My platform for 2022

The Reimagine process was the largest public engagement process in our history and took almost 18 months to conclude.  That work by City Staff, Council and the public has produced the new Nanaimo City Plan (Executive Summary).  For the next 4-5 years Staff and Council will creating the Integrated Action Plan and Monitoring Strategy.   This new City Plan combines the Official Community Plan (OCP), Parks, Recreation, Culture, & Wellness Plan, Active Mobility Plan, Transportation Plan, Climate Action & Resiliency Plan, Accessibility & Inclusion Plan.  The work of Council over the next four years will be the day to day work we do and Actioning this plan.

The plan has 5 City Goals

A GREEN NANAIMO: RESILIENT& REGENERATIVE ECOSYSTEMS
A CONNECTED NANAIMO: EQUITABLE ACCESS & MOBILITY
A HEALTHY NANAIMO: COMMUNITY WELLBEING & LIVABILITY
AN EMPOWERED NANAIMO: RECONCILIATION, REPRESENTATION & INCLUSION
A PROSPEROUS NANAIMO: THRIVING & RESILIENT ECONOMY

One of my priorities will be to work with Council and Staff to create the Integrated Action Plan & Monitoring Strategy.

Council over the last 4 years has added 15 new police officers, 4 new geographically targeted RCMP Bike Patrol members in the downtown and 12 Community Service Officers. However the Police have told us many times, we can’t arrest our way out of this situation.  It requires the coordinated efforts of the Province, Social Service agencies, Island Health and the City.  The people of Nanaimo need to feel that they are safe in their city.

The responsibility for addressing the root causes of social disorder lies with the Province.  A recently speech by the Premier said basically that.  The City of Nanaimo doesn’t have the funds nor the capacity to provide Drug Treatment and mental health services.  What we can do is advocate to the province using data from the Health and Housing Action Plan and the Systems Planning Organization that was setup because of that plan to get more services to Nanaimo from the province.

Nanaimo is not getting it’s fair share of services and funding to deal with these issues and a future council needs to push more than they already have which is extensive. The City of Nanaimo must let the Province and Feds know the need in our city and demand the services that we desperately need.  The City of Nanaimo can also provide help to local agencies such as funding to keep shelters open, funds to help feed the homeless and funds to help augment the work that the province is doing.  The root causes of the crisis is lack of funding for health services, lack of funding for housing and poverty.

Over the last four years council has made great strides in protecting the environment in our city and the continued sustainability of our city.  Actioning the first Policy of the City Plan is our next step and calls for actioning the following.

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
  • Climate Adaptation & Hazard Mitigation
  • Urban Tree Canopy, Natural Areas and Greenways
  • Healthy Watersheds
  • Water, Sewer, & Stormwater Services
  • Solid Waste Management
  • Brownfield Sites
  • Artificial Lighting & Dark Skies

I am in favour of returning to the committee structure we had in place in 2014, prior to it being abolished – without reasonable explanation – by this Council.  We have a rich resource of experience, knowledge and wisdom in our community. We should be tapping into that resource as much as possible.  I would particularly like to see the Advisory Committee on Environment Sustainability reestablished with its original mandate, and I will be working with my fellow Councillors to see a return to that system as soon as possible.

No matter what anyone says, affordable housing and homelessness are a local issue.  The federal and provincial governments may have funds for housing, but the problem is here in Nanaimo.

We need to look at ways to encourage the building of affordable housing by working with developers and builders. While we have done a lot in the last few years including redoing our Community Amenity Contributions I believe we are still leaving money on the table.  We need to look at our density bonusing bylaw and start making the building of affordable housing linked to building market housing in our town.  Developers are ready to work with the city on this issue.  It’s important that we create an environment at the city for processing development applications as quickly as possible and working with developers to help build housing that benefit both the developer and the community.

The City also needs to be ready on short notice to provide land and services for affordable, low-barrier, and/or supportive housing, when money is offered from senior levels of government.

One thing that the city can do and should do is providing more funding for shelter in our city.  Presently we only have enough temporary shelter for 15% of the population.  That is one of the main reasons we are seeing so many people on the streets as they have no where to go.

I would like to see the city provide shelter based on the Cowichan model and provide 24/7 shelter in small groups around the city and provide meals, health services and security.  I will try once again to get council to agree to this idea.  24/7 shelter gets people off our streets and out of our parks.  I would rather see money spent on this idea than more money spent on mitigating public disorder and at the end of the day still having people sleeping on our streets and in our parks.

The province has told us that they will not be reimbursing us for the CSO’s that have been hired and trained.  However the province has consistently paid for shelter services and funding that the city paid for already.  I have seen that happen many times in the past.

I’m going to be the first one to admit that I don’t think this council over the last 4 years has done what it could have done for Arts & Culture in the city.  We did a lot but it should have been more.

  • I would like to see the setup again of the Arts and Culture Committee.  We need this voice to provide recommendation to council. This committee could also make recommendations on the Public Art that the city commissions each year.
  • I would also like see an expansion for the Nanaimo Art Gallery as per the report that Council recently received.
  • I would like to see a new home for the Nanaimo Arts Council that may will be in the new Art Gallery complex or in another facility owned by the city.
  • More funding for Culture events that currently are put on and new ones that can be created.

On the front of recreation

  • I would like to see a development of a world class Mountain bike trail system adding to the existing one.
  • I would like to see further development of our Sports Tourism through the newly created Tourism Nanaimo.

Some times I would also like to see in the next few years.  I’ll probably add to this over the next while as I think of them.

  • A referendum on the Waterfront walkway from the Ferries to Departure Bay.  This is going to be a high ticket item and the public needs to have a say if it’s going to go forward.  We have done all the leg work and possible designs and we know what is needed.  Time to let the citizens have their say.  Yes or No.
  • Active Transportation is key to having a walkable city.  Citizens have the right to choose what type of transportation they wish to use and it’s the responsibility of the city to provide safe infrastructure for those choices.  Walk, Car, bike or transit.  People have the right to safe transportation regardless of what type it is.
  • Commercial Street upgrades.  We now have a plan to develop the downtown.  I would like to see that plan pushed forward to start next year.  We have the funding available and it’s long over due.
  • I would like to see the city boulevards cut more often, our streets cleaned more often, weeds along the city streets cleared more often, the grass along the E&N trail cut more often, the paint on our sidewalks and crosswalks refreshed more often.   Little things that just make the city look a little more nicer.