Economic Summit looks at free trade opportunities

0717 - The Vancouver Island Economic Association has has developed business cases aimed at gaining the attention of those wishing to invest in Island business over the past three years.

Last year the Island Economic Summit delivered a broad view of foreign investment opportunities in four sectors. That will feature people who have invested and are taking their ideas to the world. FULL STORY 

The Canadian taxpayer,
The gift that keeps on giving

School district, support workers reach agreement

0716 – Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 606, has reached a deal with the school district. It will be retroactive to July 1 and run until June 30, 2022. The deal incorporates a provincial framework agreement approved by the K-12 Presidents Council in September, according to a press release.

Union membership will vote on approval July 31. FULL STORY

Rudolph's role as City Administrator becomes permanent

CAO Jake Rudolph

0716 – Jake Rudolph has been confirmed as permanent Chief Administrative Officer for the City.

He will be paid $275,900 annually, beginning in January along with other other terms and conditions. The contract also provides for annual performance reviews from Council.

Prior to joining the City one year ago today, Rudolph held senior positions in a number of local governments including Fredericton, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Abbotsford. He holds two Masters degrees and is the First Vice President of the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators.

Since joining the City of Nanaimo, he has led a number of initiatives including the closure of homeles camp, development of a new Strategic Plan with Council and introduction of a new Council Governance and Priorities Committee.

"Council has been impressed by Mr. Rudolph’s leadership and professionalism in working with everyone at the City as we face exciting challenges in a period of rapid change," said Mayor Leonard Krog

Rudolph said he looks forward to continuing in his role, and that the City is moving forward in a positive, strategic path.

Report of youth with gun shuts down Woodgrove Mall

0516 - Woodrove Malll was shut down  on Monday afternoon as RCMP investigated a report of a youth with a gun. A youth was observed inside the mall with what’s believed to be a firearm. He was arrested at a separate location approximately an hour later.

Harewood mixed-use housing/commercial project approved

0516 - The city has given the green light to a 181-unit mixed-use project at 560 Third St. bordered by Howard Avenue and Lambert Avenue.

Council approved a development permit for the project of two four-storey buildings, with one of the buildings including ground-level commercial space. Both buildings will have a mix of two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio suites. The application for the project, called DLX on Third, was submitted by Wensley Architecture Ltd. on behalf of Wertman Development Corporation. FULL REPORT

Section of Bruce Avenue closed for repairs until fall

 

Bruce Avenue will be closed tomorrow (July 16) between Pine Street and Fourth Street for utility and road construction, remaining closed until fall.

Construction works include:
• Water main upgrades,
• Sanitary and storm sewer upgrades,
• New concrete curbs and sidewalks on the west side of Bruce Avenue,
• Safety upgrades at the intersection of Bruce Avenue and Fourth Street,
• New LED street lighting, and
• New on-street bike lanes which will connect previously completed sections of the Harewood Bikeway.

A detour using Pine Street and Fourth Street will be setup to direct traffic around the work zone. The intersection of Fourth Street, Albert Street and Pine Street has also been changed to a 4-way stop to assist with detour traffic. Access will be provided for local residents and businesses within the construction area.  

For the latest information and project updates, please visit our current construction project website at: www.nanaimo.ca/construction/Details/698.

Lantzville set to get a new look down main street

0715 - Lantzville is getting a makeover – at least down the main drag. Council has approved the final proposed design for the Lantzville Road streetscape undertaking.

Council had authorized the creation of the streetscape plan, following the endorsement and adoption of the Village Core Improvement Plan. District staff will apply for a $100,000 grant from Island Coastal Economic Trust to be used to fund village core improvements. In order to be eligible for ICET’s grant, the district was required to submit a streetscape plan. FULL STORY

WFP strike continues as both sides haggle over mediator

00714 - No immediate end appears in sight to the strike at Western Forest Products which began July 1. The United Steelworkers Union and the company are arguing about the choice of a mediator.

The union announced Friday they want renowned labour mediator Vince Ready, but that was rejected by Western. Western has applied to the BC Labour Relations Board to have a mediator appointed and says they are still willing to continue negotiations. FULL STORY,

Three rescued from sinking boat near Nanaimo

0713 - One way or another, the job gets done. Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 Nanaimo off-duty members were among those assisting after a mayday call from a boat near Five Finger Island this afternoon.

At about 5 p.m. Saturday, a 19-foot vessel with three people on board, was taking on water in the vicinity of Five Finer Island. Jerry Berry, RCMSAR Station 27 coxswain, said the Nanaimo station and Coast Guard from French Creek were called. Ruth Sharun, off-duty RCMSAR Station 27 coxswain, said she was in one of two vessels that helped the occupants out before crews arrived. They towed the vessel to Nanaimo.

A man who was rescued, who been in the water, was taken to hospital by ambulance crews.

Annual report shows city had 303 employees over $75,000

The City's annual financial information reports, approved June 24, showsremuneration and expenses for city employees. The report showed 303 employeers earning more than $75,000, compared to 275 in 2017.

Nanaimo city council approved the 2018 statement of financial information at a special meeting June 24.

The highest-paid staff member was fire chief Karen Fry, also the director of public safety, who was paid $177,653. Close behind was Richard Harding, director of parks, recreation and culture, at $177,419. FULL REPORT

City sports facilities hit by wife thefts

0713 - Nanaimo’s sports fields and other parks facilities have been hit with wire thefts.

Merle Logan Field, Nanaimo Ice Centre and the sports fields at Nanaimo District Secondary School have had copper wire stripped from electrical boxes and lamp standards

“At the NIC, they stripped all the wires in the lights in the parking lot,” said Al Britton, city manager of parks operations. “I haven’t got the total bill yet, but the bill keeps climbing. Right now I’m at $7,500 because . . .  they clipped them far up, so we actually had to remove the poles, bring them down and re-thread them all. We’ve had 34 boxes that had to be either fixed or modified,” Britton said. FULL STORY

Wire thefts plague Vancouver Island Exhibition grounds

0712 - Break-ins and electrical wiring thefts have Vancouver Island Exhibition organizers frustrated. The electrical power building was broken into and the live electrical service wires snipped. The and siding was torn off a wall. Everything from the conduit and wires leading from the power pole to the electrical service panel were taken, leaving the grounds without electricity.

All wiring in a barn had also been stripped, but then left behind when it became obvious it wasn't copper. FULL STORY

Washington state earthquakes felt in B.C.

0712 - A 4.6 magnitude earthquake  rattled Washington state early this morning. That was followed minutes later by a 3.5 magnitude aftershock near the city of Monroe, 50 kilometres northeast of Seattle.

It was felt in Greater Victoria and Vancouver areas.There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

Can you identify this man?

Police are trying to identify the man in this photo who is suspected of using a stolen credit card at least five businesses in Nanaimo. The incidents occurred on Sunday June 23. The credit card was stolen from a parked vehicle. Several hundred dollars in fraudulent transactions were charged to the card which has since been cancelled by the owner. 
 
If you have information on the identity of this person, 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.

Police looking for bank break-in suspects

Surveilance video of suspects

0711- RCMP is looking for suspects in an attempted break in to a night deposit box at the Scotiabank, 6750 Island Highway Northin the early morning hours of Tuesday July 2.

A hole had been drilled/punched into the bottom of the deposit box. The hole was approximately 12 inches across and 8 inches in height and would have taken a considerable amount of time to accomplish. A prying tool was also used to pry/peel off the stucco on the bottom of the wall. Staff reviewed security video and it clearly showed two men in the area from 3:43 AM until they abandoned their efforts at 4:50 AM. The deposit box was not entered.

Investigators have no witnesses or suspects at this time. If you have information on the identity of these two males or information on the clothing worn, 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.  

UPDATE: Kayleigh Tanya Jones has been found, safe

0712 - RCMP report that 32-year-old Kayleigh Tanya Jones, who was reported missing on Tuesday has been located safe and sound. Thank you to everyone who help to resolve this issue.

Regional District adds more vehicle charging sations

0711 - The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to add 10 electric vehicle charging stations within its jurisdiction.

The 10 stations are  a plan to install 28 new charging stations across the mid-Island, expanding  capacity to 98 from 70 to 98 stations.

The RDN is the lead applicant on a CleanBC Communities Fund grant application by Community Energy Association, a non-profit society whose mandate is to build capacity and to accelerate action on climate and energy with local governments. FULL STORY

City council revamps operations structure

CAO Jake Rudolph

0710 - Council has approved a restructure City operations. Chief Administrative Officer Jake Rudolph presented Council with an updated organizational structure on July 8. The changes realign  sections with City departments to better deliver on Council’s strategic plan as well as rebuild capacity in areas that were affected by cuts over the last number of years. 

The new structure will see the implementation of General Managers heading up Corporate Services, Development Services, Engineering and Public Works and Parks, Recreation and Culture.

  • Engineering and Public Works will oversee Engineering Projects, Municipal Infrastructure, Transportation, Energy and Facility Assets, Utilities, Sanitation and Recycling, Fleet, Water Resources and Roads and Traffic.
  • Parks, Recreation and Culture will oversee Parks Operations, Recreation, Culture and Facility Operations and Maintenance.
  • Development Services will oversee Community Development (Community Planning, Real Estate, Bylaw Enforcement, Business Licensing, Economic Development) and Development Approvals (Building Inspection, Subdivisions, Engineering and Environment, Current Planning).
  • Corporate Services will oversee Finance, Information Technology, Police Services and Emergency Management.

The updated organizational chart can be found at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/July2019OrgChart.

The new structure is expected to deliver on Council’s new Strategic Plan and build needed capacity to manage the needs of the organization and a growing community.
Initial changes have already been implemented, with the plan to be completed as positions are filled.

Missing 48-year-old man located, safe and sound

0710 - The Nanaimo RCMP report thata 48-yea-old Nanaimo man, reported missing on June 20 has been located safe and sound. His family have been notified and for privacy reasons, no further information will be released. Police thank everyone who shared, posted and retweeted this story which ultimately assisted investigators in finding him in a timely manner.

Police want to identify suspect in thefts

Suspect in thefts

0710 - Police need your help in trying to find a credit card thief. On July 2, a wallet and Samsung S9 were stolen from an unlocked vehicle, in the area of Rutherford Road and Wills Road. The wallet contained, identification,and an RBC credit card. 

Later that day, a suspect was captured on video surveillance allegedly using the stolen credit card at Thrifty Foods at Port Place. Two other unauthorized transactions were carried out at other businesses the same day.

If you have information on the identity of this person, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Coastal earthquake warning system put to the test

0710 - Close to 50 earthquake detection sensors, mostly on Vancouver Island, have been installed on the West Coast. It is hoped the new warning system will provide a potential life-saving heads up in case of a large 'quake.

Ocean Networks Canada public safety program manager Teron Moore said the technology gathering critical data from the active Cascadia Subduction Zone proved to be effective during a series of ongoing tests.

“Whether it’s one second of warning or whether it’s 60 seconds for something that’s offshore, it gives some amount of time to improve that situation once an earthquake shaking actually hits a location.” FULL STORY

Two motor home fires under investigation

0710 - RCMP and Fire Rescue are investigating two suspicious fires that burned motorhomes last week.

The first blaze was spotted near the Duke Point Highway and Island Highway intersection, south of Nanaimo, on Friday afternoon, and the motorhome was fully engulfed in flame when firefighters arrived.

The second motorhome fire happened shortly before midnight Friday at 6315 Metral Dr. There was no electrical power to the vehicle, which led investigators to believe the fire was set intentionally. FULL STORY

Council streamlines process for drug consumption sites

0710 - The city  is streamlining the process for supervised drug consumption sites by defining them as health services.

As a result of a move at Monday's council meeting councillors removed the designation that required such facilities to go through public hearing. The motion making the change asse 5-3. FULL STORY

Man's body found in north Nanaimo park

07`0 - RCMP say foul play is not suspected after a man's body was found inHarry Wipper Park on the weekend. The investigation was turned over to the B.C. Coroners Service.

“I can confirm the B.C. Coroners Service is in the early stages of its fact-finding investigation involving a male in his 30s from Nanaimo to determine how, where, when and by what means he came to his sudden, unexpected death,” said Andy Watson, B.C. Coroners Service spokesman, in an e-mail. FULL STORY

Nanaimo enjoying a building boom so far this year

0708 - Nanaimo is in a bit of a building boom with construction exceeding expectations.

The construction value for all projects is three times greater than all of 2018 – more than $300 million has been spent. Approximately $230 million of that is in residential construction –  completed or under way – in the first six months. FULL STORY

Rogers, Freedom Mobile cell phone service disrupted

0708 - Some of Canada's major mobile service providers say they are working to fix widespread network outages to voice services that some customers across the country have been noticing since Sunday afternoon.

Rogers said late Sunday night that its network teams were working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, however, it didn't say when it expected the problem to be fixed.

Woman injured in single-vehicle crash on Island Highway

0706 –  The woman driver of a pickup truck was taken to hospital after a crash on the Island Hiway south of Nanaimo Saturday afternoon. It happened at 1:45 p.m. in the southbound lanes of the highway just before the Duke Point Highway off-ramp.

The driver was the sole occupant of the vehicle. She was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. FULL STORY

HandyDART to evaluate users' disabilities

0706 - HandyDART users will have to register in person and be assessed by a mobility co-ordinator, starting next year.

The mobility co-ordinator will evaluate both the applicant’s cognitive and physical abilities, as well as the ability of the applicant to travel safely alone. It will help determine whether the client is more suitable for custom transit or conventional transit, or a combination of both. FULL STORY

 

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Cruise visit cancelled due to mechanical problem

Silver Explorer

0706 –  A smaller cruise ship that had been scheduled to visit here July 11 has cancelled due to mechanical problems. The SilverSeas’ Silver Explorer got tangled with a fishing net in the Bering Sea and had to alter course to dry dock in Vancouver.

The Azamara Quest will visit Nanaimo on July 11 with a capacity close to 700 passengers.

“This cancellation is unfortunate for Nanaimo businesses and tourism operators, but also for the passengers who won’t get to visit our beautiful city on this trip,” said Karen Bannister, director of destination marketing for Tourism Vancouver Island. FULL STORY

Seismic activity continues along the west coast

0705 - The West Coast continues to rock and roll. Three earthquakes were reported early today north of Vancovuer Island and Haida Gwaii. The most recent activity started yesterday with a 6.2 rumble near Bella Bella. That was followed by the big quake in California at 6.4. There was another off the coast or Oregon Thursday morning.

Port of Nanaimo enjoyed record revenue in past year

CEO Ian Marr

0703 -  The Port of Nanaimo had its highest-ever annual revenue in 2018 at $10.9 million, up from $9.5 million the previous year.

The figures were contained in CEO Ian Marr’s report at last week's annual general meeting of the Port Authority.

Board Chair Donna Hais said the excellent financial performance enabled the Port to invest close to $3.25 million in business infrastructure at the Port, which will help grow business even more.

“Our strong financial position allows us to make meaningful financial contributions to valuable community causes and organizations as well,” Hais said.

The Port contributed $5,000 to the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, which held the June 21 Indigenous Peoples Day, at Maffeo Sutton Park. 

The Port holding an open house. See the details here

Regional District renews software deal with Microsoft

0703 - The Regional District of Nanaimo will keep its Windows on the world through Microsoft. The board has approved a $439,000 deal to continue use of Microsoft software.

An enterprise licence agreement between the RDN and Microsoft was set to expire on June 28, but at the regional district’s June 25 regular meeting, directors voted in favour of entering into a new three-year deal, amounting to $146,000 a year. Employees have Microsoft programs on personal computers, laptops and server-based software systems, with supplementary licences for each device accessing server-based software and services. FULL STORY

Medical emergency return to dock delays ferry sailing

0703 - The 11:05 a.m. B.C. Ferry sailing to Horseshoe Bay returned to Nanaimo with a medical emergency today.

The Coastal Renaissance returned to the dock at Departure Bay terminal and is 80 minutes behind schedule with a medical situation experienced by one of the passengers that required immediate attention. FULL STORY

Sawmill workers on Vancouver Island out on strike

0702 - Western Forest Products workers on Vancouver Island, including Duke Point sawmill, have begun strike action.

The United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, which represents about 1,500 hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for company timberland operators and contractors in the province, began a work stoppage Monday at 3:45 p.m. affecting all union-certified manufacturing and timberland operations in B.C. The previous collective agreement expired in mid-June.

Western Forest Products has mills in Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Chemainus, the Cowichan Valley and Port Alberni and timberlands up and down Vancouver Island and at Powell River. FULL STORY

RDN director Clarke Gourlay dies in hiking accident

Clarke Gourlay

Clarke Gourlay, Nanaimo Regional District director for French Creek (Area G) died on Saturday in a hiking accident in Strathcona Park.

“He fell from quite a distance from Mount Donner in Strathcona Park,” said his wife Nancy.

The Gourlays founded Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and Morningstar Farm. The company's Facebook page says: Eighteen years ago a man with an enormous vision and a wild dream decided to start a business in an industry he knew nothing about and had never experienced. He started drafting a business plan and learning about cows and his wife began studying and training to make cheese. His energy, passion, and drive were infectious and, along with Nancy, an incredibly involved and supportive family, a dedicated staff team, and a great community, Clarke built this business into what it is today. FULL STORY

Earthquake upgrades top priorities for school district

0630 - Earthquake upgrades are on the list of priorities on the Nanaimo Ladysmith school district in its new capital plan approved by trustees at their June board meeting.

That includes expansion of École Hammond Bay and preparing Cilaire and Pleasant Valley elementary schools to deal with earthquakes.

B.C. school districts are mandated by the provincial government to submit a five-year capital plan every year, laying out projects that improve or maintain district buildings and are deemed high priority, including ones for seismic mitigation, school expansion and playground enhancement. FULL STORY

Police seek help in finding missing Steven Forsyth

Steven Forsyth

0630 - Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance locating Steven Forsyth, 48, was reported missing on June 20. 

His friends and family are concerned for his well-being because they noticed a change in his behaviour before he went missing.

Forsyth is white, about five-feet-10 and 175 pounds. He has hazel-coloured eyes and short brown hair that is receding. He is known to spend time in Nanaimo’s downtown core and drives a white GMC Canyon with the B.C. licence plate JN3655.

Police ask anyone with information on Forsyth’s whereabouts to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Drivers taken to hospital after pickup trucks collide

0629 – Both drivers were taken to hospital after their pickup trucks crased on Comox Road this morning at the intersection of Machleary Street and Wall Street.

Nanaimo RCMP, Nanaimo Fire Rescue and B.C. Ambulance Service were on scene and fire personnel said the drivers were the only occupants of the vehicles and were taken to with unknown, non-life-threatening injuries.

The trucks were both heading east, toward the downtown, when the accident occurred.

City council adopts strategic plan to deliver priorities

Mayor Leonard Krog

0629 - City council has adopted a four-year strategic plan following workshops and public feedback.

The plan outlines priorities for the city. Staff will incorporate elements into the 2020 budget and planning cycle to ensure adequate resourcing and follow-through. It has four themes: governance excellence, environmental responsibility, and economic health and liveability.

The city will push the federal and provincial governments to take more responsibility for mental health and affordable housing, but there was no specific mention of crime near supportive housing sites.

Mayor Leonard Krog stressed those concerns are important, but as a municipal government there is only so much council and the city can do. FULL STORY

Homeless shelter gets $20,000 to expand two hours daily

Unitarian shelter

0628 - Nanaimo's homeless problem doesn't appear to be improving. That has resulted in city council committee approving and additional grant of $20,000 grant for the Unitarian Shelter on Townsite Road to stay open an extra two hours a day.

Nanaimo RCMP superintendent Cameron Miller told city council his officers estimate there will be approximately 500 people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo this summer. This number was provided after 150 people moved from Discontent City into temporary shelters hastily built by the province as part of the plan to remove the encampment.

BC Housing funded the year-round operation of the Unitarian Shelter in 2018. It houses up to 30 people a night and was originally run as an extreme weather shelter in the winter. FULL STORY

 

Man sentenced to 10 years for child sexual assault

0627 - Stephen Mark Castleden, 50, who began sexually assaulting a girl when she was four, taking pictures and posting them online has been sentenced to 10 years in jail, less 20 months credit for time served.

Castleden pleaded guilty in December to possessing, making and importing child pornography, as well as the sexual assault.

Images of the victim, whose identity is protected, were uploaded to a Russian website and the incidents took place over five years. FULL REPORT

Island Highway upgrade work set to start

Rutherford/Mostar intersection to get improvements

0628 - It's summer and that means road construction. Island Highway intersections will see  concrete barriers and raised concrete island installed at Norwell Drive/Jingle Pot Road and Rutherford Road/Mostar Road.

New bus pads will be constructed on Rutherford Road and culverts will be replaced near Long Lake.

Construction will take place at night time only in order to minimize traffic delays. Hub City Paving was awarded the contract for the project and work is expected to be complete in the fall.

Exports to be focus of Island Economic Summit in October

Peter Hall

0627 - Peter Hall, VP and Chief Economist with Export Development Canada will be the keynote speaker at the State of the Island Economic Summit Oct. 23-24 in Nanaimo.

Vancouver Island's Foreign Trade Zone designation (FTZVI), is spurring export activity with global trading partners. The summit will focus on global trade and emerging prospects for Vancouver Island exports, says George Hanson, president of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

Stolen garage door openers used in two breakins

0627 - Thieves used garage door openers from unlocked cars in two thefts in the past week. The thefts occurred on June 24 and June 25 on Tweedsmuir Crescent and Ocean Walk Drive.

"Garage door openers should be treated as another key to your home." said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

In the Tweedsmuir Crescent incident, sometime overnight, thieves entered a car parked in the driveway and opened the garage using the garage door opener. Later that day, the garage door opener was found on a neighbouring lawn. FULL REPORT

UPDATE –Missing 14-year-old Donovan Williams located

0627 - Nanaimo RCMP seek public's assistance in locating 14-year-old Donovan Williams who has not been seen or heard from since June 20. He has not contacted any of his friends or family, making his caregivers worried for his well-being.

He is 5' 5", 130 pounds with a short Afro haircut. The picture is approximately one year old. He tends to frequent Woodgrove Centre but investigators have had no success there. If you know the whereabouts of Donovan Williams, please contact 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. 

SUV rolls over after collision on Rutherford Road

0626 - A crash involving two sport-utility vehicles closed the northbound lane of Rutherford Road this afternoon. One of the vehicles rolled over.

The accident happened on Rutherford Road near Brookwood Drive. Both vehicles were in the northbound lanes. FULL REPORT

 

Heading into the Canada Day weekend, gasoline prices in Nanaimo this morning vary between $1.359 to $1.419. Check GAS BUDDY

Former Nanaimo skier launches abuse lawsuit

0626 - Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo has filed a class-action lawsuit against Alpine Canada, alleging the skiing organization failed to investigate sexual abuse by a coach.

Allison competed in the 2002 Winter Games. She is seeking to become the representative plaintiff of former elite skiers who claim they were psychologically, physically and sexually assaulted, harassed and abused by their coach, Bertrand Charest, while they were members of the Canada’s national junior skiing team.

Alpine Canada is the national governing organization for alpine, para-alpine, and ski-cross racing in Canada. Charest was employed by Alpine Canada as coach from 1996 until 1998. FULL STORY

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Area local governments to study child care availability

RDN Chairman Ian Thorpe

0626 - Local governments in the Central Island will look collectively at child care in the region.

The City,Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo announced a partnership to study child care needs.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has provided a $125,000 grant to assess child care spaces and identify how many additional spaces are needed now and over the coming years.

RDN chairman Ian Thorpe said the research will look at daycare needs for infants through to preschool-aged children, including before- and after-school care options. FULL REPORT

So far, this has been the driest June on record

0624 - So far, this has been the driest June on record since precipitation started being recorded here in 1892.

As of Monday, Nanaimo received just 4.3 millimetres of rain, or about 10 per cent of the average rainfall for the month.

“Much of that came last Wednesday and that was the most rain we’ve seen in a month, going back to mid May,” said Matt MacDonald, Environment Canada meteorologist. FULL REPORT

No foot passenger ferry this summer

0625 - Another summer will come and go without foot ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver.

Island Ferry Services confirmed that it will not be up and running this summer, but stressed that it is still active and moving forward in trying to start up the harbour-to-harbour passenger-only ferry service. FULL STORY

Man charged with armed robbery, appears in court

A 39-year-old man has been charged with one count of armed robbery and theft over $5,000 following an investigation by the Nanaimo RCMP Street Crimes Unit. On June 13 investigators located and arrested Dustin Sean Williams at his Ladysmith reesidence. 

Williams appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court on June 17 and was formally charged with one count of robbery, pointing a firearm at an individual and committing an indictable offence with his face masked.

The Robbery charge stems from an incident on June 5th at the Best Buy Liquor Store located on Jingle Pot Road. In that incident, Williams allegedly pointed a firearm at a clerk and with his face covered, stole money from the till then fled without being apprehended by attending officers. Immediately following his June 13 arrest, investigators carried out a search warrant on his residence and found evidence which furthered their investigation. FULL STORY

Are you missing hockey goalie gear?

Found hockey gear turned over to RCMP

0624 -  Staff of the Great Canadian Oil Exchange, 3200 Island Highway North, Nanaimo have found some hockey goalie equipment. It has been turned over to Nanaimo RCMP. It includes a white chest protector, black TPS goalie pants and other equipment.   

If you know who owns the equipment, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-23666

Community saves the day after thieves spoil camping trip

0624 -Nanaimo lived up to its reputation as a caring and helping community this weekend after thieves spoiled a planned school camping trip. Thieve stole nine tents that were to go for a year end Grade 7 camping trip from storage at Departure Bay Elementary School. The theft happened sometime between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Parents spread the word through social media and within hours community-minded businesses, staff and parents had more than enough tents to replace the stolen ones.

"The theft was disheartening but to see the community and businesses come to together to right a wrong was so wonderful,” said Principal Annette Noble. 

If you have any information, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Service providers to have role in designing new jail

0624 - BC Corrections promised that service providers will be consulted as the province replaces the Nanaimo Correctional Centre.

One of those groups is the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, which delivers the highly regarded 50-bed Guthrie Therapeutic Community program for those battling substance abuse. FULL STORY

South End land rezoned to allow for 200-plus apartments

0623 - Nanaimo city council has approved a rezoning which would allow a 213-unit rental apartment complex to be built in Nanaimo’s south end.

West Urban Developments of Campbell River,plans to build a three 71-unit four-storey buildings at 1300 Junction Ave.,adjacent to Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence.

Each building will have a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. There will also be underground and surface parking for all three buildings. FULL STORY

Military rifle range tresspassers could face fines, jail

File photo

0621 - Trespassers illegally entering the Nanaimo Military Rifle Range could face a $1,000 fine or a year in jail under the National Defence Act, says Ron Sellers, a range control officer for CFB Esquimalt, which operates the site.

Users groups met Thursday with range officials to try to reach land use agreement, but because of the liability issues, the military says that’s not going to happen. 

Warnings will soon be issued to anyone trespassing on the range. Recreational users have been illegally accessing the range for years, but with training nearly tripling at the site this year, the Canadian Armed Forces are trying to put an end to the encroachment. FULL STORY

Two government cannabis stores get approval

File photo

0622 - City council has given the green light at public hearing to rezone two locations for government Cannabis Stores at 6683 Mary Ellen Dr. and Country Club Centre. The Store at Country Club would be inside a new commercial building on the property. The zoning approvals still require final approval by city council

A development permit application has also been submitted for the proposed commercial building, which would not only be the location for the cannabis store but three other commercial businesses including a Triple O's drive-thru restaurant.

The store on Mary Ellen Drive would be in the plaza beside M&M Meat Shops. FULL STORY

Teachers fear possible job losses in contract talks

0621 - Nanaimo-Ladysmith school teachers could lose 110 jobs as a result of negotiations under way for a new collective agreement, says Denise Woodpresident of the teacher union.

The B.C. government is mandating three-year deals, with annual two-per cent wage increases, for public sector employees and Wood said BCTF seeks wage increases in line with that, with consideration for its special circumstances.

The province wants a level playing field with all school districts have the same conditions. Nanaimo has class size and composition language that is not available in other districts. That means Nanaino would have to come down, resulting in the job loss and poorer conditions for students. FULL REPORT

Ladysmith man charged after armed robbery and theft

A 39-year-old man has been charged with one count of armed robbery and Theft over $5,000 following an investigation by the Nanaimo RCMP Street Crimes Unit. On June 13, investigators arrested Dustin Sean Williams at his Ladysmith residence.  

Williams appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court on June 17 and was formally charged with one count of Robbery, pointing a Firearm at an individual and committing an indictable offence with his face masked. The robbery charge stems from an armed robbery June 5 at the Best Buy Liquor Store on Jingle Pot Road. In that incident, Williams allegedly pointed a firearm at a clerk and with his face covered, stole money from the till then fled without being apprehended by attending officers. Following his June 13 arrest, investigators carried out a search warrant on his residence and found evidence which furthered their investigation.

Williams was also charged on June 17 with one count of Theft over $5,000 following an April 10 theft of four rings, worth approximately $21,000 from Mappins Jewellers Woodgrove Centre. Investigators have been able to retrieve one of the four stolen rings and the search for the remaining three rings continues. 

Williams was remanded into police custody to await his next court appearance set for June 25 in Nanaimo Provincial court.

 

No bus service for summer late ferries to Horseshoe Bay

0620 - If you take the B.C. Ferries summer late sailings to Horsehoe Bay don't count on bus service when you arrive.

B.C. Ferries has issued a notice saying  people on 10:40 p.m. sailings bound for Vancouver, between June 20 and Sept. 2, will arrive at Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal at 12:20 a.m., after transit service has concluded for the day.

Hirst touts Conservative plan for the environment

John Hirst

0619 - The Conservative party’s plan for the environment is just what the country needs, says John Hirst, the party's candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment is a balanced approach to reduce emissions, conserve and protect our air, land, water and wildlife, and fight climate change abroad. It’s built on three key principles, Hirst said.

Hirst said green technology, not taxes are the answer. Investing in green technology is the best way to lower emissions without imposing new taxes.

A cleaner and greener natural environment will engage farmers, hunters and anglers, Indigenous people, provinces, and territories to protect our air, land, water and wildlife.  

On taking the climate fight global, Hirst said, the international approach to climate change forces countries to self-impose domestic emissions reductions targets. But emissions do not recognize borders. It’s a global problem that requires a global solution and Canada has a leadership role to play, the plan says.

Council clears the way for 170-unit apartment complex

New apartment complex coming to Cedar Ridge Place, near Grand Hotel

0619 -  Nanaimo City Council has given the green light for a rental apartment complex near Long Lake. Council voted 6-2 on Monday in favour of issuing a development permit for a 170-unit apartment complex at 4800 Cedar Ridge Pl.

Kelowna-based Highstreet Ventures Inc. plans one four-storey building, two three-storey buildings and a two-storey amenity building on the property, near the Grand Hotel.

Highstreet requested a number of variances – also approved by councillors on Monday – including increasing the height for three of the proposed buildings. FULL STORY

NDP acclaims Chamberlin as candidate for October election

Bob Chamberlin

0618 - Bob Chamberlin will be the NDP candidate in October federal election. Chamberlin was acclaimed Tuesday night to represent the party in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. 

Green Party candidate Paul Manly won the spring byelection, finishing well ahead of the New Democrat and Conservative candidates. Chamberlin came in third in the byelection.

Investigation into suspicious fire turned over to RCMP

0618 - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating an early-morning fire at the Country Club Manor apartment building on Glen Eagle Crescent shortly before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Nanaimo Fire Rescue found a fire burning on the ground floor patio at the back of the building.

“Someone saw the fire and pulled the alarm, so the residents evacuated,” said Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief fire prevention officer, who initially investigated the fire. FULL STORY

Pornography and child sex abuse details revealed in court

0618 – Tension was thick when a man who was jailed in 2012 for possessing child pornography, appeared in court for a pre-sentence hearing. Stephen Mark Castleden will be sentenced June 27 for sexually assaulting a girl, beginning when she was four years old, taking pictures and posting them online.

Castleden pleaded guilty in December to possessing, making and importing child pornography, as well as the sexual assault. Images of the victim, whose identity is protected, were uploaded to a Russian website and the incidents took place over five years.

Castleden was sentenced to 30 days jail in Surrey in 2012 for possession of child pornography. FULL STORY

Region developing strategic plan for parks and trails

0618 – The Regional District of Nanaimo is taking a close look at its parks and trails with a new strategic plan to be completed by fall 2020.

The RDN manages more than 200 community parks, 12 regional parks and more than 85 kilometres of trails. The parks and trails are “important and cherished assets for our residents,” the release noted. FULL STORY

Stone Soup kitchen has to shut down by June 30

0618 - The Stone Soup kitchen will serve its last supper June 30 after losing its eviction battle on Monday. About 150 homeless people will then be without the free meal program. 

Doug and Tanya Hiltz, who live at the property at 150 Nicol St. and created the program in their backyard over the last year, to vacate the property by June 30. 

“Does anyone have a place to help us out? It’s our turn now,” Tanya Hiltz said, nearly crying and visibly frustrated by the situation after receiving the decision from the Residential Tenancy Branch arbitrator.

“Overnight the homeless are going to retaliate,” said Doug. “Their food source is being cut off and these people we’re feeding are barred from the 710 Club and the Salvation Army.” FULL STORY

House fire displaces family of five

0618 - A fire Monday afternoon displaced a family of five at 2261 East Wellington Rd. Neighbour Shelbey Brimacombe said she was working in her garden when she smelled something burning and saw the small home was on fire.

“I just looked and there were flames coming through the floor and the window and I could just hear the little dog barking inside. I tried to open the door and it was locked,” she said. FULL STORY

Man injured while trying to save dog from fire

0617 - A man was taken to hospital with burns after a fire in Nanaimo on the weekend. The man was injured while trying to save a dog from a burning building.

North Cedar Fire Department responded at about 11:20 p.m. Saturday to the 1400 block  Clifford Road in Cedar.

Percy Tipping, North Cedar Fire Department chief, said when firefighters arrived they found a shed, about four metres by five metres in size fully engulfed in flame. FULL STORY

Ferries adds extra sailings for summer peak period

BC Ferries has added sailings for the peak season, including adjustments to sailing times on some routes.

Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay
Three ships will service this route, and deliver up to 24 sailings per day.
• 6:25 a.m. sailings in both directions daily
• Some 11:40 p.m. sailings departing Horseshoe Bay

Tsawwassen - Duke Point
Starting June 26, two vessels will provide 16 sailings per day between 5:15 a.m. and 10:45 p.m., seven days a week until Sept. 2.

Customers without a reservation can see the best times to travel on the website, bcferries.com. Details of summer promotions, affecting more than 1,000 sailings are also detailed on the website.

Fire calls levelling off for temporary housing projects

0617 - Things may be settling down at the temporary housing sites. The number of fire calls is levelling off. 

Fire Rescue Chief Karen Fry told NanaimoNewsNOW the situation is improving at both housing sites, on Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road sites. 

In May, crews responded to two fire alarm calls at the Terminal site, down from five in April. One of the April calls was an actual fire in a unit which displaced approximately 20 clients. FULL STORY

Parksville fire and explosion blamed on pot extraction

0617 - An investigation by the Parksville Fire Department showed a large explosion and fire at Parksville’s River Green Resort on June 6 was the result of someone using a flammable gas.

Steven Liedl, Parksville Fire department assistant fire chief, said the flammable gas was most likely butane or propane and was being used to extract oil from cannabis. FULL STORY

School board passes $164.3 million budget

0616 - The Nanaimo Ladysmith school board passed its $164.3-million budget for 2019-20. The district projects 14,383 full-time equivalent students and has budgeted for more than 866 full-time equivalent teachers for next school year, with salaries totalling $67.8 million.

More than 293 full-time equivalent educational assistants and 248 support staff are in the budget, with salaries totalling $23.1 million. $8.4 million has been budgeted for principals and vice-principals, all salaries and benefits total $136.6 million. FULL STORY

Federal NDP nominating meeting set for Tuesday

0613 - Federal Nanaimo New Democrats are not letting any grass grow under their feet – they are holding a nominating meeting on Tuesday (June 18) to select a candidate for the October general election. Registration gets under way at 6 p.m. at Bowen Park auditorium. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Candidate introductions and speeches, with audience questions, will be follow by balloting.  For more information, HERE

Overturned truck causes major traffic disruption

0613 - An overturned truck caused a major traffic disruption on the Duke Point Highway near the exit to the Trans Canada Highway on Thursday. A truck carrying culverts rolled, closing a highway exit.
   Nanaimo Fire Rescue posted on social media about a “highway closure [of the] Duke Point Highway off-ramp northbound onto TCH. Closed for an extended period of time.”

Police intercept teens with a big cache of weapons

0613 - RCMP recovered a small cache of weapons on several youths late Wednesday night. The officers spotted three youths, all 15 years old, walking on Northfield Road. One of the three had a bat, which he said was found  and was being used for baseball in a nearby field.
   The officer told all three to remove any other weapons. 
The youth in question first pulled out a hatchet, then a five-inch double-sided knife, a multi-tool and a can of spray paint. Another had a hammer and box cutter. The third youth did not have any weapons. The three boys were given a ride home and delivered to their respective parents with a description of what police had found.

Wednesday's scorcher set a record

0613 - Was it hot enough for you? Nanaimo had one of the 16 record high temperatures in the province yestday, hitting 32 degrees with bright sunshine. That passed our previous record of 30.6 degrees which had been standing since 1932. The Nanaimo high was one of the top in the province.

City staff recommendation goes up in smoke

0613 - City council has given the green light for a cannabis retail store near downtown despite a staff recommendation to deny the rezoning application, citing proximity to an existing school and another proposed cannabis retail store. CSC Cannabis Stores, a B.C.-based company, is looking to open a 185 square-metre cannabis retail store on the property. The application still has to pass final approval at third reading. READ MORE

Honeymoon couple have electric bike stolen in Nanaimo

Electric bike which was stolen at Colliery Dam Park.

0612 - A Belgian couple honeymooning in Nanaimo had their electric bicycle stolen last week. The couple was at Colliery Dam Park on June 8 at 2 p.m. and went on an afternoon hike. At 3:30 p.m., when they returned to their motorhome, they realized their $15,000 e-bike had been stolen. Anyone with information is asked to Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Eight-year-old reports attempted assault

0612 - Nanaimo RCMP have issued an advisory after an eight-year-old girl has reported that an adult male attempted to grab her as she rode home from school on her bike. The girl was not injured and the suspect was not located. The incident occurred at approximately 3 p.m. on Tuesday on Bradley Street. The suspect was white, with a dark beard and dark hair, and wearing sunglasses. He was driving a red pickup with a white strip but no further description was provided. 

If anyone has information on this 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.

SUV lands in mall parking lot in spectacular crash

0612 - It could have been called a "Brooks Landing" when an SUV crashed into the mall parking lot Tuesday afternoon. First responders attended at Brooks Landing at 1 p.m. to find an SUV with front-end damage resting in the parking lot. A witness said she heard a crash and a car flew through the fence and down into the parking lot. The SUV was travelling southbound on the old Island Highway before the crash. The driver was assessed by paramedics before being taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for further assessment.

No damage to building in disposal centre fire

0611 - There was no damage to a building in a fire at a disposal centre on Tuesday night. Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews were called out at 11:45 p.m. to DBL Disposal Services Ltd. on Tenth Street to find a pile of materials on fire close to the back of the building. Five fire trucks were on scene and heavy machinery belonging to the business was also used to help fight the fire. MORE

Terminal supported housing worse than expected

0612 - Neighboring residents of the Terminal Avenue supportive housing development expected  problems but now they say it is worse than they anticipated. "It's twice as bad as what I thought it would be," said Fred MacDonald, who lives near the Newcastle Place facility at 250 Terminal Ave. "The Ministry of Housing has abdicated its responsibility to this community. They plunked in a project here that was doomed to fail." MORE

First cruise ship of the season arrives Sunday

The 596-passenger Silver Muse will be in Nanaimo on Sunday.

0611 - The first cruise ship of the season will dock in Nanaimo on Sunday. The 596-guest Silversea Cruises Silver Muse, will arrive in Nanaimo  Sunday at 8 a.m., departing at 10 p.m. An average spend for passengers disembarking for on-shore adventures is $80 each per day, meaning a ship of this size could contribute as much as $48,000 in a 12-hour period to the local economy. “We are pleased to be Silversea’s choice, and as the community continues to expand the variety of on-shore attractions it can offer passengers, the number of cruise ships that stop in Nanaimo will continue to increase,” says Port CEO Ian Marr. Tourism Nanaimo and professionally-trained ambassadors from the Nanaimo Hospitality Association will be at the terminal and downtown to greet.

Man killed in southend intersection accident

0611 - A man was fatally injured when crossing a south Nanaimo intersection when he didn’t have the right of way.  He was hit in the intersection of Nicol and Needham Streets by a pickup truck around 9 p.m. on Monday. Cst. Gary O’Brien said the man entered the intersection from Needham when he was hit by a pickup truck turning left on the green light to go southbound on Nicol St.

Province announces $157-million for new Nanaimo jail

0610 – Initial site clearing is scheduled to begin this summer on a new prison for Nanaimo.The province announced that $157-million has been earmarked for the new prison to replace the Nanaimo Correctional Centre.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2023 next to the current location. Approximately 1,000 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created and site clearing will start this summer.

The new centre will maintain the 190-room capacity of the current facility, including 60 rooms for secure custody. There will also be a new 12-room unit for short-term custody for women.

MORE

Booze and bikes create a dangerous mix

File photo from Google

0610 - What do booze and bikes have in common?  – nothing. But that doesn't appear to stop people and ending up with disastrous results.

Early Friday, Police, Fire and EHS assisted the recovery of a man who had lost his way while riding his 55cc dirt bike, and somehow survived a fall of more than 30 feet. He was found shortly after 1 a.m. at the bottom of rock bluffs west of the Nanaimo Parkway at Fifth Street.

When officers arrived they found him, surprisingly conscious and alert but suffering from several non-life threatening injuries. The 35-year-old Nanaimo man told officers he and a buddy were having liquid refreshments and unwisely decided to take their bikes out for a rip. At one point, he either lost control or turned left when he should have turned right, and ended up free falling over the edge of the cliff. He was taken to hospital by BC Paramedics and released later that same night.

Genocide - When Trudeau speaks thoughtlessly

World Oceans Day cleanup termed a huge success

0610 - They didn’t just talk about it, they took action. Volunteers and local organizations teamed to cealn up the shore at Maffeo Sutton Park and the seawall on Saturday as part of World Oceans Day.

They started near the Nanaimo Yacht Club and back to Maffeo Sutton Park.

Divers from the Port of Nanaimo cleaned up deeper down and Snuneymuxw First Nation held events on Newcastle Island.

Those putting their talk into action were pleased with the large turn out for the day-long effort.

Application filed for 66-unit condo project in Northend

Artist rendering for a proposed 66-unit residential condominium in the North End. (Salehi Architect Inc.)

0609 - A North Vancouver developer has filed a development application for a six-storey 66-unit multi-family condominium between Calinda Street and Sentinel Drive in North Nanaimo.

 The proposal is for 38 one-bedroom units, 24 two-bedroom units and four three-bedroom units, two levels of underground parking and an open deck space on the sixth floor.

The application is for phase 1 of an envisioned much larger phase 2 development which is not part of the application. Mint Residentials Ltd’s future plans include two 20-storey condo towers as part of the development. There would be 432 residential units in that idea. The concept of highrises on that property has been around for a number of years but never materialized.

MORE

Government eyes safety changes for Cathedral Grove

Pedestrian safety is a major concern for park users.

 

0607 – Changes are coming to Cathedral Grove to address safety and access due to the traffic the park attracts and the lack of on-site parking and pedestrian crossings. 

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says more than 500 people have submitted ideas for improvements, including improved signage, traffic calming and enforcement, a pedestrian overpass, and additional parking and bypass options.

The government will present the most feasible suggestions at two open houses, June 19 in Parksville and June 20 at the Port Alberni Friendship Centre. Both meetings are from 4-8 p.m.

Information presented at the open houses will also be available online beginning June 19.

Motorcycle stolen from moving van

0608 - A Minute Man Moving van parked in the 1800 block East Wellington Road was broken into overnight on June 3. Thieves cut through a chain link fence and then cut off a padlock to the storage compartment on the van. A Honda 400cc motorcycle was stolen. No license plate number or VIN are available. The bike had a tire lock in place and drag marks showed the bike was dragged off the property. Nanaimo file # 2019-20612

Masked bandits steal thousands of dollars worth of tires

0607 - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating the theft of 23 sets of speciality tires stolen from Fountain Tire, at 4801 Wellington Road. The theft occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The value of the tires is in the thousands of dollars.

Video surveillance showed two masked men cutting through the fence of the compound surrounding the business then spending a considerable amount of time selecting specialized tires designed to fit Bobcats. A third person was also involved and was seen driving a light grey ful-size Ford F350 extended cab, with a grey canopy. No description was available for this person and of note, the vehicle was seen driving through the parking lot of a nearby strip Mall.

Employees of Fountain Tire have indicated that most of the tires are specialized so there is a limited market for them and they will not be easily resold. 

The investigation is continuing and if anyone has information on this crime, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-22-8477.

Vancouver Island declared in Level 3 drought

0607 - The City is continuing with Stage 2 watering restrictions (every other day watering) which have been in effect since May 1. The province has declared Vancouver Island in a Level 3 drought ranking of ‘Very Dry’. Residents are urged to take voluntary action to reduce water use to avoid and/or defer the need for further restrictions. 

The decision by the province to increase the drought ranking was prompted by very low flows in most rivers and streams on the island and dry weather conditions which are expected to continue. Snow pack accumulation was 50 per cent below normal this winter, but that snow has already melted with the early warm spring weather. Long-range forecasts predict a summer that is warmer and drier than average. 

The City's water supply at Jump Lake is at its normal storage level for this time of year. It is anticipated there will be sufficient water for summer time use. For more information on watering restrictions visit www.teamwatersmart.ca.

VIU student headed to WorldSkills event in Russia

Joe Thoong

0607 - Joe Thoong, a second-year VIU Graphic Design student, is heading to Russia in August to compete in WorldSkills Kazan 2019 with Team Canada.

“Best in the World” is a title he hopes to earn this summer. Following a three-day competition in Halifax last week, Thoong earned a spot on WorldSkills Team Canada 2019, and he heads to Kazan, Russia, August 22-27 to compete against top contenders from across the world. 

To qualify, he had to win the 2018 Skills Canada National Competition last year (every second year is a qualifying year for the world competition), then return to nationals again at the end of May to participate in a special qualifying competition. To prepare, Thoong has been training five days a week for the past year.

READ MORE

RCMP issue alert about home repair scams

Cst. Gary O'Brien

0606 - With summer here, home owners need to be vigilant about home repair contractors knocking on their door offering discount services and in many cases, fraudulent work. The work is often shoddy, up front money is absconded with and at the end of the day, irreparable damage could be done to your wallet and home.

Recently, a local person reported being duped into giving several thousand dollars to a local decking company they found through an online advertisement on social media. The money was paid up front, the job was not completed and the contractor has disconnected his phone and cannot be reached. 

If you know of anyone practising fraudulent home repair work, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at  www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 

READ MORE

Selective thief breaks in to liquor store

0607 - Overnight on Saturday June 1 a discerning rum drinker broke into the Best Buy Liquor store, 1594 MacMillan Road. The back window to the business was smashed which then allowed the suspect to reach through and take 2 bottles of Captain Morgan's Coconut Rum and 2 bottles of Captain Morgan's Jack O'Blast Rum. Nanaimo file # 2019-20319

Islanders responded to measles outbreak warnings

0606 - Island Health administered 10,083 vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella between Feb. 1 and May 31, more than double the number typically administered in that time period.

There have been eight confirmed cases of measles on Vancouver Island this year. That prompted Island Health to send alerts advising children and adults to get vaccinated and Islanders responded at an exceptional rate. Since the jump, the number of verified measles cases has dropped with no new reported cases on the Island since May 6.

These statistics do not include those who got immunizations through pharmacists and physicians, but these numbers were not available.

Police ask for help in finding missing Victoria teen

Lia Barker

Victoria Police are asking for public help in locating missing 13-year-old Lia Barker who was last seen in Vic West on Friday, May 31.

She is Caucasian, 5’8″ tall and weighs 135 lbs. Lia has brown hair (or could be a shade of red) and blue eyes.

Her family is concerned for her well-being. If you see Lia Barker, call 911.

Hais elected to head Port Authority board of directors

Donna Hais

0506 - Donna Hais has been elected to Chair the Board of Directors for the Port of Nanaimo. Hais, CEO and General Manager of R.W. (Bob) Wall Contracting Ltd., was chosen by the Directors  for a two-year term. She is a former Chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

“I am deeply honoured to have been given this opportunity to serve the Port of Nanaimo and the community in this position,” says Donna Hais. “We are on the right course and I look forward to leading our team as we continue into the future.”

Captain Fred Denning was elected Vice-Chair of the Board replacing former Vice-Chair Hais.  Captain Denning worked for 46 years in the West Coast Marine industry, including senior officer, Master, Instructor, Pilot and Pilot Executive.  He served for 8 years as a Director of the BC Coast Pilots and for 6 years as Pacific Vice-President of the Canadian Marine Pilots Association.

MORE

Island Economic report to be released at VIEA Summit

0606 - The 2019 State of the Island Economic Report will be released at the at the Vancouver Island Economic Association Summit, October 23 and 24 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. This is the only third-party, non-government report of its kind.
 
Susan Mowbray, Senior Manager of Economics and Research at MNP, will present key findings of the fifth annual report at the summit. Mowbray has been leading research for the report since it was first produced in 2015.
 
The report is widely used by public and private decision-makers to help inform their businesses decisions. The report is sponsored by MNPNanaimo Airport, Coastal Community Credit UnionBC Ferries, and BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
 
"The report uses statistical information to show us what has happened and what we can expect in the immediate future,” says VIEA President George Hanson. “In 2015, we were alerted to a coming rise in tourism. In 2016, we saw the upward trend in population and housing prices. In 2017, evidence of positive movement in labour participation rates was revealed. And in 2018, the Report warned of skilled labour shortages. These and other trends can now be tracked. This Economic Report is essential reading for anyone serious about business on Vancouver Island," said Hanson.
You can Register HERE for the 2019 Summit.

Two Nanaimo men in custody after arrest in Sooke

0605 - Two Nanaimo men were arrested Tuesday afternoon in Sooke after police found drugs and weapons during a traffic stop.

0605 - Police were alerted after a report of a suspicious vehicle in the George Lane area of Sooke. A witness said one occupant in the vehicle was holding a pistol. The vehicle was reported stolen in Nanaimo, police said.

Police took three men into custody but a disabled passenger in the vehicle was released at the scene.

Police found a small quantity of methamphetamine, brass knuckles, balaclavas, and a pellet pistol that was identical in appearance to a real firearm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 250-642-5241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Arson closes Bowen Park bridge over Millstone River

0605 - The foot bridge which connects a path over the Millstone River from the park entrance at the corner of Millstone Avenue and Bradley Street, has been closed following an intenionally-set fire.

Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s chief fire prevention officer, said firefighters responded  Monday morning to snuff out the fire that damaged a small portion of the bridge’s beam and deck.

Whoever started the fire used pages torn out of a paperback novel that were stuffed into gaps in the bridge deck and hand railings and set them alight.

MORE

Former Nanaimo Pirates pitcher drafted by Chicago Cubs

0604 - Right-hander Josh Burgmann, of Nanaimo, was picked 162nd overall by the Chicago Cubs in the fifth round of the Major League Baseball draft Tuesday.

Burgmann finished the 2019 regular season with Washington State Huskies tied for second in the Pac-12 with 101 strikeouts. He had a 4-6 record and a 3.99 ERA in 14 starts. He previously played for the BC Premier Baseball League’s Nanaimo Pirates and was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team.

Forecast predicts long, hot summer for Nanaimo

0604 - Nanaimo appears to be in for a long, hot summer. Environment Canada meteorologist Matt MacDonald told NanaimoNewsNOW May was the fifth month in a row which was significantly drier than usual.

He said the severe lack of rain and additional blast of recent heat created drought-like conditions.

MORE

Armed suspect robs Nanoose beer and wine store

0604 - A man armed with a gun robbed the Arlington Inn Beer and Wine Store in Nanoose Bay.

Oceanside RCMP say a masked man entered the store around 5:30 p.m. Monday, June 3 and held up a gun throughout the robbery.

Police said the man grabbed the lone female employee working at the time and pushed her behind the counter. The suspect then took cash from the store.

MORE

Police seek suspect in two butt-grabbing incidents

The Nanaimo RCMP is investigating two incidents of women's buttocks grabbed as they walked along Bowen Road. The two incidents took place within ten minutes of each other at approximately 11:30 AM onMay 27. Neither woman was injured and both were able to provide a description of the suspect.

The suspect was described as possibly Indigenous or Spanish descent, 5 ft. 6 in slim build, with short hair and brown eyes. He was wearing brown pants, light coloured shirt and carrying a black packsack with a diamond on it. The second incident involved a man with short black hair, also thought to be either Indigenous or Spanish, wearing a white t-shirt, tan khaki pants and carrying a black packsack

Anyone with information 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.

Seniors housing complex planned for Westwood Lake

0603 - White Lion Developmentshas submitted a rezoning application to build two three-storey condo buildings at 2367 Arbot Rd.

The 11,533 square-metre property is beside the Bethlehem Centre.

Robyn White, president of White Lion Developments, said the condominiums will be age restricted for 55-plus. In total that would be 57 two-bedroom units. He said the project includes a publicly-accessible path to the trail around Westwood Lake as well as improving the city-owned portion of the trail behind the property. MORE

Lantzville votes to adopt an official community plan

0603 - The District of Lantzville is getting closer to adopting an official community plan.

Councillors unanimously passed first and second reading of the community plan last week.

Mayor Mark Swain said the community has been waiting a long time for the OCP to reach this point and believes the OCP is a good balance. “This is something we should all be proud of,” he said.

MORE

Vanisle 360 Yacht race launches Saturday morning

0531 - If you are a shutterbug, this weekend should be heaven for you – The Vanisle 360 yacht race launches from Nanaimo Harbour at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday on the first leg of the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

Rare white Orca whale spotted near Nanaimo

0530 - Guests on a whale-watching tour were treated to a rarity during an excursion Tuesday, a white Orca whale close to Nanaimo.

Vancouver Island Whale Watch posted photos on social media after coming across a white orca Tuesday, and Val Watson, a marine naturalist with the Nanaimo-based company.

“For the tour we saw humpbacks and on the way back, about five minutes outside of Nanaimo, we came across a pod of orcas and within that pod was a white individual,” said Watson. “It’s very rare." The last time a white whale seen was about 10 years ago, so it’s happened before, but it’s very uncommon.

WestJet flight cancelled due to unruly passenger

0530 - An unruly passenger caused the cancellation of a Comox-bound WestJet flight from Edmonton on Wednesday.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Manly addresses Parliament

Manley addresses Parliament – see the video here.

https://www.facebook.com/VoteforPaulManly/videos/2255887211406745/

 

Government targets large cash payments to schools

0529 - Post-secondary institutions in British Columbia were warned Tuesday to be on the look out for possible student money launderers.

Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark said she has sent letters to almost 370 public post-secondary institutions and private career training institutions advising them to no longer accept large cash payments from students registering for classes and programs.

The letter asks the institutions to share copies of their cash acceptance policies with the government. Those without a policy have been asked to develop one.

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Police seek person of interest in break and enter

Police want to know who this person is.

0529 - The Nanaimo RCMP seeks assistance in identifying a person of interest in a Break and Enter that occurred at the Ice Nail Bar,adjacent to the Circle K, formerly known as Macs Convenience store  at corner of Departure Bay Road and Norwell Drive. The break in took place at approximately 1:20 AM on Tuesday May 28th, 2019 and the only item taken was the cash register and its contents.

While officers were responding to the break in, a second call was received of a male attempting to smash open a cash register in a parking lot at 3185 Barons Road, just a short distance from the  Break and Enter. When officers arrived, the suspect was gone but the remains of the broken cash register were found scattered throughout the parking lot.

Follow up investigation with potential witnesses and after reviewing video surveillance, investigators have determined that the male seen smashing the cash register may have been in the business earlier in the evening. This person is Caucasian, approximately 5 ft. 9 , medium build and with short hair.

If you have information on the identity of this person, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

UPDATE - Missing woman located

0529 - UPDATE Nanaimo RCMP report that the following person who was listed as missing has been located.

The Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in locating 22-year-old Lana Jane Cuthbert who was reported missing by her family  May 27. Investigators were told that her family lost touch with her almost two years ago and the only contact they have had with her was via voice message received in late 2018. The family has continued search efforts throughout the last two years and are now at the point where they have decided to reach out to the RCMP for assistance in furthering their search. The most recent picture of Cuthbert, who may also go by the name of Lana Monstaa is from 2014.

Cuthbert is 5 ft tall and in 2014 weighed 130 pounds. She has blonde hair, blue eyes and has no known tattoos. Investigators have learned that Cuthbert may be in the Nanaimo area and they are following up on this information.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Lana Cuthbert aka Lana Monstaa, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Liberals stonewall study of chinook closures impact

0529 - Liberal MPs unanimously rejected a study of impacts from the latest round of chinook salmon closures imposed by the federal government.

The motion was presented at the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans by Conservative Blaine Calkins, MP for Red Deer-Lacombe, and was supported by all opposition members.

“Government decisions have a major impact on the lives and livelihoods of Canadians, and the latest round of Pacific salmon closures has already impacted coastal communities and businesses that depend on fisheries,” said Calkins following the meeting. 

The study would have focused on the impact felt by the 8,000 British Columbians who work in and around British Columbia’s public fishery. Sport fishing contributes $1.1 billion to the Canadian economy every year.  The proposal also sought an assessment of other measures that could deliver increases in chinook salmon stocks.

Council approves apartment facing Millstone River

0529 - City council has approved a development permit to allow an apartment building on the banks of the Millstone River despite being situated within the river setback area.

Council voted 7-2 on Monday to issue a development permit to Grasteve Enterprises Ltd. for a 59-unit rental building at 591 Bradley St. The building will be three storeys along Bradley with a six-storey elevation facing the Millstone.

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New drunk-driving regulations create rights concerns

0529 - Canada's new federal drunk driving provisions are causing concern.A Nanaimo woman says her rights have been violated because of the way the new rules are being used..

Lee Lowrie says she and her boyfriend had traveled to Maple Ridge. On the way to her sister’s house, they stopped at the pub for lunch where they each had one cocktail with the meal.

When they arrived home they sat by the pool and had a few beers, without any plans to leave the house that day. The police arrived at the home about two hours after they got home.

Under the federal government’s roadside provision, police are legally allowed to request a breathalyzer without any signs of impairment. The test can be requested within two hours of a driver being on the road, even after someone has returned home and had alcohol to drink.

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Seven excessive speeders clocked during enforcement

Four vehicles waiting to be being hooked up and towed for a minimum of a seven-day impoundment.

0529 - Excessive speeding by local drivers has Nanaimo RCMP shaking their heads. The Municipal Traffic Unit issued seven excessive speeding tickets within three hours on Monday, between 6 and 9 a.m. Traffic Officers conducted speed enforcement for northbound traffic along Hwy 19 at Ware Road, the site of several recent collisions in which speed likely contributed to the seriousness of injuries. 

In the posted speed limit of 80 kmh, MTS stopped seven excessive speeders going from a low of 125 kmh and a high of 148 kmh. 

Drivers need to get the message – speed continues to be one of the leading causes of fatal car crashes on BC streets and highways. Our members are doing their part and the motoring public should not be surprised to see continued speed enforcement throughout the month of May and summer months, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Home invader gets two-year prison sentence

Jordan Daniel Plamondon

0529 - A Nanaimo home invasion followed by a Duncan robbery just a few days later landed a prolific offender in jail for two years.

Jordan Daniel Plamondon, 28, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a pair of late January offences and was sentenced in provincial court in Duncan.

Plamondon broke into a Labieux Rd. home in Nanaimo in the late evening of Jan. 25, forcing two women to barricade themselves in a bedroom.

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Police seek help in identifying computer theft suspect

0529 - Nanaimo RCMP are looking for help in identifying a suspect in the theft of a Mac Book Pro from Staples, located in the Brooks Landing Mall.

The suspect entered the store, picked up the computer and packaging box, then ran out of the store with both items. Hie is a Caucasian, early twenties with longer shaggy red hair. He was also wearing a multi-coloured muscle shirt and shorts.

If you have information on the identity of the person, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or by calling 1-800-222-8477.