Apr. 4, 2017

April 1-4, 2017

April 4, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - I’ve been watching the morning news from Ottawa and so far Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not called an emergency cabinet meeting following the vote by Nanaimo city to seceded from some federal power.

This council has raised many eyebrows recently, but last night’s motion to “support” the creation of a new harbor authority tops the rest of the silliness they’ve engaged in.

The background is that a number of waterfront tenants of the Nanaimo Port Authority don’t like the rents they pay on the waterfront. They don’t accept that their leases are based on the same philosophy as any other businesses – a professional business value assessment by a major accounting firm. There never was a problem until the value of their businesses shot up like a rocket in recent years, along with all other real estate, ergo their lease rates.

They are trying to pull off a coup with other organizations to take over the waterfront. That involves not only federal but also the provincil jurisdiction. Remember, the higher levels of government "own" this property, they are not about to roll over and play dead.

In spite of the cautions from Chief Financial Officer, now Acting CAO, Victor Mema that such a venture would cost money, experts have to be engaged to to do the research, council voted to go ahead anyway. Mema made that point more than once, but in the end the Fab Five voted to proceed while Mayor Bill McKay and Councillors Ian Thorpe and Diane Brennan opposed making such a firm commitment.

So far I am not aware of any other business group, unhappy with its taxes, trying to form their own management authority to opt out of paying taxes to the city.

The marina operators are unhappy, but I have not heard  from a single one who would sell their property for its assessed value.

Note to Mr. Trudeau, don’t get excited, you can stand down the Canadian Forces torpedo test range in Nanoose Bay.  Some Nanaimo people also envisioned an $80-million arena that didn’t fly with the voters. Others are also talking over their beer mugs about creating a stairway to heaven – a chairlift to the top of Mount Benson.

HAVE A GREAT DAY - The world is a fabulous place full of people just waiting to be offended at something.

Monday, April 3, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief, or ignorance.

 CANDID CAMERA – I don’t know how it is today, but in-camera council meetings never used to be video recorded. There was a voice recording, but the only record was a staff member taking minutes, and those were printed on yellow paper so you would be alert that the contents were in-camera. With modern technology, I can just imagine an in-camera meeting where any time discussion gets a little heated, councillors and even staff whip out their Iphones and start aiming. That would be comical if it were not so serious. That could lead to serious confrontations.

THIS IS ‘HAZARDOUS’ - A little more than a year ago I wrote a satirical column comparing the similarities between Nanaimo City Council and the Dukes of Hazard TV show. You remember, short little Boss Hogg and his bunch of bumbling idiots. It’s more realistic than we’d like to believe. A business man complains about being warned by a councillor that criticism of anything council does will result in his business being cut off from any dealings with the city. And a lady who volunteers for the city received the same warning. Now they dare not speak out. Imagine being afraid of your own city.

JOB OPPORTUNITY – I have been posting job openings on this page for a couple of weeks, so why not post my own? If you have sales experience, especially in advertising, send your resume to news@nanaimonet.com.

HAVE A NICE DAY -  Why do people order double cheese burgers, large fries and a “diet” Coke?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The Rotary Foundation had a great tribute last night to 10 citizens who were honoured for their years of contribution to our community. A number of people commented on what they thought had been an April Fool gag yesterday in announcing the special prosecutor to look into Nanaimo city hall. It took some effort to assure some of them that it is real, IT'S NO JOKE. I have a follow-up comment on the whole picture at http://www.nanaimonet.com/432652926

CALGARY NEEDS YOU - The NHL's Calgary Flames are demanding a new publicly-financed arena and are threatening to leave town if they don't get it. There are a couple of arena promoters hanging around Nanaimo City Council who might be able to help cowtown with running a referendum. Or, we could always bring the NHL franchise to Nanaimo. We've already paid $1 million for all the plans for a new arena. What an opportunity!

BEST WISHES - Nanaimo’s Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra has left her position to go on medical leave. It was no surprise as she made it known during a recent council meeting to appoint a deputy CAO that she was planning to take time off. CFO Victor Mema is acting on her behalf at city hall.

NANAIMO HERITAGE DAYS planning is under way for next month’s celebration. This it is one day focused around a parade and a variety of free family activities in the downtown. There will be arts and crafts, food vendors and kids’ rides at Diana Krall Plaza, Maffeo Sutton Park, and Swy-A-Lana Lagoon Park. The parade on Commercial Street starts at 1 p.m., parking free on city-operated lots throughout the downtown area Sunday May 21st, 2017 Don’t use the private lots, you could get a ticket. If you want to get involved, check this out:http://nanaimoheritage.org

MEET DOUG - As we should all be aware by now, there’s a provincial election campaign under way. Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley is opening his second campaign office this afternoon (Sunday) at 1 p.m. at 1277 Island Hwy North. If you have any issues or questions, Doug will be there.

KUDOS TO CHARLES - We had a brief note yesterday about the passing of Charles Torhjelm. Gene Daniel, his former boss at CHUB, dropped some nice words about Charles. “He will be remembered for that "one of a kind" sales representative who went the extra mile for his clients. He even got into costume to promote many events. He tied in various sales packages to community endeavors to help make them successful. Ladysmith celebrations including the Christmas Light Up, Restaurant Association events and South End Nanaimo initiatives, are just a few. His hard work and dedication were among his trademarks as well as the deep voice,” Gene submitted from one of his many road trips.

CANDIDATE SCHOOL - It’s tough to convey to new candidates for city council exactly what they are in for if and when they get elected. Donna Smith, who used to be part of the inner workings of city hall, suggest maybe there needs to be a some form of pre-election candidate school. I kicked that idea around with expert before the last election, but he wasn’t ready to get involved. I’ll look into this further, it might just work this time.

CONGRATULATIONS - Snuneymuxw elder Ellen White was presented her Member of the Order of Canada medal Friday by Lieut.Gov Judith Guichon. Her induction into the Order was announced in December. The Lieut.Gov. made the presentation on behalf of David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during the ceremony at Dufferin Place on Friday. NEWS BULLETIN


Saturday, April 1, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – As a journalist, sometimes you get information you can’t confirm officially, so you have to sit on it. I learned of the arrest and release of a city council member, with some conditions, early in March and discussed it with that council member. However, I could not get confirmation of details from the out-of-town RCMP due to the ongoing investigation. Now with confirmation of a special prosecutor being appointed don’t be surprised if serious stuff starts hitting the fan from the ongoing city hall shennanigans. Just watch it.

NO, NOT THE MAYOR – – Since the word got out of a council member being arrested I’ve been getting calls from media outlets, former council members and the public all speculating on which council member was arrested. The speculation is that it was Mayor Bill McKay due to the lawsuit filed against him by the city. The answer is a definitive no, the mayor was not arrested. Damn  never in my long media career did I think that I would write that sentence.

APRIL FOOLS – The concept of an aerial tramway up Mount Benson was an April Fools joke a couple of years ago, but now some people are seriously proposing such an idea. A tourist attraction, bringing in millions, and some are proposing public money mixed with private enterprise. There are a number of responses: first, private/public partnerships usually involve the public putting in the money, private taking out the money. Before everyone gets carried up, up and away, Brian Booth has a reminder that there’s a covenant protecting Mount Benson. See the covenanthttp://www.nanaimonet.com/433324989

ANSWER THE PHONE – Debbie Scheibel remembers her days working at Nanaimo city hall, complete with April Fool’s pranks. One of the staff members, who shall remain nameless, taped down the buttons on all the phones in one office. Then he began calling everyone, and when they picked up the phone it kept ringing. Got everyone really good. Thanks Debbie.

JOBS BOARD - Mountain Warehouse is opening soon in Woodgrove Mall and they are hiring an entire team for the new store – 15 part-time sales people, two supervisors and one assistant manager. What you need to do is send an email with your resume and they will set up an interview time and location. Send your e-mail to Nanaimo.careers@gmail.com

EARN A HOUSE - Are you looking for an affordable opportunity to buy your own home? Habitat for Humanity has extended the deadline, and is now accepting applications for its next house at 2360 Extension Road, Nanaimo. The house is two bedroom handicap accessible. Visit their website at http://habitatmvi.org for information and the application form.

ONE BIG BOAT - There’s been lots of buzz recently about the behemoth of an auto carrier ship that spent a few days in our harbor, just outside Newcastle Island, waiting to get into Vancouver. It’s known as the Indiana Highway, 196 metres long. Aside from the curiousity it brought, it also contributed to our economy, paying for moorage in our waters while waiting. The Port Authority has four or five of moorages in that area, all bringing in cash while the ships are here.

CHARLES SIGNS OFF – Just heard that Charles Torhjelm has gone to that great big radio station in the sky. The man with the deep voice from the old CHUB days had been ill for quite some time. In his heyday he did on-air work as well as advertising sales for the station. Rest in peace, Charles.

IT'S AMAZING what you can learn about some of your friends based simply on their Facebook cover page. Jack Pagani's April Fool's joke?