Wednesday COVID update

Island Health reported 32 new Coronavirus cases on Wednesday, part of the 342 cases reported across the province.  Interior Health still leads in new cases with 171 while there were 66 in Fraser Health, 57 in Vancouver Coastal Health and 13 in Northern Health. There are 1,764 active cases in the province and 55 people in hospital — 23 in intensive care.

Aug 4

FORWARD MOVE - Nanaimo is treating economic development seriously by creating a new economic development corporation which will include community partners. City council has unanimously approved a framework to set up the Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation. The economic development function has operated haphazardly for years but the new framework should broaden the scope. A consultant recommended economic development would be better served with both an internal city department and an external corporation. The Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation will be city-owned and base operations funded. There will be five stakeholders  as “shareholders” in the NPC – Airport Commission, Port of Nanaimo, Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island University and Snuneymuxw.

STREETS TAKE ON NEW GLOW - BC Hydro is replacing old high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights with newer light-emitting diodes (LED) throughout the city. In Nanaimo, there are both City-owned and BC Hydro-owned streetlights, which are leased to the City. The City began upgrading to LED in 2018, while the majority of streetlights on BC Hydro poles remained the older HPS style. From now until the end of this year, Hydro crews will update 4,276 streetlights within Nanaimo's neighbourhoods.

BLAME IT ON THE BIRD - A wayward bird Nanaimo caused a substantial power outage and traffic delays in Downtown Nanaimo Tuesday morning. The incident occurred on Front Street in front of the Gabriola Island ferry terminal, cutting off power to 1,200 BC Hydro customers. Power was restored at 1 p.m.

NDP CADSHING IN - The best public opinion poll comes from the list of contributions to our pollical parties. Elections BC shows the NDP having almost triple the donations as compared to the B.C. Liberals from April to the end of June this year. B.C. NDP backers gave $834,575,67. B.C. Liberal contributions were $313,514,42, barely ahead of the BC Green partyat $278,826.80. The Conservatives reported $22,475. See the detailed reports by clicking on the party links. 

BLAME IT ON THE BIRD - A wayward bird Nanaimo caused a substantial power outage and traffic delays in Downtown Nanaimo Tuesday morning. The incident occurred on Front Street in front of the Gabriola Island ferry terminal, cutting off power to 1,200 BC Hydro customers. Power was restored at 1 p.m.

COVID UPDATE - Health officials on Tuesday reported 42 new cases of COVID-19 on Island Health region, with were in 742 new cases provincewide since the last update on July 30. Of the new cases, 395 were in Interior Health, 165 in Fraser Health, 115 in Vancouver Coastal Health and 24 in Northern Health. There are 1,544 active cases in the province, 53 people in hospital with 19 in intensive care.

Aug 3

MOTORCYCLIST SERIOUSLY INJURED - A man suffered life-threatening injuries and has been air-lifted to a Victoria hospital after crashing his off-road motorcycle earlier todayon Rock City Road. Witnesses said they heard a crash and found the man and a bike lying in the ditch. It appears the rider was going west bound on Rock City Road when he lost control and drove off the roadway. While it is only early in the investigation, it appears that speed may have been a contributing factor. Investigators would like to see an dash cam video from motorists who were in the area at the time. If they have video of the crash or any pre-collision driving, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754- 2345, and quote file # 2021-28904. 

BACK TO NORMAL – The weekend visitors are gone except for the last few stragglers who couldn’t get a ferry. All Monday sailings between Duke Point and Tsawwassen were sold out for the day and the Departure Bay sailings were packed.

WALK-IN WEDNESDAY – Getting your COVID shot is getting more convenient all the time. “Walk-in Wednesday” is for you if you’ve procrastinated on your first or second dose, you can drop in at local vaccine clinic any time on Wednesday. The Vax for BC program, has 20,000 doses reserved exclusively for walk-in patients at all vaccine clinics on Wednesday, Aug. 4. You don't need to register online or phone before you arrive – just go.

ORDER OF B.C. – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is one of 16 people named to the Order of British Columbia this year. Lt. Gov. Janet Austin announced the latest recipients of the province's highest honour on B.C. Day. All but one was from Vancouver or Victoria. See the full list of Order of B.C. recipients. 

GOVERNMENT GIVETH AND GOVERNMENT TAKETH – Local seniors got letters last week informing them that their GIS payments have been cut, says member of Parliament Paul Manly and he wants the government to take urgent action to protect seniors in this situation. They've been cut off from the federal Guaranteed Income Supplement by Canada Revenue Agency, says Manly. Low-income seniors who lost work during the pandemic became eligible for the CERB but that extra income pushed some of them over the GIS eligibility threshold ­– $18,984 individual, and up to $45,504 couples. The CERB income helped eligible seniors through the pandemic, but in most cases that money has been spent, Manly added. 

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST - Just down the road a bit, Duncan has decided to mothball another remnant of colonial history. The city has eliminated its Town Crier post and will look to another form of ambassador for the future. “As we move into the future, the City of Duncan looks forward to working with our neighbours and community to create a new city ambassador role to represent the city at events and greet our many visitors,” said Duncan Mayor Michelle Staples. Wouldn't that be a good role for the mayor or her councillors?

READER COMMENT - "Visitors to our waterfront saw filthy walkways. There are stains of dog pee, spilled food, and gosh knows what else. Power wash, for heavens sake! The $50,000 sign doesn't make up for the poor upkeep."   – Kathy Reilly, Nanaimo

Up the creek without a ferry for paid reservation

There were more than a few tavellers hot under the collar when they arrived for their ferry sailings only to learn they did not exist. BC Ferries online reservation system booked passengers on sailings that never existed, leaving some families stranded and unable to return home on Monday.

The ghost sailings were Monday between Salt Spring and Tsawaassen, leaving passengers on both sides stranded in spite of having prepaid.

Passengerssaid they booked their return sailing like any other, through the BC Ferries website. CTV News reported that BC Ferries has apologized online and told passengers that sailings were "incorrectly built into our system. We sincerely apologize to all customers affected and are giving full refunds for the inconvenience." the company wrote on social media. Full story.

Aug. 2

WHAT A WEEKEND - Quite the weekend, ferries clogged, accommodations booked solid from Victoria to Tofino. No doubt, part was pent up business from the pandemic shutdown and a considerable amount from the smoke and wildfires in the Interior which had people coming to Vancouver Island instead.

HOT WEATHER WARNINGS LIFTED – but it will still be warm for the rest of this week, rising to about 27 degrees. Relief in the form of rain is predicted. The concern now is the wildfire smoke drifting in from the Interior and Washington state. If you’ve still got some of those COVID masks, you might want to keep them handy to assist your breathing.

MINETOWN DAY is back Sept. 18 at Lantzville’s Huddlestone Park, though scaled-down due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Chairman Bob Colclough said the popular event faced challenges and almost didn’t return this year until recent announcements from the province. Minetown Day has been an annual event in Lantzville for over 40 years until last year, when it was cancelled due to the pandemic. He said there will be fewer big rides this year. While some of the rides will be missing, he says many of the classic activities will be there, including the climbing wall and bicycle painting event. He also says there may be some new events.

DIFFERENT STROKES - I got a number of notices about an event coming up somewhere near Nanaimo in the next few days where attendees will have to verify that they have NOT been vaccinated for COVID. Since it is not an open event I won’t list the location as the landlord might face repercussions from some of his regular clients. 

LANTERNS ON DISPLAY - The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s annual Lanterns for Peace ceremony on Friday at Sway A Lana Lagoon at Maffeo-Sutton Park. Peace songs will begin at 8:30 p.m., with speeches from elected officials and more music at 9 p.m. At dusk, dozens of lanterns will be floated on the lagoon.

FREEDOM DAY – Yesterday was the first Emancipation Day in British Columbia as announced last week. It marks the end of slavery in the British Commonwealth.

FLYERS AT YOUR FINGER TIPS - Fewer retailers are distributing hard copy flyers any more, opting instead for online versions. For your convenience, here is the link to all flyers. CLICK HERE.

Aug. 1

SHORTING OUT - Some of our readers will get a charge out of this. Social media reported long lineups in Hope of drivers wanting to charge their electric vehicles. It seems they couldn’t quite make it from Okanagan to Vancouver on a single charge – now that's what you call shorting out. 

A BOOST FOR AIRPORTS - Nanaimo Airport will get just over $1 million as part of the federal grants to help 11 regional airports recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nanaimo Port Authority float plane facility will get several hundred thousand dollars while Victoria gets just under $3 million. Like Nanaimo, airports in Comox, Prince George, Kamloops, Fort St. John and Terrace get $1 million. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said $38 million will be available to Vancouver International Airport for projects such as extending runways and protecting the sea-level facility from mythical rising ocean levels. 

MORE EVACUATIONS - Fires crews were battling more than 240 fires on Saturday, while 60 evacuation orders had forced people from 3,120 properties across the province. The Thompson-Nicola Regional District issued an evacuation order for another 125 properties late Friday night due to the Flat Lake wildfire.The massive Flat Lake fire has grown to an estimated 45,526 hectares (450 square kilometres) in size. BC Wildfire Service crews said they were hoping to conduct planned ignitions about 25 kilometres southwest of 100 Mile House, on Saturday, in a bid to remove unburned fuels and bring the fire’s perimeter into more accessible locations.

FLYERS AT YOUR FINGER TIPS - Fewer retailers are distributing hard copy flyers any more, opting instead for online versions. For your convenience, here is the link to all flyers. CLICK HERE.