Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Does ICF Know What They Are Doing?

The Cost To Resume Rail Service
Seems A Well Kept Secret

Going back to July 2010, then Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond released the findings of a study of the E & N railway which in part stated:
"The study evaluated the cost to improve major sections of the line to support specific markets, as well as considering a full-corridor upgrade. It concluded current volumes of freight and passengers do not support significant infrastructure investment at this time."

Then in June 2011 (one short year later) Christy Clark amid much fanfare rode into town and announced the province would kick in $7.5 million contingent on a study to determine the cost to repair the line, and the feds contributing matching funds. (She may have secretly hoped the feds would back out, leaving her off the hook).

Then in April of this year, MP James Lunney announced the feds would put up $7.5 million with the caveat that that was 'all' the funding from that source.

Now, it seems the ICF still need many millions more and are pitching for a property tax levy to raise another $6 million still needed to get the E&N running again.

I seem to remember a report from long, long ago that estimated it would really cost in the order of $150 million to bring this line up to proper standards. Whatever happened to that study and why do we know think that $20 million or so can do it?

I admire all the hard work supporters of the rail line have put into trying to keep it alive, staunchly believing there is still a future for rail on Vancouver Island, in spite of the fact, there has never been a business plan put forward to support the notion it will ever be self supporting or financially viable.

So, presuming that the ICF can come up with another $6 million, and presuming this is the 'real' amount it will take to get the train running again, what assurance do we have that they will not once again come with cap in hand in six months or so wanting yet another tax levy to keep a non viable train on the tracks?

To read the 75 page 'Evaluation of the E & N Railway Corridor Foundation Report, click on the following graphic.


Nanaimo Summer Concert Series Aug. 2012

Summer Concert In The Park Series
Moves To Maffeo Sutton Park For August

Every Wednesday for the month of August you can enjoy a FREE Concert in Maffeo Sutton Park from 6:00 - 7:30 pm. So put together a picnic supper, grab a blanket and head on down to the park to enjoy a free concert right on our delightful waterfront.

'Nanaimo........It's The Lifestyle'


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

"Just about got it!"


2012 VIEX August 17 - 19, Fri., Sat., Sun.

Vancouver Island Exhibition 2012
August 17, 18 & 19

Over 100 years young and going strong, this years Fair will be sure to have something for everyone, young and old, country mouse and city mouse.

The VIEx continues to advance the education of agriculture and showcases local farmers and 4-H clubs, bringing agricultural awareness to the community. To this end there are livestock displays and examples of the gardens bounty with prize winning veggies competing for top honors. Jam, jellies and other homemade delights are also on display.

There is also entertainment featured on the Thrifty Foods Main Stage on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Valdy, Que Bola Magic, The Jardines, Dallas Smith, The Royal Canadians and Glass Tiger's Alan Frew to name a few.

In addition of course there are the thrills and excitement of the midway which is always a hit for kids of all ages from 5 to 105. This year promises to add some new excitement with the addition of the Kamikaze brought to the VIEx by Shooting Star Amusements. This ride is described as being no kiddie ride, it is BIG and towers over 60 feet in the air!

For more information about this years exciting VIEx visit their website using this Nanaimo Info LINK.


Nanaimo Residents Input Sought

Input Sought On Proposed 
Science Centre Location

July 30, 2012- The City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture department is seeking public input regarding a proposed Science Centre to be located in Bowen Park. The centre is being proposed by the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3). Public feedback will help the department assess the community’s support of the project concept. The survey, which includes an overview description of the project and a site map, is available online at Survey Monkey. An open house will also be held at the proposed site in early September.

“The issue at hand now is really about public land use. We want to hear if residents of Nanaimo support the idea of public park land being used for a science centre. The group is not asking for a financial commitment from the public for the building of the centre,” explains Diana Johnstone, Chairwoman of Parks Recreation and Culture Commission and City Councillor.

Over the past year NS3 has held a community visioning session, design charette and program development workshop regarding their plans for a science centre. The group has support for the science centre from school districts in the area, Vancouver Island University, DFO, local scientists and teachers, community leaders and a variety of other groups and organizations.

For information about the project please contact Richard Harding, Director, Parks, Recreation and Culture at 250 756 5200. For information about the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society click on the following graphic


Harvest Festival Downtown Nanaimo

  Harvest Festival
September 15, 2012

Old City Quarter

Nanaimo’s second annual Harvest Festival celebrates all things culinary in a very colourful way! The heart of the Festival is a street full of educational displays and interactive presentations around local food issues such as sustainability, food security, urban agriculture, natural and organic local food sources, edible wild foods and the culinary arts.

Highights of the one day event include a Fresh Food Fair, a 'play and learn' area for the kids featuring a petting farm and non-stop live entertainment. Admission to the street festival is free and samples of the OCQ’s Top Chef’s creations will be affordably priced with ticket proceeds donated to Nanaimo Foodshare. Ballots to vote on the top chef and the Canned Food Sculptures Peoples’ Choice Award will be exchanged for a donation to the Loaves & Fishes Food Bank.

The Harvest Festival ‘Top Chef’ competition pits the area’s top chefs in a friendly ‘cook-off’ of signature dishes using only local, natural ingredients.

If your business or organization has a booth or interactive display you think could add to this event, we want to hear from you. Non-profit and educational groups are invited to participate at no cost and commercial vendors can rent display space at a very nominal fee. Volunteers are needed in all areas of the event. For information contact eventguy@shaw.ca

Learning, listening, playing, laughing, sampling and sipping -- our six themes all day long at Harvest Festival 2012.


Nanaimo Info Taxpayer Satisfaction Survey

The City of Nanaimo recently released the results of an Ipsos Reid Citizen Satisfaction Survey. Not surprisingly the results say that the city is doing a good job of managing your money and while some changes might be indicated it pretty much supports the status quo.

Nanaimo Info Blog has posted a Taxpayer Satisfaction Survey of our own which may offer some questions to guage Taxpayer Satisfaction which Ipsos might have overlooked. If you want to add your voice to the 'Satisfaction Survey' just click HERE or the image above to complete a brief, 10 question survey.

After 300 surveys have been complete the results will be published here and sent to city council also.


Monday, July 30, 2012

The Nanaimo Lifestyle

Lawn Bowling In Bowen Park
Lawn bowling is an ageless sport played by either gender which has relatively low physical demands compared with other sports activities. Those in good general health can enjoy the game up to the age of 100.

Many enjoy lawn bowling just for fun and the social interaction the game provides, however competitions are available which require good endurance and are more physically demanding.

The Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club season opens in April and carries through the summer until the end of September.

For more information about the Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


BC Economic Snapshot July 28, 2012

 VANCOUVER, BC, Jul 28, 2012/ Troy Media/ – Retail sales in B.C. remained flat for a fourth consecutive month in May, pointing to a softening in consumer spending and reflective of a weak housing market, lower consumer confidence and general economic uncertainty.

Total retail sales volume reached a seasonally-adjusted $5.16 billion in May. While up 0.17 per cent from April, volumes remained largely unchanged since February. First quarter growth in Metro Vancouver retail volumes has shown recent signs of cresting, adding to the slowdown observed in the rest of the province.

Relative to same-period in 2011, year-to-date sales were up 5.2 per cent this year, led by a 6.7 per cent increase in Metro Vancouver, while the rest of the province gained by a more modest 3.9 per cent. Despite expanding employment and population, year-to-date growth is expected to decelerate over the remainder of the year.

At the retail sector level, sales growth in 2012 has been driven by clothing retailers (18.6 per cent) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (11.3 per cent). Meanwhile, housing-related spending has been weaker, with electronic and appliance retailers reporting 4.2 per cent lower retail volumes. Home furniture and furnishing stores reported 3.5 per cent higher sales, but levels remain low relative to mid-decade levels.
| Central 1 Credit Union


Sunday Morning Street Cleaners

Six Crows - Once Slice Pizza - Breakfast Downtown

Early Sunday morning I took a spin around downtown to see how littered the streets are after a typical Saturday night in Nanaimo when I spotted this crew of natures cleaning crew, hard at work.

There were no fewer than six crows zeroing in on this deluxe banquet when I stopped, can you spot them all?

Rather than city taxpayers springing for the cost of cleaning up this reoccuring mess using expensive street cleaning equipment, why don't the bar owners and late night eateries just hire someone for a few hours each morning to come along and pick up the mess their patrons seem intent on throwing around.

You can hang flowering baskets, and colourful banners all you want, but if you aren't prepared to pick up after the clientele you attract, downtown will never meet it's full potential.


Nanaimo Court House History

Nanaimo Court House 
31 - 35 Front Street

According to the Nanaimo Heritage Register information the Nanaimo Court House was built from 1895 to 1896 and is a superior example of Richardson Romanesque architeture which was preferred for major public buildings ot this period.

Francis Mawson Rattenbury was British Columbia's premier institutional architect of the late 19th and early 20th centuries also designing the Nelson Court House, the provincial Parliament Buildings and numerous other institutional and residential buildings.

For more information about this historical Nanaimo landmark visit the city of Nanaimo Heritage Register by clicking HERE.


Bastion and Skinner Street Nanaimo

Can Anyone Tell Me What the "P" Stands For?


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Nanaimo Residential Construction Guide

 Building A New Home In Nanaimo?
This Guide Can Help Point You In The Right Direction

New guide will help direct citizens who are in the process of constructing a one or two unit residential dwelling in the city of Nanaimo.

To view and download this 24 page guide visit the city website HERE.


Nanaimo City Water Conservation ?

Wasting Water Hastens The Day For More Supply

One of the most costly pieces of our city's infrastructure is the supply and treatment of our water, arguably one of the most important resources for any community.

The city is currently considering options to expand the supply to the city in years to come, one of those options being to build a very expensive new dam.

Clearly one way we can all postpone the need for more water supply is to be aware of how much water we are currently wasting every day. Whether it is the dripping tap in our tub or sink, or misdirected irrigation sprinklers, we can all do our part to avoid wasting this precious and costly resource.

The city could do a much better job of how they direct the water on the lawn in front of city hall, as the above photo clearly illustrates. While taking this photo the other morning, the still silence was broken by the sound of water running down the curb and into the storm drain.


Nanaimo Art Gallery Seeks To Expand

Study for Expanded Site Downtown

Following community consultation in 2009 and a strategic planning process in 2011, Nanaimo Art Gallery is moving towards the goal of securing a permanent and expanded home downtown in Nanaimo’s Arts District, with a ‘Category A’ designation. A ‘category A’ designation through Canadian Heritage will allow the Gallery to host significant exhibitions from cultural institutions around the world.

The Gallery, which has served the region since 1976, currently operates two locations, downtown at 150 Commercial Street and on the campus of Vancouver Island University. They have plans to amalgamate services in one location downtown.

The building at 150 Commercial Street, which is owned by the City of Nanaimo, and operated by Centre for the Arts Nanaimo (CAN), has been identified as a potential site for a new Nanaimo Art Gallery. Over recent months discussions around the suitability of the site have taken place between representatives from the Gallery, CAN and City staff. The Gallery is poised to undertake a feasibility study to analyze whether it’s present and future space requirements can be met at 150 Commercial, and determine if a future expansion on the site is possible. The Gallery is not requesting funding from the city to do this study.

Since 2001, CAN has managed the building at 150 Commercial Street, which provides affordable office and meeting space for non-profit arts and culture organizations. Currently, the building is home to the downtown location of Nanaimo Art Gallery, Theatre One, Vancouver Island Symphony, BC Boys Choir, Nanaimo Community Archives, and Crimson Coast Dance Society.

Nanaimo Art Gallery, Centre for the Arts Nanaimo and the City of Nanaimo all recognize the importance of having Nanaimo Art Gallery located in the downtown Arts District next to the Port Theatre, the new Nanaimo Museum, the Vancouver Island Military Museum, the Vancouver Island Regional Library and the VI Conference Centre. They are committed to working together to determine if 150 Commercial Street would be suitable for this important addition to Nanaimo’s cultural assets.

The City of Nanaimo recognizes the growing importance of the role played by arts and culture, and quality of place, for a healthy vibrant community and has recently embraced “Cultural Vitality” as one of the 4 pillars of sustainability in its Corporate Strategic Plan. Nanaimo Art Gallery’s plan to make their new home downtown fits well with the City’s strategic directions, and partnering with CAN and the Nanaimo Art Gallery is an important role that the City can play.
The Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission has given their support to this initiative by passing the following motion at their meeting held on Wednesday, July 25th“

“That the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission supports the Nanaimo Art Gallery in proceeding with a Facility Review and Space Analysis of 150 Commercial Street (Centre for the Arts Nanaimo building) to explore opportunities of expanding and consolidating Nanaimo Art Gallery operations as well as possibilities of upgrading to a “Class A” facility.”

For information about the Nanaimo Art Gallery please visit www.nanaimoartgallery.com or call 250 740 6350


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blair McKinnon Honored

Memorial Plaque Installed At Nanaimo Train Station

In honor of the important role that Blair McKinnon played in the YPN's fundraising efforts which saw the restoration of the Train Station, his family display the plaque which will be mounted at the front of  Nanaimo Train Station.

Sadly, Blair passed away when the fundraising effort was about 75% complete with it's goal of raising $400,000. In honor of their son the McKinnon family helped raise over $100,000 which saw the YPN able to attain their goal of raising $400,000 to complete the project.

Pictured above is the McKinnon family with Roger and Nancy on either side of their daughter Michelle.


Nanaimo Weather Looks GREAT!

The forecast right through to the long weekend next week is calling for lots of sunshine and warm (not sweltering) temperatures.

It was a long time coming this year, but looks like it will be making up for a less than stellar June.

Break out the umbrellas, sun hats and sunscreen.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Sewage Spill Affects Nanaimo Waters

Click Image To Enlarge
Raw Sewage Spill Into Chase River
Immediate Bivalve Shellfish Closure

A mechanical failure at a pump station just south of Nanaimo has resulted in raw sewage being spilled for about 2 hours into the Chase River which drains into the Nanaimo River Estuary.

Effective immediately all harvest of bivalve shellfish is prohibited for any purpose in the areas shown on the above map.

Contact local Fisheries and Oceans office for updates and more information at 250-754-0230.


Things That Make Ya' Say .... Huuuhhhhh

The above screen grab from the local daily makes for an interesting choice of stories to juxtapose.

I have to presume the occupants of the house where the drive-by shooting took place were not a part of the survey the other story is referring to.


Nanaimo Soccer Goal Post Safety

July 26, 2012- In light of recent tragic events the City of Nanaimo, Parks, Recreation and Culture Department wishes to inform the public of the following information regarding soccer goals used on municipal properties. The majority of the City’s soccer goals are regulation 24’x 8’x 6’ nonadjustable, aluminum goals with welded joints, with no nuts or bolts as fasteners. The goals are placed on the field and anchored in two places into the ground which prevents a goal from tipping over. There is also a luminous colour warning sticker on each goal illustrating and stating to ‘never climb on a goal’.

The McGirr Sports Field Complex is also equipped with the same type of regulation aluminum goals that are anchored in place at the beginning of each soccer season.

For younger players, McGirr and Nanaimo Youth Soccer Associations provide a range of goal options, from blow up goals for the 5 & 6 year old players, PVC style goals for the 7-9 year olds and the super 8 size metal goals for ages 10 and 11 years old players, which are fastened into the ground.

Safety for all field users is of primary concern and all City maintained fields and infrastructure are inspected weekly and documented by City parks staff. As with all City Parks Recreation and Culture facilities and equipment the public is encouraged to report any concerns they may have to the parks operations office at 250 755 7515.


Common Sense And Health Care Costs

This Is A Revelation?

Last night my wife and I were stunned to hear some of the 'news' coming out of the Premiers conference relating to controlling the costs of health care.

The first brilliant idea was for the provinces to pool their resources and take advantage of bulk purchasing of drugs. Of course now they have to decide on which drugs to purchase so who knows how long before they actually start saving any money.

Two other stunners in the same news piece came from a large hospital where it actually made the six o'clock news that some genius had discovered they could save virtually hours by rearranging a storage room so that the most commonly used items were placed closest the door, this saving nurses many steps over the course of a day. Brilliant!

The other jaw dropper was they have discovered that by improving the rotation of their blood supplies they can save over $10 million a year by not having to through out expired blood product.

I repeat, the idea that these management revelations are considered newsworthy makes you wonder just how much waste there really is in the healthcare and other government systems where the fact that efficiency is not required because governments (taxpayers) can always be hit up for more money which is much easier than becoming efficient.

Speaking of efficiencies, now that we have our famous strategic plan in place where is that core services review at city hall??


Nanaimo Has The Highest Gas Prices

We're Number One....... Not In A Good Way
Victoria Gas 125.9
Hardly What A City Wants To Be Known For!

Once again the big oil companies and local gas station owners demonstrate how easy it is to continue to rip off the Nanaimo driving public. With oil prices and demands for oil down considerably, there is no excuse other than pure greed to justify the prices at Nanaimo's pumps.

Perhaps there really is no competition in the market place anymore with one or two big oil companies setting prices and locally perhaps most stations are owned by the same company leaving the market void of any real competition.

This would be a great opportunity for those wannabe social activists at the Occupy movement to start picketing some of these stations until they get the message. That is presuming the Occupy group haven't proven to be as apathetic as the rest of society.

For us old timers who can still think in Imperial the difference between the cost of a gallon of gas in Comox and Nanaimo is 54 cents.


Civic Elections Not Needed

No Need To Waste Money On Civic Elections
Strategic Plans & Surveys Have Replaced Them

Much 'news' has come from city hall of late and heralded in the local press about how satisfied residents are with local government, and just how we should be managing the city going forward thanks to our strategic plan.

Both of these exercises involved a handful of residents, 300 in the case of the survey and about 500 in the case of the strategic plan, yet they are being considered a bellwether of how the majority of Nanaimo sees the role government has played and should play in the management of our fair city. No suggestions for improvement whatsoever and already council and city staff are using the strategic plan to support their ideas of how tax dollars should be spent.

No More Need For Elections

Since the opinion of these few hundred seems adequate enough to conclude the city should maintain the status quo why not simply send them via email a list of candidates in the next election and let them choose city council next time. Look at all the money we would save!


Close Encounter With Whales

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

Close Encounter Of The Scary Kind

Anyone who has had the experience of seeing Killer Whales up close in local waters, knows just how exhilarating and somewhat frightening the encounter can actually be. I can remember many years ago on several occasions having killer whales swim beneath my boat close enough to the surface to clearly see them.

The fact they don't have a history of dining on humans does not change the impact these large creatures would have on your craft if they should surface right underneath you. The whales in the above video are considerably larger that the local Orcas and the outcome of these encounters very easily could have been tragic.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Early Morning At Nanaimo City Hall

 Morning Sun 'Kisses' City Hall

Early this morning I was downtown as I am often doing and coming past City Hall was struck with the show that presented itself.

The gardens and greenery are always in fine shape, thanks to our crack horticultural team, but the addition of the sprinklers sprinkling as the sun was breaking on the face of the building, provided one of those 'Kodak Moments' that come along every so often.

Although those moments are also one of the bonuses associated with the Nanaimo Lifestyle, the never-ending array of natural beauty on display on a regular basis. And all we have to do is take the time to look.


Bastion Street Parkade Repairs

Enter Parkade From Terminal Avenue

If you want to park in the Bastion Street Parkade you will have to enter from Terminal Avenue as you can only access a portion of the top level from Skinneer Street.

This is due to ongoing repairs to the surface of the parkade, which you will recall was apparently repaired last year after a lengthy closure. I believe this is a fix as part of the contractors guarantee who did the work in the first place.

It just makes getting parked downtown a little more challenging these days.


Bowen Park Amphitheatre Concert

Last Concert In Bowen Park This Summer
Free Concerts Move To Maffeo Sutton Park

Many folk enjoyed the free Concert in the Park at the Bowen Park Amphitheatre which featured Buckman Coe last night from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

For the month of August the free summer concert series will move to Maffeo Sutton Park with a live performance every Wednesday evening from 6:00 - 7:30 pm.

The area by the duck ponds in Bowen Park is a perfect place to listen to a live concert, if you haven't been down to the duck pond lately, be sure to check it out as it is truly another one of those hidden gems right in the city of Nanaimo. Kudos to Richard Harding and his staff for the high standard they have brought to our trails and parks.


Downtown Nanaimo Farmers' Market July 27

 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 11 - Oct. 5, 2012)

We are proud to say that we believe our market is one of the prettiest on the island. We have a large base of drop in vendors which keep our market ever changing. We enjoy watching the eagles fly overhead, the boats coming and going and the planes taking off every Friday. Our vendors always have a smile for our visitors. Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving.

Also open for all cruise ship dates Fri 10:00am to 2:00pm.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at www.nanaimofarmersmarket.com or call 250-754-1998.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Train Station Re-opening Highlights

Click Images To Enlarge


Nanaimo Train Station Re-opens

Back From The Ashes

An arson fire in 2007 nearly put an end to the historic E&N Railway Station in Nanaimo which was officially opened 126 years ago by no less than Sir John A MacDonald himself.

Today representatives from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal governments presided over the grand re-opening of the completely rebuilt train station which now houses an Irish pub called Fibber McGees. A portion of the station will once again be used as a train station when passenger service is resumed on the line. There are still a few hurdles to overcome before the passenger service starts up again but given the tenacity of those that saw the train station come back from the ashes, there is little doubt we will be hearing "All Aboard" once more when train service is restored.

The restoration project was a joint effort of VIA Rail, Island Corridor Foundation and the Young Professionals of Nanaimo. Minister Pat Bell said he could see the rail line becoming a tourist attraction that would benefit all of Vancouver Island.


More Nanaimo BC Ferries Sailings

Starting with the BC Day long weekend BC Ferries is adding more sailings on the busiest routes right through to Labour Day.

Extra sailings are scheduled on the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as mid-week volumes increase. Customers travelling to and from the mid-Vancouver Island region are reminded to consider sailing between Tsawwassen and Duke Point during busier weekend periods when the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay route is at capacity.

If passengers desire a specific sailing as part of their travel plans, BC Ferries recommends making a reservation for the Lower Mainland – Vancouver Island, and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes. Reservation space can become fully subscribed on long weekends so BC Ferries advises to book in advance.

For complete scheduling and reservations on BC Ferries visit the Nanaimo Info website HERE.


Nanaimo 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Survey

To download your 22 page PDF copy of the 2012 Citizen Satisfaction Survey conducted by Ipsos Reid in May of this year click the above image.

I invite you to comment on this survey saying if the findings of the survey are consistent with your views and opinions about life in Nanaimo. To leave your comment simply click on the comment link at the bottom of this article and have your say. Your comment will be posted immediately, without moderation.


St. Andrews United Church Roof

116 Year Old Church Gets New Roof

If you have been by the well known United Church on Fitzwilliam Street lately you will have noticed a tower of scaffolding in place to aid roofers in putting a new cedar shingle roof on this historic church.

If you want to learn more about St. Andrew's United church you can visit their website HERE.


The Crest Apartments Nanaimo Coming Soon

600 - 1200 Sq. Foot Apartments
Nanaimo's Premier Apartment Complex

The Crest apartments on Terminal Avenue is scheduled to open Nov. 1 and the owner has a waiting list of interested people wanting to move into this new building which offers 120 brand new suites in a very convenient location. The building should be available for the first walk-throughs by the first of October.

The Crest intends to be known as the premiere rental facility in Nanaimo offering many condo-grade upscale features such as in suite laundry, stainless steel appliances, exercise room and a concierge service.

You may have noticed the installation of yet another traffic light along Terminal Avenue between the Townsite/Terminal and St. George/Terminal intersections. This was installed to facilitate traffic in and out of this new complex.

The company website describes The Crest as:
Inspired designs. Innovative style. A new way of living in Nanaimo Quality features and finishes, in every suite, with an excellent location that fits your lifestyle. This new development offers ocean and mountain views. These upscale suites, which include bachelor, one- bedroom and-den and spacious two and three-bedroom suites, range from 598 up to 1262 square feet. 

For more information about the Crest Apartments you can either visit their website HERE where you can also register if you are interested in renting or you can call 250-618-5188 to be put on their waiting/mailing list.

The Three Bedroom Floor Plan


Now This Is Tubbing At It's Best

 Photo Contributed by Darrell St. Germain
This spectacular picture of an air borne bathtub gives a good idea of just how brutal this race can be on both man and machine. Imagine the impact to both, as this tub slams back into the churning sea...... then imagine doing that for over one and a half hours.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nanaimo Train Station Grand Re-Opening

Click Images To Enlarge


The Nanaimo Lifestyle

Fido Loves Playing Frizbee

Obviously this pooch might be in contravention of the leash laws in Nanaimo parks, so I won't rat him out by naming the park, but he was having an absolutely wonderful time exercising his basic hunting skills the other day.

This pooch by the way was extremely well trained, obeying both verbal and hand commands coming from his owner/pack-mate who was well out of view during this whole game. Without exception this dog had calculated with amazing accuracy just where this Frizbee would come to earth and was always in place before it ever got there!

Dogs are just cool!


Nanaimo Ipsos Reid 2012 Survey

Ipsos Reid 2012
Citizen Satisfaction Survey

The results of an Ipsos Reid Citizen Satisfaction Survey conducted in Nanaimo in May of this year revealed some interesting results........or did it?

The reason for wondering about the value of the survey is based on sample size and the methods used to craft and gather the information. In her presentation Ms. Knaus an Associate Vice President, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs said the survey questioned only 300 people and according to her had a +/-5% margin of error 19 out of 20 times. This is more or less the same number of people who actively participated in our recent strategic planning study. The difference being, that the Ipsos Reid survey attempts to control the demographic of the people they are questioning.

One reason I would question the validity of such surveys is the fact that companies such as Ipsos Reid are in the business of selling surveys, that is their stock in trade, that is what they do. So ask yourself, do you think that more municipalities will buy their product if the results indicate a good level of citizen satisfaction? Being just slightly cynical I suspect a company bearing really bad news would wind up being the messenger that gets shot.

In his article 'How To Manipulate Citizen 'Approval' Surveys' author Robert Gerst explains how a survey can be designed from the beginning to guarantee a higher level of satisfaction than what actually exists in the community. In addition to carefully crafting the questions he also reveals what he calls a trade secret which will yield a high level of satisfaction.

He says:
This is the best trick of all and a trade secret. If you want to guarantee positive results on your survey, use a small, five point scale, and report the top two box scores – where a score of four or five is recorded as ‘positive’ or ‘satisfied’. Where’s the trick?

It’s in the phenomena called positive response bias. People tend to answer to the positive, even when their attitudes are neutral or slightly negative, answering four when three better describes it. A tally of ‘satisfied’ respondents, therefore, includes people ‘neutral’ or ‘slightly dissatisfied’ ensuring an inflated positive result.

Check this out for yourself. Download a citizen satisfaction report and see if it doesn’t rely on a top two box score summary on a five point scale. By the way, the smaller the scale, the stronger the bias. Citizen satisfaction skyrockets with four point scales.

Note: the survey that Ipsos Reid used in Nanaimo this past May did in fact use a four point scale to gauge satisfaction to different questions.


New Annex Furniture To Cost $550,000.00

Furnishing 'Shiny New Office' ... $550,000
Boost To Staff Ego ------ Priceless

Staff wisely chose to ask council to approve an RFP for the purchase of new office furniture at a non-regular city council meeting. Wisely? Well, there is less chance of public scrutiny if these matters are dealt with at a COW meeting away from the glare of Shaw TV broadcasts and meetings often not attended by the local mainstream media.

Not wishing to draw too much public scrutiny is consistent with the methods employed by city staff and approved by our complacent council in all matters relating to the expending of nearly $16 million to provide themselves with a shiny new office. Remember it would have cost less than $4 million to upgrade the existing annex, but then of course staff would have had to endure another decade or so of operating out of the old annex. That just wouldn't do.

Remember, the public still has no idea what the alternate costs would have been to provide staff a new office (providing upgrading the existing was rejected) as they refuse to make those alternate costs public. A quick comparison however, is the fact they are building a new office for $13 million for 45,000 square feet, and the nearby Dunsmuir building with over 70,000 square feet, on three city lots, recently sold for around $7,000,000.00.

Staff would have us believe the taxpayer is getting good value for the money, but given the fear of public scrutiny demonstrated by city staff and city council, one has to wonder.

It will be interesting to see if city staff will release the results of the furniture RFP or will we be asked to 'just trust them' as we are being asked to trust them when they say spending $13 million on a shiny new office without going to public tender is sound fiscal management.


Worth Repeating "City Annex Pitch'

'Brittle' Walls Won't Stand......

After deciding last year to spend $16,000,000.00 in secret, behind closed doors, city hall is now stepping up the 'sales' pitch to make sure Nanaimo taxpayers feel they are getting a good bang for their buck.

Reference to 'brittle' walls and the 'slightest' shake suggesting the annex is not able to withstand even a mild tremor are touted as the reason for spending $16 million rather than $4 million to make the building 'life safe'. They keep talking about the seriously dangerous state of this building, yet had no problem subjecting staff to this extreme danger since 2008 when an engineers report pointed out the dire condition of this building.

There also seems to be little will to examine all other buildings in town, both civic and private to protect the rest of the citizenry from this clear and present danger. Wonder why???

The local Daily (that Bastion, defending democracy) is doing it's bit, making sure taxpayers believe their money is being well spent with yet another front page story supporting this $16 million expense that never did go to public tender.

They also don't seem to question how this extremely dangerous building withstood the largest onshore earthquake to ever occur in Canada with it's centre, not 200 miles offshore, but in the Forbidden Plateau region of Vancouver Island. That quake was 7.3 on the Richter scale by the way.

Has anyone ever stopped to ask just what level of 'shake' this shiny new building is engineered to withstand? Remember the 'big one' is not the same as the 4.4 over the past few days or even the 6.3 of last Sept.(which incidentally did not cause those Brittle walls to crumble). The 'BIG ONE' everyone lives in fear of would be in the magntiude of 8 or 9 on the Richter scale.

Just call me a skeptic, but in my humble opinion, city staff and city council simply wanted a shiny new office, and I must agree the 'basement' of the old Annex could stand improving. To that end they 'discovered' the extremely dangerous state of the existing Annex which has only stood since 1937.

The fact it would have cost $4 million to make the building 'life safe' (if safety is the issue) simply would not provide staff with a shiny new office and so they went behind closed doors and engaged a very questionable purchasing practice to ensure they would end up with a new $16 million facility.

Austerity be damned..............Live within the taxpayers means, be damned........ We want a shiny new office and by golly we're going to get one.

Now the Daily is making sure YOU think you are getting good value for spending $16,000,000.00 instead of $4,000,000.00. Oh, and did I mention they spent that without going to a public tender??


Monday, July 23, 2012

BC's Stand On Heavy Oil Pipelines

VANCOUVER - As part of ongoing work to participate in and monitor the Joint Review Panel on the Northern Gateway Project, the government of British Columbia today outlined five minimum requirements that must be met for the province to consider the construction and operation of heavy oil pipelines within its borders.

"Our government is committed to economic development that is balanced with environmental protection," said Premier Christy Clark. "In light of the ongoing environmental review by the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge pipeline project proposal, our government has identified and developed minimum requirements that must be met before we will consider support for any heavy oil pipeline projects in our province. We need to combine environmental safety with our fair share of fiscal and economic benefits."

As set out in our government's heavy oil policy paper, Requirements for British Columbia to Consider Support for Heavy Oil Pipelines, the following requirements must be established:
  • Successful completion of the environmental review process. In the case of Enbridge, that would mean a recommendation by the National Energy Board Joint Review Panel that the project proceed;
  • World-leading marine oil spill response, prevention and recovery systems for B.C.'s coastline and ocean to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines and shipments;
  • World-leading practices for land oil spill prevention, response and recovery systems to manage and mitigate the risks and costs of heavy oil pipelines;
  • Legal requirements regarding Aboriginal and treaty rights are addressed, and First Nations are provided with the opportunities, information and resources necessary to participate in and benefit from a heavy-oil project; and
  • British Columbia receives a fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits of a proposed heavy oil project that reflects the level, degree and nature of the risk borne by the province, the environment and taxpayers.
The first of government's requirements is that any project proposal must be approved through appropriate environmental assessment (EA) processes. EA processes are led by statutory decision-makers, require a considerable level of project detail, frequently require public hearings and are designed to bring transparency and engagement to project review.

The government of British Columbia has been consistent in its support for environmental assessment, as a reflection of its commitment both to environmental protection and sustainability, and to predictability, transparency and access.

Led by B.C.'s Minister of the Environment, work has now been completed to assess what would be required to establish British Columbia and Canada as world leaders in marine oil spill response. British Columbia is proposing a joint plan of action with the federal government that would include the following elements:


Nanaimo Bathtub Race 2012 Pictures

 Click Images To Enlarge
Tubbers swarmed the harbour off Maffeo Sutton Park on Sunday as they readied for the big race of 2012. Looking barely large enough to race on a sheltered lake these sleek racing tubs and the brave souls who pilot them once again pitted themselves against the raw forces of the unforgiving ocean all for the glory of ringing the brass bell that awaits them in Departure Bay after more than an hour of bone jarring abuse at the hands of an angry sea.