Monday, September 30, 2013

Nuclear Free Zone Signs To Return in Nanaimo

Council Motion To Replace Signs

Ms Dyane Brown of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom made a presentation to city council requesting council put back or replace signs at the entrances to Nanaimo.

The signs had been installed on two previous occasions but for reasons left unexplained have disappeared from the entrances. A city bylaw passed in 1987 declared Nanaimo a nuclear free zone and three signs were installed making that declaration.

Councillor Brennan put forward a motion instructing staff take necessary steps to have the signs reinstalled in their previous locations, which would require Department of Transport approval. If that approval is not forthcoming, staff are instructed to erect the signs on appropriate city streets, which would not require approval from senior government.

There was no explanation asked or given as to why signs which had been installed by a council motion supporting a duly passed bylaw were ever removed, apparently without the knowledge of city council.

Note: I hope none of those high-tech jobs Sasha at the Economic Development Corporation is busy trying to attract have anything to do with the manufacture of any components that are used in nuclear weapons.


US Might 'Run Out of Money'?

Just Another Day in the New Economy

Who would have ever thought the United States of America could actually be on the brink of running out of credit to pay it's bills? Who would have ever thought that unless they agree to borrow another bazillion dollars or so, they won't be able to keep the government running, and as many as 800,000 government employees could be out of work?

I ain't no economist, in fact, I just ain't that bright at all, but I can't help but wonder how many more trillions of dollars of our grand kids money we can keep spending until this whole thing just goes sideways?


In the past decade we have spent our grandkids money on the following items, all of which are questionable investments:

$75 million on a conference centre (a building you likely couldn't sell for $35 million)
$70 million on a new water treatment plant and delivery system (in 150 years it was only necessary to boil out water on 3 occasions because of health concerns).
$16 million on a shiny new office for city staff ( a few million would have improved the old adequate annex)
$80 million on secondary sewage treatment and outfall pipe (a pipe that failed about 30 years before expected).

Rational, sound arguments can be made for the opinion that we did not need to spend any of the above money, which for the most part has put us in debt for the next 20 years or so, all at a time we are underfunding our water, sewer and roads by possibly $10 million annually.


Nanaimo Multicultural Speaker Series

Click Image To Enlarge


The Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival Oct. 13, 2013

The VIEX is Proud to Present: 
The Nanaimo Pumpkin Festival
October 13, 2013
Vancouver Island Exhibition grounds at Beban Park
Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off
Festival from 12-4 pm
FREE admission

  • Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off
  • Childrens Costume Contest at 2pm (Agriplex)
  • Farmer Vicki and Daisy the Cow
  • Hayrides for $2.00 or free with Pumpkin Carving
  • Pumpkin Carving ($6.00) free hayride when you purchase a pumpkin!
  • Free Face Painting and Colouring
  • Shop the Farmers Market (Agriplex)
  • Concession Stand (popcorn & cotton candy, hotdogs, coffee, pop & more)
  • Family Fun


The Naden Band Nanaimo Oct. 3, 2013

The Naden Band
Thursday, October 3rd 7:30 pm
Port Theatre - Nanaimo
The Naden Band is a 35 piece band performing diverse musical styles from classical to jazz, pop and contemporary music. Several musicians are featured during these performances with exciting instrumental and vocal solos.
The band has represented the Navy throughout Canada at events such as the Beating Retreat Ceremonies in Ottawa, the International Military Band Festival in Quebec City and the Memorial Cup in Kelowna, BC. The band was proud to take part in the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France.

The Naden Band has been part of naval tradition on the West Coast since 1940. Formed during World War II, the Naden Band kept up both civilian and military morale with concerts, dances and hundreds of radio broadcasts, and played for base ceremonies, monthly church parades and public parades through the streets of Victoria and Vancouver.

All Seats $14.00


Sunday, September 29, 2013

BC Ferries Sailings Cancelled - Bad Weather

Sunday Sept. 29, 2013
BC Ferries Cancellations

Due to bad weather BC Ferries has cancelled the following sailings for Sept. 29:

Queen of Oak Bay
7:30 pm sailing departing Horseshoe Bay
9:30 pm sailing departing Departure Bay

Coastal Renaissance
7:30 pm sailing departing Departure Bay
9:30 pm sailing departing Horseshoe Bay

Queen of Alberni
8:15 pm sailing departing Tsawwassen
10:45 pm sailing departing Duke Point

Coastal Inspiration
8:15 pm sailing departing Duke Point
10:45 pm sailing departing Tsawwassen


Nanaimo Invites Art Submissions

Nanaimo Seeks Outdoor Public Art 
Call for Artists: Public Art & Banner Design
The City of Nanaimo has issued an invitation to all amateur and professional artists and graphic designers to submit proposals to be entered in a juried competition for the design of street banners as well as outdoor public art pieces.  The banners will be installed along major streets and throughout the downtown core for the summer months in 2014 and 2015. The public art pieces will be installed in May of 2014 at various locations around town for a year long period.

Proposal documents are now available online at  within the business section of the website on the ‘bid opportunities’ page.  There will be non-mandatory information sessions for both projects; the first will be on October 29 at 4pm at the Bowen Park Lawn Bowling Clubhouse.  The session for the outdoor public art pieces will be held November 5 at 5pm at the Nanaimo Art Gallery at 150 Commercial Street.

Proposals for both banners and public art are due Friday, January 10, 2014 by 3:00pm.  Please submit proposals only at the City Purchasing Office located at 2020 Labieux Road.  Late proposals will not be considered.  If you have questions about the process please contact Kirsty MacDonald, Parks & Open Space Planner at 250 755 7506 or email

Nanaimo’s Community Plan for Public Art is available for viewing within the city’s website , the goal of the plan is to encourage and support the presence of public art for Nanaimo residents and visitors to enjoy creative work, learn about and celebrate Nanaimo’s natural and cultural heritage and engage in a personal and community dialogue.  It is one of the pillars of the City’s commitment to the promotion and celebration of local cultural talent.


Our Forests - Our Roots Website Launch

 Click Image To Visit Website

Major forest companies operating on B.C.'s coasts have launched a website to facilitate a public conversation around the importance of the coastal forest industry to the province of British Columbia..

Rick Jeffrey, president and CEO of the Coast Forest Products Association, notest forestry is an "integral part" of the economy of coastal communities, more than 38,000 people, including hundreds in the Nanaimo area, rely on a healthy forest industry to provide their jobs and livelihoods.

The organizations website offers a platform for conversation allowing people to express the importance of their livelihoods, their communities and having a thriving modern coastal forestry sector.

You can visit the Our Forests - Our Roots website by clicking on the image above.


Tourism Nanaimo Wins Award For Campaign

L to R Jenn Bogwald MNP Award Presenter, Kirsten Soder - Tourism Tofino, Jonathan Heerema - Sooke Tourism Association, Jennifer Houtby - Tourism Nanaimo, Ryan Malane - Blackball Ferry
"Power of Partners" Award
Nanaimo – Tourism Nanaimo together with Tourism Tofino, Sooke Regional Tourism Association and Black Ball Ferryline received the Power of Partners Award September 25, 2013 at the Tourism Vancouver Island Gala in Port Alberni.

The Power of Partners Award recognizes a business or organization that has demonstrated building partnerships with other Vancouver Island region tourism businesses that have successfully increased visitation to the Vancouver Island Region. These tourism businesses and or organizations will be an inspiration in the development of cooperative initiatives.

The group won for their “You Won’t be Sorry Campaign” targeting the Pacific Northwest leisure market.  The goal of the campaign was to encourage travelers to explore more of Vancouver Island and to move beyond the “been there, done that” familiarity of Victoria.

“Traditionally destinations compete for travelers,” said Jenn Houtby-Ferguson Tourism Nanaimo’s Destination Development Officer.  “Our group used this opportunity as a catalyst to work more strategically and collaboratively together significantly leveraging our marketing investment.”

This campaign was innovative and uniquely Canadian concept. The partners poked a little fun at Canadians highlighting the differences to our American friends with this campaign.  “Sorry” was the primary link – Canadians are notorious for over apologizing and we capitalized on this throughout the campaign with “Sorry if your suit gets wet in Tofino, Sorry you haven’t tried a Nanaimo Bar in Nanaimo, Sorry if locals are crabby in Sooke, culminating in “You won’t be sorry….  For the best vacation you have ever had”.

“This is the first multi-destination campaign Vancouver Island has ever approached and is a unique approach within the tourism industry,” says Sasha Angus CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.  “Our team is very proud of the results of this campaign and to be honoured in this way.” 

Tourism Nanaimo is a division of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation whose mission is to build a prosperous community through economic opportunity.


BC Economic Snapshot Sept. 28, 2013

 At least BC's Population is Growing Faster Than Atlantic Canada

VANCOUVER, BC, Sep 28, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C.’s population continued to expand during the second quarter pushing estimated population up to 4.58 million persons as of July 1, up 0.3 per cent from the previous quarter and 0.8 per cent above same July 1, 2012.

Similar to retail trends, and a host of other economic indicators, B.C.’s population growth has underperformed relative to most other provinces. National population gains reached an estimated 1.2 per cent on the year.

While B.C. can boast of higher population growth than the Atlantic Provinces, gains paled when compared to all three Prairie provinces – Alberta saw its population balloon 3.4 per cent from same-period 2012, while Saskatchewan jumped 1.9 per cent. Ontario and Quebec also marginally outpaced B.C. growth.

The tepid pace of population gains over the past year can largely be traced to interprovincial mobility. While net international flows were positive and steady, the province recorded a stronger net outflow to other provinces particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan, reflecting the draw of stronger labour markets and economies.

Growth has been sluggish, but one bright light in the most recent data release was acceleration in quarter-over- quarter population growth trend in the second quarter. After trending at an annualized rate below 1 per cent since the first quarter of 2012, seasonally-adjusted annualized growth jumped to about 1.1 per cent in the second quarter.

However, the devil is in the details, and they suggest the uptick in growth may be fleeting. Second quarter growth reflected higher net non-permanent residents, which is prone to reversal, while net interprovincial trends remained negative. We expect population growth to remain weak over the next few years. Growth is forecast to trend below 1 per cent into 2014, before trending higher to an average of 1.2 per cent in 2016-2017.

B.C. retailers managed to hold on to recent sales gains into July but demand conditions remained sluggish and the province is still an underperformer relative to the national picture.
Total retail sales were essentially unchanged from June, edging down 0.1 per cent to a seasonally-adjusted $5.23 billion in July. While remaining above the range bound trend observed since early 2012, sales volume was up only 2.7 per cent from same-month 2012. Nationally, growth was 3 per cent.

The recent upshift suggests household demand has firmed slightly in recent months, but there is little denying that the environment remains a strain for provincial retailers. Through July, sales were only 0.6 per cent higher than the first seven months of 2012 with Metro Vancouver performing worse than the rest of the province with a decline of 0.5 per cent.

Stripping out vehicle sales and gasoline sales, which provide a better indication of underlying consumer demand, provincial volume was only 0.2 per cent higher. Sales are down in most subsectors, with the largest pullback in electronics/appliances, clothing and recreation-oriented retailers. While retail inflation has been negligible, mild population gains suggest a cut in household spending this year.

Comparably, year-to-date growth in Canada was 2 per cent through July, led by Newfoundland and Labrador and the Prairie overachievers – Alberta recorded a gain of more than 6 per cent, with a 3.6 per cent gain in Saskatchewan. B.C. was second-to last among provinces, with only New Brunswick faring worse.

The weak retail environment will persist. Consumer demand remains sluggish as a result of a weak labour market, high debt loads, stagnant home prices and minimal population growth. Additionally, a relaxation of duty-free allowances and online sales may also be impacting bricks and mortar operations in the province. (Ed. Note: see BC retailers hit hard by cross-border shopping)

Current-dollar sales growth for full-year 2013 is forecast to reach a subdued 1 per cent. This will mark the slowest gain since 2009 and follows a 1.9 per cent increase in 2012. Growth has been revised up to about 3.5 per cent in 2014, on labour market improvements and higher inflation.
| Central 1 Credit Union


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Celebrity Century - Last Cruise Ship This Year

Celebrity Century at Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal

What a difference a day makes! Had the Celebrity Century pulled into Nanaimo yesterday (Thursday) our visitors would have experienced a beautiful sun-drenched late September day. Instead they experienced a grey, drizzly early October day instead.

It is hoped our guests will have been able to enjoy some 'Super-host' hospitality and sampled some of all that downtown Nanaimo has to offer in spite of the weather challenges.

For those interested the following are a few of the stats about the Celebrity Century cruise ship:
  • Passengers: 1814,    Crew: 860
  • Length 815 ft.,    Beam: 105.6 ft.
  • Tonnage: 71,545,    Draught: 25 ft.
  • Decks: 10,    Cruise Speed 21.5 kt
Follows are a few photos of the on-board amenities the Celebrity Century has to offer, and a few examples of what we are competing with, when we ask people to leave their floating city and come ashore to see what we have to offer.


Help Nanaimo RCMP Solve These Crimes

Nanaimo RCMP have a number of unsolved files which they hope the public can help solve. Anyone with any information about the following crimes is asked to call police at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

No. 2013-24015 On Sept. 7, a female stole clothing from The Bay, located at Woodgrove Centre. She entered the store at approximately 5 p.m. and after allegedly picking up as many clothes as she could hold, ran out one of the exits. Most of the clothes were still on hangers when she left. She is described as a white female, 25-35 years of age, with long curly brown hair. She was wearing a purple plaid button shirt, blue jeans and sandals.

No. 2013-24804 Sometime overnight on Sept. 15, a vehicle with Washington plates parked outside of 2510 Glenayr Dr. was broken into. More than $2,000 in clothing and assorted items were taken. Some of the items taken included an REI miners headlamp, Lands End dufflebag, Eddie Bauer swimsuit, women’s Tilley hat and a women’s green Gortex jacket with purple trim.

No. 2013-25393 On Sept. 21, several vehicles parked on Glenayr Drive were broken into. Residents found numerous items strewn across the street in the vicinity of Glenayr at Haliday Crescent and Bay Street. Most of the vehicles were unlocked.

No. 2013-25377 On Sept. 21, a number of tools were stolen from a trailer parked in the backyard of a residence in the 5700 block of Malpass Road. Taken was a C&C router, wood lathe and other small assorted tools.

No. 2013-25452 On Sept. 21, an unknown person removed money from the till at Sound Heritage located at 33 Victoria Cres. At approximately 5 p.m., a scruffy looking male in his 50s walked into the store and when the owner was speaking with another customer, he is suspected of opening the till and taking an unknown amount of money before leaving the store. The suspect was wearing a bright yellow/green jacket, bright green shoes, jeans and a ball cap.

No. 2013-25332 On Sept. 22, a Nikon camera was stolen at Loudon Park. The owner was attending a rowing function at the lake when the theft occurred. The camera’s serial number is 5086880 and the lens serial number is 34392647.


Police Need Assistance Locating Cristian Kaiser

The Nanaimo RCMP are requesting the public’s assistance in locating 23 year old Cristian KAISER of Nanaimo who has not been seen not his family since November of 2012.

KAISER’s family initially felt he would contact them either directly or through a friend but since his disappearance they have had not heard anything. He does not own a car, has limited financial means and does not use social media sites. There are no medical issues at play and he was in good health when last seen. There is nothing to indicate foul play is involved. Cristian KAISER is 5 ft 4, weighs 120 pounds and has dark hair and brown eyes. He has no noticeable scars or tattoos.

His family needs to hear that he is ok and that he has simply decided to move on with his life,said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP. If you have any information on the whereabouts of Cristian KAISER, please contact Constable Derek Segstro of the Nanaimo RCMP or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. You can also go online at


Friday, September 27, 2013

Nanaimo Gas Prices Still Highest!

Above prices taken from Gas Buddy at 11:00 am Sept. 27/2013. Victoria stations are also pumping gas for 126.9 per litre after deducting the 2 cent transit tax for a true comparison.

An extra five cents per litre doesn't sound like much but equals $2.50 on a 50 litre fill up, which is $2.50 you don't have to spend on something else, like a coffee and donut at Timmy's. For anyone who thinks in gallons it is the equivalent of a 22.5 cent difference per gallon.

Clearly there is a lack of any real competition in the Nanaimo gas retail business. Too bad Costco wasn't able to install pumps at their Nanaimo location.


Nanaimo Rivers Day Sept.29, 2013


FREE Skate Program Returns This Sunday

 Lions FREE Everyone Welcome 
Skate Sessions Return 
The Lions Club of Nanaimo will once again be hosting totally FREE ‘Everyone Welcome’ skating sessions; this includes admission, helmet and skate rentals.  The Lions Club of Nanaimo, in partnership with Save-On-Foods, and the City of Nanaimo, Parks, Recreation & Culture Department will sponsor these family fun sessions. The sessions will be held at Frank Crane Arena at 2300 Bowen Road each Sunday through until March 23. 

This coming Sunday, September 29, the session will begin earlier than normal at 10:45am and run until 12:30pm to accommodate the Nanaimo Clippers Junior ‘A’ game. Clippers players will be on hand during the session signing autographs and hitting the ice with the kids.

Since 1946, The Nanaimo Lions Club has made significant contributions to the quality of life in Nanaimo, contributions include; Nanaimo Lions Pavilion in Maffeo-Sutton Park, the Lions Great Bridge, the Annual Christmas Parade, the Annual Empire Day Parade, and the list goes on.

Save-On-Foods has been a local company since 1918. During that time, they have supported numerous community events including non profit charity's events, schools, the Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, Salvation Army Food Bank, B.C. Children's Hospital, Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival, and many more.

For more information about the skating sessions and other arena programming please call 250-756-5200 or visit our website


Operation Red Nose Seeks Volunteers for 2013

Operation Red Nose is launching it's volunteer recruitment campaign to find people to participate in their program which provides an alternative to drinking and driving during the coming holiday season.

They will be hosting a Meet and Greet this coming Monday, Sept. 30 at 7:00 pm in Building 100 at the Vancouver Island University. Program organizers will be looking for people to volunteer as drivers, navigators, escort drivers, mascots, dispatchers and headquarter assistants.

Money earned by the program helps support local athletes and youth through various programs offered by Pacific Sport Vancouver Island. Operation Red Nose runs on Fri. and Sat. nights from November 29 until December 31, 2013. For more information call Don Allan at 250-740-6572.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Committee of the Whole Meeting Sept. 30, 2013

Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, Sept.30 , 2013
4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Obtain council approval to hire RETHINK to review the Corporate Strategic Plan at a cost of about $3,000
  • Delegation from Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, requesting signs indicating that Nanaimo is a nuclear weapons free zone be put back or replaced at the city's entrances.

    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 $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

    Council decided to spend at least $160,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

    By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

    We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

    We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

    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??

    Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 


    Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market Sept. 27

     Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

    Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
    Open Friday ( May 24 - Oct. 11, 2013)

    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 or call 250-754-1998.


    People Without Jobs - Jobs Without People

    Canada reaping the bitter harvest of the jobs-without-skills gap

    Rather than quibble over parochial politics, premiers and territorial leaders need to start to work together

    VICTORIA, BC,/ Troy Media/ – The new National Job Training Program which replaces the Federal Job Grant was panned by provincial and territorial leaders at their recent meeting in Niagara-On-The-Lake.

    The announcement, following a federal review showing most of the Job Grant funding was used in ways that offered little or no potential to ease the critical shortage of in-demand skills facing the country – was presaged in a speech by then Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Diane Finley, who compared the growing “skills without jobs . . . jobs without skills gap” to a person with an ear to the track listening for the train: “Well folks, it’s time to stop listening for the train because it’s bearing down upon us”.

    Business leaders agree. A recent Canadian Council of Chief Executives report stated that Canada is falling behind in the global skills race and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce estimates that, by 2016, there will be 550,000 persons unable to find work and at least as many post-secondary graduates working in low skills jobs. At the same time, there will be 1.5 million skilled job vacancies, and from there the gap will continue to widen.

    The Niagara gathering was an opportunity for provincial and territorial leaders to work together on a unified national plan that would mitigate this sobering outlook. How unfortunate then, that rather than discussing solutions to the skills problem they chose to focus entirely on protection of their parochial right to spend the federal grant money as they please. Yet the problems, and the potential solutions, are almost entirely in provincial hands.

    Take skilled trade apprenticeship as one very important example. On-the-job apprenticeship training is essential for those enrolled in one of Canada’s 150 designated skilled trades. OECD data shows that countries with the highest apprenticeship participation rates have the lowest youth unemployment. Germany, with its widely acclaimed educator/employer “dual training system”, has Europe’s lowest youth unemployment and second lowest in the OECD at just 8 per cent. Over half of German post- secondary students enter apprenticeship programmes.

    Meanwhile, apprentices make up just 2 per cent of Canada’s labour force and finding a training placement can be a major challenge. The disconnected 13 provincial/territorial regulatory structure means that apprentices who find employment in another jurisdiction may not have their previous experience recognized, forcing them to either start at square one or give up their dream of achieving journey-person status. And a recent C.D. Howe Institute study found that provincial regulations requiring an employer to have more than one journey-person for every trainee reduces apprenticeship opportunities in the small firms that form the backbone of apprenticeship employment.

    Our ad-hoc apprenticeship structure is also failing to keep pace with rapid technological change. One example is “mechatronics technician”, a highly skilled occupation that combines mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and robotics. It is already recognized in Europe, but not here. Canadian employers wishing to train mechatronics apprentices would be unable to access any government funding programs, while individuals completing the training would not be granted any credential. Andy Cleven, Director for the Joint Training Committee in Coquitlam, B.C. states; “Although apprenticeships are meant to meet national standards, that’s not easy with 13 jurisdictions developing different plans for the same trade. Imagine how messed up it can become”.

    Of course, even with a cohesive national apprenticeship strategy, apprentices still need to find an employer willing to provide that needed on-the-job training. Many potential employers are reluctant to do so due to the administrative costs of complying with regulatory requirements, perceived mentor productivity reduction and disruption from periodic academic semesters.
    A non-profit group called the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum has set out to change employers’ views. Their surveys show that revenue increases by $1.47 for each dollar invested in apprenticeship training. And interviews with skilled tradespersons reveal that most “jump at the chance” to pass on their knowledge and having a helper actually makes them more productive, not less.

    History shows this has long been the case. As far back as the 18th Century BC, the Code of Hammurabi obliged Babylonian craftsmen to pass on their skills to the next generation. The bottom line is, unless employers do their part to develop new skilled trades-persons, they will reap a bitter harvest of accelerating skills shortages.

    The task is vital and the hour is late. Rather than quibble over parochial politics, our premiers and territorial leaders should be working together to create a cohesive national trades apprenticeship system.

    Gwyn Morgan is a retired Canadian business leader who has been a director of five global corporations.


    Shaw FREE Community BBQ Sept. 28 Nanaimo

    At Shaw, we’re proud to be a part of the community we work and live in. Join us for a community BBQ where we'll award the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation as the winning charity of Shaw’s Community Challenge contest. Bring your family and join us for free food, beverages, kids’ entertainment and giveaways. The cheque will be presented to the Hospital Foundation at 12:30 PM

    We look forward to seeing you at the BBQ.

    Saturday, September 28 from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM 
    Nanaimo Country Club Centre


    Last Nanaimo Cruise Ship This Year Sept. 27

    Last Cruise Ship For The 2013 Season

    Celebrity Century September 27, 2013  7:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Lets' all do our best to summon up some really spectacular weather for our last cruise ship guests of the 2013 season. The downtown Farmers' Market should be open. If you see someone walking around our city that seems to be from out of town, be sure to offer a friendly word and ask what they think of our lovely city.


    Wednesday, September 25, 2013

    Nanaimo Weather Sept. 26 - 29

    Take Advantage of Thursday ....... the Sun is going on vacation!


    BC Economic Forecast 2013 - 2017

     More Aggressive Growth Cycle Forecast

    VANCOUVER, BC, Sep 24, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C.’s sluggish economy will tread water for the remainder of 2013 before gaining traction through 2014 and into 2015 when a more aggressive growth cycle takes root.

    Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is pegged at a tepid 1.4 per cent this year – a downward revision from the previous outlook — with a modest gain of 2.4 per cent expected for 2014.

    The subdued performance is hardly surprising given the performance of domestic demand drivers. Employment growth has been non-existent this year, migration is below decade lows, while new home construction is down and governments are belt-tightening.

    Positive but uneven global growth, particularly in the U.S., has provided some offset through an export uplift but insufficient domestic and global demand has sidelined businesses from investing as they wait for signs of a more sustained and robust recovery.

    Growth is set to pick up in the back-end of the forecast horizon to above 3 per cent from late-2015 onwards. A U.S. recovery in full-swing and commencement of large resource-oriented projects in the north will provide impetus to both export growth and business investment, leading to employment and consumption gains. The timing of this growth upshift is fluid, and may be delayed if the U.S. economy underperforms or other issues hold back exports and investment.

    Nominal or current-dollar output is forecast to accelerate at a faster pace than real output due to an inflationary pickup in prices. Nominal GDP is forecast to rise to 4.4 per cent in 2014 and accelerate to an average of more than 6 per cent in 2016-17.

    B.C.’s medium-term growth profile is largely influenced by the outlook for the global and national economies and its relation to export demand and commodity prices. Over the short-term, global growth will be constrained by ongoing weakness in Europe, a slowdown in China’s growth and a moderate U.S. expansion.

    Monetary policy remains highly accommodative, although tapering of U.S. quantitative easing strategies will put upward pressure on long-term yields. Improvements in the U.S. housing market and consumer demand will be offset in part by restrictive fiscal policies in the short-term. Modest growth will underpin soft but stable commodity prices through 2014. A global growth upshift in 2015 extends through 2017.

    U.S. growth is forecast to trend in a range of 3 to 3.5 per cent from 2015 to 17, reclaiming its status as the global growth engine and pulling other nations along for the ride. A relatively long growth cycle is expected, given the severity of the 2008/09 recession, the subpar recovery, and substantial pent-up demand. The considerable slack in the economy leaves substantial room to grow before restraining monetary and fiscal policy settings are needed.

    Strengthening growth will generate more robust commodity price growth later in the forecast period. Canada will follow the U.S. with a lag as exports and business investment pull higher.
    In the short term, real GDP growth is forecast at a below-average 1.7 per cent in 2013 due to the policy-induced housing slowdown, fiscal drag, and the global economic slowdown. When the U.S. economy grows more robustly after 2014, Canada’s economic growth will rise to, and possibly above, 3 per cent in 2016.

    Interest rates remain low and rise moderately later in the five-year forecast to near-normal levels in 2017. The first Bank of Canada rate increase is expected later in 2014 or early 2015. Before the bank raises its policy rate, bond yields will increase as improved growth prospects push up administered lending rates.

    The Canadian dollar depreciates against the U.S. dollar with upward pressure later in the forecast when domestic interest rates rise and commodity prices firm up. However, this will be from a lower Canadian dollar around 94 to 95 cents U.S.

    Few pockets of growth for B.C. in 2013, major projects and global recovery lead the way in 2015
    Most industries will face slow-growth conditions through 2014. Forestry and wood products are the exception with the weakest performers being those that cater to the domestic market, such as professional services, government and retail trade.

    Later in the forecast, growth will be heavily dependent on improvements in the global economy and commencement of major projects to drive exports, construction, and business investment.

    Forestry is one of the few bright lights for the provincial economy as it rides higher on improved demand and prices emanating from rising new home demand in the U.S. and Japanese reconstruction efforts. Dollar-volume exports and wood product production are up sharply from 2012 by about 30 per cent this year – largely reflecting higher prices. Real output growth has been more modest since current U.S. demand can largely be supplied by domestic suppliers, but is forecast to record above-average expansion over the forecast horizon. As U.S starts pull above one million units, upside pressure will build for imported wood products.

    B.C. will also see long-term quantity and quality pivot towards Asian markets – particularly China. The accelerated harvest of pine beetle trees is a contributing factor to growth but this will begin to wane as supply constraints materialize.

    Then there is most everything else…


    Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour

    Artists’ Studio Tour on the “Isle of the Arts”

    Gabriola Island is B.C.’s best destination this Thanksgiving Weekend as more than 40 artists open their studios to visitors from around the world during the 17th Annual Studio Tour on the “Isle of the Arts.”

    The Tour runs October 12, 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and comes complete with a user-friendly brochure with a handy map to guide you. Pick up a brochure at the ferry terminal, or stop by Tour Central when you arrive (beside the post office) to get information, directions, a Tour brochure and details about great music featured at various studios. You can also view or download the complete Tour brochure or just the map from the Gabriola Arts Council website (

    Gabriola Island is home to hundreds of talented artists and the Tour features work in almost every media imaginable. Whether your interest lies in painting, sculpture, photography, jewellery, textile, pottery, glass, mixed media—you name it, Gabriola has it all. At many of the studios, the artists will be at work or demonstrating their technique.

    After 16 years, the Gabriola Thanksgiving Studio Tour has gained thousands of loyal followers and is a magnet for art lovers from all over. One of Canada’s most artistic communities, Gabriola is a veritable goldmine of interesting, exciting and creative works of art.


    Secondary Sewage Treatment - The Next Big Tax Bill

    Secondary Treatment Upgrade Cost $62 Million (2012 dollars)
    Replace Effluent Outfall (Pipe) Cost $18 Million

    At the Sept.23 Nanaimo City Council meeting Mr. Randy Alexander from the RDN gave a presentation outlining the required upgrades and associated costs at the GNPCC in order to meet the secondary sewage treatment standards mandated by both Federal and Provincial laws. This upgrade is estimated to cost $62 million in 2012 dollars.

    In addition to these costs, the RDN is also faced with replacing the sewage outfall pipe which was anticipated to last until 2040 but is now faililng due to corrosion, at a cost of $18 million. Nearly 100% of this cost will be born by Nanaimo city taxpayers as they are the primary user of the sewage treatment facility on Hammond Bay Road.

    There are a whole lot of variables in the estimates of what the end impact will be on Nanaimo taxpayers depending on the final cost of the work, how it is financed and when the work is completed. The estimates on the cost to the average $350,000 home which currently pays $104 per year to cover the cost of sewage treatment would increase to anywhere from $161 to $268 per year by 2022.

    This is another example of senior levels of government mandating very costly treatment but as of now are not making any funding available to cover the costs. The outfall pipe which was expected to last until 2040 of course is not covered by any kind of warranty and the early replacement can likely be blamed on poor decisions 40 years ago or faulty pipe, not unlike the underground services in Cilaire that had to be replaced sooner than expected.  

    In less than a decade Nanaimo will have put $62 million into a water treatment plant and now another $80 million into a sewage treatment plant. I wonder what formula is used to determine how much the city of Nanaimo residents can actually afford to pay for these improvements? 


    Tuesday, September 24, 2013

    Daily News Letter Sparks Protest

     Chief Douglas White III Addresses Rally

    A letter to the editor over the name of Mr. Bill McRitchie and published in the Daily News on Monday brought a swift response by way of a protest rally which drew 70+ folk on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in front of the newspaper office.

    Conspicuously absent were any representatives of the paper who remained behind locked front doors for the duration of the rally which lasted approximately one and a half hours. One or two staffers were seen quickly entering the building via the back door, apparently not interested in covering the 'news' story at their front door.

    Chief Douglas White welcomed those attending and expressed his concern for the harm that racist comments cause his people and his deep hope that his children never have to experience the type of ignorance and intolerance demonstrated a few short years ago. He further expressed his disappointment that the local Daily has once again published what is considered a racist article which they could have chosen to not print.

    During the rally many speakers told their stories of how they have been mistreated through the ignorance of racism and why they feel so strongly it must stop before another generation is affected. The publishing of such material is something they intend to see stopped at the Daily News, calling for advertising boycotts, letter writing campaigns and the use of social media to bring pressure to bear against the paper.

    Some in the crowd questioned the timing of the publishing of this letter, right on the heels of a Week of Reconciliation in the province. While the group was primarily First Nations, there was a solid showing of support by non-aboriginals as well.

    It is hoped that words such as reconciliation will actually come to mean something so that past wrongs can be made right and that local children will always be able to carry their heads high, secure in the knowledge of their true worth.


    Bowen Road Farmer's Market Sept. 25

    Bowen Road Farmers' Market
     Open Wednesday

    The Bowen Road Farmers' Market which is open every Wednesday from 4:00 - 6:30 pm is becoming a very popular spot for those seeking local produce, meats, bread, baking, cheese, preserves etc. etc.

    Musicians add to the 'flavour' of the market which is truly a unique experience in Nanaimo offering a wide range of specialty products and quality food items.

    There are many vendors offering locally grown produce that is as fresh as it can be, unless you grew it yourself. You will also find artisan bread, meat products, soaps, honey, organic bird seed (for your feathered friends) to name a few items.

    So put a big circle on your calendar for Wednesday's from now through to October, and be sure to arrive early as some of the most popular vendors, simply sell out of product.

    The market is located at Beban Park on the VIEX grounds ....... you can't miss it!


    Wordstorm Society For The Arts Open Mic


    TUESDAY, September 24th, 2013 
    Come early for coffee and a snack, if you like. 
    Program starts at 7:00 with the open mic

    Demeter's Coffee Vault
    499 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC
    Phone: 250.591-0776


    Vancouver Island Music Awards

    Vancouver Island Music Awards Nomination Deadline Sept. 30

    The 10th Annual Vancouver Island Music Awards will be accepting submissions until Sept.30, 2013. (Nominees will be announced October 15, 2013) .

    The 10th Annual VIMAs will be held and winners announced in March 2014 in Victoria. Many fun Nominee showcases/events will be held between the Nominee announcement and the main event). This year, only digital submissions will be accepted / None by mail). Info on Criteria/What to Include/Categories can be found on the Submit Music page of the VIMA site.web


    Monday, September 23, 2013

    United Way Benefits From Covenant Amendment

    United Way To Receive $60,000 Value

    City council approved a staff recommendation that clearly benefits the United Way directly and the property developer indirectly in a complicated Covenant Amendment Application.

    As a condition of rezoning property on Meadow Lane and Hammond Bay Rd. there was a covenant in place that would have seen  Century Group Lands Corporation pay the city of Nanaimo the sum of $60,000 to be used for future park amenities within the subject area.

    The adopted covenant amendment would see the $60,000 community contribution go directly to the local non-profit organization, United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island instead of to the city of Nanaimo.

    The method by which the United Way would benefit from the $60,000 contribution is not via a direct cash donation but rather through the reduction in the cost of a strata office unit at #9 - 327 Prideaux Street which has an appraised value of $275,000. The office unit would be sold to the United Way for the reduced sum of $215,000, the difference being the $60,000 that would have previously been required paid to the city of Nanaimo.

    Who Really Benefits From This Transaction?

    Good question. At first blush it would appear that the citizens of Nanaimo have donated $60,000 to the United Way and Century Group Lands Corporation will have the tax benefit that will accrue from donating $60,000 to a non-profit organization.

    In today's real estate market it is questionable if the property would sell for the appraised price of $275,000 so this could be a creative way of off loading some excess Nanaimo office strata property.

    I can't help but think that somehow or other, the average Nanaimo taxpayer got the short end of the stick on this one. Just call me cynical.


    Harbour Air Offers First Land Based Aircraft

    Harbour Air introduces Tantalus Air

    Harbour Air is excited to announce the launch of its first land based aircraft. Tantalus Air is a new line of business for the Harbour Air Group and it will offer private charter flights in a Pilatus PC-12. The PC-12 is a single-engine turboprop aircraft with seating for up to eight passengers.

    In addition to being a fast, comfortable and easily accessible aircraft, the PC-12 is able to take-off and land on relatively short airstrips, which allows for travel to more remote destinations not serviced by most charter companies or by commercial carriers. The aircraft can also land on gravel and turf airstrips further expanding its reach.

    “Charter flights have always been a part of our business, however now with the Pilatus, we are able to offer a land based option at a cost comparable to that of our seaplanes, which is considerably less than that of a private jet,” says Greg McDougall, CEO of Harbour Air. “We hope that once people understand the time savings and versatility that this airplane introduces, for example, Kelowna in 40 minutes or taking off from a gravel strip runway; we’ll be able to expand the Harbour Air experience into new markets.”

    The Pilatus PC-12 aircraft is Swiss manufactured and called a marvel in precision manufacturing. The PC-12 is the largest member of the Pilatus family, integrating a single turboprop engine into an aerodynamically advanced airframe, combining excellent economy, reliability, versatility and safety. Although widely used throughout North America, very few of these aircraft operate in the Pacific Northwest with the RCMP being the largest owner operator of them in Canada.

    For more information or to request a quote visit the Tantalus Air website .


    Nanaimo Woodlot Operators Receive Award

    Province honours Nanaimo woodlot operators

    VICTORIA – John Gregson and Dave Gregson, who operate a woodlot near Nanaimo, were recognized by Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson as part of 2013 Woodlot Management Awards.

    The Gregsons received the $2,500 Coast Area award for demonstrating a commitment to sound forestry and environmental practices and exceptional community stewardship. 

    The other award recipients are John and Joyce Helweg of Fort St. James and Rodney Krimmer of Hagensborg, near Bella Coola.

    The awards are funded by the Province and administered by the Province and the Federation of BC Woodlot Associations. Each year, the awards recognize one woodlot licensee representing each of the Coast, South and North regions, along with an overall top performer.

    Woodlot licences are small, area-based tenures that combine private land with up to 800 hectares of Crown land on the Coast and 1,200 hectares in the Interior, and are managed by individuals, groups or First Nations.

    British Columbia has over 860 active woodlots. Each woodlot generates jobs in planning, harvesting, road construction and maintenance, reforestation, silviculture and small-scale timber processing.


    Is Our Government Selling Out Canada?

    Rushing In Where Europe Fears To Tread

    TORONTO, ON, Sep 22, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Is Canada’s constitution and solvency less important than Europe’s?

    I’m asking that question because the pending Canada-Europe trade deal (or CETA) is leading to little-known discussions in Europe – but not in Canada – about the deal’s constitutional and fiscal implications.
    As planned, the deal will allow investor-state arbitrators, outside Canadian or European courts, to award vast sums of public money to a special class of private litigants: foreign owners of assets.

    In light of this, the federal government and the provinces need to clarify, as the Europeans are doing, how they plan to protect federalism and public budgets from the ravages such open-ended liability could have on our economy.

    While the role of investor-state arbitrators is opaque, it is more powerful and far riskier for voters and taxpayers than other international forums such as the World Trade Organization. For example, the arbitrators can award large amounts to foreign investors without giving a government the opportunity to avoid liability by altering the decision which it condemns. More worrying, the arbitrators are not judges, and even have an apparent interest to favour investors because, unlike in other forms of arbitration, only one side – the investors – can sue and, in turn, create future lucrative work for the arbitrators.

    Put simply, under CETA, foreign investors will enjoy powerful rights under a lopsided process, without assuming any responsibilities that are actionable by governments.

    Since the arbitrators began using their power over the public purse in the late 1990s, Canada has paid out about $160 million under NAFTA to U.S. companies. The U.S. has paid nothing to Canadian companies. Other countries under similar treaties have been ordered to pay billions and, although federal trade officials downplay the risk, the trade deal with Europe undeniably heightens the prospect of dubious yet costly awards against Canada.

    For their part, the Europeans have recognized that investor-state arbitration raises important constitutional and fiscal concerns. For example, who should pay – the European Union or individual European countries – if Europe is told to compensate a foreign investor because of a member state’s implementation of a European Commission directive that required tighter environmental regulations? How can governments avoid liability when the arbitrators have interpreted similar treaties in widely varying ways and are not subject to fulsome appeal?

    The European Commission, Council, and Parliament have engaged in extended negotiations about these issues. The Commission has reportedly told European member states that it will not complete the investment negotiations with Canada until an agreement is reached within Europe about the division of legal and financial responsibility for investor-state arbitration.

    It is vexing that, while commentators have flagged the same issues in Canada since NAFTA, our governments have done virtually nothing to resolve them, at least publicly. Likewise, it remains a mystery why Canada, having fared far worse than the U.S. in investor-state arbitration under NAFTA, reportedly asked to include investor-state arbitration in the Europe trade deal.

    Under NAFTA, the federal government, without seeking provincial consent, accepted an investor-state arbitration process that became the first – and practically the last – such process ever agreed between developed countries with mature court systems. This was a historical departure from the usual practice of Western countries, at least when on the receiving end of capital flows from another country, to require foreign investors to accept the exclusive authority of their own legislatures and courts.

    Since NAFTA, the constitutional issues have been left to simmer, made possible partly because no investment treaty concluded by Canada since NAFTA applied to substantial inward investment in Canada. Also, the amounts paid by Canada to U.S. investors under NAFTA thus far have been manageable.

    These issues now loom large as the arbitrators increasingly flex their muscle and as the Harper government prepares to quadruple-down on investor-state arbitration by committing us, for decades, to three new trade or investment agreements with major economies. These include the Europe trade deal, the Canada-China investment treaty (or FIPA), and the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    The main worry is that the Harper government is so intent on delivering rapid-fire deals that it is shunting aside important concerns. If the Europeans can take time to work through the constitutional and fiscal implications and report publicly, why are governments in Canada not doing the same?

    Governments need to anticipate and manage their fiscal position in the brave new world of foreign investor rights, especially as the Harper government is poised to make Canada the most locked-in Western country, long-term, in investor-state arbitration. Canadians at least need to know who is responsible if this rushed deal turns out badly.

    Gus Van Harten is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. His research focuses on international investment law and is freely accessible at


    Choclair Appearing At Club 241

    Friday September 27
    Club 241 – 241 Skinner St. Nanaimo, BC

    Choclair is an international music icon who has set the benchmark for Canadian hip-hop, laying the foundation for artists such as Drake, Kardinal Offishall, Belly, Classified, K' naan and Saukrates. Starting at the age of 11, Kareem "Choclair" Blake followed in his older brother’s footstep, who at the time was the hottest rapper in the neighborhood. This was the bar for Choclair. 

    His first release, Twenty-One Years, in December of 1995 was quickly embraced worldwide, establishing him as a standout rapper in the burgeoning Canadian hip-hop scene. Subsequently, five independently owned records from Choclair were featured around the globe on prestigious hip-hop compilations due to the success of Twenty-One Years.


    Sunday, September 22, 2013

    Nanaimo Info Blog On Your Mobile

    Nanaimo Info Blog - 'On the Go'

    You can keep up with 'Just the News You Need' with Nanaimo Info Blog and your mobile device.


    BC Economic Snapshot Sept. 21, 2013

    VANCOUVER, BC, Sep 21, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C. home sales propelled higher for a sixth successive month in August, extending what has already been a substantial rally this year. Total MLS sales rose 3.4 per cent from July to a seasonally-adjusted 6,660 units in August, marking a gain of more than 30 per cent from earlier in the year and the highest level since early-2011.
    Nearly all real estate boards have reported a sharp climb in sales since the beginning of the year, with August gains led by the Okanagan, Victoria and Fraser Valley regions. The sharp uptrend in sales narrowed the year-to-date sales deficit to below one per cent, compared to a four per cent differential in July.

    New listings have predictably increased with sales growth, but gains have been modest, leading to lower inventories in most areas. Sales-to-active listings ratios have been stable or moved higher, pointing to some tightening in housing markets.

    The Lower Mainland and Victoria markets have scooted into balanced market territory over the past two months, but most areas continue to trend in buyers’ market territory, particularly in the central and southern interior and Vancouver Island regions outside Victoria.

    Sales momentum has induced higher price levels. The average MLS price rose for a fourth consecutive month to a seasonally-adjusted $548,190. While the provincial average price has likely been inflated by relatively stronger sales momentum in the higher-priced Lower Mainland this year, a scan of regional performance and constant-quality indicator where available suggest a recent firming of price levels in a number of areas.

    The housing sale rebound has been remarkable but momentum is expected to peter out in the coming months. Higher borrowing costs have pulled buyers into the market. A shrinking of mortgage rate discounts, reflecting higher bond yields and cost of capital for some lenders, led more households with lower pre-approved rates to bite the bullet and jump into the market before their offers expired. This effect will dissipate in short order. Meanwhile, the initial shock of last year’s mortgage insurance rule tightening has eased but first-time buyers still face constrained affordability due to the policy change.

    In contrast, factors supportive of a weak sales environment remain ever present. The economy and labour markets remain sluggish, debt levels are high, and population growth has been persistently weak. Despite some retrenchment, MLS sales are forecast to rise about 5 per cent to about 71,000 units on recent gains and a poor performance during the back-end of 2012. A gain of 6 per cent is pegged for 2014 on a strengthening economy, but will remain below the post-2000 average of about 80,000 units.

    Sales of new vehicles in B.C. edged back in July, suggesting some slowdown in household appetite for major purchases and debt despite the recent uptrend in home sales. Total seasonally-adjusted vehicle sales fell by an estimated 2 per cent to 15,200 units from June.
    While actual July sales were 5 per cent higher than same-month 2012, the underlying sales trend has flattened in recent months albeit at the highest levels since 2008. The dip in August activity points to a potential decline in next week’s retail sales data release.

    On a year-to-date basis, unit sales were 3.7 per cent higher than same period in 2012, while dollar-volume sales were 8.3 per cent higher. The differential largely reflects a shift towards the higher-priced truck/SUV segment of the market over passenger cars.

    Vehicle sales are a secondary economic indicator for B.C.’s economy, acting as a gauge of consumer confidence and the willingness to make large-scale purchases. Annual vehicle sales are projected to rise by a modest 4 per cent this year to about 183,300 units, the highest level since 2007. Gains are largely driven by replacement demand and pent-up activity following low sales in recent year given labour market weakness and elevated debt.

    Following July’s acceleration, consumer prices in B.C. held steady in August. The consumer price index (CPI) declined marginally from year ago levels by 0.1 per cent and was unchanged from July on a seasonally-adjusted basis.

    B.C.’s top line year-over-year inflation reading of -0.1 per cent remained well below the national gain of 1.1 per cent, but does not signal a deflationary environment. The lower reading largely reflects the shift back to a PST system, which lowered after-tax prices for a number of goods and services, notably restaurant meals. Since the one-time decline, prices have climbed about 0.7 per cent. Annual inflation readings will be tempered by the effects of the policy change until April of next year.

    On a year-over-year basis, food prices were down 0.3 per cent on a 4 per cent decline in restaurant meals, while groceries were higher. Personal care and health products were down 3.3 per cent from year ago levels, while costs associated with homeowner accommodation were down 2 per cent, reflecting lower prices.

    In contrast, consumer wallets remained pinched by energy prices, with natural gas up 6.4 per cent and gasoline prices up 5.5 per cent. Energy price growth aside, B.C. continues to operate in a low inflationary environment reflecting the sluggish economy and tempered wage growth. CPI inflation of just 0.2 per cent is forecast for this year, while the gain in 2014 will be a modest 1.2 per cent.
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