Alzheimer’s Awareness campaign open house 

More than 70 percent of respondents felt people living with dementia experience stigma says  a B.C. survey conducted by Insights West in 2018. 

Stigma – which is negative attitudes and misconceptions held by family, friends and professionals – can be a barrier that prevents people from seeking out a diagnosis if they are beginning to see possible symptoms, or it may keep them from accessing services.

This January, residents of Nanaimo are invited to take part in Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, a national campaign focused on changing the general public’s perceptions of what it means to live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Changing perceptions is key to reducing stigma, which ultimately supports people living with dementia to stay active and engaged in the community.

To celebrate Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, residents are invited to an open house at the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s North and Central Vancouver Island Resource Centre in Nanaimo on January 16. It runs from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Alzheimer Resource Centre, Unit 4 – 4488 Wellington Road.

A local community member will share the experience of the disease and the Society will recognizing a local volunteer whose contributions have eased the dementia journey for people in the community.

The Alzheimer Society of B.C. connects people living with dementia, their caregivers and family members to support and education at any point in the disease through First Link® dementia support.

Nanaimo residents People can connect to support by asking their health-care provider for a referral, by visiting the resource centre or by calling the First Link® Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033. To learn more about the Alzheimer Society of B.C. and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, visit alzheimerbc.org.

CPA Alberta suspends Mema pending diciplinary hearing

Victor Mema

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta temporarily suspended Victor Mema’s registration in early July, pending the outcome of a disciplinary proceedings. 

The Coast Reporter newspaper of Sechelt reported this week that the CPAA has confirmed “a hearing into allegations of unprofessional conduct” against Mema, the former Sechelt and later Nanaimo chief financial officer. 

The district launched a small claims action alleging that after Mema left Sechelt, “it came to the district’s attention that the defendant had charged a significant number of items to the district credit card without proper approval from his supervisor.” Mema, who now lives in Surrey, left Sechelt for Nanaimo in 2015. 

Mema was released from his Nanaimo job in 2018, and CPAA is also alleging that he “failed to act with integrity and due care in carrying out his duties as chief financial officer of the city. The details include using a corporate credit card for more than $14,000 in personal expenses and failing to promptly reimburse when repayment was requested.

Mema later launched a Human Rights complaint alleging racism.

FULL STORY

Ferries will eliminate fuel surcharge on Tuesday

1216 - B.C. Ferries will remove its 1.5-per cent fuel surcharge as of Tuesday, Dec. 17, just in time for Christmas travel.

The 1.5-per cent surcharge has been in place since June 1 and amounted to 25 cents per person and 85 cents per vehicle on major routes and 15 cents per person and 45 cents per vehicle on smaller routes.

“The recent decrease in the price of fuel allows us to eliminate the fuel surcharges, which is great news for travellers,” said Alana Gallagher, B.C. Ferries’ vice-president and CFO, in the release. “We understand that affordability is important to our customers and every bit helps.”

FULL STORY

Two Gabriola Island plane crash victims identified

1216 - The children of the couple who died in the plane crash on Gabriola on Dec. 10 have come forward and identified the couple as Allan and Katheryn Boudreau (both aged 53) of Saltair.

Jeffrey (28), Rae (23), and Bridget (25), contacted the Gabriola Sounder newspaper on Saturday, Dec. 14 to provide a statement regarding the tragedy in which their parents died — and who their parents were as they lived out their lives in the Cowichan Valley. Jeffrey currently lives in Lake Louise, Alberta; Rae in Victoria, and Bridget in Kelowna. MORE

Oil spill reponse station contruction set for spring

Marine response station contruction to begin in spring

1216 - Western Canada Marine Response Corporation is moving forward to build a $10-million oil spill response base on the waterfront at the Port of Nanaimo. 

WCMRC will be responsible for cleaning oil spills along British Columbia’s coast. 15 different vessels and 34 employees will be stationed at the Nanaimo base, which will also serve as a training centre and hub for WCMRC’s Vancouver Island operations. Additonal stations will be located in Sidney, Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Beecher Bay for the $150-million spill response program as part of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion approval. Contruction in Nanaimo is slated to begin between April and June next year.

UPDATE – missing Nanaimo man found safe and sound

Rober Gillies

RCMP reported today that Robert Gillies has been found.
 
1210- Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance in locating - 57-year-old Robert GILLIES who did not return to his residence in north Nanaimo.  He had left his supportive housing prior to a check in the early morning, but was last seen at about 10:30 at coffee shop in Departure bay.
 
Robert GILLIES is 5'10", 170lbs, and has blonde hair.  He was wearing a black jean jacket and blue jeans.  Gillies has a noticeable limp with mobility issues, and a medical condition that has left him with a poor memory.  He is new to Nanaimo, and does not know the area  The staff are concerned for his well being, and would like the public to be aware and report to the Nanaimo RCMP they locate him.
 

Final vote counts in Snuneymuxw council election

Peckford takes on Victoria and Ottawa over health care

Hon. Brian Peckford

He was premier of Newfoundland from 1979 to 1989. Now, as a B.C. resident, Brian Peckford is still game for a political fight. Today he’s taking on Ottawa and Victoria, saying they need to do more to end the shortage of family doctors.

After he retired from politics, Peckford, moved to B.C. in 1993. He’s lived in Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach and now Parksville. And in each community, the shortage of primary care physicians has been getting worse.

Island Health Region surveys show that about 16 per cent of the 50,000 residents of the Oceanside Local Health Area (Parksville and Qualicum Beach) don’t have a family doctor. That’s better than the B.C. average where about 24 per cent of residents don’t have a regular family doctor.

 FULL STORY

Winter Counter-Attack driving campaign under way

1204 - Have you had anything to drink?  Expect to hear this familiar phrase many times over as the Winter Counter-attack impaired driving campaign officially kicked off Sunday Dec. 1 and runs for the month. 

The long hours officers spend roadside on freezing December nights are for one reason, and for one reason only- to stop impaired drivers. On average 68 lives are lost to impaired driving crashes every year in BC. For this reason, impaired driving enforcement is not only a local priority but a national one also.

Each weekend, on any road or highway within our jurisdiction, expect to see a road check. The road check may delay you a few minutes but please, have some patience as officers are there to protect you. Don't make that conscious decision to drive while impaired. It's just not worth it and may cost you, not only your license, but your life or someone else’s, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Expect officers to not only be looking for drivers who have over-consumed alcohol but those who have recently smoked cannabis, and laws pertaining to consumption and possession will be enforced.

Here are some tips to think about if you are heading out for the evening and you plan on consuming alcohol:

  • If you plan to drink, leave your car at home
  • Line up a designated driver for the evening 
  • Consider car pooling
  • Take a taxi, public transportation or a community sober ride option 

Remember, if you suspect someone is driving while impaired, call 911 immediately. If you are driving, pull over to the side of the road, and when safe to do so, provide the license plate of the vehicle, direction of travel and vehicle description.

Snuneymuxw heads three-party development

1204 - Snuneymuxw First Nation, B.C. Housing, City of Nanaimo and Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district are partnering to develop three properties in.

The Te’tuxwtun project was announced in December 2018 and its priorities include new affordable rental housing, relocation of the district learning alternatives program, integrating culture, parks and recreational services and incorporation of health services and child care.

Snuneymuxw First Nation will guide the growth and development of the properties, the press release said, as well as bring a wealth of cultural knowledge. Snuneymuxw Chief Michael Wyse said the journey of healing and growth is years in the making.

Mid-island child care needs focus of new initialive

1203 - Mid Island municipal governments are undertaking a study of child care needs in our region. Nanaimo, Lantzville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, the Regional District of Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Naw-As and Qualicum Nations formed the Mid Island Child Care Planning Collaborative. The group has hired a consultant to prepare a child care needs assessment for the region.
The initiative also includes School Districts 68 and 69, non-profits, child care providers and educators. it wants to hear from parents, caregivers and expected parents in the mid island region, regarding child care needs and priorities. 
Those who have a child receiving child care or are expecting a child and anticipate needing child care in the future can fill out a survey to support the study. A separate survey has also been created for child care providers and employees. Links to both surveys can be found at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/ChildCareSurvey

Three schools affected by unspecified police incident

1129 - One Nanaimo high school was locked down and two others were put on hold and secure status this morning. Dover Bay was locked down while McGirr elementary, and Nanaimo and District Secondary School placed on hold and secure after a police incident. 

 RCMP and Senior Management at School District 68, agreed the measures suggested by RCMP investigators were appropriate. By 11:20 am the threat was deemed not credible the security measures were lifted at all three schools. Two officers will remain at each school for the remainder of the day.

Two arrested in takedown of suspected drug house

1129 - A man and a woman were arrested after police searched a suspected drug house on Wednesday where police found various narcotics, fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, prescription oxycodone and other prescription drugs. 

A 27-year-old man and a woman, 47, were arrested without incident. The search located more than two ounces of various narcotics, a 22-calibre rifle and a sawed off shotgun were also found, both of which were later confirmed to be stolen. 

The officers said the two firearms, while not loaded, were readily accessible to the residents. A mix of Canadian and U.S. currency, totalling in excess of $15,000 was also seized. Both were released unconditionally and court dates for both are pending for drug trafficking charges.

The Nanaimo RCMP Projects team is committed to disrupting suppliers of fentanyl, which is responsible for the majority of overdose deaths within our city and its street community, said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

UPDATE - Missing teenager located safe and sound
18-year-old Brianna Fisher, who was reported missing from her Nanaimo home on Nov. 24 has been located safe and sound. 

Nanaimo store manager injured in violent assault

Suspect's image caught on camera

The manager of a north end business was violently assaulted Saturday by a shoplifter, who struck him over the head with a shopping bag containing bottles.

The employee was taken to hospital by BC Paramedics where he was treated for a serious but non-life threatening injury. The injured employee was treated in hospital and later released. The incident took place in front of the business in North Town Centre.

The manager and a Loss Prevention Officer had approached the suspect outside the business, after witnessing him leave without paying for merchandise. After a short conversation, the suspect swung the shopping bag at the manager. The suspect fled on foot.

He is Caucasian, 35-40 years old, slim build, wearing a blue jacket with white stripes on the sleeve, and a pale blue ball cap. The shopping bag he was carrying was bright yellow.

 If anyone has information on this incident, 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.

Driver charged in fatal collision in Cedar last year

Shinder Kirk

1124 – Conrad Nikolaus Wetten. 23, has been charged in connection with a crash that killed well-known retired Abbotsford police sergeant Shinder Kirk late last year south of Nanaimo.

Wetten was charged Nov. 15 without due care and attention under the Motor Vehicle Act.

The charge states Wetten was driving eastbound on Cedar Road in a pickup truck when it collided head-on with a westbound  pickup truck driven by Kirk on Dec. 22, 2018.

Talks between Western Forest Products and union stall

Western Forest Products and workers on Vancouver Island remain deadlocked in a labour dispute after talks broke down this past weekend.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 have been on strike since July 1 and according to separate press releases, the union and Western took part in 14 hours of negotiations this past weekend, with assistance from mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers. An offer was tabled by the company, but the union rejected it outright and there will be no discussions scheduled in the foreseeable future. MORE

Port Connect event termed a big success

Port Connect career event attracted record crowd.

The second annual Port Connect marine-related work fair Nov. 7 was a huge success with more than 240 participants, a 20-per-cent increase from last year.

The event was created last year by the Port of Nanaimo and Nanaimo WorkBC Centre to link people with contacts in the marine industry for possible employment. 

Port Chair Donna Hais said a lot of strong marine-related companies do business in and around the Port and Port Connect provides an opportunity to introduce prospective employees to some of the possibilities that may be available.

Robin Gang Li, President of Seamor Marine, said it was great to get together with marine companies and talk to the visitors. There was great interest in underwater robotics.

Peter McGee, Community Engagement Manager for the WorkBC, said Port Connect brings together the marine sector in a way that the public, both job seekers and network builders, can access in an easy and effective way. 

Counsellor therapists seek provincial regulation

Anyone can claim to be a counsellor or therapist in British Columbia. A government authority to regulate counselling therapists is badly needed.

Tell the BC government: It's time for BC to be a leader in mental healthcare. Regulate counselling therapists.

This video includes sensitive stories. We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this video to reach out to a counselling therapist or other mental health professional, or a trusted ally. And convince your MLA or any cabinet ministers of the need for regulation.

SEE VIDEO

 

Tuesday news headlines

City budget debates start with 5.2% projected tax increase
The City of Nanaimo will begin public discussion of its next budget this week and the starting point is a 5.2 per cent property tax increase. The city’s finance and audit committee will hold special meetings the next three weeks as part of the process to work toward a 2020-2024 financial plan.

Monday news headlines

Lantzville seeks changes to policing cost model for small towns
Policing costs significantly increase once a municipality’s population exceeds 5,000

 Bush cameras installed to deter backcountry vandals and thieves
A Vancouver Island forestry giant has turned to concealed bush cameras in response to thieves, vandals and illegal trash dumpers.

Three-car crash sends one driver to hospital
One driver was taken to hospital following a three-vehicle collision at the intersection of Nicol and Needham streets Friday morning. There was no word on the nature of the injuries of the driver taken to hospital.

New university president sworn in at Snunymuxw longhouse
History was made when Deborah Saucier took the oath of office as Vancouver Island University’s new president at the Snuneymuxw Longhouse on Friday. Saucier, who is Métis, told the audience she was humbled and honoured to have her installation ceremony at the longhouse. 

Senior dies after medical emergency in car crash
An 81-year-old Nanoose Bay man has died, after driving off the road following a medical emergency at the wheel on Thursday. “It appears that he was in medical distress. He was deceased prior to police arriving on scene,” said Cpl. Jesse Foreman of the Oceanside RCMP.

November 15

Severe weather warning issued for Vancouver Island over the weekend
Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for both north and west Vancouver Island. The alerts warn of wet and windy conditions along the coast over the weekend, beginning early Saturday morning. Environment Canada expects about 100 millimetres of rain over north Vancouver and west Vancouver Island.

Charges laid as police investigate Nanaimo high school students
A group of high school students are accused of committing disturbing crimes, which in at least one case involved a weapon.

Investigation throws out excessive force complaint against local police
A wanted man taken down by a police dog in the mountains outside Nanaimo doesn’t have a leg to stand on when claiming Nanaimo RCMP used excessive force.  The Independent Investigations Office, which looks into all cases where injuries occur during police action, has ruled against David Banford.

November 13

Felicia Olteanu

RCMP seek help in finding missing Parksville woman
Oceanside RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating a missing 26-year-old woman who was last seen in Parksville. Felicia Olteanu was last seen in Parksville on Nov. 12 at 4:30 p.m. She drives a 2002 Black jeep Grande Cherokee wit the BC licence plate 394 RTR. Anyone with information on Olteanu’s whereabouts is asked to call Oceanside RCMP at (250) 248-6111.

Review process for City’s 2020 budget begins next week
Preparations are under way for the City of Nanaimo's 2020-2024 Draft Financial Plan. Residents will have a number of opportunities to review, ask questions and provide input leading up to a budget-focused eTown Hall on Monday, December 2.

Notorious section of Bruce Ave. under review for pedestrian safety
The safety of a collision-prone intersection in Harewood, which hasn’t been reviewed in nearly 12 years, is back in the spotlight. A 24-year-old woman suffered life-threatening injuries on Monday, Nov. 11 around 8:40 p.m. when she was hit by a car in the crosswalk.

Engineer will detail earthquake early warning system at Nanoose talk
Scientists estimate the likelihood of a major earthquake hitting the south B.C. coast within the next 50 years is about one in three.   Scientists can’t predict when a major quake will strike, but they can now give more accurate and timely warnings about shock waves and intensity, and that’s the subject of the next VIU ElderCollege talk Nov. 16.

BC RCMP cutting more than $10 million from provincial units
The RCMP in British Columbia is cutting more than $10 million from its provincial policing costs, which include small rural detachments, and some of the funding for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and the anti-gang Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

Woman seriously injured in crosswalk accident

1112 - A woman has been airlifted to hospital in Victoria with life threatening injuries after being struck by a in a pedestrian crosswalk. The collision occurred at approximately 8:40 pm on Monday at the intersection of Albion St and Bruce Ave.

Police said appears the 31-year-old female driver was goling south along Bruce Avenue when her vehicle struck the 24-year-old pedestrian in the crosswalk. The crosswalk is not lit and the victim was wearing dark non-reflective clothing. The driver remained on scene and co-operated with investigators.

The vehicle will undergo a mechanical inspection. The road was closed for several hours, the investigation is continuing.

Tree removal at the forefront as storm season approaches

1112- Stormy weather is on the way, and that means applications are on the rise to have damaged or diseased trees toppled.  

The City’s urban forestry co-ordinator Patrick McIntosh says the number applications for tree removal is way up from previous years but many formal applications and casual requests from concerned residents aren’t backed by professional advice. FULL STORY

Teachers union rejects mediator's recommendations

1109- The B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) has rejected the recommendations in mediator’s report issued last week

Mediator David Schaub of the Labour Relations Board recommended terms for settlement to the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association. He asked for a decision by Friday.

BCTF president Teri Mooring said the main issues include a teacher shortage due to low wages and a lack of class size and composition limits. Teachers in B.C. have the lowest starting wages in Canada and the lowest overall maximum wages in Western Canada, she said. MORE

Man injured after climbing electricity tower

1109 - A man who climbed an electricity tower south of Nanaimo this morning suffered life-threatening injuries, RCMP, firefighters and paramedics were called to Riverbend Road in Cassidy at about 11:30 a.m. 

Police said a 20-year-old climbed the tower, suffered a shock and fell off. He was not an electrical worker and he climbed up for unknown reasons. DETAILS

Court rules Newcastle Place not subject to zoning 

1108 - The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled the province did not have to comply with city zoning bylaws when it built the Newcastle Place homeless compound on Terminal Avenue.

The case was brought to court by Janet Buechler and neighbours of the project, naming B.C. Housing, the Provincial Rental Housing Corporation, Island Crisis Care Society and the City, arguing that the complex is subject to city zoning regulations.

The province set up supportive housing at Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road in the fall of 2018 to help accommodate people experiencing homelessness who had been living at Discontent City encampment at 1 Port Drive. FULL STORY

 

Extra ferry sailings for Remembrance Day long weekend

1107 - There will be 28 extra ferry sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland over the Remembrance Day long weekend – four on the Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route.

Travel will be free for military personnel - including active, reserve and retired members of the armed forces, as well as cadets, on Remembrance Day. Personnel travelling in uniform or have official military identification will qualify for the discount, which is being offered for the first time this year.

Complimentary travel will also be available on Remembrance Day for senior citizens. Seniors can travel for free on BC Ferries from Monday through Thursday throughout the year, but usually Monday holidays are excluded.

Business community reports to council on social disorder

1105 - Nanaimo’s business community is frustrated but resilient concludes a report to city council regarding rising crime and social disorder.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Smythe presented a 25-page report on the chamber’s findings of a survey of businesses near a supportive housing complex on Labieux Road. 

“Businesses and residents are facing critical issues with rising crime and a sense of social disruption that seems beyond control,” Smythe said. FULL STORY

Driver airlifted to Victoria hospital after crash in Cedar

1104 - The 26-year-old male driver has been airlifted to a Victoria hospital with life threatening injuries following a car crash in Cedar on Sunday morning. The driver, who was the lone occupant, was extricated from the vehicle by attending fire crews. Investigators believe the vehicle was heading east on Cedar Road when the driver lost control and went off the roadway and hit a hydro pole, coming to rest upside down. No other vehicles were involved. MORE

Two evacuated from mobile home fire

1101 - Two women were in their residence when it was damaged by fire this morning at Brooksdale Mobile Home Park on Twelfth Street.

The homeowner was not home, but two other occupants were awoken by firefighters who arrived to the fully-involved fire with heavy smoke coming from the roof.

Two drivers taken to hospital after crash

1101 -Two drivers were taken to hospital after a crash on Northfield Road Thursday. Emergency crews were called after two vehicles collided close to the intersection of Northfield and Bowen roads.

This morning, A pickup truck and a station wagon collided at an intersection along the Nanaimo Parkway. Lantzville Fire Rescue, RCMP and B.C. Ambulance Service attended the scene involving a pickup truck and an SUV at the Nanaimo Parkway and Island Highway intersection, at approximately 9:20 a.m. Friday.