We need to get our priorities in line

THE PEOPLE WE ELECT shoulder a lot of responsibility, so that means setting priorities. We have to question where those priorities lie when it comes to our fellow humans. There is no greater responsibility than looking after those who cannot fend for themselves. As long as fellow citizens sleep in makeshift tents or in parks, and we toss them on the scrap heap, we don’t have our priorities in order. Bike lanes and all the climate babble pale in comparison. A Biblical reference: “Whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto me.”  YOUR COMMENT.

THE THIRD IN A PARADE of storms is set to hit eastern Vancouver Island and extend through Wednesday. The region can expect between 30 and 50 millimetres of rain during the storm, about the same volume which fell last weekend. The end of November and beginning of December are traditionally the wettest on Vancouver Island but this series of storms is adding to what’s already been a very wet fall across much of southwestern B.C. and Vancouver Island. MORE

NANAIMO SPORT ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS organizers are looking for nominations to help spotlight the community’s many successes in local sports in 2021. The pandemic created havoc in a lot of competition and the awards want to recognize that. And the next awards ceremony is planned to be held at a big gala event on Feb. 25 so everyone can attend. Nominations are being accepted and are open to any athlete, team, coach, official or sport administrator including junior athletes and masters in the Nanaimo area. The nomination deadline is Dec. 31. MORE

IF YOU HAD PLANS to attend this year’s Malaspina Choir Christmas performance on Dec. 5, better luck next year. They are sold out – a first for the choir and a reward for all the hard work put in by choir members who had not sung for many months. The fact that so many people bought tickets doesn’t surprise Artistic Director Fiona Blackburn. The concert at the Port Theatre features two masterworks of the 18th century – Vivaldi’s Gloria and Handel’s Messiah – and will be a celebration of the choir’s return to singing after two years, and it’s also Blackburn’s debut. FULL STORY

A NUMBER OF PHOTOS dating back as far back as 1915, were turned into the Nanaimo RCMP detachment on Oct. 27. They were found on the railway tracks that cross Fitzwilliam Street. See all the pictures HERE 

VANCOUVER ISLAND HEALTH officials reported 238 new cases of COVID-19 in the region over the weekend. They were among 970 cases  across the province since Friday. There are 539 active cases in the Island Health region. The island region recorded the second-highest number of new cases in the province over the weekend, trailing the Fraser Health region, which added 306 new cases. The island region has the second-highest number of active cases, behind the Fraser Health. At 223, Central Island continues with the highest number of active cases in the region. There are 100 in the South Island 140 in the North Island.

PENELAKUT FIRST NATION’S Maynard Johnny Jr. created the artwork that will adorn the new Salish Heron. BC Ferries and the First Peoples’ Cultural Council unveiled the design for the ferry. The artwork will be displayed on both the exterior and interior of the vessel along with the artist’s profile and the Coast Salish living relationship with the Salish Sea. The Salish Heron is identical to the three Salish Class ferries built in 2016. They can carry at least 138 vehicles and up to 600 passengers and crew. For more information visit www.bcferries.com 

PARTY TIME – The chamber of commerce Christmas party has always been the event of the year in Nanaimo. Well, it’s back live and in person at the Conference Centre Dec. 9. After the long disruption of socializing and networking, this should clear the air for many in the business community. Ian Thompson is the master of ceremonies. For tickets, call the Chamber at 250-756-1191 or click HERE.

Woman taken to hospital after car crashes into house

A FEMALE DRIVER was taken to hospital after being involved in a crash that ended inside a Highland Blvd home after 10:30 pm on Sunday. The home was occupied by two adults and their 4 children. One of the children, a girl age 9, had been sleeping in her bedroom which was located less than 6 feet from where the vehicle came to rest. All the occupants of the home were safely escorted out and provided with emergency lodging at a local motel. RCMP REPORT

Another atmospheric river rain storm on the way

MORE RAIN ON THE WAY - A new atmospheric river weather system is expected to bring heavy rain over the next few days in specific areas of Vancouver Island. A prolonged period of heavy rain is forecast to hit the Island starting tonight and lasting through Wednesday. It will dump heavy rain on the Central Coast, North Vancouver Island and West Vancouver Island, specifically areas north of Tofino including Zeballos and Tahsis with a total between 100 to 200mm during the prolonged period.

VACCINATIONS FOR KIDS – British Columbia children between five and 11 years old are getting shots of a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine starting today. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that about 350,000 children are eligible to receive the modified dose of the Health Canada-approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Dr. Henry says the same vaccine has been administered to more than three million children in the United States and there have been no "safety signals" as a result. MORE

HERE’S A GREAT IDEA – Be a Santa to a Senior is a new campaign to make sure nobody is left out this Christmas. The Nanaimo and Courtenay branches of Home Instead and local charities are joining forces to find seniors who may not have a chance to get a gift this year. Go to their website and you can buy a gift or register senior who needs the love. The pandemic has further isolated those who may be out of regular contact with friends or families. To help out or to register a deserving senior, go to beasantatoasenior.com. FULL STORY

ARMY TO THE RESCUE - Military members from CFB Edmonton joined forces with North Cowichan residents on Sunday, building walls against the water. Thirty one members of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment out of CFB Edmonton rushed to sandbag on the Halalt First Nation. They worked hard protecting house to house, and street after street that was devastated by flooding two weeks ago, from more flood waters. MORE

GOING TO THE DOGSChildren turning up for their COVID-19 vaccine in Quebec last Friday were surprised to find not just the promise of a sticker at the end of the ordeal, but a waggy-tailed dog eager to be petted and potentially calm their fears over getting the shots. At least three provinces have been recruiting therapy dogs to help reassure children and adults nervous about getting needles at vaccination clinics for months. Now the specially-trained canines are being enlisted to help with the rollout of vaccines for children aged five to 11. MORE 

REX MURPHY – Our earth is in danger. Our Earth in danger? Really? We just had the best and the richest minds in the planet crowding sad Glasgow for two weeks, and surely after such a symposium of the best and the brightest, if our Earth was in real danger, that bunch would have worked out a rescue. Full article in the NATIONAL POST 

Million-dollar investment dreams go boom

Everyone who wants to get rich should remember even when you hit a home run you’ve got to touch all the bases, there are no short cuts.
Crypto currency scams are costing victims millions of dollars as happened in the Comox Valley recently. RCMP say in two cases victims were cold-called and offered an opportunity to invest in digital currency promising big dividends. That lasted briefly and then the dividends dried up and the main investment was gone.
Crypto currency is a gamble on non-existent assets. In reality, you have greater odds  of winning Lotto 6/49.

IT’S A GREAT SUNDAY MORNING, Gas prices are expected to drop by at least 10 cents per litre in most of Canada this weekend after the price of oil plunged Friday. Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy, said prices will drop by either 10 or 11 cents by Sunday depending on a province’s tax system. Provinces with GST will see a drop of 10 cents per litre, he said. Panic on the world markets came as a result of the COVID variant coming out of South Africa. Energy stocks took a beating Friday as the price of oil fell more than 13 per cent.

TURNBUCKLES AND BACKDROPS - Professional wrestling has been a mainstay of Vancouver Island entertainment for many decades. A few local guys used to go to the Lower Mainland to wrestle but we all know how challenging that can be. They launched Vancouver Island Pro Wrestling – VIPW – eight years ago, and it has been a success story. One of the owners, BJ Laredo, has opened a pro wrestling training facility to give more locals the opportunity to join the trade. Ian Holmes of Nanaimo News NOW recently got a close up look, getting tossed from pillar to post taking the bumps and bruises of the craft. MORE

PREPAREDNESS WARNING - The flooding in our province has emphasized that being prepared is not a tomorrow thing, it’s right now. Most people don’t realize the importance of having emergency kits in their vehicles, says Ernie Laurenciano, of St. John Ambulance in Nanaimo. Make sure that it’s accessible to the driver, not in the trunk. Laurenciano says supplies lasting at least three days are critical, including food, water, an emergency blanket, flashlight, radio and a dual-use glass breaker and seat belt cutter. MORE.

FLOOD WATCH ISSUED - The B.C. River Forecast Centre has upgraded its high streamflow advisories to flood watches in the south, east, central and west regions of Vancouver Island. The Island’s north region remain under a high streamflow advisory. Environment Canada rainfall warnings are in effect for the east coast of the Island from Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay, with 50-70 millimetres of precipitation expected. 

HOT HOUSING MARKET CONTINUES – The Nanaimo real estate market remains hotter than a firecracker with 97 single-family homes sold in October, reports John Cooper Group. The average selling price was $757,766, up 26 per cent over last year. The number of sales was up 29 per cent and the average number of days on market decreased by 40 per cent to 21 days. Cooper says October saw a dramatic reduction in listings with already low inventory. MORE

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS - Many British Columbians prefer to stay close to home for Christmas. A Research Co. poll shows 56 per cent do not plan to spend even a single night away from their current location in the next three months. Fewer than half say they are willing to travel via ferry (46%), while that number rises to 58% for Vancouver Island residents. The poll shows COVID-19-related concerns as the main deterrent for B.C. residents willing to travel. MORE

SEARCH WARRANT YIELDS A BIG HAUL – RCMP conducted a search warrant and recovered an unloaded shotgun, a small amount of crystal methamphetamine, three Smart phones. a stolen motorcycle and a blue outdoor ping pong table. The search was sparked by tips on social media after ping pong table was stolen. A man and a woman in their late 40s, were arrested on charges of Possession of Stolen Property. MORE

PLAYGROUND PARTNERSHIP PAYS OFF – Harewood Centennial Playground has a number of additions, thanks to a partnership between the City, Lions Club and Kal Tire's Replay Fund. The project highlights includes 1,450 square metres of rubber surfacing, equivalent to approximately 670 used tires were recycled. As well, there is now a wheelchair accessible all-inclusive Orbit play feature, belt swings, baby seat swings and two accessible seat swings. The $74,949 got a big boost with $31,200 from Lions Club and a $5,000 grant through the Kal Tire Replay Fund. MORE

PORT THEATRE SOCIETY general manager Bruce Halliday is retiring.  The announcement was made in a joint press release from Bruce and the society. Bruce is a Vancouver Island native from Duncan. He has spent his entire working life in the performing arts sector. He leaves a long list of achievements in his 15 years on the job. MORE

ISLAND HAS 68 NEW COVID CASES – Health officials reported 68 new COVID cases linked to Island Health on Friday, bringing the total of active cases to 448. Across the province, there were 341 new cases with 291 in hospital, 115 in critical care. There are 3,035 active cases in British Columbia with six death related to the virus, none in the Island Health region. There were 65 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 100 in the Fraser Health region, 77 in the Interior Health region, 31 in the Northern Health.

Chilliwack man missing in Texas dies in car crash

Canada bans flights from southern Africa due to variant

Former driving instructor dies after Crown drops sex assault charges

Non-Indigenous do-gooders are taking a shot at Canada’s resource sector.

Island Health to bring back in-house hospital cleaning, dietary workers 

Canada bans flights from southern Africa due to variant

Canada has banned visitors from southern Africa after the discovery of a new variant of concern in the region. The new variant, deemed Omicron, first emerged in South Africa and coincided with a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in that region in recent weeks, according to the World Health Organization. MORE

The Regional District staff will have to be immunized for COVID-19, following the city’s lead. The RDN policy will align with the City, taking effect in early January. It will require all RDN staff and contracted employees to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 10, or provide regular negative test results. RDN CAO Douglas Holmes said the decision was not made lightly and only after much research and discussion with the management team, Union representatives and service partners. MORE

The graduation rate of resident students in School District 68 was the highest ever in the past school year. Resident students in Nanaimo and Ladysmith have done what no-other class has done before – 88.7 per cent earned their Dogwood Diploma. There were 1,075 resident students enrolled in grade 12 in the past year. MORE

Nanaimo BC Green Party members are putting their money where their mouth is – or at least some serious labour. They will remove invasive plants from Colliery Dam Park. Saturday, Dec. 4, 1 p.m. Gear will be provided, but bring work gloves and eye protection, as they will be removing daphne which oozes a skin and eye irritant. There’s hot chocolate  but bring your own mug. For more information, give Julia Roberts a call at 250 754-0602, or email nan@bcgreens.ca

The Vancouver Island Regional Library won’t charge late fees next year. It’s a pilot project for a movement that’s been gaining traction in libraries across North America. VIRL dropped late fees at the beginning of the pandemic the to ease anxieties but now that life is returning to a new normal, instead of reinstating fines, it’s going to try the pilot project and not charging any late fees starting January 1. MORE

Vancouver Island Health reported 63 new cases of COVID-19 in the region Thursday. There are 429 active cases in Island Health region – 52 people are in hospital, including 14 in critical care. The central island still leads in active cases with 194 while the south 82 and the north 90. Across the province, 424 cases were identified in the previous 24 hours, with 3,061 active cases. Three COVID-19-related deaths were reported in B.C. on Thursday.

How do you prevent trophy hunting in the Great Bear Rainforest? You buy the hunting rights for a huge tract of land. The Raincoast Conservation Foundation is buying its sixth trophy hunting tenure in the area. This will protect dozens of species from being commercially trophy hunted as it gives the foundation the exclusive rights to commercially guide trophy hunters in perpetuity. The foundation is buying the 18,239-square-kilometre tenure for $1.92 million with a commitment to have a $200,000 down payment by the new year, should fundraising efforts be successful. MORE 

The city has put the brakes on bike lanes along Albert Street due to rising costs. But even then the finance committee added $400,000 from reserves. Council put a priority $1.3-million bike lanes last year. City staff reported this month that the $2.4-million project budget – which also includes $900,000 for watermain upgrades and $200,000 for Cat Stream culvert replacement – is not sufficient to complete the section of bike lanes. Costs are related to major road reconstruction like road widening, a retaining wall, lighting upgrades and sidewalk construction are required.

Some Canadians who improperly got the pandemic jobless benefit will get notices that they have to repay some of it. But get this – those who owe money will get a notice from Service Canada outlining how much they owe, the process to repay, and how they can appeal the decision. But Prime Minister Trudeau says anyone who needs it will get a flexible repayment schedule and there will be no pressure or penalties or interest charged on the overpayment. Hmmm, the cheque is in the mail. MORE

ONE MORE THING – Notice to elected officials, just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be done.

Why the B.C. floods are not a climate change issue

B.C. historian Chad Reimer’s 2018 book, Before We Lost the Lake: A Natural and Human History of Sumas Valley, makes it abundantly clear that the massive flooding that has devastated one of Canada’s most important farm and transportation regions should have come as no surprise. MORE

 

Supect arrested in active shooter incident in Vanderhoof

SUSPECT IN CUSTODY – A suspect is in custody following reports of an active shooter with a long gun in Vanderhoof. An emergency alert issued in the small district municipality, located about 100 kilometres west of Prince George, has also been cancelled. Authorities said the tense situation began with reports that a shooter targeted the Vanderhoof RCMP detachment at around 12:15 p.m.

 

November 25, 2021

STORM UPDATE – EVENTS CALENDAR – YOUR FLYERS

Before you do anything else this morning you’d better dig out your rubber boots because the weather guy tells us we’re going to get nothing but downpours over the next few days – three of them, beginning some time today. Follow along here on The Daily Buzz to see the most recent reports on the impact of the storms. Don’t you just love it when any event has to have a fancy name? An atmospheric river sounds more ominous that a rain storm.

Five days of sick pay is the order of the day for all workers covered by the Employment Standards Act, starting in January. Labour Minister Harry Bains announced the policy Wednesday, to replace a temporary program paid through WorkSafeBC earlier this year. “This is not optional, this is the law starting in 2022,” Bains told reporters. The B.C. Federation of Labour had estimated that half of B.C. worker don’t have sick benefits from their employers. MORE

Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District put the brakes on sports teams for out-of-district travel for provincial tournaments. That was a kick in the gut for the John Barsby junior and senior varsity AA football teams when were informed they wouldn’t be able to attend provincial tournaments in Vancouver this weekend due to a fuel shortage. Players and parents told the school board exactly what they felt about the ruling and after debate, the school board  said “okay, you can go,” And everyone was happy. MORE

The annual outdoor festival of lights is back at Vancouver Island University’s Milner Gardens and Woodland, just past Parksville. It was cancelled last year due to COVID, but the good news is it is back. The light extravaganza runs Fridays to Sundays during the first three weeks of December.  The gardens will twinkle and glow with thousands of lights. Milner Gardens And Woodland Executive Director Geoff Ball says he is thrilled to welcome the community back to walk through the Christmas lights and to help everyone get in a festive spiritMORE

We’re still getting hit, but the figures of COVID-19 cases are declining. Health officials reported 42 cases in the Vancouver Island region Wednesday, adding to the 421 active cases in the region, In Island Health, 51 people are in hospital and  12 are in critical care. The new cases were among 322 cases confirmed across the province over the previous 24 hours with 3,015 active cases in B.C. Nine related deaths were reported Wednesday, none in Island Health. As of Wednesday, 87.4 per cent of eligible British Columbians are fully vaccinated with two doses and 91 per cent received one dose of the vaccine.

It’s a full house at the SPCA, so to free up shelter space for pets displaced by recent flooding they’re having a bit of a clearance sale –a half off deal to adopt a pet. The 50-per-cent off promotion on adoption fees, runs until Dec. 8 and applies at all branches in the province. The BC SPCA has been giving free emergency boarding for pets displaced by flooding in the Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. The agency has also been sending out free crates, leashes, pet food and other supplies to impacted areas. MORE

Floods underscore our reliance on fossil fuels

The flooding disasters in the province have given us a glance into the possible future. It’s an  education about what happens in the real world when the supply chain is interrupted. We get rationing due to delivery shortages everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations. The Trans Mountain Pipeline shutdown disrupted fuel supplies. It’s not only about pipelines that deliver the fuel to Vancouver, it is transported by tanker trucks to stations across the province. MORE

NOW WE'RE CLICKING 
STORM UPDATE – EVENTS CALENDAR – YOUR FLYERS

Less than two weeks after a parade of storms caused widespread flooding and damage across southern B.C., another round is slated to pass through. Environment Canada is tracking three storms forecast over the next seven to nine days, beginning today. Following an initial hit on Wednesday and Thursday, the region will see a small break before a second storm over the weekend. A third one is forecast near the start of December. Nanaimo and parts of the central Island could see 120 millimetres of rain between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1. MORE 

That’s garbage. We’re leaving more for the city to pick up, so the disposal rates will go up next year. City councillors voted unanimously o Monday to recommend increasing the sanitation user fee to $216 in 2022 and $228 in 2023. The fee was $189 in 2021. Staff said two trucks are being replaced and one truck will need to be leased in the interim. As well, the city is shortening the life cycle of its trucks from 10 years to eight years. Another factor is Recycle B.C.’s relocation of its designated reception facility from Nanaimo to Chemainus. MORE

Vaccine appointments for kids aged five to 11 will start rolling out next week. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Penny Ballem, the lead of B.C.'s immunization rollout, announced the vaccine rollout plan. Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech's two-dose vaccine for children ages five to 11. The vaccine will be a smaller dose than what's given to those aged 12 and older. MORE

Island Health reported 36 new COVID-19 cases in the region on Tuesday. Island Health has 415 active cases, 51 people are in hospital, 12 of whom are in critical care. Of the 324 new cases province-wide, 11 were people who live outside of Canada while the lone death occurred in the Northern Health region. The province has 3,047 active cases with 345 people in hospital, 115 are in intensive care. Immunizations for kids ages five to 11 will start next week, with more than 350,000 children eligible for the vaccine. More than 90,000 children are already registered. MORE

A Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft was damaged after a collision with an anchored sailboat near Salt Spring Island on Monday. The hovercraft CCGS Siyay was transporting advanced life-support paramedics to Ganges Harbour to medevac a patient to Vancouver around 5:45 p.m. The unlit sailboat was anchored outside the common anchorage. MORE

Downtown Santa Parade on Saturday is cancelled

Organizers of the Downtown Santa Parade announced regretfully that this year’s parade, schedule for the evening of Saturday, November 27 was being cancelled. Though the parade is cancelled, all other Christmas events in downtown are scheduled to go ahead.

Another series of atmospheric river events is forecast for the area on Thursday, Saturday and next Tuesday and this was felt to form a hazard for participants and onlookers. The unknown threats to the roads and highways and other infrastructure from such events is a concern, as is the current fuel crisis. MORE

City mandates COVID vaccinations for all employees

All City and City-contracted employees will be mandated to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1 in order to protect the health and safety of municipal employees and the community. Employees who don't provide proof of vaccination will be given from January 10 to February 6 to get their shots. During this period, employees will be able to continue to work so long as they participate in the City’s Rapid Testing Program. The City will cover the costs of the rapid testing for employees until February 6. MORE

  • City budget is only part of the taxation story

    If you’re agonizing over news reports of a possible 5.9-per-cent municipal tax increase, that’s not a true picture of what your tax bill will end up at. That’s the residential portion of the tax bill, there are nine categories in total, each with it’s own rate.

  • Trudeau and Biden play a dangerous game

    It is a sign of democracy’s decline when two of the world’s advocates of democracy play games with the rule of law. Incoherent Joe Biden is trying to run roughshod over the Constitution by going through the back door to do something that he cannot do through the front door.

  • Nobody is safe when Parliament is in sesson

    I can hear the rumble of shrugs from coast to coast to coast. Most of us feel the same way: “No man’s life, freedom and property are safe while parliament is in session.” Liberal House Leader Mark Holland said Monday that Canadians expect MPs to “hit the ground running.”

Paid sick leave details expected to be unveiled today

Hon. Harry Bains

The B.C. government is expect to unveil a paid sick leave program for workers today.

Labour Minister Harry Bains has scheduled a news conference with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry about a permanent program on sick leave, which has been promised for January. BC Federation of Labour is lobbying for 10 days paid sick leave.

In May, the province gave all workers up to three days of paid sick leave to support those affected by COVID-19 until Dec. 31.About half of B.C. employees do not have access to paid sick leave. MORE

Nanaimo senior assaulted by street person

Pat Murphy

A long-serving volunteer with the Nanaimo Military Museum was assaulted over the weekend after asking a group of persons to clear space on a public walkway. The incident occurred at approximately 2:45 pm on Saturday November 20, on the stairs leading to the Nanaimo Military Museum. The volunteer Pat Murphy, age 82, described the incident to police.

Just before 3 pm, Murphy noticed two women carrying shopping bags and attempting to make their way up the stairs. Murphy asked a group of about 10 people who were sitting on the stairwell, to make some room for the two so they could safely pass. Suddenly and without warning, Murphy was punched on the left side of his face. MORE