Two face manslaughter trial in Maffeo Sutton death

Nov. 15, 2022

Two men linked to the death of Fred Parsons at Maffeo Sutton Park in September have been charged with manslaughter. The BC Prosecution Service confirmed both Mark Jayden Harrison and Aiden Matthew William Bell are both now charged with singular counts of manslaughter. Harrison initially faced a murder charge while Bell was originally held on a pair of weapons offences laid days after the incident. MORE

A robber threw a propane tank through a glass door Gas N Go gas station at Turner Road, making off with about $400 in cigarettes early Saturday morning. Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, said the robbery was caught on the gas station’s video security system. He said the man approached on foot and fled toward Uplands Drive. MORE

Ride-hailing and food-delivery workers on Vancouver Island can have a voice about their work at in-person roundtable meetings in Nanaimo. Roundtables in various locations will provide insight about the work they do, working conditions, the challenges they face and what employment-standards-related changes they would like to see. Workers who drive or deliver for app-based companies can attend the session at the Student Union Building, No. 103, on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Vancouver Island University. Register by email: MORE

Vandalism cost our school district more than $100,000 last year. The district logged 750 incidents of vandalism, which cost the district $106,743, including labour in the 2021-22 fiscal year. That was an increase of nearly 36 per cent from the year before. To date this year, vandalism costs are $24,668. The school district has installed security cameras at NDSS, Georgia Avenue and Fairview as well as at its facilities compound and NDSS artificial turf field. Staff say the mid-year vandalism report in February will indicate whether the cameras are proving effective. MORE

The pre-Christmas season is upon us, and that means events galore in our community. We’ve got a bunch of them, just flip over to our WHAT’S UP section.

Open house set for freighters anchored off Vancouver Island

Anchored freighters off the coast of Vancouver Island have been a sticking point for residents for almost a decade. Now they will have the opportunity to learn about and provide input into the Vancouver Port Authority’s draft plan to deal with issues related to the controversial anchoring of freighters in the area. The VPA will hold an open house in Ladysmith on Thursday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., at Ladysmith’s Diamond Community Hall, 4962 Christie Rd. MORE

The Cedar Farmers Market has been named the tops in its class. The B.C. Association of Farmers Markets has named the Cedar market the Most Outstanding Community Impact among markets with 80 or more vendors. Market manager Kate Poirier told  NanaimoNewsNOW the honour is very rewarding for the team which puts on the event every Sunday from Mother’s Day to Halloween. MORE

A record number of people are using food banks across the country, according to Food Bank Canada’s annual hunger count. The 2022 report found there were 1.46 million visits to a food bank in Canada in March, a 15-per-cent increase since 2021 and 35 per cent since 2019. MORE

They’re called respiratory illnesses now and Canadians are being urged to mask up to stay protected and do what they can to try not to get sick. Isaac Bogoch, infectious diseases specialist at Toronto General Hospital, said although masks aren’t perfect at a population level, they do reduce the risk of infection. Hospitals are stretched, especially the pediatric hospitals, and masking reduces the risk of transmission, he said. MORE

Why won’t the federal government of Canada question me?

I have launched a lawsuit with other Canadians that alleges that the Federal Government violated our rights and freedoms under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is an integral part of the country’s Constitution Act 1982. I am the only living first minister who helped craft that document. I and the other Canadians maintain that our rights to travel, protected under Section 6 of the Charter, were violated with the Federal imposition of mandatory travel restrictions. FULL COMMENTARY.

Canada's healthcare system needs a complete overhaul

The lack of leadership is appalling. Politicians are squabbling over authority and power while the public suffers. The solution is for the federal government to scrap the health transfer, rescind the Canada Health Act and transfer tax points to the provinces to cover the equivalent of 50% of current provincial health care costs. FULL COMMENTARY

Time to get that Grey Cup celebration spirit

Nov. 12, 2022

Guess what, the Grey Cup is coming up and that means Grey Cup parties. Lantzville’s Branch 257 Legion is having a Grey Cup Burger and Beer fundraiser Sunday, Nov 20, complete with door prizes and silent auction. Sports Chair Barry Ostrand is looking for donations of new and reasonably priced items for the silent auction. Donations can be dropped off at the branch during office and lounge hours. 

WOW, Michael McLellan of Nanaimo has been recognized by Community Living B.C. building more inclusive communities and leadership opportunities for people with disabilities. Michael was one of four CLBC Widening Our World award recipients. He is a founding member of the B.C. Self Advocacy Leadership Network, and a member of the Provincial Accessibility Committee, among other groups. Recently, he was appointed to the board of Inclusion Canada. MORE

The Vancouver Island Military Museum has a new display honouring First World War aces whose roots are from the Nanaimo region. Research into the pilots and their aircraft for the display was carried out by Brian McFadden, vice-president of the museum, and Angus Scully, writer, editor, historian, educator and author of 15 Canadian history textbooks for elementary and high schools. Scully is also editor of the VIMM’s newsletter on the board of directors. The most famous ace was Raymond Collishaw who shot down 60 enemy planes. Then there are Joseph Fall and Charlie Hickey. He went to high school in Nanaimo. FULL STORY.

Climate activists calling for an end to a gas pipeline project in northern British Columbia threw maple syrup on an Emily Carr painting and glued themselves to the wall at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Here’s an idea. Why not glue them to a jail cell? MORE

ATM stolen after truck smashes into liquor store

Nov. 12, 2022

An ATM machine was stolen during a vehicle crash into a south end liquor store early Friday morning. When police arrived they found the front window smashed and an in-store ATM missing. Police don’t have a vehicle description but they believe it would have sustained substantial damage due to the collision. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345. MORE

The Parksville Qualicum Beach News will be produced remotely after the offices and three other businesses were destroyed by a fire at the Parksville Heritage Centre earlier this week. Two restaurants – the British Bobby Restaurant and LaBelle Parksville – were also destroyed. News Publisher Teresa Bird said all of the electronics were destroyed but the staff of 10 will temporarily work remotely while new premises are located. MORE

We honoured our veterans on Friday, but there is a shocking reality, more than 100 homeless veterans live in Metro Vancouver, according to Homeless Hub. A recent study found almost 3,000 veterans across the country do not have a permanent home. The most common reason is the difficulty transitioning back to civilian life after military service. MORE


Veterans honoured at Remembrance Day ceremony in Nanaimo
VIU's learning journey engages students in ground-breaking research
Air quality advisory issued for Port Alberni
Security concerns continue for Dr. Bonnie Henry
More overnight closures bound for Highway 4 at Kennedy Hill as construction continues

Early Duke Point ferry sailing cancelled for Saturday

Keller elected to head Nanaimo Ladysmith school board

Greg Keller

Greg Keller is the new head of the Nanaimo Ladysmith  School Board with past chair Charlene McKay acclaimed as vice-chair. 
- Tanya Brzovic – business committee chair. Leanne Lee vice-chair. 
- Naomi Bailey – education committee chair. Chantelle Morvay vice chair.
- Lee will represent the district at the B.C. School Trustees Association table, with McKay as the alternate. MORE 

College support workers represented by CUPE have reached a tentative multi-employer agreement with B.C.’s Post-Secondary Employers’ Association, including Vancouver Island University. The three-year deal covers approximately 2,100 CUPE members working at five institutions. MORE

Salmon are returning to The Goldstream River on their way to their spawning grounds. Low river levels during the drought forced wild salmon to delay their spawning. In the Goldstream River, teams of volunteers from the Goldstream Hatchery count the salmon every year to track the stock and to provide the information to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This year, the number of salmon returning to the stream is looking strong, with 17,528 counted as of Wednesday, which be above average. MORE

Federal health officials urged Canadians to wear face masks indoors and continue following other public health precautions during a COVID-19 update on Thursday morning. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said multiple layers of personal protection will be necessary in the coming weeks to reduce the impact of a fall surge of influenza, RSV and COVID-19 cases on hospitals and vulnerable people. She said when used consistently and together, vaccine plus layers can provide protection against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. MORE

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in B.C. hospitals held steady for another week. Yesterday there were 290 confirmed cases in hospital, up four from last Thursday, and 26 cases in critical care, down one from the week prior, reported the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Unreliable ferry service deserves some solutions

Nov. 10, 2022

What the problem here? Mid-Island communities may well begin asking how much longer we will have to endure the unreliable ferry service that is plaguing us.

Granted, B.C. Ferries can not control the weather. Staffing issues and mechanical problems are something the corporation should be able to remedy.

That seldom was a problem over the years, it’s developed only recently, and finding out why should tell us how to solve the problems. For instance, are the ships in the fleet operating past their best-before time slot? Are they behind in fleet replacement?

What has caused the staffing issue to explode like it has? The pandemic was one of the problems where ferry workers were not allowed to work without vaccinations, and not report to work if they felt sick. Why are so many booking off now?

When we get in the vicinity of half a dozen service changes and cancellations a day we have to question what is going on here.

Walk-on ferry set to begin operating next summer

A long-touted foot passenger ferry between Nanaimo and Vancouver will start next summer. Rupesh Amin, CEO of Conqora Capital Partners, financial backers of the new Vancouver Island Ferry Company made the announcement at the Port of Nanaimo yesterday.

The foot-passenger-only ferry service is slated to start in summer 2023 with terminals at the Port of Nanaimo’s cruise ship terminal and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre in downtown Vancouver. MORE

Cold-weather shelter now open seven days a week

In from the cold. The cold weather shelter at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church on Machleary Street is open seven days a week from 8 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. The shelter opened on Monday with 20 of the 25 beds spoken for, says Nanaimo Family Life Association executive director Deborah Hollins. MORE 

Fire has destroyed the main building at the Parksville Heritage Centre. Fire rescue crews were called out around 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 9 to the Island Hwy. property after reports of a large fire, home to a number of businesses including a restaurant, thrift store, liquor store and animal hospital. MORE 

An honour guard of military cadets will stand for 24 hours around the downtown cenotaph leading up to Remembrance Day ceremonies. Capt. Dave Ruel, commanding officer of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets 205 Collishaw Squadron, said he hopes to have an honour guard made up from 205 Collishaw, the 136 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps AMPHION and 2422 Canadian Scottish Regiment Army Cadet Corps from 11 a.m. today to 11 a.m. Remembrance Day. MORE

Lantzville’s new council is in a hurry to get things done. They moved quickly last weekend wasting no time in establishing a tree protection bylaw. Council held two special meetings Nov. 3 on the second day in office. The first was closed to the public and at a second meeting the same evening where they passed first, second and third readings (Bylaw No. 331). They scheduled another meeting Saturday to adopt the bylaw. The bylaw prohibits the cutting of trees on parcels of land greater than 0.4 hectares (one acre), with exceptions for dangerous, diseased or pest-infested trees. MORE

Congratulations to the NDSS Islanders junior girls cross-country team for winning the B.C. High School Cross Country Championship last weekend. Nearly 1,000 high school athletes from across the province participated. NDSS was led by Brea Gillette, who finished ninth in the field. Ava Gauthier was the Islanders’ next finisher in 16:56, Amariah Zult in 17:02 and Elsa Romanik in 17:32. Other team members were Subin Yun, Samantha Williams and Grace Webber. See how the rest of the team fared HERE.

The BC Real Estate Association predicts home sales and prices in the province will continue to decline this year and into 2023. Residential sales on the Multiple Listing Service are expected to drop by 34.4 per cent in the remaining months of 2022, and another 11.4 per cent next year. Across British Columbia, the report says prospective buyers are sitting on the sidelines due to higher interest rates, a steep increase in the cost of living and overall economic uncertainty. This decreased demand is forecast to drive the average home price in the province down by five per cent in 2023. MORE

Missing person- 30-year-old Dominque Larocque

MISSING PERSON – The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for the public’s assistance in locating 30-year-old Dominque Larocque who has not been seen since October 20. Prior to that date, She had maintained regular contact with her family. For unknown reasons, she stopped communicating with them. For her to do this is out of character, and as a result, her family is concerned for her safety and well-being. MORE WITH PHOTO

We are losing our Charter rights one by one

In a shocking rebuke of all we have come to know and expect, the Alberta Court of Appeal has ruled that certain clinical decisions by doctors in this country do not fall under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. An Alberta woman was denied an organ transplant because she refused to take covid vaccine. FULL COMMENTARY

Ferry schedule disrupted again for Departure Bay route

The following Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay sailings on Tuesday have been cancelled to mechanical issues. The following modified schedule has been implemented for the remainder of the day. 

Cancelled Sailings:
1:00 pm leaving Departure Bay
3:45 pm departing Horseshoe Bay
5:55 pm leaving Departure Bay
8:45 pm leaving Departure Bay

Modified Schedule:
5:30 pm departing Horseshoe Bay 
7:40 pm leaving Departure Bay
9:40 pm departing Horseshoe Bay

For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter, or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

Gabriola director Craig takes over from Brown as RDN chair

RDN Musical Chairs - Gabriola Island director Vanessa Craig has been elected to chair the Nanaimo Regional District board. Previous chairman Tyler Brown, of the City was elected vice-chairman. That was an exchange of positions from the previous board. Craig creditted  her work as vice-chair allowed her to develop relationships and an understanding of what’s happening in different areas of the region. A tertiary hospital is at the top of the priority list, she said. MORE

Firefighters are getting additional health coverage. The B.C. government has amended the Firefighters’ Occupational Disease Regulation under the Workers Compensation Act (WCA) and added pancreatic and thyroid cancer to the list of cancers and heart diseases that firefighters are at increased risk of developing. The amendments ensure workers who become ill or injured on the job face fewer barriers to accessing workers’ compensation benefits and resources.MORE

Real estate prices in Nanaimo were down across the board in October. Single family home sales were down, but those on the market are selling faster. Average sale price in October was  $909,062, up 23% from 12 months ago. Single family unit sales volume is down 30% – 49 single family homes sold in October. Average days on market decreased by 9% to 20 days. If you ant to know more about the market, see John Cooper’s FULL REPORT HERE

B.C. Ferries has made schedule adjustments to the Gabriola Island route. The changes are in response to what has been learned operationally after the first few months of two-ship service, in addition to input from the community. 

  • Added sailings from Nanaimo at 4:35 pm and Gabriola at 5:05 pm - Saturdays only
  • Removal of the 6:35 am sailing from Nanaimo - Seven days a week
  • Removal of the 7:05 am sailing from Gabriola - Saturdays only. MORE

Registration is under way for the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank 2022 Christmas hampers. It’s open to anyone: all they need is one piece of identification per family and sign up online or over the phone. Director of development Abby Sauchuk said “It’s definitely the busy season. We have a lot of people who come and they only need the help at Christmas, then we also have our regular clients who come as well. It’s great, we get lots of volunteers that come out and we try to pump as much food out into the community as we possibly can this time of year.” MORE

Ferry schedule disrupted for third day in a row

BC Ferries has cancelled multiple sailings for the third day in a row due to weather and mechanical problems.

The following Queen of Oak Bay sailings have been cancelled for Wednesday, November 9, as the vessel will provide supplementary service for the Queen of Surrey which is having mechanical difficulty. 

Cancelled Sailings Wednesday, Nov. 9:
6:15 am departing Horseshoe Bay 
8:25 am departing Departure Bay
10:40 am departing Horseshoe Bay 
1:00 pm departing Departure Bay
3:45 pm departing Horseshoe Bay 
5:55 pm departing Departure Bay

Sailings of the Queen of Cowichan will continue to provide service on this route with some modified departure times. 

For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter, or call us toll free at 1-888-223-3779.

Nanaimo wins bid to host senior games in 2025

Nanaimo will host the 55+ B.C. Games in 2025 with up to 3,500 participants from across the province. The winning bid was submitted by the City and Tourism Nanaimo, supported by Snuneymuxw, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools and many local sports organizations. The Games will take place in mid-September of 2025 and a $6.5 million economic benefit is anticpated as a result of the games. Nanaimo last hosted the games in 2007. MORE

Veterans and military ride free on ferries and transit

Nov. 8, 2022

Veterans and active military members will ride free on BC Ferries and the BC Transit system on Remembrance Day.  All you have to do is present official Canadian military identification or travel in uniform. And ferries is extending free rides for seniors on Remembrance Day with the usual identification. Seniors travel free from Monday through Thursday, and that is extended to Remembrance Day. MORE

On that note, if you’re a veteran and need to get your ears lowered, Dave Lawrence of That 50’s Barbershop is again offering free haircuts for veterans this week. He started doing that a couple of years ago and told CHEK News he hadn’t realized how much of an impact a free haircut would have on people. MORE

It's official now, city council was sworn in last night and is ready to serve for the next four years. The top seven vote getters were also appointed to the Nanaimo Regional District Board, with Hillary Eastmore named as an alternate director.

On average, nearly six people die each day of toxic drug use in British Columbia. The BC Coroners Service reports that’s about 184 deaths per month and 4,419 during the past two years. A reported 171 deaths from illicit drug use in September put the province on track to surpass 2,000 for a second consecutive year. BC Coroners Service says that is about 5.7 deaths per day. FULL STORY

Nominations are open for the 2023 Nanaimo Culture Awards which recognize outstanding organizations, groups and individuals in the arts and culture fields. Deadline for nominations is Friday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. This is your opportunity to recognize people and groups who have made significant contributions to making Nanaimo a culturally vibrant city. There are three categories; recipients will be recognized at a celebration in April 2023:
Excellence in Culture
Honour in Culture
Emerging Cultural Leader (under 30 years of age) MORE

Life Captured is a collection of photographs taken by Harbour City Photography Club members in conjunction with Shaw TV. This slideshow is viewable on Shaw's Nanaimo and Parksville community TV channels and on YouTube. Enjoy the latest show at your convenience on YOUTUBE.

UPDATE: RCMP report that a 37-year Nanaimo man, who was reported missing on Nov. 1 has been located safe and sound. "We thank the public for their efforts in locating this individual. People go missing for variety of reasons. Regardless why, we are committed to doing what we can to find them, and that often depends on how actively we engage with the public. For your collective and continued efforts, thank-you", said R/Cst Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.  MORE

Guess who is on U.S. postage stamps. The US Postal Service is featuring 20 endangered species on its 2023 stamps and a Vancouver Island marmot is one of the species chosen. Though none of the marmots have been to the U.S., they are still listed as protected under the Endangered Species Act. MORE

If you plan on travelling to Port Alberni later this month, the Kennedy Hill section of Highway 4 will be closed overnight from Nov. 17 to 19 between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. This will allow the final cantilever girders and deck panels to be installed. Plan ahead and follow construction signs and directions from traffic control personnel. For the most up-to-date information on road conditions, check:

All ferry sailings to and from Departure Bay cancelled

Nov. 7, 2022

All ferry sailings between Nanaimo and West Vancouver today have been cancelled due to rough seas. B.C. Ferries issued a service notice advising that it was cancelling all sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay for the rest of the day due to weather conditions. Ferries noted on social media that the current sea state and high winds have made sailing from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay today unsafe.  For the most up-to-date sailing and departure information, follow @BCFerries on Twitter, or call 1-888-223-3779.

Environment Canada has issued special weather statements advising of the “potential for heavy accumulating snow” during the day and tonight on East Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo. Environment Canada noted that it may issue a snowfall warning and advises motorists to be prepared for sudden changes in driving conditions including travel delays and loss of visibility. Disclaimer, if it doesn't snow, blame Environment Canada. MORE 

The Monarchy’s ship has sailed. When B.C. Ferries said goodbye to the Queen upon her death they also bid adieu to the monarchy completely. They not only removed the Queen’s portrait from ships, they also said they will not replace them with pictures of King Charles, all in the name of reconciliation with indigenous relations. Jack Knox in the Times Colonist.

Modern-day tree huggers. More than 3,500 residents cashed in on the city’s discount for trees. Property owners can register online to get a $25 voucher to buy a tree with a maximum value of $90 from Green Thumb. The program has been popular over its five years with vouchers selling out in 30 minutes. MORE

Nov. 7

Hydro crews work around the clock to restore power

Nov. 6, 2022

B.C. Hydro crews worked throughout the night to restore power to customers in the mid-Island. The majority of the outages were expect to be restored by last night. Customers on the Gulf Islands, including Thetis Island, Mudge Island, Galiano Island, and Mayne Island, as well as in some areas in Sooke were warned they should prepare expected to be without power overnight. Additional crews will arrive this morning.

Get a close up look at the salmon spawn. The Nanaimo River Hatchery is holding its Spawning Day fundraiser today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2775 Rugby Rd. located behind the Cassidy Rest Stop. You’ll see thousands of mature Chum salmon returning up the river. Hatchery manager Brian Banks says Chum have been returning since the latest rain. It’s a great spot to see the Chum, there’ are a lot of Salmon spawning right behind the hatchery. Admission is by donation. MORE

There’s nothing like smashing a bunch of Halloween pumpkins as 1,500 people showed up Saturday for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre’s fundraising event. VMAC Air Innovated and Alair Homes provided the air cannons at Meadow Creek Community Park, near East Wellington fire hall.  The pumpkin mash will be put to good use as animal feed. MORE

A Nanaimo business is changing gears after 40 years as Midland Tools under goes a major transition. Owner Tony Wright is selling off the tools inventory to make way for Midland to expand its tarp store on the same site early next year. Midland Tools will close at the end of December to make way for the Tarp Zone. The staff will remain on and continue working at the location throughout the transition and beyond. MORE

Bravo to Danielle Smith for standing up to Ottawa

Rex Murphy and I see the world and country in much the same way. And we both hail from the Country’s easternmost Province. He is a national treasure when it comes to articulating the concerns of Canadians about the governance of this place. In one of his latest essays in the National Post he comes out in support of Danielle Smith, as I have also recently done. She is a breath of fresh, badly-needed democratic air. And standing up for the Constitution especially the Division of Powers, this is after all what Canada is substantially about – a Confederation, not a unitary state. FULL COMMENTARY.

November 10, 2022

Clarifying division of power between Ottawa and provinces

Brian Peckford has penned an article that should be required reading for many of us who do not understand the implications of federal incursions and intrusions into provincial jurisdiction. The federal government is not superior to the provincial governments. It is not Canada’s primary government. Depending on the subject matter, jurisdiction is divided between the federal and provincial governments. Full comment

Thousands without power after overnight wind storm

Nov. 5, 2022

And then the lights went out. Hydro reported power outages for more than 27,000 customers in more than 35 incidents in Nanaimo last night. As well, 7,300 properties in Parksville and 4,500 in Qualicum Beach and thousands of other in rural areas lost power. There are outages affecting 2,800 customers in Cedar and Gabriola Island. It began shortly after 8:30 p.m. last night from strong winds moving through the area.

The wind also resulted in some Gabriola ferry sailings being cancelled. 

The Nanaimo River Hatchery is holding its Spawning Day fundraiser on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 2775 Rugby Rd. located behind the Cassidy Rest Stop. You’ll see thousands of mature Chum salmon returning up the river. Hatchery manager Brian Banks says Chum have been returning since the latest rain. It’s a great spot to see the Chum, there’ are a lot of Salmon spawning right behind the hatchery. Admission is by donation. MORE

Remembrance Day is next week ­– Friday, Nov. 11. The Vancouver Island Military Museum will play a pivotal role in the ceremonies. The Museum publishes a quarterly newsletter, and we share it here for your information. CLICK HERE.

City of Nanaimo Public Works staff and contractors will start cleaning the City's stormwater catch basins on Monday, Nov. 7. The program will focus on cleaning catch basins along Nanaimo's busiest roadways. Since this work involves large equipment, please slow down, approach with caution and obey the directions of traffic control persons. Work will take place for four weeks and will wrap up on Dec. 2. CITY PAGE

Nanaimo teachers president rejects tentative agreement

Nov. 4, 2022

The Nanaimo District Teachers Association president isn’t buying a tentative agreement between the provincial government and BC Teachers Federation. The BCTF advised locals to approve the deal. NDTA president Jeremy Inscho is giving it a thumbs down. “We’ve got students with violent behaviours. We have teachers and other education workers who have to wear Kevlar sleeves in order to protect themselves from being bitten, scratched – this is a frequent occurrence.” There are teachers on call who are walking out in the middle of the day because the situation is just not safe, either physically or emotionally for them, he added. MORE

Nanaimo taxi operators may get competition by the end of November. Uride plans to operate here by the end of the month. It  has dozens of drivers already signed on and more completing final checks and requirements. MORE

The Japanese government has recognized VIU as a bronze level-certified institution in Cooking Skills for Japanese Cuisine in Foreign Countries. The certification will be part of the second year curriculum of the Culinary Arts program at VIU and will teach basic Japanese techniques for students who are interested in working in Japanese restaurants. A delegation from Japan was at the Nanaimo campus on Thursday. MORE

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is selling its Canadian retail business to a U.S. private equity firm for US $400 million plus a deferred consideration. Lowe’s Canadian arm is based in Quebec, and operates or services around 450 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores including Lowe’s, RONA, Reno-Depot and Dick’s Lumber. The deal will establish Lowe’s Canada and RONA as a standalone Canadian company. MORE

UPDATE: Last week I told you the story of Carolyn Scott who is undergoing treatment for leukemia in Vancouver. A friend has started a GoFundMe page to help Carolyn with all the challenges that come with having to live close to treatment in Vancouver and still having all her obligations here are home. Here’s an update on how her friends are pitching in and how you can help get the fund closer to the goal. Check it out HERE

Everything seems to be a crisis nowadays

Nov. 4, 2022

As a writer I observe words and language more than most people. We seem to have a penchant for adopting specific words to suit our agenda at any time. The latest word that creeps up in almost any dialogue now is “crisis”. We have a health care crisis, a housing crisis, a drug use crisis, a climate crisis, and on and on. But don’t fret, soon we’ll have a new buzz word and there will be no more crises, or is it crisises?


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Believe it or not, snow in Nanoose sends cars off the road

Nov. 3, 2022

Oceanside RCMP responded to two single-vehicle accidents due to snow and rain early yesterday morning. The same road conditions could be on their way to our area by the weekend. Approximately two inches of snow fell on the roadway and a significant amount of rain resulted in pooling water in the Nanoose Bay flats area. The same weather could be on its way to our area by the weekend. No life-threatening injuries were reported and both vehicles needed to be towed. One of the incidents involved an RCMP vehicle going off the road. MORE

On that note, another rain storm is expected to hit us tonight and into  and last into Friday. Canada predicts eastern Vancouver Island could see between 10 to 30 millimetres of rain. But that will still not be enough to wash out the drought as some rivers will likely remain well below what is normally seen at this time of year. The Campbell River and Puntledge River systems will likely remain below critical levels for fish habitat. As of the last provincial update on Oct. 27, east Vancouver Island was still listed as being in a Stage 5 drought. MORE

Drug users are being encouraged to get their drugs tested for safety at 437 Wesley St. Overdoses are on the rise among opioid and stimulant users in the Central Island. They face increased risk, so Island Health is trying to help make drug use safer. Immediate drug checking is available Thursdays and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and drug samples can be dropped off for checking daily from 6 a.m. to noon. The site’s overdose prevention service is also open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. MORE

Ladysmith is lighting up again as the Festival of Lights returns Nov. 24, but there are some changes in the making. The parade will have fewer entries because it had become unwieldy. Being a volunteer-driven event for more than 30 years is amazing and speaks highly of the folks in that community. MORE

Not buying what they are selling. Children in Northern Health and the Interior Health region are not lining up for COVID-19 vaccines. Their vaccination rates remain the lowest in the province as new data from the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) shows their vaccination rates trail the provincial and national averages. Only 32 per cent of children ages five to 11 in Northern Health and 39 per cent in Interior Health have had one dose of the vaccine. MORE

An interesting note from one of our readers. He wonders how many of the chronic complainers in our community actually voted. Good question.

First recommendation of my Magna Carta becomes a reality

Nov. 2, 2022

A National Citizens inquiry is born, a first step in restoring our democracy with many more to establish. It is now up to the citizens of Canada, the people, to determine just what happened this past two years as it relates to the 14 Governments of Canada response to the so-called pandemic. Were all the draconian lockdowns and mandates really necessary? What happened to independent science and reason?  Were all these cruel measures Constitutional? Hon. Preston Manning is announcing in Ottawad today a citizen-led national inquiry to investigate and give citizens a chance to be heard.  Go to for all the details and get involved. FULL PRESENTATION

There will be no Santa Claus parade in Nanaimo this year

Nov. 2, 2022

There will be no early visit from Santa this year, but he’s coming to Nanaimo for sure on Christmas Eve. The annual Santa Claus parade in downtown Nanaimo has been unable to find a sponsor so that’s been shelved. The annual event is very labor intensive, requiring a lot of hours. It’s the same story in Vancouver where they also have been unable to line up a sponsor for the big event.

Nanaimo’s new city council will be inaugurated on Monday at 7 p.m. and it’s open to the public. It’s at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. An invitation from Mayor Leonard Krog says, “you have all helped elect this new Council and it would be wonderful to have you all there”. 

The Mid-Island is getting 167 child care spaces as part of the $10-a-day child care program, operated by BGC Central Vancouver Island. Most of the spaces will be based out of the Chase River facility, while their Fifth Street centre in Nanaimo and Ladysmith Child and Family Centre are also included. Executive director Karen Love said parents will now have an extra few hundred dollars and still get the same quality child care. MORE 

Heavy rain and strong winds are on the way for much of Vancouver Island starting Thursday. Environment Canada issued a special weather statement warning that up to 70 millimetres of rain could fall in areas between Victoria, Nanaimo, Courtenay and Campbell River, B.C. Southeasterly winds of 40 to 60 km/h are forecast, with gusts expected to reach 80 km/h, according to the weather office. The wind and rain are expected to intensify Thursday evening and into Friday morning before tapering off on Friday afternoon.

While Surrey struggles with it’s policing controversy, Esquimalt is looking into options for policing. A consulting firm has been hired to make recommendations. Esquimalt council voted in August not to renew the policing framework agreement with Victoria which expires on Dec. 31, 2023. Perivale + Taylor Consulting has a $140,000 budget to come up with one or more options for police service delivery models. MORE

Experienced teachers' may pass $100,000 pay threshold

Nov. 1, 2022

Experienced teachers will earn more than $100,000 a year under the tentative contract agreement between the B.C. Teachers' Federation and the province. BCTF President Clint Johnston recommends members accept the contract that offers significant salary gains and other important benefits. He said it will take teachers from near the lowest-paid in Canada into the top tier. The annual pay for teachers on the high end of the salary grid will be $10,000 to $13,500 more per year, by the end of the three-year term.  MORE

Drought conditions have eased only slightly after several days of heavy rain on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. The online drought map shows the area is down to Level 4 since being at the most severe Level 5 earlier last month. MORE

Bars and pubs in the province will be allowed to extend their hours during the FIFA World Cup between Nov. 20 and Dec. 18, but there will be no booze during the extra time. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said liquor primary establishments will have the option to be open beyond their licensed operating hours – with no alcohol served. The World Cup is being held in Qatar, and with the 10-hour time difference, many of the matches are scheduled late at night or early in the morning. MORE

40 years in Nanaimo has been time well spent

Oct. 31, 2022

Forty years ago today, my wife and I with four kids, and all our earthly belongings boarded the Queen of Alberni at Horseshoe Bay on one of the most important chapters of our lives. We became Nanaimoites. The kids are over 50 years old now, and have all left the nest – a property manager, assistant professor of anesthesiology, school teacher and office manager.

That’s half of my life, and have things ever changed. Nanaimo’s population was just under 50,000 in 1982 and now we’re more than double that. And when I turned in the Budget rental truck I was shocked that the gasoline fill-up was more than 50 cents a litre. Many more things have changed over those years, it would take a book to chronicle all of them.

As a journalist for the Daily Free Press and later the News Bulletin, I had my finger on the pulse of this community, if it was happening I knew about it.

As I reminisce about those four decades, it was the people I met who stand out, and naming them would read like a phone book. It’s risky to start naming some because I’m sure to miss some. The people who were leaders in our community stand out. 

For instance, at the top of the list has to be Frank Ney – mayor, pirate, entrepreneur and marketer par excellence. As a reporter covering weekend events you could be sure Frank would be there whether it was a birthday party, wedding anniversary or business event.

It may surprise some people, but I spent a lot of time with Dave Stupich, former member of Parliament and MLA. We were on opposite sides of the political fence but always found common ground. I spent the day of his final election with him, going to the polls and later watching the results come in at his private office in the Dunsmuir Building. It was the end of an era.

There were other memorable ones like mayors Graeme Roberts and Gary Korpan. Another individual I’ve always had time for Leonard Krog as an MLA and now mayor. . . and most important, a genuine friend.

Over the years, the political left has labelled me as a righty, while at the same time, right wingers called me a lefty. Now that’s walking a fine line.

There’s so much I love about my four decades here and the opportunity to participate where I could. I have been privileged to work with volunteers who have served over those 40 years on those organizations to give Nanaimo such a solid foundation. It’s the organizations and the people who are making Nanaimo great. Any accomplishments have been because of them.

St. John Ambulance is front and centre where over a decade I participated with the Nanaimo branch executive, rising to the level of Officer of the Order of St. John and earning a citation from Queen Elizabeth. And we raised $1.2 million for a new building. It was the volunteers who made the difference. It was an honour to serve as president, director on the provincial board and president of the St. John Foundation of B.C. and Yukon.

Six years as a city councillor from 2005 to 2011 cannot be matched, and as a director of the Regional District for part of that time. And the Nanaimo Port Authority, 2012-2015.

The most satisfying accomplishment was as co-chairman of the Safer Nanaimo Working Group, with Diane Brennan and later Fred Pattje, recognized with the Solicitor General’s award for the Best Community Safety Program in the province. The highlight was the creation of a housing strategy which resulted in about 140 units being built for homeless people in Nanaimo. 

The Nanaimo Hospital Board in the mid-1980s built the new emergency department and formed the Nanaimo Hospital Foundation. There were the great veterans at the Vancouver Island Military Museum and Coun. Loyd Sherry securing a permanent location and the Wall of Honour. 

I have always been dedicated to community safety and that led to the Community Policing Advisory Committee, Crime Stoppers, Citizens On Patrol, Bar Watch Program, the Nanaimo Addiction Foundation and the Mayor’s Crystal Meth Task Force.

Also the Chamber of Commerce, the B.C. Summer Games and the B.C. Disability Games in 2005, the Newcastle Island Pavilion Society and many more.

Those organizations and the literally hundreds of people are why I view Nanaimo as a great place to call home. I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to contribute with them. That’s 40 years well spent, and I don’t regret a minute, except for hours spent in ferry lineups. 


03.11.2022 18:12

Gloria J. Saunders

Well done Merv & Marg
Nanaimo is still a good place, but the powers that be have let it run to ruin. This is sad to see.

01.11.2022 16:04

Ron Hopper

i agree it is the volunteers in Nanaimo that make it such a wonderful place to live. I've lived all over B. C. and came back to Nanaimo to raise my kids and join the family business. Never any regret