Consultant suing city over Event Centre fiasco

Coun. Bill Bestwick

0731 - A consultant hired by the City to help plan the ill-fated events centre project claims senior staff and a councillor promised them the contract for the work before a public bidding process was ever held.

In a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court against the City, BBB Architects alleged former chief administrative officer Tracy Samra, former chief financial officer Victor Mema and Coun. Bill Bestwick "assured BBB that BBB would be selected as the successful contractor and that the public procurement process was being pursued so Nanaimo could appear to be following its...policy, even though BBB had already been chosen for the work."

Bestwick denies having had any direct role in the contract process.

The notice of civil claim seeks damages, legal costs and a little over $154,000 for work the City "refused or neglected" to pay.

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City seeks enforcement order for squatters encampment

0730 - The City has filed an application in B.C. Supreme Court to enforce conditions of the Fire Order placed on the occupants of tent city. Occupants continue to remain in non-compliance of the interim order made by Mr. Justice Skolrood. The application is set to be heard before a judge on August 13.

The interim order requires the occupants to comply with a number of fire and life-safety requirements placed by the Provincial Fire Commissioner within one week from July 18. Despite numerous discussions with occupants, fire inspectors have found that the majority continue to be in non-compliance of the order. The fire department has also had reports of two fires at this location. The most recent reported in one of the porta-potties this past weekend.

If approved, the enforcement application will give the City the authority to remove any structures, vehicles and objects that are in contravention of the order. It will also give the City the ability to seek the assistance of the RCMP to ensure compliance, if necessary. 

0731 - ROAD CLOSED -A section of the major between the Nanaimo Parkway and downtown will be closed for more than two weeks. Third Street will be closed between Wakesiah Avenue and Howard Avenuefrom Aug. 1 to Aug. 17 for road work related to a development at 525 Third St.

NANAIMO'S GOOD FAMILY which is well known for Coast Salish carvings and textiles, are among three groups represented at the 2018 First Nation Cultural Art Showcase program at the Royal B.C. Museum. The public can get to know them at a Museum event this week, as well as view family created carvings and clothing. A two-week event is slated for September when more Good family works will be on display at the Royal BC Museum. MORE

BEBAN POOL is shut down for a month for maintenance. The pool is closed and will re-open on Sept. 4. MORE

Oil spill response station signs 25-year lease with Port

0731 - Western Canada Marine Response Corporation has signed an 25-year agreement with the Port fof Nanaimo to lease nearly 12,077 square metres of land and waterfront areas on Nanaimo harbour.

The Nanaimo response station will be the main operations base for Vancouver Island. It’s part of a $150-million spill response enhancement program mandated by the National Energy Board. Once completed, the Nanaimo base will be home to 15 vessels and employ more than 20 people. There are also plans to open additional smaller spill response bases in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay.

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Sinclaire named Port Authority federal director

Robin Sinclaire

0730 - Robbin R.R. Sinclaire has been appointed to the Port of Nanaimo’s Board of Directors as the Federal appointee. The announcement was made July 25 by Hon. Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.  

Sinclaire - B.Com CA CPA MBA CAFM PMP LLM - is an entrepreneur and independent management consultant engaged by businesses and government with two decades of economic development experience/contributions in the eastern Arctic. Her areas of expertise are financial management, governance/accountability and project management. She has worked in both a professional and volunteer capacity with Boards of Directors and currently serves as a Council Member with the energy regulatory body in Nunavut. Previously, she helped establish Nunavut’s first Habitat for Humanity affiliate working in close consultation with Habitat’s Canadian and International Boards and was instrumental in achieving Habitat’s first remote northern build.  

Working on deep sea-port infrastructure and marine transportation development in the Arctic over the last few years, she is a Corporate Member of the Master Mariners of Canada. She attributes her business success to a strong foundation of formal academic education complemented by a number of professional and internationally recognized credentials and a commitment to lifelong learning. She now lives next to the Salish Sea where she spent many years in her youth.

“I am very excited to join the Port of Nanaimo and to serve with such dedicated and talented individuals. After several years working in the eastern Arctic, I have a greater appreciation of how vital marine transportation infrastructure is to a community’s economic development.  I look forward to working with our community partners and to see the Port business grow and create more opportunities for our community over all“.

Port of Nanaimo President & CEO Ewan Moir said Sinclaire brings an impressive background to the board "from her knowledge, education and experience in many related fields. She fills an important role on our Board representing federal interests and is an excellent fit for this responsibility. I look forward to Robbin’s input and to working with her", Moir said.

The Port of Nanaimo is one of 18 Port Authorities across Canada, established under the Canada Marine Act and Letters Patent to promote and support the national, regional and local economies and to ensure a safe and secure harbour for cargo operations. MORE AT www.npa.ca

 

Day pass system boosts Regional Transit revenue

0730 - The introduction of the day pass system by Nanaimo Transit last September has led to increased revenue, states an RDN staff report.

The previous paper bus transfer system was discontinued Sept. 3, replaced by $5 day passes and one-way $2.50 cash fare onboard buses. Brandon Miller, RDN superintendent of fleet and transit service delivery, said the main purpose was reducing driver-passenger disputes and abuse of fares, but between September and March, total revenue increased by four per cent. Cash revenue was up nine per cent and monthly pass revenue increased 10 per cent. That amounts to a cash increase of approximately $64,000, a monthly pass increase of $84,625 and a total increase of $102,800.

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Minor injuries reported in Westwood Road collision

0730 - Passengers suffered minor injuries when two cars crashed at the Westwood Road intersection Sunday at Westwood and Jingle Pot roads.

A witness said one car was travelling along Westwood downhill through the intersection and the other was turning left uphill onto Jingle Pot from Westwood when the accident occurred.
 

RDN agrees to new landfill security contract

0729 - Regional District of Nanaimo will spend $170,000 over the next two years to provide security at its landfill in Cedar.

A contract deal with Securiguard ends Aug. 31. Regional district directors have approved a two-year deal with Neptune Security Service until Aug. 31, 2020.

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House fires spark pleas for financial assistance

0729 - House fires in the Nanaimo area have victims and their supporters asking for help from the community through Gofundme fundraising pages.

fire on Mudge Island Wednesday that destroyed a home sparked a Gofundme campaign by the victim’s sister.

A second Gofundme was posted Friday following a fire that destroyed a rental house on Robarts Street early Thursday morning.

Lanaia Hemmingsen said she and her boyfriend lost everything they owned in the fire. They were among the four tenants in the house and two residents in a house next door who were displaced by the fire.

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Huge trunk sale this weekend at Country Club Centre

0727 - One person's junk is another person's treasure, so if you are into garage sales, this is for you.

The City  is holding its second annual Trunk Sale on Saturday, where roughly 100 people will load their cars in the Country Club Shopping Centre and sell their goods right from the trunk of their car.

Everything from clothes to appliances to knick-knacks will be sold, just like a regular garage sale in a driveway.

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Illegal campers defy court order on fire safety

0727 - Organizers of the downtown Nanaimo tent settlement are resisting a court-imposed fire safety order, claiming it isn’t safe for occupants.

Supreme Court of British Columbia on July 18 ordered the occupants to comply with a fire safety order placed by the Provincial Fire Commissioner.

Justice Ronald Skolrood issued the order following the conclusion of a two-day petition hearing involving the organizers of the illegal camp and the City which is seeking an injunction to have the camp shut down and destroyed.

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Wednesday's scorcher set a new record at 32.2 degrees

0727 - How hot was it? It's never been this hot on July 25 in Nanaimo. The temperature hit a record 32.2 degrees.

Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist, said the previous record was 32 C in 1988. 

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RDN awards legal work to Vancouver firms

0727 - The Regional District of Nanaimo  is moving its legal work to three Vancouver-based companies on three-year contracts for commonplace services.

The current deal for legal service with Stewart McDannold Stuart of Victoria are expiring. The RDN board approved  standing offer agreements with Lidstone and Company and Young Anderson and for routine legal advice.

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Nomination documents will be available starting Friday

Nomination packages for mayor, councillor and elector organizations will be available starting Friday, July 27. Packages will be available until 4 p.m. Sept. 4, 2018, from the Legislative Services Department on the first floor of City Hall.

Those picking up packages will be required to provide their names, however, their names will not be released. 

The nomination package contains all the information in order to become a candidate to run in the election, including rules regarding election signage, required number of nominators, nomination deposits and other resource material. There is no fee but a nomination document filing fee will be charged when filing nomination documents.

To find more information on nominations including qualifications and deposit fees, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/elections or use the links located in the online version of this news release.
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The period to file nomination documents is from 9 a.m until 4 p.m. on Sept 4.

Two seriously injured in South Ladysmith crash

0723 -Two people were taken to hospital in critical condition after a serious crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in the south Ladysmith. 

RCMP said a northbound semi-truck hit a small car which was crossing the highway at Davis Road on Monday morning around 6:20 a.m. 

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Trevor Short is Nanaimo's new tub racing champion

0722 - Trevor Short, in super-modified tub No. 002, was first back to the beach today at the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race in Nanaimo.

Short, a first-time winner, finished the course in an unofficial time of one hour, 30 minutes, 24 seconds, about three minutes ahead of runner-up Brandon Skipper. Multiple-time champion Nathan Barlow was third, about four minutes off Short’s pace.

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Zinter found guilty in fatal collision south of Nanaimo

Dustin Dennis Zinter, 41, was convicted of dangerous driving causing death, leaving the scene of the accident and failing to provide a breath sample.

The verdict was delivered by Justice Robin Baird in the BC Supreme Court Monday.

The charges stemmed from a fatal 2015 crash south of Nanaimo which killed 51-year-old Heidi Plato of Ladysmith in her truck on Yellow Point Road on Nov. 10, 2015.

Crown prosecutor Nick Barber requested a prison sentence of six years. Zinter will learn his punishment at a later date after a pre-sentence report was ordered.

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Mid-Island hiking trails closed due to dry contions

0718 - The Regional District of Nanaimo has closed a pair of popular mid-island trails following the implementation of sweeping burning bans across Vancouver Island, 

A 21-kilometre section of the Trans Canada Trail between the Timberlands Road trailhead near Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge to the Harewood Mines Road trailhead has been shut down.

The trail, on Island Timberlands land, was closed due to increased fire risk. An RDN release said the logging company is closing all company property in the mid-island to the public due to the tinder-dry conditions.

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RCMP seek missing Nanaimo teenager Kelsie Boutilier

Kelsie Boutilier

0620 - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 19-year-old Kelsie BOUTILIER who has not been seen by her family since July 7th. Investigators have followed up on reports that Kelsie was seen at Tent City, however, officers have been attending that location on a daily basis and have been unable to locate her. Another concern is that Kelsie requires daily medication which she does have with her and has not taken for two weeks ago.

Kelsie's support network believes she is hiding from her family because she is under the impression  that the Nanaimo RCMP will arrest her.  This is simply not true. We want to assure Kelsie and her friends that she is not in trouble and that she will not be arrested. We just want her to touch base with her family to let them know she is safe , said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Kelsie BOUTILIER is a white female, 5 ft. 6, 105 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. She also has ear stretching hoops and a piercing near her right eye. Kelsie was last seen wearing shorts and a black hoodie.

If you know the whereabouts of Kelsie BOUTILIER please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Mystery booms were road crew blasting on Mount Benson

0718 - A series of loud booms heard from south Nanaimo all the way to the Sunshine Coast has a simple explanation: it was crews blasting out a new logging road on the back side of Mount Benson.

A contractor, who did not wish to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media, contacted NanaimoNewsNOW Wednesday afternoon.

"We heard it this morning on the radio and we thought 'Hey someone else is blasting too and all of Nanaimo heard it,'" he said. "Then I looked at the online story and it says the blast went off just before 11:30 Tuesday morning. And I thought, 'Oh boy, I hit the button at exactly that time.'"

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Decision reserved on injuction against tent encampment

Troy DeSouza

0718 - B.C. Supreme Court today reserved judgment in the city's application for a permanent, statutory injunction against the occupants of encampment at 1 Port Drive.  

Justice Skolrood heard submissions from counsel for the City, Troy DeSouza and Jarrett Plonka of Dominion GovLaw LLP, and counsel for some of the named Respondents, Noah Ross of Huntsman Law.  

The court also heard submissions regarding an interim application by the City to ensure compliance with the order of the Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner, Alan Millbank and to obtain the names of all the occupants of 1 Port Drive .  

The court ordered the occupants to comply with Millbank’s order, stating

DeSouza said the city is satisfied with the court’s validation of the serious fire safety concerns identified by Millbank and Nanaimo Fire Rescue.  The court’s order for fire safety compliance will help ensure the safety of everyone at and near Tent City.  He said Nanaimo Fire Rescue, and in particular, Millbank, should be commended for their diligent work in identifying and documenting the fire safety concerns  which formed the basis of the court’s order”.

Police kill cougar at Nanaimo Yacht Club dock

0718 - Nanaimo RCMP have shot a cougar at about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday after officers were called about a complaint of a cougar climbing through boats and the boat sheds at Nanaimo Yacht Club.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the cat was shot twice while it was in the water.

“It was climbing through boats and it was also seen around the fish [cleaning] station as well,” O’Brien said. “Based on what they saw and based on reports that a cougar had been seen in or around Newcastle Island, our members thought it was prudent and taking into consideration public safety, they were required to destroy the animal.”
 

RCMP monitoring Hells Angels weekend bash

0718 -  Hells Angels are expected to attract up to 300 people to a 35th anniversary party and motorcycle ride in Nanaimo this weekend, police say. B.C.’s anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit announced Tuesday that it will help Vancouver Island police agencies keep tabs on the event.

 

Public Engagement session Saturday at Oliver Woods

0718 - The third session of the city's Public Engagement Pilot Program and will take place on Saturday, July 28, in the Oliver Woods Community Centre.

Titled "Homeless: how do we increase understanding and move toward action?," this session will focus on problem solving through working together. Facilitated by Dyan Dunsmoor-Farley, the session will begin with a panel of speakers from the community who will bring their perspective on homelessness. Following that, attendees, councillors and members of the Task Force will collaborate toward solving the problem, "How do we increase understanding and move toward action?".

Space is limited so residents planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Monday, July 23, to PublicEngagement@nanaimo.ca or 250-755-4460 ext. 4265. To find resources and materials to prepare for this session, please see the link in the online version of this news release or visit the Public Engagement Pilot Program page at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/engagement.

Click here to see our website at http://www.krogformayor.ca

Second death reported at downtown homeless camp

0718 - There has been another death at the tent encampment in downtown Nanaimo of a suspected drug overdose.

The man in his 20s was the second person to die from a suspected drug overdose in the past three weeks. On June 27, a woman in her 40s, who was visiting the camp, also died.

Those at the Tent City said it’s time the government provide an overdose prevention site.

Mayor Bill McKay says the site would require zoning changes before a safe injection site could be built in the city. He says the city has a temporary overdose prevention site in a building on Wesley Street.

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Recycling Exchange throws in the towel

0718- The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is giving up on the idea of a new zero-waste depot.

The NRE made a number of funding requests to city hall, but all were turned down.

The NRE issued a statement Monday in response to the city’s decision last week not to provide $6.05 million for construction of a new depot, plus up to $600,000 in pre-operational funding. The Regional District of Nanaimo had previously declined to provide money for construction of a depot.

Ben Geselbracht, NRE vice-chairman, said the Kenworth Road property, where a new Nanaimo Recycling Exchange depot had been proposed, will now be sold.

“It’s over,” Geselbracht said. 

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Keith Brown dies at age 80

Keith Brown

0717 - Long-time city planning and development specialist Keith Brown died July 16 after a brief bout with cancer. He was 80 years old.

His family is currently planning for a celebration of life. Further detail will be provided when they are available.

 

 

Prominent Gabriolan Jeremy Baker has died suddenly

Jeremy Baker

0717 -  Jeremy Baker of Gabriola Island passed away July 7 at his home.

A celebration of life will be held July 26 at Surf Lodge on Gabriola, from 2-5 p.m. Baker was a long-time proponent of building a bridge to Gabriola Island. We'll have more information when it becomes available.

 

Open fires banned effective midnight tonight

0717 - All open burning (including campfires and Category 3 fires) are prohibited within the Coastal Fire Centre's jurisdiction effective at noon on Wednesday, with the exception of Haida Gwaii and the area known as the fog zone.

Nanaimo also issued a ban on all burning, including campfires, as of ,idnight tonight. Ladysmith and Lantzville also implemented bans, while Parksville, Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo are expected to follow suit.

Category 2 open burning is already prohibited in the region. The additional prohibitions will help prevent human-caused wildfires and protect public safety. They will remain in effect until Oct. 19, 2018, or until the public is otherwise notified. A map of the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/j94230kZQgz

The Coastal Fire Centre is implementing these prohibitions due to high temperatures and no rain in the immediate forecast. Since April 1, 2018, 69% of wildfires in the Coastal Fire Centre have been caused by people. Human-caused wildfires are entirely preventable, and can divert critical firefighting resources away from naturally occurring wildfires.

These prohibitions apply to all public and private land, unless specified otherwise - for example, in a local government bylaw. Please check with local government authorities for any other restrictions before lighting any fire.

These prohibitions do not apply to CSA-rated or ULC-rated cooking stoves that use gas, propane or briquettes, or to a portable campfire apparatus that uses briquettes, liquid or gaseous fuel, so long as the height of the flame is less than 15 centimetres.

The following activities are also prohibited:

* open fires that burn woody debris in outdoor stoves

* the use of stoves and other portable campfire apparatuses that are not CSA-approved or ULC-approved

* the use of tiki torches, fireworks, firecrackers, sky lanterns, chimineas, burning barrels or burning cages of any size or description

* the use of binary exploding targets (e.g. for rifle target practice)

Anyone found in contravention of an open burning prohibition may be issued a ticket for $1,150, required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, the person responsible may be ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.

The Coastal Fire Centre covers all of the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news:

* on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* on Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo

Eight people escape safely from two house fires on Sunday

0716 - Eight people were displaced but lucky to be alive after a pair of early Sunday morning fires in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue Chief Karen Fry said the first fire broke out around 3 a.m. Sunday, in the 3500 block Uplands Dr. Seven people and a dog got out safely and the home suffered extensive damage.

Fry said some of the firefighters dealing with the Uplands blaze were then called away to a fully involved fire in a home at 45 Haliburton St. about 30 minutes later. One person got our safely but the home was destroyed, she said.

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Repeat offender avoids jail time

0716 - A man who threatened to kill a Nanaimo RCMP officer with a knife metres from a children's park avoided jail time despite being jailed for an almost identical offence less than seven months earlier.

Court records show Kym Arkell, 33, was given one-year probation in relation to the March 7, 2018 incident near the Altrusa Venture Park at Beban Park. At the time, Nanaimo RCMP reported a suspect was confronted and pulled out a knife, threatening to kill the arresting officer.

The scenario was similar to a dangerous standoff in August, 2017, where Arkell pulled a knife and threatened to kill a Mountie beside the same park.

He was sentenced in January and jailed for 21 days for the August incident.

Conservation officers trying to trap Newcastle cougar

Photo by Ândria Lopes Dos Santos on Facebook

0716 - Conservation officers will try to trap cougar sighted on Newcastle Island.

Stuart Bates, acting Sgt. for the central island for the BC Conservation Officer Service, said there were three confirmed sightings since July 7. There were many more on social media, including one posted to Facebook on Saturday showing the big cat sitting on the shores of the island.

Bates said while there's nothing overly uncommon about a cougar heading to Newcastle to feast on the bounty of deer and raccoons, it's something that typically happens in the winter.

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First day of court hearings today on downtown tent dwellers

0716 - The first of three scheduled hearings dealing with the downtown squatters camp took place in Nanaimo today.

An application hearing was held in the Supreme Court of British Columbia at the Nanaimo courthouse. The session lasted less than five minutes. Justice Ronald A. Skolrood told the lawyers from both sides that any the matters of concern can be raised during the two-day petition hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Speaking to media, Jarrett Plonka, represent the City, said the essence of the application hearing was to have the camp organizers or “management” confirm how many individuals are living on the site.

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Hockey equipment found in bushes – is it yours?

0716 - Nanaimo RCMP is in possession of a hockey equipment bag containing men’s hockey gear. The bag was found hidden in bushes near Brooks Landing Mall on Friday, then turned over the RCMP.

If this is equipment is yours, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2018-25021.
 

Large amunition found at recycing site

0716 - A hazardous material scare at a scrap metal recycling facility north of Ladysmith on Monday forced the voluntary evacuation of people from two businesses after several objects believed to be ammunition were discovered in a scrap pile.

Ladysmith RCMP blocked off the road to Schnitzer Steel Industries, just off of the Trans-Canada Highway south of the Nanaimo Airport, for over four hours after employees found several scuba tank-sized pieces partially encased in cement shortly after opening.

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Harris boat recovered, suspect arrested in Chemainus

0714 - A NOTE FROM TONY HARRIS – Tonight we received the great news that the RCMP successfully took down the suspect who stole our boat, two trucks, and many other people’s possessions while causing chaos on Vancouver Island for the last two weeks.

Not only was he arrested, but our boat was found in decent condition. We are so thankful for everyone who came together to assist us in the effort to make this happen. Moreover, I can’t begin to express how impressed I am with the RCMP and the ERT TEAM who managed to bring this to an end while keeping their team and the public safe which was a significant concern given the circumstances.

To the public and everyone on social media - thank you for everything. Your shares, comments, PMs, leads, tips, and support are largely to thank for making this happen; literally, thousands of people made this happen.

For those interested, the arrest took place in Chemainus. The boat was found 13 Km from Port McNeill off a mainline logging road under a dense canopy of trees.

Motorcyclist dies in Nanaimo Parkway crash

0714 - A motorcyclist died in a three-vehicle crash on Nanaimo Parkway last night, directly across the highway from a brush fire.

Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O’Brien said a young adult male motorcyclist was travelling southbound north of Mostar Road when he collided with the back of an SUV, took a spill, and then was struck by another vehicle. The motorcyclist died at the scene.

“What it was, was people were simply slowing down to watch the fire. We firmly believe this is one of the causative factors as to why the accident happened, because the vehicle traffic was slowed,” O’Brien said. “Having said that, everybody has responsibility for their own vehicle and motorcycle.”

O’Brien said drugs and alcohol have been ruled out, but “we are certainly looking at speed and driver inattentiveness.”

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'Nanaimo Bear' trying to hitch across Canada

Nanaimo Bear trying to hitch across Canada.

0713 - The Nanaimo Bear stuffy dressed in Red Serge, will hitch a ride with drivers, cyclists and runners on its voyage across Canada toward Newfoundland. It will be left on the side of the road and in tourist spots with a note attached letting people know they can pick it up and carry it with them.

“We thought how could we somehow increase our image on social media, further our engagement with the public and have a social media project to see how far this could go,” saaid Cst. Gary O'Brien.

Since announcing the Nanaimo Bear's trip, O'Brien said they've been overwhelmed with responses from the community.

“We've had contact from police officers and the public across Canada who are willing to engage in the bear and facilitate transportation across Canada,” O'Brien said, citing one man leading a cross-Canada trip with retired military police and former Nanaimo Mounties who've moved elsewhere.

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Environment Canada issues heat warning for southern B.C.

0713 - Environment Canada has issued a special weather advisory for the mid Island – a hot weekend ahead.

The advisory urges residents to protect themselves by staying hydrated, using sunscreen and taking other precautions.

“Hot weather is expected this weekend over southern B.C. with daytime temperatures approaching the high-20s and/or low-30s along the coast and reaching into to the mid-30s inland,” the statement notes. “Temperatures will moderate starting mid next week.”
 

City meets with Finance Minister over speculation tax

Mayor Bill McKay

0713 - Mayor Bill McKay and City staff members met with the Finance Minister Carole James, on Thursday to address concerns of including the City of Nanaimo in BC's new Speculation Tax as well as to provide detailed and accurate information that doesn't appear to have been reflected in the decision-making process. The City's position is that it will adversely affect Nanaimo's housing market and local economy. 

"The BC speculation tax works against the Regional District of Nanaimo's growth strategy which aims to encourage growth in urban nodes over sprawl in the region's rural areas," said Amrit Manhas, Economic Development Officer, "It also works against many other initiatives the City has introduced over the years to increase housing supply."

The City believes the effect of a speculation tax will drive developers out of the City to nearby markets not subject to the tax. Reduced developments will mean loss of vital revenue from Development Cost Charges for the City. It also means the City could lose out on new affordable housing being built by developers. 

"During our meeting, we received a clear signal that, while the Minister intended to take our information 'under advisement', the government would proceede with the legislation as is, and would monitor the impacts upon enactment," said Mayor Bill McKay.

Unique jerseys and laptop taken during break and enter

0713 - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating a break and enter to the Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association office at 380 Third St.  some time overnight Wednesday July 11. Some cash and taken was taken along with a Toshiba laptop, red portable barbeque and five unique baseball jerseys 

Investigators found a large hole in the drywall which provided access into the concession stand. Thieves pried open the office door and made off with the stolen items. The Toshiba laptop which was taken is old but did have a rare program installed called Rightview Pro

The five baseball jerseys taken, were mounted on the walls of Nick Holmes office. Holmes is currently  an employee of Nanaimo Minor baseball but prior to this engagement he was employed as a scout for Major League Baseball, where he travelled the globe looking for the potential Major League baseball players. It was during his travels in which he acquired the jerseys. Investigators were only able to obtain pictures of three of the stolen jerseys:

  • royal blue Flor De Cana #3
  • red Costa Rica #6
  • Black Sox # 3 with HOLMES on the back
  • royal blue Italia # 3 mesh jersey
  • grey Northwest jersey #3 with black and gold trim on the neck and sleeves

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

Small engine part blamed for WestJet emergency landing

0712 - A steel spring that disintegrated in the engine led to the emergency landing of a smoke-filled airplane in Nanaimo this past winter.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada released its report today about the incident, which happened on a WestJet Encore flight to Nanaimo Airport on March 20. While en route from Vancouver, crew and passengers noticed smoke in the cockpit and cabin and an emergency was declared with Air Traffic Services.

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City gives in, provides water to homeless encampment

0712 - After originally balking at a health officer's order, the City provided flowing drinking water to the downtown homeless encampment.

City crews were at the site across from Port Place Shopping Centre, on Thursday morning installing a water line.

The installation of water follows an order from Island Health late last week, calling on the City to provide a free flow of potable water, more portable toilets and hand sanitizing stations.

Last Friday, the City issued a statement saying they would ask Island Health to reconsider the order, calling the camp an "illegal trespass and unsafe occupation." However, mid-island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback declined, instead revising the deadline on the order, giving the City until 5 p.m. on July 12 to comply.

What's happening at the Port of Nanaimo?

Do you know what's going on at the Port of Nanaimo? There's lots happening. Check it out HERE

 

City expected to provide money for Ocean Discovery Centre

0712 - The City is expected to help organizers of a proposed downtown aquatic science centre with seed money.

The finance and audit committee meeting voted 4-3 Wednesday to provide up to $65,000 to the Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association. The group had asked for nearly $130,000 for feasibility studies and architecture proposals after originally claiming they only needed waterfront land from the City, not money.

“If we believe it's a good project for the City, I think we should put our money where our mouth is,” coun. Ian Thorpe said. “I think they do need some seed money and I don't have a problem with fundraising for them. I think that's a wise move.”

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New City CEO ready for to tackle city council mess

Jake Rudolph

0712 - His contract is only eight months long, but Nanaimo's new interim chief administrative officer has several years of City Hall turmoil to untangle.

Despite the tall order, Jake Rudolph seemed excited and confident about the challenge ahead as he toured City Hall and met with staff and media Wednesday morning ahead of his first day on the job next Monday.

Rudolph said there's a high awareness of Nanaimo's political plight elsewhere in the province, something he considered long and hard before applying for the position.

"Anybody that's involved in municipal government in B.C. knows about Nanaimo, it's fair to say. It's been watched closely. And it's something that's not been good," he said. "I'm not coming with any of that baggage, I'm only coming with a willingness to give it the best I can to support the needs of Council and the organization."

The the FULL STORY

Council approves south end parkland after second vote

0712 - A swath of land near the Nanaimo Parkway will be dedicated as park space after all.

City councillors voted 7-1 Monday in favour to dedicate 96 hectares of city-owned property, on Nanaimo Lakes Road as parkland.

The move comes after councillors failed to pass the park dedication bylaw in June, When three councillors were absent and Mayor Bill McKay voting against the measure. The bylaw required at least two-thirds majority of council approval in order to pass.

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City says no to Recycling Exchange funding

The City will not contribute $6.05 million for a new zero-waste, non-profit recycling depot.

Councillors, at an in-camera meeting Monday, decided not to provide an annual operating grant to the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange for debt servicing on a mortgage.

“The decision not to fund operations of the NRE came after considerable deliberation and was not a decision taken lightly,” a city press release noted, adding that the vote was 6-2 and came after councillors received advice from both legal counsel and finance staff.

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Jim Turley makes it official – he's running for city council

Jim Turley

Read up on Jm Turley's background at his nanaimonet page http://www.nanaimonet.com/440195249

 

Illegal homeless camps popping up all over Nanaimo

The downtown homeless camp is in the spotlight but smaller camps are still popping up all across the city.

Social planner John Horn estimated there's roughly 50 smaller camps peppered throughout Nanaimo and they're no longer just in bushes and small forests.

Horn said they are popping up in public parks.

Neighbourhoods, such as around Dover Bay, are now dealing with more entrenched, long-term camps.

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City challenges order to provide services to tent settlement

0707 - The City is challenging an order from the Vancouver Island Health to provide a water tap for trespasser in the tent settlement.

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said city staff received a hazard abatement and prevention order yesterday regarding conditions at the squat at 1 Port Drive.

ADr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health medical health officer, advised that there are “reasonable and probable grounds to believe that conditions exist that present a significant risk of causing a health hazard.”

The health authority is requiring the municipality to provide flowing potable water, additional portable toilets and hand sanitizing stations by July 10. However, the city will not immediately comply.
 

Island Health orders city to provide services to tent city

Dr. Paul Hasselback

Island Health has issued a Hazard Abatement and Prevention Order to the City of Nanaimo with respect to the Tent City property.  In addition to continuing to provide solid waste services, the Order requires that the City of Nanaimo provide the following to 1 Port Drive:

1.  a free flow of potable water; 
2.  additional portable toilet facilities and associated maintenance; and
3.  hand sanitizing stations near the portable toilet facilities.

Dr. Paul Hasselback, Island Health Medical Health Officer, says there are “reasonable and probable grounds to believe that conditions exist that present a significant risk of causing a health hazard”.  As such, the City has been ordered to provide the above-mentioned services by July 10, at 5 p.m. 

The City has always maintained that this is an illegal trespass and unsafe occupation. As part of this, the City of Nanaimo issued a Notice to Vacate to the Tent City occupants on May 25. On June 25, the City requested that the Court expedite the civil injunction proceedings filed by the City on an urgent basis due to the fire and other ongoing safety concerns with the Tent City at 1 Port Drive.  This request was denied by the Court and the hearing has been set for the week of July 16, 2018. 

Since this decision, there have been ongoing safety concerns, including a stabbing, a fatal overdose and recent fire. A Provincial Fire Order was issued by the Local Assistant to the Fire Commissioner on May 30, with which the Tent City occupants have not complied.

Island Health has the authority to issue an evacuation order to the trespassers to remedy the health and safety concerns caused by the occupation of land not zoned or equipped for permanent or overnight accommodation. However, a Hazard Abatement and Prevention Order was issued. The City will be required to fund the services, if the order stands.    

The City has a statutory right to ask the Medial Health Officer to reconsider his decision and will be using the appropriate legal channels to make this request.

Lantsville Mayor Colin Haime not running for re-election

Mayor Colin Haime

 0706 - Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime is stepping down – he will not run for re-election in October.

In an interview with NanaimoNewsNOW, Haime, 54, said it's time to move on to new experiences, noting public life can become all-encompassing and create an unhealthy balance.

"It has had an effect on our family life. It affects your friendships. Through this couple decades, I've gained friends because of the experiences but I've also lost friends as a result. It is very taxing on a family and an individual's emotional health."

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School board approves $157-million budget

0706 - The Nanaimo school board has passed its 2018-19 annual budget bylaw. 

The $157-million budget includes nearly $4 million in initiatives, including expanding the number of schools with a literacy focus from four to 12, as well as $58 million in teacher salaries, $11 million for support staff and $8.9 million for educational assistants.

A number of trustees liked what they saw in the budget during an earlier business committee meeting this month. Trustee Jeff Solomon called it a good news budget, while committee chairman Scott Kimler didn’t believe it gets much better.

“We’re not closing any schools, we’re not laying anybody off, we’re actually bringing people on, we’re putting $4 million to help support students. I don’t think there’s anything not to love about this,” he said.
 

Final phase of garbage collection rolling out

0706 - Phase 2 of the City's Sort Toss Roll automated waste and recycling collection system went live July 3. Collection using the new carts will be phased in over the next month. In addition, the City has taken on previously contracted out recycling collection. With these two new activities, come some bumps in collection this week. As a result, some collections have been taking longer than normal which the City is working on to get caught up.

Be sure to check your new collection calendar for the first date you can use your new carts. Until that time, continue to use your old garbage cans, small organics cans and yellow bags for recycling. Until your automated route starts, the trucks in use cannot empty the automated carts and your garbage and recyclables cannot be collected.

Check the information guide that came with your new carts to determine proper placement on collection day. The arm that picks up the carts needs 1 metre clearance all around to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Until October 26, residents can continue to use garbage tags for extra bags that won't fit in the carts. Extra tags can be returned to the Service and Resource Centre for a refund.

For more information on automated collection and to view informative videos, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/SortTossRoll


Jim Turley running for city council

Longtime downtown businessman Jim Turley has informed Nanaimonet.com that he will be a candidate for city council in the Oct. 20 election.

We have not received the details of his platform to date, but in the meantime check out our City Council election page and look over the 11 names of declared candidates.

HERE

District makes pitch for new secondary school

0705 - A brand-new Nanaimo District Secondary School tops the wish lists in the school district’s proposed five-year capital plan shows.

The school board has approved its annual five-year capital plan submission for the B.C. Ministry of Education to consider, which includes school expansions and new seismic work.

École Hammond Bay, an expansion project already supported by the province, and NDSS are the highest priorities in the proposed plan.

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Youth arrested after man stabbed at squatter site

0705 - An 18-year-old suspect was arrested after a stabbing at the illegal squatters site on Wednesday night. Nanaimo RCMP reported a 27-year-old man was taken to hospital with a life-threatening stab wound.

Police vehicles were at the location and Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called for medical aid after 7:30 p.m. B.C. Ambulance Service was also at the scene.

The suspect was found a short distance from the crime scene and was arrested and is being held in custody.

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Townsite summer shelter program expanded

0704 -Thirty additional summer shelter spaces are available starting tonight (July 4), at 7 pm. The spaces are provided by the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo, in conjunction with assistance from the City and BC Housing and will remain open until October 31.  

The Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter provides extended service through its shower program at Caledonia Park.

The First Unitarian Fellowship is located at 595 Townsite Road. It will operate daily from 7 pm to 7 am on a first-come, first-served basis and will provide two meals daily along with other social supports and services.

The normal cold-weather shelter service will resume at this location after October 31.

City hires interim chief administrative officer

Jake Rudolph

0703 - Nanaimo City Council has appointed Jake Rudolph Interim Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).  

Rudolph is an experienced municipal CAO having served for almost 13 years as the CAO for Pitt Meadows in addition to other senior roles with Abbotsford, Maple Ridge and Fredericton, NB. He holds both an MBA as well as a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning, and serves as the BC representative with the Canadian Association of Municipal Administrators.

He will assume duties on July 16. To allow a transition between Councils following the municipal election in October, the term of the assignment is until March 31, 2019.

The next Council will determine when and how to fill the CAO position on a permanent basis.

"Nanaimo is a tremendous city, and I'm very pleased to have the opportunity to take on this role," Rudolph said. "I look forward to working with Council and the senior management group on the many diverse and challenging initiatives under way."

Mayor Bill McKay said the new interim CAO  comes with many years of experience in very active and growing communities, and is well respected in BC municipal government.

"I am sure I speak for all of Council when I say that we look forward to laying a strong foundation for the incoming Council and believe he will serve very well during the transition period."

Coun. Diane Brennan said the city is fortunate to have him at this time to help guide the current council in wrapping up its tenure and to assist the new one as they step into the future. 

Coun Ian Thorpe said Rudolph comes highly recommended. "I am very pleased that he has agreed to fill the position until a new Council gets established following the election."

 

Fire crews gaining upper hand in Nanaimo Lakes blaze

0703 - Despite recent rain, the fire threat level for the Nanaimo area remains moderate to high.

A blaze burning in the Nanaimo Lakes area grew to 14.5-hectares (nearly 36-acres) by Tuesday afternoon after sparking on Sunday. Dorothe Jakobsen with the Coastal Fire Centre told NanaimoNewsNOW the fire is considered held and is expected to be under control in coming days.

Man sentenced to jail for stolen property and B&E

0703 - Klint Lee Whitford, 43, will serve the next 82 days in jail after he pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property and a break-and-enter in relation to incidents last year.

Provincial Court in Nanaimo heard Tuesday Whitford was found with more than $5,000 of stolen goods in his backpack in south Nanaimo. Whitford also admitted to stealing about $2,000 worth of valuables from the Rona store in Nanaimo's south end. He was also responsible for a minor theft at a Courtenay grocery store.

Island Highway in Nanaimo in for major resurfacing

0703 - As the bulk of the roadwork on the City's to-do list winds down, one of the biggest projects for this road construction season is set to ramp up.

The province is expected to kick off a major $4.4 million asphalt resurfacing project on the Island Hwy. early this month. City staff previously said the work would happen between Brechin Road and Norwell Driv., however, a government sign advertising the project states the work will run all the way to Mary Ellen Dr. in the north end.

Nanaimo News Now

 

Motorcyclists injured in Stewart Avenue crash on Monday

0703 - A motorcyclist was rushed to hospital after a crash along Stewart Avenue on Monday.

The accident, involving a motorcycle and a sport-utility vehicle, happened at 4:40 p.m. near St. George Street.

Emergency personnel at the scene said both vehicles were travelling south when the crash occurred.

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Firefighters battle wildfire near Nanaimo Lakes

0702 - More than 20 firefighters and two aircraft have contained a sizable wildfire near Nanaimo Lakes.

Jean Drew, regional wildfire coordination officer for the Coastal Fire Centre, said the blaze grew to about 10-hectares (24-acres) in size after it was reported around 5 p.m. Sunday, July 1.

He said it's located about half-a-kilometre from Nanaimo River Rd., along Rush Creek near Third Lake.

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Family describes nightmare of buying their first home

0702 - A Nanaimo woman is sharing her family’s living nightmare in hopes of saving another first-time buyer from their fate. The hot real estate market is making it more and more common for buyers to waive conditions and forego home inspections.

Wendy Ettinger and her son Matthew Noel’s dream home has turned into their nightmare.

“It looked immaculate on the outside. They made it look that way,” said Mathew Noel. “It said beautiful brand new 1-year-old, fully authorized home.”

“It’s just sad,” said Wendy Ettinger. “This house is ruining our lives.”

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The complete list of items facing the Trudeau import tax

Maxime Bernier MP

0701 - Here's a list of items that will be taxed on Prime Minister Trudeau's tariffs on U.S. goods. Think of that everytime you see the prices go up at the grocery store.

Thanks to member of Pariament Maxime Bernier.

THE WHOLE LIST

Toxic giant hogweed plants show up in Duncan

0701 - invasive and toxic giant hogweed has reared its head in Duncan.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada, advises giant hogweed is one of the most dangerous plants in the country. The exotic plant can grow up to six metres tall and is covered in clusters of white flowers.

Its colorless sap is toxic, and when it contacts human skin and is exposed to sunlight it can cause blisters, burns and even blindness.

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Stolen sculpture dropped off at downtown Nanaimo Library

A note on Facebook by local sculptor Heather Wall says the dragon sculpture stolen recently from Swy-a-lana Park has shown up in the Nanaimo Library parking lot.

The piece, wrapped in a blanket, was found by a Nanaimo Library employee.

The RCMP the sculpture now but is will soon be back on his rock globe. She is very thankful to everyone who shared the story getting national attention in the media. She believes it helped bring the dragon back.

Final bell tolls for Rutherford School

0701 - The last bell rang at Rutherford Elementary last week, signalling the start of summer break and the end of the school’s more than five decades in the community.

It’s “sad, very sad,” said London Adshead, 10, of the last day at the school. “Just not seeing some kids that are going to the same school as you and not being able to see them again, only like maybe for a few seconds like at a grocery store or something.”

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