Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Volunteer Opportunities in Nanaimo

How To Volunteer?

Here is some information on our resources.

Volunteer Nanaimo maintains a database of current volunteer opportunities for potential volunteers to review. If you have a particular volunteer position in mind you can contact that agency directly using the contact details they have provided. If you need some assistance in choosing an agency to work with then you can fill in our application form and we will help you make those choices. Many volunteer positions, particularly those involving people at risk, or the elderly and children, require an RCMP Criminal Record Check.

You can view a complete list of volunteer opportunities by using this Nanaimo Info LINK, or you can stop by our office at #3-2350 Labieux Road in Nanaimo, which is downstairs in the Coastal Community Credit Union Building.


Top 10 Collector Cars In B.C.

Spring is officially here and B.C. collector-plated vehicles are yawning and waking from their winter storage locations. Dust covers will come off, fluids will be checked and replenished, and some air will be added to sagging tyres in preparation for that first spin of the collector car season.

British Columbia has to be one of the best places in Canada to own and enjoy a collector vehicle, be it a two-wheel or four-wheel vehicle. And with the Vancouver International Auto Show just around the corner, here are the top 10 collector cars in B.C., according to active insurance policies with ICBC:

  • Ford Mustang: The Mustang galloped out of the stable into history. Before the first year of production had ended, more than 126,000 had sold. The concept of an inexpensive sports car was the brainchild of a young and energetic vice president, Lee Iacocca. The Mustang coupé and convertible had such an extensive option list; there was a model for everyone – mothers, husbands, daughters, sons, even some young-at-heart grandparents. It has experienced an uninterrupted production run of 45 years.
  • Chevrolet Corvette: Returning GI’s were importing Jaguars, MGs and Alfa Romeos when they returned from WWII. Harley Earl convinced the board at General Motors that it was time to build a two-seat sports car. That sports car was the Corvette; today it is known as America ’s native sports car. The first Corvettes off the production line were all painted white and fitted with a red interior, this was done to keep the cost down to $3,000. The Corvette came alive when a Soviet émigré, Zora Arkus-Duntov, took a 283-cid V-8 engine and a four-speed transmission and dropped it into the Corvette, making it a serious competitor to the Ford Thunderbird.
  • Camaro/Firebird: General Motors motivation for building the Camaro and Firebird was, without question, to compete with the Ford Mustang. The Camaro which was code-named Panther came first, reaching showrooms in September of 1966, soon followed by the Firebird. Other than the obvious external design differences, the Firebird used a Pontiac specific engine. The Pontiac name is scheduled to be dropped, which will place it in the history books. The last Firebird was built in 2003. The Camaro was discontinued in 2002, but will be reintroduced for 2010 model year.
  • Mercedes-Benz: The unmistakable three-pointed star logo dates back to 1910 when the company was know as Daimler-Benz. The star symbolizes Daimler’s ambition of universal motorization – “On land, on water and in the air”. The 300SL Gullwing is the most sought-after model, with less than 1,400 Coupés and 1,838 roadsters built between 1954 and 1963. The 190 SL was the replacement model sports car – it looked like a smaller version of the 300SL. The most popular models recognized today would be the 230, 250 and 280SL “Pagoda” cars built between 1963 and 1971. They were referred to as the pagoda cars because of the concave shape of their removable hard top roof.
  • MG: Or should that be M.G.? Early advertising literature in England called these automobiles “M.G.” In North America they were simply MG. The MG Midget TC, even though looking rather dated, was very popular with GIs returning from Europe – the early cars that they imported were all right-hand drive. The MGA was the first modern MG sports car to invade North America, followed by the MGB which was the largest single model sports car to ever come out of the U.K., totalling 512,000 units. The new Chinese owners of the company have stated that they want their consumers to know this brand as something new – “Modern Gentleman,” representing grace and style.
  • Triumph: The Triumph TR2 was a brave attempt at building a sports car specifically for the North American market by a company that was almost unknown in North America, with no proven track record. The TR tale played out like a fairy story with a full range of TR models, from the TR2 up to the TR8. Many consider the TR6 as the last of the man’s man sports cars to come out of the UK. They were reminiscent of the Austin-Healy 3000, a bit of a handful to drive with a magnificent throaty exhaust note from the straight six-cylinder engine. The TR7 & TR8 that followed did not have such a loyal following.
  • Cadillac: The first Cadillac to bear the Eldorado name was in 1953 – it was considered the ultimate luxury car in America, costing five times as much as a Chevrolet with a price tag exceeding $7,000. The 1959 Cadillac sums up America in the ‘50s. It was more than a car, it was a styling icon built during an era when America was obsessed with rockets and space travel. By the mid ‘60s, finless rear wings appeared on longer and lower Cadillac’s. In 1967 Cadillac broke away from the traditional rear wheel-drive model and launched the front wheel-drive Eldorado Coupé. The Cadillac models built for 30 years after WWII were considered the standard of North American luxury.
  • Jaguar: Jaguar cars have a long history of elegance and sporting performance, synonymous with the British upper class. Jaguar incorporated a company in New York in 1954 and began exporting cars to North America. The popularity of the XK120 to the XK150 sports car range spilled over into the ‘60s. Jaguar benefited from the popularity of all things British, which was often referred to as the “British Invasion”. The E-Type, or XKE as it was known in North America, leaped as a Jaguar would onto the sports car stage in 1961. By the time production ceased in 1974, the E-Type had become one of the most important sports cars of the 20 th century.
  • Tri-Five Chevrolets: The Tri-Five Chevrolets 1955, ‘56 & ‘57 represent a turning point in American automobile history – what many believe to be the golden age of Chevrolet and its assault on a new, growing youth market. With Chevrolets’ new 265-cid V-8 engine (soon to be the legendary small-block V-8) Chevrolets were no longer considered an old mans car. In 1957, Chevrolet bored the engine out to 283-cid and also offered Ramjet-Fuel-Injection. The body style and size changed dramatically in 1958, leaving the younger generation to scour used car lots for the popular ’55 to ’57 power-packed cars.
  • A Multitude of Hot Rods: The original Hot Rod was an older car, typically a Model T, Model A, and the ultimate flat-head V-8 Model B. These cars were modified to reduce the weight and improve aerodynamics. During the 1950s, the term Hot Rod was sometimes used in a derogatory context, blanketing any car that did not fit into the mainstream. The lure of the Hot Rod began to wane as the major manufacturers offered cars from the muscle car era. The 1973 oil crisis also had an impact on the automobile. The performance car was out, replaced with safety and fuel efficiency. All of a sudden, the Hot Rod was back in vogue

Editor’s note: High resolution images of each of these vehicles can be downloaded (7.2MB self-extracting zip file) at icbc.com.


Your Very Own James Bond Car

For Only $125,900 USD
You Can Be The Proud Owner

Lower mainland based Exclusive Motor Cars will build you your very own Aston Martin lookalike.

If you want to see the car in person it will be on display at the Vancouver Auto Show.

You can learn more by checking out the company's website by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Government of Canada helps Aboriginal youth prepare for jobs on Vancouver Island

Port Alberni, B.C., March 27, 2009—Aboriginal youth facing barriers to employment are getting valuable job preparation training thanks to the Government of Canada's investment in a local employment project. Mr. James Lunney, Member of Parliament for Nanaimo-Alberni, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"In today's environment, it is more important than ever that young Canadians develop the skills that will help them participate and succeed in the job market," said Mr. Lunney. "This project will help Aboriginal youth develop the skills, knowledge and work experience they need to reach their potential."

The Nuu-chah-nulth Employment Training Program (NETP) will receive over $95,000 in federal Skills Link funding to support its BladeRunners project. This project will provide 36 Aboriginal youth facing multiple employment barriers with life and employability skills training to help them prepare for jobs or return to school.

"We are pleased to work in partnership with the federal government on this initiative," said Dr. Michelle Corfield, Vice-President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. "This funding will enable NETP to assist in addressing the socio-economic disparity that exists for First Nations people in BC and Canada."

The federal government is working in partnership with stakeholders to make sure that Canadians get the training, skills and opportunities they need to participate in the work force and contribute to the quality of life in their communities.

"In addition to 24/7 support for at-risk youth, the BladeRunners project focusses on multi-level partnerships and long-term attachments to careers," said Mr. Darcy McDiarmid, Director of BladeRunners and Provincial Coordinator for A.C.C.E.S.S. "The financial contribution from Service Canada demonstrates that the Public Private Partnership Model used for the BladeRunners project really works."

Skills Link is part of the Government of Canada's strategy to create the best-educated, most-skilled and most flexible work force in the world.The Government underscored this commitment in January when it introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more and better opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

The Skills Link program is delivered by Service Canada, which provides one-stop personalized services for Government of Canada programs, services and benefits. For more information about this program, call 1-800-O-Canada, go on the Internet at servicecanada.gc.ca or visit your local Service Canada Centre.


B.C. Doctors Sign 2 Year Agreement


More than 92 per cent of B.C. doctors who voted, accepted a two-year agreement designed to increase access to patient care and improve recruitment and retention of specialists as well as of family physicians in rural and remote communities.

“I thank the BC Medical Association for focusing their efforts on targeted health system improvements that will continue to make British Columbia’s world-class health system even better,” said Minister of Health Services George Abbott. “Whether it is faster access to a consultation with a specialist or better care in an emergency department in a rural community, this deal focuses on the real issues that matter to B.C. patients. The deal represents a continued spirit of collaboration between our government and the province’s doctors to improve patient care.”

The agreement falls in line with the government’s broader fiscal framework and the projected health care budget increases over the next two years. The agreement includes an overall funding increase of approximately $90 million starting 2010-11 and an additional $90 million beginning in 2011-12.

Around half the funding will help to further improve access to services for patients, while the other half will be focused on targeted labour market adjustments to improve recruitment and retention.

Highlights of the two-year deal include:

  • · $44 million to improve access to primary care.
  • · $45 million to enhance access to specialty medical services and to address recruitment challenges for specialists.
  • · $20 million to expand access to physician services in rural and remote communities, including emergency care.
  • · $30 million to support recruitment and retention by ensuring B.C. remains competitive with other provinces with respect to overhead costs for physicians.

“In these tough economic times, we’re pleased that the emphasis on physician recruitment and retention in B.C. remains a high priority for government,” said Dr. Bill Mackie, president of the BC Medical Association. “This is a good agreement that will help fill the void in many areas of the province that lack GPs and specialists.”

By 2011-12, total provincial health spending will be $17.5 billion, an increase of 87 per cent since 2000-01.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Earning $35.75 Hour is Not Enough!

CUPE has announced that B.C. Paramedics have taken a vote to strike and can legally do so this Wednesday. A CUPE spokesman quoted in the Colonist says this would not affect services to the public but rather would be rotating strikes by admin staff designed to cause administrative chaos.

The CUPE spokesman is quoted as saying:
The whole dispute is about respect and recognition for paramedics being part of public safety,”.

So if that is the only issue why are they striking over money? Let's just all agree they are every bit as important as firefighters and police officers and then they can forget their strike. Do you think that would appease them?

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? The extra money they are looking for does not come from the Premier's pocket, it comes from the taxpayers pocket. Which these days is getting royally picked, in my humble opinion.


Cedar Girl Guides Cookie 'Drive-Thru'

Pick Up Several Boxes of These Great Cookies

They are known for their involvement in the community, adventurous trips, and earning badges; but, are probably most well known for their cookies. The Cedar Girl Guides are holding their 2nd Annual Cookie Drive-Thru on April 4th, 10:00 – 6:00 at St. Philips Church parking lot, 1797 Cedar road.

This spring cookie sale offers the classic chocolate/vanilla combo box of cookies with reduced trans fats, for $4.00 per box.
Thanks to the community, last year’s Cookie Drive-Thru was a huge success.

The girls were delighted to encounter a tractor, a taxi, a water truck, a tow truck, a Canadian Army Serviceman, and even a parrot at the Drive-Thru. They can’t wait to see what rolls through the Drive-Thru this year!

Cookie sales are the major fundraiser for Girl Guides; a not-for-profit organization that encourages fun, friendship, leadership and community service for girls ages 5 – 17. New girl members and leaders are always welcome and encouraged. The Guiding Law challenges it’s members to be honest & trustworthy, use their resources wisely, respect themselves and others, recognize and use their talents and abilities, and live with courage and strength.

If you can’t make it to the Drive-Thru, they will also have a table set up at the 49th Parallel Grocery store in Cedar of April 2nd and 3rd, from 3:00 – 6:00.


$5,000 Grant Towards Energy Efficiency Home Improvements

Save Money On Home Renovations

Canadian homeowners are being urged to act now to take advantage of a new opportunity to save money on home energy retrofits. The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources, announced today that effective today, for a limited time, grants under the ecoENERGY- Retrofit Homes program will increase by 25 percent.

"This is a great chance for Canadians to save money on home renovations that will cut their energy bills for years to come - but I do encourage homeowners to act quickly," said Minister Raitt. "This special increase in grants is for a maximum of two years only, putting money back in Canadians' pockets when they need it most."

As an added incentive, Minister Raitt pointed out that in many cases, homeowners who retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient could also qualify for the Government of Canada's new Home Renovation Tax Credit, worth up to $1,350.

"This is a great deal for homeowners and it's a great deal for Canadians," said Minister Raitt. "As more people retrofit their homes, they'll be generating economic activity and protecting and creating jobs in communities across the country - and, of course, as we become more energy efficient, we're also reducing emissions."

As part of the Government of Canada's Economic Action Plan, an additional $300 million is being invested in the ecoENERGY Retrofit-Homes program. This will allow as many as 200,000 more homeowners to participate in the program over the next two years, generating an estimated $2.4 billion in economic activity across Canada.

The ecoENERGY Retrofit - Homes program will provide homeowners with grants of up to $5,000 to offset the cost of making energy-efficiency improvements. Grants apply to a range of measures that reduce energy consumption and provide for a cleaner environment, from increasing insulation to upgrading windows and doors. With the 25 percent increase in grants, the program will cover a larger share of the cost incurred by homeowners who carry out retrofits that improve energy efficiency. For example, the eligible grant for a high-efficiency gas furnace will increase to $625 from $500.

To qualify, homeowners must first have a pre-retrofit energy evaluation by a certified evaluator and a post evaluation following the renovations. Funds are available for a limited time (to March 31, 2011) and are subject to availability. Homeowners are encouraged to apply early.


Fatal Collision In Chemainus

RCMP, BC Ambulance and Chemainus Fire Rescue attended the scene of a fatal motor vehicle collision that occurred in the early morning hours of March 29, 2009 on Victoria Rd in Chemainus.

A comprehensive investigation is underway by members of Ladysmith and Duncan RCMP with the assistance of South Island Traffic Services and the Collision Reconstructionist to determine the cause of the crash. Early indications are that a white sports car was traveling north on Victoria Rd at high speed when the driver lost control and crashed into a parked flatdeck truck, killing the rear seat passenger.

The driver and front seat passenger escaped the collision with minor injuries. Unfortunately, an 18 year old youth from Chemainus died in the crash. The name of the youth will not be released until such time as proper notifications are made and will only be released with the family's consent.

It appears that alcohol was NOT a factor in the crash, however the driver may have been in contravention of a condition of his licence by having too many passengers in the car. Indications are that two of the three occupants of the car were wearing their seatbelts.

RCMP would like to remind all drivers of the dangers of inexperience and speeding. Tragedies such as this could have been easily prevented by simply slowing down.

Anyone that has any information about this collision is asked to contact Cst. Brad Robinson of South Island Traffic Services in Chemainus at 250 416 0352. RCMP will be canvassing the neighbourhood for further information in the coming days.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Canadian Consumer Product Recalls

New Website For
Canadian Product Recall Notices

It is amazing how many different products are put into the market place which are later found to be defective. It is probably more amazing how many products are put into the marketplace and work perfectly fine.

Most product recalls are of a fairly serious nature. For example the recent Electrolux cordless stick vac with the battery that has now been known to explode is an excellent example of such defects which can cause harm, rather than just inconvenience. There are several name brand toasters with electrical defects which can cause shock or even fire we need be aware of.

Popular retailer Canadian Tire has sold nearly 300,000 electric car seats which have been known to overheat and even begin to smoulder. There was also the recent fire potential with the Maytag refrigerators.

It is not just no-name brands which have problems associated with them but well known name brands and retailers which produce and sell products which can be dangerous.

This new website Canadian Product Recalls can be seen at www.canadianrecalls.com for a list of some currently recalled products. The site will be kept up to date posting products listed from the Health Canada website and also from manufacturer voluntary recall notices.

The site is designed to be user friendly with large pictures making product identification easy, and a brief description of the hazard,the proposed remedy and contact information to know how to proceed.

It should be a good site to bookmark, and check every now and then to make sure that new wall mount for your 120" Plasma TV is not going to break and fall off the wall.


Beware Computer For Sale Scams

Another Online Classified Scam
Designed To Steal Your Money

The above ad appears on the popular online classified ad site 'kijiji' which is owned by internet giant Google.

Similar to the 'too good to be true' cars for sale scam, this scammer offers a state of the art computer for less than half the price you would pay a legitimate seller. But human nature being what it is, greed will sometimes overcome common sense or perhaps some people are simply naive when it comes to such things.

How The Scam Works

First off, if you ask where you can see the product you will always get an email telling you the product is in some distant location but the seller will ship via Fed Ex or some other courier as soon as they receive payment.

If you are still interested once you know you can't actually see the computer and you respond to the scammer's first email; they will go on to explain how to pay for your bargain.

They will assure you they can't get your money until you have received your purchase and are happy with it. That is simply a lie and if you are foolish enough to send this scammer your money, the only thing you will see is a hole in your bank account and no computer.

These online classified sites are a common fishing ground for the scammers who are out trolling for suckers all the time. They are almost impossible to catch as they can very well be in Russia and appear to be in the next province.



Alaska Volcano Erupts


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nanaimo Forecast -14 Days Mar. 29 - Apr. 11


The fourteen day outlook as posted on the Weather Network website shows continuing cool weather for the next two weeks.

The white line indicates the 'average' temperatures we should be able to expect at this time of year, while the yellow line indicates what is predicted.

Of course, we all know that weather forecasting is hit and miss at best but the weather so far is not what we expect at the end of March.

Time to pull out a good gardening book and dream of days to come .... we hope.


Electrolux Cordless Stick Vacuum Recall

Electrolux Cordless Stick Vacuums
Recalled Due To Bursting Batteries

The hazard identified is "batteries can expand and burst posing a risk of injury to user or bystander".

Approximately 44,750 of these units were sold in Canada between Nov. '07 and Mar. '09 through Canadian Tire, Costco, Hudson's Bay Co., Lowes and Sears as well as independent retailers.

Electrolux says they have received five reports in Canada of incidents of damage to the vacuum and surrounding property.

Recently a lower mainland woman reports receiving burns to her hand when her vacuum 'exploded' in her hand while doing her stairs.

Affected Models

This recall involves 2-in-1 cordless stick vacuums with a detachable hand vacuum and free-standing charger. Units involved in the recall have 9.6-volts printed on a serial plate on the underside of the handheld unit, serial numbers 074000001 through 085100001 and 74000001 through 85100001, and the following model names and numbers:

Remedy: Consumers should immediately unplug and stop using the recalled vacuums and contact Electrolux for a free replacement of the handheld portion which contains the batteries.

Consumer Contact: Consumers should contact the company at 1-800-932-1778 between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday to verify the product and arrange to receive a new handheld unit at no charge. You can also visit the companies website for more recall information by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Editor's Comment: This is another defective product to come out of China. It makes you wonder how many other similar products are powered by the same battery? Lead paint in kids toys, plastic in milk and now exploding batteries? Kinda makes ya wonder.


Things That Make Ya Smile

OK Speedy Gonzales
I'm Ready For Ya



Receive Up To $2,250 Incentive
To Get Your Older Vehicle Off The Road

This video about the BC Scrap-It Program will show you how you can benefit from scrapping your old car. To view click on the video.

Scrap-It offers qualifying vehicle owners incentives to take their older vehicles off the road. Incentives valued at up to $2,250 and are based on the greenhouse gas reduction that occurs when an old vehicle is replaced with a low emission transportation option.

These incentives include thousands of dollars towards the purchase of a low emission vehicle, transit passes, credit with a car sharing organization or money for a new bicycle.

To learn more about the B.C. Scrap-it Program use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Nanaimo Zoning Bylaw To Be Updated

Have Your Say

You can have your say in the Zoning Bylaw Re-write by simply clicking on the above graphic and completing the online survey.


Creative Firewood Pile

Stacking Firewood Becomes Art

This photo spotted on the internet shows just how creative some people can be. Usually half of my firewod stays in a pile under a tarp for most of the winter.

The next time you get your wood delivered ask the driver how much to stack it like this? Don't be surprised if you get an impolite answer.



CMHC Launches Campaign to Help Homeowners

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) launched a consumer outreach campaign to help borrowers understand the importance of working with lenders to find manageable solutions if they are facing financial difficulties in repaying their mortgage loans.

“CMHC has a long tradition of offering mortgage default management tools to lenders to help them assist homeowners whose financial circumstances have changed. We want to remind people that the best course of action is to speak to their lenders at the first sign of financial difficulty. With early intervention, cooperation and a well executed plan, you can work together with your lender to find a solution.” stated Mark McInnis, CMHC Vice-President of Insurance Underwriting, Servicing and Policy.

The campaign includes consumer information on the options available to homeowners who may be having difficulty meeting their mortgage payments. This information is also being provided to government partners and credit counseling organizations.

CMHC advises homeowners to:

  1. Talk to your lender at the first sign of financial difficulty
  2. Clarify your financial picture, both for yourself and your lender
  3. Stay informed about what options and resources might be available to you

For Approved Lenders with CMHC-insured mortgages, we provide tools and the flexibility to make timely decisions when working with homeowners to find a solution to an individual’s unique financial situation. These tools include:

  • Offering a temporary short-term payment deferral. Lenders may be prepared to offer greater payment flexibilities especially if previous lump sum prepayments have been made, or if an accelerated payment schedule has been previously chosen.
  • Extending the original repayment period (amortization) in order to lower the monthly mortgage payments.
  • Adding any missed payments (arrears) to the mortgage balance and spreading them over the remaining mortgage repayment period.
  • Offering a special payment arrangement unique to an individual’s particular financial situation.

More information and resources are available at CMHC’s website at www.cmhc.ca search keywords “mortgage payment difficulties”, or at 1-800-668-2642.

CMHC is Canada’s national housing agency. For more than 60 years CMHC has shared a wealth of knowledge and housing expertise to help create an informed and reassured homeownership experience for Canadians.


Things To Do In Nanaimo Mar. 27 - 29

The Nanaimo Things To Do Directory has over 160 different contacts for every interest from Air Cadets to Windsurfing and everything in between. To visit this directory click the banner above or use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Friday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Saturday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Sunday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

For Nanaimo Movies Guide use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

RCMP Called To 'Man With a Gun'

In a tragic domestic situation gone bad, an unnamed lone 41 year old man is dead. The police did not fire their weapons during the incident.

The area around Thunderbird Dr. was like the scene from a movie when police responded to reports a man was seen with a gun. Earlier his wife had run from the house and was taken by a passing motorist to the police station to report the incident. The motorist reported seeing the man had a gun.

Area residents were kept out of the area during the standoff which took several hours to resolve. No names are being released of the family involved.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Vancouver Island Boat Show Woodgrove Center Mar. 25 - 29

Time For A New Boat?

If your old yacht is looking a little tired this season be sure to stop by Woodgrove Centre to see what's new for 2009.

The Vancouver Island Boat Show is on from Mar. 25 - 29th at Woodgrove Centre and offers something to suit everyones pocketbook.

If you buy a boat at the Woodgrove Boat Show you will get a FREE 500 ATV.


Good Samaritan Aids RCMP Officer

Police Officer Assaulted After

Routine Traffic Stop

A Nanaimo RCMP officer was assaulted last evening following a routine traffic stop in the 1500 block of Boundary Crescent. Around 6:20 PM, the officer located two occupants, a 20 year old male and a 19 year old female, in a parked vehicle which did not appear to be insured. When the male driver was confronted, he provided a false name to the officer, becoming uncooperative and combative. As the officer attempted to place the male under arrest, a hot cup of coffee was thrown into the officer’s face and the male proceeded to deliver closed-fist blows to the officer. While the officer was attempting to gain control of the male, the female passenger exited the vehicle and jumped on the officer’s back placing him into a choke hold.

An unidentified good Samaritan came to the aid of the officer as he wrestled the pair. The male was able to escape the hold of the good Samaritan and fled the scene. Officers called into the area to assist located the male near St. George Crescent. The male was taken into police custody where a digital scale, baggies, marihuana and sum of cash were seized. The female was also arrested and both were held in custody to appear in Provincial Court on March 25, 2009. Charges of prohibited driving, obstructing a police officer, possession for the purpose of trafficking, assaulting a police officer and escape lawful custody are being recommended for the male. Charges of obstruction and assaulting a police officer are recommended for the female. The officer involved in the altercation is currently off duty with minor injuries.

Assistance from the general public plays an instrumental role in the every day effectiveness of a police officer’s duty to combat crime. If it was not for the quick action taken by the unknown good Samaritan, a bad situation could have turned worse. Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the good Samaritan to contact the detachment at (250)754-2345 to provide any information they can concerning the incident.


Electricity Sector Offers Bright Future in B.C.


VICTORIA – The Province, in partnership with the Electricity Sector Council and other industry partners, is launching Bright Futures BC, a skilled labour career awareness program for the electricity industry, announced Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

“British Columbia needs skilled workers to help ensure the continued growth of our energy sector,” said Lekstrom. “Bright Futures BC is one way British Columbia can develop a robust talent pool of electricity sector workers here at home to meet the industry’s needs in the years ahead.”

The electricity and renewable energy sector must overcome a variety of skills-training and labour challenges to ensure future growth. Over one-third of the skilled workers in British Columbia will be ready to retire in the next decade. It is estimated that, in 2009, 57 per cent of power systems operators will retire, with an additional 21 per cent retiring by 2012. Estimated retirement rates for civil engineering technicians are 11 per cent in 2009 and 15 per cent in 2012, and for civil engineers, they are 13 per cent and eight per cent, respectively.

Bright Futures BC “Energize Your Future” posters, lesson plans and electricity sector job descriptions will be distributed to all high schools in the province in March. The purpose of the program is to raise student awareness of the career opportunities available in the electricity sector and to encourage students to choose careers in this critical industry.

British Columbia has a wealth of post-secondary training to prepare youth for a career in the electrician or electrical engineering fields. For students pursuing a career as an electrician in the industrial sector, public post-secondary institutions offer apprenticeship technical training programs. The University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia offer undergraduate as well as graduate programs in electrical engineering.

The Bright Futures BC program and career kit was developed by the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources in partnership with the Electricity Sector Council, the Government of Canada’s Sector Council program and British Columbia industry partners including BC Hydro, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 258, BC Transmission Corporation, Fortis BC and Columbia Power Corporation. The program is modelled after the TradeUp for Success program, launched in Ontario in 2002, which resulted in more than 600,000 students, teachers and parents having face-to-face interaction with industry employees who attended career fairs and school events to talk about their work and promote careers in trades.

“Bright Futures BC is the first pilot project to adapt TradeUp for Success, and it has a potential to be equally successful,” said Catherine Cottingham, executive director and CEO of the Electricity Sector Council. “The program will help the industry address the potentially serious economic impacts of a loss of workers, through retirement, by informing students, parents and educators of electricity and renewable energy career opportunities in British Columbia. A program to develop a world-class electricity and renewable energy workforce for the future of the province.”

The Electricity Sector Council is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada with support from participating sector communities of business, labour organizations, educators and stakeholder associations. The council provides human resource and workplace development support to workers employed by the electricity and renewable energy industries and related cogeneration, energy efficiency, and manufacturing and service/consulting industries. Through its research and work with industry employers, the council is resolving issues such as recruiting and retraining workers, facilitating school-to-work transitions and developing sector and career awareness strategies.

Bright Futures BC supports the BC Energy Plan commitment to educate and inform young people about the opportunities in the province’s energy sector, attracting highly skilled workers and developing a robust talent pool of workers by providing ongoing training and development opportunities.

For more information, visit www.brightfuturesBC.ca.


B.C. Ministry of Engery, Mines and Petroleum Resources Set Record Straight


Here are the facts on independent power production, to correct misleading claims about electricity generation in British Columbia.

Claim: B.C. does not need to be electricity self-sufficient; we can easily import any new electricity we need from other jurisdictions.

Fact: Government’s commitment to becoming self sufficient in electricity by 2016 will ensure BC Hydro has sufficient electricity supply to meet customer needs in the worst water years, and have a buffer supply for insurance when demand is higher than anticipated, or if expected energy efficiency savings do not materialize.

· BC Hydro’s own figures show it has become a net importer to meet its customers’ needs. BC Hydro has been a net importer of electricity for seven of the last 10 years.

· Despite the current economic climate, over the long term, B.C.’s economy will continue to grow, as will the need for electricity. The gap between supply and demand is expected to widen as we move to achieve our goals for using clean, renewable electricity in transportation and other sectors.

· It takes time to build new electricity infrastructure responsibly, and government is not going to risk being ‘caught short’ by not continuing to plan for the economic future of this province.

· The self-sufficiency policy ensures that B.C. benefits from the jobs and investment of new power supply infrastructure.

· Self sufficiency will reduce our reliance on imports. Many other jurisdictions B.C. currently relies on to meet our domestic needs generate electricity from coal-fired power plants – not the clean, green sources that we enjoy in this province.

· Many British Columbia residents are surprised to learn we rely on American power to keep our lights on or that the imported power comes from coal-fired power plants. Citizens expect us to be self-sufficient and clean, considering the ample natural resources we have.

· Government has put conservation and energy efficiency as the first option utilities must consider in meeting a growing demand.

· Government has set a goal for BC Hydro to meet 50 per cent of its growing needs through conservation, and its current resource plan does that and more.

Claim: The 2002 Energy Plan bans BC Hydro from building new electricity

generation facilities.

Fact: BC Hydro provides 90 per cent of the total electricity the province generates – between 43,000 and 54,000 gigawatt house of electricity per year – and serves 95 per cent of B.C.’s population (BC Hydro Service Plan, 2009/10-2010/11). Therefore, BC Hydro is currently looking at building and expanding electricity generation for B.C.

· BC Hydro is investing more than $3.6 billion (BC Hydro Service Plan, 2009/10-2010/11) over the next two years to upgrade its dams and other public power infrastructure.

· In anticipation of increased demand, BC Hydro is adding capacity to the Revelstoke Dam and Generating Station. Revelstoke Dam is the most cost-effective energy source available to BC Hydro. This project will add about 500 megawatts of power, which will increase capacity at Revelstoke to 2,480 megawatts. As well, BC Hydro plans to add 1,000 megawatts of capacity with two new turbines at the Mica dam.

· Capital investments on several other sites are also proposed: Peace Canyon Stator replacement, GM Shrum Stator upgrade, Aberfeldie Dam Redevelopment and Coquitlam Dam Improvement Project.

· These capital projects will increase reliability and produce additional capacity for meeting B.C.’s power needs.

· BC Hydro has completed Stage 2 consultation of the Site C project on the Peace River. If built, this project would produce about 4,600 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually – enough for 460,000 homes – which is about 10 per cent of the electricity produced annually at BC Hydro’s existing hydroelectric facilities.

Claim: B.C. ratepayers are paying the capital costs of new power projects being built by private energy developers through Electricity Purchase Agreement contracts with BC Hydro, and are paying as much as double the current energy market rates.

Fact: Price protection and energy supply is assured within the contracts between BC Hydro and an independent power producer.

· Price stability can be predicted over the term of the contact. The price of electricity on the spot market can be volatile. Long-term contracts with power producers bring certainty and a guaranteed price.

· BC Hydro runs competitive procurement processes which result in the lowest cost projects. The resulting contracts are reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission to ensure they are in the ratepayers’ interest.

· The cost BC Hydro pays for new power supply from IPPs is similar to that being paid in other jurisdictions for new supply.

· Building new power projects is more expensive today than it was several decades ago. It costs more, not because they are IPPs, but because they are new projects. Similarly, a new home or vehicle costs more to build today than it did in the 1960s or 1970s.

· Since 1998, BC Hydro rate increases have remained below the rate of inflation and well below those of similar service providers (BC Hydro Service Plan, 2009/10-2010/11). Ratepayers still enjoy some of the lowest rates in North America and government is committed to maintaining that competitive advantage.

Claim: The government wants to privatize BC Hydro and sell all of its assets.

Fact: BC Hydro and its assets are not being privatized or sold.

· The BC Energy Plan released in 2007 reaffirms the government’s commitment to public ownership of BC Hydro and its assets while broadening the supply of available energy.

· The BC Hydro Public Power Legacy and Heritage Contract Act and the Transmission Corporation Act require that our public power legacy be maintained.

· This government has also established the Heritage Contract in Perpetuity. This benefits ratepayers by continuing to receive low-cost electricity for generations to come and helps keep rates among the lowest in North America.

Claim: Bill 30 was passed to put an end to meaningful local input into the approval of private power projects on Crown land. These projects are impacting rural communities in a negative way and there is not enough consultation with communities. These projects are also being ‘fast tracked’ with minimal environmental review.

Fact: Local input is still requested in the application process and the review of power projects, regardless of size or ownership, and is comprehensive in scope.

· When a proponent wants to develop a hydroelectric project, they must apply for a water license and a Crown land license, which grants them the right to construct their projects on Crown land and to use the water subject to the terms and conditions specified in the license.

· The project application is made available for review to agencies, local governments, First Nations and special interest groups for feedback. This feedback is used by the permitting agencies when considering whether to approve the application and in setting conditions for any approvals.

· Any run-of-the-river project must follow a multi-step process for development, and for projects of over 50 MW in size this includes an Environmental Assessment Act process.

· Requirements include, but are not limited to:

o A land tenure permit for projects situated on Crown land. This requirement falls under the Land Act;

o Application for a water license (which falls under the Water Act) for any run-of-river projects using water;

o Projects other than run-of-river will require different permits, depending on the type (i.e. wind, biomass, geothermal, etc);

o Consultation with First Nations.

· Considering the size and scope of a project, there could be no fewer than 11 provincial approvals that must be attended to when considering an IPP permit. As well, there could also be as many as six federal departments that would have to approve an IPP, if federal approval is needed (Ministry of Agriculture & Lands, Independent Power Production in B.C. – A Guidebook for Proponents, http://www.al.gov.bc.ca/clad/IPP_guidebook.pdf).

· Water licenses are for fixed terms and after the term expires, the IPP holding the license no longer has any rights to use the water without obtaining a new water license. Granting fixed terms on licenses ensures that the Province retains control over the water resources, while ensuring that IPPs can meet their contractual obligations to deliver power to BC Hydro.

Claim: B.C.’s rivers and streams are being exploited by these run-of-river projects and will be privatized. Once an American IPP or another foreign entity owns them, they will control our river and stream systems and that provision will be guaranteed under NAFTA.

Fact: IPP projects are not new – they have been contributing clean energy to the provincial power grid since the late 1980s. Between 1996 and 1997, numerous IPP projects were announced by the then-government.

· Rivers and streams will continue to remain in public hands – IPPs do not own them.

· There are mandatory time limits on water power licenses to ensure ownership of our rivers and waterways remain in public hands. Prior to changes made by the current government in 2003, water power licenses were issued with no expiration date.

· IPPs receive water licences of 40 years, and when those end, so do the water licenses and the land tenure rights. A company would have to re-apply to have the water/land tenure license renewed in order to keep operating.

· If power producers want to use water systems for a run-of-river project, they must pay water rental fees that typically can amount to significant revenue to the Province over the life of a project.

· This arrangement can be compared to what a forest company does – it pays the government ‘stumpage fees’ to access timber on Crown land through a 25-year lease arrangement with the option of renewal after 25 years.

· NAFTA does not prevent government from regulating its water resources, or determining whether or not to issue a licence.

Claim: When the long-term contracts with IPPs expire with BC Hydro, these IPPs will be free to export their power to the U.S. This will result in BC Hydro having to bid against U.S. buyers and be forced to increase our consumer rates in order to support those bids.

Fact: B.C. has always been an exporting province and our natural resources are the foundation of our economy. For decades, B.C.’s resource-based exports have supported jobs and wealth creation in the Province. IPPs have been able to export power to the U.S. and elsewhere since the 1993 Long-Term Firm Electricity Export Policy. However, there has not been significant export activity by IPPs due to a number of factors:

· Availability and cost of transmission to the U.S.;

· Challenges in marketing intermittent supply from projects such as wind and run-of-river;

· The available opportunities to sell power to BC Hydro.

· When a water license expires, it will be up to the government of the day to decide whether or not the license should be renewed.

Claim: Critics claim that the National Energy Board and Stats Canada data say that BC Hydro has been a net exporter of energy for seven of the past 10 years yet BC Hydro’s own data says it has been a net importer – why the difference?

Fact: Critics are mistaken in their interpretation of the National Energy Board (NEB) and Stats Canada data on electricity matters.

· BC Hydro, StatsCan and the NEB use different data sets. BC Hydro’s information shows it has been a net importer of electricity in seven of the past 10 years. BC Hydro’s data shows that it has had to purchase up to 12 per cent of domestic requirements during this period.

· StatsCan and the NEB include contribution numbers from other utilities and generators, like Fortis BC, Columbia Power and Teck. They also report at the Canada/U.S. border and do not include transactions between BC Hydro and Alberta.

Claim: There are almost 1,000 water licences staked on rivers throughout B.C. and it’s a gold rush of private power producers taking over B.C. resources.

Fact: As of September 2008, there were about 550 water power applications outstanding in the Province; however, many of these are inactive.

· As of Dec. 31, 2008, only 88 IPP licenses have been issued that are still current (61 since 2001) and 154 applications have been refused or abandoned. Of the 88 licenses issued, 26 of them were prior to May 2001; 62 since 2001. In other words, one-quarter of these were approved prior to 2001.

· A total of 47 IPPs are operating all around the province and 15 of them have been generating green electricity for over 10 years. (32 of the 47 IPPs are run-of-river) (Ministry of Environment, Water Stewardship Division stats)

· Comparing water licence applications to operating IPPs is like comparing mineral claims to operating mines – there are more than 50,000 mineral claims staked in B.C. but only a handful of operating mines. It does not take into account the enormous environmental, financing, and other regulatory processes power projects need to pass before they can become a reality.

Claim: There are literally hundreds of run-of-river IPPs operating in the Province. These projects offer nothing to rural communities.

Fact: This is false. There are currently 47 operating IPPs around British Columbia, 32 of which are run-of-river, and the economic benefits are provincewide, especially in rural communities.

· Total construction employment from IPPs that started construction since 2001 is about 4,000 person years. There is also indirect employment in the way of supporting community facilities. (Industry employment figures, as of Feb. 2009 (IPPBC)

· According to industry figures, IPPs have already invested $2.4 billion in B.C. with an additional $6.8-billion currently ongoing or expected in connection with existing calls for power.

· There are more than 1,100 workers employed on 47 operating projects and another 18 projects currently under construction. Current construction represents over $2 billion of private investment. (Industry employment figures, as of Feb. 2009 (IPPBC))

· Not all IPPs are run-of-river projects. Current IPPs include natural gas fired, heat recovery and biomass generation. Future projects could include wind, geothermal, ocean and solar electricity projects.

Claim: First Nations do not support independent power projects.

Fact: First Nations are involved in many IPP projects around the Province.

· The Squamish First Nation is involved in the Furry Creek and Ashlu run-of-river projects. Ashlu will become the property of the Squamish First Nation at the end of their power sales agreement with BC Hydro.

· The Hupacasath First Nations is an example of a proponent that has an electricity purchase agreement with BC Hydro for their China Creek Project on Vancouver Island, which is in service, and they are looking to another agreement with BC Hydro for a further project on Corrigan Creek.

· The Taku Land Corporation also has an electricity purchase agreement on Pine Creek and another one on Kwoiek Creek which involves the Kanaka Bar Indian Band.

· The Klahoose on Cortes Island signed an agreement with Plutonic Power for a benefits sharing arrangement for the East Toba River and Montrose Creek IPP projects. Plutonic will pay royalties to the Klahoose for the next 50 years and will also see jobs and training offered to band members.

· Nai Kun Wind Energy and the Haida Nation have formed a commercial partnership to operate and maintain Nai Kun’s proposed wind farm in Hecate Strait. The agreement formalizes a relationship that’s been developing since 2002.