CBC photo

Scientists make surprising discoveries
about salmon on Gulf of Alaska expedition

0319 - An international team of scientists have completed a five-week expedition to the Gulf of Alaska to study the lives of salmon.

The multi-nation expedition was organized by Dick Beamish of Nanaimo. Researchers collected thousands of samples and pioneered a new DNA testing method to learn more about salmon survival in the North Pacific in the first comprehensive study in the region in decades.

The scientists were all smiles as they spoke of their findings and praised the success of the international collaboration at an event at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier.

"The ability of a team of researchers to work together effectively, that already is a tremendous success," said Dick Beamish, the expedition's organizer. "We have now set a precedent for being able to do this in the future."

The 21 scientists from five salmon-producing countries in the Pacific Rim — Canada, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — travelled around 8,000 kilometres and surveyed 60 different locations while aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovsky.


New surveillance plane to monitor Vancouver Island fisheries

Ottawa, B.C. announce 5-year salmon restoration fund to rebuild wild stocks

Chamberlin seeks NDP nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Bob Chamberlin

0320 - A high profile Indigenous leader is seeking the NDP nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Bob Chamberlin is the long-serving chief councillor of a First Nation based on Gilford Island and is serving his third, three-year term as vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

In a news release announcing his bid for the nomination, Chamberlin says he has spent much of his life in the Nanaimo area and understands issues important to the riding such as affordable housing and childcare, and a workable pharmacare system covering prescription drugs.


Cyclist stopped for no helmet
is wanted for murder in Toronto

0319 - Nanaimo RCMP stopped a cyclist riding without a helmet and determined he was wanted a more serious charge.

Kyle Antonio Dias, 19, was stopped by police who noted the bike he was riding resembled one recently reported stolen and a serial number check confirmed that was the case. Further investigation revealed that Dias is wanted for second-degree murder in connection with a shooting in Toronto on Feb. 13.


Evacuation of police station follows
discovery of suspicious packages

0319 - A section of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment was closed today after two cardboard packages were found on the lawn adjacent to the building.

Due to where the packages were found and out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to evacuate people from a portion of the detachment and to not allow the public to enter. 

 A portion of Fitzwilliam Street,adjacent to the detachment, between Prideaux and Milton streets has been closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic. An RCMP explosives dog carried out a preliminary assessment of the packages and the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit is being consulted.   

911 and the non-emergency lines have not been impacted and when more information is known, or the situation changes, the public will be advised. If anyone has information on the incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Tracy Samra

Special prosecutor withdraws
Samra peace bond application

0318 - The Crown has withdrawn an application for a peace bond for former City Manager Tracy Samra.

Special prosecutor Michael Klein told NanaimoNewsNOW that the case will not proceed. On Monday, two days before Samra's long-anticipated hearing was slated to begin, Klein informed several people listed on the peace bond he would drop the application.

City Clerk Sheila Gurrie said Klein told her his decision was based on a small likelihood of success because 13 months elapsed since the incident and Samra kept the peace without contacting any of the people named.

"I was disappointed," said Gurrie, "that my side of the events would have at least been on the record and I would have had the opportunity to speak about it."


Former mountie sentenced for secretly
filming naked stepdaughter in shower

0318 - A retired Nanaimo RCMP officer has been sentenced to six months house arrest after pleading guilty to taking pictures of his stepdaughter while she was naked in the washroom of their family home.

The 72-year-old man, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, was sentenced to six months house arrest and 18-months probation on Monday at provincial court in Nanaimo.

The man originally pleaded not guilty, then late last year the offender admitted to a charge of secretly observing or recording nudity in a private place.


Lauren Semple

Local activist will seek NDP
Nanaimo Ladysmith nomination

0318 - Lauren Semple will seek the federal NDP nomination for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. 

Semple has an extensive background in local activism. She has been event director for the last three Nanaimo Pride festivals, an organizer of the Nanaimo Women March On events the last two years, and was co-founder of Humanity in Community, which led the mural project at the old A&B Sound building.


Nanaimo moves toward adopting
regional business licence bylaw

0318 - You could soon do business in most Vancouver Island jurisdictions with a single business licence. City council rpassed three readings of an inter-community business licence amendment bylaw, would allow businesses to operate in partnering jurisdictions without having to pay for or obtain multiple business licences, according to a city press release.

Inter-community agreements simplify the business licensing process, making it less cumbersome and more affordable for mobile operations to do business in multiple communities, the release notes.

Partnering jurisdictions include 13 municipalities between Campbell River and Duncan as well as Esquimalt and Sooke, according to the release, which notes that an additional 12 municipalities within the capital region are expected to join the partnership.

High temperatures shatter long-time records

0318 - How hot was it? Sunday's high temperature shattered a 127-year-old record when it hit 16.2 C. And Monday was not much different, also breaking a record for this date.

Environment Canada reported Sunday's high was 16.2 degrees, beating the record of 16.1 in 1892 when temperatures were first recorded.

 Shortly, after 2 p.m. today it was 18 C, breaking a 91-year-old record for March 17, also 16.1 C, set in 1928.


Michelle Corfield

Corfield chosen by federal Liberals 
for next Nanaimo-Ladysmith vote

0316 - Michelle Corfield will carry the federal Liberal party banner for Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the October general election, or a byelection if one is called earlier.

Corfield won the nomination over Melissa Hall on Saturday, getting the majority of the 115 votes that were cast. Corfield is on a leave of absence as chair and director of the Nanaimo Port Authority.

She said after 25 years of working to push the envelope from the outside, she hopes to be on the inside to shape legislation and move Nanaimo-Ladysmith forwards. Her platform will be to promote good-paying jobs, the environment and supporting those who can't support themselves.

Rob Fleming

Nanaimo a priority community
for gang prevention programs

0316 - Nanaimo has been identified as a priority community for a new program designed to keep school-aged children away from the lure of gang life.

The province has announced a pool of $1.1-million for programs in 12 priority communities. The goal is to create a wide range of initatives, including training for teachers to create a curriculum on the impacts of gang violence.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the focus is on preventing gangs from taking hold and making schools unsafe.

RDN wants to cost-share electric car charging stations

0316 - The Regional District of Nanaimo wants to get into the electric car charging business.

Following a Community Energy Association presentation, directors voted to be lead applicant on behalf of numerous mid-Island municipalities and regional districts for the Clean B.C. Communities Fund, which provides provincial cost-sharing for green infrastructure projects.10 public charging stations (to a maximum $60,000) would be placed at RDN properties.

Final school repair bill comes in at $72,000

0316 - The repair bill for Rutherford Elementary School which wqs damaged last October is $72,000, says Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

Advocates for homelessness people broke into and occupied Rutherford Elementary School on Oct. 5 before being removed by RCMP on Oct. 6, with 26 arrested. It was initially estimated there was $100,000 in damage, including to doors and the roof, and that a hazmat team and additional security would be needed.

An artist rendering of proposed auto dealerships at 4900 Island Hwy N., near Long Lake. (City of Nanaimo)

City council supports rezoning
for new luxury car dealership

190315 - An eloquent and impassioned show of support from Mayor Leonard Krog triggered a last-second vote flip and push through a contentious proposal for two car dealerships in north Nanaimo.

Councillors approved 5-4 at third reading to approve a rezoning application from GAIN Auto Group to allow for two car dealerships on the former site of Long Lake Nurseries. It now goes to open council for a final vote. The vote happened in front of a packed gallery Thursday night and followed a highly-anticipated public hearing.

It appeared the rezoning was set to fail, as five of the eight councillors stated their intention to vote against third reading. But mayor Leonard Krog spoke last, reminding councillors they still had time to change their opinion.

"I'm going to attempt to persuade some of my colleagues in that regard," Krog said, before launching into a nearly 10-minute speech.

Celebration of life for BMX champ Aidan Webber

190314-Nanaimo’s BMX community and others will celebrate the life of Aidan Webber who died as a reigning national champion.

Webber’s family announced through the Nanaimo BMX Association that a service will be held March 31 at the Beban Park social centre.

Webber, who was 18, died Sunday in a workplace accident off the coast of Port Hardy.


RCMP and ICBC target distracted driving

190314- Drivers who pick up calls or text while driving are more likely to get nailed with fines this month.

March is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and police and ICBC will be out on the road checking for drivers whose attention to the road is divided because they’re using cellphones or for other reasons.

Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Division members launched the month of stepped-up enforcement from the corner of Campbell Street and Terminal Avenue on Thursday morning where they nabbed 11 drivers for various infractions that included using cellphones, not using seatbelts, not having a driver’s licence, no insurance and combinations of the infractions.

Mayor Leonard Krog

City's future is brighter than ever,
Mayor tells Chamber members

190313 - Nanaimo's future is brighter than ever, says Mayor Leonard Krog. The mayor delivered the state of the city address to members of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

He said Nanaimo is an incredibly unique city and is entering the most “thrilling time” in its history.

“Nanaimo is just so much more. We are not like any other community in the province,” he said. “We have everything going for us.”

Karen Clark

Police seek help in finding missing woman

190314 - Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 59-year-old Karen Linda Clark who has not been seen or heard from since February 16. Her disappearance is out of character for her and as a result, her family is worried for her safety and well-being. Clark's sister reported her missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on March 13. 


City council cancels Fuller directives

Gordon Fuller

190314 - Out with the old, City Council is moving forward, cancelling priorities of the previous administration.

Councillors rescinded a handful of motions following a staff update on the status of a lengthy list of directives spanning as far back as 2017.

Gone is a directive from former Coun. Gord Fuller for staff to begin work on phase two of the core services review and a calling for an end to the Port of Nanaimo's control of the inner harbour.

Coun. Tyler Brown said for him, the process was about ensuring staff had clear direction about what they should be focusing their efforts on.

Mayor Leonard Krog

Tent city costs should have
gone to housing, says Krog

190311 - Money spent on managing and cleaning up the downtown homeless encampment could have been better used to deal with homelessness and help businesses, Mayor Leonard Krog said this past week.

“The lesson here is get yourself prepped for this, because the last thing you want to do is be paying for a tent city.”  

Jail for child porn and assault charges

190313 - A Nanaimo man has been sentenced to six years in jail after previously pleading guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges.

The 42-year-old man was arrested in 2017 and in February pleaded guilty to sexual assault, making child pornography and possessing child pornography. The man’s name is not being used in order to protect the privacy of a victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.


 Stone Soup will continue after building is demolished

190311 -The Stone Soup hot meal will continue for as long as possible at the same location after having to tear down much of the outdoor eating area which had become a safe space for people in need.

The walls, cupboards and countertops at the Stone Soup location on Nicol Street were removed Monday morning, one-year after the program started. All that remains in the backyard of the house is flooring built on pallets and a large tent covering after the City discovered it never had a building permit


Government marijuana revenue
not as high as had been expected

0309 - Months into legalization of marijuana the province isn’t making as much from taxes as it had forecast. A slower-than-anticipated move to a legal retail marijuana industry, a later-than-expected date for legalization and municipal elections last fall mean the province will take in much less pot revenue than initially expected.

Finance Minister Carole James said an initial estimate of $200 million dollars over three years has been revised to $68 million dollars over three year. The 2019 budget reflects the lower forecast.


Tremblay found not guilty
in Harewood stabbing

0309 - A man charged in a stabbing  in Harewood a year ago has been found not guilty in BC Supreme Court.

Matthew Dean Tremblay, 28, was on trial for aggravated assault and assault with a weapon for stabbing a 25-year-old man four times outside the former King Arthurs Court housing complex.

Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten said Tremblay acted appropriately after he was faced with an unprovoked attack March 31, 2018, which was caught on video surveillance.


Mercedes-Benz test drives
Vehicle Processing facilities

190308 - A vehicle carrier loomed large on the waterfront Friday when it tied up at Nanaimo Assembly Wharf to deliver the first batch of Mercedes-Benz vehicles to the Port of Nanaimo’s Vehicle Processing Centre.

The delivery was part of a test drive for the centre’s unloading facilities, which will be a port of entry for Mercedes-Benz vehicles bound for dealerships on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The cars unloaded on Friday were only a partial shipment. The company didn’t disclose the number of vehicles unloaded or whether they would remain at the processing centre.


Rental apartment construction
booming at record pace in Nanaimo

0308 - Construction of rental apartments in Nanaimo is happening at a pace that hasn’t been seen in decades, and just when the community seems to need it most.

Housing data released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Friday shows 138 apartment unit starts in Nanaimo during the first two months of 2019, a 710 per cent increase from last year when there were just 17 during the same time period.

Braden Batch, senior economics analyst with Housing Markets Insights West, said the number is significant for Nanaimo, and most of those units are purpose-built rentals.


Telus to spend $75 million on
Nanaimo fibre optic services

190308 - Telus will spend $75 million to bring faster internet speed and better cellphone service to the Nanaimo and Lantzville areas.

The telecommunications company announced Friday, it will connect more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses, including Snuneymuxw and Snaw-Naw-As, to its PureFibre network. Telus’ “gigabit-enabled” network will allow faster movie download, online gaming and web browsing, as well as video conferencing. It also sets the stage for future 5G mobile technology.


Mayor Leonard Krog

Krog takes aim at NDP 
over legal aid delays

190308 - The Vancouver Sun reports Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog has lambasted the NDP government for its inaction on legal aid rates.

“I had expected when we became government that we would be doing the right thing and we haven’t,” lamented Krog, the party’s caucus chair until he resigned in 2018. “This government, my government, is really no different than the former government. Legal aid rates should be increased.”

The continuing legal-aid crisis that has spurred lawyers to threaten a strike beginning April 1 should have been quickly addressed by the NDP administration, Krog insisted.

“A number of counsel who continue to do legal aid (down from 1,500 to about 1,000) are earning less than legal secretaries at many law firms, for heaven’s sake,” Krog fumed.


Youth injured in crosswalk
remains in critical condition

UPDATE - 190308 - A 17-year-old Nanaimo teen remains in critical condition in a Victoria hospital after he was hit by a vehicle while in a crosswalk in north Nanaimo March 6.

Earlier report

A 17-year-old pedestrian is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries after he was struck by a vehicle in a cross walk on Hammond Bay Road. The collision occurred at approximately 3:15 pm on Wednesday, at the intersection of Hammond Bay Road and Ventura Road.

He was transported to local hospital then subsequently airlifted to hospital in Victoria where he remains.

The driver 33-year-old driver remained at the scene and co-operated with investigators. From numerous witness accounts the youth had stepped into the cross walk and was proceeding south bound across Hammond Bay Road when struck by the vehicle.


School district getting 
$1.1 million for upgrades

190308 - Nanaimo Ladysmith School District will get $1,163,609 as part of a provincial program to update schools across the province.

The province has announced $206 million to target out-of-date schools and to promote greener opportunities in education.

Nanaimo will get boiler upgrades at Cinnabar Elementary, HVAC upgrades (Phase 2) at Park Avenue Elementary and one new bus

 “For too many years, maintenance projects weren’t funded properly, and now we are providing school districts with increased resources to improve schools for students,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education in a statement.


Victims have lost hundreds
of thousands through frauds

190308 - Love can be very costly. RCMP are drawing attention to internet romance scams during Fraud Awareness Month.

Love isn't the only lure to get your money. There's the Canada Revenue Agency scam and other schemes to defraud the unwary online and via telephone and in some cases successfully wreak financial hardship and emotional heartache.

In 2018, various scams bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from Nanaimo victims, say police. RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien says he has personally dealt with three or four women who have lost, probably, accumulatively about $200,000.



Lantzville awards contract
for $810,000 road upgrade

190308 - Lantzville council has approved a bid for the rehabilitation of Peterson Road.

The $810,448, contract was awarded to IWC Excavating Ltd.

The  project will see one kilometre of road replaced on Peterson Road between Harby Road East and Venture Road. A walkway will also be constructed along Peterson Road from Lantzville Road and Harby Road East.


Photo courtesy of Global Diving and Salvage

Sunken tugboat raised from
Northumberland Channel

190307 - A tugboat that sank in Northumberland Channel in 2014 has been raised from 66 metres down.

The Samantha J, owned by Jones Marine Services, capsized while towing a wood chip barge. The crew was not injured, but the tug was hoisted from the channel last week in a two-day salvage operation by Global Diving and Salvage.

Port of Nanaimo Harbour Master Rodney Grounds said the salvage company started the operation with its remotely operated underwater vehicle and divers.


Defendant in road death selects trial by judge alone

0305 - William Sydney Goosman who was charged with dangerous driving causing death in a Jan. 24, 2018 incident on Gabriola as opted for trial by judge along.

Jay Dearman, a Gabriola firefighter, was killed while running. She had been with the department since June 2012.


Stone Soup ordered to remove outdoor dining area

0305 - A downtown soup kitchen catering to Nanaimo's homeless and poor has less than two weeks to remove an expansive outdoor dining area after it was discovered a building permit was never issued for the project.

A notice from the City says the organizers of the Stone Soup program have until March 14 to remove the floating deck, walls, counter tops and fridges which are used to feed roughly 150 people a night.

Creator Tanya Hiltz told NanaimoNewsNOW a building permit should have been obtained when they built the deck nearly six months ago, but they don't understand why the space needs to be torn down.

“Give us a break here,” she said. “Slap us on the wrist, we did something wrong. But work with us. These people need us.”


RDN and Lantzville get emergency preparedness funding

0305 -The Regional District of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville will launch a Community Emergency Preparedness after each getting $25,000 grants from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The regional district noted that the funding will be used to create a combined evacuation plan for Lantzville, Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) and the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation.

“The project will consider both small evacuation scenarios and how to co-ordinate a mass evacuation of the communities,”


Nanaimo Taxis join forces with Nanaimo Crime Stoppers

Linda Hill Office Manager AC Cabs, Steven Atkins Customer Service Rep and Const. Gary O'Brien, Crime Stoppers Co-ordinator

0305 - Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers has announced a partnership with Nanaimo taxi companies to combat crime.

Last December the owners of AC Taxi and Yellow Cabs met with the local Crime Stoppers Program, and were briefed on the history of Crime Stoppers in Nanaimo, and the successes achieved locally through the seizure of drugs, arrests and the recovery of stolen property and weapons.

The idea has also received interest from other Crime Stoppers program across Vancouver Island who are interested in rolling it out within their communities. If you see something, say something. To submit a tip online go to www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.


Pedophile-chasing vigilante has moved to Nanaimo

0304 - A vigilante pedophile chaser has settled in Nanaimo intent on continuing his crusade.

Justin Payne, 31, has 171,000 YouTube subscribers who watch the vigilante video producer at night pose on dating sites as an under-age boy or girl.

A viral video of Payne was pivotal in convicting a Nanaimo sex offender in November, while an RCMP investigation into another Nanaimo man is now under way.


Tent encampment cost will exceed half a million dollars

0304 - The total costs of the illegal homeless encampment at Port Place will cost Nanaimo taxpayers more than half a million dollars when policing and legal costs are added to the initial figure.

The City spent $466,194, according to financial statements obtained by the News Bulletin through a freedom of information request.

Costs will likely be significantly higher as legal fees were redacted by the city, which cited solicitor-client privilege in its response. Policing costs associated with Discontent City were also not included, though they were requested by the News Bulletin.


Regional District approves growing cannabis in rural areas

0303 - The Regional District of Nanaimo has given the green light to growing marijuana on rural properties.

The policy was adopted by the RDN board Tuesday, following an electoral area services committee recommendation, and will provide guidance to rural residents and staff when dealing with land-use applications to allow the production of cannabis.


Negrin Memorial fund for search and rescue hits $21,000

Deb Thomson, Station Leader Michel Morin and John Thomson with Sophia Negrin.

0302 - The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund has contributed an additional $4,000 to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27-Nanaimo. That brings total donations to $21,000 for a variety of projects

The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund is a fitting tribute for a young man who believed in making the community a better place to be. As a fisherman and a mariner Marcus loved his time on the ocean surrounding Vancouver Island. The Memorial Fund established by his family in 2015 has worked to assist Station 27-Nanaimo with the task of Saving Lives on the Water. Marcus Negrin was the son of Garry and Dawne Negrin of Lantzville.  


Pay your child support or lose your driver's licence.

0302 - Mark down that date – March 1. You may have to buy a bus pass or walk if you're behind on child or spousal support payments. You could lose your driver’s licence if you don't pay up.

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) granted ICBC the ability to cancel or refuse to renew the driver’s licence of someone with more than $3,000 in owed support payments. 

“Changes will also help paying parents reach repayment arrangements sooner and will increase opportunities to create a manageable payment plan by preventing arrears from accumulating for up to five years,” the FMEP said in a statement.

There are 70,000 parents enrolled in the FMEP, with an over-all payment rate of 92 per cent.

Fire destroys Salmon Point Resort near Campbell River

An early-morning fire on Friday destroyed the popular Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub, about 20 km south of Campbell River.

The Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub was a popular location on the shore of Georgia Strait in a rural area south of Campbell River and had been in business since 1982.


Clearing work under way for Boxwood connector project


0302 - Preliminary brush and tree clearing has begun for the Boxwood connector project that will easytraffic on Bowen, Northfield and Boxwood. 

Site clearing is under way as part of the project but road construction is a few years away.

The project will extend Boxwood Road far enough to connect Northfield Road with a new roundabout connecting with Rosstown Road and Bowen Road, and a new intersection will be built at the Beban Park entrance. The existing intersection connecting Rosstown and Bowen will be closed.

Port Alice pulp mill workers sent home without pay

0302 - The remaining 12 employees at the Port Alice pulp mill were sent home Monday and told they would not get their paycheques.

Chinese-based owners Fulida have yet to reveal what it plans for the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill, after sending its remaining workers home with no written notice and no paycheque.

“This guy from China who works for Fulida gave direction to the HR manager and the mill manager to go tell the employees to go home and that they were not going to get their paycheques,” said Unifor Local 514 president Don Vye.