Floods underline our dependence on fossil fuels

The flooding disasters in the province have given us a glance into the possible future. It’s an  education about what happens in the real world when the supply chain is interrupted. We get rationing due to delivery shortages everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations. The Trans Mountain Pipeline shutdown disrupted fuel supplies. It’s not only about pipelines that deliver the fuel to Vancouver, it is transported by tanker trucks to stations across the province. MORE

NOW WE'RE CLICKING 
STORM UPDATE – EVENTS CALENDAR – YOUR FLYERS

Less than two weeks after a parade of storms caused widespread flooding and damage across southern B.C., another round is slated to pass through. Environment Canada is tracking three storms forecast over the next seven to nine days, beginning today. Following an initial hit on Wednesday and Thursday, the region will see a small break before a second storm over the weekend. A third one is forecast near the start of December. Nanaimo and parts of the central Island could see 120 millimetres of rain between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1. MORE 

That’s garbage. We’re leaving more for the city to pick up, so the disposal rates will go up next year. City councillors voted unanimously o Monday to recommend increasing the sanitation user fee to $216 in 2022 and $228 in 2023. The fee was $189 in 2021. Staff said two trucks are being replaced and one truck will need to be leased in the interim. As well, the city is shortening the life cycle of its trucks from 10 years to eight years. Another factor is Recycle B.C.’s relocation of its designated reception facility from Nanaimo to Chemainus. MORE

Vaccine appointments for kids aged five to 11 will start rolling out next week. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Penny Ballem, the lead of B.C.'s immunization rollout, announced the vaccine rollout plan. Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech's two-dose vaccine for children ages five to 11. The vaccine will be a smaller dose than what's given to those aged 12 and older. MORE

Island Health reported 36 new COVID-19 cases in the region on Tuesday. Island Health has 415 active cases, 51 people are in hospital, 12 of whom are in critical care. Of the 324 new cases province-wide, 11 were people who live outside of Canada while the lone death occurred in the Northern Health region. The province has 3,047 active cases with 345 people in hospital, 115 are in intensive care. Immunizations for kids ages five to 11 will start next week, with more than 350,000 children eligible for the vaccine. More than 90,000 children are already registered. MORE

A Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft was damaged after a collision with an anchored sailboat near Salt Spring Island on Monday. The hovercraft CCGS Siyay was transporting advanced life-support paramedics to Ganges Harbour to medevac a patient to Vancouver around 5:45 p.m. The unlit sailboat was anchored outside the common anchorage. MORE

Great news for Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Nanaimo Station 27 which has received a $5,000 donation from Badinotti Net Service Canada to offset the loss of the recent trailer break-in. Simon Proctor, General Manager of their Campbell River operation made the presentation to Station-27. This comes after Kiwanis Sunrisers  donated about 90 children’s PFDs. These PFDs will be put on the Kids Don’t Float PFD loaner boards in the Nanaimo area. Helping to keep kids safe on the water!

 

Downtown Santa Parade on Saturday is cancelled

Organizers of the Downtown Santa Parade announced regretfully that this year’s parade, schedule for the evening of Saturday, November 27 was being cancelled. Though the parade is cancelled, all other Christmas events in downtown are scheduled to go ahead.

Another series of atmospheric river events is forecast for the area on Thursday, Saturday and next Tuesday and this was felt to form a hazard for participants and onlookers. The unknown threats to the roads and highways and other infrastructure from such events is a concern, as is the current fuel crisis. MORE

City mandates COVID vaccinations for all employees

All City and City-contracted employees will be mandated to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 1 in order to protect the health and safety of municipal employees and the community. Employees who don't provide proof of vaccination will be given from January 10 to February 6 to get their shots. During this period, employees will be able to continue to work so long as they participate in the City’s Rapid Testing Program. The City will cover the costs of the rapid testing for employees until February 6. MORE

Paid sick leave details expected to be unveiled today

Labour Minister Harry Bains

The B.C. government is expect to unveil a paid sick leave program for workers today.

Labour Minister Harry Bains has scheduled a news conference with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry about a permanent program on sick leave, which has been promised for January. BC Federation of Labour is lobbying for 10 days paid sick leave.

In May, the province gave all workers up to three days of paid sick leave to support those affected by COVID-19 until Dec. 31.About half of B.C. employees do not have access to paid sick leave. MORE

Nanaimo senior assaulted by street person

A long-serving volunteer with the Nanaimo Military Museum was assaulted over the weekend after asking a group of persons to clear space on a public walkway. The incident occurred at approximately 2:45 pm on Saturday November 20, on the stairs leading to the Nanaimo Military Museum. The volunteer Pat Murphy, age 82, described the incident to police.

Just before 3 pm, Murphy noticed two women carrying shopping bags and attempting to make their way up the stairs. Murphy asked a group of about 10 people who were sitting on the stairwell, to make some room for the two so they could safely pass. Suddenly and without warning, Murphy was punched on the left side of his face. MORE

NOW WE'RE CLICKING 
STORM UPDATE
 – 
EVENTS CALENDAR – YOUR FLYERS

It’s more efficient to hold decisions-making meetings and fewer meetings to make recommendations. That’s the lesson The Regional District of Nanaimo has learned. The board has held regular board meetings twice per month since May and it’s working well. Previously they held one committee of the whole and one board meeting each month. RDN staff found the current arrangement efficient and effective. Staff pointed out the agenda is shorter as items are no longer discussed twice, as was the case with the committee of the whole and board meeting structure. COW meetings can still be held at the call of the chair. MORE

Christmas shopping is under way 
you’ll want only the best, and bargains are the answer. If your flyers have not been arriving regularly on your doorstep, we have a solution. Check everything from groceries to electronic products and more at the FLYERS link at the top of this page. The link also features man money-saving coupons. You can always find it at the top of the Daily Buzz page. 

It’s much like waiting for Christmas – The second BC Ferries’ electric vessel is on its way to serve Gabriola. It transited the Panama Canal on Nov.18 and is now on its way to British Columbia, expected to arrive before the end of the year. Island 6, as it is temporarily named, left Romania on Oct. 11 under its own power. The ferry will go into service next year on the Nanaimo Harbour – Gabriola Island route which will then have two Island Class vessels, starting in 2022.  The Island Class are battery equipped ships designed for full electric operation. 

Discretionary travel is out for School District 68 during a province-wide fuel shortage. The district has cancelled certain activities which require a vehicle such as most field trips, school activities and in-person meetings and events. School Board Chair Charlene McKay and Superintendent Scott Saywell said the measures are on top of those outlined by the province last Friday. MORE

RCMP ask for help to find 32-year-old Stephanie Thomas, who has not been seen for a week. Investigators were told that several days prior to Thomas being reported missing, she appeared to be acting strangely and there was concern that she may be experiencing a significant medical health issue. For this reason, her family is concerned for her safety and well-being. MORE WITH PHOT

The RCMP’s first full-time Mental Health Liaison Officer, Cst Josh Waltman, marks the one-year anniversary for that new section. During that time he has been involved in more than 500 mental-health-related files, and has created a program that connects the police with key community partners and provides service to some of Nanaimo’s most vulnerable. The goal of the MHLO program is to provide a co-ordinated response to support clients in the community with complex mental health needs. MORE

Nanaimo has an excellent reputation of filling the need, no matter what the cause. That is true for this time of year when food banks usually hve their greatest need. Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank executive director Peter Sinclair said it’s getting busier heading into December, but the  shelves remain stocked. While they need the usual essentials like canned goods, pasta, sauces, and cash donations, the one thing they are looking for right now is volunteers, volunteers and more helpers. If you have a couple of hours to spare, contact them. MORE

COVID update for Monday – Vancouver Island Health reported 59 new cases over the previous 72 hours. They were among 1,052 province-wide cases identified since Friday. There are 3,137 active cases, including 436 in Island Health. Ten more deaths related to the virus were recorded, including two in Island Health. There are 48 people in hospital for treatment on Vancouver Island, including 13 patients in critical care.

  • City budget is only part of the taxation story

    If you’re agonizing over news reports of a possible 5.9-per-cent municipal tax increase, that’s not a true picture of what your tax bill will end up at. That’s the residential portion of the tax bill, there are nine categories in total, each with it’s own rate.

  • Trudeau and Biden play a dangerous game

    It is a sign of democracy’s decline when two of the world’s advocates of democracy play games with the rule of law. Incoherent Joe Biden is trying to run roughshod over the Constitution by going through the back door to do something that he cannot do through the front door.

  • Nobody is safe when Parliament is in session

    I can hear the rumble of shrugs from coast to coast to coast. Most of us feel the same way: “No man’s life, freedom and property are safe while parliament is in session.” Liberal House Leader Mark Holland said Monday that Canadians expect MPs to “hit the ground running.”

NRGH and Chartwell COVID outbreaks declared over

The COVID-19 outbreaks at the Transitional Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and at Chartwell Malaspina Care Centre long-term care home in Nanaimo have been declared over by Island Health  Island Health declared the outbreak on the unit on November 1 after evidence of COVID-19 transmission. In total, 14 patient cases, three staff cases and three patient deaths were attributed to this outbreak. Island Health extends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and care staff of those who passed away. MORE

Monday, Nov. 22

Anything you want to know about the developing storm and flood conditions throughout the province, go to our STORM UPDATE 
for the very latest as circumstances develop
.

City councillor Erin Hemmens, the Alternate Chair for Nanaimo’s Health and Housing Task Force, will discuss affordable housing at a bear pit session on Thursday at the Vault Café, 499 Wallace St. at 7 p.m.  Covid protocols will be in place with a sign-in. The Nanaimo BC Green Party is involved. Julia Roberts has all the information at 250 754-0602, or email jmroberts449@gmail.com 

Nanaimo has an excellent record of filling the need, no matter what the issue, especially at this time of year when food banks face their greatest need. Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank executive director Peter Sinclair said he's getting busier heading into December, but their shelves remain stocked. While they need the usual essential items like canned goods, pasta, sauces, and cash donations, the one thing they are looking for right now is volunteers. So if you have a couple of hours to spare, contact them. MORE

Good news for people who lost their jobs during the recent rain and floods. The federal government will expedite employment insurance applications. Environment Canada redoubled its warnings about more wet weather that’s already registered record rainfalls in the past week. Mudslides have killed four people to date and crippled much of B.C.’s economic and agricultural activity. Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough said British Columbians displaced or left jobless due to flooding should immediately apply for employment insurance benefits even if they wouldn’t normally be eligible. MORE

 

To Harewood folks and other volunteers who dug in their shovels to restore a patch of environmentally-sensitive green space at Pacific Gardens Cohousing Community which was built on farmland in 2009. Event organizer Jim Senka said the grounds had been overrun by brambles that were removed and new plants put in on Saturday. He said blackberries hag taken over and they restore it to more natural habitat. MORE

  • More than anti-vax at Kelowna disruption

    The anti-vax disruption at the Kelowna Remembrance Day ceremony was not really about vax, it was something for more serious. Citizens are beginning to fight back. RCMP say protesters may face criminal charges.

  • Premiers not up to task on questioning COVID

    I have proposed to the Premiers of Canada that they refer their harsh covid measures to their highest court to see whether what they are doing is constitutional. All the Premiers have this authority.

  • Economic freedom on the wane in Canada

    Our governments, federal and provincial, are all promising to restart our economy. They have plans to spend borrowed money to support business and industrial corporations and sectors they choose.
    We should be alarmed.

The Island highway at Superior Road is open again after crews filled a sinkhole that appeared on the road on Thursday. The highway had been closed since Friday afternoon as crews worked to repair the sinkhole. MORE

Activist David Suzuki is busy making an ass of himself again, warning politicians if they don’t act on climate change. “There are going to be pipelines blowing up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” David Suzuki told CHEK News on Saturday. He made the comments during an Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island protest in downtown Victoria on Saturday afternoon. 

The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s annual Light The Trees fundraiser is under way. CEO Janice Perrino said this year staff at the hospital is funding for essential needs. The goal is $1 million, a target which was reached last year. The foundation is helping to build a new hip and knee clinic, new analyzers for the lab, new patient monitors and  helping to buy a van to go to our high schools to help with the kids that aren’t getting some of their needs met. Donations to the campaign can be made through the Hospital Foundation’s website.

What’s Up? 
Check This out

Thank you to everyone who contributed so generously to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy sale this month. Depite all the challenges of nature, the local branches were able to reach excellent totals for the benefits of veterans. Before you put your wallet away, the Salvation Army Christmas kettles are out. Give where you can, and you don’t have to have cash – they have tap machines for your convenience.

Saturday, Nov. 20 

The sinkhole has been filled and the Island Highway at Superior Road has reopened.

Earlier Report – Repair work continues on the Island Highway at Superior Road in Lantzville where a sinkhole opened Thursday. The highway remains closed in both directions and traffic is being rerouted through Lantzville. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure stated that excavation and repair work is expected to be completed by this evening. For more information, to DRIVE BC. 

A growing COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo Christian School has K-5 students back to at-home learning. Principal James Sijpheer said cases started to rise in the school on November 5. Two weeks later, nearly half of the 350 students are  either in isolation or positive with the virus. The unvaccinated is where a lot of the cases occurring.MORE

The injury toll has reached 22 in Friday’s suspected natural gas explosion at 19 Wing Comox. The incident took place just after 9 a.m. on Thursday, when an explosion — which echoed throughout the surrounding area — went off at the base. It is still unclear what caused the suspected natural gas explosion, and an investigation is ongoing. MORE

No traffic jam was able to delay Rylie Jayne Aplin’s arrival on this earth. NanaimoNewsNOW has a great story about Kyle and Kelsey Aplin and what they endured in the traffic jam on the Island Highway to try to make it to the hospital. As it turned out, Rylie was born in  an ambulance. And she tipped the scales at seven pounds, five ounces. MORE

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Vehicle traffic returned to BC Ferries in record numbers this summer with pent up demand from the domestic market for seasonal holidays and recreational travel after COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted. In the three months ended September 30, Ferries carried 7 million passengers and 3 million vehicles, an increase of 28 per cent and 20 per cent respectively, compared to the same period in the prior year. FULL REPORT

The Salvation Army Christmas kettles are now located throughout the city, but more volunteers are needed. Here’s your opportunity to do something for others. The pandemic has led to more rules to follow, you must have a proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times. Wipes are available to wipe down the kettle bubble after each donation. The Tap machines are back with three choices – $5, $10, $20. Shifts will be shorter this year, 2.5 hours. MORE details and how to sign up. MORE

A canoe was found adrift in Brannen Lake at the end of August. The man who found it told police he took the canoe to his house for safekeeping as it had been adrift for three days. It’s 14.5 foot, Explorer DLX, rust color, with grey plastic seats and matching backrests. If the owner is not located within 90 days, the finder will be eligible to claim it. MORE WITH PHOTO

Santa Claus will arrive in Nanaimo by air, as he usually does. He’s leaving the sleigh and reindeer behind and arriving here via Harbour Air Seaplanes on Pioneer Waterfront Plaza. That’s one week from today, Nov. 27. There a big lineup of events for the day, starting at noon with Pictures with Santa until 4 p.m. Santa's Parade on Victoria Crescent and Commercial Street goes at 5 p.m. FULL SCHEDULE.

There’s still time to enter a float in the Santa Claus Parade Nov. 27. If you have any kind of commercial vehicle, decorate it, light it up, and bring it downtown for this special event organized by the Lions Club of Nanaimo for the Downtown Nanaimo Business Association. Register asap to be part of the parade at info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca 

Lots of activities are coming up for Christmas season. To make sure you get to know what and when we’ve added an events section on Nanaimonet. It you have an event coming up, send your poster or artwork to editor@Nanaimonet.com

The first doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for children aged five to 11 will start to arrive in British Columbia in about a week. More than 2.9 million doses will be shipped by the end of the week — enough to provide a first dose to every eligible Canadian child. Earlier in the day, Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for children aged five to 11, promising what could be a very different new year for hundreds of thousands of families. MORE

COVID BY THE NUMBERS

Province
Active cases 3,420
New cases 497
In Hospital 358
Critical care 109
Deaths 3

ISLAND HEALTH
Active cases 454
New cases 71
In Hospital 52
Critical care 13
Deaths 0

Long-time regional board director Maureen Young dies

Director Maureen Young

Maureen Young, who served on the Nanaimo Regional District Board for 16 years for Electoral Area C, Extension-East Wellington-Pleasant Valley, has died after a battle with cancer.

She had an avid interest in the region’s history, in particular Extension, where she lived. She was an active member of the community, supporting agriculture, forestry, and advancement of the regional parks system, and chair of the community grants committee.

Friday, Nov. 19

DEVELOPING - A single-vehicle rollover on Northfield Road on Thursday afternoon left a woman with life-threatening injuries in, Nov. 1. First responders were called to rollover at Northfield and Bowen Roads. When police arrived they located a woman inside a vehicle that had come to rest on its side. A witness said the driver and lone occupant struck a power pole, causing the vehicle to flip over. Fire crews extricated her and she was transported to hospital. MORE

Northbound lanes on the Island Highway at Superior Road remain closed after a skinkhole developed on Thursday. One single southbound lane is open to traffic. DriveBC said the lanes will be closed until further notice. Vehicles are being detoured through Superior Road and Lantzville. MORE

Nanaimo RCMP are calling on the public to help find a woman who left Nanaimo hospital before receiving urgent medical care and is now considered missing. Tara-Marie Connor, 25, left NRGH Nov. 4. Caregivers are extremely concerned for her well-being. Investigators have made extensive patrols and inquiries with no success. Connor is Caucasian and is 5-foot-5, 180 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. If you know about her whereabouts, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file No. 2021-41251. MORE

Health officials reported 72 new COVID-19 cases in Island Health region, part of the 468 new cases for the entire province. There are 460 active cases in the Island Health region. Since Wednesday’s numbers, there have been 69 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 173 in Fraser Health, 85 in Interior Health and 68 in Northern Health. There were nine deaths related to the virus on Thursday, one of them in Island Health.

Comox air base explosion leaves 10 injured

Photo from Facebook

At least 10 people were injured after an explosion at Canadian Forces Base Comox this morning.

"Our focus right now is on assisting our injured personnel," Lt.-Col. Mike Juillet told reporters at the base Thursday.

As of early Thursday afternoon, 10 people were treated by paramedics, including one person who was airlifted to hospital in serious condition. BC Emergency Health Services says multiple ambulances, including an air ambulance, responded to the base.

Malahat reopening around the clock next week

Repairs to Highway 1 at Tunnel Hill on the Malahat have progressed well, and no further overnight closures are needed.

Repairs will continue through the weekend. While work is under way, drivers can expect single-lane alternating traffic with some intermittent closures to assist fuel tankers and emergency services through the site. With favourable weather, emergency repairs should be completed by end of day Monday, Nov. 22, when two-way traffic may resume.

Motorists are advised to obey construction zone speed limits and the direction of traffic control personnel. For additional updates, check: DriveBC.ca (http://DriveBC.ca)

Thursday, Nov. 19 2021

The MV Quinsam Gabriola Ferry has cancelled select sailings and will be operating on a modified schedule until further notice. A ten-passenger water taxi is available for those needing to travel on the select cancelled sailings. See the adjusted schedule HERE. 

The downtown winter shelter will reopen next week. The 25-bed St. Peter’s temporary winter shelter at 301 Machleary St. offers a warm, dry place to spend the night beginning Monday, Nov. 22 and will stay open until April 1. The shelter will take in people from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Meals will be provided.

Thirty three new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Vancouver Island region. The new cases were among 324 cases found across the province over the past 24 hours. There are 479 active cases of COVID-19 in Island Health and 3,380 across the province. Seven more deaths were recorded in the province, including one in the Vancouver Island region. An interesting question would be how many out of those totals are actually sick and how many are so minor they don’t require treatment.

Santa Claus is coming to town on November 27. The parade, organized by the Lions Club, will go down Victoria Road, across Terminal Avenue onto Commercial Street, then down Front Street to Maffeo Sutton Park. Most of the action will be on Victoria Crescent and Commercial Street. Stores and restaurants will be open for those wishing to shop before the parade. There will be entertainment on the streets and food trucks will operate from Diana Krall Plaza to keep folks busy while they pick their favourite viewing spot. MORE

Nanaimo Fire Rescue’s emergency services training program is in line to get a manager. City council approved a new manager position for the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy which Fire Chief Tim Doyle said with it’s growth, it just can’t be operated “off the side of the desk”. The new position will be included in the budget starting in February. The academy has a training facility next to Fire Station No. 2 on Dorman Road, but generally sends instructors around the province to other departments. MORE

He didn’t want to go to jail – two people were arrested after a string of calls through Qualicum Bay and Bowser involving a pickup truck. Oceanside RCMP were alerted a man needing medical attention on Hwy. 19A. The man regained consciousness and fled in a nearby truck. A short time later, that truck crashed on the highway in a separate incident before again driving away. MORE

Pain at the pump – We know all about inflation. Statistics Canada says the annual pace of inflation in October rose to 4.7 per cent with gasoline prices leading the way, up 41.7 per cent compared with Octoberm 2020. The agency said factors contributing to the increase included snarls in supply chains, bumps in prices at the pump and comparisons to lows seen one year earlier. MORE

The Malahat declared a structural natural disaster

The entire northbound lane of the Malahat section of the Island Highway needs to be rebuilt but before they do that the southbound lane needs to be stabilized. Janelle State, Regional Deputy Director, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure discussed the damage to the Malahat roadways, said on CFAX this morning.  The road is open 6am to 6pm open daily for single lane alternating traffic. It’s completely closed from 6pm to 6 am If you are travelling the Malahat come prepared, and be prepared to wait.

Horgan declares provincial state of emergency

Premier John Horgan

The B.C. government has declared a provincial state of emergency to mitigate impacts on transportation networks and movement of essential goods and supplies, and to support the provincewide response and recovery from the widespread damage caused by severe flooding and landslides in British Columbia.

"Provincial, federal and local governments are working with emergency personnel to make sure people and communities get the help they need as they work through yet another natural disaster. This provincial declaration of emergency will ensure the transport of goods, and essential and emergency services." said Premier John Horgan. "Thank you to everyone for doing what you can to stay safe and to help one another as we work through this catastrophic time." MORE

Nanaimo-Victoria ferry sailing added for Thursday

BC Ferries is adding a round trip between Swartz Bay and Duke Point on Thursday to assist the movement of essential goods and travellers between Victoria and Nanaimo due to the impacts on the Malahat Highway. The Coastal Celebration will be used on this sailing. The crossing time will be approximately three hours. This extra service is for drive-up customers on a first-come, first-serve basis, reservations and assured loading will not be accepted.

Chamber luncheon will discuss jobs in today's world

The Chamber of Commerce monthly networking legion returns on Friday with a panel discussion with first-hand testimonials from employers and job seekers who have benefitted from NACL’s tailored approach which includes: 
· Helping employers with job procurement, job matching and training;
· Providing support for the employer, their co-workers and the person with the diverse ability. 

Guest Speakers Include: Randy Humchitt and Graham Morry, NACL; Koreen Ellis Leanne Fraser, Nanaimo Business Services; Robert Wilkinson, Milton Street Public House and Tamara Smith, ALSCO Linen. Register HERE

Wednesday, Nov. 17 2021

Good morning Nanaimo – This site is monitored and filtered through the very latest technology – our top-of-the-line BS detector.

Three people have died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital’s Transitional Care Unit. Fourteen patients and three staff have tested positive since Island Health declared the outbreak on Nov. 1. CHEK News reports that one of the patients who became infected was a triple-vaccinated elderly woman. Her family said earlier this month that visitors were not asked to show proof of vaccination status prior to entering the transition unit. Island Health now requires proof of vaccination status prior to entering certain sections of a hospital, including the transitional care unit. MORE

Health officials report 42 new COVID-19 cases in the Island Health region, part of the 338 new cases across the province. There are 513 active cases in Island Health with 3,568 active cases in the province and 376 people in hospital,  107 in intensive care. People not fully vaccinated accounted for 60.5 per cent of cases in B.C. between Nov. 8 and Nov. 14 and for 68.5 per cent of hospitalizations in the province from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14. MORE

Hold on to your wallet if you live in the District of Lantzville. Council is looking at a budget with a 21-per-cent tax increase. A number of budget meetings were held in October. Ratepayers will have an opportunity to attend a financial-plan-focused special council meeting Nov. 24. If this version budget is passed, property taxes would go up to $1,560 from $1,287 on an average single-family home assessed at $754,100. Water user fees would go up $24, while no changes to sewer or garbage fees are expected. MORE DETAILS

The Biggs Road bridge is closed until further notice. The extensive rainhas damaged the bridge and crews have to wait until the water recedes before a full assessment of the damage can be completed. Detour via Doumont Road. 

The heavy downpours broke 20 records of one-day rainfall across Vancouver Island and the mainland, with town-wide flooding, washed out roads and power outages spread throughout the province. We escaped most of that with Entrance Island registering about half the rainfall of other South Island communities with 78 mm. The Malahat had 182 mm and North Cowichan 150 mm.

The Malahat highway could be limited to a single lane for up to a week as crews repair damage caused by Monday's flooding. The highway is open but restricted to single-lane traffic. Emcon Services, which handles road maintenance, says the highway was closed through the Goldstream area as a geotechnical assessment was conducted. The extent of the damage remains unknown. The closure stranded countless travellers and prompted BC Ferries to operate the Mill Bay ferry across the Saanich Inlet overnightMORE

The catastrophic damage from the recent B.C. storm is still being assessed but the devastation is clear. Roads are underwater, cars swept away and homes lost. Global News photos and videos from the air highlight how much the storm affected so many parts of the province. VIDEOS

A massive development in south Nanaimo which has been bouncing on and off council agenda for more than a decade is going to public hearing. City council passed the first two readings of an official community plan amendment application for the 294-hectare Sandstone properties. The development spans both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway, both sides of Cedar Road and both sides of the Duke Point Highway. MORE

A petition to stop Surrey from establishing it’s own police force has failed. Elections BC reported Tuesday that the petition failed. A statement from the Surrey Police Union said the 42,942 signatures collected by the initiative falls far below the legislative requirement of 10 per cent of voters from all 87 electoral districts in B.C. in order to trigger a referendum. The move toward a local police force was a key pledge in Mayor Doug McCallum's election campaign in 2018. MORE

For the fifth year in a row, Stocking Stuffers for Seniors is back at London Drugs locations, in partnership with care homes and charities to bring more holiday cheer to seniors. Any new, non-wrapped item is accepted. Please be sure to check the signage beside the Christmas Tree in the stores to see where your gifts are going. Drop off is available from Friday until Dec. 8 to help Stocking Stuffers for Seniors bring cheer to seniors.

  • Malahat closed over night

    Work is under way on the Malahat which will remain closed over night for the rest of the week.

BC Ferries adds extra sailings around Malahat closure

111521 – BC Ferries has added four extra round trips on the Mill Bay – Brentwood Bay route tonight (Tues., Nov 16) due to the nighttime Malahat Highway closure. The vessel will sail back and forth to accommodate as many travellers as possible. Emergency response vehicles will be given priority. 

The M.V. Klitsa accommodates 19 vehicles and up to 150 passengers and crew. The crossing takes approximately 25 minutes, so the ferry can provide one round trip per hour. BC Ferries expects this route will be popular over the next few days. Customers are advised to expect waits and be prepared with snacks and water.

 The other daytime option is to sail between Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Salt Spring Island (Fulford Harbour) and then between Salt Spring Island (Vesuvius Bay) and Vancouver Island (Crofton). 

Malahat could remain closed for up to a week

111521 - The Malahat highway could be limited to a single lane for up to a week as crews repair damage caused by Monday's flooding. The highway is open but restricted to single-lane traffic. Emcon Services, which handles road maintenance, says the highway was closed through the Goldstream area as a geotechnical assessment was conducted. The extent of the damage remains unknown. The closure stranded countless travellers and prompted BC Ferries to operate the Mill Bay ferry across the Saanich Inlet overnightMORE

Sandstone development headed to public hearing

111521 - A massive development in south Nanaimo which has been bouncing on and off council agenda for more than a decade is going to public hearing. City council passed the first two readings of an official community plan amendment application for the 294-hectare Sandstone properties. The development spans both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway, both sides of Cedar Road and both sides of the Duke Point Highway. MORE

Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021

When huge events take over the news cycle, the every-day stuff often takes a back seat. The big story in our province is the ongoing rain and flooding situation, which we detail outside the Daily Buzz. 

South Island residents continue to overcome power outages the rain died down and winds picked up across Greater Victoria and southern Vancouver Island Monday afternoon. By mid afternoon on Monday, almost 50,000 customers had been affected on southern Vancouver Island. BC Hydro has reported outages in Central Saanich, Saanich, Highlands, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Metchosin and Langford. MORE 

BC Ferries came to the rescue when the Malahat was closed due to flooding and road washouts. Ferries filled the gap by adding sailings throughout the night between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay. Regular service resumed this morning with the 7:30 a.m. sailing from Brentwood Bay.

Health officials on Monday reported 16 more COVID-19 deaths in B.C. over the three-day weekend, eight in Island Health. There were 1,270 new cases over that 72-hour span. Island Health had 183 of the new cases with 576 active cases.. There were 417 in Fraser Health, 121 in Vancouver Coastal Health, 275 in Interior Health region, and 274 in Northern Health. There are 3,837 active cases. 

City council has approved a development permit for a residential complex at the corner of Wallace Campbell Streets with 163 units with studio, one, two and three-bedroom apartments. It will have 32 studio apartments, 70 one-bedroom, 38 two-bedroom and eight three-bedroom units. The remaining 15 units will be live-work arrangements on the ground floor, featuring a mixture of residential and non-residential space. MORE

Volunteer Nanaimo’s Christmas Angels program needs a boost of money donations and items for gift hampers. Executive Director Rita Innamorati is looking for businesses and individuals to fill a lot of the need.  “We do teen stockings and we try to put in $10 gift cards so they can get lunch or dinner, small grocery cards so they can make those meals.” said Innamorati. Dollar store gift cards are great because you can get almost anything there. If you can help, contact Volunteer Nanaimo. MORE 

Youtube video of the devastation caused by the flooding in British Columbia’s interior.
https://globalnews.ca/news/8375787/b-c-floods-photos-videos-roads-washed-away-cars-submerged-debris/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79ZZdsBpfTk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR6rBnQfr6M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDJcls0MGbg

List of mainland BC highways currently closed:
Hwy 1 between Hope and Lytton
Hwy 1 between Lytton and Spences Bridge
Hwy 3 between Hope and Manning Park
Hwy 3 between Princeton and Keremeos
Hwy 3 near Fernie
Hwy 5 between Hope and Merritt
Hwy 7 on both sides of Agassiz
Hwy 7 between Maple Ridge and Mission
Hwy 11 between Mission and Abbotsford
Hwy 93 between Radium Hot Springs and the BC-Alberta border
Hwy 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet
  • Public Works activates Departmental Opererations Centre

    Nanaimo Public Works has activated its Departmental Operations Centre to direct resources to priority areas quickly, or support requests from other communities.
    Nanaimo has seen between 125 and 150 mm rain in the three days since the storm started on Friday. Since the beginning of November, almost 280 mm has fallen on Nanaimo.

  • Registration under way for Winter Rec programs

    The City of Nanaimo, Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture is offering recreation programs this winter season (December to March). Registration begins on Wednesday, November 24. Please note that swimming lesson registration will begin on Wednesday, Decemb­er 15.

  • Malahat has washouts

    Emcon Services photo

  • Coquihalla today

Floods close down major South Island highways

Highway 1 at Mount Sicker Road in the Cowichan Valley was flooded today.
Emcon photo

The Malahat Highway was closed to traffic at 9 a.m. due to flooding at Tunnel Hill, north of Finlayson Arm Road. Emcon Services advises drivers to avoid the roads if they can as severe rainfall creates washouts and flooding all over the South Coast.

  • Part of Highway 1 was also shut down at Mount Sicker Road in the Cowichan Valley due to flooding.
  • Highway 1A in the Cowichan Valley was also shut down between Westholme Road and Crofton Road.
  • Cowichan Bay Road was flooded between Tzouhalem Road and the highway, with a detour available on Bench Road. MORE

November 15, 2021

Good morning Nanaimo. The River Forecast Centre has issued a flood watch for the Englishman River near Parksville, saying there is potential for the river to flood. All rivers on the south and central island were subject to high streamflow advisories. Most of the island, the Lower Mainland and much of the Interior were under rainfall warnings Sunday, with 75 to 100 millimetres of rain forecast for southeastern Vancouver Island by midday Monday. There was also a warning for the Malahat from Goldstream to Mill Bay. MORE

Mud and rockslides closed the major routes in and out of the Lower Mainland on Sunday. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said 80 to 100  vehicles that were trapped in B.C.’s Fraser Valley because of landslides on Highway 7 near Agassiz, and said air rescue is being considered if needed, though it depends on the weather. MORE

BC Ferries is suffering from irregularity. Every day there are numerous ferries departing about half an hour late. It’s been loading problems or staffing shortages, and of course, the weather. Here’s an idea, borrow from the annual daylight and standard time change and reset the schedules by half an hour to Pacific Half Time (PHT). 

Passengers on recent flights to and from Nanaimo are being warned about possible exposure to COVID-19. The Centre for Disease Control has added six recent flights linked to Vancouver Island to its coronavirus exposure list. MORE

The CBC has publicly dedicated itself to greater exposure and promotion of the climate change agenda, and the bias is evident. One good thing is they won’t have to change their call letters – CBC, the Climate Broadcasting Corporation. I wonder if they’ve considered the contradiction of aligning themselves with the word “corporation”.

Federal public sector employees who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be put on unpaid leave today. That could leave more than 1,000 workers without pay and unable to access employment insurance benefits. As of Nov. 3, the vast majority — about 95 per cent — of federal public servants were reported to be fully vaccinated. The government said 1,255 workers reported that they are completely unvaccinated, which represents about 0.5 per cent of employees who’ve declared their vaccine status. MORE

Thousands without power on South Island
BC Hydro reported that 3,380 customers on the South Island were without power by 9:30 a.m. Downed trees and flooding cut electricity to residents in the hardest-hit areas of the Cowichan Valley and Salt Spring Island. MORE

Adverse weather cancels mid-day Duke Point ferry
B.C. Ferries has cancelled the Queen of New Westminster’s 10:15 a.m. sailing from Tsawwassen and the 12:45 p.m. sailing from Duke Point due to adverse weather.

Timmy's raises dough for new hospital ICU

The Tim Horton’s Smile Cookie campaign in September raised a record $27,500 for the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation. Chief Development Officer Janice Krall said all proceeds are going toward the new intensive care unit and the state-of-the-art medical equipment required for a new ICU. MORE

Sunday, Nov. 14

Good morning Nanaimo. It might be a good idea to keep your umbrella handy if you plan to leave the house. Environment Canada a weather warning for “copious amounts of rain” over the rest of the weekend. About 50-75 mm A rainfall warning has been issued, with 50-75 mm of rain forecast until Monday morning. The downpour will be heaviest this afternoon and Sunday night ahead of the cold front associated with this system, with rain expecting to ease Monday.

Two more Coronavirus case have been declared at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. One patient and one staff member at the Transitional Care Unit have tested positive for COVID-19 since their last update on Nov. 9. The total COVID cases identified during the outbreak at the unit is 14 patients and three staff members. MORE|

A report from the B.C. Real Estate Association says the housing market is at an all-time low in supply, even as home prices skyrocket. Homebuyers in and around Metro Vancouver have to look past the suburbs of the Fraser Valley and move even further afield to find lower housing prices. The report showed an average home price increase of around 19 per cent year-on-year in October. However, the number of houses listed dropped by an average of 40 per cent across the province. MORE

There are big changes on the way for the B.C. Ambulance Service. Leanne Heppell has been the new boss for four months, overseeing operations and staffing of ambulance paramedics, call-takers and dispatchers. It’s the largest transformation in the service, it's a huge amount of staff are being hired: more than 600 in the province. Most of the jobs are part-time-to-full-time conversions. She said the service is very close to ending pager pay, which pays staff minimal amounts for being on call, without being called out. MORE

Canada’s public health systems are stretched thin while thousands of foreign-trained doctors living in Canada remain sidelined due to credentialing and licensing policies. Experts say the barriers in place include not recognizing international experience and asking foreign doctors to start as if they were freshly graduated medical students. It’s limiting them from working in Canada as physicians and contributing to the effort to combat COVID. Dr. Saida Azam spent nearly four years working as a physician in India and Oman but she has been unable to work during the pandemic. Her years of training, experience dealing with thousands of patients, and desire to help, has not been enough to get her working in the Canadian healthcare system. MORE

Making memories with Humanity In Art

Lauren Semple and Lys Glassford have been putting their mark on Nanaimo since 2018, working together as Humanity in Art. They created a series of murals for the exterior of Branch 245 Mount Benson Royal Canadian Legion, a testament to their dedication and a perfect blending of history and art. Remembrance Day ceremonies provided the artists the opportunity to rub shoulders will some of the people who actually lived the events portrayed in the murals. FULL STORY

Saturday, Nov. 13

Island Health is consolidating COVID-19 testing clinic and immunization clinics at Nanaimo North Town Centre in the former Urban Planet store. The testing and collection clinic has already moved there and the immunization clinic will open there on Tuesday. Testing is by appointment and access is via the exterior of the mall. For the immunization clinic, appointments are recommended but not necessary, and access will be from inside the mall. A wall between them and separate entrances/exits ensures everyone’s health and safety noted the health authority. MORE

The City’s budget deliberations are under way, and the first result has been an increase in spending, driving up any projected tax increase. The initial increase was 3.4 per cent, but a series of additional expeditures have raised the rate to about 4.1 per cent. The federal RCMP contract will require an additional $1.16 million. City wages and benefits are also going up by about $93,000 more than previously reported. The good news is that casino revenue is $153,000 more than expected. And there are a few more items on the shopping list before the budget is locked up. MORE

The Island Health region reported 138 new COVID-19 cases over the past two days, with 992 across the province. There are 614 active cases in the Island region. Within the Island Health region, there is currently a total of 614 active COVID-19 cases. There was 23 additional death related to the virus over the last two days, with one of those being in the Island Health region. Province wide, 384 are in hospital with 124 in critical care. There are 4,265 active cases in British Columbia. There were 23 death related to the virus during that period, with one of them in Island Health region.  

A couple from Quebec visiting in Nanaimo got a rude introduction to our town this week. Their two bicycles were stolen over night on Wednesday. The Nanaimo RCMP is investigating the theft of the two relatively unique road bikes. The theft occurred sometime overnight on Wednesday from parking lots in the 700-block of Third Street. DETAILS AND PHOTO.

The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive is looking for new toys or gift cards this year since the pandemic forced them to stop accepting used toys. Carolyn Iles of the Toy Drive says it’s a great way for families to share Christmas. That includes seniors who may not have children nearby. So everyone is encouraged to get involved. MORE

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training has announced a grant of $150,000 for a trades and technology equipment upgrade at VIU. It will provide better learning materials for automotive service technician, computer science, culinary arts, engineering and heavy equipment operator program students.

There’s another storm on the way. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast. Heavy rain is expected this weekend in Metro Vancouver, Lower Fraser Valley, Howe Sound and southern sections of Sunshine Coast. A series of moisture-laden systems associated with an “atmospheric river” from the Pacific will begin arriving Saturday evening and bring heavy rain to the South Coast with anywhere from 75 to 150 mm of rain if forecast through to Monday morning. It doesn’t include Nanaimo, so keep your fingers crossed. MORE

Close to 100 anti-vaccine demonstrators who commandeered a Remembrance Day ceremony in downtown Kelowna could face criminal charges or fines. RCMP Insp. Adam MacIntosh said they support the right to protest, but when they willfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony, this is a step too far.”  The incident took place at the cenotaph in Kelowna. MORE

Nov. 12, 2021

CROWDS WERE DIMINISHED but Nanaimo and Lantzville citizens gathered at cenotaphs to pay their respects to the victims of past wars. More than 100 showed up at the cenotaph at the Dallas Square in downtown Nanaimo. It was the same Royal Canadian Branch 256 Mount Benson and Branch 257 Lantzville which encouraged the public to avoid the ceremony and wreath laying events due to the pandemic.

ANTI-VACCINE PROTESTERS disrupted Remembrance Day ceremonies in Kamloops and Kelowna. CTV reported in Kamloops a young man began to recite In Flanders Fields, before adding a message of his own about remembering forefathers who fought for our freedoms. He put an emphasis on freedom and then condemned vaccine mandates and government propaganda "forced down our throats."  A middle-aged man, who said he was a veteran, interrupted the poem, dropping F-bombs into the microphone. It’s a much bigger issue than just mandates. See my column MORE

WE KNOW WHAT SEASON IT IS when we hear from the first local snowbirds who have arrived at their winter nesting grounds in Arizona, California and Mexico, Covid tests be damned. Many of them report that the Daily Buzz is their news connection to Vancouver Island. Great to have you here.

IMPROVING THE TRAFFIC FLOW – The Chase River, Cinnabar Valley and Extension area has been growing by leaps and bounds to the extent that the extra traffic is becoming a pain in the neck. City council, staff and residents are trying to find better ways to move in and out of the area. Staff have studied what’s needed to alleviate traffic congestion on the Cranberry Avenue, Extension Road and Trans-Canada Highway corridor which has been the only direct link to the rest of the city since residential development started in the area in 1970. MORE

SUNKEN TREASURE – Many of the 109 shipping containers that fell from a cargo ship off Victoria in late October likely settled to the bottom of the ocean, reports the Canadian Coast Guard. Four containers washed ashore near Tofino but there is no sign of the others. The full cargo of approximately 2,000 containers has been a major factor in the supply chain with many retailers waiting to find out what they still have coming. Weather, high tides and storm swells have thwarted crews cleaning up the beaches where four of the containers landed. Earlier this week, the Coast Guard gave the go-ahead for the ship to be moved to port in either Nanaimo or Victoria. MORE

 Tribute and history of the battlefield cemeteries

Nov. 11, 2021

Winter is coming on – Cold and rainy weather, icy roads and possibly snow are on the way. Now is a great time to start preparing for winter weather and storm conditions. The city has a whole bunch of suggestions about what your can and should do be cope with winter. FULL DETAILS. 

Our tourism industry is loud and clear, they want the federal government to scrap the PCR test requirement for cross-border travel, and who can blame them? They want it now, in time for the holiday season. Travellers must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada. Those in B.C.’s tourism sector say the requirement is keeping international visitors and business travellers away. MORE

The Vancouver Island Health region reported 88 cases of COVID-19 in the region on Wednesday, among 555 cases across British Columbia. The death toll climbed by 11 in the previous 24 hours. There have been 106 virus-related deaths in the Island region since the pandemic began. There are 598 active cases in the region 62 in hospital, including 14 in critical care. MORE

RCMP are looking for a suspect after a woman was assaulted while running on a trail in Linley Valley off Burma Road on Tuesday. A black dog, believed to be a standard poodle or similar breed with a cropped tail, approached and accidently tripped her. The woman called out to the owner of the dog who appeared to be another runner. The man stopped running and came back to where the woman was and violently pushed her to the ground. FULL DETAILS

The Salvation Army kettle campaign will hit the streets Nov. 19 and there’s room for more volunteers. The pandemic has forced special rules for volunteers at the kettles. They must present proof of vaccination cards to the campaign. Kettle workers will wear masks. Tap machines are back this year. There will be four shifts daily of 2 1/2 hours at some locations and three hours at others. The shifts are 10:30-1, 1-3:30, 3:30-6 and 6-8:30p.m. MORE here on how to register.

Politically correct virtue signalling - People keep recognizing that they “live, work and play on the traditional territory of (a) First Nation.” Just thinking, have they ever paid the First Nations for the right to live on that traditional territory? The rent must be over due by now.

Many in-person Remembrance Day ceremonies are being scaled back this year and people are encouraged not to attend ceremonies at their local cenotaph. Island Radio’s NanaimoNewsNOW will provide a Facebook live stream of the Remembrance Day ceremony at 10:45 a.m. from Dallas Square Cenotaph. They have an outline of activities at seven Mid Island Legions between Ladysmith and Bowser. A vaccination passport and ID must be presented to gain entry to all local Legions, along with all other COVID-19 provincial health guidelines.

The province reports 1,548 health care workers have been vaccinated since last week, leaving 3,071 unvaccinated workers on leave. Island Health reported 76 new cases on Tuesday. Health officials reported 500 new cases and five deaths across the province. Three of the deaths were in Island Health, bringing the death toll to 103 since the start of the pandemic. The Island reported 489 active cases with the central Island the hotspot with 275 cases, 132 in South Island and 75 in the North Island. MORE

The British Columbia Centre for Disease Control has added a recent flight to Nanaimo to its coronavirus exposure list. It was Air Canada/Jazz flight 8035, Vancouver to Nanaimo on Nov. 2 (affected rows are 12-18). The BCCDC says passengers who were on a flight that has been added to the province’s COVID-19 exposure list should self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, chills, cough or worsening of chronic cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of sense of smell or taste, runny nose, headache and fatigue.

Researchers from Simon Fraser University say the province's vaccine card system confused and frustrated many seniors. After speaking with more than 500 seniors, the team at SFU said the province failed to properly consult with seniors and their advocates before implementing the proof-of-vaccination requirement.  The vaccine card system was implemented in September, and requires residents to present a personal QR code – either physical or digital – when accessing restaurants, movie theatres and other non-essential services. MORE

A new program at Edgewood Treatment Centre offers women on-site care for their children through Kids and Company. It’s a pilot program to create a safe and supportive environment allowing for healthy mother-child relationships during recovery. There will be three spaces at any time. Mothers and children will live together, with supportive supervision to allow them to bond with children. The care will also allow women time to concentrate on their healing while their children are tended for throughout the day. MORE

The labour shortage has been so acute at the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District that they have created a new position – responsible adult. Superintendent Scott Saywell says the district is challenged in just about all positions. Speech pathologists, French immersion teachers and planners are among the tough-to-fill positions. But education assistants are the hardest to find, so that’s where the responsible adults fit in. Some of those hirings could take evening courses to qualify as education assistants. MORE

Do you have a budget-related question? City Council is holding a 2022 Budget eTown Hall at the beginning of the Council meeting on November 15. Ask your question anytime on the eTown Hall Facebook event page here: http://ow.ly/KhbG50GBzPc or on the eTown Hall page on the City website: http://ow.ly/zzwF50GBzPJ

The Victoria Police Department needs 12 experienced officers to fill ongoing shortages, if is offering a $20,000 signing bonus as a lure. VPD is down 35 officers who are on leave due to sickness, maternity, paternity and stress. Police Chief Del Manak said the offer is unprecedented for the department to  offer an incentive to hire experienced police officers from across the province and across the country. New hires with experience won’t need to undergo the eight to nine months of training. MORE

Three RCMP officers were taken to hospital after a logging truck lost its load and logs smashed into two police vehicles west of Lake Cowichan. As the RCMP cruisers were coming around a corner, a police vehicle clipped a portion of the truck heading in the opposite direction, which caused the truck to lose its load. MORE

This is the stuff of totalitarian systems

“They should consider if they are in the wrong profession.” This is the stuff of arrogant bureaucrats. This is British Columbia’s unelected Public Heath Officer. This is how she addresses the unvaccinated health care workers. She is blissfully unaware of what is going on in this world. The exact quote from the Times Colonist states: “Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said last week that if health-care workers don’t want to be vaccinated against COVID-19, they should think about whether they are in the wrong profession.” MORE

Eight new COVID cases at Hospital and Chartwell

Island Health’s outbreak response has identified additional cases of COVID-19 related to the outbreaks declared on the Transitional Care Unit at NRGH and at Chartwell Malaspina Care Centre long-term care home.

Since the last update on November 5, eight new cases have been identified through follow-up testing. In total, 13 patients and two staff members have tested positive related to this outbreak.

One additional case, in a resident, has been identified through follow-up testing at Chartwell. Two staff members and three residents have tested positive for COVID-19 related to this outbreak. MORE

Drug deaths hit 1,534 in first nine months

The scourge of illicit drugs continues to take lives in B.C. In just two months, August and September. the BC Coroners Service reported 333 lives lost to illicit drugs, including 239 in the Island Health region. The South Island had 113 deaths by the end of September with 75 in the Central Island and 51 in North Island. The total for the year, so far is 1,534, the most in the first nine months of a calendar year, about 5.5 deaths per day. Men accounted for 79 per cent of the, 71 per cent were between 30 and 59. MORE

Thousands without power after overnight wind storm

Heavy winds left thousands of residents are without power on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands overnight. More than 4,000 customers are without power in the Central Island region. Close to 3,000 customers without power are on northern Vancouver Island, the in the Campbell River and the Courtenay areas, including Gabriola and Hornby islands. MORE

Tuesday, Nov. 9 2021

FERRIES, TRANSIT AND TRANSLINK will provide free fares for veterans on Remembrance Day, except in Nanaimo. All scheduled transit routes and handyDART in the Victoria Transit System will be free for all riders in uniform, active, retired and cadets, as well as those with Army, Navy or Air Force Association cards. Nanaimo Transit Manager of Operations, Darren Marshall, said it operates separately from B.C. Transit. On the water, BC Ferries is offering free fares for customers with Canadian military identification or travelling in uniform. Ferries is also providing free travel for B.C. seniors on Remembrance Day. For more check BC Transit or BCFerries

CRUISE NEWS – Relief is on he way for the cruise ship industry in B.C. Easing pandemic restrictions are breathing new hope into the local scene. The Port of Nanaimo is speaking with cruise lines about a return to our port. Victoria is working with a number of lines for next summer. Victoria concentrates on larger volume routes as they restart. Nanaimo Port Authority president Ian Marr says the port changed its marketing focus but the pandemic played havoc with that but they are proceeding with their cruise plans.

DR. RICHARD STANWICK will retire as Vice-President, Population Health and Chief Medical Health Officer for Island Health at the end or this year. He has spent more than 25 years of service to the health of residents in the Island Health region. He came to B.C. in 1995 from Manitoba, where he spent five years as the Medical Health Officer for the City of Winnipeg. MORE

CONTAINER SHIP SUPPORT – A report over the weekend said the Zim Kingston container ship off Victoria’s shore was cleared to be moved to Nanaimo or Victoria to unload and facilitate distribution of the almost 2,000 containers on board. What better place to bring the ship – to the Duke Point container facility? They have everything there that they need. Nanaimo Port Authority President Ian Marr tells me they’re “working with several government bodies to see if we can assist in any way with the vessel and crew”.

REMEMBRANCE DAY will be marked at local Legion Branches and the Vancouver Island Military Museum on Thursday. Branch 257 Lantzville will have a ceremony at the Huddlestone Park cenotaph at 10:45 a.m. There is no parade this year. The branch will open at 11:30 a.m. Proof of vaccinations is required and masks are mandatory, except when seated at a table. Soup and sandwiches will be served at 1 p.m. as long as supplies last and music is on tap from 2-4 p.m. The downtown military museum will be open after the cenotaph ceremony, and admission is free.

DOCTOR DENIED HOSPITAL PRIVILEGES – Pediatrician Dr. Chris McCollister is no longer allowed to work inside West Coast General Hospital because he’s not vaccinated for COVID-19. He argues people need to make their own decision on medications for their bodies. He says that decision has been stripped from him and the thousands of other B.C. health care workers who don’t want one of the current COVID-19 vaccines. MORE

TIME TO REFLECT ON CANADA AT WAR – The remembrance period is the time to reflect on Canada’s contribution to two world wars. Doug Slowski has made a number of visit to Canadian war cemeteries in Europe and has been kind enough to provide a slide show and descriptions of those sites. CLICK HERE.

CLANGING AND BANGING – BC Ferries is doing minor construction work at the Nanaimo Harbour terminal overnight Nov, 9, 10 and 11. The work is required to accommodate the two new Island Class vessels that will operate on the Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola route. The work is planned to begin after the last sailing departs the terminal each night, and will continue overnight. Work includes use of a marine rig and a crane that will lift components for connection to the existing structure. MORE

FIREFIGHTERS ARE DOING some serious training to be ready in case of disasters at the city’s concrete high-rise buildings. We’re no loaded with sky scrapers, but what happens if there’s a fire in one of our highrises? They are training in the Beacon downtown and at Bailey Manor on Dufferin Crescent. Concrete structures were chosen for the training to give the firefighters experience with new firefighting techniques that have evolved over the years specifically for fighting fires in tall concrete structures. MORE

LACK OF INITIATIVE – An Initiative to change voting in provincial elections has failed. The petition was submitted to Elections BC on Nov. 8. Under the Recall and Initiative Act, a petition must gather signatures from at least 10% of the registered voters in each of the province’s 87 electoral districts in order to be successful. It was clear that the petition did not get the required number of signatures in each electoral district. Elections BC will not proceed to verification and will not count or validate any of the signatures submitted.

OH WHAT A RELIEF IT IS – The most explosive news from COP26 climate change gabfest last week was about how U.S. president Joe Biden raised a stink as he ripped one while making small talk with Camilla, the wife of heir to the throne Prince Charles. The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported: “It was long and loud and impossible to ignore. Camilla hasn’t stopped talking about it.” British and U.S. media have been in a dither about this whiff of scandal reverberating through the British aristocracy. Biden was likely snoozing when Prime Minister Trudeau pledged to cap fossil fuel emissions. C’mon man, he is 79 years old and he was on topic – it was a conference on emissions, after all. 

(This wasn’t the first incident, but what happens at the Vatican stays at the Vatican).

MV Coho ferry resumes Victora-to-Port Angeles service

The the MV Coho ferry between Victoria and Port Angeles, Wa. completed its first sailing since March, 2020 on Monday with a full load of passengers. The U.S. is allowing Canadians to enter the country for non-essential reasons via land and sea. Border lineups stretched across the country Monday morning. The reopening of the Canada-U.S. border on Monday allowed the ferry to sail again. 

“When it comes to the snowbirds, as we see today, we’re full,” said Ryan Burles, President and CEO of Black Ball Ferry Line. “We’re booked for the next six sailings so we’re very happy with that.” MORE

Island region reports 221 new COVID cases over weekend

Vancouver Island Health region had 221 COVID-19 cases and three deaths over the three-day weekend, part of the 1,438 new cases across the province, including 17 deaths.

Island Health reports 518 active cases — 86 in North Island, 306 in Central Island, and 126 in South Island. There are 4,282 active cases in the province and 407 people in hospital — 121 in intensive care.

Of the other new cases identified in B.C. over the weekend, 155 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 575 in Fraser Health, 321 in Interior Health, and 166 in Northern Health. There were  six deaths in Northern Health, five in Fraser Health, two in Vancouver Coastal Health, and one recorded in Interior Health over the weekend.

Trudeau pledges a cap on oil and gas emissions

Canada will impose a hard cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at the COP26 summit in Glasgow. Calling the promise “a major commitment” that should inspire other resource-rich countries to dramatically curb their own emissions, Trudeau said Canada is prepared to limit the growth of one of the country’s largest industries to help the world hold the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. FULL REPORT

Royal Museum's whitewash of history is off the mark

Ellis Ross, MLA

The Royal BC Museum in Victoria is in the process of trying to rewrite history, to hide what happened in the past in our province.

There has been little reaction to the whitewashing of our past. Ellis Ross, a former First Nations chief councillor and now an MLA, takes issue about the way that history is being rewritten. He has lived part of that history and says the revision is off the mark.

Ross is running for the leadership of the BC Liberals. He lays out the back issues in a video that forms part of his leadership bid. Watch ELLIS ROSS' video here.

THERE'S A STORM A'BREWING. Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for sections of Vancouver Island. Strong winds that may cause damage are expected to hit both the east and west coast and northern Vancouver Island today. Southeast winds between 70 and 90 km/h are expected to hit late this evening impacting East Vancouver Island. MORE

THE GREAT CANADIAN SNOWBIRD MIGRATION began at midnight after travel restrictions came off. Tons of recreation vehicles had congregated near the border to Bidenland, ready to form a south-bound caravan. It’s been nearly 20 months of COVID-19 exile but now fully-vaccinated travellers can cross the Canada-U.S. land border. Fully-vaccinated Canadians still face hurdles on the way home – they will have to show a negative COVID-19 test result not more than 72-hours old, regardless of their vaccination status. The cost of those tests is formidable, somebody’s wallet is getting a lot fatter. It’s a Canadian rule, but it is U.S. providers who are cashing in to the tune of $150 to $300 per test. MORE. 

HOSPITAL ENTRY RESTRICTED –  Starting Tuesday, if you want to visit anyone in acute care facilities you will have to provide your COVID-19 proof of vaccination. Island Health announced today that visits to the emergency room or for compassionate care — including critical illness, palliative care, hospice care, end-of-life, and medical assistance while dying — or pediatric care, labour, and delivery will be exempt. MORE

APPROXIMATELY 20 MILLION POPPIES will be distributed by Royal Canadian Legion branches throughout Canada this year, with all donations directly to supporting veterans and their families. Use of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance was started by a French woman Anna Guérin in 1921, when she was inspired by John McCrae's poem, In Flanders Fields to raise money for veterans and to remember those who had given their lives during the First World War. The poppy's centenial will form part of Remembrance Day ceremonies. The legion has issued a special pin that can be bought at branches across the province.

Treatment of our veterans is a national disgrace

Instead of dealing with chronic problems related to benefits for the armed forces, Prime Minister Trudeau traipsed off to Europe to hob-nob with the COP26 climate mob.
Our veterans are left in limbo and our allies in Afghanistan are facing death at the hands of the Taliban. Trudeau is oblivious to his duty to do right by both groups. From June 2020 to June 2021, an additional 540  staff members shrank the Veterans' claims backlog by 9,000 cases. That indicates a case took an average of 110 hours (14.7 days) to process. See John's column HERE

Sunday, Nov. 7

Welcome to the start of another new week as we enter the pre-Christmas season. There's a bright light after every dark cloud. The container ship disaster off our coast is leaving many retailers with a short supply on inventory. Just think, we may be forced to spend less this Christmas because of that.  This looks like another wet week with rain predicted every day. 

Nanaimo and other B.C. communities, such as Comox, Kamloops and Penticton, continue to see a surge of arrivals from across the country, and that has housing prices rising on Vancouver Island, says Mayor Leonard Krog. A lot of people are moving from the east and from Vancouver. “People are fleeing the Lower Mainland. We used to have the ferries as a bulwark against Lower Mainland people. But now we can’t keep the buggers out,” Krog is quoted by Douglas Todd in a Vancouver Province article. Why would people stay in the Lower Mainland when they can cash out on their $2-million house in Burnaby and get a great home for $1 million in Nanaimo, he reasons. MORE 

The city is thinking ahead. Instead of rushing ahead with a stadium district plaza, underground services will be installed before it is built. Art Groot, director of facility and parks operations called it "future-proofing." The finance and audit committee has recommended increasing the budget for the stadium district plaza – between Serauxmen Stadium, NDSS Community Field and Rotary Bowl – to $1.16 million from $350,000. It’s not a new expenditure, the city will move money already in the five-year financial plan, most notably by delaying artificial turf at the baseball stadium. 

The damaged MV Zim Kingston container ship has been cleared to move to moorage in Nanaimo or Victoria. But it will likely be some time before contracted salvagers can unload the containers, inspect and assess them, and potentially release those that are undamaged. For businesses that were counting on the arrival, it is a major disruption in the supply chain. The vessel’s entire manifest of 2,000 containers remains held up and in unknown condition aboard ship. “We really don’t know when we’ll be getting those products,” Clint Mahlman, president and CEO of London Drugs, told Global NewsMORE.

The Nanaimo Regional District is launching it’s 2022 budget discussions with the prospect of adding 22 new full-time staffers. Directors got recommendations on staffing, service level changes and capital projects last week. Of the 22 new full-time positions, notable additions include a superintendent of transit operations and an information technology cybersecurity analyst. Acting finance director Tiffany Moore said a security review recommended a focus on firewalls, intrusion detection, routine monitoring, antivirus, malware and security-related services and technologies. 

British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health-care workers will soon include doctors, dentists and other professionals working in private practices, Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday. He said the Ministry was working with professional colleges to implement the measure. “This is critical for the provision of health-care services. I think it’s as important for family doctors and for dentists and for people working in the community to be vaccinated — the vast majority of them are”, Dix said.

I spent many years in professional wrestling where I met many larger-than-life characters. I made many lasting friendships – one of those was Angelo Mosca, who wrestled and played in the Canadian Foottball League at the same time. We had a friendship that lasted for many years. As is the case with so many of those friends, they are passing on. When I see many of them now they are in wheelchairs, walkers or using canes and crutches. I was not surprised, but saddened to learn that Angie had answered the final bell on Saturday in Hamilton at the age of 84 from Alzheimer’s, likely brought on by all the bumps and bruises of both sports he excelled in. Rest in peace, my friend. MORE

Plan calls for developers to help fund affordable housing

Developers are facing significant increases in the community amenities contribution they pay to rezone property, to fund affordable housing in the city. A minimum of 40 per cent of the total contributed would be directed to the Housing Legacy Reserve Fund. For about the past decade, developers have paid $1,000 per residential unit as a community amenity contribution. The rate for a single family residence would triple to $3,000 by Jan. 1, 2022 and climb to $5,500 in 2023 and $8,000 in 2024. The staff report proposes increasing all levels of the amenities contribution. FULL COLUMN

Will an increase in the community amenities contribution be a good move by the city? Can it help solve the housing affordability crisis or will it negatively impact new development? Everyone has an opinion, and we want to share it with our readers. Pick this or any other topic and talk as much as you like. LET’S TALK  

Adding more costs to housing doesn't add up
Does it make economic sense to load new home construction with more charges to pay for affordable housing.  It seems counterproductive to increase the cost of housing for one social-economic sector i.e. the middle class and young families to pay for subsidized  housing for lower income families. There are better ways to do this, says one of our readers. See his comment HERE.

Saturday, Nov. 6

The Dwelling Place privately-run complex-care facility in Nanaimo has had its license suspended by Island Health. The seniors home, on Labieux Road, has operated since 1992 and was licensed for 14 residents. The health authority cited numerous ongoing infractions of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act involving staff records, staff evaluations, care planning, medication delivery and storage. The health authority also says not all staff were immunized for COVID-19 or Tuberculosis as required and as a result, there was an immediate risk to the health and safety of the residents. The remaining seven residents were moved to other facilities following the suspension. MORE

Tonight’s the night . . . we revert (go back) to Pacific Standard time. Set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed. While you’re at it, do the oven and microwave clocks but don’t worry about resetting your TV, computer or cell phone clocks, there’s a magic place in Fairyland where little gnomes do that while you’re sleeping. We were supposed to scrap daylight time when the province passed legislation in 2019 to end seasonal time shifts, pending our U.S. west coast counterparts doing the same. Washington and Oregon have passed legislation to do the same, while California has gone back and forth on the details. In the end, the U.S. Congress has to approve and nothing ever seems to get passed there.

Two additional cases of COVID-19 related to the outbreak in the Transitional Care Unit at NRGH were listed by Island Health on Friday. One patient and one staff member have been identified through follow-up testing. Six patients and one staff member have now tested positive for COVID-19 in relation to this outbreak. The outbreak continues to be limited to the Transitional Care Unit. The outbreak was declared on November 1 after evidence of transmission within the unit. MORE

Children under 12 now make up the largest number of new COVID-19 infections as health officials say vaccinations for them are still weeks away. Infections in that age group surpassed those of all other age groups for the first time in the fourth wave of the pandemic, Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) officials revealed Friday. Dr. Theresa Tam says it’s not an unexpected pattern given the high level of vaccination in the other age groups. This age group has milder illnesses, but there are occasional or rare severe outcomes. But very rarely do they result in death.

Cdr Jason Bergen passes the bell to Mayor Krog.

The ship’s bell from HMCS Nanaimo has a temporary new home while the ship undergoes maintenance – at Nanaimo city hall. When a Canadian Navy ship goes into dry dock, the bell is brought to the ship’s namesake city. Former commander of HMCS Nanaimo, Jason Bergen, presented the bell to Mayor Leonard Krog on Tuesday. The ship is now in Esquimalt Harbour at but will move to Point Hope Shipyards in Victoria for maintenance until the spring. 

Approximately 100 vehicles are broken into in Nanaimo each month. And almost 60 per cent are unlocked vehicles. Regionally, Downtown led the way with 17 thefts in October, but the Hospital/Townsite area was close behind with 16.  Buttertubs/University Heights had 15. The numbers showed between six and eight for Divers Lake, Country Club and Uplands areas. We’re on pace to have approximately 1,300 theft from vehicles this year, says Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP

LifeLabs workers who briefly went on strike last month have voted in favour of a collective agreement. The 1,550 members agreed to the three-year deal with wage increases averaging 12 per cent. The union the workers will also receive a $1,250 signing bonus. The BCGEU says the agreement strongly addresses the wage gap between LifeLabs workers and public-sector employees doing similar work.

Two kayaks were stolen in broad daylight from the Nanaimo River on Oct. 20. They were taken from the bush near noon while the owners were helping to shuttle other users to their respective vehicles. MORE

The urinals and a toilet at Harewood Centennial Park on Howard Avenue were smashed on Nov. 1. There is no video surveillance and no witnesses to the incident. If you have information on this  incident, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2021-408188or 2021-40793. More details HERE

OUTSIDE OUR BOUNDARIESThe Clearbrook Mennonite Brethren Church in Abbotsford has voluntarily suspended in-person worship and other events after dozens in the congregation became ill with suspected COVID-19. Eleven people were hospitalized and one online post from the church says as many as 40 people may have contracted the disease. There are no capacity limits or restrictions in B.C. on indoor and outdoor worship services.

If you haven't got your fill of politics, you can spend your Saturday afternoon listening to the BC Liberals’ leadership candidates talk about their vision for the party. It starts at 1 p.m, live streamed on the party’s Facebook page. Each of the six leadership candidates will have 15 minutes to present his/her campaign vision. You do not need a Facebook account to view the livestream. You'll also be able to watch the candidates' presentations on the Party's Facebook account and YouTube page for later viewing.

Trudeau is not entitled to drag us into his fantasies

True North reports our government won’t reveal how much taxpayers spent on sending 276 delegates and members of the media to Glasgow, Scotland. Blacklock’s Reporter, said among those who attended include former environment minister Catherine McKenna who travelled to the event as a VIP. Many others' expenses were paid by taxpayers. FULL COLUMN

40 years later, our Charter Of Rights is on life support

Brian Peckford recalls how on this day 40 years ago he presented a written proposal to all First Ministers that several hours later became the Patriation Agreement which included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now 40 years later, he believes our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is on life support. Brian is the only living First Minister who helped craft The Constitution Act of 1982. FULL COLUMN

The Salvation Army kettle campaign will hit the streets Nov. 19. In the meantime, COVID-19 has forced special rules for volunteers at the kettles. All volunteers must have their proof of vaccination cards and they must be presented to the campaign. You can email a copy of your QR card, text a photo or drop by the office and show your card in person. Kettle workers will wearing masks. Tap machines will be back this year. There will be four shifts daily of 2 1/2hr hours at some locations and three shifts at others. The shifts are 10:30-1, 1-3:30, 3:30-6 and 6-8:30p.m.

It's been years in the making, and now Nanaimo Search and Rescue has its new headquarters on Fourth Street. Tours were held to show off the expanded and vastly upgraded longtime home of the organization, which now responds to about 50 wilderness and urban searches annually for people in distress. The seismically sound hall features additional bays to house all of the agency’s vehicles and a boat. A full training centre and offices to coordinate search missions make up much of the main floor. Having all of their equipment secured in one place is leading to faster and more organized responses. MORE

Michael Wyse has won the Snuneymuxw election for chief by acclamation, but 18 members are running for five council seats in next month’s election. All five incumbents whose terms are expiring – Chris Good, Erralyn Joseph, Emmy Manson, Joseph White Jr. and Paul Wyse-Seward  are seeking re-election. Other candidates are Willard Brown, Denean Fred, Edward Good, Wanda Good, Adam Manson, Geraldine Manson, Charlene Paul, Terena Ross (Good), Gary Smith, Bridget White, Doug White II, John White and Eli Wyse. MORE

It never gets old. David Gogo has won the Guitarist of the Year Award before but getting nominated again for the Toronto Blues Society 25th annual Maple Blues Awards. David is up for three awards – Guitarist, Entertainer and Acoustic Act of the Year. It’s especially rewarding since those in the entertainment industry have been sort of on the shelf for the past two years due to the pandemic.

The latest COVID-19 numbers show 54 new cases linked to the Island Health, part of the 596 for the entire province. There are 618 active within the Island Health region. Dr. Bonnie Henry says that 438 are in hospital with 130 people in critical care as a result of the virus. There are 4,451 active cases in British Columbia. Since Wednesday’s numbers, there have been 46 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 222 in the Fraser Health region, 115 in the Interior Health region, 159 in the Northern Health region. There are two ongoing outbreaks within the Island Health Authority, one at Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence and the other at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital

Horgan confirms throat cancer diagnosis

Premier John Horgan

Premier John Horgan has been diagnosed with cancer following a procedure last week, the province confirmed tody.

“The surgery and biopsy that were done last week were successful and I am grateful to the amazing health-care team for all the support I’ve received. The pathology confirmed that the growth in my throat was cancerous,” Horgan said in a statement.

“My prognosis is good and I expect to make a full recovery. In the next couple of weeks I will need to start radiation treatment, which will conclude toward the end of December.”

Pilot airlifted to hospital after helicopter crash

The pilot was rushed to hospital after a helicopter crash near Nanoose Bay on Thursday afternoon. Two paramedic ground crews were the first at the scene to treat the man, who police say was the only occupant of the helicopter.

An air ambulance was also deployed to the crash, and the man was later airlifted to hospital in "serious condition," according to BCEHS.

The Bell 206 helicopter involved in the crash is registered to a company called HeliQwest. A spokesperson for the company told CTV News the pilot was OK from what they were told by a company representative on the ground, as well as first responders, early Thursday afternoon. MORE

Hey, it turns out we're pretty nice folks out here in our Island Paradise. Nanaimo customers are not el cheapo when it comes to appreciating good service. Food delivery service Uber Eats says we are Canada’s most generous and polite. Orders submitted through their service in 2021, show we rate numero uno in two key categories. We came out as the top tippers and we’re the most polite city, judged by the number of times ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ was included in the online ordering instructions. Victoria and Kelowna rounded out the top three in the tip department. And we’re not a picky bunch either, we didn not make the top 10 of ‘most picky city’ highlighting orders with the most special instructions. 

Untreated waste water is flowing into the ocean in Nanaimo due to the recent heavy rainfall combined with ongoing pipe construction work.The Regional District said work to upgrade sewage pipe in the Departure Bay area has led to reduced pumping capacity due to the work that is underway, and during heavy rain, a temporary overflow of untreated wastewater may occur when system capacity is exceeded.

The sound of music is in the air again. The Nanaimo Concert Band has been silent since they were shut down during rehearsals for it 2020 spring concert. It’s great to hear them rehearsing for their 2021 fall concert which hits the stage on Sunday (Nov. 7). It’s at the Port Theatre, Nov. 7 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets $16, available from the Port Theatre. Tickets for the band’s cancelled spring 2020 concert will also be accepted. MORE

COVID-19 cases at two health care facilities in the city are growing. Island Health confirmed one additional case was added at the Transitional Care Unit at NRGH. It’s the fifth infection at the hospital, all of whom are patients. The unit continues to be isolated from the rest of the hospital, with admissions suspended and transfers in and out closely monitored. A new case has also been found at Chartwell Malaspina care home. Three cases in the Hummingbird unit forced Island Health to declare an outbreak on Sunday. One new case in a resident was detected through follow-up testing on Thursday.

The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive kicks off in about a week. The goal is to make certain every family in Nanaimo has the gifts needed to create Christmas joy for their children. The toy drive focuses on gathering toys for children and youth from newborns to age 16. Individuals, organizations and businesses can donate unwrapped toys, books, gifts for teens and gift cards. There are sites around Nanaimo where you can drop off toys and gifts from Nov. 12 until Dec. 14. Toy drive director Carolyn Iles has a suggestion for people who don’t know what kids want  – ask children. Gift certificates or gift cards are a good choice for teenagers. Drop-off sites are already set up are at Country Club Centre, Nanaimo North Town Centre, Woodgrove Centre, Save-On-Foods locations in Nanaimo, Coastal Community Credit Union branches, Nanaimo Fire Rescue fire stations, Lowe’s and Nanaimo Museum. MORE

Nanaimo has become a hotspot for new COVID-19 cases, nearly doubling from the week before. Wednesday’s data from Centre for Disease Control shows 165 new cases in Nanaimo in the week of Oct. 24-30, the first time the number has exceeded 100, up from 85 new cases the previous week.The Island Health region reported 47 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, part of the 430 new cases and six deaths province wide, including one death in Island Health. MORE

The city’s budget deliberations quickly hit a pot hole when council began talking dollars and cents. John Elliot, director of public works, said roads are falling apart quicker than crews can repair them. He said the city is not spending enough on roads. “We are doing preventive maintenance which is at a lower cost and getting more longevity out of the roads, but this is something we’re going to have to look at in the future,” Elliot said. MORE 

BC Ferries fares going up on Dec. 1, but they are calling it something else. The news release stated a half a per cent “fuel rebate” will be removed.  In plain English, they will no longer give us the “rebate” they’ve supposedly given us on fares. We’ll no longer get a discount of 10 cents for an adult passenger and 30 cents for a vehicle on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and approximately five cents for an adult and 10 cents for a vehicle on inter-island routes. No matter how you mangle English, fares are going up by that amount.

Vancouver Island University has adopted a five-year strategic plan, People, Place, Potential, to guide its activities. The university consulted students, alumni, employees and the community in 2020 to gauge views on the University’s strengths and their vision for its future. That process has led to the Strategic Plan for 2021-26, which will help VIU build a more powerful experience for students. MORE

PARTING THOUGHT – Respect is not an entitlement, that is something we have to earn.

Hindu and Sikh communities celebrate Diwali
Cost of living is surging on Vancouver Island
Why some Canadians reject COVID vaccines
Nurses warned against spreading misinformation
Safety Board investigating container ship fire

  • Something just isn't quite right

    A Vitamin D test costs $65. An experimental drug not fully tested is free. Vitamin D is known to help against the covid virus. Swiss Policy Research says: "Vitamin D3 supports and improves the immune system response to infections."

  • Climate gabfest not worth the money

    Canada will impose a hard cap on emissions from the oil and gas sector, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday at the COP26 summit. If there was a climate change emergency first-world leaders would be meeting by video conference daily.

  • Quebec rejects mandate for health care workers

    Quebec abandoned its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for health-care workers, saying the system couldn’t afford to lose the unvaccinated workers. Ontario rejected a mandate outright for similar reasons.

Nov. 3, 2021

Initial steps for a cancer treatment centre in Nanaimo have begun with conceptual planning. It’s part of a re-election promise last year by Premier John Horgan for a 10-year cancer action plan, including new cancer centres in Nanaimo and Kamloops. Dr. David Coupland, president of the Nanaimo Medical Staff Engagement Society, said he’s encouraged by the discussions and looks forward to an announcement on details for a full cancer centre for Nanaimo. MORE

British Columbia health officials Tuesday reported 51 new COVID-19 cases in the Island Health region, part of the 406 new cases province wide. There have been five deaths, none in the Island region, since Monday’s report. Fraser Health has 2,157 active cases with Island Health secord at  652 active cases. There are 4,694 active cases in the province with 445 people in hospital, 137 in intensive care. Interior Health has 613 active cases, Vancouver Coastal 607 and Northern Health 606. MORE

Anti-vaccination demonstrators invaded Nanaimo’s Canadian Tire Monday evening but the incident ended with no arrests or charges laid. More than 150 unmasked people entered the store shortly after 6 p.m. causing staff to vacate for safety reasons. Nanaimo RCMP spokesman Gary O’Brien between 150 to 200 people all entered the store at the same time in a co-ordinated protest led by one person. About 15 to 20 RCMP officers responded. O’Brien said police talked to the protest leader and they left after about 30 minutes or so. “No arrests were made and no charges are pending,” he added. MORE

Steven Michael Bacon has been committed to stand trial after a preliminary hearing into a first-degree murder charge in the death of Makayla Chang, whose body was found months after she was reported missing in March 2017. A date for a B.C. Supreme Court trial is expected to be set later this month. MORE

How safe is your business from a cyber attack? Almost every business, no matter what size, is vulnerable and being prepared for potential cyber security breaches is critical. How can you limit your exposure and risk to all the nasty trouble out there? The Chamber of Commerce is conducting a Zoom discussion Nov. 10 with cyber security experts. Check out the details MORE. 

Smaller is better. The City wants future social housing to be smaller supportive complexes, and possibly dry housing or transitional housing. Coun. Erin Hemmens moved to create negotiation points for the next agreement with B.C. Housing to address housing needs, to explore to cap the number of units in supporting housing complexes at 35, to create drug- and alcohol-free facilities, and to develop transitional housing. Council supported the motion 8-1. Hemmens said the pointsare not written in stone, but a representation of the types of conversations that are taking place around social housing in Nanaimo. MORE

Vancouver Island NDP MPs have found an issue early in the new Parliament. They demand that the Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray act immediately on the cargo spilled from the MV Zim Kingston off the Vancouver Island coast. They have sent a letter to the minister asking for local groups to help co-ordinate shoreline cleanups, and to ensure that the debris does not become a strain on local community landfills. Our new MP Lisa Marie Barron was one of the signatories on the letter. It acknowledges that the ship’s owner has hired a salvage firm, but they said the firm has little understanding of the geography of the area. MORE

BC Ferries is removing the The Queen of Alberni  from service on the Tsawwassen - Duke Point route from November 7 to January 10 for its annual refit. The Queen of New Westminster will be the replacement vessel. Commercial operators are advised the New Westminster has a lower height clearance of 13’8” and width of 12’ as compared to the 14’6” and width of 14’6" on the Alberni. 

What else is new? The Canadian Dairy Commission recommends an 8.4-per-cent-increase in farm-gate milk prices, a large hike that is expected to raise the cost of dairy products on store shelves in the new year. The price increase is expected to be approved by provincial authorities next month and take effect Feb. 1. The retail price of milk in grocery stores could increase as much as 10 per cent while prices for dairy products like butter, cheese and yogurt could soar as much as 15 per cent. MORE

Oh, rats! – Vancouver has the title for the fifth year in a row – the rattiest city in Canada. Orkin Canada says its experts noted bolder behaviour in B.C.'s rats. The rodents are mainly nocturnal, but they're increasingly being seen during the day and some are turning to canibalism. MORE

COVID outbreak reported at NRGH Transitional Care Unit

Island Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak on the Transitional Care Unit at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Four patients have tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreak is limited to the Transitional Care Unit. The first patient tested positive on Oct. 31 after becoming symptomatic. Island Health immediately implemented precautions, including enhanced cleaning and contact tracing to protect the health of all patients, staff and medical staff. Follow-up testing identified three additional patient cases. MORE

Memorial video of Nanaimo soldiers on display across city

 A Vancouver Island University video memorial project that tells a piece of the story of the lives of the Nanaimo soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First and Second World Wars is on display across the city until Nov. 11. 

The Nanaimo Remembers project displays the names of more than 200 soldiers in prominent locations across the city. The names have been obtained from the Dallas Square Cenotaph in downtown Nanaimo and a special section highlights the contributions of local Indigenous soldiers, thanks to research conducted by Vancouver Island University (VIU) Elder-in-Residence Geraldine Manson. FULL STORY

The dirty secrets of Canada’s green agenda

An informed public is the best and only defence of democracy. You views and your votes make a difference.

My observations are intended to help understand what is happening behind the scenes as opposed to self-serving pablum political parties and the media serve us. You are free to disagree, but you will be casting a better informed vote.

British Columbia is moving to decriminalize possession of small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use, in an effort to reduce and prevent future drug poisoning deaths. The province seeks an exemption from Health Canada under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said the exemption would help reduce the fear and shame associated with substance use that prevents people from seeking care. She said substance use and addictions is a public health issue, not a criminal justice issue. MORE

An estimated 200 healthcare workers in Island Health who had not been vaccinated have answered the call. By Monday, 480 workers (approximately two per cent) remain off the job for failing to be partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Health minister Adrian Dix said no surgeries in Nanaimo were postponed to date as a result of less staff, however capacity at the hospital continues to be reduced. Non-urgent surgeries continue to be postponed this week with some resuming next week. MORE

British Columbia health officials on Monday reported 218 new COVID-19 cases linked to Vancouver Island and 1,370 across the province with 25 deaths over the weekend. Island Health region had five deaths over the weekend. Of the new cases identified, 124 were in Vancouver Coastal Health, 603 in Fraser Health, 222 in Interior Health, and 203 in Northern Health. There are 4,668 active cases in the province with 436 people in hospital — 140 are in intensive care. 8,250,566 doses of vaccine have been administered province-wide. MORE

Forty-eight people on Vancouver Island died due to extreme heat this past summer. The BC Coroners Service reported province-wide data revealing the death toll for heat-related injuries. The death toll for Greater Victoria (18) and Nanaimo (11) listed 48 related deaths in total on the Island. All victims were over 40, with 22 female and 26 male. MORE

How much will it cost? It’s budget time at city hall, and city council has begun the process of creating its financial plan. So far they are looking at a 3.4 per cent tax increase, – that’s the starting point. Over the next two weeks, they will make decisions on business cases presented by staff that could change the final number. Council is aiming to adopt a financial plan bylaw before Christmas, though more changes will come before they adopt an amended financial plan bylaw and property tax rate bylaw in the spring. MORE

Steven Bacon made his first appearance Monday at a preliminary hearing into the murder Makayla Chang who was 16 at the time of her death in 2017. He has been charged with first-degree murder. At a preliminary hearing, the Crown calls witnesses and a judge determines from evidence and witness testimony if there is sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable jury could return a verdict of guilty if the case goes to trial. MORE

On top of everything else, the flu season is here and shaping up to be very different than last year. Cases have already been recorded in the province. Dr. Bonnie Henry credited high immunization rates and pandemic measures for eliminating the 2020 flu season.  She stressed the need to get influenza vaccinations, now available particularly through pharmacies. British Columbians can get a flu shot for free this yearMORE

Residential construction continues at a torrid pace in Nanaimo. City council has given the blessing to 98 new apartments at 4961 Songbird Pl, near Nanaimo North Town Centre. The building will offer 54 two-bedroom apartments, 40 one-bedroom apartments and four three-bedroom apartments. MORE

More than 3,000 health-care workers, about 2.6 per cent of the workforce, who are not yet vaccinated have been placed on unpaid leave. Health Minister Adrian Dix said 3,325 workers are on leave while 127,448 have worked at least one shift in the last three months. Of those, 122,059 are fully vaccinated, while 2,064 have received one dose. The remainder is not vaccinated and on leave. This number does not include long-term care and assisted living staff, Dix clarified. Interior Health has 1,018 health workers on leave. MORE

Being a sports fan in British Columbia could give you an inferiority complex these days, what with the poor performances of the B.C. Lions and the Vancouver Canucks. Lucky we can wear masks.

Two staff members and one resident have tested positive for COVID-19 at Chartwell Malaspina Care Centre’s Hummingbird Unit, for that unit only. Communication with residents, families and staff is ongoing.

Another fee is coming to raise the cost of housing in our community. The school district will ask the city, the regional district and Lantzville to add a school acquisition development cost charge. The proposed charge will range from $600 per unit for high-density developments to $1,000 per unit for low-density housing. There are various size and charge levels in between.  MORE

All Canadians must prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before travelling in Canada by plane, train or ship. This also applies to travelling trans-border or internationally. Passengers 12 and over must have had their second dose at least 14 days before departure. MORE. Federal proof of vaccination cards are now available HERE.

The government of Canada can't read our Charter of Rights

In order to understand some of our problems you have to define what our Charter of Rights has to say, and how the government interpets it. What the government's website on the matter has to say misses some important points in the actual Charter. MORE

Volunteers needed to help with poppy drive

The 2021 Royal Canadian Poppy Campaign is under way, but there is still a need for volunteers to man the locations.  If you are able to help out for a few hours please call  Barry French - 250-390-3652 or 250-619-7244. This list was provided by Branch 257 Lantzville. See the complete list of openings and locations HERE.