Nanaimo council sees new seating arrangement

NANAIMO – The city will spend about $4,000 for new seating arrangements at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Nanaimo’s council chambers will sport a new look next year.

The City of Nanaimo is doing a $4,000 seating arrangement switch-up this December.

The new seating, which stems from a governance review, will see council members and city staff sitting together in a horseshoe-style desk. The podium will also be moved to the centre of the room.

Outgoing mayor John Ruttan says he thinks the change will serve the new council well.

“We often have difficulty not only hearing delegations appearing at the podium, but also to hear and see how other councillors are voting,” he said. “So this suggested horseshoe configuration, whereby you are more or less facing each other, to me that serves to better enable debate.”

Ruttan said it’s also making it clear that council is trying to run the city’s business.

“People often forget that it isn’t really like going to a theatre where there’s nine people sitting there staring at the audience and trying to put on a play,” he said.

The new seating arrangements will cost less than an original $8,000 estimate with the city no longer buying new furniture and doing the work in-house. The change is expected to be in place in the new year.