FYI re: FOI on RDN WtoE Notice
Ron Bolin: Feb. 1, 2014
On July 23, 2013, the Board of the Regional District of Nanaimo voted unanimously to to send to the Metro Vancouver Regional Board the following motion with reference to their search for a location for an incinerator/Waste-to-Energy facility :
“That the Board Direct staff to advise Metro Vancouver that the RDN does not support a waste-to-energy facility within the boundaries of the RDN.”
On January 13, 2014, I sent an FOI request to the RDN for a copy of the document which was sent to Metro Vancouver as a result of this Board motion.
On Jan. 31, 2014, I received the following documents.
FOI – Bolin – Response with records jan 31 2014
It will be noted that the formal transmittal to the Metro Vancouver Board of the July 23, 2013 motion made by the RDN Board did not take place until at least Jan. 13, 2014, some six months later. There seem to have been some unsubstantiated phone calls and discussion in the interim about this motion, but it is not at all clear whether the reported conversations constitute a formal and legal transmittal. This is significant because it had been noted that no location would be considered which did not wish to be considered. In November two sites in Nanaimo were shown as being under active consideration. Could this be because the rejection was, for whatever reason, incorrectly conveyed? Or is there some other explanation? And if so, what is it?
This situation raises further concerns about the relation of Nanaimo’s City Council members sitting on the RDN Board and their position as members of Nanaimo’s City Council. It has been reported that, like all other RDN Board Members, they voted unanimously to sent the above motion to Metro. Soon after, they were apparently approached by the proponents of the Nanaimo locations (this again was supposed to be a no-no as I read the Metro documents) and some Council members apparently changed their minds and without further ado we find that Nanaimo is in the running with not one, but two, sites and no intervening public decision. How does this work? Members ignore their own publicly made decision and do not even need to publicly acknowledge it?
Having the situation thus far documented, I will seek to determine the relation between the RDN and the City in a case like this where their overlapping memberships seem to be playing at sixes and sevens among themselves . Is it legitimate for our representatives on both to flitter from pillar to post without publicly changing their actions under provincial legislation? And if so, why bother paying them for both?
This will remain an ongoing topic for some time which I would like to see limned first for the rules of the governance game and then for the rules of science, health and finance.
What do you think?
Please be sure to read Alec McPhersons’s article on the situation at:
Ron; with due respect I have said this since the incinerator first came to light.
The City have wanted this project from the start.
When Councillor Anderson pushed the subect I could not believe the rotten mealymouthed backtracking of some Councillors.
The next question to ask is why do they want such a controversial project when faced with such opposition?
I still contend that it is access to Welcox upon which so many long term ‘dreams’ depend.
Access is important as it is to the stagnent Cable Bay project which is dead as a project but not as a thorn in the side of the taxpayer.
Trailblazer: I am not, at this point, overly concerned with the behavior of our Councillors as I am with their legal ability to do so. Can they simply at their whim take part in a vote on a matter at the RDN, indeed, a matter of solid waste management which is in the purview of the RDN, on one side of an issue, and then turn around and do the opposite with no intervening actions?
Further in this case is the matter of the RDN Staff and their duty to carry out a motion of the RDN Board swiftly and officially. It appears that neither of these qualities was shown in this matter and one is left to wonder about the relation of the Board to its Staff.
I think we will be hearing more about these issues.
Surely we all know ,( and so does Council) that we , the public, do not have the finances to challenge them in a court of law.
They will huff & puff all the way home( as they did) because they know it’s a done deal.
The infuriating thing is that the bas#$rds will complain when the election voter turn out is only 20%.
Gee; what can we do to engage the voter???
Perhaps tell the effing truth and act legally would be a good start.
Last night I sent the following email to the Chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional District asking two important questions to which I await response before making the next move.
Metro Vancouver Regional District
I write to you with regard to correspondence which I recently received from the Regional District of Nanaimo (see attached). This response to a FOI request includes a letter from the RDN to you as Chair of the MVRD informing you that:
At Regional District of Nanaimo Board meeting held July 23, 2013, the Board passed the following motion:
“That the Board direct staff to advise Metro Vancouver that the RDN does not support a waste-to-energy facility within the boundaries of the RDN.”
I note that the unanimous RDN Board decision to eschew the development of an MVRD incinerator in the RDN was made on July 23, 2013, while formal notification of this decision was only sent on January 13, 2014. In the intervening period since the passing of this motion, the proponents of the Nanaimo proposal have actively courted Nanaimo Councillors and now the public despite my understanding that: 1) there exists or existed an admonition from the MVRD that proponents not approach the government bodies of their possible clients at this time; and 2) that it had been stated by the MVRD that they would excuse any agency from participation in their search for an incinerator site if that agency so indicated. The RDN did so indicate in July of last year.
I ask that you advise me of the correctness or incorrectness of my understanding in these regards as it affects the RDN, Nanaimo and the MVRD.
Thanking you for your consideration and looking forward to your reply.
I will post any response that I receive in return.
Trailblazer, your claim this is a done deal, demonstrates your complete lack of knowledge about this issue. You are however, not alone in the camp of those in opposition. The fact the RDN in July decided to formally say they did not support the WTE at Duke Point, based on no particulars whatever, and then City Council expressing their desire to actually base their decision on factual information, is hardly the basis for some grand legal challenge worthy of F. Lee himself.
How do you know that this decision was “based on no particulars”? Do not individuals have enough intelligence to research issues, to understand scientific principles, and to ascertain where the public is on an issue?
Where will City Council find the factual information that would support burning rubbish in the back yard? Certainly not from the proponent!
The proponents have not been able to release ANY particulars as to the type of technology they are proposing. This is not burning rubbish in the back yard.
Jim: While I agree with you that this is far from a done deal, this does not excuse our Council from arbitrarily changing their opinion on the Metro deal with no consequences. This is school yard stuff….
Ron: how many times did Council change their minds on the Colliery Dam? What consequences do you propose for them not abiding by their original decision to remove the dams and rehabilitate the river?
Jim: How many times do I have to say it??? Each time they changed their mind a vote was involved… If they want a new vote on their decision then they should go ahead and do so. Til then they are playing “do over” in the school yard.
When did the city of Nanaimo COUNCIL vote to tell Metro Van they weren’t interested in a WTE?? I don’t remember that vote, perhaps you can enlighten me? I do remember a backdoor effort on the part of Councillor Anderson, that thankfully fell flat. That is an example of the underhanded tactics I would not really would have expected. The Nanaimo City Council did not change their vote on the issue, as they never had a vote on the issue. 7 council members in their role as rdn directors voted for the rdn to send a letter to Metro Van but never as the City Council of Nanaimo…………. how times do I have to say that??
A plausible explanation for the RDN to think they maybe acted a little too hastily, was the realization that a wte has been under consideration as an option for Nanaimo to replace our soon to be full landfill. If they made some formal bylaw to cancel the Metro Van option, it could very well also kill the ability to build a wte of our own in the same area. Wouldn’t be unlike,some of the planning Nanaimo and the rdn are famous for. After the knee-jerk decision there was much discussion as to whether the rdn could stop a conforming use in our industrial park without being open to liability from landowners, who perhaps thought they could actually put industry in an industrial park. I suspect the last thing the rdn would really want right now is a full-on look into their whole solid waste mis-management system.
Seven Nanaimo Councillors duly elected by the voters of Nanaimo sit on the RDN board and voted to give notice to Metro that they did not want an incinerator here. You may wish to distance Clark Kent from Superman, but they are, at the Level of the RDN Board, the same thing.
I think you know that there are many issues involved here, not just one. There are many activities which I might undertake on my property which I will not permit you to do on my property. This, according to that RDN Board vote, is one of them.
The question of the owner’s right to use their property as they please was short circuited by the RDN saying that they would not consider any location which rejected the idea. The RDN rejected the idea. If Metro does not offer, then the owners have no recourse to the City. It is a matter of buyer’s choice.
Perhaps you might to discuss the RDN’s solid waste mismanagement at greater length so that it can do better. Isn’t that our goal?
Ron, then you agree, the Nanaimo City Council did not elect to send the same notice to Metro. Case closed.
Burning rubbish in your backyard is a crime under Nanaimo By-laws, if you do so you will soon find yourself hauled before the court. This precedent has been established based on the known harmful effects to public health. It is the reason why the Mayor of Vancouver cannot burn rubbish in his own municipality regardless as to the “type of technology”! Grab a brain Taylor! Children, mere children have stood before Council and presented science based evidence against burning rubbish. To suggest that this is really about generating energy is an outright lie and that is why you will never hear “ANY particulars” about this proposal!
“Grab a brain”Joe.
Any business is good business; regardless of consequence.
Please ,please spare us that liberal let the future take care of itself bs!!
On a more serious note; I find it hard to believe that we still wish to mortgage the future(economically & enviromentally) so as to provide the lifestyle(we have earned!!) and deserve! gulp, vomit..
Joe, your lack of knowledge on the subject is immense.
Joe; Trailblazer; Jim:: Keep some orderly respect in your comments or go elsewhere to vent. We at least try for reasoned comments here.
My comment to Joe was pure sarcasm as I am sure Joe is aware.
I believe that you,Ron, missed the point.
As for ‘venting’
With every passing day I see reason & democratic input flushed down the toilet by various levels of Government & powerful unelected groups.
That said ‘venting’ is a moderate response to todays problems.
Further; as for respect.
What respect do you get Ron?
You work tirelessly for the betterment of the less fortunate & what results do you get?
Council & Staff look you in the face & the look says eff you ; what can you do!!
As much as I disagree with Jim Taylor he has the right idea with a taxpayer uprising , that is unless I have misunderstood him.
Unless democracy can be seen to work then anarchy will eventually prevail.
Democracy is not working…
Democracy is working…… those who participate are benefiting. Those who simply bitch on blogs and whine before council accomplish nothing. Unless the 73% wakes up and participates, democracy will stumble along at it’s current pace. I do believe a taxpayer revolt, if that’s what you want to call letting government know enough is enough is the only thing that will change that. However, given the response I have seen from the membership of the Ratepayers Assoc. I predict that bitching and whining is about as far as we get.
Jim: Please tell us about how those who are participating in Democracy are benefiting. You are participating. Are you benefiting? I know that I am not. And how about the response from the membership of the Ratepayers Association? Why so limp? As you are aware, I have promoted the introduction of political parties at the municipal level as the game changer that is needed under the current circumstances. As you suggest, the ramblings of a few unorganized individuals who are not recognized as a part of the electoral process are not getting any further than such activities have in the past. It is my contention that if one wants to see the Ratepayer Association flourish, we need to see a Concerned Ratepayer party which can give its members a feeling of strength and togetherness in meeting the wall of apathy which you so correctly identify. Without purposeful organization, nothing is going to happen differently than it has in the last several elections which have, as you have identified, brought forth a hodgepodge of expensive directionless projects.
Jim; the 73% who do not particpate in elections get just the same Governmnet as the 27% who do vote.
That is to say ; they get in camera decisions and a Council that plays to the Public workers unions,big development & realtors & increasingly do nothing self important down town organizations such as typified by Sasha Angus .
What percentage of the 27% these people make puts the decision making in too few hands.
Vancouver based journalists are of the opinion that “Nanaimo” is competing to win this incinerator project. Who shall we thank for this? The Mayor of Nanaimo? City Staff? The Nanaimo Development Corporation? The Nanaimo Daily News? The Real Estate Board? The Chamber of Commerce? The RDN? Who pray tell who?
By ignoring the RDN motion in which they fully participated back in July, Council is, in fact, competing for the incinerator project… And this without public consultation. The backroom push is just another demonstration of Council’s contempt for the public. How many in-camera meetings have been devoted to this subject?? Given the way municipal government is supposed to work in a case like this, the only culprit, as the only agency which you mention which is supposedly dedicated to the interests of ALL the public, is City Council. The others are all agencies which need only consider their own individual wants and needs.
WOW; the penny dropped.
Perhaps I ‘should’ move on to further pastures ; but I won’t.
If those “further pastures” are as dozy as these, where can we move? The finger pointing circle is everywhere…. almost …. I hope….
Ron, I find this comment a little hard to swallow: ” The backroom push is just another demonstration of Council’s contempt for the public. ” given the backroom end run Anderson tried with the aid of the opponents to the WTE at Duke Point. A motion that was not even on the updated agenda at council, when the gallery was loaded with supporters of his motion. I found that whole little exercise stomach turning. I believe you we alright with it though?
Ron, as to whether I feel I am benefiting from my participation…. absolutely! I have seen many changes in how city hall functions over the past six years. The fact we are now on our third city manager, many senior staff are now gone, and we actually have a council that is beginning to no longer put up with the crap staff keeps trying to pull. This next election could be a real game changer in Nanaimo, if one more councillor can be added to the four who are definitely changing how things are done at city hall.
The ones benefiting by participation are the arts crowd, the labour crowd, the business crowd, all of whom do participate, all of whom directly benefit from their participation.
My own personal greatest benefit is being able to know, I am doing something, rather than just complaining. As to the overall apathy? It could be we are seeing a society that are simply just pathetic.
Jim: While I am in favour of requiring a notice of motion in all such cases to avoid precipitate action (remember that we acquired a Communications Manager in just this fashion within a meeting and without the matter being included in the agenda), Councillor Anderson was within the policies and procedures currently operational at Council. This is just another policy that needs to be changed. It is simply that I believe that policies and procedures are for all and it is not derelict to use them… Want to eliminate this possibility in the future? Then call for Council to change the policy and I’ll back you.
Incineration of waste produces the following toxic air borne compounds; arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, beryllium, hydrogen fluoride, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), herbicide residues, wood preservatives, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, and so forth not to mention green house gases. These chemicals kill given enough exposure. This proposal needs to be killed before it kills us! No amount of revenue is worth the risk and will eventually be lost to rising health expenditures in any case. This is the reason why the Province needs to get involved. This issue does not have to be our little fight with a Mayor who doesn’t even live here!
The “fallout zone” includes Gabriola Island, home of Senator Larry Campbell, former Mayor of Vancouver. The “fallout zone” also includes Kitsalano, the home of the current Mayor of Vancouver.
If Nanaimo City Council will not listen to its own citizens then perhaps Vancouver City Council will listen. Start writing letters.
Metro Vancouver is promoting a very bad idea which will poison the land, the sea, the air we breathe and the food we grow. Everyone downwind from Duke Point needs to get involved.
…. given the backroom end run Anderson tried with the aid of the opponents to the WTE at Duke Point. A motion that was not even on the updated agenda at council, when the gallery was loaded with supporters of his motion.
Anderson pushed the issue of the incinerator & exposed Nanaimo Councillors duplicity for which he must be thanked.
As for his actions.
My rusty memory tells me that on a couple of accasions Council tried to push through Cable Bay issues using similar process!
I don’t think you had issue with process at that time as you are/were a CB sympathizer.
Why should it be different now?
I am/was not a Cable Bay sympathizer. Where do you get you info??? In any case, what both you and Ron seem to be saying is you have no issue with underhanded stuff, if it suits your purpose??
Jim: Please indicate where I have said anything which would give you the right to say that I have no issue with “underhanded stuff”.
Joe: you say: “Incineration of waste produces the following toxic air borne compounds; arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, beryllium, hydrogen fluoride, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), herbicide residues, wood preservatives, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins, furans, and so forth not to mention green house gases. ”
Is this what you are saying comes from the stack of a modern EFW plant?? Have you seen the standards these plants are held to?
I get you don’t like garbage burners, but like many of the opponents you are not basing you objections on factual information as it would apply to Duke Point.
This shed more light on the matter.
This article refers to air emmision standards.
Considering the perpetual complaints to the recycle plant at Duke Point & to Harmac pulp mill ; just what standards do we,in BC, impose on such facilities?
My guess is that our standards could be lower than other juridctions.
Trailblazer, again you are referring to some article on the Net that has NOTHING to do with the proposal at Duke Point. To this day, the specifics of the Duke Point plant have not been made public……..I may finally agree with you, but I need to see the FACTS before coming to a conclusion. I find the willingness to act before that, is something I simply can’t support.
Jim: Just how close does the bus rushing at someone have to come before he/she should get out of the way? It is not just GHG that are the problem, it is also massive deforestation, the pollution and abuse of our water and the rate at which our growing population and their growing consumption increases the risk. I believe in the precautionary principle.
And besides, what is the reward that the bus will bring if we continue to stand in front of it?
Ron, again…… long on opinion, not based on fact. If GHG were an issue, all of those so concerned would have closed the compost plant ages ago. Am still not convinced burial is better than burn. Deforestation? Pollution? Abuse of water? Growing population?? We are talking about one EFW facility…. right??? Peel region in Ontario, studied this whole issue for 3 years, and opted for it as an option to landfill. They were probably looking at current facts, something which we still don’t have.
Taylor: are you being paid by someone to lobby for this incinerator proposal?
Jim: Peel was “probably” looking at facts which we still don’t have…! So why are you so convinced that an incinerator here for Metro’s garbage is a good thing? I grant that there are a great many polluters who have effectively been grandfathered into what may be an unhealthy continued existence, but why keep harping on the compost plant when, on the other hand, you give dire warnings about the dangers of land fills. (By the way, the argument here is NOT about incineration vs landfill. It is about how to reduce either to a minimal level. But I cannot help but note that landfills have been around for thousands of years, while incineration in the “modern” form has only been around for a couple of decades: about the time it took to determine that asbestos was deadly.) As has been said elsewhere, here in Nanaimo it is probable that wood stoves and fireplaces are a major culprit. Want to try to take them away?
Or maybe we should fore-go our hum drum existence and spend our time, energy and money on a lottery ticket.
Joe I am NOT being paid by anyone….. are you being paid by someone lobbying for the garbage trucking, dumping industry???
My consideration about EFW has nothing to do with whether Metro Van is involved or not. I see it as a very real alternative to finding another dump, when Cedar is full. I put more faith in a fact-based three year decision, than a whole lot of opposition based on ?????????????
Taylor: You are in the marketing business. Your arguments are nonsensical.
A word to those -you know who you are- that name calling is not permitted on this blog. I would not like to have to go back to a fully moderated comment mode of operation, but I have seen what has happened to several local facebook pages where that sort of comment is not only allowed, but by allowance appears to be encouraged.
Joe…. wanting to know facts before making a decision is nonsensical?? Hmmmmmm