Oh What a Day it Was!
Ron Bolin: Nov. 16, 2014
Election Day in Nanaimo, Nov. 15, 2014, led to the following Council results:
- 6 of 9 on Council are new.
- Mayor (one of the 9 above) is new.
- 5 of the 9 have not been elected to public office previously, but some have had related experience.
- 4 out of the 9, including the Mayor, couldn’t get past an AAP (Alternative Approval Process) which would require 10% of eligible voters (6867) to pass.
- In theory we should get tighter controls on the budget (But who knows… We’ve heard that song before.)
- In theory we should get more transparency and public participation (But who knows… We’ve heard that song before.)
I can’t say that I’m “happy” with the results. I will wait and see. But In the meantime I am optimistic. We should have some prompt policy/Procedure questions rectified quickly by the new Council based on the Responses on Critical Issues which were provided by the Candidates elected. The question regarding a referendum on the Georgia Park 60+year land lease was:
1. Funding of Referendum Processes:
1. the City pays for a proper referendum;
2. the Proponent pays for a proper referendum; or
3. citizens are required to fund an AAP (Alternate Approval Process) using their own money and energy.
Which of these options do you support? And what are the reasons for your choice?
The results which came back from our elected representatives (except from Councillor Brennan) were:
The next question put to candidates involved the time for Council and for the Public to consider the agenda:
Council agendas are produced by Staff and are distributed to Council and to the public two business days ahead of the respective Council meeting which they define. Does this schedule give sufficient time for Council and the public to read, comprehend, research and discuss with each other, with authorities and with the public, the issues represented in what may be a 300+ page document?
Please respond with either YES or NO and, if NO, please give the number of working days – do not include weekends and holidays- which you feel should be available to Council and the Public to consider the issues in an agenda prior to a Council meeting. (Please give your estimate as a number). Include your reason(s) if you feel so inclined.)
The results which were returned by all candidates except Councillor Brennan and now Mayor Elect McKay were:
It is my view that if these matters were settled much Communication and Trust could be restored between Council, Staff and the Public. Here these questions have only been answered in principle by our new Councillors and require discussion concerning, for example, the magnitude of a question requiring a referendum process which would demand a true referendum for the first question; and the number of days by which the agenda should precede a Council meeting to allow adequate consideration by all.
It is my fervent hope that discussions and decisions on these questions can be undertaken quickly.
My sincere thanks to all those candidates who participated in responding to these questions and to the interaction shared between them in seeking answers. I believe that their responses were improved by their practice of sharing their suggestions. It is to be hoped that we see more sharing among all concerned, Council, Staff and the Public in the Council which will be sworn in on Dec. 1.