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At long last – The B.C. government is taking steps to speed up municipal zoning approvals, identified by a review in 2019 and an expert panel earlier this year as a key obstacle to increasing housing supply. Legislation introduced this week would remove the automatic requirement for public hearings when zoning bylaws are amended, as long as the changes are consistent with official community plans. It also allows local governments to delegate decisions on minor development variance permits to staff. Neil Moody, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C. welcomed the first changes recommended in a development process review that was completed in 2019. 

Doug Slowski of Nanaimo has made numerous trips to war graves of Canadian soldiers buried in Europe. He has been sharing the descriptions and photos from those trips, and it is a pleasure to post them here for all of our readers. We get excellent reader response each fall when we post them leading up to Remembrance day.

The seasons are changing in a hurry and weather specialists predict an early and possibly severe start to the winter across central and eastern Canada. But no so for us on the balmy west coast which may end up relatively mild and calm through early December. The jet stream will settle back south later in the season and bring with it a new series of storms. Heavy coastal rains will return, but also mountain snow that will pile up well into March making for a long and solid ski season for the resorts that desperately need a good winter. MORE

Here comes the taxman. The Canada Recovery Benefit, which replaced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit for self-employed Canadians, has ended. But for the hundreds of thousands of people who received the benefit in 2021, the tax consequences will spill into 2022. Unlike with the CERB, Ottawa withheld 10 per cent tax at source on all CRB payments. However, recipients may have to pay more tax on their CRB income at tax time. And anyone with net income above $38,000 in a calendar year will have to repay half of the benefit above the threshold. If you received CRB and are wondering how much to set aside for your 2021 tax bill, here’s what you should know.

Island Health reported 55 new cases of COVID-19 since the update on Tuesday. Across the province, there were 609 new cases and six deaths. Fraser Health continues leading in cases with 257 over the 24-hour period. Vancouver Coastal Health had 79, Fraser Health had 257, Interior Health had 92, and Northern Health 126. The province has 4,784 active cases with 422 in hospital — 157 in intensive care. From Oct. 19-25, people who were not fully vaccinated accounted for 64.1 per cent of cases and from Oct. 12-25, it was 74.9 per cent of hospitalizations.

Passengers who were on two recent Island flights are are cuationed about possible exposure to COVID-19. The Centre for Disease Control has added Harbour Air flight 610 from Nanaimo to Vancouver on Oct. 19 and Pacific Coastal Airlines flight 744 from Comox to Vancouver on Oct. 18 to its coronavirus exposure list.

Unvaccinated individuals are much more likely to become hospitalized and die as a result of COVID-19. The age-adjusted data from the BCCDC, which covers approximately the last four weeks, shows that unvaccinated people are nine times more likely to become a case, 43 times more likely to become hospitalized and 36 times more likely to die. From Sept. 16 to Oct. 21, B.C.’s vaccination rate among eligible people increased to 89.8 percent from from 86.3 for first doses and to 84.4 per cent from 78.8 per cent for second doses.

Just wondering, why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?

 Pinnochio and the Woodpecker
That headline describes our Prime Minister and his Deputy succinctly. Trudeau can lie with a straight face, with passion, or with tears, but without a shred of remorse. Freeland punctuates her lies with hand gestures and a frequent bobbing of her head to emphasize her sincerity, making her resemble a woodpecker. Neither connects their statements with a duty to follow through with action. They talk at us, not to us, and ignore their ethical and fiduciary responsibilities to the public.

Marine Search and Rescue issues annual report

Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 in Nanaimo had a year was like no other in the search and rescue field. Jerry Berry says the station faced many challenges imposed by COVID-19 and the impact of pandemic restrictions to training and operations alongside boating safety and fundraising events in our communities. RCMSAR volunteers met increased calls for help as more people took to the water than in recent years. Despite the challenges, RCMSAR’s established COVID-19 protocols continue to keep local stations operational and volunteers have met all assigned SAR taskings safely with professionalism and, above all, dedication. ANNUAL REPORT.

Thousands of health care workers in B.C. are out a job after failing to get vaccinated by Tuesday’s deadline. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced that all healthcare workers who aren’t vaccinated should look for new employment because they’re now out of a job. More than 4,000 healthcare workers, including 678 in Island Health, were terminated – students, doctors, contractors, and volunteers. “All of us are very solemn about this moment because the requirement to get vaccinated is an absolute necessity in our healthcare system,” Dix said, adding, “Those who are not able to work at present, and today and over the next couple of days, those will be formally losing their employment.” MORE

Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo needs a transfusion to breathe new life into the area. That was the message from Dave Witty, senior fellow of Vancouver Island University’s urban planning program as he introduced a redevelopment plan for the plaza to the city’s governance and priorities committee. Witty did the proposal pro bono and VIU’s urban planning program students also contributed work to the plan. Witty said Diana Krall, for whom the plaza is named, should better reflect the artist’s international profile and renovations to the plaza should serve to animate the space. MORE

A drug overdose advisory for Nanaimo has been issued by Island Health, saying that overdoses are on the increase in the city. “Friends, family and community members using opioids and stimulants face increased risk from both injection and inhalation,” noted the advisory. The health authority says if someone overdoses, call 911 and stay with them, give naloxone if available, and give them a breath of air every five seconds. MORE

British Columbia health officials on Tuesday reported 55 new COVID-19 cases in the Island Health region with 457 new cases across the province. Of the new cases identified since Monday’s update, 61 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 176 in Fraser Health, 83 in Interior Health, and 82 in Northern Health. There are 579 active cases in Island Health with 4,829 active cases in the province and 390 people in hospital — 155 in intensive care. 

A new Parliament is being sworn in with a number of new faces in both the Commons and the cabinet. Politicians’ remuneration is often a topic across the country. The latest report from Parliament shows members of Parliament are paid $185,800, plus expenses in maintaining a second residence in Ottawa, away from their homes. Transportation between Ottawa and home are also paid, and a prescribed number of staff in offices in both Ottawa and in their homes. Cabinet ministers earn the MP pay as well as an extra $88,000 plus a $2,000 car allowance. FULL LIST

More dispatchers will be hired to address the wait times for emergency aid in British Columbia. Those who call 911 have long waits to be connected to emergency medical call takers. Some say they've been put on hold or had to wait for a longer period of time for their call to be answered. Others say they haven't been able to get through at all. MORE 

Annie Taal, a 32-year-old Victoria resident experienced an extremely rare allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine following her first shot. Taal reassures others who might be concerned that all mechanisms were in place to deal with her allergy and she is incredibly grateful to be vaccinated. “I have no regrets at all. I really don’t. I was safe and cared for and I personally believe those mechanisms were also in place during the production of the vaccines,” she says. MORE

Nobody ever said crooks were smart. A Victoria man made a poor decision to break into a bank machine. His next mistake was trying to enlist a pair of uniformed Victoria police officers to help him. The patrol officers were on Yates Street just after 3 a.m. Tuesday when they spotted the man trying to break into the ATM. He had already been at the heist for a couple of minutes when he realized someone behind him. Without turning around he asked for help. When the cops informed him he was under arrest he tried to flee, but that didn’t work out either. MORE

Cargo vessel lost 106 shipping containers off west coast
Pope Francis to visit Canada for Indigenous reconciliation
Firefighters board burning cargo ship anchored off Victoria
‘Spirit Loop’ new anchor of South Island tourism campaign
Plastic straws, forks, stir sticks could be phased out in 2023
Air Canada launches a new COVID self-testing program

Bank of Canada warns of prolonged inflation

The Bank of Canada is warning inflation will stay higher for longer than it previously forecast and signalled that an interest rate hike may be coming sooner than expected. The central bank said Wednesday it now forecasts that annual inflation rates will continue their upward swing through the rest of the year.

Vancouver MP Murray named new fisheries minister

Hon. Joyce Murray

Vancouver-Quadra MP Joyce Murray was named Ministrer of Fisheries and Oceans at this morning's cabinet ceremony. She has previously served as Minister of Digital Government and as President of the Treasury Board. Murray has a deep commitment to environmental sustainability and democratic engagement. Her federal political career follows a 25-year career building an international reforestation company and four years serving in the Cabinet of the Government of British Columbia.

Good morning Nanaimo, Tuesday, Oct. 26 – Talk about a heavy news day, The Buzz is loaded today.

It’s an annual exercise that a lot of people clamour for but few show up to participate when they get the opportunity. The city is preparing its 2022-2026 Financial Plan and part of that process includes residents getting a chance to provide their input and ask questions leading up to a eTown Hall on November 15. Council is reviewing draft budgets during four Special Finance and Audit Committee meetings on Oct. 29 and Nov. 3, 5 and 10, all  open to the public. So check out the details and arm yourself with the issues that are important. This is where you can have a say. 

Today is the day for healthcare workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The provincial health order covers doctors, nurses, students, residents, contractors, volunteers and all other healthcare professionals. The Health Ministry says 94 per cent of B.C. health workers were fully vaccinated as of Oct. 24, three per cent were unvaccinated and two per cent had one dose. MORE.

We’ve had neighbourhood associations for more than three decades and as with virtually anything, issues have built up over the past few years. Now city council wants to take a look how associations are organized and the level of support that the City is providing to them. MORE.

It’s not quite a high rise, but the north end could get a six-storey apartment complex on McRobb Avenue. A developer showed design plants with 88 units showed its early designs to the City of Nanaimo. The city’s design advisory panel viewed plans last week and recommended that the development permit application proceed to the city council table. MORE

The bus stops here is clearly not a theme local citizens have in mind for the Jean Burns site downtown. Several delegations addressed councillors, opposed to the public square concept at the site and the planned transit exchange. A housing development with a commercial component was referenced several times by the speakers. Kevan Shaw, president of the Victoria Crescent Association, suggested condos for seniors who don’t drive. MORE

It’s real now, as of Sunday, anyone heading out to dine, see a movie or visit other non-essential businesses must show proof of being fully vaccinated. The vaccine-card program moved to its second phase, requiring two shots instead of just one. A single dose is no longer accepted to access discretionary businesses and attend events. We’ll have to live with the card system until at least Jan. 31. Capacity limits for venues hosting sporting events, indoor concerts, plays, movies, weddings and funerals have been lifted. Local health order limits remain in Fraser East and parts of Northern and Interior Health regions. 

Nanaimo Public Works staff and contractors are cleaning the City's stormwater catch basins, so be careful when you are motoring around. Crews started in the Duke Point area, and will work their way north cleaning catch basins along major arterial roadways. Since this work involves large equipment, please approach with caution and obey traffic control person's directions. Work will take place for two weeks, wrapping up on November 5. MORE

Air traffic was not impacted after a man trespassed on to the Nanaimo Airport tarmac as part of the ongoing silly Extinction Rebellion protests. The man was arrested by RCMP after he walked into the restricted area carrying a flag and planned to spray paint a message to shut down runways to end so-called climate extinction. MORE

Health officials reported 186 new COVID-19 cases in Island Health over the three-day weekend with 1,618 new cases and 20 deaths across the province. There are 4,966 active cases in the province and 366 people in hospital — 149 are in intensive care. Along with the new cases in Island Health, there were 190 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 699 in Fraser Health, 254 in Interior Health, and 289 in Northern Health. Three of the deaths were in Island Health, four in Fraser Health, three in Vancouver Coastal Health, six in Interior Health, four in Northern Health. MORE. A COVID-19 outbreak at the Tofino General Hospital has been declared over by Island Health. The outbreak at TGH was declared on Oct. 12. MORE.

Karma gets them in the end. Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game out of Atlanta this summer in virtue signalling over of the state’s voter identity law. It’s a double dose of justice that this year’s teams in the World Series are Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, both from the states with strictest voter ID laws. Take that, Major League Baseball.

Good morning Nanaimo, Oct. 25 – Hang onto your hats, this morning it’s all about the weather as the wind unleashes its fury again. Environment Canada warns of gusts possibly exceeding 100 km/h over the northern part of the Island, adding loose objects may be tossed by the wind or break tree branches. The first wave of the storm on Sunday resulted in power outages and ferry cancellations. BC Ferries cancelled 16 sailings this morning due to forecast high winds. They say service will resume as soon as it’s safe. If you have a sailing reservation they will give you back your money. Exposed areas around Georgia Strait will see strong winds with gusts up to 90 km/h and it’s being called a long-duration event because after easing overnight things will pick up again until at least this afternoon. Provincial agencies warn residents to be wary of flooding.

Hydro crews were kept hopping on Sunday after some 12,000 customers on the Island were without electricity. Power was restored to thousands but for others it was a matter of hurry up and wait. The majority of those without power in the Cowichan Valley and Lake Cowichan were still in the dark late Sunday. The rest of the outages were spread out with many pockets between Nanaimo, Parksville, Port Alberni, the Comox Valley and Campbell River.

You may get a charge out this, and it may shock the electric vehicle crowd – it’s time to pay up. The Regional District has set a rate for charging electric vehicles at EV charging stations to be installed in four electoral areas with three more in District 69. Area directors supported charging a buck an hour for the first two hours and a toonie per hour thereafter. Area B director Vanessa Craig said the RDN encourages development of electric vehicles but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the entire area subsidizing only those who can afford an EV. Comox, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Saanich and Victoria already have the charges in place.

That didn’t take long. A little pin prick of job action and LifeLabs announced Sunday that the company has reached a tentative three-year deal with B.C. General Employees’ Union, which represents around 1,500 employees. The BCGEU said the tentative deal was reached early Sunday and that members still need to vote on the agreement.

Chilling reality – You may not be snug as a bug in a rug this winter without shelling out a lot more money. It’s not just gasoline and natural gas that are soaring. The global energy crunch is also pushing up the price of furnace oil and propane. The average retail price of furnace oil in Canada hit $1.33 per litre in early October, compared to 86 cents and $1.14 a litre during the same period in 2020 and 2019. It’s a similar story for propane.

Canada’s Snowbirds as we’ve never seen them before. This is a video taken by a Go-Pro camera mounted in the smoke-pod of Snowbird Lead. Filmed around CFB Comox, it gives an inside look at how much movement actually takes place, yet from the ground the formation looks perfectly smooth. View the video and then enjoy another great week in Nanaimo.

State of the Island Economic Summit starts Tuesday

The fifteenth annual 'State of the Island' Economic Summit starts tomorrow, with the bonus technology showcase – Stories of Digital Innovation session at 3 p.m. 
This digital Summit is much more than a standard Zoom call. The Virtual Attendee Hub is now open for registered attendees. Delegates can start networking in advance. So, familiarize yourself with the platform and start making appointments. Check it out here.

Storm warning cancels Monday morning ferry sailings

Anticipated high winds have resulted in BC Ferries cancelling sailings on Monday morning between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. SEE DETAILS.

  • All sailings between 6:15 a.m. and 1 p.m. between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay have been shut down.
  • All sailings between 5:15 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. between Duke Point and Tsawwassen
  • The scheduled sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, Victoria.

Customers with bookings will have their bookings cancelled and fully refunded. Travel will revert to a standby basis. For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

Barron to be sworn in Nov. 4 as Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP

Lisa Marie Barron

If you get frazzled over your daily chores, try fitting into Lisa Marie Barron’s shoes. She will officially become our new member of Parliament on Nov. 4.

In the meantime she’s been busier than a cat herder trying to get all her ducks in a row.

It’s been ferries, airports and taxis, hiring staff, renting office space, touring Parliament. That’s a peek into her life for the next four years. I interviewed her (online) between checking off all the things she has to go through even before she is sworn in. You can read it here.

Good morning Nanaimo, it's Sunday, Oct. 24. We were warned that whales were threatened to extinction on the west coast because of human activity. Thing is, nobody checked with the whales. While humans were busy worrying about them the whales were being humpbacks, making babies. The Pacific Whale Watch Association said 21 calves have been born to Salish Sea humpbacks this season, the highest annual number of births on record in the region. In 2020, only 11 calves were documents in the area. More

All the conditions are there, it had to happen. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly among residents at three temporary social housing complexes. They are trying to contain the spread, but those who live there say the conditions make it nearly impossible to self-isolate. There are nearly 80 residents at the Labieux Road location and at least 18 have tested positive for COVID-19. It’s a difficult place to isolate, what with shared washrooms and eating areas and the air circulation vents go from one room to another. It’s among three Nanaimo supportive housing locations where cases are growing. Those living on the street are also getting sick at the same time.

Langford has been a shining light on how to run government that works. The city will give established residents up to 75 per cent of the down payment on a home, through funds collected from developers over the past five years as a condition of rezoning. By imposing additional rezoning fees on every Langford developer over the last five years, Langford Mayor Stewart Young said the city was able to earmark $3 million toward their affordable housing program. Rezoning without a tangible benefit to the city has long been an issue for me. Over the years developers have got rezonings and then done nothing but flip the property. Rezoning confers added value to the property, something that should also benefit the city. I suggested a similar idea to our councillors and got some positive responses. Let’s hope they follow through. MORE

Kids are heading back to the classrooms. The COVID-19 pandemic saw many students switch to the distance-learning program Island Connect Ed last year. Island Connect Ed enrolment, with 831 kindergarten-Grade 9 full-time students and 80 students from Grade 10-12 last year, decreased to 316 and 54 students respectively. Due to the pandemic, students were educated in cohorts (learning groups), but returned to regular classes this year. It appears high school students are again taking regular courses. MORE

If you lose your job for refusal to adhere to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate you could be denied employment insurance. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough, appearing on the The West Block on CTV, said dismissal for failure to adhere to a workplace policy — in this case, vaccination — would likely leave people without EI coverage. A fundamental principle of the EI program is that claimants have to lose their employment through no fault of their own, and this would be seen as a choice, she said. MORE

School districts are still on their own after the province set guidelines for school districts if they do mandate COVID-19 vaccine for staff. Such a mandate would require teachers, administrators, cleaning staff, educational assistants and other adults in the school system to be immunized. The province has not set any rules on whether school districts should impose vaccine mandates, instead encouraging all staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine and leaving it to school districts to enforce. MORE

So much for common sense. The BC Liberal Party top brass have rejected Aaron Gunn as a candidate in their leadership race. That sends the message that the party nabobs don’t trust the common membership to make the right decision. The move has sparked a firestorm of reaction on social media. But the former BC Proud spokesman is sticking to his Gunn, he ain’t backin’ down, no siree. Gunn, a “small-c conservative” ran on a slogan of “Bring back common sense.” So much for that concept. A breath of fresh air is Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, the only leadership candidate who did not endorse the ban. Ross is one of the brighter lights in the party. SEE HIS OPEN LETTER.

Man arrested at homicide scene in Crofton

More than 8,000 customers are without power on Vancouver Island as a storm moves through the region. BC Hydro’s outage map shows 4,424 customers in the area from Port Renfrew to Colwood are without power. The majority of those without power are located in Sooke, where 2,187 customers are affected. Pockets of Metchosin, Colwood, and Langford are also without power. There are 1,147 customers between Lake Cowichan and Youbou without power along with 3,758 customers in and near Port Alberni, 880 near Parksville, 981 in Whiskey Creek and 1,377 in Comox.

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP arrested a man after two people were found dead inside a home in Crofton on Saturday. RCMP say the man found inside the home was arrested without incident and remains in custody. Police had responded to the home after receiving a report about a suspicious circumstance at the property.

LifeLabs workers in B.C. have begun work-to-rule and an overtime ban after entering a legal strike position Friday night. B.C. General Employees Union president Stephanie Smith said wages and benefits were the key sticking points, with LifeLabs’ estimated 1,550 B.C. workers being paid between 4.5 and 13.5 per cent less than their counterparts in the public system. MORE 

A cargo ship that spilled 40 shipping containers into the ocean was burning in the waters south of Victoria on Saturday. The coast guard was notified of the fire aboard the Zim Kingston around 11 a.m. Saturday. Ten crew were rescued before 6 p.m. while six others were removed about an hour later, leaving five crew aboard overnight.


Good morning, hello Saturday, October 23. The first thing we do is check the weather situation, and it’s a wild one today. We’ve had weather warnings for our area over the past few days, now  our Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is taking note. What Mother Nature has brewing off the west coast of B.C. and Washington State right now is more than just a storm, some experts are calling it a “weather bomb” or “bomb cyclone.” Mike Farnworth’s department sent out a number of tips and actions people living in these regions can take to prepare for the potentially stormy day ahead. There’s a lot of info there with links to the federal Environment Canada website. Check it out here.

The Canadian and United States Coast Guard are warning boaters after 40 shipping containers were tossed from a cargo ship Friday in rough seas off Vancouver Island. The containers were adrift approximately 69 kilometres west of Vancouver Island just before 3 p.m.. The cargo vessel Zim Kingston was inbound for Vancouver when it listed, dropping the containers into the ocean near the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Are you fully vaccinated? That depends. Down south in Fantasy Land they are resetting the definition of fully vaccinated now that the Uncle Joe Biden is pushing a third injection, or booster shot. The businesses reliant on government proof of vaccination documents for their clients may be faced with another hurdle to their survival. And what about the vaccination passport situation in our country now that Justin Trudeau has gone into competition with John Horgan for vaccination credentials? The Ottawa card requires a whole lot more of our personal information in government hands.

On that topic, politicians are now bickering whether Members of Parliament should have to be vaccinated in order to enter the House of Commons to do the job they were elected to do. Conservative leader Erin O'Toole is playing silly games, refusing to identify MPs who are not vaccinated. Justin came up with an intelligent response – if it’s required for frontline workers, surely MPs can follow the same rules.

Island Health registered 89 new Coronavirus cases on Friday, part of the 649 across the province. There are 545 active COVID-19 cases in the Island region. Dr. Bonnie Henry says 365 are in hospital with 143 in critical care. B.C. has 5,106 active cases. There were 13 deaths reported on Friday bringing the provincial death toll to 2,109 since the pandemic began.

Another kick in the teeth of the tourism-related economy of the west coast of our Island paradise. Tofino and Ucluelet could be forgiven for throwing up . . . their hands. Hwy 4 will remain an active construction zone until next summer. The highways ministry has again pushed out the completion date for the Kennedy Hill upgrade. The budget now sits at $53.96 million, up from the original $38.1 million.

Hold the phone, Ladysmith’s mayor and council are not exactly thrilled with province’s idea for a busy intersection in the town’s south end. The highways ministry announced this week that work would start imminently to restrict left turns onto the Trans-Canada Hwy. from South Davis Road adjoining Baker Road. The change will have the most profound impact on people living in the growing south Ladysmith area where motorists would be funneled to the signalized intersection on North Davis Road in order to proceed north on the Trans-Canada Hwy.

And before we go, I hear Jimmy Carter is jubilant knowing that he’s no longer the worst president in U.S. history.

Dr. Bonnie Henry warned all of us not get together for family events over the Thanksgiving weekend. But did I listen? No! We went to Maple Ridge to join our family. It started out wrong almost immediately. Our seven-year-old grandson got COVID symptoms, and tested positive. The next day his school teacher dad also got sick and tested positive. One other member of the family tested positive, while four did not. Another family member who was set to join us for Thanksgiving dinner wisely opted out. We immediately hustled to the Ferry and returned home staying on the car deck. After we got home the virus set in, first my wife and then I got it. Believe me, it’s been a hell of a week, in quarantine jail. I am supposed to get parole on Oct. 27.

Re: Heed the Health Warnings.
Congratulations on ignoring the advice. Now you have all recovered from Covid, your immune systems have been woken up and are primed to face the winter. 
Ann Rogers

One man was arrested after numerous 911 calls claiming shots were being fired at a local school and that there were multiple casualties. The caller did not specify which school and provided only a five-block radius in south Nanaimo. Police immediately notified Fairview Elementary and Nanaimo and District Secondary School. NDSS was immediately placed in a lock down. Fairview Elementary students had already been dismissed early due to parent teacher interviews. Using cell phone technology and police databases, the North Island Operations Communication Centre (OCC) traced the location of the phone, then determined whom the phone was registered to and what vehicles were associated to the suspect. Police located the suspect in his vehicle, parked along Howard Ave. The 34-year-old suspect was arrested for Public Mischief and Breach of pre-existing conditions from previous police files. MORE

Hundreds of drivers were pulled aside by Nanaimo RCMP when they failed to slow down and move over for tow trucks “assisting” a vehicle on the Nanaimo Parkway Thursday. It was designed to educate motorists about their legal responsibility under B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act that when approaching emergency vehicles, parked roadside, with their emergency lights flashing, they must slow down and move over into the fast lane, if possible, to keep police, tow truck operators, firefighters, ambulance paramedics and other personnel safe. In less than two hours police pulled over more than 200 drivers, who failed to slow down, or move over, for the trucks from Mid Island Towing. Many of the vehicles flagged were speeding as well.

Not on the same page. The BC vaccine card isn't compatible with the federal proof-of-vaccination system Canadians will soon use when travelling. The B.C. card has been downloaded by approximately 3.7 million B.C. residents. The federal system uses a standardized vaccine passport that features a traveller's name, birthdate and detailed information on COVID-19 vaccination history. B.C.'s card only displays a user's name and vaccination status. The standardized version is already available in Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut – but not British Columbia, which issued its vaccine card last month for regulating entry into venues such as sports stadiums, restaurants and movie theatres.

Health officials reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 the Island Health region and 715 across the province on Thursday. There are 504 active COVID-19 cases in the island region. Province wide 377 are in hospital with 136 people in critical care. British Columbia has 4,965 active cases. There were 60 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 285 in Fraser Health, 137 in Interior Health, 172 in the Northern Health region. There were four deaths related to the virus, all of them in the Northern Health region. This brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 2,096.

Emergency responders are bracing for an expected 'cyclone bomb' which will bring an increase in response as the storm moves onto Vancouver Island into the weekend. The storm was already having a noticeable impact on the northern tip of the island, where four ferry routes were cancelled. Deborah Marshall of BC Ferries said those routes included the run between Port McNeill and Sointula and Alert Bay; the Port Hardy to Prince Rupert run; Prince Rupert to Haida Gwaii and also a minor route operating within Haida Gwaii. At the Cape Scott lighthouse station, keeper Harvey Humchitt Jr. says this is the start of the hurricane force season, but what they're preparing for is even more intense.

Police now have a photo of a suspect in the spray-painting of a swastika on a business last week. They issued a surveillance image of the person who is suspected in the crime on Oct. 14.  Employees at the business reported the incident to police and then went about removing all traces of the graffiti. After reviewing security video they were able to obtain an image of the suspect, possibly female with distinctive bright orange hair. The suspect was wearing a blue puffy jacket and white pants at the time of the incident and was carrying a yellow backpack.  RCMP say the incident is possibly related to another swastika drawn in the vicinity of Cameron Island the previous day. No suspect has been identified in that incident.

Local RCMP now have a major case file specialist who was hired several months ago to oversee the collection of information and organization of data for forwarding to the courts. A digital forensic technician will join the detachment shortly after a staffing issue is resolved to comb through phones and computers to aid investigators. RCMP are dealing with several high-profile, incredibly complex situations including five active homicide investigations and rising volumes of child pornography cases. “We’re averaging about 35 child pornography files coming in every year and those numbers will increase,” said Const. Gary O’Brien.

The Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 was targeted by thieves in the last few days. RCMSAR has been storing ar trailer behind Nanaimo Fire Station Number 2 on Labieux Road,. Debby Thomson, RCM SAR Boating Safety Manager had just received a donation of life jackets and was bringing them down for winter storage and discovered the theft.The thieves even took the body of their beloved mascot, Rescue Bear. 

Swimming schedules at both the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and Beban Park Pool will be temporarily modified to accommodate as many patrons in the pools as possible while Beban Pool undergoes repairs.  Work is underway to repair the Beban Park 25-metre pool; however, beginning October 25, swimmers will be able to use the leisure pool, hot tub, steam room, sauna and teaching pool from Monday to Friday. The temporary schedule at Beban will accommodate the public for drop-in swim sessions and participants in swimming lessons. In addition, the Beban Park weight room will be open weekdays, and there will be swimming available at Beban Park Pool when Nanaimo Aquatic Centre is hosting various meets this fall season. For latest schedule, go to recreation.nanaimo.ca (drop in).

One kindergarten classroom at Departure Bay Elementary Eco-School will become a licensed daycare for before and after-school care, providing continuous supervision for young students at the school. An expanded provincial pilot project is looking to cut the disruption for young children between school and daycare. Jacquie Poulin, SD68 director of instruction for learning and innovation,  said having to move from one spot to another to another throughout the day can be difficult for them, so being able to have a program where there’s continuity of space, continuity of people and continuity of expectations just helps them settle and adjust.

The next few days could be especially stormy for Vancouver Island as we head into the fall storm season.Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for the North Island, the West Island and the East Island from Courtenay to Campbell River, with potentially damaging winds forecast for Thursday. “We are expecting wind speeds gusting as high as 100 kilometres an hour, of course that will be on the outer coast and not so much inland,” said Environment  Canada meteorologist Terri Lang. There’s still uncertainty about the path of the storm but it could be the first of many big storms this fall and winter.

Provincial health officials reported 59 cases of COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Wednesday. They were among 696 cases identified across British Columbia over the previous 24 hours. There are 4,888 active cases across B.C., including 517 in the Vancouver Island region. Fifty-two people are in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island, including 25 patients who require critical care, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control.

The Coho ferry will resume service on Nov. 8. Two sailings will depart from Victoria to Port Angeles, Wash., daily. Sailings will depart from Victoria at 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily, while sailings will depart from Port Angeles at 8:20 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day.

The BC Goverment Service Employees' Union has served strike notice on LifeLabs. Job action could begin as early as Friday. Essential service agreements ensure some LifeLabs locations will remain open during job action. LifeLabs is responsible for the majority of outpatient lab work done across B.C.

Nanaimo voters will vote in a byelection to replace Lisa Marie Barron after she was elected to Parliament. Under the B.C. School Act, a byelection must be held as she stepped down prior to Jan. 1 of a municipal election year. The cost of a byelection is estimated at $100,000.  School District Chairman Charlene McKay said the process is clearly defined in the school act. She stressed that the school district did not trigger the byelection.

It may have sounded sexy on first blush, but the majority of councillors opted for responsible investment of city funds. They debated withdrawing any City investments in the fossil-fuel industry, but ultimately decided to move forward with essentially a status-quo investment portfolio. The city’s finance and audit committee recommended socially-responsible investments only when the return is within five-per cent of maximum available yields. Using 2021 as an example, the city would not have chosen any socially responsible investments this year. Coun. Zeni Maartman moved to go with the most fiscally responsible, saying council’s “responsibility to the taxpayers is of utmost importance.” Councillors Ben Geselbracht, Tyler Brown and Don Bonner all spoke against the motion, preferring an option that would have updated the city’s policy to allow only socially responsible investments.

Our personal information could be at risk

Our NDP government is planning to store all personal information about B C residents in Cloud drives. This would then be available for hacking from many countries. Especially, Russia and China. Email your MLA and let them know that this plan must be stopped.
Gloria Saunders.

Join the conversation at editor@nanaimonet.com

British Columbia health officials reported 61 new COVID cases in the Island Health region, part of the 560 cases and five deaths since their last update on Oct. 19. One of the deaths over the past 24 hours was in Island Health. Other new casesm were 208 were in Fraser Health, 131 were in Northern Health, 80 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, and 79 were in Interior Health.There are 382 people with COVID-19 in B.C. hospitals, an increase of 22 from Monday. Of those, 146 are in intensive care, a decrease of five. Officials say there are 516 active cases in Island Health.

Sheriffs are going to Ontario, this Friday, Oct. 22 to escort Steven Michael Bacon to Nanaimo to face a preliminary inquiry in the Makayla Chang homicide case. Bacon faces a first-degree murder charge. Chang went missing in March, 2017 and her body was found months later. Bacon is at a maximum-security prison in Penetanguishene, Ont. In B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Tuesday, Crown counsel Nick Barber made an application for an order to have Bacon returned to Nanaimo. Barber told Judge Robin Baird, who signed the order, that Ontario and B.C. corrections officials are aware of the situation, but he sought a more fulsome order from the Supreme Court. Having Bacon brought back to appear in-person is the default and an appropriate way to deal with a matter of this serious nature, Barber said.

Sports, concerts and other big-venue events will be able to offer 100 per cent capacity beginning next week. The change was possible after the rate of people who have received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continued to increase. People in areas with high vaccinations rates, including Island Health, will be able to attend events at 100 per cent capacity, up from 50 per cent, for inside organized events and gatherings starting Monday. The changes apply to indoor sporting events, concerts, movie theaters, dance and symphony events, as well as other indoor organized events like weddings, funeral receptions and parties.

A 47-year-old man who RCMP say was acting erratically in an intersection suffered puncture wounds when a police dog was used to take him down Monday morning. It happened at around 9:20 a.m. near the intersection of Albert and Cavan streets, RCMP said. An off-duty officer who was driving with his police dog, Herc, witnessed the man yelling and saw him walk into traffic with no apparent regard for his personal safety, RCMP said. MORE

There have been many adjectives to describe the latest addition to the Nanaimo RCMP’s arsenal in its fight to curb speeding: steely eyed, consistent, effective, professional. The list could go on and on but thanks to ICBC, Cst Scarecrow is on duty and having an impact on the motoring public. Cst Scarecrow is actually a 6 foot cut out of an image of a real Mountie, holding a handheld radar device, and of  course wearing his forge cap and yellow reflective jacket. The image is used in conjunction with Community Policing Volunteers carrying out Speed Watch activities at various locations throughout Nanaimo. 

Health officials reported 169 COVID cases in Island Health region Monday with 1,846 new cases across the province and 26 deaths since the last update on Oct. 15. Three of the deaths were in the Island Health region which has recorded 12 deaths since the beginning of the month. There are 4,917 active cases in the province and 360 people in hospital — 151 in intensive care. Island Health has 437 active cases — 46 in North Island, 204 in Central Island, and 187 in South Island. Forty-six people in the region are in hospital, 27 in critical care. Since the pandemic began, there have been 83 deaths and 483 hospitalizations on Vancouver Island.

The city is looking for residents interested in becoming more involved with local governance – to apply to the Board of Variance. There are three members for a three-year term. The Board of Variance is an independent body that can grant variances to relax zoning regulations, servicing requirements, and tree protection requirements; extend non-conforming uses; and, reconstruct non-conforming building. Applications are open until November 17. MORE

An idea that was long over due blends kindergarten with daycare at more than two dozen B.C. schools. Seamless Day Kindergarten was launched at four sites initially. The teams include early childhood educators and classroom teachers, who help children through before- and after-school care, as well as their regular school day. Its goal is to offer daycare options to parents and consistency of caregivers and educators to children. The program uses existing classroom spaces, meaning new daycare options can be offered quickly to parents in the associated districts. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside did not provide specifics on which schools will be added, but they include Nanaimo Ladysmith Disctrict #68.

I looks like something from a movie set, but a radar-stealthy U.S. Navy destroyer attracted a lot of attention off north Nanaimo on Monday. The USS Michael Monsoor is one of three Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyers designed to be less visible on radar. The ship is 610 feet long, 14,500 tonnes, and can travel at 30-plus knots. One of the USS Michael Monsoor’s two sister ships, USS Zumwalt visited CFB Esquimalt in 2019.

A Lantzville woman has cashed in big on a ‘$100,000 Jackpot’ lottery ticket. and that’s exactly what she ended up winning. Barbara Don bought the winning ticket at Save-On-Foods in Nanaimo. She was buying her mother a lottery ticket and decided to pick up one for herself as well. She ended up taking her mother for a celebratory birthday dinner. 

The Ucluelet boating community teamed up in quick order to rescue a mother humpback whale last week. The popular humpback was snarled by fishing gear in Barkley Sound and was freed and is now ready to head to her Hawaiian breeding grounds alongside her calf. “It’s such a great community out here of dedicated, hardworking people that really care about these animals, so it felt really good to know that the community coming together resulted in a happy ending,” Sydney Dixon told the Westerly News.

Tab for Glasgow climate fest is an obscene waste

The City of Halifax did some estimates of the costs of sending delegates as observersto the Glasgow IPCC gabfest. Canada is reportedly sending as many as 150 delegates, so we are looking at minimal costs of $734,000 and, more likely, over $1 million. That is not reasonable even if the Glasgow gabfest came up with concrete plans for dealing with the effects of climate change that are already here. MORE

Why does an emergency service even have a hold button?

A woman was shopping in the south Island last Sunday evening when suddenly she felt intense pressure in her head and weakness in her body.

When she called 911 and requested an ambulance, she was told it would be a long wait. After half an hour waiting for an ambulance dispatcher to take her call, she hung up — because she had already arrived at Saanich Peninsula Hospital by taxi.

She didn’t hear back from ambulance dispatch until she was being prepped for a CT scan at the hospital an hour and 40 minutes after her initial call. It’s just the latest story of someone on Vancouver Island waiting too long after calling for an ambulance.

In August, 72-year-old Parksville resident Harry Charles Blakey died of a heart attack after waiting half an hour on hold.

The province committed this summer to hire 30 more dispatchers and additional paramedics across B.C. It's not summer any more. Emergencies don't wait.

LET'S TALK – what are your thoughts? Should government redirect some of its frivolous spending and apply it where it is needed the most? Click Here.

IT'S A MATTER of priorities. Government needs to look at where it puts tax money for political gratification as opposed to life-and-death priorities. There can be no excuse for not having enough ambulances and emergency dispatchers.
Charles Wade, Nanaimo

The Vancouver Island Symphony is kicking off its 2021-22 season on Oct. 23 at the Port Theatre with the premiere of a new work by a Canadian composer. The program includes two pieces, Suite for Harp and String Quartet by Quebec-based composer Rachel Laurin and Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major. Throughout the 2021-22 season the VIS is offering its concerts in-person and online due to COVID-19-related attendance limits at the Port Theatre. Krantz said she looks forward to reaching more people through the new format. 

Zooming down Dickenson Road into Lantzville may come to an end. The district is looking at lowering the speed limit to 30 km/h from 50 km/h. Speeds well above 50 km/h along the Lantzville portion of Dickenson Road have raised concerns. Dickenson Road has been likened to a raceway like a Nascar track.

Passengers on recent Island flights are warned about possible exposure to COVID-19. The Centre for Disease Control has added six recent Vancouver Island flights to its COVID-19 exposure list. Three of the flights are linked to Nanaimo while the other three are linked to Victoria.

• Air Canada/Jazz flight 8265 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on Oct. 10 (affected rows are 4-10)
• Air Canada/Jazz flight 8261 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on Oct. 10 (affected rows are 1-5)
• WestJet flight 3025 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on Oct. 7 (affected rows are 1-7)

Passengers who were on a flight that has been added to the exposure list should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and those who were sitting in rows identified are considered to be at a higher risk of exposure due to their proximity.

Hong Kong has banned Air Canada flights from Vancouver after a passenger on a recent flight tested positive for COVID-19. The Chinese special administrative region announced the ban on Friday, saying that one person on Air Canada flight 7 from Vancouver to Hong Kong on Oct. 13 had tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival. The ban on Air Canada flights from Vancouver to Hong Kong will be in place from Oct. 16 to 29.

COVID-19 outbreaks were declared at three Lower Mainland care homes. Vancouver Coastal Health announced that two residents of Amica Lions Gate in West Vancouver had tested positive for the coronavirus. Fraser Health announced new outbreaks at Heritage Village in Chilliwack and Queen's Park Care Centre in New Westminster. All three care homes are now closed to admissions, and enhanced infection control measures have been put in place at each location.

If you’re planning to buy real estate in the next little while, you might not want to wait. There are fewer homes for sale, and that impacts the prices. Vancouver Island Real Estate Board active listings of single-family homes in September were 47 per cent lower than in 2020, while VIREB’s inventory of condo apartments and row/townhouses dropped by 57 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively, from one year ago. Multiple offers on well-priced, quality properties continue to be the norm. Nanaimo’s benchmark price of a single-family home rose by 28 per cent, hitting $745,400, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 33 per cent to $869,000. SEE MORE

This year’s Ladysmith Festival of Lights has been cancelled due to pandemic concerns but decorations and lights will go up again in November. The organizers said the decision to cancel Light Up for this year was made with a view to responsibilities to the community. “Potentially, the health of our members, various service groups, the many volunteers and our community could be placed at risk by staging a large public gathering.”

A weekly meal service is providing a hot start to the week as the weather continues toward winter. Nanaimo Foodshare, with St. Paul’s Anglican Church, has created a new by-donation meal service called “Monday Lunch Together”. It’s every week from Noon until 1 p.m. at the church on Chapel Street.

The City is lookingfor nominations from the community for the 2022 Culture & Heritage Awards. The awards recognize outstanding organizations, groups and individuals in the arts, culture and heritage fields. This is the community's opportunity to recognize people and groups they believe have made a significant contribution to making Nanaimo a culturally vibrant city. There are five potential categories to nominate from, and recipients will be recognized at a special celebration at the Port Theatre in April 2022. Deadline for nominations is Friday, October 29, 4:00 p.m. FULL REPORT.

Carlota Sanz


The 2021 ‘State of the Island’ Economic Summit features Carlota Sanz, co-founder of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab. She will present the vision of doughnut economics and how it's being turned into transformative action to create ecologically safe and socially just cities and places around the world. Some members of Nanaimo city council have been pushing that concept, and the city is sponsoring this session. This year’s summit is virtual from Oct. 26-28. Click here for more details and to REGISTER.

Open letter to doctors who refuse to take care of patients

I wish to inform and provide notice that doctors who refuse to provide heath care to me is in violation of several important documents. By refusing me heath care you are therefore  
Violating the Canada Heath Act– by not providing reasonable access and not “protecting, promoting and restoring, the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada.”
• Violating the Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm
• Violating the ethics of the the Canadian Medical Association
• Violating at least two provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the Constitution Act of 1982. FULL COLUMN

Nanaimo Station 27 members and donors at one of the loaner boards.
Merv Unger photo

Kiwanis Sunrisers give big boost to Kids Don't Float

Thank you to The Kiwanis Sunrisers Club who donated to provide children’s PFDs to The Nanaimo station27  of the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue station.

The PFDs are put on the Kids Don’t Float PFD loaner boards at boat launches in the Nanaimo area. Helping to keep kids safe on the water.

Nanaimonet is proud to put the spotlight on people and events who deserve a thank you for their contribution and dedication to our community. We welcome any suggestions or nominations so we can give them a public thank you. To submit, CLICK HERE

Was CERB a forerunner to a guaranteed annual income?

The idea of a guaranteed annual income has been bandied about for some time. Now that the election is over, what’s the future for the $1,200-per-month Canada Recovery Benefit? Was it a preview of such a concenpt?

These pandemic emergency programs could well be a precursor to how a guaranteed annual income might impact our economy. From this experience, it’s not a pretty picture. FULL COLUMN.

Do you support the concept of a guaranteed annual wage? Why or why not? Let's talk about it. Click Here.

It’s almost winter and for many that means skiing. Mount Washington Resort is looking for workers for the winter, there many, many jobs open. It takes up to 800 employees to staff the resort so they participate in a job fair to seek recruits. It’s short notice, but it’s this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Comox Valley Visitors Centre. Information on employment can also be found on the company’s website. www.mountwashington.ca

The Island Health region reported 59 new positive tests for COVID-19 on Friday, part of the 667 new tests for the province. It’s the second day in a row where the daily increase on the Island has been significantly below recent totals – 70 to 80 per day. Active cases dropped one, now at 484 including 226 on the central Island. Southern Vancouver Island has 204, with 54 in the north. There are 5,128 active cases in British Columbia – 367 are in hospital with 152 in critical care. Since Thursday, there have been 75 new cases in Vancouver Coastal Health, 246 in Fraser Health, 101 in Interior Health, 184 in Northern Health region and two new cases for people who reside outside of Canada. There were 13 deaths related to the virus over the previous 24 hours bringing the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 2,055.

The Husky Market and gas station on Terminal Avenue, near Maffeo Sutton Park is in the first stages of its demolition process. The station was destroyed in a fire in October 2020. The site has since been fenced and boarded up, however the extra measures aren’t enough for some. Security measures have been repeatedly stripped away in the 12 months with fences opened and used needles on the ground. The neighbourhood sees it as an ongoing problem. 

Necessity is the mother of invention. A group of hikers used their turbans to rescue a man from the Lower Falls in Golden Ears Provincial Park Monday afternoon. Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue responded to a call about two hikers who were in trouble at the falls. However, before the rescue team could get there, another group of five men came upon the scene and sprang into action by taking off their turbans and tying them together to make a long rope to rescue the man.

Two British Columbia women who say doctors advised them against getting COVID-19 vaccines have filed a constitutional challenge of the province’s vaccine passport. A petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court says 39-year-old Sarah Webb, who lives in Alberta and B.C., developed an adverse reaction from her first dose of a vaccine in May and ended up in the emergency department of a Calgary hospital six days later. The petition filed against the attorney general and the Ministry of Health says Leigh Anne Eliason of Maple Ridge, was told by her doctor that she should not get a COVID-19 vaccine because of the risk of side effects due to her medical history. 

A CTV News investigation into COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals in the Lower Mainland has resulted in scant information from health authorities, which have fought disclosure even though hundreds of patients and staff have contracted the virus in hospital and dozens have died as a result. For months, multiple attempts to obtain information and documentation around investigations, responses and fallout from COVID-19 outbreaks in Lower Mainland hospitals have been met with stonewalling, redactions and insistence that no such documentation exists, even though lives were lost.

When will Trudeau install a new federal government?

Has Prime Minister Trudeau been asked by the Governor-General to form a government?
Does he have an agreement with the NDP for support? Are they operating legally now?
I have asked several outlets but I seem to be getting stonewalled.
John Cowan,

Technically we don’t have a government until a new one is sworn in by the Governor General. After the election, Prime Minister Trudeau said he would go through the formality “in October” but has since given no further indication. In the meantime he continues to govern under executive authority.

•     •     •

Can Liberals form government with their present number of MPs without NDPs support again?
(Viraat) BK Thammanna,

Yes they can,  the party with the highest number of seats can try to form a government but they could  be defeated in a non-confidence vote, which none of the other parties want, period. So, yes, Justin Trudeau will remain prime minister as long at the voters let him.

 Express your views or ask a question. Click Here.

Entries invited for Santa Claus parade Nov. 27

Click on image to enlarge

Santa Claus is coming to Nanaimo November 27 to ride in the downtown Santa Claus parade. There’s lots of room for floats in the parade, so get on the ball as soon as possible enter your float. You can bring the family to Commercial Street to watch the Light Parade that evening. If you’ve got any kind of commercial vehicle, decorate it, light it up, and bring it downtown. Organized by the Lions Club of Nanaimo for the Downtown Nanaimo Business Association.

We're supposed to be in a communications world

I have been spending a lot of time trying to communicate with Island Health in relation to COVID-19 testing. Virtually all the calls have resulted in a hold with the message that it will take “up to 92 minutes” to answer the call if you stay in the queque.

The Island Health website is extremely convoluted and if you are able to find what you are looking for it’s strictly by accident. It’s a typically bureaucratic nightmare to traverse.

One return message was “we’ll send you an e-mail with a link to change your password.” I tried it numerous times but no e-mail link. So I tried one of the multiple telephone numbers listed and got the promise of a call back. Lo and behold, I got a call back. The agent clarified that a lot of e-mails were not going through because anyone with a Shaw e-mail address was giving them problems.

Out of curiousity I asked the agent where she was operating from. After a pause she replied, "ummmm . . . Kansas City.” 

Nothing more needs to be said.

LET’S TALK – I want to hear your views on this or any of the topics in The Daily Buzz. CLICK HERE to comment.

Health officials are reporting 48 new positive COVID-19 tests in the Island Heath region on Thursday and 580for the entire province. There are 625 active cases in Island Health. Dr. Bonnie Henry said that 378 are in hospital with 153 in critical care. There are 5,348 active cases in British Columbia. Since Wednesday, there have been 53 new positive tests in the Vancouver Coastal region, 246 in Fraser Health, 104 in Interior Health, and 129 in Northern Health region.

Dr. Henry and Minister Dix

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced a new series of restrictions for Northern Health Authority residents amid spiking COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. The new restrictions come into effect at midnight and will last through to Nov. 19. Personal gatherings – both indoors and outdoors – are restricted to those who are vaccinated and in-person worship services are cancelled. For vaccinated people, gatherings will be limited to five people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The Delta variant spreads faster and causes more severe illness, which is being seen in the north where hospitals are filling with young people. Dix said 58 people have been evacuated by plane in recent weeks to other parts of the province, particularly in Island Health. 

Nanaimo Regional Transit wants users’ views before going further with the idea of a Rapid Line transit route downtown Nanaimo and Woodgrove Centre. This is the second phase of the RDN’s transit redevelopment strategy and is in the second phase of public engagement. Initial work yielded a range of recommendations, most notably the rapid line route that would offer limited-stop service along the old Island Highway, with trips 15 minutes apart. The rapid line would later be expanded to include south Nanaimo.

A new app for emergencies is getting a thumbs down from B.C. search and rescue organizations. They say the new What3Words app is not suitable for emergencies in B.C. Dwight Yochim, Senior Manager with B.C. Search and Rescue Association says that the app is a solution for a problem they’ve never had. “There are tools we use to locate a subject with their cell phone which are far more effective You need cell service to use the What3Words app. If you have cell service, we can pinpoint your location using your cell phone within one metre,” Yochim explained. 

The Independent Investigations Office is investigating an incident in south Nanaimo last month when a man who was in distress was injured while being taken into custody on Extension Road at about 1:50 a.m. on Sept. 23. Information provided by the RCMP indicated officers responded  and the man sustained a non-life-threatening injury. Paramedics transported the man to hospital. The IIO is asking anyone with information about the incident to contact 1-855-446-8477 or submit information via an online form at http://iiobc.ca.

Hats off to the volunteers who have kept Vancouver Island University’s community radio station on the air for 20 years. The station is celebrating that milestone with a concert featuring local artists and executive director Jesse Woodward said there are tentative plans to apply for city grant funding to put on a downtown concert series. Josef Jacobson has an excellent report in the News Bulletin, a look at the hills and valleys the station has been through.

A Nanaimo man has been sentenced to eight years in jail for sexually abusing his two young sons. Judge Justine Saunders found the man guilty in June and imposed the sentence on Wednesday, saying there are no mitigating factors. The boys testified against their dad and their mother told the court her sons continue to suffer emotional trauma. The man is already serving a sentence for unrelated sex crimes. The judge ruled he must complete that sentence before the new one begins, and he will also be permanently added to the sex offender registry.

Thousands of youth in government care will get Apple iPhones to provide them with better access to online resources and friends and family. The province will provide nearly 4,000 iPhones over the next two months as it rolls out the Phones4Youth program. Youth in care don’t always have access to the essential technology they need to stay connected to school and key people in their lives, said Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean.

LET’S TALK – We want to hear your views on any of the topics in The Daily Buzz. CLICK HERE to comment.

Garage Sale Trail

Click on image to enlarge

Everybody talks about the weather but nobody can do anything about it. South Coasters are warned to gird for a wet and windy weekend. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement covering Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Howe Sound and Whistler and the Sunshine Coast. The first of the two systems will move onshore Friday morning with heavy rain at times through Sunday morning. The weather agency is forecasting between 75 and 150 mm of rain over a two-day period.

I had a note from a Daily Buzz reader about when we will have a legitimate government again. Parliament was dissolved prior to the September election, and technically we don’t have a government until a new one is sworn in by the Governor General. After the election, Prime Minister Trudeau said he would go through the formality “in October” but has since given no further indication. In the meantime he continues to govern under executive authority.

Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson has announced more than 20 addictions beds on Vancouver Island in Port Hardy, Nanaimo, Tofino and Oceanside. They are part of a $132 million plan over three years for new mental health and addictions treatment programs and beds in B.C. Malcolmson says the program will include 65 new or improved services, about 130 more staff and 195 new substance-use treatment beds.

Sixteen British Columbians are qualified and working as certified early childhood educators, through the Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the provincial government. That means more safe, affordable, quality child care options when and where Nanaimo parents need them, said MLA Sheila Malcolmson. This new CEP project in Nanaimo helps meet British Columbia's goal of universal $10-a-day child care, working with communities and child care providers, she added. 

Ready, set, drop, cover and hold – that’s the day for the great British Columbia ShakeOut on Oct. 21. At 10:21 a.m. that day, residents and businesses are asked to “drop, cover and hold on” to practise their safety protocols and prepare for a potential earthquake. Should an earthquake happen, responding quickly and confidently can keep you safe. See the city’s news release HERE.

The first Homelessness Action Week began in 2006 to raise awareness about homelessness and engage the public, governments and institutions around finding solutions. The 2020 Nanaimo Point-in-Time Homeless count found that a minimum of 433 people are living unhoused in Nanaimo, and it is estimated the number is far greater. City Council has been working on a number of fronts over the past year to address the long-term housing and the daily needs of unhoused and vulnerable residents. READ MORE.

The Nanaimo RCMP is seeking help in finding 44-year-old Jason Diraddo. Investigators were contacted by his mother on October 8 and told she has not heard from her son since July. Diraddo has no fixed address and is known to utilize emergency resources in Nanaimo. Officers have attended to the various homeless encampments and areas where the homeless are known to gather but with no success or leads on where he may be.

Island Health reported 92 new positive COVID-19 tests on Wednesday, but the number of active cases is unchanged. Thirty of the positives came from the central Island region with 21 in the south and eight in the north. An interesting number of note is that since the start of the pandemic, 45 per cent of all cases have come from the central region – Nanaimo, Parksville, Qualicum, Port Alberni and Tofino-Ucluelet. 

If you find something you want for Christmas, don’t hesitate, just get it. That’s the advice from retailers as pandemic restrictions ease and the demand for products surges. What you see in the store today may not be available later due to the pandemic and a global supply chain bottleneck. Many parts of the world are still struggling, including overseas factories where products that are sold here are made.

The sixth and last Island Class hybrid ferry for BC Ferries’ fleet has left Romania en route to British Columbia. This is the second ferry planned to service the Gabriola-Nanaimo route. The new ferry left the Damen Shipyards in Romania on Monday, and is expected to take 60 days to sail to B.C. under its own power. The Island Class ferries are diesel-electric hybrids, and BC Ferries says this one will complete about a third of its voyage under electric power. 

The Transportation Safety board says it has found no evidence that railway operations sparked the deadly and destructive wildfire in Lytton that happened this summer. The fire raced through the town on June 30, days after a record-setting heat at the end of June. Two people were killed and few buildings were left standing after the fire.The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimated the wildfire caused about $78 million in insured damage. The wildfire is still being investigated by the BC Wildfire Service.

 – We want to hear your views on any of the topics in The Daily Buzz and Nanaimonet.com. CLICK HERE to comment.

We're being sold a bill of goods on coronavirus statistics

It’s hard to find, but 36 per cent of new Covid cases in B.C. are among the vaccinated, according to a government that has not been open with the facts. Shocking numbers when one thinks what we were sold. And can you believe them? Based on the Government of B.C. statements, getting vaccinated almost guaranteed you were protected from the COVID virus. And now they are beginning to admit the vaccinated are getting infected. FULL COLUMN

The Queen of Oak Bay sailing from Departure Bay was held in dock this morning after a report of a possible person overboard. Crewmembers discovered a vehicle with personal effects and the vehicle's keys still inside, leading them to believe someone had entered the water. Police and the coast guard searched the water around the Departure Bay terminal until they were notified by police on the mainland that the missing passenger was found ashore at Horseshoe Bay safe. The ship was scheduled to depart for Horseshoe Bay at 8:25 a.m., but was delayed by 104 minutes.

Fully-vaccinated Canadian vacationers and day-trippers will be allowed to drive into the United States beginning in early November, the first glimmer of hope in nearly 20 months for the families and businesses that depend on two-way traffic across the Canada-U.S. border. New York congressman Brian Higgins welcomed the news. “At long last, there is action by the United States to open the doors and welcome back our Canadian neighbours,” he said.

You can lunch with two cabinet ministers at Friday’s Chamber of Commerce online Zoom luncheon meeting. Our MLA, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson will discuss the opioid and toxic drug crisis, growing concerns over social disorder, and rising mental health issues. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon will provide an update on policies and programs to aid business that we might see from the current sitting of the legislature. It’s free to join in, just bring your own brown bag. This free event is presented by the Nanaimo Chamber for members and friends of all Vancouver Island Chambers. Register here.

We know how much, but not when and where about a transit service between Nanaimo and Duncan. A one-way $7.50 fare will get riders from Nanaimo to a Duncan transit hub. Work continues to define the exact route and number of stops. RDN Tyler Brown said they’ve heard this is a connection people want. “We’ll give it a try here and see how it goes. But in order to make it a success we have to build upon it, make sure the individual systems are functioning really well and provide a viable service to get people to where they want to go.”

The push back against provincial vaccine mandates has been strong at some Nanaimo restaurants. Windows were smashed in three restaurants last week. Melange Restaurant, the next door Modern Café and The Nest Bistro, a few blocks away, were all vandalized. Gaetan Brousseau who owns the Melange, believes they were targeted because they respect the regulation asking for people for vaccination cards. Nick Braun, of The Nest, says the push back against vaccine mandates has been strong by a vocal minority. Nanaimo RCMP is now examining surveillance video and are looking for witnesses to the vandalism on Commercial Street and Skinner Streets late Thursday night into Friday morning. Anyone with information is asked to contact the detachment at 250-754-2345.

A Nanaimo company has quietly climbed on the world stage after joining forces with Blue Star Foods Corp of Miami Fla. in June. Taste of B.C. Aquafarms now plans to ramp up its operations to land-based farms that can each produce 1,500 tonnes of steelhead a year. Steve Atkinson, managing director of Taste of B.C. Aquafarms, says it is the only such company in the world that has met its pilot facility target. The research and development facility on Jameson Road raises and sells steelhead under the Little Cedar Falls brand and meets or slightly exceeds its production target of 100 tonnes of market-quality two-kilogram fish every 12 months. Chris Bush has an excellent report on this local company in the News Bulletin.

A man and a woman were arrested and then released after a man was shot in a targeted incident in the south end on Sunday. The targeted residence is known to be used by those involved in the drug culture. Police searched the home but found it empty. A man went to Nanaimo hospital with injuries thought to have been caused by a gunshot. His injuries were non-life threatening and he was treated and later released. Police later arrested a man and a woman driving southbound along Nicol Street. Both are known to police. If you have information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file #2021-38031.

A construction worker was taken to hospital by BC Ambulance Service Tuesday after he became trapped by a water main off Hammond Bay Road. He sustained lower body injuries in the incident. Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief Stu Kenning said worker had fallen in a wide hole and was wedged under a pipe. Kenning suspected the man had broken both legs. A stretcher and manpower got him out of the hole, approximately 15 feet wide by seven feet deep.

Children five years and older now have to wear masks in public spaces. The province is also preparing to vaccinate about 340,000 children up to age 11, pending Health Canada approval as early as next month, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday. Priority will be given to the northern region, where COVID-19 transmission rates are highest due to lower vaccine uptake. The rapid spread of COVID-19 in the north is causing serious illness, including among younger residents, as hospitals are pushed to the limit.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said 55 critically-ill people have been transferred from the the north to intensive care units elsewhere in the province and that 43 of them were infected with COVID-19, all but one of them was not fully vaccinated. Those transfers have an impact on surgeries across the province, he added, including on Vancouver Island. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, 241 non-urgent surgeries were postponed, 157 were in Island Health.

Health officials on Tuesday reported 292 positive COVID-19 tests in the Vancouver Island region over the long weekend. Across the province, 2,090 new positive tests were recorded over the past four days. There are 622 active cases in the Island Health region. Twenty-eight COVID-related deaths were reported across the province over the long weekend – five in Island Health. As of Tuesday, 88.8 per cent of people aged 12 and older had received one dose of vaccine in B.C., while 82.6 per cent of eligible people have received two doses.

Island Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Tofino General Hospital after evidence of transmission on the inpatient unit. Four patients have tested positive. The outbreak is limited to the inpatient unit. The emergency department and the rest of the hospital remains open. There has been no impact to other areas of the hospital at this time.

A real honest-to-goodness 'Cookie Monster'

A great big salute to the anonymous “cookie guy” who came through for the fourth time in two years with a humongous order of more than $4,000 in Girl Guides cookies. That helps the Cedar branch of Girl Guides for activities through the rest of the year. By the way, that’s 864 boxes, or 17,280 individual cookies. The cookies will go to Tillicum Lelum, Loaves and Fishes Food Bank and the Nanaimo Non-Profit Housing Society to hand out to their respective clients. FULL STORY

Do you know of anyone or an organization that deserves recognition? Please forward the information to THE DAILY BUZZ.

We’ll have to put in some serious effort to work off all that turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy over the weekend. Looking ahead in the calendar, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Economic Summit is coming up October 27-28 via your desktop. The pandemic has played havoc with a lot of schedules, so VIEA made it a virtual event where you can participate right from home or office. Check it out HERE.

Here is your chance to have your say and impact governance. The Regional District is looking for citizens to sit on several advisory committees. You can make an impact on parks and recreation, agriculture, waste management, planning, or drinking water and watershed protection. If you have experience in those areas or interest in the committee work you’ve got until Nov. 15 to apply. RDN Chairman Tyler Brown says volunteering on advisory committees is a meaningful opportunity to get more involved in their community. 

Referendum approval of expenditures on water pipes in 2014 no longer fits the budget in 2021. Now the RDN has increased the budget for a Nanoose Bay water pipe replacement project by more than half a million dollars. The board approved a deal with Milestone Contracting Ltd. for work at Outrigger Road and Dolphin Drive for $517,203. The contract was seen as favourable because the work can coincide with other work being done by a developer in the area, avoiding cutting into fresh asphalt, the staff report said.

If you like your produce fresh from the fields, you have a limited window to get in on the Cedar Farmers Market before it wraps up Oct. 31. Naturally, there will be a Halloween theme to the final day. Visitors are encouraged to come in costume and “trick or treat” at vendor stalls. More visitors, more vendors and more tasty treats led to a record year for the market which attracted in the neighbourhood of 2,500 people each Sunday, a 25-per-cent increase over previous years. 

Politics has taken over professional sports. You know, it started with kneeling for the U.S. and Canadian national anthems. Then came the political correctness drive to rename teams – Edmonton Eskimos, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Indians and many more. Somewhere in there we also got Black Lives Matter, and on our side of the border, the Reconciliation campaign. There’s no argument with the messages, but do they belong in sports? Whatever happened to just turning on the TV and watching a game without being lectured? What do you think? Send your comment to  DAILY BUZZ

Trudeau's era of chaotic instability

Justin Trudeau’s handicap is a lack of life experience. He has led a sheltered life with people of influence, money and power. He has never had to concern himself about the affordability of education or seeking employment to afford necessities. Consequently, he has no idea how the middle class breathes, lives and survives. We're in deep trouble as long as the 'village idiot' remains in charge of our government. FULL COMMENTARY.

Donation boosts ocean shoreline cleanup society

A great big salute to David Stanley, co-founder of the Stanley de Vos Fund, for writing a big cheque to help the Rugged Coast Research Society to buy a new boat for ocean shoreline cleanup. Stanley checked in with $80,000 for the 32-foot locally-built landing craft with a $145,00 price tag. “All these guys are volunteers, there’s no money being siphoned off for executive salaries, and they do a great job,” Stanley said. "They’re working with local communities, First Nations, all sorts of people. They’re working to clean up the coast of British Columbia and I can’t see how anybody could be against that.” FULL STORY.

If you know of anyone or an organization that deserves recognition, please forward the information to THE DAILY BUZZ.

Good morning, welcome to the Turkey Day edition of your Daily Buzz.

All seven LifeLabs locations in Nanaimo are still in daily operation. A labour shortage has led to unplanned closures of some locations on Vancouver Island, specifically in Greater Victoria. The latest company information on its website shows all Nanaimo location hours. A LifeLabs representative told CHEK News that higher retirement rates and greater turnover due to the impacts of COVID-19 has created shortages that have resulted in unplanned closures in the Victoria area. The company says it is hoping to reopen those locations in early 2022.

If you’re looking for a job it’s easier than “Go see Tom”. It’s an open market, a matter of taking your pick. Employers are looking for almost anyone with a pulse. Statistics Canada says the economy 
added 157,000 jobs across the country last month, bringing employment back to pre-pandemic levels for the first time. In B.C., the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 per cent in September. Employers are still struggling to find workers.

Congratulations to Branch 10 Royal Canadian Legion as it gets set to celebrate 95 years in our community. Branch 10 is one of Canada’s first legion branches, chartered in 1926. It was located for many years at 345 Wallace Street before moving to its present location at 129 Harewood Road. There will be a celebration on Saturday (Oct. 16) 
with a barbecue, an open lounge and live music. And of course, no celebration is complete without a birthday cake, enough for 200 guests, a piper and Celtic music starting at 3 p.m. Check out Legion events at Facebook.

Children age five to 11 can now be registered to get the COVID-19 vaccine through the Get Vaccinated portal. It is  not clear when the shot for children will be approved, but spokesman Jeffrey Ferrier said registering in advance is a great step in advance of approvals of the vaccine from Health Canada. Vaccinations are scheduled based on when it’s their turn, not when they register.

The driver of a pickup truck was in police custody after drugs are believed to have contributed to a multi-vehicle crash on Highland Blvd Saturday morning. The 43-year-old Nanaimo driver’s pickup truck crashed into multiple vehicles parked on the side of the road. Cst. Gary O’Brien said the man had five outstanding arrest warrants, including one for an assault in March and four for failing to attend a court hearing.

Jill Margaret Braun, 57, was sentenced to 22 months in jail and two years probation for defrauding her employer out of $31,247 between 2008 and 2009. Provincial Court Judge Ronald Lamperson said Braun’s fraud was not a one-off, but committed over a period of about one year and involved writing 40 fraudulent cheques. Her offending continued and ended only when her employment was terminated. Braun had three prior convictions for defrauding different employers involving $57,000 in unpaid restitution, court was told.

Firefighters from the Cranberry and North Cedar fire departments battled a fire at a legal grow-op south of Nanaimo. When crews arrived on scene they encountered heavy smoke and flames coming from the building, just down the road from the Cranberry fire hall. A tin roof on the building made it hard for crews to get at the flames and made it unsafe to fight so a ladder truck was brought in to pour a continuous stream of water and foam inside.

Lantzville council has takeN the first step in approving a major housing development that could involve ads many as 700 residences. Council voted 3-2 
for first and second readings to official community plan and zoning bylaw amendments. The plan calls for mixed-use buildings and a grocery store near the village core and a range of housing types. The project includes lots on Ware Road, Lantzville Road and Wiles Road, are currently vacant. The application was prepared by Barefoot Planning and Design on behalf of Lantzville Projects Ltd., the same developer behind Lantzville’s Clark-Medd project.

Thirty-nine COVID patients are in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 in the Island Health region, including 25 patients in critical care. Island Health data identified the locations of 510 active cases ­– 244 in South Island, 213 in Central Island and 53 in North Island. Officials reported 70 new positive tests in the Island region Friday, among 743 cases found across B.C. over the previous 24 hours.

Thanks but no thanks. Former Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly is taking his time deciding what his political future holds, but the national leadership of the Green Party is not one of his goals. In and extensive discussion with Karl Yu of the News Bulletin, Manly doesn’t rule out running for office again. He feels “there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Forty-three people are in hospital for treatment of COVID-19 in the Island Health region, including 22 in critical care. The island reported 79 new positive tests on Thursday Across the. Province, there were 624 new positives. There are now 5,929 active cases in B.C. including 770 active cases in the Island Health region. Four people died, including one death reported in the Island Health region.

Premier John Horgan is leaving the decision on COVID vaccine mandates up to school trustees. Parent groups and the BC Teachers' Federation have called for all school districts to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the absence of a provincewide order, while the New Westminster board of education has asked for a legal opinion on making the shots mandatory. Horgan says he understands the anxiety parents have to protect their children and to make sure that governments and school boards are doing everything they can to keep kids safe.

Vancouver Island has some of the bewst hotels and resorts in the country in a new ranking by travel website Condé Nast Traveler. Three island establishments cracked the lists of most highly reviewed hotels and resorts in Canada for 2021. The Oak Bay Beach Hotel was ranked the #1 hotel in Canada, The Wickaninnish Inn, in Tofino, was named the second best resort in Canada for 2021, and the Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa in the South Island took home seventh place.

The City of Nanaimo has settled a legal dispute with a prolific graffiti artist. The city says he. sprayed roughly 450 times on properties across the city. He has agreed to  $10,000 in fines to the city, as well as an additional $5,475 fee for damages. Under the consent order, he also has to remove all tags on public property, must attend counselling or therapy sessions and is barred from possessing spray paint for the next two years.

THE VANCOUVER ISLAND Economic Summit is going completely virtual in light of the recent rise in COVID cases. The Summit features panel sessions, roundtables and keynote presentations October 27 and 28 online.

Health officials reported 76 new positive COVID-19 tests in the Vancouver Island region Wednesday. They were among 752 positive tests across the province over the previous 24 hours. Nine people died during that period, including one in Island Health. There are 5,945 active cases across the province, 743 in Island Health. Officials identified the locations some of the active cases –  342 in the South, 264 in Central Island and 53 in the North. Thirty-nine patients are in hospital in the Island Health region, 22 in critical care. 

Coronavirus patients in intensive care in Northern Health have been transferred to Island Health, impacting services here. Health Minister Adrian Dix said that out of the 32 patients who were transferred, 22 were sent to ICUs on Vancouver Island. None of the patients transferred had been vaccinated for COVID-19 and Dix notes that transfers have had an impact on surgeries across the province. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 2, a total of 241 non-urgent surgeries were postponed across B.C. 157 of those were in Island Health.

An overnight fire forced people from their homes after a blaze at a workshop on Southwind Drive in Lantzville spread quickly to other buildings. Lantzville fire chief Neil Rukus said when they arrived the workshop at the back of the property fully involved spreading to the neighbours’ garage and carriage home as well as two RVs.

It’s a holiday weekend and it looks like oil companies will cash in again. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, suggested that prices could soar to $1.629 today from $1.549, and there’s nothing drivers can do about it. McTeague says that because we import most of our gasoline from the U.S., the falling Canadian dollar is causing a rise in fuel prices as well. He says Vancouver Island drivers are losing at least 14 to 15 cents a litre because of the weak Canadian dollar, adding we could be pushing into the 1.70 a litre range in the next few weeks. 

Trudeau decrees vaccinations for travellers, federal staff

Prime Minister Trudeau

All Canadian travellers on planes, trains or vessels will have to be fully vaccinated by the end of the month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning.
That includes mandatory vaccinations for all federal employees, including RCMP and federal prison workers.
Those federal employees who don’t comply will be put on unpaid administrative leave.
Travel by car is not included in the new mandate. BC Ferries are exempt from the program, but BC Ferries could institute future travel rules.

Unvaccinated make up 70 per cent of new COVID cases

People who are not fully vaccinated accounted for 70.7 per cent of COVID-19 cases from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 and 78.1 per cent of hospitalizations from Sept. 20 to Oct. 3. 

Island Health reported 107 positive tests on Tuesday, part of the 593 in British Columbia. Interior Health region had 128, there were 68  in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 203 in the Fraser Health region, and 87  in Northern Health.

After remaining largely unchanged over the weekend, the number of people in hospital rose by 19 to 345, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard. Of those patients, 144 are in intensive care. 

If you’re planning a Thanksgiving trip to the Mainland you might have to put up with delays. A mechanical issue is forcing BC Ferries to modify the sailing schedule for one of its busiest routes. The Spirit of Vancouver Island is having mechanical problems so the Coastal Renaissance is being deployed to the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route. The modified route schedule is available here. Victoria travellers are encouraged to consider alternate routes between Vancouver Island and the B.C. mainland, such as Tsawwassen-Duke Point or Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay routes.

The B.C. Education Ministry covering its bases on mandatory vaccines for teachers and school staff. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday there is a desire for a vaccine mandate in schools and Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is setting up a group to make sure the issue is addressed. This follows the edict for long-term care homes in the province to be vaccinated by next Tuesday. Provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday for anyone hired between Oct. 12 and 26 they must have a single dose of vaccine and be at least seven days post-vaccine to work and get their second dose within 35 days after their first dose in order to stay employed.

A man with no fixed address was taken to hospital with head and facial injuries after being beaten last weekend in downtown Nanaimo. The incident occurred Oct. 2, on Museum Way. Witnesses said the 24-year-old man had been sitting at Museum Way when he was approached by three male suspects who asked him a question before striking him. The suspects fled in the direction of Gordon Street. RCMP Const. Simon Gallimore said the incident appears to be an unprovoked attack  and police are seeking information about the incident, whether it be eyewitness accounts or any dashcam video footage from the Museum Way-Commercial Street-Terminal Avenue-Gordon Street area from 9-10:30 p.m. on Oct. 2.

British Columbia’s Public service employees 30,000 employees will have to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22. The provincial government said public service employees working in core government or ministries will have to provide proof of full vaccination using the BC Vaccine Card. The province said the Nov. 22 deadline gives employees who are not yet fully vaccinated enough time to meet the requirement.

The Regional District of Nanaimo and CUPE Local 401 have ratified a four-year deal, retroactive to Jan. 1 and running until Dec. 31, 2024. It includes a two-per-cent wage increases each year and will improve benefit coverage and access to free bus passes for workers and their immediate families. The deal also sees scheduling efficiencies across multiple departments, which include extended hours of work at the landfill and evening and weekend hours for bylaw enforcement.

Lantzville is getting a marine waterfront park. The District has bought an eight-acre property on Sabre Road for $1.4 million, and will christen it Pierce Woods Marine Park. Mayor Mark Swain said the new park will be the second largest and will benefit the community for years. He added the Park will provide additional beach access and increase capacity to enjoy and share Lantzville’s waterfront.


The provincial government says there are 640 active cases of COIVD-19 in the Island Health region which recorded 218 new positive tests over the weekend. There were no deaths in the region. The province reported 1,986 new COVID-19 positive tests and 10 deaths over the weekend. The number of confirmed cases in B.C. is now at 189,680 since the pandemic began.The death toll is 1,983, which is one per cent. There are 5,986 active cases in the province and 326 people in hospital, 142 in intensive care. 

Three bars and restaurants have been handed ticketed for not checking customers’ vaccine status, and that’s only the start of it, says Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth. He said there are those who think the rules don’t apply to them. Most establishments are following rules. “They assess the complaint and do an investigation and they can decide on the appropriate level of enforcement. Enforcement for establishments or restaurants could be a $2,300 or loss of the liquor licence, or potentially the business licence.”

The Gabriola Arts Council’s Thanksgiving Studio Tour is back for its 25th year from Oct. 9 to 11. This year 67 artists are showcasing their work in 58 studios. Starting Oct. 7, tour central will be open at Folklife Village, offering a day-long preview gallery and musical performances in the evenings.

The B.C. Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions is seeking proposals for service providers to operate eight “sobering and assessment beds” in Nanaimo, four of which would be new to the community.  Sobering and assessment beds allow stays of up to 23 hours a day for people, with services such us health assessment and support and food and laundry. Supportive recovery beds are substance-free spaces allowing stays up to 90 days, with services that include counselling, case management and community re-integration support. Nanaimo MLA and Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said when people seek help with substance use, we want health care for them without delay. The services are expected by spring.

Diane Brennan

Brennan honoured with Freedom of The City

The City will formally bestow the Freedom of the City honour tonight to Diane Brennan to recognize her years of service to the community. The recognition was announced some time ago, but COVID restrictions delayed the event. Diane is a former city councillor, school trustee and Vancouver Island Health Authority director, among numerous other contributions during her amazing years of service. Tune in to Shaw Cable 4 at 7 p.m. for the ceremony. See the FULL STORY.

If you have any plans for Thanksgiving this coming weekend, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has a bit of advice – get vaccinated before getting into any group activities. “My advice is get vaccinated right now so you can get together safely with your family,” Henry said. “This virus is still out there and if you’re going to have older members of your family coming together, you want to make sure that everybody who comes into your household is immunized.”

Hats off to the Chamber of Commerce and CHEK for a first-class presentation on the first-ever live telecast Nanaimo Business Awards. It was a job well done all the way around. See the COMPLETE LIST OF WINNERS.

Residents of long-term care and assisted living homes will start getting their third COVID-19 vaccines today. Residents are being offered the booster shots because of the risks of living in group settings and that older people do not develop as strong of an antibody response to their first two doses. Mike Klassen, vice president of the BC Care Providers Association, says the vaccines are badly needed. There are more outbreaks, operators who've been able to get through the entire pandemic without a single case of COVID are now starting to get them. Hen also wants the province to require visitors to be fully vaccinated. 

Students must mask up when they head to school today as the province expands its mask mandate to everyone in the school system. And now pressure is mounting for mandatory vaccination for staff, including teachers. New Westminster school district voted to seek legal advice on the possibility of a mandate. Six B.C. school district parent advisory councils, including Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby, have also called for mandatory vaccination for teachers and staff.

The Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal in Victoria was so busy Sunday with extremely heavy traffic that customers without reservations were advised to seek other routes –  via Duke Point to Tsawwassen or Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay.

You may have noticed some blips and burps on this site recently. The all-knowing techs at Apple decided to upgrade my computer operating system, so it’s a bit of a relearning process. Hang in there.

Health officials say 88.5 per cent of all eligible adult British Columbians and 88 per cent of all eligible people 12 and older have had at least one shot of vaccine. Island Health had 56 new positive test results in the last briefing of the week. Across the province there were 714 positive tests. As of Friday, there were 214 active cases in the central Island region with 286 in the south and 36 in North Island. There are 33 people in hospital in the Island Health region, 21 in critical care. B.C. has 6,317 active cases with 328 of them in hospital. Eleven deaths were reported.

Two more flights linked to Nanaimo Airport have had COVID-19 exposures onboard. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has added five Island flights to its coronavirus exposure list since Sept. 27. Four of the flights linked to the Island either departed or arrived from Calgary.

The two Nanaimo flights with exposures are:
– WestJet 3153 from Calgary to Nanaimo on Sept. 22 (affected rows are 4-10)
– WestJet 3175 from Calgary to Nanaimo on Sept. 19 (affected rows are 15-19)

If you see a number of purple buildings around the city in the next little while Nanaimo’s first annual Purple Light Nights campaign to shine a light on domestic violence and its impacts. The station, city hall, the Bastion, homes and businesses will glow purple light at night throughout October. Nanaimo RCMP members respond to about four calls per day for conflict or violence within an intimate partnership. RCMP’s intimate partner violence investigator Const. Sherri Wade said they are excited to be a part of this international campaign, crediting Community Policing and Victim Services. Purple is a symbol for domestic violence awareness and is also used to represent courage, creativity, wisdom, dignity and peace. 

The old South Wellington Elementary School which has been vacant for eight years, could become a community centre if all the blocks fall into place. The school board is seeking education ministry approval for a 25-year lease to the Regional District of Nanaimo. Action on the project was begun in June and if approved by the ministry the board will have to pass a disposition bylaw. The plan is also contingent on RDN approval which has to seek feedback of its own in an alternate approval process. A report is set to go before the RDN board sometime this fall, he said. The alternate approval process will begin either later this year or early in 2022.

Some of the long-serving and dedicated Crime Stoppers Board members: from left, Brian Godfrey, John Hough, Brian Cornborough, Karen Linterman and Roy Fisher.

A salute to Nanaimo's active Crime Stoppers program

Thank you to Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers for their role in keeping our community safe. They recently held their shredding event to raise money for the Nanaimo RCMP Victims Services program. More than three tones of materials were confidentially disposed of and more than $6,000 came in. Crime Stoppers Coordinator Const. Gary O’Brien said it was a really good day and nice to see so many repeat customers supporting wonderful causes. Thanks also to the event sponsor Save On Foods at the Woodgrove Centre, with Best Shredding at the helm.

Nanainmonet is proud to focus on people and events who deserve recognition for their contribution and dedication to our community. We welcome any suggestions or nominations so we can give them a public thank you. To submit, CLICK HERE.

NOT FEELING SAFE – People living in central Nanaimo don’t feel safe with increasing crime in the area. Nanaimo Community Policing has released a series of neighbourhood safety audits for downtown, the south end, the Old City Quarter, Harewood, and the Newcastle and Brechin Hill neighbourhoods. The project was a partnership with the City and Vancouver Island University criminology students. About 750 residents and business owners were engaged.

CLEANING UP ­– Local school teachers point to the need for more cleanliness in schools. Teachers’ Association president Jeremy Inscho welcomed the new mask mandate but added the need for better sanitizing. Effective Monday, K-12 students are required to wear masks. What is still missing is that extra level of cleaning that we had last year, said Inscho. Cold and flu season is on us and we don’t have that level of cleaning that was in place, he added.

COVID UPDATE – Health officials say 88.5 per cent of all eligible adult British Columbians and 88 per cent of all eligible people 12 and older have had at least one shot of vaccine. Island Health had 56 new positive test results in the last briefing of the week. Across the province there were 714 positive tests. As of Friday, there were 214 active cases in the central Island region with 286 in the south and 36 in North Island. There are 33 people in hospital in the Island Health region, 21 in critical care. B.C. has 6,317 active cases with 328 of them in hospital. Eleven deaths were reported.

HATS OFF TO management staff for staging a morale booster for hospital staff in response to a boisterous protest earlier this month. Operations director Marci Eckland said the vast majority of people in our community support the hospital and that’s what we just need to focus on – positivity. Wendy Wearne, retiring co-ordinator of site operations at NRGH, helped co-ordinate the event. “We knew that we had to balance it and so the word got out that we were actually doing something and everybody jumped on board.”

BE THANKFUL – We’ve begun featuring people and events who deserve a “thank you” for their contribution and dedication to our community. We welcome any suggestions or nominations so we can give them a public thank you. To submit, CLICK HERE.

Very little truth and even less reconciliation

Truth and Reconciliation – that’s what it was supposed to be all about. The truth part was exemplified by our Prime Minister who created the big nation-wide event and then didn’t bother to show up. He didn’t give a rat’s ass, instead he was strolling the beach in Tofino. Truth and Reconciliation day had all the feel-good trappings of a great virtue-signaling event. Everything I saw was a white guilt trip and a pitty party directed at the victims. MORE

Masks mandatory for all students in B.C. schools

MASKING THE PROBLEM – Beginning Monday, all students in B.C. schools will have to wear a mask when inside a school building, including at their desks and on buses. The provincial government updated its K-12 education health and safety guidelines today.
That comes after increasing public pressure and a rise in COVID-19 cases among children. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the new measure on Friday, citing the recent spike in cases involving children between the ages of five and 11.
Henry was joined by Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside, who said the new masking rule will help ensure children can continue going to school in-person full time.

HEALTH OFFICIALS reported 64 new positive COVID-19 tests and two death in Island Health region on Thursday compared to 84 on Wednesday. Province-wide there were 749 new positive tests with nine deaths and 145 people in critical care. 
On a per-capita basis, Northern Health had by far the largest number of new infections, with 52 per 100,000 residents. Fraser Health had 14 per 100,000, Interior Health had 19, Island Health had eight and Vancouver Coastal Health had nine. From Sept. 15-28, unvaccinated people accounted for 80.6 per cent of hospitalizations.
Officials were unable to give accurate numbers of hospitalizations or active cases  – these numbers will be available in today's report.

BUSINESS AWARDS ON TV – The Greater Nanaimo 2021 business awards will hit television screens on Sunday (Oct. 3) at 7 p.m. on CHEK TV. It's been a challenging year for most but our local business community has demonstrated incredible resilience and commitment by serving our region over the last 15 months. It's also the start of Small Business Month. 

GIVING MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY THE BOOT – A great big shout out to Nanaimo Professional Firefighters IAFF Charitable Society whose members spent last weekend collecting donations for the annual Muscular Dystrophy Boot Drive. They came away with about $18,000, the highest amount raised in recent memory. Last year they didn’t do a full-fledged boot drive because of the pandemic, but the previous year they raised $12,000. Firefighter Jared MacLeod said virtually all of the amount was collected at the boot drive sites Sept. 18-19 with a small percentage of the total donated online.

BARRON STEPS DOWN – Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustee Lisa Marie Barron has resigned from the School District board after her election to Parliament. That will necessitate a byelection. Under the B.C. School Act, if a trustee gives up a seat prior to Jan. 1 of a general school election year, a byelection must be held. The district must name a chief elections officer within 30 days of the vacancy, and must set an election date for a Saturday no fewer than 80 days after being appointed.

BARRED FROM FERRIES – Three Lower Mainland men are barred from any BC Ferries property after they were arrested last week after refusing to wear face masks and creating an altercation on a ferry. The incident occurred on the Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay run on Sept. 24, according to Sidney-North Saanich RCMP. The men had become aggressive toward other passengers after refusing to wear masks. They were released and are scheduled to appear in court in December. Their release conditions include a ban on entering any BC Ferries properties.

 ONLINE DEMENTIA WORKSHOP – The Alzheimer Society of B.C. will launch a new online education workshop initiative for caregivers and people living with dementia in October. These free virtual workshops are a smaller format, which allows more opportunities for in-depth discussions on a variety of topics related to dementia. Anyone in Nanaimo who is affected by dementia can benefit from the more interactive setting, which provides more opportunities for participants to be heard and connect with others. 

DRUG DEATHS RISING – Sixty one people on Vancouver Island died from toxic drug use between January and July 2021, including 25 in Nanaimo. And the toxic drug crisis shows little sign abating. The BC Coroners Service reported nine deaths in the central Island region in July alone. The numbers are down on record highs in recent years, however still well above established patterns from 2011 through 2015. Suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. in July were the second-highest ever recorded in a single month. The findings show 184 deaths in July. 

NEW HOTEL PLANNED – There could soon  by a new hotel on Shenton Road, facing Diver Lake. An application for the 72-room hotel cleared a public hearing last week with only one written opposition lodged. The proposal is for the hotel with three storeys facing Shenton Road and four storeys facing Diver Lake. The application cleared the public hearing with 7-0 approval with two councillors absent.

IN THE SWIM – Anxious to take a plunge into Beban Pool? You’ll have to wait a little bit longer. The highly re-opening of the pool has been delayed two weeks, Oct. 18. City staff used the extensive pandemic downtime to conduct upgrades and repairs including tiling of the change rooms, a fresh coat of paint and a new art installation. The pool experienced after being empty for so long. An expansion joint in the pool appeared fine, but when the pool was filled the weight caused it to separate a bit.

COVID UPDATE – The Central Island region has 220 active COVID cases, part of the 704 cases Island-wide. That’s part of the 6,185 cases across the province, an increase of 187. The Centre for Disease Control reports 82 new positive tests in the Vancouver Island region Wednesday. They are among 813 new positives found across the province over the past 24 hours. There are 31 people in hospital in Island Health, 17 of whom in critical care. The latest BCCDC data indicates that 11 people have died in B.C. in the previous 24 hours, including three deaths in the Island Health region.

EXPERIENCE VIU ­– Vancouver Island University is holding an Experience VIU virtual open house on Saturday. And you could get lucky – there’s a $1,000 tuition prize up for grabs along with a video tour of Deep Bay Marine Field Station, a chance to talk with program chairs and downloadable resources. Experience VIU is for anyone interested in learning more about post-secondary and how VIU can help them achieve their career goals. This includes those still in high school as well as those who have been out of school for a while and are now looking to further their education. This free online event allows people to participate from anywhere in the world. Registration details here.