Walk-on ferry service reportedly a done deal

An earlier plan showed this vessel but it is not known whether it will be the same.

A long-anticipated walk-on ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver is a done deal.

The Port Authority and Snuneymuxw announced the deal with Conqora Capital Partners for a long-term lease providing access to Nanaimo Assembly Wharf for ferry berths, a terminal and parking.

Conqora CEO Rupesh Amin said his firm is excited about the potential of its partnership with the port authority and the First Nation and said a high-speed passenger ferry service linking Nanaimo and Vancouver will be meaningful for the future of the province.

Port Authority chair Donna Hais said a foot ferry is a vital service and said the lease announcement is being made with great pleasure … after many years of talking about a fast passenger service coming to Nanaimo.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse said the Snuneymuxw’s working relationship with Conqora and the Port of Nanaimo is made on the basis of respect and recognition for the greater good.

No timelines for the startup were revealed, adding more details will be provided in the near future.

Island newspapers accepted cash from government fund

Where is independent press to be found? Not around Vancouver Island! Nanaimo News Bulletin got $252,000 from the federal government. The Parksville Qualicum Beach News got $152,000. And the other Nine Black Press papers on the Island all got in on the act. The total was $1,388,000. FULL COLUMN

 TILRAY SHUTTING NANAIMO PLANT – As many as 170 jobs went up in smoke Wednesday when Tilray announced it is leaving Nanaimo. Anywhere from 150 to 170 employees will be put out of work. Tilray will close its Nanaimo cultivation facility and offices at Duke Point in various stages, to be finalized next spring. The cannabis company is merging with another large producer. Mayor Leonard Krog called Tilray’s announcement a major setback for the region.

CAMPFIRES ARE NOW ALLOWED – Get set, campfires are now allowed across the entire Coastal Fire Centre, including Vancouver Island. The Coastal Fire Centre will remove the final seasonal fire restrictions across its jurisdiction at noon today, allowing campfires, category two and three open fires across the entire Coastal Fire Centre. Recent cooler temperatures and rainfall are likely to continue. That clears the way for safe backyard burn or any fire-smart related activities.

NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING - Construction is under way on 180 market-rental homes designed to be affordable for middle-income households in Nanaimo. Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson said the  affordable rental housing project will provide opportunities for Nanaimo residents to live in a vibrant neighbourhood close to where they work. The project, at 560 Third St.will be two four-storey buildings, with commercial retail units with rental apartments above. Each building will feature a mix of micro- and studio units, one- and two-bedroom suites, and one- and two-bedroom lofts. Units will have in-suite laundry, as well as a balcony or patio.

PREMIER TO SPEAK ­– Premier Horgan will be a keynote speaker at the 15th annual ‘State of the Island’ Economic Summit on Oct. 27. Vancouver Island University is sponsoring this keynote session.

COVID UPDATE – Island Health region reported 66 positive tests for COVID over the previous 24 hours, raising the number of actives cases to 615. There were two deaths during that period. In spite of the 661 positive tests across the province, active cases dropped by 374 to 5,791. The Ministry of Health said 76.5 per cent of cases recorded Sept. 7-13 were in people who have not been vaccinated. Unvaccinated people have also accounted for 87.3 per cent of hospitalizations, the ministry said.

COVID FLIGHT – Passengers on a recent flight that landed in Nanaimo are being warned about possible exposure to COVID-19. The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has added five recent flights to and from Vancouver Island to their exposure list since Sept. 10. The Nanaimo flight was North Cariboo Air 1545 from Terrace to Nanaimo on Sept. 7.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Green - Paul Manly, 29 per cent
NDP – Lisa Marie Barron, 27 per cent
CPC – Tamara Kronis, 26 per cent
Liberal – Michelle Corfield, 13 per cent
PPC –Stephen Welton, 6.1 per cent

Federal vote projections
Liberal Party 31.9.%, 144 seats
Conservative 31.8%, 128 seats
New Democrat 18.9%, 32 seats
Bloc Quebecois 7% 31 seats
People's Party 6.1% - 0 seats
Green party 3.3%, 2 seats

From 338Canada.com – Updated Sept. 15

Chamber of Commerce all-candidates online forum tonight

Nanaimo News Bulletin web graphic

Many voters have already cast their ballots, but for those who are still deciding they can see and hear all five candidates for Nanaimo-Ladysmith at tonight's virtual all-candidates forum tonight. It's produced by the Chamber of Commerce. All five parties will be represented. The public and sponsors have submitted question for the moderator.  Some of those topics include election timing, cost of living, the housing market, child care, long-term care, health care, climate change, reconciliation, small business, foreign trade, staffing shortages, fisheries and COVID-19 recovery. The public will not be admitted, it is available online only from 7-8:30 p.m. at http://nanaimochamber.bc.ca/events.

COVID UPDATE – Health officials report 86 new positive COVID tests in Island Health in the previous 24 hours with 677 new positive tests across the province. Active cases rose by 85 to 6,165. There were 288 in hospital, with 140 in intensive care and one death. In other regions, 102 were recorded in Vancouver Coastal Health, 237 in Fraser Health, 153 in Interior Health, and 99 in Northern Health. The province says 7,630,846 doses of vaccine have been delivered in B.C. so far, and that 86 per cent of people 12 and over have received their first dose while 78.5 per cent have received their second dose.

FLU SEASON COMING – If you’ve had more than enough of vaccines and viruses, get ready for the coming influenza season. Experts warn this year’s flu season could be bigger than last year and are now asking the public to get the flu shot. COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t protect you from any other illness. Kim Myers, a pharmacist at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Victoria, says when people are on the fence and unsure, they should think about the big picture. It’s not just about you. It’s about the community that you live in, and protecting your elderly parents or grandparents and young children as well.

WRONG TARGET – Another reminder that the vaccine passport health order has nothing to do with hospitals and the people who work there. Protest groups that harass health care staff are way out of line and such behaviour is unacceptable. The health order deals with safety within restaurants for dine-in service, pubs, bars and nightclubs; indoor ticketed sporting events; nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres; gyms; indoor concerts and theatre events. And the people working there are just doing their jobs, they don’t make those rules, so don’t target them either.

MONEY FOR GRAVES RESEARCH ­– The Snuneymuxw First Nation will hold a ceremony this morning (Wednesday) to receive $77,000 to search for unmarked graves at the former Nanaimo Indian Hospital. The hospital treated all ages, not just children. Experimental treatments were practised on Indigenous patients. It closed in the late 1960s. The money comes from an online fundraising campaign. Chief Michael Wyse said the money will help Snuneymuxw people with their healing.

DAM SAFETY QUESTIONED – The provincial government has not effectively overseen the safety of the 1,900 dams it regulates, says the auditor general. Michael Pickup says the Ministry of Forests, Land, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has not adequately verified or enforced dam owners' compliance with key safety requirements. The owners of the dams are responsible for their safety, but the ministry has a mandate to see that they comply with provincial regulations. The ministry had gaps in its records, which resulted in it being unaware of some dams that it should have been regulating.

  • Court sides with Island Corridor Foundation on right-of-way

    The E&N rail line running through Snaw-naw-as First Nation will remain in the hands of the Island Corridor Foundation but it now has a timeline. The B.C. Court of Appeal, in a two-to-one split decision, set down the condition. The Snaw-naw-as wants the 10-acre right-of-way, that goes through the reserve, to revert to them, because of how long it’s sat idle with little signs of any real plan to revive rail. Passenger service shut down in 2011 — with only a section in Nanaimo still used by an industrial customer.

  • Work starts on Ammonite Falls access

    You won’t have to wait much longer to enjoy Ammonite Falls. Phase one upgrades completed in early June included stairs leading down both sides of a gorge to a new bridge spanning Benson Creek downstream from the falls. A new parking lot, trailhead and access improvements to BCFRP were done early this year. Work is set to start today on phase two of upgrades to Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, featuring a series of stairs and a large viewing platform.

  • Victoria Clipper resumes service

    The Victoria Clipper from Seattle will resume service to Vancouver Island on Friday after a year and a half of suspended operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Canadians are not welcome just yet. The Seattle-Victoria service will be available to American travellers only, as the U.S. continues to bar recreational travel for Canadians through land and sea borders until at least Sept. 21. However, added sailings are planned around Christmas and the American Thanksgiving holiday.

Virtual all-candidates forum tonight

Bouncing poll numbers keep up the suspense

The numbers are edging ever so slightly in the daily election polls to the point that we could well be in for a squeaker in Nanaimo-Ladysmith on election night. 338 Canada poll shows even with a single point change can jump a candidate into first place from third. Paul Manly of the Greens, was in third place, only one point behind Lisa Marie Barron of the NDP and Conservative Tamara Kronis. Then he jumped into the lead which is widening. Each of those two had held brief leads. MORE

UPDATE - Police report Tara-Marie Connor has been found

The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 25-year-old Tara-Marie Connor. Connor was last seen on September 6. She has no fixed address and is known to frequent emergency shelters in Nanaimo. Police spoke to staff at those locations and were told that it is out of character for Connor to not attend to their facilities. As a result, they are concerned for her safety and well-being. MORE with photo

 ALL-CANDIDATES – Voters have an opportunity to grill candidates for Nanaimo-Ladysmith at a virtual all-candidates forum staged by the Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. All five candidates will be there. Chamber CEO Kim Smythe said questions covering interests of the sponsors and the public will be asked, including housing affordability, labour shortages, healthcare, climate change and child care. If you want your question considered, send it to admin@nanaimochamber.bc.ca. The public will not be allowed inside the Shaw Auditorium with the exception of pre-registered supporters for each candidate. The forum will be streamed online. live through the Chamber’s website. Shaw TV Channel 4 and the Chamber’s YouTube channel will rebroadcast the event.

COVID UPDATE – Island Health had 220 more COVID-positive tests over the three-day weekend. Across the province there were 1,984 positive tests but a reduction of 25 active cases, now at 5,825. Nine deaths were reported over the weekend, two of them in Island Health, which also has 607 active cases. Twenty-three people are in hospital on the Island, 15 in critical care.

DON’T BE AN ASS – British Columbia’s vaccine passport program came into force Monday. Remember, staff asking for the card or cell phone code are just doing their job. They’re there to ask for the passport but not to get into arguments, says Dan Brady, of the Nanaimo Hospitality Association. The passport is a QR-code based system to show a proof of vaccination against COVID-19. And health facilities are a no-go for protesters at any time.

Where the vaccine passport is required: restaurants for dine-in service (indoors and patio); pubs, bars and nightclubs; indoor ticketed sporting events; nightclubs, casinos and movie theatres; gyms; indoor concerts and theatre events.

Passport is not required in essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies; fast food restaurants, coffee shops or take out establishments; public transit; salons and hairdressers; hotels; banks; retail stores and shopping centres; libraries.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT – A new public health order takes effect Oct. 26, making COVID-19 vaccination a condition of employment for health care staff, contractors and volunteers who work in health care facilities. The health ministry has required health care workers to provide their vaccination status to their employer, with the original plan to require those who are not vaccinated to submit to coronavirus testing before each work day. Dr. Bonnie Henry said this includes all workers, students, physicians, residents, contractors and volunteers who work in a healthcare facility including contracted facilities, which are accessible to patients and where they receive services,” This includes those who provide home and community care. 

COUPLE INJURED IN CRASH – Two occupants of a pickup truck were sent to hospital after a two-vehicle collision in Harewood on Monday. The pair were trapped in their vehicle and had to be removed with the jaws of life. Cst. Gary O’Brien said the incident was a result of a distracted motorist failing to stop at a stop sign. The pickup was T-boned with a couple in their 60s inside. 

STATE OF EMERGENCY LIFTED – British Columbia’s state of emergency will end at midnight tonight, Sept. 14. The emergency had been declared on July 20 in response to the wildfire situation in the province.

ALZHEIMER MONTH –  The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is raising awareness in Nanaimo and around the province of many aspects of dementia, including brain health and risk reduction. A national public opinion survey by the Public Health Agency of Canada conducted last year, showed 89 per cent of Canadians can identify at least one risk factor for developing dementia yet only 16 per cent are aware that hearing loss is a factor. Full Story

Your comments are invited. Comment HERE

Deep research into the immunization controversy

A group of health professionals in the Okanagan Valley has addressed top government officials about the immunization and passport system the province has invoked. They pose critical questions, specifically about the current reporting of case numbers, statistics, and testing, and the restrictions imposed by health orders. While discussion of adjunctive and alternative safe and effective treatments is being stifled, the policies of mandatory experimental vaccines and vaccine passports are being forced upon us. The article contains numerous links directly to the sources. MORE

 

OFF THE MARK – It seems some people protest for the sake of protesting. A group of community organizations says the COVID card system fails to account for people who face barriers to getting a vaccine or proof of immunization. They say the plan could restrict access for people who can’t get a shot for medical reasons, as well as people without government identification. The new vaccine card system requires proof of vaccine for certain indoor settings, including ticketed sports events, concerts, restaurants, gyms and movie theatres. The card will not be required at grocery and liquor stores, pharmacies, fast food restaurants, salons, barbers, hotels, banks, retail stores, food banks and shelters. It makes one wonder how many homeless people would be lining up for Canucks games, the opera, the symphony or concerts and high-fluting restaurants.

PHANTOM VOTER – With the seat projections as close as they are for the federal election, the party with the most seats will likely have to find an ally to form government. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh makes it clear he hates Conservatives and would never work with them. On the other hand, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet says he hates Liberals and New Democrats, that they are bad for Quebec. That conjures a most-interesting scenario for partnerships.

The federal election debate – chapter 2

When the dust settles and votes are counted, election commitments and promises wind up in the trash like the colour brochures in a dealership are dumped when the new models arrive. Whoever is Prime Minister finds a full slate of things on his plate when he takes the oath of office. Changes in direction often require changes in legislation that have to be drafted, debated, passed by the House and Senate and receive Royal Assent. Then bureaucrats need to be updated on the new regulations. FULL COLUMN

Police seek help in finding 17-year-old

The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 17-year-old Gaige Knighton. He was last seen on September 5, and reported  missing that same day to the Nanaimo RCMP.

Extensive patrols conducted by police, and searches by friends and caregivers have been unsuccessful in locating him. As a result, his family is worried for his safety and well-being. 
MORE WITH PHOTO

ADVANCE POLLING - Hey, today would be a great day to head to the advance polls so you can avoid the congestion on voting day. The North Town Centre advance poll was busy on the first two days of advance polling, but probably a lot lighter than it might be at the general poll. The advance polls are open until 9 p.m. To find where you can vote, go to election.ca.

ZOOM BUS – Anyone who has had to ride the bus for what seems and eternity will be excited about a new idea of creating a rapid bus from Woodrgove to Southgate Mall, with limited stops along the way. It’s the first phase of a consultation on RDN Transit redevelopment. It also includes changes in a number of routes. 

VACCINE CARD HELP – Way to go Lantzville Legion. Earl Pleasance of the branch will be available on Monday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help members in getting their vaccination cards. All you have to do is call 250-390-2108. You just have to have your date of birth, you health care number and the date of one of your vaccinations. Then you can pick up your printed copy during regular office hours.

INTENSIVE CARE – Dr. David Forrest says hospitals are again reaching a critical point, with intensive care units filled with mostly non-vaccinated people. There are limited resources, says the infectious disease and critical care doctor at NRGH. ICUs are at full capacity.The spread of COVID-19 is resulting in significant cases which are overburdening our health system again, he said.The number of people who have been hospitalized with the virus on the Island has increased by nearly 20 per cent in the last month.

PHANTOM VOTER – It’s really disturbing to see many of the TV election commercials are obvious bald-faced lies when accusing an opposing party. After a while, what can you believe?

English election debate was a real gong show

The English language debate last night left us with no winner and everyone not on the stage losers. We came away more confused than ever. Justin Trudeau lost ground. He was on the attack trying to bring O’Toole and Singh down to his level instead of touting his accomplishments as there is no honour in broken commitments and promises. Trudeau was on the offensive and revealed just how offensive he really is. FULL COLUMN

NON-VACCINATED FILL INTENSIVE CARE – Of the 130 people in intensive care with COVID-19, 111 had not been vaccinated while 10 more had only one dose, says B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix. Some hospitals are delaying some non-urgent surgeries and making adjustments. As of Thursday, 85.3 per cent (3,955,624) of eligible people aged 12 and older in B.C. have received their first dose of vaccine, and 77.8 per cent (3,608,067) have received their second dose.

FREE MONEY PROBLEM – Businesses struggle to find employees without much success. Some business owners blame the federal government’s pandemic support programs, which were extended until Oct. 23. The federal government’s Canada Recovery Benefit, which succeeded the previous Canada Emergency Response Benefit is seen as the main culprit. CERB offered people who lost work because of the pandemic up to $2,000 a month, and the CRB has been scaled down to $300 per week for most applicants. So why work when you can get free money from the government?

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE – Not sure of your post-secondary choices? Vancouver Island University offers an online Graduate Programs Expo on Sept. 15. for students contemplating the next step in their post-secondary careers. Graduate programs build on what students learned in undergraduate degrees and are more highly specialized in a particular area of study. VIU has a range of graduate options to choose from, from master’s degrees, to advanced diplomas, to certificates, to enhance the education students have already received and help propel them into the next step in their careers.

GROCERIES ON THE FLY – RCMP arrested a woman and are looking for a man after a robbery at Save-On-Foods at Woodgrove Centre earlier this week. It all went down Tuesday evening when two suspects fled after threatening staff with a knife and a pipe. Cops are looking for the short male with red hair who was seen riding a red mountain bike while threatening two store staff on the median on the Island Highway. The female suspect had not been charged but remained in custody.

COVID UPDATE – Health officials reported 90 new positive tests for COVID in Island Health on Friday. Across the province there were 820 positive tests adding 256 more active cases which now total 5,850. There were nine deaths since their last update on Thursday. Vancouver Coastal Health had 112 new positives while Fraser Health reported 264 and Interior Health had 253 with 101 in Northern Health. There are 281 people in hospital, 135 in intensive care.

PHANTOM VOTER – When asked during the debate about who was in charge, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole replied, “I am driving the bus.” A bigger question might be, how many people are getting off the bus at each stop along the way?

Trudeau breaks the laws he doesn't agree with

The statements Justin Trudeau made on the TV debate and his follow up answers which no doubt many of you saw or heard leaves no doubt that he is seriously questioning the judge’s decision on allowing a news organization to attend the debates and thereby questioning the law itself. It is clear the PM has no time for laws that he does not like. FULL COLUMN

People's Party candidate joins all-candidates forum

The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce All Candidates Forum on Sept. 15 has added the People’s Party of Canada candidate Stephen Welton so all five national parties will now be represented.

“We invite questions from voters in advance and from our sponsors as usual. We’re pleased that all parties will attend and present their candidates for consideration in this forum. Timing is such that voters can use the event to help them make up their minds in the last days after a month of election promises.” says Kim Smythe of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber has been organizing such presentations over the years and they’ve become a mainstay on the local election scene. “We’ll be streaming live through the Chamber’s website. Shaw TV Channel 4 as well as the Chamber’s YouTube channel will re-broadcast the event,” said Smythe, “We want to reach as many interested voters as possible since we can’t gather in-person like we’re used to for these events.”

Information and details on access to the virtual event will be posted on the Chamber’s website, social media channels and in local media. Voters are asked to direct their questions and concerns to admin@nanaimochamber.bc.ca to be delivered to the candidates prior to the event.

PAY ATTENTION – Kids are back in school, and that brings a reminder for those using our roads. It all boils down to one thing – slow down. The Nanaimo RCMP has a list of rules to follow safety of all children, motorists, parents, and caregivers. With that in mind, safety must be paramount for motorists to ensure our children arrive safely at school," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. Read Gary’s list of reminders are provided for the safety of all children, motorists, parents, and caregivers. 

ECONOMIC SUMMIT – Carlota Sanz, co-founder of the Doughnut Economics Action Lab (DEAL) will present the vision of Doughnut Economics at the hybrid 'State of the Island' Economic Summit, Oct. 27-28 at the Vancouver Island Convention Centre and online. She will show it's being turned into transformative action to create ecologically safe and socially just cities and places around the world. 

ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES – Health minister Adrian Dix made repeated pleas on Thursday for vaccine holdouts to roll up their sleeves. He said hospitals continue to fill with more serious COVID-19 cases, mainly among those who have elected not to receive a vaccine shot. There are 130 people in intensive care beds, and 111 of them were unvaccinated. Choosing to stay unvaccinated when we’re able to is holding a red flag to a virus that spreads to live. There is absolutely nothing heroic in presenting a target for COVID-19, he said.

COVID UPDATE – The province reported 774 new positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday as the number of active cases rose by 44 to 5,594 active cases in the province.  Island Health had 65 new positive tests with two more active cases bringing the total to 487. Over two weeks, Aug. 25 to Sept. 7, 344 people were hospitalized. Of those cases, 80.5 per cent were not vaccinated. The Ministry of Health says people who aren’t vaccinated are 34 times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated, after factoring for age.

NO KIDDING – Protesters in the Fairy Creek blockade are extremely and globally well-funded, says Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation. Many are highly experienced in media manipulation and propaganda, and they have demonstrated that they are increasingly desperate to intimidate officers and mislead the public in their ongoing campaign against both the licensed forester and the First Nations whose traditional territory they are imposing. A survey by Pollara Strategic Insights found that 82 per cent of British Columbians agree the RCMP has a duty to enforce court injunctions.

A WHALE OF A RECORD – Despite all the gloom and doom in recent years about threatened whale populations, whale sightings are setting records around British Columbia and Washington state. About 30 transient orcas were spotted over the Labour Day weekend, a positive sign for the species, according to whale watchers and researchers. The Washington-based Orca Behavior Institute says the transients set a new record for the most annual sightings in the region over the weekend, with 793 unique sightings reported this year beating the 747 unique sightings in 2019, according to the institute. 

PHANTOM VOTER – Something doesn’t add up when you want to punish the wealthy and then give them subsidies to buy expensive electric vehicles that the rest of us cannot afford.

 

We have to go court to defend freedom of the press

This is the state of our democracy that we have to go to court to safeguard our freedoms. The Federal Court of Canada issued its ruling on an emergency hearing yesterday. Justice Elizabeth Heneghan agreed that Justin Trudeau’s hand-picked debates commission was wrong to have excluded Ezra Levant's Rebel News from attending the leaders' debates. This is the second time Levant was forced to court to get freedom of the press honoured. He had to do it in 2019 too. And won! . . . MORE

MOUNTIE’S FIRST AID SAVES BABY – Former Nanaimo RCMP Cst Denise Laforest was off duty on her way to Alert Bay when she noticed a vehicle pulled to the side. A man jumped out holding a limp infant which was choking and not breathing. Cst Laforest’s first aid training took over. She she conducted a quick assessment and found a very weak pulse and immediately started doing back blows in hope of dislodging whatever the child was choking on. To her horror, the child did not respond and she realized the child might die. She kept this up until Hanna began to make a small wheezing Cst Laforest. Full story.

MEET THE CANDIDATES – We’re heading to the polls in less than two weeks, and Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters will get the opportunity to see all the candidates in a forum staged by the Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 15, just five days before the election. Nanaimo News Now and the News Bulletin have given the candidates time and space to state their platforms. Check them out NanaimoNewsNOW and the News Bulletin. The responses are in alphabetical order with a limit of 200 words. 

MAN DIES IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH – A 59-year-old Nanaimo man has died after a single-vehicle motorcycle crash on Tuesday evening at Jingle Pot Road and Ashlee Road. The man was taken to the hospital where he died. There were no direct witnesses, however, other motorists told police the driver had been seen speeding and driving erratically just prior to the incident. The investigation is continuing.

WARRANT ON VOYEURISM CHARGE – Police are looking for  69-year-old Michael Gordon Lowry of Nanaimo for voyeurism and possessing child pornography. Lowry recently missed a scheduled court date in Nanaimo Provincial court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Lowry is Caucasian, 6’1” 200 pounds, bald with blue eyes. If you know where he is, contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2019-34500.

THE BIG APPLE – Congratulations to Aunalee Boyd-Good and Sophia Seward-Good of  Ay Lelum-The Good House of Design. They’re making their debut at the New York Fashion Week. The two sisters were racing to be ready for their Thursday flight and their dream. Seeing their creations, inspired by their Coast Salish culture and art, made by their father and brother on the global stage. Their father, Coast Salish artist William Good, said it was exciting to see the family get a chance to show in New York.

COVID UPDATE – Health officials report 90 positive tests for COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region in the previous 24 hours. They were among 814 across British Columbia, but the number of active cases rose by only 85 to 5,550 across B.C.. There are 485 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 159 in the South Island, 163 in the Central Island and 63 in the North Island. Eighteen people are in hospital on Vancouver Island, 12 in critical care.

You are not the victim here, Mr. Trudeau

Prime Minster Trudeau is having a rough ride on the campaign trail. Jeering, rude protestors dog him. He considers having some gravel tossed at him violent. A violent mob would burn down his house with him inside. Over the past six year, people have suffered uncounted acts of elitist dictates, most of which had been detrimental to their security and well being. Millions are deeply concerned over their futures and resentful that they have lost control over their personal lives. MORE

VAX CARD SIGN UP – The new vaccine passport process won’t be a breeze. Even as it was announced by Premier John Horgan there were already long lineups on the government’s sign-up web site. Without a long and involved explanation, simply go HERE to see all the bureaucratic details. And those who don’t have computers will find a way to get a passport by mail, if you can get someone to answer the phone designated for that purpose. 

SNOOZE YOU LOSE – A development that was approved two years ago got the thumbs down by Nanaimo city council. A development permit for a 59-unit apartment complex at 591 Bradley St. was rejected 5-4. Council had issued a development permit for the project, but it had since expired and the property was sold. Staff had recommended issuing a new permit with the same watercourse setback and height variances. Councillors who gave their reasons for denying the permit mentioned riparian protection and traffic concerns.

CANNABIS SUPECGTED IN CAR CRASH – A man suspected of being under the influence of cannabis was involved in a two-vehicle crash in Nanaimo’s north end Monday night. The accident happened on the Island Highway at Oliver Road just after 9 p.m. The 52-year-old driver, sustained cuts and scrapes. He was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons and a blood test was done and he was given a 24-hour driving prohibition. The driver of the second car was not injured. 

SOARING FOOD PRICES – Food prices are soaring with no relief in sight – they’re expected to climb even higher because of several factors — blame the pandemic. Another factor is the summer-long drought that affected many regions across Canada. Produce is actually cheaper this year, 7.5 per cent on average,” said Charlebois. Already this year, the price of beef is up 10 per cent, with pork up five per cent. But the most concerning meat counter item hit by rising prices is chicken. The wildfires in the province surprisingly haven’t had a huge impact. 

END OF THE LINE FOR 7-10 CLUB – Nanaimo’s 7-10 Club has hit the end of the road. The breakfast program serves low-income and homeless people in Nanaimo. The building that used to house the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. breakfast program is about to be demolished to make way for supportive housing. Gord Fuller, chairman of the 7-10 Club Society, says finding a new home has been a struggle. It used to be six per cent homeless. Now it’s almost 100 per cent homeless and 100 per cent with addictions with mental health and they scare people, said Fuller. He worries what those people will do without the routine and safe space that they have turned to.

GOOD FOR TERRY – Terry Good of Nanaimo has a freezer-busting a 31 pound, 12 ounce chinook and $10,000 after winning the Port Alberni Ultimate Fishing Salmon Derby over the weekend. Terry reeled the big one in near Bamfield on Saturday. But he had to wait a couple of days as the derby continued and other anglers were still vying for the top spot. When the final entry was logged, Terry had top prize. It was his tenth year at the derby and he was on a boat with friends who’d previously won top prizes.

COVID UPDATE – British Columbia health officials on Tuesday reported 202 positive tests for COVID19 in the Island Health region. Province-wide there was 2,425 positives but the number of active cases hit 5,465, a decrease of 407 despite the positive tests. There are 255 people in hospital, 126 in intensive care. 

These people do not deserve our vote

Listening to and watching Justin Trudeau last evening felt very scary. And Erin O’toole is no better as he changes course again. This time on guns. It’s downright frightening to hear these people violate the constitution. Rights and freedoms just go out the door on the whim of some unelected bureaucrat who is using outdated and sometimes partial medical information. MORE

Trudeau misses the target on gun control regulations

It is regrettably evident that our Prime Minister has no idea how to deal with urban gun violence plaguing our major cities. Urban dwellers are not cowering in their homes due to sportsmen, hunters, or firearms collectors  roaming the streets. Criminal gangs engaged in turf wars over  drug sales, prostitution, and protection rackets are engaging in shooting wars in public. Weapons used are primarily handguns which are already prohibited

PASSPORT DETAILS – Premier John Horgan will unveil British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine card system today. The press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. this afternoon.

NEW GABRIOLA FERRY ON ITS WAY – BC Ferries’ newest hybrid electric ship transited the Panama Canal over the weekend and is now preparing for its trip home to British Columbia by late this month. It is the first of two Island Class battery equipped ships designed for full electric operation. This ship is the first of two destined for the Nanaimo-Gabriola route. To follow the ship’s journey and track its progress including course, position and speed, visit vesselfinder.com and search for Island 5. B.C. 

ELECTION WORKERS NEEDED – If you’re looking for a short-term job, Elections Canada is short of people for the federal election. Andrea Marantz of Elections Canada some people are concerned about working during a pandemic. There are a lot of health and safety precautions in place at the polls. She says they need people for the advance polls Sept. 10-13 and on election day. To apply for a position visit the Elections Canada website

RAIDERS ARE BACK – Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Raiders are back in action this weekend, after losing the 2020 season to the pandemic. It’s a new season, a new field and a new team when the host the Langley Rams on Saturday, at 5:30 p.m. at NDSS Community Field in the first home night game under the lights in the franchise’s history. After 14 seasons at Caledonia Park, they will play on turf at NDSS Community Field, with three of their four home games at night. QB Jake LaBerge said the Raiders have added players on both sides of the ball so it may take time to get up to the pace, but it will be the same for every team.

TOUR DE ROCK – The 23rd annual Cops for Cancer bike hits Nanaimo Sept. 26 with events in Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Chemainus stops the next day. The ride raises funds for pediatric cancer research and children and their families with a history of cancer. The Tour de Rock is a two-week, 1,200-kilometre bike ride the length of Vancouver Island, tackled by a team of first responders and media riders. This year’s tour targets $650,0000, about half the usual goal. 

 PARTY TIME AT UVIC – About 1,000 people, most of them with no masks on, crowded together for a huge outdoor party at the University of Victoria on Sunday night. That is raising questions about the lack of COVID-19 restrictions as students head back to school. As there are no current restrictions on outdoor gatherings, wearing masks or physical distancing, police said officers only issued two tickets for liquor violations for underage drinking. 

 FREE RIDE TO VOTE – The Nanaimo Regional District will decide on Tuesday whether to offer free bus rides on federal election day. It’s not a first, but has to be confirmed with B.C. Transit.

IT MUST BE ELECTION TIME – the concept of a passenger ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver was trotted out again by Conservative leader Erin O’Toole during a brief local stop on the campaign trail. O’Toole said such a ferry would get federal funding if the Conservatives form the next government. It’s not as simple as promising, there are two other players who have to be onside with cash in hand – the provincial government and the proponent of the ferry idea.

DAY OF RECKONING – Today is the day when just over 2 million people in the U.S. will get no more pandemic cheques from the government – $300 per week. Many are concerned about how they will be able to survive without the government money. That day of reckoning is also coming for Canadians.

Election campaign is all about Central Canada

The federal election campaign to date can best be described as Central Canada Speaks. The Toronto-Montreal-Ottawa triangle is the centre of the universe for political parties and their leaders. Their efforts to remind us of that are not subtle. A Leader’s Debates lead-off in French on a Quebec French-language cable TV company signals to English-speaking Canada that Quebec has taken over Ottawa without firing a shot. 

GOOD MORNING – Look on the bright side, you won’t have to water the lawn this morning.

BACK TO CLASSES – Tuesday is going to be a life changing day for a lot of parents as kids head back to school.

A DEAD HEAT – Polls go up and down but they give us a peek as what may be going on at a particular moment. The Nanaimo-Ladysmith race is shaping up as a dandy if you follow the 338Canada.com poll. The numbers have changed in the past few days, but on Saturday it showed a virtual tie among the three top candidates. NDP Lisa Marie Barron at 28.9 per cent, slightly ahead of Conservative Tamara Kronis at 28.8 per cent with Green Paul Manly at 27.5 per cent. Liberal Michelle Corfield trails badly at 11.4 per cent. With just over two weeks remaining, anything can happen and you can bet it will. On the national scene, the poll suggests as of today, a Conservative government with 144 seats, the Liberals at 131 and the NDP 36 seats and the Greens reduced to one seat.

MISSING PERSON – Police are asking for help locating a Nanaimo man who hasn’t been seen in two weeks. Mitchel Houle, 28, was reported missing Aug. 24, one week after his mother dropped him off at the intersection of the Nanaimo Parkway and Northfield Road. It is out of character for her son to have no contact with her. As a result, she is worried for his safety and well-being,” noted the release. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2021-31987.

MORE COVID FLIGHTS – Passengers on three recent Nanaimo flights were possibly exposed to coronavirus. The Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) has added the flights to its COVID-19 exposure list in recent days. This brings the total number of Island flights with confirmed cases onboard to 127 for the year. 
– Air Canada/Jazz 8257 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on Aug. 28 (affected rows 7-13)
– Air Canada/Jazz 8265 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on Aug. 28 (affected rows 7-13)
– Air Canada/Jazz 8266 from Nanaimo to Vancouver on Aug. 23 (affected rows 7-13)
Those who were on one of those flights should self-monitor for 14 days and those who were sitting in rows identified are considered to be at a higher risk of exposure.

FEEDBACK WANTED ­– The First Beach and the entrance at Westwood Lake Park is about to undergo a facelift, and the city wants your feedback on draft plans. The initial improvement ideas focus on the area formerly occupied by a caretaker house, as well as the main park entrance off Westwood Road, first parking lot and First Beach. Elements in the site plans are interchangeable and are intended to explore what amenities the public would like to see at this popular park. Check it out.

VAX VAN HERE MONDAY – Island Health continues its drive to get more people vaccinated and a second vax van will make it a lot more convenient to get your jabs. A second Vax Van and temporary on-campus immunization clinics are are hitting the road this weekend to make it easy. Vax Vans will be set up at shopping centres in Nanaimo and Victoria this weekend, and begin visiting post-secondary campuses across Vancouver Island starting next week. The second Vax Van will be setup at Woodgrove Centre on Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

COVID UPDATE ­– The Island Health region reported 44 new positive tests for Coronavirus on Friday, part of the 671 for the province. There are 539 active cases in the Island region. Despit ethe 671 positive tests, the number of active cases went  down by 59. There are 5,872 active cases in British Columbia, 215 are in hospital with 118 in critical care. Three deaths were related to the virus, all in the Interior Health region. The Province’s vaccination program has administered 7,509,127 doses of vaccine.

SIX YEARS IN JAIL – Ryan John Grob, 36, who pleaded guilty to the August 2019 hit-and-run death of 32-year-old Spencer Alexander Moore in Parksville, has been sentenced to six years in prison. He admitted he was highly intoxicated after a night of drinking. Grob drove his pickup truck home from a local pub and his lawyer said he did not immediately remember hitting Moore in the middle of Hirst Avenue in Parksville.

Canada's pandemic policy is full of contradictions

Brian Peckford

The Government of Canada is ignoring good health by not promoting vitamin D, a known cheap, effective treatment to boost immunity and prevent serious disease like covid 19 while announcing the building of multi-million-dollar plants ($176 million in Montreal, $173 million in Quebec City, to name just two) to produce vaccines, all of which have no medium- or long-term studies for complications – tens of thousands already dead and more than million injured from such vaccines. READ BRIAN'S COMMENT.

CAMPFIRE BAN EASED – Just in time for the final long weekend of the summer some fire restrictions have been eased. Campfires are permitted in most areas of the Coastal Fire Centre, except the southern half of Vancouver Island encompassing Nanaimo and Oceanside. Rain is expected to begin on Saturday in most areas; that and the ‘build up index’, which measures combustible fuel in the forest, allow them to confidently rescind these restrictions.

NEW VARIANT IDENTIFIED – The World Health Organization is monitoring a new virus variant originating out of Colombia dubbed “Mu.” The weekly epidemiological update released on Tuesday, upgraded the Mu variant to a variant of concern effective Aug. 30, and added the virus has a “constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape.”Mu was first identified in January and there have been reports of sporadic and larger outbreaks  across South America and Europe.

PASSPORT REACTION FEARED – Some workers in the food industry are concerned with possible hostile customers opposed to the coming vaccine passport system. The BC Restaurant and Food Services Association says it's considering asking for government help to hire security guards to enforce the vaccine mandate that will be effective Sept. 13. Residents will have to show proof they've received at least a first dose of vaccine to dine at restaurants, attend ticketed sporting events, go to the movies or do a variety of other discretionary activities. By Oct. 24, residents will be required to show proof that they are fully vaccinated before entering such venues and events.

COVID UPDATE – Vancouver Island Health Region reported 66 new positive tests for COVID-19   Thursday. They were among 801 in the province over the past 24 hours. There are 5,931 active cases of COVID-19 across B.C. Though the positive tests were 801, the number of active cases increased by only 58. Island Health identified the locations of 461 active cases, including 224 in the South Island, 171 in the Central Island and 66 in the North Island. Fifteen people are in hospital on Vancouver Island, 12 in critical care. Six deaths were all in the Interior Health region.

THE PHANTOM VOTER – When they run out of issues they create them. The PM had a TV commercial proclaiming all his candidates wear masks at the door, but another party’s candidates don’t. Could it perhaps be that Justin feels the need to hide his face?

Things you won’t hear during the election campaign

The number of things that need attention are the ones nobody is talking about. Topics range from income tax exemptions, a politically-neutral judiciary, banning foreign-funded non-profits to stronger ethics codes and conflict of interest laws. That's just a sampling. Read John's column, it has a lot of sensible solutions, but politician are ignoring them in the campaign.

So, they get in the lead and start lying

That's what Canada’s Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is doing. His party has jumped in the lead in this election, mainly because of the disgust with Justin Trudeau. So what will you get with a Conservative Government over a Liberal Government? More of the same, only the lies will have a different colour. That’s what Canadians can look forward to if present trends continue. MORE

UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOUR – One health care worker was assaulted at an anti-vaccine-passport protest in Nanaimo on Wednesday. Other workers were verbally abused. Large crowds gathered outside the legislature and Nanaimo General hospital with their signs and bullhorns, cars circling the block, honking in support. There’s no excuse for this type of behaviour. Island Health President and CEO Kathy MacNeil said the protests “are not acceptable to me nor to the people and communities they serve. Our health-care teams deserve respect and support, no matter what personal beliefs we hold,” she said in a prepared statement. She added health-care teams deserve respect and support, no matter what personal beliefs we hold.

I’LL BELIEVE IT WHEN  . . . Nanaimo, the Regional District, Islands Trust and 40 other local governments around the province are getting help from the province to streamline housing approvals. The province announced $15 million to help solve the slow pace of the building permit process. Nanaimo will get $500,000 to create an online application portal and dashboard for reviewing existing processes and associated bylaws, and develop standard templates and guidelines. The city is also establishing a joint city-industry building permit advisory working group to try to make improvements to the approvals process.

FENCING THEM OUT – The city has put fencing around a downtown park because of the behaviour of some who frequent the area. Parks manager Richard Harding said crews put fencing around Pioneer Square Park in front of the old Firehall following extensive damage to the park. The sprinkler heads were broken and irrigation lines pulled up. He said other mounting social disorder challenges also factored into the decision to shut the park down. A homeless encampment led to fencing around the Italian Square on Termnial Avenue earlier this year. Harding said it became too difficult for the City to properly maintain the space.

WEEKEND FERRY TRAVEL HINTS – The Labour Day weekend provides the last kick at summer for those travelling to and from Vancouver Island. It can be challenging for families wanting to squeeze in one more summer trip before the kids go back to school. BC Ferries has some travel tips for Ferry travellers from Thursday to next week Tuesday. For full schedule information, current conditions, reservations and promotional offers, please visit bcferries.com. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

THIS CAN’T BE REAL – Media reports claim that when vaccine passports come into being, customers will have to provide proof of vaccination, but employees of those businesses will not have to be vaccinated?

COVID UPDATE – British Columbia health officials reported 69 new positive COVID tests and one death in Island Health in the previous 24 hours. There were 785 cases province-wide for the first update in September. Of the other new cases, 110 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 246 in Fraser Health, 266 in Interior Health, and 94 in Northern Health. There are 5,873 active cases in the province with 199 people in hospital, 112 in intensive care. Island Health reports 429 active cases — 64 in North Island, 162 in Central Island and 203 in South Island. There are 15 people in hospital, 12 in critical care.

THE PHANTOM VOTER – I don’t know who will win the federal election, but I do know who will lose – us, we, the ones who foot the bill. Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is promising to balance the budget in 10 years. Budgets are for one year, but regardless, he’s admitting that a government led by him would keep digging us deeper into debt for another decade.

The prime minister has already dug us in so deep he won’t even talk about balancing the budget at any time. I suppose he’s being honest in a way since he’s not committing to doing anything about it. However, his grandiose promises to date will certainly leave us in the glue.

Then there’s Mr. Singh. Budget, schmudget, his promises keep piling up and he tries to bribe Canadians with their own money. Free this, free that and free everything else.

Vaccine passport program will hurt a lot of people

We’re in for some rocky times in the next month or so as Coronavirus vaccine mandates go into effect. A government-issued proof of vaccination will be mandatory in specific public locations to the point that some people could lose their livelihoods. It’s the workers, moreso than the patrons who are likely to suffer the most. MORE

Ferries experimenting with late-night Duke Point sailings

OVERNIGHT SAILINGS – BC Ferries is experimenting with late-night sailings on the Duke Point run. A pilot project will see 12:15 a.m. commercial sailings from Duke Point to Tsawwassen Monday to Thursday, beginning Sept. 7 until Oct. 7. A limited number of passengers travelling in under-height vehicles will also be accommodated on these sailings on the main car deck. There will be no food services and customers are encouraged to bring their own food or use on-board vending machines. Reservations are recommended. 

We have to stand for something, or nothing at all

This is what our law breaking Prime Minister is saying. “Provinces, here’s a billion dollars (borrowed money, of course) if you implement a vaccine passport scheme.” And the sneaky Conservative Leader is saying if the Provinces restrict freedom it is alright with him. What a cop out. Silent on of what he would do otherwise if elected. Trying to falsely show he respects the Provinces. Picked a rather important issue, Provincial jurisdiction over freedom. MORE

 IVERMECTIN WARNING ­ – Health Canada has issued a warning not to take either the veterinary or human drug versions of Ivermectin to prevent or treat COVID-19. The BC Centre for Disease Control, says between March 1 and Aug. 30, nine cases were reported to the Drug and Poison Information Centre after people ingested Ivermectin and became sick. So many people have bought into the claims about Ivermectin being an alternative to COVID-19 vaccination that the product has disappeared from store shelves on Vancouver Island. Ivermectin is for a worm parasite. Kelvin McCullough of Buckerfield’s warns it is not for human viruses, it’s foolish and dangerous to be take it. 

BIZARRE CAR CHASE – A man was arrested and released after of series of incidents from Parksville to Nanaimo. Police received separate reports of a driver pointing a firearm at a Parksville intersection. Then a man was bear sprayed at the bridge in Parksville. After extensive searches by Nanaimo and Parksville RCMP, the suspect vehicle was found going 128 km in a 90 km zone. The car eventually crashed in Nanaimo. Clayton Solberg, 25, was taken into custody on two charges of assault with a weapon and two counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, as well as a 90-day driving prohibition. 

DRUG PANDEMIC DEADLY – More than 1,000 people died in in B.C. in the first half of the year from suspected illicit drug toxicity. The B.C. Coroners Service reported at least 1,011 people died. June was the ninth consecutive month where more than 150 people died as a result of the toxic drug supply. The provincial government says drug toxicity is now the leading cause of death in the province for people between the ages of 19 and 39.

COSTLY POLITICS – The climateeers on city council are on the loose again. They keep forgetting they were elected to govern Nanaimo rather than change the world. Their latest escapade could cost us all a lot of money. They want to fiddle with the city’s investment policy to line up with their climate agenda. Coun. Ben Geselbracht said the city’s investments brought a return of roughly $1.4 million last year. The return on fossil-fuel-free investments is about a quarter to half a per cent less and that will impact taxes. CAO Jake Rudolph cautioned that there’s a lot of money attached to this, multi-million dollars, because the city collects hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of time.

UPDATE: MISSING PERSON  HAS BEEN LOCATED– Brody David of Nanaimo has not been heard from since leaving his north Nanaimo home on Thursday. RCMP is asking for assistance in locating the 26-year-old who lives with his mother and has a significant medical condition which requires medication. For this reason, his family and investigators are worried for his safety and well-being. MORE with photo.

COVID UPDATE – Unvaccinated people account for 80.2 per cent of new COVID cases and 88.7 per cent of hospitalizations between Aug. 16 and Aug. 29. Health officials on Tuesday reported 68 new positive tests for Coronavirus on Vancouver Island since Monday’s report. Province-wide there were 655 new cases and two deaths, both on Vancouver Island. Of the other new cases, 99 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 186 in Fraser Health, 242 in Interior Health, and 60 in Northern Health. There are 6,045 active cases in the province – 620 active cases on Vancouver Island – and 187 people in hospital throughout British Columbia, 103 in intensive care.

THE PHANTOM VOTER – Much is being made of the number of Canadians rescued from Afghanistan. Canada says 1,250 Canadians are still left there after about 3,700 were evacuated. Government officials have not clarified how that many of our citizens wound up there. This look awfully similar to about a decade ago when hundreds of our citizens had to be brought home. It turned out many had immigrated to Canada to qualify for our benefits and then moved back to their country of origin, benefits protected. It would be nice to know.

Crepe Myrtle in bloom a rare sight for Nanaimo

Canada is not known as a place where Crepe Myrtle trees flourish, but that has not deterred Ann and Dick Beamish who are known for their huge rhododendron plantation on Hammond Bay Road.

Crepe Myrtles are known in southern climes in the U.S. and Dick believes our hot summer may have helped his two 15-foot trees burst into bloom this summer.

Crape myrtles bloom in midsummer, with colors including white, lavender, purple, pink, magenta, and red. After blooming, they develop distinctive seed heads, then the leaves fall toward the end of autumn, leaving the colorful, exfoliating bark for the winter. Crape Myrtles come in every possible size and shape, from knee-high shrubby dwarf plants to towering tree forms. If you want to learn more CLICK HERE.

Trudeau's wounded pride is well deserved

For more than a year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made himself the face and voice of parliament. He would pop out of his Harrington Lake cottage each day and talk down to the people in his domain, mainly about the latest efforts of his minority government. His commentary, clearly illustrated the wide gap between the federal government and the people it claims to serve. They could live on different planets except that the political class would have no one to tax except themselves, which would never do. MORE

 

BIZARRE CAR CHASE – A man was arrested and released after of series of incidents from Parksville to Nanaimo. Police received separate reports of a driver pointing a firearm at a Parksville intersection. Then a man was bear sprayed at the bridge in Parksville. After extensive searches by Nanaimo and Parksville RCMP, the suspect vehicle was found going 128 km in a 90 km zone. The car eventually crashed in Nanaimo. Clayton Solberg, 25, was taken into custody on two charges of assault with a weapon and two counts of possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, as well as a 90-day driving prohibition. 

DRUG PANDEMIC – More than 1,000 people died in in B.C. in the first half of the year from suspected illicit drug toxicity. The B.C. Coroners Service reported at least 1,011 people died. June was the ninth consecutive month where more than 150 people died as a result of the toxic drug supply. The provincial government says drug toxicity is now the leading cause of death in the province for people between the ages of 19 and 39.

MALASPINA GARDENS – A 133-unit seniors congregate housing development has the green light from city council. The development, at 388 Machleary St., is the former Malaspina Gardens seniors’ care facility. It was already zoned for seniors housing, so no re-zoning or public hearing were necessary. City council had turned down an application two years ago for 175 housing units there.

NO MORE CONTRACTING OUT – The government is taking hospital cleaning and food services out of private hands and returning them to government control. The phased repatriation of housekeeping and food-service contracts will see 4,000 workers becoming public employees, including 687 private workers in Island Health. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the change is good for patients, workers, the health-care team and for recruiting future healthcare workers. 

MISSING PERSON – Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance to find Mikhail Deyneko who has been reported missing. Deyneko, 30, frequents shelters in Nanaimo and on the Lower Mainland. Police were alerted Aug. 26 and investigators have been unable to locate Deyneko and are concerned for his well-being. See photo

NO DOUBT ABOUT IT – A Port Alberni Dairy Queen customer left no doubt about his anger at being told to wear a mask – he urinated at the counter in front of staff. As with most events nowadays, someone was handy with a camera. The video shows the man arguing with staff and refusing to wear a mask before he unzips his pants and lets fly. 

ROCK VIU – Vancouver Island University is gearing up to welcome more students back to campus this fall after a year and a half of online learning. Both first-year and many second-year students have never set foot on VIU campuses before. The RockVIU: New Student Orientation committee has been hard at work organizing two weeks of welcome back events to get students connected to services, supports, their professors and each other. COVID UPDATE – There were 142 new cases of COVID-19 and two related deaths in the Vancouver Island region over the weekend. They were among 1,853 across the province since Friday. There are 5,918 active cases across B.C., including 587 in the Island region. There were seven deaths over the weekend. Since the pandemic began, 1,814 people have died in B.C. due to the virus, including 45 in the Island region. Health officials report 18 active outbreaks in health-care facilities, including one on Vancouver Island.

RESTAURANTS EYE FOREIGN WORKERS – Help wanted signs are all over the place as businesses suffer a labor shortage. B.C. Restaurants are looking at recruiting foreign workers because cooks and servers are shying away from the industry. Ian Tostenson, president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservice Association, says a lot of people, during the pandemic, rethought their lifestyle. Part of the solution is to recruit more foreign workers. "We're going to need immigration. People can't roll their eyes at this. We just don't have enough people."

THE PHANTOM VOTER – Political math. Prime Minister Trudeau was on the telly on the weekend suggesting the government has rescued “tens of thousands” of people from Kabul, adding that 3,700 have been brought out by Canada. Three does not make tens.

Can Jagmeet Singh charm his way to electoral success?

Two weeks into the federal election campaign and some interesting patterns are beginning to develop. There are polls to gauge the mood of the voters, but it has been interesting to see the party leaders glad-handing the electorate, how they perform in front of the cameras, how they come across in public. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has stood out based on the charm factor. It’s not based on the policies and issues Singh has been espousing, but the way he has presented them. Full column