Thursday, Oct. 8

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Local schools are getting two electric school, complete with seatbelts. The two buses, expected to arrive in January, are supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in annual savings of $20,000 a year in fuel and maintenance. The cost is $902,083. The 76-passenger buses will cost $384,541 and the project will also include supply and installation of two charging stations at a cost of $25,000. MORE 

NO HARD TIME – A pair of vandals who occupied and damaged Rutherford Elementary School in a protest two years ago have been given conditional discharges. Mercedes Courtoreille, 24, and Christopher Thompson, 35, pleaded guilty to mischief in a joint submission from Crown Counsel Ken Paziuk and Anthony Mattila for the defence. The conditional discharge means they won’t have a criminal record if they meet the terms of their probation. They both were sentenced to 12 months probation and ordered both to pay $1,000 each in restitution to the school district. 

RCMP ARE LOOKING FOR a semi-automatic pistol and thousands of dollars worth of silver coins stolen from apartment storage units. Police say the break-ins happened in storage units at an apartment building in the 6000 block of McRobb Avenue. The main door to the storage area was pried open, and the storage units were accessed. A Ruger .22-calibre 111 semi-automatic target pistol with serial No. 27445686 was stolen, as well as 1,000 silver Canadian coins valued at $40,000. If you have any information about this crime, call Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

B.C. reports 115 new cases of coronavirus

Dr. Bonnie Henry

1007 – British Columbia reported 115 cases of Coronavirus in the last 24 hours, but the good news is there were no deaths during that period. 

The province now has 1,387 active cases of the coronavirus, including 71 people who are in hospital, 15 of whom are in intensive care. 

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and deputy health minister Stephen Brown reported in a written statement. Henry is scheduled to hold her next live briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday. 

Since the pandemic began, B.C. has recorded 9,956 cases of COVID-19 in total and 244 deaths. 

Warrant issues after truck theft defendant fails to appear

Joshua Derrah

1008 – Joshua Derrah, 26, is wanted on a warrant after he was charged with theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property in an April 11 incident. A pickup truck was stolen from a Norasea Road home. 

Police spotted the truck shortly after on Terminal Avenue and made an arrest. Darrah was charged with the two counts related to the incident and was released with a court appearance set. He failed to appear. 

Derrah is Caucasian, is 5-feet-11, and weighs 170 pounds with black hair. 

Horgan commits to new cancer centre in Nanaimo

1007 – Nanaimo will be one of two new cancer centres unveiled this morning by Premier John Horgan. 

Horgan says a re-elected BC NDP government will work with BC Cancer and health authorities to launch a 10-year cancer action plan. His plan will add new cancer centres in Nanaimo and Kamloops, bringing care closer to home for people in the Interior and on Vancouver Island. FULL STORY

Wednesday, Oct. 7

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’ve got a long weekend coming up and that means heavy traffic on B.C. The Ferry corporation advises that if you don’t have a reservation you may face sailing waits during peak travel times. Of course, distancing on board becomes a challenge, so extra space is being opened. Transport Canada has  reinstated the ban on passengers remaining on the enclosed vehicle deck so more space is being opened on board the ferries for passengers. FULL STORY 

GOOD MORNING PARKSVILLE – Why do people panhandle? Could it perhaps be because they have no money? You have to scratch your head at Parksville city council – they are in the process of establishing a $50 fine for begging. So will the the beggars just have to beg a little more to raise money to pay the ticket? 

 

SIDEWALK PATIOS have been so successful in most places, now Victoria is following Nanaimo’s lead by extending approval until next spring. The patios helped businesses during the pandemic and may extend the program indefinitely. Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says it would be great if these patios could stay forever, they’ve been a tremendous addition to downtown. For now, the city is extending the program until March 31, because that’s how long the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch approved the program for, but if it was up to her worship they would be permanent. 

 

GHOST RIDER – The Nanaimo RCMP know a vehicle crashed into a power pole but don’t have a clue about the vehicle or the driver. They skedaddled outa there like shadows in the night. It happened at about 6:15 a.m. Sept. 12 in the 700 block of Victoria Road. Several witnesses said they heard a crash and saw a power pole and lines leaning across the street and a transformer on the ground. One witness saw a shirtless man several minutes afterward who appeared to be wandering on the street near the crash scene. He was described as Caucasian, approximately 6-foot-6, with dark hair and spoke with a deep voice. If you know anything about this incident, the RCMP would love to talk to you. 

 

$3 MILLION UPGRADE – Victoria’s Empress Hotel will close over winter for extensive renovations. It will close Jan. 3 for more than 80 days, reopening April 1. Casey Barks of Fairmont Hotel and Resorts, said approximately $3-million will be spent to modernize the mechanical systems, replacing the steam heating system with a high-efficiency hydronic heating system and modernizing its automation system. MORE 

SNOWBIRDS ARE FLOCKING WEST – When they can’t migrate south for winter, snowbirds head west to Vancouver Island. Campgrounds may have suffered through spring and summer because of the pandemic, owners are singing a happy tune this fall. Lorraine and Eugene Bradford have spent falls camping in Nanaimo in the past followed by winters in the U.S. Now instead of heading south, the retirees will spend their winter in Nanaimo as well. Vancouver Island is considered a safe destination, with relatively low reported virus cases coupled with our warmer temperatures by Canadian standards. MORE 

 

A LOT OF TURKEYS are getting plucked so we can enjoy Thanksgiving dinners. Turkey sales are strong on Vancouver Island even during the coronavirus pandemic. Dan Ireland, of Ireland Farms, says Island producers are more fortunate than others across the country. For others in the industry, many are still trying to recover after they were hit hard at Easter near the beginning of the pandemic. There is hope for another gift in a couple months for the Christmas season. MORE

3 injured climbers rescued after fall in Strathcona Park  
Three adventure seekers are injured but safe after being extracted off a northern Vancouver Island mountain Tuesday afternoon.

Alleged drunk driver arrested in Langford after crash, flee attempt 
An 18-year-old South Island man has been arrested after West Shore RCMP say he crashed his SUV into another vehicle and later some bushes while intoxicated. 

Report reveals new details in Lindsay Buziak murder case 
Recently unsealed documents are shedding new light on the investigation into the unsolved murder of Victoria real estate agent Lindsay Buziak.

Six Americans fined for breaking rules while driving through B.C. 
Half a dozen Americans were caught breaking travel rules in B.C. in the weeks after border officials implemented tougher new restrictions on travelling to and from Alaska through Canada, according to the RCMP. 


Key to saving B.C. restaurants during pandemic is innovation 
The pandemic may serve as an opportunity for the restaurant industry to innovate in order to avoid closures as public health measures limit the sale of booze and erode already thin profit margins, say addiction and business experts.  

 

Tuesday, Oct. 6

Today's Weather

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Premier John Horgan has committed to provide a free coronavirus vaccine to British Columbians who want one — once a vaccine is approved and available. “We have worked hard to keep people healthy and safe through the pandemic,” said Horgan. “The difficult times are not over yet, because the virus will be with us for the foreseeable future. But once there is a safe and approved vaccine, we will ensure every British Columbian can get one.” Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson has already promised free flu shots if the Liberals are elected on Oct. 24.

ANOTHER ELECTION – North Oyster voters will elect a new regional director on Nov. 28 in a bylection in the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Area H (North Oyster-Diamond). Two advance voting opportunities will take place on Nov. 18 and 24. Area H alternate director Colin Haime has filled the position since September 2019 when former director Mary Marcotte took a six month leave of absence and then resigned on March 6.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is now releasing the balance of the $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) in a second round of funding. This second round of support is being administered across the country in collaboration with United Way in our community. United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island is set for another round of Emergency Community Support Fund money in ourl communities to help keep vulnerable people safe. The $350 million fund was announced on April 21.  Through the initial disbursement, The United Way funded 80 agencies through round one. It supported front-line service agencies adapt their processes and programs to continue to support vulnerable individuals and families through the pandemic.

THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT – Canadians forced to miss work because of coronavirus can start applying for financial support from the federal government. The new benefits come amid concerns about new lockdowns and job losses as governments try to get a handle on the growing number of new cases and prevent health-care systems from being overwhelmed. All parties in Parliament supported the multi-billion-dollar suite of new benefits. The new caregiver benefit responds to numerous calls since the pandemic started for more support for parents and others who are forced to miss work to care for a dependent. MORE

HALLOWEEN IS LESS than a month away and the BC Centre for Disease Control released guidelines se we can all have safe fun amid the pandemic. Health officials are encouraging trick-or-treaters to participate in small groups and only with people in the same social bubble. They also urge you to incorporate a non-medical mask or face covering into costumes but not worn over costume masks or face coverings as that may make it difficult to breathe. They also wanat you to stay in their own neighbourhoods and avoid busy areas or indoors (in places like malls). It is also being recommended that homeowners find creative ways to hand out treats while keeping physical distance and limiting contact. And if you’re feeling ill, turn off the porch lights and stay home. MORE

WHERE IS SIDNEY MANTEE? – Nanaimo RCMP need public  help to find Sidney Joseph Mantee, who has not been seen since March. His family, who live in Saskatchewan, contacted the Nanaimo RCMP recently to express their concern for him because no contact with his family for so long is out of character for him.  Mantee, 32, lived on Rosehill Street in Nanaimo and had mentioned that he may move to Victoria. He does not use social media. He is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. If you know anything about where he might be, contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2020-36242.

New modelling suggests schools not causing spike in virus transmission
There have been dozens of COVID-19 exposure events at B.C. schools since they reopened last month, but new modelling suggests sending kids back to class hasn't caused a spike in community transmission. 

Entire class ordered to self-isolate at Vancouver school due to virus
Parents whose children attend an elementary school in downtown Vancouver were given a notice over the weekend, warning them students in a specific cohort need to self-isolate due to a COVID-19 exposure.

Patients not being admitted to hospital due to virus outbreak
A hospital in B.C.'s Lower Mainland has stopped admitting new patients as it works to address an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, but the emergency department remains open. 

Armed man wanted on Canada-wide warrants is in Victoria, say police
Victoria police are on the lookout for a man who is wanted on Canada-wide warrants and who may currently be in local parks where homeless encampments are set up. 

RCMP investigating after gunshots reported in Campbell River
Campbell River RCMP are investigating after gunshots were reportedly heard in the community during the early hours of Monday morning. 

Sooke RCMP continue search for missing woman
The search continues for a missing 45-year-old woman who was last seen in the Beecher Bay area of East Sooke Wednesday. 

Friday, Oct. 2

LADYSMITH LIGHTS WILL SHINE – The Ladysmith Festival of Lights light-up parade has been shelved due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but hold on to your britches, the light show will go on. As many as 25,000 people traditionally line First Avenue to watch the lightup on more than 200,000 lights. Volunteers are working hard to install all the lights and decorations before the end of November. The lights are expected to be flipped on without the crowds. Organizers ask people to stay away when the lights do get turned on. Duck Paterson, the godfather of the festival, said they want people to come and see the lights but don’t want thousands coming at one time because safety is paramount.

NEW UNITED APPROACH – the United Way has kicked off its fall campaign without the annual kickoff breakfast. That will make this year’s campaign that much more important with the agency asking businesses and individuals to employ workplace giving. United Way executive director Signy Madden spoke at Monday’s city council meeting. She said last year’s campaign allowed the United Way to help more than 10,000 people in the region through 40 programs across 31 agencies. United Way’s local partner agencies need more help than ever because the pandemic has led to increased demand for social services. MORE

TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE is a little different now for rural areas outside the city. Automated garbage collection went into operation yesterday for thousands of single-family homes. Food waste bins are cleared weekly, while bi-weekly garbage collection occurs between Cedar and Bowser. Regional District solid waste manager Larry Gardner said a lot of preparation went into the big change away from manual curbside pickup, adding staff are tired, it’s been a bit of a haul to get to this point. MORE

CONGRATULATIONS to Julie Bevan, the city’s Manager of Culture And Events for winning the Above and Beyond award at the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. The awards were originally scheduled to take place in April; but the program was adapted to a virtual presentation from the Port Theatre. Julie was the Executive Director at Nanaimo Art Gallery before moving to the new role with the City in March. MORE 

A FINE VINTAGE – This could be one of their best vintages yet for Vancouver Island wineries. Cherry Point Winery in Cobble Hill began it first week of the harvest. The farm’s harvest of its 22 acres is expected to last three to four weeks. The crop has turned out better than expected with recent warm dry weather after a colder, wetter start this year. Cherry Point Estate Wines owner Xavier Bonilla said while the seaon did not start very well  lately everything turned around and the grapes have rebounded positively,” he said.

FOCUS ON DISTRIBUTION –  How can we solve the issues of distribution and access to markets that have long inhibited potential for Island food producers? Demand for local products at an all-time high, so need to find a solution for this problem so that our local producers can focus on meeting the growing demand while supported by an efficient distribution system. Expert panelists at the State of the Island Economic Summit, October 27 to 29, will address the challenges and emerging opportunities in our 'Getting Goods to Market' session.
Moderator – Bruce Williams, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Panelists.
Jaymie Collins, General Manager, Vancouver Island Farm Products
Mark Smith, Principal, Query FusionDavid McCormick, Director Public Relations and Business Development, Port Alberni Port Authority
Port Alberni Port Authority for sponsoring this session.

82 new cases of COVID-19 reported in B.C., 1 new case in Island Health
Nanaimo man in hospital with burns after attempt to control shed fire