Disbandment of environment committee debated in Nanaimo e-town hall

NANAIMO – Residents had wide-ranging comments and questions during an e-town hall meeting on city council's strategic priorities.

Council’s decision to disband its environmental committee was up for debate at an e-town hall meeting Monday.

Nanaimo politicians held the e-town hall to get public feedback on its strategic update and top priorities for the next two and a half years.

Residents, who could weigh in by phone, web form, social media or in person during the forum, had wide-ranging questions and comments on agriculture, the status of the Departure Bay walkway, and elimination of the Advisory Committee on Environmental Sustainability, whose members will be reassigned to other seats in a committee restructuring.

June Ross, resident, called the move a “very bad mistake,” after pointing out the strategic update has an area called environmental responsibility and yet under governance renewal and the new committee structure it removed the environmental committee. Resident Matthew O’Donnell said it makes sense to have the view of environment in every committee, but to also have a stand-alone environmental committee.

Coun. Diane Brennan, former member of the environmental committee, believes a stand-alone committee is required and said when you take one person and plunk them in a committee where the specific focus is not the environment, their weight to make changes and hold the city’s feet to the fire is reduced.

Coun. Jim Kipp said council is starting to embed the view of environment and social planning in other committees “that didn’t even care that environment was on it.”

“We are not just blanking out, closing down the environment; we are embedding it in every part of the operation,” he said.

Kipp also said why he supports the idea “of spreading the environment, getting them out of one little caucus where they speak to the converted every day… ’cause they are all very environmentally sensitive, now they are going to speak to people with a different mentality or a different sort of cultural design.”

Ross disagreed with the comment about embedding.

“You’re diluting a committee that was operating very well and instead of taking that committee and using them with the other departments what you’ve done is diminished their voice,” she said.

Councillors also discussed the Departure Bay walkway and agriculture.

Mayor Bill McKay talked about a need to look seriously at the issue of food consumed and grown on the Island and ensure there’s proper taxation regimes that make farming profitable, services like water are provided at a rate farmers can afford, and there’s a place to market crops.

No politician talked about the Departure Bay walkway happening quickly. Coun. Wendy Pratt said it would be wonderful to see the walkway go to Departure Bay and the Snuneymuxw lands on the other side, but she also said it’s an expensive venture and they need to figure out where it fits into budgeting and priorities.

“I do believe there will be work done in the future, when it will be done, what part will be done, that will depend on where we focus our priorities,” she said.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read