Mayor’s Trip to China: A slow boat?

At Monday’s Council Meeting (August 17, VICC, 7 pm), Staff will bring forward a request that Council authorize an extra $11,000 in 2015 travel funds for the Mayor to travel to Shanghai and Beijing in China.

It is difficult not to notice that the information backdrop to this request for $11,000 in extra funds, echoes that in many City reports where grand assertions are made from scant substance.  For example:

  • How does this trip relate to that taken last September by NEDC?
  • Why is this trip important as Mr. Angus has already said that the Hilton Hotel deal is coming this fall?
  • Will the Mayor raise there, as he did here, questions regarding SSS Manhao suing the City for expenses which they supposedly undertook, but failed to perform upon, relative to the Conference Centre Hotel?
  • What kinds of offers will the Mayor be authorized to make on behalf of Nanaimo and its City Council?
  • How will the Mayor deal with the language question? His hosts will entertain him in English, but if he does not have a capable Mandarin speaker with obligations to us rather than them, very important by-play will be missed.  He will need a good interpreter. This significant expense is not currently included.
  • Who else is going along on this junket?  How are their expenses being covered? From some other taxpayer funded source such as NEDC or the DNBIA?
  • And why, if this is for the purpose of economic development, is NEDC not paying for the Mayor’s expenses.  Isn’t this double dipping?

Councillor McKay was a prolific user of standard City expenses: 2012-$7,500.33;  2013 – $14,972.89;  2014 – $11,232.10. Have the benefits of these expenses been so clear that we are prepared on so little information to top up his 2015 expenses by another $11,000+?

Ron Bolin