Cancellations continue to plague ferry service

Additional issues have been discovered with the Queen of Alberni requiring critical machining to repair. In order to complete these and the earlier repairs to its main engine cylinder head and liner, the Queen of Alberni will remain out of service from today and Friday, July 1. CANCELLATION SCHEDULE

Canada Day celebration starts tonight with Street Market

Long weekend Canada Day celebrations actually Kick off tonight at the the Nanaimo Chamber's Downtown Night Market from 5-9 p.m. There are more than 130 artisan vendors, entertainers, food trucks and downtown merchants. Canada Day celebrations are centred at Maffeo Sutton Park with live entertainment. The lineup includes The Midnights, Doctors of Rock ‘n Roll, Mark Crissinger and Dave Hart). There’s something for the whole family –crafts, games, bouncy castles, kayaking, interactive booths, food vendors, a multi-cultural community stage – and it’s all free.

Hospital Foundation names Ellis-Perry new CEO

Barney Ellis-Perry

The Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation Board of Directors has named Barney Ellis-Perry as the new Chief Executive Officer effective August 2. Ellis-Perry replaces Janice Perrino who retired this month. He was selected after an extensive search that attracted interest from across the country and the U.S. He returns to B.C. after working in the U.S. for eight years, most recently as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tn, where he led a team of 40 staff with annual goals of raising $17 million. He has worked for a wide variety of not for profit and university clients throughout North America and Australia. FULL STORY

Taking a whole new look at customer service

June 30, 2022

Customer service has taken on a whole new meaning for me. I’ve actually come to enjoy all those calls – press 1, press 3. With a lot of time on my hands in my senior existence I get a charge talking to people all over the world. Just this week I chatted with very nice people in the Philippines, India and most recently in Belize. They don't mind if you chat with them about the weather, their jobs, their families, you know the stuff. You just need the right attitude going in.

June 30, 2022

GABRIOLA FERRY DISCOUNTS – Gabriola Island ferry riders are catching a break – BC Ferries offers up to 75 per cent discount on select sailings from July 6 through September 1 to encourage customers to travel on less busy sailings, freeing up space at more popular times. Customers with flexibile travel plans can save significantly on standard or overheight vehicle fares on select early morning or late evening sailings. Ferries recommends customers arrive early to ensure they make it on the sailing of choice. MORE

UNIVERSITY TRANSITION – Free summer camps to transition to university easier for Indigenous youth are returning to Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus this summer. The Thuy’she’num Tu Smun’eem: Building a Foundation for our Youth summer camps take place July 18-22, for Grades 7-9 students,and August 8-12 for Grades 10-12 on campus, with students staying overnight at VIU Residences for five days. “We are grateful that we were able to switch to an online and then a blended online and in-person format for the past two years. Now that restrictions have eased, we are excited to bring the youth back to campus,” says Hayden Taylor, a camp co-ordinator and recent graduate of VIU’s Bachelor of Education program. MORE

BACK IN THE FOLD – Housekeeping and food service workers previously contracted out are back in-house as Island Health employees at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and Dufferin Place. This comes after almost 20 years of these services being contracted to private companies. Premier John Horgan said people who keep local hospitals and care homes clean and safe will again be treated like the valued members of the health team that they are. MORE

COMMUNITY POLICING – Another retired Mountie has landed with the city. Jon Stuart is the new Community Policing Co-ordinator for the city, replacing Christy Wood who has moved onto another position with the city. Jon is to settling in after retiring at the end of June with 26 years of service. He and his family have lived and worked in Nanaimo for many years and he has a good handle on the challenges Nanaimo faces and the direction it's going. MORE

Register here

Call Merv Unger 250-616-0416 to place your card here.

June 30, 2022

GET READY FOR DOUBLE-HOLIDAY WEEKEND TRAVEL – This year’s July long weekend is a double whammy, holidays on both sides of the border as Canada celebrates Canada Day and Americans commemorate Independence Day. It’s the first time in six years that the two holidays fall on the same weekend. BC Ferries schedules are designed to provide maximum capacity at peak travel times. The Departure Bay - Horseshoe Bay route has three ships with up to 22 sailings per day. The Duke Point - Tsawwassen route has two vessels with 16 sailings per day. The Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route has four vessels with up to 32 sailings per day. It remains to be seen if they will have necessary staffing levels. MORE

PARKS AND REC PROGRAMS – The City's Parks, Recreation and Culture department offers heavy agenda of free activities and events this season. Concerts in the Park have been under way since May and continue throughout the summer at various park locations and featuring a local talent. The Playground Program is back for children ages 5 to 12 and offers games, arts, crafts and sports. Lifeguards at Westwood Lake Park will start on July 1 and be there daily from 11:30 am-5:30 pm. The City operates four water parks that are open daily from 9 am-8 pm.  Registered summer day camps and programs are also available. You can find it all in the online Summer Activity Guide at MORE

PUBLIC INSTRUMENTAL IN DRUG ARREST – Thanks to the assistance of the public, a Nanaimo man was arrested with approximately two kilograms of suspected cocaine after he was involved in a motor vehicle rollover. The incident occurred at approximately 7:45 p.m. on April 16, at the intersection of Estevan Road and Departure Bay Road. 43-year-old Nicholas Harris of Nanaimo was released later that same evening on an Undertaking to appear on drug charges for June 10, in Provincial Court.

NANAIMO CLIPPERS HAVE NEW OWNERS – The BC Hockey League has given the green light for new owners to take over the Nanaimo Clippers from Wes Mussio. Northern Lights Hockey Canada is an investment group headed by Brad Kwong, a former NCAA Division I hockey captain at Harvard University. Kwong is a western-Canadian-born investment professional who also heads the group that owns the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. The Clippers recently celebrated their 50th anniversary season. The team is planning a special event in July so fans, sponsors, media and others to meet with new ownership and club staff.

SINKHOLE WORK SET TO BEGIN – Work is expected to begin on a permanent fix for a sink hole that developed on Hwy. 19 near Lantzville last November. Work crews will increase the size of a culvert under the highway, just north of Superior Road. Work will begin after the Canada Day weekend and continue until mid September. MORE

TOUR DE ROCK GALA – The Tour de Rock celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and they’re going to celebrate with a gala dinner at the Coast Bastion Hotel where you can rub shoulders with Tour de Rock Team riders. There will be Live and Silent Auctions. Buffet style sit-down dinner. Cash bar. The thing is you better not wait because only 112 tickets to be sold. Contact Norm Smith at to buy your tickets.

ISLAND SAILORS OFF TO BALTIC SEA – Ron Hopper of the Friends of HMCS Nanaimo informs us that HMCS Kingston is on her way to the Baltic Sea to conduct mine sweeping operations for about three months. The Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel Kingston #700 is the sister ship to HMCS Nanaimo #702. In other news, there’s a new commanding officer of Maritime Pacific Command. R/Adm Christopher Robinson takes over from R/Adm Angus Tophee who has transferred to Ottawa.

Premier John Horgan announces he is stepping down

Premier Horgan

Premier John Horgan has announced he will retire, but will remain on the job until a leadership convention. Horgan confirmed his plans at a news conference in Vancouver this afternoon, following a two-day cabinet retreat where the party discussed everything from climate change to the struggling health-care system. Horgan said his recent bout of throat cancer – which marked the 62-year-old's second battle with cancer – has left him with less energy than he had before. "I am currently cancer-free. My health is good, but my energy flags as the days go by," the premier said. Rumours have swirled about the premier's possible retirement since last week, when he appeared on a CBC radio program and gave an open-ended answer about his political future. MORE

New Yorkers leaving and taking their wealth with them

June 28 2022

THE ONE PER CENT. Americans have been leaving some of the larger cities like New York and Los Angeles to escape heavy taxation. I came across a statistic relating to the mass exodus of wealthy New Yorkers from that city. The figures showed that the one per cent at the top of the earning scale leaving the city translated into a 40 per cent loss of income tax revenue for the city, a devastating negative impact on city’s operations. Forty per cent is a mighty big hit especially when it comes from one per cent of the population.

June 28, 2022

Oldest sailboat returning to the sea
A 125-year-old sailboat is set to return to the water after being landlocked for more than 20 years. The 30-foot sailboat, named Dorothy, was built in 1897 by shipbuilder John H. Robinson for $1,800. The Maritime Museum of B.C. says the ship is the oldest sailing yacht in North America's Pacific Northwest. The museum acquired Dorothy in 1995, and in 2012 the ship was transported to Gabriola Island by BC Ferries to undergo repairs by shipbuilder Tony Grove. He said with the restoration work done and some regular maintenance, Dorothy should have a lot of good years ahead. MORE

Infrastructure challenges
Outside forces are playing havoc with infrastructure upgrades that are behind schedule and threatening tight budgets. Bill Sims, general manager of engineering and public works, told councillors Monday the conditions are volatile and playing havoc on plans and established budgets. “The market has just been shaken up and we’re still in that feeling of uncertainty. At some point, we anticipate that it’ll settle down and be a little more stable once again, but it’s hard to see that at the moment.” The Midtown Water Supply project, already under way, is on hold to ride changing market conditions. MORE

COVID fines cancelled
A Qualicum Beach senior couple can breathe easier now that charges have been dropped after they were ticketed $11,400 in January for returning to Canada from the U.S. without the necessary negative COVID PCR tests. Their test results arrived three days later and the charges were recently dropped against Charles and Susan Lee after getting proof of their delayed negative test results. MORE

Emergency calls way up
B.C.’s emergency communications centre is seeing some of the highest emergency call volumes in 23 years and is reminding the public to use 911 responsibly. E-Comm said it is anticipating one of the busiest summers on record for emergency services and first responders. “Ahead of the traditionally busier summer months, E-Comm is concerned about the pattern of increasing call volumes and the demand and strain this will have on our staff and the first responders they support,” Jasmine Bradley, E-Comm executive director of communications and public affairs, said in a news release. MORE

Freeland is juggling to balance the problem she created

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is trying to strike a balance between helping Canadians suffering from the effects of inflation and pursuing a policy of fiscal restraint — or risk making the cost of living problem worse. Her government is spending us into poverty and the vultures are fretting uneasily on the sidelines. It is not difficult to calculate that when our government simultaneously shut down the oil and gas sector of the economy, imposed surreal ‘carbon taxes’ based on political, unscientific ideology and shut down major sectors of the economy for two years it was creating an economic crisis. FULL COMMENT

June 27, 2022

GOOD MORNING – Enjoy it while it lasts. The current heat is forecast to subside by tomorrow, dropping about eight degrees from today's predicted high of 27 degrees. Temperatures will be in the 18-19 degree range for a couple of days, with rain on the menu. We should be back in the low 20s heading into the weekend.

FOUND MONEY –  If you misplaced a significant amount of money, the RCMP have it. The money was found approximately thee weeks ago on a sidewalk in a north end Nanaimo neighbourhood. The 37-year-old man who found the cash, told police he had just headed out for his morning run when his eye caught sight of what appeared to be Canadian currency lying on the sidewalk. He stopped to pick it up when he saw more bills strewn about.  Upon returning home, he called the police who came to his and took possession of the money. MORE

COMMONWEALTH CHALLENGE – The anticipation is building for Ethan Katzberg. The former John Barsby Secondary student will represent Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in England July 28 to August 8. He’s a hammer thrower with numerous records to his credit. A budding early career in track and field eventually evolved into the hammer throw. FULL STORY

STILL SEARCHING FOR NOLAN – The search continues for 38-year-old Tyler Nolan who was reported missing May 31. The last confirmed sighting of Nolan was on May 18, at the Duke Point ferry terminal. Investigators do not believe he boarded the ferry and that he is still in the Nanaimo area. All emergency shelters and homeless encampments in Nanaimo have been checked with no success. MORE with photo

June 26, 2022

Dr. Michael Quinn

WELCOME TO NANAIMO – Dr. Michael Quinn is the new Provost and Vice-President Academic of Vancouver Island University. He will guide and enhance the academic mission across VIU campuses and Research Centres and Institutes. He brings an extensive resume, most recently as Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President, Academic at Mount Royal University in Calgary.  He holds a PhD from York University (Environmental Studies), an MSc (Conservation Biology) and a BSc (Forest Science) both from the University of Alberta. MORE

FERRY SERVICE CANCELLED – Travellers between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo Harbour had to rely on water taxis Saturday evening after ferry sailings cancelled. Citing crew availability on the Island Kwigwis vessel, a 4:35 p.m. sailing Gabriola Island, and a 5:05 p.m. sailing from Nanaimo Harbour, were the final trips of the day.

RUTHERFORD SCHOOL TO REOPEN – The full school board made it official, trustees voted to re-open Rutherford Elementary School. Planning will begin to re-open the school to students in the catchment. The school closed in 2018 but is serving as a swing school for students during Pleasant Valley Elementary School seismic upgrades. Some upgrading was done to prepare for Pleasant Valley students. MORE

ENOUGH TO KILL EVERYONE – Fraser Valley RCMP found enough raw material to produce enough fentanyl to kill 160 million people. A potentially lethal dose is just two milligrams – about the size of a few grains of sugar. The 320 kilograms of fentanyl the home lab could have produced would theoretically be enough to kill every person in Canada four times over. It's not clear where the June 2 seizure from a rural home in Chilliwack ranks in comparison to other drug busts carried out by the RCMP's Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement and Response (CLEAR) team. MORE

Perrino retires as CEO of Nanaimo Hospital Foundation

Janice Perrino

Janice Perrino retires this month after six years as CEO of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation. Making the announcement, she said it’s been an incredible honour to support the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the extraordinary medical staff, management teams and support staff who care for the residents of our region. Foundation Chairman Tony Harris said healthcare in our region is profoundly better because of Perrino. “It has been one of my great honours to support (her) as the CEO of the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation,” Harris said. FULL STORY

Trudeau again sticks his nose where it doesn't belong

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Friday on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn decades-old jurisprudence on abortion, calling what's unfolding south of the border a horrific development that threatens the right of women to choose. First, Trudeau has a less than stellar reputation for his treatment of women. His actions speak louder than his lip service. Second, the republic to the south has entirely different political and legal systems. There is no rational comparison. In the U.S. primary political and legal powers reside in the states. FULL COMMENT

June 25, 2022

GOOD MORNING – Summer is finally here . . . for a couple of days. But as we head to the beaches it's well to keep in mind that hot weather can bring hazards with it. Health officials have closed several popular swimming beaches in Metro Vancouver, including English Bay, due to high E. coli levels.

FERRIES RECOVERING – BC Ferries reports a rosy post-pandemic financial recovery but financials and ridership have not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels. Ferry service vessels carried 17.9 million passengers and 8.5 million vehicles last year, an increase of 37 per cent and 26 per cent, compared to the year prior. The corporation posted a $34.1-million increase in net earnings last year, largely due to a $102.3-million injection of pandemic funding from the provincial and federal governments. MORE

NO WRONGDOING  –  Nanaimo cops have been cleared any misconduct after a woman broke her foot following an interaction with police. The woman had been reported missing and was found by RCMP at Port Place Mall where she was detained under the Mental Health Act and officers took her to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The woman got surgery on a broken foot at the hospital, prompting an investigation by the Independent Investigations Office. The Chief Civilian Director determined that the injury did not take place while the woman was in police custody. MORE

PARTY TIME FOR CANADA – Canada is 155 years old, and we’re having a party. Canada Day 2022 celebrations are back at Maffeo Sutton Park after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. There will be live entertainment, a cultural community stage, a birthday cake courtesy of Columbia Bakery, bouncy castles, face painting, interactive booths, food trucks and more. New this year is a bike valet parking service, and the City of Nanaimo is partnering with the Regional District of Nanaimo to offer shuttle services to the event from Woodgrove Mall and Vancouver Island University. MORE

DOWNTOWN SAFETY OFFICER JOBS – The City is hiring 12 permanent full-time Community Safety Officers to join the new Community Safety Team. This job focuses on providing municipal supports and responses to the community and vulnerable citizens on issues including public disorder, homelessness, addictions and mental health challenges. Incumbents will conduct highly visible day and nighttime patrols, including bike patrols, throughout the community with emphasis in the downtown area, involving extensive contact and liaison with the business community, first responders, public safety, service organizations and unsheltered citizens. Application deadline is July 7. MORE

Help needed to identify suspect in theft from Home Depot

Suspect flees from store

Nanaimo RCMP seek public assistance in identifying the man who is suspected of stealing several Milwaukee brand tools from Home Depot in Nanaimo on June 11. The suspect was captured on video surveillance running out the main doors carrying two red boxes that contained the stolen merchandise. If you can give information on the identity of this person, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, and quote file # 2022-20174. MORE

June 24, 2022

DOWNTOWN NANAIMO was a busy hub of activity yesterday as the Commercial Street Night Market came back to life after two years of Covid shutdown. Even the weatherman co-operated with the first real warm evening of the summer. Besides all the shopping, food trucks and more, there was great street entertainment. There will be markets every Thursday between 5-9 p.m. until Sept. 1 for the rest of the summer. A great job by the organizers.

HOTTER THAN A PISTOL – We’re in for our first heat wave of the year, though it will likely be a short one. Environment Canada predicts temperatures into the 30s beginning today and lasting until Tuesday. The main concern will be the melting of the late snow pack, which could create some localized flooding, mud and rockslides, and raise water levels and speeds for our rivers. In the meantime, protect yourself from direct sunshine. Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday. MORE

JUST IN TIME for the arrival of summer, safety measures are now in place at Cathedral Grove on Highway 4. Lane separators and rumble strips have been installed to control traffic at the stretch that sees many pedestrians cross between vehicles. The initial impression from visitors is totally positive. MORE 

REMEMBER CUSTOMER SERVICE? –Believe it or not, it still exists in some quarters. A Saskatchewan visitor got a nail in the tire of his one-ton truck hauling an RV. He stopped in at Kal Tire in North Nanaimo and they fixed it right to his request. When it came to paying the bill he was told “there is none, no charge.” That sure left a good Nanaimo impression on that visitor. Hats off, Kal Tire. 

DRUG DEALER CONVICTED – Chad Michael Kirk, 37, of Nanaimo has been found guilty in BC Supreme Court of trafficking fentanyl, cocaine and crystal meth to local dealers. He was caught in an undercover police investigation after a traffic stop seconds after a drug transaction in the Uplands area. Justice Robin Baird said RCMP were aware Kirk was selling drugs locally on behalf of a Vancouver based wholesale distributor and gang member. He will be sentenced at a later date. MORE 

BANG BANG – Not in our immediate world, but our friends south of the border have been battling gun control regulations. Their Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that the Constitution protects “an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home.” That right is not a “second-class right,” Thomas he wrote. At the same time, lawmakers at the Capitol sped toward passage of gun legislation, modest in scope but still the most far-reaching in decades. MORE

COWTOWN IS TOPS – It turns out Calgary is the best place to live in Canada – at least this year. The annual ranking of the world’s most liveable cities has Canada as the biggest winner, with three of its cities nabbing a spot in the top 10. Cowtown is the top-ranked Canadian city on the list, but also comes in at #3, worldwide. Regulars Vancouver and Toronto grabbed the other two spots. MORE

First Nations want illegal protesters to scram off their land

First Nations leaders faced off against forest protesters faced off against an illegal encampment and blockade on the Dididaht territory near Nitinat. Indigenous members from Huu-ay-aht and Pacheedaht First Nations told the campers they were not welcome.  Dididaht’s elected Chief Brian Tate told protesters to clean up their mess, pack up and leave. “We’re here to inform you, about the things you have crossed, the boundaries you have crossed and the disrespect you’re showing,” said Tate. Last year’s Fairy Creek blockades saw hundreds of people arrested, and millions of dollars spent on policing as demonstrators chained themselves to logging gates — while demanding an end old-growth logging. MORE

Premier Horgan announces he's cancer-free

Premier John Horgan

Our premier had some good news to share on the Donnie and Dhali sports show on CHEK this morning – he's cancer free.

“We are breaking news here. I have had a clean … scan so there ain’t no cancer in me,” he said. “I am very happy about that.”

Horgan was diagnosed with throat cancer last November and briefly stepped away from his duties while he underwent 35 radiation sessions as part of his treatment program.

Strange ways to regulate traffic flow in our city

Can someone please explain to me what in blazes the idea is behind the traffic redesign at Metral Drive and Enterprise Way? Work appears to be under way to reduce the four lanes down to two at that intersection, eliminating a vital right-turn lane. I was always under the impression that streets and roads were to move traffic, not to jam it up. After a trip downtown, don’t even talk to me. In more than an hour of busy Thursday night street market activity, there was not a single bicycle on those new-fangled bike lanes, but car traffic was backing up.

Second-degree murder charge laid in woman's death

Simon Baker

Twenty-one-year-old Simon Baker, of Nanaimo, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Denise Allick, 40, of Victoria on June 20. At approximately 10 p.m. on that date, police responded to a report of a disturbance outside a residence in south Nanaimo. Allick had died because of her injuries, and Baker was arrested a short time later without incident. He remains in custody, his next court appearance was scheduled for 2 p.m. today in Nanaimo. MORE

June 23

THREE-VEHICLE CRASH – Emergency vehicles responded to a three-vehicle crash on the old Island Highway in north Nanaimo this morning. RCMP, Nanaimo Fire Rescue, and B.C. Ambulance Service were called to the highway at Enterprise Way at 10:40 a.m. Two drivers and one passenger were taken to hospital for treatment of unknown injuries, while another driver was unhurt. 

WHAT YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR – The Nanaimo Night Market takes over downton as thousands of people decend on the downtown core each Thursday for the rest of summer. Starting tonight, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. about 140 vendors, a dozen food trucks and numerous entertainers will be in attendance for the weekly event. Chamber of Commerce boss Kim Smythe said demand from primarily Vancouver Island based vendors was overwhelming with the 11-week event sold out this season.

 UPDATE ON HIT AND RUN PROBE – RCMP have seized a vehicle in connection with an ongoing hit and run investigation that resulted in a woman being sent to hospital with significant injuries. Her dogs, which she and her husband were walking at the time, were also injured on March 4, 2022, on Lorenzen Lane at the end of Superior Road, in Lantzville. Recently, the investigation lead officers with the Traffic Unit to a home in Lantzville where a vehicle was seized for a forensic investigation. The owner of the vehicle was identified and provided a statement to investigators. MORE 

FISH FARM LICENSES RENEWED – Dozens of fish farms outside the Discovery Islands will have their licences renewed for another two years as Ottawa reveals its transition plan away from open-net pen salmon farming in B.C. The federal department hopes to have a final plan in place by spring of 2023. Murray’s ministerial mandate letter tasks her with transitioning fish farming out of B.C. waters by 2025. MORE

Province cancels $789-million Royal BC Museum project

CP Photo- Chad Hipolito

The hot button $789-million Royal BC Museum rebuild project bit the dust today when Premier John Horgan announced it’s going back to the drawing board for more public engagement. “We thought we had it right. Clearly, we did not,” he told media. The province announced the museum overhaul in May. British Columbians immediately pushed back, questioning why such a significant amount of money was being spent on a museum rather than helping to solve the family doctor shortage or housing unaffordability. The government business case cited hazardous materials like asbestos, lead, mercury and arsenic, as well as flooding and backed-up sewage problems. MORE

Putting a new face on our unsavory historic past

Truth and Reconciliation is sweeping the country with more and more entities trying to put a new face on their history. Powell River is disappearing from the map, going whole hog with perhaps the most aggressive approach where the community is looking to erase the legacy of Israel Powell who was a major villain in the treatment of Indigenous people in the area. The former Powell River Regional District has already rebranded to qathet Regional District. The change was approved by the province in 2018 after the Tla’amin Nation elders gifted the word “qathet” to the regional district in 2017. Countless other entities including the city itself are being relabelled. FULL COMMENT

Reconsideration allows Bowen Bridge project to go ahead

Coun. Sheryl Armstrong

Missing a vote on city council can have consequences. For instance, Coun. Sheryl Armstrong missed a finance committee meeting due to illness and as a result a crucial vote failed on a 4-4 deadlock when council was deciding on a bridge replacement across the Millstone River in Bowen Park. The tied vote meant the motion to approve an extra $188,000 to replace bridge was defeated. The expenditure was brought back for reconsideration and Sheryl's vote made it 5-4 to go ahead with the $425,000 project. MORE

Council endorses big makeover for Commercial Street

Google photo

Commercial Street is getting a facelift. City Council has endorsed the Design Commercial project’s improvements to be rolled out over the next five years. The project follows the Downtown Safety Action Plan, which will see the addition of Community Safety Officers in the downtown as well as increased cleaning and other public safety improvements. The concept plan endorsed by Council sees improvements to Commercial Street integrated with other projects such as Diana Krall Plaza improveme, the redevelopment of the A&B Sound building, Jean Burns property and transit improvements along the 500 block of Terminal Avenue. MORE

Island Economic Report to be presented in October

Susan Mowbray

The eighth annual  Island Economic Report will be unveiled at the Island Economic Summit in October. Senior Economist Susan Mowbray, partner of MNP, will highlight key findings at the October 26 and 27 Economic Summit. The report is an annual reading of the condition of Vancouver Island’s economy, a powerful tool widely used by public and private sector decision-makers to help make informed choices. It has been deemed essential reading for anyone serious about business on Vancouver Island. MORE

Coming heat wave could fuel forest fires and floods

It's official, summer is here, but while we’re anticipating a heat wave in the coming days, don’t celebrate too early. A sudden scorcher will turn up the dial on the snow melt which is just hitting its peak now. Large sections of B.C.’s the interior and north are under high stream flow advisories, or flood watches. The B.C. River Forecast Centre said if this heat had hit a couple of weeks ago, we’d be worse off since the snow pack has already had a couple of weeks to start melting. The cool, wet weather has come with an upside as the Coastal Fire Centre has reported only been six fires so far this year, down from the 59 at this time last year. 

June 22, 2022

THE FUN IS BACK – The South End Community Association will hold its South End Day in Deverill Square Park on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The fun family event has been on hiatus due to coronavirus. The former Miners’ Heritage Picnic is free with entertainment, music, art and kids’ games. MORE

VACCINE MANDATE EXTENDED – The B.C. government is extending its vaccine mandate for workers in public service jobs, contrary to what is being done at the federal level. That means everyone working in hospitals and long-term care is vaccinated against COVID-19. That includes government workers and liquor store employees but not teachers or those working in extended health-care like dentists and physiotherapists. Public Health Oofficer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it is totally reasonable to continue down the course and especially in health-care settings. MORE

Man arrested after homicide in south end home

One man has been arrested in connection with a homicide at a South Nanaimo residence on Monday night. Police responded to a report of a disturbance and officers found an adult woman deceased. A short time later the suspect was taken into custody without incident. Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP said investigators do not believe there is any further risk to the public. The suspect was initially arrested for murder but no charges have formally been laid.

Getting around the passport renewal lineups

For every insurmountable obstacle there is an alternative. Waiting forever in a lineup to get a passport sent one Vancouver woman to Edmonton where she got her passport renewed in no time flat. She flew to Edmonton with Flair Airlines for $87 return. Once she was at the Service Canada passport office in Edmonton, she completed the process within two-and-a-half hours. It was impossible to get it in Vancouver without camping out at 7 p.m. the night before or paying $300 up to $1,000 for someone to hold your spot in the line, she explained.

Agreement signed to co-manage Indigenous school

Our school board and Snuneymuxw have signed a memorandum of agreement to co-govern Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh Community School. A committee of representatives from both entities will assume operational responsibility of the community school, consistent with honouring Snuneymuxw land and culture. Acting Chief William Yoachim said, “Over the last four years we have walked together, and the results are profound. All children living within our vast territory will benefit from this powerful relationship for generations to come.” MORE

June 20, 2022

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT – A catalytic converter was stolen from a vehicle parked on the Duke Point Hwy near the ferry terminal sometime between June 3 and June 5. The vehicle was driveable but very loud. Nanaimo file # 2022-19117 Theft from Vehicle. If you have information on a crime that does not constitute an emergency, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. 

ONE VACCINE FADES but another one surfaces. Some Canadian cities are using clinics to provide monkeypox vaccinations en masse, but there are no plans to do the same in British Columbia for now. The provincial Ministry of Health said it's watching what's going on in Quebec and Ontario, where vaccination efforts are underway in Montreal, Ottawa and other cities. Health officials on Friday confirmed 168 infections across Canada – 141 in Quebec, 21 in Ontario, four in Alberta and two in B.C. MORE

Country Club purse-snatching suspect arrested

An arrest has been made in the theft of purse that occurred on May 2, from the Country Club Mall food court. Following the release of a video capturing the incident, a suspect was quickly identified. On June 16 investigators went to the home of the 37-year-old suspect and arrested her without incident for the theft. The woman was released from custody and served with an Undertaking to appear in court in Septembe. She is prohibited from going to the Country Club Mall until the court proceedings have been dealt with. 

Police seek help in identifying suspected bike thief

Do you know this man? RCMP are trying to identify him in the investigation of a bicycle theft outside a Nanaimo high school. RCMP released a surveillance image of the suspect on Monday. The bike was stolen near Wellington Secondary School on June 2.  Police say a man walked up to the bicycle, removed a set of bolt cutters from a backpack and cut the lock before riding away. MORE

McPhail one of six new directors on BC Ferry Authority board

Former BC NDP leader and cabinet minister Joy McPhail is one of six new directors named to the  BC Ferry Authority. The new appointments take the place of members whose terms are expiring to bring extensive business, labour, and other board leadership experience to BC Ferries. Together with the five existing members, this new board positions the ferry operator for the complex environment in the years ahead. The new members will begin serving on June 24, 2022, for a two-year term. NEW APPOINTEES.

Cathedral Grove highway improvement work begins today

Work started today on safety improvements through the Cathedral Grove section of Hwy. 4. The transportation ministry outlined a variety of interim highway safety measures through the busy stretch taking place between today and June 30. The work will be done during the evenings to minimize disruptions. Crews are installing median pickets to restrict left turn movements which are already prohibited through existing signage. Rumble strips will be added during the spring and summer to warn motorists of the reduced speed limit. MORE

June 20, 2022

GOOD MORNING – Summer is almost here and with it, warmer weather is expected by the end of the week. For most of June, temperatures have stayed below 20 C, with highs averaging 18.3 C. Environment Canada predicts it'll get warmer in the region by Thursday, with temperatures steadily getting warmer until it reaches a high of 24 C on Sunday.

OVERHEARD ON THE PARTY LINE – Covid vaccine mandates were not science, they were political science.

TRAIN DERAILS NEAR LYTTON – Approximately 15 railcars carrying coal derailed east of Lytton on Saturday morning, spilling some of their contents, causing a minor fire in the area. The fire did not represent a danger to public safety and was extinguished. No injuries were reported and no dangerous goods are involved. The cause of the incident is under investigation. MORE 

TIME TO GET A CAT – Adopting a cat has never been easier – The BC SPCA is cutting the cost of adopting a cat in half to clear crowding at shelters throughout the province. Covid, inflation and mental health challenges are seeing more and more felines filling up the society’s locations, as well as large numbers of cats from cat hoarders becoming more common. Interested in adopting? Find more at the BC SPCA’s website

NIGHT MARKET RETURNS THIS WEEK – It’s here! It’s opening night on Thursday for the Commercial Street Night Market. It runs every Thursday for 11 weeks, packing Commercial Street with artisan vendors, downtown businesses, food trucks, street entertainment & so much more from 5-9 p.m. There are still some Sponsorship Opportunities

REGION MOVES TO MAIL-IN VOTING – If you live in the Regional District of Nanaimo you won’t have to leave your house to vote in the fall general election. The RDN board voted last week to allow mail-in balloting, with only one director opposed.

FRIDAY IS YOUR last chance to recognize the leaders and achievers in our community by voting in the Nanaimo Business Awards. You can follow the link and see who has been nominated and vote for your favourites. The awards presentation will be televised again on CHEK TV on Oct. 2 with the winners announced to an audience of some 80,000 viewers. Vote HERE or for More Information.

Book explores stories behind petroglyphs

Geraldine Manson

There are petroglyphs throughout the Nanaimo area – what is their history, stories and meaning? Well now you can find out. Vancouver Island University Elder-in-Residence C-tasi:a - Geraldine Manson has written a book on petroglyphs. She says she wrote the book to give a “clear understanding of the history of her ancestors – the Elders’ Elders – and the work that they do, and to help share the background about the images. Geraldine, a Snuneymuxw member took a couple of years to research and write it. It runs parallel to a project at the Gabriola Museum where Manson and others are looking at reproducing the images on the museum grounds in the future Village of the Ancestors. MORE

Indigenous-focussed courses mandatory for Grade 10

Nanaimo Ladysmith students will have to take an Indigenous-focused course in Grade 10, beginning this fall. The Ministry of Education announced in March that high school students graduating in 2023-24 will need to take one Indigenous-centred course. Students can take a ministry-prescribed provincial course, a language course, such as Hul’qumi’num 11, and over time districts will be allowed to offer other locally-developed courses to meet the criteria. MORE

Flood watch in effect for British Columbia interior region

File photo

The B.C. River Forecast Centre warns heavy rainfall could push river levels to the highest they have been this season. Parts of B.C.'s Interior are bracing for potential flooding. A flood watch remains in effect for the North Thompson River, including tributaries around Barriere and Clearwater. The South Thompson River, where a streamflow advisory was previously issued, has also been upgraded to a flood watch. Watches are also in effect in the Shuswap region and in the Cariboo Mountains. Between Kamloops and Spences Bridge, a high streamflow advisory has been issued. The same is the case for the Nicola River. MORE

Proof of vacination no longer required on planes and trains

Proof of vaccination is no longer required to travel by plane and train, effective today. You no longer have to provide vaccine proof to travel domestically, or on flights leaving Canada. Unvaccinated travelers will also be permitted to fly. Some restrictions will remain in place. Masks will be required in certain areas of airports and during flights. Those coming into Canada will still be subject to health measures such as using the ArriveCan app and showing proof of vaccine at ports of entry. Staff and travelers on cruise ships will still require full vaccination status. MORE

Free bus service planned for special events in city

Some special events in the city will be a lot easier to access this summer with free shuttle bus service during four popular events. The Regional District board endorsed a city request for two Transit buses on Canada Day, Dragon Boat and Marine festivals and Vancouver Island Exhibition. They will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during one day of each event. Bus exchanges at will be  Woodgrove Centre and VIU for the direct service. MORE

Eco-school expansion options eyed by school board

Charlene McKay

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is using a two-pronged approach to upgrade Departure Bay Eco-School – seismic upgrading and expansion. The school district will apply for school expansion as a part of the 2023-24 capital plan to allow five portable classrooms to be removed. The plan includes an application to the government’s seismic mitigation program, as a number of classrooms tha need upgrading, and the district is hopeful that could lead to more. Board chair Charlene McKay said if the seismic upgrade is a go, then they’ll go after the expansion.

Woman refuses to leave bathroom at northend business

Nanaimo RCMP responded to 987 calls for service in the first week in June. Friday June 3, officers responded to a business in north Nanaimo for a woman who had been in their washroom for more than 30 minutes, and was refusing to leave. Due to other priority calls for service, police could respond for an hour after receiving the initial call. When officers arrived, they were given a key to allow them access. Even with the key, officers had to force their way in to the washroom. She was removed against her strenuous objections. Eventually she left on her own accord. Nanaimo file # 2022-18804 Unwanted Person. 

Foreign logging protester fears deportation

An international university student leading a civil resistance campaign to end old-growth logging fears he will be deported. He has been arrested 10 times for civil resistance at climate-related protests since 2020. The third-year history major from Pakistan is in Canada on a study permit. Conditions for obtaining a study permit include obeying the law and the absence of a criminal record. VIDEO