Still no sign of missing senior Rick Larson

Additional photos of Rick Larson

1031 - Rick Larson has been missing since 9 a.m. Thursday, October, Oct 25. It is believed he was walking from their condo on South Haliburton Street to meet his wife at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. All avenues have been explored, including ground and air search and posters. Nothing indicates a reason for his disappearance. Hopefully someone saw this 6'2",  230 lb man walking. If you recall seeing him, please report to the RCMP or Crimestoppers.

Province wants two marijuana stores in Nanaimo

1030 - The provincial government wants to open two BC Cannabis Stores in Nanaimo.

The Liquor Distribution Branch has applied for rezoning at two locations to allow for retail cannabis sales. One application is for a new building facing the Island Highway, in the parking lot at Country Club Centre, and the other asked to rezone an existing storefront in the Woodgrove Crossing complex.

The City will move the applications forward as quickly as possible but there is a significant amount of work to undertake.


Farmere denied recount of mayoralty vote

Ray Farmere

1030 - Ray Farmere, who ran for mayor in Nanaimo, has been denied a recount of ballots. Farmere applied to the courts for a judicial recount, but the application has been dismissed. The case was in court in Nanaimo on Tuesday.

Leonard Krog won with 20,040 votes and is mayor-elect, to be sworn in next week. Don Hubbard was runner-up with 6,802 votes and Farmere garnered 365 votes.


Halloween costume spurs police response

1030 What may have been a mental health issue brought out a huge police response to what turned out to be a man in a convincing Halloween costume.

Police contained an area of Comox Road and Prideaux Street on Monday afternoon and evening after a report of a man dressed in camouflage, with his face covered, carrying what appeared to be a long gun, entering a residence.

Police say a man was detained without incident, it’s possible no charges will stem from it. The gun was a replica.

Driver facing multiple charges after crashes

1029 - A drive is facing multiple charges following a series of car crashes Sunday night.

Police say the incident began just after 10:30 p.m.  night when the driver of a car hit another vehicle parked on Stewart Avenue. He then drove away and hit a truck before crashing into a ditch on Estevan Road a few moments later.

Police say the driver then began fighting with bystanders. The incident ended when the man cut his neck just before RCMP arrived.

Robber hits North Nanaimo CIBC bank branch

1029 - A north Nanaimo bank was robbed this afternoon. The CIBC branch on the Island Hwy. just north of Costco, was robbed of an undisclosed amount of cash. Police said no weapon was produced and there were no injuries before the suspect ran off.

VIU researchers on verge of drug testing breakthrough

Applied Environmental Research Laboratories researchers Dr. Chris Gill, left, and PhD candidate Scott Borden are developing a drug-testing method that could save lives. VIU photo

1029 - Researchers at Vancouver Island University are zeroing in on a drug-testing method that could dramatically slow an epidemic of opioid overdoses and potentially save countless lives.

The research is led by Dr. Chris Gill, a VIU Chemistry professor and Co-Director of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories (AERL). The research uses mass spectrometry-based methods to overcome key limitations of existing drug tests for toxic substances such as fentanyl or carfentanil. The new drug-testing method would arm users with immediate, accurate information about the potential risks related to the exact contents of their drug product, empowering them to make safer choices.


Marr and Davidson named to head Port of Nanaimo

Ian Marr and Mike Davidson

1023 – Ian Marr and Mike Davidson have been named interim co-CEOs of the Port of Nanaimo following the departure of CEO and President Ewan Moir last week.

The announcement was made by Nanaimo Port Authority Chair Michelle Corfield.

Marr is the Senior Vice Presidendt of Finance and Administration and Davidson is the Vice President, Real Estate. Both have had long careers with the Port.


Homeless people not being shuttled to Port Alberni

1029 - People from Nanaimo’s tent city are not being shipped to Port Alberni.

Wes Hewitt, executive director for the Port Alberni Shelter Society, one of the agencies that looks after housing people who are homeless in the Alberni Valley denied the rumour.

A court-imposed deadline came into effect at 5 p.m. Friday, for everyone to vacate the tent city homeless camp in Nanaimo except those who are expecting to move into supportive housing in the coming weeks.


University focusses on Nanaimo soldiers killed in wars

1029 - For 11 days leading up to Remembrance Day, names of nearly 200 Nanaimo soldiers who died during the First and Second World Wars will be displayed in prominent locations across the city.

Nanaimo Remembers is a unique video memorial project that displays details about the fallen soldiers listed on the Dallas Square Cenotaph downtown. Te project is spearheaded by Vancouver Island University’s (VIU’s) Marketing, Analytics, Recruitment and Communications department, in collaboration with the University’s Canadian Letters and Images Project (CLIP) and Nanaimo Community Archives. It outlines each soldier’s name, rank and battalion (information from the Cenotaph) as well as – when available – their pre-war profession, when they died and at what age, where they are buried and their specific connection to Nanaimo.

 “This display and the research that it is built upon does not exist anywhere else and is the first comprehensive research into First and Second World War soldiers from Nanaimo as a group that we know of,” says Dr. Stephen Davies, Director of CLIP. “In recent years, we have participated in The World Remembers, a display tribute to soldiers across the world who lost their lives in the Great War. This year, we wanted to localize our Remembrance Day project.”

 The video presentation will run continuously from November 1-11, on the large screen in the Welcome Centre (Building 300) at VIU’s Nanaimo Campus. It will also be showcased at several locations in the community during this time: 

  • through Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ website, social media accounts and at any schools that wish to participate;
  • and at several City of Nanaimo facilities including Beban Park, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and Oliver Woods Community Centre.

Davies, along with VIU alumni connected to CLIP, worked hard to pull together the information needed for Nanaimo Remembers.

“Many of the ancestors of the people memorialized in the project live in Nanaimo today, so I am anticipating this to be a very meaningful project for many people in the community,” says Davies. “We hope this shines a light on the incredible contributions and sacrifices made by local soldiers and their families.”

City offers resizing of cubside garbage bins

1029 - The City offers free upsizing or downsizing of recycling and garbage carts until Nov. 30, as part of phase two of the Sort Toss Roll automated curbside pickup program. After November, a cart exchange will come with a $25 administration fee.

While there are no additional fees for residents who choose an up or downsized blue recycling cart, residents choosing to upsize their black garbage cart will see a $100 increase to user rates to cover the extra tipping fees at the Regional Landfill. This cost is similar to using the $3 garbage tags for extra bags in the past. 

The City is expecting a large number of requests to fill and thanks residents in advance for their patience as the cart exchanges take place.

Search continues for missing 72-year-old man

Recent photo of Rick Larsen

1029 - Nanaimo RCMP continue searching for 72-year-old Rick Larsen, who left his south end Nanaimo home on Thursday, Oct 25 and has not been seen or heard from since.

The search has utilized numerous resources from the Nanaimo Search and Rescue (NSAR), Nanaimo RCMP and RCMP Air Services. Areas searched, but not limited to, included the shoreline along Haliburton St, local parks and Westwood Lake, where Larsen liked to spend time hiking. NSAR also went door to door and brought in search dogs and utilized bicycles to cover more terrain in the parks, paths and trails scattered throughout Nanaimo.

Investigators have been unable to find anything to indicate where Mr. LARSEN may have ventured to. As a result, NSAR have ceased their search efforts but are prepared to reconvene at short notice, if there are any positive developments in the investigation, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

The picture provided of Larsen is recent; he is an avid hiker, who walks upwards of 10 kilometres daily and often carries a backpack.

If anyone has any information on to assist with the investigation, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. 

Report says labour shortage to impact Island economy

1029 - A tight labour market could limit economic growth on Vancouver Island in 2019.

The State of the Island Economic Report (SIER) released at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance summit in Nanaimo anticipates limited economic growth in 2019, which is linked to a tight labour market.

The SIER, an unbiased view of the island's economy compiled by Myers Norris Penny, showed a competitive labour scene is expected to limit the ability of Vancouver Island businesses to significantly expand in the near term.

Continued population growth and strong housing demand compounded the Island's competitive labour market in 2018, the report said.


Housing development proposed near Long Lake

1028 - A Kelowna company, Highstreet Ventures, has applied for a development permit for a 172-unit multi-family rental development near Long Lake.

The company proposes four buildings – one four-storey building, two three-storey buildings and one two-storey amenity building – at 4800 Cedar Ridge Pl., near the Grand Hotel.

The four-storey building would have 76 units, while the two three-storey buildings would have 48 units each. The amenity building will include a gym, bike storage, bike repair station, kitchenette, two patios, a small office and a lounge that can be rented out for events such as parties. The three apartment buildings will have a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

Minister lauds Canadian unity in trade negotiations

Hon. Navdeep Bains

1027 - American politicians and negotiators tried a divide and conquer approach during North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiations, a federal cabinet minister said Thursday.

Speaking at the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s Economic Summit, Navdeep Bains,minister of innovation, science and economic development, said the United States administration felt it could divide Canadians, but ultimately failed to do so.

“The Americans were stunned because the divide-and-conquer game didn’t work. They couldn’t pit a sector against one another, they couldn’t pit a region against one another or a politician against one another,” he said. “We were all united and I think that really strengthened our negotiations and ultimately allowed us to get a good deal.”


Woman suffers burns at downtown encampment

1027 - A woman suffered second- or third-degree burns burns  after her tent at the downtown encampment caught fire on Thursday.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called to the homeless camp Thursday at 3:10 p.m., but the fire was knocked down by bystanders with fire extinguishers before firefighters arrived.

Alan Millbank, fire prevention officer, said a woman suffered burns to her hand. She was treated at the scene by B.C. Ambulance Service paramedics before she was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.


Nets in ferry routes could cancel fishing opening

1026 - A busy two-day fishery in the waters off Nanaimo, B.C., has prompted a warning from Fisheries and Oceans Canada that any further problems could prompt an early closure of the 13-hour-a-day fishery.

Andrew Thomson, regional director of fisheries management after B.C. Ferries said two fishing nets had been caught by their ships and a vessel was also forced to stop when it almost made contact with a third net.

Thomson said Thursday the opening of the season that began Wednesday at 7 a.m. drew about 130 gillnet vessels, compared with 30 or 40 vessels that would typically show up.


City begins clearing tent encampment site

It’s move-out day for some of the residents of Nanaimo’s illegal downtown squat.

A court-imposed deadline comes into effect at 5 p.m. today, Oct. 26, for everyone to vacate the  homeless camp except those who are expecting to move into supportive housing in the coming weeks.

City crews were at the site this morning enforcing a fire safety order, said Karen Fry, Nanaimo Fire Rescue chief and the city’s director of public safety.


Cedar homeless camp cleared out by province

1026 - A homeless camp along the Nanaimo River in Cedar has been cleared, leaving local residents relieved and several camp residents in a lurch.

A trespass notice issued this week by the province resulted in a full-scale eviction Thursday as the government, RCMP and contractors coordinated the removal of several RVs and cleaned up various scattered items and mounds of garbage.

One large RV remained on the provincially-owned land as of late Thursday afternoon.


BCLiberals kick off byelection campaigning

Andrew Wilkinson

1026 - When Nanaimo votes, all of BC will be watching. B.C. Liberals have kicked off their campaign with a video featuring party leader Andrew Wilkinson.

He says the people of Nanaimo have an opportunity to achieve the Harbour City's full potential — by electing an MLA whose energy and optimism match those of the community itself. And that's exactly what the BC Liberals will offer.

Watch the video here.


Police looking for missing senior

John Larson

1026 - Nanaimo RCMP are seeking public assistance in locating 72 year old  John Larson who was last seen Thursday Oct. 25 in the Petroglyph Park area. He walked away from his home early this morning, and has not returned. This is unusual for him.
He is  clean shaven, 6'2" tall and about 230 pounds. It is believed he may be wearing a black hat, black backpack, and blue jeans.
If you locate him, or have any information that could help po0lice find him, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP immediately.

HMCS Nanaimo back in South Pacific drug war

HMCS Nanaimo in last year's Operation Caribbe.

1025 - HMCS Nanaimo has arrived in the South Pacific to particpate in Operation Caribbe with th U.S. Navy and Mexican Coast Guard in a multi-national effort to disrupt illicit drug trafficking. 

In an e-mail to local supporters, Lt-Cdr Jason Bergen reported the newly-formed crew is performing very well and morale is extremely high.

Last winter, the operation seized nearly 4,000 kilograms of cocaine and disrupted an estimated 5,100 kgs of the drug. An estimated $298 million worth of drugs were diverted off the streets during the operation.

Malcolmson to resign to run in Nanaimo byelection

Sheila Malcolmson

1024 -  NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson is leaving federal politics to seek a provincial seat in the British Columbia legislature in what's shaping up to be a crucial byelection.

But it's not clear when she intends to give up her seat in the House of Commons.

Malcolmson, who was elected in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding in 2015, will run for the seat vacated by MLA Leonard Krog, who won Nanaimo's mayoral race Saturday.

Premier John Horgan announced Malcolmson's move during a news conference in Nanaimo today, saying she will make health care, public education and affordable housing her top policy priorities.


RCMP cleared in shooting of suspect at ferry in May

1024 - No charges will be laid against Nanaimo RCMP officers who fatally shot a suspect at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in May.

A report from the Independent Investigations Office found the man behind the wheel, departing from the ferry in Nanaimo around 10:15 a.m. on May 8, was trying to shoot himself in the head when officers fired upon him.

“It was very reasonable for the officers present to believe their life was in danger as the gun was raised,” the IIO report said.


Man dies after motorcycle collides with minvan

News Bulletin video screen capture


A Nanaimo man is dead after a crash involving a motorcycle and a minivan.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed the motorcyclist, a man in his 40s, died in hospital and the investigation is in its early stages.

Tthe motorcyclist was heading west along Hammond Bay Road  around 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, toward Woodgrove Centre, when he hit a minivan pulling out of the library parking lot.

1024- A motorcycle and a minivan were involved in a serious crash in front of Nanaimo North Library tonight.

A firefighter at the scene on Hammond Bay Road said the male motorcyclist was alive when transported to ambulance, but added that he wasn’t sure the motorcyclist would survive.

The accident happened at 5:15 p.m.

Regional District board will have a new look

1023- The next Regional District board will barely resemble the last one. Results from Saturday’s elections ensure that there will be likely only three returnees to the 19-member board.

New mayors and councils were elected in NanaimoLantzvilleParksville and Qualicum Beach, as well as several new directors in outlying areas. Because of all the changes, the only returnees to the RDN board will be Maureen Young from Area C (Extension, East Wellington, Pleasant Valley), Bob Rogers from Area E (Nanoose Bay) and presumably Ian Thorpe. Of the other 16 RDN directors, either 15 or 16 will be new to the board table.


Krog ponders timing of resignation as Nanaimo MLA

Mayor-elect Leonard Krog

1023 - Leonard Krog has not yet decided when he will resign as MLA for Nanaimo after storming to victory with 20,000-plus votes in the race for mayor

“Do I remain on unpaid leave and available for the House (in the provincial legislature) until the end of November or when do I officially resign my seat?

“Over the next few days I’ll obviously have discussions with the (NDP) whip and see where the leg (legislature) is at and what not,” he said.

MEANWHILE: Premier John Horgan said Monday he wants to a new MLA in the riding before his government introduces its new budget, which is typically the second week of February. That would mean the 28-day campaign would start in early January at the latest.

“We will ensure that there is a member from Nanaimo in the legislature to debate the budget in February,” said Horgan.


Federal Conservatives to nominate candidate Nov. 18

1023 - Nanaimo Ladysmith federal Conservatives are taking the first steps toward the next election in 2019, or even a byelection, with a nomination meeting Nov. 18.

Local businessman John Hirst has sent out the first appeal for support at the nomination.

He is the father of a young family and was born and raised Nanaimo. He is a member of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and president of the Nanaimo Gyro Club.
He has been involved in the community through volunteer work, fundraising, supporting local causes and trying to make our community a better place to live. 

He plans to campaign among local Conservatives in the coming weeks.

Postal workers begin 24-hour strike in select cities

1022 - Postal workers in Victoria are on the picket line this morning.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) began 24-hour strikes after midnight in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Ontario and at 1 a.m. in Halifax.

The union says mail will still be delivered in the cities affected but will be delayed.

Canada Post says business will proceed as usual at other locations but mail and parcels will not be picked up or delivered where walkouts are taking place.

Cedar residents fed up with squatters in the area

1022 -Cedar-area residents are not happy with trailers and tents that have been set up near the intersection of Cedar and Harmac roads.

Residents are concerned about the environmental effect with the proximity to Nanaimo River and fed up with what they say is increased crime in the area.

Brenda Hanna, who lives in the area, said the situation has been ongoing for months with needles found and occupants being really aggressive, with verbal and physical attacks. She said residents want the river back and the area cleaned.


Island Economic Summit begins Thursday in Nanaimo

1022 - The 12th annual State of the Island Economic Summit Wednesdady and Thursday will focus on the effect of legal recreational cannabis on businesses and employees among a wide range of topics.

The conference takes place at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo. It is a forum for addressing social and economic issues currently trending in the business world. 

View the Summit schedule

The earth is rumbling, seven quakes off Vancouver Island

1022 - A series of seven earthquakes were reported off Vancouver Island late Sunday and this morning, ranging from 4.3 to 6.8. The most recent one was at 8:27 a.m. today, 140 miles west of Tofino.

The U.S. Gealogical Service reported the quakes in a 20-mile range about 150 miles west of Tofino.

No tsunami warnings were issued with the report.

Fire Rescue responds to explosion at campsite

1021 - Firefighters had to climb down a ravine to extinguish a brush fire caused by an explosion at a small homeless camp along the Millstone River.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews were called to the 600 block of Rosehill Street at about 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Assistant chief Martin Drakeley said the call came in as an explosion and bush fire.

“When [firefighters] arrived, they found a lot of flame and smoke at the bottom of the gully next to the Millstone River,” he said. “It involved fire and some type of explosive gas, propane maybe; we’re not sure at this point,” Drakeley said. “It basically decimated his whole camp.”


Police seek driver of stolen car after crash

1020 - Police are looking for suspected car thief after a single-vehicle crash on Hwy. 19 in Lantzville left glass shattered all over the road.

Cst. Gary O'Brien said a northbound car smashed into a lamp standard on the highway at Ware Road. at 4:30 a.m. Friday. He said the car was destroyed, while the male driver ran off.

Northound traffic on Hwy. 19 between Ware and Superior Roads was detoured Friday morning to allow crews to clean up the glass, said O'Brien.


Tent site gets deadline extension to end of November

1019 - The dealine for the downtown tent encampment has been extended until Nov. 30, after Justice Ronald Skolrood issued a second order in BC Supreme Court today.

The conditions will improve the safety of residents in the tent sit and those who live and work nearby. Most of the conditions set by Nanaimo City Council to permit the extension were granted.

Lawyer Noah Ross, representing some occupants, sought to allow occupants  to stay until December 31, after BC Housing opens 170 units of temporary modular housing on two sites in Nanaimo. The City opposed the application to extend the deadline for closure, but provided conditions to protect public safety and reduce the number of occupants.


Spec tax revisions don't solve the problem, says Smythe

Kim Smythe

1018 - The provincial government’s last-miniute revision to the speculation tax legislation does nothing to improve a poorly-thought-out tax policy, says Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, Kim Smythe.

Revisions to the bill were announced today by Finance Minister Carole James with Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver.

Nanaimo-Lantzville and the Capital Regional District, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Kelowna-West Kelowna are subject to the tax. 

“The communities singled out for the Spec Tax have not been proven to be those most impacted by housing unaffordability,” says Smythe. “It is hard to see how any proceeds from this tax will be applied locally nor how they will assist in creating affordable housing. In fact, this action is likely to depress the housing investment market and slow development of new housing, including that considered affordable,” he added.

The Chamber’s stance is the tax leaves multiple communities unfairly targeted with obstacles to investment, a disadvantage driving housing demand up in communities on the borders of those being taxed. It will not impact over all.

“I’m afraid the most certain outcome of these revisions will be a further guarantee of shortfalls in the government’s revenue projections from this tax putting additional pressures on other revenue sources, including personal and corporate income tax,” Smythe said.

Suspect tried to lure nine-year-old girl

1018 -RCMP have issued a warning to parents after a nine-year-old girl was approached by a male driver who asked her if she wanted a drive home. The incident occurred at approximately 9 a.m. on Wednesday near Park Avenue School in south Nanaimo.

The young girl reported she was walking to school when a red Dodge Ram pickup pulled over in front of her and came to a stop. The male driver spoke to her through an open passenger side window and asked her to come closer. As she approached, the man got out of his truck and asked her if he could give her a ride to school. The girl immediately ran back to the sidewalk, then carried on to school and reported the incident to her teacher.

The driver is white, very thin with short brown hair and a bushy brown beard with a reddish tip. The girl also said the vehicle had a skull on the front window and a” Fox Brand" on the driver side rear door. A partial plate of HT was also noted.

 "The young lady did a great job of removing herself from the situation and providing a timely and detailed description of the male," said Constable Gary O'Brien.

Parents should discuss safety when walking with their children. The following tips are provided to assist with your discussion:

  • Never accept a ride with a stranger
  • Establish a safe word or password to be used when someone other than the parent is picking up a child
  • Stay on sidewalks where possible and do not go with two arm lengths of a vehicle
  • If approached, run away, make noise and tell an adult as soon as possible

If anyone has information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at

Record number of voters cast ballots at advance poll

1018 - More than 5,000 people voted during two days of advance voting opportunities, with lineups outside Bowen Park Auditorium both voting days Oct. 10 and 17.

The record-breaking advance voter turnout  far exceeded the 2,262 votes cast during advance voting in the 2014 municipal election in Nanaimo.

More than 22,000 people voted in the local election in 2014 in Nanaimo, which accounted for 34.1 per cent of eligible voters.


RCMP investigating shooting on Kennedy Street

RCMP are investigating a report of shots fired at a home in the 500 block of Kennedy Street. The incident occurred at approximately 2:30 p.m. today. There have been no reported injuries and investigators believe it was a targeted incident.

 Several suspects and vehicles have been identified and numerous officers are assigned to the incident. More information will be released when available.

Franklyn Street Gym fire termed suspicious

1018 - Fire investigators have determined that a fire at the Franklyn Street Gym located at 421 Franklyn St. is suspicious

Shortly after midnight on Thursday, Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to the fire. Smoke was showing from the side of the building and a fire had spread to the roof. Firefighters from all four stations responded to this incident and worked for over three hours to bring it under control.

Fire investigators have turned the investigation over to the Nanaimo RCMP.

City designates land for Habitat For Humanity project

1018 - Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island now has a home in the Harewood neighbourhood for its latest housing project.

Habitat was given three lots at the corner of Albert Pine Streets for $1 by Nanaimo city council on Monday.

Twelve townhouse units are proposed for the land to accommodate full families. Two will be handicapped accessible.


Nanaimo in no hurry to legalize cannabis sales

1018 - It will be several months or more before you can buy legal cannabis in Nanaimo.

Dozens lined up to buy bud from the only provincially-operated store in Kamloops Wednesday morning and thousands more made use of the province's online marketplace. But in Nanaimo, it was largely business as usual, with a handful of dispensaries doing what they had been for some time — selling pot illegally.

Nanaimo will not begin accepting applications for cannabis retail stores until Oct. 22. Even then, manager of current planning Lainya Rowett said it will likely take "several months or even up to a year" before any stores gain official approval.


Students learn about voting process

1018 - Voter turnout was high when Dover Bay Secondary School students cast their ballots in a mock election Wednesday.

Grades 8 to 12 took part throughout the morning in the exercise as students marked their choices from a list of actual city council and school board candidates.

Voting was done according to the rules and processes citizens proceed through to cast ballots in real elections, such as the municipal elections to be held Saturday, Oct. 20.


This is our back yard, say Terminal Avenue residents

1018 - A petition opposing the province’s plans to build supportive housing units along Terminal Avenue is being circulated in that neighbourhood.

Earlier this month, Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing, announced that the government had purchased 250 Terminal Ave. for $2 million in order to provide, via B.C. Housing, 80 units of temporary modular housing for people living at Discontent City. The province also plans to build 90 units of temporary housing on city-owned land at 2020 Labieux Rd.


City wants conditions set on possible tent camp extension

1017 - The City wants nine conditions placed on the downtown tent encampment should it remain open following a court hearing on Friday.

Council voted to oppose an application by lawyer Noah Ross to extend the camp’s deadline for closure to the end of November.

Ross filed an application last Friday in Supreme Court for an extension to enforcement of an injunction, causing the city to delay shutting down the camp. A hearing date for the application has been set for Friday,  before Justice Ronald Skolrood. The city is opposing any extension.


Horgan agrees to debate Wilkinson on voting referendum

Premier John Horgan

1017  - Premier John Horgan says he’s prepared to a debate B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson on the NDP-Green plan to change B.C.’s voting system, once municipal elections are out of the way.

Wilkinson called for a one-on-one debate after his summer tour of the province found many people aren’t even aware a referendum is happening, as Elections B.C. prepares to send out mail-in ballots to all registered voters starting Oct. 22.

In his September speech at their convention in Whistler, Horgan urged municipal leaders to take a “leap of faith” by choosing one of the three proportional representation systems offered on the ballot. Critics have seized on that comment to remind voters that it’s a leap of faith because two of the three systems are untried, and the size of new constituencies is only one of the things Horgan wants finalized after the last ballot is mailed in for counting on Nov. 30.

Professional advocacy – taking advantage of the homeless

By Matt Henstock

1014 - Want to learn more about the business of professional activism? Or how some slimeball opportunist politically motivated alt-left groups use the plight and misery of the homeless in order to fund their own coffers and build their political propaganda machine literally off the suffering of others? Want to know why I stand against the Alliance Against Displacement with such prejudice?

Look at their business model.

$3,200 has been raised for "Discontent City" through multiple GoFundMe pages set up by the Alliance Against Displacement as well as by Mercedes C. Where is this money going? Well, in at least one account's case it's going to an Alliance Against Displacement's account which is located in Burnaby.


Island Corridor Foundation to hold public meetings

1015 - The Island Corridor Foundation will hold town hall-style discussions around Vancouver Island next month. The meeting in Nanaimo is Nov. 19 at the Coast Bastion Inn.

The discussions will be headed by the ICF’s new CEO Larry Stevenson, Andrea Thomas, manager of corridor development, and Nicole Norris, the ICF’s First Nations liaison.

The meetings will be informal discussions about the foundation, what it is and what it does, and also to bring everyone up to date on what has been happening with the rail corridor.

Gabriola ferry terminal to get major upgrades

 BC Ferries has made the overhaul at the Gabriola Island ferry terminal a top priority with major upgrades getting started as early as next year.

Darin Guenette of  BC Ferries said the plan features three holding lanes and a widened road leading to the terminal to alleviate the single-lane backups.

He said construction will start in 2019 if permitting and zoning issues are dealt with in a timely manner, clearing the way for eased congestion and improved safety.


Horgan to deliver opening keynote at Economic Summit

Premier John Horgan will be the featured speaker at the Vancouver Island Economic Summit next week in Nanaimo.

Horgan assumed office just over a year ago leading an NDP/Green coalition bringing a different approach and a new agenda for BC. What have been the major wins and battles for BC and the Island this year? Where are we headed? Premier Horgan will address delegates on those topics.

The 12th annual ‘State of the Island’ Economic Summit is October 24-25 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo.

To learn more about the State of the Island Summit, Click here

Forest company ordered to pay $80,000 for cutting trees

1015 - The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered Western Canadian Timber Products to pay $80,000 to James and Deborrah Avender after their trees were mistakenly cut in East Wellington.

The award was made to James and Deborrah Avender after their trees were mistakenly cut with a feller buncher in 2014 on Christopher Road in East Wellington.

“The machine operator cut approximately 55 trees in the riparian area adjacent to McNeil Creek. Most of those trees were on the Avender property…” noted Justice Bruce Butler in his judgment. “After several months of denying that their operator cut trees on the Avender property, the defendants admitted to the trespass.”


Election in the home stretch with many events

1014 - There's a ton of activity on the campaign trail as the munipal election nears voting day on Saturday.

This campaign has been different than any other in the past three decades – possibly due to the large number of candidates. Various camps have set up smaller meet and greet event. The encouraging thing is the attendance at virtually all of them has been excellent, bringing out anywhere from 100-300 and more voters.

It will be interesting to note whether this type of campaigning boosts voter turnout. In 2014 it was 34 per cent. That enthusiasm doesn't guarantee a better turnout because they represent only a very miniscule portion of the 60,000-plus eligible voters.

On Monday Oct 15, a large group of candidates will participate in the Chamber of Commerce and OurNanaimo event at the Conference Centre.

Wednesday is a big day – both council and school trustee groups are having public events. 14 candidates for city council are having a joint meet and greet at the Port Theatre, starting at 5:30 p.m. It is being hosted by Jim Turley, Rae Kornberger, Peter Ken, Sheryl Armstrong, Don Bonner, Jeet Manhas, Ben Geselbracht, Peter Urquhart, Norm Smith, Alexis Petersen, Wendy Pratt, Fred Statham, Gary Korpan, Ian Thorpe, a really good cross-section.

The school board candidates meeting is at Cedar Community Hall, 2388 Cedar Road. This is your chance to meet the candidates, ask them questions and share your thoughts on SD 68's future. 

The arts get into the spotlight on Thursday at 7 p.m. Harbour City Theatre. The format includes introductions by the candidates, and a group discussion on the ways the city can support a thriving arts community in Nanaimo. Candidates Turley, Hemmens, Geselbrach, Brown and Bonner.

If you can't go, check out the council candidate platforms HERE and the school board HERE.

Fireworks parts in needle disposal ‘nothing malicious'

1014 - Nanaimo RCMP say it was the right call to evacuate people from an area of Discontent City yesterday, with explosive materials inside a sharps container.

RCMP’s Explosives Disposal Unit came to the homeless camp Friday night, examined the item found and removed it safely from the encampment, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

He said the items that caused the concern were parts for commercial fireworks, “which are quite volatile.”


Tent encampment explosives find ended in evacuation

1013 - Nanaimo RCMP say it was the right call to evacuate people from an area of the downtown tentencampment yesterday, with explosive materials foound inside a sharps container.

The RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit came to the camp Friday night, examined the item found and removed it safely, said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

He said the items that caused the concern were parts for commercial fireworks, “which are quite volatile.”


Bikes for charities stolen in brazen theft

1012 - Bike thieves have stooped to a new low, stealing upwards of 40 bikes earmarked for local charities. The theft occurred sometime between Friday, Oct.5 and Monday, Oct. 8, from a central Nanaimo warehouse. The exact location is not being provided for security reasons.

Two exterior doors were broken and their hinges removed. Additionally, a chain link fence surrounding the property was cut. Due to the sheer number of bikes taken, investigators believe several trucks and multiple persons were involved. 

The bikes were part of the Bikes for Kids initiative, a partnership between the Nanaimo RCMP, Universal Mortgage Architects and local bike shops.


RCMP alarmed at rising thefts from vehicles

1012 - Nanaimo RCMP report an alarming increase in theft from motor vehicles. Since January to the end of September, there have been 1,555 reported thefts. In all of 2017 there were 1661, a number which will be surpassed in just two weeks. In comparing months, September alone had 242 reported thefts as compared to 113 reported thefts in September 2017. 

There are several factors which lead to increases in theft from vehicles and several key ways in which the public can assist in reducing this number, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. One of the most effective ways is to keep your vehicle locked at all times when not in use, and always keep valuables out of sight.

The Nanaimo RCMP is actively targeting individuals who break into vehicles. Some arrests have been made but more work is required to deal with this issue, said O’Brien. If you have information on individuals involved in thefts from vehicles, call the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at or call 1-800-222-8477.


City puts tent city shutdown on temporary hold

1012 - The city has put on hold the court-approved shutdown of the illegal tent settlement downtown. The City is committed to a phased approach to the camp closure that is compassionate, respectful and structured and addresses the concerns raised in the fire safety order.

The decision to delay the shutdown was made after the lawyer for some occupants of the tent filed for an extension to close the encampment. That appeal will be heard at 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.

The city said closure is still the goal. Public safety continues to be the number one priority. 
The City will file its response to the court application on Tuesday morning after Council has had a chance to deliberate and consider its next steps. In addition the City is asking the Provincial government for additional support given the rising costs associated with the encampment.  
For continued updates, visit

Gas line rupture may explode gasoline prices

1011 -  You better jump to the pump if you want to escape higher gasoline prices – as much as eight cents a litre. senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague said the increase comes as a result of the natural gas pipeline explosion near Prince George.

“It's likely you're going to see prices break into record territories and much of it to do with the fact that refineries (in Washington State) cannot operate efficiently or effectively without their primary source of heat, which is natural gas.”

McTeague said gas prices on Vancouver Island will likely remain inflated for a week or two until the damaged pipeline is repaired.


Barn burns down at Vancouver Island Exhibition

1011 - One of the VIEX barns burned to the ground overnight.

A barn used for storage at the Vancouver Island Exhibition, with three vehicles inside, burned down in the early Thursday morning at Beban Park.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue was called to the scene at 4:40 a.m. and Karen Streeter, VIEX vice-president, arrived as the last of the fire was being snuffed out.


Police need help in finding missing woman

Rena Harker

1010 - Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 29-year-old Rena Harker who has not been seen or heard from since Sept 29. Her mother reported that her daughter may have been seen on Gabriola Island. A search of the Island by Gabriola Island detachment officers proved negative.

Harker has been dealing with personal issues and has been known to frequent Tent City. An extensive search of that area and other locations throughout Nanaimo failed to locate her.

She is a white, 5 ft. 11, 140 pounds with long brown hair and green eyes. The picture is recent.  If you have information on her whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at or call 1-800-222-8477.

Tent camp dismantling set for Friday, says activist

1011 - An activist supporting the illegal squat at 1 Port Drive claims the city will dismantle the camp on Friday, despite the provincial government’s recent request that it remain open.

Amber McGrath saidF ire Chief Karen Fry, the city’s director of public safety, informed her and other supporters during a phone call  that the camp will be dismantled on Oct. 12. She claimed Fry also told them bus tickets would be provided for those in the camp who have family outside of Nanaimo.

Meanwhile, The city has set up a temporary resource centre downtown to help with the transition.

The City posted information on its website Thursday afternoon advising the public that tents have been set up along Esplanade “to use as a resource centre to help occupants of the encampment access services and make plans to relocate from 1 Port Drive.” The new information did not specify dates or timelines.


Police seek help in finding Joel Cumming

Joel Cumming

1010 - Nanaimo RCMP seek help finding 29-year-old Joel Cumming who hasn’t been heard from since Sunday and is dealing with personal issues.

Police say he has not been heard from since Sunday, (Oct. 7), and has been dealing with significant personal issues, which has his family and friends extremely concerned for his personal safety. An extensive search by family, friends and police has proven negative.”

Cumming is 5-foot-10, 170 pounds and has blond hair and blue eyes. He is believed to be wearing a black hoodie with white lettering on the front, khaki-coloured pants and black shoes with white stripes. He may also be carrying a green backpack.

Anyone who knows Cumming’s whereabouts is asked to call 911. To remain anonymous, visit or call 1-800-22-8477.

Mayoral candidates, from left, Don Hubbard, Ray Farmere and Len Krog at Tuesday night's debate.

Mayor debate a bore; council candidates saved it

1010 - I just came from the Nanaimo Councillor/Trustee meet and Mayor debate at the Convention centre.

If the highlight of the evening was supposed to be the mayor candidate debates – well just forget it . It was a bit of a dud. It got off to a bad start when the organizers announced that there was to be no applause after a candidate spoke. What? Water isn’t wet anymore? The Pope is not Catholic? Georgia Strait is just a fresh water lake?

From whence did this bureaucratic silliness come ?

A political debate among candidate for the highest public office in the city and there is to be no applause??? There was a scattering of claps anyway – muted, reluctant, tentative. 

What’s the world coming to?

Pretty staid stuff, I say. I mean its not like we don’t have burning issues, like competence (too many call it governance) , tent cities, drugs, transportation, housin , economic opportunity, tourism, arts and culture, fiscal responsibility.

And then the format of the debates was another problem. In an effort to be efficient, I suppose, the time allotted was hardly time to develop a sensible point. And the questions were tame when provocation was needed, when aggressive prodding was called for.

Did any sparks fly? Not hardly!

The candidates , unfortunately, following the lead of the no applause dictate and the timid questioning, fell into the psychology of the moment and the best that could be scored was a C for the performances . Perhaps Krog at C+ , Hubbard at C and Farmere at C-.

However, there were some bright lights – the candidates for councillor – the new ones in particular like – Loos, Hemmens, Urquhart, Brown, Bonner, and Geselbracht.

Sadly, having the school board candidates at the same time was too much for two hours given there were 40 candidates for councillor.

Brian Peckford is the former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, retired in Nanaimo.

Flow of government-assisted refugees shut down

1009 - Nanaimo won’t get any more government-assisted refugees for an indefinite period.

Jennifer Fowler, executive director of the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society, said there won’t be any other government-assisted refugees directly arriving in Nanaimo because the federal government has cancelled a contract with her organization.

“We no longer have the contract for the government-assisted refugees,” she said. “We won’t get any more unless they are coming in from a different city.”


Flu shots are now available

Flu shots are now available on a walk-in basis at London Drugs stores in Nanaimo. They will be followed by full flu clinics Oct. 22 and 23. London Drugs is also taking appointments for on-location flu shots at businesses.

Tilray expands its foothold in South America

1009 - Tilray has bought out a business partner to solidify its foothold in South America.

The Nanaimo-based company announced Tuesday that it has acquired its existing Chilean-based import and distribution partner Alef Biotechnology SpA.

The approximately $5-million purchase comprised of $4.75 million in Tilray Class 2 common stock plus $250,000 cash, will allow Tilray to import, produce and distribute Tilray medical cannabis products in Chile and create a distribution hub for its products throughout the region.


RCMP ramp up Nanoose traffic enforcement

1009 RCMP are increasing traffic enforcement on the Nanoose Bay stretch of Highway 19 which has been a high-crash area.

The RCMP’s Central Island Traffic Services division has responded to several severe crashes this year, according to officer in charge Sgt. Darrin Ramey.

“It is a high-crash area compared to other areas in our patrol area and we go out to Tofino, up halfway to Comox and down to Nanaimo,” Ramey said. “It’s one of our priority enforcement areas.”


27 squatters charged with various offenses

1009 - All 27 squatters arrested after the Rutherford School takeover have been charged with various offenses. All but one have been released on a promise to appear in court on charges of Break and Enter, and Mischief, ordered to appear in court December 11.One adult male was held in custody due to was expected to appear in court on Tuesday from outstanding warrants he faced on other criminal matters.

Twenty seven squatters were removed and arrested Saturday from the boarded up elementary school, after forcibly entering it the night before. There were no reports of injuries. Each of the protesters was arrested for Break and Enter and Mischief, then taken into police custody.  After their removal, the building was turned over to School District 68 officials who assessed the damage caused by the protest. Following their walk through the building was then re-secured.

"At the time of the occupation, the attending officers did not know exactly how many protesters were in the building, what their intentions were or if there were any weapons. Given these factors, it was decided to secure the outside of the school for the evening then reassess the situation in the morning," said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. At approximately 4:30 AM, three individuals attempted to leave the school and were arrested and taken into custody.

The arrest of the protesters was slightly hampered after many of them choose to congregate on the roof. To facilitate their safe removal, Nanaimo Fire and Rescue  loaned one of their fire trucks with an extension ladder to assist officers in taking them off the roof and into custody. 


RCMP arrest 26 while breaking up school squat

1006 - RCMP today arrested 26 squatters who broke into Rutherford Elementary School on Friday. 

Numerous RCMP officers, including special tactical teams, arrived after 10 a.m. Saturday atschool where Alliance Against Displacement and residents and supporters had been squatting since Friday.

School board chairman Steve Rae thanked RCMP for their quick action.

“We understand and acknowledge and respect that there’s a homeless problem in this province and we want to help where we can with homeless people. But this is something that is completely different,” Rae said. “This is a group of people who have broken onto our property that’s not been supportive of the real cause, which is homelessness.”

Extensive damage at Rutherford school

The chairman of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board says he was mortified at the scene left by protesters who broke into and occupied a closed elementary school.

Steve Rae and other district officials were let into Rutherford Elementary on Saturday afternoon after RCMP removed and arrested 21 people occupying the school since Friday evening.

Rae said the amount of damage done in under 24 hours was staggering.


Child hospitalized after eating cannabis candy

A young girl from the Comox Valley was hospitalized after eating marijuana-infused gummy bears. The incident emphasizes the potential danger of cannabis edibles, especially those that look like candy.

RCMP Constable Monika Terragni said such products should be treated with the same care and control as prescription drugs. RCMP say the girl found the cannabis-infused candy in the back seat of a vehicle and her parents took her to hospital when she showed signs of medical distress.

She was airlifted to another hospital for further medical treatment, and is expected to make a full recovery.

The Canadian Press

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Fisheries Minister coming to Economic Summit

Jonathan Wilkinson

Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard minister Jonathan Wilkinson will addresss the closing luncheon of the Vancouver Island Economic Summit Oct. 25

Before being elected to Parliament, Wilinson spent 20-plus years as a senior business leader and executive. He has extensive experience in the energy and environmental technology sectors, having served as CEO of QuestAir Technologies and BioteQ Environmental Technologies, as well as Senior Vice-President of Business Development for Nexterra. Previously, he also worked at Bain & Company, a leading global management consultancy. 

The closing luncheon is sponsored by the Port of Nanaimo. Port President and CEO Ewan Moir said the port is closely connected to the activies and policies of Fisheries, Ocean and the Coast Guard.


Schoolhouse squat has area residents upset

1006 - Neighbours don't like the invasion of a school in their residential area, and they're speaking up. Concerned residents were at Rutherford Elementary School Friday night in response to the Schoolhouse Squat.

At least 100 people, including members of the Soldiers of Odin Vancouver Island, voiced their concerns about the presence of housing activists living inside the unused school.

It was the latest development in the protest action that began earlier in the day, when the Surrey-based Alliance Against Displacement, supporters and occupants of the downtown tent squat broke into the school as part of a campaign called Schoolhouse Squat, which encourages people to occupy unused schools and buildings as part of a larger movement protesting what they say is the government’s hatred toward homeless people.

There were speeches from organizers and chants from the Soldiers of Odin and others on Friday night at around 9 p.m.

Squatters break in and occupy empty Rutherford School

1005 - A group of downtown tent squatters residents and supporters have seized an empty school.

The Surrey-based Alliance Against Displacement advised in a witten statement that homeless people and supporters from downtown have moved into the recently closed Rutherford Elementary School at 5848 Rutherford Rd. to begin what they call the "Schoolhouse Squat."

“We have claimed this building as a safe spot for homeless people,” said Amber McGrath, a supporter. 

The civil disobedience begins the same day that the provincial government announced plans to open temporary housing at two sites in Nanaimo at Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road.

She said if people at the downtown site want that housing, it’s up to them. They should be part of that discussion if they want that kind of housing. They weren’t consulted if they wanted that kind of housing. They were sort of given supportive housing; 24-hour supportinve housing doesn’t leave you any tenants’ rights, McGrath said.


Homeless to be housed on Terminal Ave and Labieux Road

Public Works Yard on Labieux Road. /Google Maps

1005 -  The province says 170 units of temporary housing is on the way to Nanaimo, but they're calling on the City to delay the eviction of downtown's massive homeless encampment.

Housing Minister Selina Robinson said the province purchased land at 250 Terminal Ave., where 80 units of "temporary workforce modular housing" will be installed. She said a further 90 units will be placed on land offered by the City inside the Public Works yard on Labieux Rd.

The units will include 24/7 wrap-around services and supports and are specifically earmarked for people inside downtown Nanaimo's Discontent City, the Minister said.

But Robinson said while the the temporary housing is "on the way" to Nanaimo, it won't be ready for people to move in until the end of November. The City has a Supreme Court of B.C. injunction order allowing them to remove people from the camp at 1 Port Dr. as of Oct. 12.

Robinson told NanaimoNewsNOW they're asking the City to agree not to disperse the camp until the housing is ready.

MORE at Nanaimo News NOW

Vision 20/20 examines importance of great leaders

1005 - What sets great leaders apart from good leaders and how leadership determines our city's future success is the focus of Vision 20/20, Oct. 16 at the Coast Bastion Inn.

The opening session, from 5:45 to 6:45 pm "From 8 to 80": Building a Livable City. Community conversation facilitated by VIU Master of Community Planning students. Based on participant discussions and feedback on ideas, students will develop a vision and action plan to move Nanaimo forward.

• What makes Nanaimo a great place to live?

• How can we ensure it will be a desirable city to live in 10, 20 and 30 years from now?

• What innovative planning approaches can help us get there? 

At 7:00 pm featured speaker Peter Legge will look at the “Importance of Great Leadership.” He will highlight and stress the importance of leadership and the necessary attributes that great leaders require to build successful teams.  

Both events are free but registration is required.

For more information go to our website

Film industry a real economic boon to Vancouver Island

1005 - The film industry has been a major economic shot int he arm for northern Vancouver Island, injecting $4 million from entertainment productions being filmed in the area.

The Vancouver Island North Film Commission, INFilm, promotes filming in the area from Ladysmith to Cape Scott. INFilm commissioner Joan Miller presented that rosey picture for the Regional District of Nanaimo board this week. She said she spoke with a number of productions this week – Disney’s Descendants 3, Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores and Paramount Pictures’ live Sonic the Hedgehog movie – and their combined hotel room nights were 15,400 while their hotel stays amounted to over $2 million.


Warning issued over deadly mushrooms on Central Island

1005 - Mushroom lovers in Nanaimo and the mid-island are being warned the presence of the most dangerous fungus on the planet.

The BC Centre for Disease Control has issued an advisory about death cap mushrooms, which have been found across southern Vancouver Island and the mainland in great numbers in recent months.

There haven't been any confirmed cases of the mushroom being found in the mid-island area, the fungus could theoretically be here.


RCMP looking for missing youth, Jada Charlie-Carlson

Jada Charlie-Carlson

1004 - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 15-year-old Jada CHARLIE- CARLSON who left her residence on September 26th and has not returned. Officers have conducted extensive patrols throughout Nanaimo including reports she may have been at Tent City or travelled as far as Port Alberni. Despite these measures, Jada has not been located and her family is extremely concerned for her safety and well-being. 

When Jada left home, she was wearing a grey long sleeve top and black leggings. She is a First Nations female who is 5 ft. 4, 115 pounds, with long dark wavy hair. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Jada CHARLIE- CARLSON, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at or call 1-800-222-8477.

City launches storm infrastructure maintenance work

1004 - The City's Drainage Department will begin fall maintenance and cleaning of the city storm infrastructure. Homeowners are asked to check and clean catch basins near their homes, clean eavestroughs, clear off drains and, if ditches are present, watch for blocked culverts. 

"The leaves may look pretty but, they can also bring a quick reality of blocked catch basins and plugged drains leading to unwanted flooding," explains Wayne Roulston, Drainage Foreman for the City of Nanaimo, "We ask that residents help to ensure water is able to easily drain into the City's storm sewer system."

If flooding occurs, sand and sandbags are available for filling (bring your own shovel) at the Public Works yard 2020 Labieux Road. To report flooding in your neighbourhood, please call Public Works at 250-758-5222.

Economic summit adds bonus session to program

1004 - The Vancouver Island Economic Summit has added a bonus session to its program. The summit will kick off the two-day event with a pre-summit bonus session Oct. 24 from 8:30 – 10:30 am.

This is one event listed as not-to-be missed with a focus on “at” or “near revenue” products and services. The showcase will feature seven local companies which have successfully moved past early-stage prototyping on their march to commercialization.

This is the 12th annual ‘State of the Island’ Economic Summit, Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 24-25, 2018 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre in Nanaimo.

Everyone attending will receive a complimentary copy of theState of the Island Economic Report.

City expands downtown services

1004 - The city will spend more than $300,000 to try to keep downtown safe and clean.

During an in-camera meeting on Monday, councillors approved extending a range of services currently provided by the city until the end of the year as well as adding more staff. The additional expenditures will cost the city $301,000 and are part of the city’s closure plan for Discontent City.

The initiatives extended until the end of the year include needle pickup, downtown security and garbage pickup, which will now occur six times a week.


Housing projects get council approval

1003 - Three new housing projects cleared the first hurdle at Monday's city council meeint.

A development permit was approved for a $1.7 milliion 23-unit personal care facility at the corner of Rosehill Street and Terminal Avenue. The proejct, by the Vancouver Island Mental Health Society, will provide 23 single-occupancy studio apartments. Some units will have rent based on income, while others will be offered at shelter rates for those on income assistance.

The redevelopment of the Brechin United Church on Estevan Road is being redesigned as a church on the ground floor with 74 units of rental housing built above.

The housing agreement guarantees 38 of the available units will be considered affordable under the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. They will cost 80 per cent of the average rent in the Nanaimo market.

The third project is a BC Housing-run residential shelter on Salmon Road. It is designed for women and families fleeing violence.



Business trade show at Conference Centre on Thursday

1003- October Small Business Month kicks off with the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo on Thursday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

Chamber CEO Kim Smythe says there will be more than 100 exhibitors in the 11th annual business expo. 

Business Expo began as a way for Nanaimo businesses to meet each other and network in an environment with their products and services on display, says Smythe. Consumers realized it was a great place to discover new products and services. It grew from fewer than 40 exhibitors to 110 booths at what is now the biggest business trade show on Vancouver Island. 

An awards reception for exhibitors, hosted by Coastal Community Credit Union, will recognize the best booths at the end of Business Expo day. 


City deciding on new location for housing project

1003 - The City has selected a piece of land to accommodate a rapid response to homelessness, sasy Mayor Bill McKay.

McKay said city council will meet in camera today, (Oct. 3), when staff is expected to provide an update on communications with B.C. Housing and present options to councillors.

He said council has decided on a single site that could be provided to B.C. Housing, one that hadn’t been considered before and would be suitable for the province to look at as a rapid response option.


Council backs off non-union employment bylaw

1003 - City council has shelved a proposed new employment conditions bylaw affecting non-union employee.

Councillors voted 5-4 against adopting Bylaw 7273, which would have made numerous changes to contract language in Bylaw 7000, which has been the guideline since 2005y.

The new bylaw would removed the the Hay System of job evaluation, as well as vacation and sick leave benefits.


The real story behind the story of the tent cities

1001 - The Times Colonist has dug deep into the genesis of tent cities that have sprung up in Victoria, Saanich and Nanaimo and on the Lower Mainland in recent years. All have something in common: the guiding hand of Surrey-based Alliance Against Displacement.

The roots of DisconTent City in Nanaimo illustrate the role of the Alliance, an advocacy organization formed in 2013 that describes itself as “anti-capitalist, anti-colonial.”

In March, a group of people started to live in tents on the lawn of Nanaimo City Hall to call attention to homelessness. They were ordered to leave and they eventually complied.

Listen Chen, an organizer with Alliance Against Displacement, recalled what happened next.

“We saw that from the mainland and got in touch with some of the people on the ground in Nanaimo and we said: ‘These are our experiences organizing tent cities — would you like some help? Are you interested in starting a more long-term tent city that is not just protesting conditions, but also offering a stable, safe place for homeless people to find community?’

“They said: ‘Yes, that sounds good.’


Haven Society fashion show raises $5,200

1001 - Nanaimo Haven Society fashion show raised nearly $5,200 to provide help and transitional housing to those fleeing violent or abusive relationships. The event was hosted by the Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

Chantal Lambert with Haven Society told NanaimoNewsNOW the money comes at a time when their services are needed the most. They've seen a significant amount of women and families coming forward for help, nearly 5,000 people this year.

“A lot of it is because we've been able to expand our services,” she said.