Letter to Council: A Burning Issue

Ron Bolin: Dec. 3: 2013

Mayor Ruttan and Councillors:

I would like to thank you for the discussion put forward last night in the matter of the Duke Point Incinerator.  While I may not agree with all the sentiments expressed, I did appreciate the relatively low number of personal slams and most of all I appreciated hearing on the issue in some cogent detail from each and every member of Council.  We need more discussions of that sort. It is too bad that an eTown Hall meeting has not yet been called on this issue.

I must also, however, register my disappointment that the matter did not come to a vote last night.  Defeating the motion would not have killed your ability to bring it back at a later, perhaps more appropriate, time.  As passed, tabling the matter removes it from routine decision until some unknown time –estimated to be March or April next year- a long time for the matter to fester and for the proponents to be kept on the hook.

As your prompt adjournment last night curtailed question period, I would like to put the questions which I was unable to ask last night to you now:

  1. In my interpretation a secondary suite is one for which rent is paid in an arm’s length transaction which thus creates a formal tenancy which is outside that of the owner.  The City’s definition seems to be such as to supersede an owner’s quiet enjoyment of his own premises whether or not such an additional tenancy has been created.  Could I have a clear description of what constitutes a secondary suite in the city’s definition?
  2. I am unclear about the relation of the City and the RDN in the matter of the RDN vote to reject an incinerator in the RDN.  I am informed that all seven Nanaimo Councillors voted for that rejection.  How, following that vote, can Nanaimo take independent action which effectively overturns the RDN and all of its other constituents on this matter?
  3. There was some discussion last night about process and Councillor Anderson’s use of it in bringing forward the incinerator question. As I understand it, the ability to make a motion is open to Councillors without let.  I have seen motions made and approved inside a meeting of Council with NO previous information to any agenda however late.  If this is the case, there was no breach of process.  The process available was used.  If that process is not to be used, shouldn’t Council place a statement forbidding such actions into the procedure bylaw?
  4. Are there no questions which, by their nature, can be excluded from a determination of their dollar values, i.e. “what’s in it for us?”.  Are there no moral questions?  If there are such questions, how can we tell when we see one?

Looking forward to your responses and thanking you for your consideration,

Ron Bolin