Friday, February 29, 2008

Port of Nanaimo Convention Center Gets More Provincial Funding


Premier Gordon Campbell was joined by Minister of Economic Development Colin Hansen and Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon today to announce $11 million in provincial funding to support Nanaimo’s vision of a green Port of Nanaimo Centre and a major expansion of the Nanaimo Airport.

“Our government shares Nanaimo’s vision to create a strong, diverse and growing community; and we are proud to form partnerships and work co-operatively to accomplish these important projects,” said Campbell. “Investing in a modern, green Port of Nanaimo Centre and an expanded airport will help build on Nanaimo’s growing role as a destination city, and create new economic opportunities and benefits for the residents of central Vancouver Island.”

The $5-million investment in the Port of Nanaimo Centre will support upgrades to “green” the facility, ensuring it meets Silver LEEDs standards. The upgrades will include a green roof, solar power generation, solar panel hot water heating, geothermal heating and cooling systems as well as plumbing fixtures and controls, lighting and carpets.

The Province is investing $6 million to help the Nanaimo Airport Expansion Project extend the runway by 480 metres to allow larger planes to land, and provide for new high-intensity runway lighting and improved navigational instruments to allow planes to land in inclement weather.

Nanaimo is seizing new opportunities to diversify and to grow,” said Hansen. “Together, the new, green Port of Nanaimo Centre and the expanded Nanaimo Airport are a catalyst that will spark new economic growth in the travel and tourism sectors here in the central Island.”

“This announcement opens the door wide to economic opportunity,” said Cantelon. “The greening of the Port of Nanaimo Conference Centre will brand Nanaimo as B.C.’s “green” city and be a magnet for those looking to see what the latest in green technology can do. The Airport expansion is vital to the entire mid-island region. This will expand the market reach of the new conference centre.”

The City of Nanaimo received $2 million from the Canada/BC Infrastructure Program to build the Vancouver Island Conference Centre portion of the Port of Nanaimo Centre. The City will also receive $5 million over five years from the Island Coastal Economic Trust. The Province previously provided $8.35 million to Nanaimo for the new Nanaimo Ice Centre, which was completed in 2006.

“The Province’s contributions to these two projects will help provide economic certainty as our city transforms itself to attract even more tourism and new business to Nanaimo,” said Nanaimo Mayor Gary Korpan. “Our partnerships with the Province, the Canada/BC Infrastructure Program and the Island Coastal Economic Trust have helped pave the way to a brighter, more sustainable future for our community.”

For more updated reports on the Port of Nanaimo Center visit this link.


Thursday, February 28, 2008


BC Ferries announced today that it is offering its popular CoastSaver fares on all sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point throughout the month of March. Customers will also have access to CoastSaver fares on the 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay every Sunday morning.

CoastSaver fares provide passengers with savings of up to 40% on designated sailings. During the month of March, customers will save $15 per passenger vehicle and $5 per individual passenger on more than 475 sailings.

“The CoastSaver program offers our customers a real choice when it comes to fares and sailing times,” said Dan Wong, Vice President of Corporate Relations. “Those who have the flexibility to adjust their travel plans can realize significant savings. This month, CoastSavers will feature our Tsawwassen – Duke Point run, a relaxing and scenic alternative route between the Lower Mainland and the mid-Island.”

Customers planning their Easter long weekend or Spring Break trips will find CoastSaver sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point particularly attractive, with fewer crowds and a more relaxed travel environment during the busy season.

For BC Ferry schedule information, visit this link for more detailed information.



While no official opening date is being announced for the new Ramada Inn on Terminal Ave. N. Nanaimo, it looks like it will be soon.

Tradesmen are obviously putting the finishing touches on landscaping and lot cleaning etc. Of course after the final trades people leave, there is the job of furnishing the rooms, hiring and training staff etc.

The sign out front says 'opening soon', which of course is not an official date, but an good educated guess would say that sometime in March they should be open for business.

Click this link for Latest Ramada Inn News and Booking Information.



Nanaimo area residents are indebted to the efforts of Nanaimo and Area Land Trust for it's work in securing the purchase of a 212 hectare parcel on the north shoulder of Mount Benson.
The NALT had to make use of a line of credit for the final $40,000 shortfall which they anticipate will be paid off with continued donations. They are also hopeful that two applications for grants could clear the debt as well.
Over 2000 individual donations were made over the past two years resulting in the NALT in being able to present the NRD with a cheque for $475,000 to secure the land purchase.
It will take at least a year to finalize the best way to manage this new parkland and determine the best way to make public use of it.
Kudos to the society members for their great efforts in providing a very valuable resource to Nanaimo and are residents.




You don't need to be an accomplished artist to participate in the annual Banner Festival which adds some pizazz to Nanaimo streets from May to October.
This years theme is to celebrate our provinces 150th anniversary. The focus will be on local history, events and places...all things Nanaimo.
The finished banners will be hung in the city's south end, downtown, Beban Park, Departure Bay beach and along the sea-wall.
If you would like to enter a banner submit an original design to the Festival's selection committee, and after approval you paint your banner on a scheduled date.
If you are interested you can download an entry form at, or pick up a form at either 150 Commercial St. or 900 Fifth St.
For more information please call 250-740-6350 or email:


Wednesday, February 27, 2008



British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) today released its third quarter results for fiscal 2007/08. The company reported a net loss of $7.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2007, compared to a net loss of $1.8 million in the same quarter last year. Net earnings before extraordinary gain for the nine-month period ended December 30, 2007 were $67.7 million, down from $82.0 million for the same period in the previous year.

Due to the seasonality of ferry travel, BC Ferries typically generates higher net earnings in the first and second quarters, which are subsequently reduced by net losses in the last two quarters of its fiscal year. The company utilizes the third and fourth quarters to perform upgrades, maintenance and refits and to undertake mandatory inspections on the majority of its vessels.

For the three months ended December 31, 2007, total revenue increased by $8.0 million to $136.5 million while total expenses increased $14.0 million to $144.3 million, compared to the same period last year. Revenues for the nine months ended December 31, 2007 increased $38.7 million to $516.5 million with expenses in the same period increasing $53.0 million to $448.8 million, compared to the nine months ended December 31, 2006.

Capital expenditures in the three months ended December 31, 2007 totalled $172.0 million and $251.9 million in the nine months ended December 31, 2007. During the third quarter ended December 31, 2007, $146.2 million was invested in BC Ferries’ three new Super C-class vessels, the Coastal Renaissance, Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Celebration.

“Taking possession of the Coastal Renaissance in December was a major milestone for BC Ferries as we start to see the results of our significant capital investments,” said BC Ferries’ President & CEO David L. Hahn. “The Super Cs are the centerpiece of our fleet revitalization program that will see 26 new ships in less than 15 years—the largest vessel replacement program in our company’s history.”

The Coastal Renaissance will enter service in March 2008 on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route, with the second and third Super Cs, the Coastal Inspiration and Coastal Celebration, entering service between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island in the summer and fall of 2008, respectively.

Capital expenditures for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2007 also included $32.0 million in terminal upgrades, including marine structures, building upgrades and equipment. Over the next five years, BC Ferries plans to invest $237 million in building and marine structures at its terminals.

“We’re undertaking significant upgrades at our terminals to improve the efficiency of our operations and our customers’ travel experience,” said Hahn. “Current projects include adding new ticket booths at Swartz Bay and Departure Bay, where we are also expanding the holding compound and adding a new retail building.”

BC Ferries continues to invest all of its retained earnings into its asset renewal program. As the capital projects are completed and come into service, amortization and financing costs will increase. The company expects this will cause a decrease in its future earnings in the near term.

BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at






This week, four WorkBC Job Fairs will give the people of southern Ontario the opportunity to meet face-to-face with more than 100 of B.C.’s top employers, who are looking to attract workers for countless jobs, announced Economic Development Minister Colin Hansen.

“With B.C.’s lifestyle, competitive tax rates, climate and surging economy, I know many of the people who attend a WorkBC Job Fair can find their dream job in British Columbia,” said Hansen. “Southern Ontario was a natural choice of location for these job fairs as it offers a high population density, new immigrants and a diversified, well-trained and educated labour force.”

From today through Feb. 29, more than 100 of B.C.’s high-profile, top employers will be represented in Kitchener-Waterloo, Windsor, Hamilton and Toronto in search of new employees. Employers taking part include BC Ferries, go2 (tourism human resources), the BC Construction Association, BC Hydro, WorkSafeBC, the BC Public Service Agency and many more major hotel, resort and restaurant chains, as well as the biggest health-care providers in the province.

These employers are looking for health-care workers and tradespeople, engineers and chefs, golf pros, teachers and electrical technicians, as well as managers, marine workers, housekeepers and machine operators. There are also positions for lab technicians, construction labourers, government workers and technologists and many more.

“The number of tourism and hospitality sector jobs in British Columbia is only expected to increase as we approach the 2010 Winter Games and beyond,” said Arlene Keis, go2 CEO. “The WorkBC Job Fair is a perfect opportunity to reach out to a significant number of potential workers in a market previously largely untapped by B.C. companies.”

With an estimated one million job openings in the province over the next 10 years and only 650,000 people currently in B.C.’s K-12 school system, 350,000 jobs will need to be filled by workers from outside British Columbia. Currently, the sectors most in need of workers are tourism and hospitality, retail and construction.

For more information on WorkBC Job Fairs, visit




It is reported in the local press, that the City of Nanaimo will be looking into the matter of legalizing rooming houses. At present rooming houses are not a legal form of housing within the city.
However, just like illegal suites they are allowed to exist even though they are not inspected, nor required to meet safety standards.
Of course, this could be a prime example of government involvement creating more problems than it solves. If 'safety' regulations become cost prohibitive then owners of such houses would simply have to close them, which would add to the already serious issue of homelessness in Nanaimo.
I would suggest that such homes only be required to meet the same standards as any single family dwelling. After all, if a family consists of mom, dad and ten kids, that home would not be required to be any 'safer' than the house next door occupied by a single person.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008



Building on the Government’s 2007 Economic Statement, the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today tabled a balanced, focused and prudent budget to strengthen Canada amidst global economic uncertainty. Budget 2008 continues reducing debt and taxes, focuses government spending, and provides additional support for sectors of the economy that are struggling in this period of uncertainty.

In fact, this year alone the Government is injecting $21 billion of stimulus into the Canadian economy. As a share of the economy, this is significantly greater than the stimulus package offered by the U.S.

“Our Government is meeting the challenge of global economic uncertainty with a plan that is real, a plan that is responsible, a plan that is working,” said Minister Flaherty. “In the weeks to come, Canadians will see $2.9 billion in retroactive personal tax relief that was announced in the fall. We didn’t wait, we acted and Canadians can see the results.”

Budget 2008 also provides the most important federally driven personal finance innovation since the introduction of the Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP): the Tax-Free Savings Account. This flexible, registered, general-purpose account will allow Canadians to watch their savings—including interest income, dividend payments and capital gains—grow tax-free.

“The Tax-Free Savings Account is the first of its kind in Canadian history,” said Minister Flaherty. “It will provide all Canadians with a powerful incentive to save. An RRSP is primarily intended for retirement, but the Tax-Free Savings Account is like an RRSP for everything else in your life.”

Budget 2008 also demonstrates responsible leadership by:

  • Reducing debt.
    Since taking office, the Government has reduced the federal debt by more than $37 billion, including $10.2 billion this fiscal year. The Government’s aggressive debt reduction has resulted in ongoing interest savings of $2 billion per year. Under the Tax Back Guarantee, the benefits of debt reduction are passed on to Canadians in the form of lower personal income taxes.
  • Strengthening Canada’s tax advantage.
    Since taking office, the Government has delivered almost $200 billion in tax relief over this and the next five years. Budget 2008 extends accelerated capital cost allowance treatment for the manufacturing and processing sector by three years on a declining basis—this will provide these businesses with an additional $1 billion in tax relief.
  • Investing in the country’s manufacturing heartland.
    In February 2008, Parliament passed the Government’s $1-billion Community Development Trust to support communities and workers. Budget 2008 builds on this investment by providing $250 million for an Automotive Innovation Fund to help Canada’s automotive sector adapt to the challenges of the future.
  • Investing in the priorities of Canadians.
    Budget 2008 is providing $400 million to hire 2,500 new front-line police officers over the next five years. Budget 2008 also supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and will improve the safety systems for food, consumer and health products.

“We have come to a fork in the road,” said Minister Flaherty. “Some would have us go down the path to higher spending, higher interest payments and higher taxes. That approach is misguided. Our Government is taking the path that requires focus, prudence and discipline.”

You can read the budget speech by clicking this link, 2008 Canadian Budget Speech.




People in the rest of Canada should not feel too badly for Nanaimo residents as they battle double digit temperatures and white blankets in their gardens!
In order to handle the extreme temperatures residents had to remove their coats and gloves yesterday and in a serious attempt to stay warm were required to actually work in their gardens.
Places like Winnipeg and Toronto should be thankful that freezing temperatures and snow falls have spared them from the fate of many Nanaimo residents who found they needed to change their sweat-drenched shirts after many hours of hard labour in the garden.

Tell me again, why Nanaimo is the best place in Canada to live.





The Province is proclaiming Feb. 27 as Anti-Bullying Day to support efforts to end bullying in schools and communities across the province, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

“Nobody likes a bully and we all have to take a stand to stop bullying,” said Campbell. “Anti-Bullying Day is a celebration of those who take action to stop bullies in our schools and around the province. It starts with all of us saying bullying is wrong and then standing up for those who become targets. We all benefit when everyone feels safe and secure in their schools, neighbourhoods and province."

Anti-Bullying Day highlights British Columbia’s commitment to a safe and inclusive province and is an opportunity to actively promote respectful and kind behaviour among citizens. It recognizes efforts to build communities that foster respect, fairness, equity and compassion, and to celebrate the actions of individuals, schools and communities to address bullying, harassment and intimidation.

Student safety is a top priority, and we know that when students feel safe and accepted among their peers, they do better at school,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “Anti-Bullying Day is another step towards uniting as a province to find tangible solutions so that all British Columbians can feel safe and achieve their best.”

Last spring, the Province passed legislation requiring all B.C. schools have codes of conduct for their students that meet provincial standards. This step fulfills a platform commitment to institute “zero tolerance” of bullying in B.C. schools. The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General are also updating the Focus on Bullying and Focus on Harassment and Intimidation guides, and a parent brochure will soon be in schools to help families better understand their shared role with schools in bullying prevention.

“The Province thanks CKNW and Christy Clark for helping to promote Anti-Bullying Day in B.C.,” said Campbell. “We encourage everyone to wear pink on Feb. 27 to show your opposition to bullying – I know I will.”

Anti-Bullying Day complements the Province’s beliefs that a healthy environment and educated populace are essential to healthy human development, and that a safe, humane society is the outcome of an enlightened, prosperous and caring community.




"The art of taxation is the ability to extract the maximum number of feathers from the goose, with the least amount of hissing".

This new carbon tax by the Provincial government is just another example of distracting the goose while a few more of the remaining feathers are being plucked!

How is putting more taxes on carbon based fuels actually going to reduce greenhouse gases? An example given was that the new tax would only cost you $20 per year if you drove a hybrid car as opposed to $68 if you drove a large pickup truck. Tell me, do you really think the guy driving the $50,000 truck is going to give it up in favour of a hybrid for $48 a year fuel saving? What a joke!

What governments on all levels seem to be missing, is that the old goose is just about out of feathers, in fact some of them don't have any left to give. What do I mean? If you took away Canadians credit cards, replaced 40 year mortgages with 20 year ones, most Canadians would see the impossibility of living off their after tax income right now, without adding any more taxes.

It does not matter what name you give the new tax, the goose is just about plucked. The only thing left is to throw it in the oven and cook it!

What will the carbon tax accomplish? It will allow governments to simply slip their hands a little deeper into an almost empty pocket, without anyone noticing.

Nanaimo Info Blog


Monday, February 25, 2008

Coastal Inspiration, the second of three new Super C-class vessels, stopped in Las Palmas, Canary Islands over the weekend for refuelling and is now en route across the Atlantic Ocean to Panama. The vessel is expected to arrive in Panama in approximately 10 days, depending on weather during the trans-Atlantic crossing. It should be in Panama on or about Feb. 28. The voyage is going extremely well according to the ship’s crew. BC Ferries looks forward to welcoming Coastal Inspiration home to B.C. in late March. The ship’s progress including course, position and speed can be viewed from a link on BC Ferries’ homepage at



ICBC has been helping improve road safety at high-crash locations in B.C. communities since its Road Improvement Program was launched in 1989. In 2007, ICBC invested approximately $8.9 million in funding for safety improvements to roads across the province. ICBC's Road Improvement Program works in partnership with municipalities and the provincial government to make roads safer. In 2007, ICBC helped fund approximately 300 projects and engineering studies in 73 communities across the province.

"Road improvements are recognized worldwide as one of the most effective ways to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians," said John Les, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "By making intersections and other high-crash locations safer, we are reducing crashes, preventing injuries, and saving lives," said Les.

Projects earmarked for road improvement investments are assessed to ensure they make B.C. roads safer for all drivers and translate into lower claims costs for ICBC and its customers. The most recent independent evaluation of ICBC-funded road improvements found a four-to-one return on investment over two years following a project's completion.

ICBC road safety investment concentrates on the systemic causes of crashes- drivers, roads and vehicles- and supports programs that are proven to prevent crashes and deliver the most significant claim savings benefits to its customers.

"The reality is, many of our roads were designed to standards existing in the 1950s or '60s," notes ICBC's Nicolas Jimenez, director of Road Safety. "New engineering standards such as dedicated left-turn bays, anti-skid treatments, roundabouts and traffic signal upgrades give us an opportunity to reduce crashes significantly. All ICBC-funded road improvement projects must achieve a return on investment. These savings are then passed onto our customers through low and stable insurance rates."

To find out more about projects in your community, go to




About 200 spectators gathered over the weekend at the Bungy Zone, south of Nanaimo, to witness 80 people get naked to raise money for this cause.
People came from as far away as New York and Wisconsin to witness what has become an annual event.
Last years event raised about $4,000 for the society and hopes this year to double that amount.
What originally was a clever publicity stunt has now evolved into this annual fundraiser. As witnessed by the low number of spectators the event hardly gets the press it once did. Perhaps people realize, once you see one naked person, you have pretty much seen them all!




It is reported that a private aircraft carrying the pilot and one passenger were forced to land in a field south of Duncan Sunday morning.

Apparently there were problems with the oil pressure on the plane which was enroute from Victoria to Nanaimo.
There was mininal damage and no injuries in the mishap.
This incident follows close on the heels of the near crash of a West Coast Air flight last Monday, as the pilot aborted his landing and clipped tree tops in his attempt to 'go around'.


Saturday, February 23, 2008



A West Coast Air pilot and his five passengers had a close call last Monday while attempting to land in Nanaimo harbour.
The incident which occurred last Monday was only reported in the local press today.
Apparently in an incident being reported as pilot error the aircraft sustained damage to its wing, wing struts, tail and floats as the pilot aborted his landing due to fog in the harbour.
When the pilot decided to abort the landing and 'go around' for a second attempt the plane clipped the tree tops causing anxious moments for all aboard.The pilot was able to safely land the plane in the harbour.
Company spokesman said the pilot who has over 18000 hours of flying experience has been let go. The damaged aircraft is being repaired and should be back in service soon.
Transport Canada is investigating the incident for possible regulatory infractions.
Float plane traffic in and out of Nanaimo harbour is a regular occurrence and incidents of any kind are very rare.




It is reported in the local press that a recent visit by two representatives of APP has left Harmac workers optimistic about the future of the pulp mill.
The Asia Pulp and Paper officials were not saying anything about the future of the aging mill which they officially take control of April 4. However, based on the nature of their questions local workers feel hopeful they plan to keep the mill in operation.
Some industry experts feel the local mill may be closed within a couple of years as it requires extensive upgrades to be more competitive in todays tough market. Others feel the fact APP also purchased a sawmill at Fort St. James is a positive sign the company would intend to use the wood chips at Harmac for pulp production.
The local mill employs over 500 people and has been a major part of the local economy for decades now. Closure of the mill would mean a loss of city taxes in the area of $4 million.


Friday, February 22, 2008



You are reminded to allow yourself some extra time getting on and off the ferry during the current construction at the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal.
Traffic down Brechin Rd. is still restricted to one lane and there is still no northbound traffic allowed on Brechin Rd. This traffic is still being routed along Stewart Ave. to the highway at Pearson Bridge.
So, slow down and give yourself some extra time if a ferry trip is part of your plans.
To check current sailings at the terminal click the nanaimo-info page here.



The clouds were co-operative over the Nanaimo early night skies for a seldom seen event, a full lunar eclispe.
It was seen on Wednesday evening about supper time and in the early stages was very visible.
This is a picture I took from my back porch using a hand held digital camera. It beat anything which was on television that night!


Thursday, February 21, 2008



Nanaimo firefighters were called out to three separate fires in Nanaimo's southend on Tuesday evening.
While none of the fires were serious they could very well have been if not responded to quickly.
All three fires were called in between 9:00 and 10:00 pm Tuesday evening. Police are now investigating the possibility a firebug started all three blazes.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008




A wide range of new measures to address climate change, promote greener choices, and encourage economic investment will allow British Columbia to meet the challenges of the future, Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced with the release of Balanced Budget 2008.

“This budget marks a turning point,” said Taylor. “It overturns the notion that you have to choose either a healthy environment or a strong economy. It will help keep British Columbia vibrant and growing, it takes a big step toward meeting the challenge of climate change, and it strengthens key public services like health care and education.”

To help reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2020, Balanced Budget 2008 includes a revenue-neutral carbon tax, provides $440 million for a one-time Climate Action Dividend, and over $1 billion for a broad range of climate action programs and tax incentives.

Effective July 1, 2008, subject to approval by the legislature, British Columbia will introduce a fully revenue-neutral carbon tax with built in protection for lower income British Columbians. The tax will begin at a low rate and increase gradually to give individuals and businesses time to adjust. It will apply to virtually all fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, propane, and home heating fuel – making it among the broadest and most comprehensive in the world.

Legislation will require a plan to be tabled in the legislature each year, showing how the revenue raised will be returned to businesses and individuals. None of the carbon tax revenue will be used for expenditure programs.

“The principle is simple,” said Taylor. “Tax carbon‑emitting fuels to discourage their use, and give the money back to people, back to businesses, so they have control. They can make their own choices about how the tax affects them. At the same time, by making greener choices more commercially viable, it will stimulate innovation and open up new economic opportunities across British Columbia.”

The carbon tax is forecast to generate approximately $1,849 million over three years.

This revenue will be returned to businesses and individuals through a new Climate Action Credit for persons with lower incomes ($395 million) and reductions to personal income tax rates ($784 million), the small business income tax rate ($255 million), and the general corporate income tax rate ($415 million).

In addition to the revenue-neutral tax reductions, every British Columbia resident will receive a one-time, $100 Climate Action Dividend to help people adopt greener lifestyles. At a total cost of $440 million, the dividend payments will be issued in June, before the new carbon tax takes effect. It is the government’s hope that British Columbians will apply the funds toward purchases that can help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and, by doing so, the amount of carbon tax they would otherwise pay.

The budget also provides, over four years, more than $1 billion to encourage energy efficiency, implement new regulatory requirements, undertake cutting-edge research and make low-carbon investments. These climate action initiatives include: new funding for home energy audits and retrofits; sales tax exemptions for ENERGY STAR appliances; up to $2,000 in reduced sales tax on the purchase of fuel efficient vehicles; a new biodiesel production incentive; an expanded venture capital program aimed at clean technology companies; and funding to reduce emissions at B.C.’s ports and commercial truck stops.

“While the economic forecast sees British Columbia continuing to outperform Canada and the U.S., weakening conditions south of the border and international uncertainty show how important it is to maintain a prudent approach,” said Taylor. “It’s also a reminder that we must always explore new ways to make B.C.’s economy more competitive, innovative, and diverse.”

Balanced Budget 2008 delivers $407 million in targeted tax reductions and $428 million in new investments to improve British Columbia’s competitiveness and build on our strengths.

Tax measures include: improvements to B.C.’s Film Tax Credits; lower provincial property tax rates on major industrial properties; replacing the financial institutions capital tax with a minimum tax; improvements stemming from the Provincial Sales Tax Review; and changes to the International Finance Act to expand the types of patents and activities eligible for tax refunds.

“This year, our province celebrates 150 years of growth and progress,” said Taylor. “As we look back on the legacies of the past, it reminds us that we all have a choice about how future generations will remember us. I hope we will be remembered as the generation that took action, that showed respect for the environment, who set the foundation for a strong economy, and built a legacy to be proud of.”




It’s Maple Sugar Time in Nanaimo again and this year the Festival’s cultural theme will celebrate Canada’s Aboriginal People, their Francophone flavours and their Maple Sugar Traditions with activities, high calibre performances, cultural exhibits and culinary delights, without forgetting the Festival’s signature trademark, Pure Maple Toffee on Snow!

New This Year!

The Festival Sugar Shack opens its doors on

Friday Feb. 22nd at 4pm until 9pm!

On-going events continue all day

Sat. Feb. 23 from 9am - 9pm

All weekend activities held at Nanaimo’s Beban Park

located at 2300 Bowen Rd in Nanaimo

Friday Feb. 22nd, 4pm - 9pm
Saturday Feb. 23rd, 9am - 9pm
Sunday Feb. 24th, 9am - 4pm

Admission by donation
(suggested donation of $2)


Monday, February 18, 2008






Public notice is hereby given pursuant to Sections 24 and 26 of the Community Charter that the City of Nanaimo proposes to provide assistance and transfer certain lands through agreements with Millennium Nanaimo Properties Ltd. and Suro Development Company (“the Developers”) under which the City has engaged the Developers to partner with the City in the development of the Port of Nanaimo Centre.

Under the Agreements, the City would provide assistance to the Developers in the form of:

(a) Transfer of lands legally described as PID 026-459-027, Lot 1, Section 1, Nanaimo District, and of the Bed of the Public Harbour of Nanaimo, Plan VIP79756 (the “hotel lands”) as a developable site to the Developers for $10.00 30 days after the Developers execute a construction agreement to build the hotel, and construction of municipal works and services on public lands to the boundary of the hotel lands. The estimated value of the hotel lands as appraised in November 2007 is $1,500,000.00.

In addition to the participation of the Developers in the Amended Partnering Agreement and construction of a hotel adjacent to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, the Developers will provide public access to a portion of the hotel lands to be secured by a statutory right of way in favour of the City. It is anticipated that the construction of the hotel will be completed in 2010.

(b) Transfer of lands legally described as PID 026-938-251, Lot 1, Section 1, Nanaimo District, Plan VIP82428 (the “foundry site lands”) to the Developers for $10.00 pursuant to an Agreement for Sale with the transfer to be 30 days following the satisfaction of the conditions precedent to the transfer or later in accordance with the Purchase Agreement (Foundry Lands). The estimated value of the foundry site lands as appraised in November 2007 is $8,000,000.00. In consideration of the transfer, the Developers will pay to the City a purchase price equal to the sum of $9,000,000 (Nine Million Dollars) less the costs of constructing the City’s share of a parking facility to provide 150 public parking spaces adjacent to Maffeo-Sutton Park if such parking is acquired by the City. The purchase price for the foundry site lands will be paid in six installments corresponding to stages of the construction of two residential buildings to be constructed on the foundry site lands with the fi nal installment to be paid at the end of the term of the Agreement for Sale, being completion of the second residential building or no later than 2015-DEC-31. Construction of the residential development on the foundry site lands is to commence by 2010-DEC-31.

(c) An amortization of the payment of approximately 40 percent of the Developers’ capital cost of constructing the parking spaces for use in connection with the development on the hotel lands to be paid by the Developers over the fi rst twenty (20) years of the Developers’ lease with the City. The value of such deferral is approximately $310,000.

A copy of the Amended Partnering Agreement (with amendments) and the proposed Purchase Agreements between the City and the Developers may be obtained during regular offi ce hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) at City Hall, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6.

Dated at Nanaimo, BC this 13th day of February, 2008.

Editors comment: Can anyone tell me that kind of risk Suro Development is taking? What kind of risk is the City of Nanaimo aka taxpayers taking in this whole deal?


Friday, February 15, 2008



The Nanaimo SPCA Shelter on Labieux Road has been the site of an unusual event. While the rest of Nanaimo has seen the usual winter rains, it has been raining cats and dogs at the shelter!

At present there are about 85 cats and kittens and 20 dogs and puppies in need of a loving home. If you have been thinking about adding a cat or dog to your family, now is a great time to adopt. There are lots of different furry friends to choose from.

The shelter is located at 2200 Labieux Road and are open Tues. to Sat. 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm. They can be reached at 758-8444 during opening hours or you can leave a message.
The shelter does depend on donations to continue their work and any help you can offer is always appreciated. You can donate your time or money, both are gratefully received.
You can get Google map directions by clicking here.


Thursday, February 14, 2008



A recent number of daylight robberies in the Jinglepot Road area have residents on edge.
Apparently over 15 homes have fallen victim to this thief who knows which homes are vacant and seems to prefer between 9:00 am and noon to strike.
What is also troubling is the fact that many of the homes showed no signs of forced entry causing the RCMP to remind people to secure their homes when they go out.
Some residents have decided to install alarms also.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008



If you are going to or from Departure Bay ferry terminal, you would be wise to add extra time to allow for construction delays and major detours.
The area particularly affected is the Brechin Rd. and Stewart Ave. area where the intersection is being changed. This will take approximately six weeks and construction will be ongoing six days per week.
Brechin Rd. will be closed to northbound and westbound traffic for about two weeks. This means traffic coming from Departure Bay is being rerouted along Stewart Ave. to the Island Highway intersection at the Pearson bridge.
If you are traveling to the ferry terminal you can still come down Brechin Rd. but traffic will be reduced to one lane, so allow extra time.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Valentine’s Day CoastSaver promotion
delivers big savings on over 80 sailings
BC Ferries announced today that it is offering a special “Valentine’s Sale” with reduced fares to and from Vancouver Island.
Starting Thursday, February 14 through until Sunday, February 17, BC Ferries will offer its popular CoastSaver fares on select sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen and Duke Point. During this time, CoastSaver fares will be available on the following sailings:

Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route
Thurs., Feb 14 All Sailings
Fri., Feb 15 7:00am, 9:00am
Sat., Feb 16 7:00am, 9:00am
Sun., Feb. 17 7:00am, 9:00am

Tsawwassen – Duke Point route

Thurs., Feb 14 All Sailings
Fri., Feb 15 All Sailings
Sat., Feb 16 All Sailings
Sun., Feb. 17 All Sailings

The Sweetheart of a Deal promotion is BC Ferries’ way of celebrating Valentine’s Day by giving customers from both the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island a chance to enjoy a winter weekend getaway with big savings on fares. Customers will save $15 per passenger vehicle and $5 per individual passenger on more than 80 sailings.
Look for additional CoastSaver fares in March for the upcoming Spring Break period and Easter long weekend. For full details and the CoastSaver schedule, visit

For current BC Ferry Schedule information about Nanaimo Sailings follow this link for all Sailing Information.


Monday, February 11, 2008


MV Coastal Inspiration now en route to B.C.
Coastal Inspiration, the second of BC Ferries new Super C-class vessels, is on its way to British Columbia. The ship departed Flensburg, Germany yesterday, and is expected to arrive in late March.
Like its sister ship, Coastal Renaissance, Coastal Inspiration is wrapped in a massive
photographic invitation to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Coastal Inspiration will make the trans-Atlantic voyage via the Panama Canal in approximately 45 days, depending on weather.
The ship’s gigantic promotional images feature women’s snowboarding and men’s
curling from the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, as well as tourism photos of Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park on Vancouver Island and Kootenay National Park in south-western B.C.
Coastal Inspiration will stop for refuelling and supplies in Brunsbuettel, Germany;
Las Palmas, Canary Islands; Cristobal, Panama; and either Ensenada, Mexico or Los Angeles, California, before sailing up the west coast of North America to B.C. BC Ferries will launch a webpage next week for those who want to track the voyage of Coastal Inspiration.
Customers will be able to watch the ship’s progress including course,
position and speed from a link on BC Ferries’ homepage at The webpage that tracked the voyage of the first Super C-class vessel, Coastal Renaissance, was viewed over 178,000 times.
Coastal Inspiration is scheduled to arrive in Nanaimo in late March. The vessel will start service on the Duke Point – Tsawwassen route prior to the summer of 2008.





Sport Fest is the first event of its kind to bring together the whole community of Nanaimo to celebrate sport. Sport Fest is a fun festival, which celebrates sports and athletes. Kids can learn about new sports in a fun and interactive way.

Sport Fest takes place at Nanaimo's Beban Park primarily at Frank Crane Arena and the Breezeway between the Arena and Social Centre. In addition to our free skate, new in 2008 is a free swim at Beban Park Pool.

Events include land curling, land luge, wheelchair basketball, hockey goal shooting, free skating (join local mascots on the ice), free swimming, sport demos, and a special performance by a Vancouver Island magician!

For event information click here.


Saturday, February 09, 2008


It is reported in the local press that Toronto based First Capital Realty Inc. has added Longwood Station to it's list of Nanaimo retail holdings.

In addition to Longwood Station the company already owns Port Place Mall, Terminal Park Shopping Center and Woodgrove Shopping Mall off of Mary Ellen Dr. They are also negotiating with the City of Nanaimo for the 15,000 square feet of retail space in the new convention center, Port of Nanaimo Center, due to open this spring. If successful they will begin plans to lease the retail space to interested businesses. The Port of Nanaimo Center retail space is said to be worth about $4 million.

A company spokesman said they feel Nanaimo is a positive business environment and they expect a lot of growth in the next 10 - 15 years.


Friday, February 08, 2008



Canada's national police force invites all young people from across Canada to name ten German shepherd puppies born at the Police Dog Service Training Centre (PDSTC) in Innisfail, Alberta.

The deadline for entries is February 25, 2008. Winning names will be chosen by the PDSTC staff. Contest winners and prizes will be announced on April 2, 2008. A draw will determine the winning entry in the event of multiple submissions of the same name.

"In 2007, we received over 5 000 entries from boys and girls nationwide", said Inspector Lawrence Aimoe, the officer in charge of the Centre. "This contest provides a tremendous opportunity for Canadian children to take part in a police program that saves lives and protects their neighborhood. "

Young people are encouraged to be original and imaginative in finding names that will serve these puppies well in their career with Canada's national police force. When thinking of names, it is important to keep in mind that these are working police dogs, not pets.

Contest rules are simple:

  • Contestants can suggest only one name (one entry per person). The name may be for a male or a female pup.
  • The name must start with the letter "A".
  • The name must have no more than nine letters.
  • The name must be one or two syllables.
  • Contestants must be 16 years old or under.

To enter, contestants must print their name, age, address, telephone number and the suggested name for a puppy on a postcard and mail it to:

Attn: "Name the Puppy Contest"
Police Dog Service Training Centre
Box 6120
Innisfail AB T4G 1S8

The RCMP will accept more than one entry per household provided that each participant submit one name per postcard.

For school entries, individual student entries can be combined in one large envelope marked "School Entry". Each submission must be on an individual sheet of paper. Based on their creativity, three school classrooms will be selected to receive a special presentation by a dog handler in their region.

Although there can be only ten winners, names not selected for the contest will be considered for other puppies born during the year.

The PDSTC is home to the RCMP national police dog training program and is a proud member of "Depot" Division. As a result of the Centre's breeding program, there are more than 70 RCMP-breeding-program dogs within the force, as well as within other partner agencies. An additional 70 dogs are in service throughout North America and around the world.




Undercover tactics to 'blend in' are no longer reserved for drug and major crime busts, it is now being applied to the traffic division of the local RCMP.
That flagperson up ahead, may be a traffic cop in disguise or the backpack carrying biker may be on the look out for seat belt infractions. Traffic enforcement has been taken to a new level with the implimentation of stealth tactics to nail unsuspecting drivers who are breaking the law.
Recently in two school zones, the local RCMP were stationed inside a school bus complete with radar gun where they were able to nab 82 lawbreakers.
These infractions are really signs of careless drivers with bad habits who should wake up. After all, doing up a seat belt and slowing down in a school zone are not new driving concepts.
What's that up ahead? A junkie? A hooker? Could be, or it could be one of the Queens finest out to remind you to slow down and do up your seatbelt.


Thursday, February 07, 2008


It is reported in the local press that Asian Pulp and Paper is now the new owner of Harmac pulp mill. The sale which still has to be approved by the bankruptcy courts results from the only offer, Pope and Talbot received which includes it's mills in Oregon and MacKenzie BC.
It is estimated by some analysts that the aging mill could require a $100 million dollar upgrade to make it profitable. The Asian company paid $40 million for the MacKenzie mill and $50 million for the Oregon mill, and $10 million for Harmac. Whether the investment in Harmac will materialize is only speculation at this point but seems unlikely.
An industry analyst is quoted saying that those in the industry, familiar with Harmac expect it would operate for no more than another two years without a major investment in upgrades.

Editors comment: If the city of Nanaimo wants to go into another $100 million business, perhaps they should consider purchasing and upgrading Harmac. The financial return to the city perhaps could equal or exceed the benefit the new convention center offers.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Please be advised that on Monday, February 11th to Friday, February 15th Fournier Excavating Ltd, working for the City of Nanaimo, will be upgrading the sanitary sewer in your area. Front Street will be CLOSED at Esplanade and crews will be working 24 hours around the clock.

During this construction period traffic disruptions can be expected and detours may be in effect. Every effort will be made to keep local disruptions to a minimum. Construction signs will be posted and flagpersons will be on duty to assist with the traffic flow. Please exercise caution, obey all signage placed for your safety and follow the directions of the flagpersons on duty.

All businesses will remain open during this closure and all accesses to Port Place Centre will remain open.

The Nanaimo Regional Transit System buses will be detoured during this road closure.

Detour route information is posted at all bus stops affected by this detour or go to or for further transit detour route information.

Gabriola ferry and Sea Span traffic use Comox and Front Street for access during the road closure.

If you have any questions or require further information regarding this project the following people will be at the job site to assist you:

CITY OF NANAIMO OFFICE: (250) 756-5321
Contact: Dana Butcher CELL: (250) 755-9768

Contact: Duane Fournier CELL (250) 751-9759


Tuesday, February 05, 2008



Every new vehicle owner wants the best insurance possible to protect their investment. With this is mind, ICBC has introduced New Vehicle Replacement Plus, a unique insurance option that provides customers with ICBC’s best coverage for new vehicles.

With New Vehicle Replacement Plus, a vehicle will be written off when the damage exceeds 50 percent of its market value, and the owner gets to replace it with a brand-new version of their vehicle or receives the cash equivalent. Under a standard insurance policy a vehicle is written off when the damage is much closer to market value.

“Many new car owners don’t want a vehicle back that has had major repairs, so we are providing these customers with another option,” said Kellee Irwin, vice-president of Underwriting. “We’ve lowered the threshold for New Vehicle Replacement Plus customers to give them the peace of mind in knowing that if they get in a major crash they are still going to have a brand new vehicle.”

The other benefits of New Vehicle Replacement Plus are that there is no deductible for written-off vehicles and when a vehicle is repairable all repairs will be completed using new parts from the manufacturer. The customer also gets to choose the repair shop and all repairs are fully guaranteed when using an ICBC Accredited Collision Repairs facility as long as the customer owns the vehicle.

New Vehicle Replacement Plus is available to customers with a brand new vehicle (current or future model years only), and who currently have ICBC optional coverage with a minimum discount of 20 percent.

New Vehicle Replacement Plus represents another choice for ICBC customers wanting to protect their new vehicle. For customers with a vehicle that is three years old or newer, ICBC also offers Replacement Cost Coverage or Limited Depreciation coverage.

Replacement Cost Coverage offers many of the same benefits of New Vehicle Replacement Plus, including having a written-off vehicle replaced with a brand-new vehicle and having repairs completed using new parts from the manufacturer. The added benefits for New Vehicle Replacement Plus are the 50 percent write-off threshold and no deductible for written-off vehicles. Limited Depreciation coverage provides customers with compensation for the depreciation of their vehicle.

Customers are encouraged to visit an Autoplan broker to find the coverage that’s right for them or visit for more information.



The Province is contributing $19,704 in matching funding to the Nanaimo Daily News 2007 Raise-a-Reader campaign, Premier Gordon Campbell and Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon announced today.

“Through Raise-a-Reader more families are being exposed to the wonders of reading and the opportunities that go with it,” said Campbell. “It’s great to see the community of Nanaimo working so hard to promote literacy, so that others might have a chance at a better quality of life.”

The matching funding for the CanWest Raise-a-Reader campaign will go to Literacy Nanaimo, which has set up a committee to select local organizations to receive grants.

“Thanks to this fundraising campaign, local literacy organizations are going to receive nearly $40,000 to help those in our community who struggle with reading and writing,” said Cantelon. “I believe it is important that we provide supports to those who need assistance in developing or improving their skills. Not only did we raise a lot of money, but I had a great time participating in this event and encourage others to get involved in the future. I’m proud to say that we raised more money than most other similarly-sized communities this year and I look forward to doing so again next year. “

The Province has previously supported campaigns in Vancouver and Victoria, and this year, support was extended to inaugural CanWest campaigns in Kelowna, Nanaimo, Penticton, Port Alberni and Prince George. All proceeds raised from the 2007 campaign’s street sales stay in the community where they were collected, and are distributed to local literacy organizations to improve literacy for children and families across the province.

“Raise-a-Reader helps provide families with the gift of literacy,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “Developing an appreciation for reading at an early age will benefit a person right up through their adult years.”

“We were pleased to participate in our first ever Raise-a-Reader campaign,” said Wayne Kuss, sales and service director of the Nanaimo Daily News. “We couldn't have raised the money that we did without the help of 7-11 and the Assante Group. Thanks also to the B.C. government’s matching funding, Literacy Nanaimo will provide the gift of reading to those in need.”

The Province has been matching funds raised through the campaign since 2004, and to date has contributed over $2.4 million. B.C.’s funding this year will help to support more than 180 beneficiary organizations and help British Columbia continue to lead the country in Raise-a-Reader fundraising. Since its inception in Vancouver in 1997, the Raise-a-Reader campaign and its sponsors have made significant contributions to help improve literacy for children and families across the province.

Since 2001, the Province has announced over $131 million in new literacy programs in support of its goal of making British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. ReadNow BC is the Province’s comprehensive literacy action plan to help provide adults, Aboriginal people, K-12 students and preschoolers with the skills they need to succeed. ReadNow BC was introduced one year ago and has been supported with nearly $44.5 million in provincial funding. Visit the website at