Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Flu Vaccine Suspension Lifted

Novartis influenza vaccine suspension lifted

VICTORIA – Health Canada has announced that it has lifted the temporary precautionary suspension on all Novartis influenza vaccine products in Canada.

After extensive consultation with Novartis, and public health and regulatory officials in Italy and Switzerland, as well as its own product assessments, Health Canada has determined that there are no safety concerns with any Novartis vaccine products in Canada or British Columbia.

With this release for use, all Fluad and Agriflu products currently distributed across health authorities in B.C. will be put back into use in public influenza vaccine campaigns. That campaign is now underway throughout the province. Novartis products represent about 30 per cent of the provincial vaccine supply.

Both Fluad and Agriflu, influenza vaccines manufactured in Italy by Novartis, had been pulled from vaccine campaigns in Canada and some European countries following reports of clumping noted in a specific vaccine batch; that batch was not released for use. Similar clumping has not been discovered in any vaccine distributed in Canada. The Canadian suspension was a purely precautionary measure. All vaccine products received in Canada have passed Health Canada safety inspections.

Influenza can be a serious illness. Each year thousands of Canadians die from its complications – most of them seniors or those with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions. The flu vaccine is safe for use and is the best way to prevent illness from the virus.

British Columbians can get vaccinated at a variety of locations – from dedicated flu clinics, to public health units, family physicians and pharmacists. To find a flu clinic near you, visit the flu clinic locator at:


Replica Handgun Leads To Arrest In Nanaimo

 Dustin Derreck PACHECO Charged

A 27 year old Nanaimo man was arrested yesterday afternoon after being found in possession of a handgun which later was determined to be a replica.

At approximately 2:45 PM on Monday October 29th, officers stopped a vehicle near the intersection of Selby at Albert St as they had information a male in the car was in possession of a firearm. Officers surrounded the car and commanded the male to step out of the vehicle. As he exited from the passenger side, the butt end of a handgun could clearly be seen protruding from the waistband of his pants.

A short scuffle ensued as officers attempted to arrest him and remove the firearm from his possession. Once in custody the handgun was examined and only then did officers realize it was a replica pellet gun. Officers commented it closely resembled their RCMP issued service pistol.

This man placed himself in a extremely precarious situation by having this replica handgun in his possession and by displaying it in the manner he did. He is very lucky our members displayed the restraint they did in dealing with him ,said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Dustin Derreck PACHECO was held in custody overnight and this morning he appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court. One charge of Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public Peace was laid against him. PACHEO is still in custody and a decision is expected later today on whether he will be released or remanded into custody.


Dam Dangerous Or More Bureaucratic Bungling?

Earthquake Could Cause Dam To Fail
Should We Mitigate Against All Possible Calamity?
Can We Mitigate Against All Possible Calamity?

I suspect the incident in Oliver about two summers ago where the failure of a private dam caused a mudslide and the loss of six homes resulted in another over reaction from the mandarins that haunt the halls in Victoria and around the province.

This stepped up vigilance surrounding the safety of dams in the province has likely resulted in the verdict by a branch of government that the dams in Colliery Park need to be removed as they could, possibly, maybe fail in the event of a significant earthquake. Not unlike the verdict we need to spend $72 million to treat water that is currently deemed by the city to be equal to commercially filtered bottled water. Both these dams, and our drinking water have 100+ years of history which don't seem to matter when those tasked with public safety think they can guard against all possible calamity. After all, if they weren't making all these important decisions, what would they be doing? Flipping burgers?

Just how large does this earthquake have to be to cause these dams to fail? What kind of damage would that level of quake cause to the other dams in the water supply system. The water mains and reservoirs etc. etc. are likely to be a complete disaster in the event of the BIG ONE everyone seems so afraid of. To say nothing of all the buildings in Nanaimo that would be reduced to rubble if a quake of that magnitude should occur.


Remember a little while ago, city staff hauled out the 'seismic event' chestnut and pointed to the extreme hazardous condition of the 75 year old city annex. Of course when public safety is the issue how can we quibble about the cost?

Well, what about ALL the other civic buildings that will never survive this much feared earthquake, or the schools where our most precious citizens spend their days? There is no real consistency and the reason of course is that it is virtually impossible to retrofit all civic buildings to the current seismic code, which incidentally means very little in the event of the 9 or 10 BIG ONE we are always told about coming sooner or later.

Is this a necessary decision that really has to be made, or just another example of bureaucracies having to justify their existence by appearing to do something?


Nanaimo Halloween Weather Forecast

Make An Umbrella Part Of Costume

The little trick or treaters on the prowl tonight in a tradition started by the Dental Association long. long ago may get lucky in the weather department but an umbrella might be a good idea anyway.

Remember you do not need to buy a permit for a bonfire tonight but you must get a permit by calling the fire department anyway.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

 Great Pumpkin Carving
And Just What the Halloween Bash Needs!


B.C. Ferries Future Public Discussion

Government begins open consultation on future of B.C. coastal ferries

VICTORIA – A public consultation and engagement process on the future of coastal ferry service in British Columbia will start today and run until Dec. 21. Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak announced the consultation process today as part of the B.C. government’s commitment to open government and in response to a recent review by the independent BC ferry commissioner.

The Review of the Coastal Ferry Act indicated that ferry users, the ferry operator and the B.C. government all need to be part of the solution to address the challenges facing the coastal ferry system in British Columbia.

Faced with declining ridership and rising costs, the B.C. government is asking for public input to inform decisions about service adjustments that will ensure coastal ferry services are sustainable and able to meet the unique needs of coastal communities. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, working with BC Ferries, is seeking public input on the principles that should guide decisions about service adjustments, as well as comments and suggestions on a long-term vision for an affordable and sustainable coastal ferry service.

The ministry is providing several opportunities for public consultation and engagement. All consultation and engagement meetings will be open to the public, and a series of small group meetings and open houses will take place in several communities. In addition, a discussion guide and feedback form will be available at the meetings and online. Information about how to participate can be found at:

Comment:  It is not known what percentage of the $180 million taxpayer contribution is made necessary to service the debt incurred under the watchful eye of Mr. Hahn and company. Only once things become unmanageable do governments seem to engage the public.


Aging Infrastructure Not The Problem

Water Main Bursts On Holyrood Drive

The local daily is reporting an event that took place last Thursday on Holyrood Drive which required the evacuation of residents as city crews worked to repair the damage. The city manager of utilities is reported as saying the age of the infrastructure was ruled out as the cause.

The line was installed in 1970 and was slated to be replaced in 2016. No explanation why the city manager was so confident in the date for replacement was given. It is worthy of note that all the water and sewer lines in the Cilaire subdivision are in the process of being replaced as they were deemed in poor condition in spite of their relatively young age.

While the city claims  that the age of the water main was not the issue, no explanation was offered as to the cause of the break.

This could however, be the result of underfunding our water, sewer and roads these past years in favour of shiny new staff offices.


Food Bank Use Up 31% Pre-recession

Canadians Use Food Banks 31% More Before Recession

The above graphic links to an article in the Globe and Mail which says that 882,000 Canadians used a food bank this past March. This is up 2.4% from a year previous and up 31% when compared with the time before the recession.

I suspect the experience in Nanaimo is consistent with these numbers if not somewhat higher, and the fact our current economic situation is possibly the new reality is a proposition that our leaders would be wise to consider.

The report points out that food banks were never meant to become a permanent part of the Canadian landscape but rather sprang up during the 80's when times were tough. The study also showed that nearly 20% of working Canadians earn less than $17,000 per year which reflects an economic shift towards lower paying service jobs.

When it comes to analyzing the local job market, there is no credible source for statistics which accurately show how many people are working, looking for work or have given up. It is however obvious that there is more and more pressure being put on the food banks.

There is also more and more pressure being put on the average working family with costs rising every time you turn around. Locally, Nanaimo taxpayers can brace for another round of property tax increases as the city struggles to address properly financing an aging infrastructure which one study suggested was being underfunded the equivalent of a 15% tax increase.

Staff of course will be able to wrestle with these economic challenges shortly from their shiny new $12,000,000.00 office which they built without going to tender while enjoying their $360,000 new furnishings. Yup, times are tough and we all need to watch our spending.


Pub Tax Exemption Adopted

Council Approves $300,000 Tax Exemption For Pub

City council gave final adoption to a bylaw last night that would give a $30,000/yr. tax exemption to the pub operating in the old train station.

It seems that city council was convinced that without this tax exemption it would not have been possible to rebuild the train station after the fire which nearly destroyed the historic site. This tax exemption was deemed necessary  in order for the pub to compete in the market place and without it would have been commercially a non-starter. Whether this is an example of government meddling in the marketplace where it should not be is a philosophical question that will be dictated by your political 'stripe'.

Whether the opening of another food and beverage business downtown in any way contributed to the recent restaurant closures is the subject of another debate. Since there are only so many dollars to go around in the 'going out to drink and dine' demographic any business which draws from this gropup likely has a negative effect on businesses already operating.

Of course, the businessmen who 'pitched' council on the need for a tax exemption were simply being good businessmen trying to gain whatever market advantage that they could. There is naturally no guarantee that even with this $2500/month boost that an enterprise in this location will be commercially viable, as business is a crap shoot at the best of times.

Resurrecting the train station from the ashes was a huge community effort and the new station is a vast improvement over what had previously stood on this site. Whether being financed with tax dollars after this fashion was necessary will never be known. The question of why insurance coverage was inadequate to replace this loss has never been addressed either. Perhaps this is just another example of how the Canadian taxpayer has always been the silent partner in the rail business in Canada as is the case today with the ICF's creative financing schemes.

Making downtown Nanaimo once again a commercially viable place to do business is a pursuit I am convinced this and following council's will pursue as long as they can continue financing this venture from the bottomless tax payer's purse. How commercially adept city council and city staff are is something only history will be able to judge.


Monday, October 29, 2012

City Parking Enforcement Moving In-House

Contracting Out Coin Collection!

In one of those decisions that leave you scratching your head city staff has asked city council to approve issuing a request for proposals for an outside contractor to collect the coins from the parking meters, which city staff apparently are moving in-house.

I've said it before "you can't make this crap up". City staff on the recommendation of city council, which made a decision based on city staff's advice opted to move city parking in-house rather than contracting it out as it presently is being done.

This decision was made last May as the result of a report from MMK Consulting which indicated the shift to moving parking in-house could result in a break even financial position over time. There does not seem to be any business plan presented that would indicate if this break even point is actually even possible. That kind of nonsense is only reserved for the private sector without limitless resources.

As I now understand it, city staff decided to move parking in-house which has resulted in the creation of another 5 person department. However, they are still going to be contracting out the collection of coin from the parking meters.

No sir, you just can't make this stuff up!


Colliery Dam Removal Planned

Dams Deemed A Hazard Have To Be Removed

The short version is that after a study it was determined the 100 year old colliery dams would pose a severe threat in the event of an extreme rain event or a severe seismic event.

Now that city staff and city council are aware of the hazard and the cost to replace the dams which no longer serve a purpose (except providing a fishing and swimming hole) would be prohibitive it has been decided to remove them and restore the Chase River to its natural course.

For more information about this major undertaking and to answer any questions you may have visit the city website HERE where you can get an example of some of the handy work of the new city hall communications manager.

Former Councillor Loyd Sherry appeared as a delegation who expressed an opinion which was at odds to staffs conclusions.

Replacing structures which have stood for decades, but would not pass current standards will likely be the major economic driver of Nanaimo going forward. Providing the residents are able to keep picking up the tab for these major projects.


Earthquake Raises Questions About Response

Or Lack of Plan?
BC's First Notice One Hour After US Warning!

Nothing On Local Radio About Tsumani Warning

Nothing On Emergency Alert From City Of Nanaimo

Shirley Bond Holds Tele-conference 3 Hours After Event

Emergency Manager Contacts Council 4 Hours After Event

Hawaii Kicks Into High Gear While We Twiddle Our Thumbs

Nobody In BC Seemed To Have Any Idea What Was Going On

There are some serious questions needing to be answered following the 7.7 earthquake and ensuing tsunami warnings and an apparent failure of the communications network to respond.

From television reports today, even residents as close as Prince Rupert had no idea what was going on. The CBC did not start broadcasting about the event until after 10:00 pm which was nearly 2 hours after the event. Shirley Bond who is supposed to be the provincial big wig in such an event held a tele-conference at 11:00 pm, nearly 3 hours after the event.

What If This Had Been A Large Tsunami?

While residents of Hawaii were moving their boats out to open water, and people were being evacuated, here in Nanaimo there was not so much as a peep about what was going on. There also seems some serious lack of credibility when you hear from officials you 'think' are supposed to be responsible in such an event.

A spokeswoman for the emergency centre in Victoria was being quizzed by the CBC's news anchor on Sunday night about response times, and she just looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights, when asked why our notices were nearly one hour later than the Americans. She did mumbe something about the number of emails and tweets they had sent out though.

There is nothing about the way this situation was handled that demonstrates our emergency program folk are really very well prepared to respond to anything other than scheduled exercises and drills.

The following quote is taken from a Times Colonist article:

Esquimalt Coun. Dave Hodgins criticized the provincial system, saying it lacks the resources to achieve its mandate, which is to protect public safety during emergencies.

Hodgins is the province’s former fire commissioner and helped design the emergency management system in 2006-07. He said the system needs the capacity to quickly respond to emergencies and support front-line emergency crews immediately. 

“They’re not there, it’s just smoke and mirrors,” Hodgins said. “There is no system,” he said. “They can write about it and talk about it and do different things to promote it, but in reality, they’re just not there.”


DNBIA Quarterly Coffee Meeting

Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association
Quarterly Coffee Meeting
Dealers Choice - 10 Lois Lane
Oct. 31 - 8:00 - 9:00 am

The DNBIA Quarterly Coffee Meeting is great way to connect with downtown business owners, find out what is happening in Nanaimo that may affect your business and learn about upcoming events.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Earthquake Triggers Tsunami Warning

Tsunami Warnings/Advisory Now Lifted

The above Google map shows the location of a 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred Saturday evening at about 8:10 pm.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre issued a warning for as far away as Hawaii but apparently no damaging waves occurred. Initially there seems to be little damage reported even in communities close to the epicenter of the quake.

Nanaimo's Response?

I tuned into the local radio station and heard nothing but music, I am also signed up for the Nanaimo Emergency Call Alert program and heard nothing either. I am not sure what action, if any, our provincial and local emergency response teams initiated when the Tsunami warning was first issued but it appears to be a limited response.

If it had not been for the CBC cutting in with 'breaking news' at 10:30 pm reporting on the event which had taken place 2 hours earlier I would have been completely unaware of the event. Given our concerns for earthquakes and tsunamis and such I would have expected a more vigorous response perhaps.

How Reported?

Given that this was a serious sounding event and given there are no hockey games on, and given it was a slow news night, CBC needs to be forgiven for the way this event was reported across the airwaves.

I got an email from my sister living in Ontario and according to the reports she was hearing it sounded like great disaster had struck the coast and we were all in great peril. I contrasted that with the report I heard which interviewed a Canadian official saying there was little chance this type of event would trigger a tidal wave. I also heard from phone in 'reports' where people living right in Haida Gwaii felt shaking etc. but were not reporting any damage to buildings etc.

On the CBC television coverage, caller after caller from closer to the area phoned in explaining what they had felt, most said their house shook a bit but none were reporting anything you could describe as a very serious event.

So it seems the news machine made much more of this 'seismic event' than our local emergency officials.

Comment: Given this was a 'seismic event' and the engineer evaluating the exisitng Annex advises that any such event could result in severe damage, I hope an evaluation is done before city staff are allowed to re-enter the building.


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Who Killed Downtown Nanaimo?

Commercial Street Is A 'Great' Street
Offering Cheap Rent, Will It Prosper?

Looking Back . . .

Why The Business Exodus From Downtown?

Every time you turn around Nanaimo City Hall is throwing more and more tax dollars at the downtown core in a decades old effort to 'revitalize' the centre of the old city. A recent example was the repaving of Bastion Street from the bridge to Front Street.

In addition the downtown area benefits from sidewalk cleaning, flower baskets, spending extra money having litter picked up etc. This is of course in addition to tax dollar supported efforts to boost the downtown such as $500,000 for the Port Theatre, $1,000,0000 for the VICC, $300,000 for the DNBIA, $12,000,000 for new offices, special tax exemptions and on it goes.

It could be argued that the same management team responsible for trying to revitalize the downtown core is the same team that oversaw it's decay in the first place. So, how did Commercial Street go from being the hub of business to being a rundown dump which could only be revitalized with massive amounts of tax dollars?

I first moved to Nanaimo in 1970 and Commercial Street was the centre of trade and commerce for Nanaimo. There was a small indoor mall at what is now Brooks Landing called Northbrook Mall and that was the last commercial centre until you got to Lantzville (which still doesn't have a commercial centre).

Most of Nanaimo would find itself downtown on a Friday night or Saturday doing the weekly grocery shopping or taking advantage of the special sales at Sears in Harbour Park Mall (now Port Place) or Eatons on Victoria Cresent. In addition to a wide variety of retailers including Woolworths and the Met, downtown was the epicentre for business, in particular the real estate business. Nanaimo Realty and Block Brothers were the two big dogs on the street, one occupying the Great National Land Building at one end, and the other occupying the offices where our MLA is now located at the other end.

The Malaspina Hotel (now the Pacifica) was home to traveling business folk as well as being a popular spot for coffee or lunch by the downtown business crowd. The Villa (now the Dorchester) was also a popular hotel for the traveling business community as well as a spot for coffee and lunch. The local daily occupied a spot on Commercial Street (now the 223 Gallery) and the radio station was situated on Esplanade across from Port Place Mall. The local shopper was located just over Bastion Street bridge in the building now occupied by NYS and the two 'papers' and the radio station fought it out for ad revenue from the merchants on Commercial Street. Everyone seemed to be happy and doing well back then.

All of this trade and commerce would have been non-existent had it not been for the huge payroll provided by Harmac which back then was the heart of the economic engine that ran Nanaimo. Of course the fishery was also a thriving driver as well, but it was the payroll that flowed from Harmac that kept downtown merchants singing. Anytime there was so much as the threat of a strike at the mill, downtown merchants became concerned.

So how did Nanaimo's downtown core go from being the centre of trade and commerce to being a run down dump requiring truckloads of tax dollars to try and bring back to life? Who has been in the driver's seat? Why did business leave downtown? Was this all an accident no one could see coming, or a planned event that has kept the wheels grinding in Nanaimo over the years?

It will take a smarter mind than mine to divine the truth and I welcome input and opinion from any readers. Of course I realize this is a subject that will likely gather as much interest as our recent strategic planning sessions but think it is worth looking into.

When it comes to sorting these kind of mysteries out, it is always a good idea to follow the money. For example, who would have benefited from the downtown business exodus? Who is benefiting from the downtown revitalization focus?



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gallery 223 Closes Oct. 28

223 Commercial Street - 250-741-1188

Gallery 223 Fine Art located at 223 Commercial Street will be officially closed at 4:00 pm on Sunday October 28. The owners have decided to retire from the business and everything including fixtures, framing materials and equipment will be sold.

This could be a good opportunity to buy that piece of fine art you had your eye on either for yourself or for someone on your Christmas shopping list.

This downtown retail space right beside the Modern Cafe is available for lease, for information you can call 250-616-0711.


Flu Vaccine Pulled From Use

Health Canada has asked doctors to hold off using certain brands of the flu vaccine manufactured by Novartis in it's facility in Italy. While the vaccine itself does not pose a health threat it may not be as effective as it should be, meaning if you have been injected with the vaccine in question you may not be protected from the flu.

On Vancouver Island as of today the affected vaccines are not in use, and officials are trying to determine who may have received the ineffective vaccines already. The Novartis vaccines represent a small percentage of the total vaccines used at Island clinics.

If you have already received a flu vaccine and are not sure if you got one in question you should call the local health authority at 250-755-6200.


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Budget Cuts Have Gone Too Far ..........

Of course this would never happen in a Nanaimo civic facility, since we don't allow bottled water now!


Nanaimo Parks & Trails Map Popular

 Nanaimo-Info Parks Map Popular

A popular feature with Nanaimo Info readers is the map of Nanaimo parks and trails which can be accessed through or

The map has been viewed 402,571 times as of Oct. 27 meaning it is used nearly 12,000 times each month by residents and visitors wanting information about our spectacular parks and trails, which we all know is one of Nanaimo's best features.

If you are not familiar with the Nanaimo Parks Locator Map you can view it by clicking the above image and then clicking on the "View Parks & Facilities In Nanaimo in a larger map".


BC Economic Snapshot Oct. 27, 2012

VANCOUVER, BC, Oct. 27,2012/ Troy Media/ – August was not a kind month for B.C.’s retail sector as estimated provincial sales slumped to the lowest level in a year. Total current-dollar retail sales volume declined 0.9 per cent from July to a seasonally-adjusted $5.04 billion. Relative to same-period 2011, sales volume was up an anemic 1 per cent.

Price growth in August suggests retailers experienced an even sharper decline in real activity or quantity of product sold during the month. The monthly sales decline was sharper than expected, but consistent with the general erosion in activity observed since the second quarter.
The weak retail environment continued to reflect themes outlined over the past couple of quarters – namely slow population growth, tempered consumer confidence, high debt loads and weak housing markets.

In addition, changes to the duty-free allowance have made cross-border shopping an even more compelling alternative to local purchases, particularly for residents in the southwest region of the province. This has likely siphoned off some activity from local retailers.

The declining trend in retail volume has been driven by electronics and appliances, motor vehicles and parts, and building materials retailers. Meanwhile, modest growth trends reported by home furnishings and health-related retailers seem to have crested.

August’s activity and a downward revision to July estimates pulled year-to-date retail sales growth down to 3.8 per cent, down from about 5 per cent at mid-year. Annual retail growth is expected to narrow through the end of 2012 as economic conditions are unlikely to fuel a substantial rebound.

Expect annual current-dollar retail volumes to grow by about 3.5 per cent to 4 per cent this year, with constant-dollar gains in the 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent range. While higher than 2011, this will still mark a weak year of growth relative to the past decade.
| Central 1 Credit Union


Poor Marketing Behind Low Cruise Ship Numbers?

Victoria Cruise Ship Season Ends With 229 Ships
Nanaimo Cruise Ship Season Ends With 5 Ships

In 2007 Nanaimo had a total of 16 cruise ships stop for a visit when they still had to anchor out and bring visitors ashore via tender. This last season even with our brand new state of the art terminal the marketing arm of the Port Authority were only able to steer 5 large ships into port.

Down the road in Victoria which is about the same size as Nanaimo, even in the current economy they were able to attract 229 ships which delivered a reported 475,000 visitors to the city this past season. What does Victoria know, that we haven't been able to figure out?

Poor Marketing At The Root Of The Problem?

As we have recently learned, the Nanaimo Port Authority is pretty much not accountable to anyone, and even our MP James Lunney refers to them as an autonomous body not responsible to anyone but themselves. Perhaps that is the reason for their apparent poor performance in the cruise ship business, there is no consequence to poor results.

They recently rented out the inner harbour to a private firm as they were unable to manage the harbour in a manner which would insure it is kept up to an acceptable standard for today's boating public. They also entered into a deal with DP World to help run the cargo end of things. If their current management 'style' is followed it shouldn't be long before they lease the cruise ship terminal to another company also.

After all, what in the world qualifies the management at the Port Authority to effectively market and operate a cruise ship terminal? They seem to be challenged when it comes to managing the inner harbour and the cargo division of the port, so why anyone would think they are capable of running a cruise ship terminal is a mystery.

You might be forgiven for asking just what is left for the board and management of the NPA to actually do these days except rattle around in that fancy new office down at the vacant cruise ship terminal.


Nanaimo Area Shellfish Harvest Update

Closures Still In Effect
Area 17 
Subareas 17-1 to 17-9, 17-12, 17-18 to 17-21 closed to all bivalve shellfish;

Subareas 17-13 to 17-16 closed to all bivalve shellfish except manila clams, littleneck clams, oysters and mussels;

Subareas 17-10, 17-17 closed to all bivalve shellfish except manila clams, littleneck clams, oysters, mussels, geoduck and horse clams;

Balance of Area 17 closed to butter clams and scallops only.
To view the complete fishery notice use this Nanaimo Info LINK. 


Who Says Crime Doesn't Pay?

To Read Times Colonist Article Click Image
Steals $8 Million Serves 3 Years = $2.6 Million/Yr.

The above article in the Times Colonist makes you wonder about the 'justice' system and whether white collar crime doesn't pay quite handsomely.

This con artist, fraudster/thief was convicted of stealing $8 million from trusting investment clients. The original estimates of the amount he stole was well over $30 million, so pick a number from $8 million to $30 million and divide by 3 (time served) and you have the annual wage this fellow accumulated through his deceit.

Ever wonder how many billions crooked bankers, investment brokers and traders steal from the general public all the time and are never held accountable? Being realistic, we can't possibly put all the white collar criminals in jail or the whole system would simply fall apart. The 'too big to fail' crooks exposed in 2008 are still running around, gaming the system and our governments seem helpless to really put an end to it.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Nanaimo Weather Outlook Oct. 27 - Nov. 2

Looks Like The Drought Is Over!

Remember that ridiculous long hot, sunny, dry spell we had to endure? Fond memory wasn't it? Now I remember why this is sometimes referred to as the Wet Coast of Canada.

Just a reminder to make sure your eves and downspouts are clear so they can do their job keeping that water away from your house.


Central Vancouver Island Tele-Town Hall Oct. 30

Finance Minister hosts 
budget tele-town hall Oct. 30

Finance Minister Michael de Jong is inviting central Vancouver Island residents to participate in a regional telephone town hall on balancing the 2013-14 provincial budget and supporting affordability for B.C. families.

The telephone town hall is the second of a series that will give British Columbians a further opportunity to discuss their priorities for the budget and ask questions of the finance minister.

The telephone town hall will dial approximately 50,000 numbers on Vancouver Island.

When: 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012

How do you participate?

If you have a publicly listed telephone number, you will receive a call at home in the early evening of the day when your regional telephone town hall is being held. A recorded message will ask if you are interested in attending the tele-town hall. If you would like to participate, stay on the line and follow the instructions given in the message.

If you do not want to participate, just hang up.

If you stay on the call, there may be a short wait until the call formally begins, or you will be placed into the town hall if it is already underway. A moderator will introduce the call, provide the instructions for participation and describe how you can ask a question, then prompt the next caller when it is their turn to ask a question.

We hope you’ll take part in this important public consultation.

Comment: If they are really only allowing a half hour for this meeting, they either don't think many will actually participate or there won't be time for much in-depth discussions.


Bears Matter Fundraiser Nov. 2 - Dec. 24

Click Image To Enlarge
5th Annual Fundraiser Helps Bears Worldwide

Show your love for bears this Christmas by supporting the 5th Annual Nanaimo Fundraiser for seven non-profit bear organizations.

Please note the new location: Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut in Woodgrove Centre (besides Winners). Buy Warm-Up Teddies and Bear Paw Mitts priced from $20 - $40 with 100% of all proceeds going to the non-profits.

You will receive a free colour donor certificate with every purchase. For more information about Bears Matter visit their website HERE.


Nanaimo City Council Meeting Oct.29, 2012

Nanaimo City Council Meeting
Monday, October 29, 2012
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

You can view this week's Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

 Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

 Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

Council decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

Last Year They Decided to Spend $16,000,000.00 On A New Staff Office. An Amount Equal To YOUR Tax Increase for 5 Years!

At the same time they are building new offices for staff, they are ignoring a $12,000,000 a year funding shortfall for water, sewer and roads, which was identified in a staff report in Nov. 2010!

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


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spending 40% Of Income To Service Debt = Trouble

Click Image To Read Exclusive Toronto Sun article

Carney Warns About Dangers Of Too Much Debt

In an exclusive Toronto Sun article, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says that some Canadians need to quit maxing out the credit card.

One of the many points made is the difficulty people will find themselves in when these "emergency levels" of ultra-low interest rates begin to go up, as they most assuredly will.


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

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

Talk About The 'HERD' Instinct!

I know some hunters are very adept at Moose and elk and duck calls, but this guy has the cow call down pat! Watch as the herd changes direction twice to follow!

Just following the herd without asking 'why' isn't limited to this bunch of cows. You could apply the same logic to many civic decisions that are justified because other cities are doing the same thing. I like to think of it as the lemming mentality, the lemming running mindlessly along in the middle of the herd thinks all is well, because this is what everyone else is doing. Property tax increases at two times the cost of living increases? No problem, everyone else is doing it!


Woodgrove Centre Supports Crime Stoppers

20 month old Winnie the Pooh, aka Jack Dunn gets ready for the Halloween fun at Woodgrove Centre.


Families are invited to participate in fun events at Woodgrove Centre in support of Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers. 

Woodgrove is hosting a family movie, “Casper the Movie”, at Avalon Cinema Centre on Sunday, October 28 at 1pm and 3pm. Tickets are on sale in advance at Guest Services near the food court for $2 while quantities last. Children are encouraged to wear their costumes and treats will be handed out before the movie starts. 

Children 12 years and younger in costume are invited to Trick or Treat for Charity on Wednesday, October 31 from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm. A suggested donation of $1 per child can be made at one of the candy stations at the main mall entrances. Proceeds from both events will support Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers.


Nanaimo Employmnet Stats Questionable

Are Nanaimo Job Numbers Accurate?

Premier Christy Clark during her recent address to the VIEA meeting pointed to the creation of 5600 jobs in the Nanaimo region. This number comes from companing BC Stats numbers which claim 46,100 people employed in Nanaimo in Sept. 2011 and 51,700 employed in 2012. Simple math means 5600 more jobs. Right? Not so fast.

If you recall the same source for these statistics last year were reporting a jobless rate in Nanaimo ranging from 11.6%  to 16.3% during the first 8 months of 2011. During that time I tried to do some drilling down through these numbers as they didn't seem to line up with what was really happening in the community.

The conclusion I have come to is that getting accurate numbers for the job market in Nanaimo is much like trying to nail jello to the wall. You just can't do it. Firstly the BC Stat numbers are provided by Stats Canada who use a very small sample and  a mysterious formula to come up with these numbers which are practically meaningless.

To demonstrate how all 'over the map' the statistics are consider that in January of 2011 there were 52,800 people working in Nanaimo with an unemployment rate of 8.2%, by April 2011 there were 48,100 people working and a unemployment rate of 16.3%. This past September the report shows 51,700 people working and an unemployment rate of 4.6%.

If you ignore the 16% rate, which is likely the result of corrupt data, try and make sense of the Jan. 2011 number compared with Sept. 2012 number. In 2011 with 52,800 people working we had an unemployment rate of 8.2%, now in Sept. with 51,700 people working we have an unemployment rate of 4.6%. What can you deduce from these numbers? We actually have fewer people working but an unemployment rate of nearly half of what it was before?? 

So, what in blazes can you conclude from these 'statistics' except they really don't tell you much of anything. For example, there is no accurate way of measuring the number of people actually in the labour pool as people who simply move and look for work elsewhere don't report to anyone, they simply pack up and leave.

When people no longer qualify for EI and have to rely on social assistance they are no longer in the labour pool, even if they may in fact be looking for work.

As I have  commented before, if all the unemployed people in Nanaimo were to simply leave town, we would have a 0% unemployment rate.

Politicians wanting to use these numbers to show how good  a job they are doing creating jobs should be aware the same numbers can turn on a dime and show they are doing a terrible job.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nanaimo Gas Prices Still Too High

Prices At 8:00 PM Oct. 24, 2012 Gas Buddy

While Nanaimo gas prices have ever so slowly crept downward since their pre-Thanksgiving gouging high of 137.9 they still have a long way to go to be comparable to other Island prices. That said, you can still pay a full 10 cents more per litre in Nanaimo than you can in Duncan. To put that in focus, if you can put 50 litres in your tank, it will cost you a full $5.00 more in Nanaimo than in Duncan and $6.00 more than in Comox!

Duncan has been pumping consistently for ages at 118.9 and you can be certain they have not been pumping at a loss because they are such nice guys. Ditto for Comox and Victoria who have both been pumping for well below Nanaimo's cartel prices which are highway robbery at it's most blatant.


Mind you it is just south of town at the Tempo station at Vowels Rd. or The Gas n Go at Morden Rd. These stations have been pumping for less than the stations right in Nanaimo all this past summer, but still have been pumping for more than Duncan.


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Run Away......

OK..... This Guy Takes Halloween Waaaayyyy Too Seriously!


Nanaimo Transportation Open House

Click Image To Enlarge


Nanaimo Household Waste Reduced

Click Image To Download The Waste Line


Nanaimo residents are on track to take 50 per cent less garbage to the curb this year, saving resources, landfill space and helping to control their user fees.

Last October, the City of Nanaimo extended food waste collection to all City-serviced households. “Thanks to your efforts almost half of what we once collected as garbage is now being composted,” says Gary Franssen, Manager of Sanitation. “We now divert 64 per cent of household waste through composting or recycling, twice as much as five years ago, but as our recent survey shows there is room to improve.”

In September, City collection crews tracked the number of garbage bags, use of extra garbage tags, and frequency of Green Bin use for roughly 24,000 households. The survey showed the vast majority of households put out one bag or fewer of garbage on their collection day and 60 per cent regularly use their Green Bin.

“The basic service of one standard-size container of garbage collected once every two weeks meets the requirements of 90 per cent of our clients,” Franssen says. “We would like to see more households take advantage of the Green Bin program and we will be exploring ways to increase participation levels.”

The Waste Line newsletter has more information on how Nanaimo’s curbside programs contribute to making the City more sustainable and improvements at the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange.

The newsletter also has important news about expansion of Product Stewardship Programs for materials such as paint, motor oil and appliances. The handy chart on the back of the Waste Line lists all materials collected through Product Stewardship Programs, which include items like electronic toys and all residential lighting and lamps, and how to find drop-off locations.

Starting October 29, Canada Post will deliver the Fall 2012 Waste Line newsletter to all Nanaimo homes. If your household doesn’t receive Canada Post admail you can download the online version by clicking the above graphic or using this Nanaimo Info LINK.


Trick or Treat In Downtown Nanaimo Oct. 27

Click To Enlarge
Downtown Trick or Treat
Sat. Oct. 27, 11:00am - 3:00pm

Get ready Nanaimo! Downtown merchants are preparing for the Downtown Trick or Treat on Saturday, October 27. Besides handing out Halloween treats to costumed kids, merchants will be decorating their shops. Look for the orange and black balloons outside of participating businesses. Activities will begin at 11am in Diana Krall Plaza and the Trick or Treating will start at 12 noon sharp. Early “treaters” can make a Halloween craft or watch a magic show in the plaza, starting at 11am. The Harbourfront Library will be reading some scary stories perfect for the season of ghosts, goblins and ghouls from 2pm – 3pm.

This year in the Old City Quarter, the Halloween Pet Parade, where the public and their pets are invited to dress up in outrageous costumes, will begin at Woofles Barking Boutique in Fitzwilliam Gate. The parade will begin at 11:30 along the sidewalk from Fitzwilliam Gate in the Old City Quarter; proceed down Fitzwilliam Street across the bridge to Skinner Street and to the final destination of Diana Krall Plaza. This route should take approximately 10 minutes. A panel of judges will be ready for the “catwalk” as pets and their owners’ parade down the red carpet. Prizes, which have been generously donated by Woofles Barking Boutique, will be awarded by a panel of judges at 12 noon. Need a critter costume? Woffles, in the Old City Quarter, can help you out with that! Also, in the Old City Quarter, Lobelia’s Lair will be doing paw readings – you’ll finally be able to know what Spot is thinking!


$5000 Shopping Spree Winner

 Nola Dunn (L) Woodgrove Centre Marketing Director and the $5,000 Woodgrove Centre gift card winner, Sonia Pranke of Nanaimo


During Woodgrove Centre’s Shoe & Handbag Event October 11-14, 2012, shoppers had an opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $5,000 Shoe Mountain Shopping Spree. Over 1,800 entries were received and the lucky winner was Sonia Pranke of Nanaimo, who may just buy herself a few new pairs of shoes!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tsawwassen - Duke Point Ferry Out Of Service

No injuries reported

A fire was detected in the bow thruster compartment of the Queen of New Westminster just after the vessel departed Tsawwassen at 10:15 am bound for Duke Point this morning. The fire has been suppressed. No injuries have been reported.

The hi-fog fire suppression system was activated in the bow thruster compartment and the deluge system was activated on the main car deck.

The vessel returned to dock at Tsawwassen and passengers were evacuated via the overhead walkway. In addition to BC Ferries’ fire party, the Delta Fire Department attended the vessel.

The Queen of New Westminster has been pulled from service for the remainder of the day.

These sailings are cancelled between Duke Point and Tsawwassen today, October 23:

Depart Duke Point:

12:45 pm 
5:45 pm 
10:45 pm

Depart Tsawwassen


An update will be provided when more information is available.


Nanaimo Flu Shot Clinics October & November, 2012

October Nanaimo Flu Shot Clinics
Click Image To Enlarge

To view the Central Island Flu Shot Clinic schedule for October use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

To view the Central Island Flu Shot Clinic schedule for November use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

November Nanaimo Flu Shot Clinics
Click Image To Enlarge


Crisis Over Pipeline?

Did Ottawa Answer Premier Clarks Threats?

The above graphics link directly to the stories published in the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun. They highlight Premier Clarks warning to Ottawa about the political power British Columbia holds with respect the Enbridge pipeline.

The other two articles point out how mystified our BC political leaders are with a decision from Ottawa which could pull the rug out from under our thoughts of grandeur by selling LNG.

Blocking pipelines from Alberta seems to be the popular political parade both BC parties are jumping in front of these days. BC seeming to think they can do without the economic benefit from allowing the northern pipeline secure in the hope our financial fortunes going forward can be pinned on the sale of LNG. They seem to think we can do that without support from Ottawa.

Since as a nation we are woefully inadequate at being competitive on the world manufacturing stage, unless we are able to take our natural resources to market we could find ourselves having a problem paying for all those benefits we have come to enjoy.


Shiny New Office Needs Shiny New Furniture

$362,023.00 For New Furniture For New Annex

I did not attend yesterdays COW meeting as the agenda had almost nothing on it with the exception of approving a staff recommendation for new modular office furniture to the tune of $362,000.00. An amount which should be of no consequence as the city's finances are in great shape according to the bastion of the fourth estate, the local daily. You may recall they pointed out there was no need for concern with the forgiving of $300,000 in taxes for the new pub at the old train station. They very wisely pointed out the city was in good financial condition and would always be able to pay ever increasing expenses, as they simply have the ability to raise taxes to cover any expenses they deem necessary.

As for the new office furniture approval, the affluent taxpayers of Nanaimo would certainly not expect their hard working staff to have anything less than brand new furniture to go along with their brand new office. In case you have forgotten, it is the office costing $12 million which they did not bother getting a tender for.

The decision to buy this new furniture now was made in anticipation of staff being able to move into their shiny new offices after toiling bravely away these past years in the death trap once approved safe ( I believe by the same engineer that now considers it so unsafe).

But, not to worry, as the Daily News pointed out in their recent editorial the city is in fine condition and we should not trouble our silly little heads with the creative ways city staff devises to spend more and more taxes.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Alphonse Brendon Menard Sentencing

Manslaughter Sentence Expected Today

Alphonse Brendon Menard is expected to be sentenced today for the shooting death of his father, Nanaimo businessman Tony Menard. The younger Menard pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in Sept. of this year having been originally charged with second degree murder.

Alphonse Menard took full responsibility for the July 2010 shooting death of his father during a hunting trip near Bamfield. The Crown is seeking a 3 - 5 year sentence while the defense is asking for a suspended sentence of 3 years.

Sentencing results will be posted here when they are announced.

Sentence Delivered

Alphonse Brendon Menard will serve 18 months in jail to be followed by two years of probation for the shooting death of his father Tony Menard aged 52.


Nanaimo Strategic Planning For Dummies

Don't Let All The BIG Words Fool Ya'
Don't Be Confused By All The Jargon!

Document will be used to justify expenditures covering everything from soup to nuts!

Five or six months in the making, meetings with citizens, business and civic leaders and $120,000 produce a document which is likely just the basis for more creative tax and spending on the part of your elected and non-elected rulers. If you pay attention, city staff and city council will quote the strategic plan to justify all spending from here on in. The 'plan' was crafted after getting input from a few hundred citizens, hardly a very large sample of public opinion.

The Cliffs' Notes

This $120,000, 20 page document has led to the revelation that Nanaimo's priorities should be:

  • Enhance our Waterfront
  • Manage the Citys' (that is our) Assets
  • Ensure our Water Supply
  • Transportation and Mobility Is Important
  • Civic Government Taking Responsibility
  • Community Building Partnerships

Let's take a closer look at these eye popping findings and try and understand what it means we should be doing.

Enhance the Waterfront: this means our waterfront is one of our better features and we should work to make it more attractive and more assessable to more people. Something that Nanaimo has been doing for as long as I have lived here. One of the oft heard suggestions is to extend the seawall from Departure Bay to the Estuary, sounds like a great idea, but at what cost? I wonder if the deal to lease our harbour is an enhancement, and what would have been thought had it been mentioned during the planning stage.

Manage the City's Assets: Since Nov. 2010 it has been known that the city of Nanaimo, with the knowledge of city staff and city council has been underfunding our water, sewer and roads to the tune of some $12.5 million annually. Why? Perhaps it would be harder to build a shiny new staff office if our water, sewer and roads were being taken care of.

Ensure our Water: That is what the multi-millions of dollars are currently being spent on. The new reservoir, the new water treatment plant etc. etc. are all geared towards our need for water. Again, something you would think we already deem as a priority.

Transportation & Mobility: It is hardly a shocker that people want to be able to get around the city as easily as possible. Of course expecting things such as 24 hour, every 5 minute bus service is hardly something we can  afford or expect to happen. We are already doing a study to help design traffic flows into the future.

Civic Government Taking Responsibility: this is about the only item that could perhaps be described as 'new' and coming from the public. It would seem unlikely, that government would actually want to take responsibility. However, how they would be held responsible is a big question mark. If a member of the paid civil service were to do something that proved to be detrimental to the city (like paying $3 million to not have a hotel built), the degree they would be held responsible would likely include early retirement and a $500,000 golden handshake!

The idea of taking responsibility is a bit of a chuckle when you realize that staff (who make all the recommendations) need council's approval (who rely on staff for direction) which absolves the real decision makers of responsibility.

When something council approves turns out to be a bad decision, city staff will always say: "don't look at us COUNCIL told us what to do", in the next breath they will quickly tell council to not attempt to micro-manage city staff, after all they are the PROFESSIONALS. Who are never responsible by the way.......

Community Building Partnerships: this is hardly something you would put in the category of revolutionary. I remember as a kid, playing in the sandbox with other kids, and trying to swipe the other kids toys, having my mother admonish me to ' play nicely now'. Which as basic as it sounds is something all the little kings in their little kingdoms in Nanaimo would do well to learn.


It is good to have a strategic plan, as Mr. Kenning said in the last financial report: it is virtually impossible to set priorities and structure an organization without one. Perhaps not having one for these past decades could explain our current condition. In Nov. 2010 it was revealed we are not funding our water, sewer and roads to maintain current service levels, and to do so would mean a tax increase of about 15 - 16%. Now, that we have a strategic plan which identifies asset management as a priority, city hall management will take it as seriously as they take providing themselves with shiny new offices! Or maybe not, only time will tell.

The city taxpayer has already paid for no end of strategic studies over the past few years, their actual implementation seems to be a challenge neither city council, nor city staff are equal to, with the result there must be a shelf at city hall (or perhaps whole closet) devoted entirely to strategic planning studies. I realize that consultants, have to make a living also, but I'm not sure Nanaimo has to single handedly support such a large segment of that industry.


Clean Gutters To Avoid Water Problems

A Plugged Gutter Can Mean Real Trouble

You may want to wait until all the leaves have finally fallen from the trees to make sure your gutters are clear and working properly. I wound up clearing mine this past weekend after an inspection revealed almost all my gutters were completely full of debris. I will likely have to do it one more time after all the leaves have fallen.

I was actually surprised at how much debris had accumulated this year as I had done them in the spring, but this year there seems to be an unusually large amount of needles which I presume some evergreens shed due to the long dry spell. In any case, whatever the reason my gutters would not have been performing properly at all, even with a moderate rain, and we all know there is a good chance of rain here on the coast as we head into our winter season.

If your gutters are not clear and start to back up and overflow, it can result in water getting backed up into the wood fascia and even back up under the shingles and start to rot your roof. It will also mean that the water running off your roof will not be properly directed into the drain system designed to take water away from the foundation of your house.

If you don't feel comfortable taking on this task which usually requires going onto the roof or using a ladder there are several companies in town offering gutter cleaning services. Be sure to select someone who carries proper insurance and is covered by Workers Comp as you are the one responsible if something should go amiss.


Nanaimo Wine Festival

20th Anniversary Nanaimo Wine Festival
Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Beban Park Auditorium 

The Nanaimo Wine Festival brings over 200 wines from the Island and around the world sponsored by the Wave FM. Your admission ticket includes all taxes and all tastings, there are no additional charges. It also includes a keepsake wine glass, finger food, live music and a door prize.

For more details and to purchase your ticket use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Cheeky Fellow Picking Out His Halloween Pumpkin?


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Interesting Public Union Tactic

Screen grab from Times Colonist

It seems that nowadays the public sector are the only employees able to stamp their feet and insist the rest of us need to cough up more dough so they can maintain their standard of living.

When a public sector union goes on strike and holds the general population at ransom to meet their demands you'd be forgiven for getting just a little peed off if you have just taken a wage cut in order to hang onto your job. A student up to their ying yang in debt trying to prepare for what the current economic future may hold might find it hard to sympathize with labour disputes by those who already enjoy a high living standard.

The public sector is one that has been pretty well insulated from the 'pain' many regular folk have had to endure since the meltdown of '08 and the ensuing uncertainty. For example in Nanaimo, at city hall there are over 150 employees who are earning anywhere from two to five times the average household income in Nanaimo.

When a public sector union goes on strike against their employer, a fact seemingly lost is that the general tax paying public is the employer being struck against. Not some fat cat industrialist who is building an empire on the backs of over worked and under paid employees working in horrendous conditions someplace.

Pissing off the people who are paying your wages seems like a questionable union tactic but is exactly what will be happening next week in Victoria as the unions once again hold their wage paying customers to ransom so they may fatten up their pensions and squeeze more from a public purse that arguably has been empty for years.

Hark ....... is that CUPE I hear warming up????