Saturday, Oct. 24

GOOD MORNING – election day is here and the polls are open until 8 p.m. tonight. We could get a preliminary idea of the outcome when ballots are counted, but the mail-in ballots don’t get counted for 13 days, adding even more suspense in some ridings. As is traditional, old journalists love to point out how all-knowing they are, so here goes. NDP majority with 52 seats, the BC Liberals with 33 and the Green Party with two. Basically, that is a gain of about 10 for the NDP and a loss of about the same number by the Liberals, so we’ve gone through all of this to shuffle 10 seats. Check HERE for a list of polling locations.

CORONA VIRUS STILL HIGH – The province recorded 223 new cases of Corona virus on Friday, pushing the total active cases past the 2,000 mark with 12,554 since the start of the pandemic, including 250 in the Island Health region. No additional deaths were reported and the death toll remains at 256

CHAMBER WORKSHOPS – The Nanaimo and the BC Chambers of Commerce offer funded online training programs for small businesses. The program offers solutions to re-engage customers, adjust workplace cultures, and adapt business models. The program features six weekly one-hour webinars with Gustavson School of Business leaders Dr. Mark Colgate and Prof. Brian Leacock. The first six-week round of classes begins Nov. 3 with a minimal registration fee. Subsequent six-week programs begin in mid-January and late February. More Information and Register Here

UNIVERSITY COACHING – Three Vancouver Island University graduates are back with the sports teams they have devoted so much of their time to over the past five years as apprentice coaches. Andrea Čanković, Emma Platner and Nicole Foglietta will be on the sidelines this year assisting the team coaches and running training and practice regimens for varsity athletes as participants in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) National Female Apprentice Coach Program (FACP) for the 2020-21 season. FULL STORY.

Ovidiu Bezdan

WARRANTS HAVE BEEN ISSUED for 39-year-old Ovidiu Bezdan of Nanaimo for failing to appear in Provincial court on charges of Assault and Mischief related to an incident at the Circle K convenience on Departure Bay Road in September, 2019. He is 5 ft.6, 150 pounds with short black hair and green eyes, and some facial hair. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Ovidiu Bezdan, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-38423

High turnout for advance polls in mid-Island ridings

Polls are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24

One fifth of British Columbian have already voted, using the advance polling option – 681,055, or 19 per cent voted in advance. 

Parksville-Qualicum saw 26 per cent of eligible voters exercising their franchise in advance as 12,609 voted. Nanaimo-North Cowichan had 22.7-per-cent turnout while Nanaimo had 20 per cent as 9,579 voted in advance. 

Parksville-Qualicum had one of the highest numbers of vote-by-mail packages sent out – 14,273. Adding advance and mail-ins, if returned, would be more than half of the eligible voters for the riding –55.5 per cent. Province-wide 40 per cent had used those options.

If you have not returned in your mail-in ballot, you can still return it in person to a polling station on Saturday. Polls open at 8 a.m. to remain open until 8 p.m. Saturday. See where you vote 

Friday, Oct. 23

SMOOTH SAILING AGAIN – The Queen of Alberni  is back in business, as of last night. Schedules from Duke Point were disrupted after the ship was taken out of service last week and has since been repaired. Remember to check ferry schedules before heading to the terminals. 
Visit the Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com or call toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

THIS IS ALARMING – An emergency alert test is coming from the city’s Voyent emergency notification system at 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, October 27. The test will go out by SMS text, phone call, email and as a notification through the app, depending on what type of messaging each individual has registered for. It’s one year since the city introduced the Voyent Alert system and to date, more than 10,000 citizens have signed on to the service, but the city would like to see more people signing up. In the event of an emergency, such as an earthquake, the system will be a vital way of alerting and updating the public. SIGN UP INFORMATION.

THIS WAS NO PICNIC – two men who stopped for a shore lunch on Snake Island had to be rescued Wednesday when their boat was swept away from shore in the high winds. Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Station 27 Nanaimo crews responded when one of the men was able to call for help on his cell phone. Josh Minami, RCM-SAR No. 27 spokesman, said it was blowing close to 30 knots. It was quite rough out there and they didn’t have their boat secured well at the beach, so it drifted away from them and they were stranded.

VIRUS NUMBERS RISING – The province reported 274 new cases of corona virus in the past 24 hours, the highest one-day figure since the pandemic started. On the positive side, no new deaths were reported with the death toll remaining at 256. There were five new cases in Island Health over the last 24 hours, 249 since the start of the pandemic. B.C. has now had 12,331 cases.

SKIING WEATHER – Mount Washington got its first snow this week as an early-season snowfall has hit higher elevations on Vancouver Island, including the popular ski resort. Environment Canada issued special weather statements Thursday for a large portion of Vancouver Island, calling for snowfall at higher elevations and a “modified Arctic airmass” bringing below seasonal temperatures. Below seasonal temperatures will continue through the weekend here on Vancouver Island.

Do you know who this guy is?

EASY ENTRY - RCMP are looking for the suspect in a number of attempted break-and-entries in Nanoose Bay on Oct. 20. The fact that the cops got three calls from the same neighbourhood near Dolphin Drive and Schooner Cove Drive, they believe all of the crimes were committed by the same culprit.

In one incident, a truck was entered and a garage door opener taken and used to enter a home. The owner’s truck keys and wallet were taken along with the truck.

To add insult to injury the suspect then filled the gas tank with the owner’s credit card at a gas station, where a surveillance camera caught him in the act. If you know who he  is, call the cops, they'd love to get up close and personal with him.

Victoria highway blocked in solidarity with Nova Scotia native fishermen
Vancouver Island First Nations are planning to blockade a major highway north of Victoria in solidarity with the Indigenous lobster fishers of Nova Scotia. 

B.C. adds record-breaking 274 new COVID-19 cases
British Columbia shattered its record for daily COVID-19 infections Thursday as health officials identified 274 more cases of the virus over the past 24 hours. 

Woman spends night in vehicle after Cumberland crash
A 21-year-old woman survived a crash but spent a long, cold night trapped in her vehicle just outside Courtenay Wednesday evening. 

B.C. suicide rate down during pandemic in 'come together effect'
Data tracked by the BC Coroners Service shows the number of suicide deaths from January to August of 2020 decreased by seven per cent compared to the same time period of 2019. 

Le Chateau files for court protection, plans to shut down
After 60 years in operation, Le Chateau Inc. is seeking court protection from creditors to allow it to liquidate its assets and close its stores.

Another Victoria flight added to COVID-19 exposure list
An Air Canada flight from Toronto is the third Victoria-bound flight to be added this week to the BCCDC’s list of flights with known COVID-19 cases on board. 

B.C. mail-in ballots should now be returned in person
Elections BC says that if people have not mailed in their mail-in ballots yet, they should return their ballots in person to ensure they arrive in time to be counted for the election.

Snow blankets North Shore mountains with warning of cold snap
By early Friday morning, the North Shore mountains were blanketed by snow, and Environment Canada is warning that more flakes could fall on several areas of Metro Vancouver at higher elevations throughout the day. 

Transit police investigating video of maskless woman spitting on passenger
Transit police say they only learned of the event after the video began making the rounds on the social media platform TikTok on Thursday morning. 

Vancouver council votes to allow free parking for veterans
Despite concerns over the cost of allowing veterans to park for free, Vancouver councillors voted Thursday to try it out for a year in the city.

Warrant issued for break and enter suspect

Chance Nichol

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of 26-year-old Chance Nichol after failing to appear in Nanaimo Provincial court for his scheduled trial, on the charge of Break and Enter. Nichol is 5 ft. 8, 130 pounds with brown hair and green eyes. He has a tattoo of HAREWOOD on his left arm, M.O.B. on his right hand, a diamond on his left cheek, and a Crown on the right side of his neck. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Chance Nichol, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2019-40917. 

Thursday, Oct. 22

RESPECT FOR VETERANS – Public ceremonies will be scaled back on Nov. 11, but Nanaimo continues to offer free parking on streets and in public facilities on Remembrance Day and other statutory holidays. That does not apply to private parking facilities as some people have discovered over the years. It’s a different story in Vancouver where bureaucrats want to strip Canadian veterans of free parking during Remembrance Day celebrations, all in the name of combating climate change and inequality. City Manager Sadhu Johnston said staff have many concerns about subsidizing parking for veterans. It incentivizes driving as a way to travel, in direct opposition to climate change and transportation policies, he wrote. MORE

FLU SHOT SEASON – Everyone should get a flu shot this year, advises family physician Dr. Rhonda Low. Clinics and pharmacies have seen an increased demand for flu vaccines this fall specifically because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some doctors and pharmacies quickly ran out of their preliminary supply, public health ordered 30 per cent more vaccines than in previous years. Dr. Low said there should be enough flu shots for everyone in the next few weeks. Some pharmacies are operating by appointment only, and others have a limited number of vaccines that they're issuing each day. It’s best to call ahead to know how that location is operating. MORE

CHANGING OUR WAYS –Public processes often don’t deliver clear representations of community perspective; the onus of rezoning to achieve Official Community Plan objectives is put on developers; and processes can be adversarial and extortionary. A panel of expert planners and developers will tackle that question at the virtual State of the Island Economic Summit, Oct 27 to 29, on Changing our Ways. Moderator will be Kerry Slavens, Director of PR and Engagement, South Island Prosperity Partnership. Panelists are: Luke Mari, Principal, Development Leader, Aryze Developments, Miko Betanzo, Senior Planner, Urban Design, Sustainable Planning & Community Development, City of Victoria and Kathy Whitcher, Executive Director, Urban Development Institute, Capital Region. 
You still have time to REGISTER

SAILINGS STILL AFFECTED – B.C. Ferries Coastal Celebration continues on a revised schedule due to the Queen of Alberni being in for repairs. The Coastal Celebration will operate between Victoria and Tsawwassen and Tsawwassen and Nanaimo on a restricted schedule. Check sailing schedules before planning your trip from Duke Point to Tsawwassen.

ONE-DAY VIRUS RECORD – British Columbia reported 203 cases of Corona virus over the last 24 hours alongside two more deaths from the virus. There are 1,766 active cases in B.C., a number that has grown significantly since the start of the month. Hospitalizations, haven't been growing as rapidly as active cases or the overall total. As of Wednesday, 70 people are in hospital, including 21 who are in intensive care. Those numbers are similar to what they have been since the start of October.

B.C. sets new daily case record as 2 more die of COVID-19
British Columbia has added 203 cases of COVID-19 to its total over the last 24 hours, the first time the daily case count in the province has grown by more than 200.

Canadian Legion unveils tap-enabled poppy donation boxes
This Remembrance Day, Canadians will have the option of picking up a poppy and donating to the Royal Canadian Legion through a new tap-enabled donation box.

 New Democrats make push in opponents' ridings in the final days of election
New Democrat Leader John Horgan is campaigning in ridings traditionally held by the B.C. Liberals in the waning days of the provincial election.

Wilkinson maintains confidence as campaign reveals party's identity crisis
B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson says he's feeling confident and optimistic as British Columbia's provincial election campaign enters its final days.

B.C. Green leader hopes voters see value in minority government
The leader of the B.C. Green party is betting on a legislature in which one party doesn't hold all the power in the final days of a snap election campaign that began a week after her leadership victory. 

14 flights involving 5 different B.C. airports added to COVID-19 exposure list 
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control has added several more flights to its list of COVID-19 exposures. 

Seniors struggle to find information on voting during pandemic election
This provincial election has seen record numbers of mail-in ballots requested, but the deadline for requesting one has since passed. Telephone voting is available in certain circumstances for British Columbians who are unable to vote in-person or by mail, but few seniors know that, an advocate says. 

WestJet to provide refunds for flights cancelled because of COVID-19 
After months of consumer complaints, and with a class action lawsuit against the airlines set to begin soon, Calgary-based airline WestJet says it will begin issuing refunds for flights cancelled because of COVID-19. 

Report cards for B.C. parties: Here's how doctors rated election platforms
The B.C. College of Family Physicians has issued its report card on the election platforms of the province's three main political parties -- and it gives the highest marks to New Democrat proposals. 

Woman claiming to help Chinese students accused of $3 million fraud
The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) says a woman, set to be deported from Canada, scammed more than $3 million dollars from investors by claiming to help Chinese students and tourists. 

Nanaimo dirt biker killed in crash on Hwy 4

1021 – A 41-year-old dirt biker from Nanaimo died in a a crash with a car on Highway 4 west of Whiskey Creek on Wednesday morning.

RCMP said an unlicensed off-road motorbike was heading east on the eastbound shoulder of the highway. The bike suddenly turned onto the highway, directly in front of a car that was also eastbound. The driver and lone occupant of the car, a 61-year-old man from Port Alberni, was uninjured and remained on scene to speak with police. MORE

High turnout continues at mid-Island advance polls

1021 – A high number of voters cast ballots in advance polls in the mid-island region before the close at 8 p.m. After six days of voting, almost 20,000 voters had cast their early ballots in Nanaimo, Nanaimo-North Cowichan and Parksville-Qualicum by last night.

Parksville-Qualicum, with 48,396 registered voters, led the way with 10,722 (22.1 per cent)  casting their ballots.

Nanaimo-North Cowichan has 45,844 on the voters list with 8,999 (19.6 per cent) voting early.

Nanaimo has 47,798 eligible voters with 7,750 early ballots (16.2 per cent).

Across the province, more than half a million voters cast early ballots, 16.2 per cent of those eligible.

Be on the look out for these stolen items

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a number of items that were stolen during a residential break and enter. The break in occurred on Wednesday October 7, from a home in the 6000 block Manhattan Way.  

Thieves entered the home and made off with a small amount of cash, personal identification, several watches, wedding bands, three rings, a set of pearls, pearl earrings, and a grey Dell XPS 9570 laptop. 

 If you come across any of these items, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file # 2020-36907.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

TOUGH ARREST - A woman has filed a complaint with the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. claiming she was injured while being placed in a jail cell. Nanaimo RCMP were called to a residence in the 200 block of Ninth Street at about 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 and arrested a woman and brought her to the detachment. When officers were lodging the her in cells, a struggle ensued, and the woman claims she sustained injuries, MORE

BREAK AND ENTER – Sunday night was a particularly active night for break and enters in Nanaimo. RCMP attended four reported break and enters throughout the city. They ranged from storage locker facilities, a day salon and government building. If you know anything about these crimes, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote the associated file number. FULL REPORT. 

NANAIMO ABORIGINAL CENTRE has hit the road with a new youth outreach program in a 24-foot RV which allows staff to reach youth in need on the street. Joel Harry, director of program development at the Centre, told NanaimoNewsNOW  they provide supplies, a safe space and access to other services at a critical time. Harry said Nanaimo streets are getting more unsafe, adding with the colder weather people are starting to get more anxious and make less responsible choices. MORE

ROTARY CENTENNIAL GARDEN is open near the playground in Maffeo-Sutton Park. The garden is a legacy project to be completed for Rotary’s 100th anniversary of service in Nanaimo. The garden includes a brickwork plaza, garden beds, seating, pergolas and lighting. Mayor Leonard Krog thanked Rotary clubs for a “very sweet 100 years” of contributions to the community. “The good work of Rotarians is seen all over this town and this is just one further, wonderful example of what happens when people get together and collectively pool their efforts, their money, their resources and their interests and work in conjunction with others to create something that is quite wonderful,” the mayor said. MORE

WORK CONTINUES on Bowen Rd between Labieux Rd and the Island Highway. Traffic on Bowen through the construction zone will be reduced to one lane in both directions until October 28 to install concrete bus slabs. This will continue to cause congestion and delays. Drivers are strongly encouraged to avoid the area, particularly at rush hour. Please drive slowly and respect temporary road markings. www.nanaimo.ca/goto/Bowen

 Leaders trade barbs over COVID-19's impact on turnout
The B.C. Liberals and NDP are squabbling over how the COVID-19 pandemic might affect voter turnout in Saturday's election. 

Trudeau government facing vote today that could trigger election 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government may fall if it loses a key vote today, on the one year anniversary of Canadians electing them to a minority. All that's standing in the way of Canadians being called to the polls in a general election this fall is this afternoon's vote on the creation of a Conservative-proposed committee to probe alleged Liberal corruption. 

Experimental treatment helping Canadian veteran rebuild brain 
An experimental treatment is helping Canadian veteran Trevor Greene recover from a severe head wound that he suffered while on a tour of Afghanistan in 2006.

New marine oil spill response base to begin construction on Vancouver Island
A future oil spill response base will soon begin construction in the Sooke area of Vancouver Island. 

B.C. reports 167 COVID-19 cases, 1 new death, 3 more outbreaks
Health officials in British Columbia announced another 167 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as well as one more death and three new outbreaks. 

Beer tanks worth $20K each stolen from Metro Vancouver brewery
Police are searching for surveillance video after someone stole two large beer tanks from a new brewery under construction in Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver to look at mandatory mask policy for city buildings
Vancouver will soon be considering whether to follow the lead of other municipalities such as Richmond and Delta and make masks mandatory in city buildings. 

127 more people died from suspected drug toxicity last month
Another 127 people were killed by suspected drug overdoses last month, the latest data from BC Coroners Service shows. 

Gym teacher fired over unwanted sexual advances has been reinstated
An arbitrator has ordered the reinstatement of a Kamloops gym teacher who was fired after making unwanted sexual advances on a former student. 

What are the top election promises from the 3 major parties?
With just days to go before the provincial election, CTV News is looking into the top election promises made by the three major parties during the campaign, with analysis from pollster Mario Canseco, the president of Research Co. 

Investigators won't refer police shooting of homeless advocate for charges
The fatal shooting of longtime homeless advocate Barry Shantz by a police officer will not be referred to Crown counsel for charges, B.C.'s police watchdog said in a report released Tuesday. 

Tuesday, Oct. 20

CHECK IT OUT – I got the big word last week that the old buggy needs some major treatment, so I did a little shopping. I was astounded at the different pricing of local repair services. Starting at the best offer, it’s $1,100 at one shop, $1,250 at another and $1,500 at the third one. That’s enlightening – ­ before you hand your vehicle over, pick up the phone and get a quote.

ADVANCE VOTING – Voters in the mid-Island continue to cast their ballots at advance polls with Parksville-Qualicum leading the way in turnout. Nanaimo-North Cowichan and Nanaimo polls have also been busy. Some have closed but others will remain open until 8 p.m. Thursday. See the list of advance polling locations which are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SECOND WAVE – British Columbia is in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Health officials reported 499 new cases of over the weekend, including three new cases in Island Health. “The reality is that we are seeing increase number of cases. We’ve also seen increase hospitalizations, they’ve levelled off,” Henry said Monday. From Friday to Saturday, there were 172 new cases. From Saturday to Sunday, there were 153 new cases. From Sunday to Monday, there were 174 new cases. CHEK it out.

DEVELOPMENT MOVES ALONG – Lantzville’s 250-unit Clark-Medd development got the green light at third reading on Monday night while opponents shouted and protested outside the council chamber. Councillors voted 3-2 for an official community plan amendment and a zoning bylaw related to the development. Coun. Ian Savage’s last-minute manoeuvre sought to expand one park, add another park, and two speed bumps to Clark Drive but staff advised that would trigger another public hearing. Those amendments were rejected 3-2. MORE

EMPTIES FOR FOOD – Collecting cans and bottles used to be the way to pick up some loose change, but that’s not what’s going on at Loaves and Fishes Food Bank which raises money to feed people from Chemainus to Port Hardy. Executive Director Peter Sinclair says the empties program has gone absolutely through the roof over the last few months. Empties 4 Food donation bins in the community are packed full, even during this pandemic, as people give what they can. The food bank estimates volunteers have sorted 1.5 million bottles and cans so far this year and by the end of September, had cashed in $185,000 worth, more than doubling all of last year’s deposits. CHEK it out.

We welcome your comments – editor@nanaimonet.com

COVID-19 on Vancouver Island: Here’s where the latest cases are
Vancouver Island health officials identified eight new cases of COVID-19 over the past week, but active cases on the island are declining.

Watchdog wants court to declare B.C.'s snap election illegal
A non-profit watchdog organization wants the B.C. Supreme Court to declare that John Horgan broke the law calling a snap election last month. 

127 tonnes of trash removed from shores of Great Bear Rainforest
With every tour ship operator in limbo, a group of five companies and five central coast First Nations got together and hashed out a plan to give back to the B.C. coastline that they love.  

Man charged with murder of Nanaimo teen pleads not guilty
A man who has been charged with the first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang entered a not-guilty plea while appearing in Nanaimo provincial court by video Monday morning. 

Victoria flights added to COVID-19 exposures list
Two recent flights into Victoria have been added to the BC Centre for Disease Control’s list of flights with known COVID-19 cases on board.

Leaders make big promises for Vancouver renters on the campaign trail 
According to the Vancouver Tenants Union, renters are in “crisis,” and housing affordability issues that were already a problem in the city have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Now, in the days leading up to the B.C. election, all three major parties are making big promises aimed at renters on the campaign trail.  

Vancouver city staffers advise against free parking for veterans 
City staff members were asked to look into allowing veterans to park for free year-round in Vancouver, but instead are advising against it. 

Human remains found in recycling bin near Vancouver beach
Police are investigating after human remains were found inside a recycling bin near a popular Vancouver breach. 

Thieves used tunnels to break into businesses, RCMP say
A man and woman have been arrested after a series of robberies across the Lower Mainland that involved the suspects using “tunnels” to access businesses, Coquitlam RCMP say. 

11 warrants wanted for property-related crimes

Michael Leighton

1020 –Nanaimo RCMP needs public's assistance in locating 32-year-old Michael Leighton, who is wanted on one count of assault from Saanich Police Department, and 10 property-related warrants  from Comox Valley RCMP. Leighton is also a suspect in a recent break, enter and theft from Nanaimo in which storage lockers were broken into and an estimated $40,000 in Canadian silver coins and a Ruger pistol were taken.

Leighton is 5 ft. 11, 175 pounds with dark hair. He has a beard and moustache and often ties his hair in a man bun. He is associated to a silver/white 2008 Mercedes with BC plate KW512L.

If anyone has information on Leighton's whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

No tsunami danger here after 7.5 earthquake in Alaska

1019 – There is no tsunami threat to British Columbia after a 7.5-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska this afternoon, says Emergency Management B.C.

The the United States Geological Survey said the earthquake occurred just before 2 p.m. approximately 94 kilometres southeast of Sand Point.

The Alaska Earthquake Center said a magnitude 5.2 aftershock was reported 11 minutes later, centered roughly in the same area. Another 5.9 magnitude aftershock was registered shortly after 3:20 p.m. around 136 kilometres southeast of Sand Point.

Strong turnout continues at mid-Island advance polls

Voters in the mid-Island continue to cast their ballots at advance polls with Parksville-Qualicum leading the way with 7,150 casting votes in the first four days, 14.8 per cent of the total eligible voters.

Nanaimo-North Cowichan had 6,259 ballots cast for 13.6 per cent while in Nanaimo there were 5,570 votes for 11.6 per cent of eligible voters. As of Monday night, 383,477 British Columbians had voted and 700,000 had requested mail-in ballots.

Here is a complete list of advance polling locations which are open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m

Monday, Oct 19

FERRY SAILINGS CANCELLED –If you are travelling through Duke Point today, a breakdown of the Queen of Alberni has resulted in sailing cancellations. Today’s 7:45 a.m. sailing from Duke Point has been cancelled, as has the noon sailing from Swartz Bay. The 5:15 a.m. and 8:15 p.m. sailings from Tsawwassen to Duke Point have also been cancelled, as has the 2 p.m. from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. B.C. Ferries said the vessel is “experiencing a problem with the controllable pitch propellor.” For more information, visit www.bcferries.com.

BE PREPARED TO WAIT – The B.C. election is on Saturday but we may have to hold our breath in some close ridings to find out the winners. It could take two weeks due to more than 700,000 mail-in ballots that have to be counted by hand. The results that would generally be available hours after the polls close will be postponed for weeks while the votes are counted. Employees in 87 electoral districts will count mail-in ballots one by one. Legislation means the counting can't start until 13 days after the election. FULL STORY

RIGHT ON, JOHN – Premier John Horgan said what many people felt when he invited anti-mask protesters to get “a water taxi, buy a boat, but do not put people at risk because you don’t believe that COVID-19 exists. It does, hundreds of people have died in British Columbia … and I’m personally not prepared to accept people disregarding facts and science,” he said in a rally in Parksville. B.C. Ferries said that the anti-mask protesters included in a disturbance on a ferry on Saturday, would not be allowed to ride the ferry to get back to the Island. MORE

RIGHT TO RUN – What should we do when some candidates in an election do not measure up our own personal standards? FROM THE SIDELINES

BORDER CLOSURE EXTENDED – Restrictions on non-essential travel between Canada and the United States have been extended until at least Nov. 21. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed the news today on Twitter. The current agreement with the United States, prior to today’s extension, was set to end on Oct. 21.

We welcome your comments – editor@nanaimonet.com

Two arrested for fatal hit-and-run in Parksville
Two men have been arrested following a lengthy investigation into a fatal hit-and-run in Parksville last year, according to Oceanside RCMP. 

Police investigating suspicious trailer fire in Campbell River
Campbell River RCMP are investigating after a suspicious trailer fire was reported on Saturday evening. 

Lost mushroom pickers found by searchers near Fanny Bay
Two seniors from Fanny Bay were found by Comox Valley Search and Rescue after getting lost while mushroom picking Sunday evening. 

B.C.'s snap election means 700K ballots will be counted manually, delaying results
British Columbia residents won't learn the results of next Saturday's snap election for at least two weeks after polls close thanks to the need to count hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots by hand. 

B.C. Liberals promise $100 million to improve rural internet access
British Columbia NDP Leader John Horgan is promising further action to protect and revitalize the province's wild salmon stocks. 

What issue most concerns British Columbians this election? 
British Columbia’s provincial election is taking place in the middle of a pandemic. But COVID-19 is not top of mind for voters as they mail in their ballots or head to advance polls, new research has found. 

3 flights connected to B.C. added to list of COVID-19 exposures
Two of the flights are international and arrived in Vancouver, while the third was domestic and took off from Kelowna.

Sunday, Oct. 18

QUEEN OF ALBERNI OUT OF SERVICE, SAILINGS CANCELLED
The Queen of Alberni has cancelled the following sailings due to a mechanical difficulty. The ship is experiencing a problem with the controllable pitch propellor. The following sailings have been cancelled:
10:15 am, 3:15 pm,  8:15 pm departing Tsawwassen
12:45 pm, 5:45 pm,10:45 pm, departing Duke Point

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Wet and dreary pretty well sums up the weather today, and the prespects are not much better for the rest of the week, so find a good book and relax.

NO WAY HOME – Anti-maskers who caused a disturbance aboard the Queen of Oak Bay Saturday morning may have to test their swimming skills because they won’t be coming home by ferry. It was good to see Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director of public affairs, saying “They are banned and they can find another way home. We don’t tolerate that sort of behaviour. We have a mandatory mask policy. We are all in this together and people need to behave,” she said. The incident delayed boarding of the ship for the return trip and it was behind schedule for the rest of the day. CHEK it out

INFRASTRUCTURE APPLICATION – The city is pursuing Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program funding for two projects – a boathouse at Loudon Park and a resurfaced track at Rotary Bowl stadium. City council selected those projects from a staff list of five. Other projects, but not top priority, included electrical upgrades at Beban Park, playground upgrades at Maffeo Sutton Park and a new washroom building at Maffeo Sutton. The $100-million program is intended to create employment and covers 100 per cent of funding for projects up to $1 million. MORE

A FUTURE LIBERACE? – Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture offers four 30-minute private lessons piano from November 3-24 at Bowen Park. It’s $85 for four lessons, open to anyone ages 5 and up. Check out the time and register by calling 250-756-5200 or ONLINE.

HOMELESS MAN DIES AFTER ATTACK – Campbell River RCMP and the B.C. Coroner are continuing their investigation after a 60-year-old homeless man died after being attacked outside a bank on Thursday. A friend identified the man as Dean Doole who chose to be homeless and enjoyed the lifestyle of feeling free and he was one of the good guys out there helping others on the street, the friend said. Police are looking to speak to anyone who witnessed what happened. MORE

Leaders enter final week of election campaign
The leaders of British Columbia's main political parties have kicked off their final week of campaigning before the election set for next Saturday. 

Canadian whisky distillery launches Nanaimo Bar liqueur
An Ontario-based whisky distillery has created a new “Nanaimo Bar Cream” liqueur which is reportedly “flying off shelves” across the country.

Pro skiers break silence on avalanche beacon
A harrowing experience in the backcountry has turned three B.C. pro skiers into advocates, demanding a global company issue a recall on a safety equipment.

Man suspected in attempted child abduction has come forward 
Vancouver police say the suspect has been released because they don’t think he’s a threat to the public.

We welcome your comments – editor@nanaimonet.com

Saturday, Oct. 17

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Voters can get a free ride to the polls on provincial election day Oct. 24, in many communities but not in Nanaimo. I spent a couple of days trying to find out why free-transit service is available virtually everywhere on Vancouver Island – except in Nanaimo. Transit bus and handyDART are offered in Victoria, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and the Cowichan Valley on election day. Nobody appears to have an answer. FULL STORY.  

EARLY VOTERS – Almost 10 per cent of Parksville-Qualicum voters have cast their ballots in two days of advance voting. Figures from Elections BC show 4,616 have voted out of 48,395 eligible voters for 9.5 per cent. In Nanaimo, 3,192 have voted – 8 per cent and in Nanaimo North Cowichan 3,731 have voted – also 8 per cent. Those figures are ahead of provincial numbers where 6 per cent (212,233) voted in two days – .

GETTING THEIR WAY – The villagers of Lantzville made their views known in no uncertain terms when it comes to limiting development. The Clark-Medd development went to public hearing for 280 units and residents reacted with enough noise that the public hearing was delayed. Council asked the developer to compromise and Lantzville Projects Ltd. has advised council that they accepts the reduction in density and will likely plan 130 to 195 housing units. The official community plan bylaw amendment will now go to third reading on Monday. MORE 

SERIOUS ABOUT FLU – We appear to be taking the flu threat seriously. The immunization period has begun and at Costco in Nanaimo the lineup is forming. I’m told they have a 30-page waiting list already. You can also try the health unit and pharmacies. Island Health has ordered 324,000 flu shots this year, an increase of 60,000 over last year. South Island medical health officer Dr. Dee Hoyano said flu shots through public health clinics will be available starting next week. She said it’s especially important to have a high flu vaccination rate this year. 

VIRUS NUMBERS STILL RISING – Health officials reported 155 new cases of coronavirus on Friday, one in Island Health. One death was also reported, bringing the death toll to 251. We’ve now had 11,189 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 240 in the Island Health region. There are 1,513 active cases in the province, with 3,713 people under active public health monitoring. CHEK it out 

THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE advises that the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program is taking applications. The program will help businesses with long-term recovery, investing up to $300 million in support in time for BC Small Business Week from Oct. 19 to 23. Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available, and an additional $10,000 will be available to tourism-related businesses that have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. This program runs until March 31, or until funds are used up. Check Your Eligibility here and Register and Apply Here 

We welcome your comments – editor@nanaimonet.com

Victoria police cleared of wrongdoing after woman fatally shot
A Victoria police officer has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the province’s police watchdog after a woman was shot and killed with less-lethal projectiles on Christmas Day in 2019. 

Man wanted on Canada-wide warrant arrested in Victoria
Victoria police say a man who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant was arrested Friday. 

Huge demand for flu shots causing long waits in Victoria
Several pharmacies in Greater Victoria that CTV News spoke with have run out of flu shots and are hoping for additional supplies in the coming weeks.  

B.C. NDP promises funding for new film studio in Saanich
British Columbia’s New Democrats say a re-elected NDP government would provide $150,000 to help bring a new film studio to Greater Victoria. 

Flights to Vancouver, Victoria added to COVID-19 exposures list
Several flights that landed in Vancouver and Victoria have been added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's list of COVID-19 exposures.

NDP maintain strong lead into final week of election: Angus Reid
The B.C. New Democrats continue to hold a comfortable lead in opinion polls as the election enters its final stretch before general voting day, according to the Angus Reid Institute.

BC Lions GM Hervey steps down for personal reasons
The BC Lions have announced that general manager Ed Hervey is stepping down for personal reasons.

B.C. Green party says October fundraising shatters its previous records
The party says more than $441,000 has been raised in the first 15 days of October, beating its previous record of just over $339,000, set in April 2017 before the last election. 

Wilkinson facing internal backlash amid candidate controversies
Andrew Wilkinson's leadership of the BC Liberals is under fire following a string of candidate controversies that have caused rising tensions within the free-enterprise coalition. 

Police not to blame in shooting death of Surrey teenager
A watchdog investigation has determined police were not involved in the recent shooting death of 17-year-old Jackson Diggle.