Christmas burglar gets 240 days in jail

0521 - Justin Redmond Feusse who broke into a Nanaimo house early Christmas morning and stole presents while the residents slept has been sentenced to 240 days in jail.

Feusse, 20, pleaded guilty to numerous charges in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday, including for a break-and-enter at a house on Stonewater Drive Dec. 25. Approximately $3,200 worth of gifts were stolen. Feusse also pleaded guilty to a pair of other break-and-enters, use of a stolen credit card and assault. 

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City council holding electronic town hall meeting Thursday

0521 - City council is staging a special public meeting on Thursday, at the Shaw Auditorium to connect with citizens in an electronic town hall.

Residents can ask questions around council’s strategic plan priorities of environmental responsibility, government excellence, liveability and economic health. Citizens will be able to participate electronically if they wish on the city’s website or via social media.

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Child abuser gets three-year prison sentence

0521 - A Nanaimo man has been sentenced to three years in prison after taking advantage of a 10-year-old girl for more than a year. 

Shane Rodocker was sentenced at provincial court this morning after pleading guilty to one count of sexual assault against a 10-year-old between September 2017 and October 2018. He was arrested in October, 2018. 

After being given credit for time already served in custody, Rodocker will spend two-and-a-half years in a federal prison. MORE

Lantzville moves to tighten rules on surplus funds

0521 - Lantzville council has given three readings to a bylaw that will set clear rules on the way council can choose to spend money from the surplus fund.

Changes are coming to the way councillors can manage the District of Lantzville’s surplus fund.

A staff report says the bylaw would cap the amount of money the district can hold in surplus at $1 million. If the surplus fund exceeds $1 million, money could be contributed to other reserve funds.

The bylaw would also prevent council from using money in surplus to balance an annual operating budget and councillors would only be able to use surplus money for capital projects that do not add annual maintenance costs.
 

Regional district gets $150,000 for flooding study

MLA Doug Routley

0520 - The Nanaimo Regional District is receiving $150,000 for a Jump Creek and South Fork dams inundation study through the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund (CEPF). The CEPF is a suite of programs designed to enhance the resiliency of local governments and their residents. The province provides the funding, which is administered by UBCM.

“It’s critically important that we take proactive actions to reduce flooding risks in our community,” said Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson. “This study will help the Nanaimo Regional District make sure our dams can withstand future flooding events”.

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley said severe spring floods have become the new normal in many parts of the province.

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Regional District looking at every-day bus service

0518 - Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is looking at bus service every day of the year. RDN committee of whole Chairman Tyler Brown asked for a transit report examining options and effects of offering conventional transit service 365 days a year.

Transit is not offered on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday and the report recommends adding Sunday schedule-like service on those days at the cost of an additional $42,021, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. Improved statutory holiday service improvement is something ridership has asked for and many stores are open on Sundays and stats, said the report. 

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Bastion Street Bridge closing for six weeks

Bastion Street Bridge undergoing upgrades
– Google Maps

0517 - The Bastion Street Bridge will close to traffic for appoximatedly six weeks beginning Tuesday, May 21 as crews replace the concrete deck. Drivers can expect changes to their commutes downtown as work continues on the bridge renewal and seismic retrofit.  

The bridge closure will affect RDN Transit operations. On April 8, the transit exchange was relocated to Front Street, at Port Place Mall for the time being.

Tilray sees revenue increase almost 200 per cent

Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy

0517- Nanaimo-based Tilray Inc. saw its revenue grow to US$23 million for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with $7.8 million in the same quarter last year, a 195-per cent-increase.

Growth came from cannabis legalization last year in Canada, as well as additional sales from its acquisition of Manitoba Harvest during the quarter and strong growth in medical markets abroad.

The company’s adjusted net loss, which accounts for non-recurring acquisition related charges, was $25.2 million or 27 cents per share.

CEO Brendan Kennedy said the company now believes Canada will reach a supply balance in the next 18 to 24 months. 

Tilray said it’s seeing increasingly high demand in the domestic market. The company announced last week it is investing US$32.6 million to increase its Canadian and manufacturing footprint by roughly 18,860 square metres across its three facilities in Nanaimo and two in Ontario. 

Charges laid in fatal Boxwood Road crash last year

0516 - Charges have been laid more than a year after a fatal car crash which claimed the life of one man. Travis Eric Fox is charged with three offences, including impaired driving causing death on March 22, 2018.

The wreck claimed the life of a 38-year-old male passenger, a father of two. RCMP at the time said the car hit the curb at high speed, flipped and hit two parked cars on Boxwood near Tulsa Road. Fox is slated to make his first court appearance in Nanaimo on June 18.

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Canadian Forces lowers boom on military range hikers

0516- Nanaimo outdoor enthusiasts are in a dispute with the Canadian military. At issue is the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt’s Nanaimo Military Range, on Lincoln Road off Nanaimo Lakes Road, which includes the weapons training range and a tract of land that encompasses Westwood Ridges on the south shore of the lake.

It is illegal to trespass on any part of an active military weapons range, but the area is frequented by mountain bikers as well as hikers, trail runners and other users.

Canadian Armed Forces announced it is enforcing the boundaries of its properties against trespassers and removing any mountain biking structures by Monday, May 20.

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Drive-by shooter sentenced to nine years in prison

0516 - Armaan Singh Chandi, 22, convicted of a 2016 drive-by shooting on Wakesiah Avenue, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court Thursday to nine years in prison by Judge Robin Baird.

Chandi was found guilty of guilty in February of use of prohibited firearm with intention of committing murder, concealing his face with intention of committing an indictable offence, dangerous driving and failing to stop for a peace officer.

Chandi was one of two men arrested following the shooting. The Vancouver Island University international student who was shot at was not the intended target. He was not injured.

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Two injured after three-vehicle crash on Parkway

0516 - Two people were taken to hospital after a three-vehicle crash on the Nanaimo Parkway, near Northfield at noon on Wednesday. A car in the southbound lane crossed the median, struck a northbound pickup truck. The truck then hit an SUV also going north. The car caught fire, which was extinguished by a passing motorist.

The situation might have been much worse without this help, said Sgt. Jon Stuart. The cause of the collision is under investigation.

Port of Nanaimo rejects inflamatory accusations

Ian Marr, CEO

0514 - An inflamatory document distributed by the Nanaimo Marina Association on the weekend is filled with the same inaccuracies that were made last year, but it won’t distract the Port from it goals, says Port of Nanaimo CEO Ian Marr.  

It repeats claims that werre made in social media many months ago, says Marr who is in Ottawa on port business. He labels the report as disappointing, but says it won't make the port lose its focus. The Marine Association has never made a formal presentation to the Port, he added.

Odai Sirri is listed as president on Nanaimo Marina Association's website.

Port Authority Acting Chair Donna Hais says the Port did not get a copy of the report prior to its release, adding it contains numerous misrepresentations.

"The report does harm to our community and to the business we are all working hard to attract.  It misrepresents Nanaimo,” said Hais.  The NMA report was submitted through the Port Modernization Review public consultation process to the federal government last December. 

The Marina Association makes claims about the Port’s relationships with waterfront tenants.  One of the Port’s major waterfront leaseholders, the Nanaimo Yacht Club, noted it has a solid relationship with the Port. The NMA claimed the Yacht Club shared its views, only to be forced to retract the comments. The Yacht Club had been listed as an NMA supporter without approval from the club.

“We have a good working relationship with (Chief Operating Officer) Mike Davidson and the Port of Nanaimo. We have signed a long-term lease with the Port and we are currently working on the rebuilding of our ‘A’ sheds. It is a very respectful relationship, and we are working well together with them,”  said Commodore Mike Ganderton. 

 

Prolific offender arrested for up to 50 break and enters

0514 - A 53-year-old man has been arrested and is in custody following an investigation into 50 break and enters throughout Nanaimo, Oceanside and Ladysmith. The majority of the break ins occurred in Nanaimo. 

Ian Archibald Mactavish of Nanaimo was arrested without incident on May 7  by the Nanaimo RCMP Street Crimes Unit. He was remanded into police custody with his next court appearance set for Wednesday. It is alleged from early January of 2019 up to late April, Mactavish carried out the break ins, taking mostly cash and small items from the businesses. 

Two Nanaimo RCMP officers cleared of blame in death

0514 - Two Nanaimo RCMP officers have been cleared of  responsibility after an impaired driver died in police custody last fall.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. released its report on the incident today.

The driver was located on Bramblewood Lane after he had crashed his vehicle into a utility pole last Oct. 28. The IIO reporte stated there was no evidence of any force in improper behaviour in  the man’s death.

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Man arrested after police find four rifles wrapped in blanket

0514 - RCMP arrested a 23-year-old man on May 9 in the Northfield Road and Wilgress Road area  after an the man was found carrying four rifles wrapped in a blanket.

RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said the manl was arrested and the rifles have been seized. The trigger locks are still on the rifles and they were likely stolen, he added. “We’ve checked them. We’ve checked the serial numbers, we’ve checked the databases and they haven’t been involved in any crimes,” he said.

If you have any information on who owns the rifles, 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.

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Pollution control upgrade raises a stink

0514 - A strong odour emanating from the Pollution Control Centre is only temporary, area residents have been assured. An equipment upgrade could lead to strong odours in the area of the under-construction facility on Hammond Bay at McGuffie Road through May 29.

The waster water treatment plant is undergoing a significant upgrade estimated to cost $80 million to provide better treated water to the nearly 100,000 people living in the Nanaimo area.

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City establishes health and housing task force

Coun Sheryl Armstrong

0513 - City council has launched a task force on health and housing to work with the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition and government and social agencies on previously-adopted plans and strategies on mental health, substance use, poverty and affordable housing.

Councillors expressed concern about the scope of the task force, but Lisa Bhopalsingh, city manager of community and cultural planning, suggested the task force isn’t being asked to lead implementation of the entire affordable housing strategy. 

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong wanted to know what would be different about this task force compared to past approaches. “To me it’s just another study,” she said. “I’ve sat on at least six in the last three years and nothing ever happens.”

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Two police vehicles destroyed in wild chase

0513 - A 28-year-old male is in police custody charged with numerous offences after leading Mounties on a dangerous police pursuit which resulted in two police vehicles being destroyed. The pursuit took place on Saturday and ended almost 25 minutes afrer it began.

The incident began when police were called to the 6000 block of Applecross for reports of a female heard yelling for help from inside a van on the side of the road. As the officer approached, a man jumped in to the driver's seat and drove off at high speed.

Our officers were extremely worried for the well-being of the woman heard yelling for help. Given that the attending officer wasn’t able to speak with her to determine if she was being assaulted or held against her will, sufficient grounds were established to pursue the vehicle and attempt to stop it, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Over the next 25 minutes the driver sped through stop signs, traffic control devices and on several occasions drove in the opposite direction at high rate of speeds on extremely busy road ways. The chase eventually ended on the Nanaimo Parkway when several police vehicles rammed the suspect vehicle, effectively blocking it in and preventing the driver from continuing to flee. 

While the actual pursuit was over, the driver refused to leave the vehicle which resulted in several officers getting into a physical altercation with him. Eventually he was restrained and taken into custody. The female was found inside the van unharmed. Until officers could determine her role in the incident, she was arrested and taken into police custody.

The driver was from Parksville and his 21-year-old female companion was of no fixed address. The man was subject to several outstanding arrest warrants and was held in custody until a bail hearing, was remanded until today to appear before a Nanaimo Provincial Court Judge. The woman was released from custody with no charges.
 

Apartment fire under investigation

0512 - A Nanaimo apartment building fire this morning has displaced half a dozen people and sparked an RCMP investigation.

Crews were called to a four-alarm fire at 7:20 a.m. Sunday on Mount Benson Street off of Terminal Avenue and found a fire in an upper unit of an apartment building.

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Police cruisers ram stolen camper

A car chase through Nanaimo ended with police vehicles ramming and stopping a stolen van on the parkway Saturday.

Two people were arrested and are in police custody following the incident, which started just before noon in the Applecross Road area. Passers-by heard a woman who seemed to be in distress inside a camper van, and as police arrived, a chase began.

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Man charged with a series of breakins

0510 - Charges were laid this week against a Nanaimo man in connection with a string of breakins at dozens of mid-island businesses. The break and enter charges against Ian Archibald Mactavish, 53,involve six incidents each in Nanaimo and Qualicum Beach.

Most of the charges relate to incidents from this year, while two alleged offences date as far back as April of last year in Qualicum Beach.

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54-year-old motorcyclist dies in crash with van

0510 - A motorcyclist died in south of Nanaimo after crashing into a van on Tuesday evening.

A 54-year-old motorcyclist was riding northbound on South Forks Road and turned onto Nanaimo Lakes Road when he collided with the van at about 6:20 p.m.

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Thieves steal brewing equipment

0510 - Thieves broke in and stole specialized brewing equipment and power tools from a  microbrewery that was close to production in downtown Nanaimo.

The owners of Cliffside Brewing Company, at 11 Cliff St., said the break-in likely happened sometime overnight, May 2, whens culprits forced their way in through a side door and even took the  video surveillance cameras.

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Three taken to hospital after three-vehicle crash

0509 -Three people were taken to hospital after a three-vehicle collision at Uplands Drive and Oliver Road this morning. First responders used the Jaws of Life to remove one driver from one of the vehicles. Firefighters, RCMP and paramedics are on scene.

Child mauled by big dog at Invermere Beach

0508 - A three-year-old boy was seriously hurt in an attack by a large dog last week. Lewis Smith was playing in the sand at the off-leash Invermere Beach with his caregiver nearby when a large dog mauled him and caused numerous deep injuries.

His caregiver rushed to pull him to safety. The dog owner also quickly helped take the bleeding child to hospital, where he received approximately 40 stitches. MORE

Electrical fire closes Nicol Street McDonald's

0508 - An electrical fire closed downt the McDonald's restaurant on Nicol Street last Tuesday night.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to the restaurant shortly before 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Capt. Ennis Mond, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief fire prevention officer, said the fire was in an electrical box inside the restaurant and crews were able to quickly knock out the fire. He said they used a dry chem extinguisher on the fire.

Four-vehicle crash blocks Island Hwy at Lantzville Road

File photo

0508 - No serious injuries were reported in a crash on the Island Highway Wednesday evening at the Lanzville Road intersection. A courier truck, SUV and two cars were involved in the crash at dinner time in the southbound lanes of the highway.

Emergency crews said a woman was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.

Southbound traffic was initially blocked in both lanes, but crews got one lane moving.

Bag of child's hockey equipment found

0507 - Nanaimo RCMP have a bag of relatively new Bauer hockey gear (child size) which was found  on Thursday May 2nd, near the trash bins behind Sport Chek,in Woodgrove Centre. An electric trimmer was also found inside the bag. 

If the equipment belongs to you or if you know who owns it, 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.

Restaurant owner faces additional charge

0507 - Downtown Nanaimo restaurant owner Talal El Bakkar who was convicted of having sex with an under-age girl is now charged with breaching his probation.

El Bakkar was charged after allegedly missing his curfew on March 1. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in provincial court. He will go to trial on Aug. 13 and could face jail time if convicted of breaching his probation.

Speed camera coming at Island Hwy and Aulds Road

0507 - The provincial government is installing a  speed camera at the intersection of Aulds Rd. and the Island Highway, which already has a red-light camera. Thirty-five speed cameras are being added to intersections already monitored by red-light cameras. This is the only one on Vancouver Island. 

Manly scores resounding victory in byelection

NDP and Liberals lost the most

0506 - The trend was clear from the earliest returns that Green Party candidate Paul Manly was on his way to a resounding victory the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by election.

With about 94 per cent of the polls reporting, Manly had 37.1 per cent of the total vote. Conservative John Hirst wound up with 25.1 per cent and the NDP's Bob Chamberlin with 22.9 per cent. Liberal Michelle Corfield took 11.1 per cent.

A total vote comparison with the 2014 general election does not provide an accurate picture due to the low voter turnout, just over half of the 2014 figure of 75 per cent. The bylection turnout was under 40 per cent.

The biggest loss, a surprising one, was the NDP finishing in third place in a riding that in the past has always been considered an easy win. Their percentage of 22.9 per cent was a major drop from 2014 when they took 33.3 per cent of the total vote in winning the seat.

Based on the percentage vote, the Conservatives held steady as they went up from 23.4 to 24.7 per cent. The Liberal loss from 23.5 down to 11.1 per cent, along with the NDP loss pretty well explains where the Greens took their support from.

RCMP bid bon voyage to prolific offender with a ferry ride

0506 -Police officers paid for a ferry fare out of their own pockets to send offender on his way. RCMP made quick work of a prolific offender after committing another crime last week in Nanaimo

He arrested Tuesday with a bait bike, was charged with possession of stolen property and released, but one of his release conditions states that he is prohibited from being on Vancouver Island except for court appearances.

Officers did not waste any time and took him to the Departure Bay ferry terminal. After purchasing a ticket for him with their own money and ensuring he was onboard the next outbound ferry, the officers collectively waved goodbye to him.

Emergency test message going out Wednesday

0505 - This is Emergency Preparedness Week. Test alerts will be sent out across the country on Wednesday at 1:55 p.m. through Alert Ready, Canada’s emergency alerting system. 

The test message will be distributed on television, radio and compatible wireless devices to demonstrate what an emergency alert will look and sound like in the event of a life-threatening situation. For more information, visit www.alertready.ca.

A study by PreparedBC in 2017, showed most British Columbians are not prepared for an emergeny. The city and Nanaimo Fire Rescue want  residents have the information to stay safe. 
For tips on preparing an emergency kit, watch the video at the Emergency Management section at www.nanaimo.ca.

"Emergencies happen when we least expect them. It is important to take steps to ensure you and your family are prepared to care for yourselves for a minimum of 72 hours, ideally up to seven days given the geographic area where we live," says Fire Chief Karen Fry.

Ocean Discovery proponents expand their reach

Artist's concept of a proposed centre.

0506 - Promoters of an ocean learning centre are turning to the school district and other groups for support. Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association, came prepared with an updated plan that includes a theatre with 3-D technology.

The non-profit wants a facility similar to Science World in Vancouver, but where people can learn about oceans. Tim Tessier and Bill Nadeau, association vice-president and director, respectively, made a presentation May 1 to the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools education committee about the centre, now known as OceanEXP, Canada’s Centre for Ocean Exploration. MORE

Nanaimo RCMP enhance traffic enforcement

Cst Gary O'Brien

The first 90 days of 2019 have not been sterling when it comes to traffic. There were five  traffic fatalities and several significant motor vehicle collisions. In April alone, the Municipal Traffic Unit issued close to 300  tickets.  In repsonse, the Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Unit is increasing traffic enforcement throughout Nanaimo targeting high volume, high crash sites. 

Speed continues to be the greatest contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes throughout any given community. To monitor vehicle speeds, officers  patrolled specific areas between 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM which are considered high vehicle volume areas; specifically, Ware Road at Highway 19A, Nicol St, south to Spruston Road, including the area in the vicinity of the Nanaimo airport, and the Nanaimo Parkway.  It was not uncommon for officers to find vehicles travelling 20-25 kph over the posted speed limit. As a result some drivers were issued with a hefty fine for speeding while others, who exceeded the threshold for excessive speeding, had their vehicles impounded along with receiving a costly violation ticket, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

During April, officers sometimes tried more passive measures to reduce vehicle speeds. At various times throughout the day, officers simply parked their police vehicle roadside and observed the noticeable effect it had on approaching drivers. Various school zones were also enforced. While the overwhelming majority of vehicle speeds in these zones were within the acceptable range, five vehicles in the Ciliare school zone were issued tickets for exceeding the posted speed limit.

The motoring public should expect to see continued enforcement in the upcoming months. Throughout the summer, uniformed officers will continue their enforcement efforts to keep the streets, roads and highways of Nanaimo as safe as possible. Lastly, if you see a suspected impaired driver, pull over when safe to do so and call 911 immediately, providing the vehicle plate number, direction of travel, vehicle description and when and where the vehicle was last seen. 

Some Victoria ferry sailing cancelled

0506 - The Spirit of British Columbia ferry will be out of service until mid-May, says B.C. Ferries, causing more cancelled trips between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.

The vessel’s rubbing strake – a piece similar to a car’s fender – was damaged while captains attempted to dock during a wind storm April 27, and repairs are ongoing.

There were some morning cancellations on Monday, May 6 and Monday, May 13, as well as the cancellation of the Tuesday, 12 p.m. sailing from Swartz Bay until May 14, and the 10 p.m. Sunday sailing from Tsawwassen.

RDN gets $50,000 for wildfire mitigation

0505 -  The Regional District of Nanaimo is getting funding from the forest ministry to support wildfire mitigation in the area.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has provided $47,390 of community resiliency investment grant money to the RDN to support related projects.

The community resiliency investment program was established last September with $50 million to assist local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk of wildfire. The RDN will use its allocation for education, cross-training, fuel and vegetation management and FireSmart activities on private land. MORE

Guilty plea brings early end to weapons and drugs trial

0503 - A BC Supreme Court trial in Nanaimo involving guns, drugs and violence came to an abrupt end when the criminal pleaded guilty. Colin Lamontagne, 43, admitted to five charges of forcible confinement, drugs and weapon offences at a south Nanaimo and a Yellow Point home in November 2016. MORE

Woman hospitalized after fire at her home

0503 - A 91-year-old woman was taken to hospital after she suffered smoke inhalation in a fire in her kitchen on Friday afternoon on Lynburn Crescent around noon. A witness said the woman tried to put the fire out with a garden hose before firefighters arrived. MORE

Police seek suspect in jewellery store robbery

Do you now this man?

RCMP seek help to identify a suspect who stole four rings worth nearly $20,000, April 10, at Mappins Jewellers in Woodgrove Centre.

Police were unable to locate the suspect, who was last seen entering Hudson Bay.

Mappin mployees said the suspect asked to see a variety of rings. He showed interest and after handling them for several minutes, suddenly ran out the store.

The suspect is Caucasian, in his late 20s with black hair and a goatee. His hands were cracked and dirty.

Anyone with information about the identity of this person is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

NDP was the top spender in provincial byelection

Sheila Malcolmson

0503 - The winning NDP was the biggest spender in the Nanaimo provincial byelection. 

Elections B.C.reports  Sheila Malcolmson of the NDP spent $93,579 during the month-long campaign. Malcolmsonvacated her seat as federal MP to run provincially.

B.C. Liberal Party candidate and byelection runner-up, Tony Harris spent $57,675.
 
Green Party candidate Michelle Ney, who finished third in the polls, spent $44,830. MORE

Nanaimo council misinformed about climate 'emergency'

BRIAN PECKFORD COMMENTS: Nanaimo City Council has passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency. Sadly, this council, known for its leftist leanings, has fallen for a faulty, incomplete science perpetrated by leftist dogmatists and climate alarmists. See Brian's comment.

Hospital Foundation seeks funds for colonoscopy suite

Janice Perrino

0502 - Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation is trying to raise $1.5-million primarily for colonoscopies. Dr. Daniel Jenkin said 3,500 people wait up to a year for colon cancer screenings at Nanaimo Hospital, as well as other serious ailments.

The hospital gets up to 50 bookings a day but can do only 20, Dr. Jenkins said. "Pre-cancerous tumours can be removed during a colonoscopy.

Hospital Foundation CEO Janice Perrino hopes the money could be raised and the project completed in a year.The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District Board will cover the additional $300,000 required on top of the $1.5 million fundraising pledge. MORE

Advance polling numbers show a big drop off

0502 - Only 9,004 electors cast votes in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith advance poll compared to 15,957 for early voting in the 2015 federal election.

With a provincial byelection in January, a municipal election last October and another federal election anticipated for this October, Alexander Netherton, VIU political studies professor, said the reasons for the decline aren’t “too mysterious.”

“People just aren’t as interested,” Netherton told the News Bulletin. "There is voter fatigue out there, let’s face it,” she said. MORE

Council allocates $48,000 for economic development

John Hankins

0502 -  City council has applied a band aid to economic development while it decides on a long-term approach

Councillors voted 6.3 Monday to alot $48,000 for the Mid-Island Business Initiative (MIBI), led by John Hankins, former head of the economic development arm of the City.

MIBI will work to attract and retain talent in Nanaimo, specifically in the tech sector, for the rest of 2019. The initiative has worked throught the area since 2016

Coun Ian Thorpe expressed reservations, urging a longer-term solution. His sentiment was shared by Coun. Erin Hemmens and Coun. Sheryl Armstrong, who opposed the motion.

City Council declares 'climate emergency'

0501 - Nanaimo is joining the list of municipalities who have declared a climate emergency. Councillors unanimously approved  Coun. Tyler Brown's resolution declaring a climate emergency "for the purposes of identifying and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from global warming."

Coun. Ian Thorpe said not everybody accepts the science. "I have to remember my mandate at this table is to deal with issues we can directly affect for the citizens of Nanaimo. By that I mean keeping our streets clean and safe, providing basic services and amenities...Those are the sort of nuts and bolts issues I think this table has responsibility for."

Aside from the call to increase transit hours, other pieces direct the City to update its sustainability action plan with a new goal for limiting global warming and asking the province to re-instate an emissions inventory report.

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RCMP investigating two suspicious downtown fires

0501 - RCMP are investigating two suspicious fires that appear to have been intentionally set in the downtown core. Both were reported just after midnight on Sunday.

The first fire at approximately 12:05 am, and was in the lower level of the Bastion Street parkade. The fire, consisting of two piles of garbage piled up next to a wall, was quickly extinguished by Nanaimo Fire and Rescue crews. No permanent damage resulted.

The next fire was reported just minutes later at Golds Automotive, at the intersection of Wallace St and Fitzwilliam St. When officers arrived they found a brush fire inside a locked compound outside of the business. The fire had quickly spread to some auto parts stored nearby. Again, fire crews attended and extinguished the fire without any damage to the business. 

Investigators have learned that two men were seen lighting the fire in the parkade and were seen running out of the parkade, however, no description was provided. Given the close proximity of the two fires and the time that they were reported, investigators believe they are connected, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If anyone has information on these two incidents, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.