Monday, March 15

Vaccine appointment times moved up
The province announced Sunday it was moving up vaccine registration for seniors in the 80- to 85-year-old category, encompassing about 105,000 people. The following age groups will be able to phone and register for a vaccine.

Noon Monday — age 84 and over
Tuesday — age 83 and over
Wednesday — age 82 and over
Thursday — age 81 and over
Friday — age 80 and over
The call centre is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The number to call is 1-833-348-4787. Family members, friends, or any support person can also call to make an appointment on a senior’s behalf. 

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW – a tells of a friend who had his second dose of the vaccine after which he began to have blurred vision on the way home. When he got home, he called Island Health for advice and to ask if he should see a doctor or the hospital. He was told not to go to a doctor or hospital, but just return to the vaccination centre and pick up his glasses.

BRIAN McFADDEN of the Vancouver Island Military Museum has some bad news, but it comes with good news. The Military Museum has gone to temporary hours. The good news is that construction is under wary for the new hotel and that impacts Cameron Road. They have worked out a schedule with the construction company which needs the road closed for crane and concrete activity. The new hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. This schedule is likely to remain in effect until the end of April when they will reassess the situation.

VIU STUDENTS ADAPT - Students in VIU’s Child and Youth Care program didn’t let physical distancing get in the way of developing activities that support children, youth and families in their communities this year. Over the years, students in Vancouver Island University’s Child and Youth Care (CYC) program have built strong connections with community agencies that help children, youth and families who are dealing with challenges or obstacles to healthy living. Field experience is an integral part of the program, but COVID-19 put a halt to in-person practicum opportunities, says Cheryl Cameron, VIU CYC Practicum Co-ordinator. The students found ways to mobilize and make things happen despite the pandemic. MORE

ROGERS BUYING SHAW COMMUNICATIONS Rogers Communications Inc. has signed a deal to buy Shaw Communications Inc.  valued at $26 billion, including debt. Rogers will pay $40.50 cash for all of Shaw’s issued and outstanding class A and class B shares. Shaw’s class B shares closed at $23.90 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday. Rogers will invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks over the next five years across Western Canada. Rogers also says it will create a new $1-billion fund dedicated to connecting rural, remote and Indigenous communities across Western Canada to high-speed internet service.

 

TODAY'S WEATHER 
Sunday, March 14

SHE WAS TRYING TO REMOVE HER BRA – Sooke Police posted an eyebrow-raising case on social media after stopping a car for distracted driving. No, it was not cell-phone use. The driver explained she was removing her bra while driving. Just for the record, this is distracted driving too, said the West Shore RCMP in a Tweet. The Tweet also contained a link to the distracted driving page on the ICBC website.

VACCINE APPOINTMENT TIMES - People age 85 and over can now begin making appointments for their Covid vaccine inoculations. The call centre is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The appointment period for this age group was opened ahead of schedule last week. Those born in 1941 or before can register next week Monday (March 22). The number to call is 1-833-348-4787. Family members, friends, or any support person can also call to make an appointment for a senior on their behalf. 

WEATHER KNOCKS OUT POWER - Vancouver Island hydro customers from Nanaimo up to Port Hardy are in the dark as a winter storm batters the northern tip of the Island. BC Hydro said 1,819 customers don’t have power as of 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, mostly due to trees on power lines. At least 1,215 are in Port Hardy after the North Island was put under a weather advisory from Environment Canada, which is projecting another 5 cm of snow.

CALIFORNIA’S LOSS IS OUR GAIN – Nobody here is shedding any tears over Hollywood’s loss during the pandemic – it has just created a whole lot of extra business on Vancouver Island. Los Angeles operations are on hiatus due to the pandemic and B.C. is benefiting. Nanaimo’s Jacqui Kaese says business is really booming. She formed CK Casting with Lynne Carrow six years ago and they have worked hard to build Vancouver Island’s film business. Jacqui says a major production is about to go before the cameras next week in the South Island along with another production for Hallmark. Those will be followed in four to six weeks by another series of movies that have produced on the island before. And of course, the anchor of the mid-island’s movie industry, Chesapeake Shores is back for season five in Parksville, Qualicum, and Nanaimo areas. The pandemic has not slowed down the industry, but it changed the way it is working now, says Jacqui.

  • The Gordon Head Recreation Centre in Saanich is closed Tuesday for the filming of the Netflix television series Maid.
  • A Comox Valley actor appeared on the television series The Good Doctor last week. Michael Taylor got much of his early acting experience in the Courtenay Little Theatre Society.
  • Resident Alien filmed in Ladysmith in January and February.
  • The Netflix and Warner Bros have been filming an entire 10-episode series in Royal Bay and the Victoria areas, expecting to wrap up this month.

TODAY'S WEATHER 
Saturday, March 13

BEBAN GEARED FOR MASS VACCINATION - Mass immunizations for Coronavirus on a mass scale begins Monday when operations swing to Beban Park social centre and Cedar Community Hall. Before the move, vaccinations were done at the Nanaimo Public Health Unit on Grant Avenue. Starting this coming week, British Columbians 85 and over and Indigenous elders 65 and over start getting their shots. Program co-ordinator for greater Nanaimo, Erin Kenning said with the Beban Park clinic already up and running, staff have been working out the kinks to be prepared for a larger-scale immunization effort.

THE CLIPPERS ARE BACK ON ICE – Provincial health officials have cleared the way for The BC Hockey League to return to the ice for a shortened season. The league’s teams will operate in a “pod” model where three to four teams will play each other in five host locations across the province. Port Alberni will be the Island host city. Play will resume in the first week of April. The pod locations and schedule will be announced in the coming weeks. BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb said the process has always been about the players and giving them the best chance to get back to playing games and showcasing their skills. 

CITY GETS GRANT FOR ‘SITUATION TABLE’ - The B.C. Public Safety Ministry has announced a $30,000 grant for a “situation table” program in Nanaimo. The program connects representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies to identify, for example, “vulnerable individuals or families who have a significant probability of criminal offending or experiencing harm or victimization,” and co-operate to connect those individuals with services that may be helpful. MLA Sheila Malcolmson said connecting vulnerable people with the services that can prevent crisis, crime and disorder, situation tables solve one case at a time, so at-risk individuals get the help they need.

STILWELL ON THE JOB AGAIN - Michelle Stilwell has begun work as director of rapid testing for CVM Medical Ltd. She will work on the safe return and reopening of businesses, industry and exploration, sport, recreation, aviation and tourism across Western Canada. Stilwell says rapid testing is the key to re-opening the economy and creating an extra layer of safety that many employers need for employees in a way that is less invasive, quicker than PCR and more cost effective

THE SQUEAKY WHEEL - The Nanaimo and other island Chamber of Commerce have been hard at work over the past year advocating with all levels of government. Wilson’s Group suspended its bus service in February, jeopardizing the sole source of transportation for many Island communities and 21 First Nations. This week the government announced $10.7 million in operating grants to inter-city bus operators across British Columbia.

WATCH YOUR MOUTH - The province has removed gendered language terms from nearly 70 provincial regulations in an effort to be more inclusive. Terms like "he" and "she," "brother" and "sister," "husband" and "wife," have been changed to "more neutral language to consider all gender identities. Dozens of regulations across 15 B.C. ministries have been updated as of Thursday through the province's "Better Regulations for British Columbians" process. The process is an annual regulatory checkup designed to update, clarify, correct or repeal outdated information in the province's regulations. The province says 600 instances of outdated gender language have been removed, as work continues on updating 3,400 more instances of gendered language.

DRUG OPERATION GROUNDED BY RCMP - Nanaimo RCMP took down a drug production operation after they arrested a 54-year-old Nanaimo man, well known for ties to fentanyl trafficking and the production of GHB. He was arrested by the Nanaimo RCMP Projects Unit on March 3. The man was the target of an investigation by the local drug unit. It culminated when officers witnessed the suspect making a drug transaction in the parking lot of Terminal Park Mall and they arrested him. A number of subsequent searches of the man’s vehicle, three storage units and his residence turned up 40 litres of GHB, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and $1,500 in cash. One of the storage units was determined to be the site where the GHB was being produced.

RCMP CANINE UNIT - Alex Rawnsley of NanaimoNewsNOW has an excellent feature on the RCMP dog unit, complete with a great video. Check it out here.

 

TODAY'S WEATHER 
Friday, March 12

GOOD MORNING WORLD – Goodbye seventies, hello eighties. It’s been 29,140 days with a few bumps in the road and some flat tires along the way, but it’s been a heck of a ride. Bring it on!

SOMEBODY'S GOT SOME SCREWS LOOSE – RCMP is investigating two reports of lug nuts on vehicle tires being loosened. Both incidents occurred during the day on Wednesday while the vehicles were parked in the parking lot adjacent to the Serauxmen baseball stadium, on Third Street. In one incident, a tire actually came loose while the vehicle was being driven. The second one was spotted after hearing of the first incident.

OH WHAT A RELIEF IT IS  - Outdoor get-togethers of up to 10 people are now allowed, after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the easing of some Covid restrictions.Dr. Henry stressed the amended public gathering rule means it’s okay to meet friends and family outdoors, but social distancing and mask wearing must continue even outdoors. 

STUDENT SUES SCHOOL DISTRICT - A student and his guardian have launched a lawsuit seeking damages from Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board, two students and one other party after an alleged bullying incident in 2016. A notice of civil claim was filed in 2017 and the case has been going through the legal process since then. There was a pre-trial application filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Thursday. 

A HOT TIME AT MONTANA’S - A fire at Montana’s BBQ and Bar early Thursday morning was likely accidentally started by homeless people, say police. Nanaimo Fire Rescue Assistant chief Jodi Le Masurier said crews found a fire that was “on the small side,” but still burning, and were able to knock it down quickly. The investigation was turned over to RCMP. Police say there was nothing to suggest arson. Const. Gary O’Brien said Montana’s has had problems with homeless sleeping on the patio. He said it was probably an accidental fire used for heat.

SHAMEFUL VANDALISM - Vandalism destroyed dozens of trees and decorative shrubs at a beautification project on the Seabold Walkway pedestrian path that connects Groveland Drive with Dickinson Road. The City and neighbourhood volunteers planted about 100 trees and shrubs alongside the path in the fall of 2019. Adam Hunter, who live in the neighbourhood said most of the plants had been hacked down. 

BUREAUCRASY RUNS AMOK AGAIN - The spot prawn industry has been handed another kick in the teeth after the Department of Fisheries and Oceans changed inspection rules of frozen-at-sea spot prawns. The DFO notified fishermen that the sale of frozen-at-sea spot prawns will now be illegal. The practice has been outlawed as the DFO wants on-board inspectors to be able to have the prawns readily available for measuring to ensure they meet size regulations.

ANOTHER WEST COAST INVASION FEARED - Hundreds of illegal campers from across the country invaded communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island last summer and communities are bracing for a repeat. Places like Ucluelet, Tofino and Port Alberni were overrun with visitor with no place to stay and no plan for basic amenities, creating health and environmental concerns for many local officials. Logging roads looked more like homeless camps — many with CERB payments in their pocket but no other plan. Ucluelet councillor, and BC Paramedic, Rachelle Cole  says the issues are not restricted to remote logging roads. Camping was happening in front of her house, people using facilities where there are no facilities and finding toilet paper over her lawn.

Island Health has 32 positive coronavirus tests

Vancouver Island Health region reported 32 new positive tests for Coronavirus on Friday. Across the province, 648 new cases were reported with no deaths in that span. There are 5,070 active cases in British Columbia, while 9,155 residents remain under active public health monitoring. Dr. Bonnie Henry said 255 are in hospital – an increase of 11 since Mar. 11 – with 67 people in critical care as a result of the virus. Vancouver Coastal Health region had 149 new cases, 372 in Fraser Health, 39 in the Interior Health region, 56 in the Northern Health region.

Two RCMP officers charged with assault during arrest

Two RCMP officers have been charged with assault during an arrest in Richmond in 2019. The BC Prosecution Service said Friday it had approved charges against Richmond RCMP Const. Mathew Mcguire and Surrey RCMP Const. John Tsonos. The allegations relate to the arrest of someone suspected of possessing stolen property in Richmond in October, 2019. MORE

Woman loses $1,000 in sophisticated e-mail scam

Victoria Police warn about a “sophisticated internal email” scam that has cheated at least one resident out of $1,000. Investigators say the victim got an email purportedly from an email address that closely resembled that of the CEO of the company the victim works for. The fraudster, claiming to be the CEO, instructed the employee to purchase 10 gift cards worth $100 each using her own credit card. MORE

Thursday, March 11

VACCINE APPOINTMENTS MOVED UP - The coronavirus vaccination campaign is ahead of schedule and seniors born in 1936 or earlier can make appointments starting today (noon Thursday) ahead of the previous date of March 15. Indigenous people 65 or older and people on behalf of an eligible senior can also call. Health officials continue to ask that people refrain from calling if they are not in the correct age group. The vaccine call centre phone number is 1-833-348-4787. The call centres are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

AND THEN THEY GOT NAKED – It takes all kinds to make this world, and a handful of people proved that by getting naked and bungy jumping 150 feet off WildPlay of Nanaimo. But, it was all for a good cause – they raised $40,000 for Mental Health Recovery Partners which provides life-saving mental health programs, including peer support and wellness recovery action plan programs. Mental Health Recovery Partners' Naked Bungy Jump has raised more than $350,000 over the last 15 years.

WISE AND OTHERWISE ­ Filing a $32-trillion lawsuit after he was struck by a car in 2018 while riding his bicycle would fall into one of those two designations. But he got his day in court before his case was thrown out. Tyler Chamberlin sued ICBC, claiming he suffered physical and emotional injuries in that hit-and-run. He added the Queen, prime minister, premier, the Supreme Court of B.C., Elections B.C., Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and several other parties to his claim. Judge Douglas Thompson described the demands as wide-ranging, including a private audience with Her Majesty, an MRI of his entire body, $32 trillion, and 500,000 Tesla shares and more. Presumably all those entities had to go to great expense to engage legal advice in defending the case.

HELP THE KIDS AND HAVE SOME FUN – Have some fun and help local youth at the same time. The Rotary Club of Nanaimo North is holding its Golf Ball Drop fundraiser with proceeds going to various local youth initiatives including five $1,000 high school bursaries. Nanaimo Food Share summer lunch munch program will benefit along with Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentorship program. It’s simple, you buy a numbered golf ball for $5 at the website. You’ll get an email with the ball numbers you have been allocated. On March 27 at 2 p.m. up to 4,000 golf balls will be dropped on a green at the Nanaimo Golf Club.  The green will have three pins – the closest ball to pin #1 will win $2,000, closest to pin #2 wins $1,000 and closest to pin #3 wins $500. C’mon, it’s only five bucks.

ONLY ONE VIRUS DEATH IN B.C. – The Vancouver Island Health region registered 19 new positive tests for coronavirus on Wednesday. Across the entire province, there were 531 cases over the past 24 hours. There are 242 active cases in the island region, including nine people in hospital and one in critical care 110 with 48 in South Island and 44 in North Island. It is notable that only one person died of the virus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,394. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said 355,340 doses of vaccine have been administered in B.C. to date, including 86,960 secondary doses.

HERRING FISHERY UNDER WAY – If you gaze out across Georgia Strait these days, You’ll see an annual harvest under way fishing boats go after herring in the Strait. The annual herring roe fishery opened at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, for the seine fishery fleet. The gillnet fishery got the go ahead at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. More than 150 vessels are participating this year, down approximately 25 from last year. The fishery lasts for as little as a couple of hours to several days. The Strait of Georgia fishery stretches between the Comox area to east of Ladysmith.

NANAIMO’S COGHLAN SCORES HAT TRICK – Dylan Coghlan of the Las Vegas Golden Knights got his first NHL goal Wednesday night. That was such a charge he went right out and scored two more for his first-ever hat trick. Coghlan is just the third defenseman in NHL history to score his first three career goals in the same game. He also became the 11th player in the last 30 years to score his first three goals in the same game. The only downer of the night was that the Golden Knights lost 4-3 to the Minnesota Wild.

  • Horgan most popular premier in Canada

    Our premier is the most popular in Canada in the latest job-approval ratings poll from the Angus Reid Institute. John Horgan had a 66-per-cent approval rating among British Columbians in the survey between Feb. 26 and March 3. Horgan has held the top spot among the country’s provincial leaders since at least last July when his approval rating hit 68 per cent before climbing to 69 per cent in August. He edges out Quebec Premier François Legault (62 per cent) and Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe (57 per cent) for the top spot.

  • 85-year-olds can book appointments now

    The coronavirus vaccination campaign is ahead of schedule and seniors born in 1936 or earlier can make appointments starting today (noon Thursday) ahead of the previous date of March 15. Indigenous people 65 or older and people on behalf of an eligible senior can also call. Health officials continue to ask that people refrain from calling if they are not in the correct age group. The vaccine call centre phone number is 1-833-348-4787. The call centres are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Wednesday, March 10

WHY IS THAT? – Why was anyone surprised Telus ran into a brick wall in trying to operate a phone-in registration for Coronavirus? After all, they don't even answer their own phones. 

THE ROAD TO NORMAL REOPENS  – Nanaimo parks and rec opened registration last week for its slate of spring programing. There is an online activity guide on the city’s website and programs are indeed happening. Programs will follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols, with gatherings limited in size and participants 13 and over expected to wear masks. director of recreation and culture services Lynn Wark said a variety of programming options are available for all ages to keep everyone safe and healthy while participating.”

NO ROOM FOR CHILD CARE SPACES - B.C. government designated funding for 406 child care spaces in district facilities – but there’s no room. Mark Walsh, SD68 secretary-treasurer, said at a business committee meeting that work to add modular units has begun at Forest Park, Chase River, Rock City and Ladysmith Primary elementary schools, which will see provision of care for children up to five years old, as well as expanded before- and after-school care. The district seeks non-profit groups to provide service having no ability to provide 0-5 child care for infrastructure, management, human resource, a variety of different challenges,” he said.

BIG DIP IN VIRUS CASES IN ISLAND REGION  – Vancouver Island reported a big dip in COVID-19 cases on Tuesday with just seven new positive tests. They were among 550  across the province over the previous 24 hours. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said there are 246 active cases in the Vancouver Island region, including 14 people in hospital and one more in critical care. There are 214 of the active cases on the Island – 47 in the South Island, 116 in the Central Island and 51 in the North Island.

VACCINES ARE NOTHING NEW FOR VICTOR OSBORNE - When Victor Osborne says he had a vaccine 100 yearso ago, he ain't kidding – he had the vaccine for Spanish flu a centurey ago. Victor Osborne is 102 years old and rarin' to go when it came to signing up to get the coronavirus vaccine. He wanted to be sure, so he began phoning a couple of minutes before the 7 a.m. opening of the reservation lines. Then he spent two and a half hours on the phone. In the past 100 years he has tried virtually every vaccine for every virus or influenza. They appear to have worked. On a side note, Victor is the last surviving crew member of HMCS Hood which is famous for sinking the German battleship Bismarck. He was not in that epic battle, having finished his tour a couple of years earlier.

LANTZVILLE REGION HELPING SENIORS REGISTER FOR VACCINE – We’re in the vaccination window for seniors over 90 years old. The problems with the telephone call-in system and age-related difficulties are challenging many people. The registration process allows for family members of seniors to make appointments on their behalf. However, many of today’s seniors may not have anyone to assist them so the Lantzville Legion branch 257 is offering assistance in making appointments for the vaccines. You can call the Legion office at 250-390-2108 on Tuesday or Friday afternoon and they’ll assist you.

Tuesday, March 9

Woman found after car crashes in bushes
A Nanaimo woman is believed to have spent a night and part of the next day lying in bushes after her vehicle crashed down an embankment last weekend. The 60-year-old woman was found by a Nanaimo RCMP officer who was sent to investigate Saturday at about 1:40 p.m. after a hiker noticed the the vehicle which had ended up in a wooded area along Harwood Drive in Lantzville. When the officer went down to have a closer look he found the driver about 20 feet away in thick bush. MORE

Universities, colleges prepare for full classes
British Columbia universities and colleges will begin to prepare for a full return to campus starting this fall. Minister of advanced education Anne Kang says she is encouraged by the advice from health officials that students can safely return to in-person classes. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry asked heads of all public colleges and universities to prepare for a full return to on-campus education this September.

New Quality Inn opens downtown
Downtown Nanaimo has a new hotel that few people knew existed. The 45-room Quality Inn at 440 Selby St. is now open. The hotel was granted a 10-year tax exemption in 2018, on the condition the doors were open by the end of 2019 but it was still exempted by the City. The new hotel is one of three being developed in Nanaimo, alongside the under-construction Gordon Street hotel and another one that appears stalled.

Telus accepts blame for call centre screwup
Telus was the company responsible for the botched vaccine appointment rollout. There were delays, dropped calls and widespread frustration on launch day, particularly in Vancouver Coastal Health region. Health Minister Adrian Dix blamed Telus for not honouring the contract to staff and operate the call centres when they launched Monday. Four health authorities had their own staff ready as a backup to run additional call centre lines. That helped pick up demand when Telus failed, said Dix. Vancouver Coastal did not have a backup plan and was only able to make 369 appointments on Monday, compared to 2,395 at Island Health, 2,456 at Interior Health, 1,007 at Northern Health and 8,722 at Fraser Health.

Tofino Bus should be on the road soon
Intercity bus operators who shut down routes due to declined revenue will soon be back on the road. Wilson Transportation CEO John Wilson says the company resume services once they get the grant money they are applying for. British Columbia is providing financial support to companies providing intercity bus service and medical evacuations. The one-time funding includes up to $10.7 million for intercity bus operators to help provide essential transportation. The province is also providing up to $16.5 million for regional airports to support operations for a year from April 1, 2021. Wilson said he plans to restart service in the coming weeks to ensure Vancouver Island has the connectivity that so many communities need.

Don't call if you are not over 90 years old
0308 - British Columbia has about 47,000 people 90 and older and 35,000 Indigenous people over 65, yet call centres got 1.7 million calls on Monday morning in less than three hours to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Health Minister Adrian Dix reiterated numerous messages urging if you are not 90 or older, don't call, you are just making it inconvenient for those who are eligible.
If you are 85 and older, you can call March 15 or later, if you are 80 or older, you can call March 22 or later. 1-888-348-4787

Micah Messent

VIU alum makes impact through endowment award
0308 -Three Indigenous students will have their financial burdens eased a little each year in the name of Micah Messent, a Vancouver Island University (VIU) graduate who lost his life two years ago. Messent graduated fromVIU in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous/Xwulmuxw Studies, was on his way to the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 10, 2019, when the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 plane he was on crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all passengers aboard. He was 23 years old.

Dr. Bonnie Henry

Hope in sight for eased Covid restrictions
Some of the tough 
COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place across the province for months could soon be easing. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government is considering a relaxation of restrictions over the coming weeks that could allow residents to return to sports, attend some religious ceremonies, and gather together outdoors. She said she would slowly turn up the dial, rather than flicking a switch, because we're not ready to go back to our pre pandemic gatherings "What we are looking at as we head into March break or spring break, at the end of this week and into next week, is seeing the return of things like gatherings outside where it's safer." She hinted that families or small household groups could be allowed to travel between different regions during March break

Man killed in off-road vehicle collision

0308 - A 21-year-old man has been killed in a collision between his off-road motorcycle and an all-terrain (side by side) vehicle Sunday, near Boomerang Lake. Due to the remote location, EHS was unable to attend by road. BC Air Ambulance was directed to the location and landed just before 4 pm, approximately one kilometre from the site. The victim was then transported to a Victoria hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Vaccine appointment lines jammed
British Columbia opened call-ins this morning to book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for people over the age of 90 and Indigenous people over the age of 65. Shortly after call centres opened at 7 a.m., reports came in suggesting lines were jammed. One Nanaimo caller said he was unable to get through with 60 tries. Bookings for seniors aged 85 and up will open on March 15, while bookings for seniors 80 and older will open March 22. Please do not call if you are not eligible for that time period.

Campgrounds in high demand
0308 - If you’re reserving a camping spot at provincial campgrounds, don’t be surprised if you have trouble getting through. Telephone reservations opened on today at 7 a.m. and there was high demand with campsites filling up quickly. The reservation system is open to British Columbians only, on a two-month rolling window. Non residents can book starting July 8.

Cst. Gary O'Brien and Christy Wood

Crime Stoppers boosts community policing
Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers has assisted the Nanaimo RCMP Community Policing Section with $1,000 to assist with carrying out community Safety Audits program. Crime Stoppers Co-ordinator Cst Gary O’Brien presented the cheque to Christy Wood, Community Policing Co-ordinator for the Nanaimo RCMP. The Community Safety Audits is an initiative to prevent and reduce crime in selected neighbourhoods throughout Nanaimo.  Find out more about this excellent program HERE  

Germs and electronics bad combination
0308 - A Nanaimo distributor is promoting a device that kills 99.9% of all pathogens (germs, viruses and bacteria) in just 20 seconds. We wear masks and physical distance to make sure we’re avoiding Coronavirus germs. Then we put our cell phones to our mouth dozens of times a day. The Aluvis UV device is on display at Wingren Nufloors on Northfield Road. Check out the whole story here.

Mayor Dan Law

Big slate for Tofino byelection
When all is said and done, Tofino will have two new council members following a weekend byelection in which former councillor Dan Law elected as the new mayor. It’s kind of involved since previous mayor Josie Osborne was elected to the Legislature in the provincial election. That saw Law and Andrea McQuade resign as councillors in order to unsuccessfully run for mayor. Cathy Thicke and Jacky Challenger were elected to the two council seats beating five other candidates.

Vaccination details made public by Island Health
0307 - Island Health has announced the 19 community clinics where more than 40,000 eligible residents will receive their first COVID-19 immunization over the next month. Clinics in Nanaimo will be at Beban Park and Chase River Community Centre. The Beban site will begin inoculating March 15 with the clinic open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until Oct. 31. The Cedar site will be open March 31 until Oct. 31, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.  The locations of community clinics spanning island communities from Sooke to Port Hardy are now listed HERE. FULL REPORT.

Come on man, do the right thing, give them back
0306 - A man in a pickup truck saw someone giving away golf clubs at the Salvation Army thrift store in North Nanaimo, so he objiged and took them. There’s only one problem, one of those sets of golf clubs was not intended to be donated. Adam Ali was getting rid of some old stuff, but due to a misunderstanding he also gave away his daughter’s glubs which were not meant to be donated. Now he is hoping the man who got the clubs will do the right thing and return them.

Putting on a better face
0306 - The Nanaimo Community Archives is sponsoring the city’s first-ever Heritage House Renovations Awards. If you did some of the exterior renovation projects in 2020 during the pandemic you have a chance to win an award. Submissions don’t have to be from homes on the City of Nanaimo’s heritage register and the project simply has to have been any exterior renovation that enhanced the overall heritage character of a home within the Nanaimo city limits. Projects must have been completed in 2020 and be within Nanaimo city limits. Deadline for submissions is March 31 and winners will be announced April 15.

There's only one right way

Don’t mess with our Nanaimo bars
0306 - Even when you’re as big and influential as the New York Times, you had better not mess with Nanaimo bards. The official recipe for Nanaimo bars is enshrined in Nanaimo Museum for all to see, but bakers continue to get the ratio wrong. The bar recipe made headlines again this week after the New York Times, on its cooking section Instagram account, posted a photo of a dessert square with a meagre amount of custard and an overly thick bottom layer. 
 The city of Nanaimo wasted no time replying on its own Instagram account.

That’s a lot of garbage
0306 – The Regional District has a big problem on it hands – it doesn’t have enough big garbage cans. When the new pickup system was initiated residents had an choice to upgrade the size, and it turns out more homeowners want their new 100-litre default garbage bins replaced with bigger ones. Between 1,000 and 1,500 exchanges from 100L to 240L bins were already made but the number is expected to increase to 2,000 during the next few months. Now the RDN can’t get enough of the big ones from the supplier. Manager of solid waste services, Larry Gardner, said he did not know to what extent that supply problem will remain. And, of course, that will result in a surplus of 2,000 100L carts.

Don't say I didn't tell you

No long-term vision
0306 - They spent $4.3 million on a taxi-way extension at Victoria International Airport – and then they discovered it is in a blind spot and can’t be seen from the airport’s control tower. They expanded the taxi-way on the east side of the airport by approximately 366 meters and was completed in 2020. The answer seems to  be to move the control tower, but revenue has plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting the move on hold for now.

Inmates appear to be running the asylum
03/05 - It is said that Idle hands do the devil’s work. Some people at Canada Post obviously don’t have enough to do, especially at a time the corporation pleads how cash strapped they are. I’m sure you got a mailout – 13.5 million were sent out – by Canada Post inviting Canadians to send a message to someone they are missing during Covid times, postage free and the postcard forms part of the mailout. The CBC reports the person in charge of the program couldn’t say exactly what it is costing.

Then I got a suggestion from a friend with what he’s going to do with his postcard. He’s sending it to Justin Trudeau at Rideau Cottage where he lives these days. I won't repeat his message to the PM, you can make up your own. In case that idea appeals to you, here is the address.
Justin Trudeau, Rideau Cottage, 1 Sussex Dr. Ottawa ON, K1A 0A1.

Attorney General Eby

Part of ICBC reforms ruled unconstitutional
Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled B.C.’s vehicle insurance reforms are unconstitutional, particularly the shift of injury cases under $50,000 from courts to an online tribunal. The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. challenged legislation to move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Attorney Genral Davud Eby said Wednesday he will announce March 8 whether the government will appeal the decision, which his ministry estimates would cost $390 million more if disputes go back to B.C. Supreme Court. He said the decision won’t affect the government’s promised ICBC rate reduction and COVID-19 rebates.

Soft drinks subject to PST on April 1
It’s not joke, British Columbians will have to start paying provincial sales tax on sugary drinks and online vaping products on April 1. The new taxes are in the 2020 budget, but were delayed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. PST will be applied to carbonated drinks that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners. This includes drinks sold through vending machine and fountains or similar equipment. E-commerce businesses, streaming platforms and digital software and telecommunications from outside of British Columbia will also be required to register and collect PST if they have B.C. revenue of more than $10,000.

 

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson makes Ladysmith permanent home
0305 - Ladysmith it is for Pamela Anderson who is selling her California home to live full-time on Vancouver Island. Pamela’s mother told CTV News that Pamela is listing her Malibu Beach house and will remain here permanently. Her Ladysmith, property was originally owned by her grandmother and has remained in the family. She said she has spent the last year here renovating, landscaping, creating gardens so theycan live sustainably. "Greenhouse, potter’s wheel, canning pickles and beets. I’m creating my life here now again where it all started."

Island region has 26 positive coronavirus tests
0305 - The Vancouver Island Health region reported 26 positive tests for coronavirus on Friday. Provincial statistics reported 634 positives in they final update of the week. The Island regiona has 305 active cases, including 17 people in hospital with two in critical care. The central island continues as the most active area with 139 cases, 62 in the North Island and 55 in the South Island. Four more deaths bring the province's death toll to 1,380. The Island Health region has had 2,515 positive tests of since the pandemic began.

March 14 could be the final 'spring forward'
0305 - Will March 14 be the last time we “spring forward?” British Columbians will turn their clocks forward Sun., March 14, at 2 a.m. The B.C. Legislature has approved the permanent time changed to daylight time, but has to rely on the American states to the south before making the switch. Oregon, California and Washington have passed bills and ballot measures to do the same thing. Those states need a congressional stamp of approval, whenever that might be. So get ready for whatever develops.

Drone owner offers reward for stolen items
0305 - A Nanaimo man is offering a reward for the return of key parts to his drone that were stolen  February 15, from his vehicle parked in the 2500 block Departure Bay Road. He is offering a private reward of $300 for information the leads to the location of the stolen items, and to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the theft. More

 

Canada approves fourth coronavirus vaccine
0305 Health officials have another weapon in the fight against Covid-19. Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine has been approved, officials announced Friday. It is the fourth shot to get Health Canada’s approval, “Canada is the first major regulator to approve four vaccines,” said Dr. Supriya Sharma, Health Canada’s chief medical advisor.

  • RCMP seek hit-and-run driver

    0305 - RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the driver of a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run incident. The incident occurred at approximately 9 pm on Wednesday February 3, in the parking lot of the 7-11, at the corner of Fifth St and Bruce Ave. click on headline

  • Helicopter crashes on Bowen Island

    0305 - Two pilots suffered only scrapes and bruises after their helicopter crashed in a wooded area on Bowen Island on Friday morning. Witness video shows the Bell 212 chopper spinning out of control and losing altitude moments before it crashed at around 10 a.m. Emergency Health Services paramedics transported the pilots to the mainland in a water taxi.

Island real estate market continues torrid pace
0305 - The hot real estate market continues to drive up prices. Nanaimo’s benchmark selling price in February was up 12 per cent from a year ago, at 617,700. Buyer demand in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area continues to outstrip supply, contributing to the lowest inventory on record for the board. The robust housing market is impacting prices, which are rising throughout the board area. The benchmark price of a single-family home on the Island hit $609,100 last month, 15 per cent higher than in February 2020. The benchmark price of an apartment reached $325,000, an increase of nine per cent, while the benchmark price of a townhouse rose by 15 per cent year over year, climbing to $466,200. Campbell River saw the highest price rise for a single-family home at  $547,700 in February, an increase of 18 per cent over last year.

Dr. Bonnie Henry

Henry optimistic about end of pandemic
0305 - The province could be in a post-pandemic world by summer, says provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive in the province next week and will be made available to first responders and other essential workers, she said. Delivery will run in tandem, but separately, from B.C.’s age-based mass immunization plan. “Maybe I’m too optimistic, but we’re going to be in our post-pandemic world by this summer if things continue to go the way that we want them to,” Dr. Henry said.

Prepare for gas prices to soar
0305 - Gas prices across Vancouver Island have soared in the past week and could continue to climb. Gas Buddy reported gas in Victoria nosedived in April and May last year to $0.96 as the pandemic swept across Canada. Over the past six months, prices have sat around $1.23 per litre but since January, they have climbed to around $1.45. The weather in Texas, limiting supply from refineries, could be a reason behind this spike. Also, wehen many people stopped driving during the pandemic, there was extra supply. Companies may be looking to make up their losses.

No tsunami threat after New Zealand quake
03/05 - Thursday’s 8.1-magnitude earthquake in New Zealand does not posts a tsunami risk to B.C. United States Geological Survey noted the quake took place in the Kermadec Islands Thursday morning at 11:28 a.m. It was followed by aftershock earthquakes. Evaluations are done to produce the most accurate tsunami assessment possible, EmergencyInfoBC said in a tweet. By 2:30 p.m. Thursday, the provincial emergency response agency confirmed the earthquake posed no tsunami threat to the province.

School bus route won’t be parked
0305 - Rutherford-Frank J. Ney schools won’t lose their bus service. Trustees unanimously rejected a staff recommendation to eliminate the route. The staff report cited transportation budget deficits as high as $288,000 over the past four years, with deficits covered by reallocation of funds. Staff suggested shutting down the route would save the district $50,000 annually. Board chair Charlene McKay said she recognized that the route was brought on as a component of the closure of Rutherford Elementary School, which shuttered in 2018.

$3.5 million for drug dispensers outrageous
03/04 - The federal government is spending nearly $3.5 million for five drug vending machines. Quick math says that’s $700,000 per unit. For seven hundred grand they could have hired around-the-clock human dispensers instead of the two machines in Vancouver and one in Victoria at more than two million bucks. The machines are similar to ATMs and allow drug users to get hydromorphone pills with a palm scan. They are described as tamper-proof as well. MySafe allows participants to access a safer drug without contact with anyone. Overdose deaths have spiked during the pandemic with many people using alone and a more toxic illicit drug supply.

Work to begin on Front Street dress up
Front Street will get a makeover to what the city calls a modern street that will increase the comfort and safety for people who walk, bike, take transit and drive along Nanaimo's downtown waterfront. The project will connect cyclists between Maffeo Sutton Park and the recently-completed waterfront walkway at 1 Port Drive. The number of lanes will be reduced to two from four to make way for Nanaimo's first two-way cycle lane and installation of improved transit stops. Pedestrian crossings will be enhanced, including a new elevated crosswalk near the Nanaimo Law Courts and a crosswalk near the temporary transit exchange.

Shannon Lettington

Can you help to find missing woman?
Shannon Lettington of Nanaimo has been missing since last October and RCMP would like public help in finder her. This is out of character for the 35-year-old. Nanaimo RCMP were contacted by her family on March 4 to assist in locating her and determining her well-being. She has no fixed address and has been known to stay at homeless encampments throughout Nanaimo. To date, all transition shelters in Nanaimo any many of the encampments have been checked without success. Shannon is five feet tall, 100 pounds and has brown hair and hazel eyes. The picture was taken within the last year. If anyone has information on her whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file 2021-7423.

Province on alert for possible tsunami
0304 - The province is evaluating potential tsunami risk locally after a series of strong earthquakes hit New Zealand. Three earthquakes have so far been recorded in New Zealand on Friday, local time. The latest was an 8.0 quake in the Kermadec Islands.  At about noon today, the province tweeted it was evaluating any potential risk, adding. "Stand by for B.C. specific info," the post said.

Are you a poet and didn't know it?
0304 -The City invites applications for the position of Poet Laureate. Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will be appointed by City Council for a two-year term and will serve as a literary ambassador for the City, charged with creating and presenting poetic works and engaging activities for the benefit of our community. Review the guidelines including eligibility requirements and details on how to apply on the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/poetry.

Stopping Coronavirus in Nanaimo goes high tech
0304 - We wash our hands dozens of times a day, we wear masks and physical distance to make sure we’re avoiding Coronavirus germs. All that, and guess what? We put our cell phones to our mouth dozens of times a day. All of our electronic gadgets, tablets, keyboards, notebooks and even car keys are major germ carriers. I recently spotted a UV device at Wingren Nufloors on Northfield Road. They have taken employee health and safety to a new level by bringing in an Aluvis UV machine that kills 99.9% of all pathogens (germs, viruses and bacteria) in just 20 seconds. Wingren Nufloors is the first company in B.C. to implement this employee and customer safety measure by fully sanitizing all electronic devices for their staff and customers. They will clean your devices if you drop by. Check out the whole story here.

Destructive wind warnings for Vancouver Island
0304 - A wind warning has been issued by 
Environment Canada for North and West Vancouver Island beginning Thursday morning. Winds of up to 90 km/h are expected to build by Thursday afternoon, before easing Thursday evening. Gusts of up to 100 km/h are expected on West Vancouver Island. The weather warning said ddamage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occurand winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break.

Chelsea Harry

Police seek help in finding Comox Valley woman
0304 -Comox Valley RCMP are looking for help locating Chelsea Harry, 30, who was last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21. She has connections to Nanaimo and Powell River and police believe she could be in there or another community on the Island. She is five-foot-four and approximately 115 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white baseball cap, black jacket, and black pants, and black boots. If you’ve seen her or or know where she is, contact the Comox Valley RCMP at 250-338-1321 or anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at comoxvalleycrimestoppers.bc.ca.

Two vaccination locations set for Nanaimo
0304 - Vancouver Island’s health authority has revealed the locations of two COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Nanaimo – Beban Park and Cedar Community Hall. The mass vaccination program begins in full next week, and will allow seniors to begin booking their immunization appointments on March 8 when the window opens for people over age 90, and then will open for younger people in five-year increments. People living in the Island Health region can call 1-833-348-4787 to book a vaccine appointment. The province asks that people do not call ahead of their age bracket. On March 15, people over the age of 85 can begin scheduling appointments, and on March 22 seniors over the age of 80 can start booking their immunizations. The call centre is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Increased care-home visits expected by month end
0303 - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry expects increased visits to long-term care homes may be possible by the end of this month. She explained science has shown just how effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been after one dose. The province will now space out first and second doses to as long as four months in order to give out more first doses. She said evidence shows that high-level of protection is there, at least in the short term, after one dose. So that does move up the timeline for us to be able to increase visits to long-term care. Henry said the impact of most long-term care residents and workers being vaccinated is already being noticed.

What’s worse, Covid-19 or the shutdown?
0303 - Texas governor Greg Abbott formally ended his state’s Covid lockdown Tuesday, announcing “Texas is now 100-per-cent open”. Mississippi quickly followed suit. No more mandatory masks, no more distancing, all businesses open with no restrictions, and all other gatherings, including churches and all schools are back in business. Florida did something similar earlier and their virus numbers have gone down. That raises the question, what’s creating more suffering – the virus itself or shutdown? We’ve been getting daily figures in B.C. of “positive” tests for the virus but no indication of how many listed as active cases are actually stricken. Insurance companies in the U.S. are claiming almost double the number of mental-health-related claims, predominantly among youth. And education has suffered immensely. B.C. has now vaccinated more people than have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic and that raises the question of whether it’s time to let the foot off the gas. We’ll be watching those southern states with keen interest.

B.C. Ferries introduces new reduced fares
You can now save on ferry fares if you travel at special times. BC Ferries has introduced new fare options for the three Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes. Now you can get a ‘Saver’ fare and a ‘Prepaid’ fare, which are available for essential travellers and will become available for all passengers once it’s safe to resume non-essential travel. The Saver fare will be a discount option for passengers, described as the most affordable fare. The company says this new Saver fare will be available on select, less-busy sailings throughout the year. See full details.

Get set for a wet and windy spring season
0303 - Forget about global warming, it’s going to be a lot wetter and a bit cooler in our region this spring. AccuWeather senior meteorologist Brett Anderson says if the seasonal forecasts are right, the next two months will be pretty stormy. Temperatures are forecast to be near normal for Vancouver Island but cooler through the rest of the province. He forecasts several storms in spring, which would bring heavy rain to the coast in March and into April, along with possible flooding. How much rain? Forecasters say the south coast could see 125 to 200 per cent of our typical rainfall this month. Coastal areas could see a lot of wind, says Anderson.

Business improvement area

Council to use negative-petition to decide on BIA
0303 - City council voted Monday to begin the process for downtown businesses and property owners to decide on a new business improvement association. Business owners will have to vote against it or it will come into force though a petition-against process. That will determine whether downtown business and property owners want a BIA and the tax levy that would come along with it. The BIA will operate autonomously for its five-year term with no grants or other financial commitments by the city.

Michael Pickup

Auditor general not buying into budget process
0303 - Auditor general Michael Pickup says the province’s accounting process does not present a true financial position. His office has had a nine-year accounting difference of opinion with the way federal funds for capital projects are added to the province’s annual budget totals. That accounting difference means the 2019-20 budget deficit of $321 million should actually have included accumulated revenue of $5.7 billion, producing a surplus of $5.4 billion. He uses generally accepted accounting principles but the province uses the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act.

Property transfer tax impacts affordability
03/02 - Housing affordability is an ongoing topic we hear a lot about from politicians – and they never recognize they are a major cause of the problem. The provincial property transfer tax adds in the range of $8,000 to $15,000 to a home purchase – one per cent on the first $200,000 of the price, and two per cent on the balance. Patchwork band aids are not a solution – giving financial incentives to housing development does not create affordability, it just drags out the problem. It’s time to axe that tax. 

Amrit Manhas

Report shows optimism in Nanaimo's economy
03/02 - It’s been an up-and-down year for Nanaimo’s economy, but Nanaimo Economic Development Officer Amrit Manhas is confident thing will get better. Manhas delivered the second annual state of the Nanaimo Economy Report Monday predicting the city will build back, along with the rest of B.C., in 2021 and beyond. Nanaimo’s gross domestic product rose 2.9 per cent in 2019, above the B.C. average of 2.6 per cent. The 2020 stats aren’t available yet, but B.C. expects a 5.3 per cent decrease in GDP for 2020 followed by a 5.1 per cent rebound this year. Nanaimo has closely mirrored B.C.’s trends in recent years. FULL REPORT

Dr. Bonnie Henry

Island Health had 19 more positive virus tests
Island Health region had 19 positive coronavirus tests in the previous 24 hours while Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 438 new positives and two deaths in Tuesday’s report. The number of positive in B.C. climbs to 81,367 but officials did not report how many people were sticken with the virus. The province’s death is toll rose to 1,365. There are 4,679 active cases in the province, 243 people in hospital, 63 in intensive care. There are eight outbreaks in long-term care homes and eight in acute care across B.C.

Hon. Jennifer Whiteside

Nanaimo Ladysmith district on rapid response plans
0302 - Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district has been chosen as one of six new rapid response teams to help schools identify gaps in COVID-19 safety plans reduce exposure risk. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said the teams will work with staff at schools, school districts and health authorities to review significant exposures to the virus. They will review school or district safety plans and policies, assist in their implementation and make recommendations for improvements when needed. The provincial government is spending $900,000 in federal funding to support one team for each health authority and a separate team to help independent schools.

Expensive guitar, travel bag stolen in break-in
0302 -A Gibson SG electric guitar and a Louis Vuitton travel bag were among items stolen in a vehicle break-in downtown Nanaimo last week in the Coast Bastion Hotel parking lot on Front Street. The guitar is burgundy-coloured and U.S.A.-made, with a serial number 00415330. The handbag is brown leather and contained an assortment of women’s clothing and a charging cord. Anyone with information about the location of these items is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file No. 2021-6917.

Can you identify these break-in suspects? 
03/02 - The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying two men in relation to a recent break and enter. The incident occurred at approximately 12:30 pm on Thursday February 25, at the Nanaimo Harbour View Manor, at 275 Nicol St. Surveillance cameras captured images of the two suspects in the building parking lot. The same two were later seen attempting to break open a locked door to the building. MORE 

Ottawa spends $3.5 million on drug ATMs
03/02 - The federal government is providing five vending machines that will dispense medical-grade opioids, with a price tag of nearly $3.5 million. Two machines are located in Vancouver, one is in Victoria and one each are in London, Ont., and Dartmouth, N.S. The machines are similar to ATMs and allow drug users to get hydromorphone pills after their palm has been scanned. They are described as tamper-proof as well. MySafe allows participants to access a safer drug without contact with anyone. Overdose deaths have spiked during the pandemic with many people using alone and a more toxic illicit drug supply.

Doug Routley

Routley heads committee to reform Police Act 
Nanaimo-North Cowichan NDP MLA Doug Routley has been tabbed to chair a special committee on reforming the Police Act. The Legislature appointed the special all-party committee to inquire into policing, including an examination of the role of police with respect to complex social issues, the scope of systemic racism within B.C.’s police agencies and ensuring consistency of a modernized Police Act with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Routley said the committee is considering a broad range of issues pertaining to public safety. 

Tools that fell off truck turned over to RCMP
03/02 - Police have a small blue plastic tote containing tools that fell off a truck at the intersection of Hammond Bay and Fillinger Crescent, at approximately 10:45 a.m. tody. A witness wasn't able to able to get the attention of the driver nor was he able to provide a description of the truck or plate number.  He turned the tools over to the local detachment. The tools consisted of several Milwaukee and Dewalt palm sanders, wood glue and clamps. One of the sanders has the initials of GBC or CBC written in a black marker. If you know who may own these items, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2021-7482.

Clip and save - vaccination appointment process
03/02 - British Columbians have been given a timeline for when they can book their appointment for coronavirus vaccinations. First doses are now being given to those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing. Health authorities are contacting them directly for appointment details. On March 8, registration for seniors aged 80 and older and Indigenous people 65 and older will begin. Unlike the above group, you must phone in to make an appointment. DETAILS HERE

Western Hockey League set to drop the puck
03/02 - The Western Hockey League has been approved to resume operations in the province, but no word on the B.C. Hockey League. The BCHL Nanaimo Clippers have been listed for sale by its owner. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday that a series of variances are still required from public health authorities, but he said he expects the five teams in the B.C. Division - the Kamloops Blazers, Kelowna Rockets, Prince George Cougars, Vancouver Giants and Victoria Royals - to play this season. The other three divisions have already been cleared to play by state and provincial governments and public health authorities.

Illicit drug deaths continue to rise
03/02 - The new year started off in record fashion as illicit drug death numbers soared in January compared to 2020. The BC Corners Service reported 165 suspected drug toxicity deaths this January, a 104-per-cent increase. An average of 5.3 lives were lost each day in January – a death rate of 38.1 per 100,000 residents. It’s also the tenth consecutive month in which more than 100 died due to illicit drug toxicity. Nearly one in five of the suspected deaths in January noted extreme levels of fentanyl concentrations. Men accounted for 83 per cent of the overdose deaths in January.

Water system flush begins Tuesday
03/01 - If you notice any discolouration in your tap water, it's totally normal. The City's Engineering and Public Works Department will begin its annual water main flushing program on Tuesday (March 2). While this program is under way, short periods of low pressure and discoloured water may be expected. Any discolouration in water residents may experience during the flushing program is temporary and not a health hazard. You can clear some of the discolouration by running your cold water tap for a short while. MORE

Ottawa needs to fix quarantine fiasco
03/01 - You don’t have to look far to identify government ineptitude, but what’s happening on the quarantine front for Canadians returning from winter holiday goes beyond reason. There are countless stories of people spending up to 10-12 hours and more on the phone, over numerous days, just to get reservations for the government-sanctioned quarantine hotels at outrageous prices. Identify the problem, then fix it, there are no excuses. If that wasn’t enough, comes the story of a sexual assault charge against a government-hired agent looking after those in quarantine. This is a shameful exercise that goes along with the disastrous vaccine rollouts that fall at the feet of our incompetent prime minister. Just fix it. COMMENT HERE

Farm worker shortage hits daffodil harvest hard
03/01-The lack of foreign farm workers due to the pandemic is putting a severe crimp into the daffodil harvest in Central Saanich this year. Nora Cumming, the sales and office manager of Longview Farms, said with more than 50 acres in bulbs and more than five million flowers they need to be picked before they bloom, so by the time they reach customers, they’re at the right part of their lifecycle. This year, many have already bloomed while still rooted in the ground. Cummings says they have farm workers from Mexico every year, but are unable to house as many due to our COVID policies. That has put some limitations on productions, just because we have half the number of workers,” said.

Indigenous member to oversee IIO probe
03/01 – An Indigenous civilian monitor will be appointed to an Independent Investigations Office investigation of the RCMP shooting death of a 28-year-old First Nation man near Tofino on Saturday. This will be the first time that such a civilian monitor will be appointed to a case. First Nation leaders on the west coast requested the role in the wake of Saturday night’s fatal shooting of a First Nations member. The appointee will be a non-police member of the community will be able to oversee the investigation and offer comments and suggestions. MORE

Fake posters declare pandemic over
Posters declaring pandemic restrictions are over in Canada are appearing across Vancouver Island. The posters state that as of March 1 all COVID restrictions in Canada have ended. The posters have appeared throughout the Comox Valley – Cumberland, Comox, Courtenay, Bowser Black Creek. They have also been spotted in Qualicum Beach, Nanoose and Gabriola Island. “We the people of Canada are now back in charge of our lives as of March 1, 2021, as Canada returns to normal life. All businesses are to return to business as usual, removing all COVID-19 requirements for their employees and customers.” Island Health replied the Provincial Health Officer’s Orders and guidelines remain in effect. MORE

File photo

Fire destroys home in Boat Harbour
03/01 – Crews from three volunteer fire departments fought a stubborn house fire for more than nine hours on Sunday on Pauls Road near the waterfront in Boat Harbour area. North Cedar Fire chief Percy Tipping said the fire was already through the roof when he got there. “It was pretty quick and then it got up in the attic of the second storey and then we were basically chasing it after that,” he said. Much of the exterior was covered in wood shakes and there was extensive use of wood throughout the interior. The blaze was fanned by strong winds that pushed the flames through the structure. MORE

Vaccination appointment details
03/01 – Vaccine call centres for seniors open March 8. B.C. seniors over 80 can book a vaccine appointment for them or their spouse. You can also have a family member or friend call for you. It's easy and safe to book over the phone. Please make sure you register only when your age bracket comes up, don’t tie up the phone lines if you are not eligible. Here’s the DETAILED INFORMATION.

Phone number for Vaccine appointment 
03/01 – People living in the Island Health region can call the health authority at 1-833-348-4787 to book a vaccine appointment. Save this number for when it's your time to call. 
The call centre is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Family members, friends, or any support person can also call to make an appointment for a senior on their behalf. On March 15, people over the age of 85 can begin scheduling appointments, and on March 22 seniors over the age of 80 can start booking their immunizations.

Eden Gardens virus outbreak is over
03/01 – Island Health has declared the COVID-19 outbreak over at Eden Gardens long-term care home in Nanaimo. With the implementation of comprehensive strategies to prevent and respond to COVID-19 in long-term care, there are no longer any COVID-19 cases related to the outbreak at the home.  With the outbreak now declared over, the following will occur at Eden Gardens:

  • Social visits will resume on March 1;
  • Admissions and transfers will resume;
  • Congregate dining will resume, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place;
  • Diligent infection prevention measures and appropriate use of personal protective equipment will continue.

Collision sends one person to hospital
03/01 – One person was taken to hospital after multi-vehicle accident on Bowen Road at the Wakesiah intersection just before 10 a.m. today. Traffic toward downtown is closed as a result of the incident. 

Vaccine rollout plan to be unveiled this morning

03/01 – The long-awaited B.C. Coronavirus vaccine rollout plan will be unveiled 10:30 a.m. today (Monday). Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Dr. Penny Ballem, executive lead for B.C.’s immunization efforts. The four-phase plan will see approximately 7.4 million doses of vaccine administered to every eligible British Columbian between April and the end of September. So far, 252,373 doses have been distributed in the province, about 3.5 per cent much slower than initially expected due to vaccine supply issues. As of Feb. 28, a total of 2,441,870 doses had been administered nationwide.

Police shooting on West Coast reserve under investigation

03/01 - The Independent Investigations Office is investigating after RCMP shot and killed a man on a reserve near Tofino Saturday night. Two officers from the Tofino detachment were called to a home in the Opitsaht community on Meares Island to locate a woman in distress. An interaction took place and one man was shot and another was taken into custody, police said. They also described the incident as a "fatal police-involved shooting. The IIO is a civilian agency that investigates all incidents involving police officers in B.C. that result in serious harm or death, whether there is an allegation of wrongdoing on the part of police. MORE

More schools added to Island Health coronavirus list

03/01 - Four more schools have been added to the Island Health list of recent coronavirus exposures. Three were added on Friday - Uplands Park Elementary, McGirr Elementary and Dover Bay Secondary. The latest additions are Aspen Park Elementary in Comox, Cedar Elementary in Nanaimo, Chemainus Elementary Community School in Chemainus, and David Cameron Elementary in Langford. Anyone who is not contacted by public health should continue to attend school as normal, as long as they're not showing symptoms of the coronavirus, Island Health says. There are now 18 schools listed on the health authority's COVID-19 exposure websiteRead more

Pandemic has brought changes to income tax filing

03/01 - This is going to be a tax season like no other, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. If you collected COVID-19-related benefit payments last year, you might end up owing more money than in previous years. However, if you spent part of 2020 working from home, you could wind up with a bigger tax refund than usual. Despite this being a more complex tax season, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not extended the tax filing deadline. The due date is still April 30 for most Canadians, and June 15 for self-employed people. Here's what you need to know about filing your taxes, including deadlines. Full list of rules and deadlines HERE.03/01 - 

Nanaimo Clippers hockey club for sale

Wes Mussio

02/28 - The Nanaimo Clippers are for sale. Owner Wes Mussio posted on social media today that with games suspended for one year now and Dr Bonnie Henry giving the league no indication of any starting up this year, he sees no path forward to any full return to normal in hockey, even in 2021-2022. The provincial government has offered no financial support to the suffering teams of the BCHL, says Mussio. "So, it is time for me to stop my huge personal and financial contribution to BC Hockey and I will sell the team effective immediately." Serious enquires only at mussio@mussiogoodman.com. Nanaimo needs an ownership group who can wait out the provincial health orders.

Business tax freeze no easy decision for city council

02/28 – A proposal by the Chamber of Commerce to freeze commercial property taxes for this year sounds noble enough, but there are hurdles.. City council is getting a staff report to determine the impact. Last year the city collected $32,115,302 in commercial/business taxes. The interim budget calls for a three-per-cent tax increase across the board, just under $1 million ($963,459). Good intent often comes with unintended consequences. That money doesn’t just disappear into thin air, it has to be made up elsewhere – either in higher taxes in other sectors or budget cuts. Balance sheets have two columns – income and outcome, and they have to balance. City councillors may wish for the wisdom of Solomon on March 17 when they decide. WHAT SAY YOU?

Limited worship services will be allowed

02/28 - Some worship services have been granted limited exceptions to a blanket ban on in-person worship imposed in November. A lawyer for three Fraser Valley churches says they’ve been given permission to meet for worship – outdoors and multiple protocols including a maximum of 25 congregants, no singing or chanting and no passing collection plates or ceremonial objects, a one-hour time limit and mandatory masks. They’re also not allowed to socialize before or after the service. The Ministry of Health also granted exceptions to Orthodox Jews who are prohibited by their faith from using electronic devices on the Sabbath. More

Online auction under way for John Barsby prom

The John Barsby Prom Committee isn’t letting a pandemic get in their way ­– they are conducting an online auction to raise funds. They are going ahead with festivities which include dinner, dance and a graduation photo. The business community and others have pitched in with a lot of sale items. They are raising funds to supplement the cost of the celebration for the students, including venue rental, dinner, security, photography and assisting students needy students so they can attend with their class. The auction page is here, you can START BIDDING.

Mass vaccination for Cowichan Tribes adult members

02/28 - Members of B.C.’s largest First Nation were vaccinated against coronarvirus on Friday and Saturday. The mass vaccination drive for Cowichan Tribes comes after 240 cases since Dec. 31, and four deaths — several of them described as young adults. Cowichan Tribes, with around 4,900 members, has also been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. A shelter-in-place order for the community has been extended until March 5.

Legislature resumes sitting on Monday

02/28 - High profile issues will be front and centre when the B.C. Legislature resumes sitting on Monday. The first day of the sitting coincides with B.C.’s vaccine rollout plan outlined by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix. The spring session will include financial relief for small business, COVID-19 measures, housing for people without homes and income assistance rates. It will still be a sparsely populated session due to coronavirus physical distancing. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin will deliver the speech from the throne on April 12, and Finance Minister Selina ­Robinson will present the budget on April 20.