Category Archives: Answers From Candidates Here

2011 Election Campaign, Answer to Question #3

Historically, South End residents have been 2 separate communities living in one neighbourhood.  Of course, there is a blurring of lines as many First nations folks do live off reserve and in the South End, and there are support services for them in the neighbourhood.  We have been working over the past few years to build and strengthen our relationship with SFN; it has made us aware of some of the challenges that they face.

And so we asked this question:

3.  How would you support our First Nations population in Nanaimo?

Candidates for Mayor

Dan Didio

did not reply to the survey

Roger McKinnon

did not reply to the survey

Jim Routledge

WOW – the best for last.  The easiest (thank goodness) to answer.   I seek a mandate from the people of Nanaimo to offer to help Chief White & the Snuneymuxw Band in any efforts they might want to make to improve access to Newcastle Island.   This is the biggest part of my election platform.  I want to do this more than anything, for Nanaimo, for our community, for all of us.  I want to get to know our First Nation community, to listen and understand.  I know that helping them get what they want, will be an important step in getting what I want too.

John Ruttan

The City of Nanaimo enjoys a close and sincere relationship with SFN and has developed a comprehensive Protocol Agreement to that end. We continue to work on several joint ventures dealing with land and water and I can tell you that we put great importance in their needs.

Candidates for Council

George Anderson

         I had the opportunity of working with the late chief Viola Wyse, and I believe that it is of the utmost importance that we support and promote the First Nanaimo populations in Nanaimo. This is the Snuneymuxw first Nations traditional territory and we need to make sure we include them as we move forward as a city.
Bill Bestwick
         Absolutely critical we treat our First Nations population with respect and support.  We need to ensure the First Nations population, their history and culture are preserved and acknowledged.  We need to communicate more effectively and more frequently to address local concerns and issues with all aspects of their needs including adequate fresh water supplies and sanitation.  We need to work with all other agencies including the Federal, Provincial, District and Liason offerings are real and genuine.  Listening to our neighbors, consulting and growing together through partnerships and relationship building is key.
Arlene Blundell
         In consultation with them and collaborating on ideas, I would like to see: a) a world class First Nations Art Gallery in Beban House after it closes as a Tourist Office, b) collaborating with the owner(s) of the Public Market at the Departure Bay ferry terminal to make that a mini-Granville island with a 200 seat theatre where continuous summer performances of local history could happen such as a musical on Emily Carr and a First Nations Pow-wow, c) public performances of storytelling in their own language, d) more involvement in our workforce, e) more opportunities for better integration between the First Nations and others.
Diane Brennan
         I would support the First Nations citizens in the region by establishing and maintaining relationships with FN organizations and community leaders.The City has a protocol agreement with the Snuneymuxw people signed several years ago. The agreement sets out ways and means to work together and a joint committee meets on a regular basis to discuss issues of mutual concern (short and long term). The agreement guides the city’s relationship with the Snuneymuxw. The City could begin discussions with Tillicum Lelum Friendship Centre as a first step towards establishing a relationship with urban aboriginal people.

Brunie Brunie

The first Nation are not part of Nanaimo’s voting boundary.  I’m not sure that’s a good thing.  I myself am a halfbreed.  My father was Haida,  my mother German .  My stepfather resented me until the end of his time.  I would support them in any way possible.

Gord Fuller
         As with most things communication & mutual respect are key. Through my work and community involvement I have gotten to know many people of First Nation heritage. I have also built relationships with a number of councilors and the chief of Snuneymuxw First Nation. As
one of the poorer of the first nations groups in BC the city of Nanaimo needs to support the Snuneymuxw people in their efforts of seeking redress from Provincial and Federal Governments. Nanaimo needs to continue to cement its relationships with the Snuneymuxw and work towards making this a better community for all.
Ted Greves
         As a Councillor, I would encourage staff to schedule more City Council meetings with the SFN Council and address issues that we are able to address at our level of government. This is a very difficult issue with much of the support for the First Nations in the hands of the Federal and Provincial Governments.
Diana Johnstone
          I have enjoyed my role as a member of the Protocol Committee between SFN Council and Nanaimo City Council.  I have learned a great deal about our First Nation Culture and have a great respect for their absolute rights as a nation.  I would support them in a broad range of issues ranging from social development protection, enhancement of their unique culture, encouraging aboriginal tourism, and providing inclusiveness on city advisory or other committees.  I would be supportive in any way possible to enable them to move forward and leave the pain of the past behind.
Jim Kipp
         I have a long and excellent relationship with SFN and other First Nations personally, professionally and politically.  I take great pride in having been called on a number of occasions to be a witness for First Nations.

Gary Korpan

I was the Mayor who led the team who reconciled Nanaimo with our Snuneymuxw 1st Nations neighbours and partners. I am very proud of my excellent working relationship with Chiefs John Wesley and Viola Wyse. We signed the Community to Community Protocol Agreements and achieved solutions to many long standing problems. If elected, I intend to restore good relations with our Snuneymuxw friends.

Rodger Lomas
         The First Nation status – nation within a nation – is another enriching layer of the tapestry that makes up the greater Nanaimo social fabric & Canadian social network of persons from many nations. Notwithstanding special status afforded First Nations persons – all rights & privileges that other Canadians have are also bestowed upon our native population;enshrined in the Charter of rights & freedoms; the Human Rights Act and a person’s security further protected internationally by UN Convention.
However, it is well publicized that Native persons are over represented in our correctional system; why?
Additionally, a report by The Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children released November 1st, 2011 titled: “Right in Principle Right in Practice” – it reports: Children and youth endure more violence, exploitation and abuse than adults. Twelve percent of children live in poverty, 13 percent live in unhealthy housing and 38 percent are food bank users. Furthermore, nearly 55 percent of children with disabilities do not have access to needed aids and equipment because of cost. It is not specified what percentage of children in this report are aboriginal; it does note that there is considerable evidence that aboriginal children are even worse off.
Furthermore, it sites examples of delayed health treatments for aboriginal children because of funding disputes between federal and provincial governments; and, evidence that there is discrimination against poor, disabled, aboriginal, refugee and immigrant children. Is this Canada? These are issues above any city councilor and much rests at the Provincial Government level and above; however, the existence ofsuch a state of our children disgusts me.
Nonetheless, as City Councillor I will strive to see positive change for all Children of the Community of Nanaimo. Indeed, the report provides a “blueprint” on how to turn this around – it needs councillors and other elected officials from all levels to champion it.
Our children are our immortality; our city (world) is their inheritance. Housing we are working on & making progress; and, part of my Nanaimo-
of-Tomorrow vision is a comprehensive Transportation plan that will give all persons of Nanaimo access to services, housing, and an exchange of Socio-economic opportunities throughout Nanaimo and beyond.

Zeni Maartman

Working with First Nations and asking how they would like us to support them. What is their vision for the City of Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw  First Nations. We need to have healthy conversations, around economic opportunities, treaty settlements, health and education and any issues that are of importance to First Nations themselves.  Municipal governments have a responsibility to work with senior governments to ensure all their citizens are respected and treated with dignity.

Jeet Manhas

I am proud to say that I have an excellent working relationship with our Snuneymuxw First Nations. During my two terms on City Council (2002-2008) I worked very hard to bring both the councils, City and Snuneymuxw First Nations, to an open table discussion and the outcome of that discussion was both the parties signing the Memorandum of Understanding. In the recent past I have also been working very closely with Snuneymuxw First Nations as a Director of Nanaimo Port Authority to build a Cruise ship Terminal.

Bill McKay
         I would like to know what I can do to help our First Nations community settle their treaties and land  claims.  We as a community have work to do, projects to start, and a bright future to start working towards.  We need to get going.  Council needs to provide a friendly and inviting environment to outside investment that will benefit all of our citizens including our First Nations community.

Darcy Olsen

I believe in working with all the community partners in Nanaimo and I look forward to continue to work with the Snuneymuxw First Nations on mutually beneficial projects.

Fred Pattje

To support our First Nations population to me means, first of all, that we must become much more aware of the challenges which our Snuneymuxw fellow citizens face on an almost daily basis. Once we have that understanding, we need to fully comprehend what the parameters for changing those challenges need to be. It is important to accept, for instance, that too many Snuneymuxw people live on too small a land base and will never be able to fulfill their economic aspirations unless that changes.

Equally important is that all of us take a trip to the library and learn about the Douglas Treaties, of which Chief Doug White lll speaks so eloquently and so often. Get to know this man better and see where he wants to lead his Nation  ( )  I am glad to presently sit on a Council which has a relationship of mutual respect and understanding with SFN, a relationship which bodes well for our combined futures!

Trent Snikkers
         I have nothing but respect for the First Nations people, their art and culture, and their devotion to family and community.  I fully commit to having open and engaged discussions with Chief White and the Snuneymuxw Band to enhance (and protect) their interests and initiatives within our City.  Each Band is unique and I believe that the South End in particular can benefit greatly by incorporating the First Nations culture into development of its neighbourhood.
Rob Zver

I believe Council should work closely with the First Nations community in resolving their land treaty negotiations and assisting them in developing their lands so that they can build a substantial future for their people.  This kind of cooperation would ensure both success for the First Nations People and the City of Nanaimo as projects move forward many First Nations people would be provided job opportunities.  I also believe that City Council should enhance First Nations culture and art throughout the city so it can be showcased to the rest of the world.

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2011 Election Campaign: Answers to Question #2

A little framing first:   We in the South End are absolutely ecstatic about our shiny new neighbourhood plan.  Yes, it’s ambitious…over 100 action items.  Capable Chris Sholberg and his team led us through the planning process, which they made very clear and easy.  And we want to work with the city to help execute it.   But the process toward that isn’t so clear. So the question we asked was:

2.  The South End recently completed its Official Neighbourhood Plan.  How do you see Council’s role in supporting its implementation?



Candidates for Mayor

Dan Didio

did not reply to the survey

Roger McKinnon

did not reply to the survey

Jim Routledge

Wow – Good document – I was aware of it and of some of the general reasons for neighbourhood plans.  I reviewed this.  I don’t know how to exactly address your question.  I picked out a few things that jumped out at me.  I hope that tells you more about me and what my intentions might be with respect to the Plan.

Neighbourhood History

The Snuneymuxw, a Coast Salish people, have lived on the Nanaimo Harbour for thousands of years.

The South End’s industrial heritage is the city’s most significant. At the time of its closure in 1938, the No. 1 Mine, located at the foot of Milton Street, was the oldest operating coal mine in British Columbia. Over 18 million tons of coal had been removed from beneath Nanaimo’s Harbour. During its 55 years of operation, the mine was the city’s biggest employer.

5.4 Social Enrichment and Culture

Communication and Partnerships

12         Increased communication between the City, the neighbourhood, School District #68 and the Snuneymuxw First Nation for purposes of communication and partnership on servicing, security, community building, planning and arts / culture initiatives is encouraged.

5.5 Environmental Protection and Enhancement

Sustainable Building Technologies

8         Development of the Assembly Wharf / CP Lands as a model sustainable, green neighbourhood in a manner similar to Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek or Victoria’s Dockside Green is encouraged.

The 9 pages (approaching 100 items) of  Section 7.3 Implementation Strategy are specific & measurable.  They are designed to be tracked and reviewed.

I need guidance on this whole thing – it’s been a particularly good question.  I am from the other end of town, so forgive me if I take some time to get up to speed on all areas.   If elected Mayor, I will devote time to this and probably go along with what is clearly a well thought out and seasoned approach.  I see no reason now to do anything other that is for sure.  I support the OCP sincerely, this is part of that so I support it too.

The question that I feel obliged to ask is “How do you want me to see councils role with it?  Get more involved, stay away. How has it been going?

John Ruttan

I congratulate the South End for the successful completion of their “Official Community Plan”. I want to see the City of Nanaimo work collaboratively with the residents of the South End to assist them in meeting their goals. The City has great respect for those resident associations who see the need for change and are prepared to work with us on developing a strategy for success.

Candidates for Council

George Anderson

I believe that it is councils responsibility to work with south end to make sure the plan comes to realization. There needs to be open communication and transparency about the plan, and making sure that there is a timeline in order for it to be achieved.

Bill Bestwick

It is imperative Council continue to build relationship and support the SECA in advancing its priorities and initiatives.  Through policy implementation and cooperation with the stakeholders businesses and residents continue to reach agreement and consensus on residential development and imrovements.

Arlene Blundell

City Council should use this plan as an important tool in creating mid-term goals for the city as a whole.  It should be supported in every way, UNLESS any particular part is not in the best interests of the community as a whole.

Diane Brennan

By following the January 2011 implementation plan for short, medium, and long term actions.

By keeping a careful eye on the city’s budget to ensure funds available for implementation; and

By maintaining a reasonable relationship with the planning department and with the mayor and council.

Brunie Brunie

I have read your comprehensive community plan. As a councilor I would most certainly vote on all facets of green transportation.  My hot rod bike is the way I personally get around.  I love it and plan to never again own a car.  Another reason I can live within my means.  Safe cycling is the way of the future and I don’t mean share the road with the car.

I would encourage many more small business’s bringing more vibrancy and self sufficiency to your area. Growing organic local food big big time as the most important economic development is my no. one platform so grow grow grow!!!

Gord Fuller

Council must take active participation in working to implement all neighbourhood plans. It can do this through ongoing communication with neighbourhood groups and encouraging staff participation with these groups as well. Items in the plan are comprised of those the Neighbourhood can accomplish, those Neighbourhood and City work on together and those that are largely the responsibility of the City. Ongoing communication will be key to their implementation.

Ted Greves

The first way of supporting the Plan is to become informed about it and its Ten Guiding Principles. I know there is an extensive Implementation Strategy and as stated “The Strategy identifies actions, timing and responsibilities of the City….” So, if the City supports the Neighbourhood Plan it will encourage its implementation with its actions at the Committee and Council level.

Diana Johnstone

City Council must maintain open communication with SECA throughout the entire range of implementation from immediate to ongoing. Council, along with city planners should be supportive to help ensure that the projects in progress are moving forward as anticipated. They should always be mindful that the implementation is in line with the Official Community Plan and other community projects ensuring connectivity, and that consultation is ongoing.

Council members should take an active role in attending SECA meetings (when possible) and perhaps carry out an annual review with the neighbourhood to maintain interest, keep up to speed with accomplishments and be supportive of actions that still need to be identified.

Jim Kipp

Neighbourhood plans are the fundimental bases for our official community plan.  Supporting the visions of the community process by the development of policy using Bylay 4500 as an example.

Gary Korpan

I was the Mayor that got all our work in Plan Nanaimo actually adopted as Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan in 1993. It gave for the first time special significance to Neighbourhood Plans. I was particularly gratified to see the diligence and public participation your neighbourhood undertook in developing your Neighbourhood Plan. Council is to be guided by that component within the context of the whole bylaw. As always, elected officials must represent the greater good of the whole community over special or local interests if there is a conflict of direction or guidance.

Rodger Lomas

The ONP fits nicely and complimentary into the present global OCP. As we move into an inclusive Visioning process and formulation of the look, feel and flavour of the Nanaimo of the future that the people of Nanaimo want to see – then these plans ONP and OCP will be critical in the revision of each to reflect the Visioning outcomes and subsequent implementation plan, schedule and budgeting.

Zeni Maartman

The South End has been very proactive for a good number of years. The citizens have worked hard to build a better South End and we have! I will work with the South End, and support it’s implementation, within the guidelines of our OCP. Neighbourhood Associations play a vital role in our city. I would like to see all neighbourhoods throughout our city form associations, as the building blocks for our vision for the future. When I was a School Trustee, each trustee was assigned a set of schools to be the official Trustee Liason. We could have a similar program with Councillors.

Jeet Manhas

We spend enormous amount of time on our official Neighbourhood Community Plans. After they have been completed, at present we don’t have proper process to implement these plans.

We need to be more assertive in bringing these neighbourhood plans to be successful. When I am elected I want to work with neighhourhoods and city staff on setting a program to have these plans implemented.

Bill McKay

As I stated in the March by-election, it will be Council’s role to provide an environment that will be welcoming to private capital.  A small local developer who is building in our area, and who has dealt with many cities in past stated that Nanaimo is one of the WORST communities he has ever had to work with in an effort to move one of his projects forward.  We need to welcome investment, work with the neighbourhoods to ensure the type of development is appropriate, and move the projects along as quickly as possible.

Darcy Olsen

Communication between Council and Nanaimo neighbourhood associations, such as SECA, is key.  Nanaimo City Council needs to incorporate Neighbourhood Plans into the Official Community Plan so it has the full support it deserves.

Fred Pattje

It was a great source of satisfaction for me to have been able to help facilitate the South End’s Neighbourhood Plan. Our Official Community Plan speaks of these plans as ” building blocks of our municipal society” and I fully agree with that description. Council’s role in implementing this plan has many aspects and varies from assisting to maintain the character and livability of your neighbourhood to providing access to neighbourhood service levels to increasing housing choices and a host of other objectives in between………

Trent Snikkers

The South End Community Plan will be transformational.  I believe that neighbourhood plans form an integral part of the Official Community Plan.  It is not practical for any one City Councillor to fully grasp all the concerns of every neighbourhood and Neighbourhood Plans can facilitate the decision-making process for City Council.

As a city Councillor I would push to bring this Plan forward as expediently as possible to help the South End move ahead as a distinct community in Nanaimo.  The potential of the South End to become one of the most vibrant parts of Nanaimo is incredible.

Rob Zver

Council should work closely with the South End residents to assure that when they make decisions around land use it is within the communities desires and also enhances the vision of the city as a whole.

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2011 Election Campaign: Answers to Question #1

We asked this question, below, because as a diverse and inclusive neighbourhood,  we have often struggled with an overconcentration of low barrier housing.  Perhaps our most well-known facility is the Balmoral (18 residents) run by CMHC.  But we also have the New Hope Centre on our northern boundary (houses about 40 residents, overnite and short-term).  Beyond that are the non-supported operations where the monitoring can often be more by the RCMP than any staff members: former hotels and motels throughout our neighbourhood, including the Value Lodge and the Newport Hotel include another 60+ people.  Then there are the slum landlords renting out substandard housing.

Given the fact that we potentially have well over 100, perhaps closer to 200 hard-to-house folks in our neighbourhood, we’re naturally curious about how other neighbourhoods respond to supporting those who need help.  So we posed the following question to candidates:


1.  Should services and resources to the disadvantaged be spread throughout the city or concentrated in one part of the city?  What is your position regarding the Uplands Supportive Housing Project?

Candidates for Mayor

Dan Didio

did not reply to the survey

Roger McKinnon

did not reply to the survey

Jim Routledge

Yes, spread out – there are good reasons why this benefits i) the tenants, ii) neighbourhoods & community.

i) Tenants: Various providers specialize in different segments of the homeless population.  A variety of geographic locations facilitate suitable options for the entire homeless population.

ii) Neighbourhoods:  Meeting social responsibilities comes with rewards on a neighbourhood & community level -emotional, spiritual & financial – benefits accrue to those that step up, get involved and find solutions.  The mechanisms that are set up, the processes including neighbourhood groups & connections also facilitate other sports, cultural and educational efforts – as well as funding for other initiatives becomes easier through these organizations and relationships.

I am in favour of exactly what the city proposes on its website.  I started the petition in favour of it.

John Ruttan

Services and resources to the disadvantaged must be spread equally throughout our community. Those in need of these essential services clearly come from all areas of our City and to suggest otherwise is simply incorrect. It follows that the logical sites for the provision of social housing are to be found throughout our City and not in a single geographic area. That is the strategy that Mayor and Council have followed.

I am in favour of the establishment of supportive housing on the Uplands Road site.

Candidates for Council

George Anderson

I believe services and resources for the disadvantaged should be spread throughout the entire city. Concentration in one area leads to many issues, and puts a burden on one area of the community. It is our responsibility to make sure we work together to help people who are not able to help themselves, it has to be a shared responsibility.

In regards to the supportive housing on Uplands, our city council did not provide enough communication or information to residents in the community and there should have been a dialogue with the residents, but I believe we cannot leave our homeless on the streets.

Bill Bestwick

I am completely in favor of a provision of services made available to the disadvantaged members of our City. Currently there are numerous offerings of services from the Public and Private sector spread throughout the City Centre and reaching into many neighborhoods.  The Provincial Government contributes subsidies to approximately 1700 families in the City of Nanaimo approaching nearly 7 plus million dollars annually.

The services and resources necessary for the disadvantaged must be made to be convenient, accessible and need specific to the clientele.  That said, resources must be readily available in locations which is critical to the success of the operation and client.  The most responsible thing Government can do is provide the necessary services through examination and process of site selection, size of operation and ease of access to everyday necessities.  Providing the sites are optimum for the intended use and researched appropriately, I would be in favor of dispersal beyond a concentrated area.

The intended use must be well researched, examined and consulted with the area most impacted. The client services must be conveniently accessible.  The size of the operation must be modest to suit the property and neighborhood, and in the best interest of the clients success.  The Tillicum Tse Lelum model of Medium to High Barrier for Elders (Seniors) and youth at risk in an 18 unit complex is most desirous or a Fairway Woods model for Adults of 55 plus for this location.

Arlene Blundell

After doing a fair bit of research from Nanaimo to as far away as Detroit Michigan where I connected by email with Dr. Glaster, Prof. of Urban Affairs, I found  that distribution throughout the city was considered the better way for supportive housing.  Otherwise, a concentrated area can be ignored and isolated and more likely to become problematic and turn into a ghetto.  Those needing support are more likely to feel safer and take more pride in their situation if surrounded by hopefully friendly and helpful neighbours.   Also of critical importance though was the size of the project  in relation to  supportive staff available.  The smaller the ratio of staff to tenants the more liklihood of success.  I support the project going into the Uplands sight – ONLY if there is adequate supportive staff for 24/7 care and treatment.

Diane Brennan

Yes, people who are marginalized in society need to be welcome in all areas of Nanaimo. Diverse neighbourhoods are a sign of a healthy city.

I fully support the Uplands Housing Project.

Brunie Brunie

I love the restoration and pride I see in the South end.  You are without doubt the most interesting up and coming neighborhood in the city.  I recognize your concerns as a lot falls on your shoulders being the closest to where the food and other resources for the poor are situated.   Personally I feel these resources would be better spread throughout the city.  It is important that all citizens  partake in helping our disadvantaged.  It is everyones responsibility.

Concerning the Uplands supportive housing, too many in one place is not the best answer.  I am happy that these people are receiving help, however, it is not fair to them to be foisted into a neighborhood that is in such fear of them.  Integrating them into smaller houses throughout the city would be a happier answer for all concerned.

Chris Cathers

did not reply to the survey

Brian Fillmore

did not reply to the survey

Gord Fuller

Poverty and homelessness are not limited to any one area and the concentrating of services contributes to the ghettoization of areas  where services are concentrated. For over a decade I have been advocating for the decentralization of services which actually became a City Policy a few years ago.

Like services Supportive Housing needs to be spread out through the community. I have been the strongest and most outspoken person working to accomplish this. Key to this, but lacking to an extent in the recent Uplands and Dufferin debates, is early communication with the neighbourhoods. Educating through early communication could have gone a long way to making the neighbourhoods accepting of the projects.

Ted Greves

The services and resources often follow the needs of the disadvantaged and for practical purposes tend to be centralized. But ghettoizing these services and accommodations can lead to some negative impact on the community. I believe services should be spread out but the issue of availability to those in need is probably an issue.

I support the Uplands Supportive Housing Project. There are no perfect solutions. The site addresses the idea of fairness in that no one particular area of the City has all or most of the Supportive Housing, inclusiveness, site infrastructure readiness, access to transit and acceptable zoning. The area is an area of multi- family units and Community Services so it is a suitable location.

Diana Johnstone

Absolutely! We share Nanaimo with many diverse people, many who are struggling with poverty or physical/mental illnesses. We must share our city space with EVERYONE and they should be welcome in ANY neighbourhood.  The South End Community Association is to be congratulated for welcoming the opportunity to be a complete and caring neighbourhood. You understand the value of addressing homelessness and have said, “Yes in my Backyard.”

I wholeheartedly support the Uplands Supportive Housing Project.  Perhaps Council should have communicated this project better to the Uplands Neighbourhood, however, when transferring homes from Boundary and Dufferin we were unable to announce the location earlier. The site is chosen and we as a council must now work with the neighbourhood to dispel some of their fears. Your President, Doug, has been very helpful in this regard.

Without good quality housing, many people cycle between jails, hospital, shelters and streets, costing governments far more than the price of actually providing supportive housing. Over the years, there have been studies done that show the positive impact Social Housing Projects has on neighbourhoods. We can and will make this project work with the help of the social agencies, RCMP, BC Housing, VIEA and YIMB’YS. (Yes in my backyard)

Jim Kipp

Since the 1990’s I have been involved in social, health and economic issues I support the concept and implementation of our homeless strategies and initiatives like “streets to homes” and The cost for not addressing the issue of homelessness with dignity and compassion is proven to be way higher, ie “million dollar murry”.  I advocate for an inclusive community that shares our social responsibilities.

Gary Korpan

As the Mayor who spent years pleading for government support to solve this terrible problem you can be assured I will support fulfilling the Homelessness Agreement I signed on behalf of Nanaimo in 2008 (including commitments to public consultation). It is shocking how it has been so delayed in implementation.

Homelessness Position

Canadians, all Canadians, deserve safe, secure shelter. It is essential for quality living and fulfilling a productive life.  Some of our fellow citizens have become homeless for many reasons, including drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, and poverty. Intense public initiatives have led to diverse efforts to solve, or reduce homelessness.

Much effort by our citizens, community partners, and the current and past City Councils, on behalf of all Nanaimo, has been made to partner with government, non-profits, and private parties to improve services and resources to combat homelessness.

As a four-year member of the Premier’s Task Force on Homelessness, I support using the medically appropriate methods and public health initiatives the BC government determines effective in fighting homelessness.

I am grateful for, and support, the years of research, countless volunteer hours, and multiple participants who worked to produce Nanaimo’s Homelessness Strategy and Plan.

While homelessness may only be visible in some locations, it damages our whole community. We have a responsibility to work co-operatively to fix it as a community.

Once the Uplands site contract tender, set by BC, is awarded in early November, and all project details are available, I support ongoing full disclosure for the proposed facilities, services, and resources at open public meetings, so everyone can hear the same thing at the same time, ask pertinent questions, and judge for themselves if adequate safety and security is provided. Not just for the housed homeless, but for their prospective neighbours as well. Nothing will change until there is trust and there can be no trust without full disclosure, or if questions go unanswered, or lies are circulated without challenge.

Failure to act on homelessness while we have the assistance offered by senior government will only make a bad situation worse. I am confident most Nanaimoites want to work together to resolve this now.

Rodger Lomas

Not necessarily; there are advantages to having services consolidated; for example: consolidation could provide access to a wider variety of services in a single location or area; and, yield fixed cost savings to service providers. Many challenges to access to services can be overcome with a comprehensive Transportation system that connects Nanaimo seamlessly from within and beyond to nearby larger centres for access to an even greater variety of services and resources depending upon the need.

The Uplands Supportive Housing Project is a complex argument that is part of a greater program to find solutions to homelessness. There is evidence to suggest that the processes laid out in the MOU memorandum of Understanding between the city of Nanaimo and BC Housing have not been followed correctly; furthermore, the document titled Nanaimo’s response to Homelessness action plan which also stipulates actions and processes were not followed correctly. Additionally, site selection of Uplands was not part of the original MOU.  It has become a selected site only following a failure to find community acceptance with a previous site that was part of the MOU.

It is argued that this change of location was done without Council adherence to protocols of both of these documents. Subsequent to this location selection; a community push back has occurred citing that the location is inappropriate due to its proximity to a seniors centre, Schools and vulnerable neighbourhood and businesses; I am compelled to agree. It

is seen as inappropriate given the size of the project (40 units), the target tenant population to be housed and the predictable negative consequences of having a Hybrid-wet-house facility in this location; or, any location. It is important to note that: The opponents of this site selection and the intended hybrid-wet-house facility are not opponents to Supportive housing. To further exacerbate the issue the inter-changed use of terminology such as “low-barrier” also know as “wet-house” and “Supportive housing” (non-wet house) in the same context has led to a great deal of confusion. My conclusion is that this particular project is flawed from many angles both governmental and academic.

The governmental failures include: An absence of Due-diligence and not following process protocols with regard to community consultation of the Uplands project and rezoning of land. The Academic flaws range from Clinical and Consumer viewpoints. The Clinical view is that abstinence is a pre-condition of tenancy and access to programs; whereas the Consumer view is of a Housing-First model then following a carefully laid out plan of recovery which includes education, prevention, treatment and support matched to the severity of the addiction or mental illness (single or dual diagnosis). Indeed, there is little provision in either view of homeless persons or families that do not fit into an illness category.

Further to this complexity is that the centre is to be operated by a non-profit society that will function at arm’s-length from the City of Nanaimo and would largely determine the target tenancy – this is a step which removes civic control over the tenancy status from the City. This is a negative aspect in which the City of Vancouver is currently struggling. Even the global project plan laid out by the BC Government has its critics; and, from an unlikely source; Dr. Galster – expert in the field and housing proponent accuses the BC Government of misinterpreting his data and warns that this plan of large multi-unit complexes with little supervision or treatment/support plans in place for community re-integration puts tenants in danger of re-victimization and the surrounding community for criminal nuisance.

After weighing the facts of this project’s flaws from the many perspectives; it is apparent that it requires a serious re-think. Therefore, my position is such that: because of the human destructive nature of wet-house housing (a.k.a Hospice) I cannot support this concept anywhere; ever. I truly believe we are our Brother’s Keeper – we can do better – the David Moirs of the world deserve better.

With a Housing-First and Supportive Housing model that follows the recommendations of Drs. Tsemberis and Galster and associated subject matter experts in this field.  Recommendations that include fewer units in any one location (12 or less) and a community scattered approach. This is a housing model that I support; and, it has proven to have remarkable successes. Adopting this program strategy; and, attacking causal factors in homelessness will demonstrate Leadership in homelessness solutions and will yield long-term benefits for all of Nanaimo as well as showcase social innovation.

Zeni Maartman

Caring for those that need our support the most is the responsibility of the whole city.  As Chair of the Social Planning Advisory Committee, I know we have been working on homelessness in Nanaimo for almost a decade. After many years of workshops, the formation of the Nanaimo Working Group on Homelessness, an Action Plan was developed. The participants included VIU, BC Housing, RCMP, Safer Nanaimo Working Group, DNP (now known as DNBIA ) Neighbourhood Associations, representatives from local social service agencies, homeless individuals who shared their stories. You can see that we have had many conversations with citizens. We had open houses to present Nanaimo’s Response to Homelessness. The City has tried to be as open and transparent as it can, living within the restrictions of the Provincial protocol, as the Province is funding the building of these homes, and the support that will be provided, 24/7. Anyone can view this document on the City Website. It was determined from the beginning that it is healthy for a city to share for the care of all.

I support the Uplands Supportive Housing Project and will do my best to ease the fears and negative emotions surrounding this project. There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.

Jeet Manhas

During my two terms on City Council we had changed the zoning by-law to allow the Supportive Housing throughout the city. I personally don’t believe that the Supportive Housing be concentrated in one part of the city. My belief is that before we choose the sites where Supportive Housing is to be built we should have conversation and consultation with the residents and businesses of the neighbourhood.

At present I am not in favour of the Uplands location. I would have been in favour if neighbourhood and surrounding businesses had been fully consulted and open houses were held with transparency and decision not be made behind closed doors. My belief is that when people feel that they are a part of conversation they respond positively and we can build better relationships.

Bill McKay

Services should be provided where they are needed.  If we have population in the north, south, or central parts that need help, they should get the help they need in their neighbourhood.   I am fully behind the Supportive Housing Initiative.  It appears that we have chosen a model that comes with its own set of challenges, however.

I am not in favor of Bowen Road, Dufferin, or Uplands locations, UNTIL we determine if the operator chosen and the type of client is determined.  It appears that between the Homeless Action Committee, the City, and BC Housing took the lazy way out when choosing locations.  Instead of carefully choosing sites that are appropriate for the type of housing needed in the neighbourhood, they simply plunked money on to “available inventory” to quote John Horn.  I would encourage not putting the Bowen Road site investment on hold.  That simply puts the neighbourhood around that site in limbo for years.  Let’s take the Province’s money and find a proper location for that investment and get on with it!

Darcy Olsen

It is important for the success of every community to care for every member of Nanaimo.  All neighbourhoods have schools, seniors, and children; this is what makes up a community.  To fear a demographic based on a subjective criteria is shameful and it is obvious further education for those opposed is needed.   We live in Nanaimo not South or North Nanaimo and I believe the Housing First initiative should have placement throughout Nanaimo.  It’s time to move people up not out.

Christopher Ouellette-Croucher

did not reply to the survey

Fred Pattje

Of course, services and resources to the disadvantaged should be spread throughout the City. Mental health and substance issues, among others, know no borders in our municipality and it is only fair that the responsibility of dealing with these is shared equally by all.

I am in favour of both the Dufferin and Upland locations as sites where Nanaimo’s ambitious Housing First projects can come to fruition and, contrary to the beliefs of some, I do not believe that these facilities will be operating to the detriment of the neighbourhoods in which they are planned.

Peter Ramsay

could not be contacted

Trent Snikkers

I believe that support services should be spread throughout the City as homelessness and addiction are not isolated to any one particular neighbourhood.  I also believe that not concentrating services in one specific area (and thus avoiding the creation of a ghetto) is crucial to at-risk citizens’ re-integration.  By spreading the services throughout the community, we can also help teach our children that the underpriviledged in our society are not evil second-class citizens and that they deserve to have another chance and equal access.

Although I do support the concept of a supportive-housing facility and its proposed location, I do not believe that the community was properly involved and educated during the initial stages of the process and I believe this unfortunate approach has yet to be rectified.  I therefore believe Uplands residents do have the right to express their concerns now.  Until proper consultation occurs and the community has truly had their input heard and their concerns appropriately dealt regarding this project I would support that the Uplands supportive housing project not proceed at this time.

Rob Zver

I believe that services and resources should be spread throughout the city as this would make it easier for those providing the services to control the situation as they would be dealing with smaller numbers.

I feel the Uplands Supportive Housing Project may be too big.  I would be more supportive of smaller projects placed in more areas throughout the city rather than a few large ones.  We need to have the support of the communities when building these homes.

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2. Potential Park Space

2. The South End Community has a vision of creating parks space that is sadly lacking in the area. If elected how would you support and initiate the possible acquisition by the City of Nanaimo of either the properties at 901 & 925 Harbourview St. or 101 South St. for use as public parklands in the South End Neighbourhood?

Parks are vital for health, a sense of well-being in the community, air quality, and more. The city could do more to purchase properties, although finding the money is always an issue. Working with non-profits such as NALT (Nanaimo and Area Land Trust) and developers may help to stretch the funds. Community involvement in the actual creation of park-land once the property is secured would be a task SECA is up to! See Issue #4 at my website.

–Ian Gartshore


I calculate that the combined total of these properties is 25 acres. At $500K per acre that works out to about $6 Million per parcel. I would first investigate the communities ability to raise those funds, how they would propose to do so, and what kind of time frame we would have to work with.

–Bill McKay

I agree that the South End needs more parks space, especially on the waterfront. I would try to ensure that at least one of those properties is high on the priority list of potential park acquisitions identified by the Parks, Recreation, and Culture Commission.

–Darcy Olsen

Neighbourhood Associations should be given assistance to develop public-private and non-profit partnerships to derive the funding for such badly needed projects that don’t easily fit into every taxpayers priority list. SECA could be a model for this kind of initiative in Nanaimo.

–Brian Fillmore

I do agree that park space in the south end of Nanaimo is currently insufficient for a healthy community. I am not familiar with the properties that you list as possible public parklands, but if elected, I would certainly investigate any opportunity for their acquisition by the CON.

As you know it is often much more palatable for the rest of the taxpayers if the area closest to these parks could somehow raise a portion of the funds for such a purchase. I know that this would be difficult, but as a recent purchaser of the 2 houses on Crace Street I would be glad to help with any fundraising efforts.
–Murray McNab

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3. Wharf Lands

3. The Port Authority has recently built a cruise ship terminal on their wharf lands. What would your vision for the neighbourhood abutting this property be?  How will that impact our neighbourhood?


As stated above, I now have a rather large vested interest in what happens with the new Cruise Ship Terminal and the surrounding area. I would love to see a complete makeover of the existing rail yard as has been proposed by the Railway Foundation. This could become a tourist attraction with possibly a working steam train running on existing tracks between Duncan and Parksville or beyond.

The current zoning allows for the densification of this area. This will lead to more local services and amenities. There are many great, hard working people living in this area and the views from this area are spectacular. This area is very close to downtown and it would take very little effort to promote the use of public transit, walking, bicycling, or other “green” modes of transport.

I worked down on Fry Street about 15 years ago and have been most impressed with the positive changes in the neighbourhood.
— Murray McNab

Many options abound. While recognising the need for industrial land and especially the fact that Nanaimo is a transportation hub city, how could the whole city work toward a comprehensive plan to better utilise that area?

It seems to me that a transportation hub may be one option, but only one that is attractive and draws people to this beautiful water-front area. I could see a year-round farmer’s market here, one that would be appreciated by locals, accessed by foot, bicycle, public transit, and by the tourists who wish to experience something unique. Affordable (not social) housing also comes to my mind.

— Ian Gartshore

The Cruise Terminal development opens up a world of possibilities for the South End. There is ample land there for many mixed uses, far beyond expanding the residential component of the South End. Entertainment, light industry, commercial, professional offices, even a high tech park highlighting green industries could be attracted to co-exist in a ‘village within a city’ enhancing the attractiveness of the existing South End as a revitalized, people-friendly part of the city to live.

Careful planning must be employed right away to make sure the opportunities to fashion this part of the South End in an enviable manner are not missed.
— Brian Fillmore

Cruise ship terminal and wharf lands: This question is quite complex. The wharf lands have the potential to become a major addition to downtown Nanaimo, with shops, offices, and residential (possibly fairly high density).

Much of the area is also a specified land claim of the Snuneymux First Nation, who will need to be consulted and who may become a participant in any development. And the Port Authority is of course a major player.

In my view, all planning for this area should be done publicly, in a transparent fashion, and should include the South End Residents Association. Whatever vision emerges will need to satisfy all parties and must pay close attention to the transition zone between new development and existing homes and businesses. If we do it right, the impact on the existing neighbourhood should be very positive and enriching.

–Darcy Olsen

I have not seen a long range strategy for the balance of the assembly wharf and adjacent property. I also understand that what we know as the CPR land is now for sale. If so, there may well be a requirement to move the rail lines from downtown.

If the Wilcox lands and the CPR property become part of a major redevelopment, why can’t we work with private developers to purchase from the E&N, the adjacent rail right of way with the mind to develop the waterfront portion in a manner that blends well with the South End ‘Master Plan’?

If marketed and executed properly, the entire south end of the assembly wharf area and the entire South End Community could be one of the hottest redevelopment areas in Canada. Why can’t we take some of the energy from places like Whalley, in Surrey, and create the same kind of excitement here?

I’m not suggesting a wholesale replacement of neighbourhood, but rather an integration of the old and new. Imagine redevelopment and enhancement with ‘people places’, extended sea wall, new waterfront shops, and perhaps a transportation terminus! Can I do this alone? Absolutely not, but with buy in from Council, staff, your community, and the rest of Nanaimo, why can’t we think big!
— Bill McKay

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4. Neighbourhood Plan Ideas

4.  What are the ideas from the South End Neighbourhood Plan that are the most impressive to you and if elected how would you work towards their implementation?


I was impressed with the whole plan, but one part that caught my attention was the plan for Halliburton Street and Needham Street as every neighbourhood should have a gathering core for residents. The plan for urban gardening brings neighbours together and enhances livability of the neighbourhood. These goals could be reached by encouraging local businesses to invest and I would work hard to ensure that City staff and crews do their part to help bring about these visionary policies, and that sufficient funds are budgeted.                        
— Darcy Olsen

I love your plan!  It is well laid out, takes the community in a completely new direction, and could turn South Nanaimo into the ‘jewel of Nanaimo’!  I am really excited.  What we all need to do now is create the excitement, put into place the incentive programs or perhaps even declare the area an ‘economic development zone’.  I believe in Nanaimo.  I believe in our potential. I believe if we work together we can create an exciting and dynamic City.                                                                 
— Bill McKay

There are so many highlights within the Neighbourhood Plan. I think that SECA have done an amazing job in coalescing and harnessing community spirit to take control of their future. I believe neighbourhoods (through their associations) deserve a much stronger voice in planning and management of their part of the community.

I would personally like to see the vital importance of revitalization and enhancement of communities to be somehow reflected in the new Economic Development Strategy. Should we be targeting business recruitment according to the general needs of the community, or should we look at ourselves one neighbourhood at a time and figure out what fits and what do we want most?

SECA and other associations should be given the tools to expedite their abilities to reach the goals stated in their vision of themselves and if money is the problem, then economic development can help make such progress a reality.  
— Brian Fillmore

I am most impressed with the way the South End Community Plan is working towards creating a sense of “Community”. This idea is greatly lacking in our fast paced, hurry up and ignore thy neighbour, society. I would work with CON staff to ensure that this plan, as devised by your community, is followed and implemented with their assistance wherever possible. I have attended 2 of your monthly meetings and have been impressed by the sense of community, positive attitude and “can do” spirit of all in attendance.  
— Murray McNab

This is difficult to answer, as SECA is a very impressive group/community and the plan reflects this; there’s much to choose from!  Believing as I do that all of Nanaimo can be a more socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable community, I am pleased with how the South End Neighbourhood Plan reflects the importance of this vision.

I especially like the idea of increasing population densities in appropriate ways that assists sustainable movement (cycling, walking, transit) and includes greater social cohesion/involvement/safety, protection of the natural environment, and a greater amount and diversity of employment, shopping, and learning.  My campaign platform is in keeping with all of these.

To implement these ideas I would advocate for more walking/cycling paths, accepting higher density zoning by utilising such concepts as cohousing, walk-ups (no high-rises!), more community gardens, “tools” for neighbourhoods to clean up old properties (especially the Manson store), having the city co-hosting educational opportunities with the community and non-profits (e.g. gardening, how to respond to social problems), working with the neighbourhood in redesigning it and attracting suitable businesses, and a better coordination of services.

We need to move away from the over-reliance on the single-occupancy motor-vehicle. The South End is already closer to this goal than any other neighbourhood in Nanaimo, resulting in less traffic noise (except along Haliburton), pollution, and injuries. The city can do more to build on SECA’s current strengths and justifiable pride.  
— Ian Gartshore

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4. What Council Candidates think about a Multiplex.

Please feel free to share your comments or questions to candidates in the comment section below each posting!

Want to keep track of candidates responses? We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet. Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for Council

Over the past term, a motion was filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End, but it was not clear about who would pay for it.  How necessary is a Multiplex?  Who should pay for it…should it be a public or a private enterprise?

I’m all for a Multiplex.  I’m not committed to any location. That has to be decided through proper study of potential locations throughout the city.  I’m uncertain about the need for it, but I am certain that a Multiplex must be a private business venture funded by private interests.  I am opposed to the City of Nanaimo providing any monies, land or services for a Multiplex project.     ~Bill Forbes

It is not clear that a Multiplex is necessary in the present economic climate.  If someone put forward a sound business plan the viability of which was confirmed by independent and professional auditors then this would merit attention. Such a report would have to consider not only the construction cost but the operating costs for this type of venture. It would also have to take into account whether the new facility would render recent similar expenditures redundant or otherwise uneconomical.

Any project which was approved would have to be designed so as to integrate with and enhance the surrounding neighbourhood and host location.     ~Janet Cowling

I consider the wharf lands in the South End as Nanaimo’s “last urban frontier” and do not want to see a Multiplex there!  That land is far too valuable for an operation which would sit empty most of the time, bring too many cars into the down-town core with all the negatives that come with it.  That land should be used to create a healthy mix of low, middle and higher end housing, something which would benefit the maximum number of residents and help to revitalize in a responsible manner.  Some, unfortunately, believe that a conference centre, next to an expanded casino, next to a Multiplex will achieve that…………  This area would also present a perfect location for a central downtown transportation terminal, where an improved public transportation system could eventually be aligned with rail transportation, both normal and light-rapid, as well as a foot-ferry to Vancouver and other transportation possibilities.  If there is to be a Multiplex, it should be done as a private enterprise and without taxpayer’s money or give-away’s of city land as has been done in the past.  DND land, close to the Parkway and Vancouver Island University would be a more appropriate location, in my opinion.     ~Fred Pattje

A private enterprise funded Multiplex should have taken priority before the Conference Center.  The two projects go hand in hand, but only the Multiplex would have been successful if it stood alone.  We do not need a Multiplex on wharf lands, further increasing parking problems.  This is one of the only ideas on the table that will be a major blow to the already struggling economic market in Nanaimo.  A Multiplex in Nanaimo is not as valuable to residents as the Port Place Shopping Center is.

If we must build a Multiplex which will likely further increase our property taxes, we should consider alternate locations for it such as Nanaimo District Senior Secondary Property which will be vacant in a few short years.  We also must be able to make it a 5000 seat building as well as prepare it to be an emergency shelter in case of major disasters.     ~Troy Pearson

My personal view is that a multiplex, similar to the one just completed in the centre of Penticton B.C.’s conference area would be a great complement to the city.  My position is that there needs to be a private company who is the principle… the track record of bureaucracy’s running business has never appealed to me.  There would be a major emphasis on a partnership where the city taxpayer was NOT left holding the bill.  There would be a major amount set aside by the developer/business in trust with the city to cover any chance of failure to perform.  For our city to move into the conference, entertainment, tourism new era, such a structure is a key part of the picture.     ~Jack Arnold

No motion was passed to build a multiplex, and it is not within our immediate plans. We are only looking at possible future sites, trying to preserve that area of the city for future uses, making sure that they fit into the over-all plan for the city and for the south end. A new arena is only one possible element.     ~Larry McNabb

Actually no motion was ever filed, however, the multiplex idea has been on the City’s radar for quite some time (see link for city info). The wharf lands per se, unless one is talking of the Port Authority pier only, are owned by varied private interests. Prior to the last election in 2005 the Friends of Plan Nanaimo had put together the concept of actually combining the Convention Centre with a cruise ship facility, hotel and housing on the wharf lands and lands immediately surrounding them.  The area of the wharf lands was mentioned at one time as an option for the multiplex because of the large amount of space required, lands at Beban Park have also been considered. Personally I think if a multiplex is ever approved the only thing the City should provide is the property to build it on.  Revenues from the Multiplex would then go to the city based on the commercial value of the land contribution.  A facility such as this should not become a burden to taxpayers.     ~Gordon Fuller

I’m not convinced we need a Multiplex, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.  I would definitely want to see a thorough examination of how such a facility would benefit Nanaimo and how the facility would be built and operated before making a decision.  Equally, I’m not at all sure that the waterfront land adjoining the assembly wharf is the best place for such a facility – that land may have a “higher and better use”, as the realtors like to say.  Since the primary users of the facility are likely to be private companies like hockey teams and event organizers, I would want the facility to be paid for by private enterprise, perhaps assisted by senior governments.  Any local government investment in a Multiplex would have to be approved by referendum, in my view.  I would oppose a public-private partnership, as I don’t think those arrangements work very well.

Frankly, I would rather put my efforts this coming term into seeking a foot passenger ferry that would run from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver.  I think that service would clearly benefit Nanaimo in a number of ways.  The benefits of a Multiplex are not nearly as clear (to me).     ~Bill Holdom

I would support a multiplex, but on the University grounds.  We can build access to the parkway, and build a parkade with a transit exchange.  I would like to see it as a mixed private/public enterprise and build it on the old NDSS site.     ~Angela Negrin

A Multiplex would complement the downtown, I not sure that it is necessary.  It must be federally and provincially funded, not built first then ask for funding later when you can’t get it.  I would support a privately funded enterprise with reduced city costs.     ~James Younger

We need more ball fields and ice for our kids we should not have torn down the Civic Arena.  I would be in favor of manning the new complex with city staff not contractors.  We should be able to build it and run it and have a profit left over.  I would want to find a different location than the old wharf lands.     ~Rob Campbell

I believe a multiplex would be a good addition to new facilities for the City of Nanaimo when the population warrants it. I would strongly oppose any public money being put into this concept and believe it should be private enterprise.     ~Diana Johnstone

I’m not sure the multiplex is a necessity but it might be a nice place to have if we can get the central Vancouver Island residents to buy in.  We would need them to be willing to travel to Nanaimo for big shows and games if we want to fill the proposed 5000 seat capacity.  It should definitely be paid for by private enterprise.  The city might be able to come up with a good deal on the land.     ~Terry Lynn Saunders

First, no such motion was passed.  What council asked staff to do was to find the most suitable location for a “future” multiplex project.  Our history of major projects has been that they are built every eight to 10 years – i.e. the Port Theatre, the Aquatic Centre, the Conference Centre, etc.  There is no immediate plan to proceed with such a project unless there is a private operator who wants to make that investment.  We have more pressing issues than a Multiplex at this time.     ~Merv Unger

I think that a multi-plex is one of the next wish list items that our community supports.  I support the idea and concept of what this type of facility brings to a community. Kamloops, Kelowna and similar communities do host large community, sport and concert events that we cannot facilitate. But in my estimation it would require a large private small public partnership arrangement.     ~Jim Kipp

A multiplex is not necessary for Nanaimo’s well being.  I can appreciate the exciting new possibilities such a facility could bring to the city so if the private sector is prepared to pay for it I would welcome it.  If the proposal is for another city-funded mega project in the face of already soaring property taxes my feeling is that it would be extremely irresponsible and I could not support it.     ~Simon Schachner

For clarification, a motion was not filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End.  A motion was approved to identify potential locations within the Downtown Zone for the future siting of a Multiplex.  While the Wharf Lands may be identified by the professional agency enlisted to identify locations and the pros and cons of each, a decision on where to build has not been contemplated or identified.

When thinking of the City of Nanaimo as a City of approximately 90,000 residents and growth projections reaching 120,000 in the next 15 to 20 years, it is important to at minimum contemplate sports, recreation, art and entertainment centres to meet the anticipated growth.  One must also consider the age of existing facilities and size of existing facilities.  Beban Park is reaching a critical stage of its life expectancy and some have suggested it is outdated and too small to meet the emerging needs of our City.

With that said, people are free to form their own opinions on the “necessity” of a Muliplex.  I happen to believe at the heart of every growing and revitalizing City is its culture, which includes first and foremost venues in which to have performances year round, appealing to all citizens.

Without adequate reserves or funding in place, or Provincial participation to build and operate a Multiplex, there is really only one option and that is to partner with a private consortium to build and operate a Muliplex.     ~Bill Bestwick

I’m not in favour of a Multiplex.  It would bring nothing to the South End but parking problems.  To build a multiplex when we need housing is nothing short of cynical.     ~Tim Lander

Over the past few months, I’ve talked to hundreds of people on the street, and only 2 even mentioned a Multiplex as a point of interest.  There was a lot more concern about the lack of hotel or retail tenants in the new convention centre.

A multiplex is a facility of interest, but not a necessity.  Nanaimo’s role would be in facilitating zoning and licensing.  Development costs would have to be private.     ~Pat Squire

A multiplex is very important to Nanaimo especially to the south end. A multiplex in the south end will drive more people into the area helping out local businesses. The only reason a private enterprise would want to build a multiplex is because they see profit in it. If they see profit in it why can’t the city. No matter who funds it a multiplex in the south end needs to be built.     ~Mark Sadhra

A multiplex makes no sense whatsoever.  There is no economic case to be made for one to be built either publicly or privately.  The Frank Crane Arena has a 3,000 person capacity which the Clippers, who are the primary high volume fan base users virtually never fill.  Concerts which would fill a larger capacity facility do not happen often enough to cover the capital or operating cost of such a facility.  In the Victoria and Kelowna examples they have privately built and operated facilities on publicly owned land.  In each case the cities pay over TWO MILLION a year for the public use of these facilities.  That amount tranlates to a 4 % property tax increase to EVERY property owner in Nanaimo.  A multiplex is a complete non-started to me.     ~Blake McGuffie

A Multiplex is as necessary as the money which investors will put up to build it.  A facility built to make a profit for private interests should be built with private money on privately owned land.  If public monies or land are involved it should only be when the project clearly demonstrates a direct and positive return on investment to the public as investors rather than benefactors.  Furthermore the public should only be involved in providing funding or land to the project following a referendum in which clear terms have been approved by the public.

I am against public monies for private projects, but would abide by a decision otherwise based on a referendum vote of our citizens.  I would, however, under any conditions, strongly protest the kind of unclear, constantly reinterpreted, publically subsidized and toothless P3(?) agreement with which we have found ourselves saddled in the Conference Centre.     ~Ron Bolin

How necessary is a multiplex?  It isn’t necessary.  Water, sewer, streets, solid and liquid waste disposal and Fire/Rescue and Police Departments are necessary.  But, if we are looking at economic development depending on the economy at the time, a Multiplex would be great to have.  I don’t believe the City has the funding to pay for a Multiplex.  I am not sure the citizens of Nanaimo would support a public funded venture of this type or possible size after the most recent public/private partnership with the Convention Centre and related Hotel.  Even as I write this there are reports of a severe down turn in the American economy and the good possibility that Canada will follow.  So, it might prove difficult for private funding to succeed as well.     ~Ted Greves

Many believe that Nanaimo needs an Entertainment and Sports Complex that gets us back in step with almost every other major BC city.  I believe this is an important economic driver for Nanaimo, as it brings in revenue from outside the community to watch entertainment and sporting events – as well as creating new jobs.  A Multiplex becomes a catalyst for investment, as downtown Kelowna has demonstrated.  Restaurants and other establishments are immediate beneficiaries prior to and after an event is held.  Nanaimo is a regional centre, and needs a regional facility like a Multiplex.  However, a Multipelx cannot be funded like the conference centre – there is no appetite from taxpayers for another similar major project.  Creative ways need to be found to attract the Private Sector to build and operate a Multiplex.  The Private Sector would do a much better job of running an operation like this.  The bigger question to me, though, is how an offer to build a Multiplex a few years ago featured a guaranteed contract with a locally bonded construction company for $34 Million was not pursued by the City – which is now floating a $75 Million Multiplex.  Who is doing the math and the estimating?     ~Mark MacDonald

The motion was to identify land suited for Multiplex.  To the best of my knowledge there has been no commitment to build and there has been no call for a proposal.  Size and costs would be needed and then the question of who pays would need to be answered.     ~Loyd Sherry

Don’t forget to check out the response to this question from our Mayoral candidates here.

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4. What Mayoral Candidates think about a Multiplex.

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Candidates for Mayor

Over the past term, a motion was filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End, but it was not clear about who would pay for it. How necessary is a Multiplex? Who should pay for it…should it be a public or a private enterprise?

A Multiplex on zoned lands with private funds built for profit would be an asset and taxable.     ~Larry Iwaskow

I support the concept of a multiplex however, there are many issues that must first be answered.  I am firmly of the opinion that the Taxpayers of Nanaimo have little appetite to take on yet another mega project without knowing the true total cost of the PNC.  The “Taxpayers Bank of Nanaimo” is closed.  I would consider a possible public/private partnership, subject to prior qualification, whereby the City may consider providing suitable land if available, however only with a revenue share from the completed project. ~John Ruttan

The council motion instructed staff to survey the downtown (from the Howard Johnson in the north to Milton Street in the west and south and down to the waterfront on the east) for a possible multiplex site.  The downtown was chosen as council wished to encourage transit use to and from the complex and to bring people downtown.  The council has not yet received the report from staff.  I would consider a land grant for a multi-plex but I would not favour any public funds to build it: it has to be entirely financed by private funds.  I would not support a multi-plex outside the urban centre of Nanaimo.  I don’t know if a multi-plex is necessary.  A wide ranging community consultation would have to take place before we would know the degree of public support for such a project.     ~Diane Brennan
The taxpayers of Nanaimo cannot afford a massively expensive project like this for the foreseeable future.  As your Mayor, I have always said I need to see a credible business plan that shows a Multiplex is financially viable, not dependent on city taxpayers.  That there is sufficient population to support it, and the capital costs are paid by the beneficiaries.  Private sector initiatives like this should be paid by the private sector.  The City can assist in access and servicing but we are limited in our ability to subsidize something that is lower in priority to more necessary projects… like the water system upgrade.     ~Gary Korpan

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3. What Council Candidates think about Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

This is question 3 of 4. We’ll be posting the last question on Wednesday November 5th. Please feel free to share your comments or questions to candidates in the comment section below each posting!

Want to keep track of candidates responses? We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet. Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for City Council

Most Nanaimo residents understand that both homelessness and affordable housing are critical issues here in Nanaimo.  If you could only support 3 initiatives to deal with these problems, what would they be?

I am proud to have worked very hard on this issue on the Safer Nanaimo Working Group with Coun Diane Brennan.  We both came to the defence of the South End when the Balmoral Hotel issue came up.  We developed a Housing First Strategy, which outlines our needs and how to get there.  We have been working with the provincial housing ministry and expect answers in the very near future, and that will be good news for all of Nanaimo.     ~Merv Unger

We are a university town now and more than ever low income housing is a must.  I support co-op housing for university students in order to free up the low income housing currently available.  That way, a more stable market for such housing can be achieved.  I believe in an effective transit system.  It is my goal to find a permanent home for the 7-10 club.     ~Angela Negrin

1. Provincial Funding.

2. Federal Funding I would not bring Nanaimo further into debt to support wet houses, there are to many sober people that need housing.

3. I would require all casino tax revenue over current $3,200,000 — go to housing and address homelessness issues.  The issues could be policing to counceling.     ~James Younger

Hopefully there will be more than 3 initiatives.  I support the homeless shelter Councillors Brennan and Unger have been working on and believe that is a good start.  I would also like to see a ‘gathering’ place for the homeless where they can get a meal, clothing and one stop access to agencies that could help them in whatever their needs are.  The Salvation Army does a good job but they cannot be expected to do everything.  What I really want to see is a concentrated effort to provide affordable housing and not just as rental property.  Real housing that people own.  I have a plan that I have thought about since my time with Habitat for Humanity.  In a nutshell, the community could build condominiums that would provide decent affordable housing for the working poor as well as interest free mortgages.     ~Terry Lynn Saunders

1.  Adhere to the city’s policy of not converting rentals to condos; a recent major example is the attempt to stratify Seacrest Apts.

2.  Apply the will and ability to implement “Nanaimo’s Response to Homelessness”  (tabled July 08) using Toronto’s homelessness plan as a benchmark.

3.  Fast track the ability to legalize rooming houses – for both existing and new construction.     ~Pat Squire

1 – Determine the extent to which existing building codes and bylaws may cause the cost of housing to be greater than it need be to provide adequate homeless shelter and develop an inventory of sites where temporary or permanent homeless facilities could be placed.

2 – Get out in front of the homeless problem rather than being behind it playing catch up.  Beating the bushes to find the homeless is not a reasonable approach.  Until the touted units are built, we should undertake to provide some shelter for every homeless person that needs it, even if the facilities are temporary and in parks or on vacant public lots.  Efforts can then be focused on defining needs, providing services and security and moving folks to appropriate and longer term facilities as required.  The combined costs of our current system of dealing with the homeless problems in an ad hoc manner are far too high and need to be reduced.

3 – Develop a bylaw which, for large scale housing developments, requires that the project provide some affordable housing, e.g. 10-30% of units and that smaller projects pay some proportion of their development costs into a fund established to build affordable housing.  The idea is to use a portion of the increase in land values created when the City grants rezonings, development permits, etc., for public purposes.  I do not view this suggestion as “subsidizing” public housing, but rather as a recovery of part of the value which the public has created in the development process.     ~Ron Bolin

Housing is essential, but must be done in small units, with strong management so as not to impact neighbourhoods.  Our area has more than enough social services now, so I would expect NO MORE in this area.  I serve as a Director of the Columbian Centre Society who sucessfully operates 5 buildings none of which have any impact on their neighbours, so I do know it is possible to achieve.  Continued CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Enviromental Design) principles need to be be retrofitted where possible on public and private space.  The lighting in Deverill Park is an example of this.  Enforcement personnel, both RCMP and Bylaw need to continue to be diligent, and working with other agencies need to continue to shut down drug houses much more quickly than they have been able to in the past.     ~Blake McGuffie

The only answer to homelessness is to provide homes. Nanaimo recently developed a Homeless Action Plan, that has great potential and looks at providing a mix of purpose built housing as well as subsidies for rental housing. Pressure needs to be kept up on both the provincial and federal levels of government to contribute. The city also has looked at secondary suites as a means to provide affordable housing and is currently looking at developing guidelines for rooming houses. Making sure affordable and social housing are spread throughout Nanaimo is essential. See my blog for more information and ideas.     ~Gordon Fuller

HOMELESSNESS A real big problem everywhere.  There are many empty lots around the city that could be used as campground facilities without a big concentration at any one area.  Supplied water and garbage pickup.  I believe the federal Gov. would be willing to supply army tents and these people must be considered to be Canadian refugees. Mobile housing as used for construction and oil rig camps could also be supplied for immediate shelter to fill the gap until decent housing can be generated.  This can be done NOW  at a very little cost shared by all levels of government.  I dedicate  myself to making this happen!     ~Brunie Brunie

As an apartment manger I talk to people all the time that are having a very difficult time finding a place to live.  I have three proposals that would elevate some of the housing problems.

-All condo developments would have to allow rentals not just for the original owners but of people who buy from original owners. I would also talk to the strata councils that operate preexisting condo developments to get them to allow rentals in their buildings.

-Stop the crackdown of illegal suites and make it easier for owners to turn their illegal suites into legal suites.

-There are many developers who want to build in Nanaimo. I say let them built. An increase of supply will help elevate this situation.     ~Mark Sadhra

1. Require the provincial and federal governments to make a fair contribution towards the resolution of this problem.

2. Require that a coordinated and accessible multi-disciplinary team be available to provide practical logistical support for people in crisis and/or with a housing emergency to help them access all available levels of support and assistance with a minimal level of bureaucracy.

3. Partnership with other social and support providers with a proven track record of assistance.     ~Janet Cowling

Provincial, Federal and Municipal funding for non-market housing projects that will house the homeless.

Inclusionary Zoning (developers must include a percentage of affordable housing in new development plans)/ Density Bonusing (developers can increase density provided they include affordable housing in a new project) with an emphasis on constructing rental units.     ~Bill Forbes

The first initiative I would support is aggressive lobbying of the Provincial and Federal governments to make access to affordable housing a priority in this country.  The next initiative would be to adopt “Smart Growth” principles of affordable housing which is primarily about providing a variety of housing options and setting “inclusionary zoning” (a required percentage of affordable housing units in new developments).  The third initiative would be to adequately support service providers that are often essential to the success of people new to permanent housing.     ~Simon Schachner

– Helping people with mental illness find affordable assisted living quarters.

– Separating the homeless into two groups, those that want help and those that don’t.  I want to spend tax dollars on the ones who want to help themselves but can’t.

– Crack down hard on the drug dealers to make it more of a risk to offend, currently the punishment is worth the chance to make money off the plight of others.

Its a complex issue!     ~Rob Campbell

I will continue to support the excellent work currently carried out by the service providers.  Through strong advocacy, policy change and supporting initiatives like “Streets to Homes” we can work to end homelessness.  Although viewed by some as the responsibility of upper government, we must act to improve our community through financial, in-kind or capital investment with broad participation.  We need to create a greater pride and sense of community with dignity based policy and response to issues of homelessness, addiction, crime and core issues.     ~Jim Kipp

Get Provincial and Federal Governments to accept their responsibility for this issue of homelessness.  The City should act as a coordinator with the two Senior Levels of Government.     ~Loyd Sherry

1) The City’s current Housing First action plan that involves building new housing via the donation of City-owned land, construction funds from the Province, and management by VI Health Authority.

2) The Canadian Mental Health’s project of converting the Balmoral Hotel into residences, as vetted through the South End Residents’ Association.

3) Legalization and regulation of boarding houses.     ~Bill Holdom

The issue of homelessness and affordable housing are complex and complicated as so many levels of government, various agencies and municipal governments are involved.

I do believe the current Council is making excellent progress in this regard with respect to priorizing affordable housing and the homeless in Nanaimo as a very high priority.  As I write this response I have optimism an announcement on Provincial funding for a new long term affordable housing initiative in Nanaimo is imminent.

More specifically, if I could only support 3 initiatives to deal with homelessness and affordable housing, I would continue to support:

1.  Providing City owned raw land for future low cost housing projects.
2.  Encourage more affordable rental properties to be constructed in part or whole.
3.  Direct cash in lieu from developments to fund low cost housing initiatives.     ~Bill Bestwick

We will have an announcement soon from the Province with regard to a major housing initiative for the whole city, including the homeless.  This is very exciting news.     ~Larry McNabb

Homelessness and affordable housing (lack of) are two separate issues.  One is a social issue, the other a long term economic issue.  Two major industries in Nanaimo are retirement and tourism.  Both of which rely on low paid workers who must be decently and affordably housed.  With the downturn in the market now is the time to build helping to maintain our forest industry at the same time.

We must stop treating the homeless as criminals per se.

When one becomes homeless for whatever reason one becomes depressed and then perhaps angry, paranoid, reach for the bottle or for drugs.  The problems are not caused by the homeless but homelessness.  It solves nothing to drive them out of where they are sleeping.  Everyone has a right to a good night’s sleep.  We let sleeping dogs lie.  Why not sleeping people?  Everywhere the homeless might shelter out of the rain there are chain link fences or warning notices.

We need a living room for those with no living room.  I suggest the old museum building would make a good living room.  Well patrolled.  I also think the city should rent several vacant lots.  Fence in three sides and set up with toilet facilities as camp sites.  The city should take seriously the recent decision regarding the right of the homeless to camp.  We have vacant lots.  We don’t need campsites in our parks.

The city should pressure the province to increase welfare rates and make them inclusive.  Money given in welfare is recycled into the local economy.  Throwing people off welfare encourages them to join the underground economy.     ~Tim Lander

I would support initiatives that encourage the co-ordination of many organizations such as City of Nanaimo, the V.I.H.A. Outreach Program, and B.C. Emergency Shelter Fund.  We need ways to avoid a “Tent City” in Nanaimo.

One low cost initiative could be for alternative ideas for homeless that incorporate shipping crate homes like those used in China.  Each crate is only $3,000 and could be easily located near policing stations.  They are more secure than tents and we could build a public bathroom to accommodate their needs.  Giving them support then a safe and secure place to go to in order to treat other problems; such as joblessness, addictions, and mental health.

Another alternative initiative for low income housing would be a similar shipping crate home idea but with individual bathrooms.  This way when one neighborhoods value increases, we can economically and efficiently relocate the low income housing to another area.     ~Troy Pearson

As an appointed member to the Social Planning advisory committee I am informed of issues and have an interest in working together to respond to changing social needs and issues.

-To develop a policy within the City to ensure that a percentage of any new zonings by developers contain the grant of a certain number of municipal affordable housing to the City, to be used by non-profit societies to build affordable housing.

-I would support a lobby from the Council of the City of Nanaimo to the Provincial Government, to provide more centres for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction that would allow those affected by this disease to be adequately treated in our society.

-Stand by the city policy of prohibiting the conversion of existing residential rental buildings to condominium status when the rental vacancy rate falls below 3%.     ~Diana Johnstone

Implement a model and make it a program of immediacy, perhaps the Ontario model… give it an immediate trial period, far more pressure on the provincial government and its departments to look after people, continue with the move to low cost and affordable housing for the individuals concerned…. take care to consult residents and stakeholders in the areas before implementation.  The problem is NOT only for some of the city, It is a problem for all of our residents to deal with.     ~Jack Arnold

My three initiatives would be:
a) Support fully the City’s “Housing First and Harm Reduction” action plan and ensure that the annual goals in this five-year plan are being met and that “the load” is shared equally by other parts of the City.  To have some thirteen social services dispensed from the South End alone is unfair and unacceptable!

b) I sat on both Secondary Suite Task Forces which steered Council towards legalizing secondary suites, now a possibility in the main dwelling as well as in detached structures (granny- and coach house suites) and I feel that I have contributed, albeit in a small way, towards more affordable housing.  More of this type of housing should be made available.  Similarly I support more co-op housing and it goes without saying that there will be no conversion from rental stock to condo as long as the vacancy rate is less than 3%, something which this Council is having trouble following even though this is a current bylaw………

c) Some municipalities require developers to set aside a certain percentage of new housing projects as “affordable” and I believe there should be opportunity for Nanaimo to do the same; I am using the SmartGrowthBC definition of “affordable” to be that not more than 30% of income is paid to have a roof over your head.     ~Fred Pattje

1. Those that cannot help themselves need to be helped and cared for, and we need to have facilities where they can be looked after.  That’s what we Canadians do.

2. Those that can help themselves, but refuse to work, need to be presented with opportunities to work and contribute to society.  Or, they can be re-trained to find something they can do to help them build a better life.

3. The city can look at providing incentives so that investors and developers would be encouraged to build realistic affordable housing that can be rented out at reasonable rates.  The city has the ability to create such an environment, and recognizing the opportunity, the development community could be enticed to participate, lessening dependence on the city and taxpayers.  The Federal government needs to get involved, as this is also an issue concerning Capital Gains allowances.     ~Mark MacDonald

The first initiative that I could support is an incentive for developers to build affordable housing other than condos for example.  What the developers build is dictated by good business sense and the economy.  Apartments or affordable housing are not where the best profits are realized. That is not a criticism, but reality.  So a funding incentive or relaxation on DCCs to make affordable housing attractive to build is the idea.

Second, the City’s Housing First Plan to house the Homeless is an incentive that I could support.  I believe it has been borrowed from the City of Toronto and the Streets to Homes Program that appears to be very successful.  It requires a buy in by the Province for funding and VIHA for the support needed by the individuals that are housed.

I am not aware of any other incentive at this time.     ~Ted Greves

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3. What Mayoral Candidates think about Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

This is question 3 of 4. We’ll be posting the last question on Wednesday November 5th. Please feel free to share your comments or questions to candidates in the comment section below each posting!

Want to keep track of candidates responses? We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet. Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for Mayor

Most Nanaimo residents understand that both homelessness and affordable housing are critical issues here in Nanaimo. If you could only support 3 initiatives to deal with these problems, what would they be?

I propose housing funded by private, Provincial and Federal funds.  As a temporary measure utilize empty buildings from all levels of Government.  The mentally and physically disabled should be supported and housed by Provincial and Federal agencies.     ~Larry Iwaskow

I would support purpose-built low barrier supported housing projects to deal with the homeless population with addiction and mental health problems.  If neighbourhoods are to have any relief from chronic homelessness, open drug use and sex trade then housing must be made available to this population.  I would spend two of my initiatives this way and make sure that the two projects were not placed in the same area of town.  My last “wish” or initiative would be to create incentives for developers to build affordable multi-family rental apartment buildings.  I would wish to see this type of housing in and around the downtown neighbourhoods to increase the number of people living there.  I would expect downtown workers, students, young families, older adults who are downsizing and seniors to choose this type of accommodation.  I believe the mix of multi-family housing in establish neighbourhood would enhance and enliven them.     ~Diane Brennan

Strict enforcement against the predators; medical treatment (eg detox) for the drug and alcohol dependent; safe, secure, supervised housing, particularly for the mentally challenged, with job re-training and placement opportunities.  No social service over-saturation that makes any one area a magnet for problems.     ~Gary Korpan

(a) I support additional substance abuse and rehabiliation programs for those struggling with substance abuse who want to get clean, get off the street, find employment and contribute to their community.
(b) In conjunction with the efforts of the local RCMP, I would work to provide an acceptable level of safety and security for those living in the South End.  I am particularly pleased with the results of the RCMP Bike Patrol, which I feel has met with considerable success by their initiatives and by showing a high profile in the area.
(c) There appears to be considerable commercial interest in the South End and in fact all of South Nanaimo.  I am very pleased that the Balmoral Hotel project is proceeding on schedule and the proposed condomunium development, directly across the street from the Balmoral project, is further evidence of renewed commercial confidence in the area. ~John Ruttan

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