Off My Chest

Ron Bolin: Sept.   17, 2015

Core Review


Read the Request for Proposal put forward by Dr, Roshan Danesh to the CSRSC given in the Addendum below. Attend the meeting if you can. The Core Services Review will be a critical document in the management of Nanaimo in the coming years and will define the direction which the City will take. Your input will be needed as the project proceeds in the coming year. Remember that it is anticipated that this project is estimated to cost well over $200,000, not a great sum relative to our overall budget, but very significant in the impact that it may have on that budget in the coming years.

Here are the relevant documents for this meeting:



One Dam Thing after Another

The tree cutting at the Colliery Dams Park has begun and digging will soon follow. Citizens who wish to pay little or no attention to what goes on in Nanaimo and don’t want to hear about it can return to the snooze position. But while our aging and dozy population goes back to sleep, it is fervently to be hoped that an examination of how we got ourselves into this sleep depriving situation and the ill-informed speculation relating to it along with its attendant costs to Nanaimo taxpayers in both aggravation and money will continue to be examined until the source of the problem is determined and corrected.

This dam situation was begun with a presentation from Staff (+consultants?) which both misrepresented the condition of the dams and raised in Council the spectre of babies washing down the river and students drowning in their classrooms. As it turned out, when the matter was, under public pressure, finally examined properly that scenario was found to be false.   The “problem” then proceeded to a new source: floods of biblical proportion. This assertion was never properly examined in the context of climate and weather patterns and the response of the watershed. Rather than permit the time needed to do a proper study, The Provincial Comptroller of Water mandated a draconian and costly solution to this ill-defined problem. And so we find ourselves in a cost plus contract to build a spillway which may be redundant, will certainly mar the ambience of the Park, and is only vaguely costed.

This is not the first time that millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money has been spent based on ignorance or misrepresentation. The Vancouver Island Conference Centre, among other ill-defined projects, comes to mind. Nanaimo, with its poverty problems cannot afford repeated poor planning and poor judgement.

Fast Ferries

The extent to which the $14 million dollars promised by Conservative candidates for fast ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver if they are successful in the coming election is possibly stretched thin by another proposal for the introduction of fast ferry service from Victoria to Vancouver. At this time it remains unknown whether we are now up to promising $28 million dollars of public money , whether the original sum will go to the first past the post, whether it will be split between them, or whether the original offer/bribe still stands. (How is it that offers by governments to do something if votes are obtained is legal, while an offer to a government servant to do something if their palms are greased is not?)

The possibly unintended consequences of such service(s) are likewise unknown. Can these ferries generate the hundreds of new ferry users needed to support both themselves and BC Ferries or will we find ourselves undergoing drastic changes in costs and services as a result? And if so, what will that change look like? Can Nanaimo support three ferry services each of which requires hundreds of passengers per day to survive, let alone prosper?


Isn’t it interesting to read and hear about the governance of the City of Nanaimo in various City reports, without hearing much of anything about the role of the governed in governance. There are, of course, those who believe that the divine rights of Kings are devolved upon the elected (Council) and from them on to Staff by anointment, but the technology of the age in which we now find ourselves runs ever more strongly in the direction of participatory democracy. We need to work a lot harder on how to use the two-way communication tools available to us in our current environment to evolve from representative democracy toward participatory democracy.

Your Comments, suggestions, etc. are always welcome.