Council postponed its vote on Colliery dam remediation this week despite the city manager’s warning a decision was imperative.
Nanaimo city council decided in a 5-4 vote against making a decision on the Colliery dams at the committee of the whole meeting Monday, allowing more time to collect and consider information. Coun. Gord Fuller also put councillors on notice of a motion to form a select committee for the structures and options for the middle dam.
More than 80 people turned out to the city meeting, some sporting “I am one of 40” T-shirts and signs in reference to Mayor Bill McKay’s earlier comment that perhaps only 40 people are actively involved the Colliery dams issue.
Council has lost its plea with the Environmental Appeal Board for a stay on an order to fix the Colliery dams and now faces a July 24 deadline to choose a provincially approved remediation option and submit design and construction plans. City manager Ted Swabey said a decision was imperative to meet the deadline and McKay with councillors Ian Thorpe, Wendy Pratt and Diane Brennan supported making a choice with the city under order and deadline by the province.
Pratt said the amount of time and money they are spending and plan on spending to continue to spin their wheels, while under order from the province, is “getting beyond ridiculous.” Brennan argued the comptroller has done exactly what he’s said he would and has made it clear should the city fail to take the approved measures to remediate the problem he will take enforcement action on the city. It’s “bad practice I think, bad public policy to ignore this,” she said.
But other councillors called for more time to collect and consider information. Coun. Bill Yoachim said he thinks there are better options and Coun. Jim Kipp wants to study information and make a decision in a televised meeting.
“This is an historical moment where we will stand up for our community, or we will just have to bow to some other person in an office in another town. Not my cup of tea,” Kipp said.
The Colliery dams is on the agenda for Monday (July 13).