Man suffers life-threatening injuries in stabbing incident

0331 - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating a serious assault that occurred in the 500 block of Fifth Street early this morning. At about 2 a.m., RCMP were alerted to a stabbing at a townhouse complex. Officers located a 25-year-old man who had been stabbed several times. He was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with serious life-threatening injuries. 

A male suspect was located nearby and arrested. He remains in custody and will appear before a Justice of the Peace.

"This investigation is ongoing, and is still in the early stages. Nanaimo Detachment's General Investigation Section is following up on the file, and will be pursuing the investigation," said Sgt. Jon Stuart.

Police are also seeking other witnesses who may have information about this case. If you have information on this incident, or any other crime, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. You may also report to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637 (keyword: Nanaimo) or submit your TIP on line at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com

 

160-unit housing project proposed for old hospital site

Architect's design

0331 - Vancouver's Molnar Group plans to build a $40-million housing project at the former site of Malaspina Gardens.

Molnar Group presented its concept for a 160-unit development during a meeting Tuesday.

The company snapped up the site a year ago for its views, said Andre Molnar, principal and founder of the Molnar group.He said he doesn’t think there are many properties in Nanaimo as attractive as this one. The property was previously the home of Nanaimo’s old hospital and later Malaspina Gardens. The building was demolished last October.

THE WHOLE STORY

Waterfront master plan attracts a lot of attention

0331 - Building height, density and green space were some of the comments the City heard during its Port Drive waterfront master plan open house on Wednesday night.

Karin Kronstal, social planner with the city, said around 140 people attended the open house, which was held in the lobby of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. She said most of those who showed up to the open house were excited about the Port Drive waterfront master plan.

“I heard a lot of enthusiasm from people about seeing the development of the south downtown waterfront,” she said.

Old transit buses returning to Nanaimo streets

0331 - If you feel like you've gone "back to the future" you won't be totally wrong. Nanaimo Transit will roll out some older-model buses as it modernizes its compressed natural gas fleet.

RDN Transit has already introduced closed-circuit TV cameras to its 50 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses and will slowly introduce technology that will allow GPS among other things. The installation is expected to take between four and six weeks, said Daniel Pearce, regional district director of transportation and emergency services.

THE WHOLE STORY

April 12-15 Nanaimo Boating Show is bigger and better 

0331 - Organizers and exhibitors are getting It's all hands on deck for organizaers and exhibitors for the Nanaimo’s boating show at Waterfront Suites and Marina April 12-15.

“The show is growing year over year,” says Odai Sirri, event organizer. “It started out as a three-day show, it’s now a four-day show. We were bringing in about $20 million worth of product. We’re now pushing $26 million worth of product that’s going to be showcased, so you get to see a larger array of boating inventory and marine-related services and inventory.”

THE WHOLE STORY

 

 

City financial plan review April 4 open to public

0329 - The Finance and Audit Committee will review the Final 2018–2022 Financial Plan at a special meeting Wednesday, April 48. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre's Shaw Auditorium beginning at 9 am.

"City staff will present the 2018 budget proposal for Council's consideration," said, Deputy Financial Officer, Laura Mercer, "Included in the plan is the City's commitment to asset management reflected by the 1% annual increased contribution to the Asset Management Reserve for future infrastructure replacement."

Council approved a provisional 2018-2022 Financial Plan on January 15, which has been updated to reflect any changes in priorities since. Following the presentation at the Finance and Audit Committee meeting, the Financial Plan and Property Tax bylaws will be brought in front of Council for consideration at their next meeting.

The 2018–2022 Financial Plan information is available on the City’s website under the Finance and Audit Committee agenda.

Special Finance and Audit Committee Meeting Resources
https://cnan.ca/2pON8k5

Budget Information
https://cnan.ca/2zjIahR

RDN name change idea fizzles

0329 - The idea of renaming the Regional District of Nanaimo has died a natural death

Teunis Westbroek, Qualicum Beach mayor and RDN director, told the board in late February that he would bring a motion to Tuesday night’s regular board meeting, seeking development of a renaming process, but decided against it after hearing from the public.

“Bill [Yoachim, RDN Nanaimo director] and I talked about it and we felt there was very little support,” said Westbroek. “Also from feedback I got in my own community, very little support, only one positive comment. So I think it’s best not to push a rock uphill and if there’s no support and people aren’t interested, then I’m not going to force the issue.”

THE WHOLE STORY

Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

Harmac fined for violation that led to worker's death

0329 - Nanaimo Forest Product's Harmac Pacific has been fined after a worker died in a March 2016 accident.

The company was fined a little more than $284,000 for what WorkSafeBC described as a "high-risk violation."

An investigation found Harmac didn't conduct a risk assessment or develop safe work procedures for the area where Chris Fletcher, 37, fell into the middle of a wood chip pile when a hole formed beneath him. Fletcher was eventually carried through a conveyor system and into a chip bin and sustained fatal injuries.

THE WHOLE STORY

Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

 

Truckers help police arrest fleeing suspect

Local truckers rode to the assistance of Nanaimo RCMP to arrest 39-year-old Kale NYSTROM on Monday afternoon after he crashed his vehicle on their work lot. The incident on Monday and ended with NYSTRON, of no fixed address, being arrested for numerous driving offences.

The incident began when patrol officers spotted and older model Jeep, driving along an alley way between Nicol St and Haliburton St. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle the driver sped off. Recognizing the volatility of the situation the officers made no attempt to stop the vehicle. As officers continued their patrols, an officer heard a loud crash in the vicinity of Van Kam Freight Ways, in the 1100 block of Milton Street.

THE WHOLE STORY

Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

'Where are the speculators"? asks Mayor McKay

Mayor Bill McKay

0329 - Mayor Bill McKay said it does not make sense to include Nanaimo in the speculation tax. “We are trying to determine at this point who the speculators are.”

The city has a shortage of housing and little condominium development, he said, and it needs more affordable housing for the homeless population, single parents and seniors.

Nanaimo is attracting some Lower Mainland residents who cash out and buy homes in the city at lower prices, but, McKay said, there are few foreign investors.

He knows a retired couple who spend half the year in Alberta, where some of their children live, and the rest of the year in their mid-range condo in Nanaimo because their other children live on Vancouver Island. “These people are clearly not speculators.”

THE WHOLE STORY

Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

School district gets $1.75 million for upgrades

0328 - Nanaimo school district can fire up mechanical upgrades, thanks to funding from the B.C. government.

The province announced Tuesday that $65 million will go toward 176 projects, from mechanical upgrades to fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

Nanaimo will get $1.75 million for dust-collection upgrades for Dover Bay and Wellington high schools and HVAC upgrades at Park Avenue and Hammond Bay elementary schools.

THE WHOLE STORY 

Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

Missing senior Joseph Lozoff turns up safe and sound

Joseph Lozoff

0326 - RCMP seek public assistance in locating 77-year-old Joseph William Lozoff who has not been seen or heard from since January. Salvation Army New Hope Centre reported that Lozoff regularly attend the centre daily basis but in January he suddenly stopped attending.

Staff at the centre could not provide much detail other than to say he is known to use public transit and that his lifestyle could be described as transient. Investigators have been unable to find any family or friends who could say where he might be. 

Joseph Lozoff is a white male. The picture of him is five years old. He is 6'3", 205 pounds and bald with some grey hair, and has blue eyes. If you know hiss whereabouts please 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.

Victoria Road tenants win battle over reno-evictions

0328 - Several tenants of a midtown apartment building can breathe easier knowing they won't be evicted from their affordable apartments to make way for renovations.

Three tenants of 250 Victoria Rd., appealed to the Residential Tenancy Branch on March 1, about eviction notices they received in December 2017.

They claimed they were being forced out to make way for renovations, after they earlier refused the renovations and the rent increases to $900 a month.

Also concerning was the fact no renovations had started at the time of the hearing, many vacant apartments were re-rented in the same condition and only those who opposed the rent increase were given eviction notices.

Nanaimo News NOW

GOT AN OPINION? Comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

 

City looking to bring back zipline over Swy-a-lana

0328 - The City hopes a zipline from Hometown Hockey will turn into a classic attraction in Nanaimo's most high-profile park.

The City issued a call for operators to reinstall and run the zipline over Swy-A-Lana Lagoon from May through September this summer.

"We're piggybacking on the feature's success during Hometown Hockey and looking forward to re-installing the zipline...to create an extra draw for that park," the City's purchasing manager Jane Rushton said.

Nanaimo News NOW

GOT AN OPINION? Send your comment at news@nanaimonet.com

 

 

 

Extra ferry sailings added for Easter long weekend

0328 - B.C. Ferries is adding extra sailings for the Easter long weekend, with 12 additional sailings for the Departure Bay-Horseshoe Bay run between March 29 and April 3.

Good Friday, March 29, is expected to be most popular prior to the long weekend, and Easter Monday, April 2, with returning traffic.

Early-morning and late-evening discounts will be available until April 3, with standard, under-height vehicles and driver for $39 on select sailings on both Nanaimo routes

For more information, go to www.bcferries.com.

Lantzville wants an explanation on speculation tax status

0328 - Finance Minister Carole James has some explaining to do. Lantzville council voted Monday to seek a meeting with the finance minister after Lantzville was included in a provincial speculation tax and they want to know why.

The provincial government announced Monday that Lantzville and Nanaimo would continue to subject to the speculation tax. Parksville and Qualicum Beach and other centres in the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands would no longer be subject to the tax. 

NEWS BULLETIN

City used to have best travel booking agent in town

Let me get this straight – the city wants to contract a "qualified" travel agency to handle all of the city's travel needs.

I suppose that is necessary since the city parted company with the best travel agent the city ever had. Ask most former city councillors and they'll tell you Marilyn Smith was top notch.

Any time councillors planned travel to conferences or other city business, all they had to do was tell Marilyn and you could relax knowing that travel and hotels were booked. She was very efficient – as soon a the next conference was announced for a year later, Marilyn already booked the conference hotel so we did not have to spend a lot of time moving from venue to venue.

Too bad such a wrong decision was made when we had the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.

Boy rescued after going over Bowen Park falls

0327 - A young boy was wet, sore and frightened, but reportedly suffered no serious injuries after he fell over Bowen Park falls and into the Millstone River on Tuesday.

The incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. while Cole Charlie, 9, was on an outing with his family and lost his footing on the slippery rocks and fell about five metres onto the water at the base of the falls.

NEWS BULLETIN

Order of the Moose donates $500 to DARE drug program

Sgt Mattes, centre, with Lorraine Cosmacini and Sharlene Maclellan.

The local Royal Order of the Moose recently presented $500, colouring books and crayons for the local DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program. Sarah Mattes of the Nanaimo RCMP recently joined the Order, along with her husband Alex Mattes of the BC Ambulance Service. They accepted the cheque for DARE, the program supported and taught by RCMP officers, that provides youth the skills necessary to avoid drugs, and make smart choices in life. 

Open house set for Port Drive master plan

The City has been working on a master plan for the 1 Port Drive land which will set the framework for more detailed planning directions for this important waterfront area, including future land use, transportation, servicing, open space, trails and environmental protection.

A draft plan has been completed and the public can have input at an open house, Wednesday, March 28, 4 p.m. - 7 pm, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Lower Lobby (enter off Museum Way), 101 Gordon Street

MORE at Nanaimo.ca

Nanaimo stays in speculation tax zone

0327 - While some areas of the mid-island scored a reprieve from the NDP's proposed speculation tax, Nanaimo remains under the microscope due to the city's "housing crisis."

NDP Finance Minister Carole James unveiled details and changes to the proposed tax on Monday, exempting Parksville and Qualicum, redefining the local boundary to include Nanaimo-Lantzville. The tax, designed to cool housing prices and clamp down on property speculation, was first announced as applying to the entire Regional District of Nanaimo.

James said the government's analysis of Nanaimo found serious issues with the rental vacancy rate and cost of housing compared to income.

"It was very clear Nanaimo is one of those communities that is facing a crisis and that's why they're included. Large urban setting, facing a housing crisis, a real challenge when it comes to affordability issues and when it comes to the vacancy rate."

MORE

 

Still no decision on recycling exchange funding

0327 - There's a lot of talk but little action on the recycling front. City staff presented funding possibilities for the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, but neither side talked about the numbers.

A report on funding a $6.05-million request by the recycling exchange was referred to staff at Monday’s special council meeting.

A delegation from the non-profit depot told council that it was still working on compiling a business plan.

 Jan Hastings, NRE executive director, said the reason the exchange hadn’t provided financial figures was because it had been advised to keep those numbers confidential during a recent funding-request process with the Regional District of Nanaimo.

City challenges $52,000 bill for consulting services

0326 - The City is defending itself against a claim from a human resources consultant by stating that it never received any report of work alleged to have been carried out.

No binding agreement was arranged in 2015 between the city and the Integrity Group, of Vancouver, the city states in its response to a claim from the Integrity Group.

The Integrity Group claims that Nanaimo owes it $52,573 for work performed in 2015.

It said it was hired by Mayor Bill McKay in a May 2015 meeting. The hourly rate was $295 per hour and the agreement was that it would include work carried out since January of that year.
 

Marine Search and Rescue put to the test in exercise

Personnel from the Nanaimo's RCMSAR Station 27 take part in the exercise.
Merv Unger photo

0324 - What would happen if a plane crashed in Nanaimo Harbour? How prepared are our search and rescue services? Mid-Island marine rescue units were put to the test on Saturday, and we had our camera on the scene. http://rcmsar27.ca

Report claims legal fees were improperly reported

0326 -Almost $31,000 in fees paid to the firm of city manager Tracy Samra’s personal lawyer were hidden from the public, reports News Nanaimo.

Chief financial officer Victor Mema instructed city staff to go against prior practice and not include the fees in the city manager’s published expense reports, city officials confirmed.

Mr. Mema, who himself had unreported expenses, is currently suspended from his duties pending an investigation into what the city says is “an allegation of significant concern.”

More at News Nanaimo.

Pedestrian MVA claims life of Nanaimo man

 0326 - A pedestrian has died in hospital after being struck by a motor vehicle early Sunday morning. The incident occurred near the intersection of Oliver Road and Highway 19A, at approximately 1am on, Sunday March 25, 2018. The 38-year-old male was treated at the scene by attending EHS then transported to local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:15am the same day.

Police, Fire and EHS were dispatched to the scene and investigators spoke with a 27-year old female who was with the deceased prior to the collision. She told investigators they had been walking along the shoulder of the road, when her male companion, wearing dark non-reflective clothing, walked out on to the north bond lane of the road to retrieve something and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. 

The 62-year-old female driver of the vehicle and her adult passenger remained at the scene and are co-operating with investigators. Both occupants of the vehicle and the 27-year-old female and are being assisted by RCMP Victim Services.

Alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as contributing factors in relation to the driver. Investigators from the Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Unit assisted by a RCMP collision re-constructionist were on scene for several hours. One lane was closed, and was re-opened at 4am. The investigation is continuing.

 

Huge apartment complex coming to north end Nanaimo

0326 - City council has approved a covenant amendment to proceed with a 146-unit rental-housing development at 6675 Island Highway North.

The property is behind the Michaels arts and crafts store. The first phase calls for three buildings of rental housing totalling 146 units. There is also room on the property for a Phase 2, but there is no development application process under way, it could be of similar scale.

News Bulletin

 

The ongoing mess at Nanaimo city hall

0326 - New allegations have emerged about the toxic workplace at the City of Nanaimo under city manager Tracy Samra and council majority leader Bill Bestwick. Check it out on News Nanaimo.

 

 

Drugs and alcohol believed involved in fatal car crash

Nanaimo RCMP say speed and alcohol are considered factors in a crash that claimed the life of a 38-year-old passenger in a car Thursday night.

A car was travelling east on the 2000 block of Boxwood Road at about 9:30 p.m. when it collided with two parked vehicles.

“The car wiped out. It flipped over and struck two parked cars,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “The passenger was dead at the scene.”

The deceased is an unidentified 38-year-old man. The 27-year-old driver, also not identified, was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
 

Chamber offers 'people's choice' business awards

More than 200 entries are vying for 100 finalist spots in the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce 18th annual Business Awards, April 26 at the Port Theatre.

The awards gala will honour individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations that have contributed significantly to the fabric and flavour of our community.

Nominations in twenty categories are open to a “people’s choice” vote which started Friday. The public can vote online for their favourite individual, business or not-for-profit in each of the categories on the Chamber website until April 6. Nominees and voters do not have to be members of the Chamber of Commerce. The people’s choice top five will be vetted and ranked by independent judges. The process will be monitored by MNP.

This year, there is a heightened emphasis on community as exemplified by the brand partnership between the Chamber and United Way, a reminder of the Chamber’s mission statement – “Better Community Through Better Business”.

"For 60 years we've been working with local businesses to strategically invest in our community and change lives," says Signy Madden, executive director of United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. "We're proud to partner with the Chamber of Commerce in celebrating some of Nanaimo's best and brightest that are making a difference in our community."

Chamber CEO Kim Smythe says, "so many local businesses demonstrate their big hearts and natural inclination to support their community in diverse ways. This year, our awards attempt to highlight some of these contributions and considerations.”

Vote online at www.nanaimochamber.bc.ca, and enjoy the show April 26 at the Port Theatre.

Cholera discovered in local herring roe

0323 - Island Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control warn anyone who's eaten herring eggs recently to stay hydrated and safely dispose of any remaining eggs.

Medical health officer Dr. Shannon Waters told NanaimoNewsNOW vibrio cholera, which is an intestinal infection causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, was found in herring eggs over the last week-and-a-half in the Qualicum Bay and French Creek area.

Waters said this is a new, “unique” case for B.C. since the disease isn't common in the province and is typically found in places like Africa and Southeast Asia.

Nanaimo News NOW

City cancels plan for $75,000 cultural change project

0323 - A leadership and cultural change project that had been proposed by Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer has been axed by city officials.

The City of Nanaimo has cancelled a request for proposals calling for a private firm to provide 60 managers with training and coaching services as part of a leadership and corporate culture change project. 

The leadership and culture project was intended to be rolled out in three phases over a 12-month period, with an anticipated budget of $75,000. 

NEWS BULLETIN

Lantzville woodlot set to be logged

0323 - The operator of a contentious provincial woodlot in upper Lantzville says he will soon move ahead with a cut near an area beloved by local recreation enthusiasts.

Woodlot 1475 license holder John Gregson will submit a plan to the local advisory group to remove roughly four-to-eight hectares of trees from the Knarston Creek corridor.

Gregson said riparian regulations prohibit him from logging directly up to the creek and he has a longstanding history of reestablishing trails after cuts and respecting the Crown land as being open for everyone to use.

Nanaimo News NOW

Do you recognize any of these people, possibly from 2013

0321 - A resident on Turner Road called the Nanaimo RCMP on March 4 to report finding a smashed camera in their garbage bin. Investigators managed to pull off several pictures from the camera card. Several pictures are from the wedding of Jason and Jennifer and Ryker's 2nd birthday. 

Our investigators believe the wedding took place in September, 2013 in Ucluelet. However, they have been unable to locate the parties involved, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. If you know who any of these people are, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Two men arrested for robbing teenagers

0322 - Two Nanaimo men are in police custody after allegedly robbing three 14-year-old males of their belongings. The youths were not injured during the incident and their belongings have been retrieved and returned to them. The robbery took place at approximately 9 pm on Tuesday in the parking lot of business in the 4100 block Departure Bay Road.

The youth told investigators two men with their faces covered approached them and with one carrying a metal baton like object, demanded they turn over all of their belongings.  After handing over their back packs, the two suspects left in a vehicle parked nearby. The youth called 911 and were able to provide the license plate number to investigators. Less than one hour later the vehicle was spotted by investigators in the area of Pryde Ave. Officers initiated a stop of the vehicle and arrested two men who matched the description provided by the youths.

 Officers recovered the youth’s belongings from the suspect vehicle, along with a metal baton believed to have been used in the robbery. 

Zachary Edward Gordon, 19, and Sheldon Brent Grant, 31 appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court on Wednesday. They were each charged with one count of robbery while Gordon was  also charged with wearing a mask while committing an indictable offence and several breach-of-condition charges. He was remanded into custody until April 10. Grant was released on a recognizance and will also appear in Nanaimo Provincial court April 10.

City Manager Tracy Samra has a court date March 27

Tracy Samra

0322 - Nanaimo City Manager Tracy Samra has been charged in connection with an incident at city hall on Jan. 31.

She is charged with one count of fear of injury or damage to another person. A court date is set for March 27.

The charge is not a commonly used or understood action. The Criminal Code states under that charge, if a justice or summary conviction court is satisfied by the evidence, the justice or court may order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of not more than 12 months.

If there is a refusal or failure to enter into a recognizance, then the defendant may be subject to prison for a term of not more than 12 months. One news site has reported that Samra may want to challenge any such recognizance.

The court application lists nine people who have reasonable grounds to fear that Ms. Samra will cause personal injury to them.

They are Mayor Bill McKay, councillors Dianne Brennan and Sheryl Armstrong, city staff members Sheila Gurrie, Jan Kemp and Donna Stennes, former staff Brad McRae and Kim Fowler, and news reporter Dominic Jones.

City Hall squatters move tents to Barsby Park

0321- A homeless encampment has formed at a downtown park after it was shut down at  City Hall.

Several campers and some of the supplies from the tent city on the front lawn of City Hall relocated to Barsby Park near the Millstone River Wednesday afternoon. Campers moved on after the City handed out eviction notices on Tuesday.

One of the relocated campers, Mike Pinder, said he and several others plan to camp at Barsby Park for the time being.

NanaimoNewsNOW 

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange closed down

0321 - The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange has closed the gate on its location, as the non-profit group waits to find out if the City will fund a new facility.

The NRE's lease expires at its Kenworth Road facility at the end of March and the site is now closed for drop-offs. Crews were seen Wednesday morning clearing out items, which will continue through the end of the month.

NRE vice-chair Ben Geselbracht said the property will be demolished and graveled over once everything is cleared out.

MORE

City outlines recycling options for residents

0321 - As a result of the closure of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, City staff remind residents of their remaining depot disposal options.

Residents are encouraged to download the Nanaimo Recycles App from Google Play or the Apple App store in order to get a list of disposal options. These tools are also available at nanaimo.ca/goto/garbagecalendars


Police searching for suspects after house hit by gunfire

0321 - Police are searching for suspects after a Nanaimo home was hit by gunfire.

Cst. Gary O'Brien said RCMP were called around 6:15 a.m. Tuesday for a report of several shots fired at a home on Wildlife Place, off Jingle Pot Road.

He said no one in the home was injured and witnesses reported seeing a car leaving the area after the shots were heard. As well, two people were seen running away.

It appeared at least one shot hit a front window of the home.

NanaimoNews NOW

Council approves $70,000 for needle cleanup and security

0321 - The city has earmarked $70,000 to continue the needle clean-up in City parks and to improve security around an elementary school.

Council has approved $45,000 for a full-time and part-time seasonal worker to do downtown needle sweeps, clean graffiti, pick up trash and empty needle drop boxes from April 1 through the end of October. Council also green-lighted $24,000 to forge a cost-sharing deal with School District 68 to support an overnight security guard position at Pauline Haarer Elementary. That guard would also watch over Comox Park nightly through the end of 2018.

Alison Evans, the mother of two Pauline Haarer students, appeared before Council Monday to highlight the need to invest in helping to clean up the area and make it safe. 

NanaimoNewsNOW 

City hall squatters ordered to move out

0321 - Eviction notices were served as those occupying a homeless encampment on the front lawn of Nanaimo City Hall became divided over their next move.

Late Tuesday afternoon, City of Nanaimo bylaw officers went tent-to-tent handing out eviction notices, informing campers they needed to pack up and leave by 2 p.m. Wednesday. At the time, roughly 10 tents were scattered across the lawn, less than half the number that were there at the peak of the nine-day-old camp.

MORE

 

Test of the BC Emergency Alerting System, March 21

0320- On Wednesday, March 21 at 1:55PM, Emergency Management BC will conduct a test of the BC Emergency Alerting System. This is part of a Canada-wide system – Alert Ready – that allows government officials to issue public safety alerts through major television and radio broadcasters. This system will only be used during large-scale disasters or emergencies where loss of life is imminent and possible.

Please note that wireless alerts will NOT be tested at this time. Testing of wireless alerts will begin in May 2018. Learn more about wireless public alerts in BC and Alert Ready.

Flight filled with smoke lands safely at Nanaimo Airport

0320 - Passengers aboard a WestJet Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprop flying from Vancouver to Nanaimo Airport were shaken, but uninjured after the aircraft filled with smoke and made an emergency landing this afternoon, March 20.

WestJet flight 3161 was about five minutes away from Nanaimo Airport shortly before 1 p.m., when according to passengers, the cabin began to fill with a smoky haze.

MORE

Major change seen for Haliburton Street

119 Haliburton, which is zoned for five storeys with 30 or more condo units.

0320 - Haliburton Street may undergo a major transformation in the near future.

An area property owner says numerous properties are changing hands. A Vancouver-based developer is buying up much of the 100 block of the street, which is already zoned for multiple-unit housing.

The developer has bought an empty lot, zoned multi-unit at 119 Haliburton, and has also bought lot135, a vacant lot zoned multi, and 139, currently with a number of suites. A property owner on the street reports other owners have receive offers.

 

Man with handgun charged with numerous weapons offenses

0320 - A 23-year-old man has been charged with more than a dozen firearm and weapons related offences. The incident stemmed from a man with a handgun and ammunition at home in the 600 block of Seventh St, and was reported at approximately 4:30 pm on Friday. Taylor Dylan Chesal was arrested at the home early Friday night and was held in custody through the weekend.

Police were advised Chesal had been seen with the handgun and was prohibited from possessing firearms due to previous police documented incidents. As a result, several officers of the Emergency Response Team (ERT) along with General Duty officers, attended to his home. After several phone calls were made to the home, he walked out and was arrested without incident.The firearm in question was not found on him.

The home was secured and later that same evening, a search warrant was granted allowing investigators to enter and search for the firearm and other related items. Items of note found during the search included but were not limited to, an older model revolver, two boxes of ammunition, an ammunition press, gun powder, gun holster and ammunition for shotguns and rifles. A set of brass knuckles was also found and seized.

 Chesal appeared before a Nanaimo Provincial court judge on Monday and was charged with Possessing a Firearm, Possession of a Prohibited weapon (brass knuckles) and numerous charges relating to the ammunition. He was granted bail and was released with his next court date set for April 10.

Gas station owner with baseball bat chases thief 

0319 - A would-be robber beat a hasty retreat when the victim picked up a baseball and took after him. RCMP is asking forpublic assistance in identifying the man who attempted to rob the Super Save Gas gas station Saturday afternoon while armed with a knife.

Police were called after a passerby reported seeing a man being chased by man who was holding a baseball bat. When officers arrived they were met by the owner of the Super Save, who said he chased the armed suspect out of his store after he attempted to steal a display case of zippo lighters. The owner grabbed bat and when suspect saw it, darted for the door, followed closely by the owner.

The suspect is approximately 6 feet tall, dark skin and was last seen wearing a dark coat, sunglasses, hat, blue shirt, blue jeans and gloves. He was last seen running north along Wakesiah Ave. 

We do not condone the actions taken by the owner as it could have led to him being seriously injured. The best course of action is to comply and call 911, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If anyone has information on the identity of the suspect or the incident in general, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Coffee with a Cop returns April 12 at Starbucks Port Place

0319 -  A lot of people would love to have a one-on-one chat with a police officer. The Nanaimo RCMP are giving the public that opportunity, with it's ongoing series of Coffee With A Cop. And you don't even have to pay. Check this out

Alert Shoppers Drug Mart staff foil $4,000 scam attempt

0319 - A Nanaimo senior avoided being defrauded after Shoppers Drug Mart employees recognized a scam.

The woman, in her eighties, asked to purchase $4,000 in gaming cards. Given the amount asked for, the employee sensed she was being duped and asked her why she needed so many cards.

She said she had received a phone call from her son who was in financial trouble and the only way out of his mess was for her to buy $4,000 in gaming cards, called "steam cards". She was directed to send them to her son’s lawyer’s office in the Lower Mainland. The woman said she had spoken with her son’s lawyer and then an "RCMP officer" who repeated the same story.

The Shoppers Drug Mart employee told her it was a scam but she said she knew of the ITunes scam but this was real. Over the next few minutes at least four different employees attempted to convince her, to no avail. Eventually the woman told them if they would not sell her the cards, she would purchase them elsewhere.

The Shoppers employees realized they needed to act fast so they reported the incident to the police, indicating the woman would be driving to Walmart. The dispatch operator called Walmart to alert them. When she arrived she was prevented from buying the cards.

The dispatch centre and a Nanaimo RCMP officer followed up with her her by phone and only then did she realize it was a scam.

These types of scams tug at your heartstrings which is why they are so effective,  said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. To learn more about frauds and scams go to the Canadian Anti Fraud centre at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm

 
 

City seeks input on proposed parking bylaw changes

0319 - The City is seeking input on new City parking regulations from local residents, business owners and property owners at an open houseon Tuesday, April 3, from 6 to 8 pm at the Beban Social Centre. 

Participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback on a proposed new bylaw.  

Parking is a significant factor in how a city grows and develops and how citizens experience their city. More information, including an online survey, draft bylaw and highlights can be found under Parking Bylaw Review on the Projects page at www.nanaimo.ca

The purpose of the new bylaw is to achieve a more compact and walkable community as envisioned in the Official Community Plan and Transportation Master Plan. The new Parking Bylaw will regulate off-street parking requirements for vehicles and bicycles throughout Nanaimo and includes changes such as:

1) Change to parking requirement for shopping centres;
2) New bicycle parking requirements;
3) Changes to the multiple family parking requirement; and
4) New policy to evaluate parking variance requests.

The proposed bylaw includes a number of changes regarding the amount of vehicle and bicycle parking a residential or commercial development is required to provide.

School district shuffles the management deck

Nanaimo Ladysmith School District's management structure is being realigned to meet the 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling related to class size and composition.

The district announced some administrative staff responsibilities and titles change.

Tim Davie, assistant school superintendent, will become deputy superintendent; 

Robyn Gray, director of instruction, will be assistant superintendent focusing on secondary;

Laura Tait, director of instruction, will become assistant superintendent focusing on elementary.

Bob Esliger will continue as assistant superintendent of diversity, equity and student services.

The decision on a vacant director of instruction position will be be determined later. Another director of instruction position will not be replaced.

Regional district construction sees major increases

0319 - Regional District of Nanaimo residential construction growth has been higher than the provincial average in the past three years.

Tom Arnett, manager of building and bylaw services, reported a 21-per-cent increase in permit applications in 2017 over 2016 applications, and 30 per cent above the total in 2015.

Construction activity in the electoral areas was primarily in residential development, while there were relatively few non-residential building permits issued.

MORE

City looking to contract travel agency service

1319 -A dedicated travel agency that specifically caters to the travel needs of the City of Nanaimo could soon take flight.

The municipality is looking for a “qualified” travel agency provider than can provide council and staff with efficient, cost-effective and user-friendly travel service, according to a request for proposal that is currently under evaluation by staff.

Jane Rushton, the city’s purchasing manager, said the goal is to find a corporate travel service provider that can lower costs and streamline the way travel is booked across all of the city’s departments, which are currently responsible for booking their own travel itineraries.

MORE

Introducing Nanaimo's marine rescue station

New recruits get extensive training on land and water.
Merv Unger photo

0318 -When you live by the ocean emergencies are inevitable – an active search and rescue system is indispensible. Being ready 365 days a year involves a lot of ongoing, regular and challenging training. Merv Unger joined the RCM-SAR Nanaimo Station 27 on an exercise last week. Check it out here https://wp.me/p5v9O5-db

 

Nanaimo Fire Rescue calls up 10 per cent 

0317 - Nanaimo Fire Rescue reported a significant increase in callouts in 2017 – 9,665 total incidents, up more than 10 per cent from the year before.

Fire chief Karen Fry presented the statistics as part of an annual report to city councillors at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

She said over the past five years, the City of Nanaimo’s population has risen seven per cent, but fire calls have increased 38 per cent.
 
 

Nanaimo's F&M Installations gets $33-million Site C contract

0317 - A Nanaimo company has been awarded a $33-million contract for the Site C dam project. F&M Installations Ltd. will build the South Bank substation, in the Fort St. John area, for the $10.7-billion project in B.C.’s Peace region.

B.C. Hydro announced the successful bid today, March 16.

“B.C. Hydro has been a major client for more than 32 years and FMI is very pleased and proud of our team,” said Mike Crucil, F&M Installations’ CEO.
 

 

300 dead rabbits pickup by Nanaimo Animal Control

0317 - Approximately 300 dead rabbits have been picked up by Nanaimo Animal Control. Pound Co-ordinator Carley Colclough said there has been a marked increase, with reports around the Westwood Road area, Maffeo Sutton Park and the hospital.

Six rabbit carcasses from the Nanaimo area were submitted by the province for testing and all died due to the virus, said Helen Schwantje, wildlife veterinarian with the ministry of forests. She said the virus is native to domestic rabbits of European origin and pet rabbits are at risk.

News Bulletin 

City may have to wait quite a while for housing funds

Leonard Krog, MLA

0316 - Nanaimo MLA Leonard Krog says the city may have to wait "quite a while on suppportive housing funding from the provincial government. There are other communities that are prepared and have the sites. Nanaimo apparently had only one," he said.

Since the province pulled $7 million for a supportive housing project in Chase River, several councillors tried to calm critics by pointing to a second round of cash on the way from the government.

Krog said missing out on the funding was bad news for the community on several fronts.

"I think people were surprised how quickly my government was prepared to move on this. We see homelessness and housing as a crisis and it is a crisis. Clearly Nanaimo either wasn't prepared or didn't think we were serious," he said.

Nanaimo News NOW

Recycling depot set to shutdown

The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will closr, temporarily or permanently.

Ben Geselbracht, vice-chairman of the non-profit NRE, said although a timeline hasn’t been finalized, “there’s no available options to avoid a discontinuation of service.”

Representatives from the recycling exchange went before the City of Nanaimo’s committee of the whole on Monday to ask for $6.05 million to build a facility at a lot on Kenworth Road, but city councillors said they couldn’t make that decision without a business plan from the NRE and asked staff to look into funding options.

News Bulletin - 0316

Port Authority changing focus on cruise ships coming here

Star Princess has a Nanaimo stopover in April.

A decline in cruise ship visists has the Nanaimo Port Authority looking to attract smaller ships.

This summer's schedule shows only two large ships will visit. In 2016 and 2017, six ships stopped here, up from the three in 2015.

David Mailloux, communications director for the Port Authority, said the port isn't getting the numbers they'd like and are trying to tap into a different market to boost ship visits. The port wants to attract more small ships which cater to more intimate adventures.

“It's the experiences, like Newcastle Island, something involving a smaller group and you get a little more personalized service, a better experience you can bring home and maybe draw you back. We have to see ourselves as a niche product area because that's where some of the lines are going.”

Nanaimo News NOW - 0316

Daily needle cleanup strategy in the making

The City needs is looking for a new strategy to clean up needles from parkss.

Manager of parks operations Al Britton confirmed daily needle sweeps at problem parks, being performed by parks staff, will soon end. He said his department can handle the clean up workload right now but by the end of the month at the latest they'll need to resume spring and summer duties, like grass cutting and tending to flower beds.

Staff sweep 10 "hot spot" parks each morning, with an additional pass of Comox Park in the evening due to it being used as the playground for nearby Ecole Pauline Haarer.

MORE 0315

School district looks at Rutherford-area bus route

Nanaimo school district will look at expanding school bus service around Frank J. Ney Elementary to accommodate students being displaced from Rutherford Elementary.

The board voted Wednesday to have staff to study a bus route that would be an extension of an existing route.

Chairman Steve Rae said the district decided to fast-track a response because of possible budget implications.

"There’s real, real concern from parents that the walk is just too difficult and with the congestion, people are going to end up driving their children…” said Trustee Tania Brzovic. “We just really need to know what our options would be for a bus.”
 
MORE - 0315

Woman charged after liquor store theft with cleaver

A 31-year-old Nanaimo woman was arrested Wednesday after a meat cleaver was pulled during a robbery at a liquor store.

Nanaimo RCMP report police were called to the Quarterway Liquor Store at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, just after store staff confronted a woman for allegedly stealing alcohol. The woman pulled out a meat cleaver during the confrontation and then she and her male companion ran out of the store.

 MORE 0315

Regional district opposes real estate speculation tax

Elected representatives and real estate agents in the Nanaimo region fear a vacant home tax proposed by the B.C government could be detrimental.

The speculation tax included in the 2018 budget would apply to vacant and short-term rental properties owned by non-B.C. residents, with principal residences and long-term properties exempt, the province said in a press release. A non-refundable income tax credit would be available to “offset the tax” for residents of B.C., it said.

The Regional District of Nanaimo board expressed concern at a March 13 meeting. Bill Veenhof, RDN board chairman, said there has been no consultation or communication between the province and RDN and the district will be hamstrung, as it doesn’t apply to neighbouring districts. Despite the tax credit, it could be problematic, he said.

MORE 0315

Davidson suing city over his dismissal

A former manager is suing the city, saying he was denied the opportunity to earn a full pension. 

Rod Davidson was the bylaw, regulation and security manager when he was fired in September 2017. At the time, Nanaimo's director of human resources John Van Horne told NanaimoNewsNOW it wasn't “a commentary on Rod's work performance” and was part of a corporate restructuring.

The notice of civil claim states Davidson was fired without cause and without notice and it has to do with his pension.

The claim said in September when he was fired, Davidson was two-and-a-half months away from reaching his five-year milestone with the City. In those five years, he would have made the most money ever in his career, which affects how much pension he would receive.

MORE - 0314 

Malcolmson disapointed with derelict vessel program

Sheila Malcolmson, MP

Money announced by the federal government to help deal with derelict vessels is not nearly enough, says Nanaimo-Ladysmith Member of Parliament Sheila.

Malcolmson reacted after a $1.3-million announcement Monday by Transport Minister Marc Garneau for removal of and education around derelict vessels in Canada. The funding will also be used to create a complete inventory of abandoned vessels assessing risk levels across Canada, which he said has never been done before. 

“Today's announcement for 21 vessel removals, two-and-a-half years into this government's term after they've been promising from day one that they were going to take action on this issue, honestly is a bit of a disappointment,” Malcolmson said during a conference call.

MORE 0314

 

Tent camp at city hall continues to grow

Unrest is growing outside the doors of Nanaimo City Hall as tents remain on the property in protest of homelessness. The number of tents has doubled.

Most tents were occupied and the lawn was abuzz with activity as supporters dropped by to share words of support and also as drivers rolled through saying the homeless needed to get jobs and should be ashamed of themselves.

Organizers met with City staff Tuesday morning discussing options about the protest and some possible solutions.

Nanaimo News NOW 0314

City open to discussions on Lantzville water agreement

Nanaimo city council is prepared to listen if Lantzville wants to renegotiate a multi-year water agreement with Nanaimo

Lantzville and Nanaimo signed a $1.3-million water supply deal in 2014 that would see Nanaimo provide water to 225 homes in upper Lantzville that are already on the district’s municipal water system. The 20-year deal, which has not been triggered, also allows for 50 new development connections a year plus the option for an additional 211 connections made to residents on private wells for a cost of $5,900.

MORE 0314

Protesters tackle city hall over housing funding loss

A mini tent city has formed at City Hall after millions of dollars in social housing pegged for Nanaimo was lost.

Protesters arrived at City Hall Monday morning and pitched four tents on the front lawn facing Wallace St. The movement is in response to the province reallocating $7 million worth of funding earmarked for a modular supportive housing project in Chase River, which was rejected by City Council following fierce scrutiny.

MORE 0312 

Senior staff committee assumes city management role

Senior staff at Nanaimo City Hall have formed a leadership committee to fill void after the CAO and CFO went on indefinite leave. City Clerk Sheila Gurrie, director of community development Dale Lindsay and director of human resources John Van Horne will lead the City for the time being.

“They are all very competent managers,” said Mayor Bill McKay. “Council certainly appreciates the effort that they're putting forward to pull together and to do the work that's requested of them by Council.”

MORE - 0310 -

News site says Mema used city credit card for personal use

Victor Mema

News Nanaimo reports on its website that chief financial officer Victor Mema spent thousands of dollars on personal vacations and other ineligible expenses on his city credit card.

 News Nanaimo has also learned that city manager Tracy Samra approved a loan to Mr. Mema from the city when he couldn’t repay the municipality for his personal spending.

He has been repaying the loan — believed to be interest free — in installments, reliable sources said. The most recently available figures show Mr. Mema was paid a $162,000 salary in 2016.

MORE DETAILS 0309 

Gas tax money for Pollution Control Centre upgrades

The Regional District of Nanaimo will get $6 million in federal gas tax money for wastewater upgrades at the Pollution Control Centre.

The $81.7-million project will see construction of secondary treatment facilities at the Hammond Bay Road centre, allowing wastewater to be treated with micro-organisms, which in turn will lessen the effluent’s impact on the environment.

MORE DETAILS 0309

Ottawa ready to pitch in for waterfront walkway expansion

Merv Unger photo

Nanaimo could receive millions of dollars in federal funding to help build the next stretch of the waterfront walkway.

The federal government has conditionally allocated $3.8 million from the federal gas tax fund toward the walkway project, a $41-million, multi-phased plan that would see the seawall extended between Departure Bay and the Nanaimo River Estuary over a 10-year period.

 MORE 0309

City has lost $7.5 million for housing project

A lesson in how to make $7.25 million go "poof". The province has denied the city's request for an extension to take advantage of provincial funding for supportive housing.

Coun. Jerry Hong told the NEWS BULLETIN that the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has decided to reallocate $7.25 million in funding, which had initially been announced for a 44-unit modular supportive-housing project at 1425 Cranberry Rd., to another community.

The Chase River project was rejected by councillors in late February. It was to be a partnership between B.C. Housing, Pacific Housing and the city and would have broken ground this year.

MORE 0309

Charges laid against man arrested with use of police car

UPDATE 0307-  33-year-old Kym Robert ARKELL of Nanaimo has been remanded into custody until March 27th, 2018 after making an appearance in Nanaimo Provincial court today. ARKELL has been charged with Uttering Threats, Obstruction, Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public Peace, Resisting Arrest and Breach of Probation.

His next court appearance will be by way of video conferencing.

EARLIER - A 33-year-old Nanaimo man with a propensity for violence, weapons and unpredictable behaviour sustained minor injuries today after Nanaimo Mounties used a police vehicle to assist in his arrest.

The man received only minor scrapes and bruises but was, however, transported to hospital where he received treatment for his injuries. He was then taken to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. The incident occurred in the vicinity of the Participaction Park near Beban Park.

Just before 10 am today, a Nanaimo RCMP officer was on patrol when he saw the man, whom he knew was arrestable on breach charges. As the officer approached on foot and told the male he was under arrest, the suspect pulled out a knife, told the officer he would kill him and then ran in the opposite direction. The officer, who had previous violent encounters with the man, produced his firearm and pursued the suspect. The officer alerted other officers that the suspect was armed and was headed toward a playground filled with young children and their parents.

 Another officer soon arrived, and taking into consideration many factors, which included his safety, the safety of nearby children and any unsuspecting pedestrians, decided to strike the male, at low speed, with the front of his police vehicle. The suspect flipped onto the hood and fell to the ground. The officer was able to take the suspect into custody and seize the knife he had. 

The suspect is facing numerous charges with include, but are not limited to, several Breach of condition charges, Possession of Weapon and Uttering Threats.

Province rejects plan to use DDCs for parks projects

The provincial government has said no to the city 's plan to use development cost charge funds for seven proposed park projects that were not eligible for inclusion in the bylaw. Council approved third reading of a revised bylaw Monday.

A staff report said the projects were not eligible under a proposed bylaw which got third reading in December.

MORE - 0308

New tax puts Parksville development in jeopardy

The  speculation tax announced in the provincial budget is causing havoc in real estate industry. A $30-million investment in Parksville now hangs in the balance.

Randy Trapp, vice-president of Sunrise Resort Parksville Ltd., told NanaimoNewsNOW they have major concerns about the future of their development. The company has a permit to add 64 townhouse units, which would more than double their existing footprint on the 10-acre property

He said in early February they hit their pre-sale target to begin construction but the tax has resulted in cancellation of pre-sale contracts to the point where it no longer meets the threshold and the future of the project is in jeopardy.

MORE 0308 

Youth arrested after shooting spree with pellet gun

RCMP arrested a teen Wednesday after a shooting spree with a pellet gun at various locations.

It started Wednesday afternoon, when a 14-year-old was skateboarding on the E&N Trail. A pellet struck a car heading south on the highway.

A short time later, another car was shot at near Rock City Plaza, resulting in one of its window being shattered. Then a window was shot at the Mercedes and BMW dealership on Kenworth Road.

Police chased the suspect to the Wellington Pub area where they arrested the youth, who they say is well-known to them.

MORE 0308

Saywell picked to become school district superintendent

Nanaimo school district has reached into its own ranks to find a new superintendent – Scott Saywell will assume the role of superintendent and chief executive officer whe John Blain retired in August.

The announcement was made by board chairman Steve Rae announced on Wednesday.

Blain will retire in August after about four decades working in education, including 20 years in Nanaimo. The school district has been involved in finding his replacement since September. 

MORE 0307

School board looks at option for Woodlands Secondary

Goggle Maps

0307 - Nanaimo school district will consider the fate of Woodlands Secondary, including possibly putting it up for sale.

The school district recently released an asset management document the school board approved, showing properties it plans to hold onto, those with short-term opportunities and others it could possibly get rid of.

MORE

Downtown events get $150,000 in grants

0307 - Downtown events got a big financial boost this week. City council approved  $150,000 worth of downtown event grant money from the city’s Downtown Event Revitalization Funding Program.

The $150,000 will be distributed to 30 events, which had until Jan. 29 to apply for the grant through the revitalization funding program.

MORE

New distracted driving fines now in effect

0307 - March is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in the province of British Columbia. As a result, police are stepping up their distracted driving enforcement throughout Metro Vancouver in order to crack down on offenders.

In addition, this months hails in the introduction of stiffer fines for those caught breaking the law. Specifically, a driver caught twice in a three-year period will get up to $2,000 in fines as well as points. This makes the new fine a staggering $750 more than the previous one.

MORE

Senior staff filling mandated city posts

TWo senior staff members are fulfilling official roles in the city administration in the absence of the CAO and CFO. The Community Charter mandates the city have a corporate and financial officer, but does not require a municipality to have a CAO.

McKay said those mandatory roles will be filled by city clerk Sheila Gurrie and accounting services manager Laura Mercer.

He thanked staff for their "resiliency" through an "unusual situation."

McKay said he would not comment on specific staff members due to privacy laws, but promised swift action on the personnel matters.

MORE

City asks for more time on south end housing project

0306 -City Council has asked the provincial government for an extension on the controversial Chase River supportive housing project.

A letter from the Mayor, sent to the ministry of municipal affairs and housing, said the “timeframe afforded by the Provincial program for our community to identify an approved site to accommodate the proposed modular housing, is just not achievable.”

The project, a $7 million, 44-unit supportive housing complex planned for Cranberry Ave. in Chase River, was controversial for many reasons. Members of the community had their voice heard over the location near a school, the lack of available services in the area and a lack of clarity over who would stay in the housing complex.

 

Bestwick claims he was misquoted on call for outside help

Coun. Bill Bestwick

0306 - Councillor Bill Bestwick says he was misquoted in a newspaper report, but CUPE, the mayor and councillors are rejecting suggestions that the city's finance department needs training on best practices and help from an outside firm.

The reaction followed comments made by coun. Bill Bestwick days after the City's chief financial officer was suspended over unspecified allegations.

In newspaper comments, Bestwick suggested while he didn't feel the province needed to step in and help the City, he would like to see a reputable financial firm come in and run the finance department on an interim basis.

Nanaimo News NOW

McLean Mill steam train back on track for 2018

Photo submitted

0306 -Port Alberni’s steam train will run again in 2018. Concern about two trestles prevented the train from running line between the train station on Kingsway Avenue and McLean Mill National Historic Site after the B.C. Safety Authority refused to sign off on operations over the trestles. 

MORE

Nanaimo business couple awarded $1.7 million by court

0305 - After years of hardship, a lengthy legal battle and having their names dragged through the mud, a Nanaimo family has triumphed in a legal battle against the Canada Revenue Agency.

In a B.C. Supreme Court decision published on March 2 by the Honourable Justice Robert Punnett, Tony and Helen Samaroo, who own the MGM restaurant, a night club and also a hotel, were awarded nearly $1.7 million.

The 90-page ruling showed the Samaroos were “wrongfully and maliciously persecuted” by the Canada Revenue Agency during a lengthy court case.

Nanaimo News NOW

The race for mayor

Whom would you support for mayor in the next Nanaimo civic election? Have your say, click on Today's Topic at http://www.nanaimonet.com/433324989

 

Accounting Services Manager Laura Mercer filling in

0304 -  The city's finance department is in good hands despite the suspension of Chief Financial Officer Victor Mema last week. News Nanaimo is reporting that Laura Mercer, the city manager of accounting services, automatically takes over the finance department under a council resolution approved last year.

Mercer has been with the city since 2001. She is a registered Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) in B.C. and is one of two deputy financial officers appointed by resolution on June 19, 2017.

Sunday news briefs

FIRE DESTROYED a house in the 4100 block of Orchard Circle overnight. Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews were called at 11:50 p.m. Saturday and arrived to a fully-involved fire.

NANAIMO FIRE RESCUE extinguished a fire at a homeless camp near Coal Tyee Elementary School on Saturday afternoon.

REDEVELOPMENT of the Madill site will continue as planned after Nanaimo city council gave third reading to a zoning amendment bylaw after a public hearing.

 

 

 

Everyone lines up for the herring fishery

PQB News photo

0304 - It's March and that means one thing on the West Coast – it's herring season. Commercial fishermen lined up their boats along the coast of Parksville Qualicum Beach Saturday to scoop up tonnes of herring. And everyone else was there, the seagulls, seals, photographers and the young and old general public.

The annual herring fishery opening was called on Saturday, blessed with warm and sunny weather.

MORE in the PQ News

Saturday news in Brief

0303- Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguished a fire at a homeless camp near Coal Tyee Elementary School on Saturday afternoon.

Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer Tracey Samra remains on paid leave from her duties one month after an incident of alleged threats uttered at city hall. 

 A car crashed into the side of a McDonald’s Saturday morning. Fire Rescue and B.C. Ambulance Service responded to the McDonald’s restaurant at Bowen Road and Dufferin Crescent at about 10:50 a.m.  

Mema suspended pending internal investigation

Victor Mema

0302 - Nanaimo's Chief Financial Officer Victor Mema has been suspended pending an internal investigation. The suspension was issued by council after a closed meeting.

Mema also served as the acting CAO in the absence of Tracey Samra who is on leave from her job. The city is now without an active Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Financial Officer and a Chief Operating Officer.

No further details are available at this time, but as soon as they become available we'll have them here.

For more details, see Nanaimo News NOW's report

 

That cell phone call while driving could cost you $543

File photo

0302 -  You still think it's cool to talk on the phone while driving? If you do, it could cost you. RCMP are stepping up their fight against distracted driving.

This is Distracted Driving Month, an effort led by Nanaimo RCMP and ICBC, which includes increased police enforcement. Nanaimo RCMP said their officers will devote more attention to distracted driving this month, which could lead to expensive fines.

“We'll be targeting people specifically on their cell phones or using electronic devices, we'll be partnering with our community volunteers,” said  Cpl. Terry Crawford.

Tickets for first-time offenders using electronic devices while driving are $543.

Nanaimo News NOW

Police looking for owner of found rifle

0302 - The Nanaimo RCMP is in possession of a Savage Model 11 Bolt action rifle which was turned into the detachment in late February, after being found in some bushes in the 3000 block of Jingle Pot Road.

The rifle has a trigger lock and shoulder sling attached. It also appeared to the investigators, from where it was found, that the rifle had been intentionally placed in the bushes. No reports however were filed with the Nanaimo RCMP concerning a theft of rifle matching this description.

If you believe this rifle is yours, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you have any information on where originated and you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

 

Mid-island rabbit owners warned about deadly virus

0302 - Rabbit owners in the Nanaimo area are asked to take precautions after numerous dead and diseased feral rabbits were found on the campus of Vancouver Island University, and in the Rotary Bowl area.

Three rabbits sent to the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford were determined to have died of rabbit haemorrhagic disease, caused by a calicivirus. It is suspected that others have died as a result of the disease as well. More rabbits will be tested in the coming days.

Additional electron-microscope testing is underway. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has been informed.

Rabbit haemorrhagic disease is an extremely infectious and lethal disease of rabbits. It is the third confirmed diagnosis of this virus in Canada, and the first in British Columbia. The disease is exclusive to rabbits. Other animals, including dogs and cats, cannot be infected.

While there is no threat to humans, the public is advised not to release domestic rabbits into the wild at any time.

As well, rabbit owners should take precautions when disposing of any rabbit remains, and contact their veterinarian for more information. Rabbit calicivirus is a pathogen, which affects only European rabbits, not native rabbits.

 

Nanaimo crew rescues four after boat sinks

0228 - Nanaimo-based Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue 27 rescued four people on Valdes Island Tuesday afternoon after their boat was swept out to sea.

The crew was training near Silva Bay when the call came for “wet People on the beach”

The Nanaimo crew was tasked by Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre and went to Cradale Point where they found four people on the beach, one with head injuries and all were wet. They had been salvaging their belongings and equipment from the water.

The crew loaded them and their gear into the MacGregor and transported them to Ladysmith. They were warmed up and their health was assessed on the trip to Ladysmith. An ambulance was called for the injured person.

A coast Guard vessel arrived as the MacGregor crew was leaving the site. The RCMSAR crew suggested that they could ensure the sunken boat was secure, it had been tied to a tree on shore, and to evaluate the full tank of fuel on the boat.  

UPDATE Suspect in scamming investigation in custody

Jordan Shepherd

0301 - Jordan David Shepherd, who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, was arrested without incident by Nanaimo RCMP early this morning.

Ladysmith RCMP issued the warrant for Shepherd’s arrest Wednesday.

 Shepherd, 34, of Nanaimo, was wanted for allegedly defrauding numerous women he dated in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and New Westminster.

 

EARLIER STORY

0228 - A 34-year-old Nanaimo man who dupes women of their money is wanted on numerous fraud charges including a Canada-wide warrant issued by Ladysmith RCMP. The Nanaimo RCMP believe there could be other victims and are asking them to come forward.

Jordan David Shepherd is wanted on five counts of Fraud under $5,000 from Nanaimo, one count of fraud from Ladysmith and another fraud charge stemming from New Westminster. All of the allegations occurred between February and August, 2017. 

 It is alleged Shepard, who sometimes goes by the name "Dave Rofter”, befriends women ranging from their mid twenties to early thirties, whom he meets in person, on social media or through “Plenty of Fish" a free dating site. Within in days, Shepherd asks the woman to deposit a cheque for him, in their account, for an amount ranging from $1,000 to $1,600, The cheque is written on his purported business account called "On the Rocks Surveying”. 

Shepherd often tells the women he either lost his bank card or he left it with a family member and could not access it. After she cashes the cheque and withdraws the money from her account, Shepard disappears. In all cases the women were later notified by their bank that “ On the Rocks Surveying” was not an account and that it did not even exist. Only then did they realize they had been duped.  

 "Some of the women who fell prey to Shepherd have taken to social media to warn other women of his actions. We too wish to warn others and hopefully encourage any who have not come forward yet, to do so. Shepherd needs to held accountable for his actions," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. 

Jordan David Shepherd is from Nanaimo and may be in the Lower Mainland. He is 6'. 1", weighs approximately 230 pounds and has blonde hair and blue eyes. Shepherd has a tattoo of a Crown on his right wrist and another of “No Regrets” on his right upper arm.

If you have information on his  whereabouts please 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.