Saturday, May 31, 2014

Nanaimo BC 2014 Summer Games

 Nanaimo Port Authority Donates $10,000

The Nanaimo Port Authority is the latest organization to sign on as a ‘Friend of the Games’, stepping up with a $10,000 donation for the Nanaimo 2014 BC Summer Games.

As a result of their contribution, every athlete who participates in the Games will receive a commemorative pin to remind them of their experience. Additionally, this donation will also allow for the successful execution of the sailing competition.

“The Nanaimo Port Authority is very excited to be one of the lead sponsors for the BC Games and for the sailing competition” states Bernie Dumas, President & CEO. Our opportunity to support the distribution of pins to all BC Games participants recognizes their achievements in qualifying for this Provincial competition. We are honoured to be associated with this 2014 BC Games legacy in the Harbour City and wish all athletes the very best in their individual and team disciplines.

 Volunteers Still Needed

Approximately 3,200 volunteers will be required when the 2014 B.C. Games roll into Nanaimo this summer from July 17-20.

Information on volunteer opportunities can be accessed by visiting the Games website at

Jeff Lott, Nanaimo Games President, stated “We recognize that these Games would not be possible without the support of our community leaders and volunteers. We thank the Nanaimo Port Authority for their support, and value their commitment to creating lasting memories for all of the athletes participating in this community event.”

The Games will feature approximately 3,900 athletes, coaches and officials from across the province, competing at 19 different venues. It is estimated that the Games will contribute $2.6 million to the local economy.

To find out how you can ‘Get in the Games’ as a Friend of the Games, please contact Greg Constable at 250-756-9665


Do Nanaimo 'Leaders' Really Have A Plan??

Strategic Plan - Official Community Plan - Neighbourhood Plan- Transportation Plan - Communications Plan
The list is endless, but do they really mean anything??

I watched as the information was collected from a few hundred members of the public which was the basis for the 'Strategic Plan' which is used more to endorse a decision from city hall as it is used to guide the process in the first place. This plan is so wide open, you can find justification in it for nearly any type of tax and spend scheme the brain trust at city hall can concoct.

The Official Community Plan and the Neighbourhood Plan (neither of which do I pretend to be a student of) seem to be for the most part 'suggestions' as to how the city should look as it gets built out over the years. A recent conflict between the two over a piece of property on the southend of Victoria Rd. should provide some interesting fodder for discussion going forward. Seems one trumps the other?

We now have a very ambitious Transportation Master Plan, which is relying on, and aiming for the day when Nanaimo streets will be filled with pedestrians or cyclists with hardly a car to be seen as our public transit system provides the same convenience and reliability of  the family car, making it obsolete. To my untrained mind, Nanaimo is likely a million or so people short of being able to make this level of public transit available.

How Many People Do We Really Want? What Is the RIGHT Size?? Anyone Know?

We don't want to increase our boundaries as the additional cost that would require of existing taxpayers to provide water, sewer and roads would be prohibitive. So, the solution is to cram as many houses as possible onto the vacant land currently within the city borders. Depending on who you talk to it would seem that subdividing and building more and more vinyl villages is the economic driver Nanaimo can't do without. The only flaw in this plan would be the fact the true cost of development is never recovered through our DCC's the way they are currently constructed. Why don't they properly reflect the real cost of development? City hall panders to the developers and construction folk in town and offers up DCCs which don't reflect true costs at all. The result? Taxpayers get sucked into what is basically a ponzi scheme where we subsidize developers/builders profits and the end cost someone has to pay for their new home. Is that a sound formula for long term sustainability?

Linley Valley Contradiction - Parks before People

City Council recently decided to purchase 220 acres in the Linley Valley for $8 million, Part of the rationale being put forward by council to support this decision is all the money it will save taxpayers by not having to build a road and provide servicing to these parcels of land. Really?? Then why are we spending $$??????? to punch through a road at the other end to service some 32 lots that used to belong to the school district?

We are told that this will also stretch out our water supply by not putting all this extra demand on our supply. Yet, a few months ago council agreed to supply water to the massive Foothills development in Lantzville. The only thing consistent with city council's arguments is the fact they are inconsistent.


City of Nanaimo Construction Projects

Construction Season Now in Full Swing

Construction season in Nanaimo is underway. There are a number of City of Nanaimo projects already started, with more projects to start in the coming months. The following routes are currently affected:

• From May to September, water main and sewer replacements coinciding with the addition of a bike lane along Bruce Avenue from 5th to 7th Street. Temporary detours and single lane alternating traffic can be expected.

• From June to July, a new sidewalk will be installed on the southerly side of Hammond Bay Road between Tom's Turnabout and Dunn Place along with a new pedestrian activated warning flasher at the existing Hammond Bay Road crosswalk on the west side of Entwhistle Road. Following the sidewalk construction, this section of Hammond Bay Road will get repaved. Single lane alternating traffic can be expected.

• From May to August, water main replacement will affect Jingle Pot Road from Westwood Road to Harwell Road, Harwell Road from Jingle Pot Road to Woodthrush Place, and Westwood Road from Jingle Pot to Arbot Road. Single lane alternating traffic can be expected. To lessen the impacts for Westwood Lake Park users, work on Westwood Road will be completed in June.


Leadercast Cancellation Challenged

This is further to the 8-1 council decision that was made at the regular committee of the whole meeting on May 5, where council ordered the cancellation of the "Beyond You" Leadercast event that was scheduled to be simulcast at the VICC on May 9. As the event had been publicized in the local media, since at least April 15, I wonder why those who apparently contacted one councillor on May 2 to voice their objection to the leadership simulcast being held at a taxpayer-owned facility, did not address the City of Nanaimo's elected officials at a council meeting, in a transparent manner, as is the usual practice.

I find it rather offensive that a matter, which is of significance to all citizens of Nanaimo, was brought forth for council's consideration via a last-minute motion.

This, in itself, has resulted in divisiveness in the community. The actual council directive was far-reaching and one has to wonder if it is enforceable at law.

Janet Irvine



Friday, May 30, 2014

Things on the net that make ya' smile

They should likely be waaayyy cheaper......


Retirement Tsunami Heading Our Way?

Retirement Tsunami

An article in the Financial Post identifies a coming problem that may not be restricted to the oil patch; that is the coming wave of retiring workers without sufficient workers coming along to replace them.

A survey quoted in the article says 81% of Canadian oil and gas companies considered 'technical skills gap' as a critical problem. The article goes on to note that the oil sands is not the only industry expecting to require more hard hats and steel-toed boots on the the ground. Other industries such as mining, power and the liquified natural gas sector are facing labour shortages as well.

Nearly 60,000 construction workers are required to build the LNG industry in British Columbia when/if the LNG project gets off the ground. Canada is not alone scrambling to fill these positions as other places such as the USA, Asia and Africa are also eyeing Canadian talent to fill their needs.

It seems governments are starting to wake to the fact the whole world can't be run from behind a computer screen and they are stepping up trade courses and schools in an effort to fill the gap. It takes more than time in the classroom to be competent in the workplace, it takes time working with skilled tradespeople learning how to apply what you learned in school.

It is likely the 'retirement tsunami' will not only affect the oil patch as the aging workforce comes to retirement years but will have an impact right across all job sectors.


Nanaimo Weather Looking Fantastic!

Break out the sunscreen!

If the last few days have made you wonder if we were getting a repeat Junuary like we had last year, this next week should put those fears to rest.

The weatherman is calling for Sol to make an appearance everyday for the next week at least with balmy temperatures in the low 20's range. (For our good friends in the US, that is Celsius not Fahrenheit).

Watch you garden kick into gear with the increase in temperature and sunshine. Love it!


Neck Point Car Entrance Closed August 2014

Neck Point Park Vehicle Entrance Closed for August

Park will remain open for public enjoyment

From August 5th to September 1st the main vehicle entrance into Neck Point Park, Morningside Drive, will be closed for a joint project between the City of Nanaimo and Regional District of Nanaimo. The Regional District will be replacing sanitary sewer outfall pipe and the city of Nanaimo will be working on a water main and storm culvert. During this temporary road closure, there will be no vehicle access to the parking lot at Neck Point Park and the weekend overflow parking lot at Hammond Bay Elementary School.

During construction, Neck Point Park will remain open. However, the public is encouraged to use other parks in the area or to access Neck Point Park from the trails at the end of Shores Drive. While parking is very limited on Shores Drive, more parking is available on Gulfview Drive (off Tiki Way) which is a short walk via a public walkway to Shores Drive.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nanaimo Schools Closed June 2

Nanaimo Area Schools Will Be Closed June 2
City of Nanaimo Running 'Camp Firefly'

The rotating teacher's strike will hit Nanaimo schools again on Monday, June 2 and parents are asked to keep their children home for safety reasons. There will also be no buses running on that day.

Camp Firefly offers alternative for children 5 - 11

The department of Parks, Recreation and Environment is again offering a special one day camp on June 2nd to keep kids busy during the teachers job action. Participants will play games, make crafts and go skating in this fun filled day. Camp runs from 8:30am - 5pm at Beban Park. You can register by visiting or by calling 250-756-5200.


Nanaimo Motocross This Weekend

2014 Rockstar Energy
CMRC Motocross Pro Nationals
At The Wastelands Nanaimo
May 31 - 9:00 am - June 1 - 5:00pm

For full event details visit Nanaimo Motocross Association's website.


Farmers' Markets In Nanaimo

 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets
Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 2 - Oct. 11, 2014)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

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.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at or call 250-754-1998.
Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Open Wednesday (May - Oct. 2014)

The Bowen Road Farmers’ Market was started by a group of people concerned about our ever quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant market. Weekly we feature musicians and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products produced by organic growers who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and meet the person who grows and produces the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May to October 2014, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information call 250-390-5199 or visit their website HERE.
 Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 11 - Oct. 2014)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 11th through to October.

The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.

For information visit or call 250-729-8646.

Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 12 - Oct. 27, 2014)

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 12 to October 27, 2014 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


Nanaimo Off Leash Dog Parks

Off Leash Dog Parks in Nanaimo
Click Map To Enlarge

Nanaimo Dog Off Leash Parks & Trails

1 May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park – the forested area behind May Bennett Pioneer Park offers a 1km network of trails for Fido to explore. There is a moderate incline but no major climbs or obstacles. Gravel roadside parking is available surrounding the perimeter of the park.

2 Diver Lake Park – a large sports field provides space for team sports in the summer, but from October to April, it is open to off-leash dogs. This is one of two off-leash areas in Nanaimo that feature water access. This off-leash area adjoins the parking lot at the end of Black Frank Drive.

3 Beaufort Park – tucked away in central Nanaimo, Beaufort’s dog off-leash area adjoins the gravel parking area at the end of Chelsea Crescent. It is a partially fenced area with plenty of space for dogs to run and play.

4 Westwood Lake Park – Found at the end of Westwood Road, this 6 km perimeter trail has long been popular with dog walkers. The dirt road running beneath the power lines on the southern side of Westwood Lake is open to off-leash canines.

5 Invermere Beach – found in north Nanaimo off of Icarus Drive, this is currently the only off-leash public beach park. Visitors will find parking at the top of a set of wooden stairs that lead to the beach. This is a great spot to take your pet for a cool off during the heat of summer (or any time of year for water dogs!). The stairs are steep and the beach is rocky, so this is not recommended for those with mobility issues.

6 Northfield Park – this fenced park is located centrally along the Parkway Trail behind the Visitor Info Kiosk at the intersection of Northfield Road and Hwy #1. There is good access to the paved Parkway Trail and ample parking.

7 Wardropper Park – this open field park in the Departure Bay area is the perfect spot for throwing the ball around for Fido. You will find access to the park on either side off Departure Bay Road or Bay Street. Parking is limited and available on the Departure Bay Road side of the park.

8 Colliery Dam Park – the off-leash dog area is immediately adjoining the Upper Lake parking lot off Nanaimo Lakes Road. It is also accessible from the Lower Lake parking area off of Wakesiah Avenue and Sixth Street via an on-leash walk along the concrete and dirt paths that lead from the Lower Lake area to the Upper Lake area.

9 St. George Ravine Park – found in the Townsite neighbourhood, this dog off-leash area is located at the top of a ravine. This park is best suited for smaller dogs, but all are welcome. The area is not fully fenced. Please note that the ravine trail is not a part of the dog off-leash area but is open to on-leash dogs.

10 Gallow’s Point (Protection Island) – visiting Protection Island? Why not take Fido along with you?

11 Cable Bay Trail – located in south Nanaimo near Cedar, this trail winds through a forest of cedar, alder and fir for just under 2 km and eventually leads to a rocky beach where wildlife is often seen.

12 Beban Park – this fully fenced dog park is located at the corner of Labieux and Dorman Roads next to Merle Logan Field.

For more information visit the City of Nanaimo website.


A Couple of funny feathered friends

Evil Eye 'Blackie' ..... a Brewers Blackbird loading for his brood

Bad Hair Day Barnie? ....... or flew too close to the wires.....


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nanaimo Ratepayers Association Website
Nanaimo Ratepayers Association Website Now Online

During their first year the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association's only web contact was via their Facebook site which unfortunately was not kept up all that well. (One of the joys of volunteer run organizations). The association now has a website with current and contact information for the group. The site can be seen at

The organization will be holding their first AGM the second week of June which will be open to members only and will see the first annual report presented and the election of directors for the coming year.

The group has several exciting events planned for the coming months which will generate more interest in the group and encourage more weary taxpayers to add their voice for change at city hall.

The group notes that Nanaimo taxpayers will now be receiving their property tax notices for this year which will see most taxpayers having to pay even more taxes. The Nanaimo Ratepayers Association is drawing attention to the fact that taxes did NOT have to go up this year, if this city council had chosen to apply the $4million in over-taxation from last year to this year's increase.

City Council is always saying they want to hold the line on taxes, yet will pass up every opportunity to do just that, as witnessed by their recent decision to keep the $4million of over-taxation from 2013.

Information about joining the organization can be found on their website and by sending an email to


New Nanaimo Reservoir Building Observations

Did we really need such a fancy shmancy building?

While attending the official start up of the electric generators a the new #1 Nanaimo reservoir I couldn't help but make a few observations of how it once again seems very easy to spend taxpayers dollars.

The first photo just raises the question of why that piece of concrete couldn't have been supplied by one of our local companies? Just a thought.

The middle and bottom picture are what had me wondering whether or not a completely utilitarian building, which almost never even has people inside it, had to sport what appears some pretty high end architectural details.

Other than giving an architect something to do, what is the purpose of the fancy, shmancy roof line which appears to be clad with stainless steel? And what is with all the fancy brickwork, good old cinderblock is likely good enough for the purpose.

But the highlight of the whole building is all the fancy laminated show wood that is used for roof joists and ceiling finishing. Really??? Remember, this is a building I am told does not regularly have anyone in it at all. The whole operation is completely automated and does not require full time attendance at.

I am sure if the folk at city hall were spending their own money they could have found a far more practical way of constructing this building at a considerable saving. But then again, it is only tax dollars!


Nanaimo -Seattle Kenmore Air Special

50% OFF round trip companion ticket limited offer

Kenmore Air is offering a special discount for trips booked by June 6 being used by Sept.30, 2014. Entering the promo code SEA-TAC SUMMER when making your reservations will entitle you to a companion round trip ticket with a 50% discount.

For more information and to make your reservation visit the Kenmore Air website.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Understanding Nanaimo Property Taxes

How much Nanaimo property taxes go up?
2.5%? - 1.77%? - 3.95% ??? Confused ???

The city of Nanaimo property tax notices are now coming swiftly on the wings of  Canada Post to your mail box, or via email if you are signed up electronically.

There is no easy way to say exactly how much individual property taxes will increase as the actual increase is a function of property value and the rate of taxation the city charges to meet this years tax income requirements.

Generally speaking this year the city of Nanaimo portion of taxation was increased by 2.5% which was the result of the budget review process engaged in by city council these past many months. That of course does not include taxes collected for the hospital, schools or the regional district of nanaimo.

The amount your taxes will go up (almost never down) will depend on the assessed value of your property and the rate of taxation charged by the city of Nanaimo.

In simplistic terms if your home assessment decreased in value this year by the average of 2% from last year, your taxes will increase by 1.77%. If however, your property value remains the same as last year you will see a property tax increase of 3.95%. If your home value has increased since last year your tax increase will be proportionally higher than the 3.95%. Clear?

On top of your property tax increase your user fees will also be increasing this year, with water rates going up by 7.5% and sewer increasing by 5%.


Nanaimo Property Tax Notices 2014 Mailed

Nanaimo 2014 Property tax notices

 Nanaimo 2014 Property Tax Notices

Nanaimo residents are encouraged to check their mailboxes and email accounts for their 2014 Property Tax Notices that were sent out last week. This year’s due date is July 2nd.

At its meeting held on Monday, May 12, Council approved the 2014 Tax Rate Bylaw settling on a 2.5% increase of taxes for the City of Nanaimo. Property Tax Notices will also include levies collected for other agencies such as the Regional District of Nanaimo, School District, and others.

The average Nanaimo home decreased from $342,615 to $335,454 and if your home value did decrease by the 2% this represents, you will see an increase in your taxes of 1.77%. If however, your home value is the same as last year you will see an increase in your taxes of 3.95%.

You are reminded to be sure to claim your home owners grant (if applicable) by the tax due date in order to avoid penalties.


Things on the net that make ya' smile

Justa' chillin' and a grillin' or you know you're a redneck when......


Colliery Dams - Extremely Low Probablity of Failure

Colliery Dams Update

Risks significantly lower than previously believed

The Colliery Dams Technical Committee has finally released another public update and while the remediation options won't be decided upon for another 4-6 weeks it does shed some light on the current state of the dams.

The technical team working on a Colliery Dam solution engaged Golder Associates based on their high level of expertise in this area. The balance of the team is made up of city of Nanaimo staff, CDPPS and SFN and is facilitated by Katherine Gordon.

Some of the most significant findings in this recent report is the fact the Dam Safety Section has decided to reduce the hazard rating, or consequence classification of the dams, from their current 'Extreme' rating to 'High' for the Middle Dam and 'Very High' for the Lower Dam.

The dams appear to be in the same condition as they were in 1980 when remediation work was done on them. Testing shows the concrete walls are in good condition with very limited signs of deterioration.

Extremely low probability of dramatic rupture in an earthquake

The probability of risk to public safety as a result of the dam rupturing in a seismic event is extremely low. It was established the dams are very unlikely to fail during an earthquake in a manner that would result in the loss of life. If the dams were to be damaged by an earthquake, it would most likely be manifested through slow leaking through cracks in the dam rather than a sudden failure of the walls.

The results of their analysis also indicates that risks of serious damage resulting from a severe storm are lower than previously thought. However, spillway capacity must be addressed to reduce the risk further to the level required by dam safety standards.

The committee expects to be able to provide detailed information as to the remediation options within the next 4 - 6 weeks.

In the meantime, the City is reviewing its current short term emergency mitigation plan in light of this new information.


City Council Approves Linely Valley Purchase

Linley Valley Purchase Required Some Fancy Financial Footwork

Everyone agrees that preserving the tract of land in the Linley Valley is a wise, forward looking decision. However, putting the financing together seems to have required some fancy footwork on the part of city staff in order to facilitate the deal.

They had to amend the 2014 - 2018 Financial Plan which they had just approved two weeks ago in order to complete the deal. In order to put the $7.9 million in cash together they had to use funds in 22 different accounts, all of which except three now have a zero balance.

I made a presentation to council suggesting that funding the purchase through long term borrowing would have be a preferable way of financing this purchase. This would mean those who benefit from the park in the future would also be able to assist with paying for it.  I presume the referendum this would have triggered would have made the deal harder to put together. Either that, or council did not want to risk a referendum turning down the borrowing authority.

It does make you wonder how many cookies the city has left in the surplus jars when they have to raid 22 different accounts to come up with $8 million..


Monday, May 26, 2014

Nanaimo Transportation Plan Adopted

Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan

Nanaimo city council adopted the Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan at the May 26 meeting. The adoption followed a presentation by City of Nanaimo Traffic/Transportation Engineer Mr. Gordon Foy.

There were ten delegations who also presented to council, all in support of the transportation plan, that has been nearly three years in the making. One delegate, Mr. Dan Appell commended the plan's direction but stressed it will face challenges to implement. He likened the new plan to traveling in one direction, stopping, and turning around and traveling in the exact opposite direction.

Transportation Plan Turns Traffic Upside-down

This graphic shows the intended direction the transportation plan would take the city into the future. Currently the focus on the transportation infrastructure supports the above pyramid in the exact reverse order with cars first and pedestrians last.

The current reality of Nanaimo given it's large geographic area and with the limitations of the transit system is that cars are still by far the favored means of reliable, convenient transportation.

While the plan has many laudable goals and directions, the reality is that it will take at least a decade before any real change is likely to become manifest.

Hats off to Councillor Anderson and his committee who, I am sure put a great many hours and effort into producing this 180 page document which hopefully will guide our transportation strategy into the future making our city an enviable people-first, cars-last place to live, work, play and invest.


Nanaimo Area Schools Closed May 27

Rotating Teachers Strike Closes Schools

The following is taken from a letter sent to all Nanaimo/Ladysmith parents:

While schools will continue to be open, there will be no instruction. For safety reasons, I ask that parents keep all children home from classes on Tuesday, May 27. It is important to note that as a result of the strike action, school buses will not be operating on that day. We expect schools to return to normal operations on Wednesday,May 28.

Fun Camp Planned For May 27th (teachers job action)

Enjoy your unexpected day off at Camp Firefly!

The department of Parks, Recreation and Environment is offering a special one day camp on May 27th to keep kids busy during the teachers job action. Participants will play games, make crafts and go skating in this fun filled day. Camp runs from 8:30am - 5pm at Beban Park. You can register by visiting or by calling 250-756-5200.

Camp Firefly offers a great recreational activity for children aged 5 - 11 on their unexpected day off from school The camp cost is only $35 for the day and runs from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.


Things on the net that make ya' smile

At least it's not in someone's lap .....
Bike to Work Week Security puzzle ????????????


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nanaimo Housing Market 2014 Forecast

Nanaimo Housing Starts & Resale Forecast 2014

British Columbia Forecast

VICTORIA – May 22, 2014 – According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Second Quarter Housing Market Outlook British Columbia Highlights report, housing starts in British Columbia are forecast to total 27,800 homes in 2014 and 27,900 homes in 2015.

“While the annual level of provincial housing starts is projected to remain relatively unchanged this year and next, expect a slight shift toward single-detached housing starts as the economy and labour market gain traction,” noted Carol Frketich, CMHC’s BC Regional Economist. “Single-detached housing starts are forecast to increase this year and next while multiple housing starts are expected to edge lower.”

Resale market conditions in the province are projected to remain balanced. Existing home sales through the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) are forecast to total 76,200 units in 2014 and 77,300 units in 2015. The average home price is forecast at $550,400 in 2014 and $552,300 in 2015.

Nanaimo Forecast Housing Starts & Resales

Nanaimo housing starts are forecast to increase from 415 in 2013 to 500 in 2014 and 550 in 2015; this is  the combined total for single family and multi-family units. This is still down from the 659 recorded in 2012.

MLS sales are forecast to increase from 1476 in 2013 to 1600 in 2014 and 1700 in 2015. The average sale price for the same periods are forecast to increase from $352,309 in 2013 to $357,000 in 2014 and finally $360,000 in 2015.

Nanaimo Rental Market Indicators

The Nanaimo rental vacancy rate for 2013 was 5.3% which is forecast to decline to 5.0% in 2014. Average rentals in Nanaimo for a 1 bedroom unit increase from $686/mo. in 2013 to $695/mo. in 2014; 2 bedroom units are forecast to increase from $806/mo in 2013 to $810/mo. in 2014.


Nanaimo Recycling Options Expand

More Recycling Options In Nanaimo

The Regional Recycling facility at 2375 Hayes Road is now accepting print, paper, and packaging which includes all types of styrofoam packaging, glass, aluminum foil containers, plastic bags, plastic outerwrap packaging, aerosol cans, paper bags and so much more.

For more information you can visit their Facebook page or their website. For a more comprehensive list of the materials being accepted visit their new webpage.

Recycling Nanaimo Nanaimo Info Blog


This Years 'Crop' Of New Feathered Friends

Lots Of New Young'uns At The Feeder This Year

One benefit of maintaining bird feeders all year round, is that many of our feathered friends decide to take up residence in the immediate neighbourhood. Our yard has become quite active this spring and it is interesting to watch they cycle of life unfold. We have watched as our friends engage in the spring courtship dance as new moms and dads get together. Then there is the time of gathering all manner of different nesting material as they busy themselves preparing to receive this years brood.

Then for a time things go particularly quiet with much less visible activity, I presume this is when momma is sitting on her eggs waiting for the blessed event. Then there is a sudden flurry of activity as mom or dad or both begin making their trips to the feeder, filling their beaks and heading back home where they have many mouths to feed.

The final act of this little drama is when mom and dad introduce their kids to the source of that food they have been bringing to them in the nest this past while. Once the kids figure out they can now fend for themselves, I presume they are unceremoniously booted out the nest and so the cycle begins afresh.

This year we have been able to identify the following new  broods right in our own backyard:
  • House Sparrow
  • White Crowned Sparrow
  • Purple Finch
  • Towhee
  • Bushtit
  • Wren
  • Chick-a-dee
  • Starling
  • Brewers Black Bird
  • Robins
  • Hummingbird (both Rufous and Anna's)


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Leaky Condos Making Headlines Again

Thousands of potentially leaky condos - never repaired!

An article in today's Vancouver Sun points to another looming Leaky condo crisis as condos not previously leaking are becoming apparent, and some condos which were simply patched over before rather than being properly repaired.

The new crisis is coming to light as strata corporations prepare mandated depreciation reports on their buildings. This process is forcing them to own up to the condition of their properties and the shortcomings of maintenance programs for structures that were not fixed during the first wave of repairs. There are still potentially thousands of faulty units built in the leaky-condo period of 1982 - 1999 that were never repaired.


Russia - China $400-billion Gas Deal

 Russia - China Sign 30 Year Natural Gas Agreement

A Financial Post article explains that while the $400 billion deal between Russia and China does not spell the end of LNG for BC it will have global ramifications as Russia leapgrogged Canada and other would be LNG exporters seeking to do business with the Asian Nation.

Petronas warns Canada not to slaughter its LNG 'golden goose'

" Lets not slaughter the goose before it even has a chance to hatch the golden egg." Mr. Abbas told a marquess export conference, calling LNG a "once in a lifetime" opportunity for the province.

" We must be careful to not squander it away by banking on unrealistic expectations and misconceived perceptions".


Nanaimo Friday Evening Market - Getting Started

Nanaimo Friday Evening Market

The weather was perfect for my first drop in to the new Friday evening market in Diana Krall plaza and while this was only the third night for the market the attendance seemed less than I am sure merchants were hoping for. I spoke to one person who lives downtown, who told me they were not aware of the market, so perhaps advertising and promotion could be ramped up a bit.

The other issue with the market being opened already is the lack of farm fresh produce available just yet. There were 16 vendors in total who likely had a hard time making 'rent', but hopefully that is something that will improve as more people become aware of the new market, and more vendors are drawn to the event. These markets are truly a chicken and egg thing, you need the vendors to draw the crowd, and you need the crowd to support the vendors.

As we roll into summer season and public awareness improves I am sure this will become a well attended event which will see this under-utilized public space become a centre of activity on Friday nights.


Invasive Plant Month - Nanaimo

With just over a week left of May, there are still ways residents can participate in Invasive Plant Month.

On Wednesday, May 28, join us at Pioneer Waterfront Park from 10 am to 12 noon for invasive plant removal. And join us on Saturday, May 31, at Bowen Park from 12 pm to 3:30 pm as we wrap up Invasive Plant Month with an English Ivy Work Party. On May 31, residents can also drop off invasive plants they have removed from their yards at the Bowen Park Wall Street parking lot.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Bike To Work Week Nanaimo May 26 - Jun. 1

Bike to Work Week Nanaimo Kicks Off May 26

Dust off those bike helmets. Monday, May 26 kicks off the 2014 Bike to Work Week; a week to promote and encourage commuting by bicycle. A variety of events have been planned including a Bike to the Movies at Woodlands Secondary on Thursday, May 29 and a Wrap-Up BBQ at Brooks Landing on Friday, May 30.

From May 26-30, Celebration Stations will be set up around Nanaimo where participants can enter to win daily prizes as well as a grand prize of a Kona Dew Commuter Bike from Oak Bay Bikes. The grand prize will be drawn at the Wrap-Up BBQ on Friday, May 30 at Brooks Landing.

To register or for more information about Bike to Work Week Nanaimo visit their website.


Port Theatre Open House #1

Community Performing Arts Centre Vision Made Public

The first of a six week public consultation process began with an open house held in the Port Theatre lobby on Thursday afternoon. The purpose of the process is to share information, gather input and establish and enthusiasm for the project.

The Community Performing Arts Centre completion is in the planning stages at the Port Theatre. The project is to provide affordable performance and rehearsal space to local arts organizations throughout Nanaimo and the Region, provide excellent facilities for professional arts organizations to thrive, and to create an intimate venue to attract national and international touring professionals.

Completion of this project has been a priority since the very inception of the Port Theatre itself, and the society has been working steadily to bring it to fruition. They feel they are now faced with the perfect cultural climate to complete the vision.

There will be two more public input processes which include a panel discussion on June 5th in the Port Theatre lobby and a Design Jam on June 19th hosted by the Nanaimo Design Nerds. 

For more information about completing the vision of a Community Performing Arts Centre visit the Port Theatre website.

 Completing the Vision


Cedar Skate Park Official Opening


Nanaimo Announces Camp Firefly - May 27th

Fun Camp Planned For May 27th (teachers job action)

Enjoy your unexpected day off at Camp Firefly!

The department of Parks, Recreation and Environment is offering a special one day camp on May 27th to keep kids busy during the teachers job action. Participants will play games, make crafts and go skating in this fun filled day. Camp runs from 8:30am - 5pm at Beban Park. You can register by visiting or by calling 250-756-5200.

Camp Firefly offers a great recreational activity for children aged 5 - 11 on their unexpected day off from school The camp cost is only $35 for the day and runs from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Nanaimo City Council Meeting - May 26, 2014

Nanaimo City Council Meeting

Monday May 26, 2014
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Development Variance Permit 2241 Neil Drive
  • Rezoning application 2875 Departure Bay Rd.
  • Park and Cash-in-Lieu - 24 14th Street and 1501 Wilson Rd.
  • Acquisition of Parkland in Linley Valley
  • Unresolved building deficiencies 695 Abby Lane, 2266 Arbot Rd., 725 Chelsea St.
  • Waterworks Supply Agreement
  • 2014 - 2018 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw ( to allow for purchase of parkland in Linley Valley)
  • Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan
  • Travel assistance grant for Harbour City Football Club
  • Travel assistance grants
  • Property maintenance bylaw, 390 Chesterlea Avenue
  • Bylaws (with no accompanying report)
  • Proposed amendment re: funding for Morden Mine

      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 .

      If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

      The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.

       Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

      In the year 2013 the city of Nanaimo collected $4million in excess taxes which could have been applied to the property tax increases this year, and next. This would have resulted in zero tax increases for two years. Instead, they chose to take the over-taxation and put it into a slush fund. (That is how they were able to build the $15 million annex without public consent, and without a public tender).

      The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

      The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.
      Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

      Council decided to spend at least $200,000 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 Reservoir #1 & Energy Recovery Facility

       Cutting ribbon are Rhona Martin UBCM Pres., Mayor John Ruttan, Dr. James Lunney MP
      Three generators producing enough power for 60 - 70 homes.
      Exterior of Reservoir #1 and energy recovery facility

       Enclosed Reservoir Ensures Drinking Water Quality

      Construction of Nanaimo’s new $11.2 million, 14 million litre drinking water reservoir is now complete. The new facility ensures residents have continued access to safe, clean drinking water and is also providing fire protection to the lower elevations of the City, from Chase River to Departure Bay, and Snuneymuxw Reserve No. 1.

      The project includes the construction of facilities to generate hydro-electric power from the water system, as well as pipelines to convey the water to the new reservoir location on Nanaimo Lakes Road, just east of the Nanaimo Parkway. The hydro-electric component is helping to reduce the City's carbon footprint and offset the costs of operating the water system.

      “Today’s announcement provides the residents of Nanaimo with two new and important pieces of civic infrastructure – an expansion to our water system that improves the supply of safe, clean drinking water and the introduction of a new source of power generation that provides our community with more than $70,000 in additional annual revenue. I am very pleased with the outcome of this project and the value it provides all our residents and for the support provided by our federal and provincial partners.” Mayor John Ruttan.
      The $11.2 million project was made possible thanks to a contribution of nearly $7.7 million from the federal Gas Tax Fund along with $3.5 million from the City's Water Reserves.


      Port Theatre Nanaimo - May 25

      nanaimo info blog nanaimo news and events
      A West Coast Roots Celebration
      Sunday May 25 - 7:30 pm

      nanaimo info blog nanaimo news and events website