City cancels garbage collection until Tuesday, Jan.4

Dec. 31, 2021

All scheduled curbside garbage, recycling and organics collection is cancelled until Tuesday, Jan.  4. With a change in the weather forecast for this weekend and efforts still under way to clear the roads of accumulated snow, all collection (including the previously rescheduled weekend collection) is cancelled for all routes. Scheduled collection will resume on Tuesday, following the 2022 Collection Calendar.

Enjoy the final day of this eventful year

Dec. 31, 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of our faithful followers in the deserts of California and Arizona, and Mexico, the winter snowbirds. Nanaimonet is the news source they rely on to know what’s happening on the home front. Keep your comments coming, we appreciate them.

THE WORST IS OVER Some rain mixed with snow is expected to begin this evening. It’s expected to turn to snow overnight and throughout much of New Year's Day, before yielding to rain for Sunday, Jan. 2. Temperatures may drop back down to freezing in the first full week of January. FULL STORY

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE FIREWORKS to light up a new year – that’s exactly what the Nanaimo NightOwls are doing New Year’s Day. The baseball team, in partnership with Kw’umut Lelum Foundation and other sponsors, will kick off the new year with a blast at 6 p.m. at the Serauxmen Sports Fields between Second and Third streets. Parking will be restricted and the team is asking the public to park elsewhere in the area. The NightOwls are holding a ‘Stuff the RV’ food drive at the ball fields during the day, before the fireworks. Food donations for Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank will be encouraged from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

NURSES NOT BUYING IN – Nurses aren’t buying into the idea of some COVID-19-positive health-care workers being asked to continue working. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry floated the idea Wednesday at her news conference. It’s not known what capacity workers would be used in and whether it would involve interaction with patients. Quebec will be asking certain workers to stay on the job despite testing positive for COVID-19 or coming in contact with someone who is sick. The move is also being considered in Manitoba as critical staffing shortages impact health systems across the country.

A PAIN IN THE GAS – Fuel prices are skyrocketing again by as much as 12 cents a litre in Victoria on Thursday. Pump prices were hitting $1.629. That translates into $7.40 per Imperial gallon, for those who remember. In Nanaimo the prevailing price was $1.479 per litre at supper time. Dan McTeague of Gas Buddy said the hike comes from delays at two refineries due to freezing conditions. Dan sees prices dropping in about two weeks.

IT’S ALWAYS NICE TO BE WANTED, so the Nanaimo RCMP have nice warm cells awaiting two miscreants on the lam. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for the arrest of 45-year-old Courtenay Cross. And they seek help in locating 41-year-old Robert Silva, who is wanted for Possessing Stolen Property under $5,000 and Driving While Prohibited. Check out the details and photos of the pair HERE.

THE CITY HAS FUNDED the temporary daytime extreme cold weather space at Caledonia Park. The Nanaimo 7-10 Club is operating the day-use shelter since Dec. 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on days when weather is severe enough to present a threat to the life or health. There’s room for up to 12 people. The City also funded Caledonia extreme-weather space. Two other daytime warming centres are at 489 Wallace Street and 43 Commercial Street; operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association and Risebridge Midisland Culture Connection Society, neither of which are funded by the City. MORE

UNIVERSITY STARTUP DELAYED – University students are getting an extended Christmas break – Vancouver Island University has postponed the start of the winter-spring semester until Jan. 10. That follows the lead of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, who delayed K-12 school start across the province. The delayed start may not be possible for students enrolled in compressed courses and programs, and they will be contacted. Campus will re-open as planned on Jan. 4. The full statement is available HERE

MOVING ON UP – Jan Ference is starting the new year with a big new job as executive director of Haven Society. She’ll finish as director of Pathways to Healing Partnership in February to move on to her new adventure. Good luck, Jan.

WELCOME TO 2022, the fourth anniversary of Nanaimonet. I’ll keep going as long as this decrepit old body of mine holds out. This is also when we look through the windshield of the new year with a glance in the rear view mirror to the unforgetable year just passed. COLUMN

Island Health reports 460 new positive COVID tests

Dec. 30, 2021

Island Health had 460 new positive COVID-19 test in the previous 24 hours, among 4,383 across the province. There are 17,357 active cases across the province, including 856 in the Island Health region. One COVID related death was recorded in B.C. 

Recycling pickup delayed due to snow, check the schedule

Dec. 30, 2021

GOOD MORNING from the igloo. The mail and the recycling services have been shuffled, but the news gets through to our readers. 

RECYCLING PICKUP DELAYED city crews made a valiant attempt but could not beat the weather conditions and slippery roads. Collections in the city for Wednesday and today have been rescheduled. If your pickup day was Wednesday it will now be this  Saturday, Jan. 1. If your day was today, it will be picked up on Monday, Jan. 3. Residents are advised to bring their carts to the curb by 7:30 a.m. each day and take them back in by 9 p.m. or until collected. Road conditions will determine how efficient crews will be with compact snow still covering many residential streets. 

B.C. TEACHERS GOT what they wanted – the province has introduced a staggered restart for K-12 schools in January. While staff return next week, most students will be back in classes Jan. 10. The extra week will allow schools to develop enhanced safety measures for the Omicron variant. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside said the delay will allow public health and education time to assess the impact of the variant. Schools will open next week for children of essential workers, including teachers, and special needs kids. FULL STORY

SOME FAMILY IS MISSING part of its history. The Vancouver Island Military Museum has a medal from the First World War. It was found by city staff while cleaning a homeless encampment early in December. The museum would like to return it to the family, so if you have information you can call them at 250-753-3814. FULL STORY

CONGRATULATIONS to the members of Nanaimo Search and Rescue (SAR), for nearly 30 years of volunteer service. They are now operating from their new permanent location. FULL STORY.

DR. BONNIE HENRY is not dismissing the idea of out allowing COVID-19-positive workers to return to the job, as the health-care system strains under the latest wave of the pandemic. Quebec announced Tuesday that it would allow some infected workers to return. Manitoba and Ontario are looking at similar measures. Alberta has allowed unvaccinated health-care workers back on the job, provided they undergo regular testing. FULL STORY

UNEXPECTED SHOWER after a condo ceiling collapsed under pressure from a broken water pipe. All the residents were evacuated from the building on Stewart Avenue just before dinner time. Water rushing from the pipe accumulated in the attic and collapsed a ceiling and flooded much of the building.FULL STORY

DAMNED IF YOU DO – There’s a push on for Covid booster shots, but it’s becoming a harder sell than the first two injections. There is growing mistrust of government agencies pushing further vaccinations. Some experts in that field are now cautioning that too many vaccines can actually destroy natural immunity. So, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

IF YOU GOT A CALL to book a COVID-19 test and didn’t respond don’t expect another call. Bookings on Vancouver Island are so busy they cannot contact anyone a second time. Previously, residents wanting a COVID test would call the provincial hotline, then leave their phone number with the automated callback system. Residents who do not answer the phone will have to go to the back of the line for bookings FULL STORY. 

THRILL OF THE CHILL – Frank Ney used to expound about polar bears and icebergs at Nanaimo’s Boxing Day polar bear swim. Thrill seekers had to forego this year’s swim in Departure Bay, and now the New Year’s day latecomers in other communities are also cancelling. They say it’s because of the surge in Omicron virus, but we know all the ice floes turned them chicken. Organized swims in VancouverWhite RockPort MoodySaanich and Peachland have been cancelled.

HEALTH CARE WORKERS who have tested positive for COVID-19 will stay on the job in some provinces. Hospitals and testing centres are reaching their limits, warning the real infection rate is likely much higher than stated. Quebec’s health minister said the move is necessary to keep the health-care system operational, and the decision would be made on a case-by-case basis under certain conditions.

Evidence galore, but the proof is still missing

Dec. 30, 2021

Science is based on evidence and not on proof. Science is the excercise of finding proof. That’s the story of climate change, a lot of evidence but no proof. Do the purveyors of this never-dying myth not realize if there was proof, the argument would be settled and they wouldn’t have an agenda to pursue any more?

Dec. 29. 2021

Mail delivery suspended in mid-Island region

Dec. 29, 2021

 THE MAIL MUST GO THROUGH – Don't go trudging through the snow to get your mail today. Our crappy weather has forced Canada Post to suspend delivery in the mid Island area. The suspension is for today in Nanaimo, Ladysmith, and Gabriola Island. Today’s alert is posted on their delivery service alerts webpage.

THERE’S MORE where that came from. Environment Canada has issued another heavy snow and cold weather warning for Vancouver Island this evening. Snow is expected to last overnight into Thursday morning – between 5 cm to 10 cm (2-4 inches).

CITY PUBLIC WORKS crews toiled around the clock to clear the street of the one and a half to two feet of snow that had fallen until yesterday. If you haven’t seen a plow on your street, be patient, they are on their way.

Garbage pickup trucks were scheduled to begin their regular routes today according your pickup calendar. There will be some corrections due to the heavy snow on the sides of some streets. Check out the latest here https://bit.ly/33YDJ09

ORDER OF CANADA – Congratulations to former Vancouver Island University president Ralph Nilson on being appointed to the Order of Canada. Ralph was the president of VIU for three terms, and retired in 2019. The Order of Canada recognizes achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. READ MORE 

THE TEACHERS' UNION wants the province to delay next week's start of public schools across B.C. as the Omicron variant mounts. Several social media messages posted by the BCTF and retweeted by union president Teri Mooring say provincial and district officials “need to do much more” if they intend to keep schools open in January.

IT WARMS THE HEART. Shelters providing a warming space are a life saver during the cold weather, and Nanaimo social agencies kicked into high gear with shelter for many homeless people over the past few days. The SEIA shelter, which was shut down over potential theft earlier this month, reopened with help from the Canadian Mental Health Society Mid-Island Branch.   

Risebridge opened a warming centre on Terminal Avenue and the 7-10 Club has opened a third option during the extreme cold when daytime highs are below zero degrees.

PLAYING WITH NUMBERS – Health officials reported 1,785 new “cases” of COVID-19 on Tuesday, including 283 in Island Health. What does that really mean? Does that refer to positive tests or people who actually were sick? The term asymptomatic suggests many of the cases reported are really not sick. But could they be spreaders even though they do not have symptoms or appear to be sick? The new Omicron variant is considered a milder form of the virus. There are many questions about the accuracy of the tests, that they create false positives or negatives. You have to take the daily figures with a grain of salt, accepting that they provide a picture of the trends the virus is going.

RIGHT TIME AND PLACE – An off-duty Nanaimo RCMP member driving by spotted a residential garage on fire on East Wellington Road. He immediately called the fire department and then alerted the couple in the home who were not aware their garage was on fire. The property owner was alerted by his dog shortly before the officer arrived at his home. Crews battled the blaze and contained it from spreading beyond the garage to the rest of the house. MORE.

WAY TO GO 4X4. You’ve really got to hand it to the Vancouver Island Toyota 4x4 group for providing transportation to Island Health medical staff and officials who need to get to hospitals and appointments during this crappy weather.

Four-by-four owners love nothing more than driving in the snow so this is a natural and why they're excited to be part of the group assisting health-care workers up and down the island to get around during the snowy weather.

IT’S DANGEROUS OUT THERE. A multi-vehicle crash shut down Highway 4 in both directions just outside of Port Alberni on Tuesday. DriveBC tells us the crash occurred on the highway between John Street and Old Nanaimo Highway around noon. A helicopter and an ambulance attended the crash site and one woman was taken to hospital.

WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? About half the residents of the single-room occupancy hotel in Vancouver faced a fourth consecutive night without heat Tuesday. The outside temperature and wind chill values were expected to drop to –20 C.

The heat went out on Christmas Day, leaving many tenants suffering in the bitter cold. By Tuesday, heat was coming back for about 40 of the 80 units in the 110-year-old building. Why are Vancouver city officials not applying some real heat to the Regal Hotel’s is owners, the Sahota family, notorious for operating decrepit SROs in Vancouver? FULL STORY

JUST A MINUTE I sent an email information request to all members of city council on Tuesday to determine the status of snow plowing and garbage pickup during the present weather. One third of them replied and six didn't. Who were they? MORE

Cold weather plays havoc with ferry sailings

Dec. 28, 201 -Queen of Oak Bay

BC Ferries cancelled a couple of sailings between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island this morning as a result of the weather.

The Queen of New Westminster, between Duke Point and Tsawwassen cancelled four sailings today due to the freezing weather conditions, causing frozen water pipes, washroom closures, and unsafe conditions on the vehicle deck. The following sailings were cancelled
10:15 am departing Tsawwassen
12:45 pm departing Duke Point
3:15 pm departing Tsawwassen
5:45 pm departing Duke Point

Later in the day, at 3 p.m. the Queen of Oak Bay remained in dock at Horseshoe Bay due to the cold which resulted in the ship's water pipes freezing.

Gabriola ferry sailings were disrupted by crew shortages. MORE

December 29, 2021

Crews working around the clock to clear city streets

Dec. 28, 2021

City crews are working around the clock to plow city streets. First priority is always emergency and main routes, followed by secondary routes and finally dead ends and cul de sacs. 

Public Works Director John Elliot said the continuous snowfall kept crews busy over the holidays going over emergency and main routes, often more than once. They are now focusing on the secondary routes. There is no estimated time when that will be completed.

As conditions stand this morning, garbage collection is expected to resume Wednesday on the existing pickup schedules but significant additional snowfall could change that. Meanwhile, Victoria cancelled all pickups in that city today.

Police and social serves personnel kept track of the city's homeless population and extra warming sites were opened. No serious incidents were reported.

Teachers want school classes moved online

Dec 28, 2021

THE BC TEACHERS FEDERATION wants classes to resume online in January. The Ministry of Education told CHEK News that in-person learning will continue. Teri Mooring, the president of the BCTF, said they will need some time to ascertain how many education workers are going to be available to work. She said safety measures in place have not been adequate. But some students and parents think differently — and many are not at all concerned about the highly transmissible Omicron variant. FULL STORY.

STATE OF EMERGENCY – The province has extended the provincial state of emergency into the new year. Given the need for public safety measures under the Emergency Program Act and ongoing work to repair damaged highways, the state of emergency is extended until Jan. 11. A provincial state of emergency was deployed on Nov. 17 after extremely heavy rain that resulted in significant floods and mudslides across B.C.

HEY, THEY’RE FREE – There are about 14,000 open spots on Vancouver Island next week for Covid booster shots, says Health Minister Adrian Dix. He urges eligible people to book when they get their invitation. Residents 63 years old and up are eligible, along with Indigenous adults, residents of long-term care facilities, and health-care workers. People who are extremely vulnerable, and people who initially got two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, can also book an appointment. The province aims to complete its booster program by March 31, providing a 62-per-cent increase in clinic capacity across all health authorities in January. FULL STORY.

BLAME THE WEATHER – Airlines say weather is a bigger factor rather than COVID-19 for cancelling flights this Christmas season. Airline data company Cirium reports Canada’s largest airlines cancelled hundreds of flights between Dec. 22 and Dec. 26. Flair Airlines cancelled nine per cent of its scheduled flights during the period while WestJet cancelled seven per cent of its flights and Air Canada cancelled four per cent of its scheduled flights during the period. FULL STORY

COVID CASES STILL RISING – Island Health region reported 737 positive tests for Covid-19 over the three-day Christmas period, part of the province-wide total of 6,288. But the real number may be higher. Monday’s report is preliminary since public health teams reached their maximum testing capacity of about 20,000 daily tests last week. There were no statistics Monday on hospitalizations, intensive care cases and deaths for the weekend. Health authorities continue to operate vaccination clinics around the province for residents age five and older. Registration can be done online here, or by calling 1-833-838-2323 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

JUST A MINUTE – Some were ready to bestow sainthood on provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry two years ago. Now with the coronavirus at its greatest level yet, the love affair is cooling off for some people. MORE

Hospitality industry has to upgrade work standards

Dec. 28, 2021

Hospitality Industry advocates say they have a major staff shortage as the sector loses workers who will never return. It is frightening that tourism and hospitality sector leaders fail to realize that investments in college-level training and certification and paying certified employees a living wage with benefits will solve their staffing problem. JOHN’S COLUMN

Monday, Dec. 27, 2021

GLOBAL WHAT? Stay home, don’t venture out, many streets are not cleared and there’s ice under that snow. The City has plows out on the roads and they’ll get to you as soon as possible. The snow is still piling up – on Christmas day several areas reported up to 50 centimetres (20 inches). The snow and cold that came with it played havoc with transit, streets and roads. Many people inexperienced in driving in these conditions wound up in ditches. One accident on Saturday night clogged the Island Highway near Nanoose for hours. FULL WEATHER STORY.

VOTING IS THE LAST thing on a lot of people’s minds, but we’ve got a school board byelection coming up on Jan. 15 to replace Lisa Marie Barron who was elected to Parliamnet. Naomi Bailey and Steve Rae are the two candidates seeking the seat at the table. Aside from general voting on Jan. 15 there are a number of advance polls throughout the district. FULL STORY

AT-HOME PERSONAL rapid antigen Covid tests are widely available across Canada, but not in British Columbia. The tests which you can do at home tell you whether you have Covid and are likely to infect others. The tests show results in as little as 15 minutes. British Columbians can buy at-home kits for about $40 each at some pharmacies. Independent experts and doctors in B.C. have long called for rapid tests to be a bigger part of the province's strategy, while Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has downplayed their usefulness. FULL STORY. 

SALMONELLA WARNING – Four people in B.C have been hospitalized after a salmonella outbreak in Alasko brand frozen whole kernel corn. The Public Health Agency of Canada says 84 people have become ill in the four western provinces from the bacteria, 36 in B.C. No deaths have been reported.The health agency says people should not eat, use, sell, or serve any of these recalled products.  Public Health Agency of Canada recall notice

Dec. 23, 2022

Cold weather in store for the rest of the year

Dec. 26, 2021

IT’S GOING TO BE COLD –  A special weather statement has been issued for the east coast of the Island by Environment Canada advising of very cold temperatures continuing through next week. A low of minus ten is predicted for this evening and tonight. Temperatures are forecast well below seasonal through the end of December. Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery, the statement notes. There will be an increased risk of frostbite and hypothermia with these conditions. MORE

CHECK ON SENIORS – With these temperatures, check on our elders – your parents, neighbours and others you know. Don’t just assume they are okay. Seniors are particularly at risk from slipping and falling in the cold weather. FULL STORY

IMAGINE FINDING nine grand in cash stuffed in an envelop lying on the street just before Christmas. It happened in Victoria where a man found the envelop and $9,000 and turned it over to police. The Victoria Police Department said the money - which was for Christmas bonuses at a local business - has now been returned to its owner. The police got a call from a business owner, who had discovered that the cash was missing. Police did not name the business, but you think the finder got a good Christmas bonus himself? MORE

Playing the numbers game with hospital admissions

Dec. 25, 202`

I am no epidemiologist, but I can add and subtract. Island Health has 40 people in hospital due to COVID-19 over the entire Island region with 17 in intensive care. That’s 40 patients in Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo and further up island combined. There are 192 in hospital across the province. Hospital rooms sit empty “in case” they are needed. Countless numbers of people are waiting for surgery. We trust the professionals to know their stuff but it’s tough explaining that to someone waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Dec. 25, 2021

MERRY WHITE CHRISTMAS – If you were hoping for a white Christmas, you sure got your wish. And there’s plenty more where that came from, all the way to Monday. The mercury will shrink to -12 by Monday. And be alert, slips and falls send people to hospital, and they don't nee any more emergencies.

CHECK ON SENIORS – Make sure you call and check on your mom, dad, and neighbour to make sure they are okay. Don’t assume so, says BC Seniors Advocate Isobel MacKenzie. Stay home, stay warm, stay well fed, stay hydrated, take your medications. She said seniors are also particularly at risk from slipping and falling in the cold weather. FULL STORY

A LEASE OF LIFE – Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank got just what they wished for this Christmas – a 30-year lease from the city so it can build a warehouse. The city bought a 1.4-acre property on East Wellington Road for $1.3 million. Then council voted unanimously this month to approved the lease. Peter Sinclair, Loaves and Fishes executive director, told council it is estimated $6.5 million worth of food was collected in 2021, with $2 million of that going to other community agencies. FULL STORY

BUSINESSES HIT AGAIN ­– The latest health order shutdowns are a real challenge for many Nanaimo businesses, says Chamber of Commerce CEO Kim Smythe. “You can’t have more than six at a table in a restaurant, but can have 6,000 at a hockey game? At face value, it just doesn’t look like it makes any sense and that’s, I think, where you’re getting people who are super frustrated,” , said Smythe. FULL STORY.

IF YOU THINK YOU’VE GOT COVID-19 then assume you have it and self-isolate for seven days if you are fully vaccinated, or 10 days if you’ve have had fewer than two shots of a vaccine. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said if you are sick, even if you think it is just a mild cold or a flu, you need to take precautions. Testing will continue to be available, targeting those who are at greatest risk. There's no need to get a test if you don't have symptoms, or if you have symptoms and you're not in a high-risk group, she said. FULL STORY

ISLAND HEALTH registered 219 more positive COVID-19 tests on Friday for the previous 24 hours, bringing the active case count to 1,274. There are 40 people in hospital over the entire Island region with 17 in intensive care.

Unseasonably cold temperatures expected Christmas Eve

theweathernetwork.com
Dec. 23, 2021

BUNDLE UP – Cold weather with possible snow will begin tomorrow for many parts of Vancouver Island. Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for Greater Victoria, the Malahat Highway and east and inland Vancouver Island ahead of the blast of wintry weather. Starting Friday night, a weather system will bring precipitation that will end up as a mix of rain and snow for areas closer to the water, and snow for higher terrain. FULL STORY

Extended New Year's Eve transit hours cancelled

Dec. 24, 2021

NEW YEAR BUS SCHEDULE – RDN Transit has cancelled extended New Year’s Eve service due to the Provincial Health Officer restrictions. However, the free service will still run on Dec.31 from 8 pm, but only until 12:30 am.

FINDING RYAN – The Nanaimo RCMP and other police agencies are actively searching for 42-year-old Ryan Gauthier who has 10 outstanding warrants for his arrest. It seems Ryan is marching to the beat of his own drum these days. This is based on the fact that shortly after being released from police custody, he decided against attending making his first court appearance. That decision landed him warrant #10 for Failing to Appear. FULL STORY

COVID TESTING – The Ministry of Health wants people not to book COVID tests unless they show symptoms of COVID-19. "Those who do not have symptoms are strongly advised not to access testing services to allow frontline providers to prioritize care to those who are most likely to be infected," the ministry stated. It also asked residents to complete B.C.’s COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to ensure they need a test. FULL STORY

TARA-MARIE CONNOR is missing. Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 25 year old Tara-Marie Connor who, on Dec. 20, failed to attend to the Nanaimo hospital for required treatment and has not been seen or heard from since. This treatment is essential and as a result, police and her caregivers have concern for Connor. FULL STORY

NANAIMO RCMP SEEKS public assistance in locating several pieces of clothing that may have been discarded following last weeks brutal stabbing. The stabbing in question occurred at approximately 7:15 pm on Saturday December 18, 2021 in the 900 block of Northumberland Ave. Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP said investigators searched the immediate area where the stabbing took place, which included dumpsters, ravines and any location where discarded clothing could go undetected. To date, they have had no success. FULL STORY

Dec. 23, 2021

SOME SETTLEMENT – A British court has ordered the ruler of Dubai to pay his ex-wife and their children close to 550 million pounds – $730 million – in a divorce settlement. The Sheikh must pay his U.K.-based sixth wife, Princess Haya, and make ongoing payments for their children. The settlement includes 11 million pounds a year for security costs for the Princess and the children while they are minors. The judge said the main threat to them came from the Sheikh. The princess is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan. MORE

Grants up to $10,000 for businesses hit by shutdowns

Hon. Ravi Kahlon
Dec. 23

Businesses that have been closed by the most recent COVID-19 restrictions can qualify for grants between $1,000 and $10,000. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon, announced the COVID-19 Closure Relief Grant program today. He said granats will directly help businesses through these difficult times. Applications for the grant will open in January 2022.

Eligible businesses include gyms, fitness, dance centres, bars, lounges, nightclubs, event venues that can no longer hold events.

The federal government has implemented relief grants for businesses that have to reduce capacity or for workers impacted by the closures or capacity reduction. Kahlon said this grant is in addition to these grants. FULL STORY.

BC supports
Federal supports

Dec. 22, 2021

 

Bonnie Henry turned Grinch and stole my Christmas. HERE

Dec. 22, 2021

For almost two years now we have been served a steady diet of heath numbers most of them woefully incomplete. What is it with the government? It is as if they want to keep us in the dark and just up the numbers regardless what they mean. Again today more restrictions violating the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. MORE

Dec. 22, 2021

What I want for Christmas is a pause in covid talk from 12:01 a.m. Friday, December 24 until 23:59 p.m. December 27. We have earned a 96 hour reprieve from verbal diarrhea on coronavirus variants. There is nothing governments or health care professionals can say or do in that interval that will have any effect on covid spread. MORE

Province cancels non-urgent surgery appointments

Dec 22, 2021

SURGERIES CANCELLED – All non-urgent scheduled surgeries will be postponed starting Jan. 4. Urgent and emergency surgeries will continue and rescheduling will be determined through continuous monitoring of capacity and COVID-19 impacts throughout January and on a regional basis. 

RANDERSON RIDGE stands to get 168 homes after it passes a public hearing. City council passed first and second readings of a re-zoning application for 6033 and 6053 Nelson Rd. Insight Holdings Ltd., olans townhouses facing Nelson Road and a six-storey multi-family complex facing Linley Valley Drive. FULL STORY

FIRE ON CONTAINER SHIP – Bad luck appears to be following the MV Zim Kingston container ship – a fire broke out on the vessel on Tuesday. The ship remains docked at Duke where it is unloading damaged containers. The fire was discovered just after 1 p.m. The crew as well as workers for the salvaging company put out the fire in about an hour-and-a-half, port officials said. There were no injuries, and no immediate estimate of damage.

FORMER SENIOR RDN MANAGER Paul Thorkelsson stands to get a severance package of  nearly $600,000 after he was dismissed last month by the District of Saanich. The district provided a brief statement after Thorkelsson’s departure on Nov. 30, saying, "Council has decided to go in a new direction with the Chief Administrative Officer role." FULL STORY

MORE RAPID TESTING – The province will ramp up access to rapid COVID-19 tests, but take-home kits will not be available until the new year. About 35,000 tests per week are used by health regions, and that is expected to climb as the program expands. About 700,000 tests will be available at the collection sites and 100,000 will go to staff, residents and visitors in long-term care, while an additional 100,000 tests will be made available at acute care sites for symptomatic staff and/or close contacts.

SNUNEYMUXW FIRST NATION will open a cannabis retail store in January following an agreement with the province. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General called the agreement is an important milestone. "It advances the economic objectives of Snuneymuxw First Nation, and it demonstrates the benefits of the Province and First Nations working together to develop a vibrant cannabis sector in B.C." MORE

MENTAL HEALTH ALERT – We need to take special care of our mental health and the mental health of those around us, says Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson in a year-end statement. She says the past year has been very difficult for people in British Columbia. We have endured two public-health emergencies - the pandemic and the poisoned drug crisis, as well as floods, wildfires and heat waves. MORE

 The provincial government today announced a ban on all indoor organized gatherings of any size, including weddings, receptions, parties and other events effective just before Christmas. 

The new rules are inteneded to protect hospitals from a surge in Omicron COVID-19 cases. They will come into effect on Dec. 22 at 11:59 p.m. and last until Jan. 18.

All non-urgent scheduled surgeries will be postponed starting Jan. 4. Urgent and emergency surgeries will continue and rescheduling will be determined through continuous monitoring of capacity.

Bars, nightclubs, gyms, fitness centres and dance studios will be closed across the province. Seated events will be reduced to 50 per cent capacity regardless of the size of the venue including concerts, sports games, theatres and movie theatres. There will be no capacity limits at restaurants but there will be a maximum of six people per table at restaurants, pubs and cafes. FULL STORY

We're in for a load of winter weather for Christmas

Tuesday, Dec. 21

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – Welcome to winter – it officially began at 7:59 this morning. And we’re sure to get the full impact with storm watches and snowfall warnings, including significant freezing rain. We can expect five to 15 centimeters of snow this afternoon through Wednesday morning. An arctic outbreak is expected to occur across B.C. beginning Christmas Day through the early part of next week. We could see temperatures drop to 10 to 15 degrees below average. MORE.

MORE COVID RESTRICTIONS – The BC government is expected to announce additional COVID-19 measures today. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, Health Minister Adrian Dix and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth have scheduled a news conference at 1:30 p.m. The province did not provide figures on the number of Omicron cases, saying it would provide that in today’s update. Of the new cases, 415 were in Island Health – with 448 in South Island, 198 central and 183 on the North. MORE 

LIQUOR APPLICATION – City council has passed first and second readings of a rezoning application by 7-Eleven for a liquor store in the unit occupied by Off the Vine Winemaking on the corner of Dover and Blueback roads. Director of Development Approvals, Jeremy Holm, said the proposal meets the official community plan’s criteria for licensed retail stores. MORE

WELCOME TO NANAIMO – Jason Yochim is the new executive officer of The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. He most recently was president and CEO of the Saskatoon And Region Home Builders Association. MORE

COFFEE BREAK AND ENTER – A Nanaimo woman, well known to RCMP, has been charged with Break and Enter into a local church and her crime vehicle was forfeited to the Crown. 61-year-old Penny Raines was formally charged in November with Break and Enter, and is before the Courts. The break and enter to the Oceanside International Church located on Jingle Pot Road, occurred on August 30. One of the items stolen was a $10,000 espresso coffee machine. MORE

TAKING NO CHANCES – Island residents are lining up for COVID-19 tests amid a spike in cases and the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Island Health says it received approximately 2,000 calls per day for COVID-19 testing from Friday to Sunday, compared to its usual weekend amount of 600 calls per day. The health authority says it has been working to increase staffing levels since early last week. MORE

CLOTH MASKS IN QUESTION –­ The Omicron variant is believed to be more transmissible than the previous strains of coronavirus. Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam, says COVID-19 aerosols linger in the air, much like smoke. Experts now recommend wearing N95 masks to protect against the spread of COVID-19. These masks can be difficult to find and expensive. If cloth masks are the only ones available, the Public Health Agency recommends a disposable third filter layer to be included in the mask. MORE

LIFETIME FISHING BAN – Nanaimo-based fisherman Scott Stanley Matthew Steer, who had repeated fishing violations, has been handed the first lifetime fishing ban in more than a decade. Justice Peter H. Edelmann also sentenced Steer to six months in jail, minus time served, three years’ probation including 12 months under curfew, and 75 hours of community work. The justice also banned Steer from being involved in the purchase or sale of fish for five years. Steer is also banned from buying or selling a fishing vessel and forfeited his aluminum vessel, valued at about $50,000. MORE. 

RECORD HOLDERS – Canadians with criminal records may soon find it easier to get a pardon. The federal government plans to lower the application fee to $50 from the present $658 in the new year. However, applicants will still be responsible for additional fees for information such as fingerprints, court documents and police checks. MORE.

Let it snow, let it snow – weather warning issued

Dec. 20, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – If it was a white Christmas that you were hoping for, Environment Canada has good news with a caution for Vancouver Island residents of snow and freezing rain in the coming days. The statement this morning called for mixed rain and snow to hit over the next 48 hours along the east coast and inland Vancouver Island. MORE

STABBING SUSPECT CHARGED – 20-year-old Anthony Nielsen of Nanaimo has been formally charged and remanded into police custody. The charges are the result of an attack from Saturday night that sent a man and woman to hospital with significant injuries. MORE

YOU NEED TO KNOW ­–  The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown countless curve balls at Canadians for the past two years and it shows no sign of stopping. The new Omicron variant is spreading quickly, threatening to replace the Delta variant as the dominant strain in several countries. Global News has a list of what we know about Omicron so far. Much of this could change, and will be updated as needed. MORE

CONFUSION OVER RESTRICTIONS which take effect today. They range from sporting events and audience limits for large venues. But there are many confusing aspects, not the least of which is New Year’s Eve parties. The health order seems to cancel the events, but now food and beverage owners are applying a different interpretation, saying partiers will have to remain at their tables and no dancing will be allowed. We’re waiting for clarification on that one. MORE

SCHOOL IS ON – The school district is not planning to change its learning model when classes resume in January even as the Omicron variant spread continues.  Teachers union president Jeremy Inscho said his members are concerned and discussion between SD68 and Island Health will take place in early January. It is too soon to speculate on what to do if there is still a surge in cases, he said. MORE

Thanks to Nanaimo, 1,200 kids will get a visit from Santa

THANK YOU TO NANAIMO, the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive had a fantastic year. The good folk at the drive are celebrating a monumental year. Carolyn Iles, communications director for the toy drive, said the generosity of the community never ceases to amaze her. The drive helped 500 families and about 1,200 children. “The generosity of our community is something that’s absolutely gobsmacking, says Carolyn.” MORE

Rules of the road and emergency vehicles

Dec. 19, 2021

 

A LOT OF DRIVERS do not appear to know basic rules
of the road. SEE VIDEO

Governments on the wrong path in fight against COVID

Dec. 19, 2021

I do not expect everyone to agree with me, but I am increasingly concerned that efforts to combat COVID are on the wrong path. The way our governments try to deal with COVID is hilarious. They urge us to come together to get double doses of vaccines and now booster shots while demanding that we avoid coming together to stop the spread of the virus. We are in this together or not. FULL COLUMN

Suspect in custody after two people seriously stabbed

Dec. 19, 2021

Two adults were taken to hospital with serious stab wounds after being attacked in their home early Saturday night. The incident occurred at approximately 7:15 pm on Saturday. The victims, both in their 60s, called 911 to report that the suspect, who was known to them, had fled and his current whereabouts was unknown. Both victims were treated for multiple stab wounds, and then transported by EHS to the Nanaimo hospital. The accused was arrested a short time later.

Dec. 19, 2021

WE’RE INTO THE HOME STRETCH – When there isn’t much news, in my newspaper days we dug into our archives for stories from the past and reprinted them in a year in review. That provided an interesting look back and but also filled the space between the ads.

PANDEMIC PANDEMONIUM – The latest health orders from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry have people confused. The food and drink industry, which relies heavily on New Year’s Eve celebrations, were unsure but a clarification has come out. New Year’s events are allowed as long as you stay at your assigned table. Mingling and dancing are out. And keep in mind, so are drinking and driving.

MASK DEBATE – If the new Omicron variant was not enough, another debate is raging over wearing masks. The head of Ontario’s Science Advisory Table, Dr. Peter Juni, said Friday that single-layer cloth face masks may not be enough to protect against Omicron. He promoted use of KN95 respirators as a more effective option. Is it any wonder more and more people are becoming skeptical?

MOVIN’ ON UP – Nanaimo’s south end is about to get a highrise – sort of. City council has approved a height variance for a five-storey, 38-unit condo project on Haliburton Street between Crace and Finlayson streets. Parkshore Projects Ltd. built one residential project on Haliburton last year and got approval for two others in the neighbourhood earlier this year. MORE

CIVILIAN COPS – The Saanich police department is in the process of hiring four community safety officers, to take on some of the lower risk duties often left to police. Community safety officers are not fully trained police officers, and cannot make arrests or traffic stops, or carry firearms or stun guns. They will get five weeks of in-house training, and will carry pepper spray and batons. They will not wear the same uniform, or drive police vehicles. They will deliver subpoenas, respond to after-hours bylaw and animal control calls, and conduct preliminary investigations to determine if police need to attend.  MORE

Dec. 19, 2021

 

The word “science” is wearing thin. Public figures keep tossing it out to cover themselves when they don’t have facts. VIDEO

Great Nanaimo Toy Drive helped 500 families

Dec. 18, 2021

GREAT NANAIMO TOY DRIVE  had a fantastic year. The good folk at the drive are celebrating a monumental year. Carolyn Iles, communications director for the toy drive, said the generosity of the community never ceases to amaze her. The drive helped 500 families and about 1,200 children. “The generosity of our community is something that’s absolutely gobsmacking, says Carolyn.” Way to go Nanaimol  MORE 

THE WINTER WONDERLAND skating event is back at Frank Crane Arena starting on Christmas Eve and Dec. 26, to Dec. 30. And best of all, helmet and skate rentals are free. Skating is $1, with some free sponsored sessions. Nanaimo Kinsmen will host a pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Dec. 27 at Beban Park social centre. MORE

ISLAND LEADS IN OMICRON – Health officials say Island Health tests showed 145 Omicron virus cases out of 302 across the province. The Island also had 147 positive tests of COVID-19 with 789 for the entire province on Thursday. There are 975 active cases within the Island region. Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 191 patients are in hospital with 74 people in critical care. There are 4,313 active cases in British Columbia. MORE

FERRY EXCHANGE – The Coastal Inspiration will return to service on the Duke Point - Tsawwassen route and take over service for the Coastal Renaissance beginning with the 3:15 pm Duke Point to Tsawwassen sailing on December 21.

Cst. GARY O’BRIEN of the Nanaimo RCMP has prepared a list of crimes that are still on the books. Police are looking for public help in solving these crimes. And to make sure it doesn’t happen to you, Gary provides simple but effective crime prevention tips to avoid being a victim. CHECK IT OUT.

THE DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES and Oceans is maintaining it’s reputation as public enemy number one of the fishing industry. The latest group impacted is the local spot prawn industry. The newest DFO regulations are unworkable for small harvesters, and they provide big export companies an advantage. The new rules deny local consumers and communities access to fresh prawns, says Sonia Strobel, CEO of Skipper Otto, a community collective of harvesters selling products to local consumers. MORE

BEWARE CRYPTO CRIME –The Oceanside RCMP have received a rash of complaints from Parksville Qualicum Beach residents regarding telephone fraud involving cryptocurrency. In one incident, a fraudster phoned a resident, saying their social insurance number was compromised and being used to facilitate money laundering through real estate transactions. When the target said he would call the police, he received a phone call showing the RCMP phone number, verifying that it was a legitimate call and to deposit money in a bitcoin ATM. MORE

Sometimes it's tougher to do the right thing

New health orders put the crimp on Christmas, New Year

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix

211217 – The B.C. government is cancelling sports tournaments and New Year’s Eve parties as well as restricting capacity in large indoor venues as COVID-19 cases surge in the province, fuelled in part by the highly transmissible Omicron variant. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the new orders would go into effect Monday, Dec. 20, until Jan. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

  • Starting on Monday, indoor gatherings will be restricted to one household plus 10 other individuals or one additional household if everyone is vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • All sports tournaments during this time are cancelled. 
  • All New Years Eve parties are cancelled, regardless of size. 
  • All venues with more than 1,000 people  are limited to 50 per cent capacity.
  • Restaurants to have restricted movements between tables, with no mingling among different groups of people. Reinforced mask-wearing when patrons are not seated.
  • Amended vaccine passport program to cover organized events of all sizes, not just 50 or more people as currently in place. QR codes must be used at all events. MORE DETAILS

Wind, rain and snow forecast for this weekend

211217 – Vancouver Island is under three different kinds of weather warnings for the weekend – wind, rain and snow. The wind is forecast for the northern area with gusts of up to 110 kilometres per hour. Eeastern Vancouver Island can expect about 10 centimetres of snow overnight Friday. The western part of the island is under a rainfall warning. Nearly 100 millimetres is predicted to fall by Saturday afternoon. Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible, Environment Canada said, as the ground “already near saturation” has little ability to absorb more water. WEATHER ROUNDUP

Dec. 17

Island has 71 Omicron cases among 137 positives

Dec. 17, 2021

COVID UPDATE – VI Health Region had another 137 positive tests for COCID-19 in the previous 24 hours, part of 753 new cases for the province. Island Health region has 905 active cases. One more death was reported on Thursday. Island Health has the most Omicron variant cases – 71. There are 3,878 active cases in British Columbia. Dr. Bonnie Henry reported 184 are in hospital with 70 people in critical care as a result of the virus. There are 135 Omicron cases province wide. 

FERRY EXCHANGE – The Coastal Inspiration will return to service on the Duke Point - Tsawwassen route and take over service for the Coastal Renaissance beginning with the 3:15 pm Duke Point to Tsawwassen sailing on December 21.

FIDDLING AT ITS BEST – Nanaimo’s Cross Canada Fiddle’s Fiddelium won top prize for the second straight year in a nationwide musical competition. They topped the community/independent/private school category in the CBC annual Canadian Music Class Challenge. And they’ll invest part of the prize money in the community, helping other music programs. MORE 

KEEPING COOL – The city’s finance and audit committee, has endorsed a $255,000 expenditure from reserves to replace the Port Theatre’s natural gas-powered chiller system with a new electric heat pump system. The price tag has escalated on a new heating-cooling system at theatre and the project is now budgeted at more than $1 million. When the city put the project to tender it got just one bid, at $910,000, with contingencies pushing the budget higher than $1 million.

A CLASS ACT – Nanaimo entertainers are gearing up for Michael Patrick’s annual Christmas benefit concert Dec. 22 at the Queen’s. Kirsten Seiler from the Queen’s says eight local groups are taking the stage from 4 p.m. to late in the night. The acts are Prawnicle; Lee Worden, Lindsay Martell and Duncan Symonds; Rob Bracken and Oz E. Tek; the Glen Foster Group; the Mark Crissinger Band; Ah Venice; the Michael Patrick Blues Band with David Gogo; and Thomas Morris and the Paper Dolls. Patrick has been  doing this almost every year since 1987, raising money for the Salvation Army and the 7-10 Club. This year proceeds will be donated to the Island Crisis Care Society and its Samaritan Place women’s shelter. MORE

FISHY BUSINESS – Most of the herring fishery on our coast have been closed to all but First Nations for food and ceremonial purposes. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray termed it a cautious approach to herring management, based on recently intensified risks to wild salmon. Murray says herring are vital to the health of the ecosystem and stocks are in a fragile state, so an effort must be made to protect and regenerate this important forage species. MORE

MORE CASH FOR THE RICH – The federal government has added another $73 million to the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program, bringing the total budgeted since 2019 to almost $660 million. The first $300 million budgeted in 2019 was snapped up in less than 20 months, with 72,000 Canadians getting between $2,500 and $5,000 off the price of a new plug-in hybrid or battery-only electric vehicle. Last year the government added another $287 million. The Liberals promised to spend another $1.5 billion on the rebates over the next four years. MORE

Doing what they were elected to do

Dec. 17, 2021

POLITICANS HEAR IT when they stray off the path, but seldom do they get a salute when they do the right thing. Nanaimo Regional District directors cancelled a $98,000 budget item for a regional housing strategy. Parksville Director Ed Mayne said the RDN has lots of reports already. He said the RDN is not a social provider, that’s up to the province and the federal government. He said directors should let them do their jobs and the board should provide the services it’s supposed to. Amen to that! VIDEO

Uncomfortable history should not be swept away

Dec. 16, 2021

REWRITING UGLY historic events does not erase them – it sweeps them under the carpet, helping to forget that they ever happened. And that’s a real tragedy. One of the worst genocides in history was the holocaust. VIDEO

Frank Ney Boxing Day polar bear swim cancelled

Dec. 16, 2021

NO CHILLING ON BOXING DAY – The Boxing Day swim in Departure Bay has been cancelled for the second year in a row. Brad Ney, of the event named for former Mayor Frank Ney Memorial, said the fast-spreading Omicron variant led to scrapping the event. MORE.

SENIOR SCAMMED in Crypto currency scheme – A Nanaimo senior’s bank account was scammed of nearly $100,000 in a cryptocurrency scam. Robert Dunning, 74, said his chequing, savings, line of credit and credit card accounts were cleaned out over a two-week period this fall after he set up online banking and invested $250 in Bitcoin. He was talked into allowing online access to his bank accounts and within a couple of weeks they were cleaned out. FULL STORY.

BOOZING DIDN’T DECLINE – Alcohol consumption didn’t drop when bars and restaurants were shut down due to COVID-19. In fact, British Columbians drank more alcohol than any other time in the past 20 years. An analysis from the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research at UVic showed residents over age 15 drank the equivalent of 547 cans of beer or 104 bottles of wine per capita between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. The Interior had the highest consumption rate at 13.96 litres of pure alcohol per capita, but Vancouver Island was not far behind with 11.54 litres. MORE

COVID UPDATE – The Vancouver Island health region reported 109 new positive COVID-19 tests on in the Wednesday as active cases hit an all-time high. They were among 584 cases across the province. Island Health continues to have the second-highest number of active cases in the province with 856. The south island continues to lead with 335 active cases. There are 196 in the Central Island and 201 in the North Island. MORE.

NO HOME TESTS YET – British Columbia is not ready to provide at-home rapid COVID-19 tests while Ontario, Quebec and Alberta are rolling out their tests. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says most of B.C.’s rapid tests can’t be done at home because they require a nurse to administer. There are about 700,000 tests available, but Henry has said it would be challenging to break down the large packages of testing fluid into dozens of kits. She said B.C. hopes that single-dose bottles of the testing solution to arrive by the end of the month. MORE

PHYSICIANS DON’T BUY IT –  Doctors don’t agree with provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry about rapid antigen tests. They say her comments are misleading, inconsistent and completely inaccurate at times, with one doctor calling on her to produce scientific data that supports limiting their availability to the public. Dr. Henry had said the lack of rapid test kit availability comes down to supply chain issues, poor packaging and that many of them require a medical professional or machine. Dr. Victor Leung, an infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist, believes much of the information was either confused, misrepresented or inaccurate. Some British Columbians are buying kits online and south of the border, the same tests that are being handed out to residents of Alberta and Quebec. MORE.

UVIC VIRUS OUTBREAK– A University of Victoria COVID-19 outbreak has infected 137 people, including 15 cases of the Omicron variant. The latest update includes cases reported up to Tuesday. It is linked to two off-campus parties held by business students and varsity athletes, while the introduction of Omicron to the campus is linked to a rugby tournament in Ontario. MORE

MORE SNOW ON THE WAY – Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for possible snow on Vancouver Island. It says snowfall accumulations of up to five centimetres (2 inches) for higher elevations of 200 to 300 metres. Warmer air is expected to push in on Saturday morning and will change the snow into rain. MORE

BENDING THE RULES – B.C. Ferries bent the rules when a Sunshine Coast ferry sailing was delayed by nearly an hour because two passengers refused to wear masks. Their behaviour forced the Queen of Surrey to remain docked at the Langdale terminal for 50 minutes on Sunday afternoon. Police were called and officers spoke with the passengers, who agreed to stay in their vehicle for the entirety of the sailing. The ferry departed at 5:10 p.m.

THE PROVINCIAL COVID recovery program has announced financial support to a number of events on the mid Island – $240,000 for mid Island specific events between July 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022. See the FULL LIST.

PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA and their caregivers in the Central Island face more challenges than ever before. It’s never been more important to support them. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is gearing up for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in January. We will have the chance to hear the stories of community members affected by dementia and learn how they can show up for the people in their own lives who are affected by the disease.

 

Please don't rename any more holidays, there's a reason for the season. See the video

Home COVID tests challenge control over statistics

Dec. 15, 2021

HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE RESISTING calls to provide rapid antigen tests to the public, particularly as COVID infections rise on Vancouver Island. Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says they have limited use, don’t prevent transmission and are not a replacement for vaccine. Her deputy Réka Gustafson, said the tests are not widely available in B.C. even though the federal government has provided 3.2 million tests to the province. Those tests in public hands could throw the daily infection tracking numbers out of whack. A matter of control. 

I DON’T GET IT – The Vancouver Island Regional Library is mandating a new vaccine policy for all employees but it’s not effective until Feb. 11, next year. What happens in the meantime, are employees free to infect everyone they come into contact with? With new viruses popping up like rabbits it seems careless to delay the policy for even days, not months. FULL STORY. 

SHARE YOUR GRIPE – When I launched Just a Minute I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find enough daily short bits, but there’s more out there than I imagined. All of us have pet peeve we'd like to air out, so send yours along and I’ll try to fit it in. EMAIL.

Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021

FREE TRANSIT NEW YEAR’S EVE – Nanaimo Transit has special New Year’s Eve service again this year. Transit and its partners want to ensure riders make it safely and comfortably to their destination. New Year’s evening service is extended until 2:30 a.m, with free evening service on Dec. 31 from 8 pm to 2:30 am. For detailed routes and schedules, please visit bctransit.com

CHRISTMAS CAME EARLY for the four RCMP Police Services dogs – they didn't have to search under the Christmas tree for their presents. Sandy Clark, and avid crocheter and lover of animals, especially Police Dogs, created unique home-made crocheted blankets for them. STORY AND PICTURES.

NEW FERRY GETS A NAME – The second Island Class Ferry destined for the Gabriola route next spring has a name – Island Kwigwis, meaning "eagle of the sea." The name was selected with support from the 'Na̲mg̲is First Nation and celebrates the beauty of the journey and the important connection to coastal communities. MORE

DRESSES AND PRIDE FLAG STOLEN – The Nanaimo RCMP are investigating several thefts in which red dresses, and an Pride flag was stolen. The thefts have occurred in the past month outside the Nanaimo Family Life Association building, on Townsite Road. The dresses and flag were on display in front of the building. 

GET YOUR 2022 CALENDAR – A tradition of businesses handing out calendars has sort of faded. But fear not, the North Oyster Volunteer Fire Department and Bob Burgess have about $1,000 worth of toys for children at our hospital. To earn the dough, they are selling 2022 calendars featuring Bob’s photos. They still have some left, but hurry before Santa gets them all. The toys will be dropped of at NRGH on Dec. 22. You can contribute extra donations to the firehall Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. or Saturdays from 9-11 a.m. Or you can  contact Isabel Smith on Facebook to make arrangements to donate. MORE

GIVE BLOOD FOR CHRISTMAS – Everybody is always looking for a special Christmas gift, so how about a blood donation? The need for blood and plasma donations doesn’t end just because it’s the holiday season. Canadian Blood Services associate director of donor relations Gayle Voyer said the pandemic hasn’t slowed down the number of people donating. The next blood drive in Nanaimo will be Jan. 4. You can find instructions online. MORE

OMICRON VARIANT THREAT – Modelling data that focuses on the Omicron variant suggests new cases in the province could reach as high as 2,000 by early January. Hospital admissions could hit 75 people per day, in a worst-case scenario. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said health officials are continuing to detect Omicron and there will be more cases. MORE.

COVID UPDATE – Vancouver Island Health region reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 in the region on Tuesday. They were among 519 cases across the province over the previous 24 hours. There are 804 active cases in the Island Health region and 3,171 in B.C. The south Island continues to lead in active cases with 295 while there were 203 in the central Island and 219 in the North Island. Fourty four cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed in B.C., five in the Island region.

An urban garden at the former Woodlands School site?

Dec. 14, 2021

Woodlands Secondary School sits empty with no known plans for the huge school yard. That has led to the idea of creating an urban garden there as early as next spring. All the right political buzz words are floated – sustainability, organic, stewardship, resilient and climate change. There’s one catch, a City bylaw limits an urban food garden greater than 2,400 square metres to one quarter of the total land area. That would still make a sizeable garden. All school properties are owned by the province.

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021

BEAR WARNING – The city has issued a bear warning in the Silver Mountain Drive area. Signs will be posted near the park entrances. Please use caution.

ONE DEAD IN ROLLOVER CRASH – A medical condition is believed to have caused the death of a 69-year-old driver on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Nanaimo Monday morning. The crash happened near Morden Road just before noon. The man’s wife sustained minor injuries in the single-vehicle rollover. MORE

ALZHEIMER’S AWARENESS – People with dementia and their caregivers in the Central Island face more challenges than ever before. It’s never been more important to support them. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is gearing up for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in January. Nanaimo residents will have the chance to hear the stories of community members affected by dementia and learn how they can show up for the people in their own lives who are affected by the disease. MORE 

NO ALTERNATE ROUTE PLANS – The B.C. government has no immediate plans for alternate Malahat routes. Janelle Staite of the Transport Ministry said so far there isn’t a discussion about a bypass for the highway. November storms devastated highways across British Columbia and the Malahat highway, was no exception. MORE

WINTER TIRES MANDATORY – Vehicles  travelling on the Malahat highway must have winter-rated tires. You can check it yourself. A winter tire has a mountain and snowflake or the M + S symbol on the sidewall. The tires must also have a tread depth of at least 3.5 millimetres. If you don’t measure up, you face a $121 fine. MORE

LOOK OUT FOR SCAMS – The season brings out a lot of online and telephone scammers. The Better Business Bureau has a list of online scams whose consequences could be costly. Check out the “12 Scams of Christmas”. MORE

COVID UPDATE – Island Health region had 307 new positive tests of COVID-19 over the weekend. They were among 1,129 new cases found across the province since Friday. There are 2,949 active cases across B.C., including 764 in the Island Health region. The South Island had 268 active caes, 197 in the Central Island and 218 in the North Island. Five more deaths included one death in the Island Health region. Thirty-three people are in hospital for treatment on Vancouver Island, including 12 in critical care. Four cases of Omricon were identified at the University of Victoria.

DISTURBING DISPLAY ­– Premier John Horgan and two senior ministers were hanged in effigy outside the legislature at a rally organized by COVID-19 vaccine mandate opponents last Thursday. The event was promoted as a sunset candlelight ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the trial of Nazis who conducted human experiments on Jews and other targets of the regime. Seven of those doctors were executed for war crimes. FULL STORY.

Monday, Dec. 13, 2021

ILLICIT DRUG-USE DEATHS OUTNUMBER COVID – We are in the midst of two concurrent pandemics – which is worse, the COVID-19 or the illicit drug deaths? Is the public health response proportional? In the first 10 months of 2021, we have had 1,782 drug-use deaths and 1,413 COVID-related deaths. That’s 369 more deaths from drugs than from COCVID. Virtually every one agrees that “something” has to be done, but what is that something? Read my FULL COLUMN.

Monday, Dec. 13, 2021

NANAIMO JEWS GET OWN TORAH – The Nanaimo Jewish community has its first-ever Torah scroll. Chabad of Nanaimo and Central Vancouver Island celbrated a Torah completion ceremony on Sunday. Rabbi Bentzi Shemtov, director of Chabad of Nanaimo, said the Torah will have the exact same letters as the Torah found anywhere else in the world, exactly the same Torah that was given 3,333 years ago. This is the first time that a Torah –­ the Jewish  Bible – is being completed and will stay here. MORE 

FOCUS ON BUYING LOCAL – The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce will launch a serious Shop Local campaign, thanks to a $70,000 grant from the federal government to encourage people to spend money at local businesses. Many businesses have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the chamber is pushing an “Eat, Drink, Shop, Think Local” ideology. Chamber CEO Kim Smythe said 52 Nanaimo business owners will be featured on a website in the new year, with additional local businesses listed in a 2022 directory. The chamber is also designing an “I Am Local” point-of-sale program promoting the impact of Nanaimo businesses on the economy. MORE. 

SCHOOL BOARD BYELECTION – A former school  trustee and a former teacher are the two candidates seeking to fill the vacancy on the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board. Steve Rae was a trustee and chairman in the previous term and Naomi Bailey is a newcomer to elected politics. She has worked with the school district for 25 years. The seat became vacant when Lisa Marie Barron resigned to successfully run for Parliament. MORE

FILLER-UP, GAS RATIONING ENDS – When you go to the gas pumps on Tuesday you’ll be able to fill up after the province liftS fuel restrictions as gas supplies have recovered after flooding in mid-November. The restrictions limited drivers to 30 litres per gas station visit. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is confident in the supply chain when it comes to fuel, adding that the Trans Mountain pipeline coming online, along with supplies coming by barge and rail, have restored the province’s supplies. Farnworth cautioned, however, that there are months of recovery to go and extended the provincial state of emergency for another two weeks.

JOINING FORCES FOR KIDS ­– The Nanaimo Child Development Centre is joining forces with Island Mediquip, Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island and a number of social service agencies to form the Vancouver Island Therapeutic Equipment Loan Library for for therapeutic equipment. The CDC took the lead role in creating the library. They hope to increase the collection of quipment through ongoing grants, funding and donations of  good used equipment. MORE.

GREATER BOOSTER ACCESS SOUGHT – Dr. Brian Conway, medical director at the Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre, says the age-based approach for COVID-19 booster vaccines is not the right direction. The province plans to roll out booster doses for the entire adult population in the next six to eight months. Given new variants, community-based spread is increasing, there should be more flexibility to allow people who may have specific medical conditions, people who got their vaccine early on, to get their booster sooner, he said. Seniors over 65 began getting invitations last week to book booster appointments. Those under 65 will start getting booking invitations in January. Conway believes more emphasis on the general population getting a booster shot. MORE

SANTA HELIJETTING IN – Each year, Santa Claus puts his reindeer out to pasture for one day takes to the sky on BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) and Helijet to visit Island hospitals. He will arrive at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Tuesday at 9:50 a.m. Join Santa Claus and his entourage for this annual tradition of flying to Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland care facilities to bring presents and extra holiday cheer to children and families spending the festive season in hospital. After the hospitals in Nanaimo and Victoria he will visit hospitals in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Surrey, and New Westminster. He will be accompanied by one of his elves, BCEHS Infant Transport Team paramedic Joanna Stefani and Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet International.

UVIC EXAMS GO ONLINE – The University of Victoria students will not have in-person exams but go online, beginning today. The move follows an increase in COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island. The university said the decision was made in consultation with the Island Health authority. It acknowledged the announcement was short notice, especially for students with exams today. Students will be informed of alternative arrangements by their instructor directly, the school says. MORE

Man in hospital in serious condition after southend shooting

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021

One man was taken to hospital with serious injuries after a shooting in the View Street area Saturday evening. Nanaimo RCMP officers found a man with apparent gun shot wounds. BC Paramedics transported him to hospital where he was treated for serious but non-life threatening injuries. While at the scene, officers learned that just moments after the shooting, a vehicle was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed which was found on fire a short time later. FULL REPORT.

MAKE WALMART PAY – Isabelle Goldsbury is one of the many dedicated people in our midst who devotes her volunteer time to the Salvation Army kettle campaign. On Saturday, Walmart will match any donations or cheques deposited in the kettle at Walmart Woodgrove. You can donate at the Walmart kettle and you can e-mail Isabelle to pick up any cheques. Isabelle@shaw.ca.

Religious events should not be renamed over PC phobias

Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021

What was the original rationale for having a holiday on Dec. 25? I bet it had something to do with Christmas, don’t ya think? To all the political correctness zealots out there, please don't rename any more holidays. Don't rename Diwali, don't rename Easter, don't rename Passover, don't rename Ramadan, don't rename Thanksgiving, don't rename Hanukkah - they all have a very deep meaning to specific groups of people. Just so you get it straight, Christmas has deep meaning for a lot of people. So, Merry Christmas everyone.

Ferry sailings back on schedule Saturday morning

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The latest status report from B.C. Ferries at 9 a.m. Saturday shows all vessels running on schedule. A number of sailings affecting mid-Island travellers were cancelled last night due to wind conditions on Georgia Strait.

Family squabble in NDP over arrests at GasLink

Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021

All’s not well within the NDP family. Three federal New Democrat MPs have signed a petition denouncing British Columbia’s NDP government for its handling of a protest at a pipeline work site. They also voiced distress at the federal NDP’s response. RCMP arrested several people last month when they enforced an injunction barring protesters from blocking an access road used by Coastal GasLink. Premier John Horgan reminded them that the provincial goverment does not control the RCMP. MORE

Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021

DOUBLE YOUR DONATION ­ – There’s as good a deal as you’ll find anywhere. When you donate to Eden Gardens the Rogers Foundation will match what you put in – up to $15,000. Barry Rogers and Greg Wilmon of the foundation kicked off Eden's Brighten Our Spirits challenge with that donation to the non-profit home for 130 residents with dementia. Eden Gardens is funded by Island Health for its basic healthcare needs, enhanced by donors to the facility’s fundraising campaigns. The Rogers Foundation will match your donation until Dec. 31. The foundation supports about a dozen charities, Rogers said, from profits at Budget Rent A Car.

YOU CAN’T LOSE if you’ve got these two Pleasant Valley Elementary School students in your corner. Bailey Paauwe and Ella McPherson are determined to help Bailey’s stepfather’s battle with leukemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. A GoFundMe online appeal was started Thursday and in one day it had already more than doubled its goal of $2,500. Bailey plans to shave her head to show support for her stepdad and to help with wig-making. Ella will also cut her hair to help. View the online fundraiser HERE.

IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – You have until 3 p.m. today if you want to help Youth 20/20 Can youth volunteer group collect coats and other warm clothing which will be distributed by the Salvation Army’s New Hope Centre for distribution. Youth 20/20 Can member Sonja Ferg said they are organizing the coat drive because they want to give back to the community. “We’re collecting coats, hats, gloves and scarves for people in need,” she said. Volunteers will be at the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. today (Saturday).

TIRE FIRE TERMED SUSPICIOUS – A tire fire at Laird Wheaton General Motors dealership Bowen Road has been termed suspicious. Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday night. Fire Chief Tim Doyle said the fire was in a compound behind the main building. RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien said the fire was inside a small fenced area near the back side of the dealership. He said there was no evidence of anyone having taken shelter in the compound. MORE

IT’S ALL DOWN HILL – The skiing season on Vancouver Island kicked off at Mount Washington Friday. The Resort’s Marketing Manager Kayla Stockton, said It’s one of the most exciting openings in years with Eagle chair, Hawk chair, a lot of terrain open and a lot of snow in the forecast this weekend. Mount Washington does not require vaccine passports on the slopes although their 800 staff are vaxed. You will have to show your passport at restaurants. MORE

COVID UPDATE – Island Health ended the week with 127 new positive COVID-19 tests in the previous 24 hours, the highest total in any health region. There were 437 new positives in the province on Friday. The Island has 664 active COVID-19 cases. Dr. Bonnie Henry said 211 are in hospital with 72 people in critical care. There are 2,994 active cases in British Columbia. The Vancouver Coastal Health region had 90 new cases, 105 in Fraser Health, 93 in Interior Health and 22 in Northern Health. There were three deaths related to the virus,, bringing the provincial death total over the course of the pandemic to 2,381. MORE 

ROCKING THE BOAT – Our rookie NDP member of Parliament Lisa Marie Barron has called on the government to develop an emergency response plan for ocean container debris spills. She was joined by and North Island Powell River’s Rachel Blaney. The MV Zim Kingston spread toxic chemicals, damaged marine ecosystems, and spread debris along the shores. Barron said the government failed to work with local partners to co-ordinate a response. “The best response to minimize the impact of spills like this is to ensure that we have an emergency plan that is guided by locals and traditional knowledge,” Barron said. MORE

A BRIGHT LIGHT IN THE SKY – There’s a comet headed toward earth but it may be challenging to catch a glimpse. Comet Leonard should be a spectacle B.C. residents could view, but Mother Nature could spoil that. Environment Canada forecasts clouds and rain for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island through to Wednesday, while clouds and snow are expected for the Okanagan during the same time frame. One website report says Comet Leonard spent the last 35,000 years travelling towards the sun. If you miss Leonard you can always head to city hall and look at our mayor. MORE

Hope rises in battle against Alzheimer's

Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

HARD TO BEAT THAT – Most medicines have side effects, good and bad. A pill developed for high blood pressure was found to have other benefits. It was used for lung disease and then heart disease. Nurses noted real changes in Alzheimer's patients. The Cleveland Clinic has conducted research in seven million cases that shows this drug can reduce the chance of Alzheimer’s by an astounding 69 per cent. The miracle drug is Viagra. FULL STORY

Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

MORE STORMS BREWING – Eastern Vancouver Island is getting hit by another severe weather system. Environment Canada issued a weather statement warning that we can expect high winds and rain. Duncan to Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay to Fanny Bay and Courtenay to Campbell River will be impacted. The strongest winds of 60 km/h, gusting 80 km/h, are expected along Georgia Strait tonight and early Saturday morning. Between 20 and 40 mm of rain is forecast. MORE

MILNER CHRISTMAS MAGIC – 2021 returns this year as an outdoor festival of lights at Milner Gardens. Experience the magic of thousands of holiday lights and festive window displays. The light display is on this weekend and next weekend. CLICK HERE for hours, admission and Covid rules.  Check out the Milner Christmas Magicwebpage.

ROTARY TOY DRIVE – Things have changed, there is no Oceanside Rotary float available so there will be no neighbourhood toy collection parade. Instead they are in Daynes Park, Parkwood Subdivision on Saturday. Bring a donation of a new toy for a child under 12, or sponsor a teen for $20. Santa and the elves are joining in from 12-3 p.m. for an afternoon of fun. Rub elbows and take a photo with Santa. There will be activities for the children, music, and local crafters. BBQ hot dogs and hot chocolate will be available.

AND THERE’S MORE – You can drop off new, unwrapped toys for The Great Nanaimo Toy Drive at 5 p.m. Saturday in front of Steve Marshall Ford at the Holiday Train parked on the tracks for a couple of hours. Santa will rush over from the Rotary event and will be at the train handing out candy canes. Dress for the weather and remember to follow Provincial and Federal health guidelines. It goes without saying that if you are feeling unwell, please stay home.

THANK YOU, VOLUNTEERS – Outreach workers were in the doorway of the Nanaimo warming centre event though it had been shut down suddenly on Monday and despite being laid off, the 10 employees have turned up day after day, volunteering, and handing out donations. “That’s even more amazing, like that’s wow,” said Elizabeth Vanaert, a homeless resident. “Crazy what they do for us.” laid-off Outreach Worker Aimee Chalifoux there are a number of volunteers who will continue as long as they can.

COVID UPDATE – Vancouver Island Health has reported 98 new positive COVID-19 tests and three deaths in the previous 24 hours. The new tests were among 341 tests  across the province. The island added more cases than any other region in the province, with Fraser Health recording 83 new cases, Vancouver Coastal Health adding 61 s and Interior Health recording 70 more. There are 606 active cases in the Island Health region and 2,915 across the province. Central Island still leads the region with 199 cases while the South has 117 and 213 in the North Island. Thirty-four people are in hospital for treatment on Vancouver Island, including eight in critical care. MORE

Cities taking the lead on climate is just the beginning

Friday, Dec. 10, 2021

There is no “scientific fact that we must contain the rise in our planet’s average temperature to 1.5 C.”  It is an unproven hypothesis never put before the scientific community for peer review. We have no concrete evidence that reducing carbon emissions will accomplish anything. Fighting climate change is a political fantasy designed to hide the objective of transferring wealth from the first world to the third world.

BC Ferries adds extra sailings over Christmas period

211209 – There’s no place like home for the holidays, and BC Ferries is adding 33 sailings on the Nanaimo - Horseshoe Bay route from Dec. 19 to 28. In all, 167 extra sailings on all routes will\ make travel easier for customers sailing between Metro Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.

Historically, the most popular travel times over the holidays before Christmas Day are between Dec. 20 and 23 for traffic moving from the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast.  MORE

Illicit drug deaths continue at record pace

Hon. Sheila Malcolmson

Thirty seven people have died from illicit drug overdoses in Nanaimo so far this year, one fewer than it saw in all of last year. Across the province, there were 201 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in October, bringing the total for the year to 1,782.

In comparison, there have been 2,369 deaths due to COVID-19 over the past two years. There were more fatal overdoses in the province in October than any other month since the beginning of the health crisis, and 2021 became the deadliest year for overdoses just 10 months in, reports the BC Coroner’s Service. 

“It is heartbreaking that we continue to lose more lives to toxic drugs. No words can replace a loved one lost. I feel British Columbia’s grief and frustration,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. MORE

Olympic boycott will have no real impact on China

So, Justin Trudeau is joining a diplomatic boycott of the Olympic Games in China. Whoop de do! That means there won’t be a huge entourage of government heads attending champagne and caviar reception extravaganzas and living high on the hog at our expense during the games. Trudeau took the lead from Uncle Joe south of the border in the wimpy boycott. And, from China the response will likely be something like “Oooh, we're shaking in our boots!”

YOGI BEAR IS GETTING BRAZEN in his search for picnic baskets. He/she was spotted around Chartwell Malaspina on Tuesday night, looking for a free meal. Chartwell employee Anne Mielty said the bear was trying to get into the compost bins at the back before going to the parking lot behind Country Grocer, then down the driveway to Junction Avenue. Sgt. Stuart Bates of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service told NanaimoNewsNOW they’ve set a trap and are hoping to find the animal before any further interactions. He’s been around for a while and now the bear’s behaviour has escalated to the point where they have to set a trap. MORE

CABINET MINISTER ASSAULTED – B.C. Minister of Forests Katrine Conroy was knocked down while walking home from the legislature in Victoria Tuesday night. A statement from Premier John Horgan's office said Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West was knocked to the ground and suffered minor injuries. The Victoria Police Department is in the early stages of its investigation. Police said they believe a citizen may have stopped to help Conroy. They're asking that person, as well as anyone who witnessed the assault or has information about it, to contact them. MORE

COVID UPDATE – Health officials reported 65 new COVID-19 positive tests on Wednesday, part of the 379 across the province. There were six deaths in the previous 24 hours, three of them on the Island. There are 2,874 active cases in the province, 224 people in hospital 77 in intensive care. Those not fully vaccinated accounted for 67.5 per cent of hospitalizations. Twelve per cent of those eligible have received a third dose. 

SHOTS FIRED INTO VACANT CAR –Multiple police officers responded late last night to reports of shots fired in a quiet residential area of north Nanaimo. The incident occurred just before 1 am on Wednesday December 8, 2021, in the 6000 block of Linley Valley Road.

Carbon labels tell consumers the enviro impact of oat milk

Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021

Corey Mintz writes in Maclean’s Magazine on Dec.8 – Standing in the supermarket aisle, your hand hovers between two cartons of oat milk. You’ve bought oat milk plenty of times, rarely with much deliberation or indecision. But now there is new information—a label declaring the carbon footprint of Oatly brand oat milk: 0.31 kg CO₂e per kg.

E-bike stolen from grocery store on Bowen Road

UNSOLVED  – Nanaimo file # 2021-43349 On November 22, 2021, between 9:55 am and 10 am, an E-bike was stolen from outside the Country Grocer on Bowen Road. The bike is a black electric cargo, with a large back rack, side steps and serial number of EB0119 WN7B01730.

PALM TREES STOLEN – Nanaimo file #2021-44730 Sometime between midnight and 6 am, two large potted palm trees were stolen from in front of the Value Lodge on Nicol St. The trees have been in the same location at the motel for the past ten years and are over 5 ft. tal,l and extremely heavy. It would require at least two people and a pick up to remove them.

Who really benefits from all those electric cars?

Dec. 8 2021

I think I’ve got this climate emergency and electric vehicle idea figured out. They cost over $50 grand, so that makes it for rich people only. But the government gives those rich folks a grant to help them buy one. Yet we are constantly lectured to “tax the rich”, you know, make them pay their fair share. Instead they are given money. Once you get past the double-talking verbiage, the bicycle-riding taxpayer picks up the tab. Just a Minute, how is that a good deal? YOUR COMMENT

Electric cars are impractical and 'not realistic at this time'

Dec. 8, 2021

The federal Department of Industry has admitted in an internal memo that the promotion of electric cars is impractical, according to Blacklock's Reporter. Officials within the department said that in spite of climate goals, it would be entirely unrealistic to make all their vehicles electric. "While an accelerated plan to shift entirely to green energy net-zero emissions is appealing, it is not realistic at this time," wrote the memo. FULL COLUMN

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021

DRIVING RESPONSIBLY - The majority of drivers checked by police in a weekend blitz, passed with flying colours. Only a small number were asked to provide breath samples and safe drivers got free coffee from McDonald’s. “We want everyone to have a great evening, but more importantly, we want everyone to arrive home safely”, said RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien. “Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic. Make good choices,” MORE

SEA-GOING VACCINATIONS CLINIC - Coronavirus spreads anywhere and everywhere, and cargo ships are no exception. A team of Public Health nurses boards cargo vessels anchored off Nanaimo to immunize crew members with the COVID-19 vaccine. Shaylyn Salisbury and Johanna Chang are among a small team of Public Health nurses providing the vaccinations. About 100 people aboard five ships have so far been vaccinated during the mobile clinics in our harbour since early November. MORE

THE CITY HAS BOUGHT A PROPERTY on East Wellington Road for a new food distribution warehouse for Loaves and Fishes.  The vacant property is already being used by them for outdoor storage. The tab was $1.3 million and council will now prepare a 30-year lease at its Dec. 20 meeting. Mayor Leonard Krog said Loaves and Fishes provides a much needed service to a growing segment of our society. Council was very supportive of the request to partner on this project. Loaves and Fishes Executive Director Peter Sinclair said the organization will be able to provide an increasing abundance of food for people in need throughout our community. 

COVID UPDATE – Vancouver Island registered 71 positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday, among 326 new positives in the province over the previous 24 hours. There are 591 active cases in the Island Health region and 2,814 across the province. Island Health continues to have the second-highest number of active COVID-19 cases, behind the Fraser Health region where 930 cases are active Tuesday. Island Health data identified the locations of 518 active cases – 80 in the South Island, 214 in the Central Island and 224 in the North Island. One COVID-19-related death was reported in the Northern Health region. MORE

TUNE UP THE FIDDLES – The Sunfest Country Music Festival at Laketown Ranch near Lake Cowichan, B.C., will return for a three-day event from July 28 to 31. Tickets go on sale Friday. Tickets could be in short supply as Provincial guidelines require the festival to operate at only 50 per cent of maximum capacity. Concertgoers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19and festival staff will be checking for proof of vaccination. MORE

AIR FARES SOARING SKY HIGH – With flood-damaged highways Christmas travellers may have to rely on airlines, but there are complaints of price-gouging. For example, flying from Vancouver to Kamloops on Dec. 21 and returning on Dec. 28 is on sale for $1,144 on Air Canada and $1,298 on WestJet. That includes a stop in Calgary. Our Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said there are concerns about price gouging but airlines are federally regulated. MORE

BE ALERT FOR SCAMS – We have a tendency to be more generous at Christmas time, and that’s when scammers go into high gear. The Better Business Bureau cautions about some of the most active Christmas scams that frequently catch contributors and consumers unaware. Be mindful of these scams: misleading social media ads, gift exchanges, holiday computer apps, alerts about compromised accounts, free gift cards, temporary jobs, look-alike websites, fake charities, shipping notifications, pop up virtual events, wish list items and puppy scams.

  • Earthquakes rattle Oregon coast

    The Oregon coast has been rocking and rolling with more than 50 earthquakes in the past 24 hours. The largest two quakes reached 5.8 magnitude. They ocurred 320 to 400 km west of Newport, Ore., in an area called the Blanco Fracture Zone. The Pacific Northwest Seismic Network said the “swarm” of earthquakes isn’t overly concerning because they are too far away from the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

  • Have you seen Christopher Janak?

    Shawnigan Lake RCMP seek public help in locating a 54-year-old Christopher Janak who has been missing since early Tuesday morning. Police say they are concerned for his health and wellbeing, as his friends says it’s out of character for him to be out of contact for this long. He is 5-8 tall, with gray hair, brown eyes. Anyone with information please contact Shawnigan Lake RCMP at 250-743-5514.

Dec 8, 2021

WOMAN CONVICTED OF SEX WITH TEENS – One Colwood woman has been convicted of sexual assault and luring and another acquitted after the two engaged in sexual activity with three teen boys. In the spring of 2020, all five were residents of a townhouse complex in Colwood, according to an agreed statement of facts. MORE

Poilievre asks where 'government money' comes from, no one answers

Trudeau pushes to reduce prison time for serious gun crimes

Chrystia Freeland places 97th in Forbes' list of most powerful women

Trudeau's new pandemic relief may cost billions more than expected 

Austria locks down its unvaccinated people

Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens this weekend

211208 – Mount Washington Alpine Resort will begin its new season on Friday. "The natural snow combined with our snowmaking investment has allowed the operations team to take full advantage of every opportunity to prepare the resort for a strong opening with both Eagle and Hawk lifts," said Mount Washington general manager Dean Prentice in a release Tuesday. 

The mountain has approximately 43-centimetre snow base as of Tuesday. The Tube Park and some back country areas will also open for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing Friday.

COVID-19 protocols are in place at the mountain, including proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for indoor areas, such as restaurants.

Green Thumb development going to public hearing

Looking southwest across the planned development.

211208 – The future development of the Green Thumb Nursery property is going to public hearing. 

City council has passed first and second readings of an official community plan amendment for the 17-hectare at 6261 Hammond Bay Rd. It’s been renamed The Bowers District since the application was submitted to the city a year and a half ago.

The master plan focuses on creating a compact urban village with high-quality open spaces and pedestrian-friendly design, states the document prepared by Barefoot Planning and Design. “The plan creates a natural land use transition between the low-rise residential areas to the east and the high-density commercial areas to the west.” MORE

Campell River Walmart security guard stabbed

211207 – A security guard is in serious condition in hospital after he was repeatedly stabbed by a shoplifter at Walmart in Campbell River. The perpetrator was wearing a purple wig and a medical mask at the time. Police say a man was leaving the store with stolen merchandise when the security guard intervened and was stabbed. Officers were eventually able to locate the suspect, a man in his 30s, without incident.

Vacation plans flew out the window, thanks to WestJet

DEc. 7, 2021

Craig Herman of Castlegar is more than just a little bit pissed off after WestJet Vacations changed the schedule of his family trip to Cuba. GlobalTV reports Craig’s original flight was scheduled to depart from Kelowna Dec. 26 and return Jan. 3.  Then WestJet notified him of an itinerary change to depart on Dec. 24 and return on Jan. 3 with a two-day layover-over in Calgary. Now he can’t get to talk to anyone at the airline. Even filing his refund form proved challenging in that the form says they will contact him shortly. He’s still waiting.  MORE DETAILS

Dec. 7, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - Remember Pearl Harbour, today is the 80th anniversary of the attack on the American Naval base in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941.

THE FUTURE OF SERVICES for Nanaimo’s vulnerable is up in the air after the warming shelter was shut down Monday after a police investigation into missing funds. The Society of Equity, Inclusion and Advocacy was the city’s only warming centre. It comes at a terrible time, during snowfall and dropping temperatures. RCMP confirmed it received a complaint in November and launched a theft investigation. A source told CHEK News the amount of missing money is more than $100,000. Mayor Leonard Krog says he supports the volunteers and employees who just lost their jobs but still want to continue staffing the warming shelter. FULL STORY.

DOWNTOWN CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES will include two afternoons of Indigenous storytelling and one puppet show over the next two weekends. Geraldine Manson, Snuneymuxw Elder and Knowledge Keeper Dave Bodaly will provide several shows on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 11 & 12 at Literacy Nanaimo, 19 Commercial Street. Geraldine will take the stage at 2 pm each day, with Dave taking a show at 1 & 3 pm on Saturday and 1 pm on Sunday. Registration for storytelling -downtownanaimo.eventbrite.ca. FULL STORY

LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT – The Nanaimo Chamber and the News Bulletin want to know where the best Christmas lights are this season. If you or a neighbour have a great light display this year, send a photo and your address to info@nanaimochamber.bc.ca. The photos will be uploaded to the Nanaimo Chamber Facebook page and the top 10 with the most likes will be featured in the Bulletin’s light tour map on December 22. Deadline to submit your photos is December 15. Check out the Nanaimo Chambers Facebook Page for tips and tricks on how to get the best photo of your house lit up, courtesy of Heydemann Art of Photography.

NEWCASTLE ISLAND MARINE PARK has a new name to provide a deeper connection to the history, land and culture of the Snuneymuxw. The park is now called Saysutshun (Newcastle Island Marine) Parkand. It is a place known for healing, preparation and transformation. The name Saysutshun refers specifically to the island's use as a place of preparation. MORE

DELTA IS THE MAIN VILLAIN – Health Minister Adrian Dix says the focus has to be on the Delta variant because it continues to have a profound impact on people who are not vaccinated. The Delta variant is disproportionately affecting those who haven’t been vaccinated, including most of the more than 150 people who have been moved from the Northern Health authority to southern hospitals. “We don’t need Omicron to tell us to be cautious over Christmas. We just need to look at the Delta variant, which is here now and has a profound effect on all of us,” he said. MORE

COVID UPDATE – The Vancouver Island region had 197 new cases of COVID-19 over the weekend. They were among 946 cases  the province. There are 2,876 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C., according to the Health Ministry, including 624 active cases in the Island Health region. Island Health continues to have the second-highest number of active cases. On Vancouver Island, 37 people are in hospital, including nine patients in critical care. Eleven deaths related to COVID-19 were reported in the province over the weekend, none on Vancouver Island. 

Immigration processing delays leave many in limbo

Dec. 7, 2021

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is an unacceptable, disgraceful and dysfunctional mess that is not serving Canada or Canadians. A backlog of 468,000 citizenship applications is unforgivable. Canadians and permanent residents should be taken care of immediately. We can’t help others until we can take care of ourselves. Trudeau’s claims that he intends to ramp up immigration are mired in a dysfunctional swamp. This government is oblivious to reality. FULL COMMENT.

Now would be a good time for council to stop shopping

Monday, Dec 6, 2021

City council appears to be on a shopping binge with studies and reports with no end. In the last little while they’ve talked about taking over bus shelters and operating them, a $125-million public works facility, more bike trails, Reimagining Nanaimo, redesigning Commercial Street, catch basin maintenance, and on and on. With the civic election less than one year away you’d think they would reign in things that add to the tax bill which is now projected to be a more than five-per-cent hike next year. Just because you can do something does not mean you have to do it. YOUR COMMENT.

Monday, Dec. 6, 2021

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO - We knew it was coming, and this morning we were covered in a blanket of snow and that meant many of us woke up to no power over much of Vancouver Island. The snow will gradually transition to rain or wet snow mixed with rain this morning or by early afternoon. And if you don't have snow tires don't even think of leaving your garage.

IT’S IN OUR DNA ­– When there’s a need Nanaimoites pitch in. The great folks at Steve Marshall Ford Lincoln have a drive-thru format leading up to Christmas. You can Give and Go by driving through on Dec. 10, from 5-7 p.m. The event collects non-perishable food donations, warm clothing and money for the Salvation Army and Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. MORE

CLOTHING FOR THE NEEDY - A youth volunteer group Coats for Christmas, is collecting coats and other warm clothing which for the Salvtion Army’s New Hope Centre for distribution. Sonja Ferg, Youth 20/20 Can member, says they are collecting coats, hats, gloves and scarves for people in need. Way to go, gang. MORE

EVERBODY DESERVES A SMILE ­– Fairview Community School students are creating care packages for Nanaimo social agencies to help vulnerable people get through the holiday season. Fairview Grade 3 teacher Christina Renneberg is co-ordinating Everybody Deserves a Smile locally, which she said is leading to teamwork and empathy. MORE 

FUNNY MONEY ALERT – The Nanaimo RCMP is asking the public and retail stores to be aware of counterfeit Canadian $100 and $20 dollar bills circulating in Nanaimo. Since December 1, 2021, there have been four reported instances of purchases being attempted with counterfeits: three involving Canadian $100s and one with a 20-dollar bill. MORE

CERVICAL CANCER CLINIC – Two Nanaimo doctors will hold a cervical cancer screening and early detection clinic for women who are due for a pap smear, and cervical cancer screening but have no regular doctor. Papapalooza 2.0 is Jan. 8 at Nanaimo North Town Centre’s Caledonian Clinic. This is the second such clinic put on by Dr. Christine Layton and Dr. Kristi Kyle after their appointments were booked solid for the first clinic in late November. Register by leaving a voicemail with your name and phone number at 250 390 5204. MORE

NO FILL-UPS YET – Fuel-rationing remains in force for the southwestern part of the province after the Trans Mountain Pipeline restarted Sunday. The company resumed operation after a nearly three-week precautionary shutdown due to extreme weather. The company said the pipeline had safely restarted, adding that crews would continue monitoring it from the ground, the air and the pipeline's control centre. The pipeline transports about 300,000 barrels of oil from Alberta to Burnaby each day under normal circumstances. MORE

PLANE RUNS OFF RUNWAY ­– Three people were taken to hospital Sunday after a small plane ran off the end of the runway at the airport in Duncan. BC Emergency Health Services were called at 11:05 a.m. and three ambulances were dispatched and three patients were transported in undetermined condition. Art Reitsma, president of the Duncan Flying Club, said the incident was less serious than it could have been. He said there were no serious injuries as a result of the crash.

DISASTER RELIEF EXPANDED – The province has expanded emergency financial assistance for victims of flooding and landslides over the last three weeks. The Ministry of Public Safety says eligibility has been expanded to affected residents in the northwest, southwest, central and southeast regions as well as Vancouver Island. Also Sunday, B.C. issued a warning about the potential for contamination in private drinking-water wells in flooded areas of the Lower Mainland. MORE

Omicron variant response matches its ‘moronic’ anagram

Dec. 6, 2021

World ‘leaders’ in politics and medicine appear trapped in hoary traditions and refuse to flex to meet the challenges of emerging contagious diseases. It is puzzling that despite admitting that little is known about the Omicron variant, numerous nations are treating the variant as far worse than the original COVID, announcing travel restrictions and demanding the testing of incoming foreign travellers. There is no science to support the response. MORE

Two drivers in hospital after early-morning crash

211206 – An early morning crash, involving two cars, sent both drivers to hospital with varying degrees of injuries. The collision occurred at approximately 7:30 am on today, in the north-bound lanes of the Nanaimo Parkway. Police, EHS and Fire responded. Investigators believe an adult woman, driving southbound, lost control of her vehicle, crossed over the grassy median and the drove into the northbound lanes. She then collided with a car going northbound. The first driver sustained serious life threatening injuries while the other driver  sustained significant injuries. MORE

Snow warning issued for Nanaimo and Oceanside

211206 – Environment Canada has issued a snow warning for eastern Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo and Oceanside, forecasting between five to 10 centimetres of snow. It was expected to begin Sunday night and extend into Monday. The forecast overnight low in Nanaimo and Oceanside is zero. “Total snowfall accumulations of about 5 to 10 centimetres is expected, inland sections away from the water and higher terrain may  see up to 15 centimentres by Monday afternoon,” the warning said. 

Now it's a question of insurance coverage for flooding

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021

A topic that will most likely surface in the news columns in the next little while is about insurance claims for flood damage throughout the province. It will likely come as a shock to many that floods “are not covered.” Depending on the level of coverage in your policy, insurers will claim that the floods were an act of God, a natural disaster, or any extra benefit that they didn’t sign up for. Some have already on top of the disaster. YOUR COMMENT

Sunday, Dec. 5

GOOD MORNING – Well the snow came and now it’s sticking around. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement forecasting snow Sunday night over Vancouver Island and move to the Lower Mainland overnight.

LIGHT THE TREES - The Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation’s Light the Trees campaign in under way, focused on raising $1 million for the hospital’s essential projects. Chief Development Officer Janice Krall says funds will be used for a CT scan, the new hip and knee clinic, laboratory and surgical equipment. The new hip and knee clinic will open across the street from NRGH on Dufferin Crescent. Donations will also help buy patient monitors throughout the hospital. The foundation is also raising money for two vans to take mobile clinics to people who don’t have easy access to medical services. FULL STORY You can light a tree with a donation HERE

TREATMENT IS WORKING - The John Howard Society’s Vancouver Island Therapeutic Community is a success story. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson got a first-hand look at the program with Jonny Morris, CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association. The provincial government funded 15 beds at the John Howard Society facility for men at the centre. Now those men are on the verge of completing the program and have exit plans in place, including housing. “They know what they’re going to do next and they know that they’re going to be better roommates or better family members because they’ve developed not only that, they have overcome the physical addiction. They’ve also got the life skills that they’re going to have a better life going forward and that is what public health care should be,” Malcolmson said. MORE

A TIP OF THE STETSON to retired cop Don Helgeson who has devoted himself to support men who have cancer. He survived melanoma and prostate and colon cancers. Now he’s been named a Wolfpack Leader for Man Up to Cancer, an online support for men with the disease. He hopes to share his wealth of knowledge – a cancer diagnosis can be nerve-racking, he says. Helgeson, now 52, had melanoma when he was 27. While he had strong family support, there wasn’t anyone who had gone through the experience, he said. Then at 37, he had colon cancer, and it started to hit home. Then prostate cancer at age 51 when he began to realize his mortality. That really scared him. Being able to talk to someone who had previously undergone the procedure was a godsend. FULL STORY.

GARY THE GRINCH – In a letter to the editor Gary Korpan questions if we are seriously concerned about climate change, global warming, and leaving a good environment to our children, why are people buying "live" Christmas trees? A misnomer if there ever was one. As well as grossly hypocritical. See his LETTER.

Canada's double standard on oil development

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021

Why is the Line 5 pipeline so important? Why are we invoking treaties and clauses in treaties, and pleading with Michigan to recognize treaties in order to keep this line open and the oil flowing? Our very woke government’s inclination has been, since its inception a very few years ago, to walk in lockstep with all the proper opinion-makers of Europe, who walk in lockstep with the woke left of Berlin, Glasgow, Berkley, and Cambridge, and who demand we make oil production, and pipelines, completely obsolete within 20 years. MORE

Yacht Club Christmas Light Cruise tonight at 6 p.m.

The Nanaimo Yacht Club's Christmas Light Cruise sails tonight at 6 p.m.Christmas light decorated boats will travel around Nanaimo Harbour through Newcastle Channel to Departure Bay and return. This tradition was cancelled last year and we are pleased to bring this civic event back, weather permitting.

BC Liberal leadership candidates are off target

Saturday, Dec. 4

FIRST THINGS FIRST – Six BC Liberals want to become our next premier, but you could be confused about their message. Virtually every communication from the leadership campaigns is focussed on “John Horgan and the NDP (this or that).” Hint, Horgan is not running for the BC Liberal leadership. They all vow to “beat John Horgan” but that can’t happen until one of them becomes leader first. They look like they are running a provincial election campaign rather than their own leadership. To hit a home run you have to touch all the bases along the way – winning the leadership is one of those bases. They’re at bat, now to make it to first base. 

Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021

GET READY FOR SNOW – You know how it is with those weather folks, they are right sooner or later. Environment Canada has issued another special weather statement suggesting snow may be on the way. And they’re sticking to their story, so how about today and Sunday, then? MORE – Lo and behold, we did get a dusting of snow in some parts of the city overnight.

NEW RULES ON CHURCH gatherings have caused some apprehension among worshippers who have to juggle numerous Christmas events already on the planning board. Many say they will have to adjust those events. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced multiple new restrictions Tuesday, including reinstating an indoor mask mandate. Previously, those attending church services and other religious gatherings were exempt from provincial mask mandates, though they were still encouraged to wear face coverings. However, with concerns caused by the new Omicron variant, Henry lifted the exemption. 

THE MALAHAT HIGHWAY is again open to over-sized vehicles in both directions 24 hours a day. Until now, only vehicles up to 2.6 metres wide could drive on the Malahat following recent flooding. Now, oversized vehicles up to 3.8 metres wide can use the highway 24 hours a day. Repairs are continuing and the province estimates the work will take several months. And Environment Canada has warned that up to four centimetres of snow could fall over higher elevations of Vancouver Island, including on the Malahat highway. MORE

IF THERE’S A BRIGHT SIDE to the massive flooding in farming areas near Abbotsford it the fact that the vast majority of cows and egg-laying chickens survived. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham said Friday she had been informed 61 poultry premises were included in the evacuation zone and 97 per cent of the laying chickens survived. She said that 98 per cent of cows from the Sumas Prairie survived the flooding. MORE

CHIROPRACTORS ARE rubbing Health Minster Adrian Dix the wrong way. The B.C. College of Chiropractors passed a resolution opposing provincial vaccine mandates with 78-per-cent support from delegates. While B.C. has not yet mandated vaccines for chiropractors, that is expected to change soon. Health Minister Adrian Dix said comments at the meeting questioning the science behind vaccines were “disappointing and wrong,” adding there would be no leeway for chiropractors. FULL STORY.

AND NOW THAT WE ARE into the weekend, remember if you drink and drive it may turn out very costly. Drinking and driving checks are all over the place as police bear down for the Christmas party season.

Island Health reports 96 new COVID positive tests

Health officials reported 96 new positive tests for COVID-19 in the Vancouver Island region Friday. They were among 405 new cases across the province over the previous 24 hours. There are 646 active cases in the Island region and 3,071 in B.C. The recent surge in new and active cases in Island Health was partly related to a religious gathering in the Courtenay area last week. Two deaths in the island region were included in the six deaths across B.C. over the past 24 hours.
Island Health
96 new cases
646 Active cases
44 in hospital
14 in critical care

Here's how you can help needy children in our community

Friday, Dec. 3

Years ago, Frank Legh at the News Bulletin launched a Pennies for Presents fund raiser, and Bulletin staffers have kept it going. When pennies disappeared they renamed it Coins for Kids supporting the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and the Boys and Girls Club. You can donate loonies, toonies, nickels, dimes and any other denominations. Folding paper money works too. Coins in the back pocket are a pain in the butt, so empty your pocket and deposit them at sponsors Quality Foods and John’s Bedrooms and the News Bulletin on Poplar Street. You can donate online, too. YOUR COMMENT.

Fire-damaged cargo carrier coming to Nanaimo

The Zim Kingston is coming to the Port of Nanaimo where damaged cargo will be unlaoded.

211203 - The cargo ship, which a caught fire off Vancouver Island in late October, is coming to the Port of Nanaimo some time today. 

The Zim Kingston is scheduled to arrive at Duke Point tonight and into the Port Saturday morning. It will anchor off the port before coming alongside the facility, said Nanaimo Port Authority president and CEO Ian Marr.

About 60 containers in and around the burn site will be removed. A salvage plan specific to these containers is in place once they're on shore. About 100 containers came off the ship at sea and many of them sank.

It is expected to be a long process and no final timeframe is available. 

A briefing on the move said: “Once the operations in Nanaimo are completed, the Zim Kingston will be able to shift to a suitable container terminal to continue her unloading operations.”

A Canadian government message has explained the precautions being taken to protect the vessel and the surrounding marine environment from further damage as the vessel is moved.

Friday, Dec. 3

GET READY FOR SNOW – Okay, okay, the rain is gone but guess what. Environment Canada has issued another special weather statement suggesting that snow may be on the way. This weekend has potential for snow with light accumulation across parts of Vancouver Island. The areas that may see snow include Nanaimo, Greater Victoria, the Cowichan Valley, and along the Malahat Highway. And, of course, that means roads may be slippery, particularly on the Malahat. MORE

HELIJET EXPANDING ITS HORIZONS into the U.S. The company has made a deal with Blade Urban Air Mobility of New York to expand operations to include electric aircraft and possible new destinations in Seattle and Portland. Blade gets exclusive rights to passenger bookings on Helijet's regular routes between Nanaimo, Victoria and Vancouver. Helijet and Blade are reviewing new routes to serve Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and other locations along the Pacific Northwest’s Cascadia corridor. MORE

THE CRUISE INDUSTRY is back with 350 ships scheduled for Victoria in the 2022 season. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority released its draft schedule on Thursday, with the first cruise ship to dock in a Canadian port in two years slated to arrive on April 6. The schedule anticipates 350 ship calls delivering 795,000 passengers to the Victoria Cruise Terminal between March and October next year, roughly equivalent with 2019, the last full cruise season before sailings were derailed by the pandemic. MORE

THE SEIA WARMING CENTRE is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Snacks, beverages, washroom, clothing and clothes dryers are available. There’s room for 15 people, depending on public health restrictions. Executive director Charles Nelson said in addition to escape the often harsh weather in recent weeks people are also seeking safety. There are few instances where someone would be turned away, he says. If they have COVID symptoms, then we work with Island Health staff to get the support they need. MORE

SWIMMING SCHEDULES at both the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and Beban Park Pool will continue to follow a modified schedule to accommodate as many patrons as possible while Beban Pool undergoes repairs. The latest attempt at repair has been delayed due to the flooding throughout the province leading to delivery stops.A sealant that will be applied to the bottom half of the pool is not able to make it here with the Province’s mandate of essential travel only. MORE

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE – Saturday is impaired driving enforcement day, and Nanaimo RCMP beefing up patrols on area roads and highways. They will have a greater presence throughout the area. “We hit all the corridors but then we have roving patrols,” says Cst. Gary O’Brien. He says some drivers think they can outsmart police when they see the flashing lights and they turn off “but we know exactly where they’re going to turn off.” MORE

IF YOU’RE PLANNING to head south of the border, President Joe Biden has announced new COVID-19 test requirements. As of Dec. 6, travellers must get a COVID-19 test within 24-hours prior to boarding. The U.S. accepts any type of molecular test, including the PCR, or nucleic acid amplification tests. The viral COVID antigen test will also be accepted. Some people recommend the antigen tests because they’re cheaper and quicker. Coming home to Canada requires a PCR test as well if the trip is longer than 72 hours, then another test on arrival at the Canadian airport and quarantining until they receive their test results if arriving from outside Canada and the US. MORE

Catalyst Mill in Powell River to shut down

211202 –The future of Powell River is in doubt after the Catalyst Mill announced an indefinite curtailment of production. The mill has been a part of the skyline for more than a century providing jobs and quality paper products to markets around the world.

“Today the global marketplace in terms of demand for papers and the prices for those papers alongside the cost of manufacturing has left us a point where the facility is just hemorrhaging,” said Graham Kissack, Vice President, Environment, Health & Safety and Corporate Communications. The 206 employees will work for 60 more days and then be laid off — at least temporarily. MORE

Rain, sleet or shine, the mail must go through

21-12-02

THE POSTMASTER ON Lasqueti Island won’t comply with the federal vaccine mandate and isn’t allowing the 400 residents to get their mail, including vital medical supplies. A number of people arrived at the office Tuesday, knocking on the door, but nobody answered. Lasqueti is a 40-60 minute boat ride to shore, so regular mail service is vital and tempers are flaring. Canada Post says it is delivering mail Thursday and Friday, then continuing with regular mail delivery three days a week. Just a minute, that postmaster is surely in breach of contract and should be fired immediately. YOUR COMMENT.

Thursday, Dec. 2

THE MALAHAT HIGHWAY will be down to single lane alternating traffic tonight for ongoing repairs. Delays of about 20 minutes should be expected during this time on a 4.3-kilometre stretch of highway beginning about one kilometre north of Langford.

CAROLYN ILES WANTS SOME Christmas presents, a lot of them. Carolyn is the director of the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and she needs generous donations in order to make Christmas better for a lot of kids in our community. Without our help there will be some very disappointed kids. What the toy drive needs is unwrapped toys, books and games for infants to teens. There are 21 locations where you can drop off donations. Check HERE. Families wishing to register to receive presents this year should call 250-933-3240 by tomorrow (Dec. 3). The Toy Drive exists with the support of people, organizations and businesses of Nanaimo. “All of us make the toy drive work,” says Carolyn. MORE

THE ILUMINIGHT CHRISTMAS LIGHT UP  launched last year by the Newcastle Neighbourhood Association is back. Illuminight was born last year during the first winter holiday in the COVID-19 era. Area residents and businesses strung up holiday light displays throughout December in response to a bright idea from Newcastle Neighbourhood Association president Karen Kuwica. “The need was strong for people to still feel connected in absence of the normal traditions. One thing that was clearly safe was to put up holiday light displays,” Kuwica said. FULL STORY

THE SECOND ANNUAL Sum̓sháthut (Sun) Festival, a midwinter feast of Indigenous dance, song, cuisine, and fashion hits Beban Park Dec. 18. The Crimson Coast Dance festival is curated and co-produced by Tsatassaya White, of Snuneymuxw and Hupacasath Nations. It’s sponsored by the Nanaimo Hospitality Association, City of Nanaimo, BC Arts Council, Heritage Canada, Canada Council for the Arts. Tickets available at the Port Theatre

CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME – Coastal Community Credit Union believes in community first when it comes to helping out. The Credit Union has pledged $25,000 to flood relief, including $15,000 to the United Way B.C. central and northern Vancouver Island region and $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross for humanitarian assistance across the province. The money being given to the United Way will support community rebuilding and recovery services on the Island.

DON’T FALL FOR IT – The internet is a great tool for criminals, and they never seem to run out of ideas to scam gullible people. They collect personal information and financial information. Quadra Island RCMP report an email that supposedly came from Canada Post. It claims Canada Post has a parcel in your name that requires personal information to claim and payment for outstanding delivery fees. Everything looks very legitimate with Canada Post logos and links to payment options. By giving them the payment information, the fraudsters have all they need to use your credit card. If you are not expecting a parcel, tell them you’ll go to the postal station and personally pick it up. Then hang up.

ON THAT TOPIC, with online shopping ever so popular, what with the pandemic, crooks are standing in line to cash in. Cst. Gary O’Brien says the volume of parcels being nabbed are down in Nanaimo, with people paying more attention and reporting any suspicious vehicle or person eyeing packages. “Often what criminals do is follow delivery vans, wait for parcels to be dropped off and then pick their time to come in and steal it. They may get away with one or two thefts, but we will catch them and hopefully put a stop to it.” If you can’t be home at the time of delivery, have it delivered to your workplace or a trusted neighbour, or you can also check to see if it can stay at the local depot so you can go in on your own time and pick it up, he adds. 

COVID RFEPORT – The Vancouver Island region identified 76 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, among 375 cases confirmed across the province over the previous 24 hours. There are 569 active cases in Island Health. Island Health data identified the locations of 491 active cases –115 in the South Island, 213 in the Central Island and 163 in the North Island. Three deaths occurred in the Island Health region.

Bank regulators warn housing crash will destroy economy

We have known for decades that Canada’s residential housing prices are unsustainable. Housing prices had increased faster than inflation and much faster than wages and incomes. Rising housing prices are supported by increased debt, not value. Low down payments combined with low mortgage rates mean people can buy expensive homes by taking on larger mortgage debt. The federal government, through CHMC, supports this scheme by protecting banks and other lenders. FULL COLUMN

Virus names are a matter of coincidence

THE WORLD WIDE PANDEMIC has affected many people in many ways. How would you like to be the company that makes Corona beer in an era of Coronavirus? Or think about Delta Airlines in view of the Delta virus. It even strikes close to home where Omricon, a Victoria development, design and construction company, is getting it full barrel. They are not alone, an American company of the same name, Omicron Development LLC, has offices in New Jersey and Houston. YOUR COMMENT.

Canada restricts travel from ten African nations

2021-01-01 – Canada has restricted travel from 10 African countries and is seeking guidance on COVID-19 boosters amid the emergence of the Omicron variant.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said foreign nationals from Nigeria, Malawi and Egypt who have been to those countries over the past two weeks will not be able to enter Canada. This adds to the seven other African countries barred by Canada on Friday: South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Travellers who have transited through these countries over the past two weeks will have to quarantine, be tested at the airport, and await their test results before exiting quarantine, Duclos said. MORE

Three-vehicle crash sends five to hospital

2021-01-01 – A three-vehicle crash in south Nanaimo before noon has send five people to hospital. Northbound highway lanes were closed after a crash at Cedar Road and the Trans-Canada Highway. Two pickup trucks and a sport-utility vehicle collided. Crews on scene said two patients had unknown injuries and three were taken for precautionary reasons. MORE

To boost or not to boost - that's the big question

BOOSTER BONNIE – In marketing, when the message gets stale you bring in a new, improved and shiny add-on. For weeks, those who are fully vaccinated have been urged to line up for booster shots. The next phase was to get the kids. If that is not enough to convince us, a new variant, that should do the trick. Then the virtual turmoil unleashed Monday on church goers who had lots of Christmas events turned upside down. A lot of people aren't buying in any more. There’s still a grey area about Omicron, experts admit they don’t know if the booster will stop the variant, but the cash registers are ringing a merry tune at Big Pharma.  YOUR COMMENT.

Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021

GOOD MORNING – Welcome to December, the last month of this eventful year. If it makes you feel any better, it's 25 days until Christmas. Enjoy.

MASKS FOR CHURCH – If you're heading to church, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says you must now wear a mask to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Worshippers were previously exempt from the mask mandate, which requires people to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces. As of Tuesday, masks are mandatory for all in attendance, including choir members. Masks can be removed for eating and drinking to allow for ceremonial services. Places of worship can operate at full capacity if all participants are fully vaccinated. Otherwise, services are limited to 50 per cent of seated capacity. MORE

FIRST OMICRON IN B.C. The province has reported its first case of omicron and identified 204 people in B.C. who have recently returned from areas where the virus variant is prevalent. The new variant was discovered in an individual from the Fraser Health region upon return from a trip to Nigeria. They are currently isolating and public health is working through contact tracing. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said All 204 have been contacted, sent for PCR testing and are remaining in isolation.  MORE 

THE LAST THING YOU NEED – If you live in a flooded area the Province advises about potential risks for human health and the environment, and how to mitigate them. During flooding and while standing water persists, sewer systems cannot function properly. A damaged or failed system may result in sewage backed up into the home, contaminated drinking water, or other unsanitary conditions. FULL STORY

HOUSE ARREST TO THE BIG HOUSE –The BC Court of Appeal has rejected a lower court sentence for a fraudster, sending her to jail instead of an electronic bracelet. Renee Patricia Merkel bilked $70,000 from her former employer Errington Cedar Products and was sentenced to two years of house arrest. The Appeal Court rejected the original punishment from Supreme Court Justice David Crerar, calling it demonstrably unfit and sentenced Merkel  to two years in jail. MORE

FAKE IT BABY, FAKE IT - Hundreds of fake COVID-19 test results and vaccination records from people trying to enter Canada have been intercepted by Canada Border Services Agency. By the end of October, CBSA officials found 374 suspected falsified COVID-19 test results at ports of entry – 160 at airports and 187 at land crossings – and intercepted 92 suspected fake proof-of-vaccination credentials. MORE

We know what we don't know about vaccines

It is difficult to imagine more irresponsible reporting on the COVID file than in today's media. Medical people interviewed are unanimous in stating that we don’t know anything about the allegedly new Omicron variant other than it exists. The first rule of finding something you don’t know anything about is to stay silent. We do not need a booster shot of anxiety and fear. MORE