Nanaimo chamber of commerce leads petition to fix city council relationships

NANAIMO – A new petition has been launched to fuel change in the City of Nanaimo council chambers.

Nanaimo city council is broken and the only ones who can fix it are the politicians themselves, according to Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Kim Smythe, who’s helped launch a new petition.

A citizens group headed by the chamber has recently started a petition on Change.org, calling for mayor and council to acknowledge that problems exist and to find solutions.

Smythe said it’s meant to get council’s attention, but it will also provide a forum for citizens to indicate the level of dissatisfaction among the public.

“It’s been 10 months since swearing in and we’ve watched relationships break down, discord grow, decorum reach new lows in chambers and councillors attacking each other online,” he said in a press release, later telling the News Bulletin that in 23 years of working with politicians and watching councils he’s never seen a situation like today.

He believes it’s costing the city in money, reputation, pride of place and self-esteem and that there’s been an inability to get things done, including the core review.

Mayor Bill McKay hired a facilitator in June to help address internal issues on council he said was affecting the ability to do business, which continues to work with politicians and is costing taxpayers upwards of $50,000.

Smythe, however, said in nine months he has noticed councillors being no more civil to each other and if anything acting less so.

“We have to call for better or we won’t get better,” Smythe said. “We elected you to be responsible as community leaders. We’d like to see proof of that responsibility soon.”

The petition was sitting at 57 supporters by press time Wednesday but quickly gaining signatures.

To view the petition, please visit https://goo.gl/CvmYGO.