Saturday, January 31, 2009

TD Bank Backs Down on Fees

TD To Hold Line on Fees for 2009
$35 Inactivity Fee Scrapped

It almost looked like a move of sheer desperation when TD Canada Trust announced it was introducing a $35 inactivity fee for unused lines of credit.

You heard right, they were going to charge people for NOT using their line of credit! After immediate and loud opposition to this cash grab by outraged customers, the bank has decided to be 'nice' guys and changed their mind on the fee.

They spin it to sound like they are doing everyone a favour, but you can bet there must be some seriously worried officials in bank land if they have to try and raise money this way.

The rates they charge for using their Visa credit card is almost criminal, and now they were wanting to charge for NOT using credit! Give me a break.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Things To Do In Nanaimo

The Nanaimo 'Things To Do' directory has over 160 different contacts for a wide range of interests and activities. You will find contact information for everything from Air Cadets to Windsurfing.
To view the Nanaimo Things To Do Directory use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Nanaimo Clippers vs Langely Chiefs
Fri. Jan. 30 at 7:30 PM

Frank Crane Arena

2300 Bowen Rd.


RCMP Guarantee Lower Mainland Postings

Join us today! Lower Mainland Postings Guaranteed!

Vancouver, BC: For the very first time in the police force’s history, the RCMP is proud to be kicking off its "Lower Mainland Postings Guaranteed" campaign. While many companies are laying off employees, the RCMP says: "We're hiring!".

As the RCMP works to meet its National recruiting goal of hiring 1,792 members a year for the next five years, a new Accelerated Application Process (AAP) has been implemented. This process is allowing the RCMP to put a limited number of potential applicants through the hiring process in 83 days. The traditional process can take an average 333 days.

In addition to the new Accelerated Application Process (AAP), the RCMP is now offering Lower Mainland residents this limited opportunity to receive a guarantee that they will be able to return after training to the Lower Mainland.

"The fast track process is designed to deliver recruits to the front line sooner and we can now guarantee that a candidate will be returning to a Lower Mainland community" says S/Sgt Doug Ferguson, Senior Recruiting NCO at Pacific Region Recruiting. "The candidates still have to meet all of our qualifications, but the processing has been streamlined. We have blended this Lower Mainland initiative with our already successful 83 day Accelerated Application Process".

Anyone interested in finding out how they can take advantage of this one time offer and become one of 32 new police officers policing our Lower Mainland Communities is invited to attend a special Career Presentation on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at the Justice Institute of British Columbia Lecture Theatre, 715 McBride Blvd, New Westminster, BC. A first presentation will be held at 9:00 am and a second one at 12:00 pm. Selected applicants will be able to attend RCMP training in 83 days and receive a $500.00/week allowance for 24 weeks (training, accommodation and meals are included) and as a three year Constable receive an annual salary of $75,657.00 plus benefits.

Media inquiries can be directed to Cst Annie Linteau, E Division Strategic Communication Section, (604)264-2929. Questions about this new recruiting initiative can be directed to Cst Debbie Hunwicks, RCMP Recruiting Unit, (604)264-3066.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Out With the Old

Spirit Square Improvements Require Sacrifice

Maffeo Sutton Park is undergoing 'improvements' as part of the Spirit Square upgrade jointly funded by the provincial government and local taxpayers to the tune of $1.8 million.

Of the total cost of $1.8 million, $500,000 comes by way of a provincial grant, which of course comes from the taxpayer.

The improvements will make the park more accessible and better suited for large special events. The work is to be complete before special events start in May.


Parks Open To Campers?

Pitch a Tent in Bowen Park?

Sound preposterous? A recent provincial court ruling has opened the door making camping in Victoria's parks quite legal. Since this is a provincial ruling, it would seem to apply to all of the province.

The court struck down a bylaw in Victoria which meant the homeless had to pack up their tents between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. A query has been sent to Nanaimo officials and their reply will be included in this post when received.

Perhaps recent civic candidate Brunie Brunie was ahead of her time? If you can camp in the parks, then why not on the City Hall lawn?


Knifepoint Robbery Dover Rd. Skatebowl

Youths Rob Male at Knife Point

Three youths were arrested Tues. night after the robbery of a male at knife point in the north end of Nanaimo.

The three males were arrested early last night after a report a male was robbed at knife point in the north end of Nanaimo.Police were called at 6:00 pm from a male reporting he was robbed near the City of Nanaimo skatebowl located at the north end of Dover Rd. The male told police one of the suspects held a small knife to his stomach and then other males rummaged through his vehicle then fled in another vehicle.

A decription of the suspect vehicle was obtained by police and it along with the suspects were located a short time later on Fifth St.Three young offenders ranging in ages from 14 to 17 were taken into custody and detained for questioning .

Two of the males were later turned over to their mothers without charges while a 17 year old male was held in custody and is expected to appear before a Nanaimo Provincial court judge today to face charges of robbery.


Tax Dollars At Work

How Government Spends Your Money

There are two current examples of local government spending YOUR tax dollars which will perhaps benefit Nanaimo, but also adds to the tax burden.

The first was the spending of $2,500,000 of provincial government money on the 'greening' of the new convention center. This was money a senior level of government made available with the caveat that it be used to make the PNC 'greener'.

Of course the money vanishes if it is not spent, so what are local officials to do? They of course get together and come up with a plan to spend the money on what would be questionable expenses from a purely economics viewpoint.

The changes to the PNC, which is not even one year old includes expenses which will not be paid back for 123 years with the energy savings these changes are said to achieve. It makes the expenses suspect and not likely a sound use of tax dollars.

So why spend the money this way? Well, the provincial government would not allow local officials to use the money to simply pay down the cost of the convention center and insisted it be used for the greening of the building. Obviously a 123 year payback is nothing to get excited about, but was the only way local government could get their hands on the provincial money.

Everyone seems to forget there is only ONE source of government funds, and that is you and me brother. Will governments EVER get the idea that they do not need to invent ways to spend our money?

I doubt it, they have been doing it this way for a great long time now, and seems part of the political and civil servant DNA. We spend ----- therefore we exist!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Statue to Return Downtown

Familiar Statue Can Return

Pirate Chips will be allowed to return their colorful pirate statue on Commercial Street provided it is secured but no longer tied to the tree.

Late last year local bylaw officers took exception to the statue saying it violated sign bylaws and ordered it's removal. City council has agreed with the return of the statue with the caveat that a new way to secure it is found.

Apparently being chained to the tree is no longer acceptable ( it worked for years ) so a new method has to be found to secure the statue.

If you have any good ideas I am sure Pirate Chips would be glad to hear from you.


Liberals Will Support Tory Budget

Ignatieff Will Support Tories With Amendment

The Globe and Mail reports that the Liberals will support the Tory budget which was presented yesterday.

They will however table an amendment which will require the government to provide stimulus update reports in March, June and again in December.

The press and average person on the street should be able to provide an update as easily as another army of civil servants but this sounds like the Liberals are doing something.

Time will tell whether this budget which seems to have a little something for everyone (emphasis on little) can actually turn things around in Canada, since the current economic mess is not isolated to our country.


Budget 2009 Canada's Economic Action Plan

Ottawa, January 27, 2009

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today tabled a comprehensive budget plan to stimulate economic growth, restore confidence and support Canadians and their families during a synchronized global recession.

"Budget 2009 is Canada’s economic action plan," said Minister Flaherty. "It builds on our position of strength. It provides temporary and effective economic stimulus to help Canadian families and businesses deal with short-term challenges. Our investments will build Canada’s long-term capacity, so that when the global recession eases, we emerge even stronger."

Canada’s Economic Action Plan will provide almost $30 billion in support to the Canadian economy this year. In total, this is equivalent to 1.9 per cent of our total economy.

The plan will stimulate the economy through:

Immediate Action to Build Infrastructure

Expanding and accelerating the recent historic federal investment in infrastructure with almost $12 billion in new infrastructure stimulus funding for roads, bridges, broadband internet access, electronic health records, laboratories and border crossings across the country. This will support economic growth and employment this year and next while also bolstering Canada’s long-run productive capacity.

Action to Reduce Taxes and Freeze EI Rates

Providing $20 billion in personal income tax relief that will benefit Canadians over 2008‑09 and the next five fiscal years as well as continued low Employment Insurance rates.

Action to Stimulate Housing Construction

Providing $7.8 billion to build quality housing, stimulate construction and enhance energy efficiency. Measures include a renovation tax credit providing an estimated 4.6 million Canadian families up to $1,350 each, funding for energy retrofits, investments for social housing to support low-income Canadians, seniors, persons with disabilities and Aboriginal Canadians, and low-cost loans to municipalities.

Action to Improve Access to Financing and Strengthen Canada’s Financial System

Providing up to $200 billion through the Extraordinary Financing Framework to improve access to financing for consumers and allow businesses to obtain the financing they need to invest, grow and create new jobs.

Canada’s Economic Action Plan will protect Canadians hit hardest by the global recession with:

Action to Help Canadians

Providing $8.3 billion for the Canada Skills and Transition Strategy, which includes extra support for Canadians most affected by the economic downturn, including enhancements to Employment Insurance and more funding for skills and training.

Action to Support Businesses and Communities

Protecting jobs and supporting sectoral adjustments during this extraordinary crisis with $7.5 billion in extra support for sectors, regions and communities. This includes targeted support for the auto, forestry and manufacturing sectors, as well as funding for clean energy.

When combined with the ongoing benefits of the tax reductions in the 2007 Economic Statement, the Economic Action Plan in this budget is estimated to boost real GDP by 2.5 per cent and create or maintain about 265,000 jobs by the end of 2010.

"We are not acting alone," said Minister Flaherty. "These actions fulfill Canada’s commitments to its global partners at the G20 leaders' summit to provide timely stimulus to domestic demand, while maintaining long-run fiscal sustainability.

"With this stimulus plan, Canada will emerge from this recession with a more modern and greener infrastructure, a more skilled labour force, lower taxes and a more competitive economy."


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Millennium Has Another 30 Days For Hotel Deal

Another 30 Days Before The Funeral

It is now clear that the City of Nanaimo is not in the drivers seat with this mishandled project.

The new City Council has decided to give Millennium yet another 30 day extension to come up with proof they can build the downtown hotel before they can seek another developer.

As a show of good faith, Millennium is required to transfer the hotel land back to the City by this Thursday which would eliminate any ensuing legal battle over this property. This land was sold to Millennium for $10 back when they were going to build the hotel.

Council and city staff have always assured that there would be no issues with the property should Millennium not follow through on the deal. However getting the land back could become a 'sticky wicket' if it were subject to a lien by Millennium or creditors of Millennium.

There is also the matter of $3,000,000 which the City paid to Millennium to manage the project which likely would take several years and thousands of dollars to recover, if indeed the money would ever be recovered.

Remember who was at the forefront of this project all along, assuring everyone that the interests of Nanaimo residents were well protected. They clearly entered into a deal which seems to have been written by Millennium which put Millennium into the drivers seat and leaves the taxpayer swinging in the breeze. We have spend $3,000,000, face the possibility of having to spend legal fees to recover the land and still have nothing to show for it.

Had this deal been scrapped last June we could well have found another developer who could deliver, instead here we are 8 months later with nothing to show for it. And we are still playing softball with Millennium.

It makes you wonder if the taxpayers got the best bang for the buck with the cost of the conference centre. Remember this was never a project thrown open to the bidding process, but was pretty much created by Millennium, developed by them and overseen by them. We know it cost $72 + million in the end, but does anyone know what it 'could' have cost had it been handled differently?


Ambulance Employees Want 30% Increase

Earning $35.75 Hour is Not Enough!

CUPE wants their members working in the ambulance service field to get a 30% wage increase this March to give them parity with Vancouver police and firefighters. They hope to gain public support for their demands and will probably take a strike vote in the next two weeks.

Editor's Comment:
It is time that members of the public service woke up to the current economic reality and consider themselves fortunate to have a job. Do you think it would be hard to fill these $35/hr jobs if you offered free training to unemployed forest workers?


WOW ..... 8 Babies Born ... Instant Family!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Throne Speech January 26

Speech from the Throne

26 January 2009
Ottawa, Ontario

Honourable Senators,
Members of the House of Commons,
Ladies and gentlemen,

In these uncertain times, when the world is threatened by a struggling economy, it is imperative that we work together, that we stand beside one another and that we strive for greater solidarity.

Today, in our democratic tradition, Canadians expect that their elected representatives will dedicate their efforts to ensure that Canada emerges stronger from this serious economic crisis.

Once again, the people’s representatives have gathered to consider the priorities of another parliamentary session.

Each Throne Speech is a milestone on the remarkable 142-year Canadian journey. Your predecessors, too, were summoned to this chamber at times of great crisis: as Canada struggled to claim her independence, in the shadow of war, during the depth of the Great Depression and at moments when great policy division tugged the very bonds of this union.

Today we meet at a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. The global credit crunch has dragged the world economy into a crisis whose pull we cannot escape. The nations of the world are grappling with challenges that Canada can address but not avoid.

The Government’s agenda and the priorities of Parliament must adapt in response to the deepening crisis. Old assumptions must be tested and old decisions must be rethought. The global economy has weakened since Canadians voted in the last general election. In fact, it has weakened further since Parliament met last month.

Our Government has listened to Canadians who are concerned about how the worldwide recession is affecting their jobs, their savings and their communities. Our Government has reached out to Canadians in all regions, in all communities and from all walks of life.

Our Government has consulted widely:

  • with those who work, those who invest, those who create jobs, those who build infrastructure and those who provide non-profit services;

  • with municipal, provincial and territorial governments, Aboriginal leaders and representatives of communities;

  • in fact, with everyone whose input might help chart a course through the present storm.

Our Government approached the dialogue in a spirit of open and non-partisan cooperation. There is no monopoly on good ideas because we face this crisis together. There can be no pride of authorship—only the satisfaction of identifying solutions that will work for all Canadians.

Acting on the constructive thoughts and suggestions that have been received, our Government will tomorrow present Canada’s economic stimulus plan. The plan will protect our economy from immediate threat, while making investments to promote long term growth.

The economic stimulus plan will be a plan of action.

  • Our Government is stimulating the economy, both through direct government action and by encouraging private expenditure.

  • Our Government is taking immediate action to build Canada through new investment in infrastructure.

  • Our Government is acting to protect the stability of our financial system.

  • Our Government is acting to ensure access to credit for businesses and consumers.

  • Our Government is acting to support Canadian industries in difficulty―including forestry, manufacturing, automotive, tourism, agriculture―and to protect the families and communities who depend on those jobs.

  • Our Government is acting to protect the vulnerable: the unemployed, lower-income Canadians, seniors, Aboriginal Canadians and others hit hardest by the global economic recession.
These actions will be targeted, they will inject immediate stimulus while promoting long-term growth and they will avoid a return to permanent deficits.

These actions will protect the jobs of today while readying our economy to create the jobs of tomorrow.

Canadians face a difficult year―perhaps several difficult years. In the face of such uncertainty, our Government has developed a clear and focused plan. Our Government will spend what is necessary to stimulate the economy, and invest what is necessary to protect our future prosperity.

As Canadians expect, the economy will be the focus of our Government’s actions and of the measures placed before Parliament during the coming year. In pursuing measures to support the economy, our Government will also attend to the other important priorities that it set out in the Speech from the Throne to open the 40th Parliament.

The present crisis is new, but the imperative of concerted action is a challenge to which Parliament has risen many times in our history. What will sustain us today will be the same strengths of character that have pulled Canada through critical times before: unity, determination and constancy of purpose.

Honourable Members of the Senate,

Members of the House of Commons:

As you unite in common effort and in common cause, may Divine Providence be your guide and inspiration.


Tories To Put $7 Billion into Public Works

Has New Council Made a Wish List?

With the announcements that the federal government is creating a new multi-billion dollar infrastructure Stimulus Fund, it would be hoped our new City council is making up our 'Wish List'.

This could be a great time to see some Federal dollars come to Nanaimo to fix our real infrastructure (not more convention centres) such as aging water and sewer lines.

I am sure we could find other good uses for such funds like bridge repairs, road repairs and increased water capacity for an ever growing city.

If you have some good ideas you would like to see Council put on a wish list, give your council member a call and make your suggestions.


Snowfall Warning For Nanaimo Issued Jan. 26

Dont' put your winter boots and snow shovels away just yet, if Environment Canada is right.

East Vancouver Island Issued at 4:16 AM PST MONDAY 26 JANUARY 20095



Vancouver Homeless Coming to Nanaimo ?

Are Vancouver Homeless
Being Sent to Nanaimo?

An article in the local daily raises an interesting possibility of the Vanvcouver police employing "quite an aggressive displacement" of homeless people in an effort to clean up that city in advance of the Olympics.

Insp. Steve McVarnock who is in charge of the Vernon detachment of the RCMP told council that other detachments around BC are also concerned about the homeless and transient criminals coming to their towns.

A Nanaimo RCMP spokesman says they have seen no evidence of an increase in the number of homeless in Nanaimo. There are of course new transients coming and going all the time which is not unusual but no sign of a spike in the number of homeless.

Editor's Comment: When Nanaimo has finished it's $40,000,000.00 homeless program I suspect the homeless will find Nanaimo all on their own. Like the popular movie of some time ago claimed "build it and they will come". Caring for the homeless could become a serious industry for Nanaimo.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Nanaimo Things To Do This Weekend

The Nanaimo 'Things To Do' directory has over 160 different contacts for a wide range of interests and activities. You will find contact information for everything from Air Cadets to Windsurfing.
To view the Nanaimo Things To Do Directory use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Western Edge Theatre Presents "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
Jan. 23, 24 & 25 Evenings & Matinees

Nanaimo Entertainment Centre 46 Nicol St. Nanaimo

For more information call 250-325-7777

Vancouver Island Short Film Festival
Jan. 23 & 24 7:00 PM

VIU Theatre 900 5th Street Nanaimo

For more information call 250-729-3947

Nanaimo Clippers vs Merritt Centennials
Fri. Jan. 23 at 7:30 PM

Frank Crane Arena

2300 Bowen Rd.


Back Up Your Alarm System For Best Protection

Is Your Business Really Protected?

Nanaimo RCMP are reporting that since last October crooks have been disabling alarm systems by cutting the phone lines coming into the business.

Apparently some alarm companies have not done a very good job letting their business customers know they can have their system 'backed up' to avoid this type of loss.

It is probably wise to see what your alarm company would charge to install and monitor this type of additional protection. So far this seems to only be an issue with business customers who are the target for thieves looking for cash, smokes and booze.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Debit Card Fraud Reported in Nanaimo


The local press is reporting there have been several incidents of debit card fraud at various Nanaimo banks.

Customers with TD Canada Trust and the Royal Bank have reported money being taken from their bank accounts after using their debit cards at "compromised" terminals.

Banks will reimburse you for funds stolen from your account but you need to exercise caution when using your debit or credit cards. Todays thieves have some pretty sophisticated equipment which can capture your card information including your pin number.


  • NEVER let your credit or debit card out of your sight. Make sure the clerk scans your card where you can see it.
  • NEVER tell anyone your PIN and cover your hand when you are entering it on a PIN pad.
  • ALWAYS carefully check your banking and credit card statements and report any unusual activity immediately!


GDP Expected to Rebound After Sharp Dive

Bank of Canada releases Monetary Policy Report Update

OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada today released its January Monetary Policy Report Update, which discusses current economic and financial trends in the context of Canada's inflation-control strategy.

In the Update, the Bank noted that the outlook for the global economy has deteriorated since the October Monetary Policy Report, with the intensifying financial crisis spilling over into real economic activity. Heightened uncertainty is undermining business and household confidence worldwide and further eroding domestic demand. Major advanced economies, including Canada's, are now in recession, and emerging-market economies are increasingly affected. Commodity prices – especially energy prices – have fallen as a result of substantially weaker global demand.

Stabilization of the global financial system is a precondition for economic recovery. To that end, governments and central banks are taking bold and concerted policy actions. There are signs that these extraordinary measures are starting to gain traction, although it will take some time for financial conditions to normalize. In addition, considerable monetary and fiscal policy stimulus is being provided worldwide.

The Update notes that Canadian exports are down sharply, and domestic demand is shrinking as a result of declines in real income, household wealth, and confidence. Canada's economy is projected to contract through mid-2009, with real GDP dropping by 1.2 per cent this year on an annual average basis. As policy actions begin to take hold in Canada and globally, and with support from the past depreciation of the Canadian dollar, real GDP is expected to rebound, growing by 3.8 per cent in 2010.

A wider output gap through 2009 and modest decreases in housing prices should cause core CPI inflation to ease, bottoming at 1.1 per cent in the fourth quarter. Total CPI inflation is expected to dip below zero for two quarters in 2009, reflecting year-on-year drops in energy prices. With inflation expectations well-anchored, total and core inflation should return to the 2 per cent target in the first half of 2011 as the economy returns to potential.

Global developments pose significant upside and downside risks to the inflation projection. On the upside, the global economy could be stronger, if global fiscal stimulus turns out to be more expansionary than expected, or if aggressive policy actions taken across major economies restore confidence more quickly than projected. On the downside, the global recession could be deeper and more protracted because financial conditions take longer to normalize. The Bank judges that the risks are roughly balanced.

Against this background, the Bank lowered its policy rate by 50 basis points on Tuesday to 1 per cent, bringing the cumulative monetary policy easing to 350 basis points since December 2007. Guided by Canada's inflation-targeting framework, the Bank will continue to monitor carefully economic and financial developments in judging to what extent further monetary stimulus will be required to achieve the 2 per cent target over the medium term. Low, stable, and predictable inflation is the best contribution monetary policy can make to long-term economic growth and financial stability.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nanaimo Thin Ice Warning!

The following rules should always be followed to ensure ice safety:

- Never assume the ice is safe.
- Never skate on an untested lake or pond.
- The only safe ice is at a rink.
- Never use ice for a shortcut.
- Never go out onto ice after an animal or toy.
- Protect your pets, keep them off the ice

For more information please contact Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture at 250 756 5200.


Kipp Wants To Stop Salary Increase Other Councillors Disagree

Councillor Kipp Wants to Stop Increase

It is reported today in the local daily that Councillor Jim Kipp would like to see himself and fellow Councillors decline the scheduled salary increase this year.

Kipp says that given the current city budget which will increase taxes by 5.3% while at the same time reducing services; Councillors should demonstrate their willingness to take a hit.

Since 2005 Nanaimo City Council has not set their own salaries but rahter adopted a policy which would see their increase determined by the average of 10 other, similar sized municipalities.

Councillor McNabb Thinks Increase Deserved

Councillor Larry McNabb is quoted as saying the raise is deserved and that if other Councillors do not wish to take the increase, they don't have to. He on the other hand expects his raise which he feels entitled to.

Currently City Councillors are paid $25,439 and the Mayor is paid $76,911. This I presume does not include any benefits which may come with the position such as medical coverage etc.

What do you think? Let your Mayor and Council know where you stand, and they just might listen.


Student Debt Passes $13 Billion

Student Debt Surpasses $13 Billion

Students Call on Returning MPs to Increase Funding to Reduce Tuition Fees and Debt

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Canada Student Loan debt will surpass $13 billion today, for the first time in the nation’s history. In response, students across BC held free campus soup kitchens throughout the week and awareness-raising events to call on Members of Parliament returning to work next week to take immediate action to reduce tuition fees and student debt.

“Federal and provincial funding cuts have caused tuition fees in BC to double since 2002,” said Shamus Reid, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students–BC. “Today, we are telling our Members of Parliament enough is enough, students need relief.”

Total student loans owed to the Government of Canada increase by $1.2 million a day. The $13 billion figure does not include approximately $5 billion in provincial student loan debt across Canada or personal debt such as credit cards, bank loans, and family loans. This school year, almost 360,000 students required loans from the federal government.

In an open letter to federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the Canadian Federation of Students has called for an increase to the Canada Social Transfer for post-secondary education, graduate student funding, financial support for Aboriginal students, and to student summer jobs funding. Students in BC are calling on the provincial government to reduce tuition fees in the upcoming provincial budget, invest in up-front student grants, and eliminate interest on student loans.

“The best way to weather the current economic downturn is to invest in social programs, especially post-secondary education,” said Reid. “Affordable public post-secondary education will allow BC and Canada to meet the challenges of a 21st century economy.”

Members of the public can send their own message to their Member of Parliament at

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation. It is composed of more than 80 university and college students’ unions with a combined membership of over one-half million students, including 150,000 students in BC.


Comox Valley MLA Dies Suddenly


VICTORIA – Premier Gordon Campbell released the following statement today after learning of the sudden passing of Agriculture and Lands Minister and Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen:

The province has suffered a great loss with the passing of my friend and colleague, Stan Hagen. He was a man who gave of himself to public life from 1986 until today. He loved British Columbia and the people who live here. Our thoughts and prayers are with Judy and all his children as they mourn the passing of their father.

“Stan served as minister of 10 different ministries in governments from 1986 to 2009. No one in Canadian public life can match that. Whether as Minister of Advanced Education or Agriculture and Lands, Stan’s record was one of exemplary service. He worked with people in a way that encouraged them to do their best as he worked on their behalf.

“His passing reminds us all of the suddenness of life and of the time we take away from our families to serve. It reminds us of the importance of friendship and inner strength, two characteristics that defined the man.

“All British Columbians have suffered a loss today. Our gratitude goes to Stan’s family for sharing him with all of us. He embodied the spirit of ‘the Honourable Member of the Legislature’. He will be sorely missed.”


BC Ferries Offer Vancouver Canucks "Powerpack Special"

Special Deal for Vancouver Island Hockey Fans
BC Ferries is teaming up with the Vancouver Canucks to offer Vancouver Island hockey fans a special deal for the March 1 game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
BC Ferries’ PowerPack, which starts at $349 for balcony seating and $529 for lower bowl seating, includes:
• Two game tickets
• Return ferry travel and reservations for two people and one underheight vehicle
• Two invitations to a private reception with Canucks Alumni and Canucks CEO, Chris Zimmerman
• Two vouchers for BC Ferries’ Coastal Cafe

“BC Ferries is pleased to offer Vancouver Island residents an opportunity to get in on one of the hottest tickets in British Columbia,” said Bob Anderson, BC Ferries’ Director of Corporate Marketing. “Our partnership with the Vancouver Canucks has enabled us to create an exclusive package that lets Island residents attend an NHL game, take in some added extras and get home on the same day.”

The March 1 game starts at 5:00 pm, which will allow Vancouver Island fans to cheer on the Vancouver Canucks live at GM Place and travel home on the last sailings that evening. On that evening only, the sailing regularly scheduled to depart Tsawwassen for Swartz Bay at 9:00 pm will be delayed until 9:30 pm for the benefit of the Canucks game attendees.

For more details visit or to purchase BC Ferries’ PowerPacks, call 1-888-BC FERRY (223-3779). Only 100 pairs of ticket are available, so be sure to book early.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nanaimo Cruise Ship Schedule 2009

Nanaimo Cruise Ship Schedule 2009

Follows is the current cruise ship information for the 2009 season. The small cruise ship schedule is not available at the moment and will be added when available.

These are the large vessels which anchor in the harbour and tender the visitors in to the dock.

The World
June 29, 2009 Mon. TBA

Golden Princess
Sept. 21, 2009 Mon. 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

Sept. 22, 2009 Tues.7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Sept. 27, 2009 Sun. 7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Sept. 29, 2009 Tues. 7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Sept. 29, 2009 Tues. 7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Oct. 4, 2009 Sunday 7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Oct. 6, 2009 Tues. 7:00 am– 5:00 pm

Oct.11, 2009 Sun. 7:00 am– 5:00 pm


Raise-a-Reader Campaign


NANAIMO – The Province is contributing more than $46,000 in matching funding to the Nanaimo Daily News 2008 Raise-a-Reader campaign, Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon announced today.

“Literacy challenges affect people of all ages and all walks of life,” said Cantelon. “This campaign is a tremendous support for the more than one million B.C. adults who struggle with such tasks as ordering from a restaurant menu, reading the newspaper or understanding a prescription.”

Proceeds from the Raise-a-Reader campaign stay in the community where they were collected, and they are distributed to local organizations to improve literacy for children and families. A local committee has been established to select recipients of this year’s campaign.

“We’re excited about the amount of money raised this year and we thank the public and our sponsors,” said Les Gould, circulation manager for the Nanaimo Daily News. “We are just as excited to work with organizations applying for funding, to give them the ability to aid and further literacy within out Nanaimo Daily News delivery area through non-profit projects.”

Nine newspaper outlets in B.C. now participate in the Raise-a-Reader campaign, with Kamloops and Tofino/Ucluelet launching campaigns for the first time this year. Other communities that participated in the 2008 Raise-a-Reader campaign include Vancouver, Victoria, Port Alberni, Kelowna, Penticton and Prince George. More than 180 organizations throughout B.C will benefit from the money raised through street sales of CanWest papers, and the Province is matching these funds. Since 2004, the Province has contributed nearly $3.3 million to the campaign.

The Raise-a-Reader campaign was first launched in Vancouver in 1997. Since then, Raise-a-Reader and its sponsors have made significant contributions to help improve literacy for children and families not only across the province, but also across Canada.

“Once again, the Raise-a-Reader campaign in B.C. was a huge success,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “We are very proud that British Columbians are giving such strong support for literacy programs in their communities. We made a commitment to match funds raised and we continue to do that. Our government recognizes the importance of improved literacy levels, and we are leading the country with this initiative. Nanaimo has strong literacy programs and this incredible total certainly reinforces how much the community cares.”

Since 2001, government has invested more than $150 million in new literacy initiatives, including pre-literacy and early learning programs such as $12 million to operate the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn and $2.7 million for the ActNow Literacy Education Activity and Play (LEAP BC) program that encourages literacy, physical activity and healthy eating in preschool-aged children.


BC Ferries News

BC Ferries Borrows $248 Million
Restructures and Downsizes

About one month ago BC Ferries went to the bond markets and raised $140,000,000 by way of a senor secured bond which bears interest @ 6.214% per annum due Dec. 2013.

They also borrowed $108,000,000 from a German bank bearing interest @ 2.95% to be repaid in 12 years. These funds are for the purchase of the new ferry Northern Expedition which is being built by a German shipyard.


President and CEO David L. Hahn announced today that BC Ferries has undertaken restructuring and downsizing initiatives that will primarily affect management and administrative positions.

“In the face of a significant drop in ferry ridership and the resulting adverse impact on
revenues, we must act to reduce the company’s management and administrative costs,” stated Hahn.

“To date, we have transitioned approximately 35 management and administrative
positions, including several senior management and director level positions. While no front line or ship based employees are directly impacted at this time by this corporate restructuring, further changes and possible lay-offs are anticipated in shore based positions including unionized staff.

BC Ferries is one of the leading ferry services in the world and we are committed to
proactively aligning our costs with the marketplace during these uncertain and turbulent economic times,” said Hahn.

Due to the sensitive nature of these reductions, BC Ferries is not disclosing details and
the names of employees affected.


Vancouver Island Short Film Festival

Films Chosen For Festival

After several months of preparation and promotion, followed by a thorough judging process, eighteen films have been selected for the 4th annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival.

62 original short films were entered into the festival by local filmmakers. A jury selected 18 films that will be shown at the festival on January 23rd and 24th - 7 PM - at the Malaspina Theatre at the Nanaimo VIU campus. The festival will include a screening of the 18 selected films and an awards ceremony for best films in several categories with prizes for winning filmmakers.

“We are thrilled with the quality of films,” said VISFF organizer Johnny Blakeborough.

“It was an exciting but difficult process, but the final 18 films are some of the best short films I have ever seen. This was the hardest year to choose a limited number of films for the festival. There are so many talented filmmakers in our community and we are very excited to give them an opportunity to showcase their work.”

The selected films include A Christmas Story by Michael Chen, Inanimate ObjectsMixscapes by Ovidu Morosan, Pattern Paper by Fran Benton, Right to the Source by Graham Stark, Searching for Autum by Leela Heyward, Shivers by Matthew Smith, Sour Sam by Jeremy Lutter, The Carved Pumpkin by Paul Whittington, The Nettle Solution by David Boehm, The Noise Upstairs by Gary Prendergast, The Shark Whisperer by Steve Fagan, The Shoes by Sky Brown and Ben Wengel, The Walbran by Norm Bergvist, Toy-Tal Recall by Todd Jones, Wind by Aaron Wilson, WSIM by Jennifer Hardy and You Suck by Gregory Ball. by Paul Whittington,

All types of short films were accepted for consideration into the festival. All films had to be 10 minutes or less to be considered. “Our main goal is to turn the spotlight on our talented local filmmakers,” says Blakeborough. “More than anything, this festival is for them. It’s an opportunity to show their films in front of a large audience.”

Tickets are available in the Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre, Falconer Books at Port Place Mall, the Nanaimo Art Gallery at the VIU campus and the door. Tickets are $15.

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is a Nanaimo Arts Council event. The Nanaimo Arts Council is dedicated to the promotion, development and support of all the arts in Nanaimo and area. Information on the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is available on the website at For more information, contact or phone 250-729-3947.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Help Your City Volunteer Your Time

Nanaimo City Council Seeks
Volunteers For Advisory Bodies

Citizens are invited to apply for any of the volunteer positions on a variety of advisory committees, boards and commissions. If you have the time and wish to contribute to your City you need to apply by January 30/09.

Positions are available on the following committees:

  • Advisory Committee on the Environment
  • Nanaimo Community Heritage Commission
  • Social Planning Advisory Committee
  • Parking Advisory Committee
  • Grants Advisory Committee
  • Design Advisory Panel
  • Nanaimo Athletic Commission
  • Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission
  • Board of Variance

More details are available by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.


Pattullo Bridge Closed for 4 - 6 Weeks

Trestle Fire Causes Pattullo Bridge Closure

If you are planning a trip to Vancouver in the next little while and the Pattullo bridge is a part of your route, you need to reconsider.

The wooden trestle at the south end of the bridge was badly damaged by a suspicious fire early Sunday morning. The damaged section will be demolished and replaced which could take from 4 - 6 weeks.

The bridge sees an average of 80,000 users daily who need to find an alternate route, so be sure to add some extra time to your travel plans, or better still, just stay in Nanaimo.


School Report Cards in BC


Volunteer Opportunities in Nanaimo

VOLUNTEER NANAIMO Current Listings revised January 15, 2009. For more information call 250.758.7121 Mon-Thur. from 9am to 3pm: #3- 2350 Labieux Road, Nanaimo or check to view other volunteer opportunities, or to register as a volunteer.


Computer staff

Volunteer required once or twice a month for 8-12 hours to update the database. Please call Teresa Pring at 250-758-8078.


Volunteers for 9th Annual Festival

Volunteers required in various positions from February 13-25; especially during the Festival itself Friday-Sunday February 20th to 25th. French speakers preferred but not mandatory and volunteers of all ages are welcome. There will be 3 information sessions for volunteers on Wednesday January 14th, 21st and 28th from 7pm to 9pm at L’Association Francophone do Nanaimo at #30-1925 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo. For further information visit our website Contact by e-mail at or at 250-729-2776.


Ushers and Technicians

March 20-22 2009

Ushers required to take tickets at the door and technicians required to operate the VCR. There are 50 volunteer positions. Training will be provided. Please contact Rae at or phone 250-741-0713


Environmental Mind Grind Organizer Event

Volunteers required for April 18, 2009, who are focused and organized and can concentrate on fast paced events and manage a fast moving flow of people at this event. Between 9-14 people required to set up and take down tables, man the registration table, score keep, take photographs and control the sound system. Please contact or 250-758-7777


Instructors required

‘Active Start‘ is a general developmental program for 2-6 year olds and FUNdamentals is fitness for ages 7-9. Both programs require two instructors and parental/caregiver participation. These are scheduled to start in 2009, depending on the instructors, and each 12 week session will run from 4-6pm, each lasting close to an hour. Instructions are provided. Please contact Sylvia Taylor at 250-758-0630.


Student Ambassador Liaison

This Agency is seeking a volunteer who has the ability to organize and provide mentor support to a group of teens where the objective is to raise funds and awareness for Kids Help Phone (held at Woodgrove Centre meeting space). Orientation, ongoing training and support provided. A commitment of one year is required together with a criminal record check. Interested volunteers please call Val Mayne at 1.877.267.7057 or email


Program Developers/Board Members

Seeking two or more retired teachers who have an interest in Africa and would be willing to help made the Hidden Heroes programs culturally appropriate for schools in Ghana and Zimbabwe and other African countries. The program is currently implemented in 168 classrooms across Canada. Volunteers also needed to sit on the Board of Directors to work with the developers in adjusting the Hidden Heroes programs to meet the needs of First Nations students. Please contact Bill or at 250.741.7499


Citizens’ Advisory Committee

If you are interested in a dynamic and exciting volunteer position that promoted knowledge and understanding of corrections, fosters public participation in the correctional process, helps develop community resources and positively contributes to the reintegration of federal offenders, then this may be of interest to you. If so, please call Fred at 250.754.0264 or 250.754.0269.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nanaimo Millennium Hotel

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Is City Council Listening?

The following opening paragraph in a recent Vancouver Sun article says it all:

"The essential error that led to the Olympic Athletes' Village debacle was made in April 2006, when city staff recommended that council select Millennium Properties Ltd. as the developer."

Another telling paragraph in this article concludes:

"It's now clear that no firm financing arrangements were in place. It wasn't until June 2007 that financing details emerged. City staff told council that Millennium was proposing to borrow the entire $750 million to finance construction. The only equity it had in the deal was the $29-million land deposit. This amounted to just three per cent of the nearly $1-billion total cost."

If the current City Council and staff are still serious about engaging Millennium to build the PNC hotel project, the citizens of Nanaimo are in for a rough ride!

Why would you enter into an agreement with someone who had not demonstrated the ability to finance a project?

The complete Sun article can be seen using this
Nanaimo Info LINK.

UPDATE: June 16, 2010, City sues Millennium for $3 million. Click here for details.

Editor's Comments: A skeptical person could be forgiven for thinking that a company like Millennium might have sent a few Christmas hampers to those responsible for getting the City involved with such a poor deal in the first place.


Nanaimo Fire Leaves 12 Homeless

Two Nanaimo Families Victims of House Fire

Two families living in a Haliburton Street home were burned out in an early morning fire on Friday.

The home had a family of seven living upstairs and a family of five living downstairs when a fire started upstairs at about 7:30 in morning as the Mom was getting the kids ready for school.

Both families escaped the burning building, but not before the father suffered some singed hair when he frantically checked one of the bedrooms, fearing one child was still inside.

The upstairs family consisting of Mom, Dad and five children, and downstairs consisting of a single Mom and four children did not carry insurance and have basically lost everything.

If you can help out in any way please call 250-591-0024. Especially if you are a good hearted landlord, who can provide decent, affordable housing for these two families.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Nanaimo School Trustees Refuse $61,000,000 From Provincial Government

New School Board Overthrows Renewal Plan

The recently elected school board rejected the renewal plan developed by the previous school board. Resulting in the loss of $61Million, the provincial government has earmarked for the renewal plan.

The plan which took seven years to get to this point would have seen NDSS and Woodlands Secondary closed in 2012 and a new state of the art high school built on the Woodlands site. The plan would have seen seismic upgrades and expansion of Wellington Secondary School.

This new board, many with little experience have overthrown a plan which took previous boards years and years to develop. They are clearly bowing to the opinions of a special interest group.

The decision could be a most costly mistake which Nanaimo and District students will be paying for for years to come.

If you disagree with this decision, let your school trustee know how you feel.

Those who voted NO:

Donna Allen 250-753-3836
Nelson Allen 250-753-3836
Andrea Bonkowski 250-754-9911
Carol McNamee 250-751-1568
David Murchie 250-758-1230
Sharon Welch 250-758-0459