Is it a record?
Ron Bolin: April 13, 2012
The agenda for Monday’s Regular Meeting of City Council is some 412 pages in length and more may come in the final amended version which will be out on Monday prior to the 7pm meeting in the Shaw auditorium. If I were a Councillor I would certainly let it be known that the time between the release of the Agenda, usually on the Thursday afternoon preceding the Monday meeting, does not provide adequate time for the reasonable consideration of the business of the City of Nanaimo: and most especially not when the agenda is overweight with the lengthy, significant and detailed reports which form part of this one.
In addition to the usual 1 to 5 page reports usually to be found in an agenda we have the following:
- a 48 page report on the Westwood Tennis Club Land Use Contract;
- a 79 page report on the Public Hearing of Thursday, April 5, 2012;
- a 50 page report on Expressions of Interest for the Sale of the City Hall Annex;
- a 42 page report on RCMP Contract Renewal;
- a 68 page report on the 2011 Annual Financial Statements and KPMG Audit Findings (pp 285-353. Does not match the agenda index.)
While I suspect that these subjects have been part of previous discussions, these documents are, in effect, the contracts that have been drawn on them and thus are worthy of detailed scrutiny before they are finally approved. I am sure that our Councillors are well aware of their responsibilities in this regard and they deserve the time that it takes to ensure that Staff, as their agents, but with their own viewpoint in mind, have not overlooked something important to the public weal. This was apparently the case when a deal was struck with Millennium Developments which paid them over $3 million taxpayer dollars directly for services which were never provided rather than putting the funds into an escrow account to be paid following performance. Responsibility is Council’s charge and commitment and I do not see how this can be done in a case like this. I want my representatives to demand their right to sufficient time for appropriate oversight. This seems to be a glaring case on which to make that demand. All agenda items, barring emergencies items -which in a well-run organization should be few and far between- should be distributed at least a week in advance to both Council and the public for adequate scrutiny.
There will also be two important presentations at the meeting. In the first, a representative of KPMG the City’s auditors will provide a presentation on the City of Nanaimo’s audited financial statements. In the Second, Ms. Terry Hartley, Nanaimo’s HR Director and the principals of RETHINK (West) will give a presentation on the development to date of the Corporate Strategic Plan. Both these are matters of significant consequence to the development of our City, and its business, social and financial well-being and deserve our full attention.
It may be noted that the agenda presented on line at:
does not take note of the Notice of Motion given by Councillor Anderson at the last Council meeting regarding the recording of the other Council Meetings, i.e. the Finance and Policy Committee of the Whole (which even now is slated to become the Committee of the Whole and to be the only entry point for Delegations on matters not on the Regular Council Agenda.) I have been informed that this was an oversight and will be added in the final agenda. IT will be a great step forward in transparency if this motion passes. One can only speculate on the message which Council is sending if it is defeated.
Things are happening out there in our Council and in our City. On Monday aside from the scheduled Council meeting at 7pm, there is the usual morning get together as well as an 90(1) in-camera session scheduled for 11:30 am. Be aware. Be active. Be alive.
Expression of Interest for Sale of City Hall Annex????? Tell me, Ron, it isn’t true. Surely the City is not contemplating the sale of this dangerous, derelict building. Or if they are, the new owner will be required to either tear it down or spend four million on seismic upgrades. Surely the City does not want to reaffirm the cynics who said that the entire scheme was not so much about safety as satisfying the wish of City bureaucrats to have a nice, shiny new building. Or to reaffirm the observation that the safety of City Hall employees is more important than the safety of the rest of us peons. Not in my Nanaimo!
Expressions of interest have been shown by local entertainers in need of a new comedy club. There is some concern however that they might bring the house down with their antics. One wag replied that it wouldn’t happen without a Demolition Permit which cannot be issued on a Saturday night.
I’m afraid another comedy club would find it very hard slogging with a new one being built just a few metres away and an old one just across the street. ;-)
Lets not forget the ones that happen routinely on Mondays; though folk do not get the luxury of viewing the one of those unless they see it live:).
Westwood Tennis Club– 48 page report, several hours of council presentations, hours of staff meetings, public newspaper notifications for public meetings, etc.
Uplands Wet House– 1 in- camera meeting, a 2 page staff memo, done deal.