Saturday, April 30, 2011

Motorcycle Crack Down In Nanaimo

$368 Fines for Motorcyclists

It is reported in the Daily News that the police are beginning a year long campaign which will target motorcyclists operating with illegal or improper equipment and also driving aggressively, at speeds 40 km/h over the limit.

Mufflers exceeding 91 decibels will receive a fine and an order to remove illegal mufflers. This law will be enforced through the use of a decibel reader, which officers have been trained to use.

So forewarned if forearmed, if you ride a motorcycle and ride aggressively, exceed speed limits or get caught doing 'wheelies' you can expect a $368 fine.


B.C. Minimum Wage Increases

Minimum Wage Increases In B.C.  
May 1, 2011

About 52,000 workers in the province of B.C. will be getting a wage increase tomorrow (May1) as one of three scheduled increases are implemented. When the third increase takes effect, in May 2012, the minimum wage will have increased by 28%.

The current wage of $8.00 per hour increases to $8.75 on May 1, goes to $9.50 on Nov. 1, 2011 and finally to $10.25 on May 1, 2012. The training wage of $6,00 per hour will no longer be in effect either.
There is always some concern about job loss when the minimum wage is increased, as usually is does not only lift the wage of the minimum wage worker, but there is an expectation that workers who are currently earning $8.75 an hour will expect their wage to rise also. After all, their employer was saying they were worth more than minimum wage before and nothing has changed except the level of the minimum wage.

Nanaimo has experienced some alarming spikes in unemployment rates over the last two months, which for the most part are going unexplained. It will be worth watching to see if this wage increase puts any more pressure on the rising unemployment rate. The loss of the training wage will take away any edge the inexperienced, first time employee has had in the past. So, like all policies there is an upside and a downside.

Bottom Line

How much more money does that put in the minimum wage earners pocket (before taxes) and presuming there is no loss of hours ?

Based on working a total of 40 hours per week the following calculations apply for the increase in gross earnings:

May 1, 2011 - -$0 .75 x 40 hrs. = $30.00/wk = $129.00/mo. = $1548.00/yr.

Nov. 1, 2011 - - $1.50 x 40hrs. = $60.00/wk = $258.00/mo. = $3096.00/yr.

May 1, 2012 - - $2.25 x 40 hrs. = $90.00/wk = $387.00/mo. = $4644.00/yr.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Sure You Want To Pass This Guy?
Sure You Want To Stay Behind This Guy?


Nanaimo News Notes April 29, 2011

Facebook Page, Lifesaver: Ottawa's Huw Williams was facing death from leukemia without a bone marrow transplant. The facebook page OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network wound up connecting him with Nanaimo university student Mike Hogman. A year ago Huw received the lifesaving transplant and this week Hogman will be flying to Toronto to meet the man, whose life he saved.
Rotary Book Sale: the three day sale begins Friday at 8:00 am at the North Nanaimo Town Centre. Over 90,000 titles are available and all proceeds go to worthwhile charity.
Autism Expo: this Saturday at Beban Park from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm is a free family friendly event hosted by Leadership Vancouver Island and Autism Society of B.C. The theme for the Expo is Live, Laugh, Learn.
WHL: the Western Hockey League is not likely to be coming to Nanaimo any time soon, not unless there is a larger arena available, as the current 3,000 seat Frank Crane arena is not large enough to pay the bills. A 5,000 seat venue is required to handle the costs associated with a WHL team. Multiplex anyone???
Teens Arrested: a 19 year old man and 15 year old girl were arrested for stealing and burning a truck and for stealing other property. The two were arrested on Doumont Road in north Nanaimo around 2:30 am on Thursday.
Cancer Clinic: gets support from Nanaimo Correctional Centre on Brannen Lake. The Centres Wellness Committee hosted a variety of fundraisers over the year and were able to donate $1000 to Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation which will direct the funds to the Cancer Clinic at HRGH.
Copps In Town: high profile Liberal, Sheila Copps will be in town today at 3:00 pm at the Mon Petit Choux at 120 Commercial Street to give local Liberal candidate Brian Fillmore a bit of a boost in his campaign.


Younger Voters and Vote 'Mobs'

Young Voters Interested In This Election!

While I am always beating the drum that for democracy to work, it requires all of us citizens to be actively involved not just at election time and I am delighted to see the younger generation finally taking an interest in doing what was once considered a civic duty.

However, I have a few issues with some current trends in the sudden interest being taken by the younger generation.

For example, on the CBC there is an electronic quiz you can take which purports to tell you which political party you are most likely to agree with. I took the quiz, using the same answer  for each question, and each time it told me I was a Liberal! Well, sir I just ain't buying it, no sir not at all. I have to wonder though, how many new voters just starting to get involved will consider the results of this quiz as a valid guide for their political alliance?

Then I see the 'mob' vote, which I realize is one of the new, electronic, everybody's wired on Facebook and Twitter social networking things, but call me old fashioned, I have never had a positive opinion of what a 'mob' produces. Don't they lynch people and run wily nily headlong off of cliffs because the one in front just did? Mobs are like flocks of birds, they just go to and fro based on what the bird out front decides to do. A mob is no way to run a country.

I have heard much excitement surrounding different youth movements encouraging becoming engaged in the process, but just like the older generation, if you listen to what they actually believe about how leaders are going to accomplish what they promise, you get sort of a blank stare. That is a bit of conjecture on my part, as I have never heard any of their 'spokespeople' being asked how and why they are chosing to vote a certain way.

The idea that you can make an intelligent decision about where to park your vote, based on all the hot air and promises thrown about by ANY party during an election campaign is just another example of people who are totally uneducated in the whole process. Clearly they haven't seen this movie before.


Popular Nanaimo Restaurant Closing

Husky Restaurant Closing


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Liberal Candidate Makes 'Hot' List

Looks Sort Of Greek!

That is the description used by Toronto Sun columnist Mike Strobel to describe local Liberal candidate Brian Fillmore.

Apparently the Sun felt the federal leaders from all parties are clearly 'sex appeal challenged' so they poured over hundreds of candidate photos looking for candidates the camera likes.

Brian ranked 8 out of 10 on the Sun's final list beating out better known Peter MacKay of Central Nova, N.S.


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Canada's Wedding Gift To Royalty

A Toaster Just Wouldn't Do

What does a country give as a wedding gift to the future King of the Empire? Tupperware or a really nice toaster just wouldn't do.

How does a $50,000 gift sound? That's more like it, but do they really need a $50,000 gift to get the young couple started in life, or do they have a bit of a leg up on most young couples?

Well, $50,000 is exactly what the Government of Canada is presenting as a wedding gift, however, Prince William and Miss Middleton have chosen the Canadian Coast Guard Auxillary as the beneficiary of a special charitable fund to aid the organization in the excellent work they do in the area of search and rescue.

So the Canadian Government (that is you and I) are making the donation to the Canadian Coast Guard Auxillary in honour of the upcoming royal marriage.


Nanaimo News Notes April 28, 2011

Orchestra: the Nanaimo Salon Orchestra perform Sunday from 2 - 4 pm at Costin Hall in Lantzville. The eight musicians play collectively flute, bassoon, piano, clarinet, percussion, synthesizer, double bass and violin. More info at
Joshua Schafer: this 39 year old has been arrested in connection with the Good Friday stabbing in the area of Tim Horton's on Bowen Road.
Advance Polls: nationally the advance Federal election polls are reporting a 34.5% increase over the 2008 election. To date more than 18,000 people have cast ballots in the two Nanaimo ridings. The polls being open during a holiday may account for some of the increased voter turnout.
Less Paper: school district 68 hopes to reduce the cost of paper by gradually relying on electronic media to communicate with students and parents in the district. With the rise in the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook the need for the use of paper should be reduced.
Ballroom Dancing: coming to Nanaimo May 7 & 8 at Beban Park as the 19th annual Island Fantasy Ball hits town. The event will feature competitors from other Canadian cities and from the US also, competing with local dancers of all age groups. Tickets are available from the Port Theatre online or by calling 250-754-8550.
RCMP: have been criticized for the delay in notifying the general public of the incident in Westwood Lake Park involving a female jogger and a naked pervert wearing a Gorilla Mask. Some think the warning should have been issued sooner.


Nanaimo Youth Week Activities

Click Image To Enlarge
Free Events For Youth Week
Sponsored by Parks, Recreation & Culture

Walk for Kids Help Phone May 1,  10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Floor Hockey May 2,  7 - 9 pm NDSS
Get Pumped Nanaimo May 3,  7 - 8:30 pm Oliver Woods
Dodge Ball and Volleyball May 4,  7 - 9 pm John Barsby School
Street Hockey May 5,   6 - 8 pm Beban Parking Lot
Super Awesome Mega Show May 5,   6 - 9:30 pm John Barsby Free Food and Bands
Bowling May 6,   7 - 8pm at Splitsville $1.99

For More Information Call 250-756-5600


Port Theatre Nanaimo May 1, 2011

British Columbia
May 1 - 2:00 pm


Mill Bay Ferry Closure Month of May

MV Mill Bay

BC Ferries customers are reminded that the service between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay will be suspended from Monday May 2 until Tuesday May 31 to facilitate major berth modifications at both terminals.

After 50 years of service the MV Mill Bay is being replaced with the MV Klitsa which is a larger and heavier vessel which makes the improvements at the dock necessary.

The alternate for travelers wishing to commute between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay is via Highway #17 and Highway #1.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Extreme Recycling Project!

Take some bits and pieces of old used computers, rummage around in the old cardboard dumpster, and presto --- chango you have one state of the art recycled computer Elizabeth May would be proud of.


Nanaimo Gardening Advice

Where Is Spring 
This Year?

We are now over one month into spring this year and the weather isn't much different in the temperature department than it was during the winter we all like to boast about.

The cool damp weather is resulting in a delayed start of most perennials and even the trees are lagging behind where they should be by this time of the year. I have not checked the actual stats at the weather office but my gardening gene tells me that things are really running behind this year.

If you are like me you are chomping at the bit to get into the garden and get things going, but alas we will just have to be patient this year. We can still clean out the beds, add some fresh top dressing and do some pruning here and there, but that is about the extent of it.

As for putting out any new plants, either in the ground or in containers, we really need to resist the urge, and hold off until things really warm up. Taking an annual that has been grown in a heated green house and plunking it into the cold cruel ground is simply not the thing to do.

This is the time of year some of the local nurseries and big box retailers bring in some early offerings to sell to either the inexperienced or impatient gardener. Do yourself and your pocket book a favour and resist the urge to add some of that green house grown colour to your yard just yet.

An excellent rule of thumb as to when you should consider planting annuals in your garden is to wait until at least the 24th of May or until there is no more snow on Mt. Benson. Even if there is no snow on Benson, wait until the 24th and on the 24th if there is snow on Benson wait for it to leave. If you wait, you will find your garden is just as far along by mid-July as you will be by rushing things planting early. Also planting too early simply results in stunted growth and in many cases a complete re-planting as your first plants just languish and die.

This past Saturday was but a sampling of the good things to come, and I bet a few of us rushed to the nursery or hardware store hoping that gardening season had finally arrived. But, alas it looks like it will still be several weeks before spring begins in earnest.


Communication Tower Hitting Roadblock

Tower Opposition Grows


Nanaimo News Notes April 27, 2011

Mounties: get their man! Yesterday just before noon a man armed with a replica gun robbed the Domino's Pizza at 1925 Bowne Road and took off with the cash. Staff called police and provided licence number and vehicle description. Shortly thereafter the fleeing suspect was collared on the Parkway near Norhtfield Rd. Mounties closed the Parkway for a very short time while making the arrest.
Mosquito: that electronic device that emits a high pitched sound heard only by young people seems to be an effective way of reducing late night vandalism at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. Since installation in 2008 there has been a noticeable decrease in vandalism.
All Candidates: the VIREB is hosting an all candidates meeting tomorrow night (Apr. 28) at the Dover Bay Secondary School on McGirr Road. The forum is from 7:00 - 9:00 pm and all candidates from the major parties have promised to attend. Last chance to hear what local candidates and their parties have to offer.
Gabriola man: has been set free from jail in Myanmar. Ron Zakreski a world traveller who has a brother living on Gabriola was jailed for illegal entry into the country earlier this month. The Candian Embassy was involved with securing his freedom and helping him get to Thailand.
Daily News: the first candidates forum hosted by the news room at the local daily did little to enlighten anyone trying to look for a place to park their vote. If you have heard the party leaders, you have heard the candidates. Passion, fire, probing journalism ---- not really! Ho hum ---definitely! There is another one planned for the candidates in Cowichan - Nanaimo for Thurs. I think. If that is the only time I get to cut the grass this week - - - the lawn gets done.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Westwood Lake Park Assault

Naked Man Accosts Female Jogger

It is reported in the News Bulletin that last Saturday just before 6:00 pm a naked man wearing only a gorilla mask lept from the bushes and grabbed a female jogger.

She was able to break free and ran from her assailant who pursued her and caught up to her, this time wearing shiny black track pants. The woman screamed and continued to run until she met some other joggers who helped her off the trail. \Police were called but a tracker dog was not able to locate the deviant who is described as being a skinny, Caucasian with dark hair standing 5'10" and weighing 170 pounds.

Apparently this person was seen earlier in the day, masturbating beside the trail in some bushes. Police are asking people to immediately report any indecent acts and are reminding joggers who are wearing earbuds, to maintain a level of volume that allows them to hear people approaching.
Anyone with information should call the RCMP at 250-754-2345.


Fun At Piper's Lagoon

Happy Doggie Playing With The Geese!

It is not entirely likely that the geese are enjoying this game but it is clear that 'Fido' is as he gleefully gallops into the water with a rather large stick in his mouth. It is good for the pooch that this is not a pair of nesting geese protecting their clutch, as their response would be entirely different.

Sheryl Falls caught this delightful image the other day, while prowling one of her favourite places in Nanaimo. Have you been there lately?


Nanaimo News Notes April 26, 2011

Cruise Ship Terminal: it is coming down to the wire for our new crusie ship terminal to be complete, as the first ship to use the new facility is scheduled for Nanaimo on May 7 when the Norwegian Pearl comes to town.
Young Voters: seem to be paying attention and getting engaged in the upcoming Federal election. That is really good news for the democratic process, which is in decline of late.
Daily News Debates: the local daily is hosting two candidate debates which can be viewed online. The four candidates from Nanaimo-Alberni are scheduled for today and the Nanaimo-Cowichan candidates are scheduled for Thursday this week. The event is not open to the public but can be viewed online. For more information.
College Heights Playground: three moms in College Heights are responsible for the conception, planning, funding, organizing and bringing to completion a project which will see Cariboo Park come into their neighbourhood. It will provide area children a much needed facility which will encourage them to get outside, get active and enjoy the great outdoors. Well done!
Spring Break: will return to one week again next year. The School Board has decided the $500,000 saved by extending the break to 2 weeks is not the appropriate way to cut costs.
Canucks Do or Die: OK, I know this is not really Nanaimo news, but who isn't a Canucks fan these days, granted, the last three games have been a good test of fan loyalty. But the game tonight against Chicago in Vancouver is for all the marbles so it will be interesting to see if anyone is paying attention to anything else tonight.


Port Theatre Nanaimo April 26, 2011

Allison Piano Presents:
April 26 - 7:30 pm
Vancouver Island Symphony presents:
April 30 - 7:30 pm


Layton Free Ride Over?

Finally Having To Show 
How To Keep His Promises?

I see the mainstream press is finally asking Mr. Layton to explain how he is going to fund his mega-promises that he has been making all across our fair land. I also see, that as soon as he is asked how he is going to deliver, he begins to back-peddle. Sound familiar?

I think the press gives the NDP a free ride since they are not really considered to garner much support outside their core supporters who have been riding on Tommy Douglas' coat tails for a long time now. Now, there was a leader!

For example it is easy for Mr. Layton and the NDP to declare he is going to add thousands of doctors to the health care system, yet fails to show which hat he is going to pull them out of! He also fails to show any kind of budget that would withstand scrutiny to back up his promises. Does the press hold him accountable to offer any real plan as to how he would accomplish this great feat? Not yet, they haven't.

It will be interesting to see if the editorial panel at the Daily News will ask any questions that will require the local NDP candidates to explain HOW they are going to deliver on their promises. I'm betting they will be lobbing the usual softballs the press is famous for.


Remains Found In Cedar Not Foul Play

Remains From First Nations Burial Site?


Monday, April 25, 2011

Break-ins Increasing Across Nanaimo

Practical Tips To Protect Your Home

This past month has seen a sharp rise in the number of break-ins all across Nanaimo with 45 homes and 27 businesses falling victim to the rising burglary rate.

Quite recently a resident on Haliburton Street returned to his home around 8:00 pm to encounter a thief leaving his home with many of his belongings. A foot chase pursued but the resident did not catch the thief, nor were police successful either.

The police are asking residents to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour. Keep an eye on your neighbours and ask them to keep an eye on your place also.

For some  very practical advice about improving the security around your home click on the above image and download the the 20 page pdf brochure which has lots of helpful advice about how you can make it more difficult for the bad guys to burglarize you.


Slanted Journalism At It's Worst

Example of Modern Reporting

The media often accuses Prime Minister Harper of avoiding the press and seriously curtailing the number of questions he will accept from the 'press' gallery.

The above article in the Colonist is a prime example of why politicians avoid the modern 'journalist' like the plague they have become.

The headline declares that Harper 'skirts' the question and then the 'reporter' goes on to explain how Harper ducked answering the question.

I have a couple of questions for Mr. Kennedy:
  • did you actually 'listen' to what he said when he answered and reported on that, or were you just trying to make what he said, fit the story you had already made up in your mind?
  • are you really incapable of coming to a logical conclusion based on his response, or is your bias simply so strong, it wouldn't matter what he said?
  • do you understand why politicians don't want to give you, and your kind the time of day?
It is a sad reality, that the modern crop of 'reporters' are considered to be avoided at all costs, and not just by federal politicians. That philosophy extends all the way into the local city council chambers, where councillors are advised to not express their thoughts in letters to the editor, local blogs and in any other arena where they may be held accountable for what they say. In fact if something is considered a 'hot' topic it is the practice of our city council to appoint the Mayor as sole spokesman and a gag is put on the rest of council. A sad state of affairs, to be sure.


Unemployment Rate In Nanaimo Skyrockets!

Unemployment Rate Jumps to 16%

There seems to be a sudden jump in the unemployment rate in Nanaimo over the past two months, with the rate soaring to 16% last month. The reason for the escalation is not easy to get a handle on. The provincial unemployment rate sits at 8.8%

The raw data shows another 4,000 people came into the labour force in March of this year compared with March of last year. Last year the rate in March was 9%. Last year there were 48,500 people employed and that number has dipped to 48,200 this year.

There seems to be just as many job openings this year compared with last if you check the local Help Wanted sources. So, why the sharp increase in the umemployed numbers? Some factors could be an increase in people moving into the area, local businesses either laying staff off or simply not hiring, people coming off of welfare assistance who have previously run out their EI benefits and now are at the end of social assistance providing they are considered employable.

Whatever the real underlying cause of the increase in the unemployment rate is, the results are alarming, and it seems that none of our astute leaders are addressing the issue in any meaningful way. Perhaps this might be a good time to see if the local federal candidates have anything concrete to offer which could improve the situation.


Nanaimo Backyard Chickens On The Increase

Flock Size Increase Recommended

The bylaw passed last Feb. which allowed for limited poultry on city lots has resulted in only two official complaints from neighbours of people keeping chickens in their yards.

City staff are now recommending that the limit on the number of allowed birds be increased from the present level of 4 on large lots and 2 on small lots, to 6 on large lots and 4 on small lots. The poultry bylaw allows 'urban farmers' to keep chickens and ducks only at the present time.

City council will be reviewing the bylaw change recommendations in the near future as the plan has been approved by the Plan Nanaimo advisory committee. This is in keeping with the objective of the plan's food security section which is calling for the development of local food systems.

Comment: The fact this is even an 'event' makes you wonder how far down the rabbit hole we have gone. Imagine! Allowing people to raise their own food! How progressive and forward thinking! I wonder how long before this revolutionary thinking will spread to other countries? I have raised chickens and only being able to keep 2, is pretty much useless if you have any real intent of supplying your own food source.


Day of Mourning

Honouring Workplace Deaths

The Nanaimo Duncan and District Labour Council asks area residents to join them at Pioneer Plaza to help commemorate the Day of Mourning on Thursday April 28, 2011.

The Day of Mourning, which remembers those who have lost their lives due to their jobs is a worldwide event observed by unions, cental labour bodies, labour councils, municipalities and national governments in nearly 100 countries.

Last year 143 workers in British Columbia lost their lives as a result of workplace injuries or occupational diseases.

The Nanaimo ceremony will be at 1:30 pm in Pioneer Plaza on Front Street on April 28. More information or to get a Day of Mourning Flag to display call the labour council office at 250-760-0547.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday


The events of Palm Sunday followed by His flogging and crucifixion on Good Friday leading to His Glorious Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday were the fulfillment of what was foretold of Jesus in the familiar Bible verse in Luke:

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

His death, burial and resurrection means He paid the debt of the sin of mankind, which had separated man from God since that terrible day in the Garden of Eden. God’s only begotten Son has reconciled what no man could reconcile and once again made the way for man to become whole by coming into perfect union with God Who made him.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nanaimo Advance Polls Federal Election 2011

Advance Polls for 2011 Federal Election

Both locations are open on April 22, 23 and 25 from 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Nanaimo - Alberni
McGirr Elementary School 6199 McGirr Road

Cowichan - Nanaimo
Nanaimo Aquatic Centre 741 3rd St.,
Georgia Avenue School 625 Georgia Ave.
Woodbank School 1984 Woodbank Rd. Cedar


Another Nanaimo Postcard Perfect Picture

Reflections On Shack Island

Local photographer Sheryl Falls took advantage of the much improved weather yesterday and went image hunting at Piper's Lagoon Park. One of the more picturesque scenes you will find there is lovely 'Shack Island'.

This superb image captures some of the allure of this charming location. Today, is the only day the weatherman is promising to co-operate this long weekend so if getting out and about is part of your plan, why not make Piper's Lagoon Park one of your stops. It never disappoints.

Just another reason Nanaimo is considered one of the most desirable, livable small cities in North America.


Supportive Wet Housing Questions Valid

Supportive Housing
Low Barrier Housing
Wet Housing
No Barrier Housing
Whatever You Call It There Are Questions Unanswered

Firstly, I am in total agreement with society's responsibility to provide help for any hapless soul who is bound by substances and destructive behaviour, that is not an issue whatsoever. I believe it is society's responsibility to see that all of our citizens enjoy a healthy standard of living which a country such as ours should be able to provide. That includes all citizens and not just those visibly afflicted with debilitating addictions or mental issues.

Stress and anxiety are two of the major causes of many other diseases that afflict the human soul and currently the approach to helping some among us, is creating very real health issues for others among us. The fear and anxiety being experienced by people living in the hospital area is very real and can have very real health impacts. To sit by and casually dismiss these very real impacts by saying things such as 'your fears are unfounded' seem most shallow when coming from those not affected such as councilors and city staff.

Some of the major concerns of residents opposed to these projects planned for the Quarterway area which have not been adequately addressed:

  • Since there is no solid assurance to the contrary, it is entirely possible that either of these projects could house up to 36 active drug users at any one time. This puts up to 72 active drug users in a concentrated area which could destroy the neighbourhood and causes serious concerns for the safety of over 300 children attending Quarterway School.
  • Those 72 active drug users are not required to abstain from drug use as a condition of being housed in this project, so logically you would assume they will be buying drugs to consume. Buying drugs of course brings the unsavory elements of society into the area to service their customers, and there is little evidence the local justice system does anything but tolerate this activity. If they could, there would be no drug problem as all the 'bad guys' would be locked up. No more drug pushers would mean no more drug addicts, but of course we are incapable of making that happen.
  • Since the residents of these no barrier projects will only have welfare as a means of income and addictive habits such as drugs and alcohol would likely exceed their welfare income, the question arises --- how do they supplement their income? What does the prospect of having 72 poor souls needing to steal to support their habit do for the other citizens peace and security?
These are just a few examples of very real concerns that have not been adequately addressed by city council and the social engineers who think these projects are good for everyone. They have made claims about the success of similar projects, but the supporting data does not bear out their claims, when you take time to actually scrutinize the 'proof' being offered by the local social planning department.

Some contrary proof that has been offered included the statement that other projects in the province have successfully employed the no barrier model, when in fact that is not true. Pointing to other studies and reports to support the Nanaimo model is like comparing apples and oranges. Some success is reported for projects in the 10 - 12 client size, but not the 36+ size being proposed in Nanaimo. Some of the supportive housing success stories turn out to be housing people with differing degrees of mental issues and drug use is neither the problem nor is it tolerated.

On a very local level, on the one hand the social engineers would have you believe there will be no problems created placing 72+ active drug users in a small area. On the other hand, the city and downtown businesses have spent considerable time and money developing and employing strategies to get these people out of the downtown core.

Most recently, the prospect of a 24 hour 7/11 store on Nicol Street met with serious opposition from the South End Community Association fueled by their concerns of the 'types' of people that the store will attract to their area.

Yes, Nanaimo needs to tend to the health and well being of ALL of it's citizens and the current unanswered questions about the concentration of these two projects with the policy of housing active drug users is creating serious health and well being issues for far more citizens than these projects are designed to help.


Nanaimo Hackathon Calling All Hackers

The City of Nanaimo and OpenDataBC are inviting the local development community to join us for a day exploring the possibilities of open government data.

Across the world, community groups have been holding Open Data Hackathons to work with data that has been proactively published by government. These events focus on building cool applications, enhancing the relationship between government and the developer community, and determining priorities for future open data publishing. In many jurisdictions, similar events have prompted programmers to build innovative services and perform valuable analysis of official information with results that the government never expected.

You can see examples of the data currently available to developers at both the City of Nanaimo's Data Catalogue and at OpenDataBC's community-developed listing of open data sources across the province

The event will be held on Saturday April 30th, 2011 from 9am to 4pm. If you can join us at this free space limited event, please register at by April 21st, and be sure to bring your laptop!

For more information on other regional Open Data Hackathons, visit


Friday, April 22, 2011

Nanaimo News Notes April 22, 2011

VIU ATHLETES: gradutating students Lindsay McLoughlin and Robbie Cochrane won male and female VIU Athlete of the Year awards and were honored with other althletes at the VIU Athletic Awards Banquet at the Coast Bastion on Wed. night.
VIU Refunds: approximately 1200 students have requested over $1 million in refunds for classes they have chosen to cancel as a result of the recent labour disruption at the University. They were given the option of cancelling or trying to cram 4 weeks of courses into 2 weeks.
Commercial St: has made the shortlist in the first Great Places in Canada contest which will be judged by a panel from the Canadian Institute of Planners. There were nearly 6,000 nominations which have been whittled down to 26 in the finals. More information is at
Nanaimo Boxers: three local boxers were victorious in the BC Golden Gloves competition held in Richmond last weekend. Josh Grossgaardt, Toni Tran and Madison Hicks were winners in their divisions. They are all members of the Nanaimo Boxing Club.
New Fireboat: the city of Nanaimo and the Port Authority are will be partnering in the purchase of a new vessel to fight fires on the water in Nanaimo. The Port Authority took the only patrol boat out of service last Oct. and with the exception of a few weeks the PNA has been renting a fireboat to provide protection. The total cost of the new vessel is $250,000 which will be paid by the PNA and $80,000 will be coming from the city to equip the vessel with the needed pumps.
Strike Vote: the results of the strike vote taken by nearly 200 local social service workers won't be made known until the middle of May. The vote was taken so their union would be in a stronger position to bargain with their employer (that's us) in negotiations which broke down on March 30.
SOS Japan Fundraiser: The recent fundraiser held in the VICC to raise funds to help support Nanaimo's sister city in Japan raised a total of $3588,00 and was attended by 40 people.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Giggling Baby Bubble Eating Dog

If This Doesn't Make You Smile
See Your Doctor Immediately!


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

The Original 'Green' Riding Lawnmower


What Happens When City Staff Fail?

City Council Takes It On The Chin

There is this mistaken notion out there, that city councilors have the time and/or the ability to somehow oversee all the business of the city conducted by staff. In fact there is nothing farther from the truth. Councilors are paid less than $30,000 per year while city staff management are most likely in the $100,000 - $200,000 range, so who do you think is being paid to run the city's business?

Remember that being a city councilor does not require anyone to quit their 'real' job. Some councilors may have the luxury of either being retired or financially well off enough that they can indeed devote a full time effort to the position of city councilor, however, that is not what is intended or expected under the current set up.

There is also no job prerequisite requiring a councilor to demonstrate their ability to be able to read, digest and analyze the avalanche of reports a highly paid civil service can drop on their desks at a moments notice. Many I am sure rely on city staff to provide them with the CliffsNotes version of various studies and reports.

City councilors rely on the information they receive from city staff, and basically 'give staff the benefit of the doubt' when it comes to final decisions. Rarely, if ever, will you see council seriously question or reject recommendations city staff brings before them.

The current 'no barrier' housing project is a case in point. Basically it would seem that city staff, if nothing else did a lousy job of engaging area neighbours affected by this contentious project. In fact, person after person after person, has accused city planner, John Horn of being outright deceptive with his dealings with them during the early stages of this project. There has been enough such accusations that it should call for some serious investigation into his conduct during the planning stages of this project.

During the most recent public hearing on the matter, when another angry resident voiced their displeasure with Mr. Horn's dealing with them, Councilor Kipp stepped in and told the resident to direct their anger at council, saying 'we take the heat, not staff'. That is an interesting comment and is quite enlightening. Does that mean that councilor Kipp supports the notion that he should be responsible for the conduct of a city staff member? Is he the least bit curious if Mr. Horn has been deceptive? If so, does he condone that action?

Just questions, worth asking.


These Guys Control Your Future

They Are Why Prices Are So Unstable
This is not exactly about Nanaimo, or actually it is, but not restricted to our fair city only. This is all about those guys and gals who get up everyday, and whose only goal is to make as much money as they can that day, and in so doing determine what we will ALL pay for the everday staples of life.
Can you see from this picture, what is wrong with this picture?

This clearly explains why you feel the pain at the pump even though there is never any REAL shortage of fuel, being either pumped or refined, the actual prices are being set by frenzied fiends such as these whose only god is the dollar they will make. They have no moral mandate, they are only driven to make money. They are bigger than any government on the face of the earth, as witnessed in 2008 when these 'types' took the world to the brink with their unbridled greed and were rewarded for their efforts with massive taxpayer bailouts.

During this federal election and soon to be coming provincial election, see if ANY of the candidates from ANY of the parties can explain to you the chain of events that determines the price of oil, which is 'quite profitable' at $80,00 a barrel (according to the CEO of Suncor), through the process of being driven up to current levels without any REAL changes in either supply or demand?

The disturbing part is that these money mad, frenzied traders have far more to say about what you will pay at the pumps and grocery store, than ANYONE you can elect.


Federal All Candidates Meetings Nanaimo

 Meet Your Candidates
There are all candidates meetings planned for next week to give area residents the opportunity to hear their local candidates explain what they and their party have to offer in the upcoming May2 Federal election.

The meetings are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend and get personally involved in the election process.

Two meetings are planned as follows:

Nanaimo-Cowichan riding will be held in Georgia Avenue Community School on April. 26 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

Nanaimo-Alberni riding will be held at Dover Bay Secondary School on Thurs. April 28 7:00 - 9:00 pm.

The meetings are a collaborative effort of the VIREB, Island Radio and the News Bulletin who are hosting the events.


Wet Housing Hearing Goes Into Overtime

Third Public Meeting Scheduled

With still at least a dozen people waiting for their turn at the podium at 11:00 pm it was necessary to recess the hearing one more time on this contentious issue. The meeting began promptly at 7:00 pm and the Bowen Road rezoning application was the only item on the agenda.

One by one dozens (?) of speakers took to the podium with opponents outnumbering proponents at least ten to one. The decorum was considerably improved over the last meeting with everyone staying 'on topic' with a minimum of emotional outbursts. At one point a clearly upset opponent objected when the Mayor tried to correct him on something which led to a bit of a shouting match with the opponent resenting being interrupted by the Mayor. The outburst caused a visibly shaken Councilor Holdom to vacate his seat and left the auditorium until that speaker was finished.

What followed was more akin to the kids in the sandbox when the next opponent took a shot at Councilor Holdom for leaving the room, newbie Councilor Greves took exception to the comments which he felt were directed at him also and responded with a less then professional attitude.

The evening was not without humor when one presenter repeatedly referred to the Mayor as Mayor Ruttin, even after being corrected several times. I believe she simply did not hear the corrected pronunciation for she was clearly apologetic when she finally realized she was pronouncing his name wrong.

It seems that one stumbling block around this whole issue is the either real or perceived deception on the part of city staff to try and 'slip one by' without anyone noticing. Clearly staff tried to imply that the projects elsewhere in the province were also wet housing when in fact they are not. There also does not appear to be any clear evidence of the success of these types of units with the example of the one in Kelowna starting as a wet house project but after three months they revisited their policy and are no longer wet houses.

Housing immediately adjacent the Bowen Road project on White St., Pryde and Venlaw to name a few have apparently already suffered negative impact when it comes to residents ability to sell their property. The location and purpose of the wet housing project is simply something causing potential buyers to avoid the area all together.

The opponents to the project were well prepared, well researched and well organized and their presentations were pretty much compelling and to the point. Much research was presented which would contradict the information city staff seemed to rely on when they spear headed this project, which at the very least has been poorly planned and executed.

It is likely fair to say that the residents have spent far more time doing actual research on this whole project than most on council.

Perhaps local social advocate, Gord Fuller had one of the best ideas when he suggested the city sell the Bowen Road property to a developer who would be required to provide a % of low cost housing in the project, and then use the proceeds of the sale to buy two or more properties in other areas of the city.

Another idea with merit would be to purchase many smaller existing properties throughout the city which could save considerable tax dollars as the proposed projects are costing in excess of $200,000 per unit to provide this type of housing.

No one is opposed to helping those among us who need and are willing to accept help, the problem lies with the density and proximity to schools of the Bowen Road and Dufferin projects. 
The third public hearing meeting addressing this issue is scheduled for May 5 at 7:00 pm in the Shaw Auditorium in the conference centre.

Perhaps something like this will actually shake enough people from their slumber, that come next civic election we might get a respectable turnout for a change and perhaps even some fiery new blood running for council. Among the presenters at this meeting were several candidates which sounded like they would make good candidates.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

BC Ferries Easter Weekend Sailings Nanaimo

Departure Bay - Horseshoe Bay Sailings

Current Conditions

Duke Point - Tsawwassen Sailings

Current Conditions


Nanaimo News Notes April 20, 2011

E & N: it seems the provincial government is unable to figure out how to find some spare cash to help fund the Island rail line, but did however discover a paltry $1.4 billion to extend Sky Train.
CIBC: in Port Place Mall (formerly Harbour Park) will be holding their grand re-opening of their newly renovated $2 million location on April 29. Apparently the bank will not be handing out free samples of their 'product'.
City Ambassadors: Miss Nanaimo Ambassador and the two vice-ambassadors have been chosen for 2011. Megan Cawthorne a grade 12 student at Cedar Community Secondary has been selected as Ambassador while NDSS student Fallon Benson and Dover Bay student Carmen Haarsma have been chosen vice-ambassadors. They will be seen around town attending a wide variety of events and functions.
VICC: will be able to host a wider variety of events with the change to a liquor-primary license instead of the existing food-primary license. A local promoter now intends to host a body painting event in the VICC this Sept. after being refused earlier because of the liquor licensing that was in place.
Olson Stays: Michael Olson has announced his acceptance of the assistant coach position with the Nanaimo Clippers who are obviously in a transition period with the change in head coach and manager as previous coach Bill Bestwick was recently kicked under the bus.
Election Idea?: apparently the city is looking into the possibility of contracting out the next civic election in the interest of saving some tax dollars. The current system costs about $150,000 and how much could actually be saved is an unknown. Stay tuned as council scrambles to hold the line on taxes.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

They Are At It Again - - - The Spin Meisters!

Not Really New

No, it is not really new, but it seems to have worked in the past so why not continue. With what you may ask?

It is the old story where during early days of budget discussions city staff and council parade out the possibility of a large tax increase, let's say 6% as an example. Then after much deliberation and pencil sharpening and soul searching they get that down to say 5%.

Then a few months later, just before the budget needs to be finalized - - - - miracle of miracles they are able to shave another point or two off of the increase. The final tax increase turns out to only be 3.6% and everyone breathes a sigh of relief and the local press sings the praises of city council and staff for such a well done job.

They even go so far as to declare in headline form "property tax hike reduced to 3.6%" making it almost sound like city council and staff have reduced taxes. Of course they have done no such thing, in fact they raised them by nearly another 4% this year, and don't forget that your user fees aren't going down anytime soon, unlike the ever reducing garbage pick up service.

Ahhhh spring time and the hills are alive with the sounds of spinning spin-meisters. And the sheep once again didn't noticed they just got fleeced.


Don't Bring Flowers To Hospital

Scents & Pollen Unwelcome In Hospital

VIHA is asking people not to bring strongly perfumed or intense pollen bearing flowers into the hospital or residential care facilities over the Easter weekend.

While many people consider the Easter Lily part of the tradition it can cause issues for people suffering from health issues. The pollen or perfume can trigger respiratory problems, headaches and sometimes nausea. The problem with scents is not restricted to flowers of course but can be problematic with things such as hair spray, hand creams and the like.

So, if you want to cheer up someone who is in hospital this weekend, maybe a basket of chocolate would be better, and a card with a picture of a flower on it.


Election Day Jobs

Workers are needed in the Nanaimo Cowichan riding for election day which is May 2. If you are over 16 years of age you could pick up at least $160 for the days effort.
You can apply online at or better yet call 1-888-545-0621.


Quarterway Housing Project Hearing Continues

Resumption of Public Hearing
April 20 - 7:00 pm
Shaw Auditorium VICC

This is the resumption of the Public Hearing which was recessed on April 14 - 2011 which ended at 11:00 pm with many people wishing to express their opinions who had not been heard.

It is a long time since any issue in Nanaimo has generated as much public input as this one has. I don't even recall the conference centre issue being as hotly debated as this project is being. It is good to see, people actually participating in the process rather than just passively sitting by letting the bureaucracy steam roll over them with a social planning experiment.

It will require the wisdom of Solomon for Council to make the right choice here, which most likely should be a compromise of some kind as the public opposition to these two projects in such close proximity to the school is nothing less than fierce. Whether those fears and concerns are misplaced is another matter all together. Whether the city staff have simply made a first class mess of this whole project is another topic of discussion, they certainly do seem to be lacking accurate answers to peoples concerns, which does not exactly instill confidence.

There are several areas where this whole project demonstrates the lack of good planning and execution and one is the density of these units which were to be "located in small housing developments distributed across the City". There is nothing about the concentration of these units that is 'across the City' when in fact the two units causing the greatest contention are within spitting distance of the same school.

There are still far too many questions being inadequately answered by staff and reports referenced  which are purported to support claims simply don't stand scrutiny. Conflicting numbers, lack of verifiable data and much anecdotal support, simply do nothing to dismiss the distrust felt by area residents.

When councillors are asked why the heavy concentration near Quarterway school, the only answer is "that's where the city owns land, where else can we put it"; if that is an example of the planning that went into siting these buildings it is little wonder it is in the glue now.

This whole affair is turning into just one more example of a poorly handled project of considerable size and importance, not unlike a conference centre which shall remain nameless.

At the end of the day, it is a crying shame because there are many poor souls in this community who can benefit from a well run program if it can live up to the ideals held out by this one. But in the current hands, it is just becoming one huge fiasco.


Nanaimo News Notes April 19, 2011

FPCOW: meeting at city hall yesterday looked like it would be a long one. Not only did the agenda look full, but when I saw the caterer delivering platters of sandwiches and other munchies I was sure it would be most productive with lots of important issues resolved. There was even another 'in camera' session scheduled for the end of the public portion of the meeting. Unfortunately I was only able to witness the first hour as I had already made a commitment based on the usual start time of 4:30pm , so the earlier start of 3:00pm just jammed up my schedule. I will have to read the local press to see what happened.
Easter Downtown: on Saturday from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm there will be a variety of events downtown to celebrate Easter. There are lots of fun events planned with a pancake breakfast in Diana Krall Plaza. For more information about the times and events planned you can call 250-754-8141.
Walkers: the Bastion City Wanderers will be having another walk in Nanaimo this coming Saturday. Register at 8:45 am  in the food court near the Perfect Cup in Country Club Mall. Call 250-756-9796 for more information about this and other planned walks around Nanaimo. Healthy exercise and friendship is always on the menu.
Booze: will be allowed on a trial basis at combative sporting events in Nanaimo. Previously alcohol sales have been banned at such events, and the crowd behaviour will be monitored at each event.
Local Boxer: is so good his opponents won't fight him anymore. Justis MacKay-Topley is an 11 year old rising star in the world of boxing. His skills seem to be his biggest asset while also being his biggest liability. It seems his record has opponents coming up with excuses to not fight him, such was the case in Richmond where the BC Golden Gloves championships were held when none of his scheduled opponents showed up. His coach fears the lack of competition could cause the young fighter to lose interest in the sport.


This Could Be Funny

If It Weren't True!


Port Theatre Nanaimo April 22, 2011 Boy Entertainment presents:
April 22 - 7:30 pm


Columbia Fuels Offers Compensation

Fuel Truck Fiasco Follow Up

The fuel tanker crash that closed the Malahat and caused extreme damage to the neighouring watercourse has resulted in the company who owns the truck offering to compensate travelers for legitimate expenses they incurred as a result.
Andrea Voysey a director at Columbia Fuels is reported to say that Columbia Fuels recognizes the trouble caused by the closure and inconvenience caused travelers by the accident. The company will be hiring an independent adjudicator to handle claims and settle expenses filed by travelers as a result of the highway closure.
The fuel spill which resulted from the accident required an emergency response team to excavate toxic soil in an area 50 metres long and two and a half metres wide and one metre deep. Due to dangerous gas fumes in the area, vehicles had to be kept back from the scene and the actual removal of the heavy vehicle took far longer than anticipated.
The driver of the fuel truck who I believe lives in Nanaimo is suspected of being drunk at the time of the crash. Maybe all such vehicles should have those ignition safety locks on them from now on as this type of incident is quite upsetting. You would like to think that 'professional' drivers hauling dangerous cargo on a B Train were above driving while drunk, but clearly that is not always the case.
This relatively minor incident, clearly demonstrates just how unprepared emergency teams are when it comes to dealing with a real life disaster that is well beyond the norm.