at the SHAW Auditorium is a good idea; far more seating for those really contensious issues and the video capability is there already.
As for your last question I do not believe so. They do however count the folk that attend the church there on Sundays. If 200 show up then multiplied by 52 the number would account for at least 1/3 of delegates. As it stands they are still, after t2012 numbers, less than 4.5% capacity.