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Chief Mike Wyse is back at the helm at Snuneymuxw after taking time off for health reasons. With his return he announced $250 in funding for all band members. Being there for each other in times of need is what we do, he said. “Today, we are experiencing a dramatic rise in living expenses, and this has had a major impact on the needs of our community. Therefore, Chief and Council, in conjunction with Petroglyph Development Group, have made the decision to issue funds for the benefit of all Snuneymuxw members.”
First impressions are that local drivers are getting the message about alcohol use and driving. Nanaimo RCMP’s first winter CounterAttack check stop greeted drivers, and only three of the estimated 400 motorists pulled over Saturday were taken off the road. Reserve Cst. Gary O’Brien said road blocks will be established throughout December to educate motorists and take them off the road if necessary. MORE
Growth stops for no one, especially government. The Regional District preliminary budget includes more than $2.5 million in new staffing and security technology. The budget proposal calls for 32.5 full-time equivalent positions, including the addition 28 full-time positions, which will cost $2.6 million. The next phase of the budget process is slated for Jan. 17. MORE
A total of 1,657 students are crammed into Nanaimo District Secondary School and the school board is trying to figure out how to address the problem. The school was built for 1,400 students and expanded to accommodate 1,550 through portables. It looks challenging for the future with as many as 1,700 expected in coming years. Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh told a business committee meeting the school is getting over the place of comfort. MORE
RCMP need public assistance to find 54-year-old Kenneth Abramsen, who has not been seen or heard from since October 25, 2022. Investigators were told that for Abramsen to have no contact with his family for such an extended period of time is out of character. For this reason and given that he does not have a phone and is believed to be living out of a tent, there is concern for his safety and well-being. MORE
A man suffered severe burns in a fire on Stewart Avenue Wednesday night and was taken to hospital. Nanaimo firefighters responded to the apartment building in the 100 block of Stewart shortly after 5 p.m.
Geoff Whiting, Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief, said the fire was fairly minor. The occupant suffered major burns to his lower legs possibly due to him trying to put the fire out by stomping on it. MORE
Ministry of Municipal Affairs has announced the latest Community grants for not-for-profit organizations. The B.C. government is supporting 162 not-for-profit organizations on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast that are focused on arts and culture, with more than $4.4 million in Community Gaming Grants. Here are the grants to Nanaimo organizations.
A Cappella Plus Choral Society $4,200
Crimson Coast Dance Society $69,100
L'Association des francophones de Nanaimo $43,500
Malaspina Choir Society Malaspina Choir Society
Nanaimo & District Museum Society $63,000
Nanaimo Art Gallery Society $100,000
Nanaimo Conservatory of Music $67,500
Nanaimo Festival Heritage Theatre Society $53,500
Vancouver Island Symphony $80,000
Vancouver Island Short Film Festival Society $3,000
Vancouver Island Military Museum Society $40,000
Vancouver Island Exhibition Association $48,000
The Nanaimo Arts Council $8,000
Pacific Coast Stage Company $14,000
Nanaimo Festival Heritage Theatre Society $53,500
Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson is the new Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in Premier David Eby’s new cabinet. She was previously minister for mental health and addictions since November, 2020. Eby unveiled his new cabinet on Wednesday, setting up his government after taking over from John Horgan in November. The ministry outlines its role as focusing on providing British Columbians in need with a system of supports to help them achieve their social and economic potential. MORE
The next British Columbia election is scheduled for the fall of 2024, the new cabinet named Wednesday could set in motion the countdown for an early vote next fall, said Prof. David Black, a political communications expert at Victoria's Royal Roads University. "My working theory of the shuffle is tied to what I believe is an election in 2023,'' he said. "I don't see the political calculus in waiting for the fall of 2024. If you look at our fiscal situation, which right now is healthy, but next year is not looking very good with growth projections very low.'' MORE
Canada Post is upping its surcharges on domestic parcels as we head into the Christmas season to offset the increased prices at the pump. The fuel surcharge was raised to 37 per cent for domestic services, up six points since May 2021. The surcharges are based on the average price of diesel across Canada as measured by Kalibrate Technologies Ltd., an independent company that monitors fuel prices in Canada. MORE
Gas prices continue to fall in Nanaimo, dropping as low as $1.549 for regular gasoline. The highest price shown on Gas Buddy last night was $1.599. Enjoy it while it lasts. GAS BUDDY.
If you’re planning to get a mortgage, it will cost you more again. The Bank of Canada raised its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point to 4.25 per cent on Wednesday, in its efforts to tamp down inflation. However, relief could be on the way. The central bank also signalled that a pause in rate hikes could be coming. The Governing Council will consider whether the interest rate needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target, the Bank of Canada statement read. MORE
Six children in B.C. have died from a flu-related illness this season, health officials have confirmed. The BC Centre for Disease Control said it is aware of six reports of influenza-associated deaths among children and youth (under the age of 19) in the province. In a statement to Global News, the BCCDC said early findings indicate some of the children experienced secondary bacterial infections contributing to severe illness which can be a complication of influenza. MORE
An anonymous B.C. philanthropist has donated $33.8 million to advancefor multiple sclerosis research in B.C. The University of British Columbia says it's the largest known donation for MS research and care worldwide and will help fill the gaps in B.C. in increasing capacity and working on new therapies. It will also provide patients in the province with opportunities to join clinical trials that may have otherwise been hard to come by, the university says. MORE
Can we afford this? City Council is forging ahead with its draft budget that calls for a 7.3-per cent tax increase. If that doesn’t get your attention, this is not a one-time blip. Projections call for a starting-point increase of 6.9 per cent in 2024, then 5.2 per cent in 2025. Council approved all 10 of the finance committee’s recommendations in the plan following an e-town hall meeting to get public feedback on the five-year financial plan. The draft financial plan will return to the council table Dec. 19 for three readings. Governments have no limits on spending, they can just go to the taxpayers. MORE Also, listen to JUST A MINUTE
Heart patients in the mid Island can access vastly-improved facilities at the new Nanaimo Heart Function Clinic which opened Monday. There are more examination rooms, improved privacy and enhanced educational supports. The new heart clinic opened Monday at 1621 Dufferin Crescent. It has three additional exam rooms and more space for new staff. There’s greater patient privacy, better patient flow, better parking and staff can see more patients concurrently. Planning is also under way to provide patients with educational clinics about self-management, lifestyle, nutrition, medications and exercise in the context of heart failure care. The number of patients accessing the clinic annually has nearly doubled in the last two years and so the space was needed.
Illuminus interruptus. Gabriola Islanders have to endure two more days of hyrdro interruptions. BC Hydro will cut power to more 4,000 customers today and Thursday, between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. to conduct repairs. The problems were found Sunda, while TELUS crews worked to re-establish severed communication lines to the Island. MORE
The Nanaimo Clippers are cruising right along atop the Coastal conference of the B.C. Hockey League, and no wonder. Two Clippers have been named to play in the BCHL’s All-Star Game in the new year. Defenceman Ethan Mistry was voted by the fans and then Kai Daniells was also added to the team. The all-star game Jan. 21 in Penticton will be held outdoors and played in a three-on-three tournament format. That should prove interesting. MORE
Ninety-five per cent of the province’s doctors have voted in favor of a new three-year physician master agreement, which promises better pay and more rural funding, among other things. The proposed agreement was announced at the end of October, along with a new family physician payment model. It includes a $708-million incremental cost increase by the end of year three, which will be used to fund the new payment model, more rural programs, after-hours services, enhanced physician benefits and the shift toward primary care networks. MORE
The ocean floor rumbled as a 4.6-magnitude earthquake erupted off the west coast of Vancouver Island on Tuesday morning, about 183 km west of Port Hardy, 10 km deep. No tsunami was expected, Earthquakes Canada said. There were no reports of damage. That’s the third quake to hit off the west coast in the last two weeks. Residents of Tofino felt a 4.8-magnitude quake that hit about 34 kilometres off the coast on Nov. 25, while a 4.0-magnitude one was registered almost 300 kilometres west of the Island one day earlier. MORE
Don’t take their guns. A group of First Nations in the Cariboo-Chilcotin is demanding answers on a federal gun control bill that appears to target some types of hunting rifles and shotguns. A Liberal amendment to federal gun-control Bill C-21 would enshrine a regulatory ban on so-called assault-style weapons by inking an evergreen definition for such firearms into law. The Tsilhqot’in National Government said in a statement Tuesday hunting rifles are necessary tools for hunting and exercising the Indigenous right to hunt. MORE
Newcastle Community is all set to get lit up again, with its third annual Illuminight, a month-long celebration to illuminate the residences and businesses of Newcastle. There are seven light-up categories which will be judged Dec. 11 from 4-8 p.m. Volunteer evaluators will select their favorites. New this year is the Luminous low-rise category for buildings four storeys or less. All the favorites will be acknowledged on social media Monday, Dec. 12.MORE
The jingle is back. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch has changed its mind, it will again allow the Salvation Army to ring their bells in front of BC Liquor Stores. The distribution branch announced the reversal of a decision to restrict access in front of public liquor stores for the Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign. The kettle campaign has been collecting money outside BC Liquor Stores for more than 30 years. The decision to limit fundraising efforts was made because there were already two other donation campaigns under way in stores. Good move. MORE
Bus schedules will not be the same during the Christmas season. Some adjustments to the transit system are effective December 18-31when school and university classes are not in session. More information can be found in the Rider’s Guide. For more information on fares, routes and schedules, please visitbctransit.com/nanaimo. For up to the minute route information, check NextRide. Go HERE to see which routes are affected.
The Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club’s insurance claim for a Nov. 34 fire was rejected, so now it’s starting from the bottom up to raise funds for a restart. The fire at Loudon Park destroyed two recently-restored Voyageur canoes, used by the club in their community outreach programs. Commodore Ashley Rowe said their insurance claim to recover was denied the cnoes were not stored in the locked cage area under lock and chain because of the inadequate space to store them. MORE
Good news and bad news. First the good news. Communications services on Gabriola Island have been restored for about 4,000 people after nearly a week.The lines had been severed during a winter storm last week. Now for the bad news. B.C. Hydro crews discovered damage to infrastructure likely as a result of the storm. BC Hydro, Gabriola Fire Department and the Regional District of Nanaimo have asked residents to conserve as much power as they can. MORE
The downer after Christmas, property assessment notices hit our mailboxes immediately after Christmas, and values are expected to rise about five to 15 per cent. Assessment values are determined on July 1 of this year, and are compared to the same time period from the year before. The market has changed as interest rates continue to rise and over all sales volume has declined. So your assessment may be higher than what the current value might be. An assessment increase does not necessarily translate into a property tax increase. MORE
B.C. health officials are planning a vaccine blitz at the end of this week to protect children during flu season. Dr. Penny Balem, Immunize BC’s executive director, was joined by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix, as they provided an update on the early and intense flu season. “I cannot stress enough the importance of influenza immunization right now,” Dr. Henry said Monday. While more than 50 per cent of people aged 65 years and older have received their flu vaccinations, only 20 per cent of children aged 11 years and younger are immunized. MORE
It is a mean world today, and there is little material in the mainstream or social media that we can trust. Increasing government muttering about the need to control misinformation is hilarious. They mean they feel a need to monitor misinformation they did not generate. Should we ask them to copyright their misinformation so we can identify it? FULL COMMENTARY