Nanaimo council calls for strategy on implementing ideas from core review

NANAIMO – City staff members will advise council on how it can act on recommendations it decides on from a new core services review.

Nanaimo has completed its core services review – now comes the hard part, according to Coun. Bill Yoachim.

During a committee of the whole meeting Monday, politicians called for an implementation strategy from staff in 30 days on how recommendations they choose from the core services review could roll out.

Dozens of recommendations aimed at cost-savings and efficiencies were in the 245-page report, released last week.

Chief administrative officer Tracy Samra said council can decide which recommendations it wants to go with at any point in time. Staff will come back with advice on implementation, including preliminary ideas for the short-, medium- and long-term and ways council can engage the public.

Coun. Jim Kipp, who made previous attempts to get a core review prior to his re-election in 2014, said it’s a really good review and will help move the city into a more efficient position. It’s not a “slash and burn” like the fear tactics that were out there, he said.

Yoachim said the implementation plan is the hardest work to come yet, but he looks forward to it.

“End of the day, everyone around this table here won’t be popular with some groups because we’re going to have to make real decisions and that’s part of what the people expected in the city and we have to make sure the dollars are best used as we go forward,” he said.

Following the committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Wendy Pratt told the News Bulletin this is about raising the city’s awareness about where it’s doing well and how it can be better. She saw no alarm bells.

The report is a tool to move council forward, she said, adding council felt stalled because it wasn’t going to make decisions until after the review, although it has been working on strategic planning.

Pratt also pointed out that the city doesn’t have to do what’s been recommended, but to her, the recommendations make sense.

“It’s where we put them in the list of priorities, and when we decide to implement them,” Pratt said. “If we’re going to implement them in the ways that they’ve suggested or whether we need to go out and find out what best practices are in other communities.”

Mayor Bill McKay said the report is a snapshot in time and exactly what he hoped for. He does see tough conversations, but is eager to delve into the report in great detail.

“Within 30 days council has asked staff to come up with a strategy for implementation and in a very loose format because a number of the initiatives that affect service levels will have to go to the community for further consultation.”