Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meet Island Sport Fishing Expert

Vancouver Island Sport Fishing Expert
Larry E. Stefanyk

Meet Vancouver Island sport fishing expert Larry E. Stefanyk, as he signs copies of his fishing guidebooks, including his most recent, Ultimate Trout Fishing in the Pacific Northwest, at Costco in Nanaimo (located at 6700 Island Highway North) on Saturday, June 4, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Free Admission. For more information, call Costco at (250) 390-3231.


Westwood Lake Bear Warning

City of Nanaimo
Issues Bear Warning

Westwood Lake Park Visitors: please be aware that two bears have been sighted in the park as recently as this morning, Tuesday, May 31st, 2011. Signs notifying park users have been posted at the trail heads. Conservation Officers are aware of the sightings.

If you plan to use the lake trails please be bear aware. Remember these are wild animals and it is important that you give them space. If you do head out along the trail make noise as you travel, travel in pairs at a minimum and keep pets leashed.

For more information about bears please visit the provincial government’s website.


Blake McGuffie Agrees With New Annex

Blake McGuffie Supports
$16,000,000.00 Annex

Follows is the reply received from long time Nanaimo resident and former city councillor, Blake McGuffie:

I am totally supportive of the plan. The current annex started life as a Kelly Douglas warehouse, and has had very bad air quality since the City first occupied part of it as a tenant. I was on the Council that finally pushed Management to purchase it, after spending several times the purchase price in rent. We got it at a price which should be fully recoverable from the sale of the land, even with the cost of demolition. That Council looked at concepts similar to what is now being proposed at that time, and opted for saving the moving costs by purchasing the current. We also did considerable due diligence on the former Credit Union building on the other side of City Hall

The City continues to grow, and so will City services. A new building on land the City has owned for decades make sense, and will allow some growth room. I do not think staff need a deluxe building but theydo need decent and modern space.

I do not agree with the need to put some of the cost onto taxes. The City has more than adequate reserves to cover this entire cost out of the "savings accounts".
Incidentally, I also agree strongly with Fred Taylor's position that the annual surplus should not be fully allocated to reserves each year. A policy of 1/2 of the surplus to buy down tax rates, with 1/2 in reserve would continue to supplement the "savings" and give back what amounts to over-taxation. An examination of the individual City reserves and their "purpose" would easily reinforce my argument. One such reserve, by memory, is over $ 3. million for "unpaid property taxes". If taxes are not paid, City takes the property which in virtually every case could be sold for more than the taxes. This is only one example of "slush" that City staff have created with the support and the ignorance of Council to all matters financial.


Brittany Baird Death Charges Laid

Two Men Charged In Brutal Killing

Christopher James Robinson and Marcus Brandon Parry, both 24 have been arrested and charged in the second degree murder death of 22 year old Brittany Baird.

A 25 year old woman was also arrested but has not been charged. The two charged will appear in court today to face the charges.

Police are reporting this was a targeted murder, saying that those involved all new each other. The murder has shaken up the community and police will be holding self-awareness classes in response to the many concerns being raised.


Resurfacing Of Bastion St. Parkade

Upper Level Parking Still Closed

The application of the final weather proofing of the uper level of the Bastion Street Parkade is entirely dependent upon the weather.

The final coat requires several days of dry weather after the application for a proper cure to complete.Hopefully it will be complete before all the summer hordes descend on our spiffy new downtown core this summer.


Council Paves Way For Bowen Rd. Project

Supportive Housing Unit Gets OK

City council voted in favour of rezoning the controversial property on Bowen Road to allow for the construction of VIHA run supportive housing.

This is the issue that galvanized a neighbourhood and has seen local residents actually participate in democracy for a change. It would be hoped they continue to keep an eye on all levels of government and how they chose to spend our tax dollars.

Council struck what they feel is a compromise by excluding the development of the Bowen Road property until after all other such projects are completed and in use.

While this seems like a fair compromise, it does little to address concerns of reduced property values and while the project is not likely to open any time soon, there is always that possibility in the future.

Questions Unanswered About This Decision

Would council have passed this building with all the required variances had some private developer wanted to build non supportive low cost housing?

Since there are NO plans or building contracts in place, and  B.C. Housing has promised $36 million to build all the projects, could the Nanaimo taxpayer be on the hook to pick up any cost overruns?


Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunny Afternoon At Maffeo Sutton Park

Suddenly Summer-Like In Nanaimo

The clouds blew away, the rain stopped , the sun came out and it was suddenly summer-like in Nanaimo on Sunday afternoon. Maybe that is why it is called 'Sun' day?

It didn't take long to cast off the jackets and long sleeves (which have been getting too much use lately) and put on the shorts and even bathing suits.

The first picture shows some of the more adventurous testing the water in Swy-a-lana lagoon at Maffeo Sutton Park. While the middle picture shows some folks playin' some B-Ball and the bottom picture shows a young lady flying her kite.

It turned out to be a great day on Sunday and a perfect day to enjoy one of Nanaimo's many famous outdoor gems.


Special Council Meeting TONIGHT

Bowen Rd. 'Wet House' Decision Expected
Monday May 30 At 7:00 PM
Shaw Auditorium in VICC

This meeting was a regular FPCOW meeting which has been changed to a Special Open Meeting of the City Council of Nanaimo. I am told this meeting will also be broadcast on Shaw cable the same as any regular council meeting. You should also be able to view it on your computer using the live broadcast link on the city website

If you plan to attend in person, you will want to arrive early to get a seat, as the place will likely be packed.

This meeting has a full agenda with many items you could class as 'usual' council business, but the one item sure to pack the house and get the most attention is the contentious rezoning application to allow for a 'wet house' on Bowen Road near Quarterway school.

You can view the complete agenda for this city council meeting by clicking HERE.


New 7/11 Takes Shape

New Nicol Street 7 - 11 Coming Along

If you have been down Nicol Street lately, you might wonder what that new building is across from the McDonalds. It will be the new home of a 7 11 convenience store on the site of the old store, which was closed and demolished several years ago.

The style is not what you might expect a 7 11 to look like, but part of the design is living quarters above the store. This is all part of the design to make the store more neighbourhood friendly and it should be a huge improvement over the vacant lot that has occupied this corner for too long.

Now, if something can be done with the closed gas station across the road?


Larry McNabb Sports Zone Opened

Larry McNabbs Family View Tribute For First Time
Some Of The Art Lining The 'Larry McNabb Sports Zone'
When you drive along Third Street going past the Aquatic Centre, The Ice Centre, Serauxman Stadium and Fields and the Rotary Field House you are now in the Larry McNabb Sports Zone.

There was an official unveiling of the tribute to the popular, late councilor who played such an important role in developing sports facilities he knew would benefit children of all ages.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Arrests Made In Baird Murder Case

RCMP are not releasing the names of the two 25 year old men they have arrested in the murder of 22 year old Brittany Baird.

Police did say the murder was not random and that it was a targeted killing, said Baird new her killers.

The names of the two arrested will not be released until after their first court appearance on Tuesday.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is City Staff In a Conflict Of Interest ?

Should City Staff Be Relied On To Be Unbiased?

The current financial fiasco underway at city hall, being orchestrated and overseen by the same managers that brought you the Conference Centre which ran millions and millions and millions over projected costs brings many questions to mind, which need to be answered before this disaster is allowed to go any further.

One serious question needing addressing is the possibility that city staff are actually acting in their own best interests when steering city council to the foregone conclusion they want made. They have no reason to try and reduce the stress they are putting on the public purse, as not one of them is responsible to the public for the amount of money they spend.

Within the realm of bureaucratic kingdoms there is the natural tendency to surround ones self with as many trimmings and trappings as possible that reinforce the visual impression of their 'status' within the corporation. You know, the top banana always gets the best corner office, with the best view, the biggest, flashiest desk, the most staff and on and on it goes.

So, when presented with a scheme that would see them lifted out of there current, older work space and elevated into posh new surroundings that a $16 million office would provide, who can blame them for putting their heads together to make it so? After all, it is city council that takes all the heat for decisions made by council, which of course were recommended by staff, so it is really staff who have made the choice. There is no real accountability within the hallowed halls of the city bureaucracy. They are a kingdom unto themselves, and pity the council that tries to reign them in!

So, now all city staff have to do is present a mind numbing avalanche of reports, studies and reviews which conclude the only sensible choice is to spend the $16 million on a new office tower. Does council have any other resource to rely on before making a decision? Do they have any counter recommendations made by some other totally unbiased authority? Of course not, they can only draw on their own life experiences and expertise before making a decision. Without being unkind to anyone, it is fair to say, that few on council have any real experience or expertise in evaluating the recommendation put before them by city staff.

The Taxpayer Will Get Ripped Off Again!

Just like the conference centre fiasco, the current method of deciding to proceed with the new city annex offers the shareholders of this corporation (that is every single taxpayer) no opportunity to tell if they are getting any real value for their money. In essence, city staff is asking us to just trust their judgment when it comes to getting $16 million of value for the taxpayer.

The ONLY way to know if you are getting real value for your money, is to compare at the very least two bids from qualified builders for a building with the exact same specs. Only then can we have any assurance we are not just being led down the garden path again, by an arguably incompetent group of managers.

This insanity has to be stopped now and not be allowed to proceed until after open and clear discussions in FRONT of the taxpaying public take place during the next civic election campaign.

It is most reasonable to just put this whole project on the shelf until after the next election, and if the new council gets a mandate to build a $16 million office tower instead of not increasing our taxes for the next five years, only then should this project proceed. At that time, should the taxpayer of Nanaimo indicate they want to proceed with the major construction project, the city should hire an outside, independent project manager, and not turn city staff loose on another ill-fated construction project such as we witnessed downtown.


Special Open City Council Meeting

Bowen Rd. 'Wet House' Decision Expected
Monday May 30 At 7:00 PM
Shaw Auditorium in VICC

This meeting was a regular FPCOW meeting which has been changed to a Special Open Meeting of the City Council of Nanaimo. I am told this meeting will also be broadcast on Shaw cable the same as any regular council meeting. You should also be able to view it on your computer using the live broadcast link on the city website

This meeting has a full agenda with many items you could class as 'usual' council business, but the one item sure to pack the house and get the most attention is the contentious rezoning application to allow for a 'wet house' on Bowen Road near Quarterway school.

You can view the complete agenda for this city council meeting by clicking HERE.


NRGH Emergency Use Increases

Used By As Many As 155 Patients In One Day

Recent stats released by VIHA show an expected trend in the local ER with just over 900 more people coming in during the last calendar year than the year before.

A total of 54,193 visits were recorded in the fiscal year ending in Mar. of this year compared with a total of 53,288 for the same period ending in 2010. This compares with 45,538 uses for the period ending 2007, so the upward trend is clear and there is no end in sight as the aging population puts more and more strain on the system. Clearly older people tend to have more medical emergencies than younger people.

The existing ER was designed to handle a total of 16,000 visits when it was built in the 1960's and the new addition currently underway is designed to accommodate 70,000 people per year. About 50% of people taking up space in the ER at any one time are waiting for an opening in the main hospital.


Larry McNabb Sports Zone Pays Tribute

Larry McNabb Sports Zone Dedication
Today 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Nanaimo Ice Centre 750 - 3rd St.

Nanaimo residents are invited to attend the dedication of the 'Larry McNabb Sport Zone' this Saturday, May 28 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Nanaimo Ice Centre at 750 Third Street. The event will celebrate Councillor McNabb's vision of the importance sports plays in the lives of young people. He was a tireless advocate who worked hard to create Nanaimo's sports zone.

The zone includes Nanaimo Ice Centre, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Serauxman Stadium and Fields and the Rotary Field House.

Eleven statues have been installed along Third Street between Nanaimo Ice Centre and Serauxman Fields. They are all sports themed and were created by artists Victoria Drakeford and Ruben Galdames. The event will include the unveiling of a commemorative figure of Councilor McNabb with a few brief speeches starting at 11:20 am with refreshments following.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Nanaimo Weather Outlook Promising?

Click Images To Enlarge
As the above to graphics from the Weather Network show, it looks like Nanaimo could be in for a dry and partly sunny weekend. However, the 14 day longer term outlook is still calling for below normal temperatures with day time highs remaining below historic averages.

We shouldn't complain about our cool and damp weather however, as there was snow on the Kokahala (sp?) yesterday.

If this cool damp weather does continue, I won't be in any hurry to put out baskets or plant annuals though. It is just too cool.


Vancouver Island Conference Centre

First Quarter Visitors Off 68% From 2010

The Vancouver Island Conference Centre has seen a sharp decline in visitors this year when compared with the same period for last year. However, centre manager Denise Tacon is optimistic their numbers will exceed last year and says that the months of high demand this year, are not the same as last year, making month to month comparisons difficult.

This June will mark the third year the convention centre has been open and it is still bleeding red ink, costing Nanaimo taxpayers in the order of $1,000,000 per year to make up for the operation deficit.

A delegate-day visitor is described as those who stay at least one night. In 2009 the VICC counted 12,000 delegate-days and in 2010 they saw a modest increase to 13,000. It is hoped this year will exceed that number as well.

Interesting Comparison
3500 Attend Conference At Beban Park

From June 3 - 5 this year about 3500 Jehovah Witnesses will be coming to their district convention being held once again at Beban Park. Last year the convention was held in Cedar due to the renovations at Frank Crane Arena.

Depending on how you do the math, it is supposed that this convention would account for 10,500 delegate-days in the one three day event, being hosted in a long since, paid for city facility.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nanaimo Woman Murdered

Woman Found At Selby and Milford

Police responded last night around 11:00 pm to reports of a woman lying on the sidewalk at the corner of Selby Street and Milford Cresent near downtown Nanaimo. There had also been a report of hearing a woman screaming for help.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene but police are not saying how she was killed, nor are they releasing her name yet.

If anyone has any information about seeing anything or anyone suspicious in that area last night they should notify police immediately. Call 250-754-2345 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8744.

The victim has now been identified as 22 year old Brittany Baird. Police have several suspects in the killing but are still asking the public for help.


Wal-Mart Branded Food Processor Recalled

18,983 Processors Recalled 
Laceration Hazard Possible

The General Electric 14-cup food processor with the model number 169203 by Wal-Mart Canada Corp. has a potential failure of the interlock system which allows the processor to be operated without the lid in place, posing a laceration hazard to consumers.

There have been 3 reports of laceration injuries to the fingers of users of this processor. The processor should immediately be returned to Wal-Mart for a full refund.
To learn more about this and other Canadian Product Recalls visit HERE.


Student Has Bright Idea (My Dad Had It First)

VIU Students Save Energy
The Bulletin reports the results of a recent contest held at VIU for ways to save energy. Remember this is a bastion of higher learning, where the best and the brightest come to be prepared by the best and the brightest to lead our planet into the future.

Among the five winning entries reported were some high tech ideas such as using thermal imaging to identify areas of heat loss and recovering heat from the cafeteria area where heat is used to cook food and run dishwashers but is not harnessed and reused.

However, two of the five winning suggestions simply come as a surprise that they are not already being incorporated by such a high level brain trust. 

One suggestion was to turn down the thermostat and put on a sweater and the other was to turn the lights off when the sun was out! Absolutely brilliant!! Apparently there were some 225 entries, and considering that these were two of the 'winners', I can hardly guess what the others might have been.

As the heading suggests 'My Dad was first', with his elementary school education and lack of higher learning he was always turning off the lights and lowering the thermostat. And back in those days it had nothing to do with saving the planet or energy conservation, it was all about being able to pay the bills!


Nanaimo News Notes May 26. 2011

Dover Bay School: students from Dover Bay won every category in this years mid-island B.C. Secondary School Math Contest held at VIU, competing with a total of 81 top math students who participated in the final round.

Lyndsay Wells: heading for cook-off contest in Toronto this July. The local resident won a spot with 16 others in The Real Women of Philadelphia national cooking competition. Her recipe for creamy pistachio and mango chutney pork tenderloin won her the honour.

Travis Martin: had a bright idea while attending an Earth Science class in VIU's Faculty of Management building. The bright young fellow observed that there was no need to keep the lights on, when the sunshine was providing enough natural illumination to do the job. His suggestion made him one of five to win the contest.

VIU Agreement: a two year agreement has now been accepted by the university and faculty association. The agreement was reached with the help of a special mediator Mark Brown. Too bad the students had to suffer the brunt of the unnecessary strike this spring.

Downtown Farmers Market: is open again on Fridays for the rest of the summer. This popular market offers a good selection of baked goods, home made jams and jellies, cookies to name just a few of the 'yummies' you can find there. They open at 10:00 am so the early birds get the best selection.

Museum: is enjoying a 17% increase in traffic in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2010. The first cruise ship saw 600 visitors come to the museum in a single day. Sales at the souvenir shop are also up 34% for the same period. Have YOU seen the museum? If not --- why not??

Science Centre in Bowen Park?: city parks, rec and culture have endorsed a plan to investigate the possibility of making a science centre at Bowen Park.


Thieves Steal Copper Wiring

1,000 Metres Of Wire Stolen
Email subscribers to Nanaimo Info Blog may have to visit the website to view this video.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BC Ferries June CoastSavers Promotion

CoastSaver Seat Sail Promotion
June 2 - June 26
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Car and Driver $39.95 One-Way

During the month of June on Thursday - Sunday from June 2 - June 26 you can save 30% of ferry fares from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. On CoastSaver Days a car and driver will be $39.95 one-way and a foot passenger will be $9.95 one-way.

The reduced fares apply to Departure Bay and Duke Point Sailings, to and from Vancouver Island. For more complete information about sailing times and reserved sailings click HERE.


Larry McNabb Sports Zone

Larry McNabb Sports Zone Dedication

Nanaimo residents are invited to attend the dedication of the 'Larry McNabb Sport Zone' this Saturday, May 28 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Nanaimo Ice Centre at 750 Third Street. The event will celebrate Councillor McNabb's vision of the importance sports plays in the lives of young people. He was a tireless advocate who worked hard to create Nanaimo's sports zone.

The zone includes Nanaimo Ice Centre, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Serauxman Stadium and Fields and the Rotary Field House.

Eleven statues have been installed along Third Street between Nanaimo Ice Centre and Serauxman Fields. They are all sports themed and were created by artists Victoria Drakeford and Ruben Galdames. The event will include the unveiling of a commemorative figure of Councilor McNabb with a few brief speeches starting at 11:20 am with refreshments following.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Ever wonder how they get materials to the top
Without a Crane?


Nanaimo Bastion Open Again

The iconic Nanaimo Bastion is open again for the season inviting guests to see the completed redone fort, which has guarded Nanaimo harbour from the beginning.

The Bastion is open daily throughout the summer and is well worth the visit next time you are downtown.


Last Construction Project Built By City Hall

Conference Centre Was To Cost $52 Million
Actually Cost At Least $75 Million
Paid $3 Million To NOT Build a Hotel

The demonstrated skills seen at the last construction project overseen by the management team at city hall would never get anyone hired in the real world to build another project. There is not enough space here to compile a list of the demonstrations of complete incompetence in the field of construction management demonstrated by city hall staff during this huge waste of money.

But, remember this is not the real world as much as city staff and city council would like to pretend they are in charge of a multi-million corporation. For you see, that is how the city is run. The city is actually a corporation with a board of directors (elected councilors) a slate of officers (senior staff) and last but the ones with the most to loose are the shareholders in the corporation, which are each and every taxpayer in Nanaimo.

The reality of the matter is that city staff have to work for a civic organization as they would never get hired in the real world where there is consequence for incompetence. You see, in the city of Nanaimo, if you screw up a major project, like the VICC you get a golden handshake and in some cases even a promotion. That's the way it is at city hall, which as most close observers will tell you is likely where Alice wound up, when she fell down that hole.

Annex Is Just Like VICC

The VICC was the pet project of city hall who used every trick in the book to see it was built, right down to a questionable referendum. It was built without going to public tender, so to this day, we have no idea what that white elephant might have cost if it had been put out to bids. We were told the interests of the taxpayer were being taken care of, only to find out later we had paid a company $3 million to NOT build a hotel, and had no means of recovery. Of course good business managers would not have paid the $3 million in the first place. The $52 million quickly turned into $72 million (that they will own up to) and just for good measure they spent $650,000 to tear down the civic arena.

The new $16 million city annex is a pet project of city staff, who had little difficulty getting this current city council to put a rubber stamp on the project. A project they are so uncertain about they will not come out of the dark and tell you who supported this outrageous idea. Honestly, who on this city council do you think has any idea how to appraise the pros and cons of a major construction project which accounts for 35% of all capital spending for one year, and 10% of the entire budget for one year? In the real world, the current annex might get renovated in pieces, over time and instead of looking to build bright shiny new offices to house an expanding city hall, they would be thinking about downsizing as the local economy continues downward.

This annex has been approved without going to public tender ( a smooth move to avoid public scrutiny orchestrated by a slippery staff ) there is NO contract in place now and I will bet anything it will have lots of room to expand from the advertised $16 million to say $18 million ---- $20 million........ pick a number, and remember this is being orchestrated and overseen by the same management team that brought you the VICC.


Nanaimo Residents Are Being Over Taxed

Sign Petition To Stop Wasting YOUR Taxes

An engineers report recommended the city spend $4.2 million to upgrade the city hall annex to meet seismic requirements, which are not required under a city bylaw. The fact it would take a significant event to cause any damage to this building brings into question the need even for this upgrade.

The $16 million it is going to cost to build a brand new annex was decided upon in secret by this current council, the amount was not even mentioned in the draft five year financing plan presented to the public during budget discussions. 

This city council has NO MANDATE from the public to spend 10% of the total city budget on such a frivolous expenditure with is designed to satisfy over-inflated egos of highly paid city staff who are likely looking for something to keep themselves busy, during the current economic downturn in Nanaimo. Remember unless, they have projects to oversee, and millions of YOUR dollars to spend they don't have anything to do!

This project is an outrage ......... the secrecy surrounding the spending of $16 million is an outrage...........there is currently NO contract in place to give any assurance this building can even be built for $16million.

Remember being told the conference centre would cost $52 million? It is the same management team in place at city hall that oversaw that building project. Do you really think we need to turn them loose again? Apparently this city council does, which is the reason they have lost the confidence of the few Nanaimo taxpayers who are currently paying attention.

If you have not already added your name to the petition to put this Outrageous Expense on hold until after the next civic election click HERE to sign the petition.


Another Example Of City Incompetence

Cruise Ship Day Downtown
Why Plaza Not Full?

I was downtown last Friday to see the impact of the cruise ship visiting our shores and while the farmer's market in Pioneer Plaza seemed to be enjoying a steady but not overwhelming crowd, Diana Krall Plaza was noticeably empty.

Why? It was because of the mind numbing, window shaking, ear-bleeding amplified music being pumped out into all of downtown. Clearly this band thinks that volume makes anyone sound good. Frankly because of the sound levels, I couldn't tell you if they were good or bad.

I was not the only one, members of the DNBIA who were manning an information booth to help visitors to downtown were most unhappy, as was the restaurant on Commercial Street who were also complaining.

So, who was responsible for this visitor-repelling awful noise? It turns out that our Parks and Rec Dept. under the leadership of Richard Harding had planned a concert as part of the summer entertainment program to help bring life to our gathering areas over the summer. It also seems that the staff member responsible for this fiasco was in the Plaza during this display of insanity and did not think it necessary to have the volume amped down. You might think the people running away from the noise might have been a clue.

So, we had one chance to make a first impression on the second cruise ship of the season, and this is how city staff handled it? Parks and Rec really needs to just stick with what they know, and running music concerts, is not one of those things. As is making choices about food vending in Maffeo Sutton Park, I see this year again we just have the one hot dog vendor.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Meet Cuban Ambassador to Canada

Sunday May 29th, 2011 - 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo
#1 - 595 Townsite Rd.
For information call 250-722-3633


Seair Seaplanes Seat Sale

Save $10 On New Route
Nanaimo to and from Vancouver Harbour

Seair Seaplanes is offering a $10 discount from May 25 - June 15 on their new route from Nanaimo to and from Vancouver Harbour. The flight is regularly $79 each way, but from May 25 until June 15 you can save $10 each way, which of course is $20 on a return trip.

More details about this and other seat sales being offered can be seen by visiting their website by clicking HERE.


Parades Don't Just 'Happen'

Countless Hours By Volunteers Makes For 'Success'

The 144th annual Empire Days Events highlighted by the crowd pleasing parade and fireworks over the harbour don't 'just happen', they are the result of countless hours freely given by community minded individuals, without whom, community would mean nothing.

The local Lions Club play a large part in seeing this weeks events come off without a hitch for the enjoyment of all, and are seldom given the thanks they deserve. If you notice, usually those filling those volunteer positions aren't getting any younger, and the community can only hope a new 'crop' of community minded individuals steps up and takes their place in years to come.

Without them, the community would be a much poorer place, and all I can say is 'Thank You and Hats Off for another job well done'!


Nanaimo Empire Days Parade Another Hit

144th Parade Get Nod From Weatherman

The sun also made an appearance this year, along with Queen Victoria for the 144th annual Empire Days Parade in beautiful downtown Nanaimo.

The parade route was once again packed from one end to the other as over 50 floats thrilled and entertained the crowds which was made up of the very young and the very old.

The top photo catches 'Queen Victoria' and Prince Albert (not as obvious) in a classic '57 Chevy convertible (drool), the mid picture is the great exhibit from the VIEX featuring a stuffed toy Ferris wheel, and last but not least the Seattle Motorcycle Drill Team who wowed the crowd with their precision riding aboard their trusty steeds.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Nanaimo City Staff Pattern?

  1. In the past decade this city staff has overseen the tearing down of old buildings on Commercial St. to be replaced with a $100 million white elephant costing taxpayers at least $1 million per year. During that process they gave $3 million to a company which they could not collect when the company did not complete their part of the bargain.
  2. They then saw to the destruction of the civic arena and in it's place stands a vacant lot, albeit a good looking vacant lot, but the arena was a much more practical use of the space.
  3. They now want to tear down a perfectly good building which would cost less than $5 million to upgrade to provide earthquake protection in the event of the 'big' one hitting right under city hall. They would sooner spend $16 million on a bright shiny new office.

The top photo is the current city hall annex which an engineer's report estimates would cost less than $5 million to upgrade, staff would sooner tear it down and spend $16 million to build a shiny new office. They have convinced enough council members it is a wise use of YOUR tax dollars, which they have accumulated by OVER TAXING in previous years, and once again, your city council does whatever staff wants done.

The reason it would appear city staff prefers to fund such projects as the new annex by over taxation, is to avoid having to go to the public via referendum, which they probably think would be rejected by those who are actually stuck paying the bills.

It is the same management 'team' that recommended tearing down the civic arena at a cost of over $600,000 to accommodate the vacant lot that currently occupies the spot where the useful arena once stood.

Sadly, city council does not seem to have the fortitude or perhaps the understanding of such issues to challenge agendas put forward by city staff, who look to city council to put a rubber stamp on their decisions, so as to avoid being publicly accountable.

Personally after watching how the current management team at city hall oversaw the construction and current daily operating structure of the Conference Centre there is no reason to feel confident in their ability to assess property development and large construction projects. They are clearly out matched by those employed in the private sector.

An example taken from the current mad rush to spend $16 million on a shiny, new office is how the project has gone originally from costing less than $5 million to upgrade the exisiting faciltiy which was  compared to an estimate for new construction of $10 million to the current open ended contract which is said to cost $16 million.

This is the same management team that said a conference centre could be built for $12 million, then $18 million, then $52 million, then $72 million to what some say actually cost closer to $100 million, who have put in place a management contract to run the conference centre, which costs the taxpayers over $1 million per year.

Forgive me, if I have NO faith in their ability to oversee another multi-million contract to build a shiny new office, which city staff and city council KNEW would only fly if it were decided in secret behind closed doors!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Traffic Snarl By Brooks Landing

 No Way To Start A Long Weekend

Three or four cars involved in a fender bender snarled traffic near Brooks Landing on Friday afternoon as accident reports were written and everyone tried to explain why they weren't responsible for hitting the car in front of them.

Following too close is hard to disprove in cases like this. Of course most were probably in a hurry to get a head start on the weekend or catch the Canucks hockey game.

Of course now that car bumpers are an integral part of the car, and can no longer be hammered out and repainted, what used to be a few hundred dollars in repairs is probably now in the thousands and thousands.


HMCS Nanaimo & Saskatoon Visit Nanaimo

Nanaimo Info File Photo
Naval Ships At Visiting Pier Inner Harbour

The public is invited to drop by between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 for a guided tour of the warships and to meet their crews.  Both ships are tied up at the Visiting Vessel Pier in the Inner Harbour while visiting Nanaimo.


Nanaimo Boating Season Starts This Weekend

Have Fun Be Safe On The Water


Friday, May 20, 2011

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

" I made it all by myself "
Laptop on a Budget!


Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team

Lead Parade On Sunday
Special Show Saturday

The Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team will be in Nanaimo for the Empire Days Parade again this year which means Nanaimo residents are in for a real treat. Their precision riding is always a real crowd pleasure.

The team is made up of regular motorcycle officers on their working motorcycles. They perform in local parades and other events in North America. They also provide VIP Motorcade Escorts in the Seattle area. It is great to see them in Nanaimo again this year!

In addition to leading the parade on Sunday, they will also be putting on a special performance on Saturday evening starting at 5:00 pm on Wallace Street downtown. Wallace Street will be closed off between Campbell Street and Wentworth from 4:30 p.m. for the performance. Be sure to arrive early as this is sure to be a popular event.


Nanaimo Empire Days 2011 Parade & Events

2011 Nanaimo Empire Days Schedule of Events

Monday May 16
  • Noon - Flag Raising and Proclamation Pioneer Plaza next to Bastion.
Friday May 20
  • 7:00 pm May Queen Crowning Br. 256 Legion doors open at 6:30 pm
Saturday May 21
  • May Queen to visit Military Museum, North Nanaimo Town Centre
  • May Party to fire the Bastion Cannon 12:00 noon
  • 3:00 pm Band concert combined bands of Woodlands Secondary and St. Matthews High School Band from Orleans, Ontario at Lion's Bandshell in Maffeo Sutton Park
  • Open House HMCS Nanaimo 1:00 - 3:00 pm Visiting Vessel Pier Inner Harbour
  • Seattle Police Motorcycle Drill Team Demonstration on Wallace Street 5:00 PM
Sunday May 22
  • Noon - Hot Dog Sale at St. Paul's Anglican Church
  • 1:00 pm - 144th Annual Empire Days Parade along the traditional downtown Nanaimo route. Organized by the Nanaimo Lions Club and sponsored by the Great Canadian Casinos
  • Following the parade in Diana Krall Plaza there will be a band concert featuring Woodlands Secondary and St. Matthews High School Band from Orleans Ontario.
  • Nanaimo Timbermen Sr. "A" Lacrosse Home Opener vs New West Salmonbellies Frank Crane Arean at 7:00 pm
  • FIREWORKS over the Harbour downtown 10:00 pm.


Gardening Time In Nanaimo

Is Gardening Time Finally Here?

Years ago an old time Nanaimo gardener told me to wait for the 24th of May or when there was no more snow on Mt. Benson before I bothered planting. His opinion, based on his years of experience was that until then the overnight temperatures and ground temperatures were simply too cool to encourage plant growth. I have followed his advice over the years, and must say I concur with his conclusions. Of course it means sometimes, my neighbours gardens look more colorful with their fresh annuals, but overall come mid summer and fall their gardens are looking a little tired while mine is still going strong.

Right now, the local nurseries and large retailers are literally bursting with gardening stock they really want to move, and the recent improvement in temperature means gardeners will be out in full force this weekend. While things look great for the next few days, the 14 day outlook is still for below normal temperatures and very little sunshine is in the forecast. This means, that while it is not going to be cold enough to damage plants, it is not going to be warm enough or sunny enough to encourage much in the way of growth. In fact, those lush full baskets hanging in the local greenhouses, have been grown inside and force fed fertilizer so they have the appearance that encourages sales.

Bedding plants put in the ground right now, will probably look pretty much the same in three weeks as they do the day you plant them. No frost, means they will not die, but cool temperatures and little hours of sunshine means they won't be putting on any new growth either.
Personally, I will not be worrying about getting my hanging baskets out for another two or three weeks, and most likely even a bit longer for planting my annuals in the garden, and unless I miss my guess in two months, my garden will look just as good, if not better than all the early birds flocking to the garden centres this weekend.


Long Weekend Fire Safety Reminder

 Long weekend reminder
to play it safe with fires
British Columbians may get their wish for a sunny long weekend, which means it’s time to brush up on wildfire prevention and safety.  
If you’re camping, remember campfires cannot be larger than a half-metre wide by a half-metre tall. You must also create a one-metre debris-free ring around the fire, and have a shovel or at least eight litres of water nearby to extinguish it. Before leaving an area, always ensure your campfire is completely out and the ashes are cool.  
Open burning restrictions are currently in place for the Cariboo, Coastal and Kamloops fire centres, which include prohibitions on burning any waste, slash or other materials, piled or un-piled, at a size larger than one metre by one metre.  
Nearly half of all wildfires at this time of year result from human activity. Since April 1, fire crews have responded to 93 fires across the province, of which 91 were person-caused.  

Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations –
“It’s easy to let your guard down coming off a cool and wet spring, but conditions can change quickly at this time of year. The fires in northern Alberta are a timely reminder of the devastation fires can cause. Please take this time to learn how to prevent wildfires, and help protect your family, community and B.C.’s forests this summer.”

Quick Facts:

  • Anyone caught breaking a fire ban can be fined up to $345 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and sentenced to one year in jail. If the contravention causes or contributes to a wildfire, an individual may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 and ordered to pay all firefighting and associated costs.
  • We rely on the public to help spot new fires. Report smoke and flames by calling *5555 on mobile phones or 1 800-663-5555.
Learn More:

For complete information on fire bans and prohibitions, visit the Wildfire Management Branch website.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Second Visitor To New Cruise Ship Terminal

Celebrity Century Arrives Friday May 20

The second large cruise ship to arrive at Nanaimo's new cruise ship terminal will arrive on Friday, May 20 at 11:00 am and will remain until 7:00 pm.

This floating vacation mecca is 815 ft. in length, 105 ft. in width and can carry 1814 guests and cruises along at 21.5 kts. for all you nautical types.

The lists of onboard features means Nanaimo really has to put it's best foot forward if we are going to encourage people to come ashore and see what we have to offer.

It looks like the weather is going to co-operate and hopefully many of our guests will get off the tour buses to see what our wonderful city has to offer.

If you see someone wandering around tomorrow who looks from out of town, offer them some of that good old Nanaimo hospitality. Heh ..... even if it turns out they aren't from out of town, you will probably brighten their day anyway.


Loaves & Fishes Garage Sale

Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank
Massive Indoor Garage Sale
Friday May 20 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
1009 Farquhar Street

Housewares - Toys - Linens - Much Much More
All proceeds go directly to Loaves & Fishes


Now Everyone Knows Commerical St. Is Great

Great Weekend To Go Downtown
Note: email subscribers to Nanaimo Info Blog may have to visit the website to view this video.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sex Attacker Sought

Composite Sketch Of Man 
Wanted For Sex Assault

RCMP have released this sketch of the male wanted for the sexual assault of a female in her north Nanaimo home early Sunday morning.

He is described as a white male, six feet to six feet four inches in height, 180 pounds with short dark hair. He has significant acne scaring and a scar on his right cheek. He was wearing a blue hoodie with a very distinctive white and yellow logo on it in a rectangular box.

Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or go online to www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.


City Council Needs To Quit Drinking the KoolAid Supplied By City Staff

Click Image To Enlarge

I have no doubt that anyone who would let themselves run for city council has the best interests of their community at heart. I am also sure, that they have no idea what the job entails until they actually find themselves in the deep end of the pool.

Suddenly, they are faced with making some hard choices, which will in part be determined by their preconceived idea of the role between city council and city staff. If they are naive enough to think, that city staff actually looks to city council for advice and direction, they are already showing signs of drinking the staff-supplied Kool Aid. In fact city council exists for the most part to deflect all accountability away from city staff, who in actual fact are the ones making the decisions about how our fair city is going to be run.

To be clear, any reference I make to 'city staff' is not to the hard working, in the trenches, men and women who keep the wheels of the city turning, but rather I am referring to the select group of 150 or so who account for over $16,000,000.00 in wages annually, who must be creating projects on which to spend money or their reason to exist, no longer exists.

The most recent example of a city council manipulated by city staff, is the rubber stamp council has put on the $16,000,000.00 staff wants to spend on a bright shiny new office. This particular manipulation was so complete, that staff had this council convinced there was no need to discuss this matter openly in public. They further convinced council there was no need to have this item included in this years financial plans where possibly the actual expenditure of $12,000,000.00 cash and the borrowing of $4,000,000.00 might be open to public scrutiny. Very clever, these well trained civil servants, who have been able to dupe the public into believing they actually exist to serve the public rather than themselves and their own little kingdoms and that they take all their directions from council. Perhaps they have put some of that Kool Aid into the city water supply as well. City staff probably have a special filter on their taps at home, so they avoid the mind numbing effects of their potion.

A New Castle For The Kings

So, how did staff manipulate council into approving the spending of $16,000,000.00 which comes directly from the pockets of the Nanaimo taxpayer?

Firstly, they commissioned an engineering report to check the existing city annex for seismic stability. The findings? The building could have issues in the event of a SIGNIFICANT seismic event. The report does not include any actuarial data which would indicate the LIKELIHOOD that this SIGNIFICANT event will ever occur. What is a significant event? What is the possibility that will happen? What is the possibility it will happen during the 40 hours a week the annex is open? None of these questions are addressed, and if you know anything about an engineers report, they will always err on the side of extreme caution when making recommendations.

There is NO requirement that any of our schools or health care facilities meet the standards that were applied to this engineers report. In fact, there is no bylaw in Nanaimo requiring buildings, be retrofitted to the standard that this report calls for. But remember, the city staff was wanting to lead council and the taxpayer to a predetermined conclusion, which is to provide them with a shiny new office, high on the hill above city hall.

So the first step in this piece of master manipulation is to create an appearance of a clear and present danger, which makes the building unsafe for city staff and the general public. This would be taken more seriously if anyone on city staff or city council actually believes there really is such a clear and present danger. After all, staff have had this report since sometime in 2008 and clearly have not had any concern about the safety of the building for themselves or the public, witnessed by the fact they show up for work everyday, and invite the public to come in anytime they are open. This one, just doesn't pass the smirk test, but then again, I haven't been drinking that Kool Aid.

Step two in this piece of most skilled manipulation is to convince city council (remember this is all being done in secret, so the taxpayer doesn't get wind of it) that instead of spending a mere $6,000,000.00 to bring the existing annex up to seismic standards (which is not likely really needed) they will have to spend $16,000,000.00 on a bright shiny new castle to offer safe haven for the kings and lords and ladies who run the city.

That's the first installment of this little tale, but as you will see, this whole bit of stealth designed to get $16,000,000.00 out of the taxpayer, without ever having to be open and transparent about it, has taken the skill and cunning of a highly experienced city staff.

Remember, anytime the government takes a dollar out of YOUR pocket, it is one less dollar you have any control over how it will be spent. This council before this added expense has already approved the increasing of your taxes by another 20% over the next five years. Sadly, the effects of the KoolAid has already begun to do it's work over the past few years. Of course a few councilors have been drinking the stuff longer than others. :^)