City of Nanaimo leads efficiency talks with taxpayer-funded groups

NANAIMO – Space-sharing among options considered for efficiencies in taxpayer-funded groups.

The City of Nanaimo’s push to find efficiencies could see three taxpayer-funded groups move closer to city hall.

The City of Nanaimo has invited the operator of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association to talk about finding efficiencies, including the potential for the groups to share space.

Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer, said there’s vacant space in the Service and Resource Centre, across from city hall, with enough room to house all of NEDC on the third floor. At Vancouver Island Conference Centre, five work stations are free.

Looking for the efficiencies within the different organization is a result of the core services review. Samra said it doesn’t make sense if the city has vacant space in the resource centre, or if the conference centre has office space, to be renting four places – the locations of the three groups and the city itself.

“One of the ideas behind the space-sharing then is you don’t need four separate systems for administration support. You find efficiencies by people working together,” she said.

Samra also said the core review talks about how there’s not enough collaboration and cooperation and having people work together encourages that.

Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation, currently on Front Street, was set up to be arm’s length, and asked if it will remain so if it does go to the city building, Samra said ‘absolutely.’

Andre Sullivan, board chairman of the corporation, said being arm’s length has less to do with location and more about making sure the economic development has the autonomy to make its own decisions. The corporation will look at any option that will save taxpayers money and is open to any structure, he said.