Nanaimo citizens’ final thoughts on the city plan turned out to be, for the most part, concerns about a globalist agenda.
The City of Nanaimo held a public hearing Wednesday, June 22, on its Reimagine Nanaimo city plan that will serve as the city’s next official community plan as well as a parks, recreation, culture and wellness plan; transportation plan; active mobility plan; climate action and resiliency plan; and accessibility and inclusion plan.
Public feedback at Wednesday’s meeting, however, frequently strayed from those subjects. While there were a few concerns expressed about bike lanes, crime, and perceived over-taxation, many of the Nanaimo residents who took to the podium were there to denounce doughnut economic concepts and the World Economic Forum.
“The official city plan, or OCP as it is being referred to, appears to be predicated and/or linked to the visions and agendas of several globalist institutions,” said Jim Smith, a resident. “A large and growing number of Canadians have now witnessed first-hand the harm and destruction that these institutions and their unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats are capable of foisting upon our society.”
Michelle Rosauro, another resident, said it seemed as though the city gave citizens “the illusion of choice” while proceeding with Reimagine Nanaimo. She said she will continue to ask who is pushing for the doughnut economy in Nanaimo, and in the meantime, urged the city to keep aspects of the plan, but make modifications.
“We can still have a great 25-year plan that doesn’t have anything to do with an unelected global interest,” she said.
Resident Kevin Sharma also asked the city to slow down the OCP process.
“We need to be sure of what we’re signing up for,” he said. “There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t create our own city plan free of global influence.”
There were repeated rounds of applause during the meeting despite Mayor Leonard Krog’s protestations. Of the 20-plus speakers at the meeting, all but two indicated opposition to the city plan. There were three written submissions presented at the public hearing, all opposed, and 15 submissions received before the meeting, with no indication of opposition or support for the city plan bylaw.
One of the citizens speaking in favour of the plan at the public hearing was resident Dale Porter, who suggested he hoped that once the OCP is approved, the city can turn its focus to important neighbourhood issues.
“I get it’s taken a long time and a lot of work, but there’s a lot of work that has to get done,” he said.
Resident Brian Short said he generally likes the city plan, particularly its urgency regarding the climate emergency. He said if anything, he was asked for his feedback too often during the phases of the city plan’s creation.
“There’s a whole bunch of people that I’ve heard from tonight who missed many, many opportunities to be involved in this,” he said.
Councillors participated in the public hearing only by listening. The city plan bylaw is expected to come back to the council table July 4 for adoption.