June 8, 2023
What everyone has been waiting for. Hulo Ferries released fare and launch information this morning. It’s going to cost $39.99 to ride the new passenger ferry which is scheduled to begin sailing in early August between Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. There's a $10 discount off that price for your first sailing HULLO Ferry announced details of fares and its launch target this morning. DETAILS.
Highway 4 could remain closed beyond the wildfire at Cameron Bluffs, the only highway access to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation says the wildfire continues to make driving unsafe on a seven-kilometre stretch between Koen Road and Cathedral Grove. Damage to the road and instability of the slope above the highway means this closure is likely to last beyond the fire itself, said the ministry. A detour is in place to route traffic from Port Alberni through to Lake Cowichan via Bamfield using forest-service and privately-owned industrial roads. At last report, the fire was approximately 140 hectares large and out of control. MORE
An air quality advisory has been issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley as wildfire smoke and high temperatures create hazy, hazardous conditions. The advisory is expcted to remain in effect until a change in weather. "Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures, and wildfire behaviour changes," the advisory says. MORE
Man dies in crash south of Nanaimo. A single vehicle collision south of Nanaimo has claimed the life of A 33-year old Nanaimo man on Tuesday evening on White Rapids Road. Several witnesses told police that the older pickup had been speeding prior to the crash. The driver lost control and ended up striking a tree. MORE
Important date goes virtually unnoticed One of the most significant dates in human history barely made a tick on the news calendar. The D-Day battle on June 6, 1944 is believed to have turned the tide of the Second World War into the Allies' favor 79 years ago. Check out the HISTORY
Quotable - News media are becoming less and less relevant, drifting away from news and more toward social engineering.
June 7, 2023
Highway 4 detour in place due to Cameron Lake Bluff wildfire
Highway 4 remains closed at Cameron Lake Bluff due to wildfire affecting the area.
A detour is in place and drivers are strongly encouraged to avoid travel in the area unless essential. The detour will route traffic from Port Alberni through to Lake Cowichan via Bamfield using forest-service and privately owned industrial roads. The gravel detour route has narrow sections, sharp curves, single-lane bridges and challenging terrain. There is no cell service, gas stations or washroom facilities on the detour route. For up-to-date information about driving conditions, visit: https://www.DriveBC.ca
BC Ferries planning terminal streamlining
BC Ferries check-in and boarding processes at five major terminals could be going high tech. The corporation has applied to the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner to upgrade terminals at Duke Point, Tsawwassen, Horseshoe Bay, Departure Bay, and Swartz Bay. It will result in reduced ticketing and check-in wait times. It would add seamless, contactless journey for foot passenger travel with enhanced kiosks, fare gates and boarding pass validation. The plan calls for express lane check-in at the terminals for pre-paid reserved customers. More than 16.5 million passengers and 6.8 million vehicles travelled through BC Ferries’ major terminals last fiscal year.
Almost everything will cost more with bank rate hike
The Bank of Canada raised its key rate by a quarter per cent to 4.75 today, the first increase since January, the highest since April 2001. Several factors led to the bank’s decision to raise the key interest rate, including economic growth in Canada. Gross Domestic Product exceeded expectations in the first quarter of this year, growing by 3.1 per cent. The central bank says demand in the economy has rebounded, with surprisingly strong consumer spending. Housing market activity has picked up again and the Canadian labour market remains tight. MORE
June 7, 2023
What were those sirens? Firefighters battled a fire at a recycling depot at 332 Tenth St. 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Tenth Street, between Douglas Avenue and Southside Drive, was temporarily closed. And firefighters battled another fire on Stewart Avenue in mid-afternoon in an unoccupied commercial building in the 1300 block. MORE
The Nanaimo Family Life Association is among support groups sharing an $809,000 grant to the Seniors Services Society of B.C. It will help seniors with mental illness and addictions at risk of becoming homeless. The government’s program is city-specific, and helps seniors access mental health, addiction and financial assistance along with housing and advocating for seniors in rental disputes. MLA Sheila Malcolmson said Nanaimo Family Life helps break through isolation and grief, to help connect seniors with housing and mental health supports. MORE
A campfire ban is going into effect this weekend covering all of Vancouver Island and parts of the Mainland. The Coastal Fire Centre ban covers all types of fires except the use of outdoor stoves for cooking, heat, or ambiance that burns charcoal briquettes, liquid fuel, or gaseous fuel with a flame less than 15 cm tall. Anyone in contravention is subject to a $1,150 ticket. If convicted in court the fines can go up to $100,000 and/or one year in jail. There are 78 active wildfires in the province with people being the suspected cause of 32 of them. MORE
North Cedar Fire Department ordered a campfire ban on Sunday due to dry conditions. Nanaimo firefighters have doused numerous bush fires in parks and undeveloped areas in recent weeks. They responded to 14 bush fires between June 2, and Monday afternoon. MORE
Not so fast, says Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon of a View Royal plan for a six-month pause of new development. Mayor Sid Tobias says there are enough projects under way – seven projects are under way or in the process of being approved. Kahlon’s message for View Royal was quite clear. “We’re all in a housing crisis, and all communities have to play their part.” View Royal is one of the municipalities on the government’s naughty list with the greatest potential growth and means to build housing but are too slow to approve new units. MORE
Goodbye buffet, BC Ferries is closing the Pacific Buffet permanently after losing $1.2 million a year. Nanaimo-route users won’t shed any tears, the buffet was offered only on Victoria sailings. The company said that even a 30-per-cent price hike would continue to lose money, because of increased cost of food and labour. MORE
A wildfire in the Cameron Bluffs above Cameron Lake continues to cause problems, including Hwy. 4 traffic disruptions. The fire had grown to an estimated 109 hectares as of midday on Tuesday. Fire operations forced a brief closure of Hwy. 4 near Cameron Lake and the BC Wildfire Service advises travel may be affected intermittently, with single lane alternating traffic. MORE
The problem with closed-minded people is their mouth is always open.
June 6, 2023
They’re on their way. It will be a red-letter day in Nanaimo when two new passenger ferries finally arrive here to begin service this summer. The two 354-seat vessels have left the shipbuilding site in Vietnam on their way to Nanaimo. Vancouver Island Ferry Company plans seven daily trips to and from Vancouver, with a 70-minute crossing time. Fares and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks. MORE
Free is a magic word, but remember it’s also a four-letter word. The provincial government’s lure of free money in an e-bike rebate has British Columbians clamouring to cash in. The rebate provides between $350 to $1,400 based on income. MORE
A salute to Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Mike Ramsey for being selected to ride in the Tour de Rock in September. Each year’s team is made up of first responders – from civilian and military police forces, firefighters, ambulance paramedics and guest riders from news media – who train for months to prepare for the 1,200-kilometre tour, raising money for Canadian Cancer Society research and programs for childhood cancer. MORE
Vancouver Island University will get $1 million from the province for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning Pathways programs. The money will be shared between the four main areas of health care, early childhood education and technology and trades to better prepare students for the workforce. MORE
Oceanside RCMP responded to two incidents at the 5K Foam Fest at Arbutus Meadows Event and Equestrian Centre in Nanoose Bay over the weekend. A vehicle drove into an enclosed area, narrowly missing a number of people. Police said the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was prohibited from driving for 24 hours. In a second incident, emergency crews responded to a skydiver apparently misjudging a landing and hitting the ground hard. MORE
An out-of-control wildfire near Port Alberni covers about 20 hectares of dense forest. The B.C. Wildfire Service says the Cameron Bluffs fire was discovered Sunday on the southern shore of Cameron Lake covering less than a hectare. By Monday it had grown to 20 hectares, with eight firefighters and one helicopter attacking the blaze in the steep terrain. The wildfire near Sawyward is no longer out-of-control and is being held, the Coastal Fire Centre says. MORE
June 4, 2023
The race is on, the Van Isle 360 Yacht Race set sail from Nanaimo Harbour Saturday morning, beginning a two-week circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. The race will have stops in Comox, Campbell River, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet and Victoria, ending in Nanaimo on June 17. MORE
The cost of educating our children has passed the $200-million mark. The school board has approved a $200.6-million budget for 2023-24. Teachers’ salaries make up about $76 million, rounded figures show $14 million for support staff, $12 million for education assistants, more than $9 million for principals and vice-principals, and $5 million each for substitutes and other professionals. There was concern in some quarters about fewer education assistants. MORE
Does this sound familiar? Comox Valley Regional Transit is facing possible cancellations and route changes due to a staff shortage. Some routes may be changed or cancelled on short notice. Alerts will be issued on the BC Transit website, as well as the NextRide and Transit App. BC Transit is trying to hire more drivers for the Comox Valley Regional Transit System. Anyone interested can apply online.
With all the heat and tinder-dry conditions, some drivers are still tossing cig butts out of moving car windows. LETTERS
My wife went grocery shopping yesterday and came back virtually empty handed. "Everything was out of our price range."
June 3, 2023
The city is snooping into your garbage. Education hasn’t solved the problem of recycling contamination so the City is beefing up the approach. Blue bin inspectors began work yesterday walking ahead of the collection trucks to remove items which aren’t supposed to be there. If they find such items they take them out. They do that before trucks collect those routes. MORE
The six-vehicle crash resulted after a 73-year-old driver apparently went into medical distress while driving on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Nanaimo on Friday. He was pronounced dead after emergency crews arrived. His wife was injured and taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. MORE
A pair of brush fires within minutes of each other in Bowen Park and a nearby wooded area off Buttertubs Drive yesterday are being treated as suspicious. Fire Captain Scott Mitrenga said it was lucky it was a pretty damp area and looked to be potentially purposely set. MORE
June 2, 2023
How hot was it? Nanaimo set records in May with the hottest temperature since 1899 with a monthly mean temperature of 15.7 degrees Celsius, 3.2 degrees above normal. It was also a slightly drier month than normal. The highest single day temperature hit 32 degrees on May 14. MORE
The new parking area at Westwood Lake Park opened yesterday, the first phase of improvements. There are 94 parking stalls now. Work continues at the park and the city urges caution by park users. The second phase will expand the beach, with accessibility improvements, picnic areas, seating, shade and green space, a completed loop trail, and accessible and inclusive washrooms contained in a new amenity building. Second-phase work is scheduled to begin in late 2024. MORE
Fire crews quickly extinguished a small for at the former Travellers Lodge on Thursday. Stu Kenning, assistant fire chief of operations, said crews found a small fire in the building and acted quickly. There was smoke damage in a portion of the building. MORE
Free money will do it every time. The government’s handout for e-bike enthusiasts is proving so popular it crashed the website. The agency administering the rebate said the outage was due to an overwhelming demand. There were 5,500 applicants by 4:30 p.m. The page was replaced by a waitlist application. Then the application to be waitlisted also stopped working.
Welcome to June from the new World Headquarters of Nanaimonet. We'll be undergoing some changes in the next litle while but hopefully that won't impact readers' enjoyment of this site. Stay tuned.
2023 tax notices are in the mail so you can start gathering what few shekels you have. There are countless ways to pay – at any bank or credit union, or at the service and resource centre, 411 Dunsmuir St. You can also mail a cheque by using the postage-paid return envelope in tax notice packages. Another option is to set up pre-authorized withdrawal plans with the city. Make sure you pay by July 4 or you’ll have a penalty added to your account. For more information on taxes, home owner grants and other ways to pay, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/taxes.
Tent caterpillars are back, but don’t worry about it. The species is native to the Island and nest in trees every year, but every five to seven years can break out in large infestations. A city news release says they do not cause significant or lasting damage to healthy mature trees, so city staff normally do nothing about them and let nature take its course. They are not dangerous. For more information on tent caterpillars, visit the Government of Canada website http://ow.ly/8hIV50OqAJN.
May 31, 2023
It costs more to eat here. The average family of four in the Island Health region pays about $110 a month more for food than the provincial average. The B.C. Centre for Disease control says the average monthly cost for healthy, nutritious groceries in 2022 for a family of four in B.C. was $1,263, with Island Health at $1,366. Medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns said some people can’t afford nutritious food right now – single-parents, disabled, and lower-income households. MORE
It always looks good on paper. B.C. Ferries is removing one ship from the Departure Bay route and moving it to Duke Point-Tsawwassen to alleviate traffic congestion this summer. The change will be in effect June 25 to Sept. 4. Ferries says the Duke Point terminal is more spacious and better-equipped and should alleviate traffic backup on Highway 99 in West Vancouver. Ferries will offer additional savings at Duke Point beginning July 5, starting at $39. MORE
Boats have begun arriving in Nanaimo for the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race which sets sail Saturday. They are at the downtown harbour with 39 boats, about 325 sailors and 50 support crew preparing to make the trek around Vancouver Island over the next two weeks. MORE
Smoke from an out-of-control forest fire near Sayward is blanketing much of Vancouver Island. The B.C. Air Quality Index for Nanaimo measured five (moderate) late Tuesday morning, the highest so far this year. The Newcastle Creek wildfire, about five kilometres west of Sayward sent smoke high into the air which has drifted down Island. Julia Caranci of the Coastal Fire Centre, said winds helped grow the fire, estimated to be about 90 hectares. No evacuation alerts have been issued so far for Sayward with no infrastructure or residences threatened. MORE
I have recently focussed on government responsibility for our country’s civil decay. Aaron Gunn premiered his documentary "Canada Is Dying" in Nanaimo earlier this month and former MP Reed Elley calls it an accurate portrayal of what is going on in this country. Thousands are dying every year and governments are compounding the problem by giving out free drugs and needles. That’s enabling, not helping. The documentary is must-viewing, take the time to see CANADA IS DYING
Any tax breaks from government mean the rest of us have to pay more to make up for it.
May 30, 2023
Knock yourself out. Nanaimo’s Delaney Irving, 19, is the big cheese now after crafting a once-in-a-lifetime memory by winning the women’s world-famous Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Race. She entered as a lark and then went helter skelter down the hill in pursuit of the seven-pound wheel of cheddar. She ran so fast that she took a header that knocked her out. When she woke up with the wheel of cheese beside her she realized she had actually won. Now how do you get the wheel of cheese to Nanaimo? MORE
In a totally unrelated cheesy story, Saanich police are trying to sniff out a pricey wheel of cheese stolen from a grocery store. A $600 wheel of gouda was heisted on April 20. Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information on the man's identity. MORE
Check the gas gauge before you steal a vehicle. An empty gas tank appears to have foiled a thief yesterday morning. Off duty RCMP Staff Sgt. Sarah Mattes spotted a pickup truck come to a stop and the driver walking away. It was left in a narrow section of Estevan Road too tight for vehicles to pass, so police had to close the section of road until the truck could be towed. A suspect was taken to the crowbar hotel later in the morning. MORE
Everyone at the bottom of the pay scale is getting a raise on Thursday. British Columbia’s minimum wage is going to $16.75 an hour, up a buck-ten. That applies to about 150,000 workers across the province including minimum-wage workers, resident caretakers, live-in home support workers, live-in camp leaders, and something called hand-harvest workers. Can you say fruit pickers? MORE.
To the candidates in the June 24 byelections. Focus on the party you are running for, not the party you are running against. Try running for something, not against something.
May 29, 2023
A salute to 205 Collishaw Squadron air cadets at their annual Ceremonial Review on Sunday at the Nanaimo Flying Club at Nanaimo Airport. It’s an opportunity for cadets to show their skills developed during the year. MORE
Hats off to the local Crime Stoppers for winning the President’s Award at the provincial leadership conference. The award is given to programs that are innovative, creative and have an overall positive impact on the community. Crimestoppers works with police and others to ensure communities are safe. Brian Cornborough is the president of the Central Vancouver Island Crime Stoppers. MORE
The Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival is back and they need volunteers to make it happen. The pandemic played havoc with the festival, returning last year on a limited basis. Race director Erik Ages says they need to fill about 100 shifts over that weekend to assist with the race population that’s coming from all over B.C. You don’t need experience to volunteer. More than 1,200 competitors and 5,000 visitors are expected July 8-9 at Maffeo Sutton Park. Besides Vancouver Island, participants from from the Lower Mainland, Alberta, and the Pacific Northwest of the United States. MORE
Before I wrap up for today, municipalities that escaped the province’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax are now being included in the tax scheme. North Cowichan, Duncan, Ladysmith, Lake Cowichan, Lions Bay and Squamish are no on the list. The tax is meant to clamp down on real estate speculation and ensure homes in rental-strapped communities don't sit empty. MORE
U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters addressing a group of homeless people in her district. “Y’all just need to go home.”
May 28, 2023
A major upgrade at Nanaimo Forest Products is a shot in the arm for Nanaimo’s economy. Up to 300 contract workers are injecting life into the hospitality and restaurant sector. The 45-day upgrade began in mid-May on the large recovery boiler, requiring hundreds of workers. CEO Paul Sadler said on top of the 250 trades workers, about 25 to 30 summer students and another 50 or more casual people will help run safety programs. Regular mill operations are expected to resume in early July after the site’s annual 12-day shutdown occurs. MORE
Byelections have been called for June 24 in two ridings in the province. One is for former Premier John Horgan’s seat in the Langford-Juan de Fuca riding. The other in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant. The nomination deadline is June 3.
“We will not tolerate intolerance:" Penticton’s acting mayor Helena Konanz after a pride crosswalk was vandalized within hours of being painted in that Okanagan city. MORE
It’s time to put away the spade and haul in the front end loader to deal with all the bullsh*t on the street disorder in communities across the province. If the language is upsetting, it’s meant to be.
We have fellow citizens living on our streets, suffering mental illness, drug addiction and poverty. Government policies focus on harm reduction rather than on treatment and recovery. Almost 600 people died from overdoses in the first three months of 2023. Their harm was not reduced.
Calling it something else doesn’t solve the problem. Sloganeering is another way of avoiding creating solutions. Buzz words like mental illness, compassion, safer drugs, stigma don’t help one single victim off the streets.
First, it’s not a mental health issue, it’s a mental illness issue. They are sick and need treatment.
We’re constantly told to have compassion. That means fixing it not blowing smoke. Compassion is when you help people in spite of their problems.
There’s no such thing as safe drug supply. They are still drugs and they are still harmful. Government-sanctioned drug supply to the victims is beyond excuse. Fact: nobody will die a safer death.
Another buzz word that really means nothing is “stigma” which means a negative label. Drug use is negative, there’s no other flowery label possible. Stigma will not make addicts feel worse about themselves.
The homeless are victims of all the failed policies, they are not responsible, they are not capable of being responsible. They are the victims, they need help, especially when they are unable to make decisions in their own best interest.
Calling a homeless person “unhoused” or “living with homelessness” is utter crap, even if the media buys into it. It still does not provide them a place to live.
Rob Shaw reports from the Legislature that recent budget estimates for the Ministry of Mental (Illness) and Addictions show how slow actual progress has been.
The province promised 123 new youth substance use beds in 2020, billed as “the single largest increase in youth treatment beds ever made in B.C., so more young people can get the care they need, when they need it, close to home.”
Okay, in May 2023 BC United critic Elenore Sturko had a simple question: “How many of these beds are operational?” The answer is 32. After almost three years, only 32 actual, useable, real beds.
That’s what I’m talking about. How long have politicians preached about solving the problem and there’s virtually nothing to show for it?
Until they actually do what is needed – involuntary treatment for addiction and mental illness and housing for those who are victims because of poverty.
This rests on opposition leader Kevin Falcon just as much as premier David Eby. They all need to quit dancing around the rosebush and actually solve the problem. It is possible, but it will take courage.
Pundits are already talking about parties positioning themselves for the next provincial election in about a year and a half. It’s up to the voters to hold political parties to account with real action rather than more babble about safer this, or compassion that, and more meaningless methane gas.
The parties have an early opportunity – two byelections have been called for June 24 and that will give both parties a grand stage to strut their stuff. Will they offer real accountable solutions or more finger pointing and misdirection?
The manure pile is getting higher and higher. COMMENT HERE
May 27, 2023
You read it here first – as I told you on Thursday, the province has approved a concept plan for a cancer care clinic in Nanaimo, which was a previous campaign promise. It will be built at NRGH and will have radiation therapy, a new CT imaging machine and an outpatient ambulatory care clinic. The current oncology clinic at the hospital will also be renovated and expanded with a goal of opening in four years. In attendance for the announcement was Gordon Heys who has beaten cancer twice. MORE
Firefighters were busy on Friday. Crews from Extension and Cranberry volunteer fire departments attended a house fire on Colwell Road shortly before at about 12:30 a.m. MORE Also Friday, fire at a business on Stewart Avenue is under investigation. The first broke out in mid afternoon at Anchorage Marina Village. No injuries were reported. MORE
Coun. Sheryl Armstrong commenting on the narrowing of Metral Drive. “Collision repair shops thanked me . . . for all the extra business they’re getting from the city for the sideswipes,” she said.
May 26, 2023
You want to be with the “in” crowd whizzing around town on an electric bike? Well, the good folks in government in Victoria have money to help you get in with the crowd, an e-bike rebate starting on June 1. Rebates range between $350 and $1,400 depending on your income. As many as 9,000 people in the province could cash in on this grant. Meanwhile, the wheels continue to fall off our health care system. MORE
Rutherford Elementary school has new life. The school Board has approved re-opening the school by September 2025. It is designed to easy the ongoing capacity issues throughout the district. Trustee Charlene McKay said the district has capacity crunches in almost every building and having another facility in use to support students and staff will alleviate some of those pressures. MORE
Toronto is in the midst of a byelection for mayor with 102 candidates on the ballot. To make it even more challenging, there are names like Chow and Choi on the list along with Sanders and Saunders. There have been concerns about such a pack lowering voter turnout, already low across Canada in recent years. There are also discussions about limitating how many people can run, but that would be suppression of democracy. How about qualifying candidates with an education on what the post they are running for is all about? We have seen many times locally that some frivolous candidates don't have the slightest clue of what the job entails.
Truth is often stranger than fiction. Global News reported on the glowing future for Cold Lake, Alberta where a carbon capture plant is being built all in the name of saving the environment. Get this. A 400-km PIPELINE is being built to carry the carbon dioxide from the Fort McMurray oil sands to Cold Lake. Once there, it will be pumped underground, something like FRACKING. Oh how will the anti-pipeline and the anti-fracking folks straddle the fence on this one?
May 25, 2023
Cancer treatment announcement coming
A little birdie chirped this morning with fantastic news for Vancouver Island cancer patients. Premier David Eby and Health Minister Adian Dix are coming to Nanaimo tomorrow to announce a cancer radiation treatment centre here. It may have as many as four or five treatment stations. That's great for Nanaimo but also for patients in the mid- and North Island who now have to travel to Victoria for treatment.
The Chamber of Commerce monthly Business After Business is this afternoon at Casino Nanaimo where they’ll unveil their new meeting space upstairs. This afternoon, 5 – 7 p.m.
We often ask for footwear like socks in the rainy months to make life easier for those living on our streets. But the need is year round, and that’s where Project Happy Feet comes in. They need shoes – men’s sizes 9 - 11. All day today, 9-11 a.m., organizers are in front of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment handing out their limited supply of shoes. But they need more, donations are urgently needed, so go to the detachment on Fitzwilliam Street, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m., and drop off your donation of "gently worn" shoes in the blue bin, in the foyer.
A day some people doubted would come has finally arrived – the Marriott hotel ribbon-cutting ceremony next Wednesday, at 4 p.m. After countless hurdles the hotel project came to fruition after Snuneymuxw took a leading financial role. It’s a joint effort between PEG Developments, Snuneymuxw, the City, and other project partners including Omicron Construction, Nexxi Building Solutions, and others. Chief Mike Wyse said by investing in Nanaimo’s hospitality industry, Snuneymuxw has created local jobs and established essential infrastructure that benefits a growing tourism sector. MORE
Thanks, but no thanks. The Capitol Regional District doesn’t want its sewage byproducts so it wants to ship them to Cassidy in our regional district. The CRD was shipping the nutrient-rich wastewater treatment residual material to Richmond for fuel, however, cement plant shutdowns and an improperly functioning CRD facility digester in 2021 have led to biosolids being landfilled. Now it wants to ship biosolids to a Lafarge mine site on Nanaimo River Road – 300 tonnes of Class A biosolids annually. MORE
A family physician at Esquimalt Medical Clinic is restricting her practise to patients over 50 years old. Dr. Sarah Truelson said she is not able to sustain the demands of her full-time family practice and will close it to focus on seniors. Esquimalt Medical Clinic told CHEK News in a statement that “generally patients over 50 have higher needs and are at a higher risk for hospitalization.” FULL STORY
May 24, 2023
An alert neighbour foiled the theft of a boat trailer which resulted in the seizure of several loaded firearms early Monday in the 600 block of Georgia Ave. The witness told police he heard noises and then saw a boat trailer being carried down the alley by two unknown persons. He called police who were on scene within minutes. After a brief struggle, the two suspects were arrested for the theft. FULL STORY
A suspect ended his camping adventure in short order Monday but his next camping spot could be in jail. He is in custody facing multiple charges after a pickup truck with a camper was stolen and found crashed shortly thereafter. Police responding to the theft call spotted the truck flipped on its side at Bowen Road and Howard Avenue. The 26-year-old driver, from the Victoria area, was arrested remains, facing numerous charges. MORE
Downtown businesses may soon get easier access to the vandalism relief grant program which allows them to apply twice a year for property damage from vandalism. Council has asked staff for way to expand the program and to allow properties and businesses to apply more than twice per year, and to get up to $2,500 per incident, up to a maximum of $5,000 per year. MORE
What’s better than doubling your money when you raise funds for a good cause? The Cowell Foundation and the Lecky Foundation will match all donations made online by Sunday, up to a combined total of $80,000 in the Alzheimer Society’s IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. Locally it’s Sunday on the Harbourfront Walkway. Approximately 85,000 people in B.C. live with dementia, and trends project nearly 250,000 people will be diagnosed by 2050. Donations help fund programs and services including support groups, fitness and social programming, the First Link dementia helpline, and research into the causes and possible cures for dementia. MORE
Closing the gap. B.C. Transit is looking into linking bus service between Nanaimo and the Comox Valley. The two regional districts want to see a bus link established due private bus transportation options to the south Island being reduced. The project would link existing services at Fanny Bay and Deep Bay by 2024. MORE
Staffing shortages continue to plague health care services. Emergency room physician Dr. Jeff Unger says it’s one of the main reasons Saanich Peninsula’s ER will face overnight staff shortages in the months ahead. An on-call physician will support only patients with serious medical needs and patients can expect much longer waits than usual. Also, Salt Spring Island doctors warn of a severe staffing shortage of physicians covering emergency room shifts, noting that there are 25 12-hour shifts that are not covered for the period up until the end of August. MORE
May 23, 2023
It turned into an extra-long weekend for many travellers to and from our Island. It was mess for BC Ferries as the company’s website and app crashed for hours on Monday. Phones were also down. There were also a number of sailing alerts due to staffing shortages. Sailing waits were reported at Departure Bay and Duke Point with reports of some waiting up to eight hours. Ninety-five extra sailings were added over the long weekend to accommodate the more than 430,000 passengers and 170,000 vehicles expected. MORE
It was worse on Bowen Island where hundreds of travellers were stranded on Saturday when Ferries cancelled half of the sailings between Snug Cove and Horseshoe Bay due to staffing problems. Ferries offered water taxis but they could not bring over any vehicles, forcing many travellers to stay overnight. That was a further challenge since there are no hotels so locals opened up their homes and offered their extra rooms. MORE
If you can figure out an alternate route, go for it. Road work is creating havoc on Northfield Road between the Parkway and Bowen Road as part of the Midtown Gateway road and midtown water supply projects. There are alternating lane disruptions so whether you are a driver, pedestrian or cyclists make sure you obey the direction of flaggers. MORE
Emergency officials are keeping a close eye on the Fraser River as it continues to rise. A high streamflow advisory has been in place since May 15 due to the heat wave speeding up snowmelt, causing the river to rise. It has already spilled over into some regional parks, campgrounds and trails, forcing them to close for safety. MORE
May 21-22, 2023
A Nanaimo family is stuck in Rome after the averted strike by WestJet pilots.
The Godfrey Van De Leur family was set to fly home Friday after a three-week European vacation. WestJet still cancelled the flight home though an agreement was reached. Now they feel they are in limbo. They were given a hotel voucher for $500 but that won’t go far in Rome. MORE
Call her doctor now. Former Nanaimo Fire Chief Karen Fry will be presented with an honorary doctor of law degree by the Justice Institute of British Columbia in June. Fry became Nanaimo’s fire chief in 2017 and in 2020 became fire chief of the Vancouver Fire Department. She will be honoured for her work in fire safety improvements including helping to develop a fire safety program for building owners and managers, introducing data analytics to multiple fire departments, and advocacy work on behalf of firefighters. She began as a dispatcher in Nanaimo and worked her way up the ranks to chief. MORE
Things are getting brighter at the Nanaimo Airport. It will get a $2-million grant from the B.C. Air Access Program for runway lighting to support economic development, improve aviation services and enhance access to B.C.’s rural and remote communities. MORE
The new head of B.C. Ferries vows they can do better. In an interview with Global TV, CEO Nicolas Jimenez said Ferries is keenly aware there have been many service disruptions in the past few years, but has made changes to improve the experience. Reciprocal arrangements with other countries allow them to bring in technical, licensed officers. Crew shortages have been a persistent challenge with employee absenteeism doubling last fall. At the time, the company said the primary issue was people calling in sick, rather than a shortage of staff, in addition to retirements in key crew positions. It has recalled about two-thirds of the 150 people who were put on leave without pay due to vaccine mandates.
British Columbia’s health care system may be beyond redemption, there isn’t enough money to fix it. B.C. Budget 2023/24 totals $81.2 Billion and health care takes a $31-Billion bite – 38% per cent. Then education at $17.6 billion takes another 22 per cent. Sixty per cent of the budget goes to health and education. All the rest of government operations have to divide up the remaining 40 per cent. FULL COMMENT
May 20, 2023
City council has approved rezoning for the proposed Howard Johnson redevelopment downtown but it could still run into roadblocks from Snuneymuxw unless they get a bigger role in the project.
Council voted 7-1 after a public hearing Thursday to approve the framework for a mixed residential and commercial development with eight buildings, including a pair of high-rises.
Snuneymuxw released a statement the next day from Chief Mike Wyse, saying it is a case study in ineffective and outdated ways of working together.
“The developer, its investors and financing partners are hereby on notice that this site is rich in cultural, spiritual and archaeological value for our people. Any attempts to develop this ancestral village site will be plagued by opposition from our nation, delays from inevitable archaeological discoveries, and other challenges that are insurmountable without our involvement. By working together, we can accomplish outcomes for the betterment of all.” MORE
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We’re in the first sunny weekend of the season and it’s bone dry so fire officials urge caution as forests get drier and drier. Dozens of brush fires have been caused by people. The fire danger rating is fluctuating between moderate and high, but controlled campfires are still permitted. MORE
Meanwhile, temperature records continue to fall during the hot spell. On Vancouver Island, the Malahat area set a record of 26.6; beating the previous 25.7 in 1993. Temperatures have been unseasonably high across much of B.C. for more than a week. Seventeen heat records were broken in the province one week ago, another 32 fell on Sunday, and 37 on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday saw nine new records each. MORE
It's déjà vu all over again as history repeats itself in the provincial government’s move to send cancer patients to Bellingham for radiation treatment. It also happened in 1996. Coincidentally then today's health minister Adrian Dix was principal secretary and chief political adviser to Premier Glen Clark. Vaughn Palmer has an in-dept look in the Vancouver Sun at the then and now of cancer treatment. READ IT HERE.
It’s time to pay the piper for restaurants who accepted loans during the pandemic, and now many of them can’t pay. Restaurants Canada says 51 per cent of restaurants are losing money, the number filing for bankruptcy has increased by 116 per cent since 2022, and they expect that number to grow if changes are not made. Mark von Schellwitz, of Restaurants Canada, said 83 per cent of restaurants took out CEBA loans during the pandemic, and only 20 per cent are in a position to pay those by the end of the year deadline. MORE
Some people are not buying what they're selling. The Regional District of Central Kootenay has postponed a series of climate action open houses because of safety concerns and fear of intimidation. The open houses had been scheduled from next week until July, but the delay was the only responsible course of action, they said. That means the district's climate action plan will also be delayed. The statement does not describe the nature of the intimidation. MORE
One of our readers questioned how B.C. Ferries could add so many extra sailings for the long weekend when they continue to have problems staffing the existing routes. Good question, and it did temporarily disrupt one sailing on Saturday morning.
230519 – Future generations may never know the true history of our past but rather a sanitized reversion comfortable with today’s narrative. Woke-washing of history is running amok.
The latest examples come from Parks and Heritage Canada and our Passport Office.
Creating the most stir has been the deletion of Terry Fox from Canadian passports while Parks Canada is busy sanitizing plaques at historic sites which point out Canada’s past.
As always, politics is at the forefront. Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre condemns the Liberals for the passport redesign, while standing in front of the National War Memorial, which has also been removed from future passports. He calls the new passport Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “colouring book” because it features images of a squirrel eating a nut and a man raking leaves.
This is not new, it’s been going on with government changes forever. Liberals tend to take Canada in a more independent direction, and Conservatives in a more historical direction.
For instance, Prime Minister Stephen Harper repainted the government plane red, white and blue with “True North Strong and Free” written on it, and put “royal” back into the names of the Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy.
Plaques and story boards are affixed to old buildings where someone important used to live. Or they’re mounted on a rock overlooking where something once happened.
Fort Langley is one of the sites slated for historical cleansing along with other fur trade forts such as Manitoba’s York Factory. Others relate to the War of 1812, like Queenston Heights in Ontario.
About one third of the 2,192 plaque texts are considered high priority for change. That includes Indigenous portrayal or language such as “Indian” or “Eskimo.”
Controversial beliefs held by historical figures are also being cleansed from plaques. They include one of the Fathers of Confederation, our first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald who has been the target in other campaigns as well.
History is supposed to be a depiction of what happened, not what some wish had happened.
The last time I renewed my passport, thankfully I opted for the 10-years version. Terry Fox will travel with me for another half dozen years or so rather than some nut-chewing squirrel.
May 19, 2023
We have good news and bad news. The good news is that WestJet reached a last-minute deal with pilots early today. The bad news is that more than a hundred flights had already been cancelled, upending the long weekend plans of thousands of passengers. The airline is ramping up operations as quickly as possible, but warned that the full resumption of operations will take time. MORE
Thursday was a red letter day for Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank when our MLA, Social Development and Poverty Reduction Minister Sheila Malcolmson, delivered $7 million for its planned new warehouse. Executive Director Peter Sinclair called it a monumental day for the community which is still seeing increases in demand of 40 and 50 per cent. He expects to break ground by next summer on the $11.5 million project. In the meantime, he’s still looking for $5 million and plans to tap the federal government. MORE
Repeat violent offender regulation changes have Mayor Leonard Krog’s stamp of approval. His advocacy for changes led the feds to put responsibility for bail on violent repeat offenders to prove why they should get bail instead of making prosecutors argue why they shouldn't. Premier David Eby's push for the authority of municipalities to address drug use in public spaces gives hope to be able to better protect our community from the effects of harmful drugs and disruptive behaviours, Krog said. City Council has asked staff to report on options to regulate drug use in public spaces. MORE
Forty-five people died from toxic drugs in Nanaimo in the first four months of this year. There were 814 deaths in the province in that period, 206 in April alone. Fentanyl continues to be the main and most lethal driver. Cocaine, meth, or benzodiazepines also show up, says Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe. Victoria had the same number of deaths as Nanaimo but the fatality rate per capita was about half of Nanaimo’s. MORE
The search is on for a new Chief Administrative Officer for the city. Jake Rudolph is retiring so an executive recruiter will seek both internal and external candidates and guide Council through the selection process. Mayor Leonard Krog said due diligence is important, ensuring that the best candidate is chosen. The process is expected to take three to four months.
230518 - The green gang on city council appear to have their heads some place where they’re getting a lot more natural gas than sunshine. On top of blowing tons of money on an imaginary climate “crisis”, they are trying to find a way to ban natural gas installations in the building permit process. That’s right, they want to ban natural gas in Nanaimo.
The greens voted 5-4 to have staff find out whether they can legally get away with this in the first place, and failing that, how they can coerce the provincial government to take that route.
It’s hypocritical and delusional. Many of them still travel in their carbon-fuel-guzzlers in their screwed-up traffic patterns beside unused bike lanes on their way to lecture us. They are obsessed with saving us from what we don’t need saving from. There is no crisis.
Nanaimo has a long history with natural gas. A city committee worked its fingers to the bone to bring natural gas to Vancouver Island in the 1980s. The late Geoff Matthews, Larry Hume and Dean Finlayson devoted countless months and years making it happen. They went right to the top, engaging Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Premier Bill Vander Zalm.
Vancouver Island got the pipeline, but former Mayor Gary Korpan insists we got screwed, and he’s got the proof. He’s on a continuing mission to get the same gas franchise fees that Mainland communities have had over the years. We’ve been shorted by millions of dollars and Gary is not walking away from it even though his message has on deaf ears from successive Social Credit, Liberal and New Democrat governments. The figures are there in black and white.
While we’ve got climate zealots trying to shut it down the provincial government is investing tons of money in natural gas development in Northern B.C. That would be squandered if the misguided greens and their followers foist their woke mentality on the rest of us.
On top of that, we’re sitting on top of a vast pool of natural gas riches, under ground in the Cedar area. All it needs is a little fracking.
How do people like this get elected? Actually quite easily. When the majority of voters don’t turn up at the polls a small number galvanizing around a specific issue are elected. Only 24 per cent of eligible voters turned out at the last election, but do the 76 per cent who didn’t bother deserve what they got?
See a special report by Mark Mills, senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute on Prager University TV with the real future of oil and gas. COMMENTARY & VIDEO
May 18, 2024
Good morning. If you have respiratory problems you’d better stay inside and avoid physical exertion today. Wildfire smoke from the B.C. Interior and Alberta started blanketing Vancouver Island Wednesday afternoon, continuing through this evening. Environment Canada forecasts an Air Quality Health Index score of 3, or low risk, over the next two days. The island has avoided the worst of the haze so far as prevailing winds carried the smoke east across B.C. and ro the Prairies. MORE
RCMP are looking for a robber who used bear spray at a 7-11 store on Bowen Road early Wednesday morning. Two clerks were treated at scene by attending BCEHS but did not require further medical treatment. The employees told police that a man with a covered face had entered the business, discharged a canister of bear-spray and stole a small amount of food. MORE
It was a long time coming. The Snuneymuxw First Nation will get 102 acres of land in a transfer agreement with Seacliff Properties. The land and ancient village site were removed from Snuneymuxw territory 169 years ago. It is north of Cedar Road, west of the Trans-Canada Highway. The deal follows a partnership agreement between Snuneymuxw and Seacliff — the developer of the proposed Sandstone Project for commercial, retail and residential development. MORE
A sports fisherman learned the hard way that getting rid of evidence will get you into deeper hot water. Colin Richard Wood pleaded guilty to Fisheries Acts violations after an incident last fall. Now he won’t be allowed to fish for a year and has to pay $6,000 in fines after dumping his catch overboard in a conservation area when confronted by Fisheries officers. MORE
May 17, 2023
What a way to start the day. Three early-morning ferries sailings were delayed this morning. The Queen of Oak Bay was holding in dock at Horseshoe when not enough crew could be found and the 6:15 am sailing to Departure Bay was delayed. And from Departure Bay, The Queen of Cowichan held in dock due to a mechanical issue. The 6:15 am sailing to Horseshoe Bay was delayed due to a problem with the ship’s main engine.
The Island Kwigiws from Gabriola also had a crewing problem but resumed service at 6:20, running 29 minutes behind schedule. As a result, the Island Gwawis cancelled the following sailings for today
7:05 am departing Gabriola Island
7:35 am departing Nanaimo Harbour
8:10 am departing Gabriola Island
Relaxed drug laws are one of the factors in dropping crime figures in Nanaimo. RCMP Supt. Lisa Fletcher’s annual report to City Council shows 45,082 calls for service in 2022, down five per cent from the previous year. Fletcher said enforcement of drug possession dropped in anticipation of the legislation. Serious crimes still remained at higher-than-desired levels. There was a 21-per-cent rise in weapons possession cases, while break and enters rose nearly 15 per cent. FULL REPORT.
If you plan to fly with WestJet over the May long weekend you may not be going anywhere. The airline’s pilots union has issued a 72-hour strike notice. WestJet says it’s preparing to operate on a reduced schedule, which may lead to flight changes and cancellations. The union says members plan to walk off the job early Friday, prompting WestJet to issue a lockout notice. A strike could ground hundreds of flights each day. MORE
RCMP are looking for help to identify a suspect in a break-in and theft on May 9. A BMX bike, impact drill and a propane tank were stolen from a shed in the 500 Block of Bradley St. If you have any information on the identity of this person, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. SEE PHOTOS
No more waiting in the car. If you take Rover with you on the ferry, you can now stroll on the upper, outside passenger decks together. B.C. Ferries has extended a pilot project on sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay for dogs on leash to go on the upper, outside passenger decks. The program launched last fall on another route and was highly popular and also applies to Puddy Tats in carriers. MORE
The local labour market is so tight that the British Columbia Hotel Association has made a deal with the Mexican government to bring 100 workers to fill hotel job vacancies across the province. The pilot project was announced Tuesday following a meeting between Mexican officials, the BCHA president and B.C. Tourism Minister Lana Popham. The hotel industry says the initiative will allow Mexican workers to enhance their job skills and training. MORE
May 16, 2023
Something. Anything. City council wants to know the ins and outs of regulating public drug use and has asked for a staff report. Coun. Ian Thorpe introduced the motion in response to complaints about open drug use and discarded drug paraphernalia in public. Coun. Janice Perrino called the drug crisis a complicated problem. “We’re never going to find an answer,” she said, “but trying to trying to do something to protect them.” Mayor Leonard Krog said he is not prepared to sit back and just wait for something to happen. MORE
The province is pouring big bucks into training for manufacturing jobs. It has earmarked $3 million to give young people a start in manufacturing careers. The Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium will create a youth-in-manufacturing initiative. Up to 500 youths aged 16-21 will have the opportunity this fall to take on short-term, paid work placements and earn credits toward high school graduation and apprenticeship certification. Jobs minister Brenda Bailey estimated 49,000 new job openings over the next 10 years. MORE
If you can’t deliver, let someone else do it. Some cancer patients will be referred to clinics in Washington to reduce wait times for radiation therapy, says Health Minister Adrian Dix. BC Cancer will offer some patients treatment at clinics in Bellingham, Wash., with costs for treatment, travel, accommodation and meals fully covered. Dix said the province is making the move because B.C. hasn’t been meeting its target for ensuring cancer patients receive radiation therapy in a timely manner. MORE
If you see low-flying planes or helicopters it’s the government spraying for the invasive spongy moth. Left untreated the moths can spread to other areas of the province and, along with urban trees, pose a risk to forests, farms and orchards, as experienced in Ontario and the eastern United States in recent years. There are three sprays planned which will take place over two days. Each spray will occur between seven to 10 days apart between mid-May and mid-June. MORE
The heatwave brought a massive increase in 911 calls this past weekend. Kaila Butler of E-Comm 911 said there was a 61-per-cent increase in 911 calls compared to May last year. E-Comm 911 and other first responders had anticipated a busy weekend and had scheduled more staff to keep up with the expected demand. While BC EHS did not have exact statistics they observed a massive jump in calls for heat-related illness. MORE
If you’re planning to leave this fine island over the long weekend, BC Ferries is getting ready with 18 extra sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay. Reservations or bookings have been fully subscribed between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay. Deborah Marshall of BC Ferries said they have added about 95 extra sailings. They expect about 430,000 customers and 170,000 vehicles throughout the fleet. For all up-to-date information on BC Ferries, you can go to their website BCferries.com or follow them on Twitter @BCFerries.
May 15, 2023
The heat wave broke dozens of temperature records across British Columbia Sunday. On Vancouver Island, Comox hit 31.9 degrees, smashing the previous record of 25.6 set in 1949.
Get ready for traffic disruptions in the downtown area this summer with a number of road work projects. That includes Terminal Avenue and Albert Street, and reconfiguration of the Bruce Avenue at Fifth Street in the coming weeks. Work affecting traffic will begin in early summer along Terminal Avenue, between Esplanade and Commercial Street extending into winter. MORE
For hockey fans, Canada is now out of the picture in the Stanley Cup playoffs after the Edmonton Oilers were eliminated Sunday by Vegas Golden Knights. Toronto was sidelined last week. In the west, all that remain are Vegas and Dallas while in the East, Florida faces off again Carolina.
A missing 37-year-old man, reported missing on Sunday, was located safe and sound, shortly after the missing person notice was published.
May 14, 2023
May 14, 2023
It was a great way to kick off the weekend. The water parks are open, the RCMP had their 150th anniversary open house and the Rhododendron Society had its show and plant sale. See Ann and Dick Beamish's rhododendron garden HERE.
You know summer is here when the Cedar Farmers Market opens, and that’s today. It will be open every Sunday, rain or shine, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the end of October on Woobank Road. Katrina Darwin who runs the show, has more than 100 vendors lined up for Mother’s Day. And ther's music, some you've heard before and some new ones. MORE
The remake of Haliburton Street continues with the next step of another apartment building. The City’s design advisory panel has given the nod for a five-storey, 44-unit building to go to the development permit process. It would consists of 23 one-bedroom units, 19 two-bedrooms and two three-bedrooms. The South End Community Association was warm to the project. MORE
The number of police shootings has seen a three-and-a-half fold increase in the past year. Ronald MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, says a significant rise in police shootings in British Columbia. Over the last five years there were approximately seven officer-involved shootings per fiscal year. His comments followed an officer shooting a civilian incident in Duncan on Friday. MORE
A salute to an old soldier, 104-year-old John Hillman, who completed the final leg of 104 laps around the courtyard of his Oak Bay retirement home to raise money for Save the Children. He began his daily journey on May 1 with a goal to raise $104,000 as he walked 104 circuits of the Carlton House courtyard. This is the fourth year he has completed the challenge and since he completed his first walk of 100 laps in 2019, he has raised almost $400,000 for Save the Children. MORE
The Nanaimo RCMP are looking for help to locate Kiara McKechnie, who left her residence Saturday evening and has not been seen since. Investigators were told by family members that McKechnie has significant medical issues and as a result they are extremely worried for her safety and well-being. Police have conducted extensive patrols but have been unable to locate her. MORE
May 13, 2023
Few things can lift the spirits like beautiful flowers, and we’ll get a blast of colour today at the Nanaimo Rhododendron show and plant sale. It’s in the Centennial Building at Beban from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and admission is totally free. Dick Beamish who helps organize the show says the flowers are remarkable this year. It took him two days to get flowers from his garden ready to show. Definitely worth the trip down there.
Police are seeking witnesses and dash cam video after a man suffered life-threatening injuries in a vicious assault in downtown Nanaimo Thursday night. He was airlifted to a hospital in Victoria. Police at the scene found a 38-year-old man had serious injuries and was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital before being sent to Victoria. A suspect was found nearby and remains in custody. MORE
It's summer time for real, and that means water parks are open in time for the hot weekend weather. The parks and recreation department will open the flow at three of the four water parks today at Departure Bay Kiwanis Park, Mansfield Park and Harewood Centennial Park from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and the misting station at Maffeo Sutton Park is also open. Deverill Square Park is still being prepared for the summer season and will open in time for the May long weekend. The Nanaimo White Rapids Swim Club has a public swim session on today from 1-5 p.m. at the outdoor Kin Pool in Bowen Park. For more information about Nanaimo’s parks and pools, visit the City of Nanaimo’s website at www.nanaimo.ca.
The mid-Island riders for the Tour de Rock were introduced Friday. Mike Ramsey will ride for the Nanaimo RCMP while Lance Stephenson of Lantzville is a retired paramedic. They will be joined by Kirk Wolstenholme is representing the Parksville Fire Department. The 19 riders in this year’s group will ride 1,200 kilometres from Port Alice to Victoria in September and October in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. MORE
Matthew Wood is hoping to become the first hockey player from Nanaimo in five decades to be picked in the first round of this year’s National Hockey League draft. He built up his creds in the B.C. Hockey League before joining Team Canada U-18. The hard work has earned him and his family a trip to Nashville in June for the draft. All 30 NHL teams could use a 6' 4" scoring machine, including the Vancouver Canucks, who have the 11th pick. MORE
The pandemic pushed back a lot of surgeries, the province set a record in catching up, reporting more than 350,000 surgeries in the last fiscal year. The Health Ministry says from April 2022 to March 2023 B.C. delivered more than 350,000 surgeries, exceeding the record of 337,000 set the year previously. The ministry says 99.9 per cent of the nearly 15,000 patients whose scheduled surgeries were postponed in the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 have had procedures and 99.7 per cent of people who had their surgeries postponed in later periods have also had their procedures completed. The total wait-list has shrunk nearly five per cent from the same time frame in 2019-20. MORE
May 12, 2023
Environment Canada has issued a weather alert for temperature records likely to be broken. A heat wave with daytime highs 10 to 15 C above normal for this time of year is anticipated to hit the Island and most of B.C. and Alberta. Friday through Tuesday residents can expect daytime temperatures to reach into the high 20s to low 30s with overnight temperatures in the low to mid-teens. MORE
It's bear season and that brings a caution from the city to be aware in the Westwood Lake area. A black bear and its cubs were seen on the back side of the lake on Thursday morning. People should be cautious when using the park and trails. If you come across a bear B.C. Parks advises leaving the area quietly, retracing your steps. If spotted by the bear, speak softly and back away slowly. Those who encounter an agitated or aggressive bear should back away while trying to avoid eye contact, and have bear spray at the ready in case the bear charges. Bear sightings can be reported to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277. MORE
Corry Gervais is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. She has been acting Interim CEO and was selected for her vast knowledge of Nanaimo, the Chamber and its processes. She is the past Executive Director of the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association (DNBIA), Corry created and managed a new economic development strategic plan and office for the Oceanside region (Oceanside Initiatives) for the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce and community partners, developing business retention programs to assist regional businesses through the pandemic and beyond. FULL ANNOUNCEMENT
Are you missing a flat screen TV? One was found April 16 underneath a tarp at Wentworth and Prideaux streets, still in the original packing box. It was turned over to the police. Take a look, are you missing one? If you think it’s yours, call the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file #2023-12470.
The City wants to know how you get your information about city news, events, programs and initiatives. Staff are conducting a survey to determine where residents get information about goings-on in the city, thoughts on current city communications, and the topics of information they are interested in. When you get the questionnaire, you can suggest improvements to communications that will help inform updates to the city’s communications plan which was last updated in 2013.
There’s speeding and then there’s crazy. A Washington man has been charged after being clocked going 262 km/h in his Alfa Romeo Giulia on the Coquihalla last Sunday. That converts to 164 miles per hour. He was caught south of Merritt, where the speed limit is 120 km/h. His car was impounded. Coincidentally, May is High Risk Driving Awareness month and BC Highway Patrol is focusing enforcement on dangerous driving behaviour. MORE
Don’t pass up the Nanaimo RCMP open house at the detachment at 303 Prideaux St. on Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
They will showcase their employees, specialized equipment and diverse skill set that is at their disposal when carrying out their duties and keeping the citizens of Nanaimo safe.
Due to the large crowd expected, there will be no parking in the lot in front of the detachment and along Milton Street.
May 11, 2023
City Council has adopted the five-year Financial Plan and 2023 Property Tax Rates bylaws with a 6.2-pe-cent operating increase and one per cent for the General Asset Management Reserve in the first year. It provides a co-ordinated approach to public safety and helps set the stage for a revitalization of Nanaimo’s core business and entertainment district. Take at look at some of the highlights which include 12 Community Safety Officers, Community Clean Teams, Additional RCMP members, and 20 new firefighters. SEE THE DETAILS
Imagine sitting at the controls of a B.C. Ferry during a major storm. That’s totally real now with a new simulator at Ferries Terminal in Nanaimo. It brings people so close to the real thing that instructor Malcolm Rodger said some people feel seasick. The new $2-million bridge training simulator opened last week and is designed to make sailings safer and recruit and retain staff during the chronic shortage. The new simulator brings everything from a real bridge on BC Ferries to scale and to the right place in the training room, so what’s learned there is transferable to vessels on the water. MORE
RCMP are investigating after two people were stabbed in separate incidents on Tuesday. Police first responded after a man walked into the Salvation Army’s New Hope Centre and told staff he had been stabbed. Security video showed two people in a confrontation. Police located a suspect a short time later and arrested him on suspicion of assault with a weapon and uttering threats. Police are also hoping to identify a suspect in a second stabbing at supportive housing on Wesley Street shortly before 9 p.m. O’Brien said police arrived at the scene to find one person being treated for multiple stab wounds. MORE
The cause has not been determined in a fire that destroyed a home in South Nanaimo early Wednesday. Extension Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire on Godfrey Road. There were no reported injuries. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but this is the third residential fire in the Extension department/s protection area in seven weeks. MORE
The danger of poor road maintenance struck home last weekend when a woman was killed as her motorcycle crashed in the Okanagan. Her family believes she would be alive had the road been properly maintained by the provincial government and its road contractor. She died after her motorcycle hit a large pothole. A second person on another motorcycle was treated in hospital for minor injuries. MORE
May 10, 2023
Alarm alert – get ready for an emergency alert broadcast on TV, radio and cell phones in B.C. today, in a test of the system. It will go out at 1:55 p.m. with a message clarifying "This is a TEST of the BC Emergency Alert system." The test comes as the province sees evacuations due to flooding and wildfires amid record-breaking hot weather, with temperatures expected to climb further in the coming days.
Now, that’s educated thinking. Going to university without going to university could be in store for Northwest Territories for students wanting to become teachers. Vancouver Island University wants to offer a fully-accredited teacher certificate without leaving the Territories. Our university has applied to deliver a remote program this fall, offered in partnership with Indigenous Nations or school districts. The first pilot cohort would include 15 students and will be a hybrid program that mixes online learning with instructor visits to communities, similar to a structure it already used in Nanaimo. MORE
B.C. Lions fans will remember one of the all-time greats Joe Kapp who died Monday night at the age of 85. He led the Lions to their first Grey Cup title. "Joe Kapp will go down as one of the all-time great players for not only our franchise but the entire Canadian Football League," said Neil McEvoy of the Lions. "Along with helping put the Lions on the map after some lean early years, Joe also served as a trailblazer for quarterbacks making a name for themselves on both sides of the border. MORE
That warm all over feeling. The City will continue to help indoctrinate elementary and high school students with climate propaganda. City council approved $20,000 more to support participation in the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association’s Cool It climate leadership training program. It is a climate education workshop for students in interactive classes and games to support discussion and build on knowledge of climate change. MORE
Vancouver is facing a growing goose crap problem, and the Parks Board plans to do something about it. Park Board staff estimate the Canada goose population in the city is about 2,200 birds, but warns it could soar to more than 10,000 by the end of the decade if drastic action isn't taken. The board voted Monday to begin killing some adult birds as part of a cull. MORE
May 9, 2023
Here it comes – record-breaking temperatures are forecast for our region by the end of this week. Environment Canada’s forecast calls for daytime highs of 27 degrees for the Nanaimo area with a mix of sun and cloud going into the weekend. A strong high-pressure ridge is due over the Interior spinning warm air throughout the region. Average daytime highs for mid-May are around 17 degrees, meaning forecasts are calling for temperatures 10-15 degrees above normal. We could see temperatures into the high 20s, even 30 in some places.
A ferries passenger apparently forgot whether he was on foot or on horseback yesterday. It seems the rider forgot he came by car but left on foot to take transit at the Langdale terminal, delaying sailings by more than an hour. Crew searched the Queen of Surrey which had sailed from Horseshoe Bay to the Sunshine Coast, after seeing a vehicle without a driver. MORE
This is National Nursing Week. The Canadian Nurses Association and many others are recognizing nurses the week of May 8-14. The theme for the week this year is ‘our nurses, our future.’ The concept is to draw attention to nurses and the work they do for the well-being of everyone, and try to amplify that awareness to members of the public, policy-makers and governments. MORE
Put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion. A Mercedes stolen in Nanaimo showed up in Fernie recently. When police spotted it and it was being loaded onto a tow truck, a person of interest asked why his car was being towed, and he was arrested. The car had items related to other ongoing investigations in the area. The 44-year-old suspect was released with conditions and the car is being held to be returned to the owner. Anyone with information is asked to contact Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). MORE
May 8, 2023
Are you ready? This is Emergency Preparedness Week, focussing on the importance of being ready for disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes and wildfires. This idea is that we should all be prepared for at least 72 hours. If you have a grab-and-go bag make sure everything in it is up to date – food and water, a cellular phone charger and battery bank, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and flashlight, batteries, first-aid kit, toiletries, cash in small bills, seasonal clothing, emergency blanket, pen and note pad and a whistle. MORE
It does you good to get your hands dirty from time to time. Rotary Clubs of Nanaimo have found that gardening is a great way to get involved. They have been helping Growing Opportunities Farm Community Co-op with the spring planting at the Cline Agri-Health centre farm. Hundreds of onion and kale plants were transplanted in a few hours. Growing Opportunities hosts a work party every Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. All ages and abilities are welcome, rain or Shine. 2090 Skaha Drive. Thanks to Paul Manly.
Speaking about getting into the dirt, members of the Seven Potatoes Japanese Cultural Society planted 10 more Akebono Japanese cherry trees at Beban park on Friday. It’s a joint effort with five local Rotary Clubs donating cash and the city taking over the maintenance of the new trees. Those cherry blossoms sure brighten the scenery in our city each spring. You can contribute to the cherry blossom project HERE
Canadian money will get a new face over the next little while as King Charles replaces Queen Elizabeth on $20 bills and coins. The federal government announced currency will get a new look featuring King Charles III. The Royal Canadian Mint will create new coins with the King’s face, keeping tradition of having the reigning monarch on coins. Canadians should expect new coins in the coming months while updates to the $20 bill will likely take a few years. Canada has been issuing banknotes with various prominent Canadians, but the 20 and coins will keep royalty.
May 7 2023
The Nanaimo and Area Land Trust honored one of its former guiding lights, the late Gail Adrienne on Friday. The Regional District joined the trust in placing a commemorative plaque in Mount Benson Regional Park christening it Gail’s Trail. Gail, who died in 2020, was a founding member and executive director of NALT and dedicated much of her time with community involvement and environmental conservation. The trail dedication is a fitting tribute to her determination and love of nature. MORE
Few of us will ever get a real close-up look at an avalanche but a Vancouver Island drone videographer captured the awe-inspiring power and danger in the island’s remote mountains. MactacFPV, an experienced drone pilot, had a heart-stopping encounter with an avalanche while filming near Port Alberni last week. FPV drones are equipped with cameras that transmit live video to the pilot’s goggles, providing a first-person perspective of the drone’s flight path. That allows pilots to perform intricate maneuvers while capturing stunning aerial footage. WATCH VIDEO
Santa’s dear Missus is busy again doling out money to Canadians. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who's in charge of the country’s purse, said the federal government will issue "grocery rebate" payments soon. Expect them to show up in our bank accounts in July. Actually, it’s not new, simply a relabelling of the GST rebates many of us have been getting, but delivering it a little bit earlier. You don’t have to apply if you’ve filed income tax. Couples with two children will get up to $467, while eligible seniors get up to $225, and eligible singles up to $234. MORE
And finally, thanks for teaching me the meaning of the word "plethora". It means a lot.
May 6, 2023
Let’s start the weekend with some good news. You’re not going to have to water the lawn for the next few days.
Also on the good news side, The World Health Organization has declared the Covid19 pandemic is over. Provincial Health Minister Adrian and Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the province has been transitioning out of the emergency phase and integrating surveillance, monitoring, processes and supports into the regular health system operations. WHO said the virus no longer qualifies as a global emergency, marking a symbolic end to the pandemic that triggered lockdowns, upended economies worldwide and which it claims killed at least seven million people worldwide. MORE
A fire believed to have been caused by a homeless squatter has hit a number of businesses in the Norwell Professional Centre at Norwell Drive and Barons Road. It appears to have started in the parkade. An accounting firm, learning centre, law firm and insurance company are among the businesses impacted. Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief Stu Kenning no one was at the site when firefighters arrived, there was no one in the building and there were no injuries. MORE
We’re enduring water restrictions on Vancouver Island while other parts of the province are under water. Restrictions are in effect in Nanaimo, Tofino, Parksville, Campbell River and the Comox and Cowichan valleys. Heavy rain in southern and central British Columbia has intensified an already difficult flood situation along numerous rivers, creeks and streams. The forecast has prompted warnings for people living near the swelling waterways to be prepared to get out quickly. MORE
School trustees are trying to find a way to get students involved in decisions, possibly including a student representative at meetings. The board has asked staff to look into ways students engage at the school board and district level. Teachers, support workers unions and parents already have influential dialogue via the board and committees. Chairman Greg Keller doesn’t want to rush it though preferring to look at what counterparts are doing elsewhere.MORE
If you were among the masses taking in the coronation of King Charles on TV at 2 a.m. today you can enjoy that smug warm-all-over feeling. You helped pick up the tab for our Prime Minister and Governor-General and countless hangers on to be in the live audience in Jolly Old England.
May 5, 2023
The Nanaimo RCMP are trying to identify the two masked suspects following a break-in at a beauty salon on Bowen Road on April 15. At least one of the suspects appears be a woman, said R/Cst Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. Police found the front door to the business mashed out. Patrols did not turn up any suspects. The owner later verified that a number of high-end hair clippers and shears were stolen. MORE with photos.
A salute to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs who are headed for the BC Hockey league championship series after they eliminated Chilliwack Chiefs 3-2 Wednesday. Now they advance to the Fred Page Cup series for the league championship. MORE
Revenge or embarrassing someone with intimate pictures is no longer kosher. The province has instituted new rules on posting intimate images without consent. Attorney General Niki Sharma warned technology companies that the Intimate Images Protection Act will create new legal mechanisms to stop the online distribution of images such as near-nude photos, videos, livestreams and digitally altered content. . MORE
LifeLabs, Canada’s biggest testing and diagnostics company, is offering tests for long COVID, even though the Public Health Agency of Canada states it isn’t detectible via testing. LifeLabs website suggests people with post-infection symptoms bring a guide to their doctor to order an array of tests, which the company indicates are almost all covered by the provincial Medical Services Plan. In the first year of the pandemic, the province paid LifeLabs $11.1 million to process PCR testsn. The Ministry of Health stopped contracting them in the spring of 2021. MORE
May 4, 2023
King Charles wants the masses to swear allegiance to him during his coronation, a departure from tradition. In the past, hereditary peers would swear an oath to the monarch in "homage of the peers." Now His Royal Highness wants it to be "homage of the people." Charles asks those watching to say: "I will pay true allegiance to your majesty and to your heirs and successors according to law. So help me God." That’s sure to ruffle some feathers in the kingdom. MORE
If you’re following the Stanley Cup playoffs, one player creating a buzz so far is goaltender Laurent Brossoit of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. That’s of note because he’s born and raised on Vancovuer Island – from Port Alberni and played part of the 2009-2010 season for the Cowichan Valley Capitals. That had him facing the Clippers in games at Frank Crane Arena.
Interim financial reports from Elections B.C. show the latest donations to provincial political parties in the first three months of the year. New Democrats have had a wide margin over all other parties, but the gap appears to be shrinking. The NDP raised $756,860.05 in the first three months while the newly-minted BC United pulled in $630,434.12. The B.C. Greens got $201,630.42 from supporters and Conservative BC reported $25,861.40.
Following are the reports of each party:
BC Green Party – https://bit.ly/41h7FwJ
BC NDP – https://bit.ly/3Lt8dcM
BC United – https://bit.ly/413P9Ye
Conservative BC – https://bit.ly/3nrE6uh
Rural BC Party – https://bit.ly/3NARerD
There’s water, water everywhere in the Interior and flooding is expected to get worse. The Ministry of Emergency Management says hot weather and accelerating snowmelt will continue through to Friday, followed by heavy rainfall late Friday and Saturday. Based on forecasts from the River Forecast Centre, conditions in areas that are flooding, including Cache Creek and Okanagan Indian Band territory, are expected to deteriorate over the coming days. MORE
Meanwhile, A mudslide closed part of Highway 3 along the Kooteney Pass Wednesday evening. There is no timeline for when the highway will reopen to traffic.
It’s not all peaches and cream for Canfor. Declining lumber prices led to a first-quarter loss compared with a profit a year ago. Strong earnings from European operations and modest results from the U.S. South were outweighed by continued pricing pressure on western Canadian operations. The company reported a loss of $142 million for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of $534 million a year earlier. Sales were $1.39 billion, down from $2.21 billion in the same period in 2022. MORE
May 3, 2023
Today marks 136 years since the Esplanade Mine disaster in Nanaimo on May 3, 1887. It's the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history. The blast was so forceful it rocketed through the shafts for almost a kilometre and burned for two weeks. This tragic disaster killed 150 miners, a massive loss to a community of approximately 2,000 people. It’s the second-worst industrial accident in Canadian history – the mining disaster of 1914 in Alberta killed 189 miners. FULL STORY
The Salvation Army’s New Hope Centre is moving its food preparation to the old White Spot restaurant at 130 Terminal Ave. Executive director Jeffrey Baergen expects they’ll be in the new location by the end of the week. It will not be open to the public as all food will be delivered to the Nicol Street location. The Salvation Army provided more than 140,000 breakfasts and lunches last year. The old two-storey half of the New Hope Centre will be demolished to give way to an expanded four-storey building. MORE
Horror stories continue to surface about cryptocurrency. The B.C. Securities Commission alleges a defunct Nanaimo-based cryptocurrency platform committed a multimillion-dollar securities fraud by diverting customer assets to online cryptocurrency gambling sites. In a notice of hearing issued last month, the commission says David Smillie and his numbered company lied to customers about its crypto asset trading platform. About $13 million worth of bitcoin and another cryptocurrency were diverted without authorization from customers. MORE
An historic barn at Yellow Point Farms was destroyed by fire Monday evening. The 100-year-old barn was a popular rural area farm and petting zoo. Nobody was injured, including animals. It was not the main barn that houses the animals, but at the back at a bird enclosure. Contents in the building included animal feed, tools, freezers including frozen meat and personal items. MORE
Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia operations earlier this year resulted in guns, drugs, and stacks of cash confiscated as Vancouver Island authorities took a major swing at organized crime. B.C.’s anti-gang task force teamed up with local law enforcement agencies, including the RCMP in Nanaimo and Campbell River and the Victoria Police Department to target violent crime. The multi-week operation resulted in the seizure of approximately two kilograms of illicit drugs, five firearms, assorted ammunition, body armour, around $70,000 CAD, 80 various weapons, and other unspecified items. MORE
Almost half of provincial government ministries were affected by fraud between 2021 and 2022, most commonly theft, reports the auditor general. Michael Pickup says not all ministries are following the same approach for managing risk or they don’t have a full understanding of the government-wide framework for managing fraud. His office questioned 22 ministries to gauge the impact of fraud and efforts to manage the risk. The results found that of the 45 per cent of ministries affected by at least one type of fraud, the most common cases were physical theft. MORE
Four Nanaimo deputy sheriffs were awarded Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medals and Bars by the Attorney General Niki Sharma on the weekend. It is the most prestigious national decoration for their profession. The medal recognizes peace officers who have more than 20 years of outstanding service in protecting the safety and security of the Canadian public. The Nanaimo Deputy Sheriffs were recognized for 20 years of service. Congratulations Lora McDonald, Sandi Quayle, Michael Redlick, and Gary Smith.
Hats off to Rob Biernacki who picked up a silver medal in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in California. The head instructor at Island Top Team normally takes students to events like this but he went as the lone Nanaimo competitor at the ADCC Open in Orange County on April 29. MORE
That IPhone bargain on Facebook Marketplace may turn out to be a scam. Richmond Mounties warn after fake phones were sold online. Two separate reports involved victims who were looking to buy the latest generation of iPhone. Upon meeting, the victims viewed an authentic phone. After money had been exchanged, a sleight of hand resulted in the phone being switched for a counterfeit version, and the suspect left with the money. So be careful when you buy online. MORE
May 2, 2023
Nanaimo citizens will be asked to approve borrowing up to $48.5 million for a new public works yard by alternative approval process. Mayor Leonard Krog said it is way past time that the people who do a lot of the grotty, tough work in tough conditions – called out in emergencies, etc. – have a decent, safe, secure place to work. The process involves voting against the project – if not enough people vote against it will move ahead. MORE
Two Save Old Growth protesters will have to face the music when their case goes to trial this summer. Howard Gerald Breen, 69, and Melanie Joy Murray, 48, filed a pre-trial motion in court Monday to have their August trial stayed or acquitted. Judge Ron Lamperson said their actions conflicted with the values protected under the Charter of Rights. MORE
Hats off to the Dover Bay Robotics Club who are on their way to the Skills Canada National Competition in Winnipeg from May 25, 26. Marina Pelletier and Xiaorui Liu were undefeated in their robotic ball hockey demonstrations in March, then the provincial trials in Abbotsford last month. The two are front and centre, but there’s a whole team – Rhys Arden, Mark Ratzlaff, Scott Wiebe, Colby Lawson, David Liu and Haitao Xiao – involved in designing, building and programming the robots. MORE
May 1, 2023
That’s more like it, real summer weather on the weekend, even breaking records with the mercury climbing as high as 30 degrees Saturday. It was short lived, but it’s coming back later this week hitting the mid-twenties on the Island. The heat broke 12 records on Friday, and 19 on Saturday. Prince George broke a 101-year-old record on Saturday and Kamloops got 31.6. Lytton hit 30.1 on Friday. The Interior will have more scorchers up to 30 degrees in the days to come. MORE
Hold back on watering your lawn, Stage 2 water restrictions kick in today in Nanaimo, Lantzville and the Regional District. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out – if your address is even-numbered then you can water on even numbered days. Odd numbered properties can water on odd number days. You can water your lawn for up two hours between 7 -10 a.m. and 7-10 p.m. on your day. Vegetable gardens and drip irrigation are exempt from restrictions. We’ve had below average rainfall in the past months creating a dry winter with drought conditions expected to continue. MORE
The Regional District of Nanaimo is experiencing gas pains to the tune of $766,000 to fix the flare at Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre. RDN directors awarded a contract to CanWest Mechanical Ltd. to upgrade a biogas system at the Hammond Bay Road waste treatment facility which has three bio gas generating digesters. The gas is burned off into the atmosphere. MORE
A cookie can always bring a smile, and it doesn’t cost anything. Tim Hortons’ annual Smile Cookie campaign kicks off today for the week where proceeds of Smile Cookies sold goes to the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Foundation. This year the funds will go to NRGH’s 12-bed high acuity unit. Clinical nurse leader Rachel Deines said will mean much-needed extra space since they are now working in rooms not meant for critical care patients. MORE
It's back to work this morning for most federal government workers after their union reached a tentative contract agreement with the Treasury Board covering more than 120,000 federal government workers across Canada. But if you’re waiting for an income tax refund, be prepared to wait some more, the settlement does not include 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency workers with negotiations continuing. MORE