Thursday, May 6

HOW TO SLOW 'EM DOWN - Motorists appear to be treating a stretch of Departure Bay Road like the Indianapolis Speedway, and city staff want to do something to slow them down. It’s especially worrisome in summer when there are more pedestrians passing Departure Bay Beach and Kinsman Park between Wingrove and Bay streets. City data shows about 13,000 vehicles pass that way daily, but in summer more cyclists and pedestrians are sharing the road or crossing to and from the beach. They have looked at numerous options, including speed bumps which are not desirable.

VACCINES FOR KIDS - B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has welcomed the approval of Pfizer vaccine for children as young as 12. She said the approval is good news and the province is planning on integrating that into the current vaccination program. Dr. Henry says approximately 300,000 children in B.C. should be vaccinated by the end of the school year. The other provinces moved quickly to also approve the vaccine, including Alberta.

PREGNANT WOMEN GET SHOTS - Expectant women 16 years old and up are now eligible for Covid vaccines and they are a priority in the immunization plan. "All Health Canada-approved vaccines are safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to register and receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible. This includes women who are pregnant," Dr. Bonnie Henry said. Prioritizing their vaccination adds another layer of protection, she said, for those people as well as their babies.

HORSESHOE BAY DISTRUPTION - Cliff maintenance work at Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal until June 20 will cause some disruption. Public washrooms and the Karma Café on that side or the parking lot will be closed. Traffic patterns may be modified to accommodate the work, so customers are asked to follow the direction of staff.

May 5 Coronavirus report

Nanaimo Parkway reopens after crash site cleared

UPDATE - The Nanaimo Parkway opened this afternoon after the wreckage was cleard.

A 35-year-old woman driving one of the trucks was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The 71-year-old male driver of the other truck was not injured. He remained at the scene and co-operated with investigators.

EARLIER REEPORT - The northbound lane of the Nanaimo Parkway is closed to traffic after two northbound semi-trailers collided at approximately 7:40 a.m. The collision occurred approximately 200 meters north of the Island Highway and Northfield Road intersection. 

One of the two drivers involved in the collision was injured and was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries. Northbound traffic is being re-routed eastbound at the Northfield Road to Bowen Road. Southbound traffic has not been interrupted. If at all possible, motorists are asked to avoid this area and take an alternate route.

Wednesday, May 5

THE JOYS OF MAYORHOOD – Our fearless leader Sir Leonard of Krog has a vast lineup of duties including herding pets, it seems. Dogs are not allowed on our public beaches from May to the end of September. And you’d better adhere to the rules, there’s a $150 fine if you take Rover on the beach during that time. And if you see someone flaunting the law, you can report them to Animal Control at 250-616-0233. But fret not, dogs are more than welcome at one of Nanaimo's other parks, including our 12 off-leash areas found throughout the City, says His Worship.

DRUG SUPPORT LAUNCHED - Island Health has launched an awareness campaign for men who use drugs to help prevent overdose deaths and support men to break the silence about their drug use. Last year in the Island Health region, 263 people died from illicit drug toxicity. Of those people, 225 were men - and 126 of them were in a private residence when they overdosed. 

BOY DO WE CREATE GARBAGE – We’re producing so much garbage the fleet of trucks has to be enlarged. City Council has approved borrowing up to $460,000 for a new automated garbage truck. It will be the second new truck introduced as we grapple with more waste and how garbage, recycling and compost are collected. It will take until the new year for the new truck. Since late January, crews collect both landfill and recycling each day from two zones in the City. This cuts down on wasted time waiting in line at the landfill to increase the amount of garbage and recycling collected.

WE’RE GETTING THERE - Slightly more than 40 per cent of those within the Island Health region have got their first dose of virus vaccine. The data, to May 2, shows that 40.7 per cent of eligible people received their first shot, and 1.8 per cent have their second. That’s similar to other health authorities like Fraser Health (41.7 per cent), Northern Health (40.5 per cent), and Interior Health (40.2 per cent) while Vancouver Coastal is slightly behind with 38.5 per cent of its eligible population vaccinated.

Nanaimo business man Norman McNabb dies

Norman and Edna McNabb

Nanaimo business icon Norman McNabb died Tuesday morning. A family member said he had suffered from congestive heart failure. Norm was predeceased by his wife Edna on December 8, 2020. They had been married for 65 years.

Norman was born in Canwood, Saskatchewan in 1933 to Dalton and Pearl McNabb. He had all of his schooling in Big River and was always active in sports.

Hockey was his passion and after leaving school he played for the Prince Albert Junior Mintos. He graduated to senior hockey in Saskatchewan and Alberta before returning to Big River, where he married Edna Sundby. He was a playing coach for the Big River Braves in the '60s, as well as coaching younger teams.

Norman and Edna had six children, all born in Big River: Darcy, Lance, Shelley, Terry, Tanis and Gwen. They all moved to Nanaimo with their parents.

Norman was yard manager and production supervisor of the Saskatchewan Timber Board and sawmill operations.

He was an active member of the B.P.O. Elks and served as Exalted Ruler and District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler. He was also an active member on the Board of the United Church and served on the Board when the United Church was being built.

Norman and Edna left Big River in 1969 and moved to Nanaimo, where Norm managed a hardware and retail lumber store. Sun Glo Lumber later became a family business before it was sold.

Norman was semi-retired but still dabbling in land development.

Early history of Norman McNabb from Family Histories website.

Pandemic numbers continue to decline

Three escape early-morning fire on Departure Bay Road

The owner and two tenants escaped an early-morning fire today at a home in the 3100 block Departure Bay Road. Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded at about 5:30 a.m. MORE

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - If you felt awfully dry in April you were right. Nanaimo Nanaimo had only one third of its usual April rainfall – 22.2 mm. It was the same over the rest of Vancouver Island. In Victoria there was unusually dry weather and an early spring heat-wave led to the tenth driest and warmest April on record. The normally wet West Coast fell far short of the 270 mm Tofino usually gets, 31 per cent of normal. Environment Canada says the seasonal forecasts for late spring and summer are still inconclusive. 

HAVE IT YOUR WAY – Traffic calming measures had their effect on Opal Road, but that’s not what the public wanted. So city council voted 5-4 on Monday to return the intersection at Rock City Road to the way it used to be by removing turn controls there. Coun. Zeni Maartman’s motion went against staff’s recommendation, as general manager of engineering and public works Bill Sims said staff had hoped Monday’s meeting would be the last time the Opal Road intersection would come to the council table. He said the traffic-calming efforts have had the desired effect. 

HOT REALTY MARKET CONTINUES - There were more single-family homes and condos on the market in April but there was little relief for home buyers across the island. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board reports prices are still rising throughout the Island, with a single-family home having an average benchmark price of $659,300. That is up by four per cent from March and 22 per cent higher than in April, 2020. And it will also cost you more for an apartment as prices are up four per cent from March and 14 per cent over 12 months. The benchmark price hit $345,200 last month. In Victoria you pretty well have to be a millionaire to get into the real estate market. The Victoria Real Estate Board benchmark price for single-family home in the city core was at $996,500, a 2.9-per-cent increase from March, and a 12.6-per-cent-increase from last year.

ALERT FOR AN ALERT - Expect to get an emergency alert on your cell phone this week officials conduct a test. Emergency Management BC said alerts are expected to go out at 1:55 p.m. Wednesday. The message cell phone users may see at that time is a test of the province's wireless alerting system, part of the national Alert Ready system. The alert will also be broadcast on radio and TV stations. Messages will read, "This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is ONLY a TEST. If this had been an actual emergency or threat, you would now hear instructions that would assist you to protect you and your family. For further information go to www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca. This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required."

RECORD HIGH SEAS DRUG HAUL - The Victoria-based HMCS Calgary seized $23 million in heroin and methamphetamine off the coast of Oman on April 23 and 24, a record-setting haul for the multinational Combined Maritime Forces coalition. The first seizure was 1,286 kilograms of heroin – the most ever seized by a coalition vessel. A search of the second boat yielded 360 kilograms of methamphetamine. The U.S.-led maritime coalition says the combined value of the drugs is over $23.2 million, adding that drug-trafficking profits in the region are often used to finance terrorism. participating navies from Europe, Australia, the United States and the Middle East have racked up more than a dozen successful anti-trafficking operations.

Monday, May 3, Coronavirus report

Morning Duke Point ferry sailing cancelled

The Coastal Renaissance has cancelled the morning sailing from Duke Point due to a mechanical difficulty. The ship is experiencing a problem with a propeller and divers are required. 

Cancelled are the 5:15 am departing Tsawwassen and the 7:45 am departing Duke Point.

Monday, May 3, 2021

GOOD MORNING - It's one of those days, so grab your britches and hang on to your store-bought teeth Nellie, sit tight and let 'er rip, this is your Monday morning buzz.

THANKS, BUT NO THANKS – Nanaimo-Ladysmith school trustees resisted temptation and turned down a pay increase for themselves for this summer. They’ll wait until a new board in the next term after the next election. An ad hoc committee made eight recommendations including one that would see trustee pay based on an average of comparable school districts, effective July 1. The board rejected a recommendation to raise the salaries this summer.

WHAT ELSE COULD GO WRONG? – If you got an AstraZeneca injection in a pharmacy ignore an invite from the province's vaccine registration system to book an appointment. Tens of thousands got their shot at a pharmacy, which did not require them to book through the province’s vaccine registration portal. Now, in an apparent glitch, many of those people may get an electorinc invitation through the central registry to book a first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. If you’ve had a shot and get an invitation, don’t book that appointment.

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES, to quote Forrest Gump. Some people like to tell the world about their Covid vaccine shots by posting vaccine-card selfies – "vaxxies". There's a risk to posting a photo of a personal document on social media. Fraudsters could use photos of vaccination cards to produce fake documents, something is likely to happen as more people get vaccinated and proof of immunization becomes a requirement for participation in certain events or travel to certain destinations.

FLYING COVID  - The Centre for Disease Control keeps adding flights to its COVID-19 exposures list and planes keep flying – 53 in the past week. Ten flights were added on Wednesday, eight on Thursday, four on Friday and eight on Saturday. Coupled with the 23 flights added between Sunday and Tuesday. For the month, B.C. had more flights with coronavirus cases on board than in any other month of the pandemic. However, no data is available on the total number of confirmed or active cases from any of those flights, they were simply exposures, not even tests. The BCCDC is also warning passengers who were on a charter tour bus trip on April 23 that they may have been exposed. The bus ran from Surrey to Prince George with stops in Cache Creek and Williams Lake.

A REAL LIFESAVER – Arrowsmith Search and Rescue volunteers learned just how valuable Project Lifesaver can be. They used the technology to find a missing 79-year-old Parksville man with dementia. The system broadcasts a specific frequency for each user, and that can be traced. Volunteers drove around for a couple of hours before they picked up a signal and were able to find the man. Project Lifesaver is a non-profit organization that provides education to first responders and caregivers and offers transmitting technology to help locate individuals with cognitive disorders if they go missing. Nanaimo Lifeline administers the program and can be reached at 250-947-8213.

BE READY FOR ANYTHING  – The most important aspect of Emergency Preparedness Week is to not put off doing what needs to be done. There’s no guarantee when an emergency will strike and emergency responders may not be available immediately, so be ready. The city and regional district offer reminders about the importance of being ready for different kinds of emergencies. It’s the same message, but it remains relevant – know the risks, have plans in place, and have emergency kits. The RDN is conducting a series of Zoom webinars this week to provide information and prizes as incentive to sign up. The webinars will be held today, Tuesday and Wednesday. For times and registration information, visit http://getinvolved.rdn.ca/nepp.

THEY ARE BACK OUT THERE – A man and a woman are back out on the street upon release after they were arrested in a fraud and identity theft investigation in Qualicum Beach. Oceanside RCMP officers searched a hotel room and discovered stolen identification and a large quantity of physical and digital evidence suggesting that the fabrication of identification and other fraudulent activities were taking place in the room. A 40-year-old man and a 25-year-old woman were arrested and released with a promise to appear in Nanaimo Provincial Court.

PURPLE PEOPLE EATERS  – Canadians are seeing more unidentified flying objects while night sky gazing. The pandemic has people spending more time outdoors, which has led to a growing number of unusual calls to RCMP and 911 dispatchers. They are getting a lot of calls with the SpaceX satellite launches. They’re a very specific pattern in the sky, they’re not hitting the ground, and it can be explained quickly to people that there are actual satellites. SpaceX is a U.S. aerospace company.

Late Marianne Turley awarded Honour in Culture

Marianne Turley

The late Marianne Turley has been named the recipient of a City of Nanaimo Arts and Heritage Award for Honour in Culture.

And that’s no surprise, Marianne immersed herself in the Vancouver Island Symphony in the final decades of her life.

A nice touch this year was Mayor Leonard Krog personally hand-delivering the awards in the categories this year.

Marianne died Jan. 7 before this year’s winners were announced, but the mayor let her know in advance that she was one of the honourees.

The News Bulletin has an excellent tribute to Marianne’s contribution to our community. 

 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

SURGERY CANCELLATIONS – Twelve non-urgent surgeries were cancelled last week in Vancouver Island hospitals. That is due to more than just the virus pandemic. Health Minister Adrian Dix said there is ongoing significant pressure on the health-care system, partly related to COVID. He acknowledged the strain of fighting the virus was a factor in the delays, in what was described as staffing and capacity issues. Christine Sorenson, president of the British Columbia Nurses’ Union, says burnout is a real problem and has triggered some staffing shortages.

WHAT’S NEW? – Passengers from a recent flight that landed in Nanaimo are being warned about possible exposure to COVID-19. The BCCDC has added Air Canada/Jazz flight 8261 from Vancouver to Nanaimo on April 27 to its exposure list. Passengers who were on a flight on the exposure list should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

THE WORD IS COLLABORATION – It would be humorous if it were not so serious. We have travel restrictions between Vancouver Island and the rest of the province. No trips by land (ferry). However, there are almost-daily notices of Covid contacts on flights to and from our island paradise. Meanwhile, people travelling between Canada and the U.S. can’t fly into Canada without government-overseen quarantine imprisonment, but you can walk or drive across the Canada-U.S. border without a hitch. For one part of the problem, see the next item.

INTERPRET THIS ONE – The following quote is attributed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. If you can decipher it, I am sure there are many, many travelling Canadians would like to know.
“There is a fundamental difference between someone arriving at a land border and someone arriving at an airport. Someone arriving at our land border has been in the United States, has a PCR test from the U.S. even if they travelled internationally before, because of U.S. quarantine, has been in the U.S. at least two weeks. And therefore, the measures we put in place at the border and we’re following very closely — the numbers and data we collect on these tests have been an extremely low and manageable number of cases.”

‘NOTHING MUCH TO FEAR – Brian Peckford has submitted a report from The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a new Charter analysis outlining why Canadians need not fear Covid to the extent the federal and provincial governments’ draconian restrictions would imply. The Report: “Covid in Canada: Nothing much to fear” explains why the ongoing violations of Charter rights and freedoms are not justified by facts and evidence. The report presents ten reasons why government lockdowns and restrictions are not proportionate or reasonable in light of the facts about Covid. You might find it interesting, check it out here.

CONFUSION REIGNS - About the last thing that food and beverage businesses need now is uncertainty, but that’s what they feel they’re getting. The newest rules from the province create a lot of confusion about how to interpret them, and there’s confusion from the inspectors about how they’re going to interpret. More importantly, it’s just more pressure and anxiety for those just trying to get by, said Ian Tostenon, president of the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservice Association (BCRFA). “They wrote it in a way that needs an engineering degree, frankly, to understand it.”

Saturday, May 1

SHOTS FOR FRONT LINE WORKERS – It seems to have taken forever, so it’s good news that Vancouver Island frontline workers can start registering today to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, to begin getting them next week. Island Health says that will include teachers and other in-school staff, firefighters, police and RCMP and daycare staff. Workers must register through the Get Vaccinated online portal. Island Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Stanwick said there is an abundance of vaccines coming into Canada in the next week and he hopes to have all front line workers vaccinated by mid-May.

DRIVER COULD NOT STAND UP – A driver was charged with impaired driving after sideswiping an RCMP patrol car on the side of the road near Bowen Road and Dufferin Crescent on Wednesday. “When the driver of the SUV was apprehended he leaned against his vehicle to avoid falling over,” said Const. Gary O’Brien. “He was arrested for impaired driving and taken to the detachment where he provided breath samples of .320, .350 and .350, all of which are over four times the legal limit.” The 44-year-old man was taken to hospital to be treated for possible alcohol poisoning. Upon his release he was handed a 90-day roadside suspension and his vehicle was impounded for 30 days.

NO ROAD BLOCKS - Police won’t wait along Vancouver Island highways to nab people for travelling out of their area. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Friday that the road blocks implemented until May 25 won’t be established near Island ferry terminals as originally planned. He said questions about essential travel are already asked at the ferry terminals, which seem to be effective. “This past weekend ferry traffic was down on average 30 per cent. Foot passenger traffic was down 40 per cent, that speaks volumes, I think,” Farnworth said.

CLEANING UP OUR SHORELINES - The province will spend $9.5 million to clean up marine debris along our coast, including more than 100 derelict vessels. Abandoned boats were an issue I worked on while on City Council and then later the Nanaimo Port Authority. At the same time, Sheila Malcolmson, then our member of Parliament, pushed the cause in Ottawa. Environment Minister George Heyman says four projects will share the funding to clean up 1,200 km. of coastline. The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce also had a hand in provincial policy on abandoned vessels in 2018. Since then, the federal government has joined the province in cleaning up our coast.

NETHERLANDS REMEMBER - Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands has been heralded as one of Canada’s greatest contributions in WWII. Now 75 years later, a dedicated Dutch nation remains committed to the Remembrance and appreciation. Nanaimo’s Nick Janicki of the Canadian Scottish Regiment will be featured in a documentary next Wednesday on AMI-tv at 5 p.m. The documentary recounts service and sacrifice allowing aging heroes to recall specific impactful moments while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces during WWII. With an ever-diminishing number of WWII veterans, taking the time to hear their brief stories and honour their legacy and sacrifice is essential to all Canadians. Link to AMI-TV on your computer or go to Shaw channel 888.

TRUCK FLIPS - A recycling truck rollover on Boxwood Road Friday afternoon sent the driver to hospital. Emergency crews said the driver kicked out the windshield to get out of the vehicle and suffered unknown injuries. The truck was transporting yard waste, some of which spilled on the side of the road. 

DRUG DEATHS STILL RISING – Illicit drug use and deaths continue to rise in Nanaimo. BC Coroners Service data shows so far this year, nine people died due to fatal overdoses in Nanaimo by the end of March. At that rate, 2021 could be just as fatal as last year when 38 people died in Nanaimo.  There were 19 deaths by the end of March within central Vancouver Island while the south saw 40. Across the province, a record 498 people died of overdoses during the first three months of the year.

COVID FLIGHTS A RECORD – If anyone cares, there were more flights with COVID-19 on board passing through B.C. airports in April than any other month, a CTV News analysis of B.C. Centre for Disease Control data shows. The BCCDC keeps an archive of such exposures back to March 2020. In that time, there have been more than 1,400 flights added to the list. The vast majority, 1,072 of them, have been domestic.

WATER RESTRICTIONS - The City's watering restriction restrictions go into effect today, restricting the use of outside watering to a maximum of two hours per day between 7-10 a.m. and 7-10 p.m.

Friday, April 30

MINE DISASTER ANNIVERSARY - Flags at City facilities will be at half mast Monday to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 150 lives. The explosions of the No. 1 Esplanade Mine are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst in Canada (behind 1914 in Hillcrest, Alta which killed 189 miners). A jury blamed the explosion on the firing of an unprepared and badly planted charge that ignited gas fuelled by coal dust. Learn more Nanaimo's coal mining history and the tragic accident at the walk-through coal mine exhibit at our museum.

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - Being prepared is important and something the whole family can do. As Emergency Preparedness Week approaches, the City encourages residents to prepare by making a kit, drafting a plan and signing up for the City's Voyent Alert Emergency Notification System. Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk and the impact of whatever emergency we might face - whether natural or human-induced ­ by taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere. 

GIANT FIST PUMP - Josh Cook used to play with the VIU Mariners hockey team when he attended Vancouver Island University. Now he’s a Mountie stationed in Nunavut. After his posting he recognized hockey equipment for kids was nearly non-existent, says Staff Sgt. Donovan Tait, of the Nanaimo RCMP. Cook called on VIU Mariners staff, former teammates and Nanaimo RCMP members to see if some hockey gear couldn’t be donated. That’s when community kicked in. Read the full story.

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Nanaimo had an increase in positive COVID-19 tests last week. Island Health reported 269 active cases on Vancouver Island, with 79 on the central Island, 172 on the south Island and 18 on the north Island. The BCCDC reports that there were 45 positives in Greater Nanaimo during that week, up from 31 the week before. More

 

 

A shredding heads up

Get ready and compile all your paper work – Daybreak Rotary is holding it's annual shredding event Saturday, May 29, a month from now. It will be at Nanaimo North Town Centre (Rutherford Mall). It will cost you ten bucks to get a banker's box full if all your secrets shredded. New this year is a bottle drive for Rotary. Start sorting now.