Saturday, November 30, 2013

What's Happening in Downtown Nanaimo

15th Annual Nanaimo Artwalk
Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

The 14th annual Artwalk will take place on Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st from 11am-5pm.

There are 23 locations throughout downtown, including the Old City Quarter, with 48 artists, this is an excellent opportunity to support your local artists and shops as well as finding the perfect and truly unique gift for the” hard to buy for” person on your Christmas list.

For a brochure with a complete list of participating artists and locations please visit

Light Up
A Life

Light Up a Life in the Old City Quarter will run from November 30th to December 21st. Proceeds to Haven Society– bring a non-perishable gift item for the Haven Society and enter to win a beautiful gift basket from the merchants of the Old City Quarter. Drop off locations at these participating Old City Quarter merchants: Teak Tree - 437 Fitzwilliam Street, Lobelia's Lair - #8-321 Wesley Street, Sartorial Boutique - 310 Fitzwilliam Street and Sweet Somethings - 309B Wesley Street. This is the 5th year of the “Light up a Life” campaign organized by the merchants of the Old City Quarter to aid the Haven Society. Since 1978, Haven Society has been providing services to women, children, youth and families who have experienced violence.

Horse & Trolley
Saturdays in Dec.

Fred and Barney are back by popular demand! These beautiful Belgian horses will pull the DNBIA Christmas Trolley throughout downtown including the Old City Quarter. This year the horses will have two routes; one from Museum Way outside Santa's Workshop to the Old City Quarter and back and the other from Museum Way outside Santa's Workshop up to Church Street and back. The trolley rides are free but donations are welcome and will run from 12-4pm Saturday, December 7th, 14th and 21st.


Secrets of Success - Javawocky

 Mark and Colleen Balderston

Folks familiar with the poem the Jabberwocky by Louis Carroll, recognize that Javawocky is simply a play on words and the name of one of the most popular coffee shops on the downtown waterfront. Over the years it has become the guide post to the waterfront. Coffee lovers flock to this java stop for the great locally roasted beans, delightful lunches and of course, location, location, location.  All day long, all year long, you will find tourists and regulars, including numerous doggies enjoying a break at one of the outdoor cafĂ© tables. This week, Mark and Colleen Balderston, co-owners with Marc Pessin, took time to talk to us about their secrets of success.

DNBIA: How long have you been in business?
Mark & Colleen: The shop has been here since 1993 when the mall was built. It was bought by Marc Pessin in 2004 and we became co-owners in 2006.

DNBIA: Can you give us a short description of your business?
Mark & Colleen:  We serve great coffee with the best view in town.

DNBIA: What sets your business aside from others in the field?
Mark & Colleen: We do everything locally. Our coffee is roasted locally by Coyotes. All the baristas are great at coffee art. We source as many of our products locally as possible to support other local businesses. Our meat comes from Pipers and Nesvogs. We buy all of our produce fresh from Thrifty Foods downtown. Our bread is all made by Bunsmasters Bakery, and Jim and Roxanne Gains prepare all of our daily soups. We keep it simple here because of our size; we don’t have room to do a lot of cooking, so we offer two soups a day , along with sandwiches, espresso and drip coffees.  We are very proud of that and what we do provide because when you are small you just have to deliver a little bit of what you do but do it very well.

DNBIA: What are your hours of operation?
Mark & Colleen: We are open seven days a week. In the summer our hours are 7am to 9 pm and in the winter, we are open from 7am to 4:30pm on weekdays and 8am to 4:30 pm on weekends.


Lions FREE Skate Sunday Dec. 1, 2013


Friday, November 29, 2013

Help RCMP 'Cram the Cruiser'

Cram the Cruiser
November 30 - 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Country Grocer - Southgate Plaza

RCMP members will be collecting your cash and food donations to help stock the food bank shelves over the holiday season.

Stop by and help the Mounties - 'Cram the Cruiser'


Nanaimo Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus Parade
Downtown Sat. Nov. 30 - 5:00 PM

 This year's Santa Claus Parade is the biggest Nanaimo Christmas parade to date with over 36 entries and counting! Starting at 5pm the parade will travel from Victoria Crescent to Commercial Street to Church Street and disperse on Front Street. Grab a bite to eat, stake out a spot along the parade route and watch the return of the evening parade. Floats bedecked with festive lights, mascots and costumed characters, service clubs, groups and singing elves will entertain and mark the arrival of Christmas in downtown Nanaimo.

The fun doesn't stop there! Check out the festivities in Diana Krall Plaza where you will find the Coastal Community Credit Union is launching their new ITM machines, MoHo will be preparing smores by donation. Rotary will have plenty of oranges on site for their annual Citrus Sale, the Women's Centre is having a Bake Sale and handing out hot chocolate by donation. Fresh Slice Pizza, new to downtown Nanaimo, will be handing out pizza slices, Coast Realty will have popcorn along the parade route as well and if you have a sweet tooth watch for the young man selling chocolate bars to raise money for his bowling centre.


Huge New Airport In China

China's New High Tech Airport Opens

This item obviously has nothing to do with Nanaimo, but the airport itself is amazing. To view more pictures of this 4.3 million square foot, $1 billion airport which can handle 45 million passengers a year, use this LINK.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nanaimo City Council Meeting Dec. 2, 2013

City Council Meeting
Monday December 2 , 2013
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

e-Town Hall Meeting To Discuss 
Passenger Ferry Service Nanaimo- Vancouver
  • Council will recess the Regular Meeting of Council and reconvene at the conclusion of the e-Town Hall Meeting regarding Nanaimo - Vancouver Ferry Service 
  • DVP sought for a 47 unit multi-family developement  at 600 - 9th Street 
  • DVP sought fro 679 Terminal Avenue
  • Real Estate Property Management Strategy, to provide information regarding the framework for how the City acquires, disposes of and manages land assets. 
  • 5 unresolved building deficiencies will be dealt with
  • City operating results for the period ending Sept. 30, 2013. Outlines the summary of operating results by department. The summary is divided into three sections: General Revenue, Water and Sewer   
  • User Rate Increase Bylaws, to introduce bylaws related to water, sewer and solid waste user rates
  • Establishment of Asset Management Reserve Funds, introducing bylaws establishing reserve funds for the purpose of accumulating funds for investment in future asset management projects
  • 2013 Grants Advisory Committee recommendations
  • Nanaimo Art Gallery Agreement Approval, seeking authorization to execute the Management Agreement with the Nanaimo Art Gallery   

      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! 


      Nanaimo Gas Prices Still Highest!

      Nanaimo Gas Retailers Still Gouging Motorists!!

      In what is becoming very, very old news, Nanaimo still is leading the way in hosing the motoring public at the pumps. You can get gas just south of the city at Ruckledges Tempo station at the corner of Morden Rd. and the highway for 118.9, and if you are filling up, it is worth the drive.

       Any place else around Nanaimo you are at the mercy of what, if any, competition exists between stations. I am beginning to wonder if one company doesn't own/control all of the stations in and around Nanaimo. That might explain the complete lack of competition and the continuing rip-off pump pricing we have to endure in Nanaimo.

      For any of you imperial minded folks Comox is selling gas for 54 cents/gallon less than Nanaimo!

      Tell me again, why we turned down Costco's application to pump gas at their store?


      Oddfellows Clock To Play Holiday Music

      Clock Will Ring In The Holiday Season

      Since its installation in May of this year, the Oddfellows Clock has become a waterfront landmark for both citizens and visitors of Nanaimo. Every new hour of the day from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., this 1800s-style clock plays a beautiful chime that bellows through the downtown reminding all who hear it that another hour has begun. 

      Starting on Friday, November 29, the Oddfellows Clock will “ring” in the holiday season by trading in its usual chimes for some traditional holidays tunes. Songs will range from more mellow tunes like “Away in Manager” and “Silent Night” to more playful melodies like “Deck the Halls”, “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. 

      “This is the first Christmas season that the clock has been in operation, and we are excited to be able to have the Oddfellows Clock play holiday music that will add to the already festive ambience found in Nanaimo’s downtown. It will complement the lighting and decorations that help make the downtown a real destination this time of year,” says Ian Blackwood, Manager of Construction with the City of Nanaimo. 

      The Oddfellows Clock is found at McGregor Park across from The Port Theatre. The holiday music will chime until the end of December.


      Converting Garbage Into Fuel

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


      Wednesday, November 27, 2013

      Evacuation Siren Not Part Of Exercise

      City to test response program during Area Alert Exercise, Thursday, Nov 28

      In accordance with the goals outlined in the Short-term Mitigation Plan implemented in September as a means to protect public safety during an extreme rainfall or significant seismic event, tomorrow morning between 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 noon the City of Nanaimo will conduct a localized Area Alert Exercise in the inundation zone below the Colliery Dams. 

      The exercise is designed to familiarize City officials with the necessary procedures required to conduct a community evacuation and includes the following objectives:

      ·         Practice the establishment of the unified command at two identified locations
      ·         Practice driving the identified emergency routes
      ·         Test the Emergency Call Alert System

      The City of Nanaimo advises there is no requirement for members of the public living or working in the inundation zone to leave their home or place of business during the exercise.

      The City of Nanaimo also advises those members of the public living or working in the inundation zone who signed up for a call alert that they will receive an identified test call during the exercise.  Individuals receiving these calls should listen only – no action is necessary.

      Thursday’s Area Alert Exercise was planned through the months of October and November and originally included testing a neighbourhood wide evacuation siren.  A delay in the installation of the siren equipment has resulted in the siren test being removed from tomorrow’s exercise.  Details concerning the revised testing schedule will be communicated to the public in advance of the siren being activated.

      For more information on public safety and emergency preparedness, please visit


      Nanaimo Core Review Long Overdue

      2,055 Readers 
      Say 'Yes' To Core Review

      Of 2,244 votes on the question of a core review at Nanaimo City Hall, a total of 2.055 readers say 'yes', an outside consultant should conduct such a review.

      This seems to be something the majority of this city council is reluctant to undertake. Arguably you would expect opposition from the pro-union members of council who see core reviews as 'witch hunts' bent solely on slashing and burning and firing people left and right.

      Some managers may also be opposed to an independent evaluation of how they are conducting city business perhaps fearing they may be found lacking.

      Perhaps as we head into the next round of budget discussions this council will get behind Councillor Kipp who has been advocating for a core review for years now. The opposition he has received from other councilors makes you wonder if they are at all serious about seeing that tax dollars are being spent to best advantage for the hard pressed Nanaimo taxpayer.

      Tracy Samra (former Legislative Services Officer) offers her thoughts on the matter and her belief that new city manager Ted Swabey has missed an opportunity to do a credible reorganization at city hall. Saying Mr. Swabey's savings of $1 million is inconsequential. You can read Ms Samra's full article on Nanaimo City Hall Blog HERE.

      A quote from this article:

      At council meetings the majority of Councillors argue that we don’t need a core review because the City just did a strategic planning exercise and a governance review.  I disagree.  Strategic plans outline a vision and sets priorities, with some measures to see if we are getting from point A to point B.  A governance review is simply a check-in on roles and responsibilities between Council and Staff.  Neither have anything to do with determining if tax payer’s monies are being used effectively, efficiently or economically.


      Opposition Responds To Hydro Hike

      John Horgan MLA

      Massive hydro rate hike punishes 

      ratepayers for Liberal mismanagement

      A devastating hydro rate hike announced today is the result of more than a decade of Liberal mismanagement of our utility, say the New Democrats.

      “The Liberal government’s 15.6-per-cent hydro rate hike over the next two years means the average customer will pay $166 more per year,” said New Democrat energy critic John Horgan. “British Columbians who heat their home with electricity will face a much larger hike to their bill.

      “For some families in the North, it may mean the choice between being warm in the winter or a healthy meal every night for the family.”

      Horgan said after only the first year of rate hikes businesses will also pay about $240 more per year, and the average annual hike for large industrial users is a massive $1.7 million.

      The Liberals blame infrastructure needs for the rate hike, but Horgan says that’s only part of the story. He pointed out that leaked documents released this fall show the cost of new electricity supply from private power producers has risen faster than any other costs.

      “The Liberal government has locked us into contracts with private power producers that force us to buy very expensive power even when we don’t need it. Then we sell it back to the open market at a huge loss. This buy high, sell low scheme is another reason ratepayers are seeing a major hike to their bill today."

      Horgan said today’s announcement ensures this Liberal mismanagement will continue far into the future.

      “The Liberals also announced that they intend to open yet another deferral account that will hide even more debt, and they have signalled they intend to raid dividends off phantom profits for up to ten more years.”

      Horgan said the Liberals need to bring back the independent oversight of the B.C. Utilities Commission, saying the removal of that oversight in rate setting and spending billions of dollars of projects such as Site C and the bungled Smart Meter program was a huge mistake.

      “The B.C. Utilities Commission was set up to protect ratepayers and to protect governments from themselves. The Liberals signalled today that they'll continue to keep the BCUC from doing their job looking out for the public interest."


      B.C. Hydro Rates Increase 15.6% - Next 2 Years

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

      Rate Increases Still Don't Cover True Costs

      Energy Minister Bill Bennett says the government will create a new "regulatory account" to defer $1 billion in rate hikes until some time after the next provincial election.

      To view/download the 10 year plan for BC Hydro click HERE.


      Bears Matter - Nanaimo Christmas Fundraiser

      Bears Matter Nanaimo Christmas Fundraiser
      Country Club Centre
      Friday Nov. 29 - Tuesday Dec. 24
      Beside Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut Store

      Mon. - Wed., Sat. - Noon - 5:30 pm (extended in Dec.)
      Thurs. & Fri. - Noon - 6:00 pm (extended in Dec.)
      Sunday & Holidays 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

      A Free Certificate of Appreciation will be given out for every purchase of a Warm Buddy Gift or donation. NEW! WildlifeSOS-India will be added this year to help the Sloth Bear making Eight Conservation Groups to benefit from this fundraiser.

      For more information visit the Bears Matter website HERE.


      Colliery Dam Meeting Nov. 26, 2013

      Jeff Solomon addresses audience
      Technical Team Members Toby Seward - City, Lorne Gale - CDPPS Engineer
      Residents supporting CDPPS

      City Moving Toward Remediation of  Colliery Park Dams
      In Most Cost Effective, Least Intrusive Means Possible

      A crowd of about 140 people turned out at John Barsby School to hear an update on the progress being made to remediate the dams in Colliery Dams Park.

      The atmosphere was generally optimistic and upbeat which is in sharp contrast to the first meeting held nearly one year ago when residents were just beginning to come to grips with the possibility of losing the lakes that make their park.

      Representatives from the city were present to explain some of the city's positions with regards the park. Kirsty MacDonald of the Parks and Recreation dept. gave a brief history of the park and explained that the city is considering dedicating another 150 acres adjacent the park on city owned land. She explained the zoning for this park intends to keep the park as a natural park in a natural state. She also explained that counters the city installed would indicate that between 150 - 250 people use the park on a daily basis.

      The crowd also had the opportunity to ask members of the 'technical team' questions they had surrounding the whole safety issue of the dams, and plans to move forward. Toby Seward was representing the city of Nanaimo and explained that the city intends to move forward toward a goal of remediating the dams in place in the most cost effective manner possible. Lorne Gale, engineer for the CDPPS answered several questions about options available that could see the dams brought to a satisfactory safety standard. Lorne explained there are many options open and they are not just limited to the options previously considered.

      Mr. Gale explained that the lower dam in Colliery Park according to the previous engineers studies concluded it could withstand a 1:3000 year event before failing, while the middle dam was considered to be able to withstand a 1:500 year event. To put that in perspective, the hospital is built to a 1:2750 year standard and not fail.

      The Deputy Fire Chief explained the safety measures that have been put in place as part of the process of seeing that people are aware of the potential danger and know how to best deal with any worst case scenario.

      All in all, the meeting demonstrated strong community support to retain the dams at a safe level and a commitment from the city to work with the CDPPS and First Nations to achieve that goal.

      This whole year long exercise is a testimony to what a small group of determined citizens can do in face of very difficult obstacles when they join together and work diligently to achieve their goals.

      A few, but not all members of the original group that deserve recognition are Jeff Solomon, Roblyn Hunter, Geraldine Collins, Craig Evans, Lorne Gale, Terry Wagar and Bill Heathcote to name a few. In addition there have been literally thousands of volunteer hours involved as one little group of determined citizens put their shoulders to the wheel and did what seemed impossible.


      Nanaimo Foot Ferry - eTown Hall Meeting

      The City of Nanaimo wants your input on the proposed Nanaimo to Vancouver Ferry Service. Join the discussion at 7 p.m. Dec 2. Participation is easy by using any of the following methods of engagement.

      • In person – Attend the meeting in the Shaw Auditorium at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre 

      • Facebook – Join this event. The event's wall will be open for your questions and suggestions during the meeting 

      • Twitter – Once the meeting is underway, use the hashtag #NanaimoTH 

      • Website Submission – Submit your questions or comments using the online webform

      • By Phone – Once the meeting is underway, dial 250-754-4251 and tell your question to the operator.

      To watch the meeting from home, tune in to Shaw TV Community Programming or use the online video player at:

      For more information visit:


      Santa Claus Parade & Other Downtown Events

      Santa Fly-in and Santa Claus Parade
      Saturday, November 30th

      • Santa Fly-in at the Harbour Air Seaplane Terminal at 2pm
      • Follow Santa to 101 Gordon Street (lower level of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre) to officially open Santa's Workshop
      • Visit with Santa and enjoy cookies, hot cocoa, crafts, entertainment and gift wrapping by donation
      • Santa Claus Parade at 5pm
      • Parade route is Victoria Crescent to Commercial Street to Church Street to Front Street
      Santa's Workshop hours in December until Christmas:
      • Fridays 2-6pm     Santa visits from 3-5pm
      • Saturdays 11-5    Santa visits from 12-4pm
      • Sundays 12-4      Santa visits from 1-3pm

      Gift wrapping by donation during Santa Workshop hours:
      • November 30 and December 1 – Zonta
      • December 6-8 – SPCA
      • December 13-15 – Child Development Centre
      • December 20-22 – Child Development Centre

      Horse and Trolley rides by donation from 12 – 4pm:
      • Saturday, December 7
      • Saturday, December 14
      • Saturday, December 21



      Tuesday, November 26, 2013

      Public Art At New City Annex

      'Social Mixer' by Mark Ashby

      Public art to be unveiled Wednesday November 27 at 5:45pm in the lobby of the Service and Resource Centre (new city hall annex) 411 Dunsmuir Street.

      The piece captures a modern definition of community. It is a kinetic sculpture created by local artist and architect, Mark Ashby, consisting of over 1,000 acrylic mirror pieces. Although subtle, the mirrors will shift due to changes in temperature resulting in a co-mingling of the reflections of visitors viewing the piece. Ashby’s vision is for viewers to see themselves reflected in the artwork creating the fabric of our community of Nanaimo.

      A Close up

      Note: This piece is made up of over 1,000 acrylic mirror pieces, and both of the people I saw view the piece were compelled to touch the glass. I am realllllyyyy reallllllyyy glad, I don't have to clean it!


      Goody Niosi Publishes New Book

       Over 60 and Still Climbing

      Never let age stop you from doing what you love - even if what you love is strenuous, risky or just freakin' crazy! And so Goody Niosi, at age 66, sets out on a month-long solo hiking trip in Europe. Although she doesn't necessarily want to re-create the experiences she had when she was 30-something, (certainly not the one that involved that waiter in the night club - the one who said he was secretly a prince) she certainly does have every intention of hiking up the alps, through herds of cows and to the restaurants inevitably perched on top of the distant peaks. And just like 30 years previously, she has no room reservations - just a Eurailpass and a willingness to embrace the unexpected.

      You can order Goody's new book from Amazon using this LINK. Order one for yourself and a dozen or so for friends and family ..................... Christmas shopping is done!

      Note: while this book is designed for Kindle, you can open this ebook on any computer or mobile device, you do not have to own a Kindle to enjoy Goody's latest.


      Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

      For All You Cat Lovers ....... you know who you are!


      Nanaimo RCMP Issue Date Rape Drug Warning

      The public is being warned not to accept drinks from strangers after at least five 19-year-old women have reported feeling ill after accepting drinks.

      Nanaimo RCMP are saying the effects reported are consistent with the symptoms of taking GHB, known as the date-rape drug.

      Const. Gary O'Brien says the first reported incident happened last month, a woman said she started hallucinating and feeling sick 15 minutes after accepting a drink at a local nightclub.

      Four other cases have been reported of women feeling confused and suffering severe memory loss after accepting drinks from a stranger in the bar.

      RCMP believe the drinks were laced with GHB which is clear, tasteless, odorless and can be lethal and is almost undetectable when mixed with alcohol.

      None of the women reported a sexual assaut and surveilance videos from nightclubs are being used in the hopes of identifying suspects.


      Snow? - Cold Snap Heading To Nanaimo


      Composting Plant Ordered To Reduce Smell

      Company Agrees With Findings But Can't Pay

      According to an article in the Nanaimo Daily a five month odour control study has come up with recommendations which should reduce odour complaints.

      The $1 million odour abatement plan includes membrane covers on their outdoor piles, and a sweeper to clean compost residue from the roads. It was also found that ICC Group's biofilter was not working and that changes can control the low-intensity odours.

      While the president of ICC Group doesn't think the changes are unreasonable, he noted his company is not in a financial position to pay for the remedies.

      The study also found that a landfill, pulp and paper mill and a rendering plant in the area are also likely sources of dozens of complaints the RDN has received in recent years.

      Note: it is little wonder that putting tonnes and tonnes of food waste, all manner of food scraps including meat and bones in a pile with rotting fruits and vegetables produces an aroma that Chanel never thought about putting in a bottle.
      Duke Point is an industrial park, and many industries have some negative impacts, which is why they are segregated to an industrial area in the first place.


      Cultural Plan Public Open House

      A Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo is now available to the public as a draft.  The public is invited to provide feedback at a public open house on Thursday, November 28, 5 – 8 pm, at the Nanaimo Museum (100 Museum Way). We value your input.

      The Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo was developed by the creative spirit of the people and organizations that have helped build and will build our city for the future. Over a thousand residents gave their input into this process, expressing their vision for a successful and culturally vibrant Nanaimo. The community developed a vision that “Nanaimo will be a healthy, vibrant and prosperous community that recognizes the importance of cultural vitality for quality of life and place”. The Cultural Plan supports this vision by outlining many goals, strategies and recommendations in four key areas: Strengthening the Creative Sector, The Creative Economy, Connectivity and Cultural Spaces and Places. Implementing this plan over the next 5 to 7 years will help to ensure future success as a city – a city that residents are proud to call home, and that is truly a great place in which to visit, live, work, play and invest.

      In 2012, the city developed and adopted a Corporate Strategic Plan which identified Cultural Vitality as one of the four pillars of sustainability. It is the goal of this Strategic Plan to balance social, environmental, economic and cultural perspectives for our future success as a city. These four pillars will guide ongoing municipal commitments and decisions in the coming years. To assist in the implementation of Nanaimo’s Corporate Strategic Plan, the “Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo” gives a comprehensive look at Nanaimo’s cultural and creative community and offers timely and important recommendations to enhance and develop it in the future.

      With ongoing community support and participation, Nanaimo’s Cultural Plan will provide strategic direction and a clear vision for advancing the cultural and prosperity agendas and opportunities. It is an exciting time to see Nanaimo’s future emerging and to envisage the opportunities and possibilities that can shape our city for years to come. As the city increasingly looks at those through the cultural lens, and as our artists, artisans, creators and architects of the future participate fully in the planning and development of our city, Nanaimo’s future is bright. After further community consultation the Cultural Plan will be presented to City Council for adoption in the New Year.


      Island Ferries' Open House Well Attended

      The community turnout to the first public open house by Island Ferries at the conference centre was well attended and quite encouraging to the IFSL team in attendance.

      The event which ran from 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm was attended by nearly 300 people who came to get information about the proposed new downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver passenger-only ferry service.

      There will be an eTown hall meeting at the next city council meeting on Monday Dec. 2 which will provide Nanaimo residents the opportunity to ask questions and offer their opinion about the proposed ferry service which involves a partnering agreement with the city.


      Monday, November 25, 2013

      Nanaimo Hamperville 2013 Kicks Off

      Hopes To Help 2200 Nanaimo Families This Christmas

      The joint effort of the Salvation Army and the Loaves & Fishes Food Bank, known as Hamperville got officially underway at their main centre in the old Madill building.

      The offcial kick off marks the start of the annual effort to put food on the table this Christmas for some 2200 Nanaimo families who aren't enjoying what most of us simply take for granted.

      The old Madill building will become mission control for hundreds of volunteers who come together and give of their time collecting, sorting and assembling the hampers that will put some practical help into Nanaimo homes this Christmas Season.

      This food drive is something that demonstrates the warmth and genuine caring for others, that Nanaimo can be proud of and is something all of us can contribute to. If we can only kick in a can of soup, or if we can organize a giant food drive, give of our time at the warehouse or provide the means to deliver the hampers, we can all contribute something, and it all matters.

      You can drop off your donations of food or cash at the Madill building from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday. Collection boxes are also in most supermarkets and malls around Nanaimo.

      For more information you can contact Hamperville at 250-751-9780 or email to You can visit their webpage HERE or their Facebook page HERE.


      Look Out Vancouver! Nanaimo's Knocking!

      Fast Ferry Could Open The Door!

      The advent of a reliable, affordable fast ferry service from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver opens up endless possibilities for Nanaimo. Suddenly, over two million people can come to Nanaimo in less time than they can cross town in Metro Vancouver.

      I have often seen Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo as creating a triangle in one of the most perfect parts of all of God's creation. Of those three points, Nanaimo is best suited to take maximum advantage of all this piece of paradise has to offer.

      We have the same delightful moderate climate with less rain and less wind than the other vertices on this perfectly located triangle. We have nothing approaching the traffic congestion either Vancouver or Victoria have to contend with. Housing is affordable, our average single detached house is priced at $350,000, and that is for a detached, three bedroom house with a yard! In fact you can still buy a single detached house for around $200,000 depending on the neighbourhood you choose.

      We have downtown parking for $0.75 per hour and you can get there from the most distant suburb in less than 20 minutes! You can enjoy a delicious meal and an evening at the theatre, complete with parking and still have money left over for a nightcap and desert.

      In less than 10 minutes from anywhere in the city you can access some of 2,000 acres of pristine parkland and endless trails without ever leaving the city. From wooded forests to ocean shores you can experience all that raw nature has to offer in an inviting, safe environment.

      From Nanaimo you can snow ski in the morning, golf at noon and scuba dive in the afternoon all for a price that won't break your budget.

      In Nanaimo you will see people you actually know, who have the time to stop and say hello and who really care about your well being.

      Perhaps it is the easier going, lay back lifestyle that just fosters a warmer more inviting atmosphere or maybe it is the near-perfect lifestyle, or maybe it is just the water, but Nanaimo is truly a unique place that beckons to one and all, who once smitten choose to call Nanaimo ......... home! 


      Nanaimo Sinclair Singers Choir Concert

      The Colours of Christmas

      What’s the colours of Christmas?
      We will use music to tell you the answer…Please enjoy a delightful choral concert with your family and friends this holiday season with Nanaimo Sinclair Singers Choir.

      We are an auditioned young adult choir made up of 18 enthusiastic singers. This year, our winter concert will present at Departure Bay Baptist Church (3510 Departure Bay Rd.) on Thursday Dec 12th 2013 @ 7.30 Pm.

      This concert will have a variety of music. If you are looking for a 1.5 hours of relaxation and musical enjoyment, please come to join us!! Tickets by door $15, student with ID $5 per person


      Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs - Plan Flawed

      Ferry Rescue Plan Showing Cracks

      The provincial government's own information shows that the ferry rescue plan unveiled by Transportation Minister Todd Stone this week is based on numbers that don't add up to a solution.

      The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs (FACC) are being asked to help tweak schedules to make the plan more workable. But no amount of tweaking will change the fact that the cuts to service and to seniors' discounts are side issues. The root problems remain.

      "Even after the cuts, the system will still be unaffordable, unsustainable, and spiralling into deeper trouble. The government is causing people hardship without much to show for it, says Brian Hollingshead of the Southern Gulf Islands. "Tweaking won't change that."

      About a million British Columbians live in coastal areas that depend on ferries. "The government is starting to roll up essential transportation in this region without analysing impacts," says Tony Law of Hornby-Denman. "Cutting service that people have come to rely on to get to work and contribute to the economy requires more than cursory consultation."

      The FACC were briefed on the government plan this week. It appears to be based on several unsupported estimates.

      ·    The plan is based on traffic staying at 2011-2012 levels. This is already inaccurate. Traffic has already fallen below this point, which means there is already a new revenue shortfall, which is likely to grow with each new annual fare increase and related traffic decline.

      ·    There appears to be no business case for the cuts, no analysis of their impact on jobs, and no analysis of the economic and social costs to individuals, communities and the province, including a comparison of those costs to the $14 million in cuts to non-major routes.

      ·    The plan estimates that 75 percent of traffic from the runs that are cut, on average, will be redirected to other runs. There appears to be no data or analysis to support this figure.

      ·    The plan estimates that the change to the senior's discount will reduce seniors' traffic by 15 percent. Evidence from the UK on the effects of seniors discounts suggests the loss will be greater. And it is unclear if the plan accounts for lost revenue from vehicle fares that seniors would have paid on the foregone trips.

      ·    Minister Todd Stone says the ferry system will face a revenue gap between $120 million and $200 million in the next contract term, starting in 2016. There is no evidence that the rescue plan will close that gap, while there is some evidence to suggest the gap will grow wider.

      ·    The government chose the dollar amounts in the plan (for service cuts, operational efficiencies, and capital infusion) so that fare increases would be limited to 4 percent a year. But by 2016, the pressure on fares will be even greater than it is now. Something else will have to give to keep fares from growing even faster.

      In the business world, cutting costs to stay ahead of falling revenue, without also fixing the cause of the falling revenue, is a path to business failure. The cause of falling revenue for ferries is unaffordable fares and traffic decline, and chronic government underfunding.  The rescue plan does not fix this. Nor does it offer the FACC or coastal residents enough data and information to let them offer alternatives to the flawed government plan.

      The FACC ask the government to work with community representatives and local governments to find ways to fix the core problem with the system, to build a vision for the BC coast and a more solid plan for its essential transportation.


      Door To Hell

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

      Natural Gas Burning For 40 Years

      In the 70's while drilling for oil, this pit opened up under a Russian crew. It was venting gas which they didn't want released and so the gas was ignited. It was believed it would burn off in a few days. That was over 40 years ago.

      OK ....... who's got the marshmallows?


      Sunday, November 24, 2013

      Nanaimo Foot Passenger Ferry - Open House

      Downtown Nanaimo - Downtown Vanvcouver Ferry Service

      Public Information Open House
      Monday November 25 - 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm
      Vancouver Island Conference Centre
      Downtown Nanaimo


      Proposed Nanaimo Waste-to-Energy Plant

      Burnaby WTE facility - Opened in 1988
      Opposition Based on Fact or Fear?

      It should come as no surprise the city that rejected a natural gas fired electric generation plant at Duke Point would be against an incinerator to burn Vancouver's garbage. We immediately have visions of our pristine skyline being hidden from view behind plumes of dangerous, toxic smoke obliterating the sun and searing our lungs. This apocalyptic scenario being made necessary simply because Vancouver can't reduce their garbage. Who wouldn't be violently opposed to such a travesty?

      I would be, providing that vision is based on fact rather than being the product of my own ill-informed imagination. I have come to realize that with most matters there are three sides to the story, and only one of them is completely true. I would expect the proponents of such an enterprise to downplay any risk associated with the operation of their facility. I would expect the opponents to parade examples of worst case scenarios and examples of extreme risks to personal health and the environment to support their case against such a plant.

      Little Real Facts Are Known

      Landfill Option

      One of the first issues is whether or not it is better to put waste into landfill rather than use it as a fuel to produce electricity or super heated steam for other industrial applications. One of the 'facts' I came across claims that one metric ton of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) will produce enough methane gas if landfilled to have twice the global warming potential than if it had been incinerated.

      Landfills are not without serious environmental impact not the least of which is the leachate and methane gas which they produce. If not properly contained, or if the containment fails the results of the leachate from a landfill finding it's way into our watercourses could be catastrophic. Remembering we do live in an earthquake zone which could rupture the containment beneath existing or future landfill sites.

      The methane gas produced, as stated earlier is one of those serious global warming gases which if simply contained in the landfill basically becomes a very large bomb.

      Waste to Energy

      The idea that these facilities are simply toxin spewing trash burners is likely the first image that springs to mind when we hear of garbage incineration. If they are nothing more than a big version of the 50 gallon burning drum my father used when I was a kid, I would agree that they have no place in our society.

      From the limited research I have done to date, I understand that the temperatures used for incineration, combined with scrubbers in the chimney and other sophisticated technology basically produces a near harmless emission from the stack, the only thing making it visible is the steam produced from moisture in the fuel.

      The fact that one of these facilities has been operating in Burnaby since 1988, apparently unnoticed seems to point to their acceptable performance.

      When I think of one of these plants as a very large burning barrel pumping out smoke and ash 24/7, obscuring my view of the blue sky by a thick plume and causing me to wear a mask, I am violently opposed to such an idea.

      When I think of a facility that turns waste into a fuel which produces electricity with little to no environmental impact, which burns so cleanly they can be put in the centre of town ...... I am not opposed at all.

      Jury is Still Out

      Personally, the jury is still out as far as I am concerned, I will still need more facts I can rely upon, but I am beginning to think a waste to energy plant may not be the Nanaimo-destroying force it's opponents fear.


      Van Damme - Volvo Truck Ad

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

      That's Gotta' Hurt!

      This is another one of those clever ad moves, where the ad itself becomes worthy of going viral simply because of it's awe-value.

      The celebrity of the star and the stunt make the ad stand on it's own, regardless of the message, in fact after watching this commercial you may be stumped as to what the message really is. Does that make it a good ad?


      Saturday, November 23, 2013

      City of Nanaimo Spends $2625 On TV Warning Ads

      Colliery Dam Safety Threat Well Advertised

      Last year about this time you may remember the city had staff going door to door throughout the area considered in peril in the area below the Colliery Dams. The purpose was to make sure residents were aware of the peril they could be in if the dam should break.

      All year long the Colliery Dams Saga has been in the press ad nauseam with press releases from the city and the Colliery Dam Parks Preservation Society and others.

      So just in case someone has been living under a rock this past year, the city has found it necessary to implement the following:
      • uniformed RCMP and Firefighters have gone door to door and hand delivered a five page instruction package advising of the potential danger and what to do if the worst should happen according to reports over 95% of all affected residents were personally spoken to.
      • 40 - 50 signs have been erected in the flood hazard zone advising when you are entering and leaving the zone, and which way to go should you be fleeing for your life
      • there are two public information sessions hosted at the Aquatic centre for two hours in the evening where city staff are available to answer questions
      • School district hosted a public information meeting within the past few months at John Barsby school
      • An evacuation siren has been installed and tested twice (low level testing) and will be tested once at full volume before the end of the month and once monthly from then on.
      Now. on top of all this public awareness activity, the city communication department still has found it necessary to spend $2625 on television ads over the next few weeks. A total of 737 - 30 second spots will appear scattered across the Shaw network between Nov. 7 and Dec. 4.

      I realize that $2625 in the overall scheme of things could be classed as chump change, but if it were my money, after all the other effort I had expended, I would not consider a good use of money. But, then again, those making such decisions are never spending their money, are they?

      It came as no surprise that Councillor Brennan did think it a good use of tax dollars.

      What Next??

      I am almost afraid to pose the following, for fear I will give the spending City Hall Juggernaut any new ideas, but I wonder what kind of warning program is being planned in light of the horrific outlook presented in the most recent insurance bureau study of the impact of a major earthquake on Nanaimo.

      At the very least they will have to install Tsunami Zone entering, leaving, and how to get out of the way signs all along our considerable shoreline. Not to mention having the RCMP and Firefighters go door to door and advising all those living in the Tsunami danger zone of the grave peril they too could be exposed to in the event of a major seismic event.


      Lion's FREE Skate - November 24


      A Life Less Ordinary - Uncharted Adventures

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

      Do You Recognize It?

      This fancy beer commercial highlights some spectacular locations chosen for this "A Life Less Ordinary' spot.

      Included in the footage is a stop at 300 ft. high Virginia Falls, a pod of Humpback whales, viewing the Northern Lights, and taking a helicopter to remote river fishing spots and isolated mountain tops.

      Amidst this breathtaking scenery is something which is made less than thirty minutes from where we live right here in Nanaimo. Do you know what it is?


      Friday, November 22, 2013

      Haven Society Fundraiser


      Festival of Trees - Family Days

      This Saturday Nov. 23 and Sunday Nov. 24 are the Island Savings Family Days Crafts & Festivities from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on Commercial Street downtown.

      Admission is by donation.


      Committee of the Whole Meeting - Nov. 25, 2013

      Committee of the Whole Meeting
      Monday, Nov. 25 , 2013
      4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
      Vancouver Island Conference Centre
      • Mr. Swabey, City Manager will provide a presentation regards a new organizational structure
      • Council approval sought to provide free downtown parking in city parkades for the three Saturdays preceding Christmas 
      • Explain council's role in the event the Colliery Dams action plan is implemented.
      • NEDC nominating committee process
      • Council approval sought to host eTown Hall event to seek public input on downtown ferry
      • Signing 5 year contract with MMBC to collect residential packaging and printed paper     

        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!