Saturday, December 31, 2011

New year glitter comments, animated newyear gif scraps, happy new year wishes

 BBC Symphony, Chorus & Singers - Auld Lang Syne

Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog To View Video


Friday, December 30, 2011

Nanaimo Generosity Worthy Of Note

Nanaimo Rises To The Challenge

While this past year has seen an ever increasing reliance on food banks in our city and an estimated total of 5,085 people being in need of a hamper over Christmas, Nanaimo residents have risen to the challenge.

Hamperville, a joint effort of the Salvation Army and the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank collected nearly 5,000 kilograms more food this year than last, when they collected 53,000 kilograms. This means they have been able to fill the 2300 hampers for Christmas as well as stock the shelves at the Salvation Army and the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank.

The Salvation Army kettle program saw that organization exceed their goal of $200,000.00  by raising nearly $210,000.00 representing about $10,000.00 more than was collected last year. All funds raised by the local kettle program are in fact used to help in Nanaimo.


Nanaimo Christmas Tree Chipping Lions Club

Recycle Your Tree and Help Lions Club

The Lion's 49th Annual Christmas Tree chipping service will be available on Jan. 7 and Jan. 8, 2010 in the south west corner of the parking lot in Nanaimo North Town Centre (formerly Rutherford Mall).

Your donation helps the Wellington School Band and other youth programs and recycles your tree at the same time as the chipped trees get turned into compost at the Duke point composting plant.

Chipping is available both days between 10:00am and 4:00 pm.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Does The NEWS Really Matter??

The local press, like news media everywhere usually devote some space this time of year to the 'top' stories from the past year. I think the biggest reason for these stories, is to fill the space between the ads as Christmas - New Years are typically slow days in the news room.

On reviewing the 'news makers' for 2011 in the local daily I began to realize that most of these events are really quite forgettable and have very little impact on the lives of the average person just living out their lives. The stories do however provide fodder to fill the 22 minutes of the scheduled evening news broadcast, or the space between the ads in the local print media. But it is highly doubtful if knowing all of this 'NEWS' makes any difference to us at all. It is little more useful than over the back fence gossip, interesting for the moment, but forgotten quickly. Perhaps to some degree we all suffer from attention deficit disorder which is why we allow ourselves to be so easily distracted listening to useless information.

One of the top local events highlighted in the daily was our recent local elections, the event that saw about 3 out of 4 Nanaimoites giving a completely indifferent flip of the middle finger, or so it would seem to the whole process. The election campaign certainly did nothing to spark any real debate, with the low barrier housing issue getting far more ink than it deserved but demonstrated the depth to which the local press is willing to delve. In typical fashion the electorate was dished up the usual helping of gruel cooked up by an unimaginative press pool. The local 'meet the candidates' meetings weren't a whole lot better, not really allowing for any real depth of discussion or debate among candidates. Something, likely appreciated by those running for office, who would be hard pressed to express in any real detail where they plan on seeing Nanaimo in the next ten years or how they intend to take us there.

If you took the time to listen to the video 'Trouble With Experts' posted a day or two ago on this website, you might have been taken by the finding that after studying 82,000 experts, and their expert advice over a 20 year period, it turned out their performance was no more accurate than chimps throwing darts at the wall. No better than random chance! Yet, these experts are highly sought after by the news industry so they can fill up the otherwise dead air, and fill in the blanks between the ads in the paper. Yet given their accuracy level, we really are wasting our time even listening to them. How many of us would consider the opinion of a chimp when it comes to financial matters?? Yet, the chimp tossing the darts is just as likely to be accurate as the talking head on the telly.

Perhaps That Is Why Many Have Quit Listening??

It could be that to preserve what remains of our sanity the vast majority have simply chosen to tune out the constant barrage of infotainment passing itself off as news and in so doing have made ourselves immune to the real NEWS which can indeed have a real impact on our daily lives and which we should be paying attention to. Of course I am referring to keeping ourselves well informed as to what our local elected city council and our unelected city hall managers are deciding to do when it comes to taxing local residents and spending those hard earned dollars on projects which they deem important.

It is safe to say, that their success rate is likely no more reliable than the 82,000 experts studied who produced results no better than tossing darts at the wall. Which is why, in order for the city to be run properly and most prudently requires the involvement and input from ALL stakeholders, which means each and everyone of us who call Nanaimo home.

It is hoped that the news you will find on this blog will inform without overwhelming it's readers on matters of genuine importance as it relates to local governance matters which are far too important to be left strictly to elected and non-elected officials.


Hot Spot In Canada

Warmest Place In All Of Canada
Entrance Island

Now all of Canada knows we truly are the Sunporch of Canada after yesterdays record breaking high temperature of 13.4 degrees recorded at Entrance Island just outside of Nanaimo.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

City of Nanaimo New Year's Eve

Get ready to ‘walk the plank’ at Finale 2011 the annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Beban Park. The pirate themed family friendly event will begin at 5:00pm offering a treasure chest full of activities for you to choose from including; swimming at Beban Pool or skating at ‘Rockefeller Centre’ themed Frank Crane Arena. Also included will be big screen video games, and crazy pirate crafts in Beban Social Centre.
Main stage performances will begin at 6:00 pm and will continue through until 10 pm. The line up will include Illusion Entertainment, Jangano Marimba Percussion group, children’s entertainer the ‘Purple Pirate’, followed by Nanaimo’s own Vibe Dance Troupe and the Braeden Marshal Band. To accommodate younger children there will be an 8:00 pm countdown. The house will continue rockin’ until the final New Years Eve countdown at 10:00 pm.

Finale tickets are on sale now and are $25.00 per family (maximum of 4) or $10.00 per person and are available at Beban Park. Don’t worry about cooking or feeding the kids before the event because there will be a wide variety of children approved foods on site sure to satisfy. For more information about Finale call 250-756-5200.


Are Experts REALLY Experts?

Documentary Shows The Trouble With Experts
 I am reminded of an old description of what an Expert is, 'Ex' refers to something past, and a 'Spirt' is a drip under pressure!
If you are less than impressed with all of our expert leaders, be they local politicians or city managers, or those high placed international financiers and corporate leaders then this documentary may support your impressions.
Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog to view these videos.

The Trouble With Experts Part 2

The Trouble With Experts Part 3


Nanaimo Bus Service New Year's Day 2012

New Year's Day Bus Service

Bus service will operate throughout the Regional District of Nanaimo on New Year's Day 2012, thanks to a partnership between the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System and Woodgrove Centre.

"Operating region-wide bus service on New Year's Day will provide added value for our customers and will also help to lower greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the amount of vehicles on the road." explained Regional District of Nanaimo Chairperson Joe Stanhope.

The service provided will be the normal holiday (Sunday) schedule available in the RDN Transit System Riders' Guide and online at If New Year's Day transit use is significant, the RDN will consider including the service as part of its regular scheduling.

For up-to-date information about transit schedules, check, visit the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System Facebook and Twitter pages, or call 250-390-4531.

To view the Holiday Service bus schedule which includes the Free modified Evening Service on New Year's Eve from 8:30 pm - 2:30 am click HERE.


New Year's Resolutions 2012

This is the time of year many people reflect on the year just past and make a list of things they would like to do differently in the year to come. Follows are a number of suggestions for New Year's Resolutions gathered from the 'net. Some resolutions require a whole lot of will power and commitment but many are simple and just require the desire to actually do them.

So why not pick and choose from the following to add to the list you already have made for yourself, print it out and post it on your fridge on New Years Day. On Valentine's Day (Feb. 14), go down your list and see how well you are doing.

    New Year's Resolution Suggestions
    • More Time With Family and Friends
    • Loose Weight
    • Quit Smoking
    • Start a Fitness Program
    • Get Out of Debt
    • Stop Drinking Alcohol
    • Learn Something Completely New
    • Enjoy Life More
    • Be More Helpful To Others
    • Get Myself Organized
    • Get More Sleep
    • Set A Budget and Stick To It
    • Give Blood
    • Be Nicer To People
    • Quit Overspending
    • Floss Teeth Regularly
    • Recycle Everything You Can
    • Be Your Very Best At Your Work
    • Show More Affection
    • Find A Better Job
    • Take A Hobby Class
    • Volunteer Time In Your Community
    • Save 10% Of Everything Your Make
    • Wait At Least 24 Hours BEFORE Making A Purchase
    • If I Think I Need Help I WILL Ask For It


    Nanaimo Toilet Rebate Program 2012

    City of Nanaimo Toilet Replacement
    Rebate Program 2012

    Thinking of replacing a toilet?
    If you qualify, the City of Nanaimo will give you a $50 rebate towards the cost of an approved maximum 4.8-litre toilet or a dual-flush toilet when you replace a 13-litre or larger flush toilet.

    Note: for this program your toilet has to be purchased AFTER Dec. 31, 2011.

    To download the Toilet Rebate Appliction Form visit the city website HERE.


    Mt. Washington Snow Report Dec. 28

     Mountain Information & Notices   

    Thanks for the new snow over Christmas Santa! It looks like La Nina received some nice pressies and she's in a good mood. The forecast looks like she's paying it forward too!! Woo hoo! The snow coverage is awesome on the groomers but still variable off the groomers so remember to obey all signage and run closures. Early season conditions still exist off the groomed trails so use extra caution and access terrain through the gated areas.

    Hey Night Owls, don't forget about night riding! We're open every night during the holidays from Dec 15 to Jan 1, 2012 and night riding begins at 3:30pm and runs until 10pm nightly.

    Have a great holiday season!!

    Snow Information

    Overnight: 12 cm
    Snowbase*: 153 cm
    24 Hrs: 15 cm
    48 Hrs: 22 cm
    Snow Conditions: New Snow - Machine Groomed


    Tuesday, December 27, 2011

    Nanaimo Ferry Conditions

    To View Current BC Ferry Sailing Conditions At Departure Bay Click Image or HERE.

    Note: if you need information about the sailings to Tsawwassen click HERE, but remember this sailing actually leaves from Departure Bay.


    Calendar 2012

    2012 Calendar

    The above calendar for 2012 can be customized and downloaded from or for quick reference you can simply save the above image to your own computer.

    Hard to believe that it is coming up on 2012 already, it seems like yesterday everyone was fussing about everything blowing up when all our computer controlled devices went haywire on January 1 2000. Remember???


    Monday, December 26, 2011

    Worth A Second Listen

    Financial Crisis In Europe Clearly Explained

    This video has appeared on Nanaimo Info Blog in the past, but as we approach the New Year with warnings of the still impending economic doom Europe could bring to the world in 2012, it is good to hear someone other than politicians explain the reason for the current economic woes.

    The only sensible economist I have heard of late addressing this issue is a fellow from down under called Steve Keen who proposes a remedy along the lines of the 'Jubilee Model', which according to the Old Testament was a method perscribed by God to handle the financial affairs of men. Not being an expert on the topic, I offer, my less than perfect explanation of the  Jubilee Method which consists of wiping the slate clean every 50 years and just starting all over again. Of course there is more to it than that but it was the perscribed method of 'resetting' the financial affairs of men every 50 years when things got out of hand. 

    It would seem a rational argument that we have pretty much run our 50 year course, and hitting the reset button and zeroing all accounts, might just be the only way out of this financial quagmire we seem to be stuck in.

    As we approach the New Year it is my fervent hope that all of our elected and non-elected officials from the municipal level, the provincial level and the federal level wake up and realize that the false economy we have invented over these past few decades is simply not sustainable. On a very close to home level the ever-increasing local property taxes are beginning to cause some serious hardship for many residents already struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomach. A fact, that seems easily lost on the $75,000 + crowd making policy at city hall.

    When the Occupy Movement talk about the 1% as opposing the 99% speaking of the inequality in our society, they likely are thinking about the great gap between the huge corporations, and evil bankers and the average person barely getting by They seem totally oblivious to the gap of nearly 35% between the earnings of those in the public service and those of us in the private sector. It is those in the private sector earning on average 35% less than those in the public sector who are paying the freight and those high wages are not coming from the pockets of the evil industrial barons exploiting the poor working stiff, they are coming from the average working stiff and the pensioner on a fixed income. Sooner or later this inequality must be addressed, but is presently being totally ignored by the illustrious fourth estate in our great country.

    As we head into 2012 we need to take far more seriously what those in power over us are actually up to these days with how they are planning on spending our money. Locally, there are several items in the current Financial Plan which need a serious, sober second look before we continue merrily down this road of forever taxing and spending as if we were living in the gravy train days of the last century, which was primarily fueled by spending our Grand Kids money.

    Note: Email Subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog to view the above video.


    Saturday, December 24, 2011

    Meaning of Christmas

    And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

     For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 

     And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 

     And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 

     Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

    Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog to view this video.


    Missing Girl May Be In Nanaimo


    Saanich police are searching for missing 15 year old Rebeccah Ankersen who they believe may be in the company of Ryan Racetter, 30,  who is wanted on an arrest warrant. It is believed that Rebeccah was last seen in Nanaimo on Friday morning.

    She is described as having short brown or dark hair, piercing in the bridge of her nose, pierced ears. She was wearing a grey hoodie with an Orange County Chopper logo and mid-calf combat-style boots with white laces. She also was carrying a black backpack.

    Racetter has brown hair which may be dyed green, a tattoo on the right side of his neck. He is wanted for breaching an order not to contact Rebeccah.

    If you know anything about either of these people please contact local RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.


    Friday, December 23, 2011

    Nanaimo Christmas Lights Pictures

    A Few Of The Spectacular Christmas Lights Around Nanaimo

    Clearly my nighttime photography skills will not earn me a place in National Geographic anytime soon, but these few snaps I took the other night while checking out this year's light displays give an idea of just how creative and 'in the Christmas Spirit' many Nanaimoites are.

    A little further down the page on this website you will find a complete list, and reference map of this years Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Christmas lights entrants. If you haven't already done it, I heartily suggest you load up the car and spend an evening checking out the Christmas lights...... it's better than anything on the boob tube.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year To All


    Gorilla Masked Man Accosts Woman

    Young Woman Grabbed Near Piper's Pub

    Around 9:30 AM Wednesday a young woman walking her two dogs near Piper's Pub on Hammond Bay Road had her arm grabbed by a man clothed in black, wearing a Gorilla mask.

    The pervert was scared off when the woman small dogs went into attack mode and one of them bit the fellow on the leg. It isn't know if the dog actually bit the mans leg or just just pant cuff.

    The woman called 911 but a police search of the area was unable to find the culprit. Anyone with any information is asked to call the local RCMP at 250-754-2345.


    Nanaimo Bus Service Christmas 2011

    The Nanaimo Regional District Transit Buses will be providing regular service until 7:30 PM only on Christmas Eve, December 24th.

    There will be no service on Christmas Day and Regular Sunday service levels on Boxing Day, December 26th.

    Please Note the last scheduled time for all routes on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th.
    Click Image To Enlarge


    Thursday, December 22, 2011

    Duke Point Ferry Crash

    Dock Out Of Service For Months!

    Apparently the 'hard landing' which is spin-speak for CRASHED INTO DOCK has resulted in the ferry being out of service for at least a month and the dock out of service for even longer.

    The initial reports are blaming an electronics failure which caused the Coastal Inspiration to crash into the dock with enough force to cause considerable damage to not only the vessel by the loading ramp as well.

    It is reported that a large steel hinge which was damaged will have to be ordered and manufactured in Europe, then shipped over here and installed before the vessel is in service again.

    Comment: After crashing into the dock at Duke Point and causing such damage, I wonder why they were so confident that when they moved the ferry to the terminal in Departure Bay they wouldn't also crash into it?

    Second thought, we are supposed to be in the running for a huge ship building contract coming out of Ottawa, yet we have to have the Europeans machine a 'large steel hinge'. Does anyone else have a problem with that??

    Final thought, this really puts a sharp point on how dependent we are on the ferry to the mainland, and I shudder to think what kind of an impact a similar accident would have at Departure Bay terminal.


    Progress Nanaimo Board Meets

    First Meeting Dec. 12
    The Progress Nanaimo Board, a new committee made up of community members and three council members, held its inaugural meeting on December 12 at City Hall.

    The Progress Nanaimo Board reviewed its primary objectives which will be to;

    1. Competitively benchmark Nanaimo’s performance against cities and regions similar to Nanaimo on economic indicators in the context of economic, social and environmental performance values.
    2. Provide strategic advice on the ways to improve the performance of Nanaimo and the surrounding region. This advice is for the benefit of Nanaimo City Council, City Administration, the Nanaimo Economic Development Committee (NEDC) and other local and regional interests and
    3. Annually submit a nominations report to Mayor and Council. The nominations report will consist of recommendations for new directors of NEDC and members of the Progress Nanaimo Board. Mayor and Council will consider the recommendations made for both NEDC and the Progress Nanaimo Board.

    Mayor Ruttan feels “the strength of this Board lies with the very capable selection and diversity of community representatives: including business, education, environment, health and wellness, infrastructure, social programs and transportation. The representatives selected for Progress Nanaimo offer a wealth of experience in their fields and are enthusiastic in their new role”. Board members include; Hadi Abassi, John Neville, Gail Adrienne, Dr. Mel Petreman, Wally Wells, Don Bonner, Mike Hooper, Mayor John Ruttan as Chair, Councillors Fred Pattje and Diana Johnstone.


    City and CUPE Reach Deal

    Tentative Agreement With 750 City Workers

    The City of Nanaimo and CUPE Local 401 have reached a tentative agreement on a new collective agreement. The parties have held 8 days of negotiation since the collective agreement expired on December 31, 2010. The tentative deal is subject to ratification by CUPE Local 401 members and Nanaimo City Council. Both bargaining committees are recommending acceptance.
    CUPE Local 401 represents approximately 750 Nanaimo municipal employees. The terms of the tentative agreement are confidential until ratification votes are held, expected early in the New Year.


    WalMart Matches Kettle Donations

    WalMart Matches Salvation Army Kettle Donations
    Today - December 22, 2011

    For the second year the Walmart store located in Woodgrove Mall will match dollar for dollar all the donations placed in the Salvation Army kettle located at their store.

    Salvation Army rep Dawn Anderson is challenging other businesses to get on board to help.

    This means for every $100 YOU donate, the Salvation Army will get $200 after WalMart matches the contribution!!!  Outstanding!!!


    Compassion Canada In Nanaimo

    Music - Celebration - Message of Hope
    Dec. 23 & 24 at 6:30 PM
    Mt. Benson Room VICC

    The Meeting Place Church and Compassion Canada have joined hands to bring Nanaimo residents two evenings of music, celebration and a message of hope for Christmas.

    Well-known Christian music artist Geoff Moore will provide music and share stories of hope, encouragement and success. Compassion has an extensive child sponsorship program and by working with local churches provides a holistic approach to releasing children from poverty.

    For more information about the two evening event visit the Meeting Place website HERE.


    Wednesday, December 21, 2011

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

    I wish to extend Sincere Season's Greetings to one and all, and hope your New Year is Happy, Healthy and Prosperous.

    Jim Taylor
    Nanaimo Info 
    Nanaimo Info Blog


    Talking Dog Video

    Video Seen 74,000,000 Times

    This popular 'talking dog' video is one of You Tubes Top Ten for 2011. You may have seen it before as it did the rounds on TV broadcasts, but you can't smile too often.

    Note: Email Subscribers may have to visit NanaimoBlog to view this video.


    Beban House Nanaimo For Rent

    Historic Beban House For Rent

    Recently the City of Nanaimo called for an expression of interest to find parties wishing to rent part or all of the building located at 2290 Bowen Road which is on property which is part of Beban Park very near the VIEX buildings.

    The building has about 4600 square feet on two floors with another 1800 square feet of storage space in the basement. Documents including more information about submitting a proposal and to view the floor plans for this building can be seen HERE.


    Tuesday, December 20, 2011

    Duke Point Ferry Terminal Closed

    Hard Landing Closes Duke Point FerryTerminal 

    The Coastal Inspiration had a hard landing at the Duke Point terminal this afternoon about 3:00 pm which has damaged the vehicle loading ramp. This meant the ferry had to be re-routed to Departure Bay to off load the vehicles.

    This will mean the Duke Point terminal will be closed until further notice pending repair of the damage to the ramp. Obviously this will result in some pressure on the ferry corporation getting people on and off of Vancouver Island if all traffic has to go through Departure Bay.

    There is no estimate of how long the Duke Point Terminal will be out of service, but to check for current conditions at Duke Point or Departure Bay use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


    Click Image To Enlarge


    Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Christmas Lights Dec. 2011

     Spirit of Christmas Residential Lights Entrants
    • 2320 Whitney Road
    • 516 Kennedy Street
    • 921 Cadogan St. FIRST PLACE
    • 2535 Holyrood Dr. THIRD PL
    • 2172 Duggan Rd.
    • 1205 Townsite Rd
    • 624 Shephard Ave
    • 3768 Avonlea Dr.
    • 4886 Ney Dr
    • 3666 Cottleview
    • 6625 Groveland Dr.
    • 6060 Nelson Road
    • 520 Churchill
    • 2027 Latimer Rd
    • 1836 Latimer
    • 3592 Fairview Drive
    • 710 Hunter St.
    • 4311 Jinglepot Rd.
    • 6262 Olympia Way - SECOND PLACE
    • 6037 Breonna
    • Harpooner
    • 731 Arbutus
    • 1834 Groveland

    To View Map of Light Displays Listed Above Use This Mapquest LINK.


    Green Christmas In Nanaimo

    "I'm Dreaming Of A Wet, Green Christmas"
    If the weatherman has it right (and he's seldom wrong) it looks like the possibility of a White Christmas for Nanaimo or the Island is simply a non-starter.

    I was talking to a sister in Ontario the other day, and she was saying it looked the same for them this year. Currently cable television has a burning log channel which allows you to make believe your TV is a crackling fireplace...... how 'bout a 'gently falling snow' channel so we can pretend we are having a white Christmas???


    How Airy Fairy Are Stocks?

    Money In Stocks Is NOT Like Cash In Bank

    The above statment is obvious to anyone who has followed the stock markets for any length of time, yet it is amazing how many pension funds and personal retirement plans are based on the value of a stock trading on the open market.

    A recent example this year of just how unreliable stock portfolio's can be has been the free fall of the once blue chip stock in RIM, makers of the market dominating Blackberry for years.

    That favourite Canadian success story has seen the market value of it's stocks plummet by nearly 77% in a very short time from a high of $64.15 on Feb. 28 to a gut wrenching $13.53 on Dec. 19th.

    Few people seem to remember that auto giant General Motors actually went bankrupt and would not be around today without a massive input of government money. Nortel and Enron are two other examples of just how quickly 'paper wealth' can evaporate overnight.

    Now would be a good time to employ some good old fashioned principles that served our parents and grandparents well, and that is to quit spending more than we make, and quit kidding ourselves that we can actually afford a lifestyle simply because we want it.


    Nanaimo City Needs Budget Input

    It's YOUR MONEY 
    Have YOUR SAY

    The draft financial plan for the next five years was shown to the general public at the City Council Meeting Dec.19 in Shaw Auditorium.

    The budget as presented is calling for an increase in city property taxes and fees on the average Nanaimo home of nearly $100.00. Remember that is only YEAR ONE of this five year plan, which in it's present form is calling for total property tax increases of 17% and water fee increases of 25%.

    How Is YOUR Money Being Spent??

    One very small item in the draft budget includes $100,000.00 to hire a consultant, the purpose of the consultant is:

    The budget also includes $100,000 in new funding to pay for a consultant to assist Council in developing a strategic plan.

    A reasonable question you might ask would be, that given we have some of the highest paid city managers in the province, why wouldn't they be capable of developing a strategic plan, and if we don't already have one, just what in hell have they be doing with a $160 million budget these past years?

    Special FPCOW Meetings

    FPCOW stands for Finance Policy Committee of the Whole and are meetings usually very poorly attended by the public and are not broadcast and may or may not be well reported in the local papers.

    As of this writing the FPCOW meetings will be held in the board room at city hall. If enough Nanaimo residents actually are able to attend these meetings this venue would likely have to be changed as it has very limited seating.

    If you have a real interest in how decisions are being made about spending YOUR money, you really need to take the time to attend at least one of these meetings and offer your input. Unfortunately they are held during the day, which puts them into a time many people simply can not attend. You can however, also offer your input at regular city council meetings.


    You can view and download the current draft finance plan HERE and ask your questions of city staff at the online forum HERE.


    Fringetastic Festival Nanaimo 2012

    Fringetastic Festival Applications Now Open

    It may be months away, but planning is underway for the 2012 Fringetastic Theatre Festival, Aug 16 – 26, Nanaimo’s Second Annual Fringe Theatre Event. Last year had over five hundred fifty people attend the four day event, where eight companies (from as far away as Mexico) presented over thirty shows in Downtown Nanaimo for enthusiastic local audiences

    “We LOVED the Fringe Festival.” (2011 Festival Audience Member)

    “I have been going to Fringe in Victoria for twenty years now; I am a steadfast devotee, and I think it’s fantastic that Nanaimo has brought Fringe further north on the Island.” (feedback from 2011 email responses)

    “Nanaimo’s got Talent!” (Nanaimo’s News Bulletin)

    This year’s festival starts with a personal invitation from producer Jeremy Banks to visit and to apply to the festival lottery. If your company is selected to perform, you’ll get six performances to present any unjuried, un-censored and un-limited creation you want, on stage, in downtown Nanaimo over the course of the festival.

    “Last year, our highest grossing artist took home over $1400 in four days, this year that could be you, and did I mention our festival is twice as long this year?” (Jeremy Banks, festival producer)

    Applications are due by February first, and a lottery to ensure fair selection will be held on February second to decide which applications are accepted. The lottery does have some categories however, as 50% of performances are reserved for Vancouver Island performance companies, 25% for National companies, and 25% for international.

    “We want to provide local performers with even more opportunities to connect with the international and national theatre scene and experience innovative new theatre like Charlie Ross’s One Man Star Wars Trilogy, a great show from an island-boy that tours world-wide. (Jeremy Banks)”

    For more information or specific questions, visit or contact the festival producer at 


    Monday, December 19, 2011

    New Strata Property Regulations In BC

    VICTORIA – New regulations under the Strata Property Act that improve accountability in strata corporations have been introduced that will support the more than one million strata property owners and residents in the province.

    The new rules were developed after extensive consultations with the strata community including strata lot owners, strata associations, legal experts and professionals. The consultation also included an online public survey in February 2011 that attracted over 1,800 participants, many of whom provided additional comments that helped refine the final regulations.

    The majority of new housing starts in recent years have been stratas. Strata properties already make up more than half of the taxable properties in a dozen British Columbia municipalities. The prevalence of stratas will continue to grow as the province’s population expands and urban densification increases.

    The Strata Property Act and regulations are used directly on a regular basis by members of the public. Regulations with respect to audited financial statements are expected to be introduced next year.

    A guide to the new regulations will be published early in 2012 to give strata owners and corporations an opportunity to learn more about the new rules before they are required to comply.

    Further information is available at:


    Downtown Nanaimo Ideas !!

    Outdoor Rink In Diana Krall Plaza?
    Spectacular Christmas Light Show?

    It is reported in the local daily that downtown resident and realtor Tim Wait is spearheading a drive to see an outdoor rink in downtown Nanaimo, like the one Victoria has this year.

    Wait is quoted as saying he intends to canvass fellow businessmen who aren't interested in recognition and he said he favours Pioneer Plaza for the rinks location. DNBIA say they would prefer to see the rink in Diana Krall Plaza.

    The rink in Victoria apparently cost $50,000 but there are no hard figures quoted for the Nanaimo rink, nor any indication how much support taxpayers may be asked for, if in fact they are asked at all.

    Computerized Light Show???

    If Nanaimo is looking for something to make itself known aside from bathtub racing and bars, perhaps we might consider the feasibility of also installing a SPECTACULR computerized Christmas lights show for downtown Nanaimo. I am not talking about three strings of lights here, I am talking about millions of lights completely choreographed to Christmas music that would be fed through a sound system, heard all over downtown!!


    So, we have six months to put this together for next season, so why not call Councillor Diana Johnstone  (250-754-9996) ( to see what we can do about this great project!!

    By the way, the photo in this article is from Nathan Philip Square in Toronto, where their bone chilling winters give them an edge in the outdoor skating department, unlike those of us fortunate enough to live in the balmy Harbour City where we will have to rely on artificial ice making equipment to make our rink a reality.


    Saturday, December 17, 2011

    Hubble Telescope Celestial Snow Angel

    "Snow Angel" 2000 Light Years Away

    NASA is extending holiday greetings with the release of this image taken in February of this year which is a bipolar star-forming region.

    The bipolar star-forming region is approximately 2,000 light years from Earth. Known as S106 for short, the bipolar star-forming region is several light-years in length and is located in a relatively confined region of the Milky Way galaxy. The nebula measures several light-years in length. It appears in a relatively isolated region of the Milky Way galaxy.

    According to NASA, a young star known as IRS 4 (Infrared Source 4) is culpable for the “Snow Angel” image that is seen in the nebula. The wings of the image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, are created by “twin lobes of super-hot gas” that disperse outward from the chief star. The “twin lobes of super-hot gas” are blue in the “Snow Angel” image. The area around the star is illuminated by the reflection of light, from the chief star, off of small dust particles.

    The belt of the angelic image is created by a ring of dust and gas that circles the star. The belt also forces the growing nebular into an “hourglass” shape.

    Perhaps this is one of the Biblical signs and wonders, which are signs that make us wonder? What amazes me, is that NASA can get such a fantastic picture, 2,000 light years away and I have trouble catching a bird in flight in my own backyard.


    Donna Allen Decides To Do Her Job

    Donna Allen Drama Over?? 

    It seems that after deeper reflection, or perhaps bowing to the winds of public opinion, recently elected school board member Ms. Donna Allen has decided to take her seat on the school board.

    Only time will tell if Ms. Allen's actions of late will be forgiven come next election or if she has once and for all shot herself in the foot.


    Nanaimo City Council Meeting Dec. 19, 2011

    Nanaimo City Council Meeting
    Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - 7:00 PM
    Shaw Auditorium
    Vancouver Island Convention Centre
    Democracy Works When The Public Stays Involved
    It Is Too Important To Leave To Politicians

    First Regular Council Meeting 
    for This Council

    Attending in person is the best way to see your business being taken care of, second best is watching on Shaw Cable from the comfort of your easy chair, it is also available live online using this link, and last but not least is reading what the local press says went on.


    Friday, December 16, 2011

    Nanaimo Restaurant Hits TV Show

    New TV Show 
    Features Nanaimo Eatery

    It is reported in the local daily that Nanaimo's own Mrs. Riches restaurant will be seen on a new Food Network show titled 'You Gotta Eat Here'.

    The new show will premiere on January 6 next year on the Food Network.


    Mr. Kenning Is Just Warming Up!

     The Spinning Wheels Are Starting

    As predicted earlier, the spinning wheels of the local fourth estate are just getting started with stories of concern for public safety. The local daily reports:

    Nanaimo's city staff recommended seismic screening at a cost of $90,000 in a preliminary financial report released this week. It is one of two higherservice levels put forward by the city manager in response to public concern. 

    In true local fourth estate fashion (also known as the city's PR department) the statement that there is some great public concern for the seismic condition of city buildings is never challenged nor is Mr. Kenning asked to support the claim with some kind of public survey.

    Do you remember the issue being raised during the recent election? Neither do I.

    Being a skeptical fellow, I firmly suspect this is just the beginning of the new plot hatched by city hall management to justify spending millions and millions of YOUR tax dollars hiring consultants, doing studies, adding more city staff, letting out millions of building contracts without tenders and all behind the secret veil of 'in camera'.

    It will be interesting to see if this new city council is any sharper than the previous one when it comes to taking advice from Mr, Kenning and company. I am not hopeful, since it is the same Mayor who said we didn't have time to do things differently when it came to spending $16 million on a shiny new office.

    Remember it is city council who are to set policy for city staff to follow, you would be forgiven if you think it is the other way around. City council needs to evaluate the 'public concern'  and direct city staff accordingly. I also believe in Santa.

    If there really is some imperative that all civic buildings be subject to the new building code, then this is a far bigger undertaking than a local government should engage in. If it is truly needed, it needs be an initiative of senior government, and funded by senior government. It is not an initiative of the scope that local council and staff are equipped to handle.


    Genertion E For Entitlement


    With the passing this year of my own and my wife's mother, she and I are now the oldest in our clan, which perhaps gives pause for a bit of reflection. Add to that the approaching New Year and I am inclined to scratch my beard and reflect a little on the general order of things and where we seem to be as a nation and a generation.

    Those whose eyes are beginning to glaze over, are excused and I suggest you scan the blog for less stupefying comment.

    My parents came through a Great Depression followed by a Great War both of which meant enduring what today's generation would consider unbearable hardship. Jobs were scarce and ten men  were lined up to take yours if you faltered so ten and twelve hour days were just the norm. I recall stories my grandfather told of his early days as an immigrant from Scotland. He had to walk nearly 9 miles to his 12 hour a day job, shoveling coal into a boiler. The only house he could afford for his young wife and one daughter was a small one room cabin on the outskirts of town. My grandmother told me of the time she was challenged to feed her husband and daughter and herself when the only food in the house was a single egg. A one egg omelet doesn't go all that far no matter how hard you scramble it.

    My father, while he didn't have it as hard as my grandfather did know what working at the factory from seven in the morning til five at night six days a week was all about. On top of that considerable work load he found time in the evening and on the weekend to build the three bedroom home he and my mother raised their three kids in. I can only recall on very few occasions, Dad having anyone actually helping him with the construction. The house was also built as it could be paid for, so during my growing up years, the house had unfinished floors, exterior walls covered with foil over the insulation and for a time, no indoor plumbing. Did I feel deprived or under privileged? Not for a minute.

    My wifes father provided the house for his family in a similar fashion, by building it with his own hands while holding down a full time job as a milkman which put food on the table and clothes on the kids backs.

    Can you imagine the generation we have raised today, doing the same thing? I doubt if any Generation E will be reading this blog, but I can imagine cries of 'but everything was different back then'. I would agree with that statement, everything was different back then and it was different because back then, no one expected everything to be handed them on a silver platter simply because they showed up.


    Nanaimo 12th Most Dangerous City ?

    Nanaimo Ranked #12 Most Dangerous City

    MacLeans magazine has released the findings of their study comparing 100 Canadian cities with populations of 10,000 or more based on the incidence of crime per capita. Of the 100 cities studied, Nanaimo ranks a surprising #12, and what is even more surprising is that sleepy old Victoria actually ranks as #2.

    The methodology employed by MacLeans is explained as:

    Maclean’s obtained annual crime data from Statistics Canada for municipal police services serving the nation’s 100 largest populations, each encompassing a city or town of at least 10,000 people. Using 2010 rates per 100,000 people for six crimes—homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, robbery plus breaking and entering—in each area, Maclean’s calculated the percentage difference from the national rate. The overall crime score ranking for the 100 communities was created in consultation with StatsCan, using its Crime Severity Index (CSI) score and calculating the percentage difference from the national CSI score. Maclean's calculated the ratios by dividing population of the area by the raw number of crimes. Maclean's uses the names of the individual police services as used by Statistics Canada as the "city" name; some are edited for space.

    The method of ranking cities comes down to the per centage a community is either above or below the Canadian average. For example the worst is Prince George with a ranking 113.7% above the national average and the best is Caledon with a ranking 59.3% below the national average.

    Nanaimo comes in at #12 with an average ranking 50.1% above the national average. Statistics are tricky things and sometimes can make something appear worse than it is in reality. For example, if you were to ask the average Nanaimo citizen if they felt they were living in the 12th worst city for crime in Canada, I think most people would think you were smoking crack. The idea that sleepy old Victoria, the home of the newly wed and the nearly dead is the 2nd most dangerous city in Canada seems difficult to reconcile also.

    The same study shows that Nanaimo's rate has improved nearly 27% since the 2005 statistics were evaluated. I would imagine the local police force will be conflicted in how they would apply these stats, on the one hand if they want to add more police, the fact we rank #12 most dangerous would indicate more police are needed. On the other hand if we rank #12, you might well ask if our police are doing a very good job??

    If you consider that Victoria is ranked as #2, a reasonable person could conclude that Canada must be the safest place on the planet to live!

    To quote a 19th century Prime Minister "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."


    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Nanaimo and Canadian Home Prices Nov./11

    Total Nanaimo Home Sales
    Decrease 11% Over 2010
    Prices Up 4%
    The average sale price increased in November 2011 by 4% to $361,210.00 compared with  $348,368.00 in November 2010.  For the month of November 2011 total number of sold homes in Nanaimo decreased from 89 units in November 2010 to 79 units for the month representing a decrease of 11%.

    The prices on Vancouver Island seem to have not been subject to the same swings as other areas of the country. Nanaimo average house prices are still below their peak of $379,291 reached in Nov. 2008.

    VIREB President Jim Stewart says; “We are definitely seeing a levelling of the Real Estate market. But that means there are some great opportunities for buyers. Good properties, properly priced properties are moving. It’s always important to talk with your REALTOR® for the latest information on the marketplace. Now is an especially important time to rely on their expertise.”

    “I think what we’re really seeing is what could only be called a normal market,” explained VIREB President Elect Guy Bezeau. “We’re not seeing any radical increases, and with historically low mortgage rates there has never been a better time to get into home ownership.”

    For the 12-month period from the end of November 2010 to November 2011, average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River jump by 10 % (to $283,562), the Comox Valley went up 3% (to $348,704), Nanaimo increased 4% (to $361,210), Parksville/Qualicum dipped 15% (to $364,505), Port Alberni/West Coast went down 16% to $205,088 and the Cowichan Valley was down 3% (to $351,212).

    For more information about Nanaimo House Prices and comparisons use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

    Following sales figures are based on average MLS sales summaries for Nanaimo and other Canadian cities for November 2011.

    National Average
    November11 - $360,396
    November10 - $344,442


    What in Hell Were They Thinking??

    Dog Needs Surgery 
    To Remove Embedded Collar

    This seven  month old German Shepherd cross pup was recently rescued from it's tormenters. Apparently the dog had been tied in someone's yard for so long that the undersized collar was embedded in the dogs neck.

    The wound itself was quite severe and badly infected when 'Wilma' was rescued and taken to a local veterinary where she underwent surgery to have the collar removed and her would cleansed and stitched.

    In spite of her condition apparently even with her injury she was wagging her tail when brought in and is now recovering at the SPCA where I am sure this 'heart stealer' will have little trouble finding a loving, caring home where she can enjoy her life as intended.

    Given her treatment you might expect her to be fearful and even agressive toward people, but that is not the case as she clearly is a people pooch who will be a fine companion for some lucky family.

    You can learn more about Wilma by visiting the Nanaimo SPCA website HERE.