Jul. 17, 2017

April 2017 Buzz


Thursday, April 27, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – There are times when you are thankful for not being in a particular situation. Suffice it to say, If I had been the moderator for the TV leaders debate on Wednesday I would surely have gone “city council” on them. Somebody would have been smacked upside the head with a wet newspaper. That  rude, boorish, goon childishness was embarrassing. I had hoped we would not get the Donald Trump influence in our campaign, but we have. Any anti-bullying lectures in the future will have a lot less impact coming from that source. I tuned it out and watched something else. WWE wrestling at least has some couth to it.

CONGRATULATIONS TO the Nanaimo Gymnastics School which has some great performances to its credit after the Gymnastics B.C. championships in Port Coquitlam. Artistic gymnastics were held in conjunction with the trampoline-and-tumbling provincials at a dual gym venue. “Everyone did excellent,” said coach Megan Conway. “We had many top-10 finishes, many near misses on the podium in fourth place, as well. Quite a few medals … it was quite a lot for a small little club. We’re on the right track and we’re doing really well.” 

Ron Blank of the Daybreak Rotary Club sends a shout out to MLA Michelle Stillwell and the Province for giving Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society $500,000 to support our Elders Programs of gardening, music and the Eden Philosophy of Care for the new Eden Gardens dementia care facility on Northfield Road. “We are going to populate our facility Friday (April 28) with the 90 elders from Nanaimo Travellers Lodge and the remaining 40 new beds will be filled next month,”says Ron.

THAT’S NOT ALL - That same Rotary Club is having a fund raising document shredding event May 6 at Nanaimo North Town Centre (Rutherford Mall) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For ten bucks you can get a bankers’ box full of paper shredded. The club is working in co-operation with Nanaimo Executive Association and Nanaimo Rotaract to raise money to eradicate polio from the world. Start gathering the paper now. It will be in the parking lot between Sears and Montana Restaurant.

HAVE A NICE DAY – If you continue to do what you’ve always done you will get what you always got.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – More than 300 people showed up last night for a Nanaimo electoral district all-candidates meeting, put on by the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. Candidates answered questions from a wide range of topics. Leonard Krog, B.C. NDP incumbent, and challengers Paris Gaudet of the B.C. Liberals, Kathleen Harris of the Greens and Bill Walker of the Libertarian Party debated the economy, health care, ferries and other topics for more than an hour.  The debate was moderated by Carrie Chassels, executive director of student affairs at Vancouver Island University.

UP THE ROAD in Parksville, the chamber there hosted the candidates for Parksville-Qualicum, which includes a large part of North Nanaimo. I didn’t see any publicity in Nanaimo for that one other than a last-minute invitation from incumbent MLA Michelle Stilwell.

IT’S DIFFERENT NOW – Being a newspaper reporter is different nowadays. Instead of just popping back to the office and writing a report and downloading photos, I noticed Greg Sakaki of the News Bulletin now does double duty as a videographer, later editing the video and posting it on the News Bulletin website within an hour of the event. Take a look HERE.

THANKS A LOT - Where can you go when you have cell phone trouble? I got a tip yesterday when I had a probem, and that was to head to Blackapple Cellular. The guys there did a heck of a job, great service and the price was right. They're at 4061-B Norwell Drive.

HAVE A NICE DAY – Nothing will bring you greater peace than minding your own business.

Tuesday, April 25

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – This is National Volunteer week, a time to specifically celebrate and thank our volunteers for their significant contributions.

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once every four years, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” ~Marjorie Moore

An example is the 2,000-plus volunteers who support St. John Ambulance activities in BC & the Yukon Territory, which supports the many roles and duties they perform in our communities. Volunteers are the foundation of St. John’s.

St. John Medical First Response volunteers attended 909 public events across BC and the Yukon Territory in 2016, treating 4,052 patients and donating 65,204 hours to their communities

Therapy Dog Handlers created “Moments of Joy” through more than 39,345 hours of visits to 221 facilities – even volunteering for a pilot at the Vancouver International Airport during December’s busiest travel week before Christmas.

In the last year St. John has expanded support of communities when Health Emergency Management BC asked them to get involved with the overdose epidemic hitting our communities. St. John saved 31 lives between Dec. 25 and Feb. 28 -  a new record and milestone marking SJA’s relevance in 2017.

 “Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. Just like roots are essential for trees to bloom, volunteers are essential for communities to bloom. Thanks to our volunteers, our communities grow strong and resilient. Even the tiniest volunteer effort leaves a profound and lasting trace in a community.” ~Jill Wurflinger, Director of Community Services.

HAVE A NICE DAY - The nice thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pete Betcher

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Congratulations to Nanaimo’s Pete Betcher on being chosen National Vice President of the Navy League Cadets in Canada. That makes him the senior member of the national board of directors, in charge of the proper functioning of the Navy League Cadet Program. As a member of the Executive Committee he will advise the President of Navy League Cadet matters.  He will chair the standing committee of the boad and be in charge of approving the formation, disbandment, naming and name changes of NLC Corps. In conjunction with the Executive Director, he will advise Divisions and Branches as to the correct policies and procedures for Mediation, Conflict Resolution and Crisis management.

HONOURING STAN - Stan Wardill played with the Nanaimo Concert Band for a remarkable 73 years until he died last month. So Sunday in the band’s spring concert friends and family came together to say goodbye to the man considered the father of the troupe. His death last month makes this the first spring concert he’ll have missed, since serving in World War II.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavoring and dish washing liquid is made with real lemons?


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bill Sims with a sample of the finest

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Nanaimo and Associated Engineering have earned an Award of Merit for the City’s South Fork Water Treatment Plant. The award recognized the city’s efforts in providing safe drinking water and sustainable design. The awards are hosted by the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of British Columbia (ACEC-BC) to recognize its member firms’ achievements. “This project, the largest infrastructure project built in a generation, will serve the community for generations to come, providing them with fresh, clean, safe drinking water,” said Bill Sims, manager of Water Resources.

Patrick Belanger

NEW MARINA MANAGER - Patrick Belanger is the new marina manager for the Nanaimo Port Authority. NPA President & CEO Bernie Dumas said Belanger is well suited for the next phase of the marina’s operations. He said Belanger is a great fit for this important part of our harbour community. He comes from the Victoria Harbour Authority where he worked from 2006 for on-sight supervision at the Fishermen’s Wharf facility including their marina and property operations. Coming from Winnipeg, Patrick moved to to Victoria in 1996 where he assumed responsibilities with the Greater Victoria School District 61 for 10 years.  He and his wife and two children look forward to coming to Nanaimo.

Derek Gillette

TOP NOTCH - Congratulations to Nanaimo’s Derek Gillette who placed second in B.C. and 13th in Canada in the REP Magazine list of top small market real estate agents. RE/MAX International ranked him at #48 World Wide. Derek says he and his office team are humbled proud to continue representing Nanaimo and Vancouver Island to the world.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Husbands are the best people to share secrets with. They will never tell anyone because they aren’t even listening.

Friday, April 21, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re swinging into the provincial election in high gear for the next few weeks. Voters in the Nanaimo electoral district have an opportunity to meet and greet their candidates on Tuesday at the Chamber of Commerce candidates meeting at Beban Park social centre. All four candidates have confirmed their presence for the debate and questions from the public. There’s where you come in, if you attend, starting at 6 p.m. the parties will have information tables where you can get information. You’ll also be able to ask written questions from the floor, but there’s a new twist. You can ask questions in advance by e-mail, so fire away. This allows you more time to form your questions (don’t make speeches, ask questions). Send them to info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca. There will be scrutineers to avoid duplication and combine questions into categories for similarity.

IT’S SO EASY – If you’ve had enough of the rhetoric and misdirection of the television campaigns, you can actually vote already. You can vote anytime between now and May. You can vote at any electoral office and it doesn't have to be in the riding where you live. You need to bring ID and if you're not registered, you can register when you vote. Another option is voting by mail, you can request a package over the phone or form http://www.elections.bc.ca

Electoral offices
• Nanaimo, 80 Chapel St, (250) 716-5941
• Parksville Qualicum, 330 Craig St, Parksville, (250) 951-600
• Nanaimo-North Cowichan 444 Parkhill Terrace, Ladysmith (250) 245-6601

HAVE A NICE DAY - Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions, it only guarantees equality of opportunity.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - The great Rotary Club of Nanaimo’s huge used book sale at Nanaimo North Town Centre (formerly Rutherford) from Friday to April 30. Since the sale was started the club has raised some $750,000 which has all been donated to local charities..

PLANNING FOR THE SEASON - Island Roots Market Co-operative is staging its Annual General Meeting Friday April 21, at 7 p.m. Meeting Room #1, Beban Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo.

WANT MORE? – If you have not had your fill yet of politics, the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is holding a Nanaimo riding all candidates debate Tuesday, (April 25), 6 p m at Beban Park Social Centre. BC NDP Leonard Krog, BC Liberal Paris Gaudet, BC Green Party Kathleen Harris and BC Libertarian Party’s Bill Walker have committed to attend. It’s open to all with candidate information booths from 6 until 7 pm when the debate begins.

HAVE A NICE DAY - As long as everything is exactly the way I want it, I’m totally flexible.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – For the next few weeks it’s going to be election, election, election, until we’re tired of it, to the point that many people won’t even bother going to the polls. When I want a good analysis of what’s going on I usually turn to the sage advice of my buddy, former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford. His experience at that level is invaluable. The way he sees things in this election, it’s going to be tough to choose which of the main parties to support. All parties are addicted to debt. Check it out. http://www.nanaimonet.com/433706218.

DID YOU LOSE THIS? - Not an every-day occurrence, but Nanaimo RCMP are looking for the owner of a safe that was found in some bushes a couple of months ago. When opened it had nothing of great value in it. To day nobody has reported a missing safe, so if it’s yours call Const. Tim Bedard at 250-754-2345 at the cop shop.

SHINING A LIGHT ON THINGS – When is a saving greater than the initial investment? That’s what the city is looking into now with the idea of switching our street lights to LEDs. The savings are supposed to be about $225,000 a year in power and maintenance costs. But so far we’ve seen no estimate on the cost of converting to LEDs. If you want to know more about it, the city is holding an open house on Tuesday (April 25). It’s at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from 8-10 p.m.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Advice is something you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - The long weekend has been put to bed, the Easter eggs have been gathered and our politicians have shaken a lot more hands. Premier Christy Clark breezed through town as part of a Vancouver Island sweep of ridings. Opposition Leader John Horgan and Clark both spread their messages at ethnic events, dressing up in the fashion of the day. And the promises kept flowing like spring floods. I hope someone starts a tabulation of all the promises, their costs and their impact and when that will kick in. Promising things that will happen five or ten years down the line are empty promises, too much can happen in the meantime.

MISSING MAKAYLA – As so often happens in an information vacuum, people fill it in with their own interpretations or rumours. Mounties in Nanaimo are still searching for missing 16-year-old Makayla Chang. A Quebec newspaper reported last week that Makayla be in the Quebec city. She has been missing since March 17. Nanaimo RCMP say they have no indication where Chang is and have no reason to believe she’s in Quebec.

A FINE LINE – Some social media inhabitants have been wondering about Councillor Gordon Fuller’s pronouncements on his web site and in Vancouver media about goings on at in-camera meetings, and whether he is breaking any laws. First thing, that would be up to legal interpretation. To date what I’ve seen from Gordo has been description of the behaviour of people in those closed meetings. I haven’t seen the release of any information that was on the agenda of those meetings, and that seems to be what’s covered by the Community Charter, not the fisticuffs inside those meetings. The blow-by-blow coverage pretty well matches what I’ve heard, but you have to remember that’s how Fuller saw it, not necessarily the unvarnished truth and nothing but the truth.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Advice is something you ask for when you already know the answer but wish you didn’t.

Monday, April 17, 2017

WHOEVER IS IN CHARGE of Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, how much would a load of gravel cost? The roadway within the site has potholes big enough to hide a tank and the lake fronting the garden waste unloading area could float a battleship. This has been going on for ages. Makes you wonder if that could be part of the reason for people dumping illegally. Git ‘er done.

YOU TELL ‘EM – Did somebody do something really nice that deserves to be recognized? If you’ve got something nice to say, here is the place to do it. A pat on the back doesn’t cost you anything but it sure is valuable to the person who gets it. Nanaimo is loaded with fantastic people who do great things. Tell them. news@nanaimonet.com

Sunday, April 16, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - The Rotary Club of Nanaimo is getting set for another huge used book sale at Nanaimo North Town Centre (most still know it as Rutherford Mall) from April 21 - 30. They hold it twice a year. Since the sale was started the club has raised in the vicinity of 750 grand. That’s a lot of loot going to local charities, schools and places like the Hospital Foundation and Eden Gardens. It’s a lot of work, so hats off to the Rotarians.

UNFRIENDLY IN THE ER - Seriously, NRGH, this needs to be dealt with. This is not the first example we’ve heard of a non-caring experience regarding the front-line staff at the hospital emergency. There’s a reason it is called an “emergency” department. First contact is extremely important. Take a look. https://www.facebook.com/morgandavidcarey/videos/10155718276680931/

PASSCHENDAELE – With the 100th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge fresh on our minds, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 is screening the acclaimed movie Passchendaele, staring Paul Gross and Caroline Dhavernas, on Wednesday April 19 at 12 noon. Admission is free, all welcome. A noon lunch will be available.

 OUR CALENDAR – is building nicely. If you’ve got an event coming up, send an e-mail and we’ll post it free. The calendar is also our source for some of the items we post here. news@nanaimonet.com

 HAVE A NICE DAY - We never really grow up -- we only learn how to act in public.

Friday, April 14, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Kicking off this morning with a note from former Mayor Gary Korpan.

To Mayor & Council
One of Nanaimo City's seats on the Nanaimo Regional District is vacant with the resignation of Wendy Pratt.
Having worked with her, I know Councillor Diane Brennan would be the best choice due to her experience, interest, integrity, & capability. 
The citizens of Nanaimo expect and deserve the best representation
possible on the Regional Board.
Clearly, by all objective factors, Councillor Brennan is the best qualified be appointed.
I request that Council appoint Councillor Brennan as soon as possible.
Thank you
Gary Korpan

REST IN PEACE – Sad to learn of the death of former Judge Douglas Greer on April 7 at age 94. No date has been set for memorial services. We’ll have it here when we find out.

VANCOUVER SUN reported in their BC Election 2017 Daily Briefing that as the BC NDP bus rolled up to the hotel to pick up the NDP leader a group of tourists asked "Is this the bus to the casino?"

Nanaimo Walk & Bounce for Autism Saturday, April 22, 2017 at Caledonia Park. Registration begins at 9:30. Walk begins at 10:30 Bouncy Castles, Mascots, Face Painting, Music - a great Family Event www.autismsocietycvi.ca for more information or call 250-716-6110


Thursday April 13, 2017 

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Has anyone else noticed that with the resignation of Wendy Pratt, the Nanaimo Regional District will have only one female director? In order of vote total from the last election, Gordon Fuller is in line to become the next city director, but that’s not written in stone. The boys at the city council table could make a really good impression if they appointed the only female councillor, Diane Brennan, to the RDN board. She’s been there before, she even served as vice chair for a term. Appointing Brennan would be a real gentlemen’s move while repairing some bridges.

YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK UP - The Island Corridor Foundation Board is in the process of updating the Foundation’s business plan, and would like to hear from you on what the Board’s goals and priorities should be in the years ahead. You can review the draft Business Plan for public input, and then complete the online feedback form by April 30. A summary of the responses will be presented to the Board and further drafts will be posted for public input. Don’t ever say that you didn’t get a chance to give your ideas.

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL, it goes up and then comes down and then goes up again. The city’s finance committee, chaired by Coun. Bill Bestwick, instructed staff at their committee meeting to bring the tax increase back down to the promised 1.5 per cent, from the 3.2 per cent staff said it will cost to run the city. Dominic Jones reports on A Better Nanaimo on Facebook. Councillors blamed an $880,000 winter storm cost for the increase. Oh, I see, it wasn’t the $850,000 that evaporated in the arena proposal.

MICHAEL CAMPBELL, of Money Talks, points out that interest rate hikes may be on hold. That is not good news. The financial gurus keep pounding that idea. Just wait until they live off retirement income and starvation interest rates. Hike those rates!

TAKE A LOOK at our new feature – A calendar of things happening in Nanaimo. Send your events information to news@nanaimonet.com. You’ll find all sorts of information, including the Island Roots Market Co-operative staging its Annual General Meeting April 21at 7 p.m. Meeting Room #1, Beban Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Road.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Please and thank you are still magic words

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's lucky day. He got to have a photo taken with Nanaimo's Mike Rispin in Ottawa at an event for fire fighters.

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Let's start with a memo to politicans. Try not to use four-letter words during your campaigns, keeping in mind that FREE is a four-letter word.

SOMETHING NEW – We keep adapting this site to the needs and interest of our viewers. The latest addition is a listing of events in Nanaimo, and it’s totally free. If you’ve got an event coming up, please forward the information to news@nanaimonet.com

PASSCHENDAELE  - The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 is screening the acclaimed movie Passchendaele, staring Paul Gross and Caroline Dhavernas, on Wednesday April 19 at 12 noon. Admission is free, all welcome. A noon lunch will be available.

SHRINERS VARIETY SHOW - Hey, if you've got nothing on tap tonight – not everyone watches the Stanley Cup playoffs – The Shriners Variety Show is on tonigt at 7 p.m. at the Port Theatre.  The show will amaze, surprise, and entertain the entire family. This magical extravaganza which includes magic, illusions, juggling acts, comedy, and more, is filled with imagination and showmanship. Buy tickets online at TICKETS

HAVE A NICE DAY - I’m beginning to realize I will never be old enough to know better.




Tuesday, April 11, 2107

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – I should have learned by now that when you utilize sarcasm and/or satire some people take it literally. Yesterday I poked a little fun at the non-tax increase that is a tax increase for the city. In politics that happens very, very often. For example, the way I read yesterday’s B.C. Liberal announcement of a tax break for ferry users, they used the figure $1,000 and that would give you a $250 tax saving. Really? Actually that’s a $250 tax deduction, so that if you are at the 20% tax bracket that would net you a saving of 50 bucks if you spend $1,000 on the ferry. There was a similar lure for bridge tolls for Lower Mainland residents, capping them at $500 per vehicle each year. Meanwhile, the NDP leader says he’ll make all the bridges free, but he’s opposed to building the one planned for Richmond. That’s clever, offer it free but don’t build it. It would make the Port Mann and Golden Ears free. All the goodies from both parties have the usual caveat – “if we’re elected.”

FOR SWINGERS – If you’re into hitting a little white ball with a club and then walking to find it only to hit it again, the Rotary Club of Lantzville has just what you’re looking for. Golf for Dementia Care, in support of Eden Gardens, will be held June 2 at Fairwinds. There are many ways to get involved from a donation, to sponsorship, donating prizes and forming a team and participating in the day. The funds go to Nanaimo Travellers Lodge Society to support Eden Gardens and many worthy local causes. To get involved, call Robert Grose at 250-468-7345 or email him at groser3@gmail.com

FREEDOM DEFENCE CANADA is a relatively-new Vancouver Island-based organization “to defend freedom and traditional values” in Canada. Former Conservative member of Parliament Reed Elley is the chairman of the group. They have a luncheon meeting coming up May 6 in Nanaimo, featuring Stephen Woodworth, a former MP from Ontario. If you’re interested contact Elley at elleyguy@outlook.com or phone him at 250-246-5301.

ECHOS FROM THE PAST - The third annual Nanaimo Record Show is slated for April 20 at the Branch #10 Royal Canadian Legion. There’ll be record dealers from around Vancouver Island with CDs, posters, memorabilia and records. Admission is only two bucks.

HAVE A GREAT DAY - The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back in your pocket.

April 10, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Many people cannot figure out why we need a tax increase to pay the city's day-to-day bills. Lucky I’m such a financial genius I can explain it all to you. That $5 million for the events centre borrowing cost wasn’t coming from the city’s regular coffers, it wasn’t really there. It was coming from the huge profit that the events centre would make. It was shown as coming from various funds, but Canadian Tire money would have had more legitimate value. Imagine what would have happened if the referendum had passed and then they came around asking for 2.3 per cent? I bet that makes you feel a whole lot better. Oh, and global warming brought us all that unexpected snow.

YOU’RE POPULAR AGAIN - Have you noticed something really different lately? If not yet, you will, starting tomorrow when the election writ is issued. Provincial politicians who have ignored you for four years will actually know you, recognize you and treat you like a long-lost friend. That’s the problem, the long-lost part. (Leonard What’s His Name is never more than a text message away, and he answers e-mail). He'll just be extra friendly.

OLD STUFF - Nanaimo Museum Annual General Meeting ,Tuesday, April 11 – 5 pm – 6 pm. There will be door prizes, refreshments and a free presentation by Interpretation Curator Aimee Greenaway. Members are encouraged to attend - Every member gets a vote! 

HAVE A GREAT DAY - It may be that your main purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

April 8, 2017 - Updated April 9

Wendy Pratt’s resignation from city council is a dark day for Nanaimo, a specific group of people at city hall is responsible for a shameful part of our history.

We have seen very small examples of the abusive behavior by some people at city hall against Wendy Pratt and Councillor Diane Brennan. (And the mayor).

Well-intentioned people can give all the lip service they want about stamping out bullying, but nobody has done anything publicly. Examples have been shown on video clips and people expressing their indignation on social media but that’s where it has ended.

Some of those city councillors are still revered in some quarters, but If we are really sincere about living in a decent and caring community citizens have to call them to account. It’s time to confront their behavior in public, at city council meetings, in public view. Will anyone step up to the plate?

Usually Morning Buzz has a number of items to pique readers interest, but this issue is too important, it needs 100 per cent of the spotlight put on the abusive behavior by some people at city hall.

As the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.

The following is a sampling of the many comments on social media supporting Wendy following the announcement of her resignation.

‪Bill Manners‪ A sad day in Nanaimo politics. Thank you for bringing a level head to most of our meetings. I am thankful for your service to us and respect your decision.‪

Brian T Fillmore‪ So sorry for all you had to deal with. You will be missed as a voice of reason on council. I completely respect your decision. Blessings. Very sad day for local democracy indeed.

Susan Knight‪ so sorry you have resigned. You were one of the few who would answer my emails and you always spoke fairly and without malice about your fellow councillors. You are a class act and you will be missed. Thank you for your service as a Councillor but most importantly for your commitment and service to our community over many years. Hugs

‪Holly Bradley‪ This is a big loss for the citizens of this town who need skilled leaders like Wendy's voice and vision

‪Matt Henstock‪ No matter what ridiculous witch hunt is about to be unleashed on her (or what may have been prevented by her resigning), I always thought she had what she believed to be the best interests of Nanaimo at heart

Denise Collins Goldsack‪ I'm really going to miss Wendy. She is a lady with integrity. Unfortunately the bullies won on this one. So sad! 

‪Arjan Manhas‪ Indeed. Bullying has no place anywhere

‪Don Bonner‪ Apparently bullying does have a place. An elected position on council is where they seem to end up. This has to stop.

‪Rebecca Chan‪ This is absolutely shameful. What kind of a culture are we cultivating at our city hall that one of two women is pushed out after months of vicious bullying and no repercussions for those who targeted her? I wish Wendy all the best, and I hope that her critics and bullies will back off and let her rest.

‪Sydney Robertson‪ So sad. I cannot imagine working under the kind of stress Wendy Pratt has had to live with. This is our loss. 

‪Sabrina Biserovic‪ How unfortunate for us to lose Wendy Pratt, it's a shame to see the good ones go!

Jason Calvin‪ Can't blame her for resigning. I know after awhile I wouldn't be able to put up with those clowns.

Wanda Thompson‪ Thank you for your service to Nanaimo. I am truly sorry for what you have endured from this council. It was clear for all to see on video that you were treated with disrespect. I was disgusted and appalled by the treatment you received.

Maggie Maz Good on her to excuse herself of this toxic atmosphere. Life is way too short for abuse, especially at the older age. We should gain better values as we age and to realize some never learn those, is probably a good time to move away from it. 

Laura Bonner Wendy Pratt...Im so very sorry that you were pushed so far as to feel that resigning was the only solution. You can bet that many, many citizens stand behind your decision and wish you the very best that you deserve. As for the reasons why...the fact that you put up with so much bullying during this term...is reason enough. 

Pratt's resignation is a loss for Nanaimo

By Colin Haime

The resignation of Wendy Pratt is a loss for Nanaimo as well as for Wendy personally. 

Wendy is not a politician. She is a long time community supporter who wanted nothing but the best for the people of Nanaimo. Wendy is a survivor who was thrust into an personality war and when emotional and mental survival was at stake went with the majority to try to keep sane. But her individual sense of duty to the residents of Nanaimo required her to break from the herd and speak her own mind on items which resulted in attacks. Many people can only stand so much of the stress that comes with the constant adversarial nature. Something has to give. 

Wendy owes nothing to the residents. She stepped up out of duty. I applaud Wendy for her courage and strength during her time on Council and I also applaud her for courage to set it all aside and do what is right for herself, emotionally and physically.

There are those that claim to know what went on. Speaking from experience, those who make such claims but were not there likely have a bias explanation of what went on and typically those that attack individuals are in fact covering up something for something else.  

While there are those on various councils that believe they hold the power because of a majority they are forgetting one important participant in local government. The People!. 

The people should be and are part of the process. I am not talking about special interest groups and those with specific agendas but the average resident. If you want the truth to come out as to the why Wendy resigned it cannot be left to the local government, provincial government, staff or councils. The people need to demand it. Not by letter or appeal to the province but by a presence in the halls where decisions are to be made.

Do not leave it for an election to demand answers. Wendy deserves more than just being a footnote to the 2014-2018 Council.

A Council member once said that because the vote would be 7-2 they could do anything they wanted. They forgot that the people collectively are the power. It is time for the people to step up.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Jacqui Kaese
Photo Rachel Stern

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - A tip of the champagne glass for Jacqui Kaese after she was honoured last night at the Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Awards. Jacqui was presented the Excellence in Culture Award for her long-time work in all facets of the television and movie industry, specializing in coaching acting and as a talent agent for shows. She has had a big hand in the development of film on Vancouver Island through her Spotlight Academy. She has also launched the careers of a number of fine young actors. Rachel Stern of The Bulletin, had a great feature on Jacqui in Thursday’s paper. Congratulatons Jacqui!

CLEAN UP YOUR ACT - It’s not just me who is disgusted with the political advertising on television. Both the B.C. Liberals and NDP are sinking to new lows in the personal attacks and accusations of wrongdoing. When I watch television I don’t need half a dozen reminders with Premier Christy Clark’s grinning mug to tell me what to think. It’s the same with the Grits’ commercials. I’ll figure out on my own what I like or don’t like about NDP leader John Horgan. From my rose-tinted glasses, right now the NDP ads are leading in low class, and that’s not where anyone should want to be.

TICKLING THE IVORIES – If you’re a fan of piano music, there’s a couple of opportunities to get your fill. Playing right now at the Chemainus Theatre is 2 Pianos 4 Hands with Bryce Kulak and Max Roll. It runs until May 14. Tickets at 1-800-565-7738. If you want more, Frank Mills is coming to Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Sunday, May 7 for an afternoon performance at 2 p.m. Tickets available by calling 250-754-8550.

HAVE A GREAT DAY - A British study says older people suffer less stress because they care less about what other people think about them. Who cares?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Nanaimo Marina Association’s claim of support in its quest to take over management of Nanaimo’s harbor is being challenged. In a cleverly-worded submission to Council, the NMA claims “strategic alliances” with organizations on the waterfront. At least two of them say they not only oppose the NMA’s goals but strongly support the Nanaimo Port Authority.

Brian O’Connell, of Island Shipping Limited, which  represents the majority of deep sea-shipping operators, wrote to City Council saying “ISL does not have any standing relationship with the Nanaimo Marina Association nor do we support the desires of the Nanaimo Marina Association. For the record, Island Shipping Limited supports the current governance framework of the Nanaimo Port Authority in accordance with the Canada Marine Act,” O’Connell’s letter states.

 O’Connell says he referred the NMA spokesman to the Chamber of Shipping and adds the NMA presentation then made it appear the COSBC supports the marina group.

Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber of Shipping, in a letter to council, backs that stance, supporting the NPA.

“This governance framework provides for the utmost accountability and, most importantly, the highest level of safety that has continued to protect the pristine coastal waters in and in the vicinity of Nanaimo Harbour. The Nanaimo Port Authority has been instrumental in managing sustainable development while protecting the environment and the Canada Marine Act provides the Nanaimo Port Authority with the mandate and tools to fulfill this important role”, says Lewis-Manning.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - The unhappiness of Nanaimo marina operators and private pleasure boaters puts the spotlight on the lack of understanding of how Canada’s federal ports system works. Yesterday’s Morning Buzz looked at the actual issue, explaining why things are the way they are. It was not a matter of supporting or advocating on behalf of the Nanaimo Port Authority.

This is not a new problem in our community. I have been involved in the Nanaimo media since 1983 in some form or other, and in all those years the Port Authority, and the Nanaimo Harbour Commission before it, have been somewhat of a mystery in our own community. I served on the Port Authority board of directors (2012-2015) and continue to provide contractual information services. That has given me a solid eductation about how the system works.

Perhaps it’s helpful to spell out in point form how it works and why it works the way it does.

FACT – Canada has 18 federal ports under its jurisdiction. Nanaimo and Port Alberni are the two on Vancouver Island. The other two in B.C. are Vancouver and Prince Rupert.

FACT – The Port of Nanaimo is a mapped geographical designation, under the authority of the federal government. In plain language, the federal government owns it.

FACT – Federal ports are, in fact, corporations owned by the federal government and run by local boards of directors, the majority appointed “at the pleasure of the minister”, the federal minister of Transport, Hon. Marc Garneau.

FACT – The Nanaimo Port Authority is composed of seven members, five of whom are appointed by the minister, representing various entities, including user groups. The other two directors are appointed by the City of Nanaimo and the Province of British Columbia.

FACT – The Port of Nanaimo is a corporation, governed by a board of directors that answers to the federal transport department.

FACT – The federal government, through the port authorities, establishes the business practices and guidelines they operate under.

FACT – Port authorities operate on profit and loss and a bottom line, overseeing transport of goods to and from around the world. They are also responsible for lease operations of other federally-owned property within the geographic port area.

FACT – The Port of Nanaimo is a successful business. In the period between 2010 and 2015 it had the largest increase in shipping tonnage of any port in Canada, a 128-per-cent rise, climbing from 2.3 million metric tonnes to 5.4 million MT. Port Alberni was second best in Canada with a 63-per-cent rise. Prince Rupert was up 15.3 per cent and Vancouver 14.4 per cent.

FACT - The Port is a big business in Nanaimo. A 2014 economic impact study produced by InterVistas shows that the Port of Nanimo supports 2,900 person-years of employment and creates more than $665 million in annual economic output, making it one of the Island’s biggest economic engines.

FACT – That commercial success has resulted in 65 more high-paying jobs in the past year in various roles at the Port.

FACT – Container shipment has been a real boon to some ports, particularly Nanaimo, which is developing a rising loading and unloading business. With Port Vancouver experiencing shipping traffic backups, shippers are finding it financially advantageous to load and unload in Nanaimo and barge the containers to Vancouver for distribution.

FACT - A recent port user and stakeholder satisfaction survey, conducted by a private company, rated the Port of Nanaimo “satisfied to exceptionally satisfied” on every one of the 15 areas probed. The highest rated response was an 85-per-cent average rating of satisfaction on customer’s ability to contact and communicate with NPA.

FACT – Profits from operations of all port authorities must be turned over to the federal treasury, but the system allows for port authorities to employ “social license” to use funds for community benefit. (An example of Nanaimo social investment through port authority funds can be found in my column in the editorial section of this website). http://www.nanaimonet.com/433705963

FACT – Lease rates for water lots, which is the bone of contention now with local marina operators, is based on a formula that has been in place for many years. Recent astronomical marine property value increases have resulted in high increases in these lease rates. That’s not a defense, just a fact. 

(A personal observation – the Port has been assessing property values every five years, thus creating the huge jumps that would not have been so pronounced in shorter time increments). 

FACT – The Port has about 65 rental properties in all, nine in Newcastle Channel, and has to be fair to all of them. It cannot single out some properties for special treatment.

FACT – Changing that policy is a political decision resting with the federal government.

Forming an independent local operators organization is not an option. How seriously will the federal government consider giving up a highly-successful business operation it owns, especially when that comes from a city council under investigation by the RCMP and a special prosecutor?


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 covenant http://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?