Zymurgy thriving on Vancouver Island

Zymurgy is an applied science which studies the biochemical process of fermentation and its practical uses and it is alive and well on Vancouver Island. 

This month's Economic Summit will feature successful Island-based entrepreneurs on how they've overcome challenges in their businesses, how they innovate to stand out, and how building local partnerships has been instrumental in helping them excel well beyond Vancouver Island.

Panelists representing Phillips Brewing, 40 Knots Winery and Sheringham Distillery will talk about how they've grown their businesses in the craft brewing, distilling and winery industries:

Island export forum added to Business Expo Oct. 3


Business Expo, the Chamber’s salute to Small Business Month in BC, is launching the Vancouver Island Export Forum as an added attraction at the Expo on October 3 in the VICC. Export traffic from Nanaimo to destinations regionally and around the world are growing. New tools are available to support those exporting from the mid-Island and the Forum will reveal some of these.

The Island’s Foreign Trade Zone designation, the Port Authority’s Short Sea Shipping advantages, the opening of Export Navigator offices here, and recent rapid growth of advanced manufacturing on the Island were all good reasons to launch the Forum now.

“Whether your business is actively involved in export trade, or you count manufacturers and exporters among your clients and colleagues, this is an opportunity to gain an advantage early in the game. Advanced-manufacturing and exporting is a rapidly growing sector of the local economy” according to Kim Smythe of the Nanaimo Chamber. 

A panel including George Hanson of VIEA, Fabrizio Alberico of Export Navigator, John Juricic with the Island Manufacturing Council, and Jason Mitchell of Nanaimo Port Authority will be in attendance. The event starts at 1:00 pm in the Departure Bay Room at VICC and is co-presented by the Nanaimo Chamber and Young Professionals of Nanaimo.

At 2 pm, the Forum highlights a team from the Belgian Trade Commission, encouraging export to Europe by taking advantage of the new Canada Europe Trade Agreement. Expanding one’s trade partnerships is always healthy and with CETA, Europe becomes even more attractive.

Help kick off Small Business Month in BC and find out what’s happening with business in Nanaimo today – attendance is free! Register now for the Forum: www.nanaimochamber.bc.ca

Couple beaten with baseball bats in daylight attack

0930 - A man and a woman were seriously injured and taken to hospital when they were attacked by two men with baseball bats. Police are looking for two suspects after an adult couple was assaulted  about 1 p.m. Saturday near Divers Lake. 

Police were called after the woman went to a business and told an employee that two men had showed up at her nearby tent. and without any provocation, began striking her and her 51-year-old male friend with bats. 

The 39-year-old woman told police she did not recognize the suspects, who arrived in an orange newer model car. The assault lasted for several minutes at which time the two suspects drove off. BC Paramedics took both victims to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. The suspects are described as follows:

Suspect # 1:

  • Caucasian male, 25-35 years of age
  • dark clothing
  • dark hair with a goatee
  • heavy set 

Suspect # 2

  • Caucasian male, 25-35 years of age
  • black bandana covering the lower half of his face
  • dark beard
  • heavy set

Trustees assigned responsibility for specific schools

0930 - Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools have been given their school assignments for 2019-20. Trustees have been assigned specific schools they will be respoknsible for.

Stephanie Higginson will be the trustee responsible for Ladysmith Secondary and its catchment schools, Ladysmith Intermediate and Primary schools and North Oyster Elementary.

Bill Robinson is responsible for Cedar Community Secondary School and most of its feeder schools: Cedar Elementary and Cinnabar Valley Elementary. Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ career technical centre and Island ConnectED K-12 distance education centre will also be under his purview. MORE

Lantzville opts for alternative bylaw dispute system

0929 - Lantzville no longer wants the provincial court to resolve bylaw infractions, opting to try adjudication. Council voted to request the Ministry of the Attorney General to allow the alternate process.

The bylaw notice adjudication system is a simple and cost-effective alternative for resolving minor bylaw infractions such as parking tickets, dog licensing and minor zoning issues. MORE

The homefront - Commonwealth Air Training in Canada

The Vancouver Island Military Museum has added a new display about the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Brian McFadden of the military museum has provided the background for the exhibit.

The exhibit includes many photos from that period as well as aircraft models which were built by museum volunteer Pat Murphy. 


Check out the Nanaimonet

Thieves break in to Nanaimo SPCA and make big haul

Nanaimo SPCA building

0928 - Thieves broke into Nanaimo SPCA storage sheds on Thursday and made off with enough goods to open their own pet supply outlet.

Shelter manager Leon Davis, said a man and a woman cut through the Nanaimo branch’s fence and broke into two outbuildings getting access to two storage buildings.

A leaf blower and weed trimmer, pet carriers, fuel canisters, fish tanks, bags of dog food, camping chairs, trimmers, other garden tools and supplies and holiday decorations were stolen. There might be more stuff gone, Davis said.

The main building is highly secure and was not broken into and none of the animals were at risk. Now the shelter is looking for someone to help them repair the fence. MORE

John Feldsted


The climate debate

John Feldsted has the research material, judge for yourself

Piranha caught in Westwood Lake not the first one

0927 - Well, what do you know – pirhanas in Westwood Lake!

A couple of local fishermen looking for rainbow trout hooked into something quite different. They took photos and sent them for verification, and sure enough, The B.C. Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resources identified the catch as a red-bellied piranha.

Other anglers reportedly caught a fish that looked like a piranha in Westwood Lake earlier in the year. The ministry also confirmed that incident. The most-likely origin of the fish is from someone dumping a home aquarium into the late. Fishermen worry about pirhanas spreading through the lake because if somebody caught one before, it’s not only one fish. MORE

Police draw weapons after youth reported with firearm

0927 - If it looks like a firearm be prepared for the consequences even if it is not a real gun. RCMP took all precautions and drew their weapons to arrest a man who had reportedly been pointing a firearm.  

Shortly before noon police a report of a young man, believed to be in possession of a handgun and that he pointed the handgun at an individual and ran away, said Const. Gary O’Brien.

Police tracked the man down, within about 15 minutes, near Rutherford Elementary School grounds and had guns drawn believing the suspect was carrying real firearms. Schools in the area were put into a hold and secure status to keep students indoors.

The suspect was eventually arrested. O’Brien said three unloaded airsoft pistols were found in his possession. MORE

Machete confrontation results in time served sentence

0926 - A former tent city camper, involved in a 2018 confrontation involving machetes, has been sentenced to time served.

Shane Edward Steinhauer and William Robert Carrigan, were arrested for an Aug. 3, 2018 confrontation at a Port Place mall parkade, where a group of youths were said to be shining laser pointers at the homeless encampment across the street. Crown counsel Ken Paziuk said the two men met the group, with Carrigan producing two machetes and hitting the hood of a car. Steinhauer had a kitchen cleaver, but didn’t brandish it and really didn’t have any interaction.

Steinhauer had pleaded guilty in June to possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and was released with conditions, but was picked up again for a breach of recognizance in the spring after he was found with a knife and a BB gun and subsequently pleaded guilty. MORE

Kenning named interim CAO for Town of Comox

Al Kenning

0925 - Former Nanaimo city chief administrative officer Al Kenning is the interim CAO for the Town of Comox. The Town confirmed Thursday morning that Kenning has been hired for an estimated period of six months.

His duties as CAO include staff leadership in the Town until a permanent replacement for the former CAO is hired by council.

He will be focused on working with staff to ensure that work continues on council’s community priorities and that the Town continues to provide quality services for its residents. MORE

Hybrid craft coming to Gabriola Island ferry route

0924 - The Gabriola Island ferry route is getting two new hybrid ferries. B.C. Ferries president and CEO Mark Collins said the corporation has ordered four Island Class vessels, two of which will be deployed on the Nanaimo-Gabriola route by 2022. He said the two new ferries will increase passenger capacity to 600 people from 400 per hour, increase vehicle capacity to 94 from 60 sailings every 30 minutes. “It’s a game-changer,” he said.

The Island Class ferries will be powered by a hybrid diesel-electric battery power generation and propulsion system, which has the ability to become fully electric in the future. The ferries will use ultra-low sulphur diesel fuel and are designed for low noise and low vibration. MORE

North end seeing increase in crimes of opportunity

Cst Gary O'Brien

0925 - Property crime is on the rise in north Nanaimo neighbourhoods.

A rash of petty thefts, suspicious occurrences and other property-related crimes have happened in recent weeks, say police. Residents have been vigilant in reporting incidents that have occurred sporadically among many neighbourhoods, usually under the cover of darkness and often in the early morning hours.

Various items have been taken from unlocked vehicles, sheds and homes that have been entered through unlocked windows and doors.

“Crime prevention is a community issue that starts with reporting suspicious activity immediately and this is exactly how residents have been responding to this rash of unlawful activity,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. FULL REPORT

Ship in human smuggling being scrapped in Nanaimo

0925 - The ship involved in an infamous human smuggling operation to bring 492 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Canada in 2010 is being converted to scrap metal in Nanaimo.

The MV Sun Sea arrived in Nanaimo Shipyard at the end of August to be dismantled by Canadian Maritime Engineering in a $4.1 million contract. The Port of Nanaimo is monitoring the demolition.

The former Thai cargo ship was stored in Newcastle Channel after it was intercepted by the Canadian Navy and Canadian Border Services in Aug. 2010 and was transferred to a federal facility on the Fraser River in Delta in Sept. 2012. MORE

In case you're wondering, RCMP may have your doors

0924 - The Nanaimo RCMP have found many items over the years but doors is not one of them. On Sunday September 22, a man reported four doors were seen resting next to a building in the 100 block of Bastion Street. The doors had apparently not been there very long and he figures they may have come from a nearby construction. Police took possession of the doors. no one has claimed them.

Three of the four doors are white and one is green. Three are standard size while the fourth is a bi-fold door, designed for a closet.  If you are missing your doors, the Nanaimo RCMP has them. Please give us a call at 250-754-2345 to claim them and refer to file number 2019-38177. 


RCMP say fire at school was intentionally set

Fire was started in trash at school.

0923 - A fire at Oceane School at 1951 Estevan Road was intentionally set, resulting damaging siding on a portable classroom. Nanaimo RCMP are investigating. Fire crews responded quickly and contained the fire and minimize the damage. The fire occurred around 7 am on Saturday. (pictures attached) Oceane School is located . 

Fire crews told police it appears the fire was caused by debris which had been placed next to the siding, then set on fire. Fire investigators also reported they did not see any individuals or vehicles in the area as they were on enroute to the fire. The fire was set on the south side of the school and in an area which is sheltered from view by a large retaining wall.

"It would take some time for the fire to ignite so we are asking the public to call us if they saw anyone one or any vehicles in or around the school from 6 am to 7:30 am, “said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If you have any information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 

Seven companies want to provide ride sharing on Island

0922 - The concept of ride sharing is so popular it seems just about everyone wants to get into the business.  Eleven companies applied since Sept. 9 to operate in B.C., including seven for Vancouver Island.

Catharine Read of Passenger Transportation Board said there is concern about the willingness for companies to venture outside Vancouver.

At one point the board was concerned about getting applications for only the Lower Mainland. She said the board is pleased to see the number of applicants, both local and Canadian applicants in addition to global companies like Uber and Lyft. MORE

Hotel room tax slated to increase to three per cent

0922 - Nanaimo is raising the hotel room tax to three per cent from two. Council unanimously approved the increase wihtout debate on Monday.

The city will now request Destination B.C. to approve the increase. Destination B.C. is the provincially-funded crown corporation which oversees the program. If approved, the rate would remain at three per cent until 2025.

The municipal and regional district tax applies to short-term accommodation in certain municipalities and regions throughout the province, including Nanaimo. Revenue is used by the city to help fund tourism-related programs and projects, such as financing the operation of new tourism facilities, and tourism marketing. It can also be used to help fund affordable housing initiatives. MORE

Suspicious fire doused at portable school classroom

0921 - A morning fire damaged a portable school room Saturday morning.

Assistant chief of training Jodi Le Masurier, said the fire cause raises suspicion. Fire Rescue responded to the fire at École Océane site on Estevan Road and extinguished it quickly.

“We went to, what was, a suspicious fire for us,” said Le Masurier. “It started on the outside of the building. It was one of their portables and our crews did a great job knocking it down fast, so it actually only got partway into a wall so it did very minimal damage.” MORE

Thieves take keys and steal three vehicles

0921 - Thieve broke in to the Rent-A-Car outlet on Shenton Road on Monday, taking three keys and driving off with three cars.

One of the vehicles has been recovered and the file is currently being investigated.

The vehicles taken were a red 2019 Ford Escape bearing licence plate No. JC158B, a black 2019 Buick Regal, licence plate No. JB569H and a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which has been recovered.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com


Public hearing into Machleary housing plan adjourned

0920 - A public hearing for a proposed housing proposal at the former Malaspina Gardens site settled nothing on Thursday night – the hearing was adjourned until October 9.

At issue is a 175-unit multi-family proposal at 388 Machleary St.representing drastically higher density for the site’s single family residential and duplex zoning.


Port Place bus exchange may stay until next summer

The ultimate future of the bus exchange at the waterfront remains in limbo, but for now it may stay where it is. The Regional District transit select committee is recommending that it remain there until next summer.

The bus loop was situated on Prideaux Street, but relocated to the Port Drive/Front Street area in May due to Bastion Street bridge seismic upgrades. While the bridge has re-opened, the RDN committee is recommending the board approve a licence of occupation and use amendment that would see the bus hub stay at its current locale until June 30.

The present location is popular and has been beneficial economically as well. MORE

0919 - The City is not going far to buy additional automated garbage trucks. Two used trucks have been found available in Kelowna for $90,000. 

One truck will enter service on Nanaimo roads while the other will be a reserve truck to fill gaps when other trucks come offline for maintenance and service. 

The purchase comes after a significant number of garbage pickup delays and missed routes. MORE

Asian giant hornets nest found and destroyed

0919 -A nest with about 150 Asian giant hornets has been destroyed, but there is concern the invasive species will remain.

The nest was discovered and destroyed late Wednesday, by Nanaimo Bee Keepers Club members. Approximately a half dozen of the Asian giant hornets were still alive Thursday on a wooded trail just south of the Robins Park ball diamond. MORE

First charging station coming to Petro Canada in Nanaimo

190919 - The first charging station to be built at a gas station on Vancouver Island is nearing completion.

A Petro Canada in Nanaimo will be one of the first in B.C. to charge electric vehicles as energy-giant Suncor rolls out electric charging stations at select Petro Canada stations across the country.

More than 50 Petro Canada stations, along the Trans Canada Highway, will get the charging stations. The charging station on Terminal Avenue and another to be built on Patricia Bay Highway in Saanich will be the two on Vancouver Island. MORE

City adopts whistleblower policy for staff and council

   190919 - City employees looking to expose inapproriate behaviour by fellow workers now have a new policy for guidance. City council has adopt a whistleblower and a privacy policy.   

The whistleblower policy outlines a process for city employees – as well as mayor and council – to report allegations of wrongdoing by others without the fear of reprisal. The privacy policy will serve as a guideline for how the city collects and handles an individual’s personal information. MORE

Summer fire restrictions come to an end

190919 - The summer fire restrictions are over for the season at the Coastal Fire Centre.   

The category two fire ban was lifted Wednesday. Fires measuring between two and three metres will now be permitted. It’s the last fire restriction to be lifted within the Coastal Fire Centre.   

Fire information officer Marg Drysdale said people need to be aware of allowable fire sizes. MORE

Man who crushed police cars gets two more years in jail

190918- The man who crushed police cars with a stolen pickup truck and attacked a grocery store employee with a knife will see two more years in jail.

Majore Jackson, 34, pleaded guilty to three counts of assault with a weapon, one count of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and one count of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Judge Brian Harvey sentenced him to 1,494 days concurrently for possessing stolen property, dangerous vehicle operation and two counts of assault, with 765 days credit, for 729 days in jail.

For the knife attack, Harvey imposed a concurrent 365-day jail sentence. MORE

Parksville waterfront development plan withdrawn for now

190918 - IAG Developments is going back to the drawing board with a proposed seven-building development on Parksville’s waterfront.

Alex Watson, Chief Operating Officer for IAG, says they have withdrawn an application to rezone 113 and 161 Island Highway in Parksville. Watson says the company needs more time in order to process public feedback.

“If we had gone to council on Monday, we weren’t going to be going with a significantly different proposal,” said Watson. “Based on the last two meetings, they probably would have denied our application. And that would have meant we’d have a six-month moratorium on doing anything with the city.” MORE

Nanaimo Search and Rescue gets a permanent home

190917 - Nanaimo Search and Rescue has a permanent home in the Harewood Activity Centres.

City council has approved a 25-year co-management agreement with Nanaimo Search and Rescue for the building.

“Different options have been looked at and I’m really pleased we’ve landed on this one,” said Coun. Ian Thorpe. “I think it’s a good solution and it will provide some security for the rescue group for the years ahead.” MORE

Complete election coverage - local and national

With the federal election campaign under way we have opened our special section for local and national information. OUR ELECTION SECTION has sub sections for each of the candidates and headlines from the national scene. Your questions and suggestions are welcome at Nanaimonet@shaw.ca

Council reverses on handicapped parking limit

0917 - Okay, the heat is off for Nanaimo's hadicapped drivers -  city council has had second thoughts and will not limit free parking for disability permit holders.

Council voted Monday not to go ahead with recommendedc changes that would have limited free parking in the city to two hours.

The second thought came three weeks after council unanimously agreed to the proposed amendments. Since 1993, disability parking permit holders have had unlimited free parking in city-owned parkades and that will continuue. MORE

Focus put on bicycle thefts in the city

0917  - Local authorities are ganging up on bicycle thefts. The RCMP has formed a partnership with the City, Crime Stoppers and 529 Garage to combat bike thefts. 

Crime Stoppers provided the funding for the city to install dozens of , the City of Garage 529 registration signs in high visibility locations along the E&N, Parkway trails, Westwood Lake, Beban bike park and a variety of other key locations, designed for easy access for bike riders

The signs promote free registration on the Garage 529 app and registration takes just five minutes. Police take in hundreds of bikes each year and very few make their way back to the rightful owner. However, bikes that are registered on the app are checked against the Garage 529 registry on a regular basis. The end result is people are getting their stolen bikes returned, said Dave Cusson, Community Policing Co-ordinator for the Nanaimo RCMP. FULL STORY

Computers and cash stolen during downtown break-in

0916 - Computers, a small amount of cash and two beers were stolen in a break-in at Zala Thai restaurant, located at 22 Victoria Crescent on Sept 3. 

One of the doors to the rear of the business had been pried open.If you know anything about these crimes, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. Nanaimo RCMP file # 2019-35232

Scheer addresses full house in Parksville

Andrew Scheer

0915 - Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer addressed a standing-room crowd in Parksville on Sunday.

Scheer highlighted his plan for a universal tax cut, saying that if elected, his government would cut the tax rate on taxable income less than $47,630 from 15 per cent to 13.75 per cent.

He promised to repeal the carbon tax and spoke about the importance of protecting Canada’s rivers by ending the practice of dumping raw sewage into rivers, lakes and oceans. MORE

Disappearing farmland in Regional District puzzles planners

0915 - Is our farmland disappearing? That’s one of the questions in the Nanaimo Regional District’s 2018 regional growth strategy annual report. The parcels with farm class status, as determined by B.C. Assessment, decreased to 674 in 2018 from 713 parcels in 2017.

Senior planner Jamai Schile said 25 diesappeared in Electoral Area A  – Cedar, South Wellington, Yellowpoint, Cassidy. Staff have not determined why the decline occurred, but it could be due to changes in farm practices, decrease in farm sales or sale of farm lands. MORE

Family of four escapes from fire in their Buttertubs home

0914 - A Nanaimo family of four and their pets escaped a fire in their home early this morning at a home close to Buttertubs Marsh.

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews responded to the Bird Sanctuary Drive home just after 2 a.m. Greg Norman, Nanaimo Fire Rescue deputy fire chief, said the fire was contained to a single garage. 

Norman said the cause of the fire is under investigation. “Our investigators will go there on Monday morning. It’s secured right now. We’ve boarded it up and it’s secure.” said Norman. MORE

Marriott Hotel construction target set for November

0914 - Construction is slated to begin in November on the proposed downtown Nanaimo hotel.

PEG Development plans to build a $23-million 172-room, nine-storey Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 100 Gordon St. across from the Conference Centre. Mckay Quinn, development manager for the project, told the News Bullletin the company wants to begin construction later this year.

“We hope to break ground at some point in November,” he said, later adding that construction could take anywhere from 12 to 20 months. MORE

Arrest warrant issued for fraudster

Jordan Shepherd

0914 - An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Nanaimo man previously jailed for duping several women out of more than $13,000.

Jordan David Shepherd, 36, was sentenced in May 2018 to four-and-a-half months in prison and two-years probation after he pleaded guilty to seven fraud charges for offences committed in 2017. He is wanted for breaching the terms of his probation in the Victoria area.

Following his jail sentence, Shepherd was convicted for driving offences in Victoria, Langford and Port Alberni. He also had a pair of probation breaches and for failing to attend court. MORE

Outboard motor and gas stolen from boat Sept. 1

0913 - A Mercury outboard motor and jerry can of gasoline were was stolen from a boat stored in the parking lot of the Days Inn on Nicol Street on Sept. 1. The motor has a cat sticker on the side and no serial number is available.

If you know anything about this crime, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. File # 2019 Unsolved crimes in Nanaimo. 

Regional District eases water restrictions effective today

0913 - Regional District of Nanaimo is easing watering restrictions at the end of the week.

RDN service areas have been in Stage 3 restrictions since June, but with the cooler temperatures, Stage 2 restrictions will take effect beginning today.

Stage 2 allows residents with even-numbered addresses to water lawns on even-number days between 7-10 a.m. or 7-10 p.m. for a maximum of two hours daily. People with odd-number addresses are subject to the same restrictions, but on odd-numbered days, and the restrictions will carry on until Oct. 1, when they will be eased again to Stage 1, with watering allowed any day between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. MORE

Voter support shifting in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

0913 - The numbers are rumbling but it’s no earthquake or landslide. The Calculated Politics poll for this week shows a little movement in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, but it depends where you are sitting whether you need to cheer or cry. MORE

Subway employee robbed of tip money and bicycle

0912 - An employee of the Subway on Bowen Road was taking out the garbage behind the building at about 12:30 a.m. last Friday morning when he was confronted by a suspect holding a piece of rebar, demanding money.

The employee dug into his pockets and handed over his tip money. To compound the incident, the theirf then stole the employee’s bike, an orange Mongoose with a blue water bottle holder. The suspect was caucasian, wearing a black hat and a beige button-up short-sleeved shirt emblazoned with the words ‘super high.’

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

Former Nanaimo Red Scorpion shot to death in Aldergrove

0912 - A high-profile Red Scorpion who grew up in Nanaimo, was shot to death outside an Aldergrove fast-food restaurant Tuesday night. Justin Lee Haevischer, 33, is believed to have been blasted by two different shooters outside the McDonald’s at 264th Street and 56th Avenue about 8 p.m.

Haevischer’s older brother Cody was convicted, along with Red Scorpion gangster Matthew Johnston, of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the Oct. 19, 2007 slaughter of six men — including two bystanders — in a Surrey penthouse apartment.

Haevischer had several criminal convictions over the years. He was convicted of mischief there in 2015 and received a nine-month suspended sentence. In 2008, he got a day in jail for an assault in Nanaimo. Also in 2008, he was fined $200 for wilfully resisting a police officer. FULL STORY

Bee-killer wasps found in Nanaimo

Invasive honeybee-eating hornets with stings that can be toxic have been found on Vancouver Island for the first time, says the B.C. government.

The B.C. Ministry of Agriculture says three large insects, Asian giant hornets, were found in Nanaimo in August. They are well-known to prey on honeybees and are capable of destroying hives in a short time period. However, the hornets are dormant and unlikely to be seen in the autumn and winter months, the press release said.

People who encounter an Asian giant hornet nest are asked not to disturb it, said the ministry. FULL STORY

Summit to address digitally enabling communities by design

0911 - Communities do not become digitally-enabled by chance, it happens by design. This year at the 13th Annual State of the Island Economic Summit, learn more about how Vancouver Island communities are using connectivity to step up their digital bench strength to build identity-rich, place-based, resilient economies. 

Join a group of expert panelists as they discuss first hand how connectivity is a regional game-changer when it comes to redefining British Columbia's rural and coastal advantage!

Panelists include:

Chamber of Commerce candidate forum October 10

0911- The Nanaimo Chamber will hold a Candidates Forum for the federal election.

“We now have confirmation from four candidates who will be attending,” says Kim Smythe, Chamber CEO. The declared candidates to date are: Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; and Paul Manly of the Green Party.” 

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on October 10 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. The debate among the candidates will begin at 7 pm. Questions will be accepted in advance at info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca and during the event.

“The cost of these events continues to be a challenge for the Chamber so we’re very appreciative of the financial support offered by Vancouver Island University, Canadian Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Federal Retirees plus our media supporters”, said Smythe.

Tires may be cause of deadly Alberni Highway crash

0910 - Crash analysts are looking into the tire conditions of a vehicle in which a 63-year-old Port Alberni woman was killed when her car crossed the centre line of Highway 4 near Cameron Lake.

Mounties say her vehicle was travelling westbound when she lost control and crossed the centre line about 10 p.m. Sunday.  Investigators say the driver of an eastbound vehicle attempted to miss the woman’s car but was unsuccessful. The driver of the eastbound vehicle was unhurt. 

“Early indicators are that condition of the tires on the vehicle the woman was driving may have been a contributing factor,” said RCMP Insp. Tim Walton with the Vancouver Island Traffic Service. MORE  

City delays decision on funding addiction treatment

0910 - The City council will not spend $70,000 on five addiction treatment beds just yet .

City Council referred the issue to the city’s task force on health and housing. The motion calls for six months’ treatment at five available beds at the John Howard Society’s Vancouver Island Therapeutic Community. MORE

Woman dies in car crash near Cameron Lake

A woman in her fifties died in a serious crash on Hwy. 4 near Cameron Lake late Sunday night. 

Her car was westbound when it crossed the road near Cameron Lake and crashed into an eastbound pickup truck around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.  The crash snarled traffic at Cameron Lake until about 4 a.m. Monday. FULL STORY

School District gets first two seat-belt-equipped buses

0909 - Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools has added its first two seatbelt-equipped buses. The buses are in service, said district communications director Dale Burgos.

“One is operating full-time on Gabriola Island, then the second one is going to be used in the city of Nanaimo or the town of Ladysmith.” FULL STORY


It's time to think small on affordable housing

Updated with new information


Man attempts to steal groceries, then flees

0909 - Police are looking for a man who went on a late-night shopping spree about 9 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Real Canadian Superstore on Metral Drive and then didn’t pay.

When confronted he ditched the items and took off on foot. The suspect is a white male, early twenties, with a $ tattoo under each eye. He was wearing a blue plaid shirt, dark baseball cap and scraggly pants.

If you know anything about this incident or know the suspect, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. Nanaimo file # 2019-33747

Medical Health Officer warns schools of e-cigarette dangers

Dr. Paul Hasselback

0908 - Island Health medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback, has issued a warning to local school officials about the dangers of vaping which is said could be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes.Nanaimo-Ladysmith area.

In a presentation Wednesday to Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools’ education committee, Dr. Hasselback said vaping is an electronic delivery mechanism for various substances, most often nicotine, with potential for cannabinoids. A 2016-17 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs survey found that 23 per cent of respondents had tried an e-cigarette, and the U.S. Center for Tobacco Products suggested a 78-per cent increase in e-cigarette usage among high school students between 2017 and 2018.

He said nicotine and youth are not a good combination. MORE

Crash closes the Alberni Highway over night

0909 - A vehicle crash Sunday night closed a 21-kilometre stretch of Highway 4 in both directions between Maebelle Road and Chalet Road, from six kilometres east of Cathedral Grove to one kilometre east of Port Alberni.

The highway was expected to re-open at 3 a.m. Monday. No detour is available in that area.

Union wants more changes before mediation

0908 - A date has been set for mediation in the Western Forest Products strike, but the union is not ready to commit to that date. A meeting date with noted mediator Vince Ready has been scheduled for Sept. 13.

The union said that date is dependent on significant movement being made by Western to facilitate the desire for a meeting.” Stephanie Empey, Duke Point mill strike captain, said the union does want to meet for mediation, but not under current conditions.

The Workers represented by United Steelworkers began striking on July 1. MORE

One taken to hospital after collision of Cedar Road

0907 - One patient was taken to hospital after two vehicles collided on Cedar Road Friday afternoon. One of the vehicles rolled over into the ditch. An SUV and a station wagon were involved in the two-vehicle crash and the SUV rolled over and came to rest upside-down.

Traffic along Cedar Road was impacted with both directions moving in single-lane alternating traffic.

Indigenous youth and parents to get big federal payout

0906 - Hundreds of Indigenous youth in the mid Island area will each get $40,000 from the federal governmnet. And some parents will get $20,000 for each child placed in the welfare system. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal announced today that Indigenous youth removed from their homes and placed into the welfare system will get payment from the federal government. 

The decision followed a January 2016 ruling which said the federal government discriminated against Indigenous children by under-funding on-reserve child welfare services. 

Parents who’s children were taken away through disruptive measures by the government will also receive $20,000 per child taken. However, parents who caused harm or abused their children will not be compensated. MORE

Wallace set to become Regional District director for Area G

Lehann Wallace

0906 - Lehann Wallace is waiting to be confirmed as Regional District of Nanaimo director for Electoral Area G, French Creek, San Pareil and Little Qualicum region.

Wallace won by acclamation when no other candidates registered by the Aug. 30 deadline. The challenge period for the nomination ended on Sept. 3. Legislation requires a final deadline of Sept. 9 for the declaration.

Alternate Director Joe Stanhope will remain as the interim director for Electoral Area G until Wallace takes the oath of office, set for Oct. 6. MORE

Public help sought in locating Ryan Van Haastert

Ryan Van Haastert

0905 - Have your seen Ryan Van Haastert? Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in locating 42-year-old Van Haastert who left his south Nanaimo home on Sept. 3 and has not been heard from since. He has personal issues which have his friends and family worried for his safety and well-being.

On the same day as he was reported missing, Van Haastert was spotted in the Cedar area, driving his grey 2017 Toyota Corolla with BC plate # GF140W. However, he was not located by investigators.

Van Haastert is a Caucasian male, 6 ft. 2, 190 pounds the picture of him is recent. If anyone sees Ryan Van Haastert or knows of his whereabouts, call 911 immediately or the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

VIU engineering students tackle new challenges overseas

VIU Engineering students created a recycled tire dragon plyground. Photo: Brian Dick

By Annette Lucas
Vancouver Island University

0906 - Nine first-year Vancouver Island University (VIU) engineering students put their knowledge to work in another country and came back with new skills, friends, and insight about living and working with people in a different part of the world.  

At the end of the instructional year, students from the Engineering Transfer certificate program stepped outside of their comfort zones and traveled across the Pacific Ocean to a coastal province within the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam. They were there to take part in an engineering field school activity at Trà Vinh University (TVU). 

Led by VIU Engineering Professor Dr. Brian Dick and his counterparts at TVU, students from both universities were paired together to participate in cultural and engineering activities over a three-week period. FULL STORY  

UPDATE: Missing teenager found safe and sound

Dominic Tom

0906 -  The youth who had been missing has been located and is safe and sound, confirmed Sgt. Jon Stuart, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.

EARLIER STORY: 0905 - 14-year-old Dominic Tom of Nanaimo has been missing since Sept. 1 and RCMP ask for public assistance in locating  him. He visited a friend at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital that day but did not return home following the afternoon visit.

Dominic is an Indigenous male, 5 ft. 4 and 115 pounds. The picture is recent and he is believed to be wearing a black hoody, black track pants and carrying a black backpack.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Dominic Tom, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at http://www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

UPDATE - Jason Schnuur has beeen located, safe and sound

Jason John Schnurr (recent photo)

The 28 year old man reported missing from Nanaimo on Sept. 2 has been located safe and sound. Many thanks to the public and media for helping bring this to a successful conclusion.

EARLIER STORY - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 28-year-old Jason John Schnurr who left his Nanaimo home at approximately 9:30 pm on Monday. He is experiencing significant personal difficulties and as a result, his family and friends are worried for his safety and well-being

Schnurr's cell phone is not active, there is no clothing description available for him and he is driving a grey 2014 Dodge pickup, with BC plate MR5121. Jason Schnurr is 5 ft. 10, 170 pounds, with short brown hair.

If you see Jason Schnurr or know his whereabouts, call 911 immediately or the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477. 


Motorcycle rider in hospital after crashing into bus

0903 - A motorcycle rider was taken to hospital in Victoria after his bike crashed into a tour bus on the Island Highway in north Nanaimo. 

Cst. Gary O’Brien said the motorcyclist rear-ended a tour bus on Monday, just after 5 p.m. in the southbound lanes near the exit into Nanaimo.

“He was later airlifted to Victoria General Hospital where he’s considered stable with non-life threatening injuries,” O’Brien said. The 56-year-old man suffered extensive injuries. His motorcycle burst into flames and was destroyed.

Police looking for information on tools from break-in

0903 - Two Rigid brad nail guns, a Rigid battery charger and bolt cutters were stolen during a break-in overnight on Wednesday Aug. 21 from a garage in the 100 block of Acacia Avenue.

Nanaimo file # 2019-33165 – If you know anything about this crime, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Hydro line fire causes havoc on Island Highway

0902 - A  branch fallen across power lines south of the Nanoose rest stop on the Island Highway sparked a small fire which required emergency responder attention. a small fire which required emergency responder attention.

 The incident severely impacted traffic on the highway just before noon today. The branch sparked 
 BC Hydro has a listed power outage in the Nanoose area this afternoon affecting nearly 800 customers.

Coulson Aviation sending helicopters to Bolivian fires

Google photo

0902 - Coulson Aviation of Port Alberni is sending three helicopters to Bolivia to support firefighting efforts in the Amazon.

Coulson is a family-owned company with 30 years in the aviation industry. It is sending three helicopters from its fleet of aircraft as part of a deal between the company and the Bolivian Ministry of Defence.

Labour answers may be closer than we think

Economic Summitt in October.

0902 - If you think it’s difficult now to fill labour needs, imagine what it will be like in the coming years as the population of 20 to 65 year old Islanders declines at the same time that the number of people choosing retirement increases.

Smart organizations are thinking about options, and even smarter ones are working with post-secondary institutions to source student talent much earlier in the labour pipeline.

This panel at the 2019 State of the Island Economic Summit will provide an overview of options to engage students while they are still expanding their skills through work-integrated learning such as co-op and internships. MORE

ICBC introduces a new way to calculate premiums

0902 - ICBC has a new way to calculate premiums, looking harder at the history of primary and secondary drivers.

It's driver based, meaning driving experience and crash history is going to play more of a role. Previously it was based more on the vehicle itself. As a result prices could shift in either direction. MORE


Major redevelopment proposed for downtown Parksville

Major redevelopment plan for downtown Parksville

0901 - Downtown Parksville could get a new look if a major redevelopment proposed by IAG Enterprises Ltd of Vancouver is approved. 

Called the Boardwalk District, it would encompass the intersection of Island Hwy and the Alberni Hwy. It would be a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development that for the first time will link the beach to the downtown core. The key to achieving this link is the development of a retail promenade the length of the property, allowing 24-hour public to access the beach and services.

The proposal consists of seven distinct buildings including:

  • A 300-seat pub and restaurant plus 145 seats of seasonal outdoor deck
  • A 60-room hotel with conference facilities
  • A 60-unit propose-built market rental building that includes a 25-metre community pool, hot tub and fitness area
  • It includes embedded parking for all residents and more than 340 public parking spaces
  • And four additional mixed-use buildings with 239 strata residential units that will include an office and retail component.

The key community benefit is five acres of public space, a play by the beach, a live performance area and a seasonal market.

City moves to revive economic development

0901 - The City is inching closer to reviving an economic development arm.

Council endorsed a consultant's recommendations to implement a hybrid economic development model and create a committee focused on economic development.

An in-house economic development department as well as the Nanaimo Prosperity Agency, a city-owned arms-length development corporation would be part of the operation. It would also see formation of the Nanaimo prosperity steering committee, which would be responsible for overseeing the creation of an economic development strategy for the city.

The in-house economic development arm’s responsibilities would include assisting businesses with city red tape, and monitoring economic activities and trends within the community. MORE