Monday, March 31, 2008


Young Angler
Tries His Luck at Departure Bay

After a surprising snowfall at the end of last week, things returned to normal in Nanaimo over the weekend.
Once again, sunny skies and refreshing breezes were the order of the day. It is rumored that other parts of Canada still have snow!
I don't know if this young fella caught anything, but it is the fishin' not the catchin' that fishin' is all about, as any good fisherman will tell you.
Hope he put on the sunscreen!



New Tobacco Laws Promote
A Healthier BC

New regulations that restrict the promotion and sale of tobacco products, and ban smoking in indoor public spaces and workplaces take effect in British Columbia on March 31, Health Minister George Abbott announced today.

“These new regulations bring significant and positive change to B.C. and are a great step toward our goals of reducing tobacco use and the effects of second-hand smoke on British Columbians,” said Abbott. “We know that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke and by ensuring that public spaces and work places are smoke-free we are working to create the healthiest environment for all British Columbians and to reduce the impact of tobacco use on our health system.”

The new regulations fall under the Tobacco Control Act and ban:

  • Smoking in all indoor public spaces and work places, with exemptions made for the ceremonial use of tobacco by Aboriginal people;
  • Smoking within three metres of public and workplace doorways, open windows or air intakes;
  • Tobacco sales in public buildings including: hospitals and health facilities, universities and colleges, athletic and recreational facilities, and provincial government buildings; and
  • Display and promotion of tobacco products in all places where tobacco is sold that are accessible to youth under 19.

The new provincial regulations will establish a baseline that landlords, businesses, municipalities and health authorities can choose to exceed to fit the needs of their community, clients and population. Unless prohibited by municipal regulations, smoking will still be allowed on the outdoor patios of restaurants and bars, as long as that patio area is not substantially enclosed.

“These new regulations will do more to protect British Columbians from the deadly effects of second-hand smoke and that is great news for this province,” said Scott McDonald, executive director of the B.C. Lung Association. “Youth are particularly vulnerable, and making it more difficult for those under 19 to access tobacco products is a good step forward in protecting the respiratory health of our children.”

Enforcement officers, employed by the provincial health authorities, will be responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of the new tobacco regulations, and smokers or businesses who fail to comply with the smoke-free provision may be subject to a fine.

The new legislation supports the Province’s larger tobacco control strategy. This tobacco strategy aims to further reduce B.C.’s smoking rates and to improve the health of British Columbians. Recent initiatives of the tobacco control strategy include the September 2007 implementation of legislation that bans tobacco use in schools and on school grounds and the introduction of a provincewide policy that will see all health authority facilities in B.C. smoke-free by October 2008. Government also made a commitment in this year’s throne speech to implement legislation that will ban smoking in vehicles when children are present.

The Ministry of Health also funds the free smoking cessation programs and QuitNow by Phone, which are available, with translation services in 130 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all British Columbians.

For more information on tobacco control in B.C., please visit the Tobacco Control Program’s website at

High-quality audio clips of Abbott speaking about the new tobacco regulations are available to the media at


Friday, March 28, 2008


Nanaimo Gas Prices
Inch Toward $1.25

Once again Nanaimo seems to get the shaft when it comes to gas prices. This is not new and every time it happens everyone makes a noise, the prices go down a little and then everyone goes back to sleep.
The politicians say something should be done, the motoring public says something should be done, and the oil companies just keep on doing it!
Why can you pump gas in Toronto for 105.9, in Calgary for 106.9 and in Abbotsford for 109.9 while Nanaimo now is paying 122.9?
Duncan is still sitting at 115.9 and Comox is at the same. So why do the drivers in the Nanaimo area get such special treatment?
I think it is because we simply don't make enough noise about it.
Perhaps someone should organize a boycott of some kind and see if that doesn't bring some pressure to bear to lower the prices.
Remember the oil companies are ONLY interested in making as much money as they possibly can, and as long as they all increase their prices at the same time there is no true competition in the market place.
The answer? Buy oil stocks and a bicycle!


Thursday, March 27, 2008


Canada, B.C. Partner To Help
Unemployed Older Workers

NANAIMO – The first 12 projects funded through the Canada-British Columbia Agreement on Targeted Initiative for Older Workers (TIOW) will help older workers living in British Columbia retrain for new careers.

The projects were announced today by Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, on behalf of the
Honourable Monte Solberg, Federal Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, and Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon, on behalf of the Honourable Colin Hansen, B.C.’s Minister of Economic Development.

The governments of Canada and British Columbia are jointly awarding over $7.5 million to 12
organizations across the province to deliver community-based projects that will help an estimated 900 unemployed older workers, mostly from the forestry industry.

“The Government of Canada is committed to creating the best-educated, most skilled and most
flexible work force in the world, and that work force includes older workers,” said Lunney. “We cannot, and must not, overlook the experience of these workers who want to continue contributing to their communities, and to the Canadian economy.”

The Government of Canada, in its 2008 budget, announced new measures to assist older
workers, including a $90-million investment to extend the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers until March 2012. This is above the original $70-million investment the federal government made to launch this initiative in Budget 2006.
“With an estimated one million job openings in B.C. leading up to 2018, older worker who are interested in re-entering the workforce can be a key element in addressing the skills and labour shortage challenges our province is facing,” said Cantelon.

“These funds will allow service providers to help older
workers across B.C. upgrade their skills, benefit from job counselling and gain work experience.”
“This funding allows ETHOS and other service providers across B.C. to develop essential programs and projects that will help unemployed older workers find new positions and continue to be key contributors to the provincial economy,” said Theresa Mayoh, president of ETHOS Career Management Group, one of the project providers.

The TIOW is one of the deliverables of British Columbia’s WorkBC action plan, which sets out
ways to address skills shortages for the next five years and respond to longer-term labour market challenges. A key priority of the action plan is to develop the skills of existing workers. The TIOW focuses on workers in communities experiencing an economic transition, such as those in the forest sector who are affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and by the restructuring of this sector.

Comment: Someplace along the way it would seem many young people have not been taught any kind of good old fashioned work ethic. If you or someone you know is faced with hiring entry level employees, you know how challenging it is to work with this generation of people who seem to think the world owes them a living.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008



The four men who attempted to save James McAllister when his car plunged into the Millstone River will be honored for their bravery.

It is reported in the local press that Michael Anderson, Brent Blackmore, Glenn Watts and Shane Nicol will receive bravery awards from the Lifesaving Society at their 96th annual awards ceremony this Saturday in Vancouver.

The event recognizes BC residents for their bravery in water-related rescues. A total of 26 recipients will be honored at the ceremony.

The men braved freezing waters in January in a failed attempt to rescue James McAllister from his car before it sank into the river.

Constable Nicol points out that people need be mindful of the victim rather than the rescue effort.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano
May Be Contaminated with Salmonella

March 22, 2008 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano, a Honduran grower and packer, because these cantaloupes appear to be associated with a Salmonella Litchfield outbreak in the Unites States and Canada.

The affected cantaloupes are known to have been distributed by:

  • Federated Co-Op in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Western Ontario, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon;
  • Canada Safeway stores in the province of British Columbia only.

However, it is possible that other distributers or retailers may have received cantaloupes from Agropecuaria Montelibano. The CFIA is continuing its investigation.

Consumers who have recently purchased whole cantaloupe or in-store products containing pieces of fresh cantaloupe are advised to check with their place of purchase to determine if the fruit came from this specific grower and packer.

To date US and Canadian authorities have received reports of nine illnesses in Canada in five provinces and 50 illnesses in 16 states in the US. In Canada, illnesses have been reported in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick between January 19, 2008 and February 22, 2008.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with this bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. In young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, salmonellosis may cause serious and sometimes deadly infections. In otherwise healthy people, salmonellosis may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Long-term complications may include severe arthritis.

Federated Co-Op, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Canada Safeway Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, are voluntarily recalling the affected product from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

The CFIA recommends that consumers take the following steps to reduce the risk of contracting Salmonella from cantaloupes:

  • Purchase cantaloupes that are not bruised or damaged.
  • When you purchase cut fruits and vegetables like cantaloupe, be sure that they are properly refrigerated.
  • After purchase, refrigerate cantaloupes promptly.
  • Before and after handling cantaloupe wash your hands thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds, with hot water and soap.
  • Before cutting fresh cantaloupe, thoroughly wash and brush the whole cantaloupe with running water using a clean produce brush.
  • Do not leave cut cantaloupe at room temperature for longer than two hours.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Canada Safeway Limited at 1-800-SAFEWAY;
CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday except on Monday March 24, 2008).

For information on Salmonella, visit the Food Facts web page at
Food Safety Facts for Cantaloupe

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at



Takeover Date
For Harmac Uncertain
The local press reports that the actual takeover of Harmac Pulp Mill by Asia Pulp and Paper will not happen on April 4 as previously reported. It has been moved to the end of April at the earliest.

Bankruptcy courts in both the US and Canada approved the deal between Pope and Talbot and APP last February.
However logistical delays are the reason for the delay as the deal goes through all the regulatory and banking processes.

The delay of course is unsettling for the 500+ employees who have been dealing with an uncertain job future for sometime now.


Monday, March 24, 2008

ICBC Center Sold 98 Vehichles Without Proper Disclosure

ICBC Takes Action
ICBC's CEO Paul Taylor today announced the company is taking immediate action to address findings from an investigation that confirmed 98 vehicles from its Burnaby-based research and training facility have been sold without the proper designation and disclosure to buyers.

The investigation was announced last month in response to internal concerns that some vehicles repaired at the facility, which was established in 1988, were sold with a repair history that was incorrectly designated and disclosed to buyers. As a result, these customers had insufficient information when purchasing vehicles.

The internal investigation revealed that ICBC lacked clear and specific policies and procedures to govern the designation, repair and sale of vehicles from its research and training facility from Jan. 1, 1998 to present. As a result, 98 vehicles repaired at the facility were sold with incorrect designations and without adequate disclosure.

"I want to express my sincere apologies to all customers who were inconvenienced and purchased vehicles with incorrect designations", said Taylor. "This is a serious matter and we have taken immediate steps to correct the situation, including making things right with customers who purchased these vehicles."

ICBC has taken the following steps with customers who purchased vehicles without the proper vehicle repair history designation and disclosure:

  • ICBC has contacted all but two customers who have purchased these vehicles, and is either buying back these vehicles or having them inspected and re-designated for customers who choose to keep their vehicles.
  • All vehicles being bought back will not be permitted to be registered in the future and are being designated as dismantle only and being sold off for parts. Vehicles that sustained water damage will be crushed.

The investigation also revealed that:

  • Several employees also purchased rebuilt vehicles at industry auction where the vehicle history was incorrectly designated and disclosed. While the sale of vehicles to employees is a standard practice at some companies, ICBC has no policies in place to govern this process.
  • There is some evidence that the facility and staff time were used for non-business purposes such as repairing employee vehicles.

ICBC has also taken immediate action to amend company policy to stop the inappropriate designation of vehicles, and improve customer access to vehicle history information in the future. Actions include:

  • Effective immediately, the research and training facility has ceased repairing or designating vehicles for sale. Work at the facility will be strictly limited to research for training and education purposes.
  • Policies and procedures will be upgraded to ensure the proper designation and disclosure of vehicle history meets or exceeds current North American standards.
  • ICBC employees will not be permitted to purchase any salvage vehicles, either directly or indirectly.
  • Repair of personal vehicles will no longer be permitted under any circumstance. Employees face serious consequences for non-compliance, up to and including dismissal.
  • The Vehicle Identification Numbers of all written-off vehicles will be available shortly on so that individuals can confirm if a vehicle has been written-off as a loss by ICBC.
  • All current and future staff will be trained on the upgraded policies and procedures, and employees will face serious consequences for non-compliance, up to and including dismissal.

For legal and privacy reasons, ICBC is unable to comment on personnel matters related to the investigation other than to say that changes have been implemented in response to the findings.

ICBC has also launched a separate independent investigation, which is being conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, into the operations of this facility. The findings of that investigation will be made public and if additional issues are identified, further action will be taken.


Sunday, March 23, 2008


BC Ferries Fares
Increase On April 1

BC Ferries is reminding customers of adjustments to passenger and vehicle fares effective April 1, 2008.

Fares will increase by an average of 7.3 per cent on the three major routes connecting Vancouver Island to the Lower Mainland and an average of 4 per cent on the remaining routes in accordance with the price cap provisions set by the BC Ferry Commissioner in September 2007.

Rates for prepaid discounts on the minor routes will also increase April 1, 2008. In addition, as of April 16, 2008, customers presenting prepaid paper tickets that are either not stamped with a price or stamped with a price that is below the current fare will be required to pay any price difference at the ticket booth.

Northern route prices have already been set through September 30, 2008 in recognition of the planning requirements of northern tour operators. Fare increases are necessary due to the rising cost of fuel as well as operating and capital expenditures.

The cost of fuel remains an ongoing concern for BC Ferries. If world oil prices remain at the current historically high levels, BC Ferries expects a fuel surcharge will be automatically implemented by the fall.

Fares on both Nanaimo runs will be $43.00 for vehicles and $13.00 for passengers effective April 1/08. No, this is not a joke. Just 'dig a little deeper', and smile about it.

To view complete Nanaimo BC Ferry Sailing Schedules and current conditions at Nanaimo Ferry Terminals use this LINK.


Saturday, March 22, 2008


Hell's Angles Clubhouse
on Victoria Rd. Nanaimo

It is reported in the local press, that in an effort to protect the Hell's Angels clubhouse from vandalism the police were ordered to board up the signs and windows on the property.
Since they are in possession of the property, pending a trial at a later date, there is a respopnsibility to protect the property.
The Solicitor General will attempt to prove the property seized came from the proceeds of crime, and if successful the property would be forfeit to the province.

Comments: Who would be foolish enough to vandalize Hell's Angels property? A really foolish crook I would suggest. Secondly, what makes the province think they can 'prove' the Hells' Angels get their funds from crime? If it can be proven, why are criminal charges not brought?



New No Smoking Laws
Take Effect April 1

In it's continuing campaign to protect people from the perils of smoking the Province of BC's anti-smoking laws take effect April 1.

The new regulations will not allow people to smoke in indoor public spaces and that includes those expensive smoking rooms bar owners added a few years ago.
In addition smokers have to light up no closer than three metres from a doorway or window.

Common areas of apartments and hotels, such as halls and laundry rooms as well as transit shelters will also be off limits to smokers.

Comment: Not smoking of course is a great idea. However, whether this is going a little too far will remain to be seen. If smokers and bar owners for example are happy with a well ventilated smoking area, and you were to employ servers who also smoked; does government really have to butt into the lives of these people??


Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Campbell River, B.C. – Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced today that a fish harvester has been fined $1,800 and forfeited his vessel after pleading guilty to nine separate counts of the illegal sale of prawn, halibut and cod.

In 2000, Mr. Gerald Paquin of Campbell River began harvesting prawns in the Tahsis Inlet area, and he subsequently harvested and sold prawns, halibut and cod. Mr. Paquin fished under the authority of aboriginal communal fishing licences that did not authorize the sale of fish.

As part of their investigation, fishery officers conducted a series of inspections and surveillance operations. During the investigation, it was discovered that Paquin had started fishing using a 16-foot speed boat but eventually moved to a commercial size vessel powered by twin 150 horsepower engines complete with radar and crew members.

Recently in a Campbell River provincial court, Paquin appeared and pled guilty to nine separate counts of the illegal sale of prawn, halibut and cod and was fined $1,800. In addition, Paquin's vessel, 105 prawn traps and ground gear worth approximately $36,200 were seized and forfeited.

DFO acts to end illegal fishing activity. As part of this work, the Department is asking the general public for information on activities of this nature or any contravention of the Fisheries Act and Regulations. Anyone with information can call the toll-free violation reporting line at 1-800-465-4336.




Experience the convenience of a brand new product
from BC Ferries

Today, BC Ferries officially announced the launch of the BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card, a wallet-sized electronic payment card, similar to a gift or debit card that will offer travellers access to a host of benefits including greater flexibility, protection and value for their money.

The BC Ferries ExperienceTM card is designed for convenience. Customers will be able to load the card with dollars that can then be applied to the cost of ferry travel. This new method of payment is not only easy to use, but it will also give travellers access to reduced fares on all participating routes1 (see the attached schedule for the full list of participating routes). And there’s no need to worry about ever running out of funds when the Auto Load feature is set to automatically top up the card’s balance.

That’s not all. Designed to accommodate all kinds of customers, the BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card offers families, teams and other groups the flexibility to connect multiple cards on an account, to transfer money between them and to print a travel history report showing when and where the cards have been used within the BC Ferries system.

In addition to the travel history report and the Auto Load feature, customers will have the option of registering their cards to receive the added peace of mind of loss protection. In the event of a lost or stolen card, loss protection allows customers to identify their missing card by phone or in person, to freeze their card’s balance and to easily transfer the balance to a new card.

Customers travelling between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland will be able to load the BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card with Assured Loading Tickets (ALTs), which provide priority travel on BC Ferries’ major routes between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, Duke Point and Tsawwassen, and Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay.

These features will be available immediately. Over time, customers can expect the BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card to offer even more new and exciting products virtually anywhere BC Ferries travels.

(To access reduced fares, customers will be required to load a minimum amount of $40 for passenger-only reduced fares, and $75 for vehicle and passenger reduced fares.)

Finally, customers can rest easy knowing that their BC Ferries ExperienceTM Cards can be managed online at, by phone at 1-888- BCFERRY (1-888-223-3779) or in person at any BC Ferries ticket booth.

The BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card will be available to customers beginning March 19 on routes from Swartz Bay to Southern Gulf Islands and Crofton to Vesuvius. On March 26, the card will be available for use on all remaining Southern and Northern Gulf Island routes, as well as the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.

For more details about the BC Ferries ExperienceTM Card, visit

To view Nanaimo B.C. Ferry Schedules and check current conditions at Nanaimo Ferry Terminals use this LINK.



Additional charge for multiple drivers
of one vehicle is postponed

ICBC is responding to customer feedback by taking a phased approach to changes to the way rates are set for basic insurance.

In the spring of 2007 ICBC announced plans to charge high-risk drivers more. Two initiatives - the Driver Risk Premium and a $25 premium when other higher-risk drivers use a vehicle - were subsequently approved by the BC Utilities Commission, which regulates basic, compulsory insurance.

However due to input received from customers, ICBC will now take a phased approach to these rate design changes. It is clear from the feedback that ICBC needs to take more time to explain the factors which indicate higher risk for some customers, including the crash risk linked to multiple traffic infractions and the additional risk when several drivers use one vehicle.

ICBC remains committed to its long-term plan to move towards driver-based pricing. Drivers who are higher risk - including those who cause crashes and get traffic violations - will see their insurance costs increase. Most drivers will benefit as the additional premiums paid by high-risk drivers will help offset basic insurance rates for safer drivers.

The Driver Risk Premium is now being implemented in two phases. The first phase will see drivers with Criminal Code convictions (e.g. impaired driving) and one or more tickets for excessive speeding (more than 40 km over the speed limit), and drivers with two or more roadside suspensions pay more starting in 2009 based on their record starting January 1, 2008. Once fully phased in, the driver record scan will be for the past three years.

The second phase will expand to include three or more motor vehicle-related offences (over a three-year period) on a driver's record from January 2009 forward with additional charges going into effect in 2010.

The additional charge for other household members using the vehicle who have less experience and or a worse driving record will not be implemented on May 1, 2008 as previously scheduled while ICBC examines the best approach for moving forward.

The goal is for customers to understand driver-based pricing and to make individual choices that lead to safer driving and lower premiums. ICBC will use the additional time to communicate more about the move towards driver-based pricing and the role customers can play in keeping rates low and stable.

Further details on the Driver Risk Premium program.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Over the past several weeks I have been following the used car ads on several online classified sites. One of them is the KiJiJi classifieds for Nanaimo.
I have come across several ads offering car deals which are simply too good to be true. Of course that is how they get your interest.
I have followed up on several of them to see how they operate and this is what I have found.
They will offer you a car to be shipped after payment, which you can not view until purchased. They say the sale will go through eBay Motors and suggest this will somehow protect you from fraud. This is simply one big lie, once you have sent them your money via wire transfer to their bank account, you will find eBay can be of no help whatsoever.
So be warned, if it seems too good to be true, it most likely is, so don't let your greed get the best of you.
The above ad and picture is a current example of just such an ad. I have reported it to the site and am waiting to see what they will do about it.
I am also building a file of emails from these con artists which may or may not be of any use to local law enforcement.
In the meantime be very aware of any car deal online. Especially when asked to prepay for something you have not even seen.



BC Ferries will add more than 65 sailings on its major routes over Spring Break and the Easter long weekend.

The majority of the extra sailings will be added to the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which is the busiest route in the system. During this time, four vessels will service this route in order to accommodate increased numbers of travellers. Extra sailings are also scheduled on the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.

Thursday, March 20 is expected to be one of the busiest days of the holiday period on the Lower Mainland – Vancouver Island routes. To help customers with their travel planning, BC Ferries has added a new calendar to its website which shows historically busy days including the busiest sailing times each day for all major routes.

Travellers on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route are reminded that they will now have the opportunity to sail on BC Ferries’ newest ship, Coastal Renaissance. Sailing times for the new Coastal Renaissance are posted on our website.

In addition, travellers are reminded that they can take advantage of BC Ferries’ popular CoastSaver fares on all Tsawwassen – Duke Point sailings during the month of March. When travelling on a CoastSaver sailing, customers will save $15 per passenger vehicle and $5 per passenger. 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 during March.
For full schedule details and the CoastSaver sailings calendar, visit




VICTORIA – Following more than three years of extensive public consultations, two independent studies and input from federal and provincial health organizations, the Province has announced that construction of overhead lines for the Tsawwassen segment of the Vancouver Island Transmission Reinforcement (VITR) Project will move forward. This upgrade has been designed with the strictest health and safety measures and exceeds guidelines endorsed by the World Health Organization.

The VITR project will ensure a reliable supply of power for over 700,000 residents, social infrastructure and business services on Vancouver Island and the southern Gulf Islands.

The three-year process included more than 40 presentations, briefings and public open houses, 1,600 requests for information responded to, validation from Health Canada and input from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Fraser Valley Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority and First Nations.

The project will remove a total of 58 poles. The current 78 wooden poles will be replaced with 20 new steel poles at 18 locations along the existing right-of-way that have been in place for 50 years.

Of the 18 pole locations on the right-of-way, nine are residential, three are owned by BC Hydro and six are non-residential or public spaces. The two lines that now flank each side of the right-of-way will be removed and replaced by a single set of poles.

Construction on this project will not start before June 1, 2008, which will allow for a full pre-construction notification and survey process and ensure that information is made available to all residents. Government is willing to consider the option of purchasing homes of affected homeowners on the right-of-way if they desire.

The government commissioned two independent studies to review the various proposals that had been brought forward by the British Columbia Transmission Corporation (BCTC) and a community organization. The independent studies confirmed the results of the BCTC cost estimates.

The decision to move forward with the overhead line construction is consistent with the British Columbia Utilities Commission and is scheduled to be in service by October 2008.



Westbank, British Columbia, March 17, 2008 - Communities across British Columbia will benefit from more than $1 billion from the Gas Tax Fund (GTF) between 2010 and 2014, thanks to an agreement signed today by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). British Columbia is the first province to sign an extension of the Gas Tax Agreement.

The GTF supports environmentally sustainable local government infrastructure projects that lead to cleaner air, cleaner water, or reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

This historic signing will provide the largest-ever federal investment in B.C.'s local government infrastructure. The first phase of the GTF, operating from 2005 to 2010, provides $635.6 million to B.C. communities. The GTF is a component of Building Canada, the federal government's new long-term infrastructure plan.

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, signed the agreement on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, with Ida Chong, Minister of Community Services for B.C., and Susan Gimse, President of the UBCM. The agreement was signed at an event celebrating the first allocation of gas tax funding to B.C.'s newest municipalities: Westside, Barriere and Clearwater.

"The Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to provide cities and communities with a stable and predictable source of infrastructure funding," said Minister Day. "Today, we are recognizing the extension of the Gas Tax Fund until 2014 through this agreement with B.C. and UBCM. British Columbians can also be assured that, beyond 2014, the Gas Tax Fund will permanently provide a stable source of funding, as our government committed in Budget 2008."

The range of eligible projects funded through the GTF includes public transit, community energy, water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure improvements. Funding is also available for planning projects that contribute to the sustainability of communities and regions.

"This funding program has been a great success across B.C. for local governments to build infrastructure that supports the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air and water quality," said Minister Chong. "This extension will allow B.C.'s communities to delve deeper into these important infrastructure projects to support greener, healthier communities."

Gas Tax funds are delivered to municipalities in a way that provides them with the flexibility they need to address their infrastructure issues.

"The extension of the Gas Tax Fund provides B.C. local governments with substantial, long term funding for building sustainable communities," said President Gimse. "This is a significant step towards making the Gas Tax Fund permanent in B.C. and affirms the importance of Canada's expanding role in funding local government infrastructure."

Please visit for background information on the Canada – B.C. – UBCM Gas Tax Agreement.


Monday, March 17, 2008


Certain Pear Juices for Toddlers

May Contain Arsenic

OTTAWA, March 11, 2008 - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Loblaws Inc. are warning the public not to consume certain pear juices for toddlers because these products may be contaminated with arsenic.

The following products are affected by this recall:

Product UPC Size Lot Codes
President’s Choice Organics Pear Juice from Concentrate for Toddlers 0 60383 70935 8 1 L All
Beech Nut Pear Juice from concentrate with Vitamin C added 0 523842 8 128 mL 2009 FE 02

These products have been distributed across Canada.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products.

Arsenic is a toxic heavy metal that may be carcinogenic and may pose developmental risks to children.

Loblaws Inc., Brampton, Ontario, has voluntarily recalled the affected products from the marketplace. The CFIA is monitoring the effectiveness of the recall.

For more information, consumers and industry can call one of the following numbers:

Loblaws Customer Relations at 1-888-495-5111;

CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).

For information on receiving recalls by e-mail, or for other food safety facts, visit our web site at




It is reported in the local daily that "As a war words erupts between Retirement Concepts, which owns Nanaimo Seniors Village, and the NDP, the Vancouver Island Health Authority says that it took over providing assisted living services at NSV and two other Island facilities to provide consistency."

It is further reported that "
On Tuesday, as a result of VIHA taking over the assisted living unit, 11 staff at NSV were told they were being let go by Abbey Therapeutic Services. Blandford said that on Tuesday VIHA brought human resources staff to the facility to invite the staff to apply to work for health authority."

Full details available from this link to local daily coverage.



Five New Conservation Officers
To Increase Enforcement

Five new conservation officers are being hired to enhance the capacity of the Conservation Officer Service (COS) to participate in collaborative compliance projects with external partners, and engage in additional compliance activities throughout the province. These officers will be placed in Fort St. John, Golden, Vernon, Nanaimo and Surrey.

The Fort St. John field officer will increase compliance capacity in the area in relation to the oil and gas and mining sectors, the transport and storage of hazardous waste, and the Water Act and Integrated Pest Management Act. This officer will increase COS capacity to work more efficiently across the large geographic areas involved, identifying and working to ensure environmental compliance.

The ministry is placing a conservation officer in Golden, and creating a new operational zone, the North Kootenay. This will include the COS offices in Revelstoke, Invermere and Golden. The officer in Golden will serve as the zone supervisor. The creation of this zone will better serve the needs of the people of this geographic area.

The Vernon field officer will be added to the existing Vernon office to increase coverage of the Shuswap and Okanagan regions. This position will increase COS participation in an innovative multi-stakeholder partnership, involving all levels of government and various community stakeholders, with a focus on Shuswap Lake-specific issues. The new field officer will increase the capacity of the Conservation Officer Service and focus on issues important to the area, including grey water discharge, invasive fish species, species at risk, foreshore development and open burning smoke control.

The additional field officer in Nanaimo will address protection of freshwater habitat and riparian areas on Southern Vancouver Island. An integrated approach involving the public and all levels of government is being taken to ensure these important habitats are protected. The additional capacity will allow the service to support initiatives to sustain these habitats.

An additional field officer will be added to the Surrey office to increase capacity for compliance activities directed at the protection of human health and the environment, particularly in relation to the transportation, storage and treatment of hazardous wastes, the storage and use of pesticides, and improper disposal of commercial wastes.

Additionally, in early April, two full-time conservation officers currently stationed at the Surrey office will be redeployed to a new office in Maple Ridge. This move will improve service to communities located on the north side of the Fraser River, enabling conservation officers to respond to environmental and public safety issues in a more timely manner. The COS is currently finalizing arrangements for office space in the Maple Ridge municipal building, in the downtown core of Maple Ridge.

The process to staff the new positions is underway and expected to be completed by the end of March, resulting in a list of qualified candidates.

The ministry is also investing $1 million this year in the COS’ Commercial Environmental Investigations Unit (CEIU). The CEIU focuses on environmental compliance primarily related to commercial and industrial activities. The CEIU has eight senior investigators and a manager located in five key areas of the province – Prince George, Kamloops, Nelson, Surrey and Nanaimo – and became operational in February 2007.

Non-compliance with environmental requirements threaten human health and safety, and the province’s natural resources. Environment Minister Barry Penner encourages the public to report all poachers and polluters by calling the COS 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277), #RAPP (7277) on the TELUS Mobility Network, or by visiting the website at All tips are kept confidential.

The Ministry of Environment’s Quarterly Compliance and Enforcement Summaries can be viewed online at




The Ministry of Environment will be completing hazard tree mitigation work in MacMillan Provincial Park to protect public and worker safety along the park’s trail system.

Work will begin in mid-March. Due to the nature of the wildlife/danger tree treatment, public access in the park will be restricted while work is underway.

Nine trees will be treated to keep park visitors, operators and staff safe while on the trails. Seven trees are between 25 cm and 95 cm in diameter, and two trees between 100 cm and 120 cm. Treatment includes falling, topping or pruning of trees that have been assessed as hazardous by a certified wildlife/danger tree assessor. If left untreated, the ministry would be required to close the trails in the park

Ministry of Environment biologists and the ministry’s consultant biologists assessed the hazard trees for wildlife habitat values. Information collected indicates that ecological conditions within the park are sufficiently diverse to withstand long-term impacts from the hazard tree removals and modifications. Prior to the completion of the wildlife/danger tree treatments, each tree will again be assessed by a registered professional biologist to reduce the risk of wildlife impacts.

Topping of trees is the preferred option for managing hazardous trees in a park environment. Fallen trees and tops will be left on-site to contribute to the health of the forest ecosystem.

Ministry of Environment staff and professionals provided local stakeholders with an overview of the project during a recent field visit. Stakeholders included local chamber of commerce representatives and a representative from a non-government environmental organization.

Ministry staff continue to investigate proactive strategies to maintain wildlife trees that are hazardous to the public. The objective is to prolong the time a wildlife tree could stand in a safe manner, while allowing greater flexibility for managing the trail network.

An important role of MacMillan Provincial Park is the provision of educational opportunities through interpretation of its unique, old-growth forest ecosystem. The ministry is in the planning stages for a trail repair and improvement project to further protect the park’s ecological values. This includes foot bridge replacement, trail resurfacing and fencing.


Friday, March 14, 2008


Achievement Award to
'Community Pillar'

The Province of British Columbia announced today that Diana Johnston was awarded a Provincial Community Achievement Award.

Forty-five outstanding British Columbians were today named the recipients of the fifth annual BC Community Achievement Awards by Premier Gordon Campbell and Keith Mitchell, Chair of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation. An independent advisory council selects the recipients of the British Columbia Community Achievement Awards. The Community Achievement Awards celebrate B.C.'s spirit of excellence in the arts, humanities and community service.

According to Mayor Gary Korpan, “Diana Johnston is a pillar of the community. She has dedicated countless hours of her time to volunteer in our community and has made a lasting impact. Congratulations to Diana and thank you for all you have done and continue to do for the community.”

Larry McNabb, Councillor and Chair Parks, Recreation and Culture states that, “Diana never asks what the community can do for her but what she can do for the community. Diana has been the driving force behind many community events and initiatives. She is truly deserving of this provincial recognition and we were pleased to hear she was honoured.”

Diana Johnston is a Parks, Recreation and Culture Commissioner and was recognized for her exemplary service and contribution to the citizens of Nanaimo. Diana has committed herself to serving the community in her personal and professional life and ‘makes it happen’. Her dedication extends to volunteerism, local government, art, culture, and tourism. In addition to her volunteer efforts, Diana has worked in the area of Recreation Administration and Tourism and is a Distinguished Member of The Association of Tourism Professionals. Over the past twenty five (25) years, the impact of Diana’s leadership has been felt in Nanaimo. Her presence and commitment has touched the lives of many individuals and continues to touch the community as a whole. She is a true leader in every sense of the word and generates leadership qualities in others while being creative and rising to the occasion. Diana believes that volunteers can, and do, change the world and as a result of this belief, she has made it her life passion to volunteer.




British Columbia design students are being invited to compete to create a new logo for the government’s LiveSmart BC climate action programs, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.

“Our goal is to tap into the creative energy and talent of our young people to empower British Columbians to take action on climate change,” said Campbell. “LiveSmart BC will be an overarching, recognizable brand that will inspire the public to get involved in climate action and promote healthier, more eco-efficient ways of living.”

The winning logo design will receive a prize of $10,000 with four runners-up receiving prizes of $2,500 each. The challenge is to design a LiveSmart BC logo that is:

· Unique and inspirational.

· A public symbol of British Columbia’s commitment to sustainable growth and climate action.

· Inclusive of the brand name “LiveSmart BC.”

· Suitable for use on government websites, on resource and marketing materials, in print and animated forms, and in conjunction with government services and programs as well as partners and external stakeholders.

LiveSmart BC will be launched this spring and will reward smart choices that save energy, water, fuel, time and money,” said Campbell. “The new LiveSmart BC programs will help to contain urban sprawl and reward development that creates affordable housing, new green spaces and more people-friendly neighbourhoods.”

Entry Requirements

  • Entrants must be students, 19 or older and currently enrolled at a recognized post-secondary institution or design institute in British Columbia.
  • Design teams may include one or more persons (one entry per person).
  • Entrants must complete a submission form, including the institution they are attending and a brief description of how the design represents the LiveSmart BC brand.
  • The winning entrant(s) must agree to sign a waiver of rights before claiming the prize.
  • Deadline for submissions is April 28, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. PST

To learn more about the government’s commitment to sustainable growth and climate action, and to enter the contest, please visit:


Thursday, March 13, 2008



Residential landlords in the mid-Island area will have access to expert information and advice during a one-day workshop co-hosted by the Residential Tenancy Branch and the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC.

The workshop, held in Nanaimo, is suitable for all landlords, whether they manage one or 100 rental properties. Topics will include: choosing responsible tenants; a landlord’s rights and responsibilities; and protecting investments in a rental property.

Al Kemp, CEO of the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC (ROMS BC), will facilitate the interactive workshop along with staff from the Residential Tenancy Branch.

The Residential Tenancy Branch began partnering with ROMS BC last fall to educate landlords. Similar workshops have been held in the Okanagan.

ROMS BC is a non-profit organization supporting residential landlords through advice, assistance and education. ROMS BC has more than 1,800 members managing more than 36,000 rental units throughout B.C.

When: Wed., March 26 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Coast Bastion Inn Nanaimo

Landlords interested in participating in the workshop can register by phone at 1-888-330-6707 or online at The cost for each workshop is $79 for ROMS BC members, $99 for non-members.



As much as we all have our patience tested by bad drivers, it is not a good idea to provoke someone just because of their poor driving.
A man visiting from the Yukon found that out recently when he told someone who had been driving poorly what he thought. Apparently a passenger in the other vehicle took exception to what was said, and proceeded to smash windows in the Yukon visitors van, with a baseball bat.
In the process, and on the back swing, he also took out a window on the car in which he was riding. (Poetic justice?). This car was later caught by police and drug related material was found in the car. The two involved were arrested.
Local police report they deal with at least two cases of road rage weekly, with most people yelling or swearing at each other, with the occasional incident leading to physical violence.
The best advice if you see someone driving erratically is to note their license plate, and report them to police. It would also be wise to keep your distance and your opinion to yourself.



BC Ferries’ President and CEO, David L. Hahn issued a statement today in response to a Transportation Safety Board (TSB) report into the sinking of the Queen of the North on March 22, 2006.

“BC Ferries welcomes the public release of the TSB report and its conclusions, which are consistent with our own investigation released in March of 2007,” said Hahn. BC Ferries’ Divisional Inquiry concluded that the Queen of the North failed to make a required course change at Sainty Point, and that the vessel proceeded on a incorrect course for four nautical miles over 14 minutes until its grounding on Gil Island.

“It is unfortunate that after two years of investigation, the TSB was unable to determine what occurred on the bridge in the final 14 minutes leading up to the vessel striking Gil Island,” stated Hahn.

Since the March 2006 sinking of the Queen of the North, BC Ferries has taken significant safety actions including:
• Commissioned former B.C. Auditor General George L. Morfitt to conduct a
comprehensive safety review.
• Together with our Union, we’ve launched “SailSafe”, a program which builds on our current safety practices and reflects our common commitment to safety as an essential part of our business. This was a key recommendation of the Morfitt Safety Review.
• Implemented a new alcohol and drug policy that incorporates mandatory testing in
certain circumstances.
• Instituted a new bridge resource management training program for masters and deck officers. Over 250 employees have had the training to date.
• Instituted an engine room resource management training program. To date more than 80 senior engineers have been trained and another 120 will be trained in the next year.
• Implemented a new Voyage Data Recorder program --- 17 vessels now have VDR’s
installed and the remainder will be done by the end of this year.
• Implemented new sign off procedures to confirm that navigational watch officers have
been fully familiarized with any newly installed or modified bridge equipment before taking over navigational duties.
• Issued a fleet directive requiring water tight doors be always closed at sea. This has been
reinforced by management on ships and by internal inspections.
• Added two more navigational officers to each watch on our northern vessels, which exceeds Transport Canada requirements.
• Implemented a new reservations check-in policy for northern routes to ensure the
company has an accurate manifest of passengers on these long voyages.
• Increased the level of risk assessment and accident prevention and incident investigation
• Implemented lead auditor safety management training

• Introduced four new Safety Officer positions in the fleet.

• Increased safety training days from 9,000 to over 14,000 per year.

In addition to the above actions, BC Ferries will be reviewing the TSB’s final report in
detail with the BC Ferry and Marine Workers Union (BCFMWU) as part of our joint “SailSafe” program.

Customer and employee safety is the number one priority of BC Ferries. The final report of the Transportation Safety Board (March 12, 2008) may be viewed at and BC Ferries’ Divisional Inquiry (March 26, 2007) may be viewed at


The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigated this occurrence for the purpose of advancing transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

Marine Investigation Report
Striking and Subsequent Sinking
Passenger and Vehicle Ferry Queen of the North
Gil Island, Wright Sound, British Columbia
22 March 2006

Report Number M06W0052


At 2000 on 21 March 2006, the passenger and vehicle ferry Queen of the North departed Prince Rupert, British Columbia, for Port Hardy, British Columbia. On board were 59 passengers and 42 crew members. After entering Wright Sound from Grenville Channel, the vessel struck the northeast side of Gil Island at approximately 0021 on March 22. The vessel sustained extensive damage to its hull, lost its propulsion, and drifted for about 1 hour and 17 minutes before it sank in 430 m of water. Passengers and crew abandoned the vessel before it sank. Two passengers were unaccounted for after the abandonment and have since been declared dead.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


BC Ferries announced today that it will add more than 65 sailings on its major
routes over Spring Break and the Easter long weekend.
The majority of the extra sailings will be added to the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, which is the busiest route in the system. During this time, four vessels will service this route in order to accommodate increased numbers of travellers. Extra sailings are also scheduled on the Horseshoe Bay – Langdale route.

Thursday, March 20 is expected to be one of the busiest days of the holiday period on the
Lower Mainland – Vancouver Island routes. To help customers with their travel planning, BC Ferries has added a new calendar to its website which shows historically busy days including the busiest sailing times each day for all major routes.
Travellers on the Departure Bay – Horseshoe Bay route are reminded that they will now have the opportunity to sail on BC Ferries’ newest ship, Coastal Renaissance.

Sailing times for
the new Coastal Renaissance are posted on our website. In addition, travellers are reminded that they can take advantage of BC Ferries’ popular
CoastSaver fares on all Tsawwassen – Duke Point sailings during the month of March. When travelling on a CoastSaver sailing, customers will save $15 per passenger vehicle and $5 per passenger. 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 during March.

For full schedule details and the sailings calendar, visit this link for more details.