Man killed in back roads ATV accident

0531 –  An ATV accident has claimed the life of A 33-year-old Cobble Hill resident died in an ATV accident on a service road, 18 kim from Nanaimo Lakes Road, Friday night.

 Police, BC Paramedics and Nanaimo Search and Rescue (NSAR) personnel responded. Due to the remoteness of the area, NSAR and an RCMP officer, using GPS from cell phone pings, located the group. NSAR provided emergency first aid but the man died from the injuries. 

 Investigators spoke with the group of male riders and the death appears to. The BC Coroners Service is continuing with the investigation.

May 31, 2020

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – Nanaimo's Seniors in Care Crisis and Crying Out Loud from the Comox Valley are calling on health authorities to ease restrictions for family members to visit loved ones in long-term care facilities. The families acknowledge the dangers posed by COVID, but a lockdown of two and half months, with no end in sight, is starting to create its own health risks from isolation and depression. Marcy Johnsrude of Seniors in Care Crisis says the situation is becoming dire for some who are in the care facilities in isolation. Johnsrude believes that some of the residents in the homes won't be able to make it until the end of the pandemic. MORE

EASE OF ACCESS to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park from Parksville is an idea who’s time has come. The Regional District of Nanaimo is calling for better pedestrian and cycling access asking the province to include active transportation amenities for pedestrians and cyclists in future upgrades to highway 19A at Plumber Road, near the entrance to the prized provincial park. FULL STORY

SPOTLIGHT ACADMY’s summer camps are going ahead as planned letting kids do what they love this summer. The camps kids/tweens produce their in own movie, produce, act, crew, outdoor activities but still social distancing as recommended. They work in small groups to produce their own short film or mini TV series within the week from script to screen. Registrations are now open for both Nanaino and Langford and they can pay by installments. Get more info from Jacqui Kaese by direct message or Text 250 714 2555. You can also email: thereelspotlight@gmail.com

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – You can get a heads up about the latest news in your email box each morning. Since we added a daily reminder to Nanaimonet our readers are telling us how much they enjoy the Daily Buzz email in the morning. They see Nanaimonet as the comprhensive source for accurate and informative news. You can get email reminders of news in your mailbox from many sources by subscribing to Nanaimonet. It’s free, just send an email to editor@nanaimonet.com and put ‘subscribe’ in the subject line. You can also drop out any time.

Subday,, May 31

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools set to reopen 
Only some school districts conducted surveys of families asking whether they planned to send their kids back to school and the results varied between a high of 90 per cent and a low of 15 per cent. 

Watchdog investigating incident in Tsawwassen that ended in suspect's death
B.C.'s police watchdog agency is investigating an incident that ended in a man's death in Tsawwassen Friday night. 

 COVID-19 possible when schools resume, 'but that's OK,' Henry says
With students and teachers set to return to B.C. classrooms on Monday for the first time since March, the provincial health officer said Saturday that limited transmission of COVID-19 in schools is "possible," but that the province is prepared for it. 

No new COVID-19 deaths in B.C. for second day in a row, Henry says
For the second consecutive 24-hour period, British Columbia has recorded no additional deaths from COVID-19, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Saturday. 

Struggling amid lack of tourism, Pender Island restaurant starts fundraiser 
Supporters from around the world have combined to raise more than $16,000 to save Jo's Place, but the restaurant still needs more help. 

Calgary-made control room helped SpaceX astronauts reach the stars
As millions of people watched the first astronauts launched into orbit from U.S. soil for the first time in a decade, many of those observers may not have realized the Calgary connection to the operation. 

International students worry about travel to Canada
International students face uncertainty as universities switch to online classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Families worry about mental health of loved-ones in care-home lockdowns
The families of two residents at South Granville Park Lodge say they're concerned that COVID-19 rules that prevent their loved-ones from going outside are taking their toll on residents' mental health. 

Evacuation alert issued for 2,300 Kootenay region residents due to floods
An evacuation alert has been issued for 2,300 people due to possible flooding in British Columbia's southern interior along the Kettle River watershed. 

Vancouver mayor's taxpayer-funded tweet crossed a line, says critic
A ghostwritten tweet congratulating Green Party leader Elizabeth May that appeared to come from Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart last fall was actually paid for by Vancouver taxpayers, documents show.

Relief money refuelling opioid crisis

0539 – Fraudulently obtained COVID-19 relief payments have been creating chaos on the margins of society, says those who live and work there.

While waiting for the Soupateria to open Thursday, a man – whom The Penticton Herald agreed not to name because he’s describing illegal activity – confirmed people like him who normally don’t have a penny to their name are suddenly living large.

“Lots of dope in this town,” said the man, who also described an increase in drinking and violence associated with the $2,000-a-month Canada Emergency Response Benefit. FULL STORY

Additional $650 million for Indigenous communities

Prime Minister Trudeau

0529 – Indigenous communities will get an additional $650 million in funding from the federal government. That is on top of the $305 million previously promised to help First Nations reserves, and Inuit and Metis communities with supplies, medical care and facilities for physical distancing.

Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said although the first wave of COVID-19 appears to be receding, the threat of a second wave is very real and Indigenous communities will be just as vulnerable.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave more details about the funding in his daily morning press conference on Friday, saying the money will be going to healthcare, income support and $85 million for new shelters for women. FULL STORY

Saturday, May 30 2020

LAST-MINUTE BREAKAWAY ­– Dr. Bonnie Henry might be open to a special arrangement for NHL teams to stage playoffs in Vancouver. She had stressed she wouldn’t bend the 14-day self-isolation rules for NHL players crossing into Canada but now says it is possible teams would be allowed to quarantine as a group, instead of by themselves. She said B.C. is considering matching Alberta’s bid when the National Hockey League season resumes. She believes Alberta’s proposal to isolate entire teams in hotels near a hockey rink could work in British Columbia.

LUSTRE BEGINNING TO FADE? – More and more British Columbians are getting weary of the ongoing Coronavirus shutdown. That’s borne out in the comments we see from our readers. For instance . .  . “have you noticed that all those telling small businesses, shopkeepers, pub and restaurant owners what they have to do to barely meet their expenses, themselves have comfortable well-paid jobs with lifetime security and pensions?”

WELCOME TO NANAIMO – Carolyn Holmes is the new executive director of the Nanaimo Art Gallery. The former executive director of the Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George, will assume her duties July 13. The job became available when previous executive director Julie Bevan left became the City manager of culture and events this spring.

AGM WITH A DIFFERENCE – The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is not shy when it comes to innovation during the ongoing pandemic, so it’s no surprise they’re having a “virtual” annual general meeting June 17. Members are invited to the online AGM where year-end financial statements and reports from the chair, treasurer and CEO will be presented. Members can register now and a virtual invite, agenda, and voting package will be emailed prior to the event. Register HERE. If you have questions, please feel free to contact: comms@nanaimochamber.bc.ca  

CATHEDRAL GROVE will remain closed as other parks in the province are opening. The ministry of environment issued a statement saying the area is too popular to re-open. “It experiences very high levels of visitor use (more than 500,000 per year) and due to the unique nature of the park, the trail system and boardwalks are very narrow making appropriate physical distancing extremely challenging.”

IS THIS YOURS? ­– Nanaimo RCMP found a Cannondale road bike abandoned on Wesley Street on May 23. Officers canvassed the area for the owner or anyone with knowledge but came up empty. They have it for safekeeping. It had not been reported stolen and was not registered with Project 529. It’s grey with metal toe clips, road tires and an XL frame. The serial number is 484000104770. If you have information, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 and verify your proof of ownership.

THE INVASION CONTINUES – This week the city focusses on English Ivy and how to remove this crawling plant to keep it from overtaking our trees. You can take any invasive plants that you remove to the free Drop Zone, today (Saturday, May 30) at the upper picnic shelter in Bowen Park, from 10 am to 2 pm. Learn more about invasive plants in Nanaimo here.

Saturday, May 30

Islanders call for controlled return to care-home visitation
Two groups that advocate for seniors in Vancouver Island care facilities and their families say it's time to start easing up on visitation restrictions. 

Island animal recovery centre reopening to the public next week
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRA) will reopen its doors to the public starting Tuesday, June 2. 

Mounties impound 6 cars in 6 days for excessive speeding
RCMP in the Comox Valley say they impounded six vehicles in a six-day period – all for excessive speeding. 

Langford, Sidney, Nanaimo allowing businesses to expand onto sidewalks
Three south island municipalities are making it easier for businesses to expand onto sidewalks and other public spaces amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Man arrested after 2 people stabbed in Victoria
A man has been arrested after two people were sent to hospital with stab wounds in Victoria. 

B.C. buys motel for tenants displaced by Campbell River apartment fire
The B.C. government has purchased a motel to provide housing for dozens of people who were displaced after a fire broke out at an apartment complex in Campbell River in April. 

Victoria approves $300K to move more homeless into hotels
The City of Victoria has approved a motion to spend up to $300,000 to move homeless people in hotel or motel rooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Lake Cowichan lifts ban on river tubing
The Town of Lake Cowichan has lifted its ban on river tubing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Driver injured, another facing charges after fleeing Saanich crash
A 38-year-old Langford man is facing several charges after police say he fled the scene of a serious collision in Saanich. 

ICBC to restart all knowledge tests Monday, no timeline set for road tests
Anyone looking to book an ICBC knowledge test can do so now, with appointments beginning on June 1 across most office locations.

Families worry about mental health of loved-ones in care-home lockdowns
The families of two residents at South Granville Park Lodge say they're concerned that COVID-19 rules that prevent their loved-ones from going outside are taking their toll on residents' mental health

Evacuation alert issued for 2,300 Kootenay region residents due to possible floods
An evacuation alert has been issued for 2,300 people due to possible flooding in British Columbia's southern interior along the Kettle River watershed. 

Dealer warns gun owners after feds quietly outlaw more weapons
The federal government’s list of banned firearms continues to grow and that’s catching some gun owners and sellers by surprise. 

Halt trade order for Vancouver company that promised COVID-19 PPE
British Columbia's securities regulator has joined its U.S. counterpart in issuing a "halt trade order" on a Vancouver-based technology company because of "questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information in the marketplace" about it. 

B.C. whale watching group thinks humpbacks had been petted by humans
A B.C. whale watching group thinks a close encounter over the weekend may be because the humpbacks are used to being touched by humans. 

School bells will ring again on Monday morning

0520 – Children can return to school part-time, beginning Monday, as in-class instruction resumes.

The Ministry of Education halted kindergarten-Grade 12 classes in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with the province easing restrictions, parents can return children to school part-time. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ restart plan was approved by the ministry Thursday afternoon. No more than 50 per cent of students from kindergarten-Grade 5, and no more than 20 per cent of Grade 6-12 students, will be in attendance at a time.

Superintendent Scott Saywell outlined the plan at this week’s school board meeting. Students in kindergarten to Grade 5 can return to school two days a week, students in Grades 6-12 can attend once a week. FULL STORY

One more day with no new Vancouver Island virus cases

0529 – Vancouver Island has gone 21 days without any new  COVID-19 cases.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix confirmed four new cases of novel coronavirus across province. Three cases were in the Fraser Health region and one in the Vancouver.

Across the province, 228 active cases remain with 34 people hospitalized including the Island Health region’s single remaining active case.

Friday, May 29, 2020

CANADA POST DAY 64 - I placed an online order on March 24. The shipper delivered it to Canada Post on March 26. It has a tracker attached to it, but Canada Post can’t provide any information on where it is or when I can expect it. Their only answer is “please be patient.” More than two months?

IT MAY BE BROWN but water in the French Creek area is safe to drink – a little iron and manganese won't harm you. Residents in the Sandpiper community have been urging the regional district to address the issue for years. Although the water contains iron and manganese that makes it off colour, it is potable. As well, the water system operates under the permit by Island Health. The Regional District is working on a strategy to improve water quality in the French Creek area.

LOOKING TO WORK ON THE FARM? The BC Government is streamlining how job seekers and agriculture employers connect with each other through a new online. The new link will make it easier to learn about jobs and careers in the sector, while providing farmers, seafood businesses and food processors with a one-stop-shop to support hiring operations. The resource B.C. Farm, Fish and Food Job Connector has sector-specific information and support for businesses as they navigate industry changes as a result of COVID-19. COVID-19 has been a challenge for B.C. farmers and the need for labour is at the top of the list.

THE UNITED NATIONS IS BECOMING less and less relative. The UN has decided it's a great time to remove the words “husband” and “wife” from our vernacular. This week, UN bureaucrats found clever new ways to divide and alienate the global population at a time when social-distancing rules have already turned people into strangers. The agency’s crack social media team tweeted out: “Help create a more equal world by using gender-neutral language if you're unsure about someone's gender or are referring to a group.” They attached a list of Trudeau words – you know, humankind, etc. etc. CHECK IT OUT

Missing Bowen Island man may be in Nanaimo

Kevin Golze

0529 – RCMP believe a man missing from Bowen Island may be in Nanaimo.

Kevin Golze, 45, is 5 ft.11, 240 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes and a beard goatee. He also has tattoos on both forearms. There are concerns for his safety and well-being. 

If you have information on the whereabouts of Kevin Golze, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Large cruise ships banned from docking in Canada

0529  Large cruise ships carrying more than 100 passengers are banned from docking in Canadian waters until at least Oct. 1.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said this is an extension of Transport Canada’s initial ban on ships, which was put in place in March. The government barred ships with more than 500 passengers at the start of the pandemic, slated to last until July 1, but Garneau announced the expansion of the ban today.

The minister added that he understands that this will have a big economic impact on the tourism industry and that the government is currently looking at possible options.

 Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports. MORE

May 29

ICBC to restart all knowledge tests Monday, no timeline set for road tests
Anyone looking to book an ICBC knowledge test can do so now, with appointments beginning on June 1 across most office locations. 

Canadian Coast Guard gets infectious disease training for rescues during pandemic
Members of the Canadian Coast Guard have been receiving special training on how to respond to emergency situations while also protecting themselves and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Vancouver Island film industry positioned for leading role in COVID-19 recovery
It will be lights, camera and action again for the film industry on Vancouver Island soon, potentially as early as next month. 

Canada's vulnerability to money laundering similar to other countries
A senior police officer from the United Kingdom with expertise in money laundering says “underground banking” linked to China has become a significant threat in the U.K. and he believes Canada shares some of the same vulnerabilities. 

B.C.'s courthouses assessed for health and safety as in-person hearings to resume
Courthouses and courtrooms around British Columbia are being assessed to ensure they meet health and safety requirements as the province moves to resume in-person hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Body of missing Burnaby man found: police
The body of a Burnaby man who went missing after walking away from hospital on Sunday has been found, police say. 

Video released by RCMP shows someone tripping an elderly woman in Burnaby
Police in Burnaby are searching for a suspect nearly two months after an elderly woman was assaulted in the Metro Vancouver city

Deadliest care home in B.C. gets pandemic response director
A day after Langley Lodge reported that a total of 22 of its residents had died during its second COVID-19 outbreak, making it the deadliest long-term care home in the province during the pandemic, the regional health authority announced it was sending more resources and oversight. 

Chinatown businesses in city-owned mall desperate for rent relief
At Chinatown Plaza, a City of Vancouver-owned mall on Keefer Street, most shops have been closed since March, when COVID-19 forced them to shut their doors

COVID-19 outbreak that infected 120 inmates at Mission Institution declared over
One of British Columbia's worst COVID-19 outbreaks is now over, health officials said Thursday. 

Horgan government gets surge in popularity amidst pandemic: poll 
A new poll suggests Premier John Horgan’s NDP government is enjoying a surge in popularity as health care and COVID-19 become some of the top issues affecting British Columbians.  

Langley toddler recovering after tick bite causes temporary paralysis 
A Langley mother is encouraging parents to check their children for ticks after her young daughter was hospitalized and temporarily paralyzed by a tick bite. 

B.C. short 6,000-8,000 agricultural labourers due to COVID-19: minister
The Ministry of Agriculture announced the launch of a website meant to connect would-be workers with employers.

Nine new virus cases in B.C., none on Vanvcouer Island

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0528 – British Columbia has nine new cases of the novel coronavirus, none on Vancouver Island which has gone since May 8 with no new cases. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 241 active cases across the province with 33 patients in hospital, including one lone case on Vancouver Island. 

She also amended a public health order regulating farmers markets, now allowing the sale of merchandise and non-food items and eating at tables.

The next major milestone for the province comes on Monday, June 1 when schools are due to re-open to students on a voluntary, part-time basis.

Businesses not fully ready to restart operations

0528 – The majority of B.C. businesses are not ready to restart and operate profitably with the gradual easing of restrictions. Given the challenges to restarting operations, more than half of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce members surveyed (55 per cent) expect it will take at least two months to restart. 

The BC Chamber of Commerce has been providing regular "Impact Pulse Checks" on the business community through online surveys. 

The report provides the key findings from the third survey taken by 1,343 business leaders from May 11 to 15. VIEW THE SURVEY REPORT

Regional Transit getting 15 new HandyDart buses

0528 – Nanaimo users can expect improved service when Nanaimo Regional Transit puts 15 new HandyDart buses on the road by the middle of June.

The buses are 26-foot, light-duty Micro Bird G5 buses, which can carry up to 20 seated passengers and with flexibility for up to four mobility aids. The buses are equipped with a lift system at the rear of the vehicle which will allow for safe loading for people with accessibility issues. They feature LED destination signs, with vinyl seating, a white-noise tonal back-up alarm and a rear camera.

The buses will have a temporary vinyl panel installed to protect drivers and riders during the virus pandemic. FULL STORY

Thursday, May 28

PETEY IS BACK ­– The 100-pound gargoyle that was stolen from a Nanaimo home on Tuesday is back home. The statue’s owner, Shavauna Ronan, did not say how the return took place. The initial theft took place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Police said at the time that multiple people were likely involved in the theft.

WELCOME MAT IS OUT ­– Some Vancouver Island communities are ready to open their arms to visitors again. Port Renfrew will likely get busier next week as the community plans to reopen for business after a two-and-a-half month-long shut down because of COVID-19. Tahsis is also opening its hoping to make something out of nothing so far this year. Port McNeill, which was already hit hard by the eight-month-long logging strike, plans are to begin accepting tourists Monday. In Tofino, the district is taking a slower approach to opening and does not wanting a mass of visitors to arrive all at once. Most hotels are booking guests only from Vancouver Island residents.

THE UNITED WAY is handing out money to local agencies to support seniors in the crisis. The grants, up to $5,000 each, come from the federal government’s COVID-19 seniors response fund, with $120,000 locally. Among them are Eden Gardens, Nanaimo Age Friendly Community Society, Nanaimo Community Hospice, People for a Healthy Community on Gabriola Island Society, Salvation Army Nanaimo Ministries and Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre. Deb Schulte, federal Minister of Seniors, said physical distancing that she called “essential” comes with risks of isolating seniors from their communities, adding this funding will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs. MORE

HEY SPORTS FANS don't plan on any National Hockey League playoffs coming to any Canadian city. The 14-days quarantine for anyone coming to training camp and then the playoffs makes that completely impractical. It would not only be the Vancouver Canucks from other cities and countries that would have to hang around for two weeks, but all the playoff teams' players as well. So, unless the rules are changed, don't count on it. For fans it would not be such a big deal anyway since the public would not be allowed to attend in person.

RCMP searching for witnesses after man bearsprayed in Courtenay
The Comox Valley RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man after an alleged assault in Courtenay Tuesday night. 

Island communities prepare to welcome tourists
Several communities on Vancouver Island are getting ready to roll out the welcome mat for tourists once again - even those areas that previously asked visitors to stay away.

Study looks at expanding South Island meat processing
The South Island Prosperity Partnership is funding a six-month feasibility study looking into the business case for a local meat processing plant.

Hazard pay for frontline workers continues at most island businesses
Essential workers across Vancouver Island have been showing up to work since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and many of them are being compensated for adapting to the new environment. 

Steve Nash inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame
National Basketball Association (NBA) star Steve Nash is among this year’s 11 new Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame inductees. 

UBC researchers use technology to speed up COVID-19 diagnoses
A portable ultrasound device developed by a Burnaby company in 2017 is being redeployed as a tool in the fight against COVID-19. 

So-called 'murder hornet' found, squashed by B.C. woman 
A Langley woman took no chances when she saw a giant insect with a huge orange head buzzing loudly around her garden earlier this month

Teacher suspended after telling student to go back to work on rice farms
A former Vancouver high school teacher has had his teaching certificate suspended for three days over a series of inappropriate incidents that included telling an exchange student to "go back to working on rice farms." 

Renters gaining 'upper hand' with incentives, shrinking rents in Metro Vancouver
Where bidding wars and long lineups greeted renters looking for a new home, more options and sinking rates are now the norm — with some landlords and property managers offering hefty incentives for tenants to sign leases. 

Masks won't be required in B.C. schools, Dr. Bonnie Henry says
More students will be returning to schools in B.C. next week, and while many new safety measures are being put in place, requiring masks won't be among them. 

How some B.C. retirement homes are helping families visit seniors safely
People living at five B.C. care facilities have a new way to visit with family, while keeping safe from the spread of COVID-19

B.C. residents accused of helping in Ponzi scheme that raised $15M from investors
Five British Columbia residents are being accused by the provincial securities commission of helping to promote an American pyramid scheme that raised about $15 million from investors around the world. 

Police seek help to find missing psychiatric patient

Coquitlam RCMP are asking for the public’s help to find Ajia Richardson, 36, who was reported missing May 20 from the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital in Coquitlam.

Nanaimo RCMP have confirmed that Richardson lived in Nanaimo and has extended family on the Island, but do not know if he has returned to the area.

One more Covid-19 virus death recorded in B.C.

0527 – One more person has died of COVID-19 in British Columbia, health officials announced Wednesday, bringing the province's death toll from the virus to 162 people.

Health officials also announced nine new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 2,550 infections since the outbreak began.

There have been no new cases of the virus on Vancouver Island since last week, when someone who had already recovered returned home from the Kearl Lake oilsands facility in northern Alberta.

There has been one new COVID-19 related death in the last day in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 162 in British Columbia, Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Wednesday.  MORE

Province extends state of emergency two more weeks

0527 – British Columbia has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks, making it the longest in the province's history.

The state of emergency was issued on March 18 and subsequently extended multiple times because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Premier John Horgan announced the extension in Victoria Wednesday. Prior to the COVID-19 health emergency, the longest period the province had been under a state of emergency was the 2017 wildfire season. MORE

Police station front counter resumes limited services

0527 – The Nanaimo RCMP wishes to announce that front counter staff have resumed processing Police Information Checks (PIC’s). No other services, including civil fingerprinting are being offered at this time. When full services resume, the public will be notified.  

 If you require a PIC, you must call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 to arrange an appointment. Please do not arrive at the detachment without calling ahead.

Harbour Air resumes limited schedule

0527 – Harbour Air has resumed daily flights, in a limited capacity, along some of its main routes.

The company announced resumption of service to Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Sechelt and Salt Spring Island, in an effort to fulfill a vital transportation need to these communities.

“We have seen the impact COVID-19 has had on the communities we service,” said Chad Wetsch, executive vice-president of Harbour Air. “We didn’t want to leave anyone stranded, so we responded quickly, changing how we operate to get people and supplies where they needed to go.”

Although they have resumed flying, the airline said it has adopted strict safety protocols that exceed both Transport Canada and Health Canada’s recommendations.

100-pound gargoyle stolen from Nicol Street home

0527 – Thugs went to a lot of trouble steeling a 100-pound concrete gargoyle from a home of Nicol Street.

Thieves kicked out a wood fence panel that surrounded the owner’s backyard, then made their way to his deck and grabbed Petey. This was not as easy task as Petey solid concrete and two feet tall with a wingspan of almost 2.5 feet.

Police are asking the public to report any information on this theft to the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Court upholds extradition of Huawei executive

0527 – B.C. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes has ruled that a critical test in the extradition case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has been met, and the extradition process will continue.

In her 23-page decision, Holmes indicated that taken as a whole, the Huawei chief financial officer's alleged crimes would also constitute a crime in Canada, a principle known as "double criminality." 

Holmes wrote that U.S. trade sanctions on Iran can be considered as context to understand Meng's alleged fraud, without being an "intrinsic part" of the conduct.

"The effects of the U.S. sanctions may properly play a role in the double criminality analysis as part of the background or context against which the alleged conduct is examined," Holmes wrote. MORE

A look at Huawei Technologies and Meng Wanzhou
Here's a quick look at some facts about Huawei Technologies and its CFO, Meng Wanzhou. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

RACING GRANNY – A Nanaimo grandmother faces $2,800 in penalties after she was ticketed for excessive speeding – 120 kmh in a 70 zone. Penny Hamilton said she was trying to avoid a car that was all over the road and didn’t realize that she’d passed a sign that reduces speed from 90 kmh to 70. Her $368 speeding ticket was just a fraction of the price she has to pay since it qualified as excessive speeding.  Add it all up and her penalties including the ticket, the car being towed, the impoundment fees and a $500 penalty on her license is $2,800. FULL STORY

ISLAND IMAGES – If you enjoy the majestic beauty of Vancouver Island there’s a new Facebook page you can join and view to your heart’s content. And you can share your own photos for the world to enjoy. HERE

FERRIES SEEK AID – B.C. Ferries is losing up to $1.5 million per day as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect ridership. Canadian Ferry Association CEO Serge Buy says BC Ferries, which makes up more than one-third of the sector’s revenues across the country, has seen a staggering 80-per-cent decline in traffic over the past three months. BC Ferries provincially owned under federal tax law. That excludes it from Ottawa’s wage subsidy program, prompting the association to ask a House finance committee hearing Tuesday to recommend that BC Ferries be made eligible for support.

UNBELIEVERS - Half of Canadians believe they’re not getting the whole truth from their governments about COVID-19. A new poll suggests some also believe conspiracy theories about where the novel coronavirus began. The Leger survey found 50 per cent of respondents felt governments were deliberately withholding information. But 68 per cent said they were satisfied with what their local government is doing, 74 per cent with the federal government’s actions and 78 per cent with their provincial government. The misgivings were greatest in Quebec, where 60 per cent believe governments are keeping secrets about the virus. MORE

B.C. health officials announce 11 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths
Health officials in British Columbia are reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the provincial total to 2,541 infections since the coronavirus outbreak began. 10

Save-On-Foods ends hazard pay for staff during COVID-19
The company said Tuesday it has “transitioned to another form of recognition” and is instead offering staff either 10 per cent off their grocery bill or extra points through the company’s More Rewards discount program. 

NHL reaches return-to-play format; Vancouver on list of hub cities
The National Hockey League has announced a comprehensive plan to finish the season and award the Stanley Cup at the conclusion of a 24 team tournament that includes the Vancouver Canucks. 

B.C. won't bend the rules for NHL players, health officials say
Vancouver has been shortlisted as a potential "hub city" for NHL games, but B.C. health officials warn they won't be bending any COVID-19 rules to facilitate the return of the hockey season.

Vancouver Island runners challenged to run length of island for charity
A virtual race dubbed the VanIsle 460 is challenging runners and walkers to travel the length of Vancouver Island in support of the Vancouver Island Crisis Line. 

1,000 meals per week to be delivered to Victoria seniors 
Greater Victoria has one of the highest proportions of seniors in Canada, and many are prone to isolation, malnutrition and loneliness – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Inquest into police shooting death of Nanaimo man postponed
The province has postponed a public inquest into the 2016 police shooting death of a Nanaimo man. 

Neighbours call police on woman who sings to honour frontline workers
Patricia Faith was startled when she was approached by a police officer outside her Vancouver apartment Monday night. He explained she hadn’t broken a law, but her neighbours were unhappy with the way she was honouring frontline workers. 

What to expect from Wednesday's Meng Wanzhou decision
At 11 a.m. Wednesday, a B.C. Supreme Court judge will publish a decision that could have global implications.  

Woman  awarded $55K after B.C. RCMP officer assaulted and battered her
A B.C. woman who uses a walker for mobility has been awarded $55,000 in damages after a judge determined she was "falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned, assaulted and battered" by an RCMP officer in the province's north. 

For the first time in weeks, B.C. reports no new deaths from COVID-19 
Another 11 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in British Columbia, but there have been no additional deaths from the virus. 

A look inside: B.C. teachers setting up physically distanced classrooms 
As students count down the days until they can return to the classroom on June 1, their teachers are already back in schools setting up their physically distanced classrooms. 11

Man arrested for smashing car window while 2 Asian women sat inside 
Police say the man started yelling obscenities at two Asian women who were sitting inside a vehicle before he smashed their car window with a chisel. 

B.C. in the midst of a syphilis outbreak, reminder of testing options
During a COVID-19 news conference Monday, a B.C. health official spoke about a different outbreak underway in the province: syphilis.  

 

6340 McRobb Ave. site for new 66-unit condo development

Council clears hurdle for six-storey north end condo project

 Some neighbours are unhappy, but a six-storey, 66-unit condominium project at 6340 McRobb Ave. got the green light from city council on Monday

Council vote 5-4 to amend a covenant that specified townhouses on the property where the condo is now planned.

That allows Mint Residentials Ltd. to move forward with a development permit. The property already has sufficient zoning density – a potential phase 2 calls for two 20-storey towers.

Neighbours in the area had filed written objections and two spoke at the meeting.

City staff recommended the covenant amendment and it was approved 5-4 with councillors Armstrong, Thorpe, Ben Geselbracht and Erin Hemmens opposed. FULL STORY

Vancouver Island Exhibition cancelled this summer

0526 – Forget get the merry go rounds and the smell of farm animals this summer – the Vancouver Island Exhibition is going on the internet.

This will be the first time in 126 years the fair will not run in its traditional format. The VIEX joins other summer events cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Many elements of the exhibition will be modified to a format featuring concerts, contests and other attractions online, starting as early as next month.

FULL STORY

$10 million allocated for sexual assault support services

Hon Mike Farnworth

0526 – Sexual assault survivors will benefit from $10 million in new funding that has been allocated for  through a three-year program.

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said it is aimed at supporting the delivery of co-ordinated emergency sexual assault response services in regions throughout the province.

The Ending Violence Association of BC will administer the program with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, the Ministry of Finance Gender Equity Office and the Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women.

The new program will help organizations deliver emergency sexual assault response services that are “trauma-informed and culturally appropriate.”

In addition, the services will meet the needs of sexual assault survivors around the province, including the unique needs of Indigenous communities. MORE

Transit fares back in force starting June 1

0526 – The free rides are over, bus users in Nanaimo will have to start paying for the bus again, beginning June 1.

Regional District of Nanaimo Transit has installed temporary vinyl panels on all buses in order to allow for physical distancing between the operator and passengers.

“Many of the measures put in place to respond to COVID-19 will continue and some additional practices and procedures will be implemented to align with B.C.’s Restart Plan. These measures follow guidance provided by the provincial health officer, WorkSafeBC and BC Transit,” the RDN said in its release.

Riders are encouraged to wear face masks while on the bus as well as at bus stops and the RDN will still limit passenger capacity onboard all its buses. MORE

City council approves food service patio expansion

0526 – City council on Monday unanimously approved a temporary patio expansion program for food service businesses in the downtown core.

Businesses will be able to rent public space on roads from the city to expand seating and capacity on raised platforms. Streets involved in the program will not be closed to vehicle traffic. MORE

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

YOU HAVE MAIL – Your 2020 Property Tax notice is in the mail or email. It will be a little different paying your tax bill this year as city buildings may be closed, but the city remains open for business, including taking your money. You can pay through a financial institution, online, telephone or in-person banking. Or you can drop off a cheque in the drop box outside the Service and Resource Centre (411 Dunsmuir Street). You can use the postage-paid return envelope that comes with the tax notice package. Property tax payments are due on July 2. If the virus pandemic is pinching your wallet, the penalty date for late tax payments has been extended to October 1. Don’t forget to claim you homeowner grant and read up on the Provincial Tax Deferment program. You can get all this in the city newsletter at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/CityUpdates.

CAMPING RUSH – The idea of getting away to the wide open spaces after the virtual COVID lockup seems to be even more popular than usual. More than 50,000 camping enthusiasts jammed the provincial campsite reservations system yesterday. The rush was so intense that the system got bogged down as 800 bookings were made in the first half hour. By 11 a.m. more than 27,500 reservations were made, and 10 reservations were being processed every second.

SOLID INVESTMENT – virus pandemic or not, real estate prices continue to climb as 55 single family homes sold in April. The average price for single family homes hit $575,755, a three-per-cent increase over the past year even though there are fewer sales with volume down eight per cent. Three waterfront homes, one lot and 17 condos sold. The average condo sold for $386,567. Lot prices dipped a little with the average sale price at $272,259. Most active region is North Nanaimo which had 10 sales. Highest average price South Jinglepot at $755,000. FULL REPORT HERE courtesy of John Cooper.

MOSQUITOES are a part of summer, the part we hate. That means loading up with expensive chemical repellents that don’t always work, but it doesn’t have to. I am leery of social media medical advice, but something caught my fancy. The idea is to burn coffee grounds. Instead of throwing it away, keep it and dry it, to burn later. Place coffee grounds on aluminum foil and burn it. The smoke keeps mosquitoes away. Hey, worth a try, the price is right.

VIU research shows dramatic drop in air pollution levels

0526 – Restrictions imposed to help save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to less people driving and flying, which has created a rare opportunity for Vancouver Island University (VIU) researchers and students to study the impacts of automobile and plane traffic on the environment.

“It’s impossible to do an experiment where you ask everyone in a neighbourhood or city to cut their driving by 75%, but that experiment is happening now,” says Dr. Erik Krogh, a VIU Chemistry professor and Co-Director of the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories.
FULL STORY

New hydro line being installed for Protection Island

0526 – Protection Island is getting new underwater hydro electricity service. BC Hydro crews are working on the initial phase of installing the line to Protection Island from Maffeo Sutton Park.

Crews are digging in the south end of the park to place the submarine cables to Protection Island’s Pirates Park. The project is slated to be complete by fall.

Louwers said the project is slated to be up and running this fall, who said Protection Island’s current power needs are provided by an aging Newcastle Island cable. MORE

Vancouver Island has had no new virus cases since May 8

0525 – There were no new COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island over the weekend, maintaining the the string of no cases since May 8.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 12 new cases across B.C. in the last 48 hours. It’s the lowest two-day total in B.C. since early March, prior to the height of the pandemic.

The province reported 267 active cases in British Columbia, including the region’s lone active case still in hospital, one of 37 such patients across the province.

DEVELOPING - 'Multiple stabbing' on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
Two people have been taken to hospital with serious injuries after a multiple stabbing incident in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside Tuesday morning 

'Vancouver model' marries dirty money and Chinese capital flight
Metro Vancouver appears to have developed an industry with the “sole purpose” of laundering money and moving cash across borders, a public inquiry heard Monday

Island daycares facing unique COVID-19 challenges
Meagan Brame runs the Saxe Point Daycare in Esquimalt. She says thorough hand washing for toddlers is just one of the requirements that will make running daycares especially challenging in the COVID-19 era. 

Victoria restaurants, cafés raise prices due to COVID-19
Some Victoria eateries are raising their prices or adding flat fees to their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Charges laid in pipeline protest outside Premier Horgan's home
The BC Prosecution Service says it has appointed a special prosecutor to oversee charges against three people in relation to allegations of mischief and trespass at the home of Premier John Horgan. 

Victoria to allow homeless campers to stay at Beacon Hill Park
The City of Victoria has decided not to enforce bylaws that prohibit 24/7 camping in parts of the city, including Beacon Hill Park, until June 25. 

B.C. needs change to keep cyber threats out of its election process
British Columbia's chief electoral officer is recommending the government make several changes to protect the provincial electoral process from foreign interference, misleading advertising and impersonation. 

'Salmon cannon' and fish ladder arrive at Fraser River landslide site
Parts of a pneumatic fish pump dubbed the “salmon cannon” have arrived at the site of a massive landslide along British Columbia's Fraser River, where Fisheries and Oceans Canada expects some salmon to begin arriving soon. 

Like hand sanitizer for your nose: Vancouver scientists test new COVID treatment
A Vancouver company called Sanotize has a $400,000 grant from the National Research Council and is now conducting phase two of a clinical trial. 

Drive-in restrictions mean events likely won't go ahead
B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has restricted outdoor driving events to no more than 50 cars. One event organizer says it would need at least a 150-car capacity to make ends meet

Vancouver to consider allowing alcohol in certain public spaces
Imagine sitting on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery and having a beer with the grilled cheese sandwich you just bought from a food trucks.

Weaver takes aim at former colleagues on Twitter
Andrew Weaver dismissed the idea of a four-day work week, then said he had been prepared to send British Columbians to the polls over LNG development.

Departure Bay ferry service resumes next week

0525 – Ferries service from Departure Bay-to-Horseshoe Bay will resume sailing next Wednesday – on June 3. 

Service will start with four round trips per day to support the movement of goods and people to coastal communities. 

The daily schedule on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route will be: 

From Departure Bay: 10:30 am, 12:50 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:50 pm 
From Horseshoe Bay: 8:30 am, 12:30 pm, 2:50 pm, 6:50 pm 

Safety measures include limiting passenger capacity by 50 per cent to support physical distancing, allowing customers to remain in their vehicles during the sailing on all car decks, enhanced cleaning and screening of travellers. Sailings will operate at a 50-per-cent passenger capacity to support physical distancing.

BC Ferries recommends customers intending to travel on that route consider the following:

  • Due to reduced capacity, make an advanced booking to guarantee your travel. 
  • Arrive at the terminal at least an hour before your sailing. Check-in processing is longer due to the need to screen customers prior to travel. 
  • Foot passengers should arrive well in advance because passenger capacity is limited. 
  • Travel on an alternative route if possible, such as Duke Point-Tsawwassen.
  • Check Current Conditions on bcferries.com or follow @BCFerries on Twitter for the most up-to-date service information. 

Existing bookings made by customers on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route between June 3 and July 1 will be cancelled and the reservation fees refunded as sailing times have changed. BC Ferries will contact these customers directly. Those passengers who wish to book on a new sailing can book online or call 1-888-223-3779.

Monday, May 25, 2020

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – City council will debate the idea of sidewalk cafes at tonight’s council meeting. A staff report going to council tonight recommends a temporary program from June 1 to the end of September. Cafés would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining their sites. If there is no sidewalk space the report suggests possibly utilizing parking spaces. Five businesses have already expressed interest in the program, according to the report.

EDUCATION HAS already taken a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic but it may get much worse. Projected foreign student enrolment is way down – a staff report suggests it could drop to 67 students from 263, resulting in a revenue drop of up to $2.8 million. That type of impact translates into reductions elsewhere in the budget, including the need for fewer teachers. FULL STORY

IN THE DARK – About 1,500 residents in south Nanaimo were in the dark after a semi-trailer flipped just before noon on Old Vicotira Road. The truck crashed into a utility pole. Meanwhile, B.C. Hydro customers in two communities south of us were without power first thing this morning. A power outage in Colwood and Langford affected approximately 2,678 homes and businesses just before 7 a.m. And a traffic accident left about 2,080 customers without electricity along Highway 4, west of Port Alberni. Crews were on both sites the first thing this morning.

FIRE AT NEW HOUSING SITE – A hotel the province just bought for people relocated from Victoria parks reported a minor fire Sunday morning, and all tenants had to be temporariliy evacuated. They were back in their rooms by Sunday evening. The Comfort Inn on Blanshard Street, wass bought by BC Housing accommodate the homeless during COVID-19.

REMEMBER – Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror.

Delta senior found dead after being missing for more than a week
An 88-year-old man who went missing more than a week ago was found dead over the weekend, Delta police say

Cullen commission into money laundering to resume
Money laundering in British Columbia will be under scrutiny again this week when a public inquiry resumes today. 

Fatal crash closes Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford
A fatal single-vehicle collision closed a stretch of Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford Monday morning

6-hour standoff in Chilliwack ends with one man dead
After approximately six hours of attempted negotiations, shots were fired by police, according to B.C.'s Independent Investigations Office. "Advanced Life Support was called, and the man died at the scene."  

Yaletown residents concerned by increased drug use, violence in public spaces
Yaletown residents are voicing concerns about safety in public spaces, especially parks in their neighbourhood.  

Procession honours Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey
A Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatic team member who was killed in a plane crash returned to her hometown to her final resting place.

Comox Valley site of dementia village concept

0525 – The Comox Valley will be the site of the first-ever dementia village expected to begin construction next year.

The new facility, which will bring 156 permanent beds to the Comox Valley, will focus on resident-directed care and social activities for senior dementia patients.

The village will feature amenities like a bistro, art studio, community garden and chapel that residents will be allowed to access freely. FULL STORY

LETTER – Minister of tourism, arts and culture

By Lisa Beare
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

The tourism industry is a major economic engine and job creator for people in British Columbia. Despite the deep and sudden impacts of COVID-19 on the sector, B.C.'s tourism leaders were quick to put the greater good of our communities above anything else. SEE FULL LETTER

LETTER – Powers of the provincial health officer

The editor

I was looking forward to going to the proposed drive-in movie in Nanaimo, however I have learned that Dr. Bonnie Henry has arbitrarily announced a limit of 50 vehicles at any outdoor event. Social media lit up immediately with offers to ‘join us in my car’, to keep the vehicle limit down.

This strikes me as absolutely absurd because being inside a car does not transmit the virus - and her limit on the total number of vehicles strikes everybody as totally stupid.

What powers does Dr. Henry have to just impose these restrictions without scrutiny, debate, or vote by our legislature. I  don’t remember being asked to agree to allow an unelected individual this extreme level of control.

We supported the unprecedented level of lockdown initially, as we thought it seemed a reasonable response to a potential crisis. But now with only 157 deaths in the whole of BC (mostly in long term care facilities) out of a population of 5.1 million - the diktat to limit the number of cars at an outdoor event to 50 just seems ludicrous and will encourage many more people to circumvent all other recommendations as being unnecessary.

Ann Rodgers

EDITOR'S NOTE – Dr. Henry does have that power through the Legislature.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

THE NEWS IS GOOD on the coronavirus front, our island still has only one active case, with no new ones since May 8. The one patient remains in hospital, but the rest is a clean bill of health. The Island Health region has had 127 confirmed cases to date.

COVID SURCHARGE – Get ready for it. Your next purchase could include a new COVID-19 surcharge. Jonathan Alward with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business says his group's members need to pass on some of the added costs at the moment. Figures released Friday showed retailers had their biggest sales plunge on record in March, so many of those that have survived the pandemic are asking customers to help them cover the costs of COVID-19 while their businesses heal. 

PLEASE CLEAN UP – Our Daily Buzz mail has received a number of complaints from readers about the slovenly attitude of some in our midst. In too many cases we are finding rubber gloves and/or face masks and sanitizing wipes discarded on the ground or in shopping carts. C’mon folks, is it too much effort to clean up after yourself? Don’t leave your germs for others to clean up.

Ottawa's help needed so travellers follow quarantine plans, Henry says
British Columbia's top doctor says she strongly encourages the federal government to use its resources to monitor international travellers entering the province instead of providing any help with contact tracing. 

Horgan says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic
British Columbia's premier is paying tribute to nearly 400 South Asians who were forced to leave Canada due to discriminatory policies more than a century ago. 

Surging river prompts state of local emergency in Cache Creek, B.C.
About 175 properties along the Bonaparte River corridor in the village were put back on evacuation alert Thursday. 

Northern B.C. has highest rate of overdose deaths
When B.C. rolled out its new guidelines to provide a safe supply of prescription drugs, Juls Budau thought it would provide a measure of relief and help wean her boyfriend off a potentially toxic drug supply. That hasn't happened.

10 more cases, 2 more deaths from COVID-19 in B.C.
British Columbia's top doctor has announced 10 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the province and two more deaths from the coronavirus. 

The mystery of the lost doll: child's beloved toy turns up on Gulf Island
Lost in West Vancouver in January, Florence the doll was found on tiny Wise Island months later. "To see the smile on the child's face when she saw the doll, that made it worth it." 

Dr. Bonnie Henry t-shirts raise more than $10K for charity
A t-shirt that immortalizes the face of B.C.'s top doctor has raised thousands of dollars for a charity that gives free meals to those in need. 

Surging river prompts state of local emergency in Cache Creek
About 175 properties along the Bonaparte River corridor in the village were put back on evacuation alert Thursday.

Woman airlifted to hospital after vehicles collide

0524 – A woman who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident Saturday afternoon was airlifted to hospital after a crash in the East Wellington area.

The crash involved pickup truck and a sports utility vehicle. 

Nanaimo Seniors Village to remain under administrator

Nanaimo Seniors Village

0524 – Nanaimo Seniors Village has made some progress in meeting provincial standards but will remain under an administrator’s care until the end of July.

Medical Health Officer Dr. Paul Hasselback found significant progress toward meeting legislated standards of care at the facility in key areas including staffing levels, care planning and wound care.

He recommended an extension to ensure the recent successes can be maintained and allow time to transition site administration back to the operator. FULL STORY

Hudson's Bay shutting downtown Edmonton store

Hudson’s Bay, which has been operating since before Canada was a country, is closing its anchor store in Edmonton’s downtown. 

The Western Investor magazine reports the store reopened last week after being closed amid the pandemic, along with all Hudson’s Bay stores, but it will be gradually closed after that.

The Hudson’s Bay site in downtown Winnipeg, once the company’s flagship, has closed down four floors, using just two others for its wares. 

Four other Hudson’s Bay stores in suburban Edmonton will remain open.

Downtown department stores also still operate in Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. The company also has other stores in various shopping centres, including Nanaimo. FULL STORY

Ten more Covid cases and two deaths reported

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0523 – Ten more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. and two more deaths were reported Saturday.

There are 303 active cases, said provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie. There have now been 2,517 people who have tested positive for the virus in B.C., and 157 people have died.

A total of 2,057 people who have tested positive are considered fully recovered, 82 per cent of all cases of the virus in the province, Henry said.

Both deaths over the last 24 hours were residents of a long-term care home in the Fraser Valley, Henry said.

There are 14 long-term care and assisted-living facilities in the province with active outbreaks of the virus, but Henry said there had been no new positive tests among residents of such facilities in the last day.

There are also two ongoing outbreaks at hospital acute-care units, as well as outbreaks at prisons, poultry plants and produce-processing facilities in the Fraser Valley.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

OVER THE CURVE – The Island Health region has only one active case of Coronovirus remaining, compared to more than 200 in Fraser Health and almost 100 in Vancouver Coastal. The Island, Interior and Northern health regions have gotten off relatively lightly, with only one-fifth of the documented cases. The Island has had five deaths while Interior had two and zero in Northern. Meanwhile, the province recorded 18 new cases on Friday, as well as three more deaths all within the Fraser Health region. 

DON’T TEMPT YOGI BEAR – Bears are out, and conservation officers will write $230 tickets to people who don’t properly contain food attractants. B.C. Conservation Officer Sgt. Stuart Bates told NanaimoNewsNOW several recent reports of primarily female bears with their cubs were made in Extension, Cinnabar Valley and South Wellington and Parksville. Sometimes this time of year if the moms and cubs feel comfortable around people they’ll come closer to get away from the big males because it’s the mating season and the males will try to kill the cubs, Bates said. Food attractants include garbage, bird seed, and you have to clean up your fruit.  FULL STORY

EMPRESS GETTING READY ­– If you’re yearning for high tea, the Empress Hotel in downtown Victoria has set a tentative reopening date of late June. Empress management says it will welcome guests for overnight stays and provide limited food services upon reopening including in-room dining as well as seated dining along the hotel’s veranda for lunch and dinner. Only a limited of the 474 guest rooms will be available upon reopening. . MORE

THE WRECKING BALL – The old career resource centre and library services building, in downtown Nanaimo, is facing demolition. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is planning to tear down the decrepit building on the 400 block of Selby Street, on a projected $900,000 budget. The building is unoccupied in a dilapidated state and not useable. There are hazardous materials in the building.  MORE

A SHAKER – There were no reports of damage after a 5.2 magnitude earthquake was reported off Vancouver Island at 6:15 p.m. Friday. It was located about 200 km west north west of Tofino.

HAVE A NICE DAY – Don't excercise your freedom on speech until you've excerised your freedom of thought.

Death toll at Langley Lodge care home climbs to 16
The second outbreak at Langley Lodge has claimed the lives of five more residents since Wednesday. 

COVID-19 outbreak declared at frozen fruit plant in Abbotsford
Five employees at a frozen fruit processing plant in the Fraser Valley have tested positive for COVID-19, Fraser Health announced Friday. 

Credit cards, loyalty programs quietly used in B.C. contact tracing
While a debate is under way about how comfortable people feel about a policy asking them to leave contact information at eateries, one of B.C.’s privacy watchdogs is more concerned about the revelation health officials have been quietly using credit card and loyalty programs to track people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. 

29 anti-Asian hate crimes being investigated by Vancouver police
More than two dozen anti-Asian hate crimes have been investigated in Vancouver recently, compared to just four in the same time period last year, local police say. 

You can reserve a campsite in B.C. starting Monday
Camping enthusiasts will soon be able to book themselves a site for the coming weeks, as reservations open in B.C. on Monday. 

Snow expected on highways between Lower Mainland and Okanagan
Even though summer's less than a month away, highways connecting the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan could see some snow heading into the weekend. 

Port Angeles ferry resumption remains in doubt

0523 – Ferry service between Victoria and Port Angeles has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the future remains in doubt.

 The Blackball Ferry Lines MV Coho has joined the Victoria Clipper at the docks. Clipper had announced plans to return on July 3 but with the border remaining closed those dates for returning to service are likely scuttled, said Clipper Vacations CEO David Gudgel.

There’s no planned date for resumption of service for the MV Coho and co-owner Ryan Burles said he remains optimistic, but is also realistic about its return.

“We’re always looking for some hope, but realistically knowing that maybe at best, you know, the New Year,” Burles said.

Restrictions on non-essential travel will likely be extended to December and potentially beyond, according to Destination BC CEO Marsh Walden.

Federal political parties take a bite of the pie

0522 – The money is there, so they're taking it. Federal Liberals, Conservatives and NDP have all applied for a federal wage subsidy amid a financial crunch caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wage subsidy program is designed to help organizations keep employees on their payroll even if revenue has dropped during COVID-19.

Braedan Caley, the senior director of communications for the Liberals, said his party has met the eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy in recent weeks and “received that support."

“The health and safety of Canadians is always our top priority, and all in-person fundraising events were paused as of early March,” he said Friday.

Cory Hann, the director of communications for the Conservative party, told The Globe and Mail the party has applied for and received the subsidy. 

The NDP’s national director, Anne McGrath, said Friday that the New Democrats applied because the party has experienced a drop in donations during the pandemic. FULL STORY

Many businesses are reopening, at various stages, to get back into full swing. The big challenge for the public is to determine what's epen and what services are available. There's an excellent site that lists all the businesses that have responded and shows the terms and stages of their return to business. Go to THINGS THAT ARE OPEN

Friday, May 22, 2020

 MINIMUM WAGE RISES – If you still have a job there's good news – the minimum wage is going up to $14.60 per hour on June 1, up from $13.85. Labour Mnister Bains said B.C.’s unemployment rates have stayed moderately low compared to other provinces. Putting more money in the pockets of the province’s lowest paid workers will help support their livelihoods as well as encourage spending at businesses.

COVER UP AT COSTCO – Costco is asking that its customers in Canada wear masks or face covering while shopping in their warehouses. U.S. customers have had this rule since the beginning of the month but Canadian stores waiting for the direction from Canadian health officials. That shifted this week when Dr. Theresa Tam said Canadians should wear a mask as an added layer of protection whenever physical distancing is not possible. The use of a mask or face covering should not be a substitute for social distancing. Costco asks customers to please observe appropriate distancing. Dr. Tam said strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum for the spring and summer months.

INSPECTIONS COMING – The inspectors are coming. British Columbia is increasing random safety inspections during the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so to ensure businesses are following health guidelines and distancing requirements, says Labour Minister Harry Bains. During the first month of the pandemic, WorkSafeBC conducted more than 8,700 health and safety inspections, more than twice as many as during the same time period in 2019. About 10,000 inspections were conducted all of last year, and in the first few months of 2020, it’s already more than 15,000. Baines said every business that is reopening, or has already opened, is subject to those inspections because the government wants to make sure there is no second wave.

FISHING FOR NIKES – Patience is a must when you go fishing, but this guy took a lot of time to angle for running shoes from a local business which supports children with neurological differences. RCMP want to identify the man who stole a pair of runners from NUKO between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. on May 15 at 60 Needham St. Video surveillance showed a man using a long stick to fish the runners through a mail slot. After many tries he hooked onto one pair of Nike high-tops and a single running shoe. His face was not visible but he was wearing bright red running shoes. If you have information, contact the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

ENGLISH EVOLUTION – Things keep changing, especially language, when people wanting to show they have a heart put a certain connotation on specific words. You know, homeless and homelessness sound so unkind and maybe even judgmental. Remember how that word changed to “experiencing” homelessness? In San Francisco they’ve gone one further – people with no place to live are referred to as “unhoused”. Forgive me if I become unhinged.

29 anti-Asian hate crimes being investigated by Vancouver police
More than two dozen anti-Asian hate crimes have been investigated in Vancouver recently, compared to just four in the same time period last year, local police say. 

Snow expected on highways between Lower Mainland and Okanagan
Even though summer's less than a month away, highways connecting the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan could see some snow heading into the weekend.  

Know someone who can eat anything and still stay thin? 
A Vancouver-based scientist, together with a team of international researchers, says he's identified a gene mutation that may help some people stay thin. 

Surrey business association against COVID fee
As more businesses reopen their doors, consumers are noticing something new when they pay the bill: a so-called COVID-19 surcharge. 

B.C.'s minimum wage will still increase in June to $14.60
British Columbia businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic will still have to pay a scheduled increase in the minimum wage next month just as many are struggling to get back in operation. 

Steve Nash Fitness World looking to sell business with goal of re-opening
Court filings show the company owes its creditors, which include everyone from the Bank of Montreal to independent contractors, a total of over $35 million

Court orders new trial for Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six murder case
A new trial has been ordered for Jamie Bacon to face murder and conspiracy charges in connection with the infamous Surrey Six slayings. 

RCMP warn of patient missing from forensic psychiatric hospital
Mounties are searching for a man who they say failed to return to a B.C. forensic psychiatric hospital Wednesday. 

Caught on cam: Tornado touches down on Vancouver Island
A small tornado that touched down on Vancouver Island Thursday afternoon was recorded on one resident’s front door camera

Judgment in Huawei executive's case to be released next week
A judgment in the Meng Wanzhou case is expected to be released next week, according to an advisory from the Superior Courts Judiciary. 

New COVID-19 outbreak at Matsqui Institution
Health officials are battling an outbreak of COVID-19 at another federal prison in B.C.'s Fraser Valley. 

Most stranded Canadians have been repatriated

05122 – The massive operation to bring home thousands of Canadians stranded by pandemic travel shutdowns has hit the homestretch: nearly 90 per cent of those who sought government assistance are now back in the country. 
   By the end of the week, close to 40,000 people will have been repatriated from 100 countries around the globe on 356 flights, according to the federal government. FULL STORY

Find COVID federal support for you and your business

To help Canadians and Canadian businesses navigate the number of COVID-19 programs available, the government has developed two tools, one for individuals and one for businesses. They allow users to quickly find programs they may qualify for by answering a few simple questions.

British Columbia business community lacking confidence

0522  British Columbia businesses are not confident that they can open and operate profitably as the province gradually eases COVID-19 restrictions.

A survey of British Columbia businesses found more than 1,300 member businesses of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, the BC Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of British Columbia were asked about the second phase of B.C.'s restart plan.

A statement from the board of trade says 26 per cent expect to open and operate at a profit while 75 per cent worry about attracting customers. FULL STORY

Food services allowed to move outdoors

0522 – Businesses and restaurants can now expand outdoor – the provincial government is expanding service areas to help the hospitality sector recover amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The expansion of outdoor spaces, like patios, will allow for increased physical distancing between patrons and staff as more people transition away from self-isolation.

Attorney General David Eby said speeding up the process will help restaurants, pubs, breweries and other licensees, and give British Columbians more options for safely eating out this Summer, while continuing to follow provincial directions.

The Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch allows permit food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees, such as wineries, breweries and distilleries, to increase their service areas.

FUNDING FOR CHARITIES THROUGH CANADIAN RED CROSS

On May 19, applications went live for the new Emergency Community Support Fund(ECSF) to support charities and non-profit organizations, serving vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
Funding assistance available from the Canadian Red Cross will be distributed through one of two programs: COVID-19 Emergency Support for Community Organizations Granting Program for Non-Profits and COVID-19 Emergency Support to Community Organizations Preventing Disease Transmission Training and Equipment Program.
Access more information about these programs below. 

B.C. Ferries Service Notice, May 21, 6:59 p.m. The Queen of Alberni is  operating 57 minutes behind schedule due to berth congestion at Tsawwassen Terminal.

Skateboard Parks in Nanaimo are reopening on Friday, May 22. Skate parks are located at Bowen Park by the Curling Rink and at May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park. To find out more information about Nanaimo parks, visit our Parks Search. http://ow.ly/L2YR50zM4xE

Non-residents not welcome in provincial park campsites

0521 – If you’re not a British Columbia resident don’t plan on camping in this province – campsites in B.C. provincial parks will be closed to people from outside the province this summer. 

If you already have a reservation, it will be cancelled and you can get a full refund by calling before June 15. Reservations made after next Monday by non-residents will result in immediate cancellation without refund. 

"The health and safety of our BC Parks staff, park operators and visitors continue to be our top priority. We are all in this together," the agency said in the statement. 

The province started reopening some provincial parks ahead of the May long weekend, a month after they were shut over COVID-19 concerns.  

Vancouver Island safest from new virus infections

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0521 – Vancouver Island remains the safest place to be when it comes to  COVID-19. The Island Health region reports no new cases in the area for almost two weeks.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 12 new cases of COVID-19 in the province bringing the total to date to 2,479.

More women are being diagnosed but men appear to get hit harder and need more intensive care – 60 per cent of all hospitalizations and 64 per cent of intensive care patients have been men. Men also make up 62 per cent of all deaths, Dr. Henry said.

She also joined in the call for use of non-medical masks where social distancing is not possible, such as shopping or public transit.

“It is an additional layer that is appropriate in some settings and it’s a way of protecting others from our own droplets and keeping our own droplets from going onto surfaces around us,” Dr. Henry said.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

BEARS REPEATING – Many businesses are reopening, at various stages, to get back into full swing. The big challenge for the public is to determine what's open and what services are available. There's an excellent site that lists all the businesses that have responded and shows the terms and stages of their return to business. Go to THINGS THAT ARE OPEN

COVER UP – It depends on whom you ask on which particular day, but health officials are still in a tizzy about whether we should wear non-medical masks as the new normal. Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, earlier said masks were of no benefit, but now she concedes it’s added protection. “If two people are wearing masks, I’m protecting you and you are protecting me,” she now says. She recommends non-medical masks for public transit, getting groceries, and anytime physical distancing can’t be guaranteed. If you can’t predict whether you can maintain that two-metre distance, then it’s recommended that you wear the non-medical mask, she says. 

BEACH ACCESS CLOSED – If you’re enjoying our spring weather, take note that a couple of beach access points in Lantzville are restricted due to a sewer installation project. The Sebastion Road access will be closed until the end of September. Harper Road is anticipated to be closed during week-day work hours until the end of this month. While the two roads are well used links to Lantzville’s popular beach front, fret not, there are several other public accesses to the shoreline. MORE

DON’T FORGET – Lantzville Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 257, is having a food drive on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in support of Loaves and Fishes. You can just drive by and drop non-perishable items at the Legion’s parking lot, or even cold hard cash. Make cheques payable to Loaves and Fishes. Whether it’s a case or a single can, all donations are appreciated.

 

Victoria Symphony suspends 2020 season, promises to move online
The Victoria Symphony has officially suspended its 2020/21 season due to COVID-19. 

T-Shirt and runners commemorating Terry Fox run sell out in minutes
What started as a way to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope ended within minutes as runners and T-shirts sold out online. 

Terry Fox replica shoe marked up and resold on eBay
Terry Fox's brother says he's not surprised the limited-edition Adidas shoes, themed for the 40th anniversary of Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, were being marked up and resold on eBay. 

Economic reopening brings new challenges 
With more businesses moving out of hibernation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will continue to roll out targeted financial assistance and expand existing commitments, saying that seeing as many Canadian businesses reopen as possible will be key to the overall economy's well-being

Mid-island residents concerned over murky tap water
Residents living in the Sandpiper subdivision of French Creek have been complaining about a persistent problem with their water and are now calling on the Nanaimo Regional District to finally take some action.

Investigation launched 4 months after whistleblower protection enacted
The Office of the Ombudsperson says it has begun one investigation under British Columbia's new whistleblower protection legislation

'Dire Situation': Nearly every Vancouver nightclub in danger of closing for good
The Hospitality Vancouver Association has issued a blunt warning about the future of the city's nightclubs. 

UBC expert says COVID-19 vaccine possible in 12 to 18 months 
A UBC pharmaceutical sciences professor says while it’s difficult to predict an exact timeline, if things go well with clinical trials, we might be looking at a vaccine in 12 to 18 months. 

Provincial and federal officials encourage masks in close quarters
They are becoming a more common sight around Metro Vancouver, and now Canada’s top doctor and B.C.’s premier are both encouraging the use of non-medical masks when it’s not possible to keep your distance from others. 

Royal Columbian Hospital deploys 'germ-killing robots' to fight COVID-19 
The hospital will be using two robots that emit ultraviolet light to kill potentially deadly microorganisms.

Trudeau delivers $75 million to non-reserve Indigenous

PM Justin Trudeau

0521 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled new government pandemic funding for non-reserve Indigenous people with an additional $75 million to organizations that deliver immediate services in urban areas.

This is on top of $15 million that the government had promised in March for services such as counselling, health care, food and supportive housing.

Trudeau said the organizations that will receive this funding will address the critical needs of more than one million Indigenous who live in these areas across the country. He added they need and deserve services that are culturally appropriate. MORE

  • Chamber Speaker Series

    The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Post-COVID Speaker series continues Friday at 10 a.m. with VIU Career and Work Integrated Learning Co-ordinator Jesse Kemp and WorkBC Employment relations Specialist John Tait. Click headline to register

Tainted-drug advisory extended by Island Health

0521 – Island Health has issued a second overdose advisory after tainted drugs continue to take more lives. The first warning came May 11 after a week of rising fatal overdoses. The second advisory was issued May 19. 

“We review alerts every seven days to evaluate the data and determine if the alert needs to be extended. In this case, the data indicated that there remains an elevated risk for overdoses, and that people who use drugs should remain vigilant,” stated the health authority. 

Substance users are encouraged to visit nearby overdose prevention sites, not use alone, carry naloxone and limit the amount of drugs they take at one time. MORE

Warrants out across Canada for violent offender

Jack Kelley is wanted by RCMP

Police across Canada are looking for 34-year-old Jack Lincoln Kelley, a violent offender with connections to Vancouver Island.

Ten Canada wide warrants for Kelley stem from multiple allegations in 2019 of sexual assault, unlawful confinement, and assault causing bodily harm. There are also numerous breach charges relating to court-imposed release conditions.

Investigators in the Lower Mainland recently alerted RCMP detachments that Kelley may be hiding on the Vancouver Island but his whereabouts are unknown. Kelley is a Caucasian male, 6 feet, muscular build, shaved head and has a number of tattoos.

If you see him, do not approach, call 911 or the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, or the nearest police agency to you.

COVID cases rise to 21 after yesterday's decline

0520 – British Columbia recorded 21 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths in the past 24 hours.

There have now been 2,467 people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 149 people have died. There are 317 active cases, including 43 people in hospital, 10 in intensive care.

The new cases were a significant increase from the day before when just two new cases were reported, the lowest number since early March.

"When you're testing and you're looking for cases and you only find two, that's a very positive indication," said Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Wednesday, May 20

THE GOOD AND THE BAD – The good news is we’re not producing as much garbage as we used to. The bad news is we're not producing as much garbage as we used to. That means tipping fee revenue is projected to be $1.1-million less. So, which do we prefer, less garbage and lower revenue?  At the end of April, the RDN solid waste services recorded a four per cent decline in the total waste received compared to the same time last year. Last month alone it was down nine per cent.

VISITING HOURS ARE COMING – visits to long-term care homes might be possible as early as next month, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. She said essential visits might be allowed this summer, but that staff at long-term care facilities need to feel safe and in control of the extra guests. She hopes it will be sometime maybe in June depending on keeping control of the virus in long-term care homes. There will be an assortment of rules depending on how many people there are per room, how large the facility is and that sort of thing, she said. Long-term care homes have had most of the virus-related deaths in the province. 

HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICE workers delivering in-person, front-line care got a raise. More than 250,000 eligible front-line workers will get temporary pandemic pay of about $4 per hour for a 16-week period that dates back to March 15. Workers who are eligible will receive the increased pay directly through their employer and do not need to apply. Anyone from care aids to domestic violence workers, to people working in corrections and others delivering essential addictions and mental health supports will get the pay boost. 

FOOD CORRIDOR – Seven food banks on Vancouver Island will get two thousand bucks each from the Island Corridor Foundation to help those in need during the ongoing pandemic. The money is going to food banks along the island’s rail. “The ICF is a part of many different communities on Vancouver Island and we wanted to provide some assistance where we are able to,” said Andrea Thomas, corridor development manager for the ICF.

OUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT Paul Manly can cover a wide field, and he’ll do just that in a teleconference slated for 6:30 a.m. PST on Thursday. His topic outline covers the COVID pandemic and Canada’s international obligations, like climate, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s feared annexation plans. If you want to participate, the toll-free dial-in number is 1-866-805-7923. Participant passcode: 1044908# Remember, that's 6:30 a.m.

SEATTLE FERRY CLIPPED – Victoria's sea connection to Seattle will remain at the docks until July 3, sailings between the two cities from Friday to Monday only for July. Before returning to its regular schedule on Aug. 1. David Gudgel, CEO of Clipper Vacations, said the business impact continues to be dramatic, but they will be ready to return to service as soon as the border. Clipper stopped sailings in March after B.C. health officials urged U.S. travellers to stay out of B.C. amid the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. About 80 employees on both sides of the border were laid off as a result of the shutdown.

 

Horgan to speak on the province's ongoing pandemic response
B.C.'s premier will answer questions about the province's ongoing pandemic response this afternoon.

B.C. health officials to reveal new cases, any additional deaths
B.C.'s top health officials will outline new test-positive cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday, but it won't be through a live briefing

Annual inflation rate turned negative in April: StatCan
Canada's inflation rate turned negative in April as the economy came to a standstill in the first full month of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 eviction ban keeps landlords out of their home
Restrictions designed to prevent tenants from ending up homeless and becoming vulnerable to COVID-19 appear to have backfired in one case – forcing some landlords out of their home instead. 

More deaths at Langley Care Home during second COVID-19 outbreak
The second COVID-19 outbreak at a Langley care home has claimed more lives, B.C. health officials said Tuesday. 

Metro Vancouver salons, barbershops reopen with new protocols
As B.C. enters Phase 2 of its reopening plan, local salons and barbershops are taking appointments again but with new protocols in place. 

  • Pedestrian injured in Cedar mishap

    0519 A 53-year-old Nanaimo man is in hospital with serious non-life threatening injuries after being struck by a vehicle in Cedar at approximately 10:30 pm on Sunday

    The man was walking with another man when he attempted to cross the roadway and was struck by a northbound pickup, driven by a 37-year-old Cedar resident. The driver remained at the scene and co-operated with investigators. The vehicle involved was seized and will undergo a mechanical inspection and the investigation is continuing.

  • Clipper returns July 3

    Victoria's sea connection to Seattle will remain at the docks until July 3, sailings between the two cities from Friday to Monday only for July. Before returning to its regular schedule on Aug. 1. David Gudgel, CEO of Clipper Vacations, said the business impact continues to be dramatic, but they will be ready to return to service as soon as the border reopens. Clipper stopped sailings in March after B.C. health officials urged U.S. travellers to stay out of B.C. amid the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. About 80 employees were laid off as a result of the shutdown.

Police looking to find mystery man from April incident

The cops are looking for a bad guy in an ongoing investigation and seek public help. It invlves an incident on Saturday April 18 in central Nanaimo, but investigators can't discuss the allegations.

The man was reported to be driving a small green car with white over the wheel wells. There was also white on the back of the vehicle and it may have been seen throughout central Nanaimo. The suspect is Caucasian, 18-20 years old, muscular, buzz cut, large beard and numerous tattoos on his arms and neck.

If anyone has information about him or vehicle, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

No new coronavirus cases on Vancouver Island since May 7

0519 – The Island Health region has not seen a new COVID-19 case since May 7 – approximately 95 per cent – have recovered from the virus.

Of the 126 confirmed cases, 120 people have recovered from the virus and 25 people required hospitalization, one of whom was still in hospital as of May 15. Five people in the Island Health region have died since the pandemic began.

The average age of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in the Island Health region was 70 to 79, followed by 50 to 59. Across B.C., the average age is between 50 and 59 years, followed by the 30-to-39 age group.

Nanaimo gets $360,000 from federal pandemic funding

0519 – The United Way has begun handing out some of the money from Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to provide financial support to charities adapting their frontline services during the pandemic.

Social service agencies in the Nanaimo Regional District got $360,000. In all, the Central and Northern Vancouver Island United Way announced $904,527 for charities providing support during the pandemic.

The ECSF is being administered in collaboration with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.

  • $360,000 for local social service agencies in the Nanaimo Regional District
  • $76,527 for local social service agencies in the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District
  • $153,000 for local social service agencies in the Comox Valley Regional District area.

Only two COVID cases reported in British Columbia

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0519 – The province reported just two new positive COVID-19 tests in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily increase across British Columbia since the first week of March.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were none on Vancouver Island, continuing a stretch of no new cases dating back to May 8.

The province has 325 active cases, 45 patients are hospitalized including one on Vancouver Island. There were three additional, increasing the number of people who have lost their lives to the virus to 146.

Tuesday marked the first day of phase two in B.C.’s Restart Plan, implemented by the provincial government earlier in May.

Many personal service, retail and restaurant businesses were permitted to re-open under strict COVID-19 regulations, inspections and guidance from the province.

Tuesday, May 19

CALL A SENIOR – With the COVID pandemic, many seniors do not get out of their homes, sometimes for weeks on end. Isolation can be their biggest challenge. A phone call not only cheers them up but ensures they are in good health and identifies any needs. There are many, many others doing the same thing – calling seniors. NanaimoNewsNOW has an excellent feature on Nanaimo Lifeline’s Check-In service which involves volunteers making regular phone calls to seniors. About 15 seniors take advantage of the service involving pre-arranged calls from one of several volunteers. Do you know a senior living alone, a family member or neighbour? They would appreciate hearing from you.

MOVE OVER TOILET PAPER – Now there’s a run on Plexiglas as stores prepare to reopen – they need to install protective shields at checkouts. WorkSafeBC has recommended that all salons install a Plexiglas barrier or some sort of barrier between clients, especially when they can’t maintain that physical distance. Greg Robins, executive director of the Western Canada Beauty Council, says lot of members are finding it a challenge to source, install and put in the Plexiglas before the official date. MORE

MOVIE TIME – There’s no longer any question about the value of the film industry to Vancouver Island, so the reopening post-pandemic gets a lot of folks wound up. Jacaqui Kaese hears a lot of chatter – some say the curtain will lift in June or July and others not until fall. The two big island-based productions, Martha’s Vineyard and Chesapeake Shores, remain dependent on Americans travelling and isolating before they can work. A lot of locals have been playing background parts, but that too could be changing. Jacqui says productions are talking of having only full and apprentice union members and small numbers of extras on set. So if you’re looking for that type of work make sure you have your union card.

These are the businesses that are allowed to reopen in B.C. today
After weeks of planning, B.C. is entering its second phase of slowly reopening the economy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Canada-U.S. border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month 
An agreement has been reached between Canada and the United States to keep the border closed to all non-essential travel for another month, CTV News has learned. The extension on the existing agreement means that the border restrictions will stay in place until June 21

Vancouver firefighters start Christmas toy shopping early to help businesses 
Christmas is still seven months away, but that hasn’t stopped Vancouver Firefighter Charities from spending tens of thousands of dollars on children’s toys for their annual "Toys for Kids" campaign. 

B.C. residents share memories of Mount St. Helens eruption, 40 years later
Mount St. Helens is located 96 miles south of Seattle, Wash., but people living in Vancouver and Victoria could hear the massive eruption when the mountain finally blew after two months of earthquakes and small explosions. 

Martial arts studio says reopening not possible under current rules
Gyms, yoga studios, personal trainers and martial arts studios are among the many businesses allowed to reopen Tuesday in regions of B.C. where they were ordered to close. 

Henry announces 21 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C., 1 new death
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 21 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one additional death from the virus in British Columbia Saturday.

Hudson's Bay will reopen its stores on Tuesday at noon

0518 – The Hudson’s Bay Company will reopen it stores in British Columbia on Tuesday with enhanced health and safety protocols and modified services to ensure. HBC has three Vancouver Island stores, including one in Nanaimo.

Company President Iain Nairn said stores will continue to take direction from government and public health experts, and have added measures to ensure a healthy, easy, and comfortable shopping experience. Customers can expect enhanced cleaning practices, directional signage on floors for easy navigation and physical distancing, and adjusted in-store services like beauty sampling.

Stores will be open daily from 12 pm – 5 pm. Every Tuesday, stores will open at 11 am, specifically for frontline workers, seniors and those with disabilities.

Monday, May 18, 2020

BON APPETITE – Hey, the welcome mat comes out from restaurants tomorrow – ­ sort of – but the question remains what that will look like. Guests can finally enjoy a night of fine dining inside restaurants. But it’s not as easy as just opening the door, restaurant owners are working against the clock to make sure they have on the details in place, ensuring employee safety and guests’ comfort. WorkSafe BC has prepared guidelines for what will be needed to allow dine-in guests. Owners must develop a COVID-19 safety plan, which must be posted. Going along with that is two-metre distance between tables, and physical barriers between booths. Guests can only sit in small groups of two to six people and owners have to determine the number of tables that fit into their establishment.

FOOD DRIVE – Lantzville Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 257, is having a food drive on Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in support of Loaves and Fishes. I know that’s almost a week away, but it gives you lots of time to stock up. You can just drive by and drop non-perishable items at the Legion’s parking lot, or make a monetary donation. Make cheques payable to Loaves and Fishes. Whether it’s a case or a single can, all donations are appreciated.

B.C. residents share memories of Mount St. Helens eruption, 40 years later
Mount St. Helens is located 96 miles south of Seattle, Wash., but people living in Vancouver and Victoria could hear the massive eruption when the mountain finally blew after two months of earthquakes and small explosions. 

Young B.C. actor from The Flash died of overdose, mom says
B.C. actor Logan Williams, best known for his role on The Flash TV series, died of a drug overdose after struggling with addiction for years, according to his mother.

Fire damages fishing vessel at French Creek Marina
Quick action from fire crews helped minimize damage to a boat at the French Creek Marina.

Some B.C. businesses won't open Tuesday because they need more time to prepare
Some businesses say they haven't had enough time to implement industry-specific public health protocols that were released by the province on Friday.

B.C. pilots plan memorial flyover for Snowbirds member killed in crash
The flyover will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday and should be visible from most parts of the Lower Mainland. 

Richmond RCMP investigating 15 fires set in garbage bins and hedges
The rash of arsons comes as Vancouver police say they've seen an 83 per cent increase arsons, and the provincial Office of the Fire Commissioner says fire fatalities have risen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abbotsford police respond to group of men fighting, shots fired
Abbotsford police say they detained several people after responding to 911 calls reporting a group of men fighting near Walmsley Ave. and Tracey St. 

Indigenous woman says a sneeze sparked a racist attack in a Vancouver park
Dakota Holmes says a man hit her multiple times in the face, hard enough to make her fall to the ground, while making racist comments about how she should go back to Asia and accusing her of bringing COVID-19 to Canada. 

One member dead in Snowbird crash in Kamloops

Capt Jennifer Casey has been identified as the Snowbirds member who lost her life in the crash

0517 – A Canadian Forces Snowbird plane crashed into a home in a residential neighbourhood in Kamloops late this morning.

A video on social media shows two Snowbirds taking off in Kamloops, with one peeling off and ultimately crashing moments later. The pilot can be seen ejecting from the jet before it crashes.

Area resident Dana Hings told Global News she was at home, watching the Snowbirds when she heard a crash.We thought it broke the sound barrier and we come over onto the deck and we see smoke, so we raced over,” she said.

“I’m a retired nurse, so of course I went into the backyard and there was a woman, she was in the plane and she was deceased. “We worked on her for quite a while, but . . .  she had catastrophic injuries.”

The Royal Canadian Air Force said on social media that they are aware of the incident and that their priority at the moment is to determine the status of their personnel as well as supporting emergency service personnel.

The Snowbirds were scheduled to fly from the region to Vancouver Island for shows, including Nanaimo.

Here's the video on social media

Sunday, May 17, 2020

SHOPPING SPREE – Now that you’ve been holed up at home since early March, and have accumulated tons of money you were no able to spend, will you join the horde of newly-freed citizens when limited retail shopping opens on Tuesday morning? Before you head out into what may turn out to be a stampede, make sure you check what restrictions are in place, and be prepared to distance yourself from other shoppers, and wear a mask.

WHO’S IS IN CHARGE? Governing bodies always want to be in charge, and that’s the issue between the Nanaimo Airport Commission and the Regional District of Nanaimo. The RDN has begun setting up a bunch of regulations on land use and development at the airport but the Airport says not so fast. The airport is under federal jurisdiction, the same as the Port of Nanaimo and new Airport president and CEO Dave Devana says he’s aware of the situation and it will be discussed with his commissioners. FULL STORY

COUGAR AT LARGE – The B.C. Conservation Service is posting warning signs in the Nanaimo River after a cougar attacked dogs on two weekends, killing one of them. Conservation officers searched the area with hounds, but the cougar wasn’t found. conservation officers believe the cougar is on its own and has demonstrated a “lack of ability” to hunt for its own food, so be careful when you go into the wilderness with pets. It’s a good idea to always keep them on a leash. MORE

Sunday, May 17, 2020

COVID-19 outbreak among health-care workers at Abbotsford hospital
The president of the B.C. Nurses' Union has been hearing concerns about difficulties in accessing personal protective equipment from nurses all over the province, including at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Delta police searching for missing senior with dementia
Jarnail Sanghera has been missing since Saturday morning

Richmond RCMP apologize for miscommunication in handling of racist incident
Clara Kan immediately reported a racist encounter to police, and later posted about her disappointment they would not be pursuing the matter. Police now say they did track down the two men, who have apologized. 

Friends organize truck convoy to celebrate birthday of Saanich man with cancer
A convoy of more than 50 large trucks drove through a Saanich neighbourhood on Saturday morning to surprise a man whose life has been drastically altered in the last few weeks. 

Martial arts studio says reopening not possible under current rules
Gyms, yoga studios, personal trainers and martial arts studios are among the many businesses allowed to reopen Tuesday in regions of B.C. where they were ordered to close

101-year-old completes 101 laps for charity
John Hillman reached his fundraising goal last weekend, but his task wasn't quite complete until Saturday, when he finished his final lap around his retirement home courtyard

Health Canada approves first clinical trial for potential COVID-19 vaccine
The Canadian Center for Vaccinology at Dalhousie University will soon begin clinical trials of a potential COVID-19 vaccination, the first to be approved by Health Canada. 

Infant found abandoned in Port Coquitlam neighbourhood
Police blocked off a large portion of a townhouse complex on Ranger Lane in Port Coquitlam for several hours Saturday afternoon. 

  • Bowen Park

  • Nanaimo summertime

  • Merv Unger photos

Departure Bay ferry service set to resume June 3

0515 – Ferry service between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay will resume June 3.

The service was suspended for 60 days, beginning April 4, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Deborah Marshall of B.C. Ferries said that is set to expire June 3.

“This service will see four round trips per day. We are working on the schedule details and will let customers know as soon as it is available. Our agreement with the province for temporary service reductions expires on June 3, but has a clause that we had 30 days to reinstate service. B.C. Ferries has chosen to resume service earlier than anticipated, which is great news for customers.”

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said her department has worked closely with B.C. Ferries to get service back to levels that people need. She said Transport Canada regulations, which limit passenger capacity to 50 per cent, will still be in effect.

“We are still urging everyone to avoid non-essential travel, and not to visit other communities, to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” she said. FULL STORY

21 new coronavirus cases, one more death in B.C.

0516 – Health officials today reported 21 new cases of COVID-19. in B.C., none of them on Vancouver Island. 

One person from the Vancouver Coastal Health region died , bringing the provincial death toll to 141.

Among the 2,428 overall cases in B.C., 1,184 cases have been reported in Fraser Health, 878 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 181 in Interior Health, 126 in Island Health, and 59 in Northern Health.

 There are currently 355 active cases with 49 people in hospital.

May 16, 2020

WOODGROVE CENTRE IS REOPENING on Tuesday, after the long weekend. Safety measures are being put in place to limit transmission of the coronavirus among shoppers and. General Manager Mark Fenwick said health and safety is the mall’s priority and shoppers can expect to see some changes to mall services and access. He said the environment inside the mall will be   different – with doors specified to go in and out to help promote physical distancing.  The food court will be take-out only with no seating and there will be no loan-out baby strollers. MORE

RUB A DUB DUB – No men or women in a tub. The Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society has cancelled it annual bathtub race which was scheduled for late July as part of the Nanaimo Marine Festival weekend. Commodore Greg Peacock said the society felt there was no way to pull it off without a gathering of more than 50 people. 

POSITIVE MESSAGE ­– It appears very few people give a hoot when it comes to social distancing and/or wearing masks. I went shopping at two major retail stores yesterday. At the first one, all the staff wore masks, but only a small number of customers did so and seemed oblivious to social distancing. At the next store, none of the staff wore masks, and very few customers, and social distancing was a totally foreign concept. That got me thinking, what if I create a Tshirt to wear when I go shopping, that says “I’M POSITIVE”. I wonder how much distancing that would create.

DONUTS FOR COPS – a great big thank you to Timmie’s on Wallace Street who have delivered fresh donuts and coffee to employees at the Cop Shop. A social media posting said “Needless to say, they don't last long! There's just something about cops and donuts that go together so well.” Thank you Tim Horton’s.

GREEN PRIDE– Some folks at city hall are sticking out their chests after the city was awarded a silver E3 Fleet Award for environmental responsibility.  The city has a Green Fleet Strategy that includes efficiency targets outlined by E3 Fleet that helps fleet owners continually improve their energy and environmental performance. Council declared a climate emergency a year ago and made environmental responsibility a cornerstone of their strategic plan. Considerations for the award include a review of fleet practices, from idling reduction to operations and maintenance choices, to having the most efficient vehicle for each intended use, driver training and awareness, and an overall green action plan for the fleet.


Victoria restarts free youth transit passes

As BC Transit fares return to Vancouver Island next month, the City of Victoria says that free monthly youth transit passes are back. 

Respiratory therapy students graduate early to start life-saving work
Sixty five students in the respiratory therapist program at Thompson Rivers University were forced to graduate weeks earlier than normal because their skills are needed on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Overdose deaths have risen, sparking calls for decriminalization
A rising death toll from overdoses in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic has advocates, government officials and health-care workers concerned about a public health emergency that has been overshadowed by the response to the virus. 

Loophole in travel restrictions allows Canadians to travel to U.S. 
Border restrictions between the U.S. and Canada that were put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 have also been keeping families apart, but for those in the know, there appears to be a big loophole. 

Inside the labs at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control
For the doctors and researchers who work at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, there has never been a time like this. 

BBB warns of phishing scam impersonating Tim Horton's employee
The Better Business Bureau is warning B.C. small businesses about a new phishing scam involving emails that appear to come from Tim Hortons. 

Cities vote to speed up patio permits as restaurants consider reopening
With B.C. moving to the next phase of its restart plan, some cities are considering helping restaurants speed up the process to create patio space as they look to reopen. 

Education minister acknowledges vulnerability if international enrolment drops
When asked about the possibility of teacher layoffs, Education Minister Rob Fleming said positions will continue to be in demand and the province will work with districts as the pandemic crisis continues. 

Nurse attacked at COVID-19 screening desk in Kelowna General Hospital
A nurse working on the frontlines of B.C.'s COVID-19 response was attacked by an irate patient at Kelowna General Hospital this week, according to her union. 

Man dies in single-vehicle crash near McKay Lake

0516 – A single-vehicle accident south of Nanaimo claimed the life of the driver earlier this week near McKay Lake.

The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the death, but said it is in the early stages of its investigation and did not provide further details. 

The vehicle has been taken for mechanical inspection and at this point – drugs and alcohol have been ruled out as factors in the crash.

Motorist taken to hospital after crash
A motorist was taken to hospital after crashing into a hydro pole and rolling his car Friday evening on Extension Road.

Fire crews on scene said the male driver was able to get out of the car himself, and was then transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with unknown injuries.

Sale of Victoria hotel leaves 100 workers in limbo

0515 – More than 100 employess are concerned about their jobs after the B.C. government bought the Comfort Inn in Victoria to house homeless.

The province announced last Friday that it had bought the hotel at 3020 Blanshard St. to provide about 65 temporary rooms for unsheltered people.

The announcement was a surprise for employees of the hotel, as well as to staff at Redd’s Roadhouse Pub and an adjoining liquor store that are part of the hotel property.

Restaurant manager Ryan Smith said he learned about the purchase from a friend Friday morning. He said there was no word to the staff or warning or heads up.He estimates that about 106 employees at the pub and hotel have been affected by the sale. FULL STORY

Five more deaths reported from COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. had five more deaths and 15 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said four of the deaths were in the Fraser Health region and one in Vancouver Coastal Health bringing the death toll in the province to 140.

That brings the total confirmed cases in B.C. to 2,407.  There are 359 active cases in the province, and 1,908 people who tested positive have recovered.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 878 cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,164 in the Fraser Health region, 126 in the Island Health region, 181 in the Interior Health region and 58 in the Northern Health region.

In total, 15 long-term care or assisted-living facilities and five acute-care units have active cases.

And there is also one new community outbreak with two confirmed cases at the Oppenheimer Group, a fruit and vegetable processing plant in Coquitlam.

Seniors duke it out in dog off-leash wrestling match

0515 – A dispute over a dog without a leash turned into an assault Thursday morning, on a trail near Glen Oaks Drive and Timbercrest Way. 

RCMP is investigating after the 74-year-old victim told police he was walking his dog along the trail when he encountered a man who was also walking a dog. As the two passed each other, the victim told the other man that his dog should be on a leash. The suspect yelled at the victim and punched him in the face, cutting his lip. The two grappled for a short time before the suspect left, swearing and threatening the victim.

While they were wrestling, the suspect told the victim he was 72 years old. The suspect is medium height and build and had a white moustache. The victim does not recall what the suspect was wearing other than green boots and was walking a small shaggy black dog.

If anyone has information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Friday, May 15, 2020

 CONGRATULATIONS GUILLERMO FERRERO. Today is his last day as Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Ladysmith ­– next week he begins as CAO of White Rock. Before his stint in Ladysmith he worked for the City of Nanaimo.

THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA – A baker’s dozen of family films were returned to their owner a decade after they were accidentally sold during a yard sale in Kelowna. Chris Wallinger was at his parents’ house for Mother’s Day and learned of a box of old Super 8 reels. The recordings, with the name Thompson and Victoria addresses, were included in a projector box that his grandmother bought about a dozen years ago at a garage sale. Because of quarantine life now and having extra time, his mother started going through boxes and that jogged her memory. Pictures were posted on social media and from their it took off. FULL STORY

YOU DON’T SEE THAT every day. Two motorcycles tethered together with rope while travelling through Coombs on Hwy. 4 May 5 caught the eye of a police officer. Cpl. Mike Halskov of BC RCMP Traffic Services said the first bike was acting as the gas and the second bike serving as the brake as the two made their way through the relatively rural area. FULL STORY

AMMONITE FALLS will be easier to get to thanks in part to the Island Coastal Economic Trust. The trust is providing $103,000 to improve access for people to the falls at Benson Creek Falls Regional Park. Ammonite Falls can be accessed only by rope along a slippery, muddy bankside, and has excluded visitors with restricted or limited mobility. Improvements will include a staircase, viewing platform and a truss bridge across Benson Creek. Parking will be easer with 40 stalls added to ease congestion at Jameson Road, along with a new access point and signage for hikers, at Weigles RoadThe total project cost is $668,000. MORE

ICBC SAVINGS – The Insurance Corporation of British saved about $158 million in crash claims due to fewer vehicle incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attorney General David Eby released the ICBC report Thursday, which showed how the pandemic has impacted finances. ICBC opened 46 per cent fewer claims between March 15 and May 2 compared to that same period last year. The review was prompted after questions about whether costs were reduced as fewer people were on the roads. MORE

BULLETIN NEEDS A BOOST – Black Press, publishers of the Nanaimo News Bulletin and other community newspapers throughout the province has made its second plea for financial help. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the cash flow of the company so they are asking readers to make one-time or ongoing donations to the company. See Publisher Sean McCue’s article in the News Bulletin.

Province buys Victoria hotel for homeless, affordable housing
The B.C. government has purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel near downtown Victoria to provide approximately 65 temporary rooms for the homeless amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saanichton daycare operator charged with sex crimes against children
The operator of a Victoria-area daycare centre has been charged with multiple sex crimes against children. 

Popular Parksville diner may never reopen due to funding technicality
The Top Spot Diner in Parksville has been closed due to COVID-19 and may never reopen because of a minor loophole in the Canada Emergency Business Assistance (CEBA) program

Many Vancouver Island provincial parks remain closed despite reopening plan
Most provincial parks across British Columbia reopened to the public Thursday after more than a month of closures due to COVID-19. But dozens of popular destinations on and around Vancouver Island, as well as Haida Gwaii, remain closed to visitors

VicPD investigating 3 suspicious fires in James Bay
The Victoria Police Department is asking for witnesses to come forward after three suspicious fires were lit in the James Bay overnight. 

Victoria’s Olympic basketball qualifying tournament moved to 2021
The FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament which was set to take place in Victoria this summer has officially been postponed to 2021, according to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). 

COVID-19 restrictions may aid B.C.'s ongoing battle against invasive mussels
Travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic might help British Columbia defend against invasive mussels, but the province is taking no chances as it works to keep the creatures out of B.C. 

Men much more likely to want economy reopened quickly during crisis
Men are much more likely than women to support a quick reopening of the B.C. economy in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new survey. 

Voluntary, limited return to classrooms set for June 1

Rob Fleming

0515 – It’s back to school – sort of – as parents get the option to retursn children to K-12 classrooms starting June 1.

Premier John Horgan and Education Minister Rob Fleming announced the expansion of in-class education today, emphasizing that it is voluntary. Schools are already holding live teaching for children of essential workers – expanding that will allow the province to “test and gauge as we go,” Horgan said.

The plan is to return to part-time in-class instruction for kindergarten to grade five, and one day a week for grades six to 12. Fleming said existing class groups will be kept together as far as possible, with a combination of online and in-person instruction. MORE

Today's ferries sailings packed since early morning

The B.C. Ferries route between Duke Point and Tsawwassen is already experiencing heavy traffic since the first sailing this morning.

The 10:15 sailing was 88% full by 9 a.m. with the 12:45 p.m. being 83% full and even the 3:15 p.m. at 69%. Additional sailings are at 5:45, 8:15 10:45 p.m. and 5:15 a.m. tomorrow.

Duke Point to Tsawwassen

10:15am

88% full

12:45pm

83% full

3:15pm

69% full

0

0

5:45pm8:15pm10:45pm*5:15am

Non-profits struggling for funding during pandemic

0515 – Non-profit organizations are struggling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A survey conducted by Vantage Point, showed 15-19 per cent of non-profits face closure and 23 per cent feel they may not last more than 6 months under the current crisis conditions.

The data suggests art organizations, sports and recreation groups, environmental organizations and social service agencies may disappear in the next few months. MORE

Student financial aid application process opens today

 The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) online link is open and accepting applications, as of today.

Post-secondary students and recent graduates across Canada can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency website to receive the federal government financial aid. The CESB will provide students with $1,250 per month, from May through August. Students with dependants or a disability, that increases to $2,000 per month.

The CESB targets recent grads, current post-secondary students and individuals starting post-secondary, who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit or any other federal government aid programs. MORE

B.C. to reveal plan for students heading back to class
The B.C. government is expected to reveal new details today about how schools in the province will reopen in the aftermath of COVID-19. 

 

Pacific Coastal Airlines looking toward June 1 return

0515 – Pacific Coastal Airlines will begin a gradual return to scheduled service on June 1 – it will not be “normal operations” as the schedule is reduced with many enhanced safety practices.

A March 25-to-May 3 suspension of flights was later extended to May 31, due to the rapidly deteriorating situation that COVID-19 presented.

The airline says it will help provide air service for essential service workers, move important goods and cargo, provide access for customers who need to travel for various medical appointments (unrelated to COVID-19) and continue to offer remote communities access to the essential service of air travel should they require it. 1-800-663-2872 or email reserve@pacificcoastal.com.

WorkSafe guidelines for business restart are available now

0515 – As the province gets closer to reaching phase 2 of the BC Restart Plan, WorkSafeBC realizes more specific guidelines will need to be provided for businesses to begin reopening. Sector-specific reopening documents and downloadable checklists will be released today.  

During phase 2 businesses can expect many more WorkSafeBC inspections, and while businesses do not need to submit a COVID-19 safety plan in order to reopen, they will be expected to have a written plan and safety policies in place.  

WorkSafeBC has a six-step guide to assist businesses in ensuring workplace risk is minimized.

Worksafe Six Steps to Reopening

Boating enthusiasts urged to stay off the water this weekend

0514 – The great weather we have been experiencing would be great news for sea lover at any time, but not now. Government organizations and B.C. coastal communities are asking boaters to stay off the water during the Victoria Day weekend.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Armed Forces, Canada Border Services Agency, Indigenous Services Canada, Parks Canada, RCMP, Destination BC, the United States Coast Guard and Marine Rescue services will be working together to make sure that waterways are safe and that health guidelines are being met.

The guidelines include physical distancing and avoiding unnecessary trips if possible.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said anyone planning to go camping or visit a smaller B.C. community should bring their own food and supplies, so that they can minimize contact with the community.

The Canadian government will monitor the Canada-U.S. border during the long weekend and throughout spring.

RCMP seek Nanaimo man on Canada-wide warrants

Peter Ludvigson

0514 – Hey Peter Ludvigson, the cops are looking for you with Canada wide warrants for parole violations.

Ludvigson, 45, was recently paroled after serving a majority of his federal sentence for property related offences, which included break and enter, trespass by night and theft. He was to live at a family member’s home in Nanaimo but has not been to that residence since early May. 

Ludvigson is 5 ft.11, 220 pounds with red hair and brown eyes. He has a number of tattoos across his upper torso. One tattoo of note is on his lower right forearm which depicts a devil with flames.

If you have information on the location of Peter Ludvigson, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. 

Three coronavirus deaths reprorted in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix

0514 – The death toll from the coronavirus in the province has climbed to 135 after three more people died, health officials announced Thursday.

Provincial Health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix announced 15 new cases at their daily briefing on Thursday. That brings the total of cases to 2,392 people who have tested positive. There are 58 people in hospital with 12 in intensive care.

One additional case was reported in the Island Health region, bringing the total to 126 active or resolved cases. This is the first time since May 8 that new cases were confirmed on Vancouver Island.

Health officials stressed that non-essential travel should not be happening on the the Victoria Day long weekend. MORE

Dental offices will not reopen on May 19 as expected

0514 – You may just have to endure that tooth ache just a littlke bit longer – Dental offices will not return to regular practice next week.

The BC Dental Association posted a notice on its website after the province announced its restart plan on May 6.  Phase 2 of that plan includes restoration of medical services, dentistry, physiotherapy, registered massage therapy, and chiropractors.

However, WorkSafeBC and public health officials have begun to develop guidelines for various sectors, including dentistry, to extend services – but they have not been published yet, the association said in a statement.

“As we can all appreciate, the guidelines to protect patients, dentists and dental staff need to be aligned based on the epidemiology of managing the risk of COVID-19 in BC.” MORE

Thursday, May 14

TASK FORCE BEGINS WORK – The Mayor’s task force on economic recovery kicks off its work with its first meeting slated for later today. “This is a strange and difficult and challenging time. It is a time like none of us have ever seen before,” Mayor Leonard Krog said at the introduction of the members of the task force. “But we are going to get through this and with this team working on your behalf, on behalf of this whole community, we are going to get through it and we are going to come out the other end in a better place, a more resilient community, a community ready to face the future.” MORE

LOOK UP, WAY UP, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds are passing overhead this weekend. It’s part of a cross-Canada tour for the Snowbirds called “Operation Inspiration,” to salute Canadians doing their part to fight the spread of COVID-19. The team’s nine-jet formation started its journey at the beginning of May, flying over Nova Scotia first, then working its way across the country. The planes are now heading into their tour of Alberta and B.C. over the next few days and possibly Vancouver Island this weekend. FULL STORY

 

Parksville man who spent investors’ money gets 4 1/2 years for fraud
James Warring Minnie, also known as Terry James Minnie, was sentenced in a Victoria court Friday to four and a half years in prison, the BCSC said Wednesday.  

$8.5 million cut to Vancouver police unacceptable: chief
Vancouver's police chief is raising the alarm about what he calls an $8.5 million cut to the city's $340-million police budget this year as the city wrestles with lower revenues in the pandemic. 

ICBC to release data on how pandemic is affecting bottom line
Attorney General David Eby along with ICBC’s CEO will be releasing a report Thursday morning that outlines how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the public insurer’s finances. 

Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, governments to sign agreement
Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and representatives of the federal and provincial governments are expected to sign an agreement today that politicians say will rebuild relationships after anti-pipeline protests and blockades earlier this year. 

First test to detect COVID-19 antibodies approved in Canada
A test that can determine whether someone has been exposed to COVID-19 by detecting antibodies in their blood has now been approved by Health Canada. 11

At least 77 Vancouver seniors targeted in CERB application scheme
More than 75 Vancouver seniors have been targeted in what a local MLA says is a fraudulent scheme to take advantage of the CERB. And the

Suspect in violent bus attack died from apparent overdose: police 
Police say the suspect, a 48-year-old Vancouver man of no fixed address who was well known to police, died of an apparent drug overdose approximately one week after the incident. 

Government extends state of emergency for two weeks

Premier John Horgan

0514 – The province's state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended for two weeks. 

That status will remain in effect, said Premier John Horgan, in spite of the fact that approximately 78 per cent of British Columbians who have contracted COVID-19 are now fully recovered.

This is the fourth time the emergency status has been extended in the province since it was declared on March 18.

"COVID-19 is still here," the premier added. "Over this long weekend, we need to hold the line. We need to avoid all non-essential travel." MORE

Island goes fifth straight day with no new COVID cases

Dr. Bonnie Henry

0514 – The Island Health region has gone for five consecutive days of no new Covid virus cases, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at her Wednesday briefing. The Island Health region hasn’t had a new Covid diagnosis since May 8.

In the rest of B.C., there were 16 new cases and one death. That follows Tuesday’s figure of seven new cases.

Dr. Henry said the hold on indoor religious gatherings will be lifted next week.

“That is a maximum of 50 people still and that is provided that many people can fit into your facility, that may be way too many for many places of worship.”

Dr. Henry said the 50 people maximum order for public gatherings will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Remainder of cruise season in jeopardy

0514 – The remainder of the cruise ship season in Victoria is on the verge of being cancelled as Canada’s borders are closed to non-essential travel until at least May 21.

Ian Robertson, the CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, says only 67 arrivals remain on the schedule and he expects those will soon be cancelled by cruise lines.

During her daily briefing Tuesday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she's been in contact with her counterparts in the Yukon, Alaska and Washington State and said they're all against reopening the cruise season too.

"We are, as you can imagine, not in favour of cruise ships coming into anywhere in British Columbia," Henry said. MORE

First morning ferry cancelled due to mechanical problem

UPDATE – The Queen of Alberni will resume service with the 10:15 am sailing departing Tsawwassen. The ship was experiencing a problem with with the #1 End Controllable Pitch Propeller and required further investigation with sea trials. Sea trials and inspections were completed and the vessel is ready to sail.

0514 – The Queen of Alberni has cancelled its first round trip this morning due to a mechanical difficulty. 

5:15 am departing Tsawwassen cancelled
7:45 am departing Duke Point cancelled 

Customers with reservations should check in at the terminals in accordance with the scheduled sailing times, to maintain their reserved status.

In a news release this morning, B.C. Ferries says the goal is to inform customers as early as possible of any changes to scheduled sailings. The most up-to-date sailing and departure information is available at @BC Ferries on Twitter, and the Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll-free at 1-888-223-3779.

City reopening some recreation facilities on Thursday

Hey, time to melt some of that lockdown fat – the City is reopening some outdoor recreation facilities on Thursday.

Numerous outdoor amenities have been closed since March 16. The City's step-by-step is the first phase of an ongoing plan that follows the BC Restart Plan. 

  • Tennis courts (singles play only unless playing with people from the same household)
  • Pickleball courts (singles play only unless playing with people from the same household)
  • Gated dog off-leash parks
  • Bike park (Steve Smith Park) and pump track at Beban Park

Guideline signage for these areas will be posted at each location to help residents understand how to remain safe and healthy during this pandemic while visiting these outdoor spaces and to ensure, if followed by the public, that they remain open. 

Playgrounds and indoor recreation facilities, such as recreation centres, arenas and pools, as well as City-owned cultural venues remain closed pending reopening guidelines being worked on right now between the Ministry of Health, WorkSafe BC and other professional organizations, including the BC Recreation and Parks Association.

Elective surgeries to resume on Vancouver Island

0513 – Island Health is contacting patients to determine their health status and if they are willing and able to move forward with previosly cancelled surgery.

Elective surgeries are resuming across Vancouver Island with new measures in place to keep patients and staff safe.

“We recognize some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery,” the statement said.

New procedures include virtual assessments, consultations and individual or group education sessions. Before surgery, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference when possible. It's much the same procedure elsewhere in the province. MORE

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

YOU HAVE MAIL – A great way to start the day, your property tax notice will arrive in your mailbox by end of this month. The property tax rate is 4.5 per cent, adding about a hundred bucks to the tax bill for the average residential property. The Special Initiatives Reserve has funding available to help cover a potential shortage or other costs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, if you’re feeling the financial squeeze, you have until Oct. 1 to pay, but if you can pay earlier, by all means do so. The city does need cash flow to provide critical municipal services to the community. The City has been impacted by facility closures and recreation programming cancellations. More than 200 City staff have been impacted, including full-time, part-time, and casual employees as well as contracted persons. For more information on the financial plan, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/budget

DON’T MESS WITH JENNY – Jenny Albright is one tough mamma – she didn’t back down after a young cougar mauled her friend’s chihuahua while they were day-camping with their children. She came face-to-face with the cougar last Saturday on private forest property on a crossing known as Jump Bridge just north of South Forks Rd. NanaimoNewsNOW has the details.

FREE CELL PHONES – Remember Obama phones? Well now the B.C. government is giving thousands of homeless and vulnerable people pre-loaded smartphones amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Social Planning and Research Council (SPARC BC), is providing smartphones to those who cannot afford one. SPARC has about 3,500 phones to be distributed by community organizations that provide services and support for vulnerable people. The phones have wifi access and include a pre-loaded $10 data card. Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said that having access to smartphones provides better access to online resources and services, arranging medication, safe supply delivery, and virtual doctor meetings. A total of 1,000 have been distributed. An additional 2,500 will be provided by SPARC BC, through the Homelessness Community Action Grant program and in partnership with 7-Eleven.

ISLAND HEALTH has approved a three-day drive-in movie theatre experience in Nanaimo after Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stillwell, who is a supporter of the Clippers, stepped in to support the 50-vehicle max drive-in event. The Nanaimo Clippers will hold the event at the end of June. They will screen three movies, Toy Story 4, Onward and Step Brothers. The Clips are also organizing a Social Distance Amazing Race competition, which will be geared toward families. Ten families will compete in different challenges throughout the harbour city on June 7.

JERK OF THE DAY ­– Metro Vancouver Transit Police are seeking help in identifying a suspect accused of attacking a woman, pulling her hair and punching her multiple times on a bus. The man boarded a bus in Vancouver on April 15 and two Asian women got on the bus shortly after. The man directed his attention to them, taunting "Go back to your country.” A woman sitting across from the man asked him to leave the two women alone, and police say this led to the man threatening her. He kicked the victim in the leg, and as she stood up he violently pulled the her hair, pulling so hard that a large clump was pulled from her head. The suspect got off the bus and was last seen running. MORE

Man, 19, arrested after BC Transit bus stolen, crashed
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a BC Transit bus was stolen from Victoria General Hospital and later found crashed near Thetis Lake Regional Park. 

Deployment of Canadian navy submarines on hold due to COVID-19
Two Royal Canadian Navy submarines were due to embark this spring and summer after a nearly two-year deployment gap for the sub fleet. But now, the submarines HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor will remain in port for the foreseeable future as work to return them to sea is put on hold. 

Vancouver Island teachers concerned about returning to class amid COVID-19
With some elementary school-age students on Vancouver island expected to start in-classroom learning again in June, not all teachers are excited about it. 

Elected Wet'suwet'en chiefs call for Indigenous Relations Minister's resignation
The elected leadership of several First Nations split over a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia are calling for the immediate resignation of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett. 

What's open for May long weekend

0512 – The May long weekend often means crowded beaches, backyard barbecues packed with guests, or that first camping trip of the season, but this year will look different.

Kids have been out of school for weeks, adults are out of work or working from home, and there are still many public health restrictions.

While recent modelling has allowed for some of B.C. to reopen, many businesses and services will still be closed this Victoria Day. CTV News Vancouver has gathered a list of some of the attractions that are open, and the restrictions in place to keep visitors safe. CHECK IT OUT.

Vancouver Island goes another day without new COVID cases

0512 – Vancouver Island has gone another day without confirmed COVID-19 cases. The number of cases remains at 125 on the Island, and one person remains in hospital but not in the ICU.

Seven new cases were confirmed across the province, the lowest since March 9, before the province declared a provincial health emergency. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced one death in the Fraser Health region. 

Five people have died on Vancouver Island and approximately 80 per cent of Island cases have recovered.

Police issue warning after incident with replica firearm

0512 – Police have issued an alert about replica weapons that could create a serious situation. Two people were arrested and released Saturday after police with guns drawn arrested a couple and seized an UZI-style pellet gun. The incident took place at approximately 9:30 am on on Mountain Vista Drive.

Police responded to the residential area after a caller reported seeing two adults with what appeared to be a firearm. With limited information available, the incident was treated as high risk. The officers approached the scene with their service pistols drawn. A man and a woman, both 48 years old, were arrested without incident. A search of their vehicle located the firearm which turned out to be a replica UZI-style pellet gun.

They were co-operative and apologetic for their actions, and in the public interest, the pellet gun was seized and will be destroyed. They will not face charges. 

Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP said If this had been a real gun as the officers approached, it would have been virtually impossible to discern if it was a real firearm.This situation could have ended much differently and with a tragic outcome.

Maffeo-Sutton playground will have a 'retired' look to it

A sample of what the park surface could look like.

0512 – The City has received a $27,901 grant under the Tire Stewardship BC's Community Grant Program to develop rubber safety surfacing for the Maffeo-Sutton Park playground.

The Parks department is using recycled scrap tire materials as a new playground surface. This durable, rubber play surface is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, so more children will be able to access the newly-installed equipment, encouraging active play that will help to improve motor, cognitive and social skills.

Phase one of the playground's redevelopment is scheduled to be complete late spring or early summer 2020.

 

VIU fall classes will be a 'hybrid' program for students

Deborah Saucier

0512 – Some of this and some of that – is how the Vancouver Island University learning process will look like for the fall session. The university is making plans for online learning for a significant portion of learning and teaching in fall.

University president Deborah Saucier, in a letter to students May 11, said VIU has decided to move to a “hybrid program delivery model” for the fall semester.

Information posted on VIU’s website notes that courses taught by “alternate delivery” will likely include a mixture of live classes and recorded lectures. MORE

May 12, 2020

INSTENSIVE UPGRADING –The Nanaimo Hospital Foundation has launched an online fundraiser to help provide new medical equipment for the NRGH intensive care unit (ICU). The current unit, which was built in 1970, is one of the oldest in British Columbia and needs to be updated to match the island’s growing population. The ICU has room for 10 ICU beds and is the primary critical care facility for more than 400,000 island residents who live north of the Malahat. MORE

CHARITY COMES FROM WITHIN – Inmates at the Wilkinson Road jail are raising money to help people struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. Chaplain Rev. Canon Kevin Arndt asked the the inmates about raising money and they chose the Rapid Relief Fund giving what they could. The inmates ended up contributing $289.01. It may sound small when you consider the fund has raised nearly $6 million but the CEO of the Victoria Foundation says the gesture speaks volumes. FULL STORY

STRATHCONA PARK LODGE plans to open 13 of its waterfront cottages this weekend to coincide with the re-opening of provincial parks for day use. Lodge Owner Christine Clarke says it’s a hopeful thing that people can start exploring the outdoors again in their local communities on Vancouver Island and people can come and look at the stars, paddle a canoe and jump in the cold lake and go see the waterfalls would be great. SEE MORE

ANOTHER TOURISM INDUSTRY sector that has been hit hard is whale watching – Mother’s Day would normally have been the start of the busy season for operators. Bill Coltart of Big Animal Encounters in Campbell River, says the industry has suffered with hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue loss. Whale watchers are working on a reopening plan they hope to present to BC health officials around June 1. He hopes the plan will be signed off by health officials in mid-June allowing whale watching operators to re-open at that time. MORE

NANAIMO’S TILRAY INC. has been traversing a rocky road lately losing 10 per cent of its workforce through layoffs and then the restructuring of its operations. The cannabis firm, which reports its earnings in U.S. dollars, said Monday that its net loss for the period ended March 31 amounted to $184.1 million or $1.73 per share. MORE

COVID-19 tracker
Updated 7:30 a.m. May 12

B.C                   Cases 2,353                  Deaths 130  +1
Canada             Cases 70,342                Deaths 5,049  +56   
United States     Cases 1,388,283            Deaths 82,018  +223
World                Cases 4,289,084            Deaths 288,346

COVID-19 statistics in all health regions

Horgan makes overtures to bring hockey back to Vancovuer

0512 – Premier John Horgan said he will speak with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman about the possibility of the NHL returning to Vancouver.

In an exclusive interview with CTV News on Monday, Horgan said he would very much like to see it happen if it can be done in a safe way. The provincial government has also been in talks with the ownership group of the Vancouver Canucks.

Horgan said he believes British Columbia could play a huge role in the successful return of the NHL after the league suspended games and practices on March 12 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We believe we can do a pretty good job. We have a lot of hotel capacity," Horgan said. MORE

Woman files complaint claiming inury during arrest

0512 – The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating a complaint by a woman who says she was injured during her arrest in Nanaimo several weeks ago.

According to the IIO, based on information from the RCMP, the complaint originates from an arrest March 18. Police were called to the 2300 block of Rosstown Road to help deal with a woman who was reported to be agitated and uttering threats at the mental health housing there.

Officers apprehended the woman under the Mental Health Act and took her to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. MORE

No new virus cases on Vancouver Island over weekend

0511 – The news continues good for Vancuver Island – there were no new COVID-19 cases reported over the weekend.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reported the figures during her Monday briefing. The number of hospitalizations in the Island Health region from the virus dropped to one from two.

Dr. Henry said 66 people are in hospital in the province, a reduction from 69 during her update on Saturday.  23 new cases were reported over the weekend, but said there were no new community based outbreaks.

Ferries doesn't want you to travel over Victoria Day

0511 – BC Ferries advises customers that safety restrictions are still in effect for the Victoria Day long weekend. 

Ferries wants people to refrain from travelling, but people who need to travel, will note additional measures to keep customers and crew healthy and safe including limiting passenger capacity by 50 per cent to support physical distancing, allowing customers to remain in their vehicles during the sailing and enhanced cleaning. 

All food and retail outlets and vending machines at terminals and on board ships are. 

Transport Canada encourages customers to wear face coverings during travel if they cannot maintain physical distance from others while on board. In addition, for any route longer than 30 minutes, BC Ferries will continue screening all customers for COVID- 19 symptoms and restrict travel to any customer who does not meet the screening requirements. 

Ferries encourages customers to monitor the website for any additional changes to service. For full details on service changes and the measures BC Ferries is taking in response to COVID-19, visit bcferries.com

Duke Point ferry running behind schedule

Updated 6:15 p.m.
The Coastal Inspiration is operating 30 minutes behind schedule after it took extra time to safely load the vehicles on the sailings.

B.C. Ferries request that customers with reservations check in at the terminals in accordance with the scheduled sailing times to maintain your reserved status.

For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit the Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

Monday, May 11

HOW HOT WAS IT? – The balmy weekend brought record-breaking heat to communities across the island, says Environment Canada. Record-high temperatures were reported at 10 stations on the island, ranging from Port Hardy to Courtney to Victoria. In some cases, the temperatures broke records that had stood for more than 50 years. In the Comox and Courtenay areas, temperatures reached 26.6 C, breaking the previous record of 25.6 C set in 1968.The temperature reached 23.6 C in Port Hardy Sunday, surpassing the previous record of 21.2 C set in 1968. 

THAT TRIP TO THE CLIP JOINT may cost you more once salons are open again. A “COVID-19 fee” might become necessary for personal services like hair salons to operate safely during the pandemic. “We are working on a huge plan on how we’re going to make sure everybody is safe,” said Jackie West, of Regal Grooming Lounge in Vancoiuver. The province has unveiled phase one of its reopening plan, which instructed barber shops and salons that they could start operating again in the middle of this month.

CRUISE SAGA FINALLY ENDS – Dozens of Canadian cruise ship workers have arrived back on home soil after more than a month at sea, isolated to their cabins. The group was onboard the Emerald Princess which has been unable to dock for more than a month. Passengers were taken off in March, but the staff were left behind. At first they were allowed to use the guest amenities. From April 1 until yesterday, they were in self isolation, restricted to their cabins. Global Affairs Canada says 49 Canadian citizens and five permanent residents who were crew members on the Emerald Princess were flown from Miami to Toronto Saturday morning. They now have to isolate for 14 days.

THE MESSAGE IS NOT SINKING IN – With fantastic weather, crowds congregated in parks and beaches but beach weather presents special challenges with physical distancing guidelines still in place. CTV News cameras saw several groups gathered close together at English Bay, including a group of six teens sitting side by side who confirmed they do not live in the same household. On of the youths said “If people were really worried about it, they’d stay home. People are going out in public and freaking out that people aren’t social distancing but if you’re that worried about it then stay home yourself."

THE OFFICE OF THE Human Rights Commissioner has a call out for a new job at its office. “To align with our decolonizing approach, we're excited to offer this position to Indigenous applicants only. Are you, or do you know, a fantastic Indigenous engagement specialist? Consider joining our team as the Manager of Engagement. Learn more here: bchumanrights.ca/careers/ (The deadline is extended until May 13, at 9 a.m.)

Road construction limits traffic on Victoria Road

0511 – Resurfacing work is taking place on Victoria Road May 11-25 as follows:

  • • Milling, grading and repaving from Selby St to Cavan St - May 11-15, 2020
  • • Milling, grading and repaving from Milton St to Selby St – May 18-22, 2020
  • • Milling, grading and repaving from Farquhar St to Milton St – May 25-29, 2020

During working hours through traffic will be limited to emergency vehicles and public transit. Local traffic may be allowed to enter and exit each zone but should expect delays. Please exercise caution, obey all signage placed for your safety and follow the directions of the flagpersons on duty.

Victoria Crescent group wants policing office kept open

0511 – Not so fast – city council decided last week to close the community policing office on Victoria Crescent and that does not sit well with Victoria Crescent Association members. They want the city to reconsider the decision because they say helps keep the area safer.

Shutting down the office would save the city $40,000 per year and consolidate bylaw and parking services at the service and resource centre on Dunsmuir Street.

Kevan Shaw, president of the association, said business and property owners and residents feel betrayed and disheartened at the decision, especially during a time when public process is limited due to physical distancing measures. MORE

Ottawa rolling out financial aid to big businesses

Prime Minister Trudeau

0511 - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will step out of his money tree orchard this morning to roll out a new multimillion-dollar loan program to give financing access to large employers impacted by COVID-19 and the economic downturn it’s prompted.

The plan will allow big companies to access additional money to keep their operations going, retain workers on payroll, and avoid bankruptcy.

The federal government is offering companies across most sectors — including the airline industry — access to loans of up to $60 million per company, and guarantees of up to $80 million. FULL STORY

Experts call for more robust virus testing ahead

0511 - Infectious disease experts say there will be recurring outbreaks of COVID-19 without more robust testing, contact tracing and quarantine services across the country.

Testing has been increased in provinces hardest hit by the pandemic, but A Canadian Press analysis of provincial data over a seven-week period starting in late March shows the provinces with the highest number of infections - British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia - each faced their own unique epidemics, with different positivity and mortality rates.

Those provinces also took different approaches to determining whom to test and when, decisions that were at least partly influenced by their ability to scale up lab capacity as well as the resources available to do tests. FULL STORY

WestJet extends Nanaimo-Vancouver suspension

0511 – Cancellation of the WestJet's Nanaimo-Vancouver schedule will last longer than first announced.  WestJet announced the twice-daily Nanaimo-to-Vancouver flight won’t be back in the air until July 4. It was previously suspended until early June.

It’s part of a larger grounding of flights as WestJet says it will extend the suspension of thousands of weekly flights on its domestic schedule. Besides the Nanaimo flights, the service reduction includes Vancouver-Comox, Kelowna-Victoria, Edmonton-Victoria, Edmonton-Comox and Toronto-Victoria. At the same time, WestJet  is also extending its temporary trans-border and international route suspensions through to June 25.

May 10

FERRY RUNNING LATE - (Posted 7:38 p.m.) The Coastal Inspiration is operating 47 minutes behind schedule. It took extra time to safely load the vehicles on the sailings. Customers with reservations should check in at the terminals in accordance with the scheduled sailing times to maintain their reserved status. See the Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

At least one dead in fire at Saanich marina – One person has died and at least two others were injured after an explosion at a Saanich marina Sunday afternoon. The BC Coroners Service confirmed to CTV News Vancouver Island that it is investigating a death in the area of North Saanich Marina, where the incident occurred. A spokesperson for BC Emergency Health Services said six ambulances were called to the marina shortly before 4 p.m. for reports of an explosion. MORE

 

Sunday, May 10

😀 HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 😀

Farmers markets began opening today amid tight restrictions. The Cedar Farmers Market begins today. and market manager Kate Poirier says the market will be rather small, only about 25 vendors, down from the usual 85. There is a lot of selection, however. 

Army and Navy announces permanent shutdown – Army and Navy stores will not reopen again after the virus pandemic shutdown ends. Owner Jacqui Cohen said she made the decision to permanently close after they were forced to shut all five of their stores and temporarily layoff their staff. Cohen noted that at this time last year they were celebrating the centenary of Army & Navy — a company her grandfather started in 1919 — and they were looking forward to the years ahead. Army & Navy has operated in eight communities in Western Canada for 101 years.

A Special Council Meeting will be held tomorrow, beginning at 12 p m. Topping the agenda is the final adoption of the financial plan and the adoption of the tax rate for 2020. To view the agenda visit http://ow.ly/Tj0W50zAhdE. Check out the Council Meeting Summaries page to read a brief recap of decisions made at past Council meetings: www.nanaimo.ca/goto/councilsummaries.

May is Invasive Plants Awareness Month – One of Nanaimo's most wanted is Japanese Knotweed. To learn more about locally invasive plants and how you can help stop the invasion, go to http://www.nanaimo.ca/goto/invasives. If you remove any invasive plants, please bring them to the City's free drop zone on Saturday, May 30 from 10 am to 2 pm at the upper picnic shelter in Bowen Park.

Two more people have died from COVID-19 – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Saturday both were residents of long-term care homes. Their deaths bring the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in B.C. to 129. Henry also announced 15 new confirmed cases of the virus in the province, bringing the total number of positive tests since the pandemic began to 2,330. Many of those have been associated with outbreaks at long-term care homes and hospital acute care facilities.

B.C. Ferries adding more sailings for Victoria route – BC Ferries is adding several daily sailings to the Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route May 15, when two more sailings will run from Monday through Friday. One will depart from Swartz Bay at 11 a.m., and depart from Tsawwassen at 1 p.m. Effective May 16, two morning sailings will be added for all seven days of the week. The sailings include a 7 a.m. departure from Swartz Bay and a 9 a.m. departure from Tsawwassen. And starting May 24, two new sailings will be introduced for Sundays – a 3 p.m. departure from Tsawwassen and a 5 p.m. from Swartz Bay.

101-year-old walker surpasses $101,000 fund raising goal – By now just about everybody has been following the story of 101-year-old John Hillman, the Second World War veteran who has been walking laps around the courtyard of his Oak Bay retirement home in hopes of raising $101,000 for charity. Well, he has - surpassed his goal. As of Saturday afternoon, Hillman's fundraising page indicated he has raised more than $111,000 for Canada's Save The Children charity. He told CTV News Vancouver Island that he had underestimated the amount of support his effort would receive.

Farm workers scarce since federal benefit delivers ‘free money’ – Many people foresaw this happening. Berries are ripening and the prime time to pick them is just around the corner, but Khushvinder Singh Maan is struggling to hire enough help to ensure the his crop is picked in time. When the pandemic hit, he lost that international labour, and now looking for local help has become challenging. But what he's been finding lately is those collecting the Canada Emergency Response Benefit would “rather stay at home than to brave the weather and hardship of coming and working in the field.”

No new cases of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island

0509 – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry had good news for Vancouver Island during her weekend update – there were no new cases of COVID-19 on the Island in the past day. There are 2,330 total cases in B.C. with 1,659 people fully recovered. The province also reported two more deaths, bringing the total to 129 people who have lost their lives due to the coronavirus. The number of active or resolved cases remains at 125 across the Island Health region. FULL REPORT

Two injured in ATV accident in Cassidy area

0509 – Two people were injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident late this morning in a remote area near Nanaimo. Cranberry fire chief Ron Gueulette said Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department and B.C. Ambulance Service responded to the McKay Lake area, near Cassidy. MORE

Saturday, May 9, 2020

CAN YOU BEAT THAT? – If you’re up for a little treasure hunt, a summer tradition is back this year, with a twist. The Golden Bucket Contest is a scavenger hunt to get people out exploring city parks and trails with prizes each week. But, this year, the bucket is a sticker hidden around city parks, with the words “golden bucket” and QR code. Scan the QR code with your phone, and you’ll be directed to the city’s website where you can answer a question about the park. Then you will be entered into a weekly draw as well as the grand prize, which is a kayak trip for five from Coastal Expression Adventures. 

WATER SAFETY – This summer-like weather gets people thinking about water – swimming, boating, fishing etc. That means reminding people to be prepared and safe around any body of water. Ashley Rowe, aquatics co-ordinator for the City, says Nanaimo is surrounded by water, with lakes, rivers and the ocean, and she reminds residents to follow all of the recommendations while near or in bodies of water to prevent drowning and to stay safe as the weather warms up. The city’s recommendations

ISLAND GOOD – COVID-19 is teaching us that local goods production is vital to our economy. And, we have seen Island Good businesses rise to the challenge with retailers adapting quickly to keep us safe; food processors and other Island Good businesses collaborating to support local food banks; and creating online shopping to provide fresh, local goods. Find a wide range of Island products in these Island Good stores.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Regional District pushing for Island-wide transportation plan
The RDN is taking the lead on the idea of creating a transportation plan encompassing all of Vancouver Island. A collective of local governments has responded to a Regional District of Nanaimo request that could lead to development of an Island-wide transportation plan.

COVID-19 response includes loaning 2,000 Chromebooks
SD68 figuring out learning-at-home and technology needs through June and potentially into fall. With schools closed for more than two months due to coronavirus, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ students have relied on technology for learning continuity, say school district staff.

Some tenants taking advantage of eviction ban
Landlords who are missing thousands of dollars in rent or who find their properties damaged or strewn with garbage are concerned some tenants are taking advantage of the eviction ban put in place during the pandemic

B.C. records 29 new cases, one more death from COVID-19 
B.C. recorded 29 more cases of COVID-19 and one more death over the last 24 hours, provincial health officials announced Friday.

Legal landscape murky for B.C. workers and employers during pandemic
Labour laws haven’t changed in our province, but legal experts are already urging B.C. employers to be flexible and reasonable — while warning employees they may not be legally protected if they refuse work during the pandemic. 

B.C. workers, employers struggle with thorny reopening issues
As British Columbians digest the implications in the steps the premier announced in reopening the province's economy, some residents have come to the conclusion they’re too much too soon.  

Farmer struggling to hire workers who are collecting CERB
Berries are ripening and the prime time to pick them is just around the corner, but Khushvinder Singh Maan is struggling to hire enough help to ensure the his crop is picked in time. 

Spike in mail theft could be linked to thieves targeting CERB cheques
Police in Delta say the city has experienced a significant spike in mail thefts over the last two months and that thieves could be targeting government relief cheques. 

Regional District pushes for Island transportation plan

0509  The Regional District of Nanaimo is pushing for a transportation plan encompassing all of Vancouver Island. The RDN wrote the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities in early February, seeking formation of a committee that would work with B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation to develop a Vancouver Island transportation master plan. AVICC subsequently passed a motion directing its staff to work with the RDN to draft terms of reference and a framework for a committee to work with the ministry to prepare the plan. MORE

Fewer virus cases on Vancouver Island than earlier reported

0509 – There are 125 Active cases of Covid virus on Vancouver Island, two fewer than previously reported. The ministry of health said two cases were removed from the Vancouver Island total due to a data error. Across B.C. 29 new cases and one fatality were announced. There are 2,315 total cases in B.C. and 127 people have lost their lives to the respiratory virus. 

Tent dwellers get an extension on their evictions

0509 – Tent encampments that have sprung up in Victoria's Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue during the novel coronavirus pandemic have been given an extension to May 20.

Approximately 250 homeless people remain in Topaz Park and along Pandora Avenue. Social Development Minister Shane Simpson said Friday, adding that he's confident the government will find more than enough accommodation for them.Simpson said BC Housing and partnering organizations needed more time to move those people by the May 9 deadline.

"We were happy to say, 'Take a few more days, we're good with that,'" he added. "It is our desire that we get this right, that we do it right." MORE

Robbery victim with serious stab wound walks to hospital

0508 - A 20-year-old Nanaimo man walked to hospital Thursday night with an apparent stab wound and other non-life threatening injuries he suffered in a robbery attempt.

Police said the victim had numerous cuts and bruises and an apparent stab wound. He told investigators he was walking roadside, when he was approached by an unknown man riding a BMX bike. The suspect with a knife demanded personal items and a struggle ensued and both fell to the ground. He said he received the injury while fighting with the suspect, who fled on his bike. The victim, who had no phone, walked to the hospital.

The suspect is medium build, dressed in black and wore a bandana over the lower portion of his face. Investigators recognize details are limited, however, this appears to be a significant incident that requires further investigation, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
If anyone has information on this incident, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. 

Friday, May 8, 2020

BRUCE WILLIAMS is the new CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce where he’ll direct the chamber’s efforts in kick-starting local businesses. It comes at a time that B.C. prepares to reopen parts of its economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bruce made his mark on Vancouver Island when he was host of the New VI when it telecast daily from a studio in Nanaimo. He has since been involved as interim CEO of the South Island Prosperity Partnership, co-owner of Spark Strategic Strategy Group. He’s also pitched in with countless charitable causes. FULL STORY

A DATE TO REMEMBER – May 8 is an important date on the calendar for Tony Pearson. Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe for Canadian troops, May 8, 1945, after a nearly year-long bloody slog through France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Now 95 years old, Tony fought with the South Saskatchewan Regiment, my old unit, in the Battle of the Scheldt in Antwerp, Belgium. Chris Bush has a great interview in the News Bulletin about Tony and Canadian troops there and then. CHECK IT OUT HERE.

CHEMAINUS SEASON CANCELLED - The Chemainus Theatre Festival season has been cancelled, delivering a devastating for the community’s tourism-based economy. The trickle-down effect from those employed at the theatre to performers who will miss paycheques is enormous. A joint statement from managing director Randy Huber and artistic director Mark DuMez indicated the Chemainus Theatre Festival has been working hard to assess the best possible plan to move forward through 2020 and beyond. MORE

TRIMMING THE BUDGET – Lantzville council adopted staff suggestions for spending cuts to allow them to cut three percentage points from the budget. It will now mean a 20-per-cent increase as opposed to the earlier 23 per cent. They unanimously approved COVID-19-related budget savings found by staff, such as professional development opportunities, conferences and support for some community events, totalling $56,850. Council had earlier looked at dipping into its reserves but that was rejected. FULL STORY

GAS PAINS  – The mercy was short lived, we knew it couldn’t last, and if you’ve done any driving around town the price of gas is inching up day by day. Prices in Nanaimo sank as low as 85 cents per litre for several weeks at the end of March and through much of April. The price began rising as plans were unveiled about restarting the economy and creating a new normal. If you hurry you might still be able to fill your tank before it rises any higher.

FOOD DRIVE – Lantzville Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 257, is having a food drive on Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in support of Loaves and Fishes. I know that’s two weeks away, but it five you lots of time to stock up. You can just drive by and drop non-perishable items at the Legion’s parking lot, or a monetary donation. Make cheques payable to Loaves and Fishes. Whether it’s a case or a single can, all donations are appreciated.

West Coast Baseball League cancels 2020 schedule

0508 - The Victoria HarbourCats baseball club and four other teams in the West Coast League have cancelled their 2020 season due to health directives.

The HarbourCats join the Bend Elks, Kelowna Falcons, Bellingham Bells and Corvallis Knights in being unable to participate in 2020 due to health directives.

When the 2021 season gets under way they will be joined by the yet-to-be-named expansion Nanaimo team. Information about the HarbourCats is available at harbourcats.com.

May 8, 2020

Spot prawn season has been delayed by one month
Seafood lovers looking to get their hands on wild B.C. spot prawns will have to wait a few more weeks because of the pandemic. 

More ferry sailings between Vancouver and Victoria coming soon
BC Ferries says it's increasing service levels on a key route to ensure the continued movement of essential goods to Vancouver Island. 

Tough decisions ahead as British Columbians consider bigger social bubbles
When the province announced how it would begin easing public health orders that shuttered businesses and services, they also urged British Columbians to consider a small number of people to reintroduce into their lives — and that led to some confusion.  

Face masks will be required to shop at some supermarkets
Customers of a supermarket chain headquartered in B.C. will soon have to wear face coverings while shopping

Many B.C. restaurants worried they don’t have the money to reopen
A national advocacy group for the restaurant industry is calling on the province to help B.C. restaurants reopen to diners and says many are concerned they don’t have the money to do so following months of little to no revenue

Most provincial parks in B.C. will reopen in time for long weekend
Most provincial parks in British Columbia will reopen to the public on May 14 under the province's COVID-19 restart plan.

Vancouver Island fares best in unemployment figures

0508 – Job loss figures continue to soar as the closure of non-essential services due to COVID-19 temporarily shut down many businesses. 

The only silver lining was the rate on Vancouver Island is small compared to the province where the rate grew to 11.5 per cent in April, from 7.2 per cent March. On Vancouver Island, Victoria saw the rate climb to 7.2 per cent from 4.6. 

B.C. Finance Minister Carole James was scheduled to address the unemployment figures this morning. B.C. lost 264,000 jobs in April, up from 132,000 in March.

Nationally, nearly two million Canadians lost their jobs in April, following a drop of more than a million in March. Statistics Canada reports the job loss is a near-record high as unemployment soared to 13 per cent as the full force of the pandemic hit. It was 7.8 per cent in March.

Economists had expected the loss of four million jobs and an unemployment rate of 18 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. MORE

ICBC and police cracking down on speeding drivers

0508 – Just because there are fewer vehicles on the road does not give you the freedom to put the pedal to the metal. ICBC's High-Risk Driving Campaign is on for the rest of May, targeting speeders and aggressive driving along with distracted and impaired drivers.

Saanich police and ICBC teamed up on the Pat Bay Highway Thursday to get the message out to drivers to slow down. Const. Markus Anastasiades said police have impounded 14 cars in the past seven days – two a day.  

On Wednesday, Saanich police pulled over a motorcyclist on the Pat Bay Highway, doing 131 kmh in an 80 kmh zone, and the driver didn’t have a licence. MORE

Drug overdose deaths highest in the past year at 113

0508 -There were 113 deaths from illicit drug overdoses in March, a 61-per-cent increase over February.

Three quarters of those deaths were men, and the Northern Health authority has the highest rate of overdose deaths. So far this year, the highest numbers are in Vancouver, Surrey, and Victoria.

The Coroners Service said 57 per cent of the illicit drug toxicity deaths this year occurred inside in private residences and 29 per cent in social and supportive housing, SROs, shelters, and hotels and other indoor locations. Only nine per cent occurred in vehicles, on sidewalks, streets, and parks. MORE

One step at a time on the road to normal, pleads Dr. Henry

Dr. Henry with Health Minister Adrian Dix

0507 -  Take it slow, steady and measured as we adapt to the re-opening plan announced on Wednesday. That's Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry's message for British Columbians.

“Not everyone will be ready to increase their social connection or restart their businesses at the same time. We don’t expect that on one day all of a sudden everything will be open and back to normal.”

Guidelines will be presented in the coming days to help businesses meet gradually lighter restrictions the province will have in place.

Phase two of the plan is expected to begin following the May long weekend, with many businesses granted the opportunity to re-open.

Two new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Vancouver Island. Dr. Henry said 126 active or resolved cases are now in the Island Health region. The increase is among 33 new positive tests across B.C. for a province-wide total of 2,288.

Two people remain in hospital on Vancouver Island, among 76 hospitalizations across B.C.

Catch-up of cancelled surgeries could take two years

Health Minister Adrian Dix with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

0507  A catch-up program for cancelled surgeries could take up to two years. Thousands of surgeries were cancelled after the virus pandemic took priority in hospitals. Now the health ministry is contacting scheduled surgery patients whose procedures have been delayed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said regional health authorities are reaching out to surgery candidates over the next week to see if they are willing to proceed with their delayed surgery under new protocols to screen for novel coronavirus infection. 

In addition to 30,000 cancelled and postponed procedures, the health ministry estimates that without COVID-19 precautions that halted all but urgent surgeries, there would have been another 24,000 patients added to wait lists since pandemic measures were implemented March 17.  FULL STORY

Thursday, May 7, 2020

MONEY OUT, NO MONEY IN – You don't have to be a financial genius to figure that out. While the government is handing out tons of money during the COVID crisis, the B.C. Liberals want to interrupt the sources of money to pay for all of it. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson wants the province to create a provincial sales tax holiday during the pandemic. Part of the party's economic growth plan is a suspension of the hotel tax, and the employer health tax. The tax breaks are among several suggestions Wilkinson makes, including a short-term relief plan for commercial rent, which would include a no-eviction backstop, to help those who've lost revenue during COVID-19.

THE NANAIMO COMMUNITY HOSPICE van was damaged in an attempted theft. Jeanne Fahlman, director of development for Hospice, told NanaimoNewsNOW someone gained access through the rear door of the cargo van and damaged the ignition with tools left inside. She said the damage is heartbreaking for an organization struggling during the pandemic. MORE

AT THE CROSSROADS – City council’s got some extra money honey, $300,000 in unallocated funds, so council is going to spend to upgrade five intersections.  They were unanimous is selecting Uplands Drive at McRobb Avenue and Hammond Bay Road at Nottingham Drive which will receive rectangular rapid flash beacons to increase pedestrian visibility. Victoria Road at Esplanade Street, the Waddington Road and St. George Crescent intersection and Front Street at Port Drive will each get rectangular rapid flash beacons and curb extensions. Council had four options which include not spending the money until a later date. FULL STORY

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS – If nothing else, our MP Paul Manly knows to strike while the iron is hot. He sees the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to push for progressive policy on Parliament Hill. Speaking in Parliament April 20, he called for a guaranteed livable income (GLI) for all Canadians. Manly insists it is an idea whose time has come, a safety net that catches everyone. His idea would replace a patchwork of federal support programs with a single, universal cash benefit.

END OF AN ERA – City council has unanimously endorsed a staff recommendation to close the downtown community policing office on Victoria Crescent. Bylaw and parking staff will move to the service and resource centre on Dunsmuir Street. Dale Lindsay, the city’s general manager of community development, said the recommendation is based on an operational and customer service perspective. The office opened in 2007 with RCMP community policing as well as the Citizens on Patrol program, downtown ambassadors and private security operations. Over the next five years, however, all those services were discontinued.

SO THAT’S IT – American mega billionaire Jeff Bezos is making a fortune, and the virus pandemic is stuffing his bank account even more. The Washington Post has been openly opposed to ending the lockdown, they want it to continue. Oh, Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. Online retailer Amazon has been raking in big bucks since the lockdown as many people ordered online due to the shutdown. Oh, Jeff Bezos owns Amazon. You thinking what I’m thinking?

Back to school for some students, starting in June

0507 – Some students will be able to head back to school for part-time in-class instruction in June, as part of B.C.’s plan to reopen. Premier John Horgan said the province isn't expecting a full resumption of classes until September.

The part-time in-class learning is considered voluntary, and it appears it would only last a few weeks given the timing of the school year.

Workplace mental wellness course offered onlone

0507 – St. John Ambulance is launching a new Mental Health and Wellness course in a virtual classroom setting through Zoom. 

While created with the workplace in mind, this course is helpful to apply in a variety of environments.

Over eight hours, the course focuses on defining mental health and wellness, factors that can affect one’s mental health, stigma in the workplace, and peer-to-peer interactions. There will also be a section focusing on the COVID-19 crisis and your mental health during isolation and when working from home.


By the end of the course, you should have increased mental health and wellness knowledge and how to promote mental wellness for yourself while working from home or in isolation and a higher understanding of stress and burnout and the effects it has on suicidality 

Register for a course starting on one of the following dates:

May 14 | May 26 | Jun 10 

Once registered, St. John will send Zoom details. Or  you can contact the customer care centre at bcy.customerservice@sja.ca.

Horgan unveils step-by-step plan to reopen the province

Premier John Horgan is flanked by Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

0506 – It’s steady as she goes for the government’s plan to reopen B.C. in the wake of the COVID-19  impact on the economy.

“It won’t be the flipping of a switch, we’re going to be proceeding carefully, bit by bit, one step at a time,” said Premier John Horgan. The province will enter phase two of the re-opening plan in the coming weeks. That includes elective surgeries, dentistry, chiropractors and physiotherapy re-opening. The province will also relax restrictions to allow more retail businesses to re-open, including hair salons, restaurants and pubs.

Every step will be informed by the provincial health officer, as well as input from British Columbians in every corner of this province, he added. MORE DETAILS

Speaker series features local health care professionals

Click on image to enlarge

0506 – The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series on Health and Wellness is on Zoom Friday morning. Panelists will cover the state of worker morale, the future of NRGH, and the impacts COVID-19 has had on mental health, as well as, how individuals can find some relief.

The pandemic has placed a significant amount of pressure on employees, employers and families. Isolation, fear for the well-being of loved ones and financial strain are creating disruptions in all our lives. During these difficult times, it is important to know resources are available to help you stay mentally healthy. 

Register here 

Virus pandemic brings out the scammers on social media

Const. Gary O'Brien

0506 – Serious public issues continue to attract unsavoury elements and the COVID pandemic has unleashed a flood of scams.

Nanaimo RCMP are getting numerous calls daily about such scams on social media platforms  – by email and through text messages. Only a few have fooled people locally. They have issued an advisory alert by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which reports a dramatic increase in individuals duped into providing personal or banking information to fraudsters.

  • Companies offering fake COVID-19 tests and selling unproven drugs to treat symptoms.
  • Scammers impersonating the Public Health Agency of Canada to glean personal information and credit card numbers.
  • Cleaning companies claiming their duct cleaning can protect people from COVID-19.

If you get any calls like this report them to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

To learn more about COVID-19 scams and others, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Wednesday, May 6

SUNDAY IS MOTHERS DAY – and you won’t be taking her out for a fancy dinner. But don’t despair, you can still treat her to a pre-made amazing Mother's Day dinner, thanks to Chef Bryce at the Nanaimo Golf Club. Check out this package. Just re-heat and make her day amazing. She’ll love you for it. Here's what's what.

  • Chicken Saltimbocca
  • Prawns Provencal
  • Almost Waldorf Salad
  • Apple & Cranberry Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Lemon Pepper Rice Pilaf
  • Green Beans Almandine
  • Tandoori Yams
  • Garlic Herb Focaccia
  • Tart Trio-Lemon Curd
  • Chocolate Mousse
  • Fruit Flan
  • Caramel Profiteroles

All for a mere 28 bucks per person. And they have contactless pickup at the club.

WITH THIS RING . . . The Nanaimo RCMP has a ring found by a hiker in the Morrell Nature Sanctuary area in late April on the Alder Trail. It is a silver and chrome bevelled men’s wedding band and has “IVR Tungsten Carbide” engraved inside the band along with a date. If you recognize this ring or who owns it, call the Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

COSTLY DAMGE –Equipment that was being used to build the new playground at Maffeo Sutton Park was destroyed in an arson last weekend.  Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters were called at about 11:40 p.m. on Saturday night, and put out the fire that destroyed a compactor. Police say the compactor, worth $2,500, was destroyed, and suspects also tampered with fuel filters on an excavator on the site, though that machine wasn’t damaged. There are no suspects or witnesses. There has been no connection made to the incident earlier in the evening at the Circle K convenience store, in which a fire destroyed a portion of the interior and exterior of the building. Anyone with information about the fire at the playground is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Plans for re-opening province coming today from Horgan

Premier John Horgan

0506 – The province continued to paint a positive picture of COVID-19 testing numbers, leading up to Premier John Horgan's unveiling B.C.’s plan today to re-open the province.

 Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said there were eight new cases across B.C. on Tuesday, the lowest daily increase since mid-March, bringing the total to 2,232 cases.

Hospitalizations also declined with 78 patients in hospital rooms, 21 in critical or intensive care. Four additional deaths were announced on Tuesday, all in the lower mainland. Three patients remain in hospital on Vancouver Island.

Dr. Henry said the messaging remains the same from the province to limit the spread of the virus. She said the orders and restrictions are still in place. FULL STORY

RCMP issue alert about COVID-19 fraud danger

0506 – The Nanaimo RCMP are getting numerous calls daily about COVID-19 scams circulating on social media platforms like a virus. 

RCMP have issued an advisory alert by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which reports a dramatic increase in reports of individuals duped into providing personal or banking information to fraudsters.

Some of most recent COVID-19 scams: 

  • Companies offering fake COVID-19 tests and selling unproven drugs to treat symptoms.
  • Scammers impersonating the Public Health Agency of Canada to glean personal information and credit card numbers.
  • Cleaning companies claiming their duct cleaning can protect people from COVID-19.

, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

To learn more about COVID-19 scams and others, visit the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre.

No sign of Asian giant hornets on Vancouver Island so far

Local beekeepers are keeping their fingers crossed – so far there has been no evidence of Asian giant hornets in the mid-Island area.

Beekeepers exterminated a nest of Asian giant hornets last fall at Robins Park, and since then, that the species hasn’t shown up on Vancouver Island.

John Holubeshen, of the beekeepers club, was one of the four beekeepers who eradicated the Robins Park nest

The term murder hornet is an American media thing, he said. The New York Times headline last week referred to them as “murder hornets” and warned of their arrival in the United States. FULL STORY

Real estate sales bottom out during virus pandemic

0506 – Social restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic saw local real estate sales dropped sharply in April, plummeted to nearly half the same month last year, but average price was up slightly at $593,503.

It’s been a new ball game for real estate agents having to modify their business in order to continue operating during the new normal. Many tours are virtual, with open houses conducted online instead of in person.

“Between pent up demand and low interest rates, we’re going to see the market start to buzz as soon as some of the restrictions are lifted where people can get out and start looking at properties again,” said Kaye Broens, past president of VIREB. FULL STORY

Island Roots market launches new season next week

0506 – Nanaimo’s Island Roots market is launching the season a week from today, May 13 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Beban Park - on the grass next to the Cliff McNab Arena.

Vendors have tents and tables with their products as in past years but this is not our typical farmers market. There will be fewer than normal vendors. They will have essential items only and will be well spaced to ensure no human-to-human contact. There will be no music, no onsite coffee or kids play area and no samples will be offered. 

Entry will be limited to ensure physical distancing. You are asked to make your purchases without touching the products or vendors’ tables, and to leave promptly once you have made your purchase, to make room for other shoppers.

This market is separate from the online market. ISLAND ROOTS

Snaw-Naw-As want Island Corridor paved over

0506 – Don’t try to convince the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation that the Island Rail Corridor is a good idea. They believe the Island Rail Corridor, which runs through their land, would be better converted into an accessible, paved trail.

“It is now time for it to be repurposed to again benefit First Nation and non First Nation Communities of Vancouver Island,” the band stated in a news release.

The Island Rail Corridor is owned and operated by the Island Corridor Foundation, who has in the past estimated that it would cost $150 million to restore commuter rail.

Snaw-Naw-As’ request comes after a report released by WSP Canada, suggests that it could cost more than $1 billion, depending on the level of upgrades.

They say habilitating this railway line is nothing more than Victorian-era fantasy. 

The Snaw-Naw-As is suing the ICF and the Attorney General of Canada asking for the land that the track sits on in their reserve to be returned to them. FULL STORY

Tuesday, May 5

IT NEVER CEASES to amaze how some people disrespect other people's property. The City is dealing with people hacking unauthorized bike trails in Linley Valley Park. The city says it must stop immediately because its illegal and those doing it can be subject to fines. Building trails on any parkland is not allowed. If you are aware of any of the activity, Al Britton, the city’s manager of park operations asks you to phone bylaw services. The city does not believe local mountain bike clubs have been building those trails, it’s suspected that individuals or a small group of people unattached to established clubs are doing this.

MENTAL HEALTH – COVID-19 has placed a significant amount of pressure on employees, employers and families. Isolation, fear for the well-being of loved ones and financial strain are creating disruptions in all our lives. It is important to know resources are available to help stay mentally healthy. Count the mental health resources available from the Canadian Business Resilience Network. HEALTH RESOURCES The Canadian Mental Health Association also offers practical advice, articles and information to help you #GetReal about how you really feel. MENTAL HEALTH WEEK 

FUNDING FOR SENIORS –United Way created the COVID-19 Seniors Response Fund to help local charitable agencies that provide immediate essential services for those over the age of 55. Individual charitable organizations, or multi-agency collaborations, who are working to meet the needs of seniors in response to COVID-19 within the Central & Northern Vancouver Island region are welcome to apply. APPLICATION

AIRSHOW GROUNDED – Well, so much for the Abbotsford International Airshow – it has been cancelled for this year. The show often attracts 80,000 each year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jim Reith, president of the airshow society, said it had been hoped that the spread of COVID-19 would be minimized by August, and the event would be able to proceed, but it has become clear that preventive health measures such as social distancing are going to continue beyond the airshow dates.

Nanaimo Airport names Devana new President and CEO

Dave Devana

0505 –Dave Devana has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of Nanaimo Airport, succeeding the retiring Mike Hooper.  

Devana assumed the airport’s top management position Monday after more than 20 years leading organizations as a chief administrative officer and chief financial officer in local government. He’s also a resident of north Nanaimo, where he lives with his wife.

“Dave is a motivational leader with a wealth of senior management experience,” says Wendy Clifford, chair of the Nanaimo Airport Commission. “His background makes him uniquely suited to fulfill our vision of being ‘Your Island Gateway to the World’.” FULL STORY

Mayor's task force will respond to COVID-19's impact

Cooun. Tyler Brown

0505 – Mayor Leonard Krog has announced the names of members of a new recovery task force to address economic impacts, community resiliency and provide a path forward for recovery so the City and other organizations within the community can focus on urgent current issues.  (View announcement video)

Krog and Councillor Tyler Brown announced the five community leaders joining them on the seven-member task force: 

  • James Byrne, Regional Managing Partner, Vancouver Island, MNP
  • Donna Hais, Board Chair, Nanaimo Port Authority 
  • Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way
  • Deb Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor, Vancouver Island University
  • Ian Simpson, Chief Executive Officer, Petroglyph Development Group, Snuneymuxw First Nation

FULL STORY

 

COVID-19 tracker
Updated 11:10 a.m. May 5

B.C                   Cases 2,224                  Deaths 117  +3
Canada             Cases 61,961                 Deaths 4,037  +183   
United States     Cases 1,224,570            Deaths 71,148  +1,227
World                Cases 3,694,903            Deaths 255,715

COVID-19 statistics in all health regions

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 per million population (May 3)

  • Quebec 3,821
  • Alberta 1,307
  • Ontario  1,218
  • Nova Scotia 1,008
  • Newfoundland/Lab 497
  • British Columbia 425
  • Saskatchewan 395
  • Yukon 268
  • Manitoba 204
  • PEI 171
  • New Brunswick 151
  • NWT 111
  • Nunavut   0

Second supect arrested in connection with Circle K fire

0505 – Two 16-year-old males have been arrested in connection with the fire that caused significant interior and exterior damage to the Circle K convenience store. The incident occurred at approximately 9:10 pm on Saturday. 

 The first suspectwas arrested Sunday without incident at a south Nanaimo home. The second one was located in Ladysmith Monday. Due to their ages, the they cannot be identified. The following charges have been approved:

Count 1: Arson Contrary to Section 433(a) CC
Count 2: Robbery Contrary to Section 344(1) (b) CC
Count 3: Arson Damaging Property Contrary to Section 434 CC
Count 4: Possessing of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose Contrary to Section 88 (1) CC

The investigation is continuing and at this time, both males remain in police custody.

City council endorses reduced property tax increase

Coun. Ian Thorpe

0505 – After ponering all the options, city council on Monday approved a 4.5-per-cent property-tax increase for this year, diwb from 5.2 per cent adopted earlier.

That's a saving of $144 from the previous budget for the average $516,00 home, including a $95 property tax increase and $49 in user fee increases. 

“I don’t think that’s outrageous for the services the City provides,” coun. Ian Thorpe said. “City tax revenue (is used) to provide the things we keep hearing people want. They want more sidewalks, better and safer crossings, more snow removal and maintenance of our parks. That’s what our tax revenue helps pay for.”

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong supported the decrease to 4.5 per cent because it lowered the starting point for the 2021 property tax increase. She said next year will be difficult because of the reprieves, especially businesses, from the federal government. It’s helped but it may not be there next year.”

Coun. Don Bonner and Jim Turley objected to the reduction. MORE

Transit to resume collecting fares June 1

The free ride is about to end for Vancouver Island bus riders – BC Transit will resume collecting fares on all regular buses and handyDART starting June 1. Rides remain free for the remainder of May.

Distancing and rear-door loading will still be required until June when front-door boarding will also resume.

Temporary vinyl panels will be installed on buses that do not already have full driver doors. Safety guidelines are still being followed into the summer, BC Transit will continue to use other safety measures, including enhanced cleaning procedures and limiting maximum passenger capacities to allow for physical distancing. FULL STORY

Frontline health-care workers bear brunt of virus infections

0505 – Health-care workers are at the frontlines of the virus pandemic and their risk of infection is borne out in their infection rates. Dr. Bonnie Henry said that as of April 28, health-care workers represented about 21 per cent of the virus cases in the province.  

That includes anyone who’s in one of the regulated health professions, including dentists, dental assistants, nurses, physicians, physiotherapists and many others. Of the 428 health-care workers who have tested positive for the virus, 33 were hospitalized and one died. 

It's not clear, however, how these health-care workers got the virus. "Many of these people were affected at work, either from a colleague or from acquiring this from caring for patients with COVID-19," Dr. Henry explained. FULL STORY

Nurses raise concern about shortage of virus equipment

0505 – The BC Nurses Union says the personal protective equipment supply levels around B.C. is dangerously low. The union is concerned over the amount of PPE being made available for health-care workers around the.

Since March 20 the union said it has received more than 1,700 complaints from nurses across the province who are increasingly concerned that employers have not been able to provide critical PPE like gowns, gloves, face shields, and N95 respirator masks. 

"Nurses are getting only one mask per shift. Others have been told to leave their used mask on a piece of paper towel when they go on a break,” Christine Sorensen, president of the BCNU, said in a statement. FULL STORY

COVID cases continue to climb in province

0505 – Fifty three people tested positive for COVID-19, and three people have died since the last B.C. update, bringing the total to 2,224.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said 34 test-positive cases were reported between Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Another 19 tested positive within the last 24 hours, she said during a news conference that also included the latest modelling data.

All three deaths were at long-term care homes – 117 people have died of novel coronavirus so far this year.

Nearly half of the 1,027 cases have been in the Fraser Health region, which spans Burnaby to Boston Bar. Another 845 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, followed by 177 in Interior Health, 124 in Island Health and 51 in Northern Health. FULL STORY

Gypsy moth spraying starts next week in Lake Cowichan

0505 – The first aerial-spraying treatment to eradicate invasive gypsy moths from 231 hectares of residential and municipal park land in Lake Cowichan will occur next week, weather permitting.

Spraying will take place from the forest south of Hammond Road, north to the Cowichan Valley Highway, west to Fen Road and east to Boundary Road.

Spraying will start shortly after sunrise (approximately 5:50 a.m.) and should be completed by 7:30 a.m. daily. Up to four separate treatments are required this spring. Unless delayed by poor weather, each treatment is expected to take one to two mornings to apply. The first treatment will take two mornings. The ministry aims to complete spraying by mid-June.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Victoria considers calling on B.C. government to provide safe drug supply
This Thursday, May 7, Victoria city council will be voting on a motion to ask that the provincial government make good on its promise to provide a safe supply of drugs for those who are homeless and who have been moved into hotels amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

'Extremely lucky to be alive': Driver plunges into Mid-Island pond
The Campbell River RCMP say that one driver is “lucky to be alive” after their car plunged into a pond Sunday night. 

B.C. government extends temporary layoff period to 16 weeks
The B.C. government is extending the maximum allowable length of temporary layoffs in the province from 13 weeks to 16 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

BC Transit will collect bus fares again on June 1
Bus rides across Vancouver Island will no longer be free beginning next month

April home sales in Metro Vancouver lowest since 1982
Life as we knew it ground to a halt in April because of COVID-19, and so did Metro Vancouver’s real estate market. There were 1,109 homes sold in the region last month, the lowest April sales totals since 1982. 

Vancouver-based biotech company gets $175M in federal funding
A Vancouver-based biotech firm has received $175 million from the federal government for COVID-19 research.  

Cruise crews stuck on ships since mid-March
A North Vancouver man has been stranded onboard a cruise ship for nearly two months and has no idea when he'll be able to come home.

Monday, May 4, 2020

JUST THE BEGINNING  – Nanaimo’s Lauren Spencer-Smith was eliminated from the American Idol TV talent show, but she doesn’t see it as an end but rather a stepping stone on her career path. She’s excited about what’s ahead in her music career. She posted on social media that although some may say this is a disappointment, it is a huge accomplishment for her and her friends who were part of the top 20, she wrote. Lauren grew up in Port Alberni and now lives in Nanaimo.

THE BEER COMES TO YOU – If your customers can’t come to you, well then you go to them. Craft  breweries are doing quite well during the COVID-19 lockdown. Home delivery is keeping their employees at work, their beer tanks full and customers happy. Nanaimo’s four breweries – Cliffside, Longwood, White Sails and Wolf – told NanaimoNewsNOW their experience during the lockdown has been great. Longwood brewmaster Harley Smith said they’ve been overwhelmed by the support and the positivity, adding it’s busier than the store normally is. White Sails General manager Brian McCarthy said even with the option to order online and pick up beer in stores, home deliveries still keep drivers busy. 

THE NIGHT CRAWLERS – Credit cards and personal ID were stolen after a vehicle was broken into on Washington Way on April 29. The credit cards have been cancelled. Wallets are often left in unattended vehicles. If a wallet is stolen, thieves can easily make fraudulent purchases and in some cases, set up lines of credit in your name.  Always be on the alert for anything moving in your neighbourhood late at night, and if a vehicle or person causes you concern, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report it. Nanaimo file # 2020-15694.

THE FINAL BELL – The local community stands to benefit if South Wellington Elementary School is demolished. The tear-down is on the school board’s capital projects list, but it is doing so with the South Wellington and Area Community Association and the Regional District of Nanaimo as part of business case development for demolition. The school was closed in 2013. Trustee Stephanie Higginson cited long-time interest from the community, saying community members are anxious to make this property something meaningful to their community direction. Pete Sabo, executive director of planning and operations, said the building is at risk in the event of an earthquake. MORE

Dirt biker seriously hurt in crash in Cassidy

A man suffered severe injuries when he lost control of his dirt bike near Timberlands Road in Cassidy Sunday evening. 

The 62-year-old man was airlifted to Victoria hospital. The crash happened about 9 p.m. on the power line service road after the 62-year-old man went for a night-time-ride and lost control.

Cranberry Volunteer Fire Department and B.C. Ambulance Service responded. Volunteer Fire Department chief Ron Gueulette said emergency responders had difficulty getting to the crash site because of the poor road conditions.

“The potholes there are almost over your head … I got my rescue [truck] in there and the one ambulance couldn’t make one road, so the other ambulance came around the other way, but it’s getting so you probably couldn’t get emergency vehicles in there pretty soon,” Gueulette said. MORE

Government to share more detailed COVID-19 facts

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix have scheduled a press conference at 1:30 pm today to unveil new modelling data detailing the COVID-19 prevalence. She said the government will share more details about whom the virus is infecting.

The latest data modelling from Dr. Henry and Dix comes at the onset of a week where British Columbians are anticipating more information on reopening the province’s economy.

Premier John Horgan said that detailed plans are in the works to start easing economic restrictions put in place as a result of COVID-19. The province’s reopening plan is expected to be revealed in the coming days.

To date 2,171 residents have been infected with COVID-19, including 114 who have died while 1,376 have fully recovered. MORE

Suspect arrrested in fire at convenience store

0504 - UPDATE – Nanaimo RCMP have arrested one of the two suspects involved in a fire that heavily damaged a gas station convenience store on the weekend. The suspect was arrested without incident at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday in a home in south Nanaimo.

0503 – Police have identified two 16-year-old suspects after a fire at a gas station convenience store Saturday night after a shoplifter shot a flare at a clerk.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to the fire at the Circle K convenience store on Departure Bay Road and Norwell Drive just after 9 p.m. The store sustained extensive damage to the structure and the merchandise.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said one of the teens discharged a single-tube flare into the store directly at the clerk, struck merchandise, a fire ignited, caused significant damage, the clerk fled the store.

Police have accessed surveillance video and have identified the suspects, whom they have not yet located. He said a charge of mischief endangering life could stem from the incident.

Krog supports Vancouver Island rail service upgrade

Mayor Leonard Krog

Mayor Leonard Krog sees the value of rail on Vancouver Island, saying it has great potential to carry cargo coming in and out of Port Alberni’s deep-sea port, with the line linked to Nanaimo. From here, goods could be shipped to and from the mainland.

A new consultant’s report sets out three levels of service, based on upgrading the Island Rail Corridor with a total price tag of more than $1 billion. Estimated costs range from $326 million to $729 million for freight and passenger service between Victoria and Courtenay and for a leg that runs to Port Alberni. A commuter service between Langford and Victoria has an estimated price tag of $595 million.

While the cost is daunting, Krog said you don’t have to build it in a day or a year. Getting it up and running in segments is a more logical approach. FULL STORY

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bodies of two children recovered after off-road crash near Chilliwack
The bodies of two children have been recovered after a tragic incident involving an off-road vehicle on a remote forest service road near Chilliwack. 

B.C. rally calls for release of prisoners following COVID-19 outbreak
A justice advocacy group says it wants prisoners at a federal institution in British Columbia ravaged by a COVID-19 outbreak to know there are people in the community fighting for their safety. 

Saanich police arrest three for drug trafficking
Police in Saanich say they've made three arrests for alleged drug trafficking in two separate incidents in the same area in less than a month. 

Smoking believed to be behind B.C.'s largest wildfire in 2017
An investigation into the massive 2017 wildfire that engulfed nearly 192,000 hectares in B.C.'s south-central Interior has found it was likely caused by smoking or smoking materials. 

Vancouver biotech company gets $175M in funding for COVID-19 treatment
A Vancouver-based biotech firm has received $175 million from the federal government for COVID-19 research. 

New virus modelling data coming from B.C. health officials
New data tracing B.C.'s novel coronavirus curve is set to be released Monday, which could be used to outline the province's next steps in its pandemic response. 

Asian giant hornets - aka 'murder hornets' - expected back in B.C.
Residents of Zero Avenue near the B.C.-Washington border have been warned to keep a lookout for the invasive species and report sightings to the B.C. government. 

Vancouver health authority has learned how to limit long-term care home outbreaks
Dr. Michael Schwandt said Vancouver Coastal Health has developed a range of measures that could help other jurisdictions avoid large outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care homes. 

Rarely seen large spider spotted by Vancouver Island woman
Experts say the spider Krysten Leigh spotted while walking her dog in Langford recently is a Pacific folding trap-door spider. The large arachnids are native to Vancouver Island, but rarely seen by humans.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

GOOD MORNING – If things were normal, we’d be deeply engrossed in the Stanley Cup playoffs. As it is now, we don’t even know who will be in the playoffs or whether there will be playoffs. Will there be a blank plaque on the Stanley Cup for 2000? I miss baseball as well. Anything to escape this Covid prison most of us are in.

HANG ON, IT WILL GET BETTER – While we’re down in the dumps due to the lockdown, a great summer will make up for all of that. The weatherman is coming to the rescue, a warmer-than-average summer is on tap for the mid Island. Environment Canada meteorologist Doug Lundquist says modelling shows May, June and July will be pleasant temperature-wise. There could be ups and downs with cooler and warmer points throughout those months, but as a whole it’s highly likely we’ll have warmer-than-normal temperatures. Thank you Doug.

BUTCHART GARDENS IN BLOOM – After closing over a month ago, Butchart Gardens has re-opened. Butchart shut its gates due to the COVID-19 pandemic out of caution to protect visitors from the virus. They’ve put a bunch of physical distancing measures in to ensure they can remain open. “We need you to follow the rules to guarantee you and your families and our staff and their families stay safe,” reads a statement from Butchart Gardens. They believe this will allow them to stay open in these difficult times. MORE

LET’S GET THIS GUY – Some ne’er-do-well damaged the underground parking doors at 143 Promenade Drive while trying to gain entry overnight on Monday April 27. Video surveillance showed a man attempting to force the doors open just after 6 a.m. He’s in his early 20s, 5 ft. 6, thin build, shaved head and was wearing a light blue jacket, green backpack and camo pants. This is a reminder again to always keep an eye out for anything moving in your neighbourhood late at night, and if a vehicle or person causes you concern, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report it. Nanaimo file # 2020-15402.

Homeless housing plan creates more homeless

0503 – A government plan to house Victoria’s homeless population has resulted in more becoming homeless. B.C. Housing says people who had being paying to live Travelodge hotel got eviction notices and are now homeless.

B.C.Housing insists that it did not give the eviction order. Heidi Hartman, B.C. Housing director of operations for Vancouver Island, said she had heard stories of people who had been told to leave the hotel. Hartman says B.C. Housing is looking to find new accommodation for those who were displaced. FULL STORY

Meanwhile, people living near Gorge Road East are concerned about homeless people moving into the Travelodge hotel in their neighborhood during the COVID-19. They say they are worried for their safety.

Before the province announced it would relocate homeless people into vacant hotel rooms, people living near Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue also said they were living in fear over the growing number of tents popping up. MORE

May 3

Neighbours express concern over homeless people staying at hotels
People living near Gorge Road East are concerned about homeless people moving into hotels in their neighborhood. 

Mom with stage 4 cancer completes fundraising marathon
Before they began running 42 kilometres around Elk and Beaver Lakes Friday morning, Lise and Grace were training for the GoodLife marathon in the fall. But then Lise’s stage-4 cancer spread from her heart and lungs to her brain. 

Watchdogs concerned about apps tracking COVID-19 patients
Privacy watchdogs are voicing concerns over proposals across the country to implement smartphone apps to help track COVID-19

B.C.’s COVID-19 benefit payments are now open. Here’s how to apply
British Columbians can apply for the province’s one-time emergency benefit payment during the COVID-19 pandemic starting today. 

Trudeau announces major funding for virtual health care, antibody research
The government will spend more than $240 million to make it easier for mental health care, other services to take place online

Pollution from Canadian mines near Alaska border attracts plea to U.S. lawmakers
American lawmakers have been urged by tribes and local conservation groups to address a possible threat to parts of Alaska caused by pollution from mine run-off in Canada

Rarely seen large spider spotted by Vancouver Island woman
Experts say the spider Krysten Leigh spotted while walking her dog in Langford recently is a Pacific folding trap-door spider. The large arachnids are native to Vancouver Island, but rarely seen by humans. 

Watchdogs concerned about apps tracking COVID-19 patients
Privacy watchdogs are voicing concerns over proposals across the country to implement smartphone apps to help track COVID-19. 

Grizzly bear spotted in Whistler, residents warned to take precautions
After a grizzly bear was spotted in Whistler, B.C.'s conservation officers are warning residents to take extra precautions. 

Drug stash in crashed car sends occupants fleeing

0503 – A drug stash in a backpack in the car sent occupants scrambling after it crashed into a railing at the canoe monument on Front Street about 4 p.m. on Thursday.

A Mountie became suspicious of the occupants of a car on Newcastle Avenue on Newcastle Avenue and followed.

When the car crashed three occupants ran from the vehicle, said Cst. Gary O’Brien. A police dog was brought in and one female passenger was located. He said another female passenger and the male driver remain unaccounted for.

Drugs were found in a backpack in the car and a number of charges are being considered. Police have determined who the driver is, and now they’re trying to locate him.

Two more corona virus cases on Vancouver Island

0503 – The Covid-19 tally has reached 123 on Vancouver Island with two new cases reported on Saturday.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced 26 new cases in the province bringing the total to 2,171. 

Onn the other side, the number of people who have fully recovered continues to grow with 1,376 people who have fully recovered.

The province is also reporting two more deaths bringing the total to 114 people who have lost their lives to the coronavirus.

 

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported

The death toll from COVID-19 in British Columbia has climbed to 114 after two more deaths were reported by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. She confirmed 26 new cases in the province Saturday, bringing the total number of positive tests  since January to 2,171.

72 people are in hospital with the virus, she said, unsure how many were in intensive care. On Friday, there were 24 people in hospital intensive care units with COVID-19.

One new case of virus reported on Vancouver Island

0502 – There was one new case of COVID-19 on Vancouver Island reported Friday. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced one new case on the Island in Friday, brining the total to 121  since the first case was identified on March 11. BC Centre for Disease Contol data show five people are in hospitals on the island, none in intensive care.

Do you know anything about these crimes?

May 2, 2020

Crime never takes a break, COVID-19 or not. Crime Watch lists three cases, all happening overnight. Always keep an eye out for anything moving in your neighbourhood late at night, and if a vehicle or person causes you concern, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report it.

Nanaimo file # 2020-15240 Overnight on April 25, twenty five, 20-pound propane tanks were stolen from Tank Traders at 4446 Wellington Road, No suspects or witnesses and it appears entry to the property was gained from an adjacent property.

Nanaimo file # 2020-15448 Monday overnight April 27, a cast iron flower pot, owned by the city of Nanaimo, was stolen from in front of 295 Wallace St. 

Nanaimo file # 2020-15562 Sometime overnight on April 28, a vehicle in the 2800 block of Neyland Drive was rummaged through with sunglasses and a non-descript jacket taken.

Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency phone number 250-754-2345.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

LIBERATION ANNIVERSARY – This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands from Nazi occupation by a Canadian and Allied military operation. The original plan was to have Tulip and Candle lighting ceremonies across Canada on Saturday, May 2 in remembrance of the Liberation and of those lost. As such gatherings are now not possible, please light a candle at 8 pm tonight in remembrance.

QUESTIONABLE – The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way city council meetings operate, including the question period. The public was asked to observe Council meetings online and not attend in person but that resulted in no question period, which was also known as the Fred Taylor show. The City has created a new online form so anyone can submit agenda-related questions to Council. You can send Question Period Online Submissions here. FULL STORY

IT’S OKAY TO GET SHOT ­– COVID-19 has seen a jump in cancelled immunization appointments. Public health units remain safe places to get necessary shots assures Island Health .It’s especially important for children to stay up to date on their immunizations schedule. The last thing we want to see is an outbreak of another communicable disease, which can happen if our immunization rates drop. FULL STORY

WHAT WAS HE THINKING? – A man tried to force his way into Eden Gardens, a dementia care facility for seniors, on Northfield Road on Tuesday night.  The thug, in a dark grey-green hoodie and was riding a bicycle, tried to pry open sliding glass doors. When that didn’t work, he tried slamming his body into the glass. When the doors failed to give way, he high-tailed it, long gone before cops arrived. If you know something about this, call Nanaimo RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-15517.

BEWARE OF NIGHT CRAWLERS – There have been a lot of miscreants prowling through carports and trying vehicles doos in the hospital and Departure Bay neighbourhoods in the past week. Const. Gary O’Brien says they usually come out between 2:30 and 4 a.m. so make sure you lock your vehicles and close all windows. Don’t leave valuables in sight, especially wallets, cellphones, etc. Keep an eye out for anything moving late at night, and if a vehicle or person causes you concern, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report it.

Vancouver Island University alumni making a difference

Slava Govorov

0502 – March 2020 will go down in history as the month many of us had our lives drastically altered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, from the swift shuttering of many businesses, to a mass transition to working and learning from home, to precarious or suddenly non-existent employment opportunities for the most vulnerable.

Many Vancouver Island University (VIU) alumni are on the front lines of the crisis, helping others respond to the changing world around them and adapting their business models to keep the local economy moving. 

Slava Govorov, owner of the South Nanaimo and Ladysmith Panago locations, brought together all the mid-Island locations to offer first responders free small pizzas for the month of April. FULL STORY

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Victoria businesses eagerly await reopening of B.C.'s economy
Victoria businesses that have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic are starting to reopen in modest ways, and are eagerly awaiting details from the province about a phased-in reopening of B.C.’s economy. 

B.C. Housing promises to find accommodations for evicted tenants of Victoria hotel
B.C. Housing now admits that more than two dozen paying customers of the Travelodge hotel were evicted from the Gorge Road East building that is now being used to house homeless people during the COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. reports one more COVID-19 death, 33 new cases
Another person has died of COVID-19 in B.C., bringing the death toll in the province to 112, health officials announced Friday. 

B.C.’s COVID-19 benefit payments are now open
British Columbians can apply for the province’s one-time emergency benefit payment during the COVID-19 pandemic starting today

Sidney strikes deal to keep boat launch open during pandemic
The scheduled closure of the Sidney Anglers Associationby the Town of Sidney has been narrowly averted, due to a partnership with the Sidney Anglers Association. 

RCMP explosive disposal team conducts controlled detonation in Victoria
A BC RCMP Lower Mainland EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) team conducted a controlled detonation on a suspicious package in the Fernwood area of Victoria Thursday evening

Man facing 27 charges after string of Comox Valley break-ins
Police in the Comox Valley say they have recommended 27 charges against a local man after a lengthy investigation into a series of break-and-enter incidents in the region. 

B.C. teachers vote in favour of new collective agreement
B.C. teachers have voted to approve a new, three-year collective agreement with the provincial government. 

Democracy watchdog urges all parliaments to reopen amidst COVID-19 crisis
B.C. MLAs aren't scheduled to sit again until fall, but a democracy watchdog group says a critical part of the country's democracy depends on parliaments being open. 

Small businesses facing cash crunch as rent comes due amid coronavirus restrictions
Six weeks after many B.C. businesses were forced to close their doors to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many are now facing a cash crunch at the worst possible time. 

B.C. film industry considers masks, shift work, digital editing to get rolling
As 70,000 B.C. film and TV workers wait for word on when they can get back to work on live action productions, members of a working group are considering a slew of options including masks and shift work to accommodate anticipated long-term physical distancing requirements. 

Hard-hit care home in Vancouver's West End cleared of COVID-19 cases
There's hopeful news coming from a care home in Vancouver's West End that's already lost 11 residents to COVID-19. 

Strata can't force family to give up disabled teenager's support dog, tribunal rules
A strata bylaw banning residents from having dogs can't be used against a B.C. teenager who uses her pet to manage her disabilities, the province's Human Rights Tribunal has ruled. 

16,389 signed up for the B.C. workers' benefit in the first 45 minutes
Applications for B.C.'s emergency benefit during the novel coronavirus pandemic are set to open Friday.  

Post-pandemic world will look a lot different

0501 – A whole new world awaits when the COVID-19 lockdown ends, say industry experts. Mark Fenwick, manager of Woodgrove Centre, and Ian Tostenson, CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, told a Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce webinar Friday that reopening will come in stages with business and customers adapting as they go along. FULL COLUMN.

City supports local non-profit food service providers

0501 – The City of Nanaimo is supporting Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, Nanaimo Foodshare and Island Roots Market by providing access to recreation facilities that would otherwise be closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.   These organizations continue to provide very important services to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the "Empties 4 Food", the "Good Food Boxes" programs and the Island Roots Market. FULL REPORT

City marks mine explosion 133 years ago.

0501 – Shortly before 6 pm on May 3, 1887, two explosions occurred in the No. 1 Esplanade Mine. This tragic accident took the lives of 150 miners. To mark the anniversary and honour the memory of the lives lost, flags located at City of Nanaimo facilities will be lowered to half mast from Friday, May 1 to Monday, May 4, 2020. FULL REPORT

Friday, May 1, 2020

A PERFECT BROTHER – That’s how Kyle Hagen describes his bother, Nanaimo-born Capt. Kevin Hagen who is among the missing in a military helicopter crash in Greece. Kyle told the Times Colonist his brother was “always there for my sister and me. He’s been a shining example of truth, duty and valour for us. We’ve been proud of him our whole lives. He’s been my closest friend, and I can’t describe how hard his loss has been for us,” he said. Mayor Leonard Krog said the city is “proud of the contribution that young men and women have made to our Armed Forces over many decades.” He said Capt. Hagen was “a fine example of commitment to country and community.” FULL STORY

NOT ACCORDING TO SCRIPT – That’s not the way it was supposed to go. People are being evicted from the Travelodge on Gorge Road East in Victoria so homeless campers from Pandora Avenue and Topaz Park can be housed. Now some of them are homeless as a result. Eliza Charlie says she and her husband are out on the street. B.C. Housing told CTV News yesterday that hotels were specifically told not to evict anyone to make room for homeless campers. FULL STORY

FIVE IN ISLAND HOSPITALS – Five patients are in Vancouver Island hospitals due to COVID-19, but the good news is none are in intensive care. Yesterday was the 100th day since the first provincial statement about COVID-19 was made. There are 120 active or recovered cases of the respiratory virus on the Island, says Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. The number of confirmed cases on the Island rose from 72 to 120 in April. FULL STORY.

A BREAK ON BILLS ­– Regional District of Nanaimo has given a grace period to pay water, sewer and garbage service payments due to COVID-19 pandemic. The due date ordinarily July 6 is now Sept. 8. There are discounts for early payment, which the regional district said varies by service, but is commonly 10 per cent. When it comes to water and sewer billing, the RDN projects no impact as it doesn’t believe the extension will motivate people to pay their bill earlier. FULL STORY

ALWAYS SOMETHING NEW – The television and movie industry has taken a hit while we struggle through the flu pandemic. The Island economy feels that, but new innovations are coming to the fore – you can now audition from home, says Jacqui Kaese of Spotlight Academy. It’s called self-taping – all you need is a well-lit blank wall and make sure you shoot horizontal frame. Jacqui and Zachary Tannar, of the Hub City Cinema Society, have been working on how to do this with Zoom. Drop kits are being sent out by production companies to film actors in home locations. It wouldn’t hurt to get a little coaching, taping, and editing guidance, so call her at 250-714-2555 or email thereelspotlight@gmail.com

Owner of Port Alberni mill destroyed by fire vows to rebuild

0501 – The owner of a mill in Port Alberni which was destroyed by fire early Wednesday morning is already planning to rebuild. San Group President Karmal Sanghera says the company was in the process of opening up a new value-added moulding and finger-jointing mill and was a few weeks away from starting operations.

"As soon as they allow us to get in, we're going to get the machines out, get it fixed and get it on," said Sanghera. FULL STORY

Friday, May 1, 2020

Canada has entered a recession due to pandemic: C.D. Howe Council
The C.D. Howe Institute's Business Cycle Council says Canada has entered a recession due to the economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

B.C. clothing stores are allowed to be open. Why aren’t they?
After voluntarily closing her doors in mid-March, the owner of Get Dressed, a women’s clothing store in North Vancouver, is taking her first cautious step toward re-opening. She’s told her loyal customers if they call in advance, they can come shop in-person, one at a time. 

Landlords and tenants unite to demand greater rent relief from government
Provincial government urged to raise monthly rent suplement to $750 for renters without dependents and $1,000 for families with children

B.C. health officials hint at chance for increased social connections 
The next phase of B.C.'s pandemic response could involve giving people the chance to meet their friends or extended family members face-to-face – under the right circumstances. 

Spike in calls to B.C. poison control over exposure to household cleaners
While the BCCDC said cleaning with disinfectants and other cleaning products can help stop the spread of COVID-19, the agency also warned that proper precautions should be taken to ensure people don't put themselves or others at risk. 

Some cities still dealing with COVID-19 rule-breakers in parks 
Warning signs, caution tape and padlocked chains haven't stopped some people from accessing park areas and amenities that have been closed as a precaution due to the pandemic.

21,000 breast cancer screenings lost to the pandemic
The pandemic has meant screening programs for breast, cervical and colon cancer for non-symptomatic people have stopped. For breast screenings alone, that’s 21,000 screenings that didn’t happen in just the first month of shut-downs. 

Police seize 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 tests from Richmond man
Mounties say they have seized 1,500 unauthorized COVID-19 test kits from a Richmond resident, who had acquired and sold them without approval from Health Canada.

Abbotsford officer organizes fundraiser for families of N.S. rampage victims
As tributes continue to pour in from across the country for victims of the mass killings in Nova Scotia earlier this month, an Abbotsford police officer is stepping up to try and support the grieving families.

Violent SkyTrain attack: Surveillance video leads to arrest of suspect
Police say they've arrested a suspect in the hours following the release of surveillance video related to an attack on public transit in Metro Vancouver

Make your entire family stand up when you go to use the washroom
In a series of posts meant to make readers laugh, the Vancouver International Airport offered tips earlier this week to recreate the feeling of flying from your living room. 

Drugs, stolen identification and bank cards seized in Surrey: RCMP
Mounties said officers found multiple cellphones, an electronic card reader, as well as stolen identification inside a vehicle during a recent investigation.

Hiker found safe after being reported missing, Abbotsford police say
A hiker who went missing in Sumas Mountain Park have been found safe, Abbotsford police say.

Nanaimo-born pilot was on crashed military helicopter

Capt. Kevin Hagen

0430 – Helicopter pilot Capt. Kevin Hagen, who was born in Nanaimo, was one of the members on board a Canadian military helicopter that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Greece on Wednesday.

Hagen was one of six Canadians aboard the Cyclone helicopter that went down as the aircraft was returning to the Halifax-based frigate HMCS Fredericton from a NATO training mission. Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough of Nova Scotia, has been confirmed dead in the crash.

Hagen was born in Nanaimo but also grew up in Ladysmith, Quadra Island and Victoria 

Chief of the Defense Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance told a press conference the crash’s debris area is large and the extensive search will take some time. 

The voice and flight data recorders were recovered and will be used to determine what happened.