To the Editor,
The tenure of the current Nanaimo mayor and councillors is coming to an end.
As the November civic election approaches, it might be a good time for this administration to reflect on whether or not they leave the institution – one of the key governing bodies in our democracy – in better shape than they found it.
At the end of their watch, is our city hall more or less respected and trusted by Nanaimo citizens?
They might want to consider some or all of the following:
The city’s top public servant – then city manager, Jerry Berry – was allowed to walk away from his post with a rich severance package. The details of which, though often promised, were never made public.
The contract to construct an expensive state-of-the-art city hall annex to house city departments and workers was awarded in a closed-door process without consultation with any stakeholders who might be impacted by this decision.
Social housing projects have been imposed on neighbourhoods, again without consultation or attempts to explain and develop support for the policy decisions behind these initiatives.
This like it or lump it approach has not surprisingly resulted in loud public opposition to the point where the city has had to retreat and start from scratch.
The mid-summer sham ‘reverse billing’ referendums like the recent ones on financing the water treatment plant and the emergency water connection agreement are seen as cynical and shifty.
Just weeks before the municipal election, not a single councilor has declared his or her candidacy and shown an eagerness to engage in the badly needed public conversation about neighbourhood issues, social issues, development issues and the deep economic funk we find ourselves in.