April 2018 Nanaimo news archive

Cleanup gathers tonnes of garbage

0430 - More than 80 volunteers did tonnes of work cleaning up garbage in one of Nanaimo's most popular mountain biking areas – 5.6 tonnes to be exact.
The Regional District of Nanaimo, TimberWest, and the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club held a clean-up at Doumont Trails on Sunday  where 5,360 kilograms of illegally dumped garbage was trucked away.
Some of the items found were a car door, a fryer basket, a fridge and freezer filled with rotten food and diapers.

MORE at NanaimoNewsNOW

Council trims payroll to bring down tax increase

0430 - Nanaimo city council has cut three staff postions in order to trim the 2018 property tax increases, despite objections from financial staff and some councillors.

Councillors whittled the increase down to 2.08 per cent during a special meeting Monday morning. In order to do that, they will dig into the surplus surplus to pay for projected operational costs

The moves were made even after repeated warnings from accounting services manager Laura Mercer, who warned that a two-per-cent tax increase this year would mean a roughly four-per-cent increase for 2019.

Nanaimo News NOW has the details.

Meat products tampered with in local stores

0430 - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating three separate incidents in which Grimm’s branded products have been tampered with at separate retail locations in Nanaimo.

There have been three reported incidents in which a pin, similar to one used for sewing, was found inside products after being purchased. There have been no injuries reported and there have been no other tampering incidents involving Grimm’s products.

The first incident occurred in December of 2017 but was not reported until March of this year, and involved a pin found inside pepperoni sticks purchased at Costco. The next occurrence was in early February 2018 at The Real Canadian Superstore and again, involved pepperoni sticks. This was reported 8 days later. The last incident occurred at the Fairway Market in late March, and was reported in early April. This time, a pin was found inside Ukrainian sausage. All retail locations affected including Grimm’s have been co-operating with police. There have been no further cases since early April.

Investigators believe that the products were most likely tampered with while on display in the locations impacted. The public needs to be especially vigilant and inspect any meat products prior to consumption, and report the incident immediately to the RCMP , said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

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

Marine Search and Rescue offers free boating safety checks

0429 - Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Nanaimo Station 27, offers free Pleasure Craft Safety Checks to assist boaters of a small craft to help you maintain safety equipment to an acceptable marine standard.

Go to the RCM-SAR website for more information – http://rcmsar27.ca/?page_id=133

Report paints damning picture of top city officials

Dominic Jones

0429 - As City Council continues to weigh its legal options on the future of its Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, more evidence is surfacing into the performance of the two staffers.

Dominic Jones, an Internet Journalist writing at News Nanaimo, has chronicled the long-running saga of city credit cards and purchase cards. Those allegations will make it impossible for the council majority to avoid taking definitive action.

Jones has done a supberb job of digging into the details. It is a must-read for Nanaimo citizens who will vote in the next election in less than six months.



Drug overdose calls impact health of Fire Rescue crews

Chief Karen Fry

0429 - Overdose calls are having a mounting impact on Nanaimo Fire Rescue members who will undergo training to better protect their mental health from trauma caused by the crisis.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief Karen Fry said they responded to a record 461 overdose calls last year, 72 per cent of them reported in the downtown area. She said their members are increasingly taxed mentally by the often disturbing incidents.

“We're getting a lot of burnout from firefighters, they're going to the same individuals sometimes in the same day, if not the same week,” Fry said. “There is resiliency training that we will be completing with our fire department this summer, it's going to help build that.”

Nanaimo News NOW

Housing affordability focus of strategy group

0429 - Nanaimo’s affordable housing strategy discussion paper, presented at a city council meeting Monday, shows that housing is unaffordable for segments of the population.

“You see how so many people are being priced out in Nanaimo and it’s particularly hitting hard single parents and single individuals,” said Karin Kronstal, city planner.

The affordable housing discussion paper scanned advertisements in October 2017 and found that average rents in Nanaimo have climbed to $1,054 for a one-bedroom unit and $1,319 for two bedrooms. Based on median income in the city, those rents are affordable for couples, but not for single parents or single people. (The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation defines affordable housing as costing less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income.)

The coming affordable housing strategy will look at a range of approaches.


Raw oyster illness appears to be on the wane

0428 Health officials say the number of gastrointestinal illnesses associated with raw oysters that made more than 100 people sick in three provinces appears to be dropping.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says there’s been a decrease in the number of cases reported to the investigation team, which it says indicates the outbreak may be slowing.

A total of 172 cases of gastrointestinal illness, suspected to be norovirus, linked to oyster consumption have been reported in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.


School district management deck shuffled

0427 - Nanaimo school district has announced successful candidates for a suite of administrator jobs, including for two new principal positions.

Anne Tenning, vice-principal of aboriginal education, has been promoted to the new principal of the department as a result of the restructuring, said superintendent-designate Scott Saywell.

Brett Hancock, vice-principal of Dover Bay Secondary, will become the district principal for learning alternatives, also a new position.

Other assignments are: Forest Park teacher Stephanie Stephens will be vice-principal of Bayview Elementary; Marc Daneault, currently principal of SIS Canada BC Offshore School in Coombs, will be vice-principal of Brechin Elementary; Patti Mountain, Connect ND coordinator, will be vice-principal at Georgia Avenue Community School; and Jennifer Robinson, teacher at École North Oyster, will be vice-principal at Pleasant Valley Elementary.

Jeff Stewart, a principal in the Comox Valley School District, will be principal of John Barsby Secondary School, Rob Hoban, principal at Rutherford Elementary, will be vice-principal at Dover Bay, Colette Young, principal of Ladysmith Intermediate, will be principal of Fairview Community School and Kerri Steel, vice-principal at Cedar Elementary and Secondary, will be acting principal of Ladysmith Intermediate.



Lantzville looking at a name change - no more 'Hicksville'

0427 - Lantzville council is asking its economic development and branding committee to look at a name change for the village.

In a letter to the committee, resident Brian Blood, called on them to consider the idea of renaming the community.

Blood suggests that Lantzville should be Seaside because Lantzville carries “no attachments to a person” or function. He called on council to ditch a “hicksville-sounding” name.

New scanner system speeds up airport check-in

0427 - Security lines at Nanaimo Airport should begin shrinking, thanks to a new X-ray scanner at the growing facility.

The scanner to process outbound luggage allows a much-needed second security line to open, which doubled their capacity to 200 people an hour.

“The time frame that we're addressing for heavy passenger loads is from 10 in the morning until two in the afternoon,” Airport president and CEO Mike Hooper told NanaimoNewsNOW. “The new equipment will allow passengers to move through the security line very effectively.”

Nanaimo News NOW

Mema used city purchase card for 11 personal flights

Victor Mema

0427 - Nanaimo Chief Financial Officer Victor Mema used a city-issued purchase card multiple times to pay for flights that were not work-related, according to city documents obtained by the News Bulletin through a freedom of information request.

The documents show Mema used a city purchase card to book 11 separate flights for personal use between July 2016 and September 2017 and Tracy Samra, the city’s chief administrative officer, approved the purchases.

Where Mema travelled, along with the costs of his flights, are unknown as the information was redacted, but the documents do show that he paid the city back sometime in 2017.

Rod Davidson, the city’s former manager of bylaw, regulation and security, was the only other employee to book flights for personal use with a city purchase card, however, he repaid the city that same month.


Building permit application submitted for downtown hotel

0426 - Utah-based PEG Developments submitted a building permit application for a $22-million downtown hotel.

PEG submitted a building permit application on for a nine-storey, 155-room Courtyard by Marriott at 100 Gordon St., behind the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Bill Corsan, the City's deputy director of community development, told NanaimoNewsNOW he hoped the permit would be issued by July after working with PEG to make any necessary changes.

MORE at Nanaimo News NOW

Missing Nanaimo senior confirmed dead

0426 - RCMP  confirm the 65-year-old man, reported missing from Nanaimo on Sunday April 22, has been found deceased. 

On Wednesday , at approximately 2:30 pm, a vehicle associated to the missing man was found parked at Westwood Lake. A search of surrounding area was conducted by Nanaimo Search and Rescue and numerous RCMP resources. At approximately 5 pm the deceased was located in a woody area, not far from where his vehicle was parked. Foul play is not suspected. The B.C. Coroners Service was advised, attended and is investigating.

No further information will be released.

Serious charges filed after police car destruction and injury

0426 - 32-year-old Majore Jackson and 47-year-old Andrew Bellwood, both of Nanaimo, have been charged with numerous criminal code offences following an incident on Wednesday in which two police cars were destroyed and two police officers were injured. 

Jackson and Bellwood were held in custody following their arrest. Jackson was formally charged today with two counts of Assault with a Weapon (Dodge 3/4-ton pick-up) Dangerous Driving, two counts of Possession of Stolen Property and Obstruction. Bellwood was charged with Obstruction and Possession of Stolen Property x 2.

Both were scheduled to appear before a Nanaimo Provincial court judge later today where it will be determined if they are to be remanded into custody or released on conditions.

Two police cars destroyed, officers injured during arrest

0425 - Nanaimo RCMP officers located a stolen ¾ ton pick up in the area of Roberts Road, in Yellowpoint.  As one officer, driving an unmarked police vehicle approached, the suspect driver drove directly at the police vehicle and onto the hood of the police vehicle, then continued driving. 

Moments later, the suspect encountered a second unmarked police vehicle and drove up and on to the engine hood of the police car and became lodged on the hood and windshield.  Both police vehicles were destroyed and two police officers were slightly injured. The driver of the truck and his passenger fled on foot and were arrested within minutes, with the assistance of an RCMP Police Dog, and officers with the RCMP Emergency Response Team. 

One of the suspects, age 47, received several dog bites and was transported to hospital for treatment. He was released several hours later and taken into custody. The other male, age 32, was transported to the Nanaimo Detachment and is in custody. The investigation is continuing and both individuals face numerous criminal code and driving related charges.

Council following process to settle Samra, Mema issue

0425 - City council has given its strongest signal yet that it is prepared to vote on terminating the city’s top two managers, News Nanaimo can reveal today.

Chief administrative officer (CAO) Tracy Samra and chief financial officer (CFO) Victor Mema are being invited to plead their cases against being fired at a future council meeting that will likely be held in-camera.

The move came after the city’s legal counsel presented the results of internal investigations into the two at a closed council meeting. It indicates that the evidence against the two supports termination and most council members do not currently see a path forward for them to return to their duties.


Rezoning bid seeks to build dyslexia centre in Lantzville

Bob Wall Contracting has applied to rezone a property lat 7170 Lantzville Rd.

Property owner psycholgist Shannon Barnsley plans to create a centre for educational support for children with dyslexia. The property is zoned residential so the application seeks a commercial rezoning.

Donna Hais, general manager of Bob Wall Contracting, said the existing 138-square-metre building on the property will be renovated and improved but won’t change in size.

The application comes less than a year after a rejected rezoning bid for a mixed-use development at 7143 Caillet Rd., beside 7170 Lantzville Rd. Hais said everyone is aware of that but she remains confident.

Nanaimo paramedics going to world competition

0425 - Two Nanaimo ambulance paramedics are part of Team Canada/B.C. that will compete at the Rallye Rejviz international paramedic competition in the Czech Republic next month.

Primary care paramedic Alex Mattes and advanced care paramedic Stuart Myers took part in a training session in Nanaimo on Sunday. The other membes of the four-man team are from Maple Ridge and Richmond. The day’s final exercise was based on a hot-air balloon excursion gone awry, with more patients than paramedics at the scene. 

The team will continue to train in the coming weeks before leaving for Europe in mid May.


Seasonal pet regulations in effect May 1

0425 - With longer daylight hours and warmer weather coming, many of Nanaimo's pets and their owners are excited for the great outdoors. The City of Nanaimo has a few important reminders about our rules and regulations.

From May through September each year, dogs are not permitted on any of Nanaimo's beaches, unless they have been identified on the off-leash map. The shoreline is active with migrating and breeding wildlife that should not be disturbed. As the weather gets warmer, Nanaimo's beaches are also busy with people wanting to use our city's waterfront areas. Additionally, please note that dogs are not allowed in playgrounds. We need to keep these areas clean and safe for children. 

For all animal and bird owners, please be aware that persistent cries, barks or howls are prohibited. Regulations are in place to keep neighbourhoods quiet, peaceful and enjoyable. 

The City thanks pet owners for following these regulations. To report any animal issues, please call Nanaimo Animal Control Services at 250-616-0233.

* Dogs are not allowed on most beaches from May 1 to September 30 and on Pipers Lagoon beach until after October 31. There are a few exceptions such as beaches which are designated as an off-leash area.

* To help control noise pollution within Nanaimo, residents are reminded that they cannot harbour or keep animals that disturb other people in the vicinity. The City enforces this regulation on a complaint basis.

* Pet owners can face fines if these bylaws are breached.

Summer watering regulations start next Tuesday

0425 - Stage 2 watering restrictions will come into effect on Tuesday, May 1. Stage 2, often called 'Even and Odd day watering' is an annual approach to responsible water use.  

In 2016, the City  and communities spanning from North Cedar to Deep Bay, adopted a unified approach to watering restrictions. All major water suppliers in the area covered by the Regional District of Nanaimo now use the same classification for each watering restriction stage (Stages 1 through 4), with each water supplier determining the start date of each stage. 

For more information on the region-wide watering restrictions and an interactive map, visit www.teamwatersmart.ca

* Stage 2 will run from May 1 to September 30. Even numbered addresses can water on even-numbered days of the month; odd numbered addresses can water on odd-numbered days of the month, for two hours only, between 7:00 am and 10:00 am OR between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

* Hand-watering, drip irrigation and micro irrigation can continue at any time. Vegetable and food gardens are exempt from the restrictions.

* Visit www.teamwatersmart.ca for an interactive map, a list of frequently asked questions and watering restriction stage in each area of the region.

Police continue investigation into van and motorcycle crash

0424 - The RCMP Traffic Unit continues to investigate a crash between a van and motorcyclist, just before midnight April 8, at the intersection of Highway 19A and 107 Street. 

There has been no determination on charges, and investigators have spoken with a number of witnesses. The 23-year-old motorcyclist remains in hospital in Victoria. Investigators have determined that alcohol was not a contributing factor in either the motorcyclist or driver of the van. Investigators are waiting for the report from the Traffic Re-Constructionist to assist in determining the speed of the motorcycle, and the actions of the driver of the van at the time of the collision.

Marine Search and Rescue volunteers contributed 1,752 hours

Merv Unger photo

Summer may be a little slow to arrive for some people, but once the sun makes a regular appearance people head to the water – on it or in it. And that means being ready.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station in Nanaimo works year round training, teaching and conducting rescue missions. In 2017, volunteers invested 1,752 hours in all aspects of keeping local residents safe in an on the water.

In 2017, Nanaimo’s Station 27 had 69 “taskings” where crews and rescue boats respond to incidents on the water. Those calls involved 29 motor boats and 19 sailing vessels at sea. Crews also assisted seven human-powered watercraft and 14 other missions with about 150 on the water. Crew volunteers invested 686 hours over all in training while support volunteers put in more than 900 hours.


Nanoose crash victim still in critical condition - RCMP


0423 - The passenger of a fatal crash at in Nanoose Bay on Friday remains in critical but stable condition, says an update from the RCMP’s Central Island Traffic Services.

The woman was injured and her husband was killed when he made a U-turn on the highway and their car was hit by a tandem axle truck.

Andy Watson, B.C. Coroners Service spokesman, confirmed the deceased was a man in his 70s from Nanaimo, but his identity has not been released.

Police seek driver after pedestrian hit in crosswalk

0423 - Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance in locating the suspected driver of pick up after an 80-year-old female was hit in an instersection and did not remain at the scene to offer assistance. The incident occurred at approximately 3 pm on April 17 in a crosswalk at the intersection of Selby  and Fitzwilliam Sreets. 

The woman called police later that same day and reported the incident. She told investigators she was walking through a marked crosswalk when she saw the newer white pickup. She was knocked to the ground by the truck. She managed to get back on her feet and at this point, the driver asked her if she was okay to which her response was "No, I''m not okay". The truck then turned left onto Fitzwilliam St and continued up the hill.

Later that day, the senior’s son took her to local hospital where she was treated for minor bumps and bruises, and then released. She was not able to provide a further description of the truck or driver but did say there were several people nearby, although none came to her assistance.

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

Missing Nanaimo man found safe and sound

Mathias Millette

0423 - UPDATE - Mathias Millette has been located, safe and sound.

RCMP seek public assistance in locating 30-year-old Mathias Millette, who has not been seen or heard from since April 22. This is out of character for him and has caused his family and friends to be concerned for his well-being. His nickname is Stacks and he has also been known to go by the name of Cody Mills

Millette has significant medical conditions and at the time of his disappearance, he was of no fixed address but would consistently frequent the various shelters throughout Nanaimo. He is a white male, 5' 8", 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes, and has a teardrop tattoo with the letters KC tattooed on his face. Investigators believe, based on conversations with friends, he may still be on Vancouver Island but his whereabouts are unknown.

If anyone has knowledge of where he is, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com


Samra, Mema get opportunity to tell their side


0423 - Nanaimo city council has given its strongest signal yet that it is prepared to vote on terminating the city’s top two managers, News Nanaimo reports.

Chief administrative officer Tracy Samra and chief financial officer Victor Mema are being invited to plead their cases against being fired at a future council meeting that will likely be held in-camera.

Since both bureaucrats are “officers” under municipal law, they must be given an “opportunity to be heard” prior to council deciding their fate.


Stilwell heads Liberals' affordability committee

Michelle Stilwell, MLA

0423 - Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell, has been named to head the B.C. Liberal Party’s new affordability and liveable communities committee.

The Liberals, after choosing Andrew Wilkinson as party leader in February, created four strategic planning caucus committees, the others being sustainable resources and the environment, education, and 21st-century economy.


Nanaimo-Ladysmith gets student summer job funding

Sheila Malcolmson MP

0421 - Nanaimo-Ladysmith will get Canada Summer Jobs funding of $706,000 to support more than 250 summer jobs programs in the region.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson announced the funding, calling it vital and will create meaningful job opportunities for young people.

“It’s a real win-win, because the money also strengthens our local economy by helping small businesses, not-for-profits, and public-sector employers grow their workforce,” she said in a statement.

Man killed, woman seriously injured in crash near Nanoose

0421 -  A man was killed and a woman was airlifted to Victoria Friday after their car collided with a truck near Nanoose. Emergency crews were on scene at a highway crash in Nanoose Bay where a man died on Friday afternoon.

The man and a woman from Nanaimo were harvesting shellfish at Nanoose flats. They made a U-turn in front of a tandem axle truck. They were thrown across, the man died instantly and the woman was taken to hospital.


Get ready for some spring sunshine by midweek

0421 - Get ready, there will be a strange big red ball in the sky this coming week. The sun is forecast to come out of hiding and mid-week temperatures could reach the low 20s.

The long-term forecast is for a partly cloudy sky for today and continuing until Tuesday. Then by Wednesday the sun will make an appearance, continuing until Friday.

Community school co-ordinators stay for next year

0421 - Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools, which originally proposed cutting all but one community school co-ordinator from next year’s budget, is now suggesting a one-year transition.

School district staff have presented more than $4 million in initiatives for next year, including seven additional child, youth and family support workers and expanding “focus schools” from four to 12, with supports like a half-time literacy co-ordinator and full-time principals to help children with literacy.


Nanaimo RCMP salute 2,000 hours by volunteers

Supt. Cameron Miller

0420 - April 22 to April 28 is National Volunteer Appreciation week and the Nanaimo RCMP salutes the 13 Auxiliary Constables and 35 Community Policing Volunteers who proudly represent the local Detachment.

These individuals bring a vast array of experiences and backgrounds making the program what it is today. They connect prevention based policing strategies and information to the general public by assisting with distracted driving awareness, speed watch patrols, general crime watch patrols, Project 529 bike registrations, pedestrian awareness and a variety of crime prevention initiatives held all over the city.

Dave Cusson Community Policing Co-ordinator for the Nanaimo RCMP says Volunteers play an integral role in promoting safer communities by being extra eyes and ears for the police.

RCMP will host an appreciation evening on April 27 for their volunteers, thanking them for their selfless service. 

Volunteer hours for 2017 were well over 2,000 and this is truly appreciated by our detachment, said Superintendent Cameron Miller, Officer in Charge of the Nanaimo RCMP. 

City task force begins work on marijuana regulation

0420 - The heavy and often hazy issue of marijuana legalization is now being tackled at the local level.

The City's cannabis task force met for the first time on Thursday, April 19. Their goal is to review provincial and federal legislation, pinpoint issues to be handled at the local level, talk to the community and make recommendations to City Council.

Nanaimo News NOW

Tools stolen at Christian School construction site

0420 - Nanaimo RCMP are looking for the suspect or suspects who stole from a work site at Nanaimo Christian School on Holland Road earlier this month.

The school, undergoing construction for an expansion project, was broken into sometime overnight on April 10.

Three spools of wire were taken, along with a compressor, tape and wrenches, a Stabila level and a Hilti DG150 concrete grinder.

City resolutions rejected for being submitted too late

0420 - The city of Nanaimo was taught a lesson at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities general meeting and convention, which took place April 13-15 in Victoria.

Four resolutions by the city were rejected when they were submitted after the deadline. The City submitted four resolutions which included strengthening penalties for breaches of confidentiality, banning retail sales of pets in pet stores, and reducing local government term in office to three years from four. The fourth resolution called for local governments to have more flexibility with funding park and play field improvements. In rejecting the resolutions the AVICC said the city had known about the issue well ahead of time.


Firehall opposition process deadline May 4

0420 - The Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to oppose borrowing funds to rebuild Fire Station #1 has passed its halfway mark. Eligible voters in Nanaimo have two weeks left to vote against the borrowing bylaw and may do so by filling out a response form available at City Hall and on the City website.  

As in an election, each eligible voter is permitted one response. Completed forms must be dropped off or mailed to City Hall by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018; the City cannot accept copies of forms or ones that are emailed or faxed. 

Please view the informative video about this AAP, available on the online version of this news release. To find more information on the Alternative Approval Process, who is eligible to respond in the process, a list of Frequently Asked Questions and view plans and a breakdown of costs, please visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/FireStation1AAP.

* The Alternative Approval Process runs to Friday, May 4 at 4:30 p.m.

* Residents who DO NOT wish to borrow the funds to rebuild Fire Station #1 may fill out an Elector Response Form and hand it in or mail it to City Hall. All forms must arrive by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018. Forms can be mailed to the attention of the Corporate Officer, Legislative Services, City Hall, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6.

* If 10% or more of eligible voters submit an Alternative Approval Process form in opposition, the borrowing bylaw will be brought back to Council to determine if Council would like to proceed with the matter and next steps.

Marine Search and Rescue training session

Merv Unger photo

0419 - There are some awesome photos from a Marine Search and Rescue training session last night, thanks to member Jerry Berry. Go to the RCMSAR27 website at http://rcmsar27.ca


Council meeting Friday to weigh fate of Samra and Mema

Tracy Samra, left, and Victor Mema

The future role of two top city managers will come under the microscope on Friday at an in-camera meeting. 

News Nanaimo reports that lawyers who have been investigating staff complaints against city manager Tracy Samra and her deputy, chief financial officer Victor Mema, are set to present their findings to council tomorrow at 10 a.m.

It will be the first time that council members have been fully briefed on the investigators’ findings and evidence.

A second in-camera meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday in case council is unable to reach a decision on Friday.


Supreme Court upholds First Nations fishing rights

After 155 days in court, five Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations from Vancouver Island are embracing another legal victory over aboriginal fishing rights.

The five embattled nations are the Ahousaht, Ehattesaht/ Chinehkint, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/ Muchalaht and Tla-o-qui-aht. In this last court appearance, in BC Supreme Court—labeled the “justification trial”—the federal government failed to justify its infringement of these five nations’ Aboriginal right to catch and sell fish from their territories.

“We win again!” Ahousaht Nation spokesperson Cliff Atleo said after Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights were confirmed by today’s BC Supreme Court decision.


London Drugs holding recycling event Saturday, April 21

0419 - London Drugs is holding a Recycling Tour where you can bring in your electronics, computers, TVs, 0418 - small appliances, batteries, microwaves, plastic bags, styrofoam and much more to both Nanaimo stores. 


RCMP seek owner of wayward done that landed in a yard

A drone made an unscheduled landing not far from Bowen Park last week and the operator was nowhere to be found.

RCMP have the drone, found in the front yard on Emery Way April 11 at about 10 a.m.

Police will hang onto the item for 90 days at the detachment. To claim the drone, contact Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Nanaimo Lions Free Swim Kicks Off with a Splash

0419 - Nanaimo Parks and Recreation and the Nanaimo Lions Club will hold the Lions Swim for another season at Beban Park Pool. 

"Being able to give all Nanaimo residents an opportunity to swim at no cost is fantastic and it wouldn't be possible without the many sponsors strongly supporting accessible recreation," said Damon Johnston, Assistant Manager of Aquatics, "We welcomed over 230 people last Sunday and we look forward to seeing them return and welcoming many more new faces in the coming weeks."

"The Nanaimo Lions Club is proud to to begin the second session of the Lions Free Swim. This project, which complements our Lions Free Skate in the winter season, exemplifies our motto, we serve," said Larrie Taylor, Nanaimo Lions Club President, "The primary purpose of the 1.4 million Lions around the world is to serve the needs of their local and world-wide communities. The response we have had to the Lions Free Swim in Nanaimo indicates we are helping fill an important need and are very happy with this partnership." 

Nanaimo Parks and Recreation and the Nanaimo Lions Club wish to acknowledge the many sponsors including BMO Nesbitt Burns; Brechin Lanes; Chris Martin - Remax; Country Grocer - Nanaimo North; Haarsma Waste Innovations; Little Valley Restoration and Collision; Nanaimo Hearing Clinic; Roto Rooter and Widsten Property Management Services. More information can be found on the Lions Free Swim poster online at www.nanaimo.ca.

Finalists set for Nanaimo Business Awards

0419 - Judging is under way for the 2018 Nanaimo Business Awards. This year’s People’s Choice online poll drew more than 4,000 submissions for the finalists in 22 categories.

The winners will be honoured at the Nanaimo Business Awards gala on Thursday, April 26, at the Port Theatre.


City launches defence in firing lawsuit

0418 - The City of Nanaimo denies it acted in bad faith when it fired a former manager who claims the timing of his dismissal was designed to limit his pension.

In a response to a civil claim launched by former bylaw, regulation and security manager Rod Davidson, the City said "at no time did the defendant engage in any conduct out of malice with the deliberate intention of harming the plaintiff."

The City denied Davidson was wrongfully dismissed or had his contract breached when he was firedwithout cause or notice in September 2017. The response, filed on April 13 in the Supreme Court of BC, asked the court to dismiss Davidson's claims and award costs to the City.


Garbage dumping a huge problem for Habitat ReStore

0418 - Nanaimo's Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts a wide range of household items and building materials. What they aren't looking for is people's garbage.

Mid-island chapter executive director Rob Hallam told NanaimoNewsNOW they are dealing with a steady increase in people illegally dumping what is effectively garbage outside their store.

The latest incident occurred sometime overnight on April 10, when a large load of garbage was left outside the Mostar Rd. location.


Nanaimo Airport launches $15-million expansion

Nanaimo Airport Commission members (from left)) David Witty, chair Lucie Gosselin, Mike Brown, Wendy Clifford, Mike Kandert, Alex Stuart, Ray Gauthier, president and CEO Mike Hooper, and Colleen Johel turn over the the first shovels of dirt during Nanaimo Airport's ground-breaking for its 15-million expansion.

0417 - The first shovel of dirt was turned over today on a $15-million project that will expand Nanaimo Airport’s (YCD) Air Terminal Building, creating business and investment opportunities at one of the country’s fastest growing airports.

Ground was broken on an infrastructure investment project that is a partnership between Nanaimo Airport Commission and the federal and provincial governments. Each government contributed $2.48 million. The investment will substantially enlarge the size of the terminal building, creating more comfort for passengers and enhancing efficiency and safety. The project is one of the largest in the airport’s history.

“We are 10 years ahead of passenger forecasts and this investment will help us expand to ensure we continue to deliver great service to our customers,” says Lucie Gosselin, Board Chair of the Nanaimo Airport. “The Nanaimo Airport Commission appreciates the support provided by the Government of Canada and the Provincial Government for public infrastructure projects, through the New Building Canada Fund – Small Communities Fund Program.”

MORE At Nanaimo Airport's Website

Brush cutter and chain saw recovered by RCMP

A brush cutter and chain saw were found Tuesday in a parking lot  in the 2000 block of Meredith Road. Model numbers and serial numbers were obtained for both items along with some identifiable markings which the  owner should know. To date, investigators have been unable to identify where the items came and believe  they were stolen and dumped in the parking lot for future pick up.
If you have information on who owns these items or where they came from, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Neighbour’s warning averts more serious fire

0417 - A fire at a home in north Nanaimo on Monday could have been a lot worse had a neighbour not spotted it and alerted homeowners.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was alerted at about 5:15 a.m. Monday, after a neighbour saw the fire on the second-storey sundeck of a house on the 5000 block of Jeevans Road.

Kevin Lillingston, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire prevention officer, said the residents of the home, including a family of three upstairs and two tenants in a downstairs suite, were asleep when the fire broke out after it had smouldered overnight.


Liberal leader talks taxes to local business leaders

Andrew Wilkinson

0417 - The B.C. Liberals don’t expect the NDP to rethink the speculation tax, but they want to keep the pressure on in opposition.

Liberal party leader Andrew Wilkinson travelled down Vancouver Island on Monday, stopping at the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce to talk about the speculation tax and other topics.

He said citizens have always known where they stood every spring, expecting to pay, at tax time, a progressive income tax that amounts to a “significant chunk of cash” for higher earners.

“The NDP has said now that in support of their agenda of affordability, it’s time to go after more than just income,” Wilkinson said. “That these assets are available for taxation. That people’s savings, their late-in-life capital gains are now fair game.”


Second session planned for Public engagement pilot program

0416 - The Public Engagement Pilot Program continues with a second session on Thursday, April 26,in the Beban Park Social Centre. Residents will have the opportunity to discuss topics with City Council, the task force as well as other residents during a "Micro Town Hall" session which runs from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. 

The format lets residents sit at a table with one member of council where they can ask questions and discuss that question. After 30 minutes, the council moves to a different table and the questions begin again.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to RSVP by April 23 via email PublicEngagement@nanaimo.ca or phone 250-755-7527. For more information on the second session and its format, please visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/engagement.

* The session will take place on Thursday, April 26 from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm in the Beban Park Social Centre.

* The goal is to ensure the public can raise matters they deem important. Residents can bring up to three questions to ask.

* One table will be livecast. More information will be available closer to the date on the City website, facebook.com/CityofNanaimo and twitter.com/CityofNanaimo

You can participate in Invasive Species work parties

0416 - This is the sixth year the City has led invasive plant work parties and offered drop zones, raising awareness of invasive plants and their effects on our parks and natural areas. 

Invasive plants have the potential to negatively impact local ecosystems. Plants, such as English Ivy, Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry are well established in Nanaimo while others, such as Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are spreading. The work parties will focus on the removal of invasive species at various locations including Linley Point Gyro Park, Beban Park and Pipers Lagoon Park. Also, residents who remove invasive plants from their own property can bring them to the two Drop Zones for safe disposal. 

If you are able to participate in any of the work parties please register through the City website or by calling 250-756-5200. Thank you for helping us maintain our natural areas and restoring the integrity of our native ecology.

Strategic Link: Invasive species control falls under Environmental Responsibility, one the four Pillars of Sustainability in the City of Nanaimo's Strategic Plan.

* Residents are encouraged to register for the work parties held throughout April and May.

* Residents can drop off invasive plants they have removed from their property at the Drop Zones located at the Wall Street entrance of Bowen Park on Sunday, April 22 and at Beban Park on Saturday, May 26 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Province provides money for housing partnership

0416 - The province is partnering with public groups to redevelop facilities and land for affordable housing.

In an announcement in Coquitlam Friday, Premier John Horgan announced a new HousingHub program which will bring together partnerships between local governments, Indigenous partners, non-profit and faith-based groups with BC Housing, including Brechin United Church in Nanaimo.


City explores youth medical clinic at aquatic centre

0416 - A new youth health hub, in the works for Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, will see teens swim, work out and get a medical check-up under one roof.

The City of Nanaimo, Island Health and Nanaimo school district are in the concept stage for a youth health hub at the Third Street recreational facility.


Snuneymuxw have a dream for Newcastle Island

Chief Michael Wyse
Ian Holmes photo

0414 - Culturally-inspired amenities highlight Snuneymuxw First Nation plans to develop on Newcastle Island, the former site of their sacred village.

Erralyn Thomas, president of SFN's development arm Petroglyph Development Group, outlined the plans, which were “decades in the making,” during an unveiling event on Newcastle Island Friday.

The vision includes a restaurant, longhouse, welcome centre, amphitheater and 18 additional campsites. Thomas said Indigenous history is lacking in the mid-island area, which this plan addresses by sharing the Snuneymuxw way of life.


Average Nanaimo home price passes half a million dollars

0412 - The average single-family home price in Nanaimo has reached $525,712, a 13-per-cent increase over the same month last year.

The March figures from John Cooper Group show 101 single family homes sold in March. One waterfront home, five lots and 66 condos also sold. 

Single family unit sales volume is down 5 per cent but the average days on market has decreased by 8 per cent to 23 days. 

The average condo sold for $346,216 with condo unit sales going up 2 per cent over March 2017. While fewer lots sold prices have increased by 24 per cent. Average lot sale price: $244,152. 

The most active region continues to be North Nanaimo with17 sales in March. Highest average price is in Lower Lantzville ($1,090,000).


Firefighters and nurses most trusted by Canadians

0412 - Firefighters and nurses are the only professionals respected by more than nine-in-ten Canadians, a new Canada-wide Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, 92% of Canadians say they have a positive opinion of firefighters, while 91% feel the same way about nurses.

More than four-in-five Canadians outline positive views on farmers (88%), doctors (87%), teachers (86%), scientists (84%), engineers (82%), veterinarians (also 82%,) and architects (81%).


Pipeline delay puts spill response on temporary hold

Nanaimo was selected as the headquarters base for the spill response system. – Nanaimo Port Authority photo

0412 - All work on new spill response bases on Vancouver Island is on hold after Kinder Morgan announced last Sunday that it was stopping all non-essential work on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

Michael Lowry, manager of communications for Western Canada Marine Response Corporation (WCMRC), says they’ve halted all capital investment on six new spill bases on the Island — at Sidney, Beecher Bay, Ucluelet, Nanaimo, Richmond and Port Alberni.

Nanaimo is destined to become the response headquarters. A total of 125 jobs are involved for all that stations.


Rotary book sale begins this weekend

0412- The Nanaimo Rotary Used Book Sale begins Friday and runs until April 22 at Nanaimo North Town Centre. (Rutherford Mall)

The 10-day event offers more than 100,000 books in 30 different categories – including fiction, science fiction, children, gardening, cookbooks, biography, history and military, hobbies and travel.

European-car processing facility coming to Port of Nanaimo

0412 – A new automobile import and processing facility will start operations at the Nanaimo Port Authority’s Assembly Wharf in January.

Nanaimo Port Authority, Western Stevedoring and its affiliate organization, the automotive division of U.S.-based SSA Marine, announced a joint venture Tuesday that will redevelop the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf into a multipurpose terminal that will be home to to an import vehicle processing facility where cars brought to Canada from Europe will have work done to meet Canadian standards.

“The existing warehouse that people see in the centre of Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, that’s approximately 60,000 square feet, that is actually going to become the vehicle processing centre,” said Ewan Moir, Nanaimo Port Authority president and CEO.

“That is the facility where the vehicles go in and they are taken from being the standard-manufactured European vehicle and – I wouldn’t say they’re converted – they’re morphed to become a Canadian vehicle. The French-English stickers go on, the [GPS] software is update with all the maps particular to North America, any of the activities that are required in an automobile to make them Canadian happen within the vehicle processing centre.”


Kids Don't Float program part of Nanaimo Boat Show

0412 - Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 Nanaimo popular Kids Don’t Floatprogram of the will be one of the feature displays at this weekend's Nanaimo Boat Show from Thursday to Sunday. Rescue craft and crew will also be at the show throughout the weekend.

Show times:

Thursday, April 12, 12pm – 6pm
Friday, April 13, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, April 14, 10am-6pm
Sunday, April 15, 2018:10am – 3pm

The Kids Don’t Float program features large boards with colourful graphics along with a supply of children’s personal floatation devices (PFDs). These boards are installed at marinas, boat launching ramps, parks and swimming areas.  Kids Don’t Float is run on an honour system and offers free day use of PFDs for your children.


Court hears details of how women were defrauded

0412 - Jordan Shepherd, 34, of Nanaimo, has pleaded guilty to all seven counts of theft under $5,000 for defrauding seven women out of a combined $13,200 last year.

Crown prosecutor Kendra Waugh outlined each incident, most of them arising from Shepherd meeting the victims through online dating sites.

In all of the cases Shepherd told the women he needed to borrow money and asked them to cash cheques from a non-existent company called On the Rocks Surveying. Shepherd would then pocket the money and not pay his victims back.


Local child-health program gets boost from government

0412 - Nanaimo programs focussing health outcomes for children will be able to continue serving the community.

Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island chief executive officer Veronica Carroll announced $50,000 for each of the next three years to allow the Greater Nanaimo Early Years Partnership to host Healthy Start Fairs. She said the money will strengthen 80 initiatives in three key areas on the island and surrounding Gulf Islands.

“Early intervention zero-to-six, children's mental health and rural and remote communities. These are priority areas that have been identified by our community partners and that's where we're putting those dollars to use,” Carroll said.


City 2018 property tax increase levels to 3.01 per cent

0411 - We now have a clearer picture of the 2018 property tax increase.

City staff told councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday morning the increase now sits at 3.01 per cent. It's expected to cost the average Nanaimo household an extra $59 in property tax compared to 2017 for the City portion of taxes.

The total increase for the average household will be more, but it's unclear how much more at this point because the impact of taxation for things like the RDN and hospital are still being calculated.


Criminal charges may result for high school brawl

0411 -Criminal charges are possible after a massive brawl between students from two Nanaimo high schools.

Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said more than 15 students from two high schools clashed at Serauxmen Stadium around 1 p.m. on April 3.

"We believe some weapons may have been produced during the fight. Several students were taken to the hospital...Some of the injuries were fairly significant."

O'Brien would not elaborate on the injuries or the type of weapons they believe were involved.


Thieves stip copper wire from lamp posts

0411 -Thieves stripped several dozen lamp standards of their copper wiring during the weekend, effectively putting a stretch of busy roads in darkness. The most recent incident, sometime overnight on Sunday, occurred on Uplands Drive, between Hammond Bay and Dover Road. This resulted in 23 lights becoming inoperable and the cost to repair and replace the wiring is estimated to be several thousand dollars.

City of Nanaimo crews and local contractors have replaced the stolen wires and the lights are now operable. 

 These types of crimes take time to commit. Often criminals will cut the wiring the day before then return the next night. With a large spool loaded on to the back of a pickup they simply gather up the wiring and move on. With the time involved, it would be difficult to conceal their movements and therefore, we are confident someone saw something which can assist with the investigation, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Thieves have been active in recent months and have hit various locations throughout the city. In 2018 there have been twelve reported thefts of copper wiring. Most recently, on Sunday March 18th wires were cut and stolen at four locations: Mostar at Jordan Ave, Maureen Way, Westwood Road at Catherwood, and Lawlor Road at Tenth St. The Nanaimo RCMP Street Crimes Unit is actively investigating all of these thefts.

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

Council puts out the call for interim city manager

0410 -More than two months after their city manager was arrested, Nanaimo Council is now searching for an interim replacement.

Councillors voted Monday to begin the search for an interim chief administrative officer. Council was forced to look for new leadership options after a committee of seven senior staff members who were handling the workload stepped back from the duties last Thursday.

A job posting which opened April 10 on the City's website said they're seeking expressions of interest from candidates for the role of interim CAO.

“Candidates should have experience in a senior management role within a local government setting, preferably in the position of CAO, and be readily available to assume the duties of the position as soon as possible,” the posting said.

The posting closes on April 23.


Some drivers are still not getting the message

0410 - Nanaimo RCMP were involved in multiple initiatives to address road safety during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in March. 

 Nanaimo partnered with community volunteers who conducted “Cell Watch” operations. They helped to remind drivers to put their electronic devices away while operating motor vehicles. In addition to getting this message out through our volunteers and media releases.

RCMP conducted targeted enforcement in high traffic areas within the City. 27 tickets were issued for distracted driving related offences. The vast majority of these tickets were for using electronic devices while driving, however violation tickets were also issued for driving while control was obstructed. In addition to this, multiple warning letters were sent to vehicle owners regarding observed cell phone use while driving their vehicles. 

If you have any questions or concerns what constitutes distracted driving, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Unit at 250-75-2345

Road Resurfacing Work starting on Terminal Avenue

0410 - Following the utility upgrade work completed in 2017, the road resurfacing of Terminal Avenue from Stewart Avenue to St. George Street will begin on Monday, April 16. Motorists should expect traffic patterns to change throughout construction, and are advised to use care and encouraged to consider alternate routes.

This final phase of the project is scheduled to be complete by end of July 2018.

* During this work, traffic disruptions can be expected.

* Construction signs will be posted and flagpersons will be on duty to assist with the traffic flow. Please exercise caution when nearing the construction zone, obey all signage placed for safety, and follow the directions of the flagpersons on duty.

* The resurfacing work will be divided into three sections (south to north) and completed by July 2018.

Witnesses sought to road rage incident

0410 - Nanaimo RCMP is investigating a road rage incident at approximately 6:45 pm on Tuesday April 3, along Rutherford Road between Brookfield Drive and Oliver Road. The vehicles involved were a silver compact vehicle driven by a white man in his 40s. The other involved was a black pick up driven by a white man in his 30s. There were no passengers in either vehicle. 

RCMP has learned that the two vehicles were travelling east on Rutherford Roadd with the silver car in front, followed by the black truck. Both drivers were attempting to merge into one lane when the incident occurred. While merging, the driver of the silver vehicle braked and brought his vehicle to a complete stop. The driver of the black pickup then stopped, got out and approached the other driver. Words were exchanged which lead to a brief physical altercation between the two.  No injuries were reported and the two separated and continued along there way, without any further incident.

If you have any information on this incident or witnessed it, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.


Summer night market coming to Commercial Street

Kim Smythe

0410 - Plans are in the works to liven up downtown Nanaimo’s summer nights with a summer time night market.

Commercial Street Night Market will run every Thursday for 11 weeks, from June 21 until Aug. 30. The street will be closed to traffic between Terminal Avenue and Church and Chapel streets. Museum Way, Wharf and Skinner streets will also be blocked off.

“There’ll be a street closure on Commercial Street with artisan and vendors up and down the street and merchants, hopefully participating, keeping their doors open and putting a table or tent out on the street,” said Kim Smythe, chamber president and chief executive officer. “We’ll get some food trucks, some entertainment, we’ll get some action happening downtown and we’ll see if we can’t start to attract people down on a regular basis.”

Samra's court date set back to May 1

Tracy Samra
Another delay

0410 - City Manager Tracy Samra's court date has been moved back again.

Samra was scheduled to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo on March 27. However, her lawyer, Robert A. Mulligan, successfully had the court date moved to April 10 in order to collect more information related to the case. On April 9, that date was rescheduled to May 1 at 9 a.m.

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


Motorcyclist has life-threatening injuries in crash

0409 - A 23-year male motorcyclist is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after colliding with a passenger van just before midnight on Sunday at the intersection of Highway 19A and 107th St, just west of the Country Club Mall. 

Police, Fire and EHS attended to the scene. The motorcyclist was operating a 2009 Honda street bike and was treated at the scene then transported to hospital. Several hours later he was flown to a Victoria hospital for further treatment. The other vehicle was driven by a 43-year-old man who was accompanied by a 41-year-old woman. Neither the driver or passenger sustained any significant injuries but were traumatized by the incident and are being supported by the Nanaimo RCMP Victim Services. Both vehicles were destroyed.

The two northbound lanes were closed for upwards of five hours and traffic was re-routed while investigators with the Nanaimo RCMP Traffic Unit and a RCMP Traffic re-constructionist examined the crash scene. While the investigation is only in the preliminary stages, investigators believe after speaking with numerous witnesses and examining the scene, both speed and alcohol were contributing factors on behalf of the motorcyclist. Alcohol and speed have been ruled out as contributing factors with the driver of the van.

 The investigation is continuing

You can't build a pipeline in court

Brain Peckford

0409 - How can a $7-billion pipeline project proceed when the Province in which it is located goes to court to stop it? Hence, the owner, Kinder Morgan has suspended the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline until its gets "clarity" on the matter. It has set the deadline for clarity for May 31. The company has already spent $1 billion on the project. 

BRIAN PECKFORD examines the situation.

Cedar getting upgrades to it water system

0408 - North Cedar Improvement District is moving forward with plans to build a treatment plant and infrastructure upgrades.

Provision of water to a 30-square kilometre area, including Tiesu, Gould, Harmac and Cedar roads, with about 5,000 residents and 1,300 water service connections, is among the authority’s responsibilities and it has been under pressure from Island Health to adhere to drinking water protection guidelines.

Money from improvement district coffers will pay for treatment plant, estimated at $2.7 million. The improvement district also received a boost when the Regional District of Nanaimo board recently voted (pending Union of B.C. Municipalities’ approval) to provide up to $1.13 million of federal gas tax money for construction of a new reservoir on Barnes Road, and piping upgrades.


If you can't put it out at the curb, where do you take it?

0406 - People are asking where to get rid of recyclables after Nanaimo Recycing Exchange (NRE) closed down.

Charlotte Davis, manager of sanitation, recycling and public works, reported an increased number of inquires coming in from people confused about where non-curbside recyclables go. The same items accepted by the NRE are taken by several private operators in the region.

Davis said the City has a “Waste Wizard” search engine on its website, where people can check items they are trying to get rid of and be given options. She said the City's Nanaimo Recycles app provides the same information.

Craig Cookman, general manager of Milner Group, which operates a depot, told NanaimoNewsNOW private operators are forming a region-wide marketing campaign.

“It's a big responsibility and we don't want people to think there aren't other options,” he said.



Weather forecast remains dreary for next week

The cherry trees are out along Duncan’s Canada Avenue, but cool temperatures and a lack of blue sky have some asking, is it really spring? (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)

0406 - Don’t expect to see much of a change in the wet and gloomy weather blanketing much of the Island.

Environment Canada forecasts we can expect cloud cover and rain for much of the next week, with a possible break around Monday before another weather system brings more rain and clouds.

“The afternoon temperatures for the next few days should be in the range of about eight to 10 C which are seasonal for this time of year,” meteorologist Cindy Yu said.


Regional District nixes Duke Point transit service idea

0405 - A proposed bus route from Prideaux Street to the Duke Point ferry terminal was rejected by the Regional District of Nanaimo's transit select committee in late March. It was previously recommended but sent back to RDN staff in October, 2017.

A staff report showed the lengthy route would have buses meeting all but the first and last ferry of the day. It was described as the “most direct, shortest and most frequent” option providing transit to the relatively-remote location.


Senior staff tell council to find a new leadership plan

0405 - The seven-member team of senior staff leading City Hall for the last month has thrown in the towel and asked Council to find a new leadership model.

Director of human resources John Van Horne confirmed to NanaimoNewsNOW the leadership committee sent a letter to Council on Thursday, after shouldering the workload left by the absence of the chief administrative and chief financial officers.

"(The leadership model) just clearly wasn't catching on the way we had hoped and anticipated and as a result we've said 'Maybe it's time to look at some other options for delivering this.'"

Van Horne said it would be up to Council to decide how to move forward as the seven staff members move back into their regular roles. He declined to elaborate on what specific issues led to the determination things weren't "catching on."


French school gets approval for expansion project

0405 - Nanaimo school district has received B.C. Ministry of Education approval to expannd the École Hammond Bay French immersion school, including six additional classrooms, a multipurpose room and special education space.


Preschool is scrambling to find a new play space

0405 - Nanaimo Parent Participation Preschool has to leave the basement of Brechin United Church, its home for the past five years, by the end of April as the property undergoes redevelopment and so far it’s had no luck finding a different location.

The preschool will move its classes outdoors until its program ends in June, but it’s searching for a place to go in September. A call for help went out on social media last year and the group thought it had secured an alternative home at the Nanaimo Hornets Rugby Club, but recently learned the building’s liquor licence prevents it from moving there.

“We are back to Square one now,” said Lynn Macaulay, early childhood educator with the preschool.

Two arrested after Bait car is stolen in south Nanaimo

0405 - Two men were arrested and taken into custody in Ladysmith after a Bait car was stolen in Nanaimo on Tuesday afternoon. Jordan Daniel PLAMONDON, 27 and Shane Michael SMITH, 44, were arrested on numerous property related offences then held in custody overnight. The incident occurred at approximately 3:30 pm on Tuesday Apri in Nanaimo and ended near Grouhel Road in Ladysmith. 

The incident was initiated when Nanaimo RCMP officers were alerted to a Bait car activation in south Nanaimo. The Bait car had been deployed just two hours. Officers quickly spotted the vehicle being driven on the Trans Canada Highway. At this time and considering the safety of the public, occupants of the vehicle and attending officers, officers decided to disable the engine and have the vehicle come to a stop safely on the shoulder of the highway.


Tools stolen from North end construction site

0405 - Tools were stolen from a construction site in the 3800 block of Glen Oaks Drive on March 26. The tools were taken from a padlocked sea-can container. Items taken were a three-inch coil nailer, Spectrum transit level, Rolair gas air compressor, 2 Makita skill saws, 16-inch concrete float, a blue 4.5 inch Makita grinder and a Milwaukee cordless drill charger. Nanaimo file # 2018-10493.

 If you have information on the ownership of these items, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 

Suspect arrested after liquor store robbery

0405 - A 31-year-old is in police custody after being arrested Wednesday evening for allegedly robbing a local liquor store while armed with a knife. Michael James Heywood has been charged with one count of Robbery and one count of Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public Peace.

At approximately 9:30m pm on Wednesday April 4 police were called to the Occidental Hotel Liquor store on Selby Street for a report of an armed robbery. Employees told officers a male entered their business, grabbed two bottles of liquor and then fled from the store. A clerk chased the suspect out on to the street at which time the suspect produced a knife and threatened the clerk.

Officers including a Police Services Dog were on scene within minutes and were able to track the suspect to nearby bushes where he was arrested without incident. A knife and liquor were seized.

“This is another occasion in which a civilian decided to confront a suspect, and in doing so put himself unnecessarily in extreme danger. As it turned out, officers were on scene quickly and using the resources they have at their disposal safely located the suspect. The last thing we want is for someone to get injured. The best course of action in this case would have been for the clerk to call 911, provide a description of the suspect and where he was last seen, “said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. 

 Heywood appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court on Thursday April 5 and was released on a recognizance, with his next court date set for Tuesday April 24.  

RCMP officer fires shot after driver flees traffic stop

0404 - A routine traffic stop escalated to a shot fired by an RCMP officer in pursuit of a suspect in Ladysmith on Tuesday.

The chaos started just before 11:00 a.m. when a Ladysmith RCMP officer was on patrol toward the end of Shell Beach Road, said Staff Sgt. Ken Brassard.

He said the Mountie learned a vehicle parked at Elliot Beach Park, was reported stolen from Nanaimo the day before.

Brassard said the officer informed the driver and lone occupant he was under arrest. He refused to follow orders and elected to take off. One shot was fired by one RCMP member.


Size of tax increase swells to 3.2 per cent

Coun. Bill Bestwick
Committee chairman

0405 - Nanaimo homeowners face the prospect of a greater property tax increase than originally predicted. 

Council's finance and audit committee saw an updated version of the 2018-2022 financial plan that calls for a 3.2-per-cent increase in residential property taxes. Council adopted a provisional budget in January with a 2.7-per cent increase. 

Wendy Fulla, the city’s manager of business, asset and financial planning, said the reason for the additional bump in property taxes is increases in costs and expenses approved by councillors.
Councillor Bill Bestwick is the chairman of the finance and audit committee of city council.

City spent nearly $900,000 on legal fees in 2017

0405 - The City of Nanaimo spent nearly $900,000 on legal fees last year, going 70 per cent over budget.

Laura Mercer, the city’s acting chief financial officer, said the city spent $890,230 on legal expenses last year. Council had budgeted $523,050 for last year. The city spent $532,808 on legal expenses in 2016.


Nurse practitioners can now prescribe opioid substitutes

0404 - Nurse practitioners in B.C. are now be able to prescribe opioid substitute medications to those experiencing addiction, the province announced Wednesday.

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Judy Darcy, said the expansion is about providing more tools for those on the front lines of the escalating crisis, when addressing health professionals and nursing students at the University of Victoria.

“This change is critically important and the reason is pretty basic. You need to be alive in order to have a pathway to recovery,” Darcy said.


Medals, watches, bracelets and coins recovered by RCMP

0404 - The Nanaimo RCMP is in possession of an array of coins, jewelry and military medals seized during an arrest on March 26. The items were located in the vehicle in which the suspect male was driving. Given the circumstances of how the items were found, investigators are confident they were stolen. 

The jewelry found, consisted of watches, earrings, bracelets and rings. Many of the coins are from European countries. If you have information on the ownership of these items, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 

File # 2018-10550

City reminds residents of backyard burning rules

0404 - Nanaimo Fire Rescue reminds residents that backyard burning is banned except by permit. Residents who are planning a backyard burn are urged to familiarize themselves with the Fire Bylaw and the required conditions to obtain a permit.

• Burning permits may be issued for an open burning fire on a lot that is one acre in size or greater OR lots located on Protection Island.

• Burning is only permitted from sunrise to sunset, Fridays and Saturdays, in April and November. Only organic yard waste materials such as garden refuse and prunings may be burned.

• Burning of wooden construction material, stumps, land clearing materials/debris or household garbage is not permitted.

• Fires can not exceed 1.5 meters across; be hand fed and located at least three metres from combustibles. A charged hose or a bucket of water must be nearby and ready to extinguish fire.

Attempted murder charge laid after weekend stabbing

0404 - A 27-year-old man has been charged with one count of Attempted Murder following an incident on Saturday, March 31. The 25-year-old male victim is recovering in hospital where he is expected to remain for at least another week. 

Matthew Dean Tremblay of Nanaimo appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court on Tuesday. Following his hearing, he was remanded into custody to await his next court appearance, April 17 by way of video-conferencing. The investigation is being conducted by the Nanaimo RCMP General Investigation Unit, and as the matter is before the courts, no further information will be released.

New money for VIU trades programs

0404 - Funding for new trades equipment at VIU's Nanaimo campus is the latest in a string of significant senior government cash infusions to overhaul the growing department.

The province announced $310,000 for several simulators to allow heavy mechanical students to diagnose and fix problems on a variety of machines. The funding is on top of $20 million in provincial and federal backing to redevelop and expand VIU's trades programs.


Thieves steel two tires from truck on Boban Drive

Thieves appear to have been prepared when they stole tires off a truck. Sometime overnight on March 15, two rear tires were stolen from a vehicle in the 4300 block, Boban Drive. The tires were on the truck at 6 pm the night prior. Thieves would have had to jack up the truck to remove the tires, valued at approximately $1,000.

Nanaimo RCMP file # 2018-9007. If you have any information on this or any other crime, please call Nanaimo Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Crime Stoppers can not accept tips by email. 

Are Nanaimoites ready to leave their cars behind?

04023 - Are Nanaimo commuters ready to leave their cars behind, choosing to walk, ride their bikes or take the bus to get around?

That hugely debatable question is being thrust into the spotlight as the City nears completion of a multi-year review of its parking bylaws. The proposed changes would, for the majority of developments in most areas of the city, reduce the number of parking spaces required in an effort to incentivize alternative modes of transportation.

City of Nanaimo planner David Stewart said they're trying to strike a balance between making sure the parking required is adequate and steering people away from their cars.


First watering restrictions go into effect

0403 -The City and areas of the Regional District have instituted Stage 1 watering restrictions.

Customers of nine RDN water service areas, including Nanoose Bay, are now under the watering restrictions. This means sprinkling can only occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., on any day of the week, for any duration. Hand-watering, drip irrigation and micro irrigation can be applied at any time. Vegetable and food gardens are exempt from the restrictions.


Negative vote process on fire hall is now open

0403 - If a majority of Nanaimo residents don't express their opposition to build a new fire hall, the process will go ahead. An alternative approval process means the project will proceed if a majority of citizens don't register their opposition to the city borrowing  $17 million to replace the Nanaimo Fire Rescue station on Fitzwilliam Street.

Residents opposed to the bylaw can register their opposition by filling out a response form available at city hall. Forms can also be downloaded from the city’s website.

British Columbians getting hammered with tax increases

0401 - This is a taxing time for B.C. residents, and you may notice it first at the  gasoline pump.

But there's a whole lot of new taxes kicking in this month.

With gasoline prices climbing above $1.50 a litre amid fuel shortages and protests against expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that delivers crude oil and refined fuels to B.C., the first carbon tax increase in seven years takes effect.

The carbon tax goes from $30 to $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, or 1.2 cents per litre of gasoline, bringing the total carbon tax to about eight cents on a litre of fuel. It’s the first of a series of increases agreed to by the B.C. NDP and Green Party to form a minority government, a 66-per-cent increase over four years.


Supreme Court backs Nanaimo doctor

0401 - The Supreme Court of B.C. has decided there will be no judicial review of a ruling regarding an end-of-life care case that happened in Nanaimo.

A man calling on a provincial health tribunal to reverse a ruling on a case involving his now-deceased mother had his application for judicial review dismissed by the Supreme Court of B.C. last week.

The case involves Thomas William Sanders’s mother, Arleane, an 80-year-old double amputee who experienced pressure ulcers, wound infections and extreme pain, and doctors including Robin Love, a palliative care physician in Nanaimo, according to court documents.


Gabriola gets $100,000 for economic development

0401 - Gabriola Island has received an economic development boost from the province.

The provincial government announced last week that the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce would receive $100,000 as part of B.C. Rural Dividend Program.