Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nanaimo admits error in approval process for new public works buildings


The new public works building in Nanaimo, new public works buildings that have been dubbed the Nanaimo Operations Centre have hit a snag in its lengthy approval process prior to construction. 

The City opted to utilize an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) for the buildings rather than putting it to a referendum.

Because this project is needed in order to provide services to the community, if they did not go through the AAP, a tax hike would be needed. 

The City is trying to avoid raising Nanaimo’s taxes by borrowing the funds needed in the amount of up to $48.5 million.

By doing this, electors are able to have 30 days to make up their minds, rather than the minimum of three that a referendum calls for. 

However, the AAP has stringent requirements that Nanaimo must adhere to, both on a municipal level, as well as a provincial level. 

What happened in this case, is they followed their own municipal bylaws surrounding the AAP, but they recently realized they had made an administrative error in following the Provincial requirements. 

Specifically, the City allowed for 37 days, a full seven more than they are required, although they did not allow enough lead-up time to notify the public of what was going on. 

The City has chalked this up to a mistake on their end. 

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“Due to this administrative error and to ensure an open and transparent process, staff will be recommending a second AAP take place in January 2024,” the City said in a press release.

“The City apologizes for the oversight and is taking steps to ensure all legislative requirements are met for future AAPs.”

In the next city council meeting on December 4th, the next steps will be laid out for Nanaimo’s councillors by city staff. 

Curtis Blandy

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