Pension raise depends on your age – over 75

April 22, 2021

A lot of seniors were looking forward to getting a $500 cheque from the federal government this August, and a 10-per-cent raise in their monthly Old Age Security payments next year. After all, usual pension increases range in the area of a buck or two per month.

Don't go on a spending spree just yet. First, not all seniors are eligible, only those 75 years of age and older will get that. That will frost a lot of seniors between 65 and 74 years old.

Then the big one – it's a political promise, it has not been passed by Parliament. That's important because there's talk of a federal election and the budget to this point is a sales document to entice voters. If an election is called before the budget is passed, it's all smoke and mirors, and everything goes out of the window. The same holds true for proposals to provide more daycare support to families. A great menu laid out, but will we get a nibble?

Thursday, April 22

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Goodbye sunshine, hello clouds. The good news is you won’t have to water your lawn for the next few days.

OVER-30 BOOKING NOW OPWN - British Columbians 30 and older can now register for a vaccine through the province’s age-based program. Residents 40 and older can get the AstraZeneca vaccine through the separate immunization stream at local pharmacies. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry strongly urge you to book your appointment as soon as you can. This is one of the important ways for you to do your part, they added. 

ACTIVE COVID CASES DROP AGAIN - There are 8,906 active cases of Covid-19 in B.C., 239 fewer than Tuesday’s report. Health officials reported new 862 new positive tests and seven deaths province wide. Vancouver Island reports 376 active cases, 54 fewer than Monday. Island Health had 25 positives out of 924 tests reported Wednesday. Thirty-one people are in hospital in Island Health, four in critical care. Fraser Health had 557 positives, Vancouver Coastal Health had 200, Interior Health 54, and 26 in Northern Health. There are 483 people in hospital, 164 in intensive care. More than 1.45 million doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide. 

PHARMACIES OUT OF ASTRAZENECA – Vancouver Island pharmacies are out of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and Health Minister Adrian Dix says if you haven’t booked an appointment yet you’re out of luck for now. Dix said once a pharmacy is out of the vaccine, it’s hard to say when it will get a new supply. This comes just days after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced people over age 40 were eligible to get the AstraZeneca vaccine in pharmacies.

MORE CORONA CASES AT NRGH - Island Health has identified two additional positive tests for coronavirus related to the outbreak in the High Intensity Rehab Unit at NRGH on April 14. There have now been six positive tests as part of the outbreak. One patient and one staff member in the high-intensity rehab unit have tested positive.

FLIGHTS FROM INDIA IN SPOTLIGHT - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that Canada would "look carefully" at suspending flights from India. Eight of 13 international flights to Vancouver with COVID-19 cases on board since April 11 have been from India. B.C. health officials have added 11 more flights to their list of possible COVID-19 exposures. The most recent additions took off from or landed at a B.C. airport between April 5 and 18. Four of the flights were international, including three from India, where a surge in coronavirus variants has prompted travel restrictions from some countries.

ELECTRIC BUS BEGINS SERVICE - John Wilson, president and CEO of Wilson’s Group, is an innovator – his latest venture bears that out. Wilson’s Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is launching a new electric bus pilot project, in partnership with battery-powered electric bus manufacturer BYD Canada. The new coach makes its debut today (Thursday) in time for Earth Day. The 41-passenger coach, powered by a 313-kilowatt battery, begins a three-month trial today on the Vancouver Island Connector’s daily route between Nanaimo and Victoria.

DRIVER SKIPS ACCIDENT SCENE - Oceanside RCMP are looking for the driver who left the scene after a car flipped upside-down on Dolphin Drive in Nanoose Bay. Police spoke with three persons who claimed to be passengers. They reported that the driver had left prior to police arrival, stated Sgt. Stephen Rose of the Oceanside RCMP. No one was injured and RCMP ask that any witnesses contact police at 250-248-6111, #2021-3783.

SCHOOL LIBRARIAN’S FIRING CONFIRMED - The BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation has confirmed the firing of a Nanaimo secondary school librarian with a troubled history in the school district. NDSS teacher-librarian Matthew Lettington was fired in December, 2019 for having an inappropriate book in circulation, following numerous disciplinary actions by the school district. Lettington was fired from the school for introducing a graphic novel called “La Lesbienne Invisible” and checking it out to a Grade 8 student whose parent complained. 

ARE YOU MISSING A RING? - Nanaimo RCMP have a men’s gold ring that was turned in after being found in downtown Nanaimo. The front is stamped with a picture of an animal and the inside is engraved with how many karats it is. If this is your ring or you know whom it may belong to, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file #2021-13287.

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Wednesday, April 12

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Budgets are always a grab bag of goodies and financial commitments, and Tuesday’s offering had lots of bling to go with new debt. Here’s what you NEED TO KNOW.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH - City council is fed up with the catch and release of prolific chronic offenders by the courts. Councillors voted to support a letter Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb to the government earlier this year. Some councillors were concerned whether they were straying out of the city’s jurisdiction but all voted to send the letter. Mayor Leonard Krog said he saw the motion as a cry that he was prepared to support. “Voting against this will not be understood by the general public as anything other than a get-out-of-jail-free card for criminal behaviour, so we’re stuck with voting with it…” the mayor said. “It’s frustrating that we’re having to do this, but there ain’t no choice, folks.”

DOWNTOWN BIA PROCESS APPROVED - Nanaimo’s downtown core has the green light to create a new business improvement area. City council voted unanimously to adopt a downtown Nanaimo business improvement area bylaw after the results of a petition-against process that tallied property owners’ preference of a new BIA. Of the 138 land parcels within the BIA boundaries, 30 property owners were against forming a new BIA.

OFF TO THE CROWBAR HOTEL - Robert John Harper, 35, won’t be selling drugs on the street for a while. He was sentenced to 27 months in jail after his drug operation was uncovered during a Nanaimo traffic stop. Harper will serve 16 months after he earned 11 months of in-custody credit. RCMP found just under five grams of fentanyl, 24 grams of crystal meth and 400 millimeters of GHB, known as the date rape drug, in his vehicle in October, 2017.

CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS TUMBLE - Coronavirus took a real dip on Tuesday as the number of active cases in the province dropped by 208 to 9,145 over the past 24 hours, despite the 849 positive tests. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control reported 9,353 active cases on Monday, down from 10,081 before the weekend. The figure for active cases shows the number of people who are sick due due to the virus. The number of people in hospital rose by 15 to 456 with 148 in critical care. Of the 849 positive tests since Monday. Island Health had 29, while 474 were in the Fraser Health region, 247 Vancouver Coastal Health, 67 in Interior Health, and 100 in Northern Health. 

WELL, NOT SO FAST - B.C. will not do random roadside checks to clamp down on non-essential travel. Premier John Horgan said Monday that roadside checks would be implemented to clamp down on non-essential travel. But Tuesday morning, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said that a more detailed plan will be released on Friday and that the province is examining the use of roadblocks as one method, likely at ferry terminals and major highway junctions that border health authorities.

ERRINGTON FARMERS MARKET – The annual farmers market in Errington will reopen May 1 for the new season. It will be open from 10 am until 1pm every Saturday and there will be no sales before 10 am.

Tuesday, April 20

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Our government is planning to put signs on the Alberta border unwelcoming people from entering our province. Signs? That’ll surely bring them to their knees! Just more posturing. Either shut the border, or don’t. And oh yeh, just in case they didn’t notice, Covid transmission continues unabated on flights from all over the world. I've got an idea, put signs in airports.

BUDGET DAY IN B.C. - The province will deliver it budget today. It is expected that it will deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and more. Finance Minister Selina Robinson has said in a recent interview that the budget will lay the groundwork for future prosperity. A fiscal update in December noted the impact of the pandemic on the economy was uncertain, and forecast a deficit nearing $14 billion.

MORE MONEY FOR SENIORS -Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, seniors are getting a raise. The federal budget promised seniors 75 and older a 10-per-cent increase in old age security next year. OAS recipients will also get a one-time payment of $500 in August as long as they are at least 75 years of age by June 2022. If you’ve been to a grocery store recently you’ll know we should just about break even. But don't going binging just yet, it's be about fifty bucks a month – it's on OAP, not on CPP. MORE DETAILS.

CITY LOOKING MINI-HOUSING - City council wants to go into the housing business – in a small way. Council got a report on Monday and voted to get another report on the next step in building tiny cabins for homeless people and is looking for partners to run it. They voted 5-4 to prepare another report, including potential locations for 24 cabins, and ask social service agencies if they would be interested in operating cabin sites. The question came in response to a report asked for in February for sleeping cabins, also referred to as transitional emergency housing.

MAN ARRESTED IN APARTMENT FIRE - A 35-year-old man who has arrested by Nanaimo RCMP and is facing charges in an apartment building fire that destroyed two units on the weekend. Investigators concluded the fire was arson, said Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien. The man who was arrested lived at the complex. He was scheduled to appear in court today to face charges. He remains in police custody and investigation into the fire is continuing.

FUNNY MONEY? - I see where one Nanaimo business is offering cryptocurrency as a lure to buy their product. Hmm, Isn’t that what Canadian Tire money is all about? If you’re interested in a new bug, call Harbourview Volkswagen and have them explain it to you.

LANGLEY CONDO TOWER BURNS - About 100 people were evacuated after a massive fire broke out in a condo tower in Langley Monday night near 80th Avenue and 208th Street. When crews arrived two of the towers were on fire, but it quickly spread. Assistant Chief Andy Hewitson said there is significant damage, there's at least three condominium buildings and several townhouse complexes are completely gone.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? There's a lot of grist for the mill here. If you have an opinion, let us know at editor@nanaimonet.com

Health orders restrict travel in British Columbia

Sweeping new travel restrictions will make sure British Columbians stay within their health regions. Premier John Horgan has announced the so-called “circuit-breaker” public health measures are extended for another five weeks until after the May long weekend.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth will introduce an order under the Emergency Program Act to confine people their health regions. Random roadside stops will be set up, and Horgan said there will be fines for travelling outside of your area without a legitimate reason. He likened the roadside checks to Counter-Attack blitzes used to prevent impaired driving.

Recreation vehicles won’t be allowed on B.C. Ferries and no extra sailings will run on the long weekend. The extended measures also extend the ban on indoor dining, indoor group fitness classes and indoor in-person worship services through the end of the May long weekend. Signs will be set up along the Alberta border telling travellers not to enter unless it is for essential business.

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Active coronavirus cases go down over weekend

Dr. Bonnie Henry with Health Minister Adrian Dix.

The active cases of Covid-19 in B.C. declined by 723 over the weekend, despite the 2,960 positive tests. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control on Friday reported 1,081 active cases in the province while Monday’s report showed 9,353 active cases. The figure for active cases shows the number of people who are actually sick due to the virus. The number of people in hospital rose by 16 to 441, putting a strain on medical facilities.

Health officials reported 2,960 positive tests and eight deaths over the past three days. There were 1,027 positives from Friday to Saturday, 933 to Sunday, and 1,000 to Monday. Island Health had 108, while 1,845 were in the Fraser Health region, 696 Vancouver Coastal Health, 211 in Interior Health, and 100 in Northern Health. 

Monday, April 19,

 HORGAN JOINS COVID UPDATE TODAY - Today's the day we find out whether we can go dining again. Premier John Horgan will join the daily COVID update from health officials this afternoon fueling speculation that there will be more information on health restrictions scheduled to end today. It applies to the suspension of indoor dining at restaurants and group classes at fitness facilities, among other things. The B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association said last week that based on discussions with Dr. Bonnie Henry and industry colleagues, the existing ban on in-restaurant dining was expected to be extended into May.

FEDERAL BUDGET COMES TODAY - Today is federal budget day when the government brings down the road map of how it will spend our money. It is expected to focus largely on further spending plans to manage the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis and chart an economic course in a post-pandemic Canada. It’s the first budget in two years and is expected to include plans for a national child-care system. There are also expected to be the standards - affordable housing, greening the economy and climate change.

WATER RESTRICTIONS REMAIN – Despite flood danger warnings in the province due to above-average snowpack, we still have to conserve our water – restrictions are already in effect on the Island. Stage 1 restrictions began April 1, with restricted watering hours but few other limitations. The region comes into the summer season well stocked with above average snowpack leading into both major watersheds, the RDN's Julie Pisani told NanaimoNewsNOW.  “The upper elevation precipitation over the winter and early spring has meant the reservoir, for example the City of Nanaimo’s Jump Lake reservoir, is full.”

MULTIPLE STABBINGS AT TEEN BUSH PARTY - Things are begining to get rough in the Comox Valley. Three teens were stabbed during a bush party on Saturday night. Between 20 and 50 kids were involved in an area known locally as the “sandpit,” said police. The three teens suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Two were airlifted to Victoria while one was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. One person was arrested and all four are boys under age 18. 

WALK FOR ALSHEIMER’S HONORS SPEEVAK - Sharon Speevak is the dedicated honoree in Nanaimo of the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. encourages Nanaimo residents to show people affected by dementia their support by registering and fundraising for the online walk. It’s the Society’s largest fundraiser. Participants are encouraged to walk their own way throughout May, before joining for an online celebration on Sunday, May 30. 

66 COVID CASES IN THE AIR - Coronus virus continues on our airlines, but they are still flying. Three more flights connected to Nanaimo are on the latest lists of flights with a case virus on board. Air Canada’s flight 2264, from Fort St. John to Nanaimo on April 12 had a case. Harbour Air flight (1150), on April 4, from Nanaimo to Vancouver, as well as an April 3 flight from Vancouver to Nanaimo (1123), were also listed. The B.C. Centre for Disease Control posted notices about 66 different flights involving B.C. airports that had a case of COVID-19 on board last week. B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website.

BUSY WEEK FOR VACCINE REGISTRATION – Registration for vaccines starts on Friday for British Columbians 18 years and older. Starting today, more than 1.8 million people will be invited to register. People 40 years and older can register today, with those 35 and older becoming eligible on Tuesday. Registration continues on Wednesday for 30 and older, Thursday 25 and above. In order to get vaccinated you must register to get a confirmation number. That number will allow you to actually book an appointment. Individuals will then be notified by phone or online when they are able to book an appointment.

Sunday, April 18

FLYING VIRUS - Coronus virus is running wild, but airlines are still allowed to fly. Three more flights connected to Nanaimo are on the latest lists of flights with a case virus on board. Air Canada’s flight 2264, from Fort St. John to Nanaimo on April 12 had a case. Harbour Air flight (1150), on April 4, from Nanaimo to Vancouver, as well as an April 3 flight from Vancouver to Nanaimo (1123), were also listed. For more information, go to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control’s website.

RESTAURANT SHUT DOWN OVER VIRUS PROTOCOLS - Chakalaka Restaurant and Market south of Nanaimo has been closed by Island Health after it failed to follow provincial health orders. It was closed temporarily after management failed to create a COVID-19 safety plan, which violates orders set out by the provincial health officer. Island Health is now seeking an injunction set to be heard in Victoria on April 23. It’s the fourth foodservice business Island Health has ordered to close temporarily due to non-compliance with COVID-19 related orders since June. The co-owner of the business says they’re doing nothing wrong.

POLICE DOG BITE UNDER INVESTIGATION - A man who reportedly failed to heed a traffic stop in Ladysmith on Saturday morning suffered a severe injury when bitten by a police dog. The Independent Investigations Office is investigating the incident. Police attempted to stop a minivan, but the driver "reportedly did not stop," according to the IIO release. Police vehicles brought the van to a stop and the man was removed from the vehicle. A police service dog was used to assist in taking him into custody. The man sustained a serious dog bite injury and was transported to hospital for treatment." The IIO is looking for witnessew to the incident to contact its investigators at 855-446-8477 or via the contact form on the IIO website.

IN LIVING COLOUR - If you’ve been cruising around Nanaimo at night just to get out of the house, you’ll notice that the Bastion keeps changing color. This week, until April 24, is National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness week to focus on the critical need for more donors the Bastion will be green. In a couple of weeks teal, will spotlight food allergy awareness regarding different food allergies and improve public understanding of what can sometimes be a life-threatening condition. Keep watching as the colors of the rainbow manifest themselves throughout the next few months including bright red for Canada Day July 1.

Saturday, April 17

GOOD MORNING – Another great day in Nanaimo with more sunshine and record temperatures. This weather is forecast to hang around for most of next week, so enjoy it while you can.

BRITISH COLUMBIA HAS MORE ACTIVE CASES – B.C. added 29 more active Covid-19 cases since Thursday. There are 10,081 active cases going into the weekend. Health officials reported 1,005 new positive tests and six deaths. Of the new positive tests, 49 were in Island Health, 259 in Vancouver Coastal, 536 in Fraser Health, 110 in Interior Health and 51 in Northern Health.  health officials said there were 425 people in hospital, 127 of them in critical or intensive care. B.C. has recorded 117,080 positive tests, and 1,530 deaths. New modelling shows that new positive tests could climb as high as 3,000 per day if people do not reduce their contacts.

ONE MORE COVID CASE AT NRGH - Island Health has identified an additional case related to the outbreak declared on April 14 in the High Intensity Rehab Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. In total, four patients have tested positive related to this outbreak. Until further notice, no new admissions will be allowed to the High Intensity Rehab Unit, and staff working between other units is restricted. No patients from the unit will be transferred to long-term care or assisted living.

NO TRAILER RESIDENCY - A trailer is not a home as far as the Regional District of Nanaimo is concerned – it is illegal to live in a recreational vehicle. Patrick Kauwell has been told he has to leave the site where he has lived for two years in his fifth-wheel trailer on the 15-hectare farm on Maxey Road.

DIRECTOR OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS - When you have 750 players and 100 coaches you need greater oversight. To that end The Nanaimo Minor Hockey Asssociation (NMHA) named Gaelan Patterson to its new position of director of hockey operations. A new position has been created by Nanaimo Minor Hockey to oversee the development of its players and coaches. Patterson comes LaRonge, Sask., where he was assistant coach and assistant GM of the SJHL Ice Wolves.

DOZENS OF FLIGHTS ADDED TO COVID LIST – It is difficult to understand when officials look at domestic travel restrictions dozens more recent flights continue. More than three dozen flights have been added to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control list of coronavirus exposures in the past week. Eleven flights were added Wednesday and five more on Thursday and two dozen flights  earlier in the week.

HOCKEY RETURNS TO B.C. - The Canucks return to the ice Sunday to play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena. They haven’t played since March 24 due to a COVID-19 outbreak that swept through at least 21 players and five members of the coaching staff. General Manager Jim Benning confirmed players and staff were infected with the P.1 variant. Captain Bo Horvat was one infected players and he also gave it to his wife. His nine-month-old son, Gunnar, was not tested.

Province adds 29 additional active Covid-19 cases

British Columbia added 29 more active Covid-19 cases since Thursday. B.C. has 10,081 active cases going into the weekend. Health officials reported 1,005 new positive tests and six deaths.

Of the new positive tests, 49 were in Island Health, 259 in Vancouver Coastal, 536 in Fraser Health, 110 in Interior Health and 51 in Northern Health. Health officials said there were 425 people in hospital, 127 of them in critical or intensive care. 

The province has administered at least one dose of vaccine to about 23 per cent of the population.

New modelling shows that new positive tests could climb as high as 3,000 per day if people do not reduce their contacts.

Friday, April 16

HELLO NANAIMO - If you’re enjoying the fantastic weather, there’s plenty more where that came from. Environment Canada predicts more record-breaking hear on Vancouver Island this weekend with an expected high of 22 degrees through Sunday. 

CITY LOOKING AT NEW COMMUNITY CENTRE - The city’s finance and audit committee is set to spend $200,000 for a feasibility study for a new south end community centre south of Tenth Street. Parks and Recreation manager Richard Harding, said the project was an objective in the 2005 parks and rec master plan and has been put aside for many, many years. Coun. Sheryl Armstrong asked if the city could save the $200,000 for a feasibility study and use the design of the Oliver Woods Community Centre. Harding said a location hasn’t been identified, and there may also be opportunities to incorporate a number of different amenities into a south-end community centre.

TWO CHILDREN HURT IN ATV CRASH - Two children were taken to hospital after a quad accident at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh School in Cedar, Thursday, Both children were conscious when firefighters arrived and appeared to have cuts, bruises and scrapes. One children was airlifted to hospital and the other transported by ambulance.

NEW VIRUS CASES RISE - British Columbia's active case load of Covid 19 rose by 231 as the province declared 1,205 new positive tests for Covid 19 on Thursday. There are 1,052 active cases in B.C. Island Health had 31 positive tests, Vancouver Coastal Health region had 301 new cases, 730 in the Fraser Health region, 69 in the Interior Health region, 66 in the Northern Health region and one new case of people who reside outside of Canada. There were three deaths reported Thursday. This brings the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 1,524. to date, 1,235,863 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the province.

NO BUSINESS TAX FREEZE - Freezing business property taxes this year would result in a 4.3-per-cent increase for residential properties next year, something council has no appetite for. Councillors debated an earlier suggestion at the finance and audit committee meeting on Wednesday. A staff report stated this would increase the tax burden on the residential class, many of whom are also affected by the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic. Nanaimo businesses in 2020 brought in slightly more than $32 million in City revenue. This was expected to grow to $3.3 million in 2021.

Thursday, April 14

COVID OUTBREAK AT NRGH - Island Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital after three patients tested positive. The outbreak is limited to the High Intensity Rehab unit. The first patient tested positive on April 12 after becoming symptomatic. Island Health immediately implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning and contact tracing to protect the health of all patients, staff, medical staff and students. Follow-up testing identified two additional patient cases. 

NO RELIEF IN SIGHT FOR CORONAVIRUS - The Vancouver Island Health region has 537 active Covid-19 cases and 9,821 active cases in the province with 397 people in hospital, 120 in intensive care. Of the new cases, 341 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 632 were in Fraser Health, 64 in Island Health, 105 in Interior Health, and 26 in Northern Health. Health officials reported 1,168 new positive tests and six deaths from COVID-19 since their last update on Tuesday. To date, 1,190,832 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide.

TOXIC DRUG WARNING - A highly-toxic drug supply is causing overdoses to spike on Vancouver Island. Island Health says users of opioids and stimulants are at increased risk of overdose when injecting and inhaling drugs. The warning comes as British Columbia health officials marked five years since the province declared a public health emergency due to drug overdoses on Wednesday.

FLIGHTS CARRYING COVID DANGER - The B.C. Centre for Disease Control continues to add flights through B.C. airports to the list of possible COVID-19 exposures. And the airlines keep on flying. Nine flights were added on Sunday, nine more on Monday and six on Tuesday. Anyone who was on any of the flights listed should self-monitor for symptoms, self-isolate and seek testing if any develop. International travellers bound for Canada are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to board flights. No such rules exist for domestic travellers, but health officials have been warning against non-essential travel within Canada for months.

AIR SPACE TAX CHANGE COMING - Finance Minister Selina Robinson says charging businesses for air space above leased property is not fair and a solution is coming to help those businesses. Robinson discussed the tax Tuesday after a Vancouver business reported being dinged on the air space above its restaurant whose taxes went up by $6,000 this year because of the tax. He does not own the land, but he pays taxes and maintenance fees as part of the lease. Robinson said some property owners have rezoned their property for a split assessment, specifically marking the air space above their ground-level unit as residential. The issue, she said, is when property owners' lease agreements pass those taxes on to their tenant. The finance minister didn't give a timeframe for that fix, only saying that it would be coming "shortly."

MALCOLMSON PURSUES DRUG DECRIMINALIZATION - The B.C. government is making a formal request for a federal exemption to decriminalize personal drug possession. Sheila Malcolmson, the province’s minister of mental health and addictions, said it’s not about legalization, like what happened with marijuana. This is about possessing a small amount of drugs. So that will no longer be a crime,” said Malcolmson in a news conference. The point of decriminalization would be to address the stigma associated with drug use. She said the shame can prevent people from reaching out for help, which can be life-saving. Before anything is put in place, consultations will be held with Indigenous partners, peers, law enforcement, municipalities and public health officials, Malcolmson said.

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION - The discovery of a body on March 31 is now being investigated as a homicide. The victim was 58-year-old Randell Charles Thomas of Nanaimo. His picture is being released as investigators believe it may further the investigation. Thomas was discovered in bushes off a dirt walking trail, in the vicinity of Tamara Drive. 

NIGHTOWLS BASEBALL SEASON CANCELLED - If you were looking forward to some West Coast League baseball this summer, sorry, but the Nanaimo NightOwls and Victoria HarbourCats have shut down the season due to the pandemic. The NightOwls were gearing up to play their inaugural season at Serauxmen Stadium. After consultations with the West Coast League, the plug was pulled on the season as the coronavirus cases continue to surge and provincial health regulations create complications. Jim Swanson, GM of both teams, said there are simply too many things working against the teams, but they will be back in 2022. 

CATCH AND RELEASE ONLY - If the fabulous weather has you itching to go fishing for chinook salmon you're out of luck if you want to catch and keep. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has instituted a strict catch-and-release program. The chinook fishery is protected and the current measures are meant to protect the fish on their way to spawning grounds in the Fraser River.

 

Wednesday, April 14

FURTHER RESTRICTIONS LOOMING - Further pandemic restrictions could be coming as early as tomorrow. Premier John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed by cabinet today and will also likely examine the status of bookings for hotels, bed and breakfasts and camping sites. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry will announce any changes at Thursday’s regular briefing. The B.C. Restaurant and Food Association expects the temporary ban on indoor dining at restaurants to be extended into May. Industry groups met with Dr. Henry on Tuesday, and she indicated the restriction would need to be extended as virus cases remain alarmingly high.  

ISLAND HEALTH has reported 43 more Coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours. The province-wide count was 873 during the period. Tuesday's case count is preliminary, due to a reporting delay with the province's recording systems. The Island Health region has reported 4,082 cases since the pandemic began. Two more deaths were reported in B.C., bringing the province's death toll to 1,515. By Tuesday, 1,148,993 doses of vaccines had been given, including 87,785 second doses.

UPDATE – MISSING YOUTH HAS BEEN LOCATED – RCMP is calling on the public to help locate Damien Renz, 16, has been missing since Sunday.  If anyone has information on the whereabouts of these  two, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file #2021-12847. More details and photo.

GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PROBLEM - Coun. Erin Hemmens wants to know the who, what, when, where of the social problems plaguing Nanaimo. RCMP Acting Supt. Lisa Fletcher told a governance and priorities meeting RCMP attend approximately 400 mental health calls a month in the city. She said RCMP get people to the provincial care they need but have no control over how long they stay. Many of the people brought to care are back in the community with significant challenges. Hemmens wants the province to be aware we have a police force doing social work and resources don’t exist. “We don’t actually know how to solve this. I don’t even at this point know that the provincial government does.” The situation has the city looking at spending an additional $400,000 on security this year and $1.45 million-plus next year in downtown. READ MORE

TWO MORE YEARS IN JAIL - John Albert Buchanan will spend two more years in jail for bludgeoning a man to death in 2017. He was sentenced to six years plus four months, minus four years for time served. He had been charged with second-degree murder after Richard Sitar was found dead in his apartment near downtown in September 2017, but the relationship between the two men was a consideration for Judge Robin Baird, who found him guilty of manslaughter in January. He will serve his sentence at a provincial corrections facility. He was also handed a lifetime weapons ban.

 

Get a full report with all the details at https://www.nanaimonet.com/439961145

 

Tuesday, April 13

YOUTH ASSAULTED, STRIPPED NAKED - A 15-year-old youth was assaulted and stripped naked at a teen gathering Friday in the vicinity of Long Lake. While being assaulted he was forced to remove his clothes and walk home naked. A 16-year-old suspect began kicking and punching the victim in the head. The suspect threw the victim’s cell phone, wallet and shoes in the lake. He then ordered the victim to remove the rest of his clothing and walk home. The suspect was later arrested at another incident after a car accident. FULL STORY

CORONAVIRUS STATUS REPORT - Island Health reported 167 positive coronavirus tests over the three-day weekend. Across the province, health officials reported 3,289 positive tests and 18 deaths. Fraser Health continues to lead in new cases with 1,957 since Friday. Vancouver Coastal Health had 340, Interior Health has 299 while Northern Health reported 125. There are 368 people in hospital, 121 in intensive care. Vaccinations continue at a rapid pace with 1,112,101 doses administered province-wide. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said around 50 per cent of cases across the province had one of the variants of concern, primarily the U.K. variant. She said the province’s focus has been on keeping hospitalization and ICU rates low while balancing British Columbians’ mental and physical needs.

MANLY YOUTH COUNCIL - Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly has formed a youth advisory council to focus on the perspectives and priorities of youth. The council has met three times since it began in late February and council members decide on the focus of the meetings. Independent B.C. Senator Yuen Pau Woo will talk about the work of the Canadian Senate and answer questions at today’s Zoom session. Future meetings will focus on the path legislation takes from tabling to being enacted, as well as workshop a specific piece of legislation being debated in the House of Commons. The non-partisan Youth Advisory Council is open to youth 15-25 who live in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith. 

ORCAS ENTERTAIN AT LANTZVILLE - A pod of close to 20 Orca whales put on a show for humans on Sunday as they passed Neck Point and spent hours near Lantzville before moving on to Nanoose Bay. At one point it looked like the orcas might have been feeding on a sea lion, but mostly they just seemed playful, said Nicky Smiley, of Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings Facebook page. At one point it looked like the orcas might have been feeding on a sea lion, but mostly they just seemed playful, she said. There were lots of spy hops, tail slapping and breaching. See an earlier whale display near Nanaimo that photographer Doug Fisk shared.

FIRST NATION WANTS PROTESTERS GONE - The Pacheedaht First Nation has told old-growth logging protesters to leave its traditional territory. The land includes Fairy Creek, near Port Renfrew, that has been the centrepiece of a battle between anti-logging demonstrators who have set up blockades and forestry company Teal Jones. An injunction was served last week ordering the protesters to leave so that Teal Jones could resume work, but they have defied the order. Pacheedaht said its constitutional right to make decisions about forestry in its territory must be respected, and that it does not welcome “unsolicited interference,” including third-party activism.

THRONE SPEECH - The province is looking beyond Coronavirus as the speech from the throne shifted to other priorities including the economy, health care and taking on inequality. Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin delivered the speech yesterday, outlining its priorities more than a year after the pandemic began and amid a third wave of surging infections. FULL TEXT OF THE SPEECH

NIGHTMARE RETURN HOME – Global News has learned that entering Canada by air may not cost you more than $1,000 for a mandatory quarantine because the federal government will pay the whole bill. In fact, the government is providing free accommodation at one of the most comfortable spots on Toronto’s airport strip: all someone arriving from outside Canada needs to tell health officers is that they can’t afford the three-day package at one of the 19 hotels enrolled in the government program. But for one woman the quarantine experience was a nightmare. Read on.

Monday, April 12

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We hate to put a damper on the warm weather which is forecast to sweep across B.C. this week, but it could bring spring flooding. The B.C. River Forecast Centre says there is an elevated risk across B.C. due to snow measurements across the province being 12 per cent above normal. The bulletin flagged the Upper Fraser West, Central Coast, Stikine and Northwest snow packs as well above normal. Above normal snowpack is present on Vancouver Island, the Upper Fraser East, Nechako, Lower Fraser, Similkameen, South Coast,  Skagit, Peace, Skeena-Nass and Liard.

Vancouver Coastal Health plans to blitz Whistler by vaccinating all adults who live or work in the ski resort. Eligible residents aged 18 to 54 can get inoculations at the Whistler Conference Centre beginning today after online bookings started midday Sunday.

Fairview Elementary School in Nanaimo is among three Vancouver Island schools being warned about possible exposure to coronavirus. Edward Milne Community School and Glanford Middle School joined Fairview on the exposure list. Eighteen schools are on Island Health’s exposure list, with Cedar Hill Middle School and Dunsmuir Middle School reporting clusters. Island Health defines an exposure as a single person with a lab-confirmed infection who attended school during an infectious period.

There’s no further lockdown of businesses coming today, says Health Minister Adrian Dix. He responded to suggestions that further restrictions on businesses were coming as coronavirus infections continue to climb, particularly variant cases. Dix’s comment came as the government prepared for its throne speech this afternoon. It also responded to a B.C. Green Party call for a three-week lockdown to include schools and non-essential businesses as well as enforcing the non-essential travel ban.

If you were born in 1961 or earlier – age 60 and older – you can now register for your coronavirus inoculation. Nearly one million British Columbians have received their first shots. Indigenous people 18 and older, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable can register to book their appointment either online, through a call centre or at a Services BC Location.  As well, there is the pharmacy program for people between the ages of 55 and 65.

Vancouver fire chief Karen Fry wants the province to provide vaccines for first responders. She said staff are being compromised. The department’s more than 800 employees are already on the front lines of the overdose crisis and since March of last year, every call has come with the added risk of being exposed, Fry added. “We don’t have Plexiglas in front of us, we’re hands-on on the streets and we’re in people’s homes, said Fry, who wants firefighters and police vaccinated now.

Frontline workers will move to the head of the line as Canada shifts its coronavirus vaccination campaign to them, moving away from an age-based rollout. Essential workers, like daycare providers, bus drivers and meat packers, are all at higher risk of virus transmission. Provinces are now trying to adjust their strategy to tackle the surge driven by new variants. Targeting frontline workers and addressing occupation risk is vital if Canada wants to get its third wave under control, says Simon Fraser University mathematician and epidemiologist Caroline Colijn, who has modeled Canadian immunization strategies and found “the sooner you put essential workers (in the vaccine rollout plan), the better.”

Sunday, April 11, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s one of those grab bag weekends of good news and bad. We’re in for a week of sunshine and temperatures soaring to near 70 degrees (that’s 20 degrees for the young 'uns). 

B.C. Ferries is still battling mechanical difficulties on the Duke Point route. The Coastal Renaissance has cancelled sailings due to a mechanical issue. The ship crew is repairing a potential pinhole leak in the stern tube. 
The following revised schedule is in effect:
12:45 pm departing Duke Point
5:45 pm departing Duke Point
10:45 pm departing Duke Point

It was bizarre when a car smashed into a parked vehicle downtown Nanaimo on Saturday when a driver was knocked unconscious and a teenage passenger got out holding a baton. He was arrested when the cops arrived. 

In another crash, the jaws of life had to be employed to rescue a driver from a vehicle after a head-on crash in the Wellington area. Crews on scene said it appeared a sport-utility vehicle and cube van crashed head-on.

We can’t escape pandemic news because it isn’t going away. Canada reported 9,244 COVID-19 infections on Friday, a new single-day high. The record-breaking number comes amid surging hospitalizations as provinces impose further restrictions. A rise in variant cases have also forced hospitals in Ontario to stop performing all non-essential surgeries to free up hospital beds. Dr. Theresa Tam said the rapidly spreading variants have replaced the original virus, as more young people are getting sicker. 

Kids who develop virus symptoms may be sent home from school with easy-to-use testing kits, a gargle test. A new program through the BC Children’s Hospital aims to make testing more accessible and less stressful for kids, teens and parents. So far, it’s only in Vancouver, but likely to expand across the province. After using the gargle test, families can drop off the sample at a LifeLabs clinic for analysis.

Oops, not so fast – The Vancouver Canucks were scheduled to return to practice today, but that has been set back until Monday. As of now, they’ll be back in game action Friday against the Edmonton Oilers. Seven Canucks games have been postponed as a result of coronavirus cases that ripped through the organization in recent weeks. The decision to allow the Canucks to return to practice today was made by medical groups from the league, the NHL Players' Association and the team.

Saturday, April 10

VIRUS SURGE CONTINUES IN B.C. – The wave of Covid cases in B.C. continues with 1,262 cases reported on Friday as the province surpassed the one-million mark for vaccine doses distributed. B.C. has administered 1,025,019 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix described it as a significant milestone. The vaccine total includes 937,413 first doses – enough to protect 18 per cent of the province's population – and 87,606 second doses. The news wasn't all good, the active caseload is 9,574, the highest it's been since Dec. 21. Two people died, bringing the provincial death toll to 1,495.

LOCAL PHARMACIES TO PROVIDE VACCINATIONS - Five Nanaimo pharmacies are approved to provide Coronavirus vaccinations for residents 55-65 years old. The B.C. Pharmacy Association lists the following pharmacies as vaccination locations in Nanaimo: Costco, Medicine Shoppe at Terminal Park Mall and Cedar Road, Rexall on Dufferin Crescent and Southgate Centre. Some pharmacies ask that people book online, while others may allow drop-in service. You will need a personal health number, found on your CareCard or B.C. Services Card, to get vaccine. The pharmacy association notes that the list of participating pharmacies will change and will be updated at this link.

FRONT LINE VACCINES – There has been a lot of pressure to have front-line workers moved to the head of the line for Covid vaccines. Did you know that unvaccinated home care workers are calling on seniors in their homes daily? Imagine the possible spread that can create. 

NO VACCINES THROWN OUT - No unused virus vaccines are thrown out at the end of the day, says Dr. Michael Benusic. The primary objective with doses that are left over at the end of the day is to minimize vaccine wastage as much as possible. We know how precious every drop of vaccine is, he added. Vaccines are administered under the province’s vaccination protocol. Everyone is spoken for but if, at the end of the day, there is a dose leftover.

Police trying to identify supect in downtown stabbing

The Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect after a stabbing on April 1 at Port Place Mall. During an altercation, a man stabbed another man, inflicting minor injuries. The victim was taken to  Nanaimo hospital where he was treated and later released.

Police spoke with several witnesses and the victim and learned there was an exchange of words between the suspect and victim which ultimately lead to the altercation. 

The suspect is approximately 6 ft. 1, brown/blonde hair and was wearing a dark jacket and baseball cap. He was carrying a white/black backpack. If you have information on the identity of this mann, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2021-11682. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – The spike in Covid variant cases has businesses and public facilities looking for ways to curb the spread of the virus. A Nanaimo distributor for an ultra-violet device wants everyone to look at eliminating pathogens on their cell phones, computer keyboards and laptops. You can check it out here.

ONE-DAY RECORD OF VIRUS CASES - British Columbia set a new one-day record of 1,293 new Covid cases and two deaths in the lastest update on Thursday. Island Health had 80 new cases, 645 were in Fraser Health, 448 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 80 in Interior Health and 51 in Northern Health. Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix during reported 9,184 active cases in the province, 336 people in hospital, 101 in intensive care. MORE

NANAIMO MAINTAINS STEADY COURSE - The large increase in Covid-19 tests across the province has not changed Nanaimo’s case numbers. Greater Nanaimo had 74 new cases March 28-April 3, about the same as the 71 cases the week before. Greater Victoria was the Island’s hot spot for total new cases for a third-straight week, with 145. Nanaimo was next, followed by Oceanside with 58 and Sooke with 53. Vancouver Island West had five new cases, making it the Island’s hot spot on a capita basis.

HARBOUR AIR COVID ALERT - Two Harbour Air seaplane flights between Nanaimo and Vancouver, may have carried Covid cases. The BC Centre for Disease Control rerported the first possible exposure occurred April 3 on flight 1123 Vancouver to Nanaimo. The second was the next day, from Nanaimo to Vancouver.

SHORTAGE SLOWS VACCINATIONS - A number of people have commented on how few vaccines are being administered at the local vaccination centres. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick says it’s a matter of how much vaccine is available. There are still shortages and appointments are booked to meet the available supply.

HENRY ISSUES NEW HEALTH ORDER - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a new public health order Thursday for workplaces where virus transmission has occurred. If three or more workers are infected at a workplace, public health officials will be able to close it for 10 days or longer, Dr. Henry said, adding there are workplaces that cannot be closed, such as police stations, fire halls and grocery stores. She said those workplaces would be supported by health officials to remain open safely but did not specify exactly how. 

CITY SEEKING FEEDBACK ON BYLAW CHANGES - The City is seeking feedback from residents and property owners on proposed bylaw changes affecting the use of homes as short-term rentals. The City is also providing an opportunity for renters and landlords to share their experience finding and maintaining homes for rent.  Housing Affordability was among the top three concerns for community members who participated in the first phase of engagement for the City's Reimagine Nanaimo strategic policy review completed in January. Consistent with recognizing this concern, the surveys are part of ongoing implementation of the City’s 2018 Affordable Housing Strategy recommendations and the recently completed 2021 Health and Housing Action Plan. MORE

TWO TAKEN TO HOSPITAL AFTER FIRE - Firefighters from multiple volunteer fire departments joined forces to battle a blaze that destroyed a dwelling and sent two people to hospital Thursday afternoon. Extension, Cedar and Cranberry fire departments were joined by B.C. Ambulance Service and RCMP at a fire that destroyed a dwelling and sent two people to hospital Thursday afternoon. The fire was in a bus which had been converted into a dwelling on Nanaimo River Road. A man, who was in the bus when the fire broke out, got out on his own but was taken to hospital. A second man was also taken to hospital for what appeared to be a head injury. 

WASTE WATER TREATMENT PLANT UPGRADE COMPLETE - Go ahead, flush to your heart's content, the $82-million upgrade to the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre’s wastewater treatment system is complete. The Regional District  said the project adds secondary treatment to the centre’s current wastewater treatment and uses the solids and biogas produced during treatment to improve local environments and supplement plant operations. Solids that are extracted during the treatment process are treated further and used to enrich forest soils and reclaim industrial sites. Biogas produced during treatment will be used to heat the centre. Odours are mitigated by a new biofilter and carbon filters.

Prince Philip dies at age 99

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has died at age 99, Buckingham Palace said Friday. He was admitted to a London hospital on Feb. 17 and spent a month in hospital and was released on March 16. The Royal Family said he died at home. His illness was said to not be related to COVID-19 – the Queen and Philip were vaccinated against the coronavirus in early January. Philip retired from public duties in 2017 and had rarely appeared in public since.

Province has recorded 1,293 new Covid cases

British Columbia set a new one-day record of 1,293 new Covid cases and two deaths since their last update on Wednesday. Island Health had 80 new cases, 645 were in Fraser Health, 448 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 80 in Interior Health and 51 in Northern Health. Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix during reported 9,184 active cases in the province, 336 people in hospital, 101 in intensive care. MORE

Provincial Green Party seeks total shutdown
Green Party wants the government to implement a three-week lockdown that would include in-person school closures, a shutdown on non-essential businesses and enforcement of a ban on non-essential travel. Leader Sonia Furstenau said Thursday the province appears to be “forfeiting the fight altogether” on the rising number of COVID-19 variant cases, and is failing to step up to the challenge.

Dr. Henry issues workplace shutdown orders
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry issued a new public health order Thursday for workplaces where virus transmission has occurred. If three or more workers are infected at a workplace, public health officials will be able to close it down 10 days or longer, Henry said. She added there are many workplaces that cannot be closed, naming police stations, fire halls and grocery stores. She said those workplaces would be supported by health officials to remain open safely but did not specify exactly how. 

New business relief program announced
Businesses affect by the latest Coronavirus health orders will be able to get up to $10,000 from the provincial government. Minister of Jobs and Economic Recovery Ravi Kahlon said $50 million is expected to be handed out to 14,000 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, gyms and fitness centres through the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant. Those grants could be up to $10,000 to cover rent, insurance, wages, maintenance and utilities. It could also be used to cover costs that came up after the latest public health orders announced March 30 prohibited indoor dining and group adult fitness activities. MORE

Thursday, April 8, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – It’s amazing how many experts we have now related to the pandemic, many pretending to be more knowledgeable than the government health officials. Everyone seems to have an opinion, I guess they’re worth about what you pay for them.

RCMP INVESTIGATING DEATH - Nanaimo RCMP are investigating after a body was discovered in bushes adjacent to the Nanaimo Parkway March 31 near Tamara Drive, just east of the Nanaimo Parkway. Police, Fire and EHS responded. Despite emergency first aid efforts, the man could not be resuscitated and was later pronounced deceased. The family of the 58-year-old Nanaimo man have been notified.

67 NEW VIRUS CASES ON ISLAND - Island Health had 67 new cases of COVID-19 in the Wednesday update. Those were among 997 found across the province over the past 24 hours. Two people died, bringing the province's death toll to 1,491. The Island Health region has now reported 3,749 cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. There are 543 active cases in the Island region. An additional exposure was reported yesterday at Nanaimo District Secondary School. MORE

DRAUGHT BEER TO GO – The province is allowing the sale of draught beer in take-away growlers for a limited time during the pandemic. The sale and takeout was approved last summer for a limited time. Now that public health orders have again prohibited indoor dining, beer drinkers can get draught beer to go with the purchase of a meal until June 6. The rule applies to both food-primary and liquor-primary businesses.

VACCINATIONS ON TRACK ON ISLAND - About 20 per cent of eligible residents have been vaccinated for Coronavirus, says Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick. He said  the health authority is on track to reach the province-wide goal of vaccinating every resident by July 1. He was responding to concerns from residents who have shared stories and photos of empty vaccination clinics on the Island. The limiting factor continues to be vaccine. He said the region’s vaccine efforts continue to ramp up, adding they’ve been promised that there will be more vaccine coming.

HOMELESS PROJECT UNDER WAY - Work is about to get under way on a new 50-unit housing complex on Nicol Street for homeless people. Island Crisis Care Society will operate the facility. The four-storey building in the 700 block of Nicol will feature 52 studio suites and seven units with two beds each that will be available to vulnerable women. Staff will provide support 24/7 at the facility, with meals and laundry services available as well as access to mental health and wellness supports.

Recovered tools turned over to RCMP

0407 - Nanaimo RCMP have a number of hand tools that were found in south Nanaimo by a city employee this morning.  The tools were in good condition and were turned over to the Nanaimo RCMP for safekeeping. See full details and photos HERE

Wednesday, April 7

COME ON! TAXING THE AIR WE BREATHE – Government has a tax on everything except the air we breathe. Hold the phone, our provincial government is now hitting some businesses with an airspace tax under the guise of the provincial vacancy tax. The tax, which ranges from 0.5 to 2 per cent of a property’s assessed value, was implemented by the province in 2018 as a way to turn vacant homes and land into housing. Kitsilano restaurant owner Dan Rodriguez says the provincial government considers the open air above his restaurant to be vacant space that could be filled with apartments or condo units. He’s now being taxed on the property’s perceived potential. Read Brian Peckford’s comment. Tell us what you think – editor@nanaimonet.com

CITY EYES NEW STADIUM PROJECT - The Larry McNabb Sports Complex on Third Street is the hub of sports activity in Nanaimo, but there’s room for more. The city is looking at a possible medium-sized stadium with seating anywhere between 3,000 and 12,000 seats. It would mesh well with the Rotary Bowl grandstand, Serauxmen baseball stadium and the NDSS field. Rotary Bowl can seat about 5,500 while Serauxmen Stadium’s current 900-seat capacity is expected to grow to around 1,500 in the coming years. The development of a medium-sized stadium would position Nanaimo region to host more multi-sport events along with provincial and national tournaments. See Feeback. Tell us what you think – editor@nanaimonet.com

ISLAND REPORTS 73 NEW COVID CASES - Island Health reported 73 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths since the last update on Monday. There were 1,068 new cases across the province raising the total to date to 105,988 with the death toll at 1,489. Fraser Health had the highest count with 492 cases, Vancouver Coastal Health 352 with 106 in Interior Health, and 43 in Northern Health. There are 585 active cases on Vancouver Island – seventeen people are in hospital with four in critical care. A total of 298 cases on Vancouver Island in the past five days, were 91 cases in the 20-29 age group that is increasingly becoming infected. Forty-eight cases are in people aged 30-39 and 46 cases are in people ages 10-19. Infections in the 20-29 group have increased 15 per cent since March 29.

RECOGNIZING VOLUNTEERS - Volunteering is all about personal reward from making a contribution to the society you live in. But that doesn’t say there should not be some form of tangible recognition. A number of mid-island municipal bodies have backed a private member’s bill to increase the income tax credit for volunteers to $10,000 a year, from $3,000. The Nanaimo Regional District joined Parksville, Qualicum Beach and fire departments in the electoral areas supporting Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns’ bill. Under existing tax rules, volunteer firefighters and search and rescue volunteers have to put in at least 200 hours per year with their local fire department or search and rescue organizations to be eligible for the tax credit. Tell us what you think – editor@nanaimonet.com

 

Tuesday, April 6

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – If you want a real lift these days, The Harbour City Photography Club has a series of presentations by local photographers on Shaw TV. They’s also on YouTube so you can view at your convenience. It’s definitely worth checking out. Connect any time to enjoy the sights and talents of Vancouver Islanders HERE.

FAMILY NEEDS YOUR HELP - Regina Hampson suffered a gunshot in the face while attending to a mental health crisis at her home Saturday in North Nanaimo. Her roommate was attempting self-harm when she stepped in and in the struggle she suffered gunshot wounds to her face and hand. Medical services are trying to save her right eye and her thumb. She is in pain and longs to be with her three children and other family and friends. A GoFundme has been started to support her and her family while she is in hospital in Vancouver. The GoFundMe is now at close to $14,000. To view or donate, click here.

HUGE PLANE OVER HARBOUR WEDNESDAY - Don’t be surprised if you see a large airplane flying above and along the Nanaimo harbour at about noon on Wednesday. The flight will involve a large transport category jet aircraft, flying over the harbuor to assess and verify the safety and performance of the Nanaimo harbour airport. It will take about 15 minutes. NAV Canada is working with the Nanaimo Harbour Master and the Nanaimo Airport Manager. 

VACCINE APPOINTMENTS ONLINE NOW - Here you go, you can now book your Covid vaccine appointment online. The province has launched an online portal that will allow you to do exactly that. Effective today, if you were born in 1950 and earlier (71 and older), Indigenous peoples 18 and older, and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable may register to book their vaccine appointment. It can be found at gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated. To book an appointment over the internet, follow these three steps:
Register: First, register when it is your turn and get a confirmation code.
Book: Book a vaccine appointment when you get an email, text or phone call informing that you are eligible to book, based on your age.
Get vaccinated: Visit a vaccine clinic to get your vaccine dose.
First reports on the online booking system  has gone through the first morning without crashing. By 11 a.m. today, 93,031 people registered for their vaccine through the Get Vaccinated system. This includes 82,249 people registered using the online tool and 10,872 registered using the new province-wide phone system.

 ISLAND HAD 100 MORE COVID CASES - Health officials reported 100 new positive tests for Coronavirus in Island Health between Saturday and Monday. Province-wide, there were 1,889 new cases since the Saturday update. There were 23 deaths since April 1. The province had 999 cases from Saturday to Sunday, and another 890 the following day. In a rare Saturday update, health officials reported 2,090 new cases for the 48-hour period prior — including 147 new cases in Island Health — since their last update on April 1. The four-day case count is  4,040, for a total of 104,061 since the pandemic began. The province’s death toll is 1,486. Of the new cases recorded since Saturday, Fraser Health had 986, Vancouver Coastal Health recorded 579, with 129 in Interior Health, and 95 in Northern Health.

Add your view to the discussion at FEEDBACK

Duke Point ferry schedule chaotic due to mechanical issues

The ferry schedule out of Duke Point is in chaos with the cancelation of numerous sailings due to mechanical issues on the Queen of New Westminster. The 7:45 a.m., 12:45 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. sailings from Duke Point are cancelled through Friday, April 6-9.  For more information, visit www.bcferries.com.

Monday, April 5

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Coun. Sheryl Armstrong is frustrated with the catch-and-release system that allows charged people into the community until their court date. Armstrong gave notice that she’ll introduce the issue at the next council meeting. Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb recently sent a letter to Premier John Horgan calling for stronger sentencing for prolific and repeat offenders and accuses the judiciary of failing to consider the threat to public safety. Armstrong said they should not necessarily be kept in jail but asked why they can’t be put on electric monitoring while awaiting trial or charges, so we know where they are, so there’s safety for the public? What do you think? Letter to the Editor 

VACCINE REGISTRATION GOING ONLINE – The province is set to launch a provincewide online booking system this week for Covid vaccinations as variants of concern make up a rising number of cases. The Fraser region is the only one where residents can book an appointment online instead of risking an hours-long wait when booking by phone. The province has seen a surge in infections, surpassing 1,000 cases three times last week as more pharmacies administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to people between the ages of 55 and 65.

FARNWORTH TALKS TOUGH  – Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is fed up with businesses putting staff and patrons at risk by remaining open in defiance of Covid rules. He says they will face consequences. A Vancouver restaurant that served customers indoors was slapped with a closure notice on Saturday, which its owner has indicated she intends to ignore. “There most certainly will be consequences for those openly ignoring and defying orders that are intended to keep British Columbians safe,” he said. Anyone hosting a non-compliant event can be issued a $2,300 fine, while individuals face a $575 fine. What do you think? Letter to the Editor

CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE - When one process doesn’t work, try another one. There’s a new look coming to Chase River. A 213-unit apartment complex has the go ahead after city council approved a development permit last week. The project is on Junction Avenue at Tenth Street and Lawlor Road. The property was rezoned for mixed-use corridor development in 2019 but needed a variance related to the watercourse setback along Wexford Creek. A staff report stated that the creek is being realigned and the new course will allow the needed riparian area. 

VIRUS REPORTED AT WELLINGTON SECONDAY - The end of spring break has seen five more schools on the Island Health list of virus exposures since Thursday, bringing the total to six. One of those is at Wellington Secondary. The Wellington exposure happened on March 29 and 30. In a school setting in B.C., an "exposure" to COVID-19 is defined as the presence of a lab-confirmed case of the coronavirus in a school during the infected person's period of communicability. Island Health sent a letter to school districts saying health officials expected significant numbers of exposures in schools, mirroring the recent rise in cases on Vancouver Island and across B.C. 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - We’re half way through the long weekend, and Ferries have been busy since last week in spite of health official pleading with British Columbians to stay home. That appears to indicate that more and more people have had enough and are prepared to take the risks. It will be interesting to note how the virus figures react over the week and beyond.

VIRUS CASES SOAR LEADING INTO WEEKEND - Island Health had 147 new positive tests for coronavirus in the two days leading up to Easter. The province announced 2,090 new cases from April 1 to April 3 in line with the dramatic increases in the last week. About half of the cases were in the Fraser Health region, with Vancouver Coastal Health lagging by only a few hundred cases. People 72 and over and Indigenous people over 18 can now make their appointments for the vaccine. The AstraZeneca vaccine is being expanded to more communities, including Nanaimo, through the BC Pharmacy Association.  Nationally, Canada surpassed 1,000,545 confirmed cases on Saturday, with 23,050 deaths to date.

LOST SNOWSHOERS RESCUED NEAR MT WASHINTON - Three lost snowshoers were rescued from Mount Brooks, near Mount Washington, Friday evening. One of them had a leg injury that was serious enough 442 Squadron to airlift the lost snowshoers to safety. On top of that, they were lost, said Paul Berry, of Comox Valley SAR, They thought they were on Mount Elma but were actually on Mount Brooks. Their GPS was indicating that Mount Brooks, however, it was leading them away from the Mount Washington resort instead,” said Berry.

NEW LAW HITS INVESTMENT FRAUDSTERS - Former ­investment advisers, including Ian Thow, may have trouble getting new ­driver’s licences or renewing vehicle insurance for failure to pay fines owing to the B.C. Securities Commission. Thow was found guilty of defrauding 20 clients, including some from Nanaimo, of $8 million. He owes $250,000. David Michael Michaels who defrauded investors of more than $40 million, owes the commission $22.1 million. It says that Canada’s first such law, passed in 2019, has come into effect, giving the commission powers to block driving privileges if the amount owed is $3,000 or more.

Saturday, April l3,2021

SHOT FIRED IN NORTH END HOME - Emergency crews responded to a north Nanaimo home after a shot was fired. One person was taken to hospital early Saturday morning in what  Const Gary O’Brien described it as a mental health crisis. “A firearm was involved and an individual in the home was struck with an errant shot. . .” The person in crisis left the home and was found a short time later and is receiving the needed care. The victim was taken to hospital with undetermined injuries.

VIU TEACHER AWARDED MEDAL - Congratulations to VIU anthropology teacher Imogene Lim who has been lauded by the provincial government for her activism and her advocacy for heritage. She has been awarded the Province of B.C. Medal for Good Citizenship for her “outstanding service and commitment to helping others in their communities,” said the government notice. Lim has been a strong voice for social justice with a Chinese-Canadian historical perspective, said the press release. Her work has includes advocacy for lands in Cumberland’s Coal Creek Historic Park, which was the site of former Chinese and Japanese towns and she was part of a group that established a Nanaimo Chinatown heritage plaque.

A GREAT DAY FOR SENIORS AND FAMILIES - Thursday was an emotional day at long-term and residential care homes across the province, as families got to hug and visit with loved ones for the first time since near the beginning of the pandemic. Many restrictions were lifted Thursday at long-term and residential care homes. Residents of the homes can now socialize and dine together inside the homes, with layers of protection and physical distancing in place. More than one friend or family member is now allowed to visit a resident and, at long last, residents are allowed to go outside and into the community.

FERRY SAILINGS DISUPTED - Sailing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen had to turn around and return to the dock due to unruly an anti-masker raising a stink. The sailing from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen had to turn around and return to the dock, so the man could be escorted off the boat by police.

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS – apparently don’t mean much to some British Columbians. Despite health authorities pleading the public to stay home this weekend, BC Ferries were extremely busy. The government calls on residents to stay in place and refrain from travelling throughout the province, however, there isn’t an official mandate to restrict movement at this time. The influx of travellers has heightened anxiety in remote First Nations communities as well.

13 CANUCKS NOW ON COVID LIST - A shadow hangs over the rest of the Vancouver Canucks season as the number of players on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols climbed to 13 near the end of the day, along with three coaching staff. Seven of the players and one coach were confirmed to have tested positive earlier Friday. Global News later learned an additional five players and two more coaches had also received positive test results. 

VIRUS SHOTS COULD BECOME ANNUAL - Coronavirus vaccinations could become an annual affair. A leading Canadian virologist says that could result in the future as the virus continues to mutate and produce new variants. "It may even become endemic, which means that every year when we get our flu shot, we'll be getting our coronavirus shot for whatever variants are circulating at that specific time," said Marc-André Langlois of the University of Ottawa is leading the new Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network.

NANAIMO FLIGHT FLAGGED FOR VIRUS - A Nanaimo flight was among 19 flights added coronavirus exposure list from Monday to Wednesday by the Centre for Disease Control.  Air Canada/Jazz flight 8261 on March 26 from Vancouver to Nanaimo (rows one to six) was added to the list. The most recent additions to the list either took off from or landed at a B.C. airport between March 17 and 29. There was only one international flight on the list.

Duke Point sailings affected for Saturday morning

The Queen of New Westminster has cancelled sailings on Satuday, April 3, due to a mechanical issue that is currently being investigated:
5:15 am departing Tsawwassen
7:45 am departing Duke Point
Supplimentary service will be provided by the Coastal Celebration on the following scheduled sailings:
10:15 am departing Tsawwassen
12:45 pm departing Duke Point

When in doubt, slap another tax on it

April 1, 2021

It’s easy to play with other people’s money, and now the banks are getting on board, as if they were not already. One bank suggests that to slow down housing market, institute a capital gains tax on your home. That should do it, surely slow down housing and raise the prices. Market shortages usually result in higher prices. Tell me again, don’t we have a housing shortage? This will slow down the market all right, and put a lot of people out of work – carpenters, plumbers, electricians, painters, suppliers and a whole lot more. Tell me, don’t these people think before they open their mouths? More effective would be an interest rate increase which would help retired investors. It once again reinforces that those in charge try to solve a problem by slapping a tax on it.

Friday, April 2, 2021

ISLAND REPORTS 53 NEW VIRUS CASES - The Island Health region had 53 new coronavirus tests for the reporting period on Thursday. They are part of 832 new cases for the whole province with five additional deaths in that span. Island Health has reported 139 cases an additional cases within its authority over the past three days. Island Health has reported 336 new cases in the past week. A total of 296 are in hospital with 79 in critical care. There have been 90 new confirmed variant cases of concern in the province, for a total of 2,643 cases.

SHUTDOWN DEFLATING FOR MANY - Disappointment must have a new meaning for the folks at the Old City Station Pub which finally opened on Monday after being closed for a year. They spent a ton of money and hours trying to get it open again. Then came the new health order shutting them down for dine-in and alcohol. Imagine the kegs of beer and all the food that may go to waste. You’ve got to feel for those in the hospitality industry who took a bunch more money out of their pockets and throw it away. Not to mention all the staff that were hired, trained and made arrangements in their lives for one shift.

RESTAURANTS NEED GOVERNMENT RELIEF - With the number of people living pay cheque to pay cheque or tip jar to tip jar, the lockdown is overwhelming for some businesses, says Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kim Smythe. “The restaurant industry, particularly, needs real support at this time. We can only hope that three weeks really does end up being three weeks”, he says in a prepared statement.

HAPPY DAYS AHEAD - Well, we got Pfizerised yesterday. It was very well organized and a smooth operation from start to finish. There were none of the hurdles from the early stages of the appointment process. Now a couple of my buddies suggest we can resume our weekly old pharts coffee sessions. Looking forward to it, they have also been vaccinated, so what could go wrong?

ALL HUNG UP – It appears you cannot buy an Apple Iphone outright in Nanaimo. I have searched all over and the only way to get one is to sign up for a two-year contract with regular monthly payments included in a phone plan. Or you can order via Internet directly from Apple to go to an Apple store on the Lower Mainland. If you know if anyone sells them in Nanaimo, please let me know.

AVOID SPREADING CORONAVIRUS – B.C. Ferries are packed in spite of Island Health urging people to avoid the high-risk activities that have pushed COVID-19 cases to an all-time high throughout our region. With this long weekend and important religious holidays that normally bring friends and family together, Island Health wants everyone to closely follow the orders and guidelines put in place by the Provincial Health Officer. The global pandemic continues to be an extremely challenging experience for so many and people are understandably experiencing COVID fatigue. Island Health’s Public Health team has noted some concerning trends recently.

COURT GRANTS INJUNCTION TO LOGGING COMPANY - The B.C. Supreme Court has granted an injunction for logging company Teal-Jones to remove protestors and blockades near Port Renfrew. The judge in the case also granted Teal-Jones’ request for police enforcement, saying it is required in this case, as there is “little or no likelihood the injunction order will be respected otherwise.” The judge said Teal-Jones’ activities are “lawful.” The protesters are “misguided, their conduct is illegal and undermines the rule of law,” he said. Meanwhile, Lantzville council voted to ask the government to stop the logging.

HELP SOUGHT TO FIND CLAUDETTE BOULIANNE - Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 53-year-old Claudette Boulianne, who has been not been seen since March 25. Boulianne was reported missing on March 29th by a family member to the Nanaimo RCMP. She had told her family that she would travel to Courtenay for a day trip but she did not return as expected. Her disappearance is out of character and as a result, her family is worried for her safety and well-being.

MOUNT WASHINGTON SEASON ENDS - And finally, Mount Washington ski resort is closing for the season, effective after Monday. The resort declared the season a success. About 800 centimetres of snow fell at the top of the mountain resulting in great conditions most of the winter but the season was mostly about staying safe and staying open.

April 1, 2021

SENIORS VISITS NOW ALLOWED - Starting today, restrictions on visitiation to long-term care homes and assisted living facilities will allow seniors to get visitors. Up to two visitors plus a child are able to visit for a maximum of 60 minutes. Included in the changes: family and friends are able to visit their loved ones in their own rooms without staff monitoring. Physical distancing requirements between residents are also removed and they will once again be able to resume some communal dining and small-group social activities. The requirement to isolate for 14 days upon admission is eliminated for those who are vaccinated.

UNION TELLS CITY TO BUTT OUT - The union representing many forestry workers says City Council should not stick its nose in on the old-growth logging debate. Council on Monday called on the province to suspend the logging of old-growth forests. Coun. Ben Geselbracht’s motion called on the B.C. government to suspend the logging of the rarest and most intact old-growth forests. “We think it’s wrong for Nanaimo City Council to bring the motion forward and certainly to pass it. Forest issues are very complex,” said Brian Butler, President of United Steelworkers Local 1-1937. This comes on the eve of a court decision on an injunction application by forest company Teal Jones. It wants a blockade at Fairy Creek, near Port Renfrew, removed. Protesters at the blockade are trying to halt an old-growth logging operation in the area.

THE TAX MAN HATH COME – If you didn't fill up your car’s gas tank last night you'll certainly pay more today. New tax measures kicked in at midnight on a wide range of everyday expenditures. The B.C. carbon tax increase will make everything even more expensive. The price of food, the price of gas, just about everything. Expect to spend as much as $5 more to fill up your car, and that spreads throughout the economy. "You increase the cost of everything," said Kris Sims, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. You increase the cost of driving to work, the cost of heating, the cost of eating and trucking costs will rise. Farmers will feel their purse strings tighten because they pay that same tax on natural gas, which is used for drying grain. If you like soft drinks, they are now be taxed the seven-per-cent provincial sales tax. The same tax also applies to streaming services.

VIRUS CASES SET A RECORD - Vancouver Island reported 47 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, part of the record one-day total of 1,013 cases across the province over the past 24 hours. That sent the B.C. total to 100,048 cases since the pandemic began. Officials have now recorded 3,324 cases in the island region since the pandemic began. The region has 404 active cases. Of 364 active cases in the island region Wednesday, 181 in the South Island, 156 Central Island and 27 North Island. 

NOT SMOOTH SAILING - The union representing B.C. Ferries crews are upset after dining on the fleet’s vessels has been exempted from a new public health order. As of Monday, B.C. restaurants must cease all indoor service until April 19. The BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union’s second vice-president Carl Campbell said he’s frustrated that Ferries was given an exception to continue food service work while ferry workers haven’t been given special consideration for vaccines. The union wants Ferries to either stop food service or to arrange vaccination for staff. BC Ferries said its cafeterias would continue to operate with limited seating to ensure customers are physically distanced.

ASTRA-ZENECA VACCINE REDIRECTED – It’s doubtful that many Islanders will be up in arms after learning that some of the AstraZeneca vaccine destined for Vancouver Island is instead being administered on the Lower Mainland. The government recently permitted pharmacies in both Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities to begin immunizing those between ages 55 to 65 with the AstraZeneca vaccine. Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said hundreds of the vaccine were intended for Vancouver Island. “We only received 1,000 doses and we administered only 427 of those, and returned the rest to the Lower Mainland,” Stanwick said. Island Health says Island residents will get Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in its clinics.

PUBLIC WORKS EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZED - Congratulations to three city public works staff who have been recognized for outstanding service. Angela Mowatt received the Dedicated Service Award for a Public Works employee who demonstrates exemplary service when performing their day-to-day responsibilities. Ritchie Fulla got his award for going above and beyond day-to-day responsibilities. John Elliot was honoured for exemplifying the spirit and professionalism of Public Works and the Public Works Association. 

March 31

JUST SO YOU KNOW – Tomorrow is April Fool’s day, but we’ve got an early one for you and it’s no joke. On April 1, Members of Parliament get an automatic raise of around 1.8 per cent based on similar average raises negotiated with major corporate unions. MPs now get a base salary of $182,000 annually, while cabinet ministers take in $269,800. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will get an estimated raise of $6,400 added to his current salary of $365,200, plus whatever falls off the back of the turnip truck.

COVID SHOTS AT PHARMACIES - British Columbians 55 to 65 years old can book appointments to get their Coronavirus vaccine at pharmacies, starting today. Drop-in service may be an option at more than 150 participating pharmacies and people must bring their personal health number with them.

LOWER MAINLAND GETTING ASTRA-ZENECA - British Columbia is bumping up its age-based vaccination plan by offering Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to Lower Mainland residents between 55 and 65 after provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a pause on use of the vaccine for anyone under 55 amid concerns about rare blood clots. Dr. Henry says the vaccine is highly effective and the benefits to those over age 55 far outweigh the very real risks of getting COVID-19. The news comes amid a COVID-19 surge, with 840 new daily cases Tuesday but no new deaths.

NO NOTICE OF SHUTDOWNS – We’ve seen a number of posts from restaurants that have been forced to shut down due to the renewed pandemic restrictions. It’s not so much the shutdown but the lack of sufficient notice so they could use up food already in stock. They have a good point, what do you think? editor@nanaimonet.com

LONGLAKE OUTBREAK LIKE MODERATE COLD - An COIVD outbreak at Longlake Chateau was blunted by vaccine, says Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health. The most severe symptoms noted at the independent living facility are similar to a moderate cold and totally tolerable. He recalled that before seniors in long-term care facilities were immunized, the virus fatality rate was 20 per cent in those populations. “So compare a mild cold to probably one or two of those people dying, had they not had the vaccine. That speaks to how effective that single dose is,” Dr. Stanwick said. 

CONTACT TRACING NETS FOUR FOR EVERY CASE - Contact tracing has led to more than four people sent into self-isolation when they’ve been in contact with someone who has the virus. Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said that’s a significant increase likely due to the more contagious variants and more social interaction. It’s becoming more common for low-risk contacts to test positive at their day-seven asymptomatic test, indicating that the variants of concern really are more contagious than the dominant strain. 

TAXI DRIVER BEAR SPRAYED - A man was arrested after a taxi driver was assaulted with bear spray. RCMP said the incident happened early Tuesday after a passenger left a cab without paying and was followed by the taxi driver. Const. Gary O’Brien said the passenger was picked up at Fifth Street at about 4 a.m. and driven to Bowen Road. The suspect started to walk away and the taxi driver followed on foot. The taxi driver was threatened and at one point he was hit in the face with bear spray, O’Brien said, adding that the suspect fled. The 33-year-old suspect was later arrested and has been released to appear at future date.

CITY SEEKS $2.5 MILLION FROM FUND - City council has approved going after $2.5 million through the Strengthening Communities’ Services program, which is offered by the federal government and administrated by the Union of BC Municipalities. City staff drafted 11 projects which would equal roughly $2.5 million. It includes two temporary housing structures, an outreach team, additional funding for Nanaimo’s rent bank and further security throughout the downtown and Old City Quarter. Dale Lindsay, general manager of development services, said the City envisions two temporary modular units housing up to 10 people that could cost $475,000 for the structures and staffing.

LANTZVILLE LEGION CLOSED - Branch 257 Royal Canadian Legion is closed until April 20, to comply with the orders from BC Health. President Frank Mezzatesta announced the office will also be closed as well, but phones will be monitored daily or you can e-mail secretary257@shaw.ca. If you know a member who doesn't have an e-mail please pass on important information.

SURPRISE REAL ESTATE LISTING - Imagine your house being put on the market without your knowledge. Oak Bay Police are investigating the unusual incident where a house was listed for sale without the owner’s knowledge. Police found that an unknown person claiming to be the owner had contacted a property management company and convinced the company that he had changed his e-mail address and provided a new phone number while signing the contact e-mail with the name of the true property owner. It gets complicated. See the whole story.

CASH INFUSION FOR AIRPORT - Nanaimo Airport has been thrown a $720,000 lifeline from the B.C. government. Passenger numbers have dropped significantly during the pandemic. Airport president and CEO Dave Devana said the money will ensure business continues at YCD. Losses have been mounting for a year and the money will provide some relief, enabling people to remain employed, he said.

WILL COUNCIL CHICKEN OUT? - Qualicum Beach council has voted to end a pilot project allowing residents to have up to six chickens in their backyard. They voted unanimously against continuing the program, saying that the chickens attract rats and raccoons. However, that’s not sitting well with Mayor Brain Wiese who said he will bring it back for reconsideration at a future council meeting.

NEVER TOO EARLY – Norm Smith is not letting any grass grow under his feet, he has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2022 municipal election for a city council seat. He made the announcement on social media saying he had come close last time and looks to build on that in the next year and a half. He had 5,824 votes in the 2018 election, finishing tenth. Smith retired from the RCMP just before the last election.