Manly scores crushing victory in byelection

Paul Manly – Ottawa bound

NDP and Liberals lost the most

0506 - The trend was clear from the earliest returns that Green Party candidate Paul Manly was on his way to a resounding victory the Nanaimo-Ladysmith by election.

With about 94 per cent of the polls reporting, Manly had 37.1 per cent of the total vote. Conservative John Hirst wound up with 25.1 per cent and the NDP's Bob Chamberlin with 22.9 per cent. Liberal Michelle Corfield took 11.1 per cent.

A total vote comparison with the 2014 general election does not provide an accurate picture due to the low voter turnout, just over half of the 2014 figure of 75 per cent. The bylection turnout was under 40 per cent.

The biggest loss, a surprising one, was the NDP finishing in third place in a riding that in the past has always been considered an easy win. Their percentage of 22.9 per cent was a major drop from 2014 when they took 33.3 per cent of the total vote in winning the seat.

Based on the percentage vote, the Conservatives held steady as they went up from 23.4 to 24.7 per cent. The Liberal loss from 23.5 down to 11.1 per cent, along with the NDP loss pretty well explains where the Greens took their support from.

RCMP bid bon voyage to prolific offender with a ferry ride

Police officers paid for a ferry fare out of their own pockets to send offender on his way.

0506 - Local RCMP made quick work of a prolific offender after committing another crime last week in Nanaimo

He arrested Tuesday with a bait bike, was charged with possession of stolen property and released, but one of his release conditions states that he is prohibited from being on Vancouver Island except for court appearances.

Officers did not waste any time and took him to the Departure Bay ferry terminal. After purchasing a ticket for him with their own money and ensuring he was onboard the next outbound ferry, the officers collectively waved goodbye to him.

Emergency test message going out on Wednesday

0505 - This is Emergency Preparedness Week. Test alerts will be sent out across the country on Wednesday at 1:55 p.m. through Alert Ready, Canada’s emergency alerting system. 

The test message will be distributed on television, radio and compatible wireless devices to demonstrate what an emergency alert will look and sound like in the event of a life-threatening situation. For more information, visit www.alertready.ca.

A study by PreparedBC in 2017, showed most British Columbians are not prepared for an emergeny. The city and Nanaimo Fire Rescue want  residents have the information to stay safe. 
For tips on preparing an emergency kit, watch the video at the Emergency Management section at www.nanaimo.ca.

"Emergencies happen when we least expect them. It is important to take steps to ensure you and your family are prepared to care for yourselves for a minimum of 72 hours, ideally up to seven days given the geographic area where we live," says Fire Chief Karen Fry.

Ocean Discovery proponents expand their reach

Artist's concept of a proposed centre.

0506 - Promoters of an ocean learning centre are turning to the school district and other groups for support. Nanaimo Deep Discovery Association, came prepared with an updated plan that includes a theatre with 3-D technology.

The non-profit wants a facility similar to Science World in Vancouver, but where people can learn about oceans. Tim Tessier and Bill Nadeau, association vice-president and director, respectively, made a presentation May 1 to the Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools education committee about the centre, now known as OceanEXP, Canada’s Centre for Ocean Exploration. MORE

Nanaimo RCMP enhance traffic enforcement

Cst Gary O'Brien

The first 90 days of 2019 have not been sterling when it comes to traffic. There were five  traffic fatalities and several significant motor vehicle collisions. In April alone, the Municipal Traffic Unit issued close to 300  tickets.  In repsonse, the Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Unit is increasing traffic enforcement throughout Nanaimo targeting high volume, high crash sites. 

Speed continues to be the greatest contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes throughout any given community. To monitor vehicle speeds, officers  patrolled specific areas between 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM which are considered high vehicle volume areas; specifically, Ware Road at Highway 19A, Nicol St, south to Spruston Road, including the area in the vicinity of the Nanaimo airport, and the Nanaimo Parkway. , said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

During April, officers sometimes tried more passive measures to reduce vehicle speeds. At various times throughout the day, officers simply parked their police vehicle roadside and observed the noticeable effect it had on approaching drivers. Various school zones were also enforced. While the overwhelming majority of vehicle speeds in these zones were within the acceptable range, five vehicles in the Ciliare school zone were issued tickets for exceeding the posted speed limit.

The motoring public should expect to see continued enforcement in the upcoming months. Throughout the summer, uniformed officers will continue their enforcement efforts to keep the streets, roads and highways of Nanaimo as safe as possible. Lastly, if you see a suspected impaired driver, pull over when safe to do so and call 911 immediately, providing the vehicle plate number, direction of travel, vehicle description and when and where the vehicle was last seen. 

Some Victoria ferry sailing cancelled

0506 - The Spirit of British Columbia ferry will be out of service until mid-May, says B.C. Ferries, causing more cancelled trips between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay.

The vessel’s rubbing strake – a piece similar to a car’s fender – was damaged while captains attempted to dock during a wind storm April 27, and repairs are ongoing.

There were some morning cancellations on Monday, May 6 and Monday, May 13, as well as the cancellation of the Tuesday, 12 p.m. sailing from Swartz Bay until May 14, and the 10 p.m. Sunday sailing from Tsawwassen.

RDN gets $50,000 for wildfire mitigation

0505 -  The Regional District of Nanaimo is getting funding from the forest ministry to support wildfire mitigation in the area.

The Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has provided $47,390 of community resiliency investment grant money to the RDN to support related projects.

The community resiliency investment program was established last September with $50 million to assist local governments and First Nations to reduce the risk of wildfire. The RDN will use its allocation for education, cross-training, fuel and vegetation management and FireSmart activities on private land. MORE

Guilty plea brings early end to weapons and drugs trial

0503 - A BC Supreme Court trial in Nanaimo involving guns, drugs and violence came to an abrupt end when the criminal pleaded guilty. Colin Lamontagne, 43, admitted to five charges of forcible confinement, drugs and weapon offences at a south Nanaimo and a Yellow Point home in November 2016. MORE

Woman hospitalized after fire at her home

0503 - A 91-year-old woman was taken to hospital after she suffered smoke inhalation in a fire in her kitchen on Friday afternoon on Lynburn Crescent around noon. A witness said the woman tried to put the fire out with a garden hose before firefighters arrived. MORE

Police seek suspect in jewellery store robbery

Do you now this man?

RCMP seek help to identify a suspect who stole four rings worth nearly $20,000, April 10, at Mappins Jewellers in Woodgrove Centre.

Police were unable to locate the suspect, who was last seen entering Hudson Bay.

Mappin mployees said the suspect asked to see a variety of rings. He showed interest and after handling them for several minutes, suddenly ran out the store.

The suspect is Caucasian, in his late 20s with black hair and a goatee. His hands were cracked and dirty.

Anyone with information about the identity of this person is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

NDP was the top spender in provincial byelection

Sheila Malcolmson

0503 - The winning NDP was the biggest spender in the Nanaimo provincial byelection. 

Elections B.C.reports  Sheila Malcolmson of the NDP spent $93,579 during the month-long campaign. Malcolmsonvacated her seat as federal MP to run provincially.

B.C. Liberal Party candidate and byelection runner-up, Tony Harris spent $57,675.
 
Green Party candidate Michelle Ney, who finished third in the polls, spent $44,830. MORE

Nanaimo council misinformed about climate 'emergency'

BRIAN PECKFORD COMMENTS: Nanaimo City Council has passed a resolution declaring a climate emergency. Sadly, this council, known for its leftist leanings, has fallen for a faulty, incomplete science perpetrated by leftist dogmatists and climate alarmists. See Brian's comment.

Hospital Foundation seeks funds for colonoscopy suite

Janice Perrino

0502 - Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation is trying to raise $1.5-million primarily for colonoscopies. Dr. Daniel Jenkin said 3,500 people wait up to a year for colon cancer screenings at Nanaimo Hospital, as well as other serious ailments.

The hospital gets up to 50 bookings a day but can do only 20, Dr. Jenkins said. "Pre-cancerous tumours can be removed during a colonoscopy.

Hospital Foundation CEO Janice Perrino hopes the money could be raised and the project completed in a year.The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District Board will cover the additional $300,000 required on top of the $1.5 million fundraising pledge. MORE

Advance polling numbers show a big drop off

0502 - Only 9,004 electors cast votes in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith advance poll compared to 15,957 for early voting in the 2015 federal election.

With a provincial byelection in January, a municipal election last October and another federal election anticipated for this October, Alexander Netherton, VIU political studies professor, said the reasons for the decline aren’t “too mysterious.”

“People just aren’t as interested,” Netherton told the News Bulletin. "There is voter fatigue out there, let’s face it,” she said. MORE

Council allocates $48,000 for economic development

John Hankins

0502 -  City council has applied a band aid to economic development while it decides on a long-term approach

Councillors voted 6.3 Monday to alot $48,000 for the Mid-Island Business Initiative (MIBI), led by John Hankins, former head of the economic development arm of the City.

MIBI will work to attract and retain talent in Nanaimo, specifically in the tech sector, for the rest of 2019. The initiative has worked throught the area since 2016

Coun Ian Thorpe expressed reservations, urging a longer-term solution. His sentiment was shared by Coun. Erin Hemmens and Coun. Sheryl Armstrong, who opposed the motion.

City Council declares 'climate emergency'

0501 - Nanaimo is joining the list of municipalities who have declared a climate emergency. Councillors unanimously approved  Coun. Tyler Brown's resolution declaring a climate emergency "for the purposes of identifying and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from global warming."

Coun. Ian Thorpe said not everybody accepts the science. "I have to remember my mandate at this table is to deal with issues we can directly affect for the citizens of Nanaimo. By that I mean keeping our streets clean and safe, providing basic services and amenities...Those are the sort of nuts and bolts issues I think this table has responsibility for."

Aside from the call to increase transit hours, other pieces direct the City to update its sustainability action plan with a new goal for limiting global warming and asking the province to re-instate an emissions inventory report.

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RCMP investigating two suspicious downtown fires

0501 - RCMP are investigating two suspicious fires that appear to have been intentionally set in the downtown core. Both were reported just after midnight on Sunday.

The first fire at approximately 12:05 am, and was in the lower level of the Bastion Street parkade. The fire, consisting of two piles of garbage piled up next to a wall, was quickly extinguished by Nanaimo Fire and Rescue crews. No permanent damage resulted.

The next fire was reported just minutes later at Golds Automotive, at the intersection of Wallace St and Fitzwilliam St. When officers arrived they found a brush fire inside a locked compound outside of the business. The fire had quickly spread to some auto parts stored nearby. Again, fire crews attended and extinguished the fire without any damage to the business. 

Investigators have learned that two men were seen lighting the fire in the parkade and were seen running out of the parkade, however, no description was provided. , said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

If anyone has information on these two incidents, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Chinook closure shuts down long-time fishing outfitter

Eagle Eye Outfitters has been forced to shut down its business of 14 years.

0430 - Eagle Eye Outfitters has been a hub of the sportfishing industry in Sooke for 14 years, but after today, it’s doors will close.

“There isn’t a place for us here anymore,” said owner Ron Neipsch. He says the new federal Chinook salmon fishing restrictions is killing their business.

“They’ve shortened their season up so much to a point where it’s no longer viable for us to stay open,” said Neipsch.

To protect Fraser River salmon stocks, the federal government recently made catch-and-release of Chinook mandatory until mid-August, shortening the take-home season by two months along the South Coast of B.C.

And many say that will change the whole fabric of coastal towns, like Sooke, which rely on sportfishing tourism. “Hotels and resorts are telling me that numbers are down,” said Neipsch. “There are more small businesses that are going to be in trouble,” he said.

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Bank robber sentenced to eight years in jail

Daniel Harlow

0430 - A man with 11 prior robbery convictions, who robbed three Nanaimo banks in 2018 and threatened to shoot a person in the face, will spend eight years behind bars.

Daniel William James Harlow, 46 when an arrest warrant was issued in February 2018, was sentenced in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday, with Basil McCormick, Crown counsel, and Bobby Movassaghi, defence counsel, entering a joint submission to Judge Ted Gouge. Harlow was also charged in an Oct. 14, 2018 robbery in Surrey. He was sentenced to eight years concurrently for each robbery charge.

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City institutes Stage 2 water restrictions May 1

0430 - Stage 2 watering restrictions in the City take effect May 1 remain in place until further notice. This means that sprinkling can only occur on even days for even-numbered houses and on odd days for odd-numbered houses. Sprinkling is permitted for a maximum of two hours between 7-10 am or 7-10 pm.

The City is part of Team WaterSmart - a region-wide initiative that focuses on water conservation and uniform communications, including a common classification system for watering restriction stages with each water supplier determining their own start date of each stage. 

For more information on the region-wide watering restrictions and an interactive map, visit www.teamwatersmart.ca.

Rural area stage 2 water restrictions going into effect

0430 - Municipalities and districts are implementing water-use restrictions. Regional District of Nanaimo said all nine of its water service areas will enter into Stage 2 watering restrictions effective Wednesday, May 1, according to a press release, meaning residents of 0dd-numbered addresses can water their lawns on odd-number days, while even-numbered addresses can do so on even-number days. Sprinkling is permitted for a maximum of two hours between 7-10 a.m. or 7-10 p.m. and the restrictions will be in effect from May through September, unless the RDN indicates otherwise.

Other areas entering into Stage 2 include the City of Nanaimo, North Cedar Improvement District and Southwest Extension Waterworks District.

MORE

Port patrol vessel kept busy during wind storm

0430 - Port of Nanaimo patrol vessel NPA Osprey was busy keeping boats, ships and log booms safe during Saturday’s blustery weather that saw sustained winds at 33 knots and gusting to 40 knots within Nanaimo harbour.

Winds hit between 35-47 knots in the Georgia Strait. The NPA Patrol Division  patrolled local waters ensuring boats and passengers remained safe.

 Harbour Master Rodney Grounds was at the Operations Centre monitoring the harbour with the Port’s Marine Domain Awareness (MDA) system that records events and provides historical data to ensure accuracy and context to events in and around the harbour. 

 The MDA system not only provides real time video of all activity on the water, it enables the Port to identify issues as they occur and respond in a timely manner.  St. John Port Authority New Brunswick is currently utilizing the MDA system.

READ MORE

City council confirms five-per-cent tax increase

0430 -  As reported here earlier this week, City council confirmed a five-per-cent property tax increase on Monday. The total includes one per cent for $1 million to the general asset management reserve.

Another one per cent comes from the Vancouver Island Regional Library, the Nanaimo Regional Hospital and the Regional District, bringing the total tax increase to more than six per cent. User rates also went up about $50 a year.

MORE

Two crashes reported south of Nanaimo

Two crashes on the Trans Canada Highway slowed the commute this morning south of Nanaimo.

A pickup truck towing a trailer that crashed and rolled on its side in a northbound lane is slowing both northbound and southbound traffic near the Nanaimo River bridges in Cassidy.

A separate crash, a rear-ender, happened about 200 metres south of the other crash, and there were no reported injuries in that one, either.

Regional District gets award for financial reporting

0429 - An international organization has recognized the Regional District of Nanaimo’s finance department for its bookkeeping.

The Government Finance Officers Association, representing public finance officers across North America, has conferred the RDN with the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting for its financial report for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2017. In a letter to the RDN, the association said the award “recognizes excellence in governmental accounting and financial reporting and represents a significant accomplishment by a municipal government and its management.”

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Farmer fears baby goat was stolen during public event

0429 - The owners of Yellow Point Farms in Ladysmith fear one of their baby goats may have been stolen during a public event on Saturday.

The public was invited to the farm on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. for baby goat schnuggles, and more than 50 people attended, one of the best turnouts they’ve had.

“However, after the event we noticed this goat was missing! He was there before it started, and not there after.”

“He is only 12-days old and needs his mama’s milk. She has been crying for him and it is breaking our hearts.”

MORE

High winds bring out Marine Search and Rescue

Today's high winds played havoc with boats. Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27 Nanaimo, was called out to rescue a 35-foot sailboat which had dragged anchor near Shack Islands. The boat was towed out and reanchored with no apparent leaks or other damage. This was the third tasking in two days. Video courtesy of Gary Korpan.

Power restored after wind-caused outages

0428 -  Power is back on for 2,500 Nanaimo homes after service was down Saturday afternoon as high winds caused damage throughout the area. 

A large outage in the Uplands, Pleasant Valley and north Nanaimo regions around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, but power was restored by late afternoon. 

The north end outage involved 2,200 BC Hydro customers, with smaller outages in south Nanaimo and Cedar. About 1,000 customers were also without power on Gabriola Island. 

A number of ferry sailings were cancelled on the Duke Point to Tsawwassen route as the wind on the water reached 80 km/h.

Power outage hits 4,000 homes in north Nanaimo

0427 - The wind caused havoc on the water, and now 4,000 homes are without power in north Nanaimo and Lantzville.

An outage is affecting 2,200 customers in an area north of Monterey Drive and south of Groveland Drive.

“We’ll be responding to an outage affecting 2200 customers in Nanaimo. Once crews arrive we’ll have the latest info on our mobile site,” notes a social media post from B.C. Hydro

MORE.

Photo courtesy of Gary Korpan.

Today's high winds played havoc with boats. Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27 Nanaimo, was called out to rescue a 35-foot sailboat which had dragged anchor near Shack Islands. The boat was towed out and reanchored with no apparent leaks or other damage. This was the  third tasking in two days. 

Downtown Thursday night street market returning in June

Downtown street market attracted huges crowds last summer.

0427 - The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is bringing back the popular Thursday night street mrket on Commercial Street this summer.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Smythe said the market, which ran for 11 weeks last summer, will return on June 20. He said the thousands of people who filled downtown each Thursday night significantly boosted an area which many were unsure about.

“We heard from businesses who told us they were able to keep their doors open for the rest of the year because of the business they did during the night market,” Smythe told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Between 4,000 and 6,000 people visited the vendors and market along Commercial Street every Thursday. Surveys done at the market showed approximately one third of the crowd were not from Nanaimo.

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Greens widen lead in Nanaimo-Ladysmith popularity

0425 - The Green party is widening its lead in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection race. In the lastest Calculatedpolitics.com aggregation of all public polls, the Greens increased their popularity by two points to 32.

The NDP is now in second pace with 26 per cent support and the Conservatives with 24 per cent. The NDP share rose by one per cent while the Conservatives dropped by one. The Liberals sit at 17 per cent support, down two from last week.

The byelection is May 6.

Students kept in after reported cougar sighting

0426 -The school district kept students of two north-end schools inside following reports of a cougar in the area.

B.C. Conservation Officer Service was called after a cougar was reported in the vicinity of Frank J. Ney Elementary School. Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, said it is currently an unconfirmed report, but a “shelter-in-place” has been initiated for Ney school as well as nearby École Hammond Bay Elementary.

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Advance voting under way in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

0426 - Advance voting has been available at the returning office at Nanaimo North Town Centre, but general advance balloting  begins today.

The polls are open from noon to 8 p.m. Friday to Monday for the May 6 Nanaimo-Ladysmith federal byelection. Voting locations can be found on the back of your voting card.

Complete voter information from Elections Canada is available by clicking here.

Five-per-cent tax increase goes to city council on Monday

 

0425 - A five-per-cent property tax increase is in the 2019-2023 Financial Plan and 2019 Property Tax Bylaws which go to first reading at  Modnay’s City Council meeting.

The plan was initially adopted in January and has undergone some fine tunning. It must be adopted by May 15. The projected tax increase for 2019 includes one per cent for the General Asset Management Reserve.

Monday’s regular council meeting is at 7 p.m. in the Shaw Auditorium council chamber.

 

All-candidates meeting tonight at Beban Park.

News Bulletin photos by Greg Sakaki

0425 - Voters who have not already met the byelection candidates at their doorstep can get a first-hand look at them tonight at 7 p.m. at the Beban Park social centre. The doors will open at 5:30 so voters can interact with candidates before the debate.

“The community has come to expect this from the chamber so we are pleased to offer an event that we’re becoming very well-practised at,” says Chamber of Commerce EO Kim Smythe, “This will be our fifth such event within the past two years.”

Participating candidates will include Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Jennifer Clarke, People’s Party of Canada; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; Paul Manly, Greens;  and Brian Marlatt, Progressive Canadian Party.

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Crime, addiction, mental health,
housing 
common thread in campaign 

0425 - All levels of government have roles and responsibilities in some of the overlapping issues of homelessness and social housing, mental health and addictions, and crime.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection candidates say that questions about temporary supportive housing and crime are common ones as they campaign in the lead-up to the May 6 byelection.

John Hirst, Conservative Party of Canada candidate, said he’s reconsidered his priorities since the start of the campaign as a response to the concerns he’s been hearing.

“None of the problems that our community has are in isolation. They’re all related,” he said. “We look at the crime, we look at our homelessness issue, we look at affordability.”

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Fleeing bandit sentenced to time served

Natasha Harris

0424 - A woman who broke into a Nanaimo home, stole a backpack and was subsequently chased and tackled by a resident last December, was sentenced to time served and and was released from jail.

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was charged with break-and-enter, committing an indictable offence and assault with a weapon for a Dec. 4 incident in Harewood.

She committed a breach of bail conditions in January when she left Spiritual Quest Wellness Society in Chilliwack for women recovering for substance abuse. Ken Paziuk, Crown counsel, sought a sentence of six months in jail.

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Garneau discusses federal review of ports

Transport Minister Marc Garneau speaking last year announcing the Vehicle Processing Centre.
Merv Unger photo

0424 - A ports modernization review will bring possible changes to governance and other factors but won’t take away the autonomy that port authorities have, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Wednesday.

The minister was campaigning with Nanaimo-Ladysmith Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield. “It’s not something where we’re going to say, we’re going to change this port this way,” Garneau said. “What we’re looking for are changes and modernization that will apply to all 18 port authorities across the country.”

He said while there’s some federal government oversight, ports “basically chart their own course” while growing in ways compatible with communities and for the betterment of local economies.

Fishing charters already see negative result of restrictions

Vancouver Island fishing guides are already feeling the bite of last week’s chinook sports fishing reductions. The Departmentof Fisheries and Oceans is restricting chinook (spring) salmon fishing this season in B.C. waters as a means of conserving returns to the Fraser River.

In the southern Strait of Georgia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, measures include no retention until July 31. Further north, those fishing for spring will be restricted to catch-and-release until July 15. One chinook will be permitted until Aug. 30, after which two can be caught.

Cliff Moors, owner/operator of Cliff’s Chinook Charters in Comox, has so far lost about $5,000 worth of clients.  “I’ve taken a hit already,” said Moors, who expects a number of lodges will close. “Most people want to take fish home with them. It’s gonna’ hurt. There’s going to be a lot of people losing their jobs.”

MORE

Janet Bonaguro is Executive Director of the VIU Initiatives Trust

Vancouver Island University
launches revenue-generating trust

0423 - Vancouver Island University (VIU) has created a business entity that will allow it to participate in the economy in ways that VIU isn’t able to do on its own.

Following in the footsteps of several other post-secondary institutions across British Columbia, VIU has created a trust to engage in revenue-generating initiatives for the benefit of VIU and the VIU Foundation.

Created in 2018, the VIU Initiative Trust began active operations in 2019. A trust is an arragnement where a trustee is given the right to hold and manage assets within the trust on behalf of its beneficiaries.

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Photo submitted

Cedar Farmers Market pulling up roots after 20 years

 0423 - Cedar Farmers Market, one of the most popular on the mid-island is on the move to the property surrounding the now-closed Woodbank Elementary School in Cedar. The new home is less than two-kilometres from the former location next to the Crow And Gate Pub on Yellow Point Road, which hosted the market for more than 20 years.

A need for more space to safely accommodate the growth of the market was one of the main factors behind the move. Cedar Market board member Nico Machado said the three-acre Woodbank site presents "boundless possibilities" for the future.

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Lantzville moves to restrict
fires on all district beaches

0423 - Lantzville councillors gave two readings last week to a fire protection services bylaw, which would ban fires on all beaches throughout the district.

The bylaw would replace existing rules which allows fires on beaches with some restrictions.

Fires along beaches, particularly near Peterson Road, are not uncommon during warmer and often drier months. Lantzville is  the only Vancouver Island community south of the Comox Valley that does not have an outright ban on beach fires.

Lantzville Fire Rescue responded to 56 burning complaints on the beach in 2018, with the majority of them coming outside traditional office hours.

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Upgrades planned for
Gabriola ferry terminal

0423 - Gabroiola ferry users will get ferry passengers shorter vehicle lineups and improved amenities that include electric bicycle charging stations when B.C. Ferries starts redevelopment of its Descanso Bay terminal on Gabriola Island.

Plans call for an expansion of the terminal to create a holding area for up to 47 vehicles, a designated foot passenger drop-off and pick-up area, redesigned parking lot, school bus loading zone and a new terminal building containing a passenger waiting room, a storage area for B.C. Ferries staff, washrooms, covered bicycle racks with charging stations for electric bikes and other amenities.

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Jonathan Wilkinson

Fisheries Minister touts
climate action in Nanaimo

0422 - Federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Jonathan Wilkinson joined Nanaimo-Ladysmith Liberal candidate Michelle Corfield campaigning in Nanaimo on Monday.

The minister said Earth Day should give people pause to reflect on some critical environmental challenges that Canada and the world face, including climate change, biodiversity loss and oceans plastics.

“We see the effects of climate change all over the place and it is only going to get worse,” Wilkinson said. “And so the issues around climate change are very fundamentally important as we move forward into what is an election year.
 

May and Manly preach the Green gospel at Earth Day

0422 - The Green Party of Canada held an Earth Day rally Saturday at Maffeo Sutton Park, with speeches and musical entertainment including Rick Scott. Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Paul Manly got up on stage himself to play bass for a few numbers.

May said there are a lot of issues her party is talking about on the byelection campaign trail, mentioning the housing crisis, general affordability, healthcare and student debt.

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Hirst slams Georgia Strait Chinook salmon closure

0422 - The Chinook fishing closure imposed by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans has wiggled into the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection campaign.

Conservative candidate John Hirst says the closure is not based on science. Nanaimo area anglers have no impact on the Chinook, but it will negatively impact Nanaimo-Ladysmith.  

“The restrictions placed upon this industry will ruin companies and destroy jobs”, said Hirst.

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Food prices soaring in British Columbia

0422 - A new Consumer Price Index Report from Statistics Canada shows that the price of many goods in Canada continues to increase. The index rose 1.9% on a year-over-year basis in March, up from a 1.5% increase in February.

"Prices increased year over year in all eight major components," Statistics Canada continues. Canadian consumers have likely noticed price increases particularly at the grocery store: "fresh vegetables (+15.7%) and fresh fruit (+8.6%) led the year-over-year gain in the food index at the Canada level." Though in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, "price increases for food" were "smaller in March than in February.

Victoria has highest inflation rate in Canada

0422 - Victoria had the highest inflation rate of any Canadian city last month – reading at 2.7 per cent, its March inflation rates were above Victoria’s 2018 yearly average of 2.4 per cent.

Vancouver came in second at 2.5 per cent. And overall, B.C.’s inflation rate was at 2.6, mostly thanks to the inflation in food prices (4.3 per cent ) and shelter (3.4 per cent).

Graham Voss, chair of the department of economics at UVic, said South Islanders might be feeling a pinch at the grocery store, but the reading isn’t something to worry about at, at least not at this point.

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Ferries vows to do a better job for returning passengers

0421 - BC Ferries promises to do whatever it can to avoid the kind of terminal congestion that forced some passengers to miss their reservations on Good Friday.

Proceeds of crime benefit local programs

0419 - The proceeds of crime are being turned around to help those in need. Nearly $120,000 for five local programs is being funded by the Civil Forfeiture Office, which takes money obtained through crime and redirects it back into programs.

The Nanaimo John Howard's Society received funding for two programs.

More than $28,000 will fund their Alternative Learn Youth Crime Prevention Program for the next year. Nearly $17,000 was also directed to the Society's restorative justice program, which sees counsellors and mentors helping people repair the harm they caused through criminal actions.

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RCMP take series of school fires seriously

0419 - Eight purposely-set fires at Brechin Elementary School this month have authorities  concerned.

RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said the fires were small, with two of them started inside the school while it was open. The most serious blaze in Brechin's basement on April 3 caused $5,000 damage and a lengthy evacuation.

“We are not taking this lightly at all,” O'Brien told NanaimoNewsNOW. “We are working in conjunction with the fire inspectors and with the school district...our fear is it could escalate and we want to put a stop to it as fast as we can.”

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Low-cost dental clinic reopens downtown

0419 - CODE Community Dental Clinic on Wallace St. re-opened on April 16 after piecing together enough money to operate through March 2020. The non-profit clinic, run by the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society, was forced to close in mid-February due to a funding shortfall.

"People were being forced to go to general practice dental clinics and those aren't necessarily set up for the kind of clients we help to support. It was an uncomfortable situations for sure," John Howard executive director John McCormick told NanaimoNewsNOW.

Sports fishing restrictions worry fishing industry

0419 - Vancouver Island fishing enthusiasts, sports and commercial, are disappointed by conservation measures announced Tuesday by the federal government to protect chinook salmon in B.C.

The Fraser River will remain closed to all salmon fishing until Aug. 23, and there is a non-retention restrictions placed on chinook for the southern Strait of Georgia until July 31, and July 14 for northern Strait of Georgia, followed by one-per-day retention allowances. On the west coast of Vancouver Island, the troll fishery that typically starts in May has been closed until August 1 to allow stocks of high concern to migrate there.

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DICTIONARY - A fisherman is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water or gathers shellfish. The term can also be applied to recreational fisherman and may be used to describe both men and women.

Senior jailed for abusing special-needs granddaughter

0419 - A 73-year-old Cortes Island man will spend three years in jail after pleading guilty to sexually abusing his granddaughter, who has special needs.

The man, who pleaded guilty to sexual interference, was sentenced by Judge Palbinder Shergill in Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Thursday afternoon. The man can’t be named in order to protect the privacy of the victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

MORE DETAILS

Green Party widens lead in May 6 byelection race

The Green Party has taken the lead in the latest www.calculatedpolitics.com poll on the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection

The Greens have 30 per cent support with the Conservatives and New Democrats tied at 25 per cent each. The Liberal Party stayed firm at 19 per cent and others have two per cent support.

The calculatedpolitics figures are an aggregation of all public polls across Canada.

IIO looking into allegation of assault by Nanaimo RCMP

0418 - The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has confirmed it is investigating an allegation that a Nanaimo man was assaulted by two RCMP constables.

The allegation stems from an incident Feb. 16 when David Banford, 39, was tracked by police for about two hours following a break-in to a cabin in the Nanaimo Lakes area southwest of Nanaimo.

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Man pleads guilty to child porn charges in Nanaimo

0418 - Crown counsel alleges that a man, who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in provincial court in Nanaimo on Tuesday, was found with 250,000 videos and images.

Aaron Macrae, born in 1984, was charged with possession of child pornography, making or publishing child pornography and importing/distributing child pornography. He pleaded guilty to charges of possession and importing and distributing in front of Judge Brian Harvey on April 16.

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Nanaimo RCMP investigating fire at local school

0418 - The Nanaimo RCMP is currently investigating upwards of eight relatively small fires which appear to have been intentionally set at Brechin Elementary school, located at 510 Millstone Ave. All of the fires have occurred in the month of April and no students or staff have been injured. One fire however resulted in the school being evacuated for several hours.

The most significant of the eight fires was reported on Wednesday April 3rd, 2019, when City of Nanaimo Fire and Rescue crews responded to a smoke alarm, activating from the basement of the school. Upon arrival, fire crews found a smoke filled basement. The resulting water used to douse the fire and the activation of water sprinklers, forced the evacuation of the school and caused approximately $5000 in smoke and water damage. 

Over the next two weeks, seven other fires that self extinguished, have been found and involved pieces of paper and clothing being set on fire. Only one occurred in the school and consisted of a wad of toilet paper being set on fire. No damage was caused by any of these fires.

 ,  said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. The Nanaimo RCMP School Liaison Unit have been tasked with the investigation and are working in conjunction with fire inspectors from the City of Nanaimo Fire and Rescue and School District 68 officials. No arrests have been made and the investigation is continuing. 

If you have any information on any of these incidents, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-11585. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Ferries plans major upgrade to downtown terminal

Planned upgrade for BC Ferries downtown terminal.

0417 - B.C. Ferries has big plans for its downtown Nanaimo waterfront ferry terminal.

The 66-page proposal, which was approved in March, is the ferry corporation’s vision of how the terminal will be restructured to accommodate expected future growth in traffic between downtown Nanaimo and Gabriola Island.

A major element of the plan is how to prevent lineups on Front Street, adequate holding space for vehicles waiting to board and how to accommodate pedestrians on the proposed Harbourfront Walkway extension.

The plan is to add holding space for up to 80 vehicles and provide an access lane to the terminal along Front Street. 

The plan also calls for replacing the single-lane loading trestle, which is nearing the end of its life span, and replacing it with a two-lane straight loading ramp.

MORE 

Complaints against RCMP arrest being investigated

0416 - B.C.'s police watchdog has begun probing an allegation Nanaimo RCMP were heavy-handed while arresting a man accused of breaking into a rural cabin.

Independent Investigations Office of BC chief civilian director Ronald MacDonald said interviews are being scheduled with the complainant and at least one officer involved in the arrest of a suspect in the Nanaimo Lakes Rd. area on Feb. 16.

The complainant, who identified himself to NanaimoNewsNOW as David Bamford, claimed he was attacked by a police dog after obeying police orders to stay on the ground.

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Drug users stage protest in Nanaimo

0416 - Maffeo Sutton Park was the backdrop for a rally in Nanaimo on Tuesday, as drug users joined their peers across Canada for a National Day of Action on the Overdose Crisis.

The event featured speeches, a march to city hall where participants placed flowers in a coffin to commemorate lives lost to overdoses, and a community outreach event and barbecue at Maffeo Sutton Park. Similar events took place in more than 20 cities across Canada but, locally, was a collaboration between New Leaf Outreach, a peer-run drug-user organization, and the Nanaimo Community Action Team, comprised of city staff and non-profit organizations that provide services to people who use drugs.

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Drug dealer pleads guilty, then skips sentencing

Michael Damien Byrne

0415 - A warrant was issued for a man who pleaded guilty to fentanyl and carfentanil offences and a weapon charge and then failed to show up for his sentencing hearing.

Justice Douglas Thompson cancelled Michael Damien Byrne's bail and issued a warrant for his arrest.

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Missing man Van Phap Truong located safe and sound

Van Phap Truong

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP report Van Phap Truong has been found safe and sound.

EARLIER REPORT - Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance in locating 36-year-old Van Phap Truong who has been missing for several days. Truong is dealing with some significant personal issues, which have his friends and family worried for his personal safety and well-being. Picture is recent. 

Truong's cell phone has been disabled and patrols for him throughout Nanaimo have proven negative. Truong has access to a vehicle, a white 2016 Infiniti QX 60 with BC license 674 XSG. Truong is a south Asian male, 5 ft. 6, 150 pounds with short black hair and brown eyes. and he is  believed to be wearing a black leather jacket.

If you know the whereabouts of Van Phap Truong, 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.

 

Nanaimo Fire Rescue has new inland water rescue boat

0415 - Nanaimo Fire Rescue has a new inland water rescue boat.

The 17-foot rigid-hull inflatable is capable of navigating extremely shallow depths due to the outboard motor being a jet drive instead of the usual propeller drive. The jet drive reduces the depth of water needed and increases access to shallow areas.

Crews have been out the past month familiarizing and training on the new boat and are pleased with its increased capabilities. Crews will be able to respond to rescue-related incidents on local lakes.
The new rescue boat replaces a previous smaller Zodiac which was in use for more than 15 years.

Fire Chief Karen Fry says crews are trained and prepared to respond to emergencies. “Every year, we are called for incidents where someone has capsized a boat or kayak and may not be adequately prepared or wearing flotation devices," says Fry.

Election campaign swings into high gear

0415 - The May 6 byelection campaign is beginning to attract the heavy hitters in the parties seeking to represent Nanaimo-Ladysmith.Conservative leader Andrew Scheer rallied supporters on behalf of candidate John Hirst. People's Party leader Maxim Bernier campaigned in the electoral district on Sunday. Bernier is here for three days, meeting voters.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and candidate Bob Chamberlin are also campaigning at various events, including tonight at the Bee’s Knees Café, 208 Wallace Street, at 6pm.

See all the details on our ELECTION PAGE

Extra ferry sailings scheduled for Easter weekend

0413 - B.C. Ferries has added 11 extra sailings on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route for Easter week.

They recommend vehicle travellers make a reservation if travelling on Thursday evening, Friday morning and Monday afternoon. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes early.

Travellers should check schedules online, as regular sailing times have been altered for the holiday weekend. Call 250-978-1267 for more information or call 1-888-BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779) for tickets. Alternatively visit bcferries.com.

Police task force expected to impact supportive housing

0413- An RCMP task force is expected to have a major impact on lawlessness around two temporary supportive housing sites.

Supt. Cameron Miller announced he was setting up a task force to specifically reduce crime around the Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road supportive housing sites.

RCMP media spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said the task force will be in place soon with at least a half-dozen uniformed and undercover officers. The mission of the task force will be to stamp out criminal behaviour at or near the sites. He said police will target drug trafficking in and around the supportive housing complexes.

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Malcolmson to advise on abandoned vessel policy

Sheila Malcolmson

0413 - Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson has been given an advisory role with the B.C. government's abandoned vessel mitigation campaign.

Premier John Horgan said Malcolmson will act as a special advisor to George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change. Malcolmson will make recommendations for a provincial action plan, in conjunction with the federal government, to eliminate environmental damage brought about by derelict vessels.

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City to add four more electric vehicle charging stations

0413 - The City is joining the Mid-Island Electric Vehicle Network Project to add 10 charging stations throughout the Regional District. The City plans to add four stations at a cost of $24,000 to supplement those introduced through the RDN.

The City already operates three charging stations for free use. There are 20 other public stations throughout Nanaimo, provided by businesses.

City transportation manager Jamie Rose said adding the stations fits seamlessly into the Sustainable Transportation Master Plan, which is expected in 2020. Locations for the new city stations are not known.

Byelection all candidate forum April 25

The Nanaimo Chamber announces it will hold an All-Candidates Forum for the May 6 federal byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith. Bob Chamberlin, NDP; Jennifer Clarke, PPC; Michelle Corfield, Liberals; John Hirst, Conservatives; and Paul Manly, Green Party have confirmed they will participate.

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on Thursday, April 25 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. The debate among the candidates will begin at 7 pm.  

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Chamber of Commerce honours top businesses

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Comerce staged its annual business awards gala on Thurday night. HERE is a list of all the winners.

Housing prices still increasing despite fewer sales

0412 - Single family home prices continue to rise despite of fewer sales. In March, 95 single family homes sold at an average of $558,472, up six per cent 12 months to date over last year.

Five waterfront homes sold, eight lots and 51 condos sold. Single-family unit sales volume is down 26 per cent. Average days on the market has increased by 19 per cent to 27 days.

The average condo sold for $360,020 and unit sales are down 12 per cent, 12 months to date. Condos have seen a five per cent increase in days on market. Average days to sell is 25 days.

While lot sales are down by 48 per cent, prices have increased by 19 per cent 12 months to date. Average lot price $289,793. Most active region North Nanaimo with 20 sales. Highest average price was South Jinglepot at $805,000. 

FULL REPORT HERE

RCMP issue warning about drink spiking after two incidents

0412 - The Nanaimo RCMP is issuing an advisory after two incidents involving adult females who reported having their drinks tampered with at a nightclub in Nanaimo. The incidents occurred on Friday April 5, and the Nanaimo RCMP were advised on April 10.

Drink spiking or tampering, often involves a drug known as Rohypnol, GHB or Ketamine being discreetly added to a beverage. Within ten to twenty minutes the target may begin to experience a number of physical symptoms: light headedness, slurred speech, sleepy, memory loss, nausea and loss of consciousness. Effects may vary from person to person, depending on weight, amount of alcohol consumed and state of alertness. 

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

The following tips are provided to assist you if you suspect your drink has been spiked:
  It is best not to accept a drink from a stranger.

  •  Should you accept a drink from someone you don’t know, go to the bar and watch the drink being poured
  •  Never leave your drink unattended
  •  While holding your drink, try to keep a hand over top of it to prevent something from being added to it
  •  Keep an eye on your drink at all times; if you go to the washroom, have a trusted friend watch it
  • If the taste or colour of your drink has changed stop drinking it immediately 
  • If you begin to feel dizzy or sick, do not leave your friends, tell them you need help and have them stay at your side

If you know of anyone who is involved in drink tampering, 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.

Measels likely to show up further up island

0412 -The number and nature of measles cases cropping up in the south island is raising local concerns, says the medical health officer.

Island Health has confirmed a sixth case of measles in theVictoria region, bringing to 26 the total number of confirmed cases around B.C.'s south coast in the last two months.

"We haven't yet had cases north of the Malahat. I think it's now no longer a question of are we ever going to see a case, it's going to be when are we going to see those cases," central island medical health officer Dr. Paul Hasselback told NanaimoNewsNOWMORE

City to add closed captioning to council broadcasts

0412 - Council's finance committee wants to spend more than $20,000 per year to include closed captioning on the broadcasts of meetings.

The finance and audit committee voted 5-1 to move ahead with closed captioning services to all meetings broadcast via the City's website.

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$1.4 million for Morden Mine tipple restoration

0412 - The provincial government has announced a $1.4 million grant to restore the Morden Mine concrete headframe and tipple structure at Morden Colliery Historic Provincial Park.

Restoration work is expected to take more than a year to complete, crews will stabilize the seven-storey-high concrete structure over the next two months. The park will be closed during that time.

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Greens leading the pack in byelection polling

0411 - The Green Party has surged into the lead in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection race, ahead of the Conservatives and New Democrats. The Liberals were unchanged. See the numbers on our election page 

RCMP urge viligance in preventing theft from cars

0411 - Thefts from and of vehicles is on the rise, and RCMP advise residents to be vigilant.
  Police advise vehicle owners to adopt a “9 p.m. routine”, checking their vehicles each night to ensure they are secured and all valuables are removed.
  From 2017 to 2018, theft from vehicle cases are up in B.C. 4.2 per cent and Nanaimo RCMP says the largest increases are on Vancouver Island with an 18 per cent jump of cases in Nanaimo, with 2,202 reported thefts last year. The increase is 14.3 per cent on Vancouver Island.
  Vehicle theft rose 26 per cent last year, with 153 incidents MORE

Four cannabis retail applications head to public hearing

   0411 - Four hopeful cannabis retailers will get their day at a public hearing May 3.
   City council sent the applications for cannabis retail stores at 25 Front St., 3923 Victoria Ave., 1483 Bowen Rd. and 510 Fifth St. to a public hearing. First and second reading for all four proposals were given earlier. 

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Marine Response conducts spill training exercise

File photo

   0410 - Western Canada Marine Response Corporation held a training excercise in Nanaimo to prep for a fuel spill.
   Tuesday’s simulation saw vessels from the corporation’s south coast and Vancouver Island fleets working with a command post set up at Vancouver Island Conference Centre with the exercise done to maintain Transport Canada certification for spill response.
   The way spill response works typically, said  Michael Lowry of WCMRC, is when vessels arrive on scene, their first priority is to contain the vessel that is leaking.

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City won't reveal details of lawsuit settlement

0408 - The City won't say how much, if anything, it cost to end a lawsuit with a human resources consultant.
   Court records showed the civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Integrity Group against the City was dismissed earlier this month without costs to any party. Integrity was seeking more than $52,000, alleging the City refused to pay for work done in 2015.
   The files indicated the application to dismiss was initiated by Integrity.

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Chamber to honour top buinesses and community leaders

0410 -  The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce will recognize top business and community leadership at its 19th annual awards night Thursday at the Port Theatre.
  “As usual, there will be some surprises when we begin announcing those receiving top honours but we’re exceptionally pleased with our nominations process this year,” said Kim Smythe, chamber CEO, in a press release.
   More than 300 nominations were considered across 22 categories and several thousand online votes were cast, according to the chamber.

 

City council streamlining committee structure

0410 - City council is streamlining operations by eliminating a number of inactive committees.

Nanaimo councillors recommended elinimating community planning and development, community vitality, public safety, public works and engineering, and parks recreation and wellness – that have been inactive since September.

Eliminating those committes and forming new ones that align with their own vision and strategic priorities was recommended in a staff report.

The only committee spared was the finance and audit committee, which staff recommended council keep as it deals with budgeting and other financial matters.
 

Vehicle Processing Centre now formally in business

Andrew Noye, vice-president of sales for Mercedes-Benz Canada

0409 - The Port of Nanaimo and Mercedes-Benz Canada formally launched their B.C. Vehicle Processing Centre in Nanaimo on Tuesday.

The centre has been in development for about two years and received its first cars from a roll-on, roll-off car carrier ship for a test run of the facility in early March.

In its initial phase of operation it will provide about 40 jobs and receive shipments from two ships per month. The centre is expected to process up to roughly 10,000 vehicles annually.
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The British Columbia Court of Appeal has set aside a $1.7-million damage award to a Nanaimo couple who a lower court had said were ruined through the "malicious" actions of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Tony and Helen Samaroo were operating the MGM restaurant, a night club and motel in Nanaimo in 2008 when they were charged with 21 counts of tax evasion for allegedly skimming $1.7 million from their businesses.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last year that the Samaroos were the victims of an "egregious" prosecution based on an unfounded theory and suspicion about the alleged tax evasion.

But in a decision released Tuesday on behalf of the three-judge panel, Justice David Harris says the trial judge was wrong to base his analysis on the idea that tax evasion can't be proven without also proving exactly how it was done.

0409 - RCMP calls for service have increased since the opening of two temporary housing units. Supt. Cameron Miller presented crime statistics to city council Monday and said he thinks police can help to bring crime down in the Terminal Avenue and Labieux Road areas.

The community as a whole has a right to be concerned about the statistics, Miller said. He said that calls for service over the same four months in 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 were 573, 660 and then 1,097 at Terminal Avenue and 217, 321 and 803 for Labieux Road. That's a 66-pe-cent increase in calls to  the Terminal area and 25-per-cent increase in the Labieux area.

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0409 - Approximately 20 residents have been displaced by a fire at Newcastle Place supportive housing site at 250 Terminal Ave. late Monday afternoon.

Smoke was coming from one of the buildings. Residents were evacuated from the property. Both northbound lanes were blocked off on Terminal Avenue.

Karen Fry, Nanaimo Fire Rescue, said crews arrived on scene to find flames pouring out of one the site’s buildings.
 

0409 - Lower-than-normal snow levels are causing concern for water conservation officials as already-low levels melt ahead of schedule. Snowpack levels on Vancouver Island's mountains are 66 per cent of normal, down from 85 per cent a month earlier.

Regional District of Nanaimo's Julie Pisani said the mid-island's alpine snow reserves are roughly 55 per cent.

“If we haven't built up that reserve than that means we have less that will actually be contributing to recharge our aquifers and flow into our streams during the summer period when we need that water the most,” Pisani said.

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0406 - Lantzville residents can learn more about a proposed subdivision along Ware Road.

The District is holding a committee of the whole meeting today, 1-3 p.m., when Lantzville Projects will present conceptual plans for a development along Ware Road. The meeting takes place at Costin Hall. 

0405 - The City is taking a step back on a popular addition to the waterfront walkway after detailed design work revealed a price tag three-times initial estimates.

Staff will present a report to Council on April 8 seeking approval to hire a consultant to perform a detailed review of a 350-metre addition from the Departure Bay ferry terminal to White Eagle Terrace. An elevated walkway in the area, identified as a priority section in the approved implementation plan, was originally estimated to cost $3.5 million.

Bill Corsan, deputy director of community development, said detailed design work actually revealed the cost would be more like $10.5 million or more.

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0404 - The latest poll results, released this evening, show the Nanaimo by election race is continuing to be a race to the finish. Only one point separates the top three parties.

Today's results of a multiple polling aggregation by Calculatedpolitics.com show the NDP in the lead with 27 per cent support, a drop of one point. The Conservatives stayed at 26 points, while the Green Party dropped one point to 26 per cent. The Liberal party gained three points to sit at 19 per cent while Other is at two per cent.

                                        Apr 4      Mar. 28 

Conservative Party    26            26

Green Party                  26            27

Liberal Party                19           16

New Democrat           27           28

Other                             2            2

0405 - The city is entering the final phases of the 2019 budget as the Finance and Audit Committee reviews the 2019–2023 Financial Plan next Wednesday (April 10).

Updates to the Financial Plan include all changes made since Council's approval of the provisional 2019-2023 Financial Plan on January 14, 2019. The Financial Plan and Property Tax bylaws will go to Council for approval on April 29.

The meeting at 9 am of the Service and Resource Centre is open to the public. Information about the Financial Plan is on the City’s website under the Finance and Audit Committee agenda.

Merv Unger photo

0404 - The Port of Nanaimo says intentional sabotage is to blame for a lagging cruise season.

Acting port chair Donna Hais said an anonymous letter to major players in the cruise industry claimed Nanaimo's dock was unsafe and ships should avoid it. Hais said the Port Authority was made aware of the letter by industry colleagues roughly 16 months ago.

"That seriously hurt our reputation in a very small industry and we've had to fight hard to come back," said Hais.

Several cruise operators cancelled visits in 2018 and 2019, resulting in just three ships on the books for this year and five visits in 2018.

MORE

0404 - A public hearing will be held May 2 for a microbrewery application for the city.

Cliffside Brewing Company wants to build a microbrewery at 11 Cliff St. It would include a lounge, outdoor patio and manufacturing area. Existing zoning allows for a microbrewery.

A liquor manufacturing application has been made to the B.C. Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch but a lounge endorsement from the city must be granted first.

Council will vote on the endorsement application following the public hearing.

0403 - A downtown walk-in clinic will be expanded into an urgent and primary care facility, adding more doctors and services by this summer.

The province announced Wednesday the Medical Arts Centre in Port Place Shopping Centre will  add more than 14 full-time equivelant health care providers, including four more doctors, registered nurses, mental health and substance use clinicians, social workers and a pharmacist, a government release said.

The full range of services are expected to be in place at the centre by June. The annual operating cost is estimated to be $2.7 million.

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0403 - City council has nixed a Protection Island property owner's bid to build a cabin.

Council denied a development permit for a 50-square-metre cabin at 25 Spyglass Lookout. It would have been perched on piles within a grassy meadow on a narrow piece of land protruding from the island, facing into Nanaimo's inner harbour.

The permit asked for significant variances, including placing the cabin only half as far away from the sea as required.

Protection Island residents opposed the project, citing community use and enjoyment of the land, in spite of it being private property.

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0402 - Wa ter rescrictions are now effect in Nanaimo, limiting lawn and garden watering to nights and early mornings between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

All that winter snow did not convert into a lot of groundwater. Environment Canada reports March was Nanaimo’s sixth driest since record-keeping started, getting just a fraction of normal precipitation.

City engineering and public works director Bill Sims said this is the lowest March in about 12 years in our drinking watershed. The watershed gets significantly more rain than the city. He said it was five millimetres for the month, but we had 42 up in the watershed, which is something like 10 to 20 per cent of our normal March rainfall.

 

0403 - The city will install an iron fence at the service and resource centre at 411 Dunsmuir St. to mitigate anti-social behaviour.

The wrought iron fence along Wesley Street, at the rear parking lot of the SARC building. The gate would be left open during office hours but would have controlled access outside of office hours.

SARC is located near a 36-unit housing development with an overdose prevention site as well as a needle exchange site.

MORE

 

Kim Smythe

0402 - The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is thinking big, making a bid to host the 2021 national Canadian Chamber of Conference Executive And Policy Convention – a first for Nanaimo.

This annual convention brings 500-plus delegates and their partners. It is estimated to have an economic impact on Nanaimo of just under $1 million. Further discussions and consideration will continue to June 30.

The Chamber is relying on the Gordon Street Marriot Conference Hotel to help host the convention. It would not be possible to bid without the projected completion of the hotel in time. Other accommodations will also be required throughout downtown, said Chamber CEO Kim Smythe.

A blownout tire caused a crash in Lantzville which sent a woman to hospital.

Witness told police a tire blew out on an older vehicle which then crashed into the median and flipped at approximately 5 p.m. on Saturday.

The 23-year-old driver was flown to Victoria General Hospital where she remains in critical condition.

 

0402 - A Nanaimo Mountie has several civilians to thank after they rushed to his aid as he fought with an irate man. The incident took place at approximately on Saturday on Rutherford Road near Highway 19A.

The incident began with the officer responding to a report of a disturbance involving a man and woman. The Mountie located the woman who appeared to be acting and behaving erratically, and was wearing only a bathing suit. When the officer attempted to detain her for her safety, her male friend interfered and began punching and assaulting the officer. The officer and suspect ended up fighting and tumbled onto the ground where more punches were landed by both parties. At one point, the man broke free and attempted to flee but was prevented by passing motorists. This was enough to allow the officer the time he needed to secure the suspect in handcuffs and place him in his police vehicle.

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0401 - City council will hear April 8 on what has been done to implement recommendations made by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in response to the way private and confidential information is handled.

City Clerk Sheila Gurrie told the News Bulletin she will provid an update to council next Monday.

Following an investigation into leaks of the Goldner Report and Integrity Group e-mails, reported to Privacy Commissioner by Gurrie, that office detailed three separate instances where city documents containing personal information were improperly released to the public.

MORE

File photo

0331 - One woman was flown to hospital after a serious crash that closed a portion of Highway 19 in both directions near Lantzville Saturday.

The Lantzville Fire Department, along with B.C. Ambulance and the RCMP responded just after 5 p.m. to a single vehicle accident in the southbound lane in the 8100-block of the highway.

They arrived to find a vehicle had rolled over after hitting the center divider, and only had the woman inside. She was taken by a B.C. Ambulance helicopter to hospital in critical condition.

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Here we go, the candidates are all in place for the Nanaimo Ladysmith byelection May 6 and it’s projected to be a barn burner. 

There will  be polling from now until byelection date and beyond, heading toward the Oct. 21 general election. Polls have not had a great track record recently, but combining the data from all polls could prove more accurate.

HERE'S THE BREAKDOWN

Bob Chamberlin

0330 - Bob Chamberlin was elected Saturday by the NDP for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith byelection.

He came out ahead of Lauren Semple, Maeve O’Byrne, and Fred Statham for the nomination.

Voters are returning to the polls for third time in seven months after former MP Malcolmson resigned to run successfuly for the legislature when MLA Leonard Krog stepped down to successfully run as Nanaimo’s mayor.

All parties have now named their candidates with John Hirst running for the Conservatives, Paul Manly for the Green Party, Michelle Corfield for the Liberals and Jennifer Clarke with the People’s Party of Canada.

MORE

 

Photo submitted

0330 - The chance that a fire bug could be active following the latest in a series of blazes on private land south of Nanaimo has Coastal Fire Centre officials are concerned.

Crews knocked down a one-and-a-half acre fire Thursday on private land off Nanaimo Lakes Rd.

It was a burn that had been lit some time ago and then it re-ignited because of the warm and dry conditions. It was not started by the land owner,” MacPherson said.

The person-caused fire happened in a slash pile on private land home to active forestry activity near Barsby Lake.

MORE

0330 - If Lantzville wants to hire an economic develoment officer, the money is there, thanks to a provincial program which has awarded $100,000 from the rural dividend program.  The fund provides money to communities with a population of less than 25,000 to help with economic development and diversification.

Lantsville's chief administrative officer Ronald Campbell said the hiring process will begin in early April for the postion.

MORE

0330 - A Calgary developer has applied for a development permit to build Mmore than 250 apartment units near Longwood Station.

MacDonald Gray Consultants, on behalf of Calgary-based developers, Northview REIT, have submitted a development permit application, proposing three four-storey residential rental buildings at 4800 Uplands Dr.

Each building will contain a mixture of one- and two-bedroom units. Approximately 90 per cent of the parking for the property will be underground, while there were also be bicycle parking provided. Each building would also have its own gym.

MORE

0329 - The youth arrested in connection with a stabbing at Maffeo Sutton Park will be held in custody until his next court appearance April 11.

The suspect cannot be identified because of his age/ He appeared in provincial court in Nanaimo Friday..

MORE

The Regional District of Nanaimo is inviting public input on its draft strategic plan for 2019-22 –a blueprint that guides decision-making and staff direction. 

RDN Chairman Ian Thorpe said when the board started the strategic planning process, it recognized the challenges of finding a balance between being too general and not being general enough, while still having some definite action plans attached.

MORE

City workers get new four-year deal

0328 - About 500 CUPE Local 401 members will get an annual two-per-cent wage in a new four-year agreement with the city.

The new agreement provides better clarity around seniority accrual, vacations and overtime and includes a provision to assist the City in recovering certain emergency response costs from the Province.

CUPE Local 401 represents city staff in sanitation, parks maintenance, recreation, administration and at the RCMP detachment.

0328 - With warmer weather comes gardening and cleanup. Nanaimo Fire Rescue has a reminder for residents – backyard burning is banned except by permit. 

The City encourages residents who are planning a backyard burn to familiarize themselves with the Fire Bylaw and the required conditions to obtain a permit.

  • Burning permits may be issued for an open burning fire on a lot that is one acre or greater or lots located on Protection Island.
  • Burning is permitted from sunrise to sunset, Fridays and Saturdays, April and November. Only organic yard waste such as garden refuse and pruned clippings may be burned.
  • Burning wooden construction material, stumps, land clearing materials/debris or household garbage is not permitted.
  • Fires shall not exceed 1.5 meters across; shall be hand fed and be located at least three meters from any other combustibles. A charged hose or a bucket of water must be located nearby and at the ready to extinguish fire should it be necessary.

Woman gets life-threatening
injuries in Maffeo Sutton stabbing

0328 - A Nanaimo woman suffered life-threatening injuries after a stabbing along the waterfront walkway Wednesday night.

RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said the attack happened around 10:15 p.m. near the crab dock in Maffeo Sutton Park.

"We arrived on scene and found a victim with numerous stab wounds and a male being restrained on the ground by upwards of five individuals," O'Brien told NanaimoNewsNOW.

MORE

0327 - Fewer homes are being sold in Nanaimo, but prices continue to climb, with the average price in February at $558,633, up seven per cent in the 12 months to date. 

The Vancovuer Island Real Estate Board reports single-family sales volume down 28 per cent on 71 single family sales. The average days on market has increased by 12 per cent to 26 days. 

Condos are bucking the trend, sales increasing by eight per cent over the past 12 months. The average condo sold for $362,862. Condos have seen a six per cent increase in days on market. Average days to sell is 25 days. 

Lot sales volume is down by 57 per cent but prices have increased by 20 per cent, 12 months to date. Average lot sale price: $290,675. 

Most active region: North Nanaimo (15 sales) and South Nanaimo (15 sales). Highest average price: Hammond Bay ($985,000). FULL REPORT HERE.

0327 - The killer in a 2017 murder at a Nanaimo hotel has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 17 years.

Initially charged with first-degree murder, Brandon Tyler Woody pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree murder in February and was sentenced by Judge Paul Riley in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Andrew McLean, 34 at the time, was fatally shot April 19, 2017 at the lobby of the now-closed Howard Johnson Harbourside Hotel.

MORE

0327 - Island Health has confirmed a privacy breach of 102 people at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The breach involved an employee who is "no longer associated with Island Health," the authority said.

"This situation is unacceptable and we wholeheartedly apologize to everyone who has been affected by this situation," Island Health said in a statement. Details about the people affected by the breach have not been released.

MORE

0327 - The NDP federal NDP will have four members vying for the nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith at a nomination meeting on Saturday.

The four declared candidates are:
Bob Chamberlin,
Maeve O’Byrne,
Lauren Semple,
Fred Statham.

The nomination meeting will be held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on Saturday, with registration at 1 p.m. and a firm 2 p.m. cutoff. Residents of the riding have until 4 p.m. Thursday to become party members in order to participate in Saturday’s voting.

MORE

0326 - Harbour Air is working with an electric propulsion company to develop the world's first all-electric airline.

Harbour Air operates 30,000 flights a year on 12 routes between Nanaimo, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and other destinations.

The company is working with MagniX in Washington state to modify its commercial fleet using the company's Magni500, a 750-horsepower electric motor. If successful, the partnership will create the world's first completely electric commercial seaplane fleet.

The company developed a prototype engine about 18 months ago and has tested it on the ground with propellers but not yet in an aircraft, he said.

MORE

 

0326 - 40 buildings have been named finalists for the 12th annual Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards,April 4 in Courtenay.

The number of finalist projects represents a strong market in the region. The gala will be held in the Comox Valley for the second time, celebrating the best in commercial, community and industrial buildings north of the Malahat on Vancouver Island, which were completed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018.

SEE THE LIST OF FINALISTS

0326b - The Rotary Club of Nanaimo has the go-ahead to create a park within a park in Maffeo Sutton Park.

City council unanimously to approved the Rotary Centennial Garden project in the northeast corner of Maffeo Sutton Park.

Nanaimo Rotary is fully funding the $200,000 garden, with city staff to manage the project and construct it, in co-ordination with Rotarians, in time for a May 2020 opening. The garden is a legacy project for Nanaimo Rotary’s 100th anniversary.

The work and values of Rotary include promoting peace.

Western Forest Products is moving to numb the hum from its Duke Point sawmill by installing  silencing equipment by late April or early May.

The silencer was recommended by an acoustical engineer hired to study the problem following complaints from the surrounding community and involvement by the City of Nanaimo.

"The reason for us engaging with those consultants was really to identify the precise issue so we would put in place a longer term solution that would address the concerns we've been hearing," said communications director Babita Khun Khun.

MORE

 

0326 - The idea of closing Beban Pool three months a year has been shot out of the water.

Councillors, at their first-ever governance and priorities committee meeting Monday, removed 10 items from a 2016 core services review.

The most noteworthy item to be removed was the Beban Pool extended closure suggestion, which faced community pushback when it was first made public.

MORE

The Spindle Whorl

0325 - Nanaimo RCMP seeks help in locating a significant piece of First Nations art which was stolen this past weekend. The art piece, known as a Spindle Whorl, created and designed by local carver Joel Good, was last seen on March 21. Since 2015, it has been on  display near the intersection of Albert Street and Victoria Crescent. 

The Spindle Whorl represents Coast Salish art and has been a fixture in downtown Nanaimo for many years. Historically, the spindle whorl has become an iconic symbol for the Snuneymuwx with carvings that often depict family stories and legends. Prior to its most recent location, the Spindle Whorl had been on display at Maffeo Sutton Park.The stolen wooden disc is carved from cedar and was secured to its base with four screws, and is approximately three feet in diameter.

If you have information, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-9878 or contact Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

PM Justin Trudeau

0324 - One day after calling a byelection in Nanaimo-Ladysmith, the prime minister will be in town to support his party’s candidate.

According to a Liberal Party of Canada media release, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Nanaimo on Monday, March 25, at 12:45 p.m. to campaign with Michelle Corfield, Liberal candidate in the riding. A location has not yet been announced.

MORE

Chamber of Commerce all-candidate
forum at Beban Social Centre April 25

0325 - The Nanaimo Chamber will hold an All-Candidates Forum for the federal byelection in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding.

“The community has come to expect this from the Chamber so we are pleased to offer an event that we’re becoming very well-practiced at,” said Chamber CEO, Kim Smythe “This will be our fifth such event within the past two years.” 

The Forum will be held in Beban Park Social Centre on Thursday, April 25 with the doors opening for a Candidate Meet and Greet at 5:30 pm. A debate among the candidates will begin at 7 pm.

“We’re not able to announce which candidates will be attending. Not all parties have announced their candidates for the race but we will update our event announcement as more information becomes available”, Smythe said.

0325 - Dozens of firefighters and search and rescue technicians, with the help of some rock climbers, helped rescue a man near the Nanaimo River Saturday.

The man was injured after falling four meters over an embankment sometime in the morning.

Some hikers and rock climbers in an area known as Sunnyside heard him calling for help from the opposite side of the river in the afternoon and called 911 before going to help.

Three fire departments and 15 members of Nanaimo Search and Rescue arrived to help pull the man up the steep terrain, known by rock climbers as the Dark Side.

MORE

0325 - The Regional District of Nanaimo has added up its assets and calculated a value of $382 million.

The 2019 asset management review and implementation report, the first of its kind that the RDN has undertaken since it was created in 1967, is now finished.

General manager of strategic community development Geoff Garbutt informed the RDN board at its committee of the whole meeting on March 12 the goal is to eliminate departmental isolation and establish a consistent organization-wide program.

Prime Minister Trudeau

0324 - Nanaimo-Ladysmith voters are heading to the polls in a May 6 byelection, called this morning by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  

The seat became vacant when NDP MP Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January to run successfully for the provincial New Democrats.

Paul Manly, who ran in the 2014 election, is the Green Party candidate, Michelle Corfield has been named by the federal Liberals and John Hirst is running for the Conservatives. Jennifer Clarke is the new Peoples Party of Canada candidate.

Bob Chamberlin, a long-serving chief of a First Nation on Gilford Island in the Broughton Archipelago, has said he intends to seek the NDP candidacy. Also contesting for the NDP is activist Lauren Semple. No nomination date has been set for the NDP.

The Liberals finished a surprising second in the 2014 general election with Conservatives in third place, just ahead of the Greens.

0324 - Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Dr. Carrie Marshall said residents with nowhere else to go are seeking emergency shelter at the Tofino General Hospital.

“We have patients that come in that we are providing accommodation for, essentially, and food. There’s no medical need. We admit them for social reasons. There’s not a criminal element to not having a fixed address, so police don’t want to be taking them to cells,” Marshall said. 

MORE

0322 - Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence have seen flu outbreaks, says Vancouver Island Health Authority.

According to the health authority’s website, the Influenza A outbreaks began Wednesday at the hospital, confined to rehabilitation unit, and March 13 at the Chartwell residence on Eleventh Street, where it has been declared a “facility wide outbreak.”

Shannon Marshall, Island Health spokeswoman, confirmed the outbreak at the hospital, but didn’t have information on how widespread it is.

MORE

0322 - A motorcyclist has died after being hit by two cars going the same direction near Country Club Centre. 

Cst. Gary O'Brien said the vehicles were all travelling northbound on the Island Hwy. around 12 p.m. between 106th St. and Norwell Dr. when the accident occured.

"It's preliminary right now. It appears the motorcyclist was between the two vehicles, so he in turn struck the vehicle ahead of him and then the vehicle behind hit the motorcyclist." 

MORE

 0322 - A desperately needed low-cost dental clinic in Nanaimo remains closed, despite a promise of increased funding from the provincial government.

CODE Community Dental Clinic on Wallace St. closed its doors in mid-February because it ran out of operating funds. The shortfall came about due to a lower level of funding from Island Health, previously the main financial supporter of the non-profit operation. MORE

 

0321 - The Bastion Street Bridge will be closed for much of the summer for repair and seismic upgrades beginning next week until August.

Traffic will not be able to used the bridge beginning next week and continuing until June 28 for replacement of the concrete deck. A seismic retrofit will run until August. Pedestrians will be able to use the bridge during the project. 

The transit exchange will be relocated temporarily to 1 Port Drive on April 8, remaining there until the end of August.

Phil Stewart, Manager, Engineering Projects said the last major upgrade took place more than 40 years ago, in 1978. This upgrade will extend the life of the bridge by 20 to 30 years, he added.        


CBC photo

Scientists make surprising discoveries
about salmon on Gulf of Alaska expedition

0319 - An international team of scientists have completed a five-week expedition to the Gulf of Alaska to study the lives of salmon.

The multi-nation expedition was organized by Dick Beamish of Nanaimo. Researchers collected thousands of samples and pioneered a new DNA testing method to learn more about salmon survival in the North Pacific in the first comprehensive study in the region in decades.

The scientists were all smiles as they spoke of their findings and praised the success of the international collaboration at an event at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier.

"The ability of a team of researchers to work together effectively, that already is a tremendous success," said Dick Beamish, the expedition's organizer. "We have now set a precedent for being able to do this in the future."

The 21 scientists from five salmon-producing countries in the Pacific Rim — Canada, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the U.S. — travelled around 8,000 kilometres and surveyed 60 different locations while aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovsky.

MORE AT CHEK TV

New surveillance plane to monitor Vancouver Island fisheries

Ottawa, B.C. announce 5-year salmon restoration fund to rebuild wild stocks

Bob Chamberlin

0320 - A high profile Indigenous leader is seeking the NDP nomination for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Bob Chamberlin is the long-serving chief councillor of a First Nation based on Gilford Island and is serving his third, three-year term as vice president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

In a news release announcing his bid for the nomination, Chamberlin says he has spent much of his life in the Nanaimo area and understands issues important to the riding such as affordable housing and childcare, and a workable pharmacare system covering prescription drugs.

MORE

0321 - The Prideaux bus exchange could be temporarily relocated to 1 Port Drive. The Regional District  transit select committee will vote today for a temporary bus loop  from April 7-Sept. 30. The Bastion Street Bridgewill get seismic upgrades in April and vehicle traffic will not be allowed during construction.

RDN Transit anticipates moving to Port Drive on April 14. That will necessitate route adjustments for all Prideaux Street-destined routes. 

MORE

Cyclist stopped for no helmet
is wanted for murder in Toronto

0319 - Nanaimo RCMP stopped a cyclist riding without a helmet and determined he was wanted a more serious charge.

Kyle Antonio Dias, 19, was stopped by police who noted the bike he was riding resembled one recently reported stolen and a serial number check confirmed that was the case. Further investigation revealed that Dias is wanted for second-degree murder in connection with a shooting in Toronto on Feb. 13.

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Evacuation of police station follows
discovery of suspicious packages

0319 - A section of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment was closed today after two cardboard packages were found on the lawn adjacent to the building.

Due to where the packages were found and out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to evacuate people from a portion of the detachment and to not allow the public to enter. 

 A portion of Fitzwilliam Street,adjacent to the detachment, between Prideaux and Milton streets has been closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic. An RCMP explosives dog carried out a preliminary assessment of the packages and the RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit is being consulted.   

911 and the non-emergency lines have not been impacted and when more information is known, or the situation changes, the public will be advised. If anyone has information on the 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.

Tracy Samra

Special prosecutor withdraws
Samra peace bond application

0318 - The Crown has withdrawn an application for a peace bond for former City Manager Tracy Samra.

Special prosecutor Michael Klein told NanaimoNewsNOW that the case will not proceed. On Monday, two days before Samra's long-anticipated hearing was slated to begin, Klein informed several people listed on the peace bond he would drop the application.

City Clerk Sheila Gurrie said Klein told her his decision was based on a small likelihood of success because 13 months elapsed since the incident and Samra kept the peace without contacting any of the people named.

"I was disappointed," said Gurrie, "that my side of the events would have at least been on the record and I would have had the opportunity to speak about it."

MORE

Former mountie sentenced for secretly
filming naked stepdaughter in shower

0318 - A retired Nanaimo RCMP officer has been sentenced to six months house arrest after pleading guilty to taking pictures of his stepdaughter while she was naked in the washroom of their family home.

The 72-year-old man, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, was sentenced to six months house arrest and 18-months probation on Monday at provincial court in Nanaimo.

The man originally pleaded not guilty, then late last year the offender admitted to a charge of secretly observing or recording nudity in a private place.

MORE

Lauren Semple

Local activist will seek NDP
Nanaimo Ladysmith nomination

0318 - Lauren Semple will seek the federal NDP nomination for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding. 

Semple has an extensive background in local activism. She has been event director for the last three Nanaimo Pride festivals, an organizer of the Nanaimo Women March On events the last two years, and was co-founder of Humanity in Community, which led the mural project at the old A&B Sound building.

MORE

Nanaimo moves toward adopting
regional business licence bylaw

0318 - You could soon do business in most Vancouver Island jurisdictions with a single business licence. City council rpassed three readings of an inter-community business licence amendment bylaw, would allow businesses to operate in partnering jurisdictions without having to pay for or obtain multiple business licences, according to a city press release.

Inter-community agreements simplify the business licensing process, making it less cumbersome and more affordable for mobile operations to do business in multiple communities, the release notes.

Partnering jurisdictions include 13 municipalities between Campbell River and Duncan as well as Esquimalt and Sooke, according to the release, which notes that an additional 12 municipalities within the capital region are expected to join the partnership.
More

0318 - How hot was it? Sunday's high temperature shattered a 127-year-old record when it hit 16.2 C. And Monday was not much different, also breaking a record for this date.

Environment Canada reported Sunday's high was 16.2 degrees, beating the record of 16.1 in 1892 when temperatures were first recorded.

 Shortly, after 2 p.m. today it was 18 C, breaking a 91-year-old record for March 17, also 16.1 C, set in 1928.

MORE

Michelle Corfield

Corfield chosen by federal Liberals 
for next Nanaimo-Ladysmith vote

0316 - Michelle Corfield will carry the federal Liberal party banner for Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the October general election, or a byelection if one is called earlier.

Corfield won the nomination over Melissa Hall on Saturday, getting the majority of the 115 votes that were cast. Corfield is on a leave of absence as chair and director of the Nanaimo Port Authority.

She said after 25 years of working to push the envelope from the outside, she hopes to be on the inside to shape legislation and move Nanaimo-Ladysmith forwards. Her platform will be to promote good-paying jobs, the environment and supporting those who can't support themselves.

Rob Fleming

Nanaimo a priority community
for gang prevention programs

0316 - Nanaimo has been identified as a priority community for a new program designed to keep school-aged children away from the lure of gang life.

The province has announced a pool of $1.1-million for programs in 12 priority communities. The goal is to create a wide range of initatives, including training for teachers to create a curriculum on the impacts of gang violence.

Education Minister Rob Fleming said the focus is on preventing gangs from taking hold and making schools unsafe.

RDN wants to cost-share electric car charging stations

0316 - The Regional District of Nanaimo wants to get into the electric car charging business.

Following a Community Energy Association presentation, directors voted to be lead applicant on behalf of numerous mid-Island municipalities and regional districts for the Clean B.C. Communities Fund, which provides provincial cost-sharing for green infrastructure projects.10 public charging stations (to a maximum $60,000) would be placed at RDN properties.

Final school repair bill comes in at $72,000

0316 - The repair bill for Rutherford Elementary School which wqs damaged last October is $72,000, says Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

Advocates for homelessness people broke into and occupied Rutherford Elementary School on Oct. 5 before being removed by RCMP on Oct. 6, with 26 arrested. It was initially estimated there was $100,000 in damage, including to doors and the roof, and that a hazmat team and additional security would be needed.

An artist rendering of proposed auto dealerships at 4900 Island Hwy N., near Long Lake. (City of Nanaimo)

City council supports rezoning
for new luxury car dealership
s

190315 - An eloquent and impassioned show of support from Mayor Leonard Krog triggered a last-second vote flip and push through a contentious proposal for two car dealerships in north Nanaimo.

Councillors approved 5-4 at third reading to approve a rezoning application from GAIN Auto Group to allow for two car dealerships on the former site of Long Lake Nurseries. It now goes to open council for a final vote. The vote happened in front of a packed gallery Thursday night and followed a highly-anticipated public hearing.

It appeared the rezoning was set to fail, as five of the eight councillors stated their intention to vote against third reading. But mayor Leonard Krog spoke last, reminding councillors they still had time to change their opinion.

"I'm going to attempt to persuade some of my colleagues in that regard," Krog said, before launching into a nearly 10-minute speech.

190314-Nanaimo’s BMX community and others will celebrate the life of Aidan Webber who died as a reigning national champion.

Webber’s family announced through the Nanaimo BMX Association that a service will be held March 31 at the Beban Park social centre.

Webber, who was 18, died Sunday in a workplace accident off the coast of Port Hardy.

 
 

RCMP and ICBC target distracted driving

190314- Drivers who pick up calls or text while driving are more likely to get nailed with fines this month.

March is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and police and ICBC will be out on the road checking for drivers whose attention to the road is divided because they’re using cellphones or for other reasons.

Nanaimo RCMP Municipal Traffic Division members launched the month of stepped-up enforcement from the corner of Campbell Street and Terminal Avenue on Thursday morning where they nabbed 11 drivers for various infractions that included using cellphones, not using seatbelts, not having a driver’s licence, no insurance and combinations of the infractions.

Mayor Leonard Krog

City's future is brighter than ever,
Mayor tells Chamber members

190313 - Nanaimo's future is brighter than ever, says Mayor Leonard Krog. The mayor delivered the state of the city address to members of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

He said Nanaimo is an incredibly unique city and is entering the most “thrilling time” in its history.

“Nanaimo is just so much more. We are not like any other community in the province,” he said. “We have everything going for us.”
 

Karen Clark

Police seek help in finding missing woman

190314 - Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 59-year-old Karen Linda Clark who has not been seen or heard from since February 16. Her disappearance is out of character for her and as a result, her family is worried for her safety and well-being. Clark's sister reported her missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on March 13. 

MORE

Gordon Fuller

190314 - Out with the old, City Council is moving forward, cancelling priorities of the previous administration.

Councillors rescinded a handful of motions following a staff update on the status of a lengthy list of directives spanning as far back as 2017.

Gone is a directive from former Coun. Gord Fuller for staff to begin work on phase two of the core services review and a calling for an end to the Port of Nanaimo's control of the inner harbour.

Coun. Tyler Brown said for him, the process was about ensuring staff had clear direction about what they should be focusing their efforts on.

Mayor Leonard Krog

Tent city costs should have
gone to housing, says Krog

190311 - Money spent on managing and cleaning up the downtown homeless encampment could have been better used to deal with homelessness and help businesses, Mayor Leonard Krog said this past week.

“The lesson here is get yourself prepped for this, because the last thing you want to do is be paying for a tent city.”  

Jail for child porn and assault charges

190313 - A Nanaimo man has been sentenced to six years in jail after previously pleading guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges.

The 42-year-old man was arrested in 2017 and in February pleaded guilty to sexual assault, making child pornography and possessing child pornography. The man’s name is not being used in order to protect the privacy of a victim, whose identity is protected by a publication ban.

MORE

 Stone Soup will continue after building is demolished

190311 -The Stone Soup hot meal will continue for as long as possible at the same location after having to tear down much of the outdoor eating area which had become a safe space for people in need.

The walls, cupboards and countertops at the Stone Soup location on Nicol Street were removed Monday morning, one-year after the program started. All that remains in the backyard of the house is flooring built on pallets and a large tent covering after the City discovered it never had a building permit

 

Government marijuana revenue
not as high as had been expected

0309 - Months into legalization of marijuana the province isn’t making as much from taxes as it had forecast. A slower-than-anticipated move to a legal retail marijuana industry, a later-than-expected date for legalization and municipal elections last fall mean the province will take in much less pot revenue than initially expected.

Finance Minister Carole James said an initial estimate of $200 million dollars over three years has been revised to $68 million dollars over three year. The 2019 budget reflects the lower forecast.

MORE

Tremblay found not guilty
in Harewood stabbing

0309 - A man charged in a stabbing  in Harewood a year ago has been found not guilty in BC Supreme Court.

Matthew Dean Tremblay, 28, was on trial for aggravated assault and assault with a weapon for stabbing a 25-year-old man four times outside the former King Arthurs Court housing complex.

Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten said Tremblay acted appropriately after he was faced with an unprovoked attack March 31, 2018, which was caught on video surveillance.

MORE

Mercedes-Benz test drives
Vehicle Processing facilities

190308 - A vehicle carrier loomed large on the waterfront Friday when it tied up at Nanaimo Assembly Wharf to deliver the first batch of Mercedes-Benz vehicles to the Port of Nanaimo’s Vehicle Processing Centre.

The delivery was part of a test drive for the centre’s unloading facilities, which will be a port of entry for Mercedes-Benz vehicles bound for dealerships on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The cars unloaded on Friday were only a partial shipment. The company didn’t disclose the number of vehicles unloaded or whether they would remain at the processing centre.

MORE

Rental apartment construction
booming at record pace in Nanaimo

0308 - Construction of rental apartments in Nanaimo is happening at a pace that hasn’t been seen in decades, and just when the community seems to need it most.

Housing data released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on Friday shows 138 apartment unit starts in Nanaimo during the first two months of 2019, a 710 per cent increase from last year when there were just 17 during the same time period.

Braden Batch, senior economics analyst with Housing Markets Insights West, said the number is significant for Nanaimo, and most of those units are purpose-built rentals.

MORE

Telus to spend $75 million on
Nanaimo fibre optic services

190308 - Telus will spend $75 million to bring faster internet speed and better cellphone service to the Nanaimo and Lantzville areas.

The telecommunications company announced Friday, it will connect more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses, including Snuneymuxw and Snaw-Naw-As, to its PureFibre network. Telus’ “gigabit-enabled” network will allow faster movie download, online gaming and web browsing, as well as video conferencing. It also sets the stage for future 5G mobile technology.

MORE

Mayor Leonard Krog

Krog takes aim at NDP 
over legal aid delays

190308 - The Vancouver Sun reports Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog has lambasted the NDP government for its inaction on legal aid rates.

“I had expected when we became government that we would be doing the right thing and we haven’t,” lamented Krog, the party’s caucus chair until he resigned in 2018. “This government, my government, is really no different than the former government. Legal aid rates should be increased.”

The continuing legal-aid crisis that has spurred lawyers to threaten a strike beginning April 1 should have been quickly addressed by the NDP administration, Krog insisted.

“A number of counsel who continue to do legal aid (down from 1,500 to about 1,000) are earning less than legal secretaries at many law firms, for heaven’s sake,” Krog fumed.

MORE

Youth injured in crosswalk
remains in critical condition

UPDATE - 190308 - A 17-year-old Nanaimo teen remains in critical condition in a Victoria hospital after he was hit by a vehicle while in a crosswalk in north Nanaimo March 6.

Earlier report

A 17-year-old pedestrian is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries after he was struck by a vehicle in a cross walk on Hammond Bay Road. The collision occurred at approximately 3:15 pm on Wednesday, at the intersection of Hammond Bay Road and Ventura Road.


He was transported to local hospital then subsequently airlifted to hospital in Victoria where he remains.

The driver 33-year-old driver remained at the scene and co-operated with investigators. From numerous witness accounts the youth had stepped into the cross walk and was proceeding south bound across Hammond Bay Road when struck by the vehicle.

 

School district getting 
$1.1 million for upgrades

190308 - Nanaimo Ladysmith School District will get $1,163,609 as part of a provincial program to update schools across the province.

The province has announced $206 million to target out-of-date schools and to promote greener opportunities in education.

Nanaimo will get boiler upgrades at Cinnabar Elementary, HVAC upgrades (Phase 2) at Park Avenue Elementary and one new bus

 “For too many years, maintenance projects weren’t funded properly, and now we are providing school districts with increased resources to improve schools for students,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Education in a statement.

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Victims have lost hundreds
of thousands through frauds

190308 - Love can be very costly. RCMP are drawing attention to internet romance scams during Fraud Awareness Month.

Love isn't the only lure to get your money. There's the Canada Revenue Agency scam and other schemes to defraud the unwary online and via telephone and in some cases successfully wreak financial hardship and emotional heartache.

In 2018, various scams bilked hundreds of thousands of dollars from Nanaimo victims, say police. RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien says he has personally dealt with three or four women who have lost, probably, accumulatively about $200,000.

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Lantzville awards contract
for $810,000 road upgrade

190308 - Lantzville council has approved a bid for the rehabilitation of Peterson Road.

The $810,448, contract was awarded to IWC Excavating Ltd.

The  project will see one kilometre of road replaced on Peterson Road between Harby Road East and Venture Road. A walkway will also be constructed along Peterson Road from Lantzville Road and Harby Road East.

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Photo courtesy of Global Diving and Salvage

Sunken tugboat raised from
Northumberland Channel

190307 - A tugboat that sank in Northumberland Channel in 2014 has been raised from 66 metres down.

The Samantha J, owned by Jones Marine Services, capsized while towing a wood chip barge. The crew was not injured, but the tug was hoisted from the channel last week in a two-day salvage operation by Global Diving and Salvage.

Port of Nanaimo Harbour Master Rodney Grounds said the salvage company started the operation with its remotely operated underwater vehicle and divers.

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Defendant in road death selects trial by judge alone

0305 - William Sydney Goosman who was charged with dangerous driving causing death in a Jan. 24, 2018 incident on Gabriola as opted for trial by judge along.

Jay Dearman, a Gabriola firefighter, was killed while running. She had been with the department since June 2012.

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Stone Soup ordered to remove outdoor dining area

0305 - A downtown soup kitchen catering to Nanaimo's homeless and poor has less than two weeks to remove an expansive outdoor dining area after it was discovered a building permit was never issued for the project.

A notice from the City says the organizers of the Stone Soup program have until March 14 to remove the floating deck, walls, counter tops and fridges which are used to feed roughly 150 people a night.

Creator Tanya Hiltz told NanaimoNewsNOW a building permit should have been obtained when they built the deck nearly six months ago, but they don't understand why the space needs to be torn down.

“Give us a break here,” she said. “Slap us on the wrist, we did something wrong. But work with us. These people need us.”

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RDN and Lantzville get emergency preparedness funding

0305 -The Regional District of Nanaimo and the District of Lantzville will launch a Community Emergency Preparedness after each getting $25,000 grants from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The regional district noted that the funding will be used to create a combined evacuation plan for Lantzville, Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) and the Snaw-Naw-As First Nation.

“The project will consider both small evacuation scenarios and how to co-ordinate a mass evacuation of the communities,”

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Nanaimo Taxis join forces with Nanaimo Crime Stoppers

Linda Hill Office Manager AC Cabs, Steven Atkins Customer Service Rep and Const. Gary O'Brien, Crime Stoppers Co-ordinator

0305 - Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers has announced a partnership with Nanaimo taxi companies to combat crime.

Last December the owners of AC Taxi and Yellow Cabs met with the local Crime Stoppers Program, and were briefed on the history of Crime Stoppers in Nanaimo, and the successes achieved locally through the seizure of drugs, arrests and the recovery of stolen property and weapons.

The idea has also received interest from other Crime Stoppers program across Vancouver Island who are interested in rolling it out within their communities. If you see something, say something. To submit a tip online go to www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

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Pedophile-chasing vigilante has moved to Nanaimo

0304 - A vigilante pedophile chaser has settled in Nanaimo intent on continuing his crusade.

Justin Payne, 31, has 171,000 YouTube subscribers who watch the vigilante video producer at night pose on dating sites as an under-age boy or girl.

A viral video of Payne was pivotal in convicting a Nanaimo sex offender in November, while an RCMP investigation into another Nanaimo man is now under way.

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Tent encampment cost will exceed half a million dollars

0304 - The total costs of the illegal homeless encampment at Port Place will cost Nanaimo taxpayers more than half a million dollars when policing and legal costs are added to the initial figure.

The City spent $466,194, according to financial statements obtained by the News Bulletin through a freedom of information request.

Costs will likely be significantly higher as legal fees were redacted by the city, which cited solicitor-client privilege in its response. Policing costs associated with Discontent City were also not included, though they were requested by the News Bulletin.

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Regional District approves growing cannabis in rural areas

0303 - The Regional District of Nanaimo has given the green light to growing marijuana on rural properties.

The policy was adopted by the RDN board Tuesday, following an electoral area services committee recommendation, and will provide guidance to rural residents and staff when dealing with land-use applications to allow the production of cannabis.

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Negrin Memorial fund for search and rescue hits $21,000

Deb Thomson, Station Leader Michel Morin and John Thomson with Sophia Negrin.

0302 - The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund has contributed an additional $4,000 to the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, Station 27-Nanaimo. That brings total donations to $21,000 for a variety of projects

The Marcus Negrin Memorial Fund is a fitting tribute for a young man who believed in making the community a better place to be. As a fisherman and a mariner Marcus loved his time on the ocean surrounding Vancouver Island. The Memorial Fund established by his family in 2015 has worked to assist Station 27-Nanaimo with the task of Saving Lives on the Water. Marcus Negrin was the son of Garry and Dawne Negrin of Lantzville.  

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Pay your child support or lose your driver's licence.

0302 - Mark down that date – March 1. You may have to buy a bus pass or walk if you're behind on child or spousal support payments. You could lose your driver’s licence if you don't pay up.

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) granted ICBC the ability to cancel or refuse to renew the driver’s licence of someone with more than $3,000 in owed support payments. 

“Changes will also help paying parents reach repayment arrangements sooner and will increase opportunities to create a manageable payment plan by preventing arrears from accumulating for up to five years,” the FMEP said in a statement.

There are 70,000 parents enrolled in the FMEP, with an over-all payment rate of 92 per cent.

Fire destroys Salmon Point Resort near Campbell River

An early-morning fire on Friday destroyed the popular Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub, about 20 km south of Campbell River.

The Salmon Point Restaurant and Pub was a popular location on the shore of Georgia Strait in a rural area south of Campbell River and had been in business since 1982.

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Clearing work under way for Boxwood connector project

 

0302 - Preliminary brush and tree clearing has begun for the Boxwood connector project that will easytraffic on Bowen, Northfield and Boxwood. 

Site clearing is under way as part of the project but road construction is a few years away.

The project will extend Boxwood Road far enough to connect Northfield Road with a new roundabout connecting with Rosstown Road and Bowen Road, and a new intersection will be built at the Beban Park entrance. The existing intersection connecting Rosstown and Bowen will be closed.

Port Alice pulp mill workers sent home without pay

0302 - The remaining 12 employees at the Port Alice pulp mill were sent home Monday and told they would not get their paycheques.

Chinese-based owners Fulida have yet to reveal what it plans for the Neucel Specialty Cellulose pulp mill, after sending its remaining workers home with no written notice and no paycheque.

“This guy from China who works for Fulida gave direction to the HR manager and the mill manager to go tell the employees to go home and that they were not going to get their paycheques,” said Unifor Local 514 president Don Vye.