How to improve on Nanaimo's Core Services Review

Core Review questions and comments
September 12, 2016

While I applaud this Core Services Review I believe that its greatest weakness is that it sometimes fails to address the causes of issues (and hence expenses) and then only addresses how to treat the symptoms. This is a cultural norm in our part of the world, and costs us tremendously –in every way. I wish to especially focus on the area of waste management and transportation (which are related).

Waste policies (pg 77)
            The options offered are far too limiting and do not meet our goals of continuing to improve our performance in this area. Indeed, the solutions may encourage us to go in the opposite direction! The following are just two options that most other municipalities are not embracing, ones that would again place Nanaimo at the leader in both waste reduction and boosted related employment:
Greatly reduce the weight of the garbage cans being lifted (and injuring our employees)
·         Charge according to the size of the garbage container –this step alone greatly increases the rate of recycling and composting
·         Make the containers clear so as to show the contents of the trash (revealing wet compostables, bricks/rocks, etc.)
·         Removes the need for automated vehicles
·         Reduces the cost of delivery
Provide or subsidise household compost systems that safely compost bones and meat
·         This alone greatly reduces the cost of picking up compostables
·         This step provides superior soil for backyard gardens while reducing GHG emissions (if used properly) beyond what the existing facilities offer
·         Greatly reduces tipping fees
·         Reduces injury to city employees
·         Removes the need for automated vehicles
·         Reduces the cost of delivery
The staff are largely trained by those associated with waste management companies that benefit from cities utilising less than best practises. E.G. Automated trucks suffer from even more mechanical failures than does our existing fleet. Best to hire a consultant who is an experienced waste reduction (not management) company for the best practises outcomes. Buddy Boyd of Gibson’s Waste Recovery Centre is the only such individual in our province.
Vehicle Fleet Costs and Policies (Pg’s ~80-84)
            Many other cities are finding considerable fleet cost reductions by partnering with the local non-profit carshare coop. Why? Because:
1.      The vehicles are used both day and evenings, spreading out the capital costs to more users.
2.      The co-op offers an itemised accounting of what vehicles are used for, and exactly for how long.
3.      There is more accountability and less unauthorised use for personal purposes
4.      It increases the use of public transportation and cycling/walking
5.      Maintenance issues are handled better (other carshare coop vehicles can be used when some are removed for maintenance purposes or after an accident).
6.      Coordination is very simple, resulting in far fewer duplications and need for rental vehicles
7.      Offers the lowest cost service per vehicle to the City
8.      New vehicles can be purchased to fit the unique needs of the City, including hybrid and all electric
Transportation –general
1.      The plan seems to offer nothing in terms of how to help the city reduce future costs from adding new subdivisions on its outskirt. While DCC charges help in the short-term the City is left holding the bag in terms of maintaining roads, sewers, water, transit services and emergency services & their attendant facilities.
Solution: charge DCC’s according to the distance from the core of the city. This costs the City nothing to implement and improves sustainability by increasing the population density. This also reduces the need for the single occupancy motor vehicle, lowering GHG emissions, accidents, improving health outcomes, attracting young adults, etc.
2.      The City is very limited in terms of how to save the taxpayer money except in this one area: transportation. By greatly increasing the budget for dedicated bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure (the most cost-effective way to spend the predicted surplus) the number of accidents is reduced, the health of the population is improved, the number of young adults willing to live in Nanaimo increases, and the cost to live in this city for those willing to utilise sustainable transportation. If the City really wishes to reduce the burden of expenses for its people why not make this the #1 area to invest saved funds??
3.      By taking this step the City will reduce the overall social cost of living here (which is borne in part by the City) and attract more young adults to the City (currently a major deterrent).
4.      By ending the subsidy to the E&N railway, because we do not live in a bubble we will encourage more vehicle traffic in the future, costing us individually far more while placing an additional burden on the city. This takes us in the opposite direction to a sustainable and affordable future. Is this what the City really wishes?
5.      By embracing sustainable transportation the City reduces the cost of building and maintaining its road infrastructure. Isn’t this a laudable goal?
Reducing access to health-improving activity centres (such as the Beban Pool) will reduce the health of more individuals, increase costs for the medical system and for those who are employed or are assisting their families with children. This flies in the face of the need to reduce the social costs of living in Nanaimo.


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