Major rain and wind storm forecast for Island

The start of fall comes with a wind and rain storm to the South Coast. A special weather statement from Environment Canada forecasts vigorous systems across the coast, continuing through Saturday, bringing intense rainfall. Wind gusts are forecast to peak across the Strait of Georgia early Wednesday and could reach 70 km/h. Heavy rain could cause localized flooding and strong winds may also lead to power outages. 

Wedneseday, Sept. 23

WELCOME TO FALL – This fall and winter will be wetter with several storms coming in from the Pacific, with above-normal rainfall for September and October, says Accuweather meteorologist Brett Anderson. He projects wetter than normal conditions and above-seasonal temperatures for Vancouver Island. As we did when the pandemic struck and madly scrambled for toilet paper, now may be the time to corner the umbrella market. Do they make galoshes any more? Or, as the Brits call them, Wellingtons, or Wellies.

DEATH THREATS FOR BONNIE –­ Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says she's received death threats since becoming the public face of the province's response to the Corona virus pandemic. She's had security in her home and has been targeted with death threats, along with abusive letters and phone calls to staff. "I've got a lot of very positive responses but there are many people who don’t like what I do or don’t like the way I say it or don’t like my shoes," Henry said. MORE

THE UNITED WAY annual fall campaign is under way inspite of the uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus pandemic on workplaces. Communities are facing challenges never seen before. Local partner agencies need more help than ever because of the constantly shifting pandemic and the increased need of their services, says Executive Director Signy Madden. “Thanks to the generous support of our donors we can keep helping our local communities, as together we navigate this unprecedented time,” she added. Almost all workplaces look very different this year with many employees working from home and increased health precautions in the offices. MORE

MOBILE FRIENDLY FERRIES – BC Ferries customers can access a new mobile-friendly website on any device, wherever they are. Customers can book and manage their trips online with updated schedules and current conditions information. The mobile-friendly website simplifies planning, booking and paying. The new website has real-time daily and seasonal schedules for all routes, as well as travel conditions at major terminals to provide greater travel certainty. MORE

ROUTLEY RUNNING AGAIN – Doug Routley is giving it another try, seeking to retain Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the provincial election. He’s been the MLA for 15 years. He’s basing his campaign on the NDP’s B.C. Restart Plan, and the government’s record since the 2017 election. He’s dedicated to finishing the Crofton Road project, affordable housing projects in Nanaimo, transportation improvements, and increasing the number of childcare spaces.

CAN YOU BEAT THAT – Saanich's Junior B hockey team has a new name after owners deemed its former name offensive. After more than 50 years as the Saanich Junior Braves, the team is now the Saanich Predators. The only eyebrow raiser here is whether predators are less threatening than the old name. Team owners felt the old name and logo were not respectful to First Nations communities or First Nations players.

Wednesday, Sept 23

B.C. leaders come out swinging on first day of campaign trail
Tuesday was the first full day of the B.C. provincial election campaign and NDP leader John Horgan was in North Vancouver where he continued to defend his decision to call a snap election.

Coulson Aviation sending firefighting aircraft to U.S. wildfires
They still can't get the green-light to fight any fires in their home province, but Port Alberni's Coulson Group continues to send more aircraft down south. 

More delays hinder Island Health COVID-19 call centre
Vancouver Island residents hoping to get tested for COVID-19 may have run into lengthy wait times or complete disconnects when trying to contact the Island Health COVID-19 call centre this week. 

Health officer says B.C. could be in 2nd wave of COVID-19
British Columbia's top doctor says the resurgence the province is seeing in COVID-19 cases could be a second wave, but she believes the illness can be suppressed heading into the fall. 

B.C. election officials prepare for surge in mail-in voting
British Columbia's top electoral officials are preparing for a flood of mail-in ballots that could delay key election results for weeks as many voters are expected to avoid the polls in the B.C. general election next month.

Slide worth 'thousands' stolen from Burnaby playground
A slide worth thousands of dollars was stolen from a playground in Burnaby, local Mounties say in an appeal for information. 

COVID-19 exposures: More flights added to B.C.'s warning list
Travellers on several more trips through Vancouver International Airport are being warned of possible COVID-19 exposure on their flights. 

Tuesday, Sept 22

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s going to be a heavy diet of election for the next month, and that always brings out those with an opinion to share. Brian Peckford takes aim at tinkering with fixed elections, and Merv Unger examines the outlook for the BC Liberals, out of the starting gate. Plus, we’ve started and election section, check the menu bar.

NOT GOING AWAY – The number of new coronavirus cases continues to grow since restrictions were eased in July and since school resumed. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the exposures in a number of schools are very low risk, which is what we would expect. Island Health reported seven new cases over the weekend. There were 366 new cases since Friday, with active cases reaching a record high of 1,987 with 11 active in the Island Health region. Four people died due to virus-related ailments.

FINGER PRINTING – An RCMP report on resumption of civil fingerprinting services was not clear – that service is available to the public by appointment. Police Information checks are also offered by appointment. Call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, Monday to Friday, between 8 am to 4 pm. Fingerprinting is open to the public, but only Nanaimo residents can have PICs processed at the Nanaimo detachment.

SNUNEYMUXW and the province have announced agreements that will include transfer of land at Mount Benson. The agreement and land transfer agreement, announced by the province and the First Nation on Sunday, include more than 3,000 hectares of “culturally and economically significant lands” at Mount Benson and Mount McKay. Chief Mike Wyse, in a letter to members, said the agreements recognize treaty rights and return traditional territory. MORE

CLEANING HOUSE ­– When residents work together for a common cause they can make good things happen in their neighbourhoods. Nob Hill residents had enough of local problems and banded together to get a second house in their neighbourhood boarded up at 611 Kennedy St. on Sept. 15 after being attended by Nanaimo bylaw offices. The first problem house was knocked down at 560 Milton St. 

GOOD BYE KEVIN – Another of Nanaimo’s characters has died. Social media reports Kevin Storrie died recently. He was involved in civic politics, running in a number of city council elections.

 PASSING THOUGHT – Freedom of speech does not have an on-off switch.

Mounties shut down drag racing, stunting site

0922 – An area used for several years for drag racing and stunting on city streets, has been shut down after Mounties swooped in and effectively put an end to the illegal activities. The incident played out on Sunday September 13th, at Jack Point, located near the BC Ferries Duke Point Terminal. The roadway was closed for approximately 4 hours while officers seized vehicles, issued violation tickets and dispersed the many people in attendance.

The operation, lead by the Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Unit and assisted by a number of other units from the local detachment. The operation resulted in 10 vehicles being impounded, 30 violations being issued under the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA), 23 Notice and Orders handed out for various defects and 11 vehicle inspection orders being delivered to drivers of vehicles deemed unsafe to be on any roadway.

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Heavy rain, strong winds expected for Vancouver Island
Environment Canada is warning of potential downpours and periods of strong wind across multiple areas of Vancouver Island beginning Tuesday.

Students with runny nose, headache or sore throat can go to school
Since the beginning of the pandemic, B.C. health officials have urged everyone to stay home if they are even the slightest bit sick. But that advice has changed for students.  

Police investigating after man 'aggressively' coughed on people in Oak Bay 
Oak Bay police say they are on the lookout after a man was reportedly seen “purposely and aggressively” coughing on people at a park Thursday. 

What voting will look like: From PPE to bringing your own pen
The snap election announced Monday won't be business as usual, as the province is still amidst a pandemic. So what will be different this year?  

Dozens of tickets issued after large party at UVic
Saanich police attended to the University of Victoria (UVic) two times over the weekend after a large gathering was spotted Friday evening. 

Main issues in the British Columbia election campaign
Here's a look at some of the major issues facing British Columbia at the start of the provincial election campaign.

COVID-19 fines given at Burnaby vacation rental for 2 separate parties
COVID-19 fines were handed out for separate parties held at one vacation rental property in Burnaby over the weekend, local Mounties say. 

Vancouver city councillor investigated after code of conduct complaint
A Vancouver city councillor is being investigated by an independent body following a complaint from a member of the public. 

COVID-19 on flights: More trips through YVR added to exposure list
Several more flights in and out of Vancouver International Airport have been added to B.C.'s COVID-19 exposure warning list. 

Monday, Sept. 21

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO Premier John Horgan has called a news conference for 11 a.m. today following a meeting with Lt. Gov Janet Austin. That can mean only one thing – a provincial election is coming. We'll have full election coverage as it develops.

FINGER PRINTING RETURNS – Nanaimo RCMP have resumed civil fingerprinting services – by appointment only. This service had been cancelled in March due to COVID-19 restrictions. Police Information checks are also being offered, by appointment only. Both are available to Nanaimo residents only. Call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, Monday to Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. Please do not arrive at the detachment without an appointment and request either of these services. Nanaimo RCMP 

HELP ON THE WAY – A new Assertive Community Treatment – ACT team – will be based in Nanaimo providing 24/7 community-based support for severe mental health challenges. Judy Darcy, minister of mental health and addictions said the six ACT teams will help people rebuild their lives. “For many people, COVID-19 has made existing mental health struggles even worse. We’ve heard from vulnerable people and from communities that they need more specialized care for those living with really severe mental health challenges,” Darcy said. MORE

CRACKING DOWN – New fines have been instituted for breaking Covid-19 regulations affecting restaurants and bars, and now more authorities can issue tickets. B.C. ordered the closure of banquet halls and nightclubs and restricted the sale of liquor past 10 p.m. In addition to all previously announced ticketing measures, businesses can now be fined for failing to adhere to the regulations. These measures, which are effective immediately, could lead to $2,000 fines if they are not followed by operators and organizers, while patrons may be levied with $200 fines, the government says.  LIST HERE

ONLINE ECONOMIC SUMMIT – The State of the Island Economic Summit moves to an online format and a number of easy-to-use tools are available to help you get the best out of the experience. Though the content of the summit will not change, everything will be available at greatly reduced rates on a digital platform. That means you don’t have to pick and choose from the usual schedules, you can now view recorded sessions when convenient so you can pick and choose. The site will be accessible earlier so you can get the feel of it. October 27-29 for the 14th Annual State of the Island Economic SummitREGISTER HERE

Monday, Sept 21

New cannabis sales programs to help small, Indigenous growers
The B.C. government says it will launch three cannabis programs over the next two years to help small and Indigenous growers compete with larger rivals. 

Investigators probe overnight fire in Saanich
Firefighters were called around 12:30 a.m. to the 3000-block of Albina Street in the Tillicum area.

Trevena joins long list of cabinet ministers not seeking re-election
British Columbia's Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure will not be seeking re-election whenever B.C. voters next go to the polls. 

COVID-19 fines expanded in B.C. to include new restrictions
B.C. has expanded its COVID-19 fines to include the latest health orders imposed on restaurants, bars and nightclubs. 

B.C. quadrupling fine for 'dooring' cyclists 
B.C. is quadrupling its fine for "dooring" cyclists as of Sept. 21, the province announced. 

B.C. woman quarantined after meeting husband at Peace Arch Park
Birgit Heinbach went to see her American husband on her birthday at Peace Arch Park to retrieve their dog. She ended up being ordered to quarantine for 14 days despite not ever formally crossing the border. 

Protesters say overdose prevention site in Duncan is too close to schools
Dozens of parents and concerned community members gathered in Duncan Saturday to protest the location of a new wellness and recovery centre for people struggling with addiction in Vancouver Island's Cowichan Valley. 

Police seek man suspected of stabbing, robbery at Courtenay store
Mounties on Vancouver Island are asking the public for help identifying a man suspected of stabbing a store clerk in Courtenay Friday night before stealing money and cigarettes. 

COVID-19 exposure notifications sent out by 5 Surrey schools 
Parents at five schools in Surrey, B.C., were sent email notifications over the weekend warning them of possible COVID-19 exposures at their children's schools. 

Temporary foreign workers seek pathway to citizenship
New B.C. employer registry comes as temporary foreign workers ask federal government for pathway to citizenship.

Sunday, Sept. 20

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Will he or won't he? Election talk is in the air, and appears to be getting stronger each day. Usually, where there's smoke there's fire. Here's my take on the pros and cons of going to the electorate this fall. MORE

POLITICAL ADVICE – Norm Spector, has served as a constitutional adviser to the Premiers of B.C. and the Prime Minister of Canada. He also advised Green Party leader Andrew Weaver in negotiations with the B.C. Liberals and BC NDP that produced the Confidence and Supply Agreement of 2017 which led to the formation of the present government. He lays out why Premier John Horgan should not call a fall election. MORE

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW, We can breathe a little easier now, less smoke gets in your eyes, and further improvements are coming. Nanaimo's air quality index now sits at one, the lowest rating. Smoke from wildfires burning in the west coast United States prompted respiratory health warnings that extended into southern Alberta and as far east as Saskatchewan. Environment Canada said smoke began clearing across the western half of Vancouver Island early Saturday, and there should be widespread improvements further east by today. An air quality advisory for the Lower Mainland was lifted on Saturday after 11 days as cleaner marine air flowed into the area. 

LOWER FERRY FARES are at the top of the wish list for ferry riders. The transportation ministry’s report on its second stage public engagement showed 39 per cent said fares needs the most improvement, while 18 per cent said scheduling and 14 per cent pointed to sailing waits. Some respondents say unaffordability is increasing and that ferry service should be affordable for all community members. Claire Trevena, minister in charge of ferries, said the current ferry service works well for some, but there’s “lots of room for improvement” identified by residents of ferry-dependent communities. MORE

THE NANAIMO SPCA will soon be more than a haven for pets – a new stable is being built to accommodate horses, cows and other farm animals. The $600,000 project will be the only SPCA on Vancouver Island able to house large animals. The barn will be 25,000 sq ft complete with a 5,000 square foot exercise square and one acre of pasture.

FINAL THOUGHT – If it doesn’t move and should, use WD40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use duct tape.

Sunday, Sept. 20

Police seek man suspected of stabbing, robbery at Courtenay store
Mounties on Vancouver Island are asking the public for help identifying a man suspected of stabbing a store clerk in Courtenay Friday night before stealing money and cigarettes. 

Most signs point towards snap election, with a risk for the NDP
By the end of the day Friday, the NDP government had sent out 23 emails to the media with announcements about funding and various projects, ranging from extending temporary patios for a year to health care and childcare programs. 

B.C. government extends temporary patio and alcohol delivery rules
The patio permits will be extended by a full year, and the rule allowing restaurants to sell alcohol with take-out will be extended to March 31, 2021.

Suspected money launderer survives targeted shooting, second man dies
A targeted shooting at a Richmond restaurant Friday night left a man in his 40s dead and a suspected money launderer injured. 

5 flights added to B.C.'s COVID-19 exposure warning list
Travellers on three international flights and two domestic ones are being warned of possible COVID-19 exposures.

B.C. disburses first half of federal funds to reclaim oil and gas wells
There are about 14,000 abandoned wells in B.C. that are either dormant or orphaned. 

Pandemic prompts B.C. to suspend civil jury trials for a year
Civil trials will instead be heard by a judge alone and neither side will be allowed to adjourn unless the judge orders it. 

Family wants answers after ambulance takes 3 hours to arrive
Coquitlam woman is dead and her family is fighting for answers after it took more than three hours for an ambulance to arrive, even though a neighbour and former firefighter was also sounding the alarm. 

Teachers union takes pandemic concerns to Labour Relations Board
The B.C. Teachers' Federation has filed an application with the Labour Relations Board to try to force a conversation with the province, saying its members feel their concerns around COVID-19 safety are not being heard. 

Saturday, Sept. 19,

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – If you’re heading to Woodgrove Centre, beginning on Monday you’ll get have some new safety rules to observe. The mall has posted a notice at entrances and on social media masks mandatory and require customers to take temperature checks starting next week. The notice is attributed to new CEO and general manager, Bin Wang.

KNOCK KNOCK – B.C. Conservation Officer Service has handed $230 tickets to residents who put out their garbage the night before pickup. Sgt. Stuart Bates said residents are not allowed to put out garbage the night before, adding that COs patrolled Wednesday and found numerous violations of bylaws that aren’t new rules. Seven tickets were written between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., more than 12 hours before the next day’s pickup. Just a thought, if they were patrolling, could they not have gotten out of their vehicle and given the residents a courtesy warning? Just asking.

WALMART CANADA will discontinue its ad-matching program throughout the country on Oct. 15. “Over time, we have seen minimal usage of our ad match program, while at the same time the program has been causing delays at the checkouts,” a spokesperson said. I wonder if it has anything to do with their installation of automatic checkouts.

HOW SERIOUS IS IT? – Would it be fair to ask for more precise data from the daily pandemic statistics? Thursday’s briefing showed 165 “new” cases, but the number of people in hospital declined. How serious are all the new cases? To date, 7,663 cases have been confirmed, but since the beginning 685 have been hospitalized – 8.9 per cent. There have been 220 deaths. That leads to the question of how serious the virus really is – nothing more than sniffles like a cold or the flu, stay home for a couple of days ant all is well?

HUMAN RIGHTS – Ada Jacobsen, 76, of Eaglepoint Bayview complex on Blueback Road couldn’t get help from her strata council, so she took them to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Now the strata has to pay $35,000 in damages and make modifications to the property to make it wheelchair accessible. Jacobsen has suffered declining health and started to have difficulty walking in 2014. By 2016 she used a wheelchair for mobility and became unable to leave her condo without assistance. The ruling also ordered the strata to install a lift in the hallway or an external elevator, engage an architect, engineer or building code specialist to determine potential solutions and to implement the solutions within nine months.

ECONOMIC SUMMIT – It’s time to improve the development processes for the communities we want! Too often, public processes fail to deliver clear representation of community perspective and processes can be adversarial and extortionary. We need progressive thinking and better processes to facilitate economic recovery and vibrant communities. oin a panel of planners and developers at the virtual State of the Island Economic Summit, taking place October 27th to 29th, for the 'Changing our Ways' session. REGISTER

Bacon makes court appearance via video link from Ontario

0918 – Stephen Bacon, charged with first-degree murder in the death of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang in March 2017, made a court appearnce today via video link from Thunder Bay, Ont.

Judge E. David Crossin ordered Bacon kept under the jurisdiction of B.C., confined to Thunder Bay. His next court appearnace is Oct. 19 at provincial court in Nanaimo. MORE

Province has 139 more coronavirus cases in 24 hours

0918 – British Columbia reported 139 more positive coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total since January to 7,842. The daily report showed 1,803 active cases – 59 in hospital, 20 in intensive care and  with three more deaths. The rest are self-isolating at home.

Friday’s written update from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, included 40 “historic cases” connected to people who tested positive between August and September in Vancouver, but who did not have personal health numbers. MORE

Nanaimo Air Quality Index
Nanaimo's air pollution index levelled off from the weekend,
now sitting at 5 compared to 10-plus on Monday.

Friday, Sept. 18

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We're breathing a lot easier now with the air pollution index down to about half of what it was on Monday. Some scattered rain is forecast in the next few days, and that should bring down the U.S. wildfire smoke even more.

VOUNCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series will go on this fall, available on live steaming on Zoom says Dr. Cathryn Spence, committee chair. She says there is a great lineup of amazing lectures. Dr. Cathryn Spence, committee chair, says Not only does this allow showcasing the fascinating and valuable research being carried out by members of VIU’s faculty, but it also allows members to gather virtually and help maintain the connection between VIU and the wider community. MORE

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES – A new trend has emerged in which investors have started looking for investment opportunities where their their money works in the local economy. The Annual State of the Island Economic Summit, October 27 – 29 features a panel on Accessing Investment Capital, moderated by Dan Hurley, Principal, Hurley Martin Group. Panelists are Peter Elkins, Serial Entrepreneur & Community Economic Development Thought Leader, Daniel Martinez, Partner, Integral Wealth Management and Kristi Fairholm Mader, Co-founding Director, Scale Collaborative

TILLICUM LELUM SURPRISED – Nanaimo City Council’s removal of a heritage designation the Franklin Street gymnasium is not sitting well with Tillicum Lelum. The Indigenous support group had leased the building for almost 20 years before it was destroyed in a fire. “We put a lot of money in that building and it does address the needs of a community that no one else provides,” said Grace Elliot-Nielsen, the executive director of Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre. Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board chairman Charlene McKay said the cost of rebuilding the 98-year-old building and bringing it up to building code is not feasible.

THE COMMUNITY POLICING volunteer program is looking for volunteers to join the team. They’re looking for caring, passionate people concerned about community safety to assist the RCMP and the City in delivering crime prevention programs, and to get in involved in community safety initiatives. Volunteers can participate in many ways through a variety of programs like Speed Watch, Crime Watch Patrols, 529 Garage Bike Registrations and others. See FULL DETAILS.

SMILE COOKIES – Tim Horton's Smile Cookie Campaign is almost over, but you can still drop by and support the Nanaimo And District Hospital Foundation. Until Sunday, the $1 from every Smile Cookie sold in Nanaimo will support the Foundation. Last year, Tim Hortons restaurant owners and guests across the country raised a record $9.8 million to support local charities through their annual Smile Cookie campaign. The Tim Horton's in Nanaimo have donated nearly $150,000 over the years for major projects at Nanaimo. Tim Hortons was a major contributor for food for medical staff in the early stages of COVID‐19. MORE

New Woodgrove Centre owners have a history on Island

Richard Ingle, general manager of Arbutus Ridge Golf Club and Zhao Zheng Fu celebrate the acquisition of Arbutus Ridge Golf Club by Zhao’s family. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

0918 – The new owners of Woodgrove Centre are no latecomers to Vancouver Island – they have been investing on the Island since at 2014 when Weihong Liu and her husband Zhao Zheng Fu bought the Union Street Grill & Grotto in Courtenay. They added the Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill in 2019.  And most recently, Woodgrove Centre.

Newspaper reports from 2014 and 2019 detail their investments here.

“After looking throughout B.C., we saw great potential to run our business here in Courtenay,” Zhao said in 2014 when he bought the Union Street Grill. “My family was able to start this wonderful journey because of the Provincial Nominee Program.” Zhao said he and his family are “incredibly proud” to establish roots here.

Zhao and his family emigrated from China through the Nominee Program, arriving in Courtenay in 2014, when they purchased the Union Street Grill and Grotto.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot focused on drawing entrepreneurs from around the world to establish businesses in 30 small communities across B.C.

They bought the award-winning Arbutus Ridge Golf Course in Cobble Hill in 2019. The property includes the 18-hole semi-private course, the Satellite Bar & Grille, the Mount Baker banquet room and an indoor tennis facility.

Reports indicate that the family may not be finished investing on Vancouver Island.

McKenzie Interchange project reaches final stages

0918 - The McKenzie Interchange highway project is “substantially complete,” four years after construction began, reports the B.C. government. Two major elements of the Highway 1 project are now open, including an exit loop ramp, which opened in August, and the introduction of free-flowing traffic along the highway, which opened in December, 2019. A two-lane on-ramp from McKenzie Avenue to Highway 1 heading north also opened, doubling the capacity of the previous single-lane on-ramp which was in the area before.

Canada-U.S. border restrictions extended to Oct. 31

0918 – The Canada-U.S.border restrictions have been extended for another month. The border will remain closed unit at least October 21. “We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair said. MORE

Friday, Sept. 18

Fatal crash closes North Island Highway near Courtenay
One person has died as a result of a two-vehicle crash just north of Courtenay Thursday night. 

Steven Bacon to appear in Nanaimo court for death of teen, Makayla Chang
A man charged with first degree murder in the death of Vancouver Island teen, Makayla Chang, will make his first virtual appearance in a Nanaimo courtroom Friday. 

Military police ask public for help with theft investigation at CFB Comox
Military police at Canadian Forces Base Comox are asking the public for help identifying two people who they say may have information relevant to an ongoing investigation. 

Police seize rifle, 36 replica firearms in Langford
Police are investigating after dozens of replica firearms and a .303 rifle were seized from a home in Langford Tuesday. 

B.C. announces non-invasive COVID-19 test for students
Young people who need to get COVID-19 tested in British Columbia no longer have to worry about the discomfort of a nasal swab, health officials announced Thursday. 

Here's how B.C. will spend $1.5 billion to help the economy recover 
With B.C. facing a multi-billion-dollar deficit because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the premier and finance minister announced Thursday how the provincial government will spend $1.5 billion to help the economy recover. 

Judy Darcy won't seek re-election; Nathan Cullen seeks NDP nomination
B.C.'s minister of mental health and addictions has announced she won't seek re-election, while a former MP has announced his intention to seek the NDP nomination for a provincial riding. 

Approximately 200 B.C. firefighters to help battle U.S. wildfires
More than 200 B.C. firefighters and wildfire-related personnel will be heading to the northern United States to help battle wildfires in Oregon. 

Surrey shooting sends one person to hospital
Surrey RCMP are investigating a shooting in the city's Campbell Heights neighbourhood. 

Accused in Vancouver double homicide was victims' close friend
Tausha Tonks has a lot of questions about her father’s death, allegedly at the hands of one of his best friends. 

Arrest made in New Westminster pier fire that could take weeks to extinguish
A suspect has been arrested for arson-related offences in connection to the New Westminster Pier Park fire.  

Six more flights added to BCCDC's COVID-19 exposure warning list
Four domestic and two international flights were added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 exposure warning list Thursday. 

Thursday, Sept. 17

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Election talk is in the air – Premier John Horgan is riding high in the polls, so will he call a fall election? Read the pros and cons of conducting an election amid a pandemic. HERE

CHEERS FOR BEERS – If you’re a fan of craft beers you don’t have to look very far to find the best. Two local brewers finished near the top at a recent competition – Longwood Brewing won two silver medals while White Sails Brewing won a bronze. 

VIRUS NUMBER UP AGAIN  ­– The Coronavirus continues to spread in our province with 122 new cases reported yesterday. That brings the number of confirmed cases to date  to 7,498. There are 1,614 active cases, 60 in hospital and 23 in intensive care. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry urged British Columbians to not “blame and shame” people who get infected, in fear of dissuading people from coming forward to get tested. They repeated their warning to shrink social circles, or “stick to six” as the health minister has dubbed it at prior press briefings.

80-YEAR-OLD GRANNY SCAMMED ­ – A local senior was conned for $14,000 by scumbags claiming to represent her grandson. The 80-year-old woman transferred money over a nine-day period, believing she was helping a grandson in legal trouble. Police say the woman was told that her grandson had been in a car crash in Montreal and was in custody and needed $7,500 bail. A follow-up call directed her to transfer another $6,500 via courier. The victim says she was contacted by people claiming to be her grandson, a police officer and a lawyer. FULL STORY

LOOKING AHEAD – City council is looking to the future, planning upgrades for the public works yard. The over-all project could cost $40 million or more, and council has allocated $200,000 in the current budget for an architectural concept and cost estimate. The 4.8-hectare property is the public works administration, fleet operations and more. FULL STORY

GUARANTEED INCOME – Our member of Parliament Paul Manly continues his campaign for a Guaranteed Livable Income. Paul is combining with Coalition Canada: Basic Income, for a national town hall on the topic tonight. He will be joined by Senator Kim Pate and a panel of experts who will explain the basics, talk about the benefits, and break down some myths and misunderstandings. You can join in from 4-5:30 p.m. Pacific time at Zoom. Follow this link  https://www.paulmanlymp.ca/glbi-national-town-hall 

HEADING EAST – The West Coast League Baseball is heading east ­ Edmonton Riverhawks are the newest franchise. It is the 15th franchise in the collegiate summer league in Canada. The Riverhawks will begin play next season, along with the Nanaimo NightOwls. The league schedule has 54 games. Riverhawks are the first WCL team outside of British Columbia, Washington and Oregon.

PASSING THOUGHT – Put your car keys beside your bed at night. If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get into your house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off, and the horn will continue to sound until you turn it off. It's a security alarm system that you already have and requires no installation.

Daily Coronavirus cases it a record 165 in 24 hours

0917 – Health officials reported a record 165 new cases of Coronavirus since Wednesday.

One new case was reported for ithe Island Health region, in southern Vancouver Island. Island Health has had 195 cases since the start of the pandemic. As of Thursday, there were 11 active cases: seven in southern Vancouver Island and three in central Vancouver Island.

The province has had 7,663 cases since the start of the pandemic. There are 1,705 active cases, 2,949 under public health monitoring due to identified exposure to a known case and 5,719 people have recovered. There are 57 people in hospital (a decrease of three) and 22 in intensive care, down one from yesterday.

Thursday, Sept. 17

Victoria police searching for suspect after elderly woman robbed
Victoria police are investigating after an elderly woman was allegedly pushed from behind and robbed at an ATM Sunday. 

Vancouver aquarium looking for financial solution amid pandemic
Lillooet stepped out of her travelling cage, stretched her wings, shook her tail feathers and looked around the empty foyer of the Vancouver Aquarium. 

Packages arriving at island homes are an international scam, BBB says
Free, unsolicited gifts could be headed to your doorstep, but the president and CEO of the Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau says it should trigger some concerns for you. 

Saanich now allowing residents to run roadside stands
A heated saga has reached a temporary conclusion now that the District of Saanich is allowing roadside stands to operate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

5 new primary care networks coming to Vancouver Island
Dramatic changes are coming to health-care services on Vancouver Island, the B.C. government announced Tuesday. 

Former Victoria MP Murray Rankin seeking B.C. NDP nomination
Murray Rankin, former Member of Parliament for Victoria and current chair of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Review Agency, has announced he is seeking the B.C. NDP nomination for the Oak Bay – Gordon Head riding. 

Some parts of B.C. enjoy better air quality, southern regions still affected
Smoky skies have cleared slightly in parts of British Columbia but Environment Canada is maintaining air quality statements for the entire southern third of the province. 

Mounties swarmed by teens, young adults in Surrey
A tense situation unfolded in Surrey, B.C., this week as RCMP members were swarmed by a group of mostly young people.

Cardboard cops now on patrol in this B.C. city 
Mounties have deployed two cardboard cops to help ensure drivers slow down in school zones. 

Were you on these flights? B.C. adds to its COVID-19 warning list
Travellers on several more trips through Vancouver are being warned of possible COVID-19 exposure on their flights.

Suspected jewellery thief assaulted police officer: RCMP

0917 – RCMP say a suspected jewellery thief assaulted a police officer during his arrest Sept. 6.

The arrest happened at the Nanaimo Yacht Club after the caretaker spotted the suspect trying to break into a boat. When police arrived he resisted, but was taken into custody after a brief struggle. He was in possession of a number of pieces of jewelry. 

He was was later released and a court date hasn’t been set. If you have any information about the jewelry please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-32733.

Nurses can now prescribe 'safe' alternative drugs

0916 – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued a public health order to give physicians and nurse practitioners the ability to prescribe safer pharmaceutical alternatives to help slow the province’s overdose crisis.

The order, issued under the Health Professions Act, authorizes registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs to help separate more people from the poisoned street drug supply to save lives and provide opportunities for ongoing care, treatment and support. MORE

Wednesday, Sept. 16

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Government moves at a snail's pace, so it comes as a surprise that the Province has green lighted a 60-bed support shelter for long-term homeless people just two weeks after the city expressed interest. Our MLA Sheila Malcolmson pushed the concept through Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Sheila Robinson. “We know that our community is healthier and safer when our neighbours without homes can move inside and have access to the services they need,” said Malcolmson. “The wraparound supports provided at this centre, including 24/7 accommodation, individualized attention and case planning, will help people stabilize their lives.” The province has allocated $26.3 million annually to fundprimary care networks in communities across Vancouver Island. MORE

EMERGENCY CONTINUES – British Columbia has renewed its state of emergency for a record 14th time to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. The renewal is based on recommendations from health and emergency management officials. A state of emergency declaration allows the province to use "extraordinary powers, as outlined by the Emergency Program Act. MORE

CORONAVIRUS REPORT – British Columbia reported 97 cases of Coronavirus on Tuesday, as the number of people hospitalized continues to climb. The latest figures push the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 7,376. The number of patients in intensive care also increased to 20, from 15. MORE 

SURPISE PARTY – Surprised to learn there's still such a thing as the Christian Heritage Party of BC. Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson was named the new provincial leader of the party on Monday. She's a former co-host of the 700 Club Canada. “What I see in Canada is a lack of courage; we need people with the courage to stand for what’s right; you had the courage to embrace a party that has the word ‘Christian’ in its name; imagine what kind of courage that takes today. But in Canada, most of us follow the love of our neighbours and peace,” she said.

PASSING THOUGHT – Enjoy life to the fullest, you know it has an expiry date.

Arson suspected in fire at second-hand store

A fire fighter in the rubble of possible arson site.

0916 – An early morning fire in a business is believed by fire investigators to have been intentionally set. The fire cause extensive damage to Previously Enjoyed - Quality Used business, 619 Townsite Road.

Nanaimo Fire and Rescue crews brought the fire under control, preventing it from spreading to other businesses. Video surveillance from an adjacent business showed a grainy photo of a man and woman walking toward the front door of the business just minutes before the fire was reported, then walking away. Investigators are attempting to identity these two.

If you have information on this incident, call the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-33906. 

Wednesday, Sept. 16

Speculation rampant that B.C. election looming
The chorus of calls predicting a snap fall election in B.C. is only growing louder. 

Air quality advisories extended for southern B.C.
Wildfire smoke continues to plague the south coast Wednesday, with air quality advisories for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley extended for the ninth day in a row. 

Canadians warned to limit gatherings as cases spike
Health officials say the surge in new COVID-19 cases across Canada is largely due to an increase in public gatherings and are warning Canadians to limit their social interactions. 

B.C. just renewed its state of emergency for a 14th time in a row
A record-breaking state of emergency first issued in March was just renewed for a 14th time in British Columbia. 

Victoria police searching for suspect after elderly woman robbed
Victoria police are investigating after an elderly woman was allegedly pushed from behind and robbed at an ATM Sunday. 

 22 team-based primary care networks for patients without family doctors
The B.C. government is adding 22 primary care networks in 13 regions where teams of health professionals will provide services for patients without a family doctor. 

Smoke or COVID-19? physician explains the different symptoms
Heavy smoke from wildfires south of the border has blanketed Metro Vancouver for days, leaving many people feeling unwell and wondering if their symptoms are related to the smoky air or the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Two New Democrat members say they won't run again
Two more cabinet ministers in British Columbia say they won't run again amid speculation about the possibility of a fall election.

New Westminster fire continues to burn, could take weeks to extinguish
A massive fire that began Sunday night in New Westminster could take weeks to extinguish.

Tuesday, Sept 15

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – How long since you saw a utility bill from the city? Water bills are about four weeks behind schedule due to pandemic workload. And city staff tell me it will likely be another four weeks before they go out in the mail. And you won’t get charged for being over due.

OH THE IRONY – You have to wonder about all those folks who took issue with wearing face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. Will they finally surrender now that smoke from American wildfires is causing breathing problems? Our air pollution index dipped minutely over night with the rain sprinkle we had, but is back up to the very high level again this morning. People with heart and lung conditions are most affected. Visit the national Air Quality Health Index web site to learn more.

GOING UNDER THE WRECKING BALL  – The Franklyn Street gym will soon be no more. City council has approved a heritage alteration that will allow for the demolition of the  98-year-old gymnasium in the Old City Quarter. It was protected as a historical building, but the change allows it to come down. It is owned by Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools but has not been used since 2018. City General manager of development services Dale Lindsay said the school district has been investigating how to proceed since 2018 and concluded the best move is to demolish it. MORE 

PUBLIC SERVICE – If you’ve ever considered a role in civic government, the City may have just the opportunity. The city is looking for a member for the Board of Variance an independent body under the Local Government Act.  The Board has five members appointed by City Council for a three-year term. The board reviews applications for relaxing zoning regulations, servicing requirements, and tree protection requirements; extend non-conforming uses; and reconstruct a non-conforming building. If you want to know more about it, go to www.nanaimo.ca/goto/committees. Apply to the Legislative Services Department by 4:30 p.m. on Oct, 2. By mail to Legislative Services, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6 or email:  Legislative.Servicesoffice@nanaimo.ca

MISSING PERSON UPDATE - The Nanaimo RCMP announced today that the 53-year-old woman reported missing from Nanaimo has been located safe and sound. RCMP asked for public assistance in locating Michelle Van der Kemp who has not been seen or heard from since Friday Sept. 4.

PARTING THOUGHT – Growing up in the sixties was a lot more fun than being in my sixties.

Three more flights added to Corona virus warning list

0915 – Three more flights through Vancouver have been added to the province's Corona virus  exposure warning list.

The BC Centre for Disease Control posted details about three domestic flights on Monday. 

  •  Sept 4: Air Canada flight 242 from Vancouver to Edmonton (rows 22 to 28)
  •  Sept. 5: Air Transat flight 771 from Vancouver to Montreal (rows 32 to 38)
  •  Sept. 8: Air Transat flight 932 from Toronto to Vancouver (rows five to nine)

Passengers who were seated in the identified rows may be at greater risk of exposure to COVID-19, the BCCDC warns.

Tuesday, Sept. 15

Two more B.C. New Democrat members say they won't run again in next election
Two more cabinet ministers in British Columbia say they won't run again amid speculation about the possibility of a fall election. 

Victoria Teachers Association calls for school closures due to smoke
As smoke continues to blanket southern Vancouver Island, the Greater Victoria Teachers Association (GVTA) is calling for an immediate closure of all schools in the district until air quality returns to safe levels. 

Canada Post suspending service on Vancouver Island due to smoke
Canada Post is suspending delivery service across most of Vancouver Island Monday due to poor air quality conditions. 

Air quality advisories remain in place across B.C.
Environment Canada continues to warn of poor air quality and reduced visibility across most of British Columbia Monday due to smoke coming from wildfires in Washington state, and from local fires. 

B.C. launches new $2M fund for local film projects
The B.C. government is creating a new $2 million fund to support the domestic film industry in the province. 

Lower Mainland schools reopen after day of closures due to smoke
Several New Westminster schools resumed classes Tuesday after suspending them due to smoke. 

More than 50 people tried to claim someone's 'pretty big wad of cash'
North Vancouver RCMP have now revealed how much money was in the envelope after identifying its rightful owner. 

Police seek information on theft of safe from gas bar

0915 – RCMP iare investigating a Break and Enter at approximately 4:30 am on Tuesday Sept. 8, at the Gas N Go, 5800 Turner Road.

Police were advised of an alarm activation and upon arrival, investigators found the front door to the business pried open and the safe missing. The safe contained an undisclosed amount of cash. Investigators reviewed video surveillance from the business and observed a white single cab long box pick up driving slowly through the parking lot, just prior to the break in. Moments later, a man is seen prying open a door to the business and running inside. 

The suspect is Caucasian, 5 ft.10, heavy set, wearing a grey t-shirt, jeans, gloves and black runners. His face was partially concealed with a mask and from a bandana worn over his head. Minutes after entering the business, the suspect leaves with the safe and drives off in truck seen earlier. The vehicle is last seen turning westbound onto Turner Road toward Highway 19A. The stolen safe was located the next day in Lantzville with its contents emptied.

If anyone has information on this incident, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-32975.

Furstenau elected BC Green party leader

Sonia Furstenau

0914 - Sonia Furstenau has been elected new leader of the BC Green party. 

Furstenau is one of two Green party members in the legislature. In her comments after winning, she said now isn’t the time for a provincial election, saying Premier John Horgan needs to focus on the Coronavirus pandemic and illicit opioid overdose crisis instead of fuelling speculation about a fall election.

Horgan fuelled election speculation last week when he said the Green party he made an agreement with three years ago that allowed the NDP to form a minority government has changed. “You know full well that the Green caucus today is not the Green caucus of three years ago,” Horgan said Wednesday.

Province unveils new early-detection cancer screening

Premier John Horgan

0914 – British Columbia is getting a first-of-its-kind lung cancer screening program, providing high-risk candidates early-detection screening.

“At a time when we are dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that many families around the province are grappling with a cancer diagnosis. We know that early detection can save lives,” said Premier John Horgan. The target population for screening will be adults aged 55 - 74 who smoke or have a heavy smoking history.

An estimated 3,300 people in B.C. will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year, said Health Minister Adrian Dix. Through early detection we will see survival rates dramatically improve, he added. MORE

317 more Coronavirus cases confirmed over weekend

0914 - Provincial health officials reported 317 new cases of Coronavirus over the three day of the weekend, along with six more deaths.  There were five new cases in the Island Health region.

The daily total of confirmed cases declined each day, with 137 between Friday and Saturday, 119 between Saturday and Sunday and 61 between Sunday and Monday.

The death toll since the pandemic began has reached 219. Five of the victims were residents of long-term care. There are now 1,594 active cases across the province with 58 people in hospital, including 16 people in critical care. MORE