Nanaimo Notes 5 & 6

Ron Bolin: July 16, 2017

Nanaimo Notes on the Nanaimo City Hall blog are reproduced from my Facebook page as the come out.  As in Facebook, comments and suggestions are welcomed here as well where they may be easier to find at a later date…


Nanaimo Notes #5

Herding Cats in Nanaimo

Finding any clear direction from Council is like finding a clear direction from a congregation of cats.  Some people find this a reassuring sign of true democracy as Council is elected by citizens who largely do not have a clear direction in which they wish the City to go –as long as it doesn’t disturb their current position.  Others find it distressing to see directions change like the weather between saving and spending, begging and bragging, the proclamation of policies and procedures which then proceed to be ignored at will.

There are at least two significant alternatives:

  • Forget elections and just pick random names from the list of registered voters. After all, the requirements are the same for each, barring the two signatures required to be a candidate. After all, this is the way that members of the military are selected when things get really tough;          or
  • Go the way of our senior governments and organize into political parties but, unlike them, parties which are unique to our municipal choices (i.e. NOT the parties present at those senior levels where responsibilities are much broader). This method would require organizations which would have detailed platforms and programs which could be voted upon rather than the current “Vote for me as I am honest and a good person (whatever that means).

If we are honest, we all recognize that we really have parties in Nanaimo politics.  It’s just that they aren’t out in the open.  But those who wish to get an idea of what goes on behind the scenes can look at the sources of election funding behind the candidates, i.e. unions and business with damn little in between. The source of political funding behind our current Council can be found at:

If one enters the jurisdiction (Nanaimo) in the appropriate Box on this form you will get the filings of all candidates in the 2014 election as well as the pro- and opponents in the Event Centre referendum. Check out the donors for those who won the 2014 election…. The results of the recent by-election are not yet available…

The recent by-election showed signs of incipient party participation but fell short of the nerve to spell it out.  The benefits to Nanaimo of party structures would include defining rather than merely suggesting the background affiliations involved.  This option would further demand that concrete platforms be developed which would provide explicit goals and projects and programs by which those goals could be met.  It would build teams which could be expected to work together toward the goals put forward in the platform rather than off again and on again personal alliances which lack sufficient coherence to see projects and programs to completion.  A party would be the focus of candidate selection, candidate funding, and thus of candidate performance over the term of Council rather than losing this ability as soon as an election is over.  It would provide guidance to candidates in the interim between elections rather than leaving them entirely to their own devices… or to those who might prefer to provide guidance to candidates from the shadows.  It could provide funds for legal advice to the party rather than leaving legal issues solely to Council and Staff who both have interests which are not necessarily congruent with those of the voters who elected or hired them.

Ask yourself if you are satisfied with the situation at City Hall and the direction in which the City is going.  If so, you can and will immediately forget this screed.  If not, think it over and provide some ideas about what is to be done to avoid a repeat performance by our next Council… And send in your comments.



Nanaimo Note #6


Water, Water Everywhere…. Even in Lantzville…

A recent Open House was held in Lantzville presenting that Communities OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN UPDATE & WATER MASTER PLAN.  I was particularly interested in the Water Master Plan as I was dimly aware of an agreement by Nanaimo to supply water to Lantzville on an emergency basis.  The hook which got me was the map showing Lantzville’s water plan:

The source panels for the open house can be found at:   the map shown in is

panel 26 / page 26 at this URL.

It should be noted that the area shown in green is that which is stated to be serviced by connection to the Nanaimo water source (if implemented).  This led me to questions about where this connection now stands as recent articles in the Nanaimo News Bulletin include the following:

The City of Nanaimo recently spent over $70 million dollars for a new water treatment plant.  It currently contemplates a new source of water estimated to cost $88 million and additional transmission and Distribution expenses of $63 million.  (Source: table 9-2 on page 9-7 (73):

Now I don’t know about you, but I believe that these estimates and related stories require a serious discussion in order to determine the extent to which Nanaimo City Water is distributed outside the boundaries of Nanaimo, what this means for all those areas around Nanaimo which could use a source of fresh water, and the extent to which Nanaimo should be in the water business beyond serving its borders.  And I am always interested in that most basic of questions about any venture by a public body: “Qui Bono”, who benefits:  All? or only some? Land without water is cheap.  Land with water can be worth a fortune..

What is your take on this question?  Comments please….

***Note: Since the original posting of Facebook, I have become aware of a posting on the subject on which is worth reading…  Take a look…. This topic has been discussed in Lantzville to a far greater extent than it has in Nanaimo….