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    Keep on top of what's going on in Nanaimo with our free events calendar. (click on the heading). If you have an event coming up, send us the information and any posters you may have. news@nanaimonet.com

  • What's so great about Nanaimo?

    At lunch the other day a group of self-important purveyors of wisdom kicked around our city’s recent happenings as balanced with our past. Sitting around the table were a Member of the Legislature, a former mayor, a Nobel Prize winner and a couple of ordinary folks.
    Click on the heading to find out what this is all about.

Follow this link – http://www.DONHUBBARDforMAYOR.com to the campaign web page

 

Samra's case going to provincial court Oct. 5

Tracy Samra

0602 - A hearing date of Oct. 5 has been set for provincial court to hear the case involving Tracy Samra, the former City of Nanaimo chief administrative officer accused of making threats.

The B.C. Prosecution Service is seeking to have Samra bound to conditions of a peace bond as a result of an incident on Jan 31 at city hall that led to her being arrested for allegedly threatening multiple individuals.

News Bulletin

Here's a history:

RELATED: Charges filed against Nanaimo city manager

RELATED: Conditions placed on Nanaimo CAO during peace bond process

RELATED: Court date moved for Nanaimo city manager accused of threats

RELATED: Court date for Nanaimo city manager accused of threats moved again

RELATED: Nanaimo city manager accused of threats has court case moved again

RELATED: Court date moved for Nanaimo city manager accused of making threats

Cyclist hospitalized after colliding with police car

0601 - A 40-year-old Nanaimo man is in hospital recovering from injuries when the bicycle he was riding collided with a Nanaimo RCMP cruiser. The incident occurred at approximately 4:30 pm on Thursday at the intersection of Kennedy St and Hecate St.

The RCMP police vehicle was travelling north, through the intersection at Hecate and Kennedy St, when the cyclist rode through the stop sign and collided with the police car. The injuries sustained were not life threatening but did require medical attention. BC Paramedics attended and transported the man to hospital where he was kept over night for a medical assessment.

The police officer was not injured and the investigation is continuing. 
 

Here's what you should know about Our Nanaimo

0601 - If you want a quick reference on political events at the city in 2018, the OurNanaimo group has an excellent detailed list. This should be a must-read for anyone planning to vote in the October 20 civic election.

Check it out HERE

Two more bathtub motors stolen

Bathtub racers Brad Davis and Tyler Lucente had their tub motors stolen last week from Archie Johnstone Plumbing and Heating in the Diver Lake area. The stolen motors are the second and third tub motors taken this month in Nanaimo.

Davis said the motors had just been taken out of storage in preparation for the first race of the season and were placed on a pallet on top of a shipping container. Surveillance footage shows two suspects stealing the motors from the locked, fenced compound May 23.

News Bulletin

City looks even further ahead in garbage diversion planning

0530 - As Nanaimo residents continue to familiarize themselves with the last major change to their garbage collection, the City is already turning attention to another ambitious sanitation project.

A staff report presented to Council this week outlined the concept of transitioning to a "pay-as-you-throw" system, reducing the number of times garbage would be collected and charging extra fees for more pickups.

"This is the most progressive way we can manage our waste collection and I think the best way we can increase diversion in our community. It certainly represents a big change," Charlotte Davis, manager of sanitation and recycling, told Council.

Davis said Nanaimo's diversion rate (the amount of waste diverted away from the landfill) remained stagnant at 64 per cent since the green bin program was implemented in 2012. The Regional District of Nanaimo's long term goal is a 90 per cent diversion rate.

Nanaimo News NOW

Marine response base back on track for Nanaimo

0530 - A proposed marine oil spill response base in Nanaimo that was in danger of being dead in the water has been revived. Western Canada Marine Response Corporation, the organization responsible for cleaning up oil spills along the province’s coast, will resume its plan to construct a response station at the Port of Nanaimo.

The project was put on hold in April as a result of Kinder Morgan’s decision to suspend all non-essential spending related to the Trans Mountain pipeline. However, following the federal government’s decision purchase the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion, WCMRC has decided to carry forward with their project.

MORE

Cell phones are main target in vehicle breakins

Cst Gary O'Brean

0530 - Nanaimo RCMP report an upswing in theft from motor vehicles and surprisingly the number one item being taken are wallets, specifically men's wallets.

From May 1 - 22 there were 138 reported thefts from vehicles. In comparison, during the same time period in 2017, there were 95 thefts resulting in a 32 percent increase. January 1 to May 22, 711 thefts were reported from vehicles; there were 504 in 2017, a 29 percent increase.

 Almost half of the reported thefts were from unlocked vehicles. "Door checkers"  meander through neighbourhoods, often late at night trying door handles, said Cst Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Lately, I-phones are being overlooked. A wallet can be a treasure chest to a thief as it often contains credit cards, driver’s license information, SIN cards and personal health information. A thief can easily convert this information to set up lines of credit in your name, drain bank accounts using your tap function and destroy your financial reputation. 

Reporting suspicious activity is also key to stopping these types of activities. Before retiring for the night, take a look around your neighbourhood. If you see someone acting suspicious do something about it. Sometimes a simple Hello or wave letting them know they have been seen can be enough. If their activity warrants police attendance, report it to the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

UPDATE: Missing elderly woman found safe

Julie Curling

RCMP reported that a 75-year-old woman who went missing early Wednesday has been found safe. Julie Curling left her apartment in central Nanaimo at approximately 6:30 a.m. this morning.

Police say Curling has significant medical conditions, one of which causes extreme memory loss.

0530 - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 75 year old Julie CURLING who left her apartment in central Nanaimo at approximately 6:30 am on Wednesday May 30th and has not been seen or heard from since. The picture provided is recent but does not reflect what she may be wearing.
 
CURLING has significant medical conditions, one of which that causes extreme memory loss. CURLING resides in an apartment building on Cypress St, which is located  between Terminal Ave and Vancouver Ave. Search and Rescue are attending and will be commencing a search for her momentarily.
 
CURLING is a white female, 5 ft. 0 140 pounds with shoulder length grey hair. Her husband who reported her as missing, cannot recall what she was wearing. Investigators have been told she will respond to her first name. If you see Julie CURLING call 911 immediately.
 

Air cadet program has an enviable record in Nanaimo

The Nanaimo Air Cadets program has shaped lives for 76 years.

0529 - The longest-running Air Cadet program in Canada has vaulted the lives of tens of thousands of young people.

205 Collishaw Royal Canadian Air Cadets Nanaimo (RCAC) screening officer Renato Anacleto said every year about 80 youths aged 12 to 18 are enroled in the program. He said each cadet has  responsibilities within the program, based on age and skill sets, while also learning about how to fly, musical, biathlon and survival skills.

He said many people don't know Air Cadet members can apply for their pilot and gliding licenses through scholarships, which cover 100 per cent of the costs.

NanaimoNewsNOW

 

No city action yet to evacuate from illegal campground

0529 - There was no police action at downtown Nanaimo's tent city after a 72 hour eviction notice came and went, but officers will soon ticket the homeless living at the site.

Mayor Bill McKay said the City and RCMP had no intention of ticketing or evicting the homeless currently living at 1 Port Dr. across from the Port Place Shopping Centre Tuesday morning. Eviction notices were handed out on Friday, May 25, roughly a week after the camp was established, and were promptly ignored.

He said if the officers and tickets are also ignored, the City will go to the Supreme Court of B.C. to start the injunction process against the camp.

NanaimoNewsNOW

City buys Linley Valley property for $3 million

0529 - The city is buying 50 acres of land foro $3 million to expand Linley Valley Park. Council approved the purchase in-camera on Monday. This property was the focus of a development application in 2017 but was opposed by the public and Council.

The City has been working with the property owner for some time. That will protect this property as parkland.

For more information on Linley Valley Park as well as Nanaimo's extensive network of parks and trails, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/parks.

Strategic Link: Environmental Responsibility: protecting and enhancing Nanaimo's natural environment. Active Lifestyle: an active and healthy place to live.

The deal will transfer to the City of Nanaimo on June 15.

UPDATE - Robery suspect suffered serious injuries

0528 UPDATE -  A 28-year-old man is in hospital recovering from injuries he sustained while attempting to rob a Petro-Canada gas station on Terminal Avenue. The incident occurred at approximately 5:40 pm on Saturday, May 26.

Police received a 911 call from employees who said a man had entered the business, and after pushing past the clerk grabbed the till and ran for the door. The suspect , who appeared to be under the influence of a drug and or alcohol, ran into the glass door on his way out and threw the till at the door and punched at it. He then walked outside and punched the garage bay doors shattering the window. The broken glass almost severed his arm and causing life threatening injuries.

 The suspectcollapsed and was immediately assisted by two female pedestrians and a man, who applied pressure and an improvised tourniquet (bungie cord) to his injured limb. Officers arrived minutes later and re-applied a police issued tourniquet. BC Paramedics transported the injured him to  hospital where he is expected to remain for an unknown period of time.

The suspect was identified by attending officers and the stolen till was recovered in the parking lot.

"While at the hospital investigators were told by the attending vascular surgeon, if it was not for the quick response and emergency first aid by all involved, the man might have died from his injuries. The quick thinking of the three individuals who assisted was absolutely outstanding, and the RCMP will recognize them at some point in the near future for their heroic actions," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

The suspect faces charges of Robbery and Mischief.

June 1 important date on municipal calendar

0528 - June 1 is the date after which byelections do not have to be called when a council member resigns. As long as there is a quorum, council seats can remain empty until the next general election Oct. 20.

Lantzville spent heavily on legal services last year

0528 - Lantzville spent nearly $90,000 on legal expenses in 2017, almost triple of what it spend in 2016.

The district had $89,741 in legal expenses last year and there were no current members of council who had their individual legal expenses covered by the district.

The district spent $27,726 on general expenses, $21,832 on litigation, $17,573 on “local area services,” $9,329 on Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act issues, $1,098 on manufactured home taxation, $344 on employment matters, and $207 on planning and subdivision. An additional $11,639 in expenses was related to bylaw enforcement and review.

MORE

NRE ready with financial details for recycling depot

0528 - A new Nanaimo Recycling Exchange would be more than just a replacement facility, say proponents.

NRE officials presented their draft business plan at a public meeting Saturday as they prepare to present a finalized plan to Nanaimo city council in two week. The non-profit will ask again for $6.05 million for construction of a new depot, plus start-up costs.

MORE

Squatters don't plan to leave despite eviction notice

0527 - The city has issued eviction notices but squatters at the Discontent City say they won’t leave voluntarily.

City council, at an in-camera meeting Friday, voted to request that squatters vacate the 1 Port Dr. property within 72 hours. The city has requested RCMP assistance. Failure to comply with the trespass notice could result in ticketing, enforcing the Trespass Act or a court injunction, the city notes.

Mayor Bill McKay said the squatters  are trespassing and must vacate the property. Campers at the site have been informed where they are permitted to seek overnight shelter.

CUPE and regional district sign three-year agreement

0526 - The Regional District of Nanaimo and Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 401 have signed a new collective agreement.

The three-year deal will see a two-per cent wage increase in each year and is retroactive to Jan. 1, running until the end of 2020.

The regional district employs 392 union members who provide a broad number of public services, including transit, planning, building recreation, parks, solids, water and wastewater teams, and includes anything from bus drivers to lifeguards to workers at the landfill, the regional district said.

Two Nanaimo riders named to Tour de Rock team

0525 - Two Nanaimo riders are going on this year's Tour de Rock team – both are no strangers to cancer.

Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Shane Coubrough and auxiliary Cst. Trevor Nettleton will represent the harbour city for the annual two-week cycling journey down Vancouver Island in support of pediatric cancer programs and research.

Coubrough's father passed away from cancer two years ago and his young daughter had open-heart surgery at Children's Hospital in Vancouver.

Coubrough said he met many young children at Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver during a nine-month tenure there.

Nanaimo News Now

Samra no longer employed as the CAO for the city

Tracy Samra

0525 - Tracy Samra is not longer the chief administrative officer for the City of Nanaimo.

A statement by the city said Samra is "no longer employed as the CAO" but would not confirm any details as to whether she was fired or if any severance was awarded. The announcement comes after Council held a multi-hour in-camera meeting on Friday morning.

Samra was on paid leave following her arrest for allegedly uttering threats at City Hall on Jan. 31, earning more than $60,000 in wages while off the job. The Crown is currently seeking a peace bond against Samra, claiming several current and former staff members, and councillors have reason to fear harm or injury.

Nanaimo News Now 

View commentary at http://www.nanaimonet.com/435250963

 

Council votes to have tent city squatters removed

0515 - The city will issue trespass notices to squatters at 1 Port Place "tent city" to vacate the site, the city announced in a news release.

The decision was made at today's In-Camera meeting. The city has requested the RCMP to take action, including requesting occupants to vacate the area within 72 hours, ticketing, and enforcing the Trespass Act. If these actions are not effective, the City will seek a civil injunction in the Supreme Court of B.C.

The occupants have been provided areas within the city where they are permitted to have overnight shelter between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m.

(City news release)

Davidson dismissal heading to court

0525 - A former city senior manager's dismissal dispute is heading to court.

A notice of trial filed in in B.C. Supreme Court last week, shows a court date for Feb. 5, 2019, in Vancouver to deal with a civil case involving the City and Rod Davidson, the city’s former manager of bylaw, regulation and security.

Davidson filed a civil claim against the city in March, arguing that the city breached its contractual obligations when they fired him without cause.

News Bulletin

 

City tweaks policy on credit card use.

0525 - The City of Nanaimo has made changes and is continuing to make changes around purchase card policies.

Earlier this year, the City issued a press release indicating it had completed a review of its business expense policies, pertaining to the use of city-issued purchase cards, after an internal audit was conducted by KPMG.

News Bulletin

Samra to appear before city council on Friday

Tracy Samra

0524 - Nanaimo's Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra is scheduled to face a city council hearing on Friday. She has been suspended with full pay since February and is scheduled to plead her case to city council at a closed-door meeting tomorrow.

She is also subject to an RCMP release undertaking that bars her from attending city hall or having contact with nine individuals, including this reporter.

She is due to appear in court on June 5 to face a peace bond application related to alleged threats being uttered during a Jan. 31 incident at city hall. Her appearance has been postponed four times.

It is understood that the Jan. 31 incident and her role in the expenses scandal with Mr. Mema are key issues council will consider tomorrow.

Meanwhile, News Nanaimo has an indept report on charges made to Samra's city credit card account, including veterinary charges for treating a cat.

News Nanaimo

Phase Two of garbage pickup begins in July

The new automated solid waste collection service "Sort Toss Roll" is coming to North and South Nanaimo this summer. 

Residents in central Nanaimo have been enjoying the new service since fall 2017. 

If you would like more information about the program please visit www.Nanaimo.ca/goto/SortTossRoll or visit one of four information displays that have been set up in City facilities.

Strategic Link: Commitment to being an excellent municipal government.

KEY POINTS

* The information displays are available until 13 July and are located at: The Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, The Service and Resource Centre, Bowen Park Complex and Oliver Woods Community Centre.

* The displays provide information on items including: an overview of the new program, how much it will cost and what can go in each cart. The displays also each feature an actual set of wheeled carts so that residents can see, touch and manoeuvre the carts before they are delivered to their homes.

The Sort Toss Roll project will begin in North and South Nanaimo this July. Cart deliveries will begin to homes in these areas on June 11th and will be complete by July 21st.

Residents do not need to do anything, your carts will be delivered to your address about two weeks before you need to begin using them. A complete information pack detailing how to use your carts will be delivered alongside them.

Everyone in Nanaimo will receive a new waste collection schedule in June. If you live in either North or South Nanaimo please check that schedule carefully, it will indicate when you are to begin using your new carts.
More information can be found at Nanaimo.ca/goto/SortTossRoll or by calling the Sort Toss Roll hotline on 250 756 5309 or emailing SortTossRoll@Nanaimo.ca

Four arrested at downtown homeless squatter site

0523 - Four people were arrested as city staff removed a gate at the squatter location at 1 Port Drive

Housing activists say the removal of a gate leaves them vulnerable and unsafe.

The gate was removed around 10 a.m. on Tuesday by City of Nanaimo staff under the eye of RCMP. 

Nanaimo News Now

Police Dog Boomer retires from Nanaimo RCMP

0522 -  "We were never the best-looking team, never the most polished, but we tried hard, trained hard, and gave it all we had every time the phone rang, and we were rewarded with success, said Constable Clay Wurzinger, handler for Police Services Dog Boomer, who recently retired after a stellar career.On April 11, 2018 Boomer, a pure bred German Shepard Police Services Dog, retired from active service. To say that Boomer and Cst Wurzinger have had some successes working together would be an understatement. When the call came in, usually in the middle of the night, both were ready to go to work, regardless of the weather, situation or whatever they were faced with. There were many successes for this crime fighting duo.

Some success stories worth noting:

2014: Boomer and Cst Wurzinger were called to a report of a violent assault of a young female and theft of her vehicle at Vancouver Island University. Together the two managed to track and arrest the suspect.

2015: An off duty police officer interrupted a break into to a local business and in doing so the suspect pepper sprayed the officer in the face. Boomer and Cst Wurzinger tracked the armed suspect and later found him hiding nearby, and took him into custody

2016: An elderly female had been missing in the Cowichan valley for days and the prospect of finding her was dim. On day five, the two located her after hours of searching, in 30+degree weather and very difficult terrain. Later, Boomer and Cst Wurzinger received a commendation for their efforts in potentially saving the female's life

2017: Boomer and Cst Wurzinger were called to assist in locating a male responsible for a string of break and enters. The track for the suspect lasted hours and was conducted over sparse terrain. Their perseverance paid off in locating the suspect male and having him arrested.

And not to be out done, on their last night Cst Wurzinger and Boomer captured a male wanted in connection with several break and enters. A short time later the two successfully tracked and captured a suspect wanted in connection with a stabbing. 

Police Service Dogs, under the ever-watchful eye of their handler are trained to be familiarized with all types of buildings, terrain, weather, people, vehicles, etc. They are also trained in tracking and basic criminal apprehension.

Cst Wurzinger is now training with Jerry, his new partner. For the next 3 months they will be at the RCMP national training centre, in Innisfail Alberta. After proudly serving the city of Nanaimo for many years, Boomer's days of training are over, and he can now look forward to a much deserved rest as Cst Wurzinger’s family pet.

To learn more about Police Dog Services, go to http://bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=1055&languageId=1&contentId=2921#ipds

 

Motor stolen from racing bathtub

0522 - One of Nanaimo’s top bathtub racers could be out of the running to win the great race after his tub motor was stolen last night.

Kurt Henderson, who finished third at last year’s Great International World Championship Bathtub Race, discovered this morning that someone had taken his Suzuki motor right off his No. 716 bathtub on his property in Benson Meadows in the East Wellington area.

NEWS BULLETIN

City trying to find out who was the leaker

0520 - The City is trying to find out who leaked a confidential report examining credit card use by municipal employees.

It is also attempting to get the report removed from social media sites.

A report about the leak was made to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The RCMP was also notified on Friday morning, said Mayor Bill McKay.

Asked if he knows who leaked it, McKay said: “Not at this moment no.”

TIMES COLONIST

Homeless campers come from Maple Ridge, says mayor

Mayor Bill McKay

0519 - Discontent City formed Thursday when local homeless people, supported by former residents of other tent cities, broke through the gate of an empty city lot at the corner of Esplanade and Front Street.

About 20 campsites were set up during the demonstration, but more were expected to arrive as the protest continues and the city will take steps to ensure safety and sanitation measures are in place, according to Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.

“They’re very well-organized,” McKay said. “They come from Anita Place in Maple Ridge.”
 

Release of confidential report causes city hall furore

0518 - The province's privacy watchdog is again investigating the City of Nanaimo after a councillor's brother leaked a "privileged and confidential" report on Facebook.

On May 17, Robert Fuller, brother of coun. Gord Fuller, posted a forensic investigative report authored by City auditor KPMG to several Facebook groups. The report was commissioned by a lawyer previously hired by chief administrative officer Tracy Samra to investigate the prevalence of personal expenses on City credit cards.

'NANAIMO NEWS NOW

City Clerk addresses leaked confidential report

0518 - A copy of an “In Camera” confidential document titled, “KPMG Final Report” has been leaked in its entirety through social media. The report contains confidential third party information, as well as personal information of individuals. This breach of information has been reported to all appropriate authorities, and steps are being taken to recover the sensitive information.

The City has a legal duty under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to take reasonable steps to protect third party and personal information from unauthorized collection, disclosure, access or use. The City is aware that personal information of individuals has been disclosed to the public through various means.

Consistent with the City’s duties under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the City has reported the disclosure of personal information in the report to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. That Office is already investigating the City in relation to previous unauthorized disclosures of personal information by persons unknown. It is not yet known if that Office will investigate the present disclosure. 

The City notes that disclosure of personal information without authority under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act is an offence. Section 30.4 of the Act provides that an employee, officer or director of a public body who has access, whether authorized or unauthorized, to personal information in the custody or control of a public body, must not disclose that information except as authorized under this Act. Under section 74.1(1) of the Act, a person who contravenes section 30.4 commits an offence (with a fine of up to $2,000).

As the FOI Head for the City of Nanaimo, it is vitally important to ensure the City’s best interests, and the privacy of all concerned, are protected against unauthorized disclosures of personal information; therefore, the KPMG Final Report or any of its contents should not have been disclosed except in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Council will now need to determine whether to seek any other remedies for the breach from the individual or individuals responsible for leaking the confidential report.

Sheila Gurrie
City Clerk
City of Nanaimo

Summer Farmers Market opens at Bowen Park

0518 - The Island Roots Farmers’ market commenced business for its 10th summer season at Beban Park this week.

The opening ceremony included speeches by representatives from local government and Island Roots Market Co-operative and the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo choir, the Fabulous Fufonics, performed songs written for the event.

Island Roots Market Co-operative is working toward establishing a permanent year-round farmers’ market in Nanaimo, but currently runs a market in Pleasant Valley Hall through the winter months and in Beban Park in the summer.

Recycling Exchange sets public engagement sessions

0517 - The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will hold public engagement sessions later this month to presentdraft plans for a “progressive, zero-waste facility,” said Ben Geselbracht, NRE vice-chairman.

The sessions are May 26 and May 30. The Exchange will present its draft plans for a “progressive, zero-waste facility,” said NRE vice-chairman Ben Geselbracht.

He said the recycling exchange will then consider the feedback from the engagement sessions and prepare to go back in front of city council in June.

In March, the NRE asked council for $6.05 million to construct a new facility on Kenworth Road, but council did not commit any money.
 

Police warn of man passing counterfeit money

0517 - Nanaimo RCMP have received numerous calls from businesses reporting counterfeit bills. A man has passed bills in towns up and down Vancouver Island – $5, $10 and $50 bills, often at gas stations and purchasing lottery tickets.

He is 5 foot 9 inches, around 40 years old, approximately 180 lbs and brown hair with receding hairline. He is often wearing black track pants, white shoes, black jacket as well as either a white or blue t-shirt. He drives a grey older pick-up truck with a white canopy. 

RCMP urge the public, especially businesses employees, to keep an eye out for the suspect and remain vigilant when dealing with currency.

If anyone has information on these incidents or spots a male they believe is the suspect, they are asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

City getting ready to interview Interim CAO applicants

Nanaimo's City Council has established a shortlist of applicants to be interviewed for filling the organization's lead administrative role of Chief Administrative Officer on an interim basis.  

The next step in the process will involve interviews with the shortlisted candidates. The City's Human Resources department will be arranging for interviews involving all members of Council. It is expected the position will be filled in June.

The interim job posting attracted more than three dozen high-calibre candidates.

Council took a preliminary shortlist of 10 and reduced it to five for an initial round of interviews.

"It is important for Council to appoint an interim CAO as soon as possible. I thank staff for taking on extra duties and continuing to provide excellent service to the City," said 

"Bringing in a senior administrative leadership will assist Council on delivering on its priorities. Candidates will be interviewed further to determine the best fit for this temporary engagement," added Coun. Diane Brennan
 
Coun Ian Thorpe said having an experienced senior administrator in place will provide leadership in advancing City business.

Pitbulls attack and maul three children

0515 - While most parents were sharing family time on Mother’s Day, Dave and Jaime Skarbo were nursing their 10-year-old daughter who was seriously injured when she and two other children were attacked by two pitbulls.

The attack happened Saturday, shortly after 10 a.m., when their daughter, who they’ve asked not be identified, was on the front lawn of her friends’ home on Ranchview Drive, in Cinnabar.

Two pitbulls ran across the street and attacked the three children.

Numerous neighbours intervened and dogs were retrieved by their owner who took them back home. Nanaimo RCMP located the dogs and their owner. Animal control seized the dogs and they were euthanized. The investigation is ongoing.

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

NEWS BULLETIN

Explorer of the Seas in Port of Nanaimo Wednesday

The Explorer of the Seas returns Wednesday, May at 7 a.m. and departs at 5 p.m. 

She began this cruise on Monday in Seattle, cruising at sea until her arrival in Nanaimo on Wednesday, then moving on to Victoria and back to Seattle completing a 5-day “Best of British Columbia” itinerary. 

The Explorer of the Seas called on the Port of Nanaimo in May 2016 and May 2017. It is operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and 311 metres long, with a passenger capacity of 3,938 and 1,180 crew. She returned to the Pacific Northwest on the week-end from a 23-day cruise from Sydney, Australia with stops in Hawaii enroute to Seattle.

Ewan Moir, President & CEO of the Port of Nanaimo comments:

“It is our good fortune that, for the third May in a row, the Explorer of the Seas is calling on the gateway for Central Vancouver Island," said Port of Nanaimo President and CEO Evan Moir.  "The Port of Nanaimo, along with its many local and regional partners in Alberni and Cowichan Valleys and the Parksville-Qualicum area, are very proud to receive her for three consecutive years.  She represents a great economic lift for central-island communities, a significant benefit from first-time passengers to Vancouver Island. We believe that many passengers will return once they discover one of the most preferred destinations in the world,” Moir added.

Samra's day in court postponed for fourth time

Tracy Samra

0514 - A scheduled court appearance for Nanaimo’s highest-ranking city employee has been adjourned the day before it was supposed to take place.

Tracy Samra, the City of Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer, had been scheduled to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo tomorrow morning, May 15, but that date has once again been moved, this time to June 5.

It’s the fourth time that Samra’s court date has been rescheduled.

NEWS BULLETIN

Church-with-housing project gets council approval

An architect’s rendering of the Brechin United Church redevelopment project at 2020 Estevan Rd.

0514 - Nanaimo city council has unanimously approved a development permit for Brechin United Church, at 2020 Estevan Rd.

A new, smaller church will be part of a five-storey complex with 74 rental units including 38 affordable housing units.

“Our team has received numerous positive comments,” said Linda Braid, a member of the church’s redevelopment team. “We have outstanding support from our congregation that they really want to see this happen.”

VI FREE DAILY

Mema no longer employed by City of Nanaimo

Victor Mema

0514 - Chief financial officer and deputy chief administrative officer Victor Mema is no longer with the City of Nanaimo, NanaimoNewsNOW reported today. 

A statement from the City's human resourced director said Mema is no longer employed after an in-house investigation into unspecified allegations of serious concern. He was initially suspended shortly after Nanaimo councillors received a report from auditors KPMG related to the City's business expense policy. 

Statements obtained by NanaimoNewsNOW showed Mema rang up more than 60 personal charges on a City-issued credit card for nearly two years.

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Denbigh lawsuit against city settled with dismissal

0513 - A civil lawsuit involving Brian Denbigh, the former manager of traffic services,has been dealt with, according to a lawyer involved with the case.

But the facts are few. Denbigh had filed a civil claim against the City of Nanaimo in B.C. Supreme Court last year, claiming that he was fired without cause in March 2016, less than a month after taking on a new role.

According a consent order filed in B.C. Supreme Court on May 3 and signed by both Denbigh’s legal counsel and the City of Nanaimo’s legal counsel, the civil claim against the city has been “dismissed without cost” to any party.

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Council paring down list of applicants for CAO interim job

Mayor Bill McKay

0512 - City Council is down to a shortlist of candidates to fill the role of interim chief administrative officer.

Mayor Bill McKay said the issue will be discussed further during an in-camera meeting on Monday, May 14 and expected the list would be whittled down even further. He said Council will also determine what the interview process will look like, potential compensation and how long the interim CAO will remain with the City.

He told NanaimoNewsNOW 37 people applied for the job before the April 23 deadline, including a number of unqualified candidates.

"All of the candidates on the shortlist appear to have previous experience, some of them with many years of previous experience. Some recently retired that may wish to just take a temporary assignment."

NanaimonewsNOW

Man charged after being arrested in stolen vehicle

0511 - A 33-year-old Nanaimo man has been charged after RCMP arrested a man in a stolen vehicle on Wednesday.

The vehicle had been reported stolen from a driveway in central Nanaimo. A member of the Nanaimo RCMP spotted the vehicle on Bowen Road. The officer turned around and caught up to the vehicle around Bowen Road and Dufferin Crescent. while it was stopped in traffic.  

The officer was alone, and drew his service pistol while arresting the three occupants of the vehicle.

Tyler Walter Orenchuk, has been charged with Possession of Property Obtained by Crime under $5,000 (Sec 355(b) C.C.), and Driving while Prohibited (Sec 95(1) MVA). The other two occupants were later released without charge.

New sports field at NDSS to be formally dedicated Wednesday

0511 -The new artificial turf sports field at Larry McNabb Sprts Zone will be formally welcomed Wednesday, May 16 at 3p.m. Students and sport groups have been playing on this field since last November, however the final details such as fencing and landscaping have been added this spring.   

The City and the School District  developed a new artificial turf field in a joint programS.

The new field is built for two sizes of football play and has the width needed for rugby, making it the largest artificial turf field in Nanaimo. NDSS students can enjoy a year-round field, while community sport groups will have an opportunity to book it as well. Field lights have also been installed, adding evening play for soccer, rugby, field lacrosse, football teams, and others.

The City and School District thank the many people who have contributed to the success of this project, said Richard Harding, Director of Parks and Recreation. 

“Our partnership with the City has created a one-of-a-kind space for our students, their families and the greater Nanaimo community,” said Superintendent John Blain. “I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time. The District looks forward to working with the City on future projects.”

The ceremony will also recognize the overall project of the addition of the Rotary Bowl and Serauxmen Stadium, now owned by the City of Nanaimo and dedicated as park land.

Woman injured in house fire on Norton Road

0510- A woman has burns to her arm and three other people were displaced when a cooking fire burned out of control at a Hammond Bay home.

Multiple Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews responded to a Norton Road home near Yorkshire Terrace Wednesday at 7 p.m. to snuff out flames contained to a second floor suite.

A woman was burned trying to fight the flames and was sent to hospital.

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Shootings and carjacking incidents appear to be linked

0510 - A preliminary investigation into what appeared to be three separate incidents in three B.C. cities earlier this week, RCMP there is a link between a shooting in Vernon, a carjacking in Penticton and a police-involved shooting in Nanaimo that left one man dead.

RCMP have asked for public assistance in locating a 1996 grey, Ford Crown Victoria bearing B.C. licence plate DR2 58M, which was last seen in West Kelowna. Police also asked for any witnesses that have not yet spoken to police to come forward with information on any of the three incidents.

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Council approves new development in Departure Bay

0510 -A key property to the Departure Bay neighbourhood has council’s approval to rebuild.

City council, on Monday approved a development permit for 1400 Wingrove St., the former Amrikko’s site.

The restaurant closed and never reopened after a fire in 2013.

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Men's resource centre to close due to lack of funding

0509 - A resource for Nanaimo men suffering from depression, homelessness, violence and drug addiction will close this summer.

The Nanaimo Men's Centre announced Wednesday morning there isn't enough money to keep their doors open, even after years of working with a skeleton crew.

“We've already cut programs and staff to the bone,” executive director Theo Boere told NanaimoNewsNOW. “To cut any deeper we're getting into bone marrow and we're probably going to end up losing more staff.”

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Top honour for Barsby Wellness Centre creator Dr. Arudda

0509 - Three years ago, pediatric doctor Wilma Arudda tried something never done before locally to bring more health services to youth in need. Now she’s being honoured by the American Academy of Pediatrics and her innovative ideas are gaining traction across the country.

She founded the John Barsby Wellness Centre to bring nurses, doctors and counsellors right into the school, since Arruda rarely saw students going to their family doctors.

“It’s hard for people to get their health care needs met,” Arudda told NanaimoNewsNOW. “It’s during school hours, they have to get their parents to drive them or they maybe want to talk about something privately and don’t want their parents to even know.”

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Council approves delay in meeting with Samra

Trachy Samra

0508 - The majority of Nanaimo's Council is willing to wait before deciding the fate of their chief administrative officer, granting her request for a delay in the proceedings.

During a closed meeting Monday afternoon, Council voted 5-4 in favour of granting Tracy Samra's request to delay a meeting about her situation, multiple sources with direct knowledge confirmed to NanaimoNewsNOW.

The sources confirmed Samra, or her representative, was due to meet with Council during a closed session on May 9, however she requested and was granted a delay to an unconfirmed date near May 25.

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Human found found off Gabriola Island

0508 - Gabriola RCMP are working with the B.C. Coroners Service after a human foot was found on Gabriola Island on Sunday afternoon.

According to the RCMP, the remains were found just after noon while a man was walking on the beach near South Road, and came upon what appeared to be a human foot inside a hiking boot that was lodged in a logjam.

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Man killed during arrest at Departure Bay Ferry Terminal

0508 - A man is dead after being shot during an attempted arrest at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay ferry terminal this morning.

Chief Supt. Sean Sullivan, RCMP Island District commander, said the Island District Emergency Response Team and Nanaimo RCMP were at the location in relation to a “violent car-jacking incident” elsewhere in B.C.

“The vehicle was stopped by police and a takedown was initiated,” said Sullivan. “It resulted in what police believed was an individual with a firearm and shots were fired, resulting in the serious injuries to the suspect which later resulted in his death.

No one else was injured in the incident. Read eye witness account in  THE NEWS BULLETIN

Rescue Station holding open house Saturday

Debby Thomson with the loaner PDFs at the Nanaimo Yacht Club.
Merv Unger photo

0507 - Nanaimo’s Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27, will launch its Kids Don’t Float program Saturday (May 12) at Brechin Boat Launch.

The rescue station will be open to the public on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. to introduce residents to its services and operations

The open house includes the unveiling of the new Kids Don’t Float location which provides free loaner life jackets for children in all sizes at various locations on the Nanaimo waterfront. The PFDs are available throughout the summer so boaters can use them for children and return them to the Information board. The new KDF sign/station will be opened at 1 p.m.

The KDF board at Brechin Boat launch and the updating of the boards at Townsite Marina and the Nanaimo Yacht Club are funded by the Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund and by a grant from Boating BC. The Negrin family will be there to help with the unveiling of the board.

The Nanaimo KDF program is looking for more locations. Protection Island Mud Bay, Westwood Lake, Brannen Lake, Long Lake, the Crab Dock, and Charlaine Boat Ramp are on the wish list.

Actual tax increase will be 5.86 per cent, all areas included

0505 - The average Nanaimo homeowner will pay $233 more for property tax than last year.

For the first time in the lengthy budget process, the City revealed the final combined tax increase of 5.86 per cent. It includes a 2.08 per cent property tax increase, user fees and money collected on behalf of the Regional District, Island library and school district.

City water and sewer fees are in line with increases from recent years. The nearly 40-per-cent increase for waste collection is not, prompted by the controversial automated garbage pickup.

Though much of the increase is in line with previous years, fees collected by the Regional District are notably higher.

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Higginson elected VP of B.C. School Trustee Association

0506 - Nanaimo school trustee Stephanie Higginson has been elected vice-president of the B.C. School Trustee Association.

The BCSTA announced its newly elected board this week, including Higginson, who was acclaimed as vice-president.

“I would like to express my gratitude toward BCSTA’s membership for placing their trust in our new board,” said Gordon Swan, who returns as president. “We look forward to building off our existing efforts as we enter our strategic planning phase post-AGM.”

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RDN working on new organic waste option

0505 - Regional District of Nanaimo is trying to hammer out an organic waste processing contract with Circular Waste British Columbia Inc.

Circular Waste will amalgamate with Nanaimo Organic Waste Ltd., which operates in Nanaimo. It brings 20 years of experience in organic diversion and is involved with more than 100 compost facilities around the world. The amalgamation secures the capacity and permits to accept and process the volume of organic material to meet the RDN’s needs, according to a press release.

A current draft of the RDN’s solid waste management plan sees the district trying to achieve 90 per cent waste diversion so higher separation of organic waste is necessary

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Alternative Approval Process fails to halt firehall plan

0504 - The way is cleared for the city to proceed with plans for a new $17 million firehall after an alternative approval process failed to register the 10-per-cent opposition ballots required.

The results of the AAP won't be certified until Monday but it is known that there were not enough ballots posted with the city by Friday's deadline. The results will be posted Monday, and the Results Report and Bylaw for Adoption will be on the Agenda following Monday, May 14.

RCMP investigating stabbing in Harewood

0-504 - RCMP are investigating a stabbing that left one man with what police describe as non life-threatening injuries.

The incident happened at about 10 p.m. Wednesday in the 400 block of Watfield Avenue in Harewood.

“At a residence, one person was stabbed by another person in the residence and it sounds like they all know each other,” said Sgt. Jon Stuart, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

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Hubbard running for mayor in October election

Don Hubbard

0503 - Nanaimo business man and community leader Don Hubbard announced today that he will seek the mayor's chair in the Oct. 20 civic election. 

Hubbard says like many others, he was on the sidelines watching the ongoing problems at city hall, and didn’t like what has been happening. Identifying issues and finding solutions has been his approach all his working life in business and boards of directors.

“I didn’t see any prominent local leaders stepping forward. The city needs to get a feeling of good leadership”, he says.

“The challenge is to recruit new people with a history in the community, and they are out there. I have already talked to a number who are willing to step forward”, he says, confident there will be a good field of candidates in the election.

Click here for the full interview on our ELECTION PAGE.

 

UPDATE; Missing youth located safe and sound

Daniel Little

0504 - UPDATE - Daniel Little has been located safe and sound.

0503 - Nanaimo RCMP are still seeking to confirm the wellbeing of Daniel Little.  Further to the previous media release sent out, it is confirmed that 18 year old Daniel Little was seen by a member of the public in Chilliwack on May 1st, 2018.  He was reported to be in good spirits and did not seem to be in distress when he was dropped off at the Greyhound Bus Station.  It is believed he may be making his way to Alberta to visit family. 

Daniel Little is a white male 5 ft. 2 140 pounds with short dark hair. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Daniel Little, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

Report points to Bestwick committee for poor management

Coun. Bill Bestwick

0503 - A committee chaired by Coun. Bill Bestwick and actions by the city’s top two managers have been singled out in a damning auditor’s report that exposes new details of the expenses scandal at the city.

Municipal auditor KPMG said governance failures by the finance and audit committee that Bestwick chairs created a “poor tone at the top“ by failing to give proper oversight and not understanding its role and “fiduciary duties.”

The report reserves some of its harshest judgment for council’s failure to provide proper oversight of CO Tracy Samra, a trained lawyer who was originally hired by Bestwick and four other councillors: Bill Yoachim, Jim Kipp, Jerry Hong, and Gord Fuller.

Supported and encouraged by Bestwick’s majority, Ms. Samra was given free reign to run the city as she saw fit and use city resources to attack their opponents, principally mayor Bill McKay and councillor Diane Brennan.

Findings of the report were published by NEWS NANAIMO

Upper level managers blamed for financial missteps

0502 - Municipal staff were punished for raising concerns about misuse of City money, one in a series of "significant deficiencies" outlined in scathing comments contained in a report from the City's auditor.

The report by KPMG based on their review of the City's 2017 financial statements said a "poor tone at the top" provided an opportunity for senior management to override various protocols. Failures in internal control over financial reporting related to whistleblower policies, expense report review, consistency of hiring practices and governance and understanding of responsibilities, the letter said.

KPMG found during 2017, senior employees raised concerns regarding "appropriate usage of City funds."

See full report at Nanaimo New NOW

A lifetime of service to the community gets recognized

Jeff Lott

For some people, retirement means kicking back in an easy chair and watching the rest of the world go by. Not so for Jeff Lott, former officer in charge of Nanaimo RCMP. 

Lott’s retirement has focussed on what he can do for his community, and for that he has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by Governor General Julie Payette.

The award recognizes his work with the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society as a volunteer courier. That takes him to virtually all corners of the world to pick up and deliver bone marrow and stem cells for leukemia patients at Vancouver General Hospital and B.C. Children’s Hospital.

See this outstanding life dedicated to others as we salute this pillar of our community. http://www.nanaimonet.com/433324989

 

Thanks but no thanks, Lantzville doesn't want new name

Opposition is piling up in Lantzville over talk of renaming the community.

Lantzville Council recently allowed an economic development committee to recommend renaming the community. Longtime resident Brian Blood had proposed getting rid of Lantzville in favour of Seaside, to “put the hicksville-sounding appelation behind us.” 

Lantzville is named after Fraser Lantz, an out-of-town and short-term mining investor. 

Lantzville Historical Society president Lynn Reeve was not impressed.

“The name (Seaside) is way too generic and why? Why change the name of a community? It's had the name for almost 100-years, we got it in 1922, it's pointless,” Reeve said, whose lived in Lantzville for more than 50-years. She noted Lantzville was previously known as Grant in recognition of Grant's Mine prior to the current name taking hold in the early 1920s.

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Satellite MS clinic opens at Nanaimo Hospital

0501 - A satellite telehealth clinic for multiple sclerosis patients, considered the first of its kind in Canada, opened at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital today,to boost access to neurologists.

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Samra's court appearance set back to May 15

Tracy Samra

0501- City Administrator Tracy Samra's scheduled provincial court appearance in Nanaimo today has been moved to May 15 at 9 a.m.

The B.C. Prosecution Service is seeking to have Samra bound to conditions of a peace bond following an incident at city hall on Jan. 31 when she was arrested for allegedly threatening multiple individuals.

Court document show RCMP believe that Mayor Bill McKay, city councillors Sheryl Armstrong and Diane Brennan and Jan Kemp, Sheila Gurrie, Donna Stennes, Kim Fowler, Brad McRae and Dominic Jones have reasonable grounds to fear personal harm or injury stemming from the Jan. 31 incident.

NanaimoNewsNOW

Police seek help in finding 18 year old man

Daniel Little

Nanaimo RCMP is asking for assistance in locating 18-year-old Daniel Little who left from his family home sometime after 10 pm on Sunday April 29 and has not been seen or heard from since. He is considered a responsible young man with full time employment and no known health or personal issues. He has never gone missing before and for these reasons, his family and friends are extremely worried for his safety and well-being.

Little does not have a driver's license and uses either his bicycle or scooter for transportation; both of which are still at his family home in central Nanaimo. His family has tried repeatedly to reach him on his phone but it has not been activated for the past 24 hours. 

Little is a white male 5' 2" and 140 pounds with short dark hair. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Daniel LITTLE, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

City and RDN water restricitons go into effect

0501 - The city and all nine of the regional district’s water service areas have entered into Stage 2 watering restrictions.

Houses with even-numbered addresses sprinkle on even-numbered days and odd-numbered addresses doing the same on odd-number days. Sprinkling will be allowed for up to two hours between 7-10 a.m. or 7-10 p.m., according to an RDN press release

Residents can continue drip and micro irrigation and hand watering at any time and the restrictions don’t apply to vegetable and food gardens. Washing vehicles and outdoor surfaces and filling hot tubs, pools and fountains is still allowed.

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City recognizes 1887 mine disaster which killed 148

0501 - Flags at City facilities will be lowered to half mast on Wednesday, to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 148 lives. 

The explosions of the No. 1 Esplanade Mine are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst in Canada (the mining disaster of 1914 in Hillcrest, Alberta killed 189 miners). A jury blamed the explosion on the firing of an unprepared and badly planted charge that ignited accumulated gas fuelled by coal dust.