Nanaimo city council voted to adopt the ‘doughnut’ economic model as a guiding principle for all city initiatives and planning. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo city council voted to adopt the ‘doughnut’ economic model as a guiding principle for all city initiatives and planning. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo council decides city will be guided by ‘doughnut’ economic model

Councillor says Nanaimo first city in Canada to adopt the model as a guiding principle

The City of Nanaimo has a strategic vision and other guiding documents, but from now on, all decisions need to fit into a ‘doughnut’ economy.

City council, at a special meeting Monday, voted 5-4 in favour of Coun. Ben Geselbracht’s motion to adopt the doughnut economic model “as a cohesive vision for all city initiatives and planning processes.”

Geselbracht posted on social media that Nanaimo is the first Canadian city to adopt doughnut economics as a vision and framework.

The doughnut model, according to a city staff report, challenges economies to meet and exceed “minimum global living standards” and equity, while “avoiding pushing beyond our ecological limits.” The idea is that the doughnut represents the sweet spot – “the safe and just space for humanity” between a social foundation on the inner edge of the doughnut and an ecological ceiling on the outer edge. Geselbracht’s motion calls for a “city portrait” to be created, with measurable social and environmental indicators and targets so the city can track its progress.

Staff’s report did not include recommendations, but noted a few different ways staff could incorporate the doughnut framework into council’s strategic plan, the Reimagine Nanaimo planning process and the environment committee’s work plan.

“The doughnut economy provides a very clear understanding of what the relationship is [with] the environment and what we have to do in terms of living within the means of the planet and also the basic foundation that we need to meet as a community to provide health and well-being to our citizens,” Geselbracht said.

The concept had been previously discussed at a city governance and priorities meeting, but councillors remained divided.

“I know some people are very strongly in favour of it, some people think it’s meaningless drivel. Everybody has their opinion,” said Coun. Ian Thorpe.

He said the doughnut model is unbalanced with a focus on environmental concerns, and said it would be better suited as a guiding principle for the environment committee’s work, not for all city decision-making.

“Although it’s called an economic model, it seems to have nothing to do with GDP economics and that’s my main concern…” Thorpe said. “It is, from what I’ve read, a very left-wing philosophy which basically says that business is bad, growth is bad, development’s bad, we want to focus just on social and environmental priorities. Well, I’m all in favour of being responsible for the environment, but I think there has to be a balance.”

Coun. Tyler Brown rebutted, saying it’s clear that humans’ actions are not in balance with the Earth.

“So to dispute that and say that this model is out of balance, I would say that’s completely incorrect because the current model is out of balance,” Brown said.

He added that he thinks people want leadership from city council on setting a vision “across many different domains” and said that’s what the doughnut economic model can do.

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she’d heard from urban planners who suggested the City of Nanaimo should be looking at an alternate sustainable development model, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). She noted Victoria, Saanich and Vancouver are ICLEI members and said it’s a proven model that would meet Nanaimo’s needs and come with supports, and wondered why the city would instead choose a model no other Canadian city has adopted.

“Because we like to be different, because we like to be leaders and just because nobody else is doing it in Canada doesn’t mean this isn’t the right framework and the right approach,” said Coun. Zeni Maartman.

Mayor Leonard Krog was most concerned with process, saying council should wait for a staff report on how the strategic plan could be amended to incorporate the doughnut economic framework.

“We are in the middle of the Reimagine Nanaimo process which is involving a great deal many more people than sit around this council table and I think it’s appropriate that it be referred accordingly,” Krog said.

However, council voted against referring the doughnut model to the economic development task force, preferring an immediate vote. Geselbracht suggested council members who disagreed with his position hadn’t done enough research, and Coun. Erin Hemmens pointed out that staff had indicated that the doughnut model could fit into existing work plans.

“The problem is that we have finite resources to take care of all the people on Earth…” she said. “Here’s a model we could use to basically pull apart this huge, complex question we’re wrestling with.”

The motion to adopt the doughnut economic model as a cohesive vision for all city initiatives and planning passed 5-4 with Krog, Thorpe, Armstrong and Coun. Jim Turley opposed.

READ ALSO: Island economic summit panellists discuss sustainability based on ‘doughnut’ model



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City Hall

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police in Nanaimo hope to find the owner of a Giant Reign mountain bike that was seized after a man was spotted riding it without a helmet on the wrong side of the road on Christmas Eve. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP suspicious to find expensive bike covered in layer of duct tape

Police looking for owner of Giant Reign mountain bike that they believe was stolen

A still from surveillance footage showing a confrontation in the entranceway at Dolly’s Gym on Nicol Street on Friday morning. (Image submitted)
Troublemaker causes pain and damage at downtown Nanaimo gym

VIDEO: Suspect breaks fire alarm, slams door on business owner’s foot after attempting to defraud her

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Nanaimo school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Cyclists pick up swag and cycling trail maps at city Bike to Work Week ‘celebration station’ a few years ago. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo’s active transportation plan will be about more than infrastructure

City working on goals to double walking trips and quintuple cycling and busing trips

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance after numerous tire slashings between Jan. 12-14. (News Bulletin file)
20 tires punctured in ‘slashing spree’ in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for any tips about Jan. 12-14 incidents in Country Club and Boxwood areas

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read