Editorial: Core review useful exercise

The City of Nanaimo agreed this week to the drafting of terms of reference for a core review, a sort of re-evaluation of city services.

The City of Nanaimo could be shaken to its very core.

The Core Services Review Steering Committee agreed this week to the drafting of terms of reference for a core review, which is a sort of re-evaluation of city services.

It’s a huge project, one that city council has a clear mandate to pursue as it was a stated priority of several current councillors during last fall’s municipal election campaign.

The price tag of a core review isn’t yet known, though it’s hard to imagine that its costs could outweigh its benefits. The city will hire an experienced consulting firm to scrutinize a broad scope of departments and can expect to receive a comprehensive document – one with recommendations on what services to prioritize and how to deliver services more effectively, and in some cases, more cheaply.

In Nanaimo, this core review will now happen, it should happen, and what’s more, it should be done regularly in this municipality and in any other. Civic politicians continually lament downloaded costs from provincial and federal levels of government, and whether those claims are founded, responsible management of taxpayer dollars is essential.

It will be important, through this process, that city business isn’t held up in anticipation of the core review final report. City councillors already have the experience, the wisdom and the mandate to direct city staff on certain services; in many cases, they don’t need to wait for positive reinforcement from an outside consulting firm.

For that matter, the final report won’t be commandments from above. City councillors may endorse the document as a whole, but they will still have to go over each line item. And they will still have to decide what’s best for Nanaimo, which is, in theory, something they have always done, and something they must always do.