May and June 2017

June 29, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Are you ready to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this weekend? There are a lot of things on tap in the downtown area, including fireworks. Festivities start Saturday morning at the Vancouver Island Military Museum with the dedication of the Bofors gun from HMCS Nanaimo at 9:30 a.m. at the Military Museum. The parade of flags is at 10:30 at Swyalana Park, followed by Canada 150 entertainment all afternoon. It’s capped off with fireworks over the harbour at about 10 p.m.

Idle thoughts of an idle fellow – how many of us were around for the (100) Centennial celebrations in 1967 and realized that two of my children were already around at that time. Have a great time, and Happy Birthday Canada.

 Operating this website has a lot of perks, not the least of which is that I can see exactly how many times each page has been viewed. Since we launched in January, more than 61,000 people have signed on to Nanaimonet.com, and our news and commentary pages have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. That is particularly enlightening when checking the pages of the candidates in the July 8 Byelection. It appears voters are doing their homework before going to the polls. I’ll be anxious to compare the popularity here to the actual voting numbers. To date, one candidate is getting ahead of the pack with a lot of page visits, then there’s a group bunched in the middle along with the also-rans, about what you can expect on voting day.

ONE LAST THING - A note to the candidates, if you want to post any additional messages on your page, please send all material to news@nanaimonet.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Hats off to the Chamber of Commerce for an excellent all-candidates meeting Tuesday night for the July 8 city byelection. Eleven of the 13 candidates attended to answer questions for the crowd of more than 350 people who showed up.

The attendance was probably the most encouraging part, demonstrating the amount of interest by the electorate. Hopefully that translates into the number of people who show up to vote. Most of the candidates acquitted themselves well, even though some were obviously not well informed on rules that municiaplities operate under. Affordable housing was a popular topic that candidates gravitated toward without providing any workable solutions. In other words, all in favour of it but not saying how they would do it.

The chamber of commerce used an excellent format for the forum, allowing all candidates to answer each of the questions, thereby balancing out the responses rather than some candidates gaining the spotlight. When all was said and done, about four or five candidates had made a good argument to be our next city councillor for 16 months, at which time we will do it all over again in the full civic election. Regardless of who wins on July 8, a number of new prospects emerged, giving hope for future elections.

In the meantime, get ready to swing into full election mode on the provincial scene as the parties continue to play political games rather than focusing on running the province properly.

 ONE MORE THING - Tomorrow morning (Thursday, June 29, 10 to 11 am) the RCMP will hold the inaugural Coffee with a Cop at Save On Foods in Brooks Landing Mall. In recent years Coffee with a Cop has been adopted by a number of police agencies across North America as a means to increase communication with the general public in an informal setting. A number of police officers with diversified backgrounds, service and expertise from the local Detachment will be on hand to answer any and all of your questions.

 

 

 

June 27, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - It should not be necessary to keep repeating this warning, but with temperatures expected to remain in double digits for the foreseeable future, RCMP remind us what to do if you come across an animal left unattended in a parked vehicle. 

 “We understand and appreciate how the public must feel when they see any animal left unattended in a parked vehicle. We must stress though, the over whelming majority of these calls are often resolved successfully without any injury to the animal when the finder takes a few minutes to locate the owner,” says Constable Gary O’Brien.

Animal Control and the SPCA have NO authority to remove an animal from a vehicle and will contact the RCMP if it is necessary to do so. Follow this check list before contacting any of the aforementioned agencies

  • Is the vehicle parked in the direct sun (feel the hood), is there some shade?
  • Are the windows down, does the animal have air flow and water?
  • How long have you observed the animal for?
  • How is animal behaving? (panting, lying down, barking, vomiting, etc.) 
  • Have you tried to find the owner by going to nearby stores, having the owner paged by vehicle description and plate number, inquiring with nearby pedestrians or others? 

 “If you observe an animal shaking uncontrollably, appears lethargic or has lost co-ordination, it is most likely in distress and thus, warrants the attendance of the RCMP”,  adds O’Brien.   

The city has recently instituted a bylaw where if it is determined the interior temperature of the vehicle has exceeded 23 degrees Celsius and/or there is no ventilation, the operator of the vehicle could be subject to a $500 fine and their animal may be seized.

If you have any questions about animal care or the signs of heat distress, please call the local Animal Control at 250-754-1397. Better still, during the hot days of summer, all animals should be left at home and not in vehicles.

June 26, 2017

Jamie Brennan

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s time to get this puppy barking again. There are so many things going on in our community we have to keep a careful watch on. What bugs me this morning is the arrogance of our school board which is short changing the citizens of Nanaimo and area. It should be up to the voters to decide, not an inner clique at the school board. They are denying us the input of one of the people we elected to serve on that board. The politically-motivated censuring of Trustee Jamie Brennan is way beyond the pale and needs to be revisited. Our city council has a particular interest group influencing things, and so does the school board. The school board is now hiding behind a veil of secrecy. It’s way past time that both these groups take a step back and govern for all the people, not just some favorite cliques.

 Tuesday (June 27) is the day for the all-candidates forum for the July 8 Nanaimo council byelection. Those who say they have to no on whom to vote for, this is the opportunity to get a first-hand look at all of them. Starting at 6 p.m. at Beban Park you’ll be able to meet the candidates personally, and then at 7 p.m. all of them will have an opportunity to address the community.

 Hats off to Marilyn Sullivan and the Autism Society of Central Vancouver Island for creating a library of materials to educate the community on autism. The society has provided books, CDs, DVDs, games and toys related to autism for loan from Volunteer Nanaimo’s 3148 Barons Rd. location. Check it out.

 Water and future development are among the big issues for Lantzville, and both topics will be front and centre at an open house on Wednesday (June 28). District staff and representatives from Lanarc Consultants will provide an update on their ongoing water master plan and official community plan update. If you want to know more, go to www.lantzville.ca.

 

 

 

June 22, 2017 

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Heading into Canada Day celebrations next weekend reminds us that the city council byelection is just a week and a few days behind - July 8. A number of gatherings have been held to meet the candidates, and there's the Chamber of Commerce all-candidates session yet to come - next Tuesday June 27. Helping to arrange the program it's coming to be quite a challenge getting 13 candidates to all have their say and for the public to ask questions. It would be a good idea to e-mail your questions to the Chamber of Commerce so they can be sorted for equal presentation time for the candidates. In the meantime, look at the candidate profiles, provided by them, on this site under the byelection heading.

Having access to the number of people who have been looking at each of the pages, it's a fairly equal distribution, but with one candidate drawing considerably more interest than any of the others. The bottom line is that all this means nothing if voters stay at home and don't vote, so inform yourself, get to know about the candidates and then make sure you go out and vote.

 HAVE A NICE DAY and remember, you're never too old to learn something stupid.

Greg Sakaki

0613 - Greg Sakaki is the new news editor of The Nanaimo News Bulletin. Greg has worked for Black Press for more than 14 years, including the last 13 years as sports editor of the News Bulletin. Sean McCue, publisher of the News Bulletin, said Sakaki has proven to be talented and hard-working.

“Extremely reliable and dedicated, he cares deeply about the newspaper and always strives to do his very best to serve our readers and clients with high-quality work. Greg is an award-winning journalist and well-respected in the community,” McCue said. “We are very proud of his promotion to editor, certainly well-deserved and we know he will do a fantastic job in the years ahead.”

SEE MORE

June 7, 2017

 GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - If you want to help out a local organization, Island Savings is offering $50,000 to three non-profit organizations to help create a better future for children and families. Nanaimo Community Hospice Society has requested $50,000 for the creation of a "Children's mobile Grief Therapy" vehicle (the griefmobile) which would be available at schools, day-cares, and in the event of a crisis, would be on site to help those children in grief. In order to be considered as a finalist, they need as many people as possible to vote on their  project, as only the top few will be selected for the next round. They need your help to get us there!

Voting can be accessed through: www.islandsavings.ca/#simplegenerosity

Click on the line under Community Grant "Help an organization in your community to win $50,000-vote today"

Vote Now

Scroll down to our logo and photo of a grieving family

Click any of the 3 emoji's to register your vote for the Hospice project.

 TUBBING PARTY - The Chamber of Commerce is making sure that the ever-popular downtown summer celebration known as ‘Bathtub Days Street Fair’ will continue during the 2017 Marine Festival. Two days of festivities will take place on Commercial Street and in the Victoria Crescent area. Saturday morning’s “Sail Past on Wheels” parade will be one feature of the weekend’s celebration. The parade gets underway Saturday with a 10:30 am start time. The parade is one way that the celebrations can touch on all three of the recognized downtown neighbourhoods including the Old City Quarter, Victoria Crescent and Commercial Street. Kudos to the Chamber for jumping into the breech with the end of the DNBIA. “We’re working with Commercial Street merchants,  Victoria Crescent Association, the Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society, and Old City Quarter Association to help make this all work.” says Kim Smythe, Chamber President & CEO.

 RCMP TORCH RUN - The seventh annual Nanaimo RCMP Law Enforcement Torch Run, in support of BC Special Olympics is set to go for Saturday June 24, 12 pm at Maffeo Sutton Park with registration opening at 10 am. The LETR has become a popular community event bringing together not only supporters of Special Olympics and law enforcement, but community minded people and families for a fun filled event.Cost of the event is $20 dollars which includes a green T-shirt with a gold logo. The 5 k walk, run or stroll meanders around Nanaimo's seawall, beginning and ending at Maffeo Sutton Park. To get the participants ramped up for the event, music will be music provided by RSM DJ Services. Afterwards, help yourself to a BBQ by donation run by RCMP and Special Olympic volunteers. Registration is free for children under the age Of 12. To register on line please go to http://sobc.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1172571   or just show up and register on Saturday.

 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

RCMP officers from across Vancouver Island have been recongized for their work in getting impaired drivers off local roads.

Six Nanaimo RCMP officers have been recognized for their dedication and commitment in removing impaired drivers from the community. Officers who removed a minimum of 12 drivers impaired by either drugs or alcohol in 2016 were selected to Alexa Team, in memory of 4-year-old Alexa Middelaer, killed by an impaired driver in 2008.

The Nanaino members : Cst Wayne Vaughan, Cst Mihai Ilioi, Cst Aaron Anderson, Cpl Norm Smith (retired), Cpl Phyllis Nielsen and Sgt Glen Caston.

"Impaired driving affects all of us. Losing a loved one to another's selfish act of driving while impaired, is lasting and devastating. These officers are doing their part to keep their communities safe," says Constable Gary O'Brien.

If you see a suspected impaired driver, call 911 immediately. Do not wait. Provide the license plate number, direction of travel and where it is occurring. Your actions can save lives.

 HOLD ON THERE - Due to unforeseen circumstances, the first Coffee with a Cop originally scheduled for Tuesday June 13th has been cancelled. The new time will be Thursday June 29th 10 am-11 am. The location has not changed and will be held at Save On Foods, Brooks Landing Mall located at 2000 Island Highway North Nanaimo.

The Nanaimo RCMP apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

 

Monday, June 5, 2017

 GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re back in the saddle after a week of taking a close look at Washington D.C. Went to the White House, the National Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Korea Memorial and Arlington Cemetery. Who knew there was a Canadian section, with a monument, recognizing Canadian military heroes?

 AN EYE OPENER - Coming in on the 5:15 a.m. sailing of the Tsawwassen ferry Friday morning provided an inspirational panorama of Nanaimo. With the sun peering over the southeastern skyline at that time of day, the four majestic freighters framed a beautiful scene as it unfolded with two separate float plane departures rising over Protection Island, heading toward Vancouver. While gliding toward Duke Point, there’s the Gabriola Island ferry chugging across the harbour. A tug boat with a huge load adds to the magnificence. Resting in the harbor was a big cruise ship, tied up at the Cruise Ship Centre. In the distance to the left, the steam rising from the stacks at Harmac, reflected in the sun, reminds of the day coming to life. What a way to start the day after hours of frustration at what is described as Toronto’s airport.

 SELLING NANAIMO – The recent bumpy road for tourism promotion in Nanaimo raises the question about who does the best job of promoting our city? Open to suggestions, but I would pick Nanaimo’s realtors who post great photos and properties on the Internet for all to see. This caught my eye when I saw Marilynn Kennedy’s site http://www.islandwaterfronts.ca

  BAKER’S DOZEN - It’s not totally unexpected, but by nomination deadline time there were a baker’s dozen of candidates for the vacant city council seat – 13 citizens offering their services to the community in the July 8 byelection. Only one will be the winner on voting day. To help the community become aware of who they are and what they represent, your daily news at http://www/Nanaimonet.com has set up a section for the byelection, with space available to all candidates to post their platforms and bios. All they need to do is send a photo and the printed material to news@nanaimonet.com and we’ll take it from there. Some will show us how dedicated they are to get to be your representative, some will just have their name on the ballot without letting you know what they represent. They’ve all been contacted, except one who seems to have no contact information. Some have sent their material while others are still working on it.

 HAVE A NICE DAY – Got the mail and was surprised to see an election brochure from the provincial campaign in May. Kudos to Canada Post, no matter how late, it did get delivered. Green Party candidate Glenn Sollitt will be happy to know that it arrived . . . almost a month after the election. He'll be glad there's no storage fee.

June 1, 2017

Observing local developments from thousands of miles away gives a different perspective. I've been following the parade of names stepping forward to become city councillors in the July 8 by election.

The good thing about democracy is anyone can seek election, and that's as it should be. That does not necessarily mean they are all qualified to become councillors. Some have suggested that's the reason we are where we are now.

Of the 10 or so candidates who have declared, a lot of them spout the usual meaningless slogans why they likely would not be able to define if asked. What do they mean by "transparent"? Or "accountable"? They sound impressive, but what do they really mean?

Then there are those who argue the city relies far too much on consultants but in the same breath vow to consult more. Is it then a question of less paid consultation and more free stuff? Remember free stuff is usually worth about what you pay for it.

One last quick question - how many of the candidates have looked up the community charter, the set of rules which govern what councillors are allowed to do , and must do? If candidates are not prepared to dedicate the needed time for this aspect it is likely they would not after they are elected.

Of the declared names so far there are a couple who look like they know what they are doing, and a number who will just be names on the ballot.

That's good start from afar as I get set to return to the home shores, to get right into the heat of the battle.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

GOOD SUNDAY MORNING NANAIMO - We are off the grid for a few days, celebrating Memorial Day with our American family in the land of grits with biscuits and gravy. Go to any restaurant here and you'll quickly fathom why this particular area has the highest diabetes rate in the entire country. The size of the meals is stunning, two people could share and still not finish one plate.
Planning a few days in Washington, DC seeing the sites including a tour of the nation's Capitol. We had planned to visit The Donald but that didn't workout. We're wondering whether the Manchester terror attack may have had something to do with invitations to the White House. Stay tuned, we'll remain in touch. Sorry Donald, maybe next time.

AN ALTERNATIVE - Meanwhile, Canadians have been busy trying to find an alternative to our current prime minister. It's hard to beat a Saskatchewan boy - Andrew Scheer,  true stubble jumper, won that honour Saturday night As the new leader of the Conservatives.

 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Hey, how about having coffee with a cop? That sounds like one of the best ideas to come down the pike in a long time. Nanaimo RCMP are going to do just that, a local project called Coffee with a Cop. Many law enforcement agencies across North America in recent years have adopted similar approaches as a way for the public and business owners to interact with local police officers in an informal neutral setting.  

Beginning next month, Nanaimo RCMP officers of various ranks, service and background will be available to meet with the public at local coffee shops throughout the city. The time and place will be advertised in advance through the local media and social media. Just stay with Morning Buzz and we'll keep you informed.

Supt Cameron Miller, Officer in Charge of the Nanaimo RCMP Detachment explained the rationale behind the idea. "Coffee has traditionally been used as means to discuss issues that affect us. We also know many people have never had the opportunity sit down face to face with a police officer and ask questions and get to know them. Additionally we would like to hear about what is happening in their neighbourhoods. We always strive to build on our existing relationships with the public and this is just another way to accomplish that," Miller said.

 The first "Coffee with a Cop" will be Tuesday June 13, 10 am at the Save On Foods, Brooks Landing, 2000 Island Highway.

ANOTHER SOLUTION - There are always more than one way to get things done, and that applies to forming a government in B.C. The Green Party is not the only solution to the problem. Check out my editorial http://www.nanaimonet.com/432652926

 

 

Wednesday May 24, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - While our attention is still rivetted on the late vote counting for the provincial election in Courtenay-Comox, qualified candidates can now formally enter the July 8 Nanaimo city council byelection. Nomination packages are now available at city hall. To become a candidate you must be nominated by at least two people who are qualified voters, and you must make an appointment with legislative services.

NDP WIN CONFIRMED - The Elections BC website reports the final count for Courtenay-Comox riding confirming NDP candidate Ronna-Rae Leonard as the winner by 148 votes. That leaves the BC Liberals with 43 seats, one short of a majority, and the NDP with 41 seats. The Green Party has three seats.

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 p.m. UPDATE - LIBERAL IN THE LEAD - For readers hanging on to everything related to the provincial election, Courtenay-Comox remains a cliffhanger after a recount on Monday. The latest update in the ongoing count has Liberal Jim Benninger in a three-vote lead as counting continues. Elections BC’s website shows him with a three-vote lead over the NDP’s Ronna Rae Leonard at 5 p.m. today. Benninger had 10,098 votes while the NDP's Leonard had 10,095 which was no change from the 2 p.m. update. The result of those votes may well decide who will form the next provincial government.

SEXUAL ASSAULT POLICIES are now in effect at all universities in B.C. Universities across the province were required to have one implemented by May 18, as mandated by Bill 23. The bill, initiated by BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver passed last March. Since then, universities have been toiling on their new rules.

 

Monday, May 22, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - If you missed the Victoria Day weekend Heritage Day Parade on Sunday, here's the report from the News Bulletin, complete with video. The Heritage celebrations filled  the downtown for the rest of the day at Maffeo Sutton Park and Diana Krall Plaza. SEE VIDEO 

BEST OF LUCK to Melissa Fryer as she embarks on a new career as media manager at Tilray. Melissa spent about a dozen years at the News Bulletin, most recently as editor. Tilray is the global leader in medical cannabis research and production dedicated to providing safe, consistent and reliable therapy to patients and researchers. That's what their website says.

A BIG DAY FOR INDIA - For the pro wrestling fans out there, Jinder Mahal (Yuvraj Singh "Raj" Dhesi of Calgary) won the WWE world championship on Sunday, setting off big celebrations throughout India. Way to go Raj.

 

May 20-21 Weekend 

Andy Laidlaw

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - You just can’t keep a good man down. Andy Laidlaw, Nanaimo’s former general manager of operations and director of parks and recreation, has retired more times than you can shake a stick at. He’s just been named interim chief administrative officer for the District of North Cowichan. Andy’s more than 37 years in local government include stints as city manager in Campbell River for four years before taking on the job as interim CAO with the District of Saanich. He is listed as a senior advisor with former Nanaimo city manager Jerry Berry’s JB Consultants. 

VICTORIA DAY ON SUNDAY - It hasn’t been easy replacing the long-running Empire Day celebration; this year’s event will be only one day – on Sunday. Now known as Heritage Day, it will run with a huge parade. Peter Urquhart, who heads the organizing team, said there won’t be any fireworks this year because they wanted to focus on the activities and the parade to build a foundation for the future. Here’s a full list of their events – https://nanaimoheritage.org/schedule

DANGER ON THE ROAD – The long weekend also means a lot more people are going to be hitting the highways on Vancouver Island. The Victoria Day long weekend can be dangerous. Nanaimo News Now reported there were 290 crashes which injured 52 people on Vancouver Island roads on the long weekend last year. The warmer weather also means there will be more motorcycles and cyclists, so be aware. Check it out NanaimoNewsNOW.

THINKING OUT LOUD - A unique salmon enhancement project near Sooke is raising Chinook salmon in the Juan De Fuca Strait to feed hungry south resident killer whales. More than 200,000 healthy Chinook salmon smolts are being held in a temporary holding enclosure to bulk them up before being released into the wild. Has anyone ever thought of a project like this to feed homeless people in our communities?

WALKWAY INPUT - If you are at all interested in the new waterfront walkway project. The City of Nanaimo is hosting an open house at the Departure Bay Kin Hut (2730 Departure Bay Road) From 10 am to 4 pm today (Saturday). 

HAVE A NICE WEEKEND - Live each day like it’s your last. One day you’ll get it right.

First candidates in the running for city council byelection

Sheryl Armstrong

THE RACE IS ON – Morning Buzz has received the first formal announcement of a candidate for the July 8 byelection for city council. Sheryl Armstrong, a former staff sergeant for the RCMP, told me a couple of days ago that the debacle over the event centre referendum is what convinced her to take a run at the job. I like the idea of having Armstrong at the city council table, introducing some law and order. Sounds like a perfect fit. A number of names are being thrown around on social media, but none have confirmed they will be candidates. One is Fred Statham, listed as an on-call casual support worker and a self-employed counsellor at Odyssey Counselling Services.

Nomination packages are now available for pick up from the Legislative Services Department, says Acting City Clerk Sheila Gurrie. The deadline for filing nominations is 4 p.m. June 2. In order to qualify, each candidate must be nominated by at least two "qualified" nominators. To be a qualified nominator, they must be electors of the City of Nanaimo. In order to qualify you have to be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older on July 8, 2017, a resident of B.C. for at least six months before the day nomination papers are filed, and not disqualified by any enactment from being nominated for, elected to or holding the office of the municipality, or otherwise disqualified by law. You can start filing your papers by May 23 which begins the nomination period.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

My Hollywood career is formally launched. I’m in, thanks to local talent impressario Jacqui Kaese of Spotlight Academy. I was able to put my acting skills in front of the cameras for the local shooting of Chesapeake Shores, the highly-successful series on Hallmark Channel. Six hours of work and the first pay cheque is in the mail. I’m a star!

Okay, back to reality, I was an extra in one scene. I always wanted to see the inner workings of television and movie production, and what better way than to be background talent? (That’s movie talk).

It started at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, in a huge tent on the open field where once people wanted to build an events centre. After all the necessary paper work, it was a shuttle bus ride to the Tandoori Restaurant, known to old timers as the Diner’s Rendezvous. The Starlight Room was turned into a “green room” to wait for the director’s call to action. (More movie lingo)

One of the first things you learn is you have to “hurry up and wait” in this business. When we were called to the Vault Restaurant next door, all the BGs (extras) were dispersed throughout the coffee house, acting naturally, pretending to be customers, while the stars played their roles in front of the cameras. Pretty impressive. I was placed way in the back of the room, but looking directly into the camera.

Then back to the Starlight Room for more waiting. Now back in front of the camera for the scene to be shot from the opposite end of the room. Now I would be right in front on the camera, but all they got was the back of my chrome dome. Very technical, you know.

Then more waiting for what would come next. “OK, we’re finished, you can all leave now”, came the announcement. . . back into the shuttle to the reception tent. My first encounter with movie greatness.

Now all the remains is for the adoring reviews, and tons of offers for future television and movie extravaganzas. My star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame is waiting, I just know it!

Monday, May 15, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Start your week with some good news – the sun is coming out by Wednesday and then the long-range forecast predicts it will stick around for two weeks straight. What better news can you find on a Monday morning?

SO YOU MISSED the Group Walk for Alzheimer? Don’t worry, you can still participate, any time and anywhere this month. A new fundraiser for Alzheimer Society of B.C. can take place anywhere and at any time in May. You choose your date, location and walk route. Walk alone or invite your friends or family. Just go to www.walkforalzheimers.ca and select ‘British Columbia’ and then ‘Walk Anywhere’ from the pull down menus. You can then register for an online fundraising page. If you’re interested in hosting a larger walk, you can register to become a Walk in a Box host.
A Walk in a Box is new in 2017 and is in addition to the community walks. They are a great option for care homes, community groups, and schools that have not held a walk before, couldn’t make it to a nearby walk, or would like to host a walk but on a very small, easy-to-coordinate scale.

WHAT’S THAT SMELL? A stomach-churning stench has been wafting over French Creek for days now. A historic year for herring spawning along the east coast of Vancouver Island – particularly between Northwest Bay and Qualicum River – has resulted in more herring roe than usual, releasing hydrogen sulphide as they break down. The onshore winds are pushing the foul smell further into the community, where tourists and residents alike are noticing it.

THIS YEAR’S TARGET – The environmentalism industry seems to pick a new target each year, and this year is no different. The Ancient Forest Alliance has discovered an unknown old-growth forest near Jordan River. It contains monumental old-growth trees along a three-kilometre stretch between Jordan River and Port Renfrew, mainly on Crown land adjacent to Juan de Fuca Marine Trail Provincial Park and its popular coastal hiking trail. So, watch for action around this site throughout the summer as they fight to protect that area from logging, even though there’s been no plan for fallers to move in. The NEWS BULLETIN has more.

REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NANAIMO staff helped people sign up for a new emergency notification system. They will continue to be available at community events and markets throughout the summer to answer questions and provide help to people wishing to sign up with the alert system. The system will alert residents and visitors with text and voice messages during emergencies, such as floods, fires and storms. You can sign up for the system at www.rdn.bc.ca.

THAT UNWANTED FEELING - It's been said that last week's election showed that about 60 per cent of voters didn't want the BC Liberals, ...fair enough, but it also showed that about 60 did not want the NDP and about 80 per cent did not want the Greens. Keep that in mind in the coming days.

VERY LITTLE DOUBT LEFT - Now that Elections BC has rejected four of the six requests for recounts in ridings where the outcome in the provincial election was determined by less than 100 votes the final Legislature standings are becoming a lot clearer. Requests were submitted for Vancouver-False Creek, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain, Courtenay-Comox, Maple Ridge-Mission, and Richmond-Queensborough. Recounts will go ahead for Vancouver-False Creek and Courtenay-Comox and are to take place between May 22 and 24. Recount requests are accepted if the difference between the top two candidates is 100 votes or less, or if there were errors with accepting votes, rejecting ballots or discrepancies between the ballot count and number of votes for a candidate. Elections BC said not all requests met the 100 vote or less. Vancouver-False Creek, Liberal incumbent Sam Sullivan was elected by 560 votes ahead of New Democrat Morgane Oger. However, the was an advance voting conflicted in the ballot count. The Courtenay-Comox recount was accepted because the difference between the top two candidates was a mere nine votes. After all is said and done, really the only one in doubt is the Courtenay-Comox count which could provide the Liberals with the magic 44 seats for a majority or if it fails, a 43 seat minority.

Saaturday, May 13, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Here's a little light weekend reading. If nothing else, you'll be more confused than ever with the way everybody seems to be playing the new “Coalition Game". Most interesting is that it is reminiscent of sports pools where you pick players, trade them and whatever else you do with sport franchises.

The close finish in the provincial election and the emergence of the B.C. Green party as a political force creates a lot of opportunities to play empire builder from everyone who has ever wanted to be a mover and a shaker.

Even before the final tallies are in, they have the Greens forming a coalition government with both the B.C. Liberals and NDP, trying to create a majority government. It makes for good mental exercises, but very unlikely scenarios.

To repeat, the results are not available until the May 22-24 final count, with the number of seats still in some level of doubt, The B.C. Liberals could still form a majority government without the support of the Green Party. There’s the nine-vote margin by the NDP candidate in the Courtenay-Comox electoral district. With the margin and a large number of uncounted absentee ballots, that could swing. We don’t know who cast the uncounted ballots, but a lot of them are mail-ins. With the Liberal candidate being a former base commander at Comox air base, there could reasonably be a good number of votes for him in those ballots.

If that doesn’t confuse you, some people are suggesting the NDP could still win some of the seats they are already leading in. The Liberals lead in only one of the close seats, so that would realistically be the only seat they could still lose. With the NDP leadin in three of those close seats, the odds of them gaining. It’s a simple case of arithmetic.

Now to Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver and all the parties he’s supposedly going to form a coalition with. Fat chance. He didn’t get to where he achieved that stature in the Legislature by falling off the turnip truck. A coalition with either front party would wipe the Greens from the legislative map, destroying everything that has been built to date. He has to think long term.

Weaver has much more power independently than if he were to form a coalition with either party. He can be the most influential power broker in Victoria by wielding his influence on specific issues, through both the NDP and the Liberals. And that applies even if the Liberals should gain another seat in the final count – they still need to appoint a speaker. Any NDP MLAs interested in the speaker’s job? It pays extra.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Happy day tomorrow for all the great mothers out there. You deserve it.

To comment on the Morning Buzz, email merv.unger@nanaimonet.com

Thursday, May 11, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Good news and not-so-good news this morning. The good news might be that we’re getting a new downtown firehall for nearly $17 million. The other side of the coin is that the much-talked-about Hammond Bay fire hall appears to be nowhere in the plans.

One of the things that stood out in the report from city council is that the new fire hall will have to meet all seismic standards. Hmmm. A map of B.C. earthquake fault lines shows the new fire hall is destined to be built right on top of such a fault line. But then, why are we not surprised, that’s the same fault that runs under the property at Port Place where some council members wanted to spend $80 million for an events centre. That project collapsed without an earthquake.

Now we’ll wait to see what the response is to the fire hall plans right on top of this fault. We do live in an earthquake zone. While you’re at it, you might want to see where your own house is in relation to fault lines. Here’s the link to the interactive map. http://www.cbc.ca/news/multimedia/every-fault-line-in-british-columbia-1.2919420

HAVE A NICE DAY – Enjoy life . . . it has an expiry date, you know.

To comment on the Morning Buzz, email merv.unger@nanaimonet.com

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – British Columbia embarked on a wild and crazy ride, with the Green Party at the wheel for now, in Tuesday’s provincial election. We thought we’d know by last night how that will end but the finish line has still not been crossed.

We may have to wait as much as two weeks to learn who our premier will be – many mail-in ballots still have to be counted along with some advance votes. As well, there will be automatic recounts where the spread was less than 100 votes. 

Courtenay-Comox alone could decide the outcome of the entire election. A change in outcome could hand majority status to Christy Clark’s Liberals. The NDP candidate finished only nine votes ahead on election night.

Half a dozen ridings are still in play, leaving the possibility of the NDP forming a majority government. There were around 51,000 absentee ballots in the election. That count will take place May 22-24. It is quite possible some of these close results could change. Besides Courtenay-Comox, Coquitlam-Burke Mountain (170), Richmond-Queensborough (253), and Vancouver-False Creek (560) are all too close to call.

The Liberals were ahead 43-41 Tuesday, but if only a few seats flip to the other side it could totally upset the apple cart. Take three of those seats away from the Liberals and the NDP would be in a majority government. As promising as that sounds, the NDP already lead in three of those ridings and the Liberals in only one, and thus have three opportunities of gaining one or more seats while the NDP could gain only one. One Liberal gain would result in a majority but one NDP gain would result in a tie.

As much as the Green Party’s Andrew Weaver appears to be at the controls now, any minor changes in those close ridings could put him on the back bench.

All that makes it too early to do a post mortem – many questions have to be answered.

Did Christy Clark fart around too long on the Kinder Morgan pipeline question, something that should have been settled a long time ago?

Was the carrot of a liquid natural gas bonanza just an illusion that never was and maybe never will be?

How did negative campaigning affect the outcome, especially the class-warfare theme employed by NDP leader John Horgan?

In the meantime, while we digest a lot of issues, we have to hurry up and wait. We really do not know who will be our premier.

On the local scene, there were no surprises with the NDP’s Leonard Krog and Doug Routley sent back to Victoria along with Liberal Michelle Stilwell.

HAVE A NICE DAY – Another day has passed and I didn’t use algebra even once. . .  very interesting.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Anyone predicting the outcome of today’s provincial election has a 50-per-cent chance of being wrong – either one of two parties is going to win. Just so you don’t get too comfortable before the 8 p.m. start of vote counting, keep in mind that not all ridings have the same number of eligible voters – one riding with large urban populations can sway a lot of the popular vote while smaller rural ridings add less to the polling totals. In the end, it’s seats that count, not popular vote.

Ask Hillary Clinton what that scenario got her, New York and California voting heavily for her while smaller states voted for Trump, giving him more electoral votes (seats in our election).

Now that we’ve got your breath baited again, sit on the edge of your seats until about an hour after the polls close to see what we ended up with. If you don’t bother to vote, you have no right to complain later. As for me, I’m not predicting anything, thus regardless of the outcome I won’t be wrong.

MONEY FOR HEALTH - The Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation dropped a $2.2-million gift on the Island Health Authority last week. The money was presented at a donor appreciation evening in Qualicum Beach last Thursday. To top it off, the Foundation has launched a $350,000 fund raising campaign for healthy heart programs and cardiac equipment. "When we're buying equipment for the hospital, we want to make sure that all of the ages right from birth on up are getting the medical attention that they need to keep them healthy throughout their lives," said Foundation CEO Janice Perrino. You can donate through the Hospital Foundation website.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer belly, and still think they are sexy.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Shauna Sedola

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Our city keeps producing fabulous artistic talent. Shauna Sedola has just released her new music video. To say it’s her own is actually an understatement – she produced it herself, from the music to the film and played all the instruments. Shauna’s proud mom, Janine Sedola, is happy to share it, but warns it’s a tear jerker, so get out the tissue. https://www.shaunasedola.com

LET’S MAKE A DEAL - Even though I already voted, I would like a commitment ­– not a promise – an actual commitment from both of the main parties to upgrade our medical system to permanently eliminate the waiting lists for life-saving treatments.

Too many people are on heart, cancer and other surgery waiting lists, praying not to die before their turn comes up. When you have 90-per-cent blockage in your arteries it’s difficult to understand the urgency for cosmetic surgeries ahead of you in the lineup.

When you look into how many non-urgent procedures are performed in our hospitals while urgent cases wait it’s difficult to understand the rationale. Whoever becomes premier tomorrow, please get your priorities in order. Money is of no value when you die because you had to wait.

We can easily continue to hobble around on bad knees and hips if it means someone else will have life-saving care.

THE CONTINUED misunderstanding over log exports is amazing. It has continued in this election campaign, the constant preaching about halting “raw” log exports. The politicians parroting this message know full well that almost all of the exports are the ones that big mills won’t take. Exporting those spindly sticks creates employment and income for independents not feeding the big mills. There is the wrong belief that stopping exports would create jobs in B.C. By the way, all logs are raw, once processed they become lumber.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Taxing carbon to control climate is like taxing stupidity to improve IQ

 

 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

I don't usually post a Morning Buzz on the weekends, but this is a last-minute reminder, the Nanaimo Rhododendron show is tomorrow (Sunday), 9:30 a.m.to 2 p.m. at Beban Park. Definitely worth dropping by.

Friday, May 5, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Despite a lot of the goings-on around us, there are still some fabulous people in our community. Nanaimo RCMP and firefighters got a heart-warming surprise when a group of local seniors dropped by with a tray of homemade cookies, just to let them know they were appreciated and their service and commitment to Nanaimo does not go unnoticed. The seniors are from the Long Lake Chateau in Nanaimo.  

NOT QUITE SO - Don't be misled by the promise of a 1.5 per cent increase in the city portion of your property tax. It's 1.5 per cent if your asessment increase was the same as the average. If your assessment went up more than that, your tax bill will go up more than 1.5 per cent. On the good side, if your assessment went up less than average your tax increase could actually disappear.

FRIENDLY BS DETECTOR - Yesterday we talked about politics and truthfulness. What do you call it when someone promises to give you more while claiming to charge you less?

The B.C. Liberals are promising no more taxes from one side of their mouth while talking about increasing goodies left, right and centre. They’re spending more, but putting it on your credit card. During their term the accumulated provincial debt increased to $67 billion from about $36 billion. That is going to have to be paid some time in the future.

As for the NDP, it’s impossible to tell, they promise a lot more, while wildly tossing around the word "affordable". Some of that is misleading as it will happen in as much as 10 years from now, but without explanation of how it will be paid for. Any government’s mandate is only four years, so any promises beyond that are totally invalid. Free bridges (as they should be) and forzen ferry rides (which should be reduced before being frozen).

The voting public is just as much to blame as the politicians. Voters line up to see who will give them the most “free” sh*t in an election campaign. Nobody seems to realize that “free” is probably the dirtiest four-letter word in the English language. As long as these conditions apply, we will continue to get what we’ve been getting.

HAVE A NICE DAY - Society has become so artificial that the truth actually bothers some people.

Wednesday, May 3

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - A group of off-roading enthusiasts who failed to return home to Nanaimo Monday were found safe and sound early Tuesday morning. MORE

 ELECTION - So who is planning to tax you the most and impose the greatest carbon dioxide tax scam increases? MORE

OFF TO MARKET  - Nanaimo Downtown Farmers’ Market will ring in its 20th year of operation Friday (May 5) with fanfare and festivities. MORE

COMING DOWN - The old city hall annex will be torn down to make way for high-end rental housing. Cracey Holdings has won a development permit for a more than five-storey, 46-unit rental building at the corner of Franklyn and Wallace streets. MORE.

WHERE THEY TREAD - The city cit planning to spend $150,000 over the next 15 months to develop and affordable housing stratedgy. MORE

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – NDP supporters are busy calling all Liberals liars. Liberal supporters are busy calling all NDP supporters liars. Are both sides right? The public is very skeptical. Look at the accusations both sides are making and the evidence is pretty clear, both sides have determined that the other side is not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Thus it remains for the voters to hold their noses and make up their mind which load of bull manure to buy. Wouldn’t it be so much nicer if they just told us truthfully what they would do for us as government rather and demeaning the other side? In the meantiame, Christy and John, just level with us.

FOR THE RECORD, any party peddling the carbon tax scam is unloading a lie upon the electorate. Yes, the climate does change, but no tax will ever change the climate. That’s at the top of the list of things which got me not to vote for a party. Not much choice there as they are all in on the fraud. Don't talk to me about anyone wanting to mess up the electoral system. Keep watching, there are more to come.

CAN CHRISTY CLARK impose an export tax on coal produced outside the province? Not likely, says Brian Peckford. Read his view on this twist to the election campaign at Brian Peckford.  

IN THE DEPARTMENT OF you’ve got to be kidding, Grade 1 and 2 students at Mission’s Albert McMahon elementary school won’t be bringing home any Mother’s or Father’s Day art this year. A note issued to parents by the school says the primary team has met to discuss core values. “In an effort to celebrate diversity, inclusivity and also nurture our students who are part of non-traditional families, we have decided to encourage those celebrations to take place at home,” the note reads. It goes on to say students will not be making gifts at school to give on those two days. No matter how much these demented social engineers, masquerading as teachers, want to push the diversity agenda, it is an undeniable fact that it still takes one male and one female to create that Grade 1 and 2 student. Diversity includes all families.

Tuesday, May 2

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Stage 2 watering restrictions are now in effect in a number of mid-Island municpalities including  Nanaimo, Parksville and the Regional District of Nanaimo.http://www.nanaimonet.com/432652555

TIME FOR THE HOOK - You want some interesting reading about the way city council is going? Don White has a great commentary at http://www.nanaimonet.com/432760080

YOU THINK IT RAINED a lot last month? Well, it was the second wettest April on record - a period of 125 years. Now watch your garden grow. Check Nanaimo News Now

NANAIMO COMMUNITY GARDENS Society has had to pull up its roots near Neck Point Park, as the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre undergoes expansion. The new site at Beban Park includes gardens and a greenhouse. Karl Yu has the details in the News Bulletin.

 I'M OUTA HERE - Most of the things you worry about never happen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – A bit of an abbreviated Morning Buzz since I’m down south in the good old Yew Ess Ay for a couple of days conducting a seminar. Needless to say the sunshine and 30-degree temperatures are a welcome change.

But modern technology still enables me to keep you up to date with what’s happening in Nanaimo. See the News and Election sections for the latest.

HAVE A NICE DAY – One thing all people have in common is that they are all different.

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Folks in North Nanaimo are wondering where they fit in. Newspaper ads have pointed out voting information for Nanaimo and Nanaimo-Cowichan electoral districts, but not for those who live in Nanaimo but vote in the Parksville-Qualicum electoral district. That accounts for thousands of voters. In past elections, as many as 30 per cent of the registered voters lived in Nanaimo. All the voting location information is available at https://wtvelectionsbc.azurewebsites.net. Basically, you can vote at any polling station anywhere in B.C. The red line on the map is the boundary between Parksville-Qualicum and Nanaimo.

LOOKING FOR A HOME - If you’re a homeowner in Nanaimo now, you’re in good shape. If you’re a home buyer, that’s another story, prices are continuing to go up. The shortage of homes on the market is driving up prices. The average sale price of a Nanaimo area single-family home in March was a record-high $502,696, 15 per cent higher than March of last year. Janice Stromar, president of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board says 81 of the 83 multi-family homes with for sale signs on them sold last month. 

MOSQUITO AND THE ELEPHANT – The uprising by Nanaimo marina owners and pleasure boaters has been shut down by Transport Canada. Robert Dick, regional director general, Pacific Region, met with city, Snuneymuxw and the marina representatives on April 12 and informed them that federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau “…is pleased with the way Canada’s 18 port authorities operate and that Garneau has no intention of changing the governance model for Nanaimo.”

HAVE A NICE DAY – No matter how hard you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pete Betcher

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

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

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

 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bill Sims with a sample of the finest

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

Patrick Belanger

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

Derek Gillette

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

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

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

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

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

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

 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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

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

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

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

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 17, 2017

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

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 14, 2017

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

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


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

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

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

 

Thursday April 13, 2017 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 11, 2107

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

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

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

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

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

April 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

April 8, 2017 - Updated April 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‪Arjan Manhas Indeed. Bullying has no place anywhere

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pratt's resignation is a loss for Nanaimo

By Colin Haime

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Jacqui Kaese
Photo Rachel Stern

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

April 4, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - I’ve been watching the morning news from Ottawa and so far Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not called an emergency cabinet meeting following the vote by Nanaimo city to seceded from some federal power.

This council has raised many eyebrows recently, but last night’s motion to “support” the creation of a new harbor authority tops the rest of the silliness they’ve engaged in.

The background is that a number of waterfront tenants of the Nanaimo Port Authority don’t like the rents they pay on the waterfront. They don’t accept that their leases are based on the same philosophy as any other businesses – a professional business value assessment by a major accounting firm. There never was a problem until the value of their businesses shot up like a rocket in recent years, along with all other real estate, ergo their lease rates.

They are trying to pull off a coup with other organizations to take over the waterfront. That involves not only federal but also the provincil jurisdiction. Remember, the higher levels of government "own" this property, they are not about to roll over and play dead.

In spite of the cautions from Chief Financial Officer, now Acting CAO, Victor Mema that such a venture would cost money, experts have to be engaged to to do the research, council voted to go ahead anyway. Mema made that point more than once, but in the end the Fab Five voted to proceed while Mayor Bill McKay and Councillors Ian Thorpe and Diane Brennan opposed making such a firm commitment.

So far I am not aware of any other business group, unhappy with its taxes, trying to form their own management authority to opt out of paying taxes to the city.

The marina operators are unhappy, but I have not heard  from a single one who would sell their property for its assessed value.

Note to Mr. Trudeau, don’t get excited, you can stand down the Canadian Forces torpedo test range in Nanoose Bay.  Some Nanaimo people also envisioned an $80-million arena that didn’t fly with the voters. Others are also talking over their beer mugs about creating a stairway to heaven – a chairlift to the top of Mount Benson.

HAVE A GREAT DAY - The world is a fabulous place full of people just waiting to be offended at something.

Http://www.sja.ca

Monday, April 3, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief, or ignorance.

 CANDID CAMERA – I don’t know how it is today, but in-camera council meetings never used to be video recorded. There was a voice recording, but the only record was a staff member taking minutes, and those were printed on yellow paper so you would be alert that the contents were in-camera. With modern technology, I can just imagine an in-camera meeting where any time discussion gets a little heated, councillors and even staff whip out their Iphones and start aiming. That would be comical if it were not so serious. That could lead to serious confrontations.

THIS IS ‘HAZARDOUS’ - A little more than a year ago I wrote a satirical column comparing the similarities between Nanaimo City Council and the Dukes of Hazard TV show. You remember, short little Boss Hogg and his bunch of bumbling idiots. It’s more realistic than we’d like to believe. A business man complains about being warned by a councillor that criticism of anything council does will result in his business being cut off from any dealings with the city. And a lady who volunteers for the city received the same warning. Now they dare not speak out. Imagine being afraid of your own city.

JOB OPPORTUNITY – I have been posting job openings on this page for a couple of weeks, so why not post my own? If you have sales experience, especially in advertising, send your resume to news@nanaimonet.com.

HAVE A NICE DAY -  Why do people order double cheese burgers, large fries and a “diet” Coke?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The Rotary Foundation had a great tribute last night to 10 citizens who were honoured for their years of contribution to our community. A number of people commented on what they thought had been an April Fool gag yesterday in announcing the special prosecutor to look into Nanaimo city hall. It took some effort to assure some of them that it is real, IT'S NO JOKE. I have a follow-up comment on the whole picture at http://www.nanaimonet.com/432652926

CALGARY NEEDS YOU - The NHL's Calgary Flames are demanding a new publicly-financed arena and are threatening to leave town if they don't get it. There are a couple of arena promoters hanging around Nanaimo City Council who might be able to help cowtown with running a referendum. Or, we could always bring the NHL franchise to Nanaimo. We've already paid $1 million for all the plans for a new arena. What an opportunity!

BEST WISHES - Nanaimo’s Chief Administrative Officer Tracy Samra has left her position to go on medical leave. It was no surprise as she made it known during a recent council meeting to appoint a deputy CAO that she was planning to take time off. CFO Victor Mema is acting on her behalf at city hall.

NANAIMO HERITAGE DAYS planning is under way for next month’s celebration. This it is one day focused around a parade and a variety of free family activities in the downtown. There will be arts and crafts, food vendors and kids’ rides at Diana Krall Plaza, Maffeo Sutton Park, and Swy-A-Lana Lagoon Park. The parade on Commercial Street starts at 1 p.m., parking free on city-operated lots throughout the downtown area Sunday May 21st, 2017 Don’t use the private lots, you could get a ticket. If you want to get involved, check this out: http://nanaimoheritage.org

MEET DOUG - As we should all be aware by now, there’s a provincial election campaign under way. Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley is opening his second campaign office this afternoon (Sunday) at 1 p.m. at 1277 Island Hwy North. If you have any issues or questions, Doug will be there.

KUDOS TO CHARLES - We had a brief note yesterday about the passing of Charles Torhjelm. Gene Daniel, his former boss at CHUB, dropped some nice words about Charles. “He will be remembered for that "one of a kind" sales representative who went the extra mile for his clients. He even got into costume to promote many events. He tied in various sales packages to community endeavors to help make them successful. Ladysmith celebrations including the Christmas Light Up, Restaurant Association events and South End Nanaimo initiatives, are just a few. His hard work and dedication were among his trademarks as well as the deep voice,” Gene submitted from one of his many road trips.

CANDIDATE SCHOOL - It’s tough to convey to new candidates for city council exactly what they are in for if and when they get elected. Donna Smith, who used to be part of the inner workings of city hall, suggest maybe there needs to be a some form of pre-election candidate school. I kicked that idea around with expert before the last election, but he wasn’t ready to get involved. I’ll look into this further, it might just work this time.

CONGRATULATIONS - Snuneymuxw elder Ellen White was presented her Member of the Order of Canada medal Friday by Lieut.Gov Judith Guichon. Her induction into the Order was announced in December. The Lieut.Gov. made the presentation on behalf of David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, during the ceremony at Dufferin Place on Friday. NEWS BULLETIN

 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – As a journalist, sometimes you get information you can’t confirm officially, so you have to sit on it. I learned of the arrest and release of a city council member, with some conditions, early in March and discussed it with that council member. However, I could not get confirmation of details from the out-of-town RCMP due to the ongoing investigation. Now with confirmation of a special prosecutor being appointed don’t be surprised if serious stuff starts hitting the fan from the ongoing city hall shennanigans. Just watch it.

NO, NOT THE MAYOR – – Since the word got out of a council member being arrested I’ve been getting calls from media outlets, former council members and the public all speculating on which council member was arrested. The speculation is that it was Mayor Bill McKay due to the lawsuit filed against him by the city. The answer is a definitive no, the mayor was not arrested. Damn  never in my long media career did I think that I would write that sentence.

APRIL FOOLS – The concept of an aerial tramway up Mount Benson was an April Fools joke a couple of years ago, but now some people are seriously proposing such an idea. A tourist attraction, bringing in millions, and some are proposing public money mixed with private enterprise. There are a number of responses: first, private/public partnerships usually involve the public putting in the money, private taking out the money. Before everyone gets carried up, up and away, Brian Booth has a reminder that there’s a covenant protecting Mount Benson. See the covenant http://www.nanaimonet.com/433324989

ANSWER THE PHONE – Debbie Scheibel remembers her days working at Nanaimo city hall, complete with April Fool’s pranks. One of the staff members, who shall remain nameless, taped down the buttons on all the phones in one office. Then he began calling everyone, and when they picked up the phone it kept ringing. Got everyone really good. Thanks Debbie.

JOBS BOARD - Mountain Warehouse is opening soon in Woodgrove Mall and they are hiring an entire team for the new store – 15 part-time sales people, two supervisors and one assistant manager. What you need to do is send an email with your resume and they will set up an interview time and location. Send your e-mail to Nanaimo.careers@gmail.com

EARN A HOUSE - Are you looking for an affordable opportunity to buy your own home? Habitat for Humanity has extended the deadline, and is now accepting applications for its next house at 2360 Extension Road, Nanaimo. The house is two bedroom handicap accessible. Visit their website at http://habitatmvi.org for information and the application form.

ONE BIG BOAT - There’s been lots of buzz recently about the behemoth of an auto carrier ship that spent a few days in our harbor, just outside Newcastle Island, waiting to get into Vancouver. It’s known as the Indiana Highway, 196 metres long. Aside from the curiousity it brought, it also contributed to our economy, paying for moorage in our waters while waiting. The Port Authority has four or five of moorages in that area, all bringing in cash while the ships are here.

CHARLES SIGNS OFF – Just heard that Charles Torhjelm has gone to that great big radio station in the sky. The man with the deep voice from the old CHUB days had been ill for quite some time. In his heyday he did on-air work as well as advertising sales for the station. Rest in peace, Charles.

IT'S AMAZING what you can learn about some of your friends based simply on their Facebook cover page. Jack Pagani's April Fool's joke?