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Your business card reaches more people here than in your pocket

Friday, May 13, 2022

REAL PAIN AT THE PUMP – We knew it was coming, but it’s still a shock to see prices at the pump in Nanaimo hit $2.159 a litre, which happened Thursday. Most stations in Nanaimo were sitting at that number but one was at $2.119 while on the upper end, it was $2.179 at another one. You can keep checking GasBuddy before you head for a fill-up.

BOOST FOR THE ARTS – The arts in Nanaimo and Gabriola Island got a shot in the arm from the provincial government. The Nanaimo Art Gallery will get $25,000 in funding, and the Gabriola Arts Council and Gabriola Players Theatre Society will share more than $15,000. In the announcement, Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson described the Nanaimo Art Gallery as a bright light in our local arts and culture community.

ELECTION EXPENSE RULES ­– If you’re looking at going for a seat on city council or school board, Elections BC has set out the expense limits for the General Local Elections. The rules are  available on the Elections BC website. Check these links –  Expense limits for candidates and Expense limits for third-party advertising sponsors. The ministries of Municipal Affairs, Education and Childcare, and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation calculate the expense limits for general local elections. For more information, visit https://elections.bc.ca/local-elections/2022-general-local-elections.

ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES – And while we’re on electoral topics, the provincial Electoral Boundaries Commission is holding it final meeting tonight of the preliminary examination phase of riding distribution. The Commission will continue to accept input to through its website and by email or post until May 31, but tonight’s meeting is the last opportunity to make a presentation directly to the Commissioners. You can join the meeting at 5 p.m on Zoom.com and JOIN HERE. Please email info@bcebc.ca if you would like to present at the meeting or schedule an interview with one of the Commissioners. That should not be confused with federal realignment which is happening at the same time. MORE.

RIDICULOUS FINES FOR BORDER CROSSING – The pain from COVID-19 can linger in more ways than one, as a Qualicum Beach couple has learned. The retirees elected to take $11,400 in fines rather than hang around for days to get PCR tests on their way home from a winter in California. Charles Lee, 70, said their PCR results were supposed to be available at the Peace Arch border but didn’t arrive. They were given the option of getting tested on the U.S. side and return with negative results, which could have taken days, or be fined and proceed home, which they did. NanaimoNewsNow has the detailed story.

COVID HANGING ON – It’s almost an after thought for many, but the number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals this week has increased again. Thursday’s report showed 596 test-positive patients in hospital in the province, including 54 in critical care. Both of those numbers are the highest in months. Hospitalization totals reflect everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 even if the disease is not the primary reason for their hospitalization.Since the province switched to this reporting model in January, the number of patients on a Thursday has been as high as 985 and as low as 255. MORE

A DIRTY SECRET – Langley City council has censured its mayor, but won’t say why other than “unbecoming” behaviour by Mayor Val van den Broek. The city said it could not reveal what prompted the move, citing confidentiality and privacy legislation. It did, however, say the mayor’s conduct was in breach of its respectful workplace policy, the Workers Compensation Act and the occupational health and safety guidelines. Her appointments to the Fraser Health Municipal Advisory Council, Healthier Community Partnerships, Langley Christmas Bureau, Langley Christmas Wish Breakfast, Langley Local Immigration Partnership and Youth Advisory Committee have been rescinded. MORE

Nanaimo's Seamor on a cleanup mission

Sunken junk cleaned off ocean floor

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Thursday, May 12, 2022

OUR MAYOR LOVES A SURE BET - Mayor Leonard Krog is banking on the Nanaimo Clippers in the BCHL championship Fred Page Cup finals. He has bet Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki on the outcome series. If the Clips win the best-of-seven series, Penticton’s chief magistrate will wear a Clippers’ jersey for a day and at a Council meeting and donate $100 to a charity of Len’s choice . . . and send a bottle of local wine to recognize the Clippers’ conquest. In the unlikely scenario of that not happening, Krog will wear a Penticton jersey for a day and at a council meeting, (lights will be turned down low) and donate $100 to a charity of the Penticton’s mayor’s choice . . . and send a plate of Nanaimo bars for their Council to drown their sorrows. MORE

DRINKS SPIKED AT NIGHTCLUBS – As many as half a dozen people’s drinks were spiked at several downtown night clubs last weekend, sending at least two to hospital. The Nanaimo RCMP report several incidents last weekend at different downtown clubs. The first incident involved BC Paramedics responding to two people outside a nightclub, appearing to be extremely intoxicated, requiring both to be hospitalized. Police were later notified that upwards of six people ingested spiked drinks, with at least one of the victims being a man. MORE

MACHETE USED IN ATTACK – One person is in hospital and another in police custody following an altercation that involved several people, bear spray, a machete and possibly other weapons. Nanaimo RCMP say the incident happened at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the 2100 block of Bowen Road in the vicinity of Beban Plaza. Police found an injured female who was receiving first aid from bystanders.

TRUNK SALE IS BACK – The ever-popular Nanaimo Recycles Car Trunk Sale is back, and registration is now open for vendors. It will be held July 16. Bargain hunters can join up to 100 vendors selling used items from the trunks of their cars at the Country Club Centre parking lot. The price is right, it’s free. This reuse event aims to give unwanted household items a longer lease on life and to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. If you want to sell something at the Trunk Sale you have to register in advance to reserve a spot by emailing SortTossRoll@nanaimo.ca. MORE.

TAINTED-DRUG WARNING – Island Health issued an advisory on Tuesday for poisonous drugs in Nanaimo. The advisory said overdoses are increasing in Nanaimo. There have been 12 drug deaths in Nanaimo in the first three months of this year, and 49 were reported by the BC Coroners Service last year. MORE

SEAMOR CLEANUP MISSION – Nanaimo’s Seamor Marine Ltd. which has led development of remote under water vehicles is now into a major project to clean up the ocean bottom. Their target is “ghost” fishing gear from ecologically sensitive waters on our coast. Seamor recently sent one of its remotely-operated vehicles on a search near Prince Rupert. Ghost fishing gear like lost nets and traps can entangle fish, marine mammals and birds and damage sensitive marine life habitat and boats. MORE

DEVELOPMENT CHARGE APPROVED – It will cost more to develop housing in the region as the Nanaimo Ladysmith Pubic Schools has enacted what amounts to a development tax for all new residential developments within the region. The tax is much like a development cost charge, which sees local governments charge builders to cover expenses like water, sewers, sidewalks and parks. The charge involves a sliding scale of between $600 for multi-family developments to a maximum of $1000 for single-family lot developments. District 68 secretary-treasurer Mark Walsh said schools will be about 25 per cent over capacity at the current rate by 2031. MORE

NOT CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE – A man who killed his mother with an axe while she was sleeping has been found not criminally responsible due to "a persistent and severe mental illness," states a B.C. Supreme Court judgment posted Tuesday. Justice Geoffrey Gomery described "tragic circumstances" of the case. Kevin Webster was charged in the 2020 slaying of his mother Moirin. The evidence, the judge said, was enough to prove Kevin's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt but what was before the court was whether his mental illness prevented him from knowing that killing his mother was wrong, the judge wrote.

LIBERALS REPORT CAMPAIGN EXPENSES – Financial reports for three BC Liberal Party leadership contestants are now available. Gavin Dew, Michael Lee and Ellis Ross filed  by the May 6 deadline. Reports for Kevin Falcon, Val Litwin, and Renee Merrifield were not in by the deadline and they can file by June 6 with a $500 late filing fee. MORE

 

City finalizes budget with five-per-cent tax increase

Nanaimo Council has adopted the City's 2022-2026 Financial Plan, which includes the 2022 City Budget. Property owners can expect a general property tax rate increase of five per cent and a one per cent increase for the General Asset Management Reserve equating to an additional $139 or $11.58/month for the average home. FULL DETAILS

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Dix

Vaccines go waiting.

Clinic may shut down

Dr. Carrie Marshall can't continue to serve Ucluelet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

VACCINES ON STANDBY – Many British Columbians are not buying in to the COVID-19 message any more. More than a million have not taken advantage of booster doses of the vaccine. There has been widespread transmission in recent months, with increased hospitalizations and deaths, and left many businesses struggling with coronavirus-related staffing issues. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are urging people to get vaccinated as soon as they're eligible. More than 4.35 million people across the province have had two doses but only 2.72 million have taken a third. Just over 78,000 second boosters, or fourth doses, have been administered to seniors in long-term care and individuals considered clinically extremely vulnerable. MORE

UPDATE – The Nanaimo RCMP report that the 18 year old woman who was reported missing on May 9,  has been located safe and sound.
MISSING PERSON
 – Trisha Harry is missing and RCMP seek public assistance in finding the 18-year-old. She did not return to her home on Monday, and recently made troubling comments. As a result, her caregivers and police are extremely concerned for her safety and well-being. Harry has been known to travel as far as North Cowichan as she has friends and family living in that area. MORE WITH PHOTO

BLUE BIN INSPECTIONS COMING – Watch what you toss in your blue bin. The city urges residents of Nanaimo to reduce blue cart contamination. Recycle BC, the provincial authority overseeing recycling across the province, requires recycling collectors such as the City to maintain contamination rates of less than three per cent to meet contract requirements. Nanaimo's recycling contamination rate averages more than 10 percent. The most common contamination found in recycling includes glass, electronics, plastic bags and overwrap, clothing, scrap metal, garbage, construction material, refundables, and hazardous waste. MORE

THE GRAVY TRAIN – Canada is giving $229 million in aid to Syria and neighbouring nations hosting refugees from the war-torn state. The aid package includes $169 million for food, clean water and hygiene and health services, as well as support for women facing sexual and domestic violence. The aid will also help Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, where many Syrian refugees have fled Bashar Assad’s Moscow-backed regime. Some of the aid will help buy grain for the region, which usually relies on wheat from Ukraine as a staple food source. MORE.

LAST DOCTOR SHUTTING DOWN – Ucluelet may soon be without family medical services. The family doctor who owns the Ucluelet Medical Clinic doesn't plan to renew the lease, which ends on May 31. Dr. Carrie Marshall says she's crunched the numbers alone – and with the help of consultants – and she says there's nowhere else to cut from the clinic's overhead costs. The clinic's been short $80,000 over the last few years, despite having more than double the number of patients than the town's population. MORE

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

ROCK THROWING TEENS ARRESTED – Two 12 and 13-year-old boys were arrested early Sunday evening after they threw rocks at passing vehicles. The incident occurred in the area just north of the Harewood Mines Road overpass at Seventh Street and the Island Highway. Police were alerted after several motorists reported having rocks thrown at their passing vehicles. Police attended and with the assistance of another motorist, located the two boys. Both were arrested for mischief, taken to the police station and were later turned over to their respective parents. RCMP Cst. Gary O’Brien said damage varied from vehicle to vehicle but it will be in the hundreds if not thousands of dollars. 

RCMP OFFICER CLEARED – A veteran Nanaimo RCMP officer has been absolved in an excessive force accusation. Tim Paul Mason, 39, was found not guilty of assault causing bodily harm Monday in provincial court. Judge Brian Harvey determined Mason’s punch to the face of Emily Golobar on Dec. 2, 2018, was an appropriate response to the intoxicated and unco-operative woman. Surveillance video showed Mason issuing a single strike to Golobar in a narrow hallway connecting the detachment’s booking area and holding cells. MORE

GOING GREEN IS NOT CHEAP – While concerned about rising fuel prices, the provincial government is actually adding to the price at the pump. In an effort to reduce carbon dioxide from fossil fuel, the government announced new low-carbon fuel standards and a new facility to refine cleaner diesel and fuels. Energy Minister Bruce Ralston first said it would not add to the costs, but later backtracked admitting it will add one centre a litre to the cost. The carbon tax already takes 11 cents a litre, and that will climb to 12 cents.

NANAIMO GAS PRICES STEADY ­– Gas prices at some Victoria gas stations hit $2.219 per litre on Monday and are now some of the highest in the country. Prices in Vancouver have some station charging $2.229 cents per litre. Nanaimo prices held steady on Monday with most stations at $1.989 according to fuel price-tracking website GasBuddy. Energy price expert Dan McTeague of GasBuddy said prices are expected to stay high as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, and as economic sanctions on Russia's energy sector remain. MORE

GUILTY VERDICT IN ARSON ­– Andrew John Chant, 37, was found guilty of arson after assaulting and threatening to kill his mother. A Wakesiah Avenue apartment the two shared was destroyed in a deliberately-set fire. A ruling is expected next month to the assault and threats made by Chant against his mother nearly a week before the fire. Chant remains in custody. MORE

Monday, May 9, 2022

FERRY RIDES WILL COST MORE – Fuel costs have been rising and that means BC Ferries is increasing the fuel surcharge from 1.0 per cent to 2.5 per cent on June 1. Here is an example of what a 2.5 per cent fuel surcharge will be: .45 cents for an adult and $2 for a vehicle and driver on the Metro Vancouver – Vancouver Island routes, and .25 cents for an adult and $1.05 for a vehicle and driver on a variety of inter-island routes. MORE

WHO IS TO BLAME? – Vancouver drivers are paying the highest gasoline prices in Canada, reaching $2.229 per litre. Nanaimo drivers were paying between $1.949 and $1.989 this morning, but in Victoria it was $2.179. In Calgary filling up costs $1.639 per litre, while in Edmonton it's $1.599.  What’s the reason? Some are blaming the Russian invasion of Ukraine, refineries are cashing in and so is government – a carbon tax increase took effect in B.C. in April, bringing that tax up to 11 cents. In Vancouver taxes are about 59 cents per litre. The B.C. Trucking Association also feels spiking gas prices so consumers will pay more as the cost of transporting goods rises. MORE

LET IT RAIN, LET IT RAIN – It is said that every cloud has a silver lining and that may be the case with the cooler, damper start to spring this year. It has put a damper on early wildfire worries in the province. The B.C. Wildfire Service’s latest seasonal outlook found below normal temperatures, above rainfall and snowpack retention have contributed to reduced early-season risk. The number of fires and hectares (burned) to date are significantly lower than last year and the 10-year average. There have been 98 fires so far this year, burning 365 hectares, compared to 170 at this time last year, burning 2,000 hectares. MORE

ONE INJURED IN CAR CRASH – One person was taken to hospital after a car crashed into a light standard on Hammond Bay Road early Sunday. The a second occupant did not require medical attention. The investigation continues and it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the crash. RCMP ask  any witnesses who may have seen the car driving in the area to contact to them at 778-290-3791. MORE

ELECTION HELP SOUGHT – Elections mean hiring people. The City is looking for experienced election workers for the 2022 general local election to be held Saturday, October 15. Anyone interested in working for the election can fill out an application form and submit it via email to elections@nanaimo.caor drop off in person to the Legislative Services Department in City Hall located at 455 Wallace Street. Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on Wednesday, June 29, 2022. You can get more information and download the application form at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/elections. Only those candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted. MORE

Sunday, May 8, 2022

CEDAR FARM MARKET – It's Mother’s Day and that spells farm market time. The Cedar Farmers Market, one of the largest on Vancouver Island, kicks off today in Cedar, at the field at the corner of Woobank and Morland Rd. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday until Halloween, rain or shine. MORE

MISSING PERSON – A suspect boat has been escorted into dock in Nanaimo as the search continues for a missing tourist. Laura Huebner left her Regina home and boarded a plane from Regina for Victoria on April 24. Friends said the single 47-year-old was going to meet a man in Victoria. Soon after arriving the man offered to take her on his sailboat and that she sent a photo to her dad on April 25 — her last communication before vanishing. The boat was tracked to Nanaimo, where police escorted it into dock Monday, where it appeared to be guarded by RCMP, as its deck was tarped off.  MORE

This time the 'woke' folks have crossed the line

May 6, 2022

LORD HELP US ALL – You figure it can’t get any worse? Oh yes, it can. The female governor of Oregon has ordered schools to supply feminine hygiene products to school bathrooms, including boys’ bathrooms, all in the name of equality. In the “woke” mindset, there’s no such thing as females anymore, they are “ovulating persons”. So there might be some ovulating persons in the boys' room. Oh yes, mothers have been replaced by “birthing persons.” On Sunday, some will mark birthing person’s day –  in our household it's HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

WE’RE NOT BABY MAKERS – Victoria and Nanaimo have the lowest fertility rates in Canada. Calculations by demographers show British Columbia having some of the lowest, and also some of the highest, fertility rates in the country. Fertility rate is the number of children, on average, a woman could expect to have if behaviours observed in 2020 were to continue. Victoria had the lowest fertility rate of 0.95 children per woman in 2020. Nanaimo was the second lowest with a rate of 1.08 and Vancouver at 1.09. Kelowna has the sixth-lowest rate with 1.15 and Kamloops the ninth-lowest rate at 1.27. Chilliwack has Canada’s  -highest fertility with 1.72 and  Abbotsford-Mission is sixth highest at 1.57. MORE 

COPS FOR CANCER – Nanaimo riders Terry Crawford of the RCMP and Rachelle Cole, B.C. Emergency Health Services were named as riders on the Cops for Cancer 2022 Tour de Rock team. The tour from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to Victoria draws riders mainly from the law enforcement and emergency services communities, but also from the greater community and media. It raise money for pediatric cancer research and family supports. The popular tour is back on track after it was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. MORE

HALLMARK ON SCENE – Parksville is a busy place again, thanks to the production of Hallmark Channel’s Chesapeake Shores. Sections of Parksville Community Park will be off limits to the public beginning Sunday, May 8 through Saturday, May 14. the City of Parksville states Chesapeake Shores will have security and traffic control personnel on site and signage will be posted at the entrance to the park. Park users should expect intermittent road detoursThis is the sixth and final season for the popular show which has used locations in Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach over the years. MORE

OTHER SIDE OF CLIMATE – Farm fields across Vancouver Island remain waterlogged and unplanted. Our ever-changing climate has bestowed a cold and wet spring on us. Brian McCormick of Clever Crow Farm in Black Creek grows salad greens and sells them to local grocery stores. This year the only crop has been grown in a greenhouse. Gerry McClintock’s berry crops are weeks behind schedule while his main business, 180 water buffalo are still cooped up in barns. Grape growers are also watching the forecast very closely. MORE

HERE’S A WINNER ­– The Chamber of Commerce has been looking for a way to help Nanaimo’s restaurant industry succeed and rebound from the pandemic. They’ve found it. The Bread & Butter Collective was founded in Victoria as an advocacy, professional development, and industry share-site for restaurants, bars, and pubs. The Collective hits the mark. Chamber member restaurants can get a membership in the Collective at no charge for a limited time. You can check it out while the Chamber works on the Nanaimo finalizing a branch. MORE

LIMITED FERRY SAILINGS – B.C. Ferries advises that due to the expected crewing challenges in the months ahead, the schedules implemented in January  have been extended until June 22, 2022, on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route. These changes in schedule are posted in the online posted schedules.

Lantzville delays a classic example of system failure

May 6, 2022

We’re familiar with the housing shortage British Columbians are struggling through, and a lot of blame is targeted at the approval process. We have a classic example in Lantzville where a major project is held up time and again by NIMBY opposition and elected officials not being ready to bite the bullet and make a decision. Either approve it or reject it. Such delays cost money, which is added to the cost of new housing. Another kick in the head for affordability.

It almost seems like opponents of this development are trying to delay it past the next municipal election in October when they hope to elect a different council which they can sway.

Meanwhile, many people can’t find a place to live.

Last call for tickets to Chamber luncheon on Thursday

Thursday’s Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce lunch will be all about the Nanaimo Child Development Centre's Silly Boat Regatta and how your business can get involved. The Silly Boats event is their largest annual fundraiser; in 2019 the event raised more than $100,000 to help support children and families in our community.  REGISTER HERE.

Rhododendron show puts on a spectacular display

Peach Charm, the Best in Show, by Ann and Dick Beamish

Ann and Dick Beamish placed in 29 categories at the weekend Nanaimo Rhododendron Society's annual show on Saturday. They took the best in show honors with their Peach Charm. They got 89.5 points from their displays. Chris Southwick's entries placed in 34 categories. See the SLIDE SHOW or WATCH A VIDEO of the spectactular Beamish rhododendron garden.

Be ever watchful for online scams and frauds

NEW SCAM ALERT – Online scams and frauds continue to victimize a lot of people. Some are easy to spot, but others look like notices from legitimate businesses. I'll keep posting those I run across and you can forward any similar ripoffs to me and we'll put the public on notice. SEE THE LIST e-mail me HERE

Friday, May 6, 2022

BENSON CREEK TRAIL CLOSED – The steep trail section above Benson Creek is closed for two weeks to install more stairs and additional fencing along a narrow portion of the path. That will make is safer for hikers to navigate a challenging section of trail at Benson Creek Falls Regional Park. Manager of parks services Yann Gagnon said a 17-metre section of stairs wrapping around a tight corner will improve safety, particularly during wet weather. MORE

COP RUNNING FOR BC LIBERALS – Surrey RCMP sergeant Elenore Sturko has taken a leave from the force to run for the BC Liberals in the Surrey South byelection to replace long-time MLA Stephanie Cadieux. Premier John Horgan has six months to call a byelection. Surrey South was one of the closest ridings in the province in 2020, with Cadieux winning by 1,176 votes over NDP candidate Pauline Greaves. Sturko is raising her three children with her wife Melissa in Surrey. MORE

CRACKDOWN ON CHRONIC OFFENDERS ­ Two experts on urban crime have been appointed by the B.C. government to prepare a report in four months with a solution to the chaos downtown areas caused by a small number of chronic offenders. Retired police chief Doug LePard and Simon Fraser University criminologist Amanda Butler will make recommendations by September. Attorney General David Eby has been under pressure in the B.C. legislature to deal with a surge in stranger attacks, shoplifting, vandalism and disorder in B.C. urban cores. One Nanaimo offender, for example, has 113 police files, 20 charges laid or recommended and seven convictions since 2019. The opposition BC Liberals were quick to criticize, saying a four-month study of chronic offenders who are wreaking havoc on downtown areas of B.C. cities is too long. MORE

LANTZVILLE DEVELOPMENT ON HOLD ­– It's back to the drawing board for the Village South development application. District of Lantzville council voted unanimously to refer the application back to staff to try to improve the plan. Lantzville Projects Ltd., had proposed a special area plan to build 730 residential units and shops on 23.3 hectares along Lantzville, Ware and Wiles roads. Council referred the application back to staff to work with the developer to improve the application and address density, drainage and Lantzville School Road access, and apply stronger language around guaranteeing affordable housing and seniors assisted living. MORE

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE CLIPPERS – The Nanaimo Clippers are the Coastal Conference champions, still undefeated in the playoffs after blowing out the Langley Rivermen Game 4 on Wednesday to advance to face the BCHL final series against Penticton Vees. The Clippers outscored the Rivermen 18-5 in the series. MORE

IT’S ALL IN THE NAME –Queen Charlotte residents strongly support for changing the name of the village back to the ancestral Haida name, Daajing Giids Llnahaay. The survey showed 48.8 per cent strongly supported the name change, with 11.8 per cent somewhat supporting it, 36.3 per cent not supporting it and 2.9 per cent with no opinion on the matter. The village distributed 901 surveys, with 380 valid responses received. MORE

MISSING PERSON –The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 25-year-old Tara-Marie Connor. Conner recently missed a scheduled medical appointment and as result, Connor’s caregivers are extremely concerned for the safety and well-being of Connor. MORE

FROM THE SIDELINES ­– My comment about the new Leader of the Official Opposition at the  Legislature. Scroll down.

POLITICAL DONATIONS – The latest report shows NDP leading in donations, more than double BC Liberals. Scroll down.

MORE ONLINE SCAMS – Here’s another online scam to look out for. Scroll down.

A little injection of positivity would be a welcome change

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We have a new official opposition leader in the Legislature who vowed to do things differently. You know, like changing the party’s name and changing it’s structure. Then the first thing Kevin Falcon does is go into attack mode telling us what’s wrong with Premier John Horgan and the NDP. I know what’s wrong with the NDP, I figured it out all by myself. What I do want to hear from him and his party is what they will do FOR British Columbians. You know, on the positive side. Is that too much to ask?

First quarter political donations report issued

Mandatory donation reports as filed to Elections BC, Jan. 1 to March 31, 2022.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

256 LEGION SHUT DOWN – ­ Royal Canadian Legion Mt Benson Branch 256 has closed temporarily due to increasing number of Covid 19 cases. All Legion and public events are cancelled until Wednesday, May 11. The events will include include tonight’s (Thursday) Wings and Beer Night, Friday night dinner and music poker snf Saturday’s meat draw and karaoke. The Tuesday Coffee Club is also on hold. The cancellation does not include private functions and meetings. 

BE ALERT ON THE TRAILS – Hiking along local trails can be good for your health – but it can also be dangerous. RCMP warn hikers to be aware when using local trails. A man exposed himself to a woman. The incident occurred April 27, 2022 on the Beach Estates Trail. The incident was reported and the investigation is continuing. City parks and trails are used by thousands of people every year for hiking, biking, jogging and a variety of other uses and are inherently safe. Staying alert, maintaining spatial awareness and reacting properly are several ways to react if confronted, says Const. Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. MORE

MORE PAIN AT THE PUMP – Expect to pay more to fill up the tank in your car. Fuel prices are expected to jump to historic heights this week. Gas at the Petro-Canada station at Terminal Ave. and Princess Royal Ave. was $ 203.9 per litre Wednesday, but generally it was $1.989 throughout the city. Diesel topped out at $2.149 at one Nanaimo station. Dan McTeague, senior analyst with GasBuddy.com, said depending on the events of the next few months, British Columbians in areas like Victoria and Metro Vancouver could be paying $2.25 to $2.30 per litre at some points this summer. He predicted prices will jump even higher across the province by the weekend, and will likely to do so again before the May long weekend. MORE

TALK BACK TO TRANSIT which has launched Voice of the Rider online engagement platform where people can share their feedback and discuss ways to improve the transit experience. BC Transit believes that to understand riders and prospective riders, the organization needs to connect with communities and ensure customer feedback is an even bigger factor in future business decisions. Voice of the Rider will drive community engagement on all projects and transit future planning, understand the satisfaction levels of our riders, and gather valuable recommendations and suggestions to improve the overall transit experience. MORE

DENTAL CARE SUPPORT – Not-for-profit dental clinics will get $2.8 million in new support over the next three years to ensure they can continue providing dental care for people in need at 21 clinics throughout B.C. MORE

HERCULES AIRCRAFT REDEPLOYED – The Air Force is moving two aircraft  to Vancouver Island  from Winnipeg to fill a gap in search-and-rescue coverage. Two Hercules aircraft will be based at CFB Comox as officials revealed the military’s new Kingfisher search-and-rescue planes won’t be ready for another three years. The redeployment will help address the resulting gap until the Kingfishers are ready. Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger acknowledged the move will impact the squadron’s other tasks. MORE

Man's body recovered near Protection Island

RCMP have recovered a body in the water near protection Island. The body was located Tuesday but has not been identified. Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien said an autopsy will be required and if there’s a positive identification it will be up to the Coroners Service to release that information.

An extensive search was begun on April 11 after a 59-year-old man went missing and was presumed drowned following a reported argument aboard a boat in Mark Bay. Police and Nanaimo Harbour Patrol members found a 58-year-old woman in the water that night, but the man was not found. MORE

Here's how you can help enrich the lives of seniors

You can help enrich the lives of Eden Gardens residents for the next several years and allow us to sustain our music, horticulture and art therapy programs, which improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our residents.

Eden Gardens plays an important role in the Central Island community as a caring home to 130 elders living with dementia. Our mission is to be a home for growth, love and joy for everyone in our community.

We are the only non-profit long-term care home in the Central Island area dedicated 100% to caring for those living with dementia. We aim to give our residents a full and abundant life, with a diverse home environment where plants, art and music are a part of everyday life. HOW YOU CAN HELP

Where is the outrage, Jagmeet Singh?

May 4, 2022

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh likes nothing better than to climb on a soapbox and wax eloquent about the failure of big business and the ultra-rich (whatever that means) to pay their fair share of taxes. His decision to prop up the Liberal minority has compromised his principles. The Canada Revenue Agency has been paving the way for multinationals and the ultra-rich to pay less tax for decades. His Faustian bargain with Trudeau to support drug and dental care is opportunistic without regard for future costs or consequences. FULL COLUMN

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

 EMERGENCY ALERT  – If you have a cellphone you will get an automated emergency alert at 1:55 p.m. today. The exercise is part of a scheduled trial of Alert Ready, a system used across the country to broadcast warnings on radio and television stations, as well as compatible wireless devices. Alert Ready was used last year to deliver 173 warnings across Canada for wildfires, tornadoes, flash floods, Amber Alerts, civil emergencies, police emergencies and drinking water warnings. MORE

SNUNEYMUXW TO MANAGE – Snuneymuxw will operate the next supportive housing complex planned on Nicol Street. B.C. Housing noted that Snuneymuxw is best positioned to be the operator as it has relationships, experience and knowledge needed to make 355 Nicol St. a success. Snuneymuxw owns and operates more than 100 homes across four reserves and oversees capital projects representing almost $40 million, with housing projects under development worth another $50 million and manages an effective homeless outreach program. Up to one-third of Nanaimo’s homeless population is Indigenous. MORE

BEAR SPRAY USED IN ROBBERY – A man stealing expensive Scotch whiskey used bear spray to escape from the Landing Liquor Store in  Brooks Landing Mall. RCMP are asking for public assistance to identifying the individual and his two suspected accomplices. The incident took place at about 10:30 p.m. March 22. When confronted by staff, the male suspect produced a canister of bear spray and discharged it in the vicinity of the employee while fleeing with the booze. Two women are believed to have been used to distract the employees while the man selected the liquor. More details and PHOTOS.

LIVING WITH DEMENTIA – When a person living with dementia moves into long-term care, attending care conferences becomes part of the process, ensuring that everyone involved in the care team provides the best care possible. The Alzheimer Society of B.C. is helping local families make the most of the conferences, offering a new webinar, Understanding Care Conferences. Dr. Gloria Puurveen and Dr. Heather Cooke will speak about their experiences with families affected by dementia and discuss what to expect at a care conference. The session will cover what questions to ask, what documentation is needed in advance, and tips for effective communication with the care team. MORE

REAL ESTATE STILL RISING – The inventory of housing is rising, but so are prices. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 33 per cent over the past 12 months, reaching $907,600. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board says despite the climbing inventory, the housing supply is still far below the level needed to satisfy demand. A number of factors – including record-low supply, historically-low mortgage rates, and lifestyle changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic – has fuelled dramatic price increases and highly competitive real estate transactions. MORE

THE SOUND OF MUSIC – The Island Consort Chamber Choir will perform for both Nanaimo and Parksville audiences this month. They will perform at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 4235 Departure Bay Rd., on Saturday (May 7) at 7:30 p.m. Admission at the door will be $20 for adults, $5 for students and free for youngsters under 13 years old. Masks will be required as the choir will also be masked, and complete vaccination is strongly recommended. The choir will also perform in Parksville Monday, May 9. MORE

GETTING TOUGH ON REPEATERS – Attorney general David Eby will soon announce what he calls a creative plan to tackle repeat offenders who cause chaos in communities. He said the plan is the result of meetings with concerned municipal leaders, but he provided few details. Eby said the goal will be to be creative within provincial authorities to address the small group of offenders who are causing an outsized amount of chaos. He made the comments after Opposition accusations in the legislature that he was soft on crime and they demanded results to curb the crime rate. MORE

DON’T TEMPT YOGI – Bears are waking up from hibernation and are focused on food. bear sightings are going up on South Vancouver Island. B.C. conservation officers are again asking the public to store garbage bins indoors if possible "I can’t stress it enough, if you don’t secure your garbage, you’re going to get a bear killed," said Sgt. Stuart Bates of the B.C. Conservation Officers Service. Once bears get addicted to garbage, they become “food conditioned” and while they are doing that, they are in the presence of people," he said. They lose their fear of people and there’s only one outcome for a bear that reaches that level – a death sentence for the bear. MORE

Chamber's May 12 luncheon focuses on Silly Boats

 

The Nanaimo Child Development Centre's Silly Boat Regatta will be in the spotlight at the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon May 12.  You’ll learn how you and your business can get involved. Silly Boat event is their largest annual fundraiser. For instance, in 2019 it raised more than $100,000 to help support children and families in our community. TO REGISTER 

May 5, 2022

MINE DISASTER ANNIVERSARY – Today is the 135th anniversary of The No. 1 Esplanade mine explosions on May 3, 1887. Two explosions occurred 260 meters below ground in the city's largest mine. The blast rocketed through the underground shafts for almost a kilometer. The underground fire burned for two weeks. This accident took the lives of 150 miners, creating a massive impact to a community of approximately 2,000 people at the time. The explosions are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history. MORE

APRIL SHOWERS – We had plenty of those – in fact, a record-smashing amount. Environment Canada reported 164.8 mm of rain at Nanaimo Airport, making it the wettest April in 130 years of record-keeping. The previous record for precipitation in April was in 1937 with 150 millimetres. MOR

CHINESE CEMETERY MAKEOVER – One of the city’s most treasured heritage landmarks is receiving a facelift. The entrance gateway at the Chinese Cemetery on Townsite Rd. is getting a makeover. It was identified for repairs during a recent routine inspection, with peeling paint and crumbling concrete. community heritage planner Chris Sholberg told city council said the cemetery site and its entrance gateway are a big part of the city’s history. MORE

EMERGENCY ALERT – British Columbia is expanding its emergency alert system to include floods and wildfires, ahead of the upcoming system test tomorrow. Last summer, the government took heat for not issuing an emergency alert for wildfires and floods that impacted large portions of the province. MORE

NEW ELECTORAL BOUNDARIES ­– Some Nanaimo voters may find themselves shifted into new electoral areas. The 2022 Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has outlined a set of recommendations that would alter B.C.’s electoral map ahead of the next federal election. The commission is recommending that Nanaimo’s northern boundary on the electoral map be shifted south. The electoral map adjustments mainly factor into the growth and redistribution of the population in an effort to create effective representation, according to the commission. MORE

WRESTLING IS BACK – The fire at the Departure Bay Activity Centre forced a number of organizations to find alternate accommodation. Vancouver Island Professional Wrestling is returning May 21 to the Snuneymuxw Recreation Centre and they have a good lineup listed. Should be fun. Order your tickets HERE.

MISSING WOMAN – The Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in locating 45-year-old Laura Huebner. On April 29, Huebner’s family reported her missing to the Sidney RCMP. Police in Sidney confirmed that Huebner was last seen at the Victoria International airport on Sunday April 24, 2022, after arriving on a flight from Saskatchewan. Sometime later that same day, she is believed to have travelled to Nanaimo.  MORE with photo

Carbon dioxide, the friendly gas, we can't live without it

The level of CO2 is about 415 ppm or 0.04% of the atmosphere. The historic atmospheric low level of CO2 was thought to be 273 ppm in about 1750 AD. Levels in 1910 were 280 and in 1945 were 298 ppm. Dr Patrick Moore, environmental consultant (Simon Fraser University) believes these levels to be dangerously low. It is a fact that CO2 levels were much higher than they are today during previous eras (when plant life was evolving). FULL COMMENTARY

Moday, May 2, 2022

GOOD MORNING on this fine May Day.

KROG SUPPORTS RCMP – Vancouver Island communities are divided on replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force. Mayor Leonard Krog wants to keep the Mounties. "The RCMP are symbolic of this country,” he said. “Have they made mistakes? Yes. But in Nanaimo, frankly, I think the RCMP does a very good job in challenging times." Langford Mayor Stew Young is on the same page with Krog. The idea is one of 11 recommendations made by a legislative committee tasked with overhauling the Police Act. MLA Doug Routley, who chaired the commmitte, says this is an ongoing problem in British Columbia, “so we thought the provincial service would be better able to respond to that. "MORE

VIREB BUILDER AWARDS – Awards are nothing new to Island West Coast Developments and they lived up to their reputation the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board commercial building awards last week. They took home three wards of excellence, including Garry Oak Park on Boxwood Road, which won in the industrial category. It was designed by Raymond deBeeld arhitecture. They took home another trophy for the European Speciality Automotive dealership on Kenworth Road, designed by Turner Architecture. See ALL AWARDS.

CRUISESHIP IN PORT – The arrival of the 213-metre long Silver Muse cruiseship turned heads in Nanaimo yesterday as it docked at the Port of Nanaimo. But there are no passengers on board, the ship is here for a two weeks for a limited operation maintenance call. Some crew are on board as they await a trip to Alaska to open their season May 19, cruising between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver. When in operation, the ship carries nearly 600 passengers and 400 crew when fully staffed. There are no cruise ships with passengers booked in Nanaimo for the 2023 season. FULL STORY

MORE PHARMA COVERAGE – The provincial Health Ministry has expanded the list of  medications covered by PharmaCare. Changes were also made in January to PharmaCare's coverage of medications used to treat multiple sclerosis, and in December, the long-acting contraceptive implant etonogestrel (Nexplanon) was added to its formulary. See the FULL LIST.

LYTTON STILL WAITING – “What rebuilding? There’s no rebuilding.” Lytton residents are frustrated at the slow pace of work to clean up the wreckage from the fire that razed most of the community ten months ago. Lytton homeowner Denise O’Connor said her property and many properties in town sit there in the pile of ash, and it’s extremely frustrating to see nothing happening. She added  there has been movement on clearing homes on the Lytton First Nation and some uninsured properties. FULL STORY

FOCUS ON RACISM, HATE – An announcement was scheduled for noon today at the B.C. legislature improving government programs for more people in the province. Premier John Horgan and Rachna Singh, the parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives, and members of the Hogan’s Alley Society and First Nations Summit were set to participate. Data from Statistics Canada revealed a spike in hate crimes. MORE

Modern progressives have made life unaffordable

The deal between the Canadian Liberals and NDP and the corresponding federal budget presentation has intensified our problems. They have tried to assure us this inflation is short-term, but it is here to stay. The results will be an unruly recovery and a looming threat of a recession. They have doubled down on spending in Budget 2022, and there is no relief for small businesses or working people. FULL COMMENT

Business Expo and Prosperity Forum postponed

The chamber of commerce Business Expo and Propserity Forum has been postponed until Sept. 28. There was tremendous support for the event but economic conditions created challenges for businesses to find the people power and time to commit. Economic recovery is imperative and getting businesses back on an even keel is the priority. We look forward to seeing business and community leaders at our many events this spring and summer, and at the many other returning community events coming up, the chamber said in a statement.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

RDN ACCLAMATION – After a lot of wrangling about holding a byelection, it looks like the RDN Electoral Area C director byelection has been filled by acclamation. Charles Pinker, the interim director, was the only candidate to file papers by Friday’s deadline. Area C covers Extension-East Wellington-Pleasant ValleyThe position became available after previous director Maureen Young died in November. MORE

I HEAR THE TRAIN A’COMING – Who doesn’t like model trains? This year’s Nanaimo Model Train Show would be a good place to spend your Sunday at the Beban Park social centre. There are private and commercial vendors from up and down the Island and the Lower Mainland. The Saanich Historical Artifacts Society is planning to display some larger ride-on-scale railway cars, and some of the other exhibitors include the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre, the B.C. Railway Historical Association, the National Model Railroad Association and the Mid-Island Lego Users Group. It’s open until 4 p.m. and admission is $10 for a family, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for NMRA members and $2 for children 12 and under. MORE

WATER RESTRICTIONS – Water restrictions are in effect for large areas of  central Vancouver Island. But don’t get confused, the city has not imposed restrictions at this point. The Regional District of Nanaimo implemented stage two restrictions effective today. It limits sprinkling to two hours a day from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. or 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on specific days. More information on current restrictions and areas affected are available HERE.

BIG RAISE FOR CITY COUNCIL – Courtenay council members have given a big raise to the next group elected after the October civic election. Councillors voted 6-1 to raise their salary by nearly $8,000 and boosting the mayor by more than $10,000. Councillors’ salaries will increase to $33,200 with the mayor getting $83,000 a year. MORE

FALCON SOARS TO VICTORY – B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon won the Vancouver-Quilchena byelection in a landslide Saturday, more than double the nearest challenger NDP candidate Jeanette Ashe. Falcon told supporters he will look the NDP government leaders “straight in their eyes and ask tough questions.” The win was expected in the Liberal stronghold, which has been represented by two previous party leaders, Andrew Wilkinson and Gordon Campbell. MORE

OPTIMISM ON TOURISM – The tourism season kicks off today and Nanaimo expects a very good year ahead. Tourism Nanaimo expects a strong season due to other parts of the island already being booked, and they plan to capitalize on that. Tourism Nanaimo has established itineraries on its website to assist travellers as they explore Nanaimo. It plans to incorporate other parts of the region as well, such as Gabriola Island, the Cowichan Valley and the Parksville-Qualicum regions. Indigenous tourism is also becoming a big draw for people visiting B.C. MORE

POT STORES GOING TO COURT – A group of licensed B.C. cannabis retailers are suing the province for $40 million over illegal pot shops on First Nations reserves. The gist of the lawsuit is that while licensed cannabis retail stores have to buy cannabis from the province and follow strict laws, illegal stores don’t. MORE

AIRPORT SECURITY DELAYS – These days, if there’s a bottle neck in any system, blame it on staffing shortages. Passengers with flights departing from Vancouver Airport are being told to arrive hours ahead of their scheduled flights. Mike McNaney at the Vancouver International Airport, said an ongoing staffing shortage at the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority is contributing to the long lines and lengthy delays in processing passengers through security at the airport. Recent delays were worse than anything previously experienced throughout the pandemic, McNaney told CBC News. MORE

April 30, 2022

FERRIES DETOUR ­– Take note before heading on the high seas on BC Ferries inn the next few days. The Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park Causeway is undergoing lane closures until May 1 – Saturday, April 30, 8  pm – 5 am, Sunday, May 1 8  pm – 5 am  So plan ahead if you’re travelling via Horseshoe Bay terminal, the road closures may impact ability to drive to and from the terminal. Please check the Ferries website for sailings arriving or departing Horseshoe Bay here: https://www.bcferries.com/routes-fares/schedules

SAYSUTSHAN OPENS SUNDAY – The newly-named park on Newcastle Island will open for the season on Sunday. That includes the amenities and regular ferry service connecting it to Nanaimo. It’s projected to be a very busy year, says park manager Philip Clark. They’ve worked hard over the winter to get the park into pristine shape. That includes work on the trails, landscaping, boat maintenance, and more. There’s a long process to get everything ready each year. MORE

MONEY FOR PLAYGROUNDS – Cilaire Elementary School is one of three Island schools to qualify for funding to build accessible playgrounds. This year the province distributed a total of $5 million, with each school getting $165,000. School Districts 61, 63, and 68 are among the 24 districts around the province to receive the funding. MORE

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS is in the spotlight next week. Being prepared is important and something the whole family can do. The City encourages residents to prepare for an emergency by making a kit, drafting up a plan and signing up for the City's Voyent Alert! Emergency Notification System. Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk. READ MORE.

AERIAL SPRAYING FOR MOTHS – The Central Island, including 1,068 hectares in Nanaimo, Nanoose and Lantzville, are included in the B.C. government’s aerial spray treatments beginning in early May. Also included are View Royal and Lake Cowichan. The treatments prevent lymantria moths, previously called gypsy moths, from becoming established and to minimize the risk they pose to forests, farms, orchards and urban trees. These locations are in addition to six areas on the Lower Mainland. Last year's monitoring program trapped an above-average number of male moths on the Lower Mainland, indicating that the moths could become established in those locations if the proposed pesticide spraying is not done. MORE

SOCIAL ENGINEERING – An Abbotsford school has stirred up controversy after it cancelled recognition of Mother’s Day, highlighting its lack of inclusivity. Centennial Park Elementary School in Abbotsford, will not celebrate Mother’s Day but instead celebrate newly named holiday: “The Grownups Who Love us Day.” The same inclusive celebration will also replace Father’s Day at the school. The school’s reasoning behind the name change is so that all students can feel included in card-making. MORE

Friday, April 29, 2022

WET WEEKEND IN STORE – We may have to endure a few sprinkles today, but get ready for Saturday with a forecast of 95 per cent chance of rain and a high of 12 degrees. And it doesn’t look much brighter heading into next week. MORE        

PROVINCIAL POLICE FORCE RECOMMENDED – An all-party committee of MLAs is calling on the province to get rid of the RCMP and establish a provincial police force. The recommendation comes as the committee grapples with concerns of racism connected to policing in the province. In the report, the committee emphasized that transitioning to a provincial police service is not a reflection on the work of individual RCMP officers. The province has not yet responded to the recommendations. MORE

SUSPICIOUS FIRE – Nanaimo RCMP are investigating the circumstances surrounding a car was apparently set on fire in Lantzville early yesterday morning. One engine and one water tender from Lantzville Fire Rescue attended the scene at the south end of Harwood Drive. No injuries were reported from the incident. MORE

CAR INSURANCE GOES ONLINE – Say goodbye to the lineups for auto insurance. As of May 1, drivers will no longer need to display an insurance decal and will be able to renew vehicle insurance online in B.C. Drivers can choose to leave the decal on their licence plate or remove it on Sunday. Insurance can be renewed up to 44 days in advance of the policy expiration date, and the online process is estimated to take less than 10 minutes. More than 3,000 customers have used the process to renew online. MORE

COMMON  SENSE – Better wildfire management could offer a cost-effective way to limit greenhouse gas emissions, a new study says. Enhanced fire management could avoid the release of up to 3.87 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050. Carly Phillips, lead author of the study, said wildfires are a huge threat to climate change mitigation goals. Phillips said boreal forests are extremely dense and store massive amounts of carbon. These wildfires could emit up to 11.93 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by mid-century if fire suppression levels remain unchanged, she said. MORE

SHOPPING CART THEFT – Those shopping carts you see beside many of our city roadways have become a major problem for Nanaimo grocery stores. The substantial losses could push grocery prices higher. Coun Sheryl Armstrong says she has been told of hundreds of carts going missing in the past year. Superette Foods has had dozens of their baskets stolen. Manager Shari Sorensen says it doesn’t sound like a lot but for a small business that is barely holding on it is a lot. MORE

COVID IS STILL IN OUR MIDST – COVID-19 patient numbers have nearly doubled in Vancouver Island hospitals in the past month. Seventy-six people are in hospitals, up from 41 on March 28. Seven people are in critical care on the Island, compared to two patients at the end of last month. The number of patients in critical care provincewide has remained steady with 47 compared to 48 at this time last month. MORE

Thursday, April 28, 2022

PRIVATE SURGERY CLINICS GO PUBLIC – The Seafield Surgical Centre is one of two two private surgical centres that has been bought by Island Health. That will provide access to 2,300 additional surgeries and endoscopies per year. Adding the View Royal Surgical Centre in Victoria and Seafield into the public health-care system means increased capacity and reduced wait times, said Health Minister Adrian DixMORE

WE’RE WITH THE OLD FOLKS – Six of Canada's oldest municipalities are on Vancouver Island. More than half of the residents in these seven communities are 65 or older. Qualicum Beach, Sidney, Parksville, Southern Gulf Islands, Nanaimo Electoral Area E, Nanaimo Electoral Area G, and Osoyoos are the leaders. These seven populations tend to skew older because they are "popular destinations for seniors wishing to retire," states Statistics Canada. Whistler's population is made up of 79.8 per cent working-aged people, the highest in Canada, followed by Banff, where 78.4 per cent are working age. MORE

BIKER SERIOUSLY ASSAULTED – RCMP are looking for any web cam footage which may she a light on an aggravated assault which has sent a man to hospital. The incident happened  at Esplanade and Victoria Crescent shortly after midnight April 20. A black Harley Davidson motorcycle was on its side with paramedics attending to a wounded man and assumed the driver had been involved in a collision. But it became apparent he had been assaulted.  If you witnessed an altercation, or drove through the area (and may have dash cam footage), please contact the RCMP at 250-754-2345 and reference file number 2022-13136. MORE

SUPPORT FOR NEIGHBORHOODS – City Council has instituted a Neighbourhood Association Supports Policy along with a $10,000 annual Neighbourhood Grant Program, which will begin in 2023. A review of neighbourhood associations began in February 2020 where Council was interested in the organizational status of neighbourhood associations and the City's relationship with these groups. The discussions led to gathering input from existing associations, reviewing other municipality's engagement models and collecting feedback through a community survey. After thorough analysis and consultation, a policy was created establishing organizational criteria and identifying ways to support the associations, including funding opportunities. MORE

A PROPERTY TAX CUT­! – Williams Lake is cutting the residential property tax rate by 10 per cent. “The reason for the reduction on residential taxes is because there was such a large increase in assessments this year.” said Coun. Scott Nelson. The residential tax makes up most of the over all tax for the city. MORE

  • Putting the damper on private vehicle use

    Has it really come to this? Nanaimo city council has given thumbs down to proposed a gas station, drive-thru establishments and a two-storey office building and multi-tenant light industrial in Chase River. A staff report noted that “the proposed auto-oriented development would promote private vehicle use.” Duh! This would be a great spot for a 'Horganism.'

  • Questions surround hate symbol laws in Canada

    The flag of the Confederate States in the American Revolutionary War has long been referred to as the “rebel flag.”
    Progressive and woke elements in our society have decided the confederate flag represents hatred without a shred of evidence. We are inundated with self-appointed, self-righteous busy-bodies determined to interfere in the freedoms of others to express themselves.

  • Political parties do not deserve to govern us

    In the last 40 years our debt has mushroomed 10 fold.
    1981-82 our federal debt was $107 billion;
    2021 our federal debt is more than $1,000,000,000,000.
    Really it is more than $1.4 trillion. We are in the trillions in federal debt. Borrowing and someone else is to pay it off. Imagine if you operated your household like that?

Wednesday, April 27

NEW TOURISM BODY LAUNCHES – Nanaimo has a new organization to boost tourism in the city. Tourism Nanaimo is a non-profit marketing and management body that works with industry, governments and others to develop and market Nanaimo as a destination for visitors. Tourism Nanaimo Interim Executive Director Jenn Houtby-Ferguson presented preliminary market research and an overview of Nanaimo’s strengths to council on Monday. The Nanaimo Hospitality Association presented its findings to Council on hotel bookings and the campaigns they used to attract visitors. A final presentation from consultant Jacquelyn Novak outlined a sports tourism strategy for Council endorsement. MORE

HARBOUR AIR IN NASA SPOTLIGHT – Harbour Air is soaring to great heights with its development of electric commercial aircraft. The U.S. space agency NASA is looking to Harbour Air’s success in its quest to develop sustainable electric propulsion technology for aircraft. NASA has partnered with MagniX, the Washington state-based manufacturer of electric airplane motors. It hopes to introduce electric propulsion to U.S. aviation fleets by 2035. MagniX was the engine at the front of Harbour Air's successful test flight of the world's first commercial electric aircraft in December 2019. MORE

NEXT WEEK IS YOUTH WEEK – The City presents 2022 Youth Week  with activities from May 1 to 7, celebrating youth in Nanaimo. Highlights include youth toonie skates, a hike to Sugarloaf Mountain, a free swim (Lions free swim) at Nanaimo Aquatic Centre and a special "May the Fourth Be with You" Star Wars skate at Nanaimo Ice Centre. A full schedule of events can be found on the Youth Nanaimo Facebook page and on the City of Nanaimo website, www.nanaimo.caMORE

WATCH YOUR (BLEEPING) MOUTH – The day after Premier John Horgan let slip a little bleeping barnyard language in the Legislature, some Opposition MLAs’ sensitivities were offended. Liberal house leader Todd Stone said he was astounded to see a sitting premier, who was so agitated by what were very relevant and important questions, resort to using an F-bomb. The bleep came during a back and forth about the family doctor shortage. The bleep obscured the debate about family doctors. Oh bleep. MORE

UKRAINIANS COVERED – Ukrainians who arrive in our province on emergency travel visas get immediate health coverage, waiving the three months newcomers typically must wait. Anyone who has qualified for the federal government's Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel visa should apply for Medical Services Plan coverage as soon as they arrive in British Columbia. "By giving individuals arriving in B.C. from Ukraine day-of-arrival MSP coverage, we're doing what we can for one of the most important aspects of their journey: health and safety,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. MORE

HOSPITALS TO HOTELS – Island Health is looking at moving rehab patients to hotels due to growing pressure on the hospital system. That would be people ready to be discharged out of the hospital and into a hotel before going home. Health Minister Adrian Dix said in the legislature on Tuesday “at no time would any patient requiring acute care be sent to a hotel room, period. We do, from time to time, support people who are ready for discharge, but there are varied challenges in either their homes or their circumstances that make it challenging for them to be discharged.” MORE

Driver with students in car fails roadside alcohol test

THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED – A suspected impaired driver was removed from the road after a Nanaimo RCMP officer recognized a suspended driver near noon on Monday. The officer stopped the vehicle and identified a 43-year-old employee at a Nanaimo private school. She was transporting four youths going to an extracurricular event in Nanaimo. 

The person is not a teacher, but works in that school,” RCMP spokesman Cpl Sherri Wade said.

The officer conducted a test to confirm that the female driver was beyond the legal limit of alcohol in her blood. She was issued a 90-day Immediate Roadside Prohibition and her vehicle was impounded. MORE

Tuesday, April 27, 2022

RACING TUBS ARE BACK – Nanaimo’s “World” Championship Bathtub Race will hit the water in our harbour in late July after a two-year pandemic hiatus. Commodore Greg Peacock said it was important to return the iconic event which means so much to participants, volunteers and the entire community. All the shenanigans and celebrations are scheduled for the days surrounding July 24.

ARREST UNDER INVESTIGATION – The Independent Investigations Office of BC is investigating after a man was injured while in custody at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. Police responded to intoxicated man complaint and arrested and transported him to the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. Police say he become aggressive in the cell and an altercation occurred between him and a police officer where the man suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital. MORE

WE DELIVER THE ISLAND – The Parksville Chamber of Commerce is taking on the big guys – well sort of. It’s new distribution centre for Vancouver Island businesses is gaining customers and meeting with early success. The company packages and delivers or mails products from Vancouver Island. You know, similar to Amazon filling a void between producers, businesses and customers here. Deliver Vancouver Island or DELVI for short is a solution created by the Parksville Chamber of Commerce as a way for small-scale farmers, or product producers to get their goods to market. The project was financed through a $620,000 grant from the provincial government, which is covering many of the start up costs.  MORE

GRANTS FOR CULTURE ­– The Spring 2022 Neighbourhood Small Grant cycle in our region will be culture-themed, with a special focus on celebrating Ukrainian culture and supporting displaced Ukrainians. The goals of Culture Neighbourhood Small Grants are to support strong, vibrant and united cultures by celebrating diversity and building inclusion. Neighbourhood Small Grants are for individuals, not organizations. If you live in Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Cedar, Gabriola Island or Lantzville, you can get $50 to $500 for a project for your neighbourhood.
Projects themes could be, but are not limited to:
• Celebrating Indigenous languages
• Sharing cultural practices and skills
• Hosting a cultural feast with friends and neighbours
• Creating opportunities for cultural exchanges
• Youth-led culture projects
• Diversity and inclusion workshops
If you have questions, please email chelsea@nanaimofoundation.com or call 250-734-3971. MORE

Sunday, April 24, 2022

WHO KNEW? – An earthquake struck off the northwest coast of Vancouver Island Saturday afternoon. Earthquakes Canada initially labelled the magnitude at 4.1, before revising that to 5.0.was centred 166 kilometres west of the village of Port Alice on Vancouver Island's west coast. It happened at a 10 km depth and was not felt.

WAY TO GO ROTARY – Greater Nanaimo has five Rotary clubs and when they tackle a project a lot of things get done. The five clubs joined forces Saturday to pick up almost a ton of litter. One of the clubs does a clean up every two weeks. MORE

ANIMAL RESCUES are being overwhelmed by a rush of pandemic pets being returned. It’s a a problem all over Vancouver Island as post-pandemic lifestyles change and people find they can no longer look after pets they adopted. It’ started last fall but the volume pouring in is becoming unmanageable. in addition to all of the surrenders, the cost of feeding the rescue horses and donkeys has gone up 80 per cent in the last year alone. MORE

BOOST FOR SALMON – The federal and provincial governments are investing in the dwindling salmon stocks in in our province. Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray announced 22 new projects that have been approved for $30.5-million. The projects will support monitoring, research and planning processes that will help to understand the critical factors affecting the dwindling local salmon populations. The Cowichan First Nation will get $500,000 for work on the Koksilah and the Cowichan River. MORE

Weekend edition

CITY COUNCIL is in to playing games. The city’s finance committee has recommended supporting a possible bid for the 55-plus B.C. Games in 2025 or 2026. We had the games in 2007 and got a lot of kudos from athletes about our city. More than 3,500 participants and volunteers were involved that year when when it was the B.C. Seniors Games. A staff report states  the event would stimulate the economy, boost the city’s profile and align with sports tourism and strategic goals. MORE

A TOTEM POLE to honour murdered and missing Indigenous women has been unveiled at Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre. “It was so, so important because I always get notices about women that are missing,” Said Grace Elliott-Nielsen, Tillicum Lelum executive director. “Little girls that are missing, mothers that are missing and it’s so sad because a lot of the times, they’re not found. I hope and I believe that a big part of this will bring up more information and thoughts about what’s happening,” she told the News BulletinMORE

Friday, April 22, 2022

MAN ARRESTED AFTER FIRE – RCMP arrested one man and are seeking another after two fires last weekend on Boxwood Road. A firefighter was taken to hospital with a non life-threatening injury. The alarm was reported about 2 a.m., after a man reportedly climbed on a portable toilet and lit it on fire. Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien said the flames ignited the toilet, which started a fire to the exterior and worked its way into the building’s interior. MORE.

BE PREPARED TO WAIT ­– Don’t get sick in Victoria and need a Doctor. The city ranked highest in Canada with an average wait time of nearly three hours. A survey done by Medimap looked at average wait times from its participating walk-in clinics. The time spent waiting in Victoria was well above the provincial average of 58 minutes, up 15 minutes from 2019, and the national average of just 25 minutes. MORE

BEARS ON THE PROWL – Numerous bear sitings have been reported in south Nanaimo in recent weeks. BC Conservation Officer Caitlin Bickford said multiple reports of bears have been spotted in Cinnabar Valley and the Extension area. She said it’s unclear how many bears have been in the area lately, theorizing they could be from the same family. MORE

CASINO FUNDING – Last summer’s wildfires and the COVID pandemic severely affected revenue from casinos in the area. British Columbia First Nations that were affected and will get $74 million from the government  to make up for the loss of shared gaming revenues. The Ministry of Indigenous Relations and the B.C. First Nations Gaming Revenue Limited Partnership said 2020-21 revenue was about 80 per cent lower than anticipated. B.C. has a revenue-sharing agreement with First Nations, with a commitment to share seven per cent of annual net revenues from gaming with Indigenous communities through 2045. MORE

Thurs, April 21, 2022

GET READY FOR THE BLUES – Did you know you can get early bird tickets for the 2022 Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival from Aug. 11-14 at Maffeo Sutton Park?  After two years of COVID cancellations, the festival is back with 28 acts, two epic after-jam parties and four days of blues music featuring local, national and international blues artists. MORE

ON GUARD FOR THEE – Nanaimo could soon have another level of downtown support with community safety officers. The Downtown Safety Action Plan, presented to the Finance and Audit Committee on April 20, outlines a new, co-ordinated, proactive approach to public safety, and may set the stage for a revitalization of Nanaimo’s core business and entertainment district. The Plan was created by Neilson Strategies and includes new and augmented resources, programs and services. Now it’s in city council’s hands for Monday’s council meeting. MORE

CHILD CARE FUNDING – The Province is providing funding support for 321 new licensed child care spaces in the central Island –Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Crofton, Tofino and Ucluelet. In addition to these child care locations, 1,139 new spaces have been funded in Crofton, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Tofino and Ucluelet since the launch of ChildCareBC in July 2018. MORE

POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK – Politicians keep talking about “affordable” housing, but when you dig deeper you find that they are the ones who benefit most from rising prices. The Real Estate Magazine has a breakdown of who is cashing in. Rental and purchase housing unaffordability will be the top-of-mind in our next provincial and federal elections. The federal political parties are indistinguishable when reviewing their respective solutions. None understand the core fundamental causes of unaffordability, nor do provincial housing ministries and CMHC. Who’s driving unaffordability? All tenant advocates and most politicians and media blame the obvious culprits: landlords and investors. But who really benefits? Who stands to profit most from increased prices? Follow the money. MORE

FIT TO STAND TRIAL – A psychiatric report has diagnosed James Carey Turok, the man charged with murder the Buzz  coffee shop in February as fit to stand trial. Turok was charged with second-degree murder after a Feb. 12 incident at Buzz Coffee House where Eric Kutzner died. He appeared via video at provincial court April 20, before Judge Mayland McKimm. Turok is being held without bail and a date for a preliminary inquiry is expected to be set May 17. MORE

BAILING OUT THE SALMON – Salmon stocks are fragile, but a group of volunteers is doing something about it. Man-made barriers prevent the fish from travelling up-river to their natural spawning grounds. Members of the Mill Bay Conservation Society have built a human-propelled salmon run, carrying thousands of spawning salmon from a fish trap in the sea, up a hillside, above several waterfalls and across the Trans-Canada Highway before releasing them into Shawnigan Creek. The group will transport 7,300 returning Coho salmon — 30 times more than 15 years ago when the society started counting the fish they carry. Those eggs translate into hundreds of thousands of young salmon that will swim into Georgia Strait. MORE.

REAL RUSH FOR PASSPORTS – Many Canadians didn’t renew their passports during COVID-19 restrictions and now there are lineups and wait times for passport renewals. During the first year of the pandemic, Service Canada  issued 363,000 passports, but from April, 2021 to March, 2022, that number soared to more than 1.27 million. Federal passport service standards are 10 business days for processing if applying in person at a Passport Services office, and 20 days if applying at a Service Canada Centre or by mail. MORE

THIS IS SHOCKING – Fire crews were called to the home in the Blueridge neighbourhood in North Vancouver around midday Tuesday, where a charging e-bike battery malfunctioned. Assistant DNV Fire Chief Scott Ferguson said the device produced plenty of smoke, but that crews were able to take care of it before created a dangerous fire. Also, No injuries were reported after an e-bike battery ignited and exploded shortly after being removed from a home in Cobourg, Ont., on Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

GOOD NEWS FOR DOWNTOWN – A downtown eyesore for years may finally get a facelift and new life. Plans call for the former A&B Sound building to be revitalized into a Granville Island-style market with retail outlets, office space and a restaurant. Architect Colin Harper said the structure of the building remains strong, considering its age. The beams and posts supporting the second floor and roof are in excellent condition. He added they are trying to minimize the impact on the building, working with the existing structure. MORE

FERRY SAILINGS CHANGED – Crewing issues continue to plague B.C. Ferries sailings between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay. Two sailings on the Queen of Oak Bay have been changed for today and Thursday. The 8:15 from Horseshoe Bay and the 10:10 p.m. from departing Departure Bay have been cancelled. The Queen of Cowichan will add sailings departing from Departure Bay at 8:05 and 10:10 p.m. from Horseshoe Bay.

WALK FOR ALZHEIMER'S – A long two-year hiatus on in-person events is over, opening the way for  Nanaimo participants to walk in person in the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s on May 29. Thousands of British Columbians will walk to raise funds to ensure that people affected by dementia have the tools to live their best life possible. National Volunteer Week at the end of April provides an opportunity to recognize the key role volunteers play in Nanaimo and other communities around the province. MORE

HELP FOR FOREIGN NURSES – Internationally-educated nurses will soon find a smoother pathway to practice in B.C. It can take between 18 months to two years for internationally-educated nurses to become licensed and registered to practice. That involves credential and competency assessments, English language assessments, and submitting documents to multiple agencies. The cost can be up to $8,200, not including travel to Vancouver for assessment, or costs of upgrading education if required. Under the new plan,  the province will supply bursaries, streamline the assessment process, and recruitment supports. MORE

FIRE PREVENTION FUNDING – 45 communities across coastal B.C. will share in $4.3 million in grants to 45 communities across coastal B.C. to help prevent wildfires. The communities within the B.C. Coastal Fire Centre jurisdiction include all of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and Haida Gwaii. The funding is being used for a variety of purposes, such as emergency planning, cross-training, interagency co-operation, and community education, according to the province. MORE

TEACHER GIVEN 10-YEAR BAN –  A teacher has been banned from teaching for 10 years as a result of the relationships he formed with his students while working at an independent school. A consent resolution summary states Joseph James Hizon Arnesto admitted to the behaviour outlined in the summary. He agreed to the cancellation of his teaching certificate and also agreed that he won't apply for another certificate or authorization to teach for 10 years. The summary looks at what occurred during his time as a Grade 7 to 12 teacher at an independent school. The school is not identified, nor is the municipality or even the region. MORE

PARTING THOUGHT – I would rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.

Ferry schedule changes made for Wednesday, Thursday

Queen of Oak Bay

Crewing issues continue to plague B.C. Ferries sailings between Nanaimo and Horseshoe Bay. Two sailings on the Queen of Oak Bay have been reversed on Wednesday and Thursday. The 8:15 from Horseshoe Bay and the 10:10 p.m. from departing Departure Bay have been cancelled. The Queen of Cowichan will add sailings departing from Departure Bay at 8:05 and 10:10 p.m. from Horseshoe Bay.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Here’s your DAILY BUZZ of what’s in the news in our world.

LIQUID SUNSHINE – Environment Canada is not offering much encouragement for those waiting for spring to arrive for real. After a lousy weekend, it’s pretty well more of the same with 10-13 degrees as a high most days along with a high probability of rain until Saturday. Wednesday and Thursday are forecast to have up to an 85 per cent chance of rain, tapering off to 24-35 per cent on Friday and Saturday.

FILL’ER UP NOW – Gas stations in the Lower Mainland and Victoria edged over the $2 level again over the weekend. As of Monday, local prices at the pump were close to the $1.88 per lire range in Nanaimo as per Gas Buddy. It might be an idea to fill up  as soon as possible before we hit the big-city prices again. CHECK IT OUT HERE.

DODD NARROWS RESCUE – A Nanaimo man and his son got more adventure than they bargained for on Saturday trying to navigate Dodd Narrows. They were in a canoe when the tidal rip flipped their canoe. Luckily they were wearing life jackets and were quickly rescued. NanaimoNewsNOW has a blow by blow account of their exciting adventure. MORE

A NEW BEGINNING FOR HARRIS – Andrew Harris is entering a new chapter in his football career that began in Nanaimo with the Vancouver Island Raiders. Andrew has signed as a free agent with the Toronto Argonauts. He has had a stellar career since joining the B.C. Lions in 2010 after shredding all junior league records with the Raiders. He’s been a league all-star five times and top Canadian, played for three Grey Cup-winning teams and become the first player to be named Grey Cup MVP and top Canadian in the same game. Andrew led the CFL in rushing three times and is the top-rushing Canadian in league history with 9,661 yards. MORE

MILITARY MEDALS RECOVERED – North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have a set of military medals that are believed to have been stolen several years ago. The items belonged to Jack Hickey, of Nanaimo. The medals were recovered in Duncan in 2018. Hickey died in 2004, and now police are looking to return the medals to his family. You can contact North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP at 250-748-5522. MORE

IT HAS COME TO THIS – The Vancouver Police canine unit planted some additional surprises for the annual Easter egg hunt ­– heroin-filled coloured eggs "hidden" along the front of a police vehicle for a dog named Cash to sniff out. The eggs were part of a training exercise for the dog, who's been trained to sniff out certain substances. One of the eggs, police said, was filled with heroin, which Cash found in a flash. MORE

TRANS CANADA DETOUR – If you’re planning to head out to the Prairies in the next little while you’ll have to take the long way around. The Trans-Canada highway between Golden and the Alberta border is closed for a month starting today. When work is completed it will turn about 25 kilometres of narrow, winding two-lane highway to four lanes, with a 100 kilometre-per-hour standard. Drivers will have to detour via Highways 93S and 95, adding about 1.5 hours of travel time on a trip between Golden and Castle Junction, near Lake Louise. MORE

UP IN THE AIR – Thousands of holidayers on Sunwing Airlines got a longer holiday they had planned. The bad part was that they were stuck in airport waiting rooms for hours due to a system-wide outage. Sunwing’s website shows virtually all flights scheduled for Monday — more than 40 — have been delayed, some by more than 12 hours. MORE

Monday, April 18, 2022

Here’s your DAILY BUZZ of what’s in the news in our world.

BLOWING IN THE WIND – Sections of Vancouver Island are under high wind warnings this morning, with gusts up to 90 km/h on the South Island. Environment Canada warned that power outages and downed tree limbs are possible due to the storm. BC Hydro reported outages affecting more than 3,500 island customers by 7:30 a.m. The largest outages were reported in Duncan and Cumberland. Winds were expected to gust up to 90 km/h, long the East side, especially along coastal regions near the Strait of Georgia. MORE

SOME FERRIES CANCELLED – Getting home from Easter trips could be a challenge for many. B.C. Ferries cancelled a number of sailings this morning due to strong winds. Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island, suggesting the incremental weather will last throughout the morning. MORE

FULL DISCLOSURE – All regulated health professionals will have to disclose their vaccination status to their regulating bodies. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry wants patients to have comfort on how to make choices about the medical professionals. That information will not be available to patients. Instead, the Ministry of Health confirmed that vaccination information will only be available as an aggregated rate for each profession.

HATS OFF BROOMBUSTERS – A Broombusters volunteer brigade is waging it annual war on Scotch Broom, the invasive plant brought to the Island in 1850. Joanne Sales, executive director of the Broombusters Invasive Plant Society, told NanaimoNewsNOW it does so much damage because there’s little stopping it from spreading. “It crowds out native plants, it keeps forests from regrowing, it changes the soil chemistry, it’s just a disaster.” It’s also highly allergenic for some people. MORE

TAX AND SPEND – If you’ve got a problem, tax it. That appears to be Victoria city council’s direction to curb the distribution of single-use items - especially plastics. Among other things, a staff report recommends requiring businesses to charge a 25-cent fee for single-use takeout cups or containers. The recommendations are the result of consultations with businesses and the public, as well as a review of federal and provincial policies and practices in other municipalities. MORE

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A CAR – Canadians looking to join the electric car craze better have a lot of patience. If you want a zero-emission car you’ll will have to put down a deposit and get onto a waiting list – the wait times can be as long as three years. Tesla says delivery times for its vehicles range between three months to one year. Some manufacturers like Nissan have already completely sold out of their electric vehicle inventory for the 2022 model year. MORE

BY THE WAY – Here’s a puzzling question. Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Sunday April 17, 2022

Here’s your DAILY BUZZ of what’s in the news in our world on Easter Sunday.

AMBULANCES FOR UKRAINE – BC Ambulance Service paramedics are on their way to Poland today to pick up three used ambulances they bought and will deliver them to Ukraine. Andrew Mills and Melissa Sims are advanced care paramedics in Victoria who started Paramedics4Paramedics to raise money to buy ambulances for medics in Ukraine. They’ve raised about $90,000, enough to buy three used ambulances in Poland, and $25,000 worth of medical supplies. “We are literally going to be driving them and a nine-passenger bus full of supplies into Ukraine ourselves,” said Sims. MORE

CHANGE FOR PARAMEDICS – British Columbia paramedics can now keep palliative patients out of hospital as long as possible. Thousands of paramedics have been trained over the past three years since BC EHS developed the ASTaR initiative, which stands for assess, see, treat and refer, and which gives paramedics the tools to treat palliative patients at home in many cases. “We were transporting patients to hospital, often when they were towards end of life, and the environment wasn’t appropriate for the (physical state) they were in,” said Leon Baranowski, director of clinical and professional practice with BC Emergency Health Services. MORE

PARTING THOUGHT – Why do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in our driveway and fill our garages with worthless junk?

Help is urgently needed for Ukrainian war victims

The Mennonite Centre in Molochansk, Ukraine is busier than ever feeding the victims of the war in their country. Some Nanaimo residents have already donated, but there's still a need. More and more refugees are arriving. Any donations to help get more aid to these people are most needed. Simply send me an e-transfer for any amount and I'll facilitate the process. Or you can drop me an e-mail or direct message and I can assist you in making a tax-deductible donation. merv.unger@shaw.ca or phone me at 250-616-0416.

It's simply a question about priorities

April 14

The city is mulling the idea of removing all curbs from Commercial Street to make better use of the area. Hopefully that will include removing the nodes that architect David Spearing put in years ago. Instead of creating this “new” work, how about focusing on first repairing all the potholes throughout the city? It’s a thought.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

HAPPY EASTER – here’s your DAILY BUZZ of what’s in the news in our world.

VICTORIA CLIPPPER IS BACK – The Victoria-Seattle ferry service returned Victoria Inner Harbour on Friday following a two-year hiatus and false start last fall. The catamaran cruised up to the dock minutes after the Coho departed. Scott Meis, of FRS Clipper, repeated a familiar line in these parts, they are facing a staffing challenge and that has led them to limit to single sailings this year when normally they do doubles. “Demand is strong, really strong, and as we staff up, I think it will be our path back and we see this operation coming back really strong, he added.” MORE.

SNOWBIRDS RETURN TO ISLAND – If you happen to see jets overhead doing aerobatics it’s the Canadian Forces Snowbirds at 19 Wing Comox to practice for the season. They will be at the Comox base from April 19 to May 10, and will practice there and over the Georgia Strait. This year's season will be different due to severe winter storms and COVID-19 have put the team's regular training program behind schedule. MORE

SNUNEYMUXW, CHAMBER CEREMONY ­– Snuneymuxw and the Chamber of Commerce have concluded an agreement three years in the making. It will be signed at a ceremony April 22 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The memorandum of understanding recognizes formal adoption of the principles of UNDRIP by the Chamber, and a commitment to working enthusiastically toward economic reconciliation with First Nations, specificially Snuneymuxw, in the mid-Island area. MORE

GREENING GABRIOLA – When it comes to the environment, Gabriola Island has long been a frontrunner. Now the island’s transit operator seeks to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions with plans to add electric buses to its fleet. It has applied to the federal government for Infrastructure Canada rural transit funding to buy up to two electric buses and related infrastructure.

SHOW ME THE MONEY – If you felt there was money missing from your RBC account, don’t panic. It’s there, it just didn’t get posted . . . yet. Customers reported that money received by e-transfer was not appearing in their accounts. RBC says customers with auto-deposit set up for e-transfers between April 13 at 11 p.m. and April 15 at 3 a.m. EST, may not see the money appear in their account. The bank says the issue has been resolved and they are working to post these entries to reflect accurate account balances as quickly as possible. MORE

Friday, April 15, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s what’s BUZZING in a comprehensive look at news and commentary in our greater community.

FERRY MAYHEM LOOMING – Mechanical problems threw the B.C. Ferries schedule out of whack on Thursday and could signal a messed up weekend for travellers. Customers are urged to use the Duke Point route as an alternate. Multiple-sailing waits were already expected Thursday with many people also travelling on Good Friday, so it’s particularly frustrating for those who’ve had their reservations cancelled last-minute. Passengers are also encouraged to go as foot passengers during peak times. It’s important to check for service notices and current conditions on the website before heading to the terminal. MORE

SNUNEYMUXW TO HOLD HUGE HOOPS EVENT – Nanaimo may be the basketball hub when Snuneymuxw host the 2023 Junior All Native Tournament next spring. An estimated 80 to 90 teams will compete at  facilities throughout the city between March 12 and 17. Chief Mike Wyse said hosting the tournament for the first time since 2015 is an honour for SFN, which has strong ties to basketball. “Nanaimo is a basketball town as well, all of our high schools promote high school basketball. To have it come back to Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw again, we’re very excited.” MORE.

HELP FOR REFUGEES­ – Federal and provincial agencies are preparing for an influx of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of their country. More than 30,000 applications have been approved under the federal government’s new emergency travel program. B.C. has expanded the Service BC phone line to include United Way British Columbia’s bc211 service. The multilingual service connects people to more than 15,500 free social supports, services and community programs throughout the province. Service is offered in more than 150 languages and also allows British Columbians to connect with opportunities to help where they can. MORE 

BIKE FOUND, VACUUM STOLEN – The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in finding the owner of a stolen E-bike and to identify an individual who stole a vacuum. The bike was recovered by officers on Wednesday April 13,while the vacuum was stolen from Lowe’s on Thursday April 7. MORE WITH PHOTOS.

NANAIMO BAKERY IS BACK ­– The old, new, Nanaimo Bakery is back serving the public. The social purpose business supports the Island Crisis Care Society. You can get all the bakery items, cakes, pies, tarts, rolls, cookies, bars, chocolates and they’ll even serve you breakfast.

NOT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD – Some Lantzville residents are no fans of higher housing density in the village. A proposed development which could lead to much higher density met significant opposition during a public hearing which lasted nearly four hours. The Village South project envisions about 730 residential units on nearly 60 acres dissected by Ware Road between Hwy. 19 and Lantzville Road. The proposal is expected to be on the table again on May 4. MORE

ANOTHER CLINIC CLOSING – What’s becoming a recurring story, another medical clinic in Greater Victoria is closing and thousands of patients will be without a family doctor. The Cook and Quadra Medical Clinic building has been sold and will close its doors in mid-June. Patient records have been moved to the Burnside Medical Clinic until at least October. The only full-time family physician is moving to the Burnside Medical Clinic and then retiring in the fall. The Cook and Quadra clinic joins a growing list of medical clinics that have either announced closures or closed entirely in recent months. MORE

The latest from the war front in Ukraine

Check it out HERE

Thursday, April 14, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s what’s BUZZING in a comprehensive look at news and commentary in our greater community. 

FERRY SAILINGS CANCELLED ­– BC Ferries has cancelled a number of sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver after the Queen of Oak Bay lost its steering and had to be towed in. BC Ferries issued a notice saying the ferry was experiencing a mechanical issue just after 11 p.m. on Wednesday. One Facebook user said they were on the 8 p.m. sailing.

FUTURE OF RECONCILIATION – Reconciliation is a complex concept with a variety of definitions, meaning different things to different people, but one thing many agree upon is that for reconciliation to become a reality, significant structural and societal changes are needed. Vancouver Island University is holding an online webinar on the Future of Reconciliation in Canada. This dialogue will bring together partners in the philanthropic, private, public and academic sectors. MORE

POLICE SEEK PERSON OF INTEREST ­– In the past week, Three suspicious fires have been set in the area of Seventh Street in the past week. A person of interest has been identified in two of the fires. The first two fires occurred between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday April 3, on the grounds of John Barsby High School. The third fire occurred sometime overnight on Friday April 9, in the 700 block of Stirling Avenue. MORE WITH PHOTO

B2B TRADE SHOW – Vancouver Island’s largest business-to-business trade show is back May 5, with an addition. It includes Nanaimo’s first Prosperity Forum to highlight formation of Nanaimo’s new Prosperity Corporation. Local business leaders will discuss BC’s Economic Recovery Plan and discover why Nanaimo is increasingly at the center of so many of those opportunities. REGISTER HERE.

SANCTUARY FOR EAGLES – French Creek Estuary Eagle Sanctuary in French Creek has cleared a major hurdle – it has achieved its fund raising goal to build a reserve dedicated to the large number of eagles which flock to the area. It’s the first facility of its kind on Vancouver Island. French Creek Housing Ltd. donated a portion of the 18 acres, worth around $3.2 million. B.C entrepreneur Dax Dasilva and his non-profit Age of Union Alliance donated $1 million, while the Regional District of Nanaimo provided an additional $400,000. MORE

NEWSPAPER ICON JIM HUME DIES – A name familiar to many on Vancouver Island, long time journalist Jim Hume has died. The former writer with the Nanaimo Daily Free Press, later with the Times Colonist, died Wednesday at age 98. He also appeared often on CHEK’s Capital Comment, a weekly political affairs show. Hume was born in the United Kingdom and moved to Vancouver Island in 1948 eventually earning a full-time job with the Free Press. Hume’s work appeared in the Times Colonist in one form or another for decades, eventually earning him the Bruce Hutchison lifetime achievement award by the Jack Webster Foundation in 1994. He was also awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal in 2002. MORE

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s what’s BUZZING in a comprehensive look at news and commentary in our greater community.

ROUGH SAILING FOR EASTER – It could be a frustrating weekend for travellers sailing on BC Ferries over the Easter long weekend. Crew shortages resulted in multiple cancellations over the past weekend and into this week. Some employees say the cancellations will continue. Heading into a long weekend and summer, BC Ferries is running a modified winter schedule, while trying to find a solution. The company is trying to recruit employees for numerous positions, said Public Affairs Executive Director Deborah Marshall. MORE

CATCH BASIN CLEANING BEGINS – City Public Works staff and contractors will be cleaning the city's inventory of stormwater catch basins beginning next week. Starting in the Duke Point area, crews will work their way north on the east side to Dickinson Road then back south on the west side of the city to Cinnabar Valley. This work involves large equipment and staff working on the road. Drive with caution and obey traffic control directions. The work is expected to be complete by August. MORE

DRUG DEATHS STILL CLIMBING – The BC Coroners service reported 52 people died in drug deaths in January and February on Vancouver Island, including seven in the greater Nanaimo area. Island Health was the only region in B.C. where drug deaths did not drop in February, with 35.4 fatalities per 100,000 people. Though it is not the highest rate in B.C., all other regions dropped through the month, with larger decreases in both Fraser and Northern Health. The north continues to lead with 62.7 deaths per 100,000 people. MORE 

LIBRARIANS GET AGREEMENT – The union representing Vancouver Island librarians says it has reached a tentative agreement. The B.C. General Employees’ Union says library staff will pause picket lines as they hold a ratification vote. Bargaining committee chair Laura Kaminker said librarians will be back at work until the vote is counted. MORE.

CIVIL SERVICE LOOKS AT STRIKE VOTE – The BC General Employees Union says it is planning for a possible strike vote as early as May. President Stephanie Smith says negotiations for a new contract for 33,000 members of the public service are at an impasse. The government has proposed a 1.5-per-cent increase in 2022, two per cent in 2023 and 2024. The BCGEU has counter offered an increase of five per cent or inflation, whichever is higher, in 2022 and 2023. MORE

TURF FOR HAREWOOD FIELD – Harewood Centennial Park is getting an artificial turf field, thanks to a $3.28 million in infrastructure grants from the federal and provincial governments. Nanaimo’s Harewood project was one of 57 successful applications in B.C. 

STATE OF THE ECONOMY – The annual State of Nanaimo’s Economy was presented to City Council last week by the city’s Economic Development Officer Amrit Manhas. Take a look at the document here or get your tickets to the Business Expo Luncheon on May 5 when Mayor Leonard Krog and Manhas present the report at the Nanaimo Prosperity Forum. There will be time to answer questions about Nanaimo’s economy. See the report HERE.

Search under way for man who fell off sailboat

NPA photo

A man is presumed drowned and a woman is in hospital after she was found in the water between Newcastle and Protection islands at around 8:40 p.m Monday night. A 911 call reported a woman in the water near a boat, said RCMP spokesman Const. Gary O’Brien. The initial report indicated there was yelling and screaming for 45 minutes involving a man and a woman.

A Port Authority vessel rescued the woman, who was clinging to a sailboat and was hypothermic and severely intoxicated, RCMP said. First responders launched a search for the 59-year-old man, working on the assumption that he was in the water. MORE

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s what’s BUZZING in a comprehensive look at news and commentary in our greater community.

MORE SNOW POSSIBLE – Sunday’s snowfall may not have been the last gasp of winter in Nanaimo. More snow could fall, starting this morning and possibly through today. Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for part of the Island’s east coast, in effect for Courtenay to Campbell River but could track down as far as the mid-island. In our region, areas closer to the water could see mainly rain with snow inland and at higher elevations. The warning also applies to parts of the lower mainland, specifically Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. 

NEW FERRIES IN SERVICE –Today is a momentous day for Gabriola Islanders – two new hybrid vessels have begun sailing the route between the Island and Nanaimo. The Island Gwawis and Island Kwigi, carrying up to 47 vehicles and maximum 450 passengers and crew, are making the 20 minute commute. The first sailing left Gabriola Island at 5:15 a.m.

CLIFF ACCIDENT – an elderly man is in hospital after he was found unresponsive at the bottom of a steep cliff at Pipers Lagoon park. He was found off the end of the trail system at about 7:30 p.m. The injured man, believed to be in his 60s, shifted in and out of consciousness after emergency responders arrived and began treating him on scene.

OUR ECONOMIC OUTLOOK – Restrictions are coming down, businesses are reopening, and international events are disrupting global markets. How does this affect your business? Find out by attending the panel discussion on the economic outlook for Vancouver Island on April 14. Vancouver Island Construction Association CEO Rory Kulmala, MNP Regional Managing Partner James Byrne, Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog and Chamber CEO Kim Smythe for a will be on the panel. Register HERE

NEW JOBS PROGRAM ­– A new program is under way to help prepare for employment. The Island Crisis Care Society started Project Rise last week, a month-long pre-employment training program, followed by an eight-week paid job placement for six participants. Inaugural Project Rise students all face challenges re-connecting with the community due to various barriers. MORE.

LET’S PLAY BALL – Mark this on your calendar – The Chamber of Commerce April Business After Business April 21 will be at the home with the Nanaimo Night Owls baseball team at Serauxmen Stadium. It’s an opportunity to network with Chamber members and the business community, but you will also learn about the experience that the Night Owls are bringing to Nanaimo, and how they plan to help the community and sports district. REGISTER HERE

TILRAY LOSING MARKET SHARE ­– Tilray has left Nanaimo, but the company posted a turn around in the third quarter with a net income of US$52.5 million. The company’s president of Canadian operations said in the third quarter, retail market share fell to 10.2 per cent from 12.8 per cent but still maintained its No. 1 market position in Canada. He blamed the decrease on changing its flower strategy and struggling with availability of product in that category, vaccine passports in Quebec and the dissolution of a partnership with Marley Natural. MORE

HOUSING TARGETS CHALLENGED – The federal budget promised to build about 400,000 homes a year for the next decade. But who is going to build them? The reality is, they’re dealing with labour shortages, material shortages, all kinds of challenges in obtaining the material that they need to build homes, said Jean-François Perrault, chief economist at Scotiabank. The average selling price of a home in Canada has surged more than 50 per cent in the last two years, reports Reuters. Construction has failed to keep up with the growing population — in fact, a report published by Scotiabank last year found Canada has the lowest number of housing units per 1,000 residents of any G7 country. MORE

Monday, April 11, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Here’s what’s BUZZING in a comprehensive look at news and commentary in our greater community.

OUR JET-SETTING PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau is winging into Victoria today aboard his huge fossil-fuel guzzling, carbon-spewing transport plane to make an announcement about electric vehicles. The morning announcement will highlight Budget 2022 investments in electric vehicle infrastructure and investing in critical mineral projects for electric vehicle components. The budget speech said investments will contribute to the development of a domestic zero-emissions vehicle value chain, including batteries, permanent magnets, and other electric vehicle components. MORE

ILLEGAL SIGNS – Nanaimo has an abundance of signs that don’t meet city guidelines. They  seem to be everywhere you don’t even care to look. Former Mayor Gary Korpan has been on a mission for some time to get action from the city’s bylaw department about illegal signs, but he seems to be running into a brick wall. I’m not talking about the legal ones that have gone through the proper procedure. What’s your feeling toward the numerous illegal and ugly signs throughout our city. Do those signs on utility poles and other areas bother you? Should the pursue the people who post them? Drop a note to EDITOR.

WAY TO GO DENIS – Denis Bezeau, of Deni’s Dynamite Deals, has donated $30,000 local school groups, youth sports organizations and BGC Central Vancouver Island. The money comes from the sale of donated goods at the store. Denis played sports throughout his life and believes kids must keep playing. And if it has to come from his pocket for them to keep playing, he will do it. MORE

BAN ON HOMELESS CAMPING – A Regional District of Nanaimo will consider a permanent ban homeless camping at a park on Gabriola Island after a committee recommendation. The RDN placed a moratorium in April 2020 on overnight camping at 707 Community Park while the region assessed wildfire risk. The park, more than 425 hectares, is larger than Stanley Park and has areas that can’t be accessed by emergency vehicles. 

SAILINGS CANCELLED – Staffing shortages continue to plague B.C. Ferries. Four sailings between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen were cancelled on Friday due to crew shortages. A certain number of crew members are needed to comply with Transport Canada regulations. MORE.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz, Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary.

WHAT THE HEY – Check your calendar, yes it is April 10 and snow is falling. No matter what we do, our climate keeps changing. Keep this up and governments will invent another tax to burden us with or another thing to ban.

IN THE DARK - Thousands of BC Hydro in the mid-Island were without power this morning. There was a brief outage in North Nanaimo this moring. In Parksville and Qualicum Beach 28,000 customers were without power.  Ted Olynyk of BC Hydro said the cause of the transmission failure is not yet known, but crews are on scene. He speculated a tree had fallen on the line somewhere.

NANAIMO’S IDOL – It was enough to do a standing back flip on state as Cameron Whitcomb advanced to the final 24 in the American Idol contest. Cameron, who grew up in Nanaimo, made it through the first couple of rounds of the show before facing the judges earlier this week to face his fate. The 18-year-old pipeline worker, who now lives in Kamloops, performed an energetic cover of Bob Dylan's "It Ain’t Me Babe," impressing the audience and judges. He celebrated the news with his now signature backflip, which he says he learned to do because of his little brother. MORE

NANAIMO HOSPITAL AUXILIARY – The Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary is operating a full steam, thanks to a donation of $502,000 presented by President Phil Robling. The money is designated for perinatal and bariatric equipment, as well as numerous comfort items for NRGH patients. Robling said their annual donation will also improve staff rest areas and lounges around the hospital in need of upgrades. “It does hearten all of us when we see the money being put to good use and benefiting the patients in the hospital,” he told NanaimoNewsNOW.

We are being governed by a delusional LSD party

An initial review of the federal budget confirms that the Liberal Socialist Democrat (LSD) Party, created by a written agreement between the Liberals and NDP, has made a Canada of the illusions and hallucinations of a government experimenting with a psychedelic drug. They made affordable housing the cornerstone of the 2022 budget. The problem is that they are acting unlawfully.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz, Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary.

$1.7-MILLION HOUSE WINNER – There are a couple of lucky winners in our area. The winner of the Nanaimo Hospice $1.7-million dream home was Gabriella Vallillee of Lantzville. Betsy Wagger of Nanaimo won half of the $521,100 in the 50-50 jackpot. Well, if it couldn’t be me it might as well have been you. Congratulations.

TSUNAMI PREPAREDNESS – April 10-16 is Tsunami Preparedness Week, a time to prepare before a tsunami occurs. Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness., says B.C. is a seismically active area, and coastal communities are at risk for tsunamis caused by undersea earthquakes or even a volcanic eruption like we saw near the Tonga Islands earlier this year. "I encourage everyone on the coast to learn about your local public alerting and to do a high ground hike with your family to learn how to find high ground, which is sometimes only a  block or two away," she added. MORE

FILM FESTIVAL ­– The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival kicked off its season Friday and continues tonight via a virtual online stream. Seven films will be screened each evening starting at 7 p.m. The films vary from Vancouver Island-based productions, and others assembled across Canada and around the world. MORE

TRANS PACIFIC FIBRE-OPTIC – Google plans a new undersea cable connecting Vancouver Island with Japan, saying it will allow faster access to services like Gmail and YouTube when it begins operating next year. Topaz, will be the first-ever fibre-optic cable between Canada and Asia. It’s about the width of a garden hose and will stretch along the Pacific Ocean floor between Port Alberni and the Japanese prefectures of Mie and Ibaraki. First Nations issued statements of support for the project and Google says the nations were consulted "every step of the way." MORE

MISSING PERSON – Robyn Houle, 28, was reported missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on April 6. Her family told police they have not heard from her in weeks which is out of character for her. Houle has been living a transient life style for some time but the lack of contact with her has them concerned for her safety and well-being. If you know about Robin’s whereabouts, please call the RCMP. PHOTO

$3.7-MILLION FOR INDIGENOUS CENTRE – Indigenous students at Vancouver Island University will soon have access to more space as Shq'apthut (A Gathering Place) is expanded with $3.7 million in new funding from the Province. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2023, with completion in spring 2024. The building is a home away from home for Indigenous students where cultural, academic, recreational and social activities are promoted and celebrated. The expanded Shq'apthut building will add more ceremonial space, Elder-in-residence offices and additional washroom facilities, all within a fully accessible building. MORE

A closer look at Canada's budget for 2022

Scanning the 304-page 2022 federal budget here is what stood out for me. Over the next five years we will not be paying our way. Rather we will rack up another $147 billion in deficits added therefore to our Federal debt which is now over a trillion dollars. As for growth, future period to 2060 average potential GDP growth per capita of 18 OECD countries like ours, Canada ranks last.  And in Research and Development Business expenditures as a per cent of GDP in the OECD group of nations Canada ranks 21 out of 37 – years 2015–2019. FULL COLUMN

Friday, April 8, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz, Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH ­– A great big thank you to all those who contributed to the Mennonite Centre in Ukraine after I was able to set up a e-transfer system. Every penny goes to the centre which continues to support the people affected by the war. Any further donations e-transferred to merv.unger@shaw.ca will be graciously accepted, and tax-deduction receipts issued. The centre is running an almost-daily report right from the heart of the war, where they provide mainly food but also other necessities. You can access it HERE.

HELIJET CEO STEPS UP – When we talk about generosity, Danny Sitnam, president and CEO of Helijet, stands out. He offered the cottage on his West Vancouver property to a newly-arrived Ukrainian family. A church put him in touch with Maple Hope Foundation co-founder Svitlana Kominko who called him and told him a young couple with a 10-month-old baby would be arriving soon. They all agreed the cottage would be a good fit. Thousands more displaced Ukrainians are expected to arrive in B.C. over the coming weeks, and housing is big obstacle. MORE

NEW PORT THEATRE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – David Warburton has been named as the new executive director of the Port Theatre. He takes over for retiring Bruce Halliday. Warburton is the managing director at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and vice-president of the Canadian Dance Assembly. In 2018, he was selected as one of nine emerging leaders for Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training, a program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, that focuses on shifting patterns of inequity in the dance. He is also an organizing member of the Korean Society of Manitoba. MORE

PASSPORTS ARE HISTORY – The provincial vaccine passport is no longer a requirement for most indoor, public settings. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted the public health order requiring proof of vaccination today. However, many businesses are looking at their own clientele and their own people, and some will continue to require this. MORE

SUSPECT VEHICLE SOUGHT ­ – A man in camouflage clothing entered a north Nanaimo home March 14, blasting two teenage girls with bear spray before stealing various items from the home. RCMP released a media request for information. Since that time, investigators have identified a vehicle of interest. It is a dark purple or brown 2000 Acura 1.6 EL sedan, with a missing front passenger side turn signal. This vehicle was captured on a home security system leaving the area at the time of the crime. MORE.

NANAIMO RCMP CLEARED – The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has ruled that Nanaimo RCMP didn’t use excessive force when a police dog bit a person in a mental health crisis last fall. The IIO report states police were called last Sept. 23 after someone called 911 stating a suspect had “lost it” and was “totally destroying [a] place.” The lengthy report states: “The attending officers were acting in lawful exercise of their duty in responding to a 911 call about the man’s behaviour. There is no evidence that any further force was used in his apprehension, and he was provided rapid and appropriate care by the attending officers. FULL IIO REPORT.

PATIO RULE EXTENDED – Outdoor patios for bars, restaurants and liquor licensees have received an extension until March 31, 2023. The government announced the extension that allow for temporary expanded service areas onto outdoor patios amid recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The extension gives more time for local authorities to update their patio policies and allow for licensees to apply to make those areas permanent. MORE

FUEL THEFTS ON THE RISE – High gasoline prices are sparking fuel thefts in Nanaimo. RCMP caution vehicle owners to take precaution to reduce their risk. “Criminals are targeting vehicles left in isolated areas so if you have a security camera, you have the area secured, you have eyes on it, you have possibly a lit area that will prevent thieves from moving in,” Cst. Gary O’Brien told CHEK News. Shawn Jensen, owner of Junk in Our Trunk, said thieves cut  the fuel line from the gas cap into the fuel tank leaving it exposed. This could have turned tragic, as leaking fuel could have caused the truck to explode if a spark had been present. MORE.

CHOPPER CRASH VICTIM NAMED – Brent Fedirchuk was the pilot who died when the Hughes 369D he was flying went down shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. The crash occurred as the chopper, owned by Kestrel Helicopters, was conducting block logging in the Naka Creek area north of Sayward. Fedirchuk was the only occupant on board. The Transportation Safety Board has deployed investigators to the remote location along the Johnstone Strait where the crash occurred. MORE

Housing near transportation hubs makes a lot of sense

Hats off to the provincial government for changing the Transportation Act to allow the province to buy up land for housing and community amenities near transit stations and bus exchanges. It gives the BC Transportation Financing Authority the ability to acquire and improve land to support the development of housing and amenities near transit hubs built as part of the public transit system. This makes a lot of sense, draw the users near public transportation, away from having to use cars.

Putin must not profit from his illegal war on Ukraine

In 1995 as part of efforts to reduce nuclear arms, Ukraine agreed to turn over its nuclear missiles to Russia for destruction. In return, Ukraine was guaranteed protection against invasion. The Budapest Memorandum is clear: "The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine,  to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine." Putin’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 violated the Budapest Memorandum, as does the current action against Ukraine.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz, Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary.

THEY LIKE IT HERE – More than 100,000 people moved to our province last year. Statistics Canada reports 100,797 moved into the province, the highest annual total since 1961. Net migration is the total number of people who moved to B.C. from another province, territory, or country, minus the number of people who left. Premier John Horgan greeted the report, saying “we are building a stronger province where their families will have a safe and secure future”. MORE

PERMIT NEEDED FOR BURNING – Nanaimo Fire Rescue reminds residents that backyard burning is banned except by permit. Residents who are planning a backyard burn must familiarize themselves with the Fire Bylaw and the required conditions to obtain a permit. There is no fee this year; however, specific conditions must be met to obtain a permit. MORE.

HELICOPTER CRASH CLAIMS PILOT ­– A helicopter crash on northern Vancouver Island Wednesday claimed the life of the pilot. The helicopter is owned by Kestrel Helicopters of Parksville. The helicopter was moving wood in the area when the crash occurred, said Sayward RCMP. Airborne rescuers were dispatched by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre after receiving an alert from an emergency locator transmitter near Sayward. Rescuers located the downed chopper along the Johnstone Strait and turned the scene over to the local RCMP, who confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the lone occupant had died in the crash. MORE.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SUPERSIZE THAT? – The province is looking at non-medical cannabis consumption at cafes, outdoor events and spas. It has launched a survey to determine public support for the idea. It asks what you think the risks and benefits of consumption spaces are and questions like whether cannabis and alcohol should be sold together. A cannabis consumption space is described as a business or special event that offers on-site cannabis sales and use, and it includes cafes, lounges, concerts and festivals, ticketed events and spas. Exiting indoor smoking regulations would still apply. If you want to chime in, GO HERE.

INDIA FLIGHTS GROUNDED – Air Canada  is suspending its direct service between Vancouver and Delhi, India, this summer. The suspension encompasses all flights between June 2 and Sept. 6. The airline said the ongoing war in Ukraine was one key factor. Air Canada said the route is operationally constrained because of extended flying times and a re-fueling stop that is required due to the current flight paths taken to go around Russian and Ukraine airspace.

UNION CERTIFICATION MADE EASER
 – The province is making it easier for workers to unionize. Changes to the Labour Relations Code will allow a single-step process to certify a union when a majority of workers sign up. Labour Minister Harry Bains says with growing wealth inequality, the proposed changes are aimed at helping employees have a greater say over their work conditions, schedules, benefits and compensation. With the amendments, the ministry says a union would be certified immediately if 55 per cent or more employees sign membership cards. MORE.


NDP ROLLING IN DOUGH – The New Democrat Party was the biggest benefactor of political contributions raised by the major provincial political parties in 2021:
BC NDP – $3,595,882.86
BC Liberal Party – $1,416,232.87
BC Green Party – $1,096,224.39
Due to extenuating circumstances, the filing deadline for the Conservative Party of British Columbia has been extended to April 29,. Two Wexit BC party Constituency Associations did not file reports by the deadline. These filers can file by June 30 with a $100 late filing fee. MORE

ROYALTY FOR SALE – How would you like having Queen Victoria as a permanent guest in your home? You can now buy hundreds of wax heads that once populated the Royal London Wax Museum in Victoria, which closed 12 years ago. Former director Ken Lane's basement is filled with the heads of more than 300 of prominent figures, like Queen Victoria and Mahatma Gandhi who can keep a watchful eye over you if you’re so inclined. But it will cost you a pretty penny, each figure can cost upwards of $30,000 to produce and ship. MORE

Freedom Convoy lives on against all odds

Shunning politics does not work. The precept that we cannot change how government operates is not correct. We can force change by getting involved. We don’t need to run for office. We do need to find ethical and honest representatives and work with them. Despite the best efforts of the federal government to demonize, criminalize and bully the freedom convoy members and supporters, millions of Canadians still feel that they stood up for principles they consider valid. Excessive and unwarranted interference in our personal lives has gone beyond tolerance level. MORE.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary

HOSPICE HOUSE LOTTERY – The draw for a $1.7-million home is Friday, make sure you get your ticket before then. Tickets are $100 each. It’s a 3,000 sq. ft. ocean-view home with four Bedrooms, three Bathrooms with a view side terrace in the Foothills in Lantzville. The goal of this project is to raise funds for Hospice to eventually build a stand alone Hospice House with beds that will support our community for generations. You can buy tickets online HERE.

FOURTH DOSE COMING – Extremely vulnerable British Columbians and those 70 years of age and older will have access to a fourth dose of a COVID-19  to supplement their third shot. The fourth dose is for those in long-term care and the clinically extremely vulnerable. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said people will get their invitation in the coming week. The priority list will also include Indigenous British Columbians 55 years of age and older.

CRUISE SHIPS CARRYING COVID – Nine cruise ships scheduled to visit Victoria this month have confirmed COVID-19 cases on board. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has launched an initiative, the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships, in order to monitor the virus on vessels operating out of the United States.

MISSING PERSON – The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 45-year-old Robert Hall, who was reported missing to the Nanaimo RCMP on March 30. Investigators were told that the last contact Hall had with his family was on February 26, and as a result, his family is concerned for his well-being. Hall is of no fixed address and considered to live a transient life style. To date, investigators have touched base with all emergency shelters in the Nanaimo area with no success. 

Say goodbye to proof of vaccination passports on Friday

You will no longer require proof of vaccination by Friday. The government is sticking with its plan to lift COVID-19 vaccine cards even though they expect an increase in cases in the coming weeks.

As of Friday, unvaccinated people will be permitted to go to restaurants, movie theatres, indoor concert and sports venues, and anywhere else the provincial vaccine card was required. Vaccination rules for those staying in post-secondary residences will also be removed. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it's still up to individual businesses to decide whether they want to keep restrictions in place, like mask rules or a vaccine-card requirement. MORE

No more parking at downtown Gabriola ferry terminal

BC Ferries is shutting down public parking at its Gabriola Island ferry terminal when hybrid ferries begin service next week. The ferries begin service on April 12 to maximize space inside the holding compound for loading efficiency during two-vessel operations. If you have to bring a vehicle, you’ll have to use the parkades at the Port Theatre and on Bastion Street. The new ferries can accommodate 47 vehicles and up to 450 passengers.

Nanaimo undergoes demographic swing – getting younger

Nanaimo is no longer God's waiting room. The city is undergoing a demographic evolution – more young people than seniors are moving here. The latest economic snapshot shows 25 to 44-year-olds will be the fastest growing age group in Nanaimo over the next decade. It's the first time this demographic has surged past the 65-plus category in years. 

Mayor Leonard Krog says it is exciting. "It clearly shows people have confidence in Nanaimo. People want to live here and the construction industry is booming, responding to all the folks who are making that decision, he said."

The highest number of business licenses issued last year went to the construction sector, and new housing starts rose by 50 per cent in 2021. MORE

Housing price rose by 38 per cent to $887,700 in a year

There are more for sale signs as inventory in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board slowly inches up. Active listings of single-family homes rose by nine per cent from March 2021 but increased by 60 per cent from February. Condo apartments listings dipped by 13 per from one year ago, but increased by 28 per cent from one month ago. Row/townhouse inventory dropped by 15 per cent year over year but was up by 50 per cent from February. 

Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 38 per cent, reaching $887,700, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 39 per cent to $989,800. In Campbell River, a single-family home hit $722,400 in March, up by 28 per cent from the previous year. In the Comox Valley, the price rose by 28 per cent to $838,600. The Cowichan Valley reported a benchmark price of $843,000, an increase of 34 per cent from March 2021. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $599,400, a 48 per cent year-over-year increase. For the North Island, the benchmark price of a single-family home rose by 40 per cent to $429,700. FULL REPORT.

Government encourages housing near transit stations

The B.C. government is clearing the way for housing and amenities near transit stations and bus exchanges. The change will give the BC Transportation Financing Authority the ability to acquire and improve land to support the development of housing and amenities near transit hubs built as part of the public transit system. Prior to the amendment, it has been challenging to shape growth around stations sites. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said it will increase the level of affordable housing and services that are integrated into investments in transit. MORE.

Norvirus in Vancouver Island oysters spreads to U.S.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control has linked a norovirus outbreak in Vancouver Island-harvested oysters to dozens of illnesses across the United States. The U.S. CDC recorded at least 91 norovirus illnesses in 13 states, a number expected to grow as the health authority investigates the outbreak with state and local partners. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has reported 279 associated illnesses as of March 31, including 262 in B.C., 15 in Ontario, one in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan.

Companies whose products are affected by recalls include Stellar Bay Shellfish, Taylor Shellfish, Pacific Rim Shellfish and Daily Fresh Shellfish. MORE

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary

BUILDING OUR FUTURE – A surge in housing starts last year and a projected shift to a younger population are reasons for optimism in the City of Nanaimo’s recent economic report. The annual State of the Nanaimo Economy report shows home sales and prices reached record levels, and new housing starts increased by 50 per cent in 2021. For the first time, the 25 – 44-year-old age group will grow faster than the 65-plus cohort in the coming decade.

WELCOMING REFUGEES TO B.C. – Canada has received more than 91,000 applications from Ukrainians to relocate to Canada, with up to 18,000 likely to end up in B.C. The province has launched a “Welcoming Ukraine” website to help co-ordinate help for arriving war refugees. The website is available in English, Ukrainian and Russian, like the Service B.C. phone line that is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day at 1-800-663-7867. Ukrainians using the website can connect to free services to find housing, sign up for health-care coverage, look for a job, sign children up for school and learn about other community services.

SETTLING DIFFERENCES THE HARD WAY ­– A Gabriola man was arrested for aggravated assault following an altercation between two men on the island. RCMP responded to a report of an assault with a weapon at a residence on South Road Sunday evening. The victim was taken to hospital in Nanaimo with serious, but non life-threatening injuries. The suspect was arrested on Gabriola for aggravated assault and was later released under conditions that included he not go to Gabriola Island. “They’re in their 70s, they know each other,” said Cpl. Jordan Mullen of the Gabriola Island RCMP.

DRUG AWARENESS FOR MEN – An Island Health campaign is aimed at men to raise awareness of overdose prevention services available in the region. It is designed to reduce the number of overdose deaths. In 2021, 327 people died of overdoses in Island Health, the majority were men aged 30-59. “Men who use alone continue to be at the greatest risk from toxic drug poisonings. These are our fathers, brothers, sons and friends,” said Dr. Sandra Allison, a medical health officer at Island Health. “We want them to know that there are services available that can help them stay safer, stay alive and connect them with whatever support they may need.”

IIO INVESTIGATING MYSTERIOUS DEATH – The Independent Investigations Office is investigating after a man called 911 for help and was later found dead. RCMP reported that at about 11:25 a.m. on Saturday, a man who was concerned for his own well-being called 911. When police attended his home in the Diver Lake area, it was reported that the man had secured a ride and was going to the hospital. He was found dead, apparently self-inflicted, shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday. The IIO is investigating to determine what role, if any, police actions or inaction may have played in the death.

PEDESTRIAN FATALLY INJURED – A pedestrian was fatally injured when crossing the Island Highway Monday night. Emergency service responded to the Jingle Pot Rd./Norwell Dr. intersection of the around 9:20 p.m. after a southbound vehicle hit him. Reserve Cst. Gary O’Brien said the 30-year-old Nanaimo man was crossing the highway at the intersection.

Nanaimo can provide a warm welcome for immigrants

Tuesday, April 4, 2022

There is a world-wide humanitarian crisis that impacts all off us. More than four million women and children and seniors have fled to other countries as Russia continues it’s criminal invasion of Ukraine. We don’t know the depth of the possible impact on Canada or B.C. and specifically Nanaimo. Former city councillor Diane Brennan and I discussed how we as a community can play a role and then made a presentation to city council, joined by Mikaela Torres, Executive Director Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society. FULL COLUMN

How you can help Ukrainians on the war front

I have been forwarding donations from local people who have asked how to donate to people in Ukraine. The money goes to the Mennonite Centre, in Molochansk, which has been in Ukraine for a century and is still in operation in spite of the challenges. They are providing necessities with mainly volunteers. Most of it is food at present, but they have also provided clothing and heating fuel since there is still snow on the ground. Starvation is a genuine threat in the immediate future. FULL DETAILS.

Monday, April 4, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is Nanaimo’s comprehensive look at news and commentary after a windy night on Vancouver Island. It caused havoc with hydro connections overnight, causing major power outages. Approximately 1,200 customers in the Cedar and Yellow Point regions lost their power. Nanoose Bay, south Parksville and Qualicum Beach were also without power affecting more than 5,500 customers. BC Hydro’s website states there are 22 power outages on northern Vancouver Island affecting 10,608 customers and seven outages in the south Island affecting 6,877 customers as of 9:02 a.m. today.

RESTRICTING TRADE – Some members of city council are straying outside their mandate, advocating that the city not allow any new natural gas connections. The ReImagine Nanaimo draft integrated action plan, not yet public, includes a call for the city to advocate to the province of B.C. for a moratorium on all new natural gas connections. It’s not specifically included in the draft plan, but Coun. Ben Geselbracht, at a governance meeting, asked that the city add language in the plan. Mayor Leonard Krog said he wouldn’t support such a significant change without more information and further discussion, Coun. Jim Turley said he wouldn’t support meddling in the marketplace and Coun. Sheryl Armstrong said she was opposed for affordability reasons. The committee voted 5-4 against the motion with Krog and councillors Turley, Armstrong, Ian Thorpe and Zeni Maartman opposed. But that’s not the end of it, some councillors are insisting on brining it back. 

HIT AND RUN COWARD – RCMP is looking for witnesses to a serious pedestrian hit and run in which two pedestrians and their two dogs were struck. The incident occurred at approximately 3:20 pm on Friday March 4, on Lorenzen Lane. Police, EHS and Lantzville Fire responded. At the scene, the victim told police that he and his wife  and their two dogs, had just been struck by a black SUV, that drove off after striking them. His wife had already been triaged at the scene by attending paramedics and transported to the Nanaimo hospital.

PREMIER GROUNDED AGAIN ­– Premier John Horgan has tested positive for COVID-19. In a Twitter post Monday he says his symptoms are mild and will isolate and work from home until his symptoms resolve. He recently went through cancer treatments for throat cancer, which was found in November 2021.

BOTH SIDES NOW – It seems are lives are doomed to endure protests. Over the weekend, so-called Freedom Caravan protesters gathered in Nanaimo, without incident. Three old-growth logging protesters were arrested Monday morning after blocking Douglas Street in Victoria. across from Mayfair Mall. Supporters said Monday that they would block sections of the Trans-Canada Highway in Vancouver, Victoria, and Nanaimo.

DRUG USE CRISIS – More than half of illicit drug toxicity deaths in B.C. from January 2019 to 2022, happened at home, says a recent report from the B.C. coroners service.  Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson said stigma prevents people from getting help with addictions and shame pushes many to hide their addiction and use drugs alone. That means they risk dying alone. “Addiction is not a criminal justice problem. It’s a health-care problem,” Malcolmson said. The coroner’s report said 2,224 people died of suspected overdoses in B.C. in 2021, the most ever recorded in a year. 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is still as free as the morning breeze, Commentary and a comprehensive look from various news sources.

COVID SELF TESTS SHELVED – Self-report COVID rapid tests are no longer available as the province shifts to supporting self-management of COVID-19. The BCCDC says this move is due to high vaccination rates, and the online tool is being moved to a maintenance phase and can be scaled-up again if required. The online tool will no longer be used to report rapid test results. The BCCDC’s web page will continue to have information for the public on how to access treatment and manage COVID-19. More information will be available on Tuesday.

CONNECTION FOR UKRAINIANS ­– The provincial government has established a new telephone line to help Ukrainian refugees get the support they need and to co-ordinate donations being offered from residents. The Service B.C. phone line, 1-800-663-7867, will be available daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with translation services in Ukrainian, Russian and 140 other languages. The province says the phone line will help Ukrainian refugees and their families to locate and access services they need – employment, health care, housing and education. Ukrainian groups have been overwhelmed by offers of support and they need help managing calls.

Have a great weekend.

Catholic church's apology opens the door to reconciliation

The Papal apology on behalf of the Catholic Church for residential school wrongs was a giant step toward reconciliation. The apology was more of a begining than an end. An apology is tantamount to admitting blame, and that opens the door to all forms of retribution. It won’t be quick, expect it to drag through the court system for years. Look no further than land claims which are still plugging the courts. FULL COLUMN

Saturday, April 2, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is still as free as the morning breeze, a comprehensive package of news and commentary from various news sources.

NO BS HERE – Hats off to the John Barsby Bulldogs football team who have spent part of this week raising money for the team by selling cow manure. They’ve still got some left if you need to fertilize your garden. They’re at the school parking lot until 5 p.m. today, or until they sell out. A great example of earning while you’re learning.

BIG AGENDA FOR CHAMBER ­ The next Chamber of Commerce meeting will be a biggy. First, it’s their AGM which begins at 10:30 a.m. on April 22, or when a quorum of 30 is reached. You don’t have to pay to attend the AGM and vote, but you’ll have to fork over for the luncheon. The big ticket at the luncheon will be the Chamber and Snuneymuxw signing a Memorandum of Understanding. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon will be the Keynote Speaker, along with our MLA Sheila Malcolmson, Mental Health And Addictions minister. Register HERE

BECOME A SCIENTIST – If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a scientist, join in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region’s annual BioBlitz. The BioBlitz, April 8-10, relies on citizen scientists to collect information on flora and fauna species in the biosphere region. Use the iNaturalist app and make observations under the 2022 MABR BioBlitz project. Observations must be made within the boundaries of the biosphere, defined by five watersheds: Englishman River, Little Qualicum River, French Creek, Nanoose Creek and Bonnell Creek. An interactive map with the biosphere’s boundaries is available on the MABR website.

WIN A DREAM HOME – Somebody is going to win an ocean-view $1.7-million home in The Foothills in Lantzville next Friday. All it takes is a ticket to the Nanaimo Hospice home lottery to have a chance. Tickets are $100 each. It’s a 3,000 square foot ocean-view home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a side terrace a with a fabulous view of Georgia Strait. You can buy your ticket HERE.

RECORD ORCA SIGHTINGS – A single-day record of more than 70 Bigg's killer whales were spotted on Thursday. A report from the Pacific Whale Watch Association says least 72 whales were spotted in 10 different groups across the Salish Sea. They were spotted as far north as Campbell River, and as far south as Hood Canal in Puget Sound. Killer whales (orcas) are thriving compared to the critically endangered southern resident killer whales. Killer whales prey on marine mammals, such as seals and sea lions.

OLD GROWTH PROTECTION – An additional 619,000 hectares of old-growth forests have been deferred to protect wildlife habitat, at-risk species, healthy salmon populations and cultural practices, says Forests Minister Katrine Conroy. More than 80 per cent of old-growth forests identified as being at risk of irreversible loss are not threatened by logging, either because they've been deferred, they were already set aside, or they're not economically viable to harvest. The province has worked with First Nations to defer logging across more than a million hectares of at-risk old-growth forests.

DOGS ON A LOG – How do you get 55 dogs to pose for photos on a log for charity? Tell them it’s for a good cause. Pooch Pack Adventures, a local canine hiking group, completed the feat Wednesday, raising more than $1,800 for survivors of domestic violence who need help caring for their pets. Domestic violence survivors who own pets stay in abusive relationships longer than other survivors. Proceeds will help provide boarding, food and supplies for pets while families are seeking support, counselling and shelter. They got 40 dogs onto a log for a photo in 2015, raising thousands of dollars. Donations are still being accepted through a fundraising website.

EAGLES IN FOCUS ­– Who doesn’t love watching eagles building a home and raising a family? The Gabriola Rescue of Wildlife Society installed an eagle cam more than 25 metres in the air in a dead-top tree last fall, pointing to the nest in another tree. Things began happening in January when eagles began fixing the nest. Now the wait is on for the resulting egg to hatch, which should be sometime in early May. The website is being viewed around the world. and Tom Ainsworth believes the traffic will really soar once an eaglet hatches. You can watch the eagle cam online on the GROWLS website.

April 1, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Your Daily Buzz is still as free as the morning breeze, a comprehensive compilation of news and commentary from various sources.

WHO ARE THE FOOLS? – It’s April Fool’s day today, the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of Parliament give themselves a raise. Trudeau’s estimated salary will be $379,404, a $21,604 pay increase. Ministers get $15,865 more, while backbenchers and senators get $10,802 extra. Meanwhile, the rest of us are facing inflation which cuts the buying power of the salaries we do get. It’s the third pay raise for members of Parliament since the pandemic started. To add insult, the federal carbon tax also soars today.

CITY READY FOR RCMP BACK PAY ­– The city's share of retroactive pay for RCMP in Nanaimo could be as high as $9.4 million, but it’s no surprise to city officials, they have already put an estimated amount in the piggy bank to cover it. It will likely be summer before the City gets the final numbers which have not been released. CAO Jake Rudolph told me the city was aware of the back-pay issue and set aside money over several years to have the money on hand. 

HYDRO BILLS GOING DOWN –­ Check this out – your electricity bill should go down effective today. BC Hydro has announced the average customer should see a discount of 1.4 per cent. The rate decrease follows interim approval from the BC Utilities Commission, part of a three-year rate application. The Commission has granted interim approval for the rate change for the first year. A decision on the application is expected in the coming months. The application for the rate decrease was submitted by BC Hydro to the Commission last September as part of a three-year revenue requirements application.

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED – Canadian Blood Services is calling for blood donors. The COVID pandemic saw a decline in people donating. Gayle Voyer of the Canadian Blood Services said the latest COVID wave is challenging like never before affecting donor attendance and the availability of staff and added more pressure to meet the demand. She said people should follow general provincial health guidelines when donating. There is a questionnaire available at Canadian Blood Services’ website that people can answer to see if they’re eligible. People of all blood types can donate.

SCHOOL COMPLETION DELAYED – It will take at least until fall – the expansion of Hammond Bay elementary school won’t be completed by spring as had been expected. The addition of 12 new classrooms for 295 existing and new students at the French immersion school won’t complete in the spring as originally forecast. “We’re well in progress but due to this time we’re all experiencing with making sure we’re getting trades together, we’re seeing a slight delay in the project. We’re anticipating a fall completion rather than completion this spring like we were hoping,” said Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh. 

ARREST UNDER INVESTIGATION – The arrest of a woman at Port Place on Tuesday is being investigated by the  Independent Investigations Office. The woman was injured the night she was apprehended by police. The report said there was “an interaction” as the woman was taken into custody and she was transported to hospital. RCMP notified the IIO that the woman had suffered a serious injury. That same night, there was an altercation between two women at the mall in which a woman was struck with a hammer. RCMP did not comment because of the IIO investigation. Anyone with relevant information about the incident is asked to contact the IIO B.C. witness line at 1-855-446-8477 or fill out a contact form on the http://iiobc.ca website.

MISSING GIRL FOUND SAFE – Ladysmith RCMP say 13-year-old Payton MacDonald has been located and is safe after turning to the public for help amid a missing person investigation. RCMP issued a report on Friday highlighting that the investigation into Payton’s disappearance has come to a successful end.

FIFTY YEARS OF SERVICE ­– The Boys and Girls Club has come a long way in the half century it’s been in existence. BGC Central Vancouver Island (BGCCVI) was launched in 1971 in Nanaimo after a community need was identified, says executive director Karen Love. It started in downtown Nanaimo, there were kids starting to hang around the streets and to give them something to do, a boys club was started. Today it provides childcare, before-and-after school care, youth services and parenting programs to hundreds of clients between the Cowichan Valley and Comox Valley. It has 110 staff in more than a dozen locations, providing a multitude of services.

TICKET DISPUTES COULD GO ONLINE – You may not have to go to court to dispute traffic tickets once the provincial government passes a bill that will close gaps in three pieces of legislation while potentially making it easier to dispute traffic violation tickets. Changes in the bill would allow for online disputes. The proposed changes could also offer more flexibility for remote hearings and create pilot projects to develop and test pre-hearing ticket dispute resolution options.

https://members.nanaimochamber.bc.ca/events/details/nanaimo-chamber-business-expo-2396