Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bastion Street Parkade Closures

Terminal Avenue Access Closed
November 4 - 8, 2013

The Bastion Street Parkade level 1 & 2 along with the Terminal Avenue access will be temporarily closed from Monday November 4 to Friday November 8 for maintenance.
Parkade access will be available at the Skinner Street access.


Watch Out For Young Trick or Treaters

Drive With Extra Caution on Halloween

Now that it is getting dark much earlier it will be harder to see kids in all manner of costume making their rounds in search of teeth-enriching treats.

I have read lots of different articles on the origin of Halloween and how it has evolved over the years, but I personally think it was invented by the College of Dental Surgeons.

It seems that at our house, every year we make the same mistake and buy twice as much candy as we give away ........ what to do with the extra has always been a problem!


Port Theatre Nanaimo - Nov. 1 - 3, 2013

Friday, November 1 - 7:00 PM

Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival
Friday Nov.1 - 7:00 PM St. Andrew's United Church
Saturday Nov. 2 - 2:00 PM St. Paul's Anglican Church
Saturday Nov. 2 - 7:00 PM St. Paul's Anglican Church

TIDESMEN High School Confidential
Saturday Nov. 2 - 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, Nov. 3 - 2:30 PM


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Radio Malaspina Society Board Elected

New Board Elected at 2013 AGM

Shaw auditorium in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre was nearly a packed house for the Radio Malaspina Society's annual general meeting. The meeting was very ably chaired by Majorie Stewart.

As AGM's go, this meeting seemed a little lacking. Not the least obvious issue was the lack of properly audited financial statements, which apparently the accountants were not able to complete in time for the meeting. 

Tensions have been running high at the local not-for-profit radio station with apparent conflict having irrupted between the old board and several volunteer programmers. The result of that conflict was clearly on view based on comments coming from the members who were upset with how the station has been running in recent months.

This past year saw a major change with the structure of RMS when they entered into an agreement to rent the Globe Hotel on Front Street with plans to move their existing studio from it's Victoria Crescent location in the Queens Hotel.

The plan was to assume operation of the Hotel which would include a bar, restaurant and rental units on the second floor. This income would help offset the rental cost of approximately $8500 per month and would allow them to expand their broadcast to include live video streaming etc.

New Board Members Elected

The newly elected members from the community were:
  • Gord Bibby
  • Nadine Wiepning
  • Cameron Wigmore
  • Jesse Woodward

The newly elected members from the VIU study body were:
  • Amie Calder
  • Joani Isberg-Herron
  • James Booker
  • Mike McCreight
The new board will have to hit the ground running, as they will have to select their officers, deal with building access issues and other difficulties arising from the recent conflict. Perhaps the most daunting task will be getting on top of the late financial statements.

The general membership strongly recommended that the new board look into a mediation process to resolve the recent conflict that obviously has been quite divisive.


$15 Million Malahat Safety Improvements

At the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Summit in Nanaimo Premier Christy Clark announced $15 million for Malahat safety improvements, including an additional 2.3 kilometres of median barrier on the highway north of Shawnigan Lake Road.

"This section of highway has seen too many accidents and we've heard from first responders and residents about the need for continued improvements and that's what we're doing," said Premier Clark. "We're going to do more work to ensure the Island's highways meet the needs of a growing population and a growing economy."

The additional 2.3 kilometres of median barrier will divide the highway from Shawnigan Lake Road north to the Malahat Summit weather station, and will address safety concerns in the area known locally as "NASCAR Corner." Work will also include a one-kilometre southbound passing lane extension, as well as improvements to the Whittaker Road and Holker Place intersections.

"As the main route north from Victoria, the Malahat will be an important part of our upcoming Vancouver Island Transportation Strategy," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. "Work is beginning on this important strategy and it will take some time to complete. In the meantime, we know that safety improvements to the Malahat are needed, and we're getting on with that work."

These upgrades build on $18 million in safety improvements to the Malahat since 2001. The improvements were identified in the 2012 Malahat Corridor study, and were also identified as a priority by the Malahat Advisory Group, which includes concerned citizens and local first responders.

Work will begin in 2014. When this section is complete, more than 50 per cent of the Malahat will be protected with median barrier.


Nanaimo Clocks Go Back One Hour - Nov. 3, 2013

Clocks Go BACK On November 3, 2013

This is the weekend you recover that hour of sleep you lost last spring when daylight saving time started. This weekend remember to turn your clocks BACK one hour when you go to sleep on Saturday night. If you don't you will be an hour early for work on Monday morning.

ICBC offers the following tips to help adjust to the time change:
  • Keep your regular sleep/wake cycle in step with your every day social rhythm. Go to bed at the same time you normally would and benefit from that extra hour of sleep.
  • Don’t assume you are more rested and alert on the road the mornings following the change. Studies have shown that the end of Daylight Savings Time can still have an impact on the quality of our sleep due to more nighttime restlessness.
  • Plan ahead for the darker, late afternoon commutes where there will be slower traffic flow, less visible pedestrians and cyclists and an even greater need to signal properly.
  • Prepare your vehicle for the change in conditions, particularly the darker evening commutes. Clean your vehicle’s headlights and check they are all working properly, especially your rear lights.
  • Closely monitor your mood in the fall and particularly during the DST change. Get some good sleep this weekend and drive smart.


Christmas Sales Season Starting This Weekend

Christmas Markets Start This Weekend
Unique Gift Offerings From Local Crafters & Artisans

With Halloween out of the way on Thursday the average consumer's wallet barely gets a chance to cool off with all the special shows and sales hitting Nanaimo this weekend.

Details for the sales shown in the above image are found elsewhere on this website and all have one thing in common. They all are selling items that have been made locally unlike holiday 'merchandise' you will find in great abundance at big and small retailers everywhere.

So, if you are looking for something truly unique for that special someone on your Christmas list, make a note of the times and dates for the above shows and sales.


First Bitcoin ATM Opens In Vancouver

Virtual Currency Moving Closer To Mainstream

What the heck is a Bitcoin?

Bitcoins were launched in 2008 and are traded within a global network of computers. They are not backed by a single company or government, but their release is tightly controlled, mimicking a central banking system's control over the minting of money.

The value of a bitcoin soared from $13 in January to a high of $266 in April as more businesses and consumers used them to buy and sell online. Some investors are also treating bitcoins like gold, using them to hedge against currency fluctuations and speculating on their rise.

Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Info Blog to view video.

Short video explains the basic concept of Bitcoin currency. 


Nanaimo Professional Craft Fair

November 1st-3rd , 2013
Beban Park
2300 Bowen Road

Friday Nov. 1 - 12:00pm - 8:00 pm
Saturday Nov. 2 - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday Nov. 3 - 10:00 am - 4:00 pm


Nanaimo Pottery Co-op Christmas Show & Sale

The Nanaimo Pottery Co-op 
Christmas's Show and Sale 
Centre Court of Beban Park, Nanaimo:
  • Fri. November 1, 12:00pm-8:00pm
  • Fri. November 2, 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Sat. November 3, 10:00am-4:00pm


Nanaimo Show & Sale Fine Art


Show and Sale of Fine Art
Original Paintings,
Giclees, Prints, Cards and Jewelry
created by
Members of the Nanaimo Chapter of the
Federation of Canadian Artists

Moose Hall
1356 Cranberry Road
Nanaimo, BC

November 1, 2 & 3, 2013
Friday 1pm- 7pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10 am-7pm
Cash or Cheques Only Please
Admittance: Free


Christmas Artisan's Corner - Country Club Mall

Christmas Artisan's Corner 
Fri. & Sat. Nov.1 - 23
Centre Court - Country Club Mall
Looking for unique gift ideas? Browse the Christmas Artisan's Corner at Country Club Centre. Located in Centre Court, every Friday and Saturday, varied artisans will offer original crafted items for sale. From charcoal prints by Henry B. to handcrafted soap, knitted sweaters and embroidered keep-sakes, each week's selection will vary. 
FREE SEMINAR SAT. at 1PM -hosted by Island Rain Natural Soap
You can learn how to make your own handcrafted soap for gifts this year! 


Learn to speak Chinese (Mandarin)

Nanaimo Could Host 70,000 Chinese Visitors Per Year
Will You Be Ready To Greet Them?

  • Interactive language software with proprietary speech-recognition technology
  • Build a foundation of fundamental vocabulary and essential language structure
  • Master basic conversational skills; receive immediate and ongoing speech assessments
  • Audio Companion for CD or MP3 player; learning application for iPhone or iPod Touch device
  • Language-enhancing games; live online lessons; includes headset with microphone

Learn to speak Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1

Learn to speak Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 - 3 Set

Learn to speak Chinese (Mandarin) Level 1 - 5 Set


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bears Forever Project Comes To Nanaimo

BEAR WITNESS Documentary
Room 109 - Building 356 VIU
Wed. Oct. 30, 2013 - 7:00 PM

Since the Bears Forever project launched in September, British Columbians have voiced unprecedented support for the Coastal First Nations ban on trophy hunting. 

On Wednesday, October 30th, join the bear team in Nanaimo and be a part of this exciting movement! 

We’ll be screening the short documentary “Bear Witness” at 7pm, followed by a panel discussion featuring Heiltsuk tribal councillor Jess Housty,

Kitasoo bear guide Douglas Neasloss, the Raincoast Foundation’s Brian Falconer, and “Bear Witness” producer Kai Nagata. 

Then we want to hear from you: Why do you want to protect bears? How do we keep this movement growing? And what will it take to win?

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


VISFF Fundraising Gala Nov. 14, 2013

Tickets On Sale Now
Available at Elephant Room, Firehouse Grill, Nanaimo Arts Council and Lucid

We are pleased to announce that the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival’s annual fundraising gala will once again be held at the Firehouse Grill (#7 Victoria Road, Nanaimo), at 7 pm on November 14th. Tickets are $20, which includes appetizers, a drink, and of course the chance to meet some of our brilliant and talented filmmakers! Sold out in previous years, the evening will feature music, a movie trivia contest and a silent auction. In addition, Shayd Johnson of Elephant Room Creative will have a free photo booth set up, so dress as fancy as you feel!

“Funds raised at the November 14 fundraiser at the Firehouse Grill will go towards artist fees for local filmmakers,” said Festival Director Johnny Blakeborough. “We strongly believe in supporting local filmmakers with financial support for their creative ideas. This fundraising party will help us maintain a healthy and active film community on Vancouver Island.” 

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is unique in bringing together filmmakers and audiences for the only short film festival on Vancouver Island that focuses on local talent. The ninth annual Festival will take place on February 7 and 8, 2014 at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina theatre. Tickets for the 2014 VISFF (February 7th & 8th at 7 PM) will go on sale online in November, and will also be available at the show.

The deadline for entry into the VISFF is November 1st, 2013. For more information, visit, email or call 250-729-3947.


No One To Tell: - Janet Merlo (ex Nanaimo RCMP)

No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP

A stunning personal account of Janet Merlo's twenty years of service in the Nanaimo RCMP, with an introduction by Linden MacIntyre.

In 2012, Janet Merlo was among the first female RCMP officers to publicly allege she had experienced sexual harassment and gender discrimination while serving in Canada`s national police force. The women kept silent for so long, she says, because there was no one to tell. In this courageous memoir, Janet recalls how her love of policing was soured by covert and overt sexism within the ranks and by an institutional culture that valued toughness and silence over ethics and accountability.

Tracing her twenty years in uniform, Merlo’s story details the highs and lows of her career in the RCMP – while her mental health and personal life disintegrated. Eventually, the cost of keeping quiet was simply too high, and her story emerges as a lone, brave voice seeking change.


City Tax Base 'Up In Smoke'?

What Were They Smokin'?

The most recent episode of 'Doing Business - The Nanaimo Way' was witnessed at the city council meeting of Oct. 28 which saw Lafitte Ventures Ltd. seeking to rezone an industrial lot at Duke Point from light industrial to industrial.

The purpose of the rezoning application was to allow the applicant to proceed with building renovations which would allow the site to become Nanaimo's first medical marihuana grow operation. (Long time Nanaimo residents know this is not really the first grow op in town).

Tax Revenue --- Up In Smoke!

You have to pay close attention, as this little comedy gets rather complicated. Sometime ago, Nanaimo decided to open the door to allow legal pot grow ops. In order to accommodate this new industry staff decided to allow these operations on land zoned I4 (Industrial). They would not be allowed on I2 (light industrial) for some reason.

Along comes an entrepreneur and proceeds to attempt to establish Nanaimo's first legal grow-op. First mistake they made was making an offer, or buying a property at 1100 Maughan Road out in industrial park without making sure it had the needed I4 zoning in place.

The applicant has applied to the city to rezone this lot to the needed I4 category which is the zoning already applied to 1080 Maughan Road, which is a lot about the same size as 1100 Maughan Road.

Now For the Problem

It seems that the BC Asessment authority sees the production of marihuana as an agricultural use and would assess this business in the farm category. This of course would mean all those high tax revenues would go up in smoke if this were classed as a farming operation rather than an industrial operation.

I would hope our planning department would have looked into this little detail before proceeding with allowing pot grow ops on any tax revenue producing industrial property. If this business had found a suitable property already zoned I4, they would not need a rezoning but could have proceeded with their business and the loss of tax revenue would have happened with reclassification to agriculture.

As it stands the city is still open to this possibility as long as grow ops are allowed on I4 land.

In the meantime Lafitte Ventures are possibly just wasting more time and money hoping the city will rezone this land, which is highly unlikely if it means they will be setting a match to taxes that would come from a property with an assessed value of $3,527,300.

This business claims they would spend $1.5 million on renovations and when operational provide 30 - 40 full time jobs. They say that if a legal mechanism can be found to forgo having the land assessed as agricultural they would be willing to agree.

I don't know if there is any truth to the rumor that the planning department has been ordering lots of extra munchies these days.


BC Economic Snapshot Oct. 26, 2013

 Total retail sales expanded by .6% from July

VANCOUVER, BC, Oct 26, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C.’s retail economy posted broad-based growth in August, suggesting the embattled sector may be in the early stages of recovery following a difficult two-year period. Total retail sales expanded by 0.6 per cent from July to a seasonally-adjusted $5.25 billion, marking a third increase in four months.

Provincial gains handily outpaced the national gain of 0.2 per cent, while the year-over-year of gain of 2.8 per cent was slightly stronger than the national pace of 2.7 per cent.

While it is advisable not to read too much into a particular data point, especially given the influence of swing factors such as automobile sales and gasoline prices which tend to bounce around, there is reason for cautious optimism. The sales trend has remained positive in recent months and August’s gain was spread across multiple retail sectors.

Monthly sales growth was particularly strong in sectors geared towards housing, including furniture and home furnishings, electronic, and building materials, while general merchandise stores also posted significant gains. These increases offset a slight deceleration in auto-related activity. Factoring recent rebounds in home sales in many regions of the province suggests a housing-led rebound in retail activity could persist.

An uptrend in sales is certainly good news for brick and mortar retailers in the province but consumer demand has a ways to go before the fog over the sector lifts. Year-to-date growth in sales in through August remained low at one per cent, and well below the national performance over the same period of 2.2 per cent.

In Metro Vancouver, sales were unchanged from the same period in 2012. Meanwhile, mild population growth and retail inflation gains suggests real per capita spending is negative and the weak retail environment will persist. Consumer demand remains sluggish due to weak employment growth and high debt loads.

Additionally, retailers continue to feel the pinch of cross-border and online shopping, while further competition is on the horizon from the ongoing expansion of U.S. retailers such as Target and entry of upscale stores including Nordstrom’s.

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


Business In Nanaimo

Click Image To View Digital Version

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) is pleased to release the first ever Business in Nanaimo magazine highlighting key industry sectors, thriving businesses and notable success stories in Nanaimo! 20,000 copies of the publication will be distributed to businesses in major cities throughout the Pacific Northwest including the Lower Mainland, Edmonton and Calgary.

“The goal of the Business in Nanaimo magazine is to showcase Nanaimo`s local economy and key sectors” said Sasha Angus, NEDC CEO. “As we continue to grow and diversify our local economy attracting new prospective investors and workers to the community will play an incredibly important role in our economic prosperity.” 

Business in Nanaimo highlights many of the local economic drivers, and provides an insight into the success that Nanaimo & region-based companies are finding here at home! Included in the many stories found within the publication are profiles of the transportation, education, arts & culture, dining, facilities, tourism, construction, retail, film and real estate sectors. The magazine also profiles unique stories from Vancouver Island University, Cedar Road Bioenergy, Input Logic Inc., St. Jean`s Cannery, Coastland Wood Industries, and the new downtown hotel, among others.

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation is mandated to build a prosperous community through economic opportunity. The NEDC markets Nanaimo and region as an excellent place to invest, visit and do business.


Monday, October 28, 2013

25 Victoria Road Not Worth $1.5 Million

Screen grab from Nanaimo Daily News local 'Arts Boss' Ms. Camilla Tang
"Arts Boss" says Ratepayers Concerns "Outlandish"

On the front page of the Daily News on Friday Oct. 25, Ms Tang is quoted as saying claims by the Nanaimo Ratepayers that costs for the old building at 25 Victoria Rd. will balloon are "outlandish".

In my role as the president of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association, I have now made two presentations to city council expressing concern that the old building at 25 Victoria Rd. is simply not worth 1.5 million tax dollars. An opinion clearly not shared by the arts boss. Then again it is tax dollars we are talking about spending on a building with an assessed value of less than $300,000.

These 'outlandish' costs Ms Tang refers to come straight from engineers reports that the city of Nanaimo have paid to have prepared. Those reports point to at least $925,000.00 in repairs to the building's exterior and do nothing to address any seismic upgrades or hazardous material abatement the building may require in the future. To that cost you can add at least another $600,000 the city taxpayer has spent to buy this building and cost of ongoing repairs since the purchase. One such repair was for water damage one winter, when a frozen pipe burst because the building was not being adequately heated.

As for the notion that costs will balloon, we already have an example of that since a March decision to spend $160,000 has already ballooned into $194,700.

Council's Poor Decision

Last March Councilors Brennan, Greves, Johnstone, Pattje, Anderson and Mayor Ruttan voted for the most costly remedy for a claimed public safety issue. Stucco cladding on the Nicol Street side of this building is said to present a life safety issue, should it fall off and injure someone. Rather than accepting the $20,000 option to simply deal with the loose stucco, the above councillors opted to spend $160,000 to completely replace the siding and some brick veneer.

It would seem, that this council is unwilling to come right out and say they support pouring another 925,000 tax dollars into a $300,000 building, but that would be the only logical reason for spending $160,000 to solve a $20,000 problem. That $160,000 solution has already ballooned into nearly $200,000 and we haven't even started.

This is a perfect example of why special interest groups in the city of Nanaimo seem to be able to get city councilors to spend YOUR money on THEIR pet projects while all the time claiming to be wanting to hold the line on tax increases.

Some Councillors Don't Read Reports?

Councillor Brennan challenged my claims of the cost of $1.5 million being the cost for identified repairs to this building. Councillor Brennan seems to not have read the engineers report that staff provided last Dec. which was the source of my numbers.

Clearly the local Arts Boss doesn't read those reports either, then again it is only tax dollars we are talking about.


Nanaimo Precast Launched

AJ Hustins Launches 
Nanaimo Precast Ltd. 

Nanaimo, BC: Nanaimo Precast Ltd. opens its doors this week at 1941 Trans Canada Highway just south of Nanaimo.

Providers of structural precast concrete products, Nanaimo Precast offers a full range of structural precast products including, bridges, bridge components, hydro substation trenches, blast walls, precast building panels, tunnels segments, architectural precast products, precast marine components and Ministry of Highways certified roadside barriers. 

With 17 years experience in the concrete business, AJ Hustins owns and will operate Nanaimo Precast at the former ABC Precast site. 

"We are very excited to begin production under the Nanaimo Precast brand," says Nanaimo Precast President AJ Hustins. "All production takes place in our manufacturing plant allowing for the highest quality possible." Other products available include a full line of septic tanks, holding tanks, pump chambers, cisterns, oil water separators, well casings, curbs and eco-flo wastewater treatment system. Redi-Rock retaining wall systems will also be fabricated at the Nanaimo plant.

Nanaimo Precast will employ 8 people in the first year and is expected to employ 20 within the next three years.


18 Year Tourism Veteran Heads Tourism Nanaimo


The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation and Tourism Nanaimo are pleased to announce that Lesley Anderson will be joining the organization as the new Executive Director of Destination Management.

Ms. Anderson will be responsible for managing the Tourism Nanaimo division and working with the Tourism Leadership Committee (TLC), stakeholders and staff to continue growing Nanaimo’s tourism sector.

“We are delighted to have Lesley join the NEDC team. She brings a wealth of experience and results in the tourism sector,” said Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation. “As we continue to implement the TLC’s strategic plan and help foster new tourism experiences, Lesley’s skills and passion for the industry will be a tremendous asset to our tourism and broader communities.”

“I am very excited to roll up my sleeves and get to work,” said Lesley Anderson. “There are incredible opportunities on the horizon for Nanaimo and I look forward to supporting the growth of local tourism businesses and showcasing Nanaimo to the world.”

Working in the industry for 18 years, Lesley joins the NEDC after five and a half years at the Canadian Tourism Commission where she helped develop and launch national tourism programs such as the Canadian Signature Experiences program and the Explorer Quotient program used by industry and destination marketing organizations across the country. Ms. Anderson holds an MA in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University, graduating first in class and a Hons. Bachelor of Commerce from Queens University graduating Magna Cum Laude.

Ms. Anderson’s official start date with the NEDC is November 25th. As part of the selection process the NEDC conducted a national search and used a local selection committee that included industry representation.


Fifty Shades of Black

Dinner and an Evening with Award-winning Author Arthur Black

Arthur Black, author of Fifty Shades of Black (Douglas & McIntyre, $29.95) will take centre stage for the Author Dinner and Evening with Arthur Black at Lefty’s Fresh Food Restaurant—280 E. Island Hwy in Parksville—on Thursday, November 21. Doors open at 6:00pm. Tickets are $30 with limited seating—this event will be sold out. Dinner includes a 3-course meal created specially for the event by Lefty’s chef. Arthur Black will be available to sign copies of his book that evening.

Fifty Shades of Black is the latest book of hilarious insights and revelations from Arthur Black, one of Canada’s best-known humorists. In this collection he turns his critical eye and warped funny bone to an assortment of offbeat topics including the cafĂ©-office culture of free wifi and complex coffee concoctions and the danger of reading too many kinky romance novels. Black is one of only two living writers t o have won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour three times. He is a former host of the CBC radio program, Basic Black, and the author of a regular humour column syndicated to newspapers across the country. He is now permanently transplanted to Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

Tickets for the Author Dinner and Evening with Arthur Black are $30 per person and available at the Mulberry Bush Book Stores in Parksville and Qualicum Beach. For more information or to register, contact the Mulberry Bush Book Store at 250-248-1193 or email


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Are These Really Telus Employees?

Third Time A Charm??

Without going into a whole lot of boring details over the past two months I have come to wonder if talking parrots aren't actually fielding customer service calls at Telus.

I had accumulated a surplus in my prepaid phone account which required me to make some changes to the way my account was set up.

On three different occasions now, I have spoken with three different Telus reps (I thought were real people) who assured me the necessary changes had been made.

Long story short ---- the changes were not made. After another 15 minutes listening to delightful Telus music and messages encouraging me to take care of the problem myself by going online; I am once again told the changes have been made.

We will see if the third time is in fact a charm and if in fact this time I was talking with someone who was not simply parroting a message, but not really doing anything.


Port Place Mall Phase 2 Nearly Done

Port Place Mall Phase 2 Nearing Completion
Opportunities for retail and office space in Phase 2 at Port Place
Completed Phase 1 at Port Place, right across from Phase2
The second phase of the Port Place Mall redevelopment looks like it is nearly complete, there are still a few finishing touches on the outside but the building looks nearly ready to occupy.

This redevelopment has certainly improved the appearance of the shopping mecca that used to be known as Harbour Park Mall. Old-timers around town will remember the days when Harbour Park Mall was the place for Saturday morning shopping at the major anchor store 'Sears'. Also situated downtown on Victoria Cres. was Sears arch rival Eatons. Those were the days when Commercial Street really was commercial street. There was no retail north of Brooks Landing, which was then known as Northbrook Mall.

At that time Terminal Park, known as the only outdoor mall in BC consisted of a small strip mall with an Overwaitea store on the site of the government liquor store. There was no building where the Saveon now sits, and the gas bar was home to a Dairy Queen. The land where Burger King now sits was home to a mini golf course if my memory is accurate. Then nothing but open space until you came to the Golden Arches (with caboose) on the same site as the current McDonalds.

I would be curious to know, why this developer was not required to rejuvenate the Italian Fountain at the entrance to this newly redone shopping centre as part of a community contribution. If memory serves council also included approval for a high rise tower on this property to be built sometime in the future.


Nanaimo Halloween Howl Success

A perfect fall day for Downtown Nanaimo Halloween HOWL
There was a genuine, honest-to-goodness Superman sighting on Commercial St.
Free hot chocolate and coffee warmed hands and fingers
The Queen's Hotel seems to have a serious Arachnid problem.
Once again the folks at the DNBIA were able to prevail upon the weatherman to provide a perfect day for their downtown Halloween Howl on Saturday.

Commercial Street was clogged with all manner of heroes, super heroes, comic book characters, scary and not so scary creatures and did I mention Zombies?

Trick or treaters were everywhere as participating merchants were opting to hand out treats by the handfuls rather than risk a trick. It was a great opportunity to take the kids out in a safe environment to collect some dentist-certified sugar packets, at the same time giving merchants a chance to introduce people to their businesses.

The event turned out to be so successful, that Robyn from the DNBIA was last seen scrambling to find more coffee cups and cream as demand was near exceeding supply.


Things on the Net That Make Ya' Smile

Extreme Recycling = Perfect Canoodling Contraption


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cedar Farmers Makrket - Last of Season

 Note: Cedar Farmers' Market Continues To Oct. 27
Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 5 - Oct.27, 2013)

Take a Sunday drive out into the country, park in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub, feel grassy field below your feet and talk with the farmer that grows your food.

Open from May 5 to October 27, 2013 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

For more information visit their website at or call 250-668-5783


Friday, October 25, 2013

Nanaimo Snapshots

While strolling in one of my favourite places the other day I stopped and snapped these few pictures, which show that in a matter of moments, the fog we have been enjoying the past few days simply rolls in off the water and cloaks the harbour in an eerie blanket.

The inner harbour is noticeably vacant for this time of year. Where did everyone go? Does the fact there is still not a hoist to off load material in the harbour a factor?


Downtown Nanaimo Halloween Fun

Downtown Halloween Howl, 
Pet Parade and Zombie Invasion!

10:30am – Pet Parade registration at Woofles Barking Boutique in the Old City Quarter
11am – Pet Parade – Fitzwilliam to Bastion to Commercial to Diana Krall Plaza
11am – 4pm – Mystic Faire in the Heritage Mews: Psychic readers; Palm and Tarot readings; Paw Readings for Dogs (in support of the SPCA); crystals and demonstrations
11:30am – Pet Parade awards in Diana Krall Plaza
12pm – Zombies unite in Diana Krall Plaza to practice/learn and then perform Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” – we will record this on video for future Halloween events!
12pm – 2pm – Costumed kids trick or treat at participating downtown businesses
2pm – Harbourfront Library – story time

9:00 AM - 4:00PM Saturday October 26


Live Free For A Year - Grand Prize Winner

L/R Aldo Zadra, Keith Monson, Reid Hugh Jody Critchlow adn Teresa Pring
Woodgrove Centre's Biggest Prize Package 
$40,000 "Live Free Fro A Year" Grand Prize

On October 19 at centre court at Woodgrove Centre, Jody Critchlow of Qualicum Beach became the grand prize winner who had the key that started  the 2014 Toyota Corolla.

The total prize package consists of:
  • $15,000 Woodgrove Centre Gift Card
  • $10,000 in cash
  • One year lease of 2014 Toyota Corolla
  • $5,200 in grocery gift cards
  • $4800 in gas gift cards

In addition Jody's selected charity will receive $1,000. Her chosen charity is Habitat for Humanity.

During the contest period ballots were cast for people's favourite charities, the top three receiving $1,000 also. They were the Heart and Stroke Foundation, The Salvation Army and Variety - The Children's Charity.


CFIB Issues Business-friendly Tax Ranking

Small Business Provincial Tax Index

2013 Index Score
2013 Rank
2009 Rank
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
British Columbia
Nova Scotia

British Columbia Slips 3 Points HST Switch Big Factor

Alberta and Quebec, which were best and worst by wide margins, were also at the top and bottom of the index when CFIB last ranked the provinces in 2009. British Columbia, however, dropped from 4th to 7th position.

“The return of the PST affected B.C.’s score on Sales and Excise Tax, and that has played a large role in dragging the province down three spots in the overall rankings,” said Mike Klassen, CFIB director of provincial affairs, British Columbia. “This is why, as soon as it is fiscally prudent to do so, B.C. should implement the Expert Tax Panel recommendation to provide a tax credit on PST paid on all acquisitions of machinery and equipment.”

To view the complete report click HERE.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Nanaimo City Council Meeting Oct. 28, 2013

City Council Meeting
Monday Oct. 28 , 2013
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Presentation by the Chair of South Downtown Waterfront Committee (Wellcox Yard)
  •  Transportation Master Plan update
  • Council to receive input from service providers in Nanaimo of key social and health issues facing the communty
  • Manson property demolition order sought by staff. 236/240 Haliburton St.
  • Disposition of 100 Gordon Street (site of new downtown hotel)
  • Animal trapping. Provide council with information on existing regulations for animal trapping in the community.
  • Property Tax Exemption Bylaw to be adopted
  • Harewood Neighbourhood Plan to be included in the OCP. Bylaw to be adopted.    
  • Councilor McKay to bring motion requesting staff to investigate LED signage opportunities for Beban Park. 

      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 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!