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2018 Council

Vote Bill Manners

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Candidate meeting at VICC answers to questions Oct 9, 2018

I got asked a variety of questions at the candidate meeting on October 9th held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

The first one relates to IN CAMERA MEETINGS. (click here)

In-camera meetings may or must be used when certain circumstances dictate.

In-camera sessions happen for a variety of reasons.  I expect that we will find that most have been for legal counsultations.
As soon as a councillor wants a legal opinion, the matter has to go in-camera.  I want to stop that from happening.  Of course the other members of the elected council will have to also want to work with me on this matter.  It takes a majority.  Let's see what happens after our new council is sworn in next month.  I want to be your voice.  Vote Bill Manners

 

I will be addressing this issue soon.  In the meantime feel free to send me your ideas regarding in-camera sessions EMAIL.

 

Q & A VIU Students Association

1) What about your personal or professional background has prepared you for public office?

A; I have attended almost all of Nanaimo City Council and Committee of whole meetings since late 2011.

I am one of the spokespersons for the City of Nanaimo Community Engagement Task Force.  I am a director of Nanaimo Amateur Radio Association and a former interviewer for the Seniors Advocate of British Columbia. 

I have worked extensively with City Staff on many projects including the NOVOTE2017 Society of which I am one of the founders and the group that was built together with the residents of Nanaimo after seeing what information was given to them, voted 80.4% NO.  A huge success.  

I was also one of the originators of Nanaimo & District Independent Living Resource Centre, which has been around our City since 1990.

Previously, I have been a regional director for a group of 54 stores in British Columbia working on company budgets and the reorganization as well as developing and enforcing rules and regulations.

 

2) What would you say are your core values as they relate to being on City council?

A: I was raised to be respectful of everyone I meet.  Sometimes it has been hard, but my grandmother insisted that I keep my Manners. I have old-fashioned values that keep me in step with laws and bylaws created not just in my community, but the provincial and federal laws as well.

As a long-standing Nanaimo resident, I work well with City Staff and the Management there.  I have tried to keep working with all past and current council members regardless of their decisions.

I believe in Better Listening, Better Thinking and Better Speaking, the cornerstone of Toastmasters International.  The more we listen and then think of what residents are saying, and then council members should feel free to speak, instead of just giving their own opinion.

 

3) What would you see as the key issues in Nanaimo?

A: Reintroduction of the Economic Development Office in our city manned by more than one person.  We need an office that is dedicated to expanding the types of businesses we have in our town.  Nanaimo needs to bring people with jobs that pay more than what the average worker makes in our city today.  I believe that better-paying jobs are what we should be created to make it possible for the average worker to be able to afford a house here, rather than elsewhere.

The Community Engagement Task Force was set to design a way to set up better communication between the residents of Nanaimo and the Council Members as well as staff.  They have one more meeting scheduled for later this year, after the election.  I would love for a new committee to be struck according to the laws of our city, by our Mayor set on creating options without hosting meetings but just concentrating on the objective, which is my opinion is:  “How can Nanaimo residents engage with City Council so we can develop a city that is more suited for residents?”

Nanaimo also needs better Transit.  A system change is in order.  I have 48 years’ experience in Transportation around our city. I want our city to be livable and inviting to residents and visitors to see our city as a place that allows people to use Transit, Cycling or walking to get around our city or even its neighbourhoods.  I have a concept that I hope could see some acceptance after I get elected to Nanaimo Council.  I will dedicate my time to seeing a change regarding the transportation in and around Nanaimo.

 

4) What would be your approach to dealing with those issues?


A: My approach is to discuss ways we can get back to the basics of governing our city, and to find a way to redevelop relationships with many outside agencies which include but are not limited to BC Ferries, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Port of Nanaimo, School District 68, Nanaimo Airport (YCD), and our neighbouring communities which include Lantzville, Snawnawas, Snuneymuxw and Ladysmith.

The newly elected Nanaimo City Council and members of the Regional District of Nanaimo must work together to rebuild our Nanaimo Tourism dedicated to our Region rather than the current providers, Vancouver Island Tourism.  It is vital that local business work together to invite visitors and residents to explore our city from North to South and East to West just as our transit service must.


For more information, go to 2018council.com

Bill Manners

Housing and Homelessness 

1) What do you know about the housing and homelessness issues we’re experiencing in Nanaimo?

I believe that the homelessness issue in Nanaimo is not the exception, but the rule.  There are more homeless in every community across our country then there was a few years ago.  I know about the proposals for those at the risk of homeless as well as the stories of many of the homeless in our community.

I have spent many years in the taxi industry in Nanaimo, engaging with a marginalized society that exists in Nanaimo.  We have a job market that offers too many minimum paying jobs with scant hours.  I know residents that work at 3 different jobs making bare wages that almost do not allow them to eat after paying rent and required expenses such as heat and telephone.  Our society requires many to double up on accommodations and some even triple up or more.  Nanaimo is not the livable city it used to be for long term residents. 

Gentrification has stripped housing away from those who live on the bottom edges of poverty.  Housing units that were affordable have been bought by new residents to the city who buy the houses, fix them and either live in them or flip them.  This pushes out the former tenants who lived there and barely got by.  They have found other accommodation, surf couches or have gone homeless.

 

2) Do you endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy in your term? Provide details on your priorities and how you would achieve them.

I commit to working to achieve many of the goals of the Housing Strategy in my term.  I do not see Nanaimo winning the battle on homelessness without the willingness of those who are out there without homes.  We need their co-operation to help house them, which needs a multi-pronged method utilizing the many levels of government.  If we simply say, we will build housing, we will not win.   If we say we will help them become better members of society by getting them off of drugs, we will not win.  If we want to move towards better mental health facilities and not expect them to help us get there, we will not win.   Nanaimo needs those at the risk of homelessness to work together with the community to solve a problem and that is to get a roof over their heads that they will respect and move towards making life much better than it has been.

Council cannot do that on their own.  It takes a village that compromises all levels of government, social agencies, and the individuals who need to start moving up in life, with a hand up and not a hand out.  I want the BC Government along with municipalities to work on a viable solution to solve the homelessness crisis.


3) Municipalities that are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/approaches by the City of Nanaimo? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) and community push back, while implementing the array of housing and solutions our community requires?
 

Every single time the City and the Province along with a social agency agree on a property to build shelter, the neighbours do not want it near their homes.  I live in the Dover area of Nanaimo and I fought for the housing that is now called Uplands Walk.  As a member of the most recent Good Neighbours Network compromising of the Dover Community Association, Uplands Seniors Village, Vancouver Island Regional Library, City of Nanaimo staff John Horn and the Uplands Walk management, we see value in the housing unit that so many were against.  As a team, we need to share the positives of such housing to enable more to move into housing that is there to help them when they want it.  Yes, we have the negative downtown housing unit on Selby Street that houses the more at risk individuals in Nanaimo and seems to find more ambulances and coroner traffic than any other place in Nanaimo.

All areas of Nanaimo need to see one of these in their neighbourhood to help the residents of homeless housing get integrated into the community.  They are all our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles.  They are a part of the Nanaimo family and we need to cooperatively embrace them and work to better our world.


4) Will you support the City of Nanaimo in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028, and if so what actions will you undertake and support to reach this target?

I do not believe that zero is a possible end game.  There will always be those who do not want help, refuse help or do not even believe they need help.  We cannot be there for them.  We can sure offer and try our best, but without the main ingredient, themselves, we cannot solve the homelessness issue.  I will work hard to educate as many as I can.  Will you?


 

Questions from Facebook groups

Q: What specific steps will you take in the next four years to restore staff, public, business and government partner confidence in our city?
I believe that is the biggest challenge. Without restored confidence, we cannot fix or improve anything.

A:  Restore Staff Confidence: Hire a full-time permanent CAO. Rebuild the staffing levels to where they were four years ago and create an atmosphere so we keep our talented staff instead of them wanting to be elsewhere. We have had too many departures of great folks.

Restore Public Confidence: Community Engagement between Council and a CAO who in turn will work with staff. Improved engagement between Council and the residents of our city.

Restore Business Confidence: Recreate the Green/Red Tape committee to develop a plan to reduce the time needed for building permits and other delays in various permits in Nanaimo.
An enlarged Economic Development Office designed to bring BUSINESS to our city that pays livable wages so we can get our young families into a position to buy a house. Current employment opportunities are mostly for low paying jobs and are part-time requiring employees to work more than one job, who can barely get by each month.

Restore Government/Partner confidence: Develop plans that work with seniors’ levels of government instead of creating projects that go against the norm.

Back to the basics of good governance is more than just holding meetings that are civil.



Q: When are we on Hammond Bay Area getting cell service and when is the new fire hall is going to be built on the property bought years ago on the miller farm?

A:   I have been advocating for both of these for many years. The fire station location has two apparent locations and I hope to hear more once elected on a time frame when this will be built. Even though the biggest supporter and the largest detractor for the fire station are not running for re-election, I hope that we get a pro council that will see a few projects completed that were promised prior to 2012 and that we have not seen work done on. These include the Hammond Bay Station and the Departure Bay Activity Centre with a rebuilding plan for the Boys & Girls club on Cranberry Avenue.

Cellular coverage has been needed on that edge of Nanaimo since the introduction of cell phones here. A solution must be found QUICK through a revised community strategy to work with providers to develop a city-wide cellular service and for Telus and Shaw to produce wifi availability from edge to edge of our boundaries.

 


 

Quick Questions and Answers

Since I filed my nomination papers, I have received nearly 100 questions in my inbox.  Some are from the public, many are from different organizations.  Some of the questions are very involved, requiring a lot of thought and a very long answer!

However, here are the answers to a few quick questions.  I hope these will help you to get to know me and my platform better.

 

Why are you running for council and what do you hope to achieve? Do you have a personal agenda you want to see accomplished?

When I was a kid, growing up in Vancouver, my dad would bring home guests like W. A. C. Bennett for dinner, and I would listen with fascination to the political talk swirling around the dinner table.  Later, when we moved to Nanaimo, I got to meet people like Frank Ney, Tommy Douglas, and Dale Lovick who continued to inspire me.  I guess you can say that becoming a councillor would be the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me.

My top three goals are fostering greater Economic Development, improving Community Engagement, and implementing the recommendations of the Core Services Review.  I have thoughts on many other subjects that we need to work together as a council to ensure that our city becomes more livable by implementing better walking, better cycling and better transit strategies.  I wish to get back to the basics by bringing our staffing levels at City Hall back to where they were.  We need a working environment that keeps our great city staff right here instead of moving elsewhere.

The legacy that I would like to leave would be for Nanaimo residents to be able to enjoy a higher quality of life.

 

How many Council meetings have you attended in the last year?  Do you know what a council member does?

I have attended almost all meetings, and those I have not been able to attend, I have watched them on the city website the following day.  I believe that candidates need to know what is expected and to be knowledgeable about the process of council meetings before running for office.  For the past decade, I have attended many council meetings.  I have researched a variety of topics, which were of particular interest to municipal governments in Nanaimo, and put on presentations regarding them. I have actively engaged with City Staff and most members of council (some more than others) in the past as well as today.

 

What are your thoughts of Tent City downtown?

The only option that the city has is what they followed by going through the court process.  A city has to follow the laws of the province even when some do not wish to.

 

Do you have experience with the rules and regulations that council has to follow when making decisions to do things?

I studied parliamentary procedure when I was involved with Malaspina Toastmasters #738 as Club Secretary, Educational Vice President and Club President.  A councillor should have a good working knowledge, or understanding of that everything that comes before council.  Matters before council need to be questioned about their viability and if the cost is a benefit to the city as a whole.

I believe that all council members should know the agenda well before it is presented at a meeting.  A new procedure bylaw will most likely change the timing of the release of agendas.  The changes to the council procedure bylaw will make it consistent on which days to get an agenda for the public if they wish to appear before council to make a presentation on a subject on the agenda.

 

Do you believe Nanaimo can eliminate homelessness by providing free housing?

Homelessness can never be eliminated but it can be reduced.  Even in our country’s most prosperous time, there have been homeless people, although in the past they have been less visible.  Transitionary housing and better access to the available services will give homeless people a chance to get themselves back on their feet.

 

Is it possible that city staff could be required to be more efficient rather than adding more staff?

Our city staff, who I have met and have seen them work, are doing more work than they are normally required to do.  Our staffing levels are stretched and we need more staff.  The reduction in overtime costs will help offset the cost of the new hires.

 

 

 


Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce/OurNanaimo Questions

On October 16, 2018 and OurNanaimo are hosting a Candidate Forum.  Questions sent in advance to candidates include the following: 

  1. How would you describe the role you are seeking (mayor or councillor) and how do your skills, experience and qualifications prepare you to take on this serious and complex role?

    A councillor should earnestly serve and be responsible to all citizens of Nanaimo.

I have attended meetings, asked questions, appeared as a delegate and presented information to council for years.  I worked with City Staff in 2010 to create a training manual for the TaxiHost Program for both Swiftsure and AC Taxi companies.  I was Chair of the NoVote2017 Society, which opposed the Event Centre.  Currently I am a spokesperson for the Community Engagement Task Force. 

A councillor must have significant knowledge of the city.

Four decades of experience in limousine, bus, taxi, and airline businesses in and around Nanaimo have given me extensive knowledge of transportation and infrastructure needs.  Also, as moderator for the Facebook Group, “You know you’re from Nanaimo when,” I have a tremendous understanding of the history of Nanaimo.

A councillor must understand the budget process.

As regional representative for Sooter Studios, I oversaw budgets, forecasted expenditures, estimated income, while administrating regional outlets across British Columbia.

A councillor must understand municipal and regional governance responsibilities.

Mentored by Tommy Douglas and Frank Ney, and inspired by Dale Lovick’s political teachings, I learned how municipal governance differed from provincial governance.

A councillor must have communication skills.

I achieved my Able Toastmaster award in my first two years as a member of Toastmasters International.  I taught public speaking at VIU (then Malaspina College), Cedar 4H club, and to Miss Nanaimo contestants. I volunteered as Secretary, Educational Vice President and Club President of Toastmasters.

  1. Outline the approaches and actions you think council should take to help foster a prosperous, vibrant, sustainable and diverse Nanaimo economy and community.


An effective Economic Development Office is critical to the future of Nanaimo.  In the last few years, the Economic Development Office has mainly concentrated on residential improvements.  However, I believe we need to diversify our economy to create sustainable jobs for residents.

Nanaimo residents need full-time jobs, instead of trying to juggle two or three part-time, minimum wage jobs.  They need jobs that provide good incomes so they can afford to rent or buy homes and land.  To do that, we need a cohesive council that is open to new possibilities while being considerate of the ramifications of their decisions.  A forward thinking incoming council can work together to modify our OCP and zoning amendments to effect necessary changes as we pass the 100,000 population mark.   

Currently, we have a proposal for automobile dealerships on the former home of Long Lake Nursery.  This $10M project will create an estimated 70 jobs in sales, parts, and servicing of automobiles ranging from $60,000-$150,000 per year, plus creating apprenticing partnerships with VIU.  To make this happen, we need our council to make small zoning and OCP changes.

This is just one example of the types of projects we need to create a sustainable economic future for Nanaimo.Taking financial pressure off residents by giving them diverse opportunities to earn a higher income will go a long way towards solving our homelessness problem, help other areas of our local economy prosper, and add vibrancy to our communities.

 

  1. Describe your vision, approach and tactics for how you as a council member and council as a body should engage with its various partners, stakeholders and constituents.

    The answer, in a word:  MANNERS.

    More specifically: To show respect, even when none is shown.  To listen, question, and seek information.  To come to an understanding.  To come together with openness and trust.

    Not to browbeat, or bully, or push people around.  Nor to exclude people from the process simply because they have a viewpoint that differs.

    But also, not to be a puppet.  To stand firm for what I believe in, for what’s best for the residents of Nanaimo.  To be the best representative I can be for the people of this wonderful city.

     
  2. Nanaimo Council is served and supported by a series of committees. How should these committees be structured, mandated and governed?

    British Columbia’s Community Charter outlines specifics relating to Standing Committees, Select Committees and Municipal Commissions.  The City of Nanaimo needs to return to the basics contained within the Community Charter.

     

 

Pride and Proclamations

The first question that came to my inbox was from Sandy:

Hi, I am sending this one question to all candidates.  If you are elected, come June when Pride month comes around will you support and sign the Proclamation, declaring Pride Week? For brevity sake, a simple yes or no is all that is needed. yes you will support, no you will not. I will be sharing your answers.

Thanks for the question, Sandy!

Short answer:  Yes!

Longer answer:  Pride organization or any other group in our city should not worry about being able to get support from city officials or staff.  Each member of City Council is responsible to ALL residents and should be accessible via emails or a phone call, or if you want, send snail mail.

SOGI (social orientation and gender identity) 123 assists in helping school boards & educators to build environments inclusively for ALL students regarless of sexual orientations and gender identities.  In my opinion, there should be no discrimination anywhere and to have SOGI 123 begin in schools at a young age is terrific.

We need to ensure that bullying is not acceptable anywhere either.  Not in schools, workplaces or even the schoolyard.  If you or anyone you know is being bullied, talk to a safe person outside of the environment where you are being bullied.  If it happens in school, talk to a police officer.  If it is outside, away from school, talk to a teacher you like and trust.  If it happens in a workplace, discuss it with the Human Resources person or a person held in trust with the company.  If you have any more questions, make sure you ask.

Pride plays a large role in bringing awareness of these issues to the community at large, and helps promote education, acceptance and breaks down stereotypes.  For those reasons, I will sign the proclamation declaring Pride Week.

 

You ask - I answer!

You Ask is a new page I have added to this website in response to the steady of stream of questions that have been appearing in my inbox from the general public.  In the interests of being open and transparent, I believe that everyone should see these questions and my answers to them.

Please keep in mind that I'm a working stiff as are many of you, plus I do have volunteer commitments in the community, so your questions might not get answered right away.  Additionally, some of the questions I've received are quite involved, and I would like the time to make thoughtful, informed replies in order to answer your answers clearly and to the best of my ability.  But I do intend to answer all your questions as soon as I possibly can.

Keep those questions coming!  I am enjoying the opportunity to communicate with all of you, and some of you are making me think in some new directions and giving me exciting ideas to bring to the council table.

Bookmark this page and check back often.  Perhaps the question you want to know the answer to has already been asked!

Thank You!

Bill Manners