Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Mark MacDonald Leaves Daily News

With the resignation of Hugh Nicholson and now Mark MacDonald it will be interesting to see what, if anything changes with Nanaimo's oldest newspaper.

I went into the Daily to deliver a press release about my council bid and asked to speak to the editor, Mark MacDonald. The receptionist paged Mark and soon another staffer came out to inform both the receptionist and myself that Mr. MacDonald resigned his position as editor yesterday.

I presume there will be a story in tomorrows Daily News, but I just couldn't resist being the lowly blogger-guy who scoops the local Daily.



The following video has been posted at www.JimTaylorForCouncil.com, outlining how Taylor would eliminate tax increases for the next ten years at least.




Today Nanaimo Ratepayers’ Association President and City Council candidate Jim Taylor outlined his plan to eliminate tax increases for at least ten years.

“The first thing we do is recover the $70 million of taxpayers’ money that is wasting away in the Vancouver Island Convention Centre” said Taylor. “This single decision should eliminate the need for tax increases for the next ten years by removing the nearly $4 million annual cost to maintain the centre, and banking the cash from the sale we should eliminate tax increases for the next ten years”.

“The hotel tax exemption will also be immediately rescinded as it is not fulfilling its’ intended purpose. The whole reason for allowing a ten year hotel tax exemption was to encourage the building of a hotel adjacent to our ailing conference centre. It was never intended to give all hoteliers a tax holiday at taxpayers’ expense” continued Taylor. “In fact the proposed hotel at 100 Gordon Street in no way fulfills the mandate of providing enough rooms to aid our convention business, if in fact there is a convention business”.

Advocating for a five year wage freeze for all senior city managers is another tax saving policy Taylor wants to see adopted by the next city council. “From 2008 to 2012 the city manager, already earning nearly $200,000/yr. was entitled to a $40,000/yr. raise clearly showing how far city hall is out of touch with reality” said Taylor.

These are just three of several tax increase killing initiatives Taylor intends to introduced in his bid to become the voice for what he calls the ‘new special interest group at city hall …… the Average Nanaimo Taxpayer.”

More of Taylors’ opinions and objectives can be seen at www.JimTaylorForCouncil.com



During the week of September 29, Nanaimo Forest Products and the City of Nanaimo will be releasing water from the Fourth Lake and Jump Creek reservoirs to provide a temporary pulse flow to the Nanaimo River.  A partnership between the Nanaimo Fish Hatchery and the two water licensees, in concert with Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has existed for a number of years.  The parties come together annually to coordinate an early fall flush of fresh, cool water to encourage Chinook salmon waiting in the Nanaimo River estuary to move upstream to begin spawning.

The public may notice an increase in water levels in the Nanaimo River, as the flow will increase from its present rate of about 5 cubic metres per second to 16 cubic metres per second over the course of the week.  Caution around increased water levels is advised for residents adjacent to the river and in-stream users such as boaters or fishers.

The pulse release will be noticeable starting Wednesday, October 1, and will taper off by the weekend of October 4-5.

Through careful management of the reservoirs, there is sufficient reserves available to be able to facilitate the pulse release, despite this year's drought.


Monday, September 29, 2014

e-Town Hall Meeting - One Big Yawn!

If the level of involvement at the e-Town Hall Meeting which occupied the first hour or so of the City Council meeting on Sept. 29 is any indication of the level of interest in the 2015 budget it poses several questions that should be addressed.

Why is the interest in a $200,000,000 budget seemingly so abysmal, based on the level of participation, both in the audience and the online portion.

I offer a couple of possibilities which may or may not be valid to account for such a poor showing.

Poor advertising and promotion of the event on the part of the City Hall communications manager, whom I presume is responsible for promoting the event. I receive press releases from the City, promoting all sorts of events, and I don't recall receiving anything promoting this event. Knowing it was coming up, I took the initiative to go to the Facebook page and grab a graphic to use to plug the event on this blog. i can't recall seeing anything in the papers, although I could have missed that.

I also don't recall seeing the event getting any 'play' in the press which could be the fault of the local media, or again, the fault could lie with the communications office at City Hall.

It could be that folk who have participated before, see this as pretty much the non-event that it is, where Council doesn't really say much about anything and is not willing to engage in any meaningful discussion.


The material presented by Mr. Clemens at the Sept.8 council meeting showed examples of not only the 2015 budget, but rather the five year financial plan which runs through until 2018. On that basis I have prepared a series of questions dealing with the five year plan, only to be told at the beginning of the meeting that questions were to only deal with the 2015 budget. Why?? This council has approved the entire five year plan, and that was the basis for Mr. Clemens presentation on Sept. 8.

I have to presume this council is simply not wanting to engage in too broad a financial discussion for fear their lack of competence will become obvious.


The five year plan presented on the powerpoint presentation from Sept. 8 would indicate the five year plan could be supported with only a 13.1% tax hike over the period. That is complete and utter bovine droppings. That level of tax increase will barely cover the increased cost of wages and benefits at the current rate of increase for that one cost centre alone.

There is the $6.6 million for the Port Theatre, the $8 million for the Colliery dams that are  expenses which would account for another 14% over the period on top of the 13.1%. So it would seem someone is playing fast and loose with the projections, and I presume it is to help show this current council in a better light than they deserve.

I had several examples of why that presentation was at the very best a poorly done piece of work, and at the very worst a blatant attempt to gloss over the reality of how badly this council has been managing your affairs. For example, the fact that for the past 6 years, city hall wages and benefits have increased on average 5.23% per year, every year for a total change of 31.4% is a discussion you really should have with these city councillors.

But don't bother asking them at an open, televised Town Hall meeting if you expect anything but fluff and stuff for a reply.


Nanaimo e-Town Hall Mtg. Sept. 29

The focus of this e-Town Hall Meeting will be the City Budget. You can attend in person at Shaw Auditorium in the Conference Centre or watch the televised version on Shaw #4 or on your computer via the City's video.


Crash Knocks Out One Tour de Rock Rider

A Times Colonist blog post reports that four Tour de Rock riders went down on the highway near Tofino. Hitting the road were Matthew Pidgeon, Adam Carruthers, Jason Bland and Steve Wright.

Matthew could be back on his bike by today, but Steve had separated his shoulder, taking him out of the ride.


More LNG News For BC

This article in the Globe and Mail reports that in spite of our Premiers claim that we don't need Ottawa to bring our LNG projects to life, it turns out we apparently do need the Feds to be onboard.

It seems the federal tax on capital costs is a stumbling block for investors who are still debating whether to sink billions into LNG facilities on B.C.'s coast.


Energy Recovery Project Wins Award


The City of Nanaimo has received a Corporate Operations award for the energy recovery system constructed as part of its Reservoir Number One storage project.   The storage facility is required to protect drinking water quality as its new filtration plant comes online in 2015.  As part of the building that controls flow into the reservoir, the City worked with BC Hydro to construct an energy recovery system.  The energy recovery system handles about 30 per cent of the City's water supply and provides enough electricity for sale to the BC Hydro grid to power about 70 homes.  The system was commissioned in April 2014 and since then has generated over 325,000 kW of energy and almost $30,000 in revenue for the City.

The City replaced normal control valves with turbines to capture the energy created by the gravity fed water supply. In combination with BC Hydro the City developed the energy recovery system and the Energy Purchase Agreement.

In addtion to cutting green house gasses the system is expected to produce $70,000 - $90,000 of additional revenue for the City's water fund each year.


Nanaimo Aquatic Centre Opens Sept. 29

Nanaimo Aquatic Centre Reopens Today

After nearly a month of being closed for maintenance and upgrades, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre will reopen Monday, September 29.

The work completed included converting from chlorine gas to chlorine pucks, deep cleaning tile and grout, polishing the water slide, tuning up the diving board, replacing filters and maintaining the pumps. The acid stained flooring in the lobby and halls was refinished and the weight room was repainted, two new pieces of equipment were added and new window coverings were installed.


Sunday, September 28, 2014


It's Nearly Election Nomination Day
and I haven't even photo shopped my photo!!!

When I first took a straw poll to see if I should consider throwing my hat in the ring, I got a considerable number of offers to assist in my bid for a seat on Nanaimo City Council.

Well, that was a few weeks back, and since nominations don't even officially open until Sept. 30 and remain open until Oct. 10 people are still not getting too excited about the upcoming election yet.

However, I am now realizing just how daunting a task it will be to get the attention of the 73% of Nanaimo voters who didn't even vote in the last election and am asking for as much help as anyone out there can offer.

Considering there are over 60,000 voters and 73% of them didn't vote last time, in order to speak to each one of them personally, I would have to reach about 1,000 people every day which would be about 42 people every hour for 24 hours per day 7 days per week, and well............ I doubt I can keep that pace up.

Immediate needs include:
  • Advice on running a successful campaign
  • Volunteers willing to deliver flyers in their neighourhoods
  • Supporters willing to host 'home coffee' meetings
  • Supporters who can spend some time on the phone helping get the word out
  • Money, of course money is helpful to fund some ads, signs and the other trappings of an election
I do have my website up www.JimTaylorForCouncil.com which is a work in progress but does tell some of my story and lays out my platform and the issues I feel are important.

Anyone who does have the time to help with my bid is asked to send me an email letting me know what you feel you can contribute in the way of time and or advice.

My personal email is ourmail@uniserve.com


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bill Holdom Running For Mayor??

Ex-Councillor Holdom To Run For Mayor??

Nothing is official until it's official but the official unofficial announcement making the rounds is that Bill Holdom will be announcing his candidacy for Mayor this coming Tuesday at 4:30 pm at a local pub.

At this rate we might have as many candidates running for Mayor as for Council this time round! Now, if ex-Mayor Gary Korpan comes out of retirement and tries to reclaim his old chair, this could be an interesting run for the helm of Nanaimo.


Lions FREE Skate Sunday Sept. 28



Government and political party policy is the catalyst for change. Government and political party policies become the principles to guide decisions and achieve desired outcomes. Zero Waste policies direct actions and shape programs.

Zero Waste policy will be an important topic at Alternatives to Incinerators & Landfills, Zero Waste International Alliance conference in Nanaimo BC Oct 2-4. Representatives of the Green Party will join international Zero Waste experts to discuss how Zero Waste policy must address resource scarcity, reduce GHG Emissions and create jobs through “closing the loop”.

Adam Olsen, interim leader of the Green Party and Michael Weibe will be presenting information on Green Party Zero Waste policies at the federal, provincial and municipal level.

Tickets for the 3 day solutions based conference that unites local Zero Waste advocates with international Zero Waste experts are available online.


7 - 10 Club Fundraiser


We are very excited about our first ever walk out hunger in Nanaimo event and we hope you will continue on to Register, collect pledges and participate with us on October 12, 2014. All pledges you bring forth to support your participation in this event will go directly to putting food on the table for the homeless and hungry people who live in our community.
The Run/Walk Out Hunger in Nanaimo event will be held at Westwood Lake Park, in Nanaimo, on October 12, 2014. Registration and signing of "Waiver" form will commence at 8:30AM with the actual event getting under way at 10:00AM for the Runners and 10:10AM for the Walkers. The trail around Westwood Lake is approximately 6.3 Km's and is a totally enjoyable experience with nothing but natural beauty all along the way.
Registering for this event is very simple. Click on the registration link below and complete the form available for this purpose. Then download the pledge form and print as many as you require to gather support for your participation in the walk or the run.
We are looking forward to seeing you on October 12th.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Nanaimo Conservatory of Music Open House

The Nanaimo Conservatory of Music would like to invite everyone to their Open house which will take place this Saturday, September 27th from 1 pm to 4 pm at 375 Selby Street.  There will be demonstrations, open group harp class, prizes and an Instrument Petting Zoo. Meet the faculty and watch students perform. 

For more information call 250.754.4611 or visit their Facebook Page



BC Elders GuideA journey of health

VICTORIA – Elders have knowledge and experiences to pass to younger generations to guide them through life, but what happens when Elders need support? With this in mind, the First Nations Health Authority and the B.C. Ministry of Health developed the BC Elders Guide, based on the popular BC Seniors’ Guide, to help Elders find resources as they age in the community, while still acknowledging their strength and wisdom.

“With the creation of The BC Elders Guide, we are breathing new life into the Partnership Accord,” said Cliff Atleo Sr., First Nations Health Council, Vancouver Island representative. “It was really something to see the Elders Guide fly off the shelves when we released it this summer in Penticton. Our people are aging as well, and they came in wheelchairs, with walkers, and with canes, about 3,000 of them. Our partnership with Health Canada, the Province and health authorities presents a tremendous opportunity to work together to help improve the health of our Elders.”

For First Nations and Aboriginal communities, Elders play a pivotal role in the health and wellness of their communities. Elders are sought out for guidance and advice. Today, it is more important than ever that Elders are supported to live long and healthy lives so they are there to provide support for the next generation.

“I love the strong visuals represented in the BC Elders Guide. The excellent photographs drew me in, and I was thrilled to see such lovely representations of Elders,” said Cindy Maxwell, a social worker with Island Health. “I think we can add even more First Nations details, for example, in the morning when Elders wake up, it’s not just having a bowl of oatmeal that refreshes them and provides them with nourishment. Elders wake up and thank the creator for a safe passage through the night. That is how they start the day, by nourishing the soul. I’m proud to see the input from Elders in the guide and think we are making great progress. I made sure to share the BC Elders Guide with many, and I’m excited to see what they think of it.”

Meeting the spiritual, financial, family and friendship needs of Elders is incredibly important, and the BC Elders Guide is designed to provide help to find resources Elders may need as they age. Both the First Nations Health Authority together with the B.C. Ministry of Health hope the guide can help strengthen the connections between Elders, their territory and each other.

To download your PDF version of the guide click HERE.



A 'Picture Perfect" Day ....... seems like only yesterday!


Nanaimo Rivers Day


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Letter From Gary Korpan

I see our current (for a few more months) Mayor and Council are once again proving my point - "It is real easy to spend other people's money. It is impossible for some to stop spending other people's money."

City staff recommended only to receive for information the report on the consultation process for the Port Theatre expansion. NOT to approve massive multi-million dollar spending for it.

This appears to be another end run around the normal process of scrutiny to determine which proposals are really a community priority. Since when is a rehearsal hall a priority over the long delayed Hammond Bay/Linley Valley fire hall? Or any number of other higher City needs?

Remember in November.

Gary Korpan


Nanaimo City Council Meeting 9/29/14


  Nanaimo City Council Meeting

Monday Sept. 29, 2014
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • RECESS TO e-TOWN HALL MEETING (Up to 1 1/2 hrs.)
  • Two property tax exemption presentations
  • Property Tax Exemption Bylaw
  • DVP 1680 - 1690 Townsite Rd.
  • DVP 3000 Keighly Road
  • DVP 178 Westwood Road
  • DVP 680 Trans Canada Highway (BC Ferries)
  • DVP 770 Franklyn Street
  • DVP 3462 Budehaven Drive
  • DVP 370 Westwood Road
  • Liquor Licence Application 223 Commercial Street
  • Covenant Amendment Application - 4989 Wills Rd.
  • Update Linley Valley Parkland Acquisition Program
  • Amendment to Bylaw - Land Title Cost Recovery
  • Unresolved Building Deficiencies
  • Nuisance Properties 25 Haliburton Street
  • Structure Removal 215 Newcastle Avenue
  • Unauthorized suite 960 Brechin Road
  • Property Maintenance Bylaw 727 O'Brien Place, 5 Needham, 543 Nova, 755 Albert
  • Nanaimo Advisory Planning Committee appointments
  • Motion Hilton Hotel project by referendum rather than alternative approval process
  • Motion - smart phone app for city tasks reporting potholes, graffiti etc.
  • Motion Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan Considerations to be included in all development related staff reports

      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

      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! 


      Parksville Gets Business Award

      Nine communities receive Open for Business Awards
      WHISTLER – A record nine B.C. communities were honoured with the B.C. Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Awards yesterday as part of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in Whistler.

      The Open for Business Awards recognize local policies, projects and programs that support small business. This year’s recipients are Grand Forks, Kelowna, City of Langley, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Vernon. As an incentive to promote an open-for-business culture, the BC Small Business Roundtable is providing $10,000 to each winning community to fund a local, small-business friendly program that aligns with the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.

      This year, for the first time, the B.C. Small Business Roundtable received submissions from all eight economic regions and short-listed 13 community finalists. Award evaluations were based on local measures that make it easier to do business in that community, including enhancing small-business competitiveness, recognizing the contributions of small businesses to the community, and promoting the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord. The evaluation criteria reflected the accord by recognizing that when small businesses are celebrated and supported by their communities, they are more likely to be competitive and innovative.

      The B.C. Small Business Roundtable was established in 2005 to be the voice for small business to government. Through its diverse sector membership of small-business owners and association leaders, the roundtable helps government develop strategies to support the growth and success of small business throughout the province.


      Wednesday, September 24, 2014

      McKay Runs For Mayor


      McKinnon Runs For Mayor


      Sidewalk/Bike Lane Project on Bowen Rd

      The City of Nanaimo will be constructing a sidewalk and bike lane along the southwest side of Bowen Road between Pine Street and Buttertubs Drive. This project is currently out to tender and scheduled to begin in October and will take approximately ten weeks to complete.

      Traffic control personel will be on site to ensure that traffic delays are minimized. Drivers are urged to use extra caution when driving through construction zones; be aware of on-site workers; obey posted construction signs; and follow the directions of traffic control personnel.

      When complete there will be a raised asphalt sidewalk which will extend from Pine Street to Buttertubs Drive and will also include a dedicated bike lane for cyclists. This also means there will be a continuous sidewalk the full length of Bowen Road. This type of sidewalk on an existing road bed is the least expensive sidewalk to install.

      During the construction commuters should either allow a bit more time or take an alternate route.


      Nanaimos' Next Mayor??


      While I believe that Brunie Brunie is the only person to officially announce they are seeking to occupy the Mayor's chair at city hall, rumors abound as to who the other contenders might be. Of course we now know that Bill Bestwick will not be occupying that chair given his new job but he still is seeking a council seat.

      None of the following have been confirmed of course, and nothing is truly official until after the nomination period is closed but as of now some of the names being tossed around for the 'big chair' include:

      John Ruttan
      Bill McKay
      Roger McKinnon
      Bill Holdom
      Jim Routledge
      Jeet Manhas
      Al Thompson

      Any I have missed? Of course the over-the-top, strongly denied rumor that had floated around was that our MLA might seek the office of Mayor and quit driving to Victoria.


      Mayor Seeks Provincial Support/Answers

      No definitive answers on either issue

      As the above screen grab from the local Daily on Tuesday reports, Mayor Ruttan and several councilors and the city manager were meeting with provincial authorities to discuss a couple of Nanaimo issues. This is during the UBCM convention they are attending at Whistler.

      The two issues of concern are Provincial support for the IFS $14,000,000  federal grant to fund the downtown to downtown ferry service, and a clarification on whether or not Nanaimo could have a WTE at Duke Point, even if city council opposes it.

      A report in today's Daily says the Nanaimo contingent met with Minister Todd Stone looking for support for the ferry grant with the result that the Ministry of Transportation staff will sit down with city staff to get a better understanding of the proposal. Basically there was no commitment from the province to support the application for the Federal grant monies.

      A meeting with the Premiers chief of staff with regards the WTE question also resulted in nothing definitive coming from the province.

      Given that both of these items have been hot items in Nanaimo for many months, it is curious as to why the city of Nanaimo administration is just now seeking support from the provincial government. Of course the cynic in me would suspect this is an example of the city spin doctor manipulating a bit of pre-election posturing for our sitting Mayor. A question worth asking is why is this the first time city hall has approached the province on either of these issues. After all, the Legislature is a whole lot closer than Whistler.


      Tuesday, September 23, 2014


      Celebrity Solstice spends a day in Nanaimo

      Shuttle buses bring visitors to our downtown waterfront

      Visitors getting advice on what to see and do downtown

      The historic Bastion was was a 'must see' with most

      Too early for the cannon firings (there were three this day)

      Pioneer Plaza market merchants did a brisk trade

      The weather made sidewalk dining an enjoyable experience

      The Krall Space seemed to lack a little lustre

      Lone Piper draws attention to the Military Museum in Pipers Park



      Right to Know Week highlights public information access
      VICTORIA – The Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson has released the following statement to mark Right to Know Week in British Columbia, recognized internationally as a way to highlight the importance of access to information.

      “Every year, Right to Know Week underscores the importance of access to information in British Columbia. The public’s right to understand what government is doing is a cornerstone of our democratic process.

      “We are recognized as a leader in providing open data to the public to be used in research, to develop applications, or virtually any other imaginative use citizens can think of. Through DataBC, there are more than 3,000 datasets available with new data posted to the site regularly.

      “Earlier this year, we made a significant amount of B.C.’s legislation, current and historical, available for free with the expansion of the BC Laws website. Previously this information was available by subscription.

      “Our commitment to expanding access to information means we are always looking for better ways to provide information in accessible ways. I am happy to announce that in the coming months, we will begin to proactively release government purchasing-card data on a quarterly basis rather than at the end of the fiscal year with Public Accounts. We recognize that to keep pace with modern times, we need to provide this kind of information on a more frequent basis.

      “There are a number of open government projects currently underway to enhance websites and make data, information and services more open and accessible. These projects will be rolling out over the coming months.”


      Monday, September 22, 2014

      LNG Conversions For BC Ferries

      Spirit of British Columbia

      LNG Conversions for SPIRIT-CLASS VESSELS

      S-Class conversions brings BC Ferries’ dual fuel fleet to five vessels

      VICTORIA – BC Ferries plans to convert its two largest vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, to dual fuel, as well as make modifications to the hull, in order to save approximately $9.2 million per year (in today’s dollars) over the remaining 27-year life cycle of the two vessels. The conversion is part of an application the company submitted today to the BC Ferries Commissioner for approval to proceed with mid-life upgrades of the vessels.

      The plans come on the heels of a BC Ferries announcement in July 2014 to build three intermediate-class dual fuel vessels for delivery in the years 2016 to 2017. BC Ferries expects total savings from LNG for the five vessels to be approximately $12.0 million per year (in today’s dollars), based on current fuel price estimates, which will significantly reduce upward pressure on fares.

      “We are well aware that fare affordability is a concern for our customers and operating on LNG, which is approximately 50 per cent cheaper than marine diesel, is a game changer for BC Ferries,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We’ve been driving a culture of cost containment in many areas of our business without compromising safety and we are moving forward with LNG conversions, which will help us realize significant environmental benefits and enormous financial savings on our fuel bill.”

      BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit-Class vessels consumed approximately 15 per cent of the fleet total. These vessels are the largest consumers of fuel in the BC Ferries fleet and the conversion will reduce their cost of fuel by approximately half.


      Chowder Competition Ends In Tie

      Bold Knight Restaurant Executive Chef/Owner Samples Their Entry

      Old City Station Pub Tied For Best Chowder Overall

      A Perfect Day For Chowda Heads To Sample Nanaimos' Finest

      Bold Knight Restaurant & Old City Station Pub

      Judged Best Overall Chowder

      The first Chowder competition held this past Saturday sponsored by Lucky's Liquor Store and the Chamber of Commerce resulted in a tie for the best chowder overall.

      The Bold Knight Restaurant and the Old City Station Pub took top honors with their versions of a traditional New England chowder.

      Best use of local ingredients went to Riso for using herbs picked from their own deck garden. While Longwood Brew Pub took honors for using the most unique ingredient, which was a beer they brewed themselves.

      The people's choice winner will be announced on Tuesday. The event allowed guests to sample all 12 chowders for $12, which was a very satisfying meal. The weather could not have been better for what will likely prove to be an annual event.


      A New Visitor To Our Backyard

      Steller's Jay Becoming A 'Regular'

      In all the time we have been feeding birds we can only recall one other time a Steller's Jay paid a visit. However, this past week, this fellow has become a regular, dropping in 3 or 4 times daily. He is a colourful addition, but I'm not sure if our other feathered friends are thrilled to see him. He seems a little 'bossy'.


      Harewood Flood Zone Signs Moved Around

      Are Flood Hazard signs really necessary?

      The continuing saga of the Colliery Dams in Harewood has now seen the city remove 15 Flood Hazard waning signs and relocate 15 of the signs throughout the 'flood zone' in Harewood. Needless to say, the residents who now have one of the relocated signs in front of their property are less than pleased, as the signs are seen as reducing property values in the area.

      For those who have not tuned out this ongoing opera, you will know that a proper study of the dams concluded they would not suddenly fail in a seismic event. It was the hypothesis of engineering firm KCB that predicted a wall of water would suddenly tear through Harewood taking as many as 150 lives following the complete failure of two dams in Colliery Dam Park in a matter of minutes following an earthquake. That has now been proven a pure work of conjecture not based on fact.

      As you will note the above sign refers to an earthquake as being the event which should send residents of the area fleeing for their lives. In the event of an earthquake is this really the best advice now? What if we were downtown along the waterfront? Should we flee that area for fear of a tsunami? If so, where are those warning signs?

      The signs seem a little misleading.

      Mythical Flood Now The Hazard

      Since the seismic event is no longer going to trigger this catastrophic event it seems those responsible for our safety are now convinced a flood of Biblical proportions 'could' also cause problems, and hence the spending of millions of tax dollars to solve another hypothesis. Is it any wonder, confidence in the brain trust at city hall is becoming less and less as this saga continues? After spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a completely disproved hypothesis, we are now expected to put blind faith and confidence in yet another hypothesis?

      If the hypothetical event were to ever occur that would result in the massive flood which apparently warrants the installation of 65+ signs throughout Harewood, how many other areas around Nanaimo should be sporting the same warning signs?

      A reader of this blog commented recently, that at the entrance to Nanaimo, there should be signs carrying the warning "Beware Nanaimo City Council".




      Sunday, September 21, 2014

      Fall Shoreline Cleanup - Nanaimo Area

      Nanaimo Shoreline Cleanup
      Click map, search 'Nanaimo' to find cleanup needs around Nanaimo.

      The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a conservation effort of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF, engaging Canadians across the country to help cleanup and rehabilitate local beaches, shorelines and waterways.

      This year, there are 667 registered shoreline cleanups taking place throughout the province between Sept. 20 – 28, 2014


      Saturday, September 20, 2014

      Harvest Festival Sept. 20 Old City Quarter


      Sunday Farmers' Markets - Nanaimo Area

       Lantzville Farmers' Market
      Open Sunday (May 27 - Oct. 2012)
      Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 27th through to October.
      The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.
      For information contact lantzvillefarmersmarket@gmail.com.

      Cedar Farmers' Market
      Open Sunday (May 13 - Oct. 28, 2012)

      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 13 to October 28, 2012 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 www.cedarfarmersmarket.com or call 250-668-5783


      Friday, September 19, 2014


       Nanaimo Schools To Open Tuesday Sept. 23

      The 86% yes vote by striking teachers will see schools across the province back in business next week.

      Nanaimo area schools are tentatively set to open on Tueday, September 23 for a full day, with some exceptions as noted on the Districts' website. More information about specific school openings and exceptions can be seen at www.sd68.bc.ca.


      Some districts have already announced that their schools will be open for students on Monday. Our district is delaying having students in schools until Tuesday for the following reasons:
      • Our school district was under picket lines all summer. This was not the case in most other districts. The picket lines meant that facilities support staff were not able to clean and prepare facilities for school opening, nor were office staff able to carry out the organizational and registration processes necessary to organize classes, students timetables, etc.
      • While teachers may be back to work on Friday, under the terms of the back-to-work agreement there will not be an opportunity for organizational meetings with teachers on Friday.
      • We need the day on Monday to ensure schools are safe and clean and ready for students, and to complete the necessary organizational tasks.
      • In other districts that have announced a Monday start, typically students are only attending for an hour on that day. Our first day for students on Tuesday will be all day for elementary students.



      New website supports tenants, landlords

      VICTORIA – The Province launched a new, updated website to help tenants and landlords access the information they need to maintain successful tenancies.

      The new Residential Tenancy website is simple to navigate and provides plain language information on tenancy laws and regulations, making it easier for tenants and landlords to understand their responsibilities.

      Website features include:
      • Searchable information
      • Helpful tips for landlords and tenants
      • Online forms
      • Contact information
      The website redesign aligns with the B.C. government’s Citizens @ the Centre goal to increase self-service options for British Columbians online and supports the Province’s commitment to making government data, information and services more open and accessible.



      Bridge would replace existing service

      VICTORIA – In response to a petition signed by a significant number of Gabriola Island residents, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will study the feasibility of a fixed link between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island that would replace existing ferry service.

      This feasibility study is also consistent with government’s goals of connecting coastal communities in a sustainable manner, and finding innovative ways to reduce the upward pressure on coastal ferry fares.

      The ministry will retain an independent consultant to examine potential locations for a fixed link, provide cost estimates for a fixed link, and undertake a cost comparison between a fixed link and the existing ferry service. The consultant will not be assessing the level of public support for a bridge.

      The feasibility study will get underway this fall and is expected to be completed in spring 2015. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will post the study’s full terms of reference once the consultant is in place.

      Gabriola Island is home to approximately 4,000 full-time residents. BC Ferries’ Route 19, between Gabriola Island and Nanaimo Harbour, carried 341,000 vehicles in 2013-14.

       “Gabriola Island residents have petitioned the provincial government to do this study so that any future discussion about a fixed link can be based on current, factual information. On that basis, and in consideration of our vision that coastal communities are connected in a sustainable manner, we’ll assess the feasibility of a fixed link between the two islands.”  Todd Stone Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure

      Comment: Aren't BC Ferries in the process of taking bids to build a new Gabriola Ferry Terminal? Should that be put on hold until this bridge study is complete?


      Lions Free Skate Sundays


      Seafood Chowder Competition - Saturday


      A torrent of succulent soups, bisques and chowders will deluge visitors at Nanaimo's inaugural Seafood Chowder Competition on Saturday, September 20th, 11:30-3:30 at Country Club Centre. Under tents in the Country Club Centre parking lot, this family event is presented by Lucky's Liquor Store and the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

      Up to 16 'Chowder Chefs' from local restaurants will offer their entries to a judging panel of event sponsors, presenters, media and local dignitaries. A 'Peoples Choice Award' will also be presented at the end of the day's tastings after public feedback weighs in.

      Live Entertainmentis provided by "The Big Mess" - an amazing local father and son duo. A bouncy castle, face painting and lemonade stand are part of the family day too.

      Chowder samples are priced at 12 for $12 with cash donations to Loaves & Fishes highly encouraged. Admission for the entertainment is free and advance passes for a dozen chowder samplings are available through participating restaurants, at Lucky's Liquor Store, or the Chamber of Commerce offices on Bowen Road. Individual sampling tickets are also on sale for $2 each at the event in front of Lucky's.

      See you there 'chowda heads'! For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 250-756-1191 or check out our Facebook page.



      The Times Colonist reports that Eli Williams 22, was arrested by Gabriola Island RCMP following a vicious assault outside the Old City Pub on Skinner Street.

      When officers arrived they found two injured men, one 26 year old with a severe wound to his neck and other 32 year old with bad cuts who was unconscious.

      Const. Gary O'Brien  described the injuries caused by a broken beer bottle horrendous and said that if it had not been for the emergency medical aid the injuries could have been fatal.

      Eli Williams is in custody charged with assault, assault with a weapon and aggravated assault. Anyone who witnessed the assault is asked to contact the Nanaimo police bike unit at 250-754-2345.


      Thursday, September 18, 2014

      Friday Farmers' Markets - Nanaimo

      Downtown Farmers' Market in Pioneer Plaza beside the Bastion, Friday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.

      Harewood Market behind the 7 - 11 in University Village (Harewood Mall) from 4:00 - 6:00 pm.

      Friday Evening Market downtown in Diana Krall Plaza 4:00 - 8:00 pm


      More Vote Pandering With Tax Dollars??

      $6.6 Million For Port Theatre Expansion

      In an 8 - 1 vote, council voted on a motion put forward by Councillor Pattje to commit $6.6 million to the Port Theatre expansion project at the Sept. 8 city council meeting.

      This happens to be the one council meeting in the past year I missed, as sadly I had to spend some time on Saltspring Island away from streaming video, so I missed the entire event.

      My understanding is that Pattje's motion was brought during the meeting with no advance notice which might have allowed a delegation to speak to the matter who might object to this commitment at this time. I am sure the entire community might want to know where $6.6 million is coming from before being committed to it.

      It is likely this item would get the approval of Nanaimo residents as it has been promoted as a much needed addition in our community, It would be nice however, if we knew that for sure, and a referendum this November would be a sure way of knowing.


      Referendums have an upside and a downside like most things we undertake in governance. The downside of course is the cost, the upside is the fact you give the people paying the freight an opportunity to have a say before spending millions and millions of tax dollars. I think some thought should be given to setting a dollar amount that would automatically trigger a referendum for items not already in the budget.

      There are now three items that could be decided by referendum as part of the upcoming civic election which would allow the entire community to make their wishes known.

      Those items include the Port Theatre Expansion $6.6 million, the Linley Valley purchase $9 million and the Georgia Park lease to the Hilton Hotel developer, while we are at it, perhaps the Colliery Dams could also be included.

      I doubt if it would cost that much during an election time to include multiple items on the ballot and that would give the community a chance to PARTICIPATE in decisions effecting spending of their tax dollars.


      Of course the idea that the community needs to have a say at any time other than election time is not popular with the majority of this council, and certainly seems unpopular with the current city manager.

      I realize we can not put every single item to referendum as that would make the already slowly grinding wheels at city hall come to a complete stop, but I believe they do have a place for matters of significance and as stated earlier when a certain level of spending is involved.

      As it now stands, if a project is being financed with long term borrowing (more than 5 years) it MUST go to referendum regardless of the dollar amount borrowed. However, if council chooses to repay a loan in less time there is virtually no limit to how much they could vote to spend provided it is repaid within 5 years. The source of repayment of course would be a large tax increase to repay the debt.

      I invite your comments on the issue.