Extreme wave hazard advisory for Pacific Rim National Park

0118 - Parks Canada has issued an extreme wave hazard advisory, warning the public to use extra caution on beaches, shorelines and coastal waters in and around the Pacific Rim National Park from Thursday through Saturday.

Large ocean swells reaching up to 9 metres are predicted during the two day period — and high tides of up to 3.6 metres are expected to compound the wave hazard.

Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne tweeted that beaches were closing Thursday morning and said public accesses to beach areas were getting "rearranged" by waves and logs.

Affordable seniors housing project gets green light

0118 - City Council has approved a proposal to increase affordable housing stock for seniors in Nanaimo.

A development permit was approved for a 57-unit, four-storey building at 20 Prideaux St. to be operated by the Mount Benson Senior Citizens Housing Society. The one-bedroom rental units are geared toward low-to-middle income earners.

Councillors Ian Thorpe and Sheryl Armstrong voiced concerns about a lack of parking and opposed the project.

“My goodness, there are still a lot of seniors who still drive and what about visitors? I don't see any provision for that, I just can't see it as being adequate,” Thorpe said.

Nanaimo News NOW

Council to consider financial help for advocacy group

0118 - City council is weighin  help for the cash-strapped Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association.

Councillors advised the association to meet with staff about a $10,000 funding request, with a report expected to come back to council on Monday, Jan. 22.

The association started 43 years ago and provides free general and legal advocacy to residents. 


Hold-and-secure order lifted for south end schools

0118 - A hold-and-secure on eight schools in south Nanaimo has been lifted.

RCMP reported a youth, who had threatened self-harm, has been located. RCMP spokesman Gary O’Brien said police are assessing the youth’s well-being.

Nanaimo school district put John Barsby Secondary as well as Georgia Avenue, Park Avenue, Bayview, Brechin, Pauline Haarer, Fairview and Cilaire elementary schools under a hold-and-secure order as a precaution this morning.


RCMP appeal for any video of area around shooting scene

0117 - The investigation into the brazen daytime shooting fatality of a 34-year-old man on Saturday Jan. 13 is continuing. The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a condo development at the intersection of Wakesiah Ave and Second St.

To assist with the investigation, anyone with audio or video recordings, specifically any cell phone or dash-cam footage taken in the area of the shooting during the period of Friday evening until noon on Saturdayis asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP. "This one piece of evidence could be extremely useful to investigators who are attempting to advance this priority investigation,"said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If you have any questions about this request, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you have information on the shooting and wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com ,text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.

Council wrangling over who is responsible for legal fees

Councillor Brennan
Assessed with legal work ordered by council.

0117 -  So who should pay? That's the big question facing city council when it comes to expenses.

Council Diane Brennan, who exceeded her expense budget in the first nine months of the year, said her legal fees came after councillors asked her to get a legal opinion when they perceived she might be biased on an issue.

“I was right in the first place that I was not biased…” she said. “I’ve always thought that that legal opinion should be charged to council and not individually to me, but that was not the finance department’s call, so that’s where it sits, with me appearing to be sort of a profligate spender when in fact that was at their behest.”

City councillors’ latest quarterly expense reports came to the council table Monday, with few significant changes from the previous expense reports.

Mayor Bill McKay is the other member of council to exceed budget, spending $13,635 of a $13,000 budget. He expensed $2,621 in legal fees during the first nine months of 2017.


Mediators appointed for Island Health's IHealth system

0117 - Health Minister Adrian Dix has announced the appointment of two mediators, Jane Morley and Jean Greatbatch, to help address the recommendations in the IHealth report as they relate to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.

The mediators will work together with John Bethel from Ernst & Young (EY) to guide the process and develop the groundwork for productive discussion.

"To succeed with IHealth and meet the recommendations of the report, a completely different approach is required - one based on working together," said Dix. "Mediators are very good at determining the root causes why there are difficulties or challenges in a work environment, and finding the solutions that bring stakeholders together. I am confident that, together with the continuity EY brings to the process, Jane Morley, Jean Greatbatch and John Bethel have the skills and experience to take on this work."

The pair brings with them a wealth of knowledge. Morley, QC, a lawyer and mediator by profession, is a leader of organizational and social change. She has held a variety of public positions, including child and youth officer of B.C. and commissioner on Canada's initial Truth and Reconciliation Commission. For eight years, she was public representative with the College of Physicians and Surgeons and an executive member for six of those years. In her extensive and varied work as a mediator with individuals, groups and organizations, Morley has acted as a bridge to develop trust between people and assist them to engage constructively in their conflict to achieve their goals.

Greatbatch has 40 years of experience in building more effective organizations, acting as a mediator, investigator with the BC Care Aide & Community Health Worker Registry, instructor and health-care union representative. She has conducted over 300 workplace interventions and is well-versed in managing conflict within health-care organizations. Her expertise lies in bringing people together to improve public service delivery.

John Bethel is a partner in EY's Vancouver office. He leads the firm's national health-care practice and is a member of its global health leadership team. Specializing in health-care transformation, he has in the past acted as chair of the province's eHealth council. Currently, he is a Fraser Health board member and chair of the quality committee. Previously, Bethel held various roles in B.C.'s public service, having served most recently as associate deputy minister and chief operating officer at the Ministry of Health. His past roles saw him lead major reviews of the delivery of health information technology for the Ministry of Health and act as chief negotiator of the master generic drug agreement and physician master agreement. Bethel is well-placed to assist in achieving more efficient, higher-quality health care.

Morley will first attend briefings by EY and then begin work with stakeholders, with Greatbatch joining the process at a later date.

The Ernst Young report is available here


City provides showers for homeless citizens

0117 - Public showers at Caledonia Park will help Nanaimo's homeless are open on a trial basis, but the service is poised to last much longer.

The showers, open through Friday in the mornings from 7:30 to 10:30, are operated by staff at the nearby seasonal homeless shelter at First Unitarian Church.

Bruce Anderson, the City's manager of community and cultural planning, told NanaimoNewsNOW Council is slated to vote next Monday to have the shower facility operating beyond this week for at least one year.

Nanaimo News NOW

Councillor want consistent policy on recording city meetings

Bill Yoachim

0117 - City councillor Bill Yoachim wants consistency when it comes to recording city meetings.

“I look forward to a solid policy on this … what’s filmed, what’s not, what can happen with the camera up there or not,” he said.

During the previous week’s committee of the whole meeting, the recording was turned off after “a substantial loss of decorum,” according to an e-mailed statement from Tracy Samra, city chief administrative officer.

MORE in News Bulletin

City hits pause button for work on middle Colliery Dam

0116 - After spending more than $7 million fixing the lower dam, the City is hitting the pause button on any work related to the middle Colliery Dam.

A statement issued by the City on Tuesday said work on the middle dam is postponed until at least 2023 to allow more time to collect and study data.

Senior manager of engineering Poul Rosen told NanaimoNewsNOW early warning sensors installed on the dams in late 2013 revealed water levels, especially during storm events, were lower than originally thought.

Ladysmith canabis producer sells for $230 milliion

0116 - Licensed marijuana producer Aphria Inc. has signed a deal to buy Broken Coast Cannabis Inc., a Ladysmith-based cannabis producer, in a transaction it valued at $230 million in cash and stock.

Aphria will pay up to $10 million in cash with the remainder in shares based on a deemed price of $15.09 per share.

"Adding one of Canada's most-sought-after premium brands represents a major triumph for Aphria and our shareholders and firmly establishes our position as a Canadian leader in premium indoor cannabis production," said Aphria chief executive Vic Neufeld in a statement Monday.


City council focus is on garbage

0116 - Garbage collection user fees, recently raised to $165, could change again. City staff advised of a complication with Phase 2 implementation.

Tracy Samra, chief administrative officer, said city staff learned in October that an anticipated contract wasn’t in place with Nanaimo Organic Waste, which processes kitchen and yard waste. She said she’s been told the company is near capacity now and would require equipment and facility upgrades to be able to handle kitchen and yard waste for the whole city.


One home invasion suspect arrested by RCMP

0115 - One man has been arrested and others are being actively sought by Nanaimo RCMP following a violent early morning home invasion on Sunday which sent three victims to hospital with varying injuries. The three  were treated at NRGH and released later the same day. 

At approximately 10 pm on Sunday Jan. 14, Nanaimo RCMP arrested a 19-year male at a south Nanaimo home for Break and Enter, Assault with a Weapon and Disguise with Intent. The suspect was later released on a Promise to Appear for court on March 13 in Nanaimo. 

"The Nanaimo RCMP reassure the public this incident resulted from an ongoing dispute between a group of young adult males, and is in no way connected to the fatal shooting from the day prior nor is it connected to the drug trade or organized crime in Nanaimo or elsewhere,' said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If you have any information on this incident the public is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


$2,000 worth of lumber stolen from Timberworks

0115 - A full lift of lumber was stolen from Nanaimo Timberworks at 1870 Dufferin Crescent overnight on Monday Jan. 8.

The lumber, (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 15 ft). was valued at approximately $2,000 and consisted of a number of lumber products. Surveillance cameras showed a dark-coloured truck backing into the unlocked lot and the driver wearing a high visibility vest. The same truck and driver were seen again at 4:30 am. The camera was blurry and no real description was provided of the suspect or his truck.

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

Suspect steals $150 in meat from grocery store

0114 - A man stole $150 in meat products from Real Canadian Superstore on Tuesday. A man fled from a loss prevention officer at the store just before 3 p.m. on Tuesday, said Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

The suspect is a rough-looking white man in his 40s, about 5-foot-8 with a slim build. At the time he was wearing a black baseball cap, dark-coloured jacket and carrying a laptop bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

Residents injured in home invasion

0114 - Multiple suspects assaulted the residents of a home in the 600 block of Howard Ave Sunday morning. Nanaimo RCMP responded to a report of a home invasion but the suspects had fled and were not located.

When officers arrived they discovered three male occupants ranging in ages of 23 to 47, had been assaulted by multiple individuals. The victims were treated by attending BC Paramedics for various injuries then transported to hospital. One victim received several strikes to his body with a bat, including strikes to head but sustained only non-life threatening injuries.

Following the assault, the suspects fled in an unknown vehicle and were not located. “Investigators believe this incident is a result of an ongoing feud between two groups and was a targeted attack. It is also in no way related to the shooting incident from Saturday," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

 If anyone has information on this incident they are asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477. 


Province says council overstepped authority in censure

Councillor Brennan

0114 - Councillor Diane Brennan is fighting back against her accusers after provincial officials on Friday said unprecedented censure actions taken against her had overstepped Nanaimo council’s legal authority.

The four-term councillor, who was twice put on trial at secret council hearings this week, defended herself in comments to News Nanaimo that are likely to increase the ire of city manager Tracy Samra and the five-man council majority led by Bill Bestwick.

“These censure hearings are biased, politically motivated, and a continuation of a concerted campaign against me by certain councillors over several years,” Ms. Brennan said.

Full report in News Nanaimo

Targetted shooting victim identified as Troy McKinnon

0114 - The victim of a fatal shooting which occurred Saturday has been identified.

The victim, whose family was notified, is 34-year-old Troy Dax McKinnon of Nanaimo. Investigators believe the shooting was targeted and numerous officers from various sections of the Nanaimo RCMP are actively investigating. To date, the persons responsible have not been located.

The location where the shooting took place continues to be processed and examined by Nanaimo RCMP Forensics officers. It is expected to be released later today. The secondary scene, which involved a car fire in the vicinity of Elizabeth Street has been processed and released.

If anyone has information on this incident they are asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.

Report says IHealth project was badly mismanaged

Adrian Dix

0112 - An independent investigation has found the IHealth project in Nanaimo is severely overbudget, has been badly mismanaged by Island Health and should not be rolled out across Vancouver Island until problems are fixed.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said he will appoint a mediator to help it move forward.

The Ernst and Young report, commissioned by Dix, followed protests by some doctors at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital who were concerned the electronic health system put patient safety at risk.

“I would describe the review as highly critical, even quite devastating, of how the system was implemented here in Nanaimo and has been implemented on Vancouver Island,” Dix said.


Consultation process will guide renewal for Boat Basin Marina

Port Authority Photo

0112 - A consultation process is being launched to establish a new layout for the well-used but aging Boat Basin Marina.

Nanaimo Port Authoirty president and CEO Ewan Moir hopes at least some of the inner harbour docks will be replaced in time for next year's busy boating season, following a widespread public feedback phase.

“There must be a more efficient and better layout within the marina basin that will better meet the needs of these users as we look into the future,” Moir said.


Outboard motor, chainsaw, weed trimmer taken in break-in

0112 - RCMP are looking for a motivated thief made a big haul in ransacking a shed on Robbie Place, Jan. 6. A door was torn off to get at a 15 hp Evinrude outdoor motor, Husqvarna gas chainsaw and gas weed trimmer. A neighbour heard loud noises in the middle of the night but didn't think enough of it to call the police. 

Anyone with information about this theft is asked to call RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.

RCMP investigate fatal shooting in Nanaimo

0112 - The Nanaimo RCMP is investigating a shooting which has claimed the life of a man. The deceased was found at approximately 10:50 am on Saturday in the parking lot of an apartment complex, at the intersection of Wakesiah Ave and Second St.  

The identity of the victim will not be released until next of kin are notified. He is known to police and the shooting appears to be targeted. Police are also investigating a vehicle fire reported shortly after the incident which may be related to the shooting.  


Have you seen Jenna Usipuik?

Jenna Usipuik

0112 - Nanaimo RCMP is asking for assistance in locating Jenna Cynthia Usipuik age 18, of Courtenay, who is believed to be in the Nanaimo area. She left her Courtenay home on Jan. 6 and to date, there have been no confirmed sightings of her. Her family, friends and caregivers are extremely worried for her safety and well-being. 

She is 18 years old, 5 ft. 6, 140 pounds with long brown hair and brown eyes. If you know the whereabouts of Jenna Cynthia Usipuik call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.

Samra cuts off live meeting video feed

Gord Fuller

0111 - A substantial loss of decorum was blamed for City Manager Tracy Samra's decision to cut off the live feed of a recent Nanaimo council meeting.

During the Jan. 8 committee of the whole meeting, Samra ordered the online live stream of the meeting cut off. The archive version of the meeting showed the screen fade to black for a little less than three minutes before video and then audio returned.

In his opening remark to a delegation, coun. Gord Fuller said "I love it when people come up to the podium and threaten me."

Mayor Bill McKay asked Fuller if he had a question for the delegation.

"Yes I do," Fuller said to the mayor. "If you could please bear with me, otherwise I'll have to make a motion to censure you, to remove you as chair."



City dismisses chief operations officer McRae

0111 - Brad McRae, Nanaimo’s chief operations officer, was relieved of his duties following a special council meeting on Wednesday. As an officer with the city, McRae was allowed to have a hearing in front of city councillors regarding any changes to his employment status and could not be dismissed without at least two-thirds majority vote by councillors, according to the community charter.

Tracy Samra, the city’s chief administrative officer, confirmed that the decision.

“He has been on leave and now he is no longer with us,” Samra told the News Bulletin, adding that she could not elaborate on why McRae was dismissed due to privacy reasons.

Brennan has no plans to apologize to council

Coun Diane Brennan

0111 - Councillor Diane Brennan, who has been censured twice this week by fellow council members, disagrees with their decisions and will not apologize to council as requested following an in-camera meeting on Wednesday. Council accused Brennan of two breaches of confidentiality and privacy, a city statement said Thursday.

“Mayor and council made a decision to condemn the conduct and requested a public apology,” it said.
Council decided that Brennan violated the Community Charter and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act “by releasing confidential information without authorization,” it said.


11 arrested in Cowichan Valley drug roundup

0111- Eleven people were arrested and drugs seized during drug busts in two locations in the Cowichan Valley on Jan. 5 and Jan. 9.

Two women were arrested in the 2200 block of Cowichan Bay Road by officers from the Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP detachment on Jan. 5 as part of an ongoing investigation related to the trafficking of heroin and fentanyl.

Nine more people were arrested after the RCMP executed an additional search warrant at a residence in the 1000 block of Trunk Road in Duncan on Jan. 9.


Poverty Reduction Strategy meeting coming to Nanaimo

0111 - A community meeting for B.C.'s first Poverty Reduction Strategy will take place in Nanaimo later this month.

Residents are invited to talk about how to reduce poverty in the province. Ideas shared at this in-person community meeting will help inform the Poverty Reduction Strategy that is scheduled to be released in fall 2018. Everyone is welcome.

Date: Monday, Jan. 22, 2018
Location: Beban Park Social Centre, 2300 Bowen Rd.
Time: Doors will open at 5 p.m. The community meeting will run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served.

The location is accessible. Supports are available to help you participate, including transportation, child care, disability and health supports, as well as secure storage for belongings. If you need supports to participate, please contact Lara Therrien Boulos by phone at 604 718-8504 or email: ltboulos@sparc.bc.ca (mailto:ltboulos@sparc.bc.ca

Public meetings are being held in communities throughout the province. If someone is unable to attend a meeting, they can also give feedback in these ways:

Send input online: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction/

Send an email: BCPovertyReduction@gov.bc.ca (mailto:BCPovertyReduction@gov.bc.ca)

Call and leave a voice mail message: 1 778 698-7746 (Victoria number)

Or, call Enquiry BC and ask for BC Poverty Reduction: 1-800-663-7867 (Calls can be made Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.)

Information on the poverty reduction strategy engagement can be found online: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction/

Mayor and councillor censured by council

Mayor Bill McKay

0110 - Nanaimo’s mayor and a councillor have been censured by fellow councillors and directed to attend training courses.

Mayor Bill McKay and Coun. Diane Brennan have been directed to comply with the city’s respectful workplace policy and are required to attend training courses. Council also recommends that McKay and Brennan apologize to chief administrative officer Tracy Samra before the end of the month.

Legal experts have expressed the view that these conditions by council are not legally enforcible.


Read Merv Unger's editorial comment at http://www.nanaimonet.com/435250963


Environment Canada warns of possible freezing rain and snow

0111 - Environment Canada warns parts of Vancouver Island to brace for potential snow and freezing rain Thursday. A special weather statement for east and inland Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands says snowfall amounts range between five and 10 centimetres over higher terrain.

Freezing rain could come later in the afternoon or evening.

Flu hammers health care facilities on Vancouver Island

0111 - Nanaimo Regional General Hospital is over capacity, with an influenza outbreak on one floor and a significant increase in the number of people coming to its emergency department.

The flu has hit health-care facilities across Vancouver Island, but NRGH is the only hospital currently on Island Health’s active outbreak list.

Electronics stolen from unlocked home in Harewood

0111 - A woman left her house unlocked for about two hours and returned to find her TV and other electronics stolen.

Nanaimo RCMP report a break-and-enter occurred Jan. 2 sometime between 2:30-4:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Hillcrest Avenue in Harewood. The tenant told police she had accidentally left the front door of the house unlocked.

A 55-inch TV was stolen, along with an Xbox 360 video game console, a Chromecast streaming media player, an LG sound bar and a GoPro camera.

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

iHealth executive director gone from Island Health

0111 - The roll out of the electronic medical system iHealth has hit a serious bump. Suzanne Fox, the executive director of iHealth and also the geographical area covering Nanaimo, is no longer with the health authority.

iHealth is a nearly $175-million system transitioning the traditionally paper records of a hospital into electronic documents. It's being tested at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Oceanside Health Centre and Dufferin Place. After it was originally supposed to be rolled out by 2017, the final completion date was pushed back to 2020.


UPDATE - Missing Nanaimo woman found safe

Nocole Reedel

0111 - 30-year-old Nicole Kristin Reedel, reported missing has been located safe and sound. Her family and the Nanaimo RCMP thank the public and media for their assistance.

0110- Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in locating Nicole Kristin Reedel, age 30, of Nanaimo, who was reported missing on December 24.

Reedel is normally very active on social media and but has not posted anything since Dec. 25. She has some personal issues however she did not give any indication she would be leaving Nanaimo, and as a result of this and other factors, her disappearance is totally out of character and troubling for her friends and family. She does not have access to a vehicle and has limited funds. She has family who reside on the Sunshine Coast but she has not reached out to them.

Reedel is 5 ft. 9, 165 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information on her whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


City backs draft of Port Drive waterfront master plan

0110 - City councill  endorsed a draft version of its Port Drive waterfront master plan on Monday night.

The plan, which was unveiled last year, proposes a range of uses for a swath of undeveloped city-owned land along Front Street, Port Drive and Esplanade. The plan calls for a mixed-used precinct along Front Street and a residential precinct located closer to the water. Both precincts incorporate low and mid-rise buildings. There is also a proposed industrial precinct, which would be located closer to the Nanaimo Port Authority’s property, between a proposed Port Way extension road and the railway. A public waterfront walkway has also been included in the plan.

City council unanimously endorsed the Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association’s proposed Ocean Discovery Centre and roughly 8,000 square metres of land along Port Drive for the facility. Council will also provide a letter of support for the project and gave the group an 18-month mandate to secure funding for the centre.


Nanaimo Recycling Exchange future remains in doubt

0110 - The fate of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is still uncertain less than two months before its lease expires March 31.

The non-profit society seeks a new building on land it owns adjacent to its Kenworth Road location, and members of Vote Yes NRE, a grassroots group advocating for a new facility, made a presentation to the Regional District of Nanaimo Tuesday. The board didn’t render a decision.


Advocacy organization facing immediate cash crunch

0109 - A Nanaimo organization that has helped thousands of people hopes the community can return the favour.

The Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association is grappling with a cash crisis and desperate financial situation, says executive director Deanna Ward. The organization needs to raise $20,000 by mid-February or it will have to close the general advocacy program.



It's official, Sears is no more

0109 - It's official, Sears has closed its doors for the last time, joining Eaton's as part of Nanaimo department store history.

Monday was the final day for the store at Nanaimo North Town Centre.

Sears Canada stated online it's winding down operations and shopping is no longer available online. As well, Sears has announced the shutdown of a number of stores in the U.S. including KMart, which was a subsidiary of Sears.

More than 4,000 Sears employees have been affected in Canada including the 100 full and part-time Nanaimo employees.

New garbage pickup system a headache for residents

0108 - Bruce McInnis has had no complaint with city garbage pickup service since he moved to his home on the 600 block of Brechin Road nearly 60 years ago.

That was until mid December when the city informed McInnis and his neighbours it wants them to roll their garbage and recycling bins to a central pickup point instead of in front their homes.

McInnis and his neighbours’ homes all have Brechin Road addresses, but are actually accessed on a narrow lane that parallels Brechin and with the rollout of new automated garbage trucks, the city is no longer willing to drive the trucks down the lane to collect waste.


Nanaimo rink wins provincial women's curling title

Provincial champions

0107 - Kesa Van Osch and her Nanaimo rink captured the 2018 B.C. Scotties Women’s Curling Championship Sunday at the Victoria Curling Club.

Skip Van Osch and her sisters Marika and Kalia, lead Amy Gibson and coach Bill Tschirhart easily handled Karla Thompson of Kamloops 11-4 to claim the provincial title. The team now advances to the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre, Jan. 27-Feb. 4.


Website claims Samra ignored call for delay on solicitor posting

Tracy Samra

City manager Tracy Samra has ignored Councillor Bill Bestwick's call for more consultation before hiring of a in-house lawyer. Dominic Jones of News Nanaimo reports Samra posted the solicitor job in spite of Mr. Bestwick calling on her to wait until the new post is discussed with the public and a final budget approved.

Samra’s brush off of Mr. Bestwick, who controls council with a five-man majority and heads the important finance and audit committee, will likely heighten tension between the two that have been simmering for weeks.


Mount St. Helens is rumbling again, numerous earthquakes

Mount St. Helens

0106 - Mount St. Helens is rumbling again, but it's not the volcano that worries Washington state seismologists the most. A 3.9-magnitude jolt Wednesday morning, about 11 km northeast of the volcano, was the strongest tremor in the seismically active area since 1981. It was followed by a swarm of up to 150 smaller earthquakes.

In 1980, an eruption blew out the side of the volcano, killing 57 people and devastating the landscape. Cascades of water, mud, and rock raged down valleys and knocked down forests.


Moth-balled ferry sells to scrapyard for $653,000

0106 - Bidding for the 53-year-old BC Ferries vessel closed Thursday afternoon and the final price for the ship totalled $653,356.20 after taxes and fees.

It appears the old ferry is sailing off to a scrapyard. A total of 281 bids were entered on the auction website govdeals.ca

The vessel was built in Victoria in 1965 and sailed on the Comox-Powell River route. It was taken out of service in March 2017 and replaced by the Salish Orca.

President's Choice mustard being recalled

0106 - President’s Choice brand Sweet Chipotle Prepared Mustard, with UPC number 0 60383 01392 9, is being recalled following the possible presence of glass.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued the recall Friday and warns consumers who find the product to either throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased from.

The agency reports that so far no consumers have been injured.

Shortage of homes on the market drives up real estate prices

0105 - A shortage of homes for sale combined with increased demand continues shooting up residential housing prices in Nanaimo.

New data from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows a little more than 1,600 homes sold in the Nanaimo area last year, down 5 per cent from 2016. The average sale prices in the harbour city last year was $518,000, up 16 per cent from $447,000 in 2016.

“As soon as you have more people looking for fewer homes prices are bound to go up, I think that's what we're seeing,” VIREB president and Nanaimo realtor Janice Stormar said.


Man gets two-year sentence for explosives possession

0105 - A Nanaimo man will spend two years in penitentiary for illegally making or having explosives.

Hamzah Subhan Khan, 27, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced on Thursday in Nanaimo to two years in a federal penitentiary. e also pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled substance with the intent of trafficking.

In addition to the prison sentence, Khan was ordered to submit his DNA and has a lifetime firearm ban.


Shelter able to handle clients during recent weather

0105 - Despite plenty of snow and cold weather Nanaimo’s cold weather shelter hasn’t seen a major spike in visitors.

The shelter in the basement of the First Unitarian Fellowship on Townsite Road provides the homeless with a warm place to sleep and free food.

Kevan Griffith, shelter co-ordinator, said there have been 72 unique visitors since opening last year. He said the shelter is running at about 86 per cent capacity and that there was a slight dip in visitors during the holiday season.


Lantzville has six of top 10 highest-valued properties

0104 - Six of the top 10 highest-valued pieces of real estate in the Nanaimo-Lantzville area are in Lantzville. B.C. Assessment released this year’s property assessments earlier this week. The top property in the area is a home in Lanzville assessed at $4.1 million.

All property assessments are available online, and owners will get their paper copy in the mail in the next few days.

Most property owners should expect an increase. B.C. Assessment reports the average assessed value will go up to $441,000 from $385,000 (15 per cent) in Nanaimo. Rural Nanaimo properties rose to $335,000 to $396,000 (18 percent) in rural Nanaimo. Lantzville saw a 21-per-cent increase, 110 $535,000 from $442,000.

A mid-island property landed among the top-10 on the island. 1365 Dorcas Point Rd. in Nanoose Bay came in at $12.4 million, fifth highest for Vancouver Island. Nanaimo's highest-valued residential property was a $4 million home at 5025 Hinrich View.

To check your assessed value, go to B.C. Assessment.

Police looking for suspect in business break-in

0104 - RCMP are looking for a suspect who was captured on surveillance video during a break and enter at Omniart Creative on Wesley Street just after 3:20 a.m. on Tuesday.

Police responded to an alarm at the business and found the front door kicked open and the inside in a state of disarray.

Two male suspects took a variety of musical equipment, all of which was later found lying on the ground nearby.

One suspect was located a short time later but police say, at the time there were insufficient grounds to arrest him but that he may face charges at a later date.

Northfield intersection costs rising before construction starts

0104 - The price tag for a major intersection realignment at Northfield Road and the Island highway is expected to go higher than originally budgetted.

A City staff report slates another $525,000 will be needed for the intersection upgrades. Including money already spent on the project, the total cost is now estimated at $4.18 million.


No arrest yet in Nicol Street shooting

0103 - Police have made no arrests following an incident last week when shots were fired and a man was seriously injured.

The incident, police described as a home invasion, happened at about 2:30 a.m. Dec. 27.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, confirmed Wednesday the 50-year-old victim was shot and is still recovering in hospital.


Province raises home owner grant threshold

0103 - The Province todoay announced an increase in the homeowner grant threshold. That comes on the heels of the release of proprty assessments by the B.C. Assessment Authority.

The 2018 grant has been raised to $1.65 million, ensuring the same percentage of British Columbians homes are below the threshold as in 2017. Last year’s threshold level was raised $400,000 to $1.6 million.

Eligible homeowners apply for the grant each year, and the home must be the owner’s principal residence in order to qualify. If approved, the grant will be automatically calculated on your property tax notice.


Man suing Island Health and doctors over care

0102 - A man who claims he was driven to a suicide attempt due to the poor care received at both Nanaimo and Victoria hospitals, is suing the Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Mark Holmes of Nanaimo filed a civil claim on Oct.18, 2017 against the health authority and two of their doctors, Dr. Nathan Schneidereit and Dr. William Orrom.

Holmes is seeking both general and special damages from the Vancouver Island Health Authority, as well as the costs of bringing legal action.

Nanaimo News NOW


Tax assessment notices are now available online

0101 - If Christmas did not give you sticker shock, this is certainly going to do the trick. Tax assessments won't be mailed out until some time later this month, but they are available already online. You can get your own post-Christmas surprise by going to https://www.bcassessment.ca

Just type in your address and you'll get the news.

What you'll pay in 2018 – some things more and some less

010118 - The advent of a new year is always a great time to take stock on how much more you will spend – and in some cases how much you will save. You'll pay more for groceries but natural gas will go donw in price.

The biggest change for many families will be to their Medical Services Plan premiums, which are being slashed in half starting Jan. 1, 2018. Even higher-earning couples who currently pay $150 a month will be getting the deduction. People with a net income between $24,001 and $26,000 will no longer have to pay anything.


Vancouver Island's first baby of 2018 born in Nanaimo

Photo from CHEK News

010118 - Vancouver Island’s first baby of 2018 arrived at 1:23 this morning at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, weighing 9 pounds 11 ounces. 

Bryce Taylor and Paige Playford have named their son Chase Luca Taylor.

“We were just hoping for healthy but it’s cool that he’s the first baby on Vancouver Island of 2018,” said his exhausted mother.

The first baby to be born in British Columbia this year wasted no time, making her way into the province just nine seconds after midnight.

The baby girl, who doesn't have a name yet, was delivered at Surrey Memorial Hospital weighing eight pounds, seven ounces. She's the first child for parents Manpreet Kaur Nijjar and Hardip Singh Shergill.

The full story will air on CHEK News at 5

Flu outbreaks hit four Vancouver Island facilities

010118 -The flu season is in full force and is expected to get worse. Island Health says four facilities on the island have been hit with an influenza outbreak.

Island Health has identified four long-term-care facilities affected by the outbreaks, three in the Nanaimo-Parksville area and one in Victoria.

  • Eden Gardens, Nanaimo
  • Origin at Longwood, Nanaimo
  • Trillium Lodge, Parksville
  • Glengarry Hospital, Victoria