Buzz Sept 1-30

 

Province reports 125 Coronavirus cases, two on Island

0930 - Two new Coronavirus cases on Vancouver Island since Tuesday, brought the number of cases in the province to 125.

B.C. has had  9,138 cases since the start of the pandemic. No additional deaths were reported on Wednesday leaving the toll at 234.

There are 1,284 active cases in the province, 3,202 under active public health monitoring as a result of identified exposure to known cases.

 

Wednesday, Sept. 30

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Get ready for more smoke from California. The weather office tells us there’s more on the way by later today and could last a couple of days. If we’re lucky it will remain higher in the atmosphere and not impact ground level that much. In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of summer weather – bright sunshine and a high in the low twenties.

MORE TIME IN JAIL – The driver in the Country Club Centre rampage is going to spend another 499 days in the crowbar hotel. Eight months ago, 37-year-old Joshua Schaeffer rammed his vehicle into Shoppers Drug Mart then reversed into a car. He smashed into another building before narrowly missing a person, hitting another car and then ramming into the mall again. He has been in jail since the incident.  Country Club Centre Manager Dave Mills said most of the damage has been repaired but a few cosmetic issues remain, a little bit of stucco here and there. MORE

PATIOS REMAIN – There’s no weather guarantee, but city council has decided to allow restaurants to maintain patios for winter and through the fall in 2021. The patios were built on parking areas in front of restaurants downtown and in the Old City Quarter and Departure Bay. Under the original program, the patios were supposed to be dismantled, stored for the winter, and then re-installed next spring. Now they’re just going to be available for year-round use. MORE

GET OUT OF YOUR CAR – BC Ferries riders can no longer remain in their vehicle on enclosed car decks, starting tomorrow. They must come up to the passenger areas or outer passenger decks for safety reasons. You can remain in your vehicle on the upper or open car decks. Some areas of the vessels, like the Pacific Buffet area on the Spirit Class vessels, are open for seating only, to provide more space for physical distancing. Buffet food service is not being reintroduced yet. 

IN A HURRY FOR BARGAINS – Fabricland just opened at their new location a few days ago, but someone couldn’t wait to get in, breaking in and damaging equipment. A damaged cash register created lineups for customers, but we’re told everything went well.

NOT IN THEIR BACKYARD – Some Lantzville residents couldn’t wait for a public hearing for a proposed large multi-unit residential development in town. A couple dozen staged a demonstration outside District Hall, before and during a public hearing. The development would add 280 properties, which opponents say goes against the recently-adopted official community plan. The project would be a mixture of housing including secondary suites, townhouses and single-family homes. MORE

GO BIG OR GO HOME – Towing a sawmill along the highway doesn’t go unnoticed. A 34-year-old man from Ladysmith is in custody after a witness reported a truck towing a sawmill and recognized it as reported stolen. A witness informed police and officers located the vehicle and driver. Not only the sawmill was stolen, but the truck towing it was also stolen. The truck and sawmill were stolen on two separate occasions from local non-profits, Wildwood Ecoforest and the Nanaimo River Salmonid Enhancement Project. MORE

FEELING GOOD – Have you got that warm all over feeling today? You should, you just gave your share of $400 million to the United Nations to tackle world Coronavirus. Thanks Justin.

 

UPDATE – Missing Nanaimo man has been found safe

Gary Davidson

EARLIER STORY - Have you seen Gary Alexander Davidson? RCMP seek help to find the 54-year-old man who has not been seen or heard from since Sept. 20.

He has medical conditions which require daily medication, and his family and care givers have concern for his safety and well-being. Davidson is Caucasian, six-feet tall, 210 pounds, with light brown hair. No clothing description was available.

Anyone with information please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-35205.

 

 

Wednesday, Sept 30

Multiple hazmat calls made to Stanley Park after mercury found in washrooms
A hazmat team was called to Stanley Park Tuesday afternoon after mercury was found in a public washroom. 

These COVID-19 symptoms are more concerning for kids than the sniffles
When it comes to COVID-19 symptoms, there are some that parents of young kids should be more wary of, a B.C. doctor says. 

Man taunted, doused with coffee during attack at Metrotown
Police are asking for the public's help identifying three suspects after a man was racially taunted and then doused with coffee in Burnaby. 

Families pressure politicians to ease restrictions at care homes
Families of loved ones in long-term care homes marched through downtown Victoria to the front lawn of the B.C. legislature, urging changes at the province’s care homes. 

Grizzlies facing starvation due to declining salmon stock
A B.C. First Nation is raising concerns about the condition of grizzly bears along the province's central coast, saying that poor salmon returns are resulting poor health for the iconic species. 

Fed up with working from home? Vancouver hotel offers day rooms 
A downtown Vancouver hotel is offering a remote work package for people who are fed up with working from home during the pandemic.

Residents rally as they look for political help to manage encampment
Vancouver residents frustrated by escalating crime and health issues in their neighbourhood with ties to a growing tent city in Strathcona Park rallied Tuesday morning as they look for political help. 

Council to vote on controversial tower with massive social housing
Vancouver city council will vote on a re-zoning application Wednesday and the result could alter the city’s skyline for years — and will decide the fate of 152 proposed units of social housing.  

New plume of wildfire smoke headed for B.C. less dense
There's a new plume of wildfire smoke drifting up the U.S. coast towards British Columbia, but meteorologists expect the air will stay much more breathable this time around. 

Chaotic first debate: Taunts overpower Trump, Biden visions
The first debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden deteriorated into bitter taunts and near chaos Tuesday night as Trump repeatedly interrupted his opponent with angry -- and personal -- jabs that sometimes overshadowed the sharply different visions each man has for a nation facing historic crises. 

 

Pandemic state of emergency extended to Oct. 13

0930 – British Columbia’s provincial state of emergency has been extended until Oct. 13. Health officials announced 105 cases of COVID-19, pushing the province’s total above 9,000 cases, and officials are encouraging residents to consider celebrating Thanksgiving virtually this year.

The total number of cases confirmed in the province since the beginning of the pandemic has risen to 9,013. There are now 69 patients in hospital, and 20 are in critical care.

There are 3,337 people under active public health monitoring after being exposed to a known case of COVID-19.

 

Island coronavirus cases linked to international travel

0929 – Four Coronavirus cases on Vancouver Island have been linked to international travel this month. Island Health declined to say where the patients had travelled.

The Island Health region has recorded 206 coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, including two new cases found over the weekend. Six people in the region have died of the virus, with the latest death announced Monday. MORE

 

Police seek to indentify shoplifting suspect

0929 – RCMP seek help to identify a man who spat on a loss prevention officer after being confronted for shoplifting Sept. 19 at Walmart. 

Police were told the suspect became confrontational when approached by the loss prevention officer and spat on the worker several times before running from the store.

He is Caucasian, approximately 30-40 years old, with a medium build, light-coloured hair and was wearing a brown-green jacket at the time. 

If you think you know who that is, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-34521.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 29

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Wasn’t that heartwarming at the Stanley Cup celebration last night with a number of players skating around the ice, cell phones in hand, while video chatting with friends and families around the world? Players from Russia, Sweden and everywhere shared the celebration live with loved ones. Now on to the baseball playoffs this afternoon.

DANGEROUS PROMISES – Our governments are ever deeper in debt as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, shovelling out money like a dairy barn. Those debts have to be repaid, but now the leader of the BC Liberals has promised to do away with the provincial sales tax for one year, and a discount the following year. Increase the debt while cutting the income to pay for it. What is he thinking? MORE

BIG PLANS FOR WOODGROVE – The new owner of Woodgrove Centre has grand plans over the next few years. Weihong Liu told NanaimoNewsNOW she wants to add multi-family residential housing, including condo towers and several four-storey buildings. Liu, who bought the mall with her brother, said the vision includes affordable housing and dedicated units for seniors. But before that, retail changes are planned for the next one to three years, adding retail space within the mall and a publicly-accessible rooftop garden. And she’s looking at bringing back the iconic tower clock. FULL STORY

GET OUT OF YOUR CAR – BC Ferries riders can no longer remain in their vehicle on enclosed car decks, starting tomorrow. They must come up to the passenger areas or outer passenger decks for safety reasons. You can remain in your vehicle on the upper or open car decks. Some areas of the vessels, like the Pacific Buffet area on the Spirit Class vessels, are open for seating only, to provide more space for physical distancing. Buffet food service is not being reintroduced yet. 

HOMELESS CHALLENGE CONTINUES – The 2020 Nanaimo homeless count final data highlights the need for increased affordable housing and improved services. The count just prior to the Corona virus lockdown in March, found that the number of homeless people in Nanaimo continues to grow. The data shows that the minimum number of people facing homelessness in Nanaimo is 433, but likely the number is closer to 600. The majority are from Nanaimo – 71.2 per cent have been here for more than five years and initially moved to Nanaimo for the same reasons as everyone else: work, school and family.  FULL REPORT.

THE SECRET IS OUT – I got a video message yesterday pointing out that health officials appear to have isolated the time at which the Coronavirus strikes – any time after 10 p.m. The argument is based on the province ordering drinking establishments to shut down at 10 p.m., therefore proving that the virus does not strike before that time. Hmmmm.

Family events driving Coronavirus numbers

Birthdays, weddings, funerals and parties have been driving Coronavirus infections in the past few weeks, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Island Health saw one new Covid-related death and two new cases over the weekend.

B.C. recorded 267 new cases and three deaths due to COVID-19 over the weekend. There are 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring. There are 69 of whom are in hospital, 22 in ICU. There have now been 233 total deaths and 8,908 cases since the pandemic began.

Monday, Sept. 28

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE – And a good morning it is with nothing but sunshine for the week before us. Maybe a few little puffs of cloud by mid week, but anything is welcome relief after the deary week we just came out of.

BC LIBERAL CANDIDATE – Retired social worker Kathleen Jones has been named the party's candidate for the Oct. 24 provincial election. MORE 

DISTANCE LEARNING – About 400 students chose the School District 68 transition learning program desinged for parents apprehensive about sending their children to schools right away. Supt. Scott Saywell said the Island Connect Ed program has been expanded. It involves 400 students, something he likened to starting a whole new school in a couple of weeks. MORE

NO STOPPING THE TOUR ­– The annual RCMP cancer fund raiser cycled into Nanaimo on Sunday. Though it was different than past years, the goal remains as important. RCMP Cst. Shane Coubrough of Nanaimo was one of the alumni riders this year. “I’ve known the Tour de Rock since I was in my early 20s,” he said. “My dad passed away from cancer, a close friend of mine passed away in the year I rode. It’s always been a goal to come back to Vancouver Island as a member and be able to ride in the Tour de Rock…to be able to do it twice is amazing.”

ROTARY BOOK SALE – The Rotary Book Sale is on until October 10 at Nanaimo North Town Centre. It's relocated, in smaller quarters, in the former Scotia Bank location. They’re moving inventory in and around over time to get all topics on display. They now feature a wide selection of pocket books for $2.50, daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Check it out.

OVERHEARD – A local teacher reportedly had to leave work on a Monday due to suspected virus so tried to get Covid tested. After endless futility trying to get an appointment in Nanaimo she was finally given a date later in the week. Not good enough, she phoned the Duncan health unit and got an immediate appointment and test. The problem with the local health unit phone system was identified some time ago but apparently it still has not been fixed. Why is that?

A TITILATING TALE – A British Columbia couple has been granted an annulment of their marriage after they testified in B.C. Supreme Court that the man limped into the marriage and could not consummate it. Medical evidence was provided that the wife was still "virgo intacta." He blamed her for the problem, saying he had no problem with his new girlfriend after he and his wife separated. The decision provides a peek behind the curtains of a legal procedure so rare Statistics Canada doesn't even track the numbers. The CBC has an in-depth report of the case and a history lesson in this type of court proceedings. MORE

PASSING THOUGHT - Politics is no longer about left and right, it’s about truth and propaganda. And boy is that ever the case with the present provincial election – nothing but flying mud. Don't forget to check our ELECTION SECTION.

Monday, Sept 28

Man who threatened people with chainsaw arrested in Vancouver
Police in Vancouver say they arrested a man who was chasing and threatening people with a chainsaw Sunday evening. 

Green leader says party aims to run 87 candidates
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau says the party is working overtime to field a full slate of candidates in the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, but may fall short. 

RCMP thank cab driver for help capturing high-risk sex offender 
Police in B.C.'s capital say a high-risk sex offender who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant has been caught. 

Three Vancouver-bound flights added to virus exposures list
Two flights from India and one from Toronto are the latest additions to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's list of COVID-19 exposures. 

Childhood lessons, fight with cancer helped Horgan forge political goals
An Indigenous leader says John Horgan would often use a joke to ease tensions during difficult times in talks over the future of fish farms between groups with different interests in British Columbia. 

Roll-over kills driver of sports car in crash likely by speed, road conditions
The type of sports car involved in the crash, a McLaren, retails second-hand for about $330,0000. 

Amazon to hire 3,500 workers in B.C. and Ont., expand office footprint
Amazon.com Inc. will hire 3,500 Canadians to work in spaces it is opening and expanding in British Columbia and Ontario. 

Interior Health declares COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna church
Health officials in British Columbia's Interior have declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at a church in Kelowna. 

Social media page keeps track of COVID-19 exposures in schools
Kathy Marliss started a Facebook page called “BC School COVID Tracker”, which keeps tabs on possible exposures and confirmed cases at schools.

Green Leader Sonia Furstenau ready for uphill battle
Green Leader Sonia Furstenau was driving Monday when she turned on the radio and learned an early election would be called that day in British Columbia. 

Novelty poppy masks selling like hotcakes for Legions

0926 – The Royal Canadian Legion introduced “Poppy Masks” as a way to help Canadian veterans stay safe and healthy in care homes and now they’ve turned into a nationwide must-have item.

Proceeds from the sale go to the Royal Canadian Legion to support veterans and their families across the country.

The masks are a great way to help out local Legion branches that are struggling to stay open and could be a complement to the annual Poppy Fund campaign which is about to get under way. It is hoped that face coverings will remind people of the sacrifices veterans and current military personnel have made.

The masks are good quality and come in two sizes, small and large. They are so popular that they are temporarily out of stock online but more will be available online here starting Sept. 28 for $10. 

Sunday, Sept. 27

HOUSING MARKET REBOUND – The housing market recovered has from the Coronavirus downturn quicker than expected, says Kevin Reid, president of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. Pent-up demand, low interest rates, and persistent supply shortages are fueling the recovery, said Reid. In Nanaimo, the average price in August for single family homes was $586,642, up five per cent over the past year on 127 sales. The average condo sold for $357,518. MORE DETAILS

UBCM REPORT – The Union of BC Municipalities held its annual convention last week, sort of constrained by the pandemic. Nanaimo city council members were able to meet with individual cabinet ministers addressing our community’s concerns. In my newspaper days we published highlights of the convention as they pertained to our community by interviews with council members. In this electronic age, Mayor Leonard Krog has produced a video report of the convention. SEE VIDEO

NEW RESCUE AIRCRAFT – An Airbus CC-295s made its grand entrance at the Canadian Forces Base Comox on Friday morning, ushering in a new age of search and rescue. A new fleet of search and rescue aircraft was bought at a cost of $2.4 billion, including 11 years of in-service support. The new planes replace the aging Buffalo and Hercules that the military uses for search and rescue. CFB Comox Commander Lieut.-Gen Alexander Meinzinger said the search aspect will be reduced significantly to focus on rescue missions. MORE

IN PASSING – How is your toilet paper supply holding up following the hoarding six months ago? The second wave is coming.

Sunday, Sept. 27

Victoria police seek 'high-risk sex offender' wanted Canada-wide
Police in British Columbia's capital city are warning the public about a man they describe as a "dangerous, high-risk sex offender." 

Who is Andrew Wilkinson? 'An unusual person to be in politics' 
Former cabinet colleague Bill Bennett warns anyone verbally sparring with B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson to be prepared.

Families campaign for better policies at long-term care homes
Brenda Brophy moved her 100-year-old mother, Dot, in with her on Wednesday, because she saw Dot deteriorating in long-term care during the pandemic. She’s worried the government’s recent policy changes aimed at addressing a shortage of staffing aren’t happening fast enough — especially with an election now underway. 

Disagreement over masks on bus leads to violent fight on transit in Surrey
Officials are urging bus-riders to not approach others who are not wearing a mask. 

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care 
NDP's John Horgan promises new hospital in northwest B.C. if re-elected, while suggesting the Liberals were considering tax cuts for the wealthy and reinstating medical services plan premiums to cover costs. 

Dr. Premier? BC Liberal leader touts medical background during pandemic
At a time when so many British Columbians rely on medical advice from the province’s medical health officers, the leader of the BC Liberal party says his own background as a physician should be a factor as voters decide who should lead the province during the pandemic. 

Demand for outdoor gear surging as pandemic winter approaches
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do pretty much everything, and with colder weather fast approaching, it appears that includes preparing for winter. Outdoor equipment is flying off store shelves, with cold-weather gear among the hottest items right now. 

Saturday, Sept. 26

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Remember how you put off paying your tax bill to the city because the extended deadline for payment? Well, it’s time to pay the piper or pay late fees, effective Oct. 1. The usual deadline of the beginning of July was pushed back as a relief measure for the Coronavirus pandemic. Most people paid on time – 88 per cent. There are actually two penalty dates which add five per cent to your total outstanding. The second one falls on Nov. 12. 

FAIRWINDS GOLF FOR LIFE Tournament surpassed its $10,000 target for Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s new Intensive Care Unit, so they've doubled the target. The Seacliff Group, which owns Fairwinds, had pledged to match funds raised up to $10,000, bringing the total up to $20,000. Now they've doubled their match up to $20,000 which could raise a total of $40,000 for the cause. MORE

NO COVERUP – There’s a big foofaraw in the halls of authority about face masks and Sikh members of the RCMP. The powers that be are in a dither that Indo-Canadian RCMP members can’t wear face masks due to their facial hair, so they’ve assigned them to other duties. Enter the Political Correctness police screaming discrimination. Have any of those geniuses watched any major league baseball recently? The Toronto Blue Jays’ version of virus masks look like they would fit the bill. Or would that be too simple?

OUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT Paul Manly knows exactly what he wants from the federal throne speech – “We want to see solid action rather than just talk.” He said the speech contained some things he liked, such as a national framework on standards in long-term care facilities. He added we are lucky in Nanaimo-Ladysmith that we escaped that, and didn’t see the spread of the virus in long-term care facilities. MORE

ELECTION NOTEBOOK – We’ve added a new section to Nanaimonet focussing on election news briefs. For instance, you can find out which former Nanaimo radio guy is running for the BC Liberals in Esquimalt Metchosin. CHECK IT OUT

MORE THAN 160,000 British Columbians have requested mail-in ballots in just three days since Premier John Horgan called the election. How many mail-in ballots will actually be cast is the big mystery.

YOU WANT FRESH - How about growing it right in your grocery store? Thrifty Foods has introduced Infarm, with its indoor modular farming units across Vancouver Island. Seventeen Thrifty locations on the Island are now carrying their produce, but not all of the stores have the modular farming units. The produce, including herbs and leafy greens, is grown in the store and sold at displays next to the farming unit. The growing units use controlled light, water and nutrients. And they are managed remotely, through a cloud system that tracks the plants’ progress. MORE

VIRUS COUNT – British Columbia added 98 confirmed cases of Corona virus and one more death on Friday, capping off another case-heavy week in the province. There was one confirmed new case within Island Health. There are now 1,349 active cases in B.C., a slight decrease from Thursday. Of that total, 62 people are in hospital and 19 are in intensive care. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 8,641 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and 230 deaths from the coronavirus. There are 3,533 people who are being monitored by public health officials because of their exposure to known cases of COVID-19.

BABY ANNOUNCEMENT – Another orca has been born in the J-pod – the second one this month. The Centre for Whale Research researchers have said the new baby and will evaluate the calf’s condition and hopefully determine its gender in the coming days. Eperts will hold off on giving the whale an alpha-numeric designation until it proves to be healthy when the pod returns to Salish Sea waters. Approximately 40 per cent of newborn calves do not survive their first few weeks. MORE

Novelty poppy masks selling like hotcakes for Legions

0926 – The Royal Canadian Legion introduced “Poppy Masks” as a way to help Canadian veterans stay safe and healthy in care homes and now they’ve turned into a nationwide must-have item.

Proceeds from the sale go to the Royal Canadian Legion to support veterans and their families across the country.

The masks are a great way to help out local Legion branches that are struggling to stay open and could be a complement to the annual Poppy Fund campaign which is about to get under way. It is hoped that face coverings will remind people of the sacrifices veterans and current military personnel have made.

The masks are good quality and come in two sizes, small and large. They are so popular that they are temporarily out of stock online but more will be available online here starting Sept. 28 for $10. 

Saturday, Sept. 26

Canada unveils new search and rescue planes on Vancouver Island
The Canadian military has taken possession of the first of 16 new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft. The first Spanish-built Airbus CC-295s appeared at the Canadian Forces Base Comox on Friday morning for a special unveiling ceremony.

Municipalities want province to share cannabis tax money from Feds
A group advocating on behalf of municipalities and some First Nations across B.C. wants the province to share its cannabis excise tax revenue. 

Estimated $20 million in pensions for retiring MLAs
Even before John Horgan called a snap election this week, some members of the legislature had announced they wouldn’t be running for office, and now we know that 15 of the politicians leaving office will depart with what critics call “gold-plated pensions.” 

Demand for outdoor gear surging as pandemic winter approaches
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we do pretty much everything, and with colder weather fast approaching, it appears that includes preparing for winter. Outdoor equipment is flying off store shelves, with cold-weather gear among the hottest items right now. 

Feds step in as B.C. Mounties allege beard discrimination 
A day after a retired police chief and Canada's advocacy group for Sikh citizens revealed bearded RCMP officers in B.C. had been pulled from their regular duties, the country's public safety minister has stepped in. 

$250,000 reward for information in Sea to Sky Gondola investigation
Nearly two weeks after the cables on the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, B.C., were cut for a second time, the company announced it's offering a massive reward for information in the investigation. 

Surrey residents frustrated after beaver-chewed tree falls on townhouse
Residents of a Surrey neighbourhood are worried that a busy local beaver is going to get someone injured or killed. 

Vancouver bus stop ad urges parents to have fewer children
An ad at a downtown Vancouver bus stop is raising eyebrows, encouraging couples to restrict their family size to just one child in order to help curb the world’s population.  

Police seek help in finding missing Campbell River teen

Kali Pohlman

0925 –RCMP in Campgell River seek public assistance in finding 15-year-old Kali Pohlman after she walked away from her home at 9 p.m. on Thursday.

She was not dressed appropriately for the recent stormy weather, according to an RCMP press release. She is a Caucasian female with dirty blonde/brown hair. She's approximately 5 ft 5 inches tall with a slender build. She was last seen wearing a white hoodie, black jeans and Nike sneakers

If you have any information regarding Kali’s whereabouts, contact Campbell River RCMP at 250-286-6221.

Friday, Sept. 25

PARTIES PLAYING CATCH UP – The election is under way even though some parties in the mid-Island have yet to select candidates. The Liberals do not have a candidate in Nanaimo and the Greens are looking in all three area ridings. Chris Istace is seeking the nomination for B.C. Greens’ in Nanaimo North-Cowichan. The Greens say they have a shortlist of candidates in Nanaimo and a couple of names in Parksville-Qualicum. Nanaimo Greens say they thought they had another year before an election. MORE.

SEASON FOR SHOEBOX GIFTS – It’s not too early to start collecting goodies for the annual Operation Christmas Child Shoebox gift campaign. We have the instructions and drop off location and dates HERE

ON THE ROAD AGAIN – Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock kicked off in Port Alice to raise money for pediatric cancer research and programs for children and families.  While the ride looks a lot different this year because of the pandemic, the cause is as important as ever. Tour de Rock will be in Nanaimo on Sunday. For more info or to donate visit: https://www.tourderock.ca 

IS IT REALLY WORTH IT? – RCMP staged a clampdown on drivers using their cell phones while driving and netted 19 violations in just 90 minutes. The reward for the driver was a ticket for 368 bucks. A spotter alerted the nearby officer and kapow, they were nailed with using an electronic device while driving. 

TRUSTEE ASSIGNMENTS – Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district trustees have received assignments for the 2020-21 year now that classes have been resumed. See the FULL LIST

VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY set a target of equipping and completing three new buildings on the Nanaimo Campus.  They way overshot their goal of $5.5 million, topping off at $7.3 million That led to creating cutting-edge learning environments for students in the new facilities. Since their opening in 2018, the Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science, the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre and the District Geo-Exchange Energy System have transformed the experiences of students and faculty alike.  

HE’S OFF THE STRET – RCMP seized two firearms, stolen mail, personal identification, passports, and a portable debit machine when they arrested prolific offender Austin Carlson-McPherson earlier this week. He was arrested at his Cranberry Avenue home on Tuesday. Investigators have been able to identify the owners of the property seized and are in the process of returning it, says Const. Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. 

WOULD YOU USE IT? –  B.C. Transit, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Regional District of Nanaimo are studying the idea of inter-regional transit service between the two areas. They have an online survey where the public can submit their views on the idea. It’s open until Oct. 16. The survey seeks feedback on the need for such a service, including start and final destinations, preferred trip times, and proposed fares. To participate in the survey and let them know what you think, visit Regional Transit.

Province records 148 positive Coronavirus tests

0924 – B.C. recorded 148 new Coronavirust cases in the province while Island Health had none for the third consecutive day. 

Twelve of the new cases are epidemiologically-linked, meaning people who were not tested but were presumed to have the virus because they developed symptoms and were close contacts of a laboratory-confirmed case.

Two more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, both in Fraser Health, bringing the provincial death toll to 229.

The are six active cases in the Island health authority, down by two from Wednesday. One is on southern Vancouver Island, two in the central region and three the north island.

 

Thursday, Sept 24

OVERDOSES DEATHS ­ BC Coroners Service reports three fatal overdoses in Nanaimo in August. Illicit drug use resulted in 27 deaths in Nanaimo last month, matching the number of fatal overdoses in all of 2019. Central Vancouver Island, from Cowichan to Oceanside, had 61 deaths by the end of August, also matches the 2019 total in the region. MORE

LIBERALS PICK PATERSON – The BC Liberals have named Don Duck Paterson their Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidate in the Oct. 24 provincial election. Paterson is a Ladysmith councillor, serving for 32 years. He has extensive record of community service like the Ladysmith Kinsmen and the Ladysmith Festival of Lights. He worked for decades as the production manager for the Nanaimo News Bulletin. He said his lengthy experience in municipal politics is a natural progression to provincial politics. Nanaimo-North Cowichan has been represent by Doug Routley of the NDP for 15 years. MORE

WHO IS THE BEST? – The News Bulletin’s Best of the City had triple the participant voters compared to last year. as many votes as we did in 2019, which was our best-ever year for votes before this one. It made for exciting voting in some of the categories. As usual, Best Customer Service drew a wide range of entries, with more than 150 businesses nominated. Other categories that received the lengthiest lists of nominees were Best Beauty Salon or Spa, Best Lunches, Best Restaurant Overall and Best Hair Salon. FULL LIST.

IN PASSING­ – You can’t hang out with negative people and expect a positive life.

 

Thursday, Sept. 24

B.C. Greens scramble to confirm candidates in first days of campaign
The B.C. Green party has so far confirmed only two candidate nominations ahead of the Oct. 24 provincial election. 

91 additional COVID-19 cases in B.C. as active caseload drops again
Ninety-one additional cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in British Columbia over the last 24 hours, but there have been no additional deaths, health officials announced Wednesday. 

Canadian doctor describes differences between COVID-19 and the flu
Here’s a question for you, do you know the difference between the symptoms of the common flu compared to COVID-19? 

NDP spent 10 times as much on social media ads before election call
Two days after the declaration of a snap election, CTV News has learned that the BC NDP has spent 10 times as much as the BC Liberals and about 85 times more than what the Green Party did on Facebook advertising in the week leading up to the election call. 

Mounties investigating after man set on fire in Campbell River
Mounties in Campbell River say they are investigating a bizarre incident in which a man was deliberately set on fire while sleeping outside. 

It's a boy! New orca calf is a healthy male, researchers confirm
The newest southern resident killer whale calf to be born off B.C. has been confirmed as male, according to the Centre for Whale Research. 

Victoria police warn of dramatic rise in break-ins at parkades
Police in Victoria are warning the public about a dramatic rise in break-ins at underground parkades, garages, storage spaces and construction site lockers. 

Houseboat sinks while being towed past Gulf Islands
Search and rescue crews sprang to action after a houseboat started sinking off B.C.'s Gulf Islands over the weekend. 

Police involved after threats against B.C.'s top doctor
The death threats against B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prompted a police response, officials confirmed Wednesday.

 

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.

 

Major rain and wind storm forecast for Vancouver Island

0921 – 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. 

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