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2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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Moving our Economy Forward

I believe that an effective Economic Development Office is critical to the future of Nanaimo.  We need to bring jobs to our city that pay better than minimum, or near-minimum, wage.  We need our people working in full-time jobs, not trying to juggle two or three part-time jobs.  We need jobs that provide incomes that will enable residents to buy homes and land.  In order to do that we need a cohesive council that is willing to work with each other to achieve a positive goal of moving our community forward. 

I am reminded of the City of Chilliwack, which invited businesses to contact the Mayor’s office if they wanted to locate or relocate their enterprise there.  Large billboards on both sides of the highway encouraged a call to the Mayor’s office for such reasons, and it worked extremely well.

In the last few years, the Economic Development Office of Nanaimo has concentrated on residential improvements throughout our city.  However, I believe our focus needs to expand to diversify our economy to include sustainable jobs.

A current example is the automobile dealerships proposed for the former home of Long Lake Nursery.  Under Zoning Bylaw 4500, that property is zoned as Community Corridor COR3, which allows for site-specific use as Automobile Sales, Services and Rentals.  The Official Community Plan (OCP) is a living document that may be amended from time to time to reflect changes in the community.  City staff is recommending land elsewhere for this project, which is zoned Industrial I2.  It does not allow Automobile Sales.  That could be changed under the OCP living document criteria.

As mentioned earlier, we need jobs that will help us, and this $10M project will create a new estimated job market of 70 family-income jobs in sales, parts, and servicing of automobiles.  The changes to the OCP will allow the creation of jobs that are in the $60,000-$150,000 year range, well over the living wage level, plus the creation of apprenticing partnerships with Vancouver Island University. 

This is just one example of the types of projects we need in Nanaimo to move into tomorrow.  Taking the financial pressure off the residents by giving them the opportunities to earn a higher income will go a long way towards solving our homelessness problem, help other areas of our local economy to flourish, add vibrancy to our communities, and provide a stable basis for a sustainable future for our city.

A forward thinking incoming council can work together to make necessary changes to our OCP and zoning amendments to effect change as we pass the 100,000 population mark.  This will help our current and future residents enjoy a more prosperous, vibrant and sustainable future.

Nanaimo needs a council that is aware of what changes we can make.  They need to be constantly aware of the possibilities and ramifications for the future with each change.  And they must allow for consideration of the overall population of Nanaimo.  This is something I strongly believe I can add to as part of the next city council.

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