Province to self-isolate vulnerable populations

By Merv Unger
Nanaimonet.com

0402 - BC Housing is looking for temporary housing in Nanaimo to self-isolate vulnerable populations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. That could include various areas of the city, including hotels and other vacant buildings.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has established a Vulnerable Population Working Group that is working with local health authorities to address the immediate challenges faced by vulnerable people, including those who are homeless. 

Health authorities will identify people who require self-isolation and BC Housing will work with them and the operators to make these spaces available to them. 

Health authorities across the province will identify people who require self-isolation and BC Housing will work with them and the operators to make these spaces available. These sites will be vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19 as they spread out the number of people in existing shelters, free-up acute care beds in hospitals, and prevent crowding.

Local authorities have been directed to remove barriers to make it easier to support critical services such as food banks and shelters to respond to the pandemic. As well, communities must work with local health authorities and BC Housing on efforts to plan for people experiencing homelessness.

The City has provided a list of City facilities for the purposes of isolating those experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo. The Province will be responsible for tracking these sites and utilizing them as necessary.

City efforts to date include continuing the shower program, keeping washrooms in designated parks open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and expanding access to potable water. Further to this, the city will provide 24-hour access to existing and additional temporary washrooms and hand sanitizing facilities downtown and coordinate with the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition, BC Housing and Island Health to sanction and resource a coordinated emergency response for individuals experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo. 

This group is working with outreach teams across the province to offer people in encampments support, information and hygiene and sanitation advice.

BC Housing is also working with its partners and housing operators across the province to support people in shelters and supportive and subsidized housing. This includes providing training and support in encouraging physical distancing, best practices in building cleaning and maintenance, identification of on- and off-site isolation spaces, and access to testing and other services.

More information on these sites and the process will be available in the coming days.

Additional information on the Province’s initial actions to support vulnerable populations is available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0013-000536.

You can find the latest updates on BC Housing’s actions online at: bchousing.org/COVID-19.

Ministry issues new rules for city council meetings

The province has issued a Ministry Order allowing changes to Council meeting processes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministerial Order M083 outlines that local governments can hold their meetings electronically; that they can have open meetings and not invite the public in to the council or boardroom chambers; and, that they can pass three readings and the adoption of necessary bylaws in one meeting if the need arises due to emergent and time sensitive financial matters.

Legislative Services Director Sheila Gurrie laid out the guidelines which allow the City to make the following modifications to meeting processes that will carry on throughout the duration of the order:

Regularly Scheduled Council Meetings

  • Regular meetings of Council will go ahead as scheduled; however, members of the public are asked to observe meetings virtually and not attend in person.  
  • The City will not limit meetings as prescribed in this order by passing bylaws in a single meeting; rather, we will only use this option for matters that are emergent in nature.
  • The regularly scheduled Council meetings will remain at the Shaw Auditorium. This will allow for the continuation of regular scheduled Shaw cable programming which airs on Mondays at 7:00 p.m.
  • Regular business of Council will continue at these meetings.
  • Delegation requests for unrelated Council matters will not be permitted under this order and throughout the duration of the pandemic.
  • Requests to Council from members of organizations or the public will be put under correspondence on the agenda in lieu of the group or individual attending in person.
  • Delegation requests related to agenda matters, such as a developer that would like to come speak to their development permit application or a member of the public to speak to an item on the agenda at the Shaw Auditorium, would be allowable as physical distancing requirements could be maintained. 
  • Question period will be suspended throughout the duration of this order being in effect. 
  • Council will attend via Zoom, or another electronic format, or in person at these regular meetings - maintaining physical distancing at all times. 
  • Members of staff that are partaking in the meeting will be spread out in the auditorium in the marked seating or outside in the lobby area.


Special Council Meetings

  • Special meetings may be called to deal with emergent matters due to COVID-19, and the order would be in effect.  
  • Special Council meetings will be held at the Service and Resource Centre at 411 Dunsmuir Street.
  • Special meetings will be conducted electronically only, by Zoom or another electronic format, as attending virtually allows Council to comply with physical distancing. 
  • The public will not be permitted to attend because of physical distancing requirements.  
  • Meetings will be recorded and live-streamed.
  • Question period will be omitted throughout the duration of this pandemic and while the order is in effect.


Key Points

  • The order allows for modifications to meeting processes, enabling physical distancing measures in respect to Council meetings
  • Members of the public are asked to observe meetings virtually and not attend in person
  • Electronic conferencing software, such as Zoom, will be utilized by members of Council to allow for participation without attending in person
  • Question period and delegation requests unrelated to Council matters will be suspended during the duration of this order being in effect.

B.C. Ferries shuts down Departure Bay ferry route

0403 - BC Ferries is shutting down the Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay route, effective Saturday. If you’re planning to go to the Lower Mainland by ferry you will have to go via Duke Point- Tsawwassen, which is on a reduced schedule. 

The Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route will be temporarily suspended for 60 days and re-evaluated based on demand. It carries much less commercial traffic than the other two routes connecting Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Commercial traffic is the priority right now to move essential goods to Vancouver Island.

The Tsawwassen – Duke Point route will operate with four departures open to the public from each terminal daily:
-Tsawwassen: 7:45 am, 12:45 pm, 5:45 pm, 10:45 pm
-Duke Point: 5:15 am, 10:15 am, 3:15 pm, 8:15 pm
 
The Tsawwassen – Duke Point route will also operate with four CARGO ONLY departures from each terminal Monday through Friday. These sailings are reserved for the movement of commercial goods and essential service workers, and the schedule Monday through Friday is:
-Tsawwassen: 5:15 am, 10:15 am, 3:15 pm, 8:15 pm 
-Duke Point: 7:45 am, 12:45 pm, 5:45 pm, 10:45 pm

Services levels on multiple routes will be affected for the next 60 days to protect the health and safety of communities and ferry workers.

Traffic across all of our routes is down approximately 80 per cent because of COVID-19, and BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes.  

The Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route will be temporarily suspended for 60 days and re-evaluated based on demand. It carries much less commercial traffic than the other two routes connecting Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Commercial traffic is the priority right now to move essential goods to Vancouver Island.

Across the ferry network, capacity will be reduced by approximately half over this time last year. During this time, BC Ferries will monitor service levels in conjunction with the Province to ensure essential service levels are maintained and to determine when services should resume to normal levels. 

“These changes are designed to ensure we have sufficient capacity to allow the flow of essential goods, services, supplies and workers to their destinations,” said Mark Collins,
BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We will continue to transport the goods communities rely on, and we will get people to where they need to go.” 

Effective Saturday, April 4, 2020, service level adjustments are as follows: 

  • Regular sailings on the Tsawwassen - Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen - Duke Point are reduced to four round trips a day from the present eight on both routes 
  • Four additional “cargo only” round trips will be provided on the Tsawwassen - Duke Point route, to ensure essential goods are transported to and from Vancouver Island 
  • All service on the Horseshoe Bay - Nanaimo route is suspended. The remaining routes and schedules are unchanged for now. Maintaining the delivery of essential goods and services and ensuring that health care and other essential workers can continue to use the ferry to commute to work will be a priority. 

“Through this challenging time, our employees have demonstrated courage and determination to support coastal ferry service,” said Collins. “Unfortunately, these service level reductions will result in temporary layoffs for hundreds of dedicated and loyal employees. Our goal is to keep the temporary layoffs to as short as possible. We need all these skilled people back as soon as possible to help restore ferry services when traffic returns.” 

For schedules and information about travelling with BC Ferries during the COVID-19 situation, visit bcferries.com. 

Man in custody after house fire in Cedar

0403 - A 65-year-old man is in police custody following a house fire that may have been intentionally set. The incident occurred at approximately 1:30 pm, on Thursday April 2 on Barnes Road in Cedar. 

Police and North Cedar Fire and Rescue responded. Upon arriving on scene, they found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames. It was quickly determined there was no one inside the residence, and fire crews were able to contain the fire to the structure, with no secondary damage reported. 

While officers were present, a male returned to the property and admitted to starting the fire. He was arrested by officers for arson, then transported to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment, where he remains in police custody. 

The suspect male will be making an appearance in Nanaimo Provincial court later today, and the investigation continues.

Police respond to report of man with gun at mall

0403 - A report of a man brandishing a firearm near Port Place Mall on Thursday led to a heavy police presence and the arrest of one suspect. 

Officers responded to the mall at 3:30 p.m. following a report of a man seen with a pistol. Numerous officers attended and based on descriptions by witnesses, arrested two adult men. The Investigation determined that one of the arrested was not involved and was released. A 45-year-old maln was determined to be the suspect seen earlier with the firearm. He was taken into police custody and a search of nearby bushes, located the firearm..

The firearm was a non-operable pellet gun. Taking into consideration that there were no reports of threats made or of the man pointing it in a threatening manner, the individual was not charged with any firearm or criminal offense, and later released from custody. The pellet gun was seized in the public interest and will be destroyed according to policy.

 “This was considered a high-risk situation for the attending officers and accordingly, their service pistols were drawn during the arrests. The situation was resolved peacefully and in a timely manner," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Poll shows business owners worried about COVID-19 impact

The disastrous financial effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt deeply at a personal as well as a business level among small business owners, and it’s likely to result in an unprecedented level of possible permanent closures.

More than half of small business owners say this crisis will likely result in them closing temporarily.

Steve Mossop, president of Insights West, who conducted the poll, says small business owners across BC shows are worried about the negative financial impact of on their business. Lost revenue, financing, layoffs and their personal financial situation are among the top concerns identified in the poll with 580 business owners. About a third are not sure they will survive the fallout while most think it is a temporary three- to four-month event,

Only seven per cent are not worried. The crisis has shut down 43 per cent of small businesses, and a further 27 per cent are operating—but are having difficulties. Another 23 per cent are operating a little differently but are still up and going, while only eight per cent say it’s business as usual. 

There are differing opinions as to how long this crisis will last—only 21 per cent think we will be back to normal within 60 days and 20 per cent thinking it will take six months. 

The measures that the Federal government has undertaken to support small business owners is viewed somewhat skeptically—as just over half (55 per cent) say the emergency aid package will be effective in addressing the financial needs of their business.  Most feel it is only somewhat effective.

The negative financial impact at a household level has impacted small business owners to a larger degree than the public who are on T4 income. A total of 70 per cent are concerned about their ability to pay their personal rent or their mortgage. 

Both small business owners as well as the rest of BC residents are concerned about the effect on their savings with 81 per cent of small business owners and 75 per cent of residents reporting that they are concerned with the negative impact on their savings/TFSAs/RRSPs, with about the same numbers believing that this impact will continue to have a negative effect a few years from now.

“As the implications for the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, small business owners have been thrust into the spotlight at a provincial and federal level because of the serious negative financial impact that this is having on this particular segment of society” says Mossop. “Our poll measured the extent of the negative impact and it appears to be as bad or worse than what we had anticipated.”

Nanaimo remains 'open for business' during COVID-19

"We are open for business" is the message from Dale Lindsay, General Manager, Development Services, at a special City Council meeting Wednesday to discuss the City's response to COVID-19.

Each function of the city's operations provided a detailed update with the common message that the City facilities may be closed to the public but the work continues. The City is focused on keeping critical services running without interruption. This is a province-led emergency and the City is adhering to the Provincial health orders and many changes have been made to ensure compliance.  

Internally, staff have implemented new physical distancing safety measures such as single occupant per vehicle, flexible work schedules and installation of virtual switchboards to reduce numbers in a facility at one time. City facilities are seeing increased cleaning schedules and enhanced disinfecting measures to reduce transmission. Nanaimo Fire Rescue have limited in person training and are working with an online model. 

Externally, thanks to distance collaboration platform meetings with the public, developers and consultants have moved online to ensure business moves forward. Nanaimo Fire Services continues to focus on fire suppression and smoke detector instillation is still taking place to ensure community safety beyond COVID-19 is still in place.

A few important messages from these updates should be shared with the public. The RCMP encourages residents to double check doors are locked as as there is a rise in break and enters. RCMP and the Bylaw sDepartment are still responding and relying on online methods to collect concerns.

Parks, Recreation and Culture is seeing citizens enjoying parks and trails but installing signage to remind residents to always follow orders from Provinicial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.  

Chief Administrative Officer Jake Rudolph said "City departments are working on business continuity planning to ensure detailed plans are in place if sickness amongst staff should occur. As some of the biggest challenges faced is uncertainty and the rapid pace of new information, the City continues to adapt and respond to Provincial needs."

For more information on what the City is doing in response to COVID-19, please visit the dedicated web page on the City's website nanaimo.ca.
COVID-19 Special Edition My Nanaimo this week
https://cnan.ca/2R4G94f
City's Response to COVID-19 web page
https://cnan.ca/2TJeffM
City Services Online
https://cnan.ca/2TWHpbd

UPDATE: Lance Geddes is still missing

Laance Geddes

004012 - The missing person's investigation concerning 64-year-old Lance Geddes continues and to date, his whereabouts are unknown.

Investigators are however continuing to follow up on information received that Geddes may have made his way to Vancouver, contrary to the initial news release, issued March 26th, 2020 (http://nanaimo.bc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=876&languageId=1&contentId=63791 )

Geddes walks with the aid of a cane and requires daily medication. Given these factors, he has limited significant mobility and health issues. 

"We are asking the public, specifically throughout the Lower Mainland, to please keep an eye out for Mr. Geddes. If you have any information concerning his location, please contact the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345, or the nearest RCMP detachment or police agency, "said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Comox seniors home remains under administrator

0402 - Retirement Concepts seniors home in Comox will remain under an administrator overseeing the operation for at least another four months.

Island Health appointed administrator Susan Abermann at the 136-bed Comox Valley Seniors Village in September following multiple complaints from family members and investigations into allegations of neglect, disease outbreaks, and staffing shortages. Island Health funds 120 of the beds.

 

Businesses cautioned to take security seriously

Nanaimo file # 2020-11234 Sometime overnight on March 24, the front door to Easy Home, 550 Fifth St, was smashed. It does not appear, however, that entry was gained into the building. Video surveillance showed a man, dressed all in black throwing a large object at the front door then walking away. 

Businesses should make all attempts to secure main entrances by removing all high-end items from window displays and main doors. Additionally, ensure there is no cash on site. All alarms should also be checked periodically to ensure they are working properly.


Police looking for suspect in $3,000 bicycle theft

Surveilance photo of suspect.

RCMP are looking for a low-life creep who stole a locked E-Bike from in front of Canadian Tire approximately 3:30 p.m. Monday.

The owner of the bike told police he locked his E-bike outside the business, and when he returned, just minutes later, the bike was gone. Video surveillance showed a man on a BMX bike, intently watching from the parking lot, as the owner locked up his bike. Moments later the suspect was seen approaching the bike, cutting the lock and riding off with it.

The stolen bike is a Giant, black with green lettering on the down post and has rack on the back with a canvas bag attached. The bike is registered with Project 529. If you have any information on the location of the bike or the suspect, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-12028.

If you've lost a ring, RCMP have it

0330 – A men's ring was recently found in a parking lot located in downtown Nanaimo, and subsequently turned over to the Nanaimo RCMP. The ring may belong to someone who is part of the Fraternal Order of Eagles.
 
If you can positively identify this ring through its unique features, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-11972.
 

UPDATE – Missing teen Trisha Harry has been found

0330 – The Nanaimo RCMP is pleased to share that the 16 year old Trisha Harry, reported missing on March 23rd, has been located safe and sound. Thank you to everyone who shared our post, which contributed to her being located in a timely manner, and reunited with friends and family.

UPDATE – Missing teen Trisha Harry has been found

Trisha Harry
Photo is not recent

0327 - 16-year-old Trisha Harry, who goes by the name of Trish is missing and RCMP are looking for help from the public. She was last seen at approximately 10 pm on Monday, leaving her north Nanaimo home. All efforts to locate her have proven negative. Her family, friends and investigators are concerned for her safety and well-being. 

Trish has friends and family in the North Cowichan area and investigators are following up on information that she may have gone there. Trish is 5 ft. 2, with long black hair, and was last seen wearing a black hoodie, black pants, and carrying a blue backpack.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Trisha, aka Trish Harry, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, or the closest RCMP detachment in your area.

Help police find 64-year-old Lance Geddes

Lance Geddes (photo not recent)

The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 64 -year-old Lance Geddes who has not been seen or heard from since March 16. Geddes has significant medical and mobility issues which require daily medication and his friends and family are worried for his safety and well-being.

Geddes left his Nanaimo home on the March 16, and indicated he was planning on travelling to Vancouver. Based on information gathered by investigators, it appears he did not arrive in Vancouver. Investigators are in the process of reviewing video surveillance from BC Ferries. Geddes has no phone, may have a limited amount of cash and has not accessed his bank accounts.

He is 5 ft. 9, medium build and walks with a cane. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-10718.

 

Covid-19 conditions delay completion of Highway 4

Construction on the Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project it will not be completed in summer 2020 as originally scheduled.

Work is  60 per cent complete but the fast-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the need for more complex blasts due to variable rock, increased environmental protections and the repairs to Highway 4 resulting from blasting damage at the project site in January is delaying work.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was anticipated that final paving would take place in fall 2020, with completion in this coming winter due to the necessary blasting and repair work. However, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure acknowledges the possibility of more delays as a result of the developing situation with COVID-19. The ministry and the contractor are committed to working together to mitigate any schedule delays.

Blasting on site continues to be the key activity. Once the rock bluffs have been lowered to highway grade in the next few months, the contractor will be able to shorten highway closures. This will improve access for residents and visitors.

The excavation at this project site has been particularly complex. Design adjustments have been made to reduce the amount of rock and earth removed by about 130,000 cubic metres. Three cantilever bridge structures will be added, and the new rest area will now be located on the lake side of the highway. These adjustments will help reduce project risk associated with blasting without requiring further schedule extension.

The Highway 4 Kennedy Hill Safety Improvement Project will create a safer and more reliable connection between Port Alberni and the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The ministry thanks area residents and other people who rely on the highway for their patience and understanding during construction and the changing schedule. 

To listen to the travel information hotline message, updated daily during construction, call 1 855 451-7152.

General project information and traffic schedules are available at: www.gov.bc.ca/highway4kennedyhill

Visit the project page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eac.bc.ca.kennedy.hill/

Follow @DriveBC and #BCHwy4 on Twitter or visit: www.drivebc.ca

Performing arts centre grant application turned down

Port Theatre in Nanaimo

0325 - The Port Theatre grant application for ad Community Infrastructure Program grant for a performing arts centre expansion has been rejected. 

Mayor Leonard Krog said he and City Council are extremely disappointed. “We all recognize what an important project this is to the City of Nanaimo," he said.

The $21.2-million performing arts centre has been a vision of the Port Theatre Society for years. The objectives to provide affordable, suitable and accessible space for a diverse set of community users and local and touring performance artists, as well as encourage creative diversity. The performing arts centre project had plans to add a 50-240 seat, flexible-built performance space with two separate rehearsal spaces to the existing 800-seat theatre.

There is specific support for the performing arts centre in the 2014-2020 Cultural Plan. It is also referenced in the 2016-2019 Strategic Plan Update which identifies Cultural Vitality as a pillar of sustainability. The City committed $4.6 million to assist the Port Theatre in achieving this vision in 2014, contingent on financial support from higher levels of government.

Police looking for suspect in daycare breakin

Suspect leaving the scene

0325 - The Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect after a break, enter to a local daycare. Police would like to identify the suspect in the photo. It happened Monday morning at the Jolly Jumper Daycare, on Dufferin Crescent. The daycare was not open at the time. 

The caretaker and an employee were opening up, when they noticed the cash box had been moved. They heard a noise from the second floor. Moments later, they saw the man, shown in the photo, jumping out of a window and running away. The caretaker got a picture of him before he fled. Officers attended but were unable to locate the suspect.

If you have any information on the identity of this person, please call the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

 

Be cautious of the frauds going around with pandemic

0325 -As the world gears up to curb the spread of COVID-19, some people have taken to using the pandemic as a new way to scam vulnerable populations.

Scammers play on fears and anxiety to push their scams. They brazenly set up fake websites to sell bogus products, use fake emails, texts, and a variety of other fake social media posts, including false testimonials, as a ruse to obtain money and personal information from people.

For the sole reason of soliciting donations and playing on your goodwill, scammers have been spreading misinformation about COVID-19, offering advice on unproven treatments, protective gear or detection kits, or fake home sanitizing services.  

The following profiles six scams that are currently making their way around the internet. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linked In are just a few of the more popular social media platforms being used to spread this disinformation.  

  • Fraud – Private companies offering fast COVID-19 tests for sale.
    Fact – In Canada, only hospitals can perform the test and no other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results.

  • Fraud – Door-to-door solicitors offering fake decontamination services.
    Fact – Follow direction of the Provincial Health Authority to decontaminate your home and reduce your personal risk.

  • Fraud – Fraudsters posing as police have been imposing on-the-spot fines to consumers wearing masks claiming that wearing a mask in public goes against a full-face veil law.
    Fact – It is not illegal to wear a mask for health reasons.

  • Fraud – Fraudsters urge you to invest in hot new stocks related to the virus.
    Fact – You should only ever purchase stocks through reputable sources and banking institutions.

  • Fraud – Fraudsters sending emails, texts or online campaigns that capitalize on the public’s fears about COVID-19.
    Fact – Do not respond to unsolicited email, texts or phone calls. Don’t click on any links or provide any information about yourself. If you have any doubts about where the email came from, make sure to check the identity of the sender, and if you receive a suspicious phone call, hang-up.
  • Fraud – Fraudsters are creating fraudulent and deceptive online ads offering cleaning products, hand sanitizers, other items in high demand
    Fact – Buy from companies or individuals you know by reputation or from past experience. Before checking out, make sure you’re still on a reputable website and have not been redirected to a third-party page. Use a credit card when shopping online; many offer protection and may give you a refund.

If you were contacted by someone who you suspect is a scammer and have not lost money or provided any personal information, should report the interaction to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, not the Nanaimo RCMP.

 Concerning other local scams, there have been only a handful of callers to the Nanaimo RCMP reporting scammers asking for donations for COVID-19. All of the callers stated, they relied on a quick google search to confirm the caller was not from a reputable agency, and then simply hung up the phone or ignored the internet postings. None of the callers to the Nanaimo RCMP reported losing any money or giving out personal information.

With to frauds and scams in general, in recent weeks there have been a number of incidents reported to the Nanaimo RCMP, of scammers going door to door offering cleaning services, hot water tanks and water purification kits. While none of the callers indicated it was related to the COVID-19 outbreak, it would not be surprising to see this begin. 

Anyone who has lost money or divulged personal information to a scammer, either online or in person, can call the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Robbery turns into a comedy of errors

A witness to the events was sought by RCMP has come forward and is co-operating with investigators.

0323 -A 29-year-old man was arrested late Friday following a botched robbery attempt at a local 7-Eleven. The incident took place on at approximately 4:30 pm on Friday at the 7 Eleven, at 506 Fifth St.

Numerous officers including Police Dog Services (PDS) immediately attended to the incident which led to the arrest of the suspect, 30 minutes later. 

Alexandre Babin of no fixed address, fled on foot following the attempted robbery and through the combined assistance of PDS and attending officers, he was arrested several blocks away. 

Investigators spoke with several witnesses and employees at the scene, and learned that the suspect entered the business carrying a backpack, wearing a bandana and brandishing a firearm, which was later confirmed to be a replica. After demanding cash from an employee, the suspect placed the firearm on the counter. In doing so, a customer picked it up began striking the suspect with it. At this time, the suspect vacated his plans of robbing the store and leaving his backpack behind, ran to a waiting vehicle.

Unbeknown to the suspect, while he was attempting to rob the 7-Eleven, an unknown man noticed the keys in the ignition of the truck and decided to steal it. Just as this wannabe truck thief was about to drive away, another alert citizen yelled at him to stop. This effectively stopped the theft, causing the truck thief to run off, but not before dropping the keys on the ground. Minutes later, Babin ran to his truck but can’t find his keys, so he too took off on foot, only to be captured a few blocks away.

While fleeing, Babin allegedly discarded a number of items, which were located and seized by investigators. Babin was held in custody overnight and on Saturday March 21, a bail hearing where he was released from custody on conditions, with his next court appearance being set for June 2.

 "Investigators spoke with a number of witnesses, however there are several whom they have been unable to speak with," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. The photo of a man who is a witness only. If you can identify him, please have him contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-10787.

Police seek help in finding James Robillard

Recent photo of James Robillard

0323 -The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 39-year-old James Robillard, who has not been in contact with his family for over one month. This time frame and coupled with the fact that Robillard has been battling some personal issues, his family and friends are very worried for his safety and well-being.

Robillard is 6 ft. 2, 200 pounds. He has no fixed address but he is known to spend time between Nanaimo and Ladysmith. He also has friends who live at the Labieux Road supportive housing unit. However, investigators have attended there on numerous occasions and have been unable to locate him. 

If you have information on the whereabouts of James Robillard, please call the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. 

 

Economic Alliance plans information teleconference

0320 -Questions, questions, questions. The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is hoping to provide some answers

Information is flowing like never before, yet there are more questions than answers. Major emergency funding announcements indicate help is on the way, but do you qualify? And, how do you apply?

VIEA  is holding a series of brief video conference events to provide close-to-the-ground “how to” information, says President George Hanson. Islanders can hear from thought leaders and network with peers to help their decision-making during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The first session will be at 11:30am, Tuesday, March 24. Meeting co-ordinates will be sent on Monday, March 23.

VIEA’s goal is to provide details and insights into government measures to support businesses and communities, to identify challenges and opportunities, and to find ways to work together.
 
The first session will feature VIEA director and chairman-elect, Dan Hurley, who will share his expertise on effective communication strategies during this time of crisis and on practical steps to develop your own plan. This first session will be presented by long-time Summit sponsor, Vancouver Island University.
 
VIEA is in regular contact with key decision makers in the federal and provincial governments. We plan to feature government officials to provide specifics about accessing emergency programs as well as respond to questions and concerns.

In all of this, we will welcome online dialogue to generate ideas as well as provide feedback to government regarding emerging trends and the effectiveness of the programs being offered.
 
Anyone wishing to participate can receive our e-news as their means to connect.

BC Ferries cuts back on April scheduling

BC Ferries is cancelling the additional sailings scheduled in April on four routes. This allows the company to continue to provide essential services to coastal communities, while safeguarding resources of the ferry system for when traffic increases.

The ferry service has seen an approximately 40-per-cent decline in traffic as a result of COVID- 19, 

Supplemental sailings that were originally scheduled for popular travel times in April are now cancelled and the routes are operating on the following daily schedules:

Customers with reservations on cancelled sailings on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes will be contacted by Customer Care and moved to the next available sailing.

BC Ferries will ensure that capacity always remains above demand to ensure coastal communities have reliable access to marine transportation and the continued transportation of essential goods communities rely on.

BC Ferries has undertaken a number of important measures to ensure the health and safety of customers who need to continue to travel.

As this situation is rapidly evolving, BC Ferries encourages customers to monitor the website for any additional changes to service. For full details on service changes and the measures
BC Ferries is taking in response to COVID-19, visit http://www.
bcferries.com

United Way launches Covid19 assistance campaign

0320 - United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) reaching beyond its borders with a funding appeal to help vulnerable citizens and frontline agencies during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund asks people to donate to support those most in need and has established a website uwcnvi.ca/covid-19 with  information.

The United Way co-ordinates community and social service supports in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region. 

“These are unprecedented times but we are well-positioned to help those who need it most. We are mobilizing our resources to best serve our communities and help to keep our neighbours safe and healthy,” says Signy Madden, Executive Director, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island. 

“As many local agencies alter their operations or close their doors, vulnerable populations are at increased risk. We are working with United Ways across the country and province to act quickly to respond to what is happening in our communities across the island.” 

As the situation evolves, the needs of our community will change. Working with community partners, UWCNVI will focus vulnerable seniors, food security and basic needs, mental health supports and the safety of our underserved populations. 

United Way Central And Northern Vancouver Island is working with its network of community partner agencies from the Malahat to Port Hardy to priorize urgent needs and then execute on the delivery of essential products and services.

Ferry consultation delayed until mid-April

0319 -British Columbians have more time to share their input for a vision of coastal ferry services, as the public consultation to seek feedback on a vision for coastal ferry services has been extended to Friday, April 17.

This public consultation was launched in February 2020. Due to the ongoing situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in-person meetings in coastal communities have been cancelled. The extension of the survey will provide time for MLAs to connect with their constituents and local stakeholders, and provide a longer time frame for the public to provide feedback.

Following the close of the survey on April 17 at 4 p.m. (Pacific time), the results will inform the development of a provincewide vision to guide the future of British Columbia's coastal ferry service.

The questionnaire is available on the Coastal Ferries Vision web page: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/coastalferries

How to apply for the Ottawa support program

0319 - Workers and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for part of the $82 billion aid package announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which includes $27 billion in direct support for those struggling to find work or care for family members.

The package, now before Parliament, stands to adjust the rules on who qualifies for employment insurance (EI), and includes two emergency benefits for those who don't.

The emergency benefits aren't yet available, but the government has released guidelines on who can apply, and how much relief Canadians can expect. Here's how they'll work.

Who qualifies for EI?

Whether you qualify for EI will still depend on your specific situation, such as regional rate of employment, and the number of hours worked in the last 52 weeks. The government recommends people apply as soon as possible to find out if they qualify; waiting more than four weeks after your last day of work means you could lose access to those benefits. 

If approved, the maximum amount paid out for EI is $573 a week. 

How do I apply?

Applicants usually need a medical certificate along with records of employment, though the new rules allow quarantined workers to apply without the former. If you can't apply because you are quarantined, you can also file for EI sickness benefits later and have the claim backdated.

To apply for EI benefits, you can visit the website. Afterwards, you can apply to have the one-week waiting period waived by calling the government's toll-free number at 1-833-381-272, or teletypewriter at 1-800-529-3742.

It is also possible to apply in person at a Service Canada office, though those who are experiencing symptoms, or are in self-isolation or quarantine are instructed not to visit. 

Theft from vehicle robs student of equipment

0317 - A Vancouver Island University student is reeling today after coming to the realization that all of her presentation equipment for the P.A.R.T.Y. (Prevent Alcohol & Risk Related Trauma in Youth) program had been stolen from her parked vehicle. 

The theft took place in the early morning, Wednesday March 18th, in the 500 block Franklyn St, and involved a 2005 gold/brown Nissan Altima. Investigators met with the VIU nursing student, and were told that the rear window of her vehicle had been smashed, and all the items removed from the inside. 

The stolen equipment and materials, were used to educate and bring awareness to local students on how alcohol fuelled, split second, risky decisions, could bring them a life-time of hardship and suffering. Since its inception in 1996, the P.A.R.T.Y. program has given thousands of students across North America the opportunity to hear testimonials and interact with police officers, paramedics, doctors and injury survivors alike. The program is real, emotional, based on facts, and life saving.

The items taken consist of the following:

  • Latptop HP DV7-6C7OCA with a white label which reads "After Party'
  • Logitech Z323 speakers with a subwoofer
  • Benq projector MW516
  • 2 Targus wireless presentation remotes
  • HP mouse
  • black case on wheels with a pullout handle

If anyone has information on this theft, please call the non-emergency line of 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.

RCMP announce changes to front counter services

In light of the emerging COVID-19 health crisis, the Nanaimo RCMP is implementing changes effective 8 am, on Wednesday, for services provided by front counter staff. Other changes are also being implemented which may impact others. These changes are necessary to restrict and limit the amount of daily contact the employees of the detachment and officers have, on a daily basis with the general public. 

Beginning Wednesday March 18, fingerprinting services are being suspended. This includes but is not limited to Police Information checks (PIC's), Federal and Provincial government employment checks, Visa/Immigration/Citizenship checks, Health Canada, Pardon applications, RCMP applicants, Travel waivers and Security services and others. Police information checks will continue to be accepted( without fingerprinting) and payment will be debit or credit. Cash will NOT be accepted.

" The health and safety of all of our employees and the public is important to us. The intent of these restrictions will hopefully limit daily interactions and provide a safer work place for everyone, "said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. Additionally, the general public is asked to NOT attend in person to the detachment to report non-emergency incidents. This applies to incidents such as minor thefts, suspicious persons/vehicles, nuisance situations, where there are no suspects. To report these incidents, go online at  To report a crime online   

"If you require emergency services call 911,” said O'Brien. Front line police officers will also be attempting to limit their many daily interactions with the public. When a complaint is lodged, officers will, until further notice, call the complainant first and if follow-up is required, all attempts will be made to do so by phone, email or text. Only if it is necessary, will front line officers be attending to speak personally with complainants.

The Nanaimo RCMP has an active Facebook and Twitter account but neither is monitored 24/7 and should NOT be used to report crimes. Please monitor both for updates and any further postponements or cancellations. 

Other services which have postponed:

  • Block Watch- no public meetings will be held with individual Block Watch participants until further notice. If you have questions on the program, please call 250-755-3257. 
  • Community Policing Volunteers- all community initiatives, including Speed Watch, Distracted Driving, Parking lot audits and others have been postponed until further notice
  • Detachment tours- are postponed until further notice 
  • Community engagement meetings- postponed until further notice 

Should you have any questions concerning the above noted, please feel free to call the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Man airlifted to Victoria hospital after stabbing in Cedar

A man has been airlifted to a hospital in Victoria with a life threatening stab wound following an altercation on Clifford Road in Cedar. The incident was reported at approximately 9:20 a.m.today.

The injured man was taken by BC Paramedics to the Nanaimo cruise ship terminal, where he was taken to air ambulance for transport to Victoria. Officers believe the incident was the result of an altercation at the Clifford Road residence, where at least four adult men live. The suspect fled the home prior to police arriving, and has not been located. 

"Although the suspect has not been arrested, officers do believe, that based on evidence gathered, this was an isolated occurrence and there is no further risk to the public, “said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

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

Do you know where Nathaniel Fraser is?

Nathaniel Fraser

The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 41-year-old Nathaniel Fraser, who was reported missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on February 24, and last seen by family members on February 20.

Fraser has been struggling with personal issues and is believed be in Nanaimo, however, investigators have been unable to locate him. Fraser is a white male, 5 ft. 10, 180 pounds, with brown hair, blue eyes and a tattoo on his left arm of a Celtic design. No clothing description was obtained and the picture provided is recent.

If you have information on the whereabouts of Nathaniel Fraser, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

UPDATE: Missing local man safe and sound

Jordan Moffitt

Police report 33-year-old Jordan Moffitt, reported missing on Thursday, has been located.

EARLIER STORY - Police are looking for help in locating 33-year-old Jordan Moffitt, reported missing on Thursday. Moffitt has no fixed address and has significant personal issues.

His family is worried for his safety and well-being. Investigators have undertaken extensive patrols for Moffitt and have been unable to locate him.His vehicle was recently impounded and he does not have a cell phone.

Moffitt is a white male, 6 ft. 2, 220 pounds, with blonde hair and grey eyes. No clothing description is available. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Jordan Thomas Moffitt, please call the non-emergency line of the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. 

City shuts down recreational programs and facilities

Jake Rudolph

Notice from City of Nanaimo

At 6:00 pm today and until further notice, the City of Nanaimo will:

  • Close all recreational facilities to the public - Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Nanaimo Ice Centre, Beban Park recreation and social centre (pools and arenas included), Bowen Park complex and Oliver Woods Community Centre and other rental facilities.

  • All registered recreation programs including day camps and drop-in activities are cancelled.

  • All facility rentals are cancelled.

The City will conduct a press conference at 2 p.m. this afternoon to provide further updates to the community. This will be live streamed to the City's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cityofnanaimo) and a recording will be posted to the City's Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/cityofnanaimo).

Moving forward, the City of Nanaimo will continue taking its direction from the Provincial Health Officer and health authorities and any measures taken by the City will be aligned with their recommendations.

Jake Rudolph,
Chief Administrative Officer
City of Nanaimo

City's Response to Global Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 13 No. 2

This year’s cold and flu season has certainly become more challenging due to the emergence of a new virus named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

On behalf of Nanaimo City Council and staff, I want to start off by saying that we understand and empathize with the growing concerns surrounding COVID-19 around the globe and in our community.

As we have all seen, the situation regarding the impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve. Earlier this week City staff took a proactive approach and initiated operational readiness meetings. These meetings evolved to the activation of the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) at a level 1, so that key staff could begin identifying and planning for the various stages of the City’s response to COVID-19.

Over the weekend, City of Nanaimo staff will continue to actively monitor and respond to the direction and recommendations being made by the Government of Canada and the BC Provincial Health Officer. We will continue to communicate any updates to City operations or services when and if the situation changes. 

Spring Break Camps and recreational classes run by the City will continue as planned as the number of participants, with a limited number exceptions, are less than 250. Parks, Recreation and Cultural staff are in the process of contacting registrants about cancellations. City staff will continue to review all events and programs and take action consistent with advice and recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer. Arenas and swimming pools will be limited to a capacity of 250 at any one time but will remain open. All gatherings with 250 or more people will be cancelled or postponed, as per the Provincial Health Officer’s directive given on March 13, 2020. 

Given that the City takes its direction from the Provincial Health Officer, we encourage all families to consider a scenario where the City has to cancel Spring Break Camps. If there are any cancellations to recreational programming, Parks, Recreation and Cultural staff will contact participants. You can also contact our switchboard to confirm if your program is running during business hours at 250-756-5200.

A reminder that an informational page called “City’s Response to COVID-19” has been created on the City’s website where updates regarding this matter are provided as information becomes available.

Jake Rudolph,
Chief Administration Officer,
City of Nanaimo

Beware of door-to-door scams

0310 – It’s the time of year when neighbourhoods and communities up and down Vancouver Island and elsewhere, come under siege from individuals holding out promises of cheap labor, home repairs, estimates on appliances and a variety of other services. As March is Fraud Awareness month, the Nanaimo RCMP would like to remind homeowners to be wary of accepting any of these services.

In the past week, the Nanaimo RCMP have received several reports of individuals going door to door offering to sell and install home water heaters and home purification systems.

There have been four reported incidents since March 1st, 2020. It has been confirmed, the individuals involved do not possess a business license and several bylaw tickets have been issued under the City of Nanaimo business license bylaw. To date, the area of University heights area has been frequented. The only identification that the individuals were able to produce, was a homemade business card of a company that could not be traced or contacted.

This is not an uncommon occurrence and when law enforcement gets involved, the individuals often move onto other jurisdictions, said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

There are commonalities amongst door knockers which homeowners should be aware of. In the overwhelming majority of incidents, they do not possess a business license and often prey upon neighbourhoods where seniors reside. Their behaviour may border on aggressive and they will often bully their way into a home to convince the homeowner that either their furnace, water heater, or other appliances are faulty and need to be repaired immediately. Often, a down deposit of half the amount quoted is asked for and in most cases, the work is never completed.

If you receive a knock on your door from an individual asking to sell a product or carry out a home estimate on appliances, follow these steps:
• Ask to see a business license. If one cannot be produced, do not proceed further
• If a business license is produced, carefully examine it for authenticity
• Ask for references and before committing to any services, let them know you will be calling a neighbour, friend or family member to attend.

If you have been targeted by door knockers, please do not hesitate to contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report the incident or to simply ask for advice. To learn more about scams and frauds in your community, go to http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/index-eng.htm

B.C. seniors facilities well equipped for flu outbreaks

0308 - B.C. care homes are properly equipped to protect residents from the COVID-19 coronavirus, says provincial seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie. Elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes are more likely to develop a serious illness if they are diagnosed with COVID-19.

So far, there have been no cases in any of B.C.’s 294 long-term care homes. 

“Care homes are accustomed to these types of outbreaks,” said Mackenzie. “An outbreak of influenza, pneumonia or norovirus are all frankly equally as serious as an outbreak of COVID-19 would be in a care home, and we handle those outbreaks.” FULL STORY

https://www.vancouverislandfreedaily.com/news/b-c-care-homes-well-equipped-to-prevent-covid-19-outbreaks-seniors-advocate/

Anyone can save a life

Many people, perhaps even you, complete your first aid courses as a work requirement. While getting trained in first aid is a great choice no matter the reason, St. John Ambulance wants you to remember what having first aid training really means.

A medical emergency, like a sudden cardiac arrest, can happen to anyone, at any time. It could happen to your loved ones, a teammate at your weekly sports match or even to one of the many strangers you see on the bus every morning. In the event of sudden cardiac arrest, when a bystander acts quickly with quality CPR and AED use, they can double or even triple the chance of survival.

You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you can give the gift of life to someone. This is what first aid training is all about. Register for first aid training at sja.ca. Learn more at 
helpaheart.ca/aeds-save-lives.

Nanaimo to join West Coast Baseball League in 2021

0305 - Nanaimo City Council and Serauxmen Stadium Society welcomed the "to-be-named" 13th West Coast League (WCL) baseball team, who will call Serauxmen Stadium home starting June of 2021.

The Nanaimo team will be owned by the same company that successfully operates the Victoria HarbourCats at Wilson’s Group Stadium in Royal Athletic Park, Victoria. 

The Nanaimo WCL team will be part of the summer collegiate baseball league which currently has 12 teams, including Canadian entries in Victoria and Kelowna. This level of baseball will be the highest Nanaimo has ever seen with 27 regular season games plus additional non-league and playoff games. 

“This is an exciting day for us all. It has been in the works for a few years and going to be a great new addition to the Nanaimo sports scene,” said John Wilson, the team’s Vice-President/Business.

The Nanaimo WCL team has unveiled a new website that will contain information on tickets and more at www.nanaimobaseball.com along with a Name-The-Team Contest.

This month the City is installing lighting at the historic Serauxmen Stadium and other improvements will follow. The improvements will benefit all user groups, including the Nanaimo Minor Baseball Association, the Coal Miners senior program, the Pirates of the BC Premier Baseball League, the VIU Mariners team and the new Nanaimo WCL Baseball Club, who have all been involved throughout this process.

“What an amazing addition to our Third Street Sport Zone!" said Mayor Leonard Krog, "We are so pleased to welcome the West Coast League to Nanaimo and can't wait to hear cheers from the big crowds watching this level of baseball at Serauxmen Stadium."

“We have so many people to thank, beginning with previous and current Nanaimo City council, City staff and the entire board led by Lorne Goodall and Dan Rogers guiding the transformation of Serauxmen Stadium,” said Jim Swanson. “Mike Holyk and minor baseball, the people with the Coal Miners,the leadership of VIU and the Pirates have all been instrumental and are excited to see it moving ahead. We look forward to reviewing great ideas submitted by the community on what to name the team and having people select their seats for 2021 and beyond. As a group, we’d love nothing more to see Nanaimo’s WCL team and the HarbourCats meet in the playoffs.”

Nanaimo man arrested and charged with child pornography

A 29-year-old Nanaimo man has been charged for possession, downloading and distribution of child pornography. The Nanaimo RCMP General Investigation Section arrested Tori Bruce Schild, on Feb. 27.

The investigation began in May, 2018 and led to a search warrant on his residence in Septembe, 2018 and the seizure of items, which supported the charges. The investigation was the result of information provided by BC ICE (British Columbia Integrated Child Exploitation Unit. No local victims were identified.

Following his arrest, Schild appeared that same day in Nanaimo Provincial court, and was released on conditions. His next court appearance has been set for March 10, 2020.

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

Record year for construction in Nanaimo in 2019

0228 - It was a record-setting year of development for the City of Nanaimo in 2019 with more than $445 million in building construction. Permits issued in 2019 nrpight 1,877 residential units –  1,115 new multi-family units, 208 single family dwellings and 229 suites. 

The City has significant development projects city-wide, with a number focused in mobility hubs and near transportation corridors including a 251-unit residential apartment building on Uplands Drive, a 159-unit affordable seniors’ multi-family building on Buttertubs Drive and a 90-unit residential building on Barsby Avenue. These substantive projects are in addition to ground breaking for the hotel on 100 Gordon Street. 

The City also set a record in completed capital projects in 2019. A total 54 infrastructure projects with a value of $50 million were completed or under way by the City. Notable projects include completion of the Georgia Greenway, upgrades to the Bastion Street bridge and construction of the Seventh Street Pump Station and Force main. The City has 43 projects worth $46 million in the works for 2020 including the Metral Drive Complete Street Phase 1, Bowen Road, Harewood Youth Park and Fire Station #1 rebuild.

RCMP seek help in finding Ashley Sheppard

Ashley Shreppard

0227 - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public's assistance in locating 31-year-old Ashley Sheppard, who has not been seen or heard from since Monday February 10th, 2020.

Sheppard had been residing with a friend in Nanaimo for the previous eight months, and gave no indication that she was planning on leaving the living arrangement. This coupled with some significant personal issues that she has been dealing with over the past year, has her friends and family extremely worried for her safety and well-being.

Sheppard's cell phone has been turned off since February 10th and she did not take any of her clothes with her when she left. Sheppard is a white female, 5 ft. 4, 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. The pictures provided are recent.

If anyone has information on the location of Ashley Sheppard, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

State of the Economy report issued by the city

0226 - The City released its State of the Economy report, showing Nanaimo is growing community and a hotspot for new businesses, development and residents.

The report outlines our economy by analyzing the make-up of Nanaimo, from population to demographics and development to infrastructure. Data, analysis and insights on Nanaimo's current economic and business conditions show that Nanaimo's growth is outpacing Vancouver Island, the province and even Canada's averages.

We’re almost at 100,000 population, which has grown by 35 per cent since 2001. In recent years, the majority of new Nanaimo residents have come from other areas within BC.

6,233 businesses were licensed in the City in 2019 with the largest number of licenses within the construction sector, followed by the professional/scientific/technical sector and retail. This is a 9 per cent increase in licensed businesses over the past decade.

The service industry accounted for 83.1 per cent of our employment base in 2019, and the goods-producing sector accounted for 16.9 per cent. The greatest number of jobs are provided by the retail, healthcare and social assistance sector.

You can read the full State of Nanaimo's Economy report for a much more detailed look.

Hold and secure lifted at Dover and McGirr schools

UPDATE

While a north Nanaimo high school was placed on lockdown earlier today, police didn’t find a credible threat within the school, say RCMP.

EARLIER STORY

A Hold and Secure has been put in place at Dover Bay High School and students in the school due to an unspecified threat. Given the close proximity of McGirr Elementary  has also been placed on Hold and Secure.

Additional police officers are in place at both locations and will remain, until such time the situation has been resolved.

"The decision to place additional police officers at both facilities is not taken lightly and was done after consulting with senior management of the Nanaimo School District. The safety and security of staff and students at both facilities is paramount and the officers will remain in place and visible, until the situation has been resolved,” said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Man seriously injured in hit-and-run collision

0218 - Nanaimoo RCMP have seized a vehicle after a 56-year-old man suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries after being struck by a car at approximately 2:30 am on Sunday, in the 600 block of Milton St. 

Investigators spoke to several people who said that they did not see the collision but heard the impact, then found the injured man on the side of the road, and called 911. They also said they heard the sound of a vehicle engine reeving and driving away. Several items were found at the scene, including parts of a motor vehicle.

Later on Sunday, police recovered a car parked in front of a home in the 100 block of Gillespie St. Based on evidence gathered at the crash scene and damage observed to the vehicle, investigators believe it may have been involved in the hit and run incident. The vehicle was subsequently seized and a search warrant is being obtained to examine it further.

The injured male remains in hospital and is being treated for his injuries. "Investigators are asking anyone who may have witnessed the collision and have not spoken with officers,  to please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. Additionally, any motorists with dash cam video who were in the vicinity at the time of the crash, are asked to review their videos for any possible evidence relating to the suspect vehicle," said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Replacement ferry on Duke Point run

Feb. 16 – The Queen of Alberni will be removed from service on the Tsawwassen - Duke Point route due to an unexpected mechanical difficulty the vessel experienced today. A Cylinder Head on the #2 Main Engine requires immediate replacement. 
 
While repairs are conducted, the Queen of New Westminster will be the replacement vessel for the Queen of Alberni starting with the 3:15 pm departure from Tsawwassen on Saturday, February 15. 
 
Commercial operators please note the Queen of New Westminster has a height clearance of 13’8” and width of 12’ as compared to the 14’6” height clearance and width of 14’6" on the Queen of Alberni.

Do any of these bikes belong to you?

 

The Nanaimo RCMP have recently seized six bikes and to date, investigators have been unable to locate the owners.

The bikes were found November 30th, 2019 on a property located on Irwin St. When officers spoke with the property owner, he told the officers he had no knowledge of the bikes and would like them removed. The officers gladly assisted and would now like to find the owners.

If you believe any of these bikes belong to you or someone you know, proof of purchase or the bikes serial number will be required. If you have any questions, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-47909.

Police volunteers hold crime awareness event

0213 = Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing Unit members were front and centre at Woodgrove Centre last Saturday for an interactive auto crime and pedestrian awareness campaign. 

Volunteers engaged with hundreds of shoppers, bringing awareness to these significant community safety issues, said Dave Cusson, Community Policing Coordinator for the Nanaimo RCMP.

From Safety Bear, to the interactive game of Spot the Target, the volunteers handed out hundreds of "All Valuables Removed stickers" provided by Nanaimo and District Crime Stoppers. Hundreds of high visibility reflective zipper pulls, compliments of ICBC, and reflective arm bands provided by Telus, were also handed out to promote pedestrian awareness. 

Volunteers also answered a variety of questions from youth and adults about these local initiatives. They also canvassed the mall parking lot and checked almost 500 vehicles. 105 had items inside in plain view.  Criminals are counting on this and will break into your vehicle, said Cusson.

These types of community engagement initiatives are why people choose to volunteer with the Community Policing Section. They are interested in assisting the police to keep our community safe, they enjoy connecting with other citizens and they are doing what they can to keep our community crime free.

To find out more about volunteering with the Community Policing Section call 250-755-3163.

UPDATE: Sarah Duguay found safe and sound

Sarah Duguay
Recent photo

EARLIER STORY - 0212 - 38-year-old Sarah Duguay has not been seen or heard from since Thursday Feb. 6, and was reported missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on Febr. 9. A friend told investigators, she may be associating with people who do not have best interest at heart. As a result, he is extremely worried for her safety and well-being.

Duguay is of no fixed address and has recently experienced some significant medical issues. She is a  5 ft. 3, 130 pounds. She has numerous tattoos on her lower back, abdomen, and her hair may be dyed purple and blue. If you have information on her where abouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Man pleads guilty to child pornography possession

0212 – A Nanaimo man avoided trial by pleading guilty to possessing  pictures and images of children being sexually abused.

William Herbert Kreibom, 63, entered a guilty plea in provincial court in Nanaimo Tuesday, and willw ait for his sentencing hearing this spring.

The pornography was collected between March 12, 2018 and March 12, 2019. MORE

Ferry travel tips for Family Day long weekend

VICTORIA – It’s the first holiday weekend of 2020 and BC Ferries has some travel tips for customers planning to take the ferry between Thursday, February 13 and Monday, February 17 for Family Day.

Last year, across all routes, BC Ferries carried more than 205,000 passengers for the Family Day long weekend. Family Day Monday and the following Tuesday morning are typically the most popular times for people to return to Metro Vancouver from Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

To avoid sailing waits, BC Ferries recommends customers make a reservation, or travel at less busy times. The best times to travel and additional travel tips are available on BC Ferries’ Travel Planning pages at bcferries.com.

Family Day Long Weekend Travel Tips

  Reserve in advance – Reserve early to secure a spot on the sailing time of your choice. Customers with flexibility can travel at off-peak times to avoid the rush. Reserve online at bcferries.com. Customers with reservations do not have sailing waits, even when multiple waits are reported.

  Arrive early  Customers with reservations should plan to arrive at the terminal 45-60 minutes before their scheduled departure. Walk-on passengers should arrive 45 minutes before their anticipated sailing.

  Check-in smoothly  Have your booking reference number ready upon arrival at the ticket booth to expedite the check-in process if you have made a reservation.

  Be prepared for sailing waits – At popular times, customers travelling without a reservation may experience sailing waits. The best times to travel are posted on BC Ferries’ Travel Planning pages at bcferries.com.

 

  Consider parking options – Parking lots at the major terminals fill up quickly on long weekends. If possible, choose public transit or arrange to be dropped off at the terminal to avoid traffic congestion. When parking lots fill up, BC Ferries informs customers via Twitter @BCFerries and on the website.

  Ride-share, if possible – BC Ferries encourages customers to car-pool or travel as a foot passenger. Vehicle deck space can fill up quickly and will be sold out at popular times.

  Spend time with the family – Customers planning to explore B.C. this season can book their Family Day getaway with BC Ferries Vacations TM. Packages to coastal destinations include ferry travel, hotel accommodation, and family-friendly extras. Plus, kids 11 and under sail and stay free. Visit bcferries.com/vacations or drop by the BC Ferries Vacations Centre in downtown Vancouver at 1010 Canada Place.

For full schedule information, current conditions and reservations, please visit bcferries.com. For the most up-to-date travel information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter.

Lakeside Gardens sold to non-profit housing society

Lakeside Gardens

0207 - Lakeside Gardens in Nanaimo has been sold to the Vancouver Resource Society in partnership with the Province, through BC Housing. Lakeside is an independent and assisted-living retirement residence with 123 units. The average monthly rent is $935

The facility is one of four senior housing facilities bought in Surrey, Kelowna and Nanaimo, with 475 residential suites at affordable rental rates.

The Province provided approximately $147.5 million to the non-profit to purchase the four projects. This means these homes will not be sold into the private market, which would have put seniors at risk of losing their homes to redevelopment or having to pay market-level rents.

The Province provided approximately $147.5 million to buy the four projects, ensuring they will not be sold into the private market, which would have put seniors at risk of losing their homes to redevelopment or having to pay market-level rents.

"Seniors should be able to find a home in their community, close to their friends, families and the services they count on," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "We are proud to be partnering with Vancouver Resource Society to provide good, safe and affordable homes for hundreds of seniors."

RCMP seek man wanted on multiple warrants

John Wilfred John

0206 - The Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in locating 44-year-old John Wilfred John, wanted for various criminal offences, including Forcible Confinement, Assault and Threats. 

John's warrants stem from an incident on Jan. 6, where it is alleged, he attempted to kidnap a female, and in doing so, assaulted her. Investigators have been unable to locate John and therefore, warrants have been issued for his arrest.

 John Wilfred John is white, 5 ft. 4, and 155 pounds, short brown hair and hazel eyes. If you know the whereabouts of John Wilfred John, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Govt names special arbitrators in WFP dispute

0206 - VICTORIA - Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, has appointed Amanda Rogers and Vince Ready as special mediators in the eight-month collective bargaining dispute between Western Forest Products and the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937.

"This dispute has taken a huge toll on workers and their families as well as the entire coastal forestry community. We want to see everyone get back on the job," Bains said. "As Minister of Labour, I have decided to appoint special mediators Ready and Rogers with additional powers under the Labour Relations Code to help the parties reach an agreement as soon as possible."

The parties will be brought together by the special mediators to reach an agreement through collective bargaining. If the parties don't reach an agreement, the mediators will provide the parties and the minister with recommended terms for settlement which they will have five days to accept or reject. The minister of labour also can make the terms of settlement public.

"I am confident that with the assistance of two of the nation's top mediators, and the additional powers provided to them under the Labour Relations Code by this appointment, both sides can achieve a deal that ensures the sustainability of coastal forestry jobs and supports the terms and conditions of employment important to workers," Bains said.

VIU offers integrated engineering technologist program

VIU Integrated Engineering Diploma students will have access to a machine shop, fabrication tools and a computer-aided design studio to enhance their learning. Photo Vancouver Island University

0304 - People with a passion for engineering looking to enter the workforce after two-and-a-half years now have the option of taking Vancouver Island University’s new Integrated Engineering Diploma.

The diploma, which allows graduates to work as either mechanical, design or civil technologists, is unique in BC because it combines three streams into one program. 

“The new diploma will provide needed, employable skills in civil design, computer-aided design, and mechanical technology, while emphasizing teamwork, communication and hands-on experiences,” says Dr. Brian Dick, VIU Chair of the Department of Physics, Engineering and Astronomy. “Students will be able to move quickly into the local tech sector or continue their education in such fields as engineering, interior design or computer science.” MORE

RCMP arrest three in drug search at Kiara Place

UPDATE: RCMP arrested three suspects in a drug bust in Nanaimo earlier today. RCMP executed a search warrant on Kiara Place. Police were searching for a drug lab, but none was found on the property on Kiara Place. Three Nanaimo residents are in custody.

0204 - RCMP took down a drug lab in Nanaimo this morning. Sgt. Warren Krahenbil said the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime unit along with the clandestine enforcement and response (CLEAR) team executed a search warrant on Hammond Bay Road.

“We’ve uncovered a drug processing facility there, a moderate clandestine lab…” Krahenbil said. “The CLEAR team’s going to be in there cleaning that out.” MORE

Western Forest Products, union back to bargaining table

0202 - Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 are headed back to the table with mediators today in an effort to end a seven-month strike.

Union workers walked off the job in early July claiming the company had not addressed union proposals and kept massive concessions on the bargaining table. Western Forest Products confirmed the two sides are meeting today.

Flooding creates emergencies in central Island

0201 - Heavy rain has caused significant flooding in the Englishman and Nanaimo rivers area. Residents of Wilkinson, Riverside, Alice and Raines roads in the Nanaimo River area and Martindale and Plummer roads near Englishman River were affected. Road closures may be in effect and the RDN asks residents to obey signs and not to drive or cross roads that are closed. It advises residents to have their personal recovery plans in place as staying where you are could be a safer option than trying to evacuate.

The Cowichan Valley has declared a local state of emergency 
CVRD officials say the local state of emergency will remain in place despite the threat of further flooding having subsided. That doesn’t mean all roads have been re-opened, however.
Flaggers are no on scene at several flooded roadways to direct traffic around road closures.

The emergency reception centre that was set up at the Cowichan Community Centre has closed as nearly all residents using the service have returned home or have sought other accommodation. The centre may re-open if the need arises.

A mudslide on the Malahat caused traffic delays on Saturday afternoon
First responders worked to evacuate people in the Cedar area
Windstorm left almost 2,500 South Island homes without power

Two Nanaimo youths charged with human trafficking

0201 -Two Nanaimo youths were charged in Saskatchewan with trafficking two young women. Swift Current RCMP said Seyed Kourosh Miralinaghi and Seyed Kamran Miralinaghi, both 19, were arrested on Jan. 28. They were in a three-car convoy driving more than 150 kmh on the Trans-Canada Hwy and were apprehended. MORE

Summer jobs funding application open now for employers

0201 - Getting a good-quality summer job is a great way to help young people gain valuable skills and workplace experience.

Small businesses with up to 50 employees, not-for-profit organizations and public-sector employers in Nanaimo-Ladysmith can now apply for funding for Canada Summer Jobs 2020. The deadline for employer applications is Monday February 24, 2020. 

The Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program creates summer job opportunities for youth aged 15 to 30. CSJ is an initiative of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to support youth, particularly those facing barriers, to transition to the labour market.

Not-for-profit employers can receive funding for up to 100% of the provincial minimum hourly wage and mandatory employment-related costs. Small businesses with up to 50 employees and public-sector employers can receive funding for up to 50% of the provincial minimum hourly wage.

“The Canada Summer Jobs program is a win-win for employers and youth,” said Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly. “It allows small businesses to scale up their workforce for the summer months, community organizations can staff seasonal programs, and not-for-profits can undertake special projects that require additional workers. These are good jobs that will help youth in our communities develop the skills, experience, and confidence they need to succeed in the workforce.”

For more information and to apply, please visit Canada.ca/Canada-summer-jobs or a Service Canada Centre.