Government services not operating up to par

Most of the rest of the world has swung back into full gear following the Corona Virus shutdowns. But it’s not the same story with many government agencies. The travel industry is beset by obstacles from a lack of proper public government services. VIDEO

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

BREAKING NEWS – New Year’s day will see the legalization of drug possession in British Columbia. Health Canada has approved B.C.’s bid to decriminalize small possessions of illicit drugs. Beginning in January, 2023, residents 18 and older will be allowed to carry up to 2.5 grams of street drugs on them, including opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine or MDMA. The drugs must be for personal use only. MORE

BEARS PUT DOWN – An adult black bear and two cubs were euthanized after they were encountered several times in Nanaimo. RCMP warned residents on Saturday to keep their pets inside as police and conservation officers searched the Hospital area for the mother and her two cubs. On Saturday, police said that the animals had been tranquilized and that they would  be relocated elsewhere. But on Monday, the The B.C. Conservation Officer Service said the trio had been euthanized because they'd become habituated to eating garbage. MORE

ALCOHOL COMING TO FERRIES – You will be able to have a wee tipple on some ferry sailings between Nanaimo and the Mainland by the end of summer if all goes according to plan. BC Ferries has approval in principle from the provincial Liquor Branch for the service. The menu at select Coastal Cafés will offer B.C. wine, craft beer, ciders and other alcoholic beverages on vessels sailing between Departure Bay and Duke Point sailings to Metro Vancouver, and Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. MORE.

WHAT’S NEXT? – How about poetry that is visible only in the rain? The City's Active Transportation and Culture and Events sections has a new public art and poetry project that pairs poetry with design to bring hidden creativity to the transportation network. Webb Creative made stencils using poetry by Nanaimo’s Poet Laureate, Kamal Parmar.  The poems are revealed as hidden messages when it rains. Each poem is paired with a QR code link, so you can also listen on your mobile devices, rain or shine. You can learn more about this HERE.

BEATING SUSPECT CHARGED – Ryan John Seaman has been charged with assault after a VIU student was beaten. The 19-year-old Seaman was charged for alleged attack on student Spencer Frey. The incident occurred at an off-campus house party on March 27, and Frey was left with facial injuries. A suspect was arrested a few days after the house party but was released from custody pending charges being laid. MORE

UKRAINE UPDATE – In April I invited readers to contribute to relief efforts in Ukraine, and the response was gratifying. In the meantime, almost-daily reports from inside the war-torn region keep everyone up to date. Those reports have been saved so you can see them – take a look at the areas right in the firing line HERE. Also, if you wish to donate, please email me or phone 250-616-0416. Tax receipts are issued within about 48 hours. My Email address

Call The Buzz about no-charge community service promotions. 250-616-0416.

Call The Buzz about no-charge community service promotions. 250-616-0416.

Call The Buzz about no-charge community service promotions. 250-616-0416.

Call The Buzz about no-charge community service promotions. 250-616-0416.

The politics of gun violence misses the mark

22-05-29

It’s never easy to have a rational discussion on the violence in the U.S. while politicians try to out-politic each other. It’s a blame game, but they are not focussing on the root causes. They completely ignore what leads to these violent events. It’s virtually the same story in each one. It’s not the weapons, it’s society that is broken. There’s a common thread. FULL VIDEO

Monday, May 30, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– Another weekend and more ferry disruptions. A pair of sailings between Nanaimo and the Lower Mainland were briefly cancelled, then reinstated, Sunday afternoon as crew shortages continue. There’s no end in sight.

NANAIMO LEADS THE WAY – When it comes to leading the way in initiative, our city takes a back seat to no one. Effective in September,  public sector organizations, including the City will be required by the province to establish an accessibility committee, a plan and the ability to receive feedback. Nanaimo is ahead of the curve with Council's Advisory Committee on Accessibility and Inclusiveness meeting regularly since 2020. In addition to that committee, the City is removing barriers so all diverse-abilities can choose the places they wish to live, work and play. –  FULL STORY

RDN DIRECTORS SET PAY – The next set of Regional District directors after this fall’s election are in for the pay increase, tied to the cost of living index. The board looked at various options and then voted 7-1 to maintain the current system in line with the consumer price index. This means, starting with the next board, the remuneration will be $22,660 for municipal directors and $45,320 for electoral area directors. The chairman will make $82,547 as a municipal director and $105,207 as an electoral area director. MORE

ALZHEIMER WALK – Nanaimo’s Walk for Alzheimer’s was in-person for the first time in two years, on Sunday with approximately 100 people walking. The target was to raise $20,000. The money goes to research and hopefully a cure. There is no cure right now but medications that are affective in the early stages to maintain ability.

BACK TO THE FUTURE – Some readers will remember the coal miners’ cottages that dotted southend Nanaimo in our history. Well, they could be making a comeback. A unique project with four smaller homes on a single lot has passed its first hurdle – four detached two-storey homes at 220 Haliburton St. The Design Advisory Panel had positive feedback. Architect Raymond de Beeld said it’s more efficient and using less land per unit. These types of houses are becoming more popular as the prices for any type of real estate continues to skyrocket, he added. MORE

ON THE WAR FRONT – Ladysmith nurse Kristie Horrelt took a little trip – well not so little. She got a first-hand look at the victims on the war front in Ukraine. She went to Western Ukraine and served for one month at a clinic and a field hospital, usually seeing up to 80 people a day. Her trip was part of the Samaritan’s Purse Disaster Incident Response Team, a charity that says it provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world. MORE

PICK UP THE PHONE, JUSTIN – Western Canada’s premiers say health-care services are no longer sustainable and they want a major overhaul. But Ottawa needs to make the first move. Our own Premier John Horgan said provinces are “concerned about accessing the system because of the frailty of the providers and the inability to meet the expectations of the public. Now is the time for a new vision in health care in Canada. Now is the time for all of us to come together, despite our differences, and deliver what is expected of us. The premiers said it comes down to funding — provinces want a $28-billion increase to health transfers, which would bring the federal funding share to 35 per cent from 22 per cent. MORE

HURRY UP AND WAIT – The Nexus process was supposed to smooth traffic across the U.S. border, but hundreds of thousands are caught up in government bungling of the program. The Canada Border Services Agency says more than 295,000 Nexus applications have yet to be processed due to ongoing office closures due to COVID-19. Would-be cardholders in the program, which allows pre-approved Canadians to pass through separate, speedy lines when travelling to the United States, must be risk-assessed by both the CBSA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.MORE

THEY CALL HIM THE STREAK– It certainly was not your every-day afternoon car ride for a Kelowna couple Saturday night. A naked man carjacked them. They were sitting in their car when an the intoxicated man opened the trunk hatch, jumped in, and told them to drive. Eventually the suspect jumped into the driver’s seat and fled in their vehicle. RCMP said the vehicle was located approximately 45 minutes later. MORE

Crewing issue resolved, ferries back on schedule

The crewing issue on the Queen of Coquitlam has since been resolved. As a result, the previously cancelled round trip has now been reinstated:

5:25 pm departing Departure Bay
7:30 pm departing Horseshoe Bay

Availability on these sailings will be on a first-come-first-served basis. We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. 

For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter, visit our Current Conditions webpage at www.bcferries.com.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

GOOD MORNING ­– All is quiet on the western front, it’s a very quiet weekend so far The weather looks like a mixed bag for the rest of today, and for the rest of the week for that matter. 

FATAL HOUSE FIRE – A 95-year-old man died in a house fire Friday night. RCMP and Fire Rescue responded to the alarm at the Adams Avenue home, near Bowen Road. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly, though there was extensive damage to the suite. MORE

OUT YOU GO – A family of black bears that were wandering in the community have been rounded up and will be relocated. Conservation Officer Services and the RCMP helped diffuse a situation and contain a sow and two cubs. Authorities issued an initial warning to residents in the area to keep their pets inside. Conservation officers tranquillized the adult and rounded up the two cubs. 

HEALTH CARE IN CRISIS – Northern B.C. is experiencing a crisis in health-care with half the doctors in the intensive care unit of the region’s biggest hospitals resigning. Sources tell CTV News that frustration has boiled over after health-care workers raised dire warnings about the Northern Health authority nearing collapse, but were unaddressed. Now doctors across the region have tendered their resignations. Municipal and provincial leaders describe warning the provincial government of the crisis staffing levels and deteriorating situation, but their calls have been brushed aside. MORE

 

Saturday, May 28, 2022

GOOD MORING – The news you’ve all been waiting for, your 2022 property tax bills were sent out this week. You can skip the line and pay your property taxes online. Another option is to set up a pre-authorized withdrawal plan with the City of Nanaimo. Payments are due on July 4, 2022. A late payment penalty of two per cent will be applied to payments received after July 4, 2022 and another eight per cent for ones made after August 31, 2022. Also, check out your homeowner’s grant process which you fill out online. MORE

LEGION CONVENTION – More than 350+ delegates will be in Nanaimo for the Royal Canadian Legion BC Yukon Command's 55th Convention from June 2 to 5.  Thie convention will offer opportunities for delegates and observers from the 145 branches in BC Yukon Command to help shape the direction of the organization by bringing forth issues, opportunities and solutions.

EXTRA SUNDAY SAILINGS – The Sunday ferry ride on summer Sundays won’t be quite as daunting now that BC Ferries has added extra sailings for the next few weeks. Sailings at 5:25 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay are on the schedule for the next four Sundays, beginning this Sunday through June 19. Deborah Marshall of BC Ferries said it’s to alleviate some congestion which accumulates when Lower Mainlanders look to return home after a weekend here. Traditionally traffic from Metro Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast begins Thursday-Friday and then that traffic returns on the Sunday. MORE 

HOSPITAL SHUTS DOWN – A staffing shortage forced the emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital shut down Friday evening. Island Health said the ER at the hospital will be shut until 7 a.m. today  because of a shortage of nurses. MORE 

COVID FIGURES OFF BASE – Since B.C. changed counting methods fewer than half of the deaths reported were caused by the virus. Data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows just how much overcounting the switch to "30-day, all-cause mortality" has created. Since April 2, anyone who dies within 30 days of a COVID-19 diagnosis has been automatically flagged and reported as a death possibly caused by the disease. According to the BCCDC's weekly "situation report", there were 424 deaths between April 2 and May 14 that were flagged   because the person who died had tested positive within 30 days of their death. Of the 206 deaths for which an underlying cause had been determined, 94 were considered to be caused by COVID-19, while the remaining 112 had some other underlying cause. The median age of death was 87 years old. 

ISLAND GOOD MARKET – The first-ever Island Good Market Day will features more than 40 Island Good vendor booths and products Arbutus Meadows in Nanoose Saturday, June 11 from 11 am – 7 pm, rain or shine. It’s a farmers market style indoor/outdoor event. And there’s entertainment, beer and wine gardens and food trucks, door prizes, and activities. 

Visiting cyclist airlifted to hospital after accident

22-05-27 – A 70-year-old American tourist was airlifted to hospital after an accident just north of the city today. The cyclist riding northbound with a partner, was hit by a vehicle on the Island Highway just before noon. The man’s riding partner told NanaimoNewsNOW they are from Minneapolis and are on a cross-Canada biking trip. They were enroute to Port Hardy to take a ferry to Prince Rupert at the time of the crash. The victim’s bike wedged underneath the front of a black pickup truck. FULL DETAILS 

Friday, May 27, 2022

GOOD MORNING NANAIMO – We’re heading into a weekend and most people are in good spirits, especially the mayors of cities that have West Coast League baseball teams in B.C. A trophy is at stake and it will go to the office of the mayor of the team that wins the most head-to-head games between clubs this season. Nanaimo NightOwls and Kamloops NorthPaws are newcomers to the league, playing with Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats. Mayor Leonard Krog is eager to see the NightOwls step on the field at refurbished 1,500-seat Serauxmen Stadium, which has undergone a tremendous transformation in preparation for the WCL’s arrival. The NightOwls start the season on Tuesday, May 31 in Kamloops and have their home opener June 3 for a three-game weekend against Edmonton.  

NANAIMO BUSINESS AWARDS – Sponsorships are available for the 2022 Nanaimo Business Awards on October 2, recognizing Nanaimo's leaders and achievers. The awards program will be aired on CHEK-TV on Oct. 2. Sponsors will celebrate with a VIP Reception Oct. 5 with other sponsors and award recipients. The Nanaimo Chamber is calling on organizations to invest in this 22nd annual celebration by way of sponsorship. Award categories are selected by the sponsor on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out the Sponsorship Opportunities

MORE FERRIES HIRING – BC Ferries has hired more than 850 new employees since January, including 500 people in the last six weeks, mostly to junior positions, says President Mark Collins. Ferries transported 108,000 vehicles from Thursday to Monday, setting a record for the Victoria Day long weekend and beating the previous record of 105,000 vehicles set in 2018. Nearly 300,000 people travelled aboard ferries vessels over the long weekend, when the company added 110 extra sailings to cope with the anticipated demand. 

SIGNING BONUS – BC Ferries is dangling a $10,000 signing bonus to attract new, experienced staff. The company has 5,400 emloyees but President and CEO Mark Collins says there has been a challenge to fill senior roles. He said it’s extremely challenging in licensed and certified senior roles. There are hundreds of shipping companies around the world dealing with supply chain challenges. Everybody wants these folks, he added. The Victoria Police offered a $20,000 signingincentive in November for experienced police officers, and got more than 40 applications within weeks. MORE

BOTTLENECK EVEN BUSIER – Passports are not the only bottleneck for Service Canada – it’s causing problems for other core services through the facilities, such as death benefits or employment insurance. Canada Employment and Immigration Union vice-president Crystal Warner said the agency should have been staffing up in anticipation of demand at least six months before it did, given the complexity of training workers need. “We knew this was coming. I think anyone with some common sense could have anticipated that,” she said. MORE

FIREWORKS SUSPECTED – Fireworks are believed responsible for a fire at the public dock at the Brannen Lake boat launch area at about 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday. Nanaimo Fire and Rescue crews and police responded to a fire. Police were advised by fire crews and a witness that it appeared the fire was caused by an errant firework that had landed on the dock. If you know anything about the fire or whoever was setting off fireworks at at that time, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2022-17469. MORE

NEW SUPPORT PROGRAMS – B.C. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson has unveiled new services to help with mental health and addictions care in Nanaimo. Four sobering and assessment beds and four stabilization beds were opened in April. It is part of $132 million for addiction treatment and recovery services in B.C., through local operating partners. Malcolmson, the MLA for Nanaimo, said the sobering beds are operated by Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and the stabilization beds by Island Crisis Care Society in the hospital district. MORE

THE CYNICAL PHILOSOPHER – I read that 4,153,237 people got married last year, not to cause any trouble but shouldn't that be an even number?

Guess how inexpensive it is to get your marketing message here.

Business Awards sponsorships now available

Sponsorship opportunities are now available for the 2022 Nanaimo Business Awards recognizing Nanaimo's leaders and achievers on October 2. The awards program will be aired on CHEK-TV on Oct. 2. Sponsors will celebrate with a VIP Reception Oct. 5 with other sponsors and award recipients.

The Chamber is calling on organizations to invest in this 22nd annual celebration by way of sponsorship. Award categories are selected by the sponsor on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out the Sponsorship Opportunities

Owner of found kayak comes forward safe and sound

Allison Wasserman has been identified as the owner of the kayak found floating in the Nanaimo River on Tuesday. Wasserman said that  she and her family had set out around noon on Sunday and put their kayaks in the river, just below the Cedar bridge. Just a short time later she ran into some trouble and ended up being flipped out of her kayak.

She was bruised and suffered some cuts but managed to make her way out of the water and up onto the shore.  She called the RCMP Wednesday evening to share her story offering gratitude and a sincere apology to all of the first responders who attended. MORE

Thursday, May 26, 2022

ROUGH RECEPTION – It’s been a challenging week for politicians in B.C. Old-growth logging protesters dumped manure outside Premier John Horgan’s Langford constituency office Wednesday. And Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stayed clear of an event in Surrey Tuesday night after protesters harassed attendees. Dozens of protesters yelled racial slurs at mostly South Asian attendees entering the convention centre. The PM stayed clear of the venue and spoke to the crowd via Zoom. It’s the second time in less than 10 months that he has changed his plans in the face of unruly protests. MORE

WINDLEY GETS MALAHAT CONTRACT – Windley Contracting of Nanaimo has been awarded a $14.9-million contract to repair the Malahat Tunnel Hill segment of Highway 1. Work is slated to start this summer improving safety and reliability for the more than 35,000 travellers and commuters along the corridor daily. Efforts will be made to complete work during the night. Advance notice of any traffic disruptions will be provided. Drivers are reminded to drive for the conditions, use caution and expect delays. Up-to-date traffic notifications will be posted to www.driveBC.ca MORE

FAMILY VIOLENCE HELP – The Nanaimo Family Life Association has received a $30,000-provincial grant for an intervention program for men to change their abuse and violence in family relationships. Executive Director Deborah Hollins said these programs are for those who recognize they need to learn more respectful behaviours in their relationships. She said they are intensive interventions that really welcome men to sit together and explore healthy ways of being in relationships that address issues around intimate partner violence. MORE

GOODBYE FRANK PHILLIPS – Former Nanaimo Daily News managing editor Frank Phillips died recently. I worked with Frank for a number of years at the Daily where Frank had a long career. Ron Hopper called to point out that Frank was one of the founders of the Nanaimo Bathtub Society, leaving John Ruttan as the last original. MORE about Frank.

SMOOTH MOVE, JOHN – Premier John Horgan isn’t taking any chances with the Royal BC Museum rebuild, scheduling the construction start before the next provincial election. That’s much like the Site C Dam which was begun by the Liberals, leaving the new premier with a serious challenge. The province released a business plan on Wednesday showing the cost would be similar to building a new museum compared to seismically upgrading the museum. The BC Liberals have announced plans to stop the $789 million rebuilding project if they are elected in 2024. MORE

Looking to find owner of kayak found in river

EMPTY KAYAK LOCATED – Police are looking for a possible missing person after a kayak was found floating in the Nanaimo River Tuesday afternoon. Emergency responders scoured the shoreline while fire rescue crews put their vessel in the fast moving water to check a nearby log boom and shoreline but found nothing. If anyone recognizes the kayak or has information relating to the search, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2022-17416. MORE

REAL STEAK SIZZLES as fake meat fizzlesA British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the plant-based meat industry is shutting stores and production plants as it struggles to survive. The Very Good Food Company is pulling out of its flagship shop in Victoria and putting the opening of another shop in Vancouver on hold and closing three production plants in Victoria, Vancouver and California, while consolidating production in its remaining facility in Vancouver. MORE

FALSE ALARM AT AIRPORT – Victoria Airport was shut down Tuesday after inert hand grenades and other surplus military gear was found in a passenger's luggage. Police are pursuing a charge of mischief against the passenger, who has been released while the investigation continues. The airport was closed and all commercial flights were cancelled around 1:30 p.m. after baggage scanners saw what appeared to be a pair of hand grenades inside a bag in the airport X-ray machine, RCMP Cpl. Andy Sanchez said Wednesday. MORE

LUNG CANCER PROGRAM – British Columbia has launched a province-wide high-risk lung cancer screening program, the first such program in Canada. Health Minister Adrian Dix said it will save lives and improve their quality. Screening will be available at 36 centres using existing CT scans for those between 55 and 74, smoking or have previously smoked, and have a smoking history of 20 years or more. Dr. Stephen Lam, medical director of the screening program, says 70 per cent of all cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage and the program aims to detect lung cancers earlier when treatment is more effective. MORE

Our governments are failing to deliver

Big government is failing us. This is not a comment on politics, but the structure side of government. Which ever way you turn, there is evidence of what I’m talking about. We can't get baby formula, passports, or doctors. FULL VIDEO.

Chamber Business After Business at Hospice Thursday

Thursday's Chamber of Commerce Business After Business is at Nanaimo Community Hospice. It includes refreshments in their gorgeous garden space, and a tour of  House, giving you a chance to learn about their programs, while networking with the local Nanaimo Business Community, It's at 5pm – 7pm, 1080 St. George Cres., Register Here

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

HOSPITAL ENTRANCE DETOUR – If you’re going to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital take note of the temporary relocation of the main entrance. The main entrance will be closed from May 30 to July 22 to complete necessary repairs to the roofing and concrete outside the main entrance doors. All foot traffic will be redirected to the adjacent perinatal entrance. There will be signage around the area directing people to the appropriate entrance and the Island Health Ambassador station will be relocated to the perinatal entrance to support patients who may have questions or need help. MORE

LIVING AT HOME – The concept of living in Mom and Dad’s basement for your entire life is not so far-fetched any more. A new city plan in progress puts a focus on intergenerational living. The draft plan is in the final stages of the public process before council adopts it to set goals and city-building policies for the coming decades. The concept of “intergenerational living,” supports opportunities for residents to live, work and enjoy leisure time in their neighbourhoods from childhood through to retirement and old age. MORE

SPRING GOBYBIKE is on again, May 30-June 5. If you register you could win prizes, attend events, reduce emissions and save on your gas bill. Celebration stations will be set up at various locations, hosted by sponsors during. Plan your bike routes accordingly so you can stop in to enter to win prizes. An updated digital cycling map will be available soon to assist with route planning. The Kickoff event is May 29, Downtown Heritage Bike Tour May 31, Clean Up Ride June 4, Nanaimo (Handle) Bar Ride June 4 and the Wrap Up Event will take place June 11, after the commuter challenge. MORE

CRASH INTO PET STORE – There’s nothing like making a grand entrance. There were no injuries when a vehicle drove through the front windows of Bosley’s pet store on Bowen Road on Tuesday. The vehicle, parked in front, hopped the curb and smashed into the storefront. Everyone inside the store was fine, along with a dog which was also inside. The driver of the vehicle, an older woman, said she heard a horn honk behind her and she accidentally stepped on the accelerator. MORE

NEW COMPUTERS – Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island in Nanaimo are getting new laptops and tablets to help with the development of an accessible registration application. The funding is part of the B.C. Community Gaming Grants program. Ten new capital project grants were awarded to Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast communities for a total of $682,793. The full list of capital projects grant recipients for this round of funding is available HERE.

TOURISM NANAIMO is in the spotlight at the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce June Networking Luncheon. You’ll get a good reading of the state of the tourism industry in Nanaimo. They’ll update their new structure, visitor expectations this summer, and marketing plans for 2022. Friday, June 10, 11am – 1 pm, Nanaimo Golf Club. REGISTER HERE.

AIRPORT BOMB SCARE – A possible “incendiary device” shut down all incoming and outgoing commercial flights from the Victoria International Airport just before 3:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. The airport re-opened just before 8 p.m. A package was discovered in a bag brought in by a passenger at departure check-in, prompting Mounties to respond to the airport just after 1:30 p.m. When Canadian Air Transport Security Authority officials scanned the bag, they realized there were items inside that could be of a dangerous nature. MORE

SAY IT ISN’T SO – Oak Bay will vote Monday on banning gas-powered leaf blowers. Councillors will vote to possibly phase out any gas-powered gardening tools in Oak Bay by 2023. More cities in North America are considering phasing out gas-powered gardening tools – Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Victoria are some examples. Victoria is switching over all power tools and small engine-driven equipment to renewably-powered equipment by 2025. Saanich reject such action in a vote earlier this year. I would assume then that they will provide me with a new battery-powered lawn mower. MORE

Absolving our conscience of the sins of the past

Our forefathers were a nasty bunch. Now we are expected to pay for their deeds. The distant generations of our society, before we had a charter of rights, was guilty of a lot of dastardly behaviour by today’s standards. Now we’re living with retroactive guilt. Can money absolve our conscience of the sins of the past? FULL COMMENT

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

I OWE, I OWE, it's off to work I go. I hope you had a great long weekend to launch what's begining to look a little bit like summer. Here's what you should know from the news menu.

UP THE LADDER ­– 20-year veteran Tim Doyle is the city’s new fire chief. He replaces Karen Fry who became chief of the Vancouver fire department in January. Doyle has been serving as acting chief since Fry left. A city news release stated Tim was selected over dozens of applicants from across Canada. He has a reputation as an effective leader, collaborator and educator and has a deep expertise in public safety  that will be invaluable to the community.

DIRECT FLIGHTS RESUME – Air Canada is resuming direct flights between Nanaimo and Toronto this  summer. The flights from Nanaimo Airport to Toronto Pearson will begin June 29 and run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Airport Commission CEO Dave Devana said the route will play a sizeable role in tourism and economic development for the region. Vancouver Island is a popular destination and its growing population will create an increasing demand for air travel. MORE

ALL THAT JAZZ – After a tough couple of years, The Friends of Nanaimo Jazz Society will swing back into action this week at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The Friday concert is the society’s main fundraiser supporting music students in our school district through workshops, scholarships and bursaries.

IT AIN’T TOILET PAPER – The baby formula shortage in the United States continues to affect the Canadian market with many parents taking to social media to try to find the formula needed for their infants and toddlers. Canada is not immune to what is happening in the U.S. as Canada relies on its neighbour to the south to import baby formula. Sylvain Charlebois, director of the agrifood and analytics labs at Dalhousie University says a lot of baby formula is manufactured in Canada but all of it goes to China. There has been some evidence of panic buying. MORE

Monday, May 23, 2022

GOOD MORNING, it’s a holiday, a feel-good day, but the news continues on all fronts. Have a great day.

NEW LEASH ON LIFE – The Nanaimo branch of the SPCA has forked over 500 microchips to keep a virtual leash on local pets. That’s a lot of peace of mind to low income earners. Microchips took over from tattoos several years ago as the preferred method to effectively mark pets. The donation went to Helping Paws, a three-year-old initiative providing free basic veterinary care for needy cat and dog owners on the mid Island. The gift from the SPCA translates into more than $6,000. MORE.

TOP PERFORMANCE – Congratulations to Nanaimo high school athletes who set a number of records and championship-calibre performances last week. Dozens of local athletes had top-three finishes at the Vancouver Island High School Track and Field Championship at Rotary Bowl stadium last week. The meet was hosted by Nanaimo Christian School.

UNACCEPTABLE SERVICE – When inefficiency becomes incompetence. Like for instance, in the Passport Canada operations. Jill Zimmer of Qualicum Beach took her passport to renew to the Service Canada office in Courtenay in mid-March and was told her expected mail-out date was April 13, but more than a month later, she is still waiting. She has since tried the Nanaimo office and was told not to bother going to Victoria because she is already in the system and it would not be allowed. If she does not get her passport in time, she will lose the $2,700 already paid for her June 19 cruise. MORE

SHOW ME THE MONEY – City council is committed to a $5.6-million upgrade to the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre ­– but it depends on a major contribution from the provincial government. The city has applied for a $4.1 million CleanBC grant from the province. The City would be on the hook for just under $1.5 million plus any overruns. MORE

Fear is our greatest enemy, instilled by our leaders

May 23, 2022

Our real enemy is not a virus or climate change. It is fear induced by governments and the media. In particular, fear of unknown or unseen results is a powerful motivator. The thoughts of lying in a hospital bed, unable to breathe adequately to survive, are dreadful but are not unique to coronavirus variants. People suffering from severe cases of influenza and pneumonia have suffered similarly for generations. FULL COMMENT

Sunday, May 22, 2022

WORTH THE DRIVE – The cost of filling up your car hovers around $2.269 a litre at most Nanaimo stations, but Super Save on Bowen Road continues to go against the flow and was $2.199 as of this, a difference of seven cents a lite. That translates into a saving of $4.20 on a 60-litre tank.

HATS OFF to the Nanaimo Lions Club got kicking in $26,000 to the city for the Maffeo Sutton Park Playdock project. This is a boost for the second phase of the project, which will add more accessible and safe play features and landscaping.

WAITING FOR YOUR REBATE – Some British Columbians won’t be getting provincial rebates to offset soaring gas prices until the end of July. The province announced the one-time payment in March, soon after prices rose above $2.00 per litre. People whose vehicles are for personal use will be getting $110, while commercial vehicles get $165. The province said rebates would be coming to 3.5 million ICBC policy-holders. Some rebates have already been issued, ICBC expects all rebates to be mailed by the end of July.

SINS OF THE PAST – British Columbia continues to pay for transgressions by our forefathers. The province is giving $100 million to address the internment of some 22,000 Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. The announcement comes on the 80th anniversary of the first arrivals of Japanese Canadians to the Greenwood, Kaslo, New Denver, Slocan City and Sandon internment camps in 1942. Premier John Horgan says funds will go toward providing updated health programs for internment survivors, the creation and restoration of heritage sites and updating the provincial curriculum to include what he calls a “terrible chapter” in B.C.’s history. MORE

CHUGGING ALONG – You’ve got to hand it to the Corridor Foundation credit for fighting an uphill battle for rail service on Vancouver Island. The ECF has released a business case for safe, efficient, reliable, transit-like rail as the island's population grows. Operations would include a commuter train from Langford to Victoria, an inter-regional train running from Courtenay to Victoria twice a day during peak hours, freight trains focusing on Port Alberni and Nanaimo ports, and excursion trains. The day-liner is not included. Upgrading the 290 kilometres of track from Victoria to Courtenay and from Parksville to Port Alberni would cost approximately $431 million. MORE

 

In the end, we wind up paying anyway
Oil subsidies ending and the province will save money. But the oil companies will just recover it at the pumps. VIDEO

Saturday, May 21, 2022

HEY, ENJOY IT – Finally we’re in line for a stretch of sunshine and warmer temperatures after weeks of rain and shivering temperatures. Environment Canada's seven-day forecast through Thursday calls for temperatures getting up to 20C later in the week. But for the weekend, it's not expected to get warmer than 18C. There’s a silver lining – the cooler weather may help dampen natural wildfire fuel across the province. Officials have warned, however, that warmer weather leads to a melting snowpack, which can prompt flooding. MORE

WATER PARKS OPEN ­– The Parks, Recreation Department will turn on the taps at its four water parks today – just in time for the long weekend. The four parks are Deverill Square Park, Departure Bay Kiwanis Park, Mansfield Park and Harewood Centennial Park. The water is available daily from 9 am to 8 pm. MORE

WATER, WATER EVERWHERE – Speaking of water, we have lots of it this year after higher-than-normal rainfall though the winter. City water resources manager Mike Squire said snowpack at the city reservoir at Jump Creek is close to 100 centimetres above the norm at this time of year, which bodes well for the warmer months. The area isn’t expected to see any flooding with warmer temperatures, as rain later in the year is usually what puts the area at risk, said David Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre. MORE

CODE WITH SOME BITE – City council has updated its code of conduct to include consequences.  Council has adopted bylaws to create a new code for councillors and committee members. It includes accountability provisions and processes for complaints, breaches and disciplinary action. That will help everyone understand the process, make compliance more likely, and ensure everyone is treated to the same standard. The provisions also establish that sanction hearings will be deliberated in open meeting with the public to ensure accountability. Nanaimo is one of the first cities in B.C. to adopt enhanced code of conduct bylaws. MORE

MORE GREEN SPACE – The city is increasing the green space surrounding Cable Bay Trail at the southern tip of the city, thanks to Nanaimo Forest Products. That will double the buffer zone to an average of 100 metres, from 50 metres. The company recently bought land west of the trail, and CEO Paul Sadler said the company would designate 27 acres to the new buffer. He said mill employees built the trail and bridges and said the 50-metre buffer was based on the ReImagine Nanaimo official community plan draft recommendations. MORE

LOOK OUT FOR MONKEYPOX – The first five cases of monkeypox in Canada were confirmed in Quebec on Thursday, but chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says a couple dozen possible cases are being investigated and the federal public health agency still does not know how widespread it might be. Dr. Tam said nearly everyone is susceptible because routine vaccination against smallpox ended decades ago. Two of the cases were reported in British Columbia. However, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control says there are no suspect cases or contacts of monkeypox under investigation in B.C. MORE

 

How much news are we really getting?
It's hard to tell – are today's newscasts really news or more like entertainment? VIDEO

Friday, May 20, 2022

RCMP OFFICER CLEARED – A Nanaimo RCMP member been cleared of wrong doing after the self-inflicted death of a man in early April. RCMP officers conducted a check wellbeing call on a man on April 2 after he had called 911, concerned for his own safety. When police arrived, he was on his way to check into NRGH, but he was found dead a day later from apparent self-inflicted wounds. “The Chief Civilian Director has reviewed the evidence, including medical records and civilian witness statements, and determined that the actions of the officer were appropriate and did not contribute to the man’s tragic death,” said a report from the Independent Investigations Office of BC. MORE

REAL ESTATE MARKET REPORT – The Nanaimo housing market appears to be levelling off with 150 single-family homes sold in April with an average price of $835,394 – up 27 per cent over the previous 12 months. The average condo sold for $423,313 with sales up seven per cent over the past year. Condos seem to be moving fast with a 73-per-cent decrease in days on market. The average row/townhouse sold for $546,556 with sales down six per cent. Lot sales volume was down by 46 per cent but prices have almost doubled. Average lot sale price was $708,513. LINK TO MARKET REPORTS.

THEY’LL BE WALKING NOW – Two drivers have learned that excessive speeding on the Malahat has consequences. One driver was zooming along at 185 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, while the other one was doing 153 km/h in the same area, said Staff Sgt. Adam Tallboy of the Highway Patrol. The two were handed temporary driving bans and had their vehicles impounded for seven days. Tallboy says the two cars were spotted in the Tunnel Hill area of the highway heading south into Langford. Police say this is the fastest they've seen a vehicle coming down that section of the highway. MORE

SIX STOREY PROJECT APPROVED – Nanaimo’s north end continues to grow. City council has approved a development permit for 88 residential units in a six-storey building at 6330 McRobb Ave. The project will have  studio apartments, one, two, and three-bedroom units and 19.6 metres (64 feet) high. Coun Jim Turley said some companies are having difficulty finding employees because they come here, get the job and then go look for a place to live and they can’t find it. Turley said there is continued concern about the shortage of affordable housing in the city. An adjacent lot is already zoned for a high-density residential building up to 20 storeys. MORE

FLESH EATING DISEASE AMONG DOGS – Canine flesh-eating disease has killed a number of dogs on the mid-island. Local veterinarians say five and most likely a sixth have died of the same thing in the last six months. Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Daniel says it’s a bacteria that lives on the skin naturally so the majority of healthy dogs and cats will have the bacteria but  they’ll get a wound or some kind of penetrating injury that will allow the bacteria to get under the skin. It’s incredibly rare and vets are trying to learn more about why these dogs are getting it. There appears to be no connection between each of the local cases. MORE

Pat Murphy spent countless hours reliving war time adventures.

 

Remembering Stocky Edwards,
a true Canadian hero

Pat Murphy developed a strong friendship with Edwards in 2000 and it lasted until the flying ace's death at age 100 last weekend. See Pat's story. 

Hydro crews working to restore power on Vancouver Island

BC Hydro is working to restore power to thousands of people on Vancouver Island who remain in the dark after Wednesday's windstorm. Approximately 13,000 hydro customers on the South Island and the southern Gulf Islands were still without power by 7:30 a.m. today. Nearly 4,000 more customers in Ladysmith and Nanaimo were also without electricity. Hydro is bringing crews from Metro Vancouver to the hardest hit areas of Nanaimo, Greater Victoria and the Gulf Islands.More than 53,000 customers lost electricity at the height of the storm and caused havoc on roadways, cancelled some ferry travel and prevented a cruise ship from docking in Victoria. MORE

Trampling on our constitution,
rights and freedom
s

22-05-19 – A Parksville school principal cancelled a talk by former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford at one of the schools. The topic? Canada’s constitution and our rights. Such a contradiction – stomping on our rights and freedoms over a presentation of exactly those rights. VIEW VIDEO.

Thursday, May 19

TREES SMASH INTO HOME – Tuesday’s strong winds brought down two trees which fell onto the home of a couple in Nanaimo. The trees fell onto their home on Michigan Way on Wednesday, causing extensive damage to the roof and interior of the house. Homeowner Sue Errington said she had just moved from her bedroom to another room to rest because she was worried about the two trees on the edge of her property on the shore of Cathers Lake. Errington said the trees which were on city property also damaged her next door neighbour’s house, fences and garden shed. MORE WITH VIDEO

SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED – Antonio Charlie-Matias, 22, has been sentenced to two years in jail followed by three years probation and numerous long-lasting restrictive conditions after pleading guilty to sexual assault and telecommunicating to lure child under the age of 16. He’s been categorized as a registered sex offender for the rest of his life. MORE

COVID CHARGES DROPPED – Three British Columbia pastors ticketed for defying lockdown orders during the pandemic have seen their charges dropped. Twenty four tickets – adding up to $55,200 – against Pastors John Koopman of the Chilliwack Free Reformed Church, James Butler of the Free Grace Baptist Church and Timothy Champ of the Valley Heights Community Church, have been withdrawn by the Crown. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms said their clients were ticketed by police despite their strict adherence to safety precautions. Seven tickets were dropped against Koopman, 11 against Butler and six against Champ. The JCCF said more than 20 remain outstanding. MORE

BEAR ON RAMPAGE – Chances are if you park your car in Ucluelet you stand a good chance of having it ripped apart by bears. Katharine Fleming was surveying the extensive damage inside her Honda Odyssey after an intruder got in Friday morning. Local residents say this is about the ninth time this has happened in Ucluelet in recent weeks. A police officer tied a rope to a door handle on the van and with a tug from behind the door of a nearby garage, the bear was set free. The inside dashboard was completely ripped apart, seats were chewed and the inside of both front doors were smashed open. To add insult to injury, her insurance policy expired last February. The BC Conservation Officer Service says this is a classic example of learned behaviour where a bear finds something once and will go looking for it again. MORE

May 18, 2022

 

There is no such thing as 
'free stuff' from government
SEE VIDEO

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

KABOOM – Exploding propane tanks in a stolen truck created quite a spectacle in East Wellington overnight Sunday. Nearby residents heard significant explosions, said Const. Gary O’Brien. The pickup was unoccupied and had been stolen from the Nanaimo Airport parking lot on Thursday, May 12. He said closed circuit cameras showed the suspects arriving in a stolen vehicle and then stealing the Ford F-350. MORE

ALMOST TEN BUCKS MORE for a gas fill-up from Monday to Tuesday as local gasoline prices soared to $2.269 a litre, and that’s not the end of it yet. Similar jumps have taken place all across the Island with stations in Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Ladysmith all comfortably in the $2.20-plus range. For comparison, Edmonton was predicted to hit $1.689 per litre today. “I think it’s fair to say most Canadians are taking a pounding on this and it’s not the ones who drive for kicks and giggles, it’s the ones who need this to get to work –and it will be long term,” said Dan McTeague of Gas Wizard website. He sees prices reaching $2.50 cents per litre this summer.  MORE 

FIRE DISPLACES FAMILY – Thirteen people, including eight children, escaped from their burning home in the 100 block of Doric Avenue in Harewood at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night. Nanaimo Fire Rescue assistant chief of operations Geoff Whiting, said occupants were checked for smoke inhalation at hospital. There was a concern for a neighbouring house, but crews prevented any spread. MORE

BLOOD DONORS NEEDED – Blood donor centres across the region are feeling the pinch on the available blood supply. Canadian Blood Service’s blood inventory has declined by 25 per cent since the start of April. Gayle Voyer of donor relations, said many factors are involved, including the lifting of restrictions during the majority of the pandemic. Voyer said they also recently eliminated the 14-day waiting period to give blood if you travelled across the US border as of May 9. Donors who were diagnosed with COVID-19 only have to wait until they are fully recovered before being eligible to donate blood again. And best of all, there is also no waiting period for donations after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. MORE

EASY ON THE GAS PEDAL – The arrival of spring heralds more road work across the province which has launched a campaign encouraging people to be safe while travelling near road workers. The 12th annual province-wide Cone Zone campaign launched Monday. It reminds motorists to slow down and be cautions when approaching an area set up by roadside workers to protect themselves and drivers from injury and death. So easy on the lead foot in construction zones. MORE

THE TRAIN'S A COMIN’ – The Island Corridor Foundation has tenacity if nothing else. The foundation has a new business case budgeting $431 million to repair tracks and restart daily passenger along the tracks. Foundation CEO Larry Stevenson said the costs to restore service, estimated service levels and expected revenues is about getting discussions back on track. It’s a call to action to the government. Let’s get down and have a serious discussion about rail, he said. MORE

HANG LOOSE –Green Party Member of Parliament Elizabeth May has sponsored a petition calling on the feds to allow public nudity. But she hastens to say she has not signed it and doesn’t support it. She’s doing it for one of her constituents. "Nudity is not intrinsically sexual, indecent or obscene," the petition says. "The existing prohibition on public nudity harms society by reinforcing the notion that the human body is inherently shameful." As of Tuesday, the petition had gathered 405 signatures, 72 from British Columbia. In both of those provinces, it is already legal for women to be topless in public. MORE

NO FREE RIDE – Politicians are noted for handing out “free stuff” without recognizing who is paying for the free stuff. B.C. Greens want to make public transit free for the next four months as gas prices hit an all-time high and the costs of living continue to increase. Leader Sonia Furstenau says British Columbians need immediate relief, adding that free transit for the summer is a concrete way to reduce expenses. An average monthly transit pass costs between $85 and $181. Furstenau says savings could be more than $724 over the next four months for residents. Hint Sonia, savings for one equals a cost for another. Free is a four-letter word. MORE

GET READY FOR THE RIDE – It was only his first day in the Legislature but Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon did not hesitate to make his presence felt. The new MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena vowed to stop a nearly $800-million rebuild of the Royal BC Museum if elected premier in the next provincial election. Get ready for a lot more to come from both sides now that the B.C. Liberals have someone leading the charge. “At a time when British Columbians are struggling, the highest housing prices, the highest gas prices, the premier thinks this is the right time for a vanity museum project,” Falcon told reporters. MORE

WATERFRONT PROPERTY – and finally a link from one of our readers about the ravages of the flood in Manitoba. SEE VIDEO

New Royal BC Museum a question of priorities

22-05-16

When times are tough is not a time to indulge in luxuries. Our government is planning to spend close to $800 million on the Royal B.C. Museum. That number will surely rise due to inflation and cost overruns, bringing it to more than a billion. That’s a big tab for what is essentially a social engineering exercise. Premier John Horgan has been getting an earful on social media about priorities. SEE VIDEO

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

EXTREME WEATHER COMING – Here we go again, the weatherman just doesn’t seem to like us. An intense late-spring storm is going to hit Vancouver Island some time tonight. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement. A wide area will be affected by this system. Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound, Whistler, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley are all going to partake in this one. Wind and high elevation snow are possible. Power outages and localized flooding can be expected. MORE

EXTRA SAILINGS FOR WEEKEND – Travelling the May long weekend may be just a little more convenient now that BC Ferries has added 110 extra sailings, 25 on the Nanaimo-Horseshoe Bay route. Ferries recently hired approximately 500 employees to support increased service levels and recruitment continues. From May 19 to 24, 110 extra sailings are laid on for the most popular routes linking Metro Vancouver with Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. MORE

FILLING A DREAM – Mid Island Co-op has donated $1,000 to the Help Fill A Dream Foundation in support of their Family Assistance Program at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The program assists families whose child has a life-threatening/critical condition, focusing on a child’s mobility, health, and well-being. The intent of the program is to help reduce the financial stress that families experience from the costs and challenges associated with their child’s condition. For more information about Help Fill a Dream Foundation, visit their WEBSITE. 

CLASSIC CENSORSHIP – Learning about our constitution and our rights and freedoms is no longer accepted in our schools. At least not in Ballenas Secondary in Parksville where students have been denied the opportunity to learn about rights and freedoms from one of the authors of the charter. The school has cancelled a talk by former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford because of his “news presence and the potential for someone asking the wrong question.” Peckford lives in Parksville and was asked by a teacher to address the students about­ the topic. The date was set but just days before the event the principal reportedly cancelled it. Peckford is involved in a constitutional challenge against the federal government’s vaccine mandates for domestic and international travel. He lectures regularly in person or through Zoom. MORE

SHORT CIRCUIT – You want one of them thar facing plug-in cars? Waits at B.C. dealerships can range from one month to one year. The short supply is also deterring those who would otherwise opt to go electric, with 34 per cent saying they are hesitant because of the lack of availability. Demand is outpacing supply because of material shortages, supply-chain disruptions and pandemic-related delays. A report from BC Hydro found those trying to get their hands on an EV are putting their names down on multiple waitlists, considering making purchases out of province, buying whatever's available regardless of colour or model, and spending more than they planned. MORE

NEW PROGRAM RAISES DOUBTS – British Columbia families of autistic children will then no longer get up to $22,000 a year until age six, and $6,000 annually to age 18. Instead, they will be provided services through a new no-wait 'circle of care' system for neurodiverse kids. The province is set to launch one-stop support centres for children with issues like ADHDautism and Down syndrome, but parents say promises of a no-wait system that won’t require assessments or a diagnosis seem unrealistic due to a shortage of health-care professionals. The plan is to open 40 family connections centres, or hubs, across the province. Four are slated to begin service under a pilot program from next year. MORE

ELECTORAL MAP HEARINGS – The Federal Electoral Boundaries Commission is conducting public hearings into a new electoral map. One session will be in Nanaimo June 7 at the Coast Bastion Hotel. The map changes British Columbia's federal electoral district boundariesas developed through an independent and non-partisan process. This commission is responsible for federal electoral districts, not to be confused, there are two electoral boundary redistribution processes under way – the second apply to provincial ridings. The commission will create an additional riding and adjust boundaries of existing ridings. The proposal reflects British Columbia's increase in population from 4,400,057 in 2011 to 5,000,879, as per the 2021 Census. The proposal can be found HERE.

CANCEL CULTURE – It didn’t take new BC Opposition leader Kevin Falcon long to rattle the cages in the Legislature. If elected premier he would halt plans to build a new Royal B.C. Museum, calling it a “billion-dollar vanity project.” Falcon used question period to criticize the timing of Premier John Horgan’s announcement that a new museum in Victoria would be built at a cost of about $800 million. He said six people are dying every day from an overdose. One in five British Columbians don’t have a family doctor. MORE

Bandaid approach won't solve health care crisis

May 16, 2022

Government needs to dig deep to find the right solutions, what we have isn't working. One million people unable to get a family doctor is unacceptable. SEE VIDEO

STOCKY EDWARDS

Flyer earned numerous honours in war. With a model of the P40 he flew. He retired to Comox and died at age 100 Saturday.

WAR FLYING ACE DIES

Flew 373 combat missions in Second World War

CLAMPING DOWN ON ILLEGALS

Island West Coast has had enough of disrespectful intruders

Monday, May 16, 2022

CLEANING THE BEACHES ­– The initial impression of our Pacific paradise is pristine, but there’s a dark underbelly. Schooner Cove Yacht Club members sailed to nine nearby islands and cleaned up 325 pounds or garbage. This was the first collection in the past two years due to the pandemic. The 18 volunteers hauled non-compostable debris and garbage which was ferried back to the Fairwinds Marina and transported to the landfill. The club been doing this for about 15 years. MORE

CLIPPERS COMEBACK – It was not the start they had hoped for but the Nanaimo Clippers look forward to home ice in their BCJHL championship series. They fell short in the series opening games but the next two in the best-of-seven series are at Frank Crane Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday, at 7 p.m. Grab a couple of friends and pick up your tickets and cheer on the team as they try to even up the series. 

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT – Nanaimo’s Lauren Spencer-Smith took some of the spotlight at the Juno Awards broadcast on Sunday. She performed her platinum single Fingers Crossed during the biggest night for Canadian music. Lauren’s rise to stardom launched with her appearance on the American Idol competition. MORE

ILLEGAL CAMPING CLAMPDOWN – West Coast communities have had enough of disrespectful people camping wherever they please. “There are no serviced camping sites on backroads along Kennedy Lake or highway pullouts and there is zero tolerance for unauthorized camping and overnight parking within all communities.” The districts of Tofino and Ucluelet, the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, local First Nations and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve issued a statement last week calling on campers to stop their "disrespectful behaviour." Increased patrols and enforcement will target dispersed and unauthorized camping. MORE

AIR ACE STOCKY EDWARDS DIES – Stocky Edwards who was a highly decorated Second World War flying ace and Vancouver Island resident died during the weekend at age 100. When the Second World War broke out, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. He flew 373 combat missions and had 19 confirmed aerial victories, becoming Canada’s highest-scoring ace in the Western Desert campaign. His efforts earned him the Distinguished Flying Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross. He also picked up his nickname “Stocky” during the war. MORE

Sunday, May 15, 2022

PLAY BALL ­– Nanaimo NightOwls are getting set for their inaugural season and part of that is finding billets or host families for their players. Billeting an amateur athlete can be a positive and rewarding experience for both parties, lifelong friends often result. Most of the NightOwls players are experiencing Nanaimo, Vancouver Island and even Canada for the first time. You will make an investment and positive impression on a young athlete and your family will remember this experience. Complete detail on hosting a player are HERE.

EARLY WARNING SYSTEM IS READY – It’s hard to believe, but heat is on the way. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says we’ll be ready, he’ll let us know. An automated alert system will be in place in June to notify residents of dangerously high temperatures like last year’s fatal heat dome. Alert Ready will broadcast warnings on radio and television stations, as well as compatible wireless devices. MORE

MUSEUM STIRS THE POT – The plan to totally rebuild the Royal BC Museum for almost $800 million is not inspiring a lot of people. News of the plans has sparked widespread outrage, with many online calling out the government and saying that the money should go to dealing with more pressing issues such as housing, rising gas prices, transit, mental health services and addressing the chronic doctor shortage. Blogger Octavian Lacatusu on CHEK-TV says it comes at a time when far more pressing issues are hovering ominously over Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island, and have been so for several years now. Let’s start with our infrastructure.” MORE

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL – There’s new hope that the long-empty Sealand Market on Stewart Avenue will get a rejuvenation. The City’s design advisory panel has given thumbs up to move ahead. It calls for the main building to get a facelift – a new timber-frame entrance with Coast Salish cultural elements. Jason Guild of the Snuneymuxw Petroglyph Development Group, is proposing exterior alterations. The main building would be renovated and reconfigured with 11 units, including Beefeaters Chophouse and Grill restaurant and a Coast Salish Canna cannabis retail store. Miller’s Pub and the Marine Store would also be renovated and retain their current uses. MORE

SANDCASTLES ARE BACK – The Parksville Beach Festival is back for the first time since 2019. It will run from July 14 to 17 and is open to the public on July 15. Seven teams and 15 individual sand sculptors will compete. The society invites past competitors and interested lesser-known sculptors. The top three singles and doubles from the previous year get an automatic entry. MORE

GAS STILL SKYROCKETING –  Lower Mainland gas prices set another all-time record on Saturday, with some stations in Metro Vancouver advertising gas for $2.279 cents per litre. Gas price analyst Dan McTeague predicted on Thursday that prices would rise 11 cents by the weekend, hitting the $2.279 price seen Saturday. He predicts the price will go up another six cents today to 233.9 per litre. The posted Nanaimo prices late Saturday hovered around the $2.159. MORE. Nanaimo price monitor HERE.

Unbelievable deceit, dishonesty and treachery on COVID

Suddenly the mainstream media are full of stories about under reporting of COVID-19 deaths. That is a stunning admission of mishandling of the COVID crisis. If COVID deaths are not correctly reported, all other COVID data is equally suspect. Health care officials in every jurisdiction in Canada have used faulty data to create computer models and formulate COVID regulations. That is disgusting. FULL COLUMN

Saturday, May 14, 2022

BC FERRIES HAS HIRED 500 staff to head off sailing cancellations. The company has struggled through continued cancellations due to staffing shortages. Another 100 vacancies remain open for numerous positions, including those on vessels, at terminals and in administration. Spokesperson Deborah Marshall said licensed officers and engineers are needed, while hiring 300 seasonal positions to cover increased demand over the summer is the current focus. Teams are actively recruiting at career fares and are “looking under every rock” for potential employees. MORE

STREET MARKET IS BACK – It’s full steam ahead for the popular Commercial Street Night Market returning downtown this summer. Chamber CEO Kim Smythe says it’s a good for the Night Market on Thursday nights this summer. The popular event saw around 5,000 people crowding into the downtown core in 2018 and 2019, until is was put on hold because of COVID health restrictions. Food truck operators, vendors and entertainers can already make their applications for the 11 Thursday nights kicking off June 23 and ending Sept. 1. You can find all the applications and further information HERE or read the FULL STORY.

SPRING IS COLD COMFORT – The weather is the pits for this time of year, and it’s going linger for some time yet. Nanaimo had its wettest April on record, 245 per cent of normal, says Armel Castellan, Emergency Preparedness Meteorologist, Environment Canada. “It’s been cold, and consistently so. We’ve had an open door to the Pacific given us slam after slam, adds Castellan. The unusually cold weather started in April due to cold air moving down from the Arctic. MORE

A&B SOUND revitalization project has cleared a significant hurdle as the city’s design review panel has given its blessing recommending that it can move to the next stage. The ground level would include a market space and two commercial units and potentially a restaurant. The second-storey could include office space and a daycare and a restaurant with a patio. MORE

BUDGET APPROVED – When all the dust had settled, Nanaimo city council settled on a six per cent increase in residential property taxes for this year. The City's 2022-2026 Financial Plan includes the 2022 City Budget. This year, 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 which coverts to a tax hike of $139 or $11.58 per month for an average home. MORE

CLUB NEEDS DIRECTORS – Looking to share your knowledge and expertise with a strong Board of Directors? There is a great opportunity at the BGCCVI AGM in June where they will be adding a few new board members - could one of them be you? Interested? Email klove@bgccvi.com

WOMAN ROBBED AND ASSAULTED – Nanaimo RCMP seeks public assistance in investigating an assault and robbery of a woman in downtown Nanaimo. The incident occurred at approximately 5:30 p.m. March 22, in the 100 block Commercial St. The 71-year-old woman told police she had been at the Casino early in the day and at approximately 5:30 p.m., she started walking along Commercial Street when she was surrounded by three or four men. One of them pinned her arms then pushed her to the ground. One of the assailants reached into her coat pocket and took an envelop of cash that she was carrying. MORE

LONG SHUTDOWN FOR MUSEUM – The Royal B.C. Museum will close in September as the province has set aside $789 million for a new state-of-the-art and seismically safe building set to open in 2030. RBCM itself will also contribute to the modernization project through its fundraising campaigns. The new museum will reflect the experiences and perspectives of all who contributed to B.C.’s history, providing a cultural legacy for generations to come. MORE

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

 

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