March 12 Nanaimo COW

Ron Bolin: March 13, 2018

The Motions passed at the meeting can be found at:—summary

The Video of the meeting can be found at: Agenda Items can be located on the video by clicking on the item found in the index beneath the screen.

The meeting opened without the Mayor’s usual harangue about decorum. Despite this omission there was no outbreak of outrageous behavior during the meeting. Perhaps it is best that neither the audience nor Council be reminded that such behavior could occur.

Presentations (5a and 5b):

Karen Fry, Fire Chief and Director of Public Safety provided a summary of the Activities of Nanaimo’s Fire Rescue Department. To see the presentation documents see:

Click to access COW180312PNanaimo_Fire_Rescue_2017_Year_in_Review.pdf

Michael Ribicic, Chair, Nanaimo Youth Advisory Council on Youth Public Transportation gave a presentation of transit issues affecting youth.

Under Public Safety (9a) Alicia Evans gave a spirited request for assistance in the morning cleanup of refuse and drug needles for Pauline Haarer School and the adjacent park as neither the School Board nor Bylaw seemed to have the resources to cope with the problem which presents a clear and present danger to students in the area. (See above the motion passed at the meeting)

In item 10b, Matt O’Donnell and other participants in the tent city which has been erected on the grounds of City Hall, discussed the intent of this action to draw attention to the plight of the homeless in Nanaimo, particularly in the face of the recent loss of some 7.25 million dollars in provincial funding for low cost housing due to Council’s selection, and then subsequent rejection, of the only one site in Nanaimo which Council found to be available for that project.

Both of these Public Safety Issues were marked by considerable discussion among Councillors as well with the delegations. Though time consuming, the discussion on the video was enlightening (see video, items 9a and 9b…

Delegation 13a was a presentation made by Lorne Goodall with Don Hubbard concerning the new Nanaimo Serauxman Stadium Board of Directors in partnership with the City of Nanaimo. The contractual nature of this partnership is unknown as is the nature of funding requests which might be made of the City of Nanaimo. The stadium has a long and illustrious history in Nanaimo which is certainly worthy of the attention of both Council and the public. Stay posted…

Delegations 13b, 13c, and 13d which dealt with the fate of Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, another Nanaimo institution, led after an arduous discussion seeking the facts on which to base a decision involving millions of dollars in both expense up front and expense reductions in the long run led to a further postponement of a decision on the fate of the NRE until the March 19 Council meeting due to the lack of information about the long term costs and benefits of the Zero Waste goal which the NRE seeks to bring to Nanaimo.

My wife and I have been long time users of the waste services provided by the NRE, going back to their previous location on Northfield Road. There have been many changes in the tools and means available for dealing with the ever growing problems of solid waste since that time, including the introduction of Mammon into the mix with the mandatory deposits on pop and beer bottles and cans  and on corporations building locks on the collection and sale of “economic” household waste by contracting municipalities to provide the valuable resalable materials collected in their solid waste collection systems to that corporation. Making some household solid waste valuable and developing a system for its collection and sale has helped to reduce the amount of waste going to our Dump (actually it is the dump of the Regional District of Nanaimo which is responsible in legislation for solid waste in the RDN. In my opinion the RDN waste problem should be one for the RDN rather than by our number of uncoordinated municipalities and areas).

As in any growing business, increasing the value of its “product” has created a competitive system of waste management which has been partitioned between the various municipalities and areas in the RDN and according to the types of waste involved and has led to an extremely complex and confusing system (or rather set of disjointed systems) with different requirements and costs. And of course, in the end there are all those things which cannot be profitably sold and are left in limbo regarding their disposal. It is with these that the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange has been involved from its start, and it is due to changes in the regulatory and corporate environments which have gradually reduced its role as a general recycler and has enhanced its utility in dealing with the management of the remaining unprofitable solid waste through repurposing, reusing and the education of the public in how we can all get close to Zero waste.

Thus the NRE finds itself with dwindling income resources which are controlled by overarching corporations and distributed responsibilities, but with the recognition of the problems of dealing with “unprofitable” waste. It is to be hoped that Council can cut through this knot and provide clear leadership in solving the gigantic problem of the waste which we create. I don’t really want to find my local pastures and woodlands covered in trash left by those who feel that they do not have adequate possibilities for dealing with it legitimately. I will await the Council meeting on the 19th with both anticipation and fear.

As a note it is recommended that folks view Question Period. It is questioning, not silence, that leads to political progress. Ian Gartshore’s questions were particularly cogent.