Sunday, November 30, 2014



The seven year old boy died of his injuries which were described as significant burns and smoke inhalation. He was in cardiac arrest when removed from the building but was resuscitated on scene and taken to BC Children's Hospital via hovercraft.

The local Daily reports at 3:17 am Saturday RCMP driving by the engulfed building attempted to enter when told someone was inside. They were unable to enter the home as it was fully engulfed.

Two firefighters were able to enter the building and locate and rescue the young boy, who was stabilized on scene and taken to NRGH for further treatment.

The apartment in the 300 block of Albert Street was home to two adults and six children all of who has escaped the building.


NANAIMO ARTS & CULTURE (2) by Dan Appell

a personal view of arts and culture in Nanaimo

This is the second in a series of articles dealing with the persons and conditions creating cultural experience in Nanaimo.

The Art Ensemble Initiative Of the Universe (AEIOU) sprung from the very active mind of Valentina Cardinalli. She collected a varied crew of fellow artists who collaborate on “live” paintings created at public events, usually musical events. Her fellow artists include Alejandra Gomez Cono, Carly Jahova Neigum, Denisa Kraus and many others including myself.

Valentina has at arts background that leans towards the performance arts. Her talents and training are particularly well suited to organizing the collaborative events she is involved in. Her one prevailing rule is; if it stops being fun then stop doing it. Then the second rule is; if you are preventing someone else from enjoying themselves then get out of the way. Its most important to enjoy the experience of creating something as a small community and less important the final product.

Usually, the group works on one or two fairly large canvases, during a performance of live music. The direction from Valentina is very light, she suggests a theme and off we go. The atmosphere is more of a party event than an art event, so it is easy going, without the clash of egos. Afterwards the paintings may be sold or given away.

This group also has an educational component. This weekend we are involved in a workshop-like craft event at the Downtown Library. We want to demonstrate the art of making shadow puppets and we hope to involve children, families and everybody participating in the Art Walk.

Should this group ever get any financial backing it could easily expand into complete theatre production, including happenings, dance, fringe theatre and traditional theatre productions. The range of talents Valentina has collected is phenomenal, and, I have to admit, I feel very honoured to be a part of it.

My own involvement with this group and our projects has always made me ridiculously happy.

This group reinforces the idea that all art is essentially an experience. As a visual artist we tend to focus on the object we are creating. We tend to mistake the object for art. In fact the object is just pencil on paper, or paint on canvas, or whatever other materials we happen to be working with. The art happens, just as it does in theatre, or musical events, as we experience it. Art happens behind the eyes and between the ears. If someone is inclined to buy that object we hope it is because they want to relive the experience of viewing it in a more personal setting.

AEIOU is a group of bright, young, optimistic, creative individuals and myself who are making art in a very non-traditional way, and pushing the boundaries of how we define fine art, and culture in our community.

 Click image to enlarge


Falling Oil Prices = Falling Pump Prices


With oil prices at their lowest levels in 4 years and being off by nearly 40% since June and now that OPEC has decided not to fix prices, consumers should see a break at the gas pump over the coming days and weeks.

Many people are of the belief that the consumer is still being gouged at the retail level as pump prices are not falling anywhere as quickly as oil prices. I have heard from more than one source, a fair pump price should currently be in the $1.00/L range.


Nanaimo 117.9

Duncan 117.9

Victoria 111.9

Comox 111.9

Toronto 104.9

Calgary 94.9


Saturday, November 29, 2014



Snowfall Warning Nanaimo

Snowfall Warning   
Issued at 4:07 a.m. PST Saturday 29 November 2014   

An arctic air mass over the BC Interior is forcing cold air out of the mainland valleys and inlets, including Howe Sound and the Fraser Valley. As the cold air moved across the Strait of Georgia, it picked up moisture and snow streamers or squalls have developed. These will give widely varying amounts of snow but local accumulations of 10cm over southern portions of East Vancouver Island and portions of the Gulf Islands are expected. Snow will ease later this morning and clearing is expected later today as the airmass dries.

Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Visibility may be suddenly reduced at times in heavy snow. Environment Canada meteorologists will update alerts as required. Please monitor local media or Weatheradio.


Dragonfly Dreams Photo Magic

Another example of local photo-artist Sheryl Falls haunting work. A perfect example of her tag line: "stalking shadows & stealing light". See more of her captivating work at


Nanaimo City Council Meeting Dec. 1/14
Inaugural Meeting Of
Nanaimo City Council
Monday Dec.1 , 2014
7:00 PM Mt. Benson Ballroom
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
The Public Is Welcome

        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 "!

        The Inaugural meeting of the Council of the City of Nanaimo is primarily a ceremonial meeting with the swearing in of the new city council, an inaugural address by Mayor Bill McKay and the appointing of council members to the Regional District of Nanaimo Board.


        Canada's Auto Loan Bubble

        An article in the Financial Post points to a ticking time bomb in the Canadian economy in the way of the auto loan bubble which has seen many Canadians roll old debt into new car debt. One example in the article points to a person with a $55,000 debt written against a $35,000 automobile.

        A person wanted to be a draft technologist and calculated that one day he'd be making more than enough money to pay off his student loan.

        But he needed a car to do that. And that led to another kind of debt: A car loan. That loan will now take him another seven years to pay off. When it is finally done the now 42-year-old will have paid $55,000 for a 2014 Nissan Altima that would have cost him $18,000 if he'd just paid for it outright.

        The article also details the explosion in car loans to Canadian consumers climbing from $18.87B in 2004 to a staggering $63.86B in 2013.

        The chief executive of the Credit Counseling Society warns a growing number of consumers are getting themselves into the type of credit traps that could turn ugly. He went on to warn that in a manageable scenario no more than 20% of take-home pay should go towards non-mortgage debt. Going beyond that and you are flirting with disaster. That 20% is a maximum he says.


        Friday, November 28, 2014

        Pictures With Santa - Nanaimo 2014

        Santa Visits & Picture Hours Around Nanaimo

        Woodgrove Centre
        Monday - Saturday 11:00 am - 8:00 pm
        Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm

        Nanaimo North Town Centre
        Mon. - Fri. 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
        Sat. & Sun. 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

        Country Club Centre
        Mon. - Sat. 11:00 am -1:00 pm, 2:00 pm -5:00 pm, 
        Sun. 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


        Petition Calls For Brennan Investigation


        Santa Claus Parade Nov. 29/14

        SANTA CLAUS PARADE SAT. NOV. 29 - 5:00 PM

        Family activities begin November 29th when Santa returns to downtown Nanaimo via Harbour Air Seaplane. Be sure to be on hand at 1:30pm at the waterfront as Patti and the team from 91.7 Coast FM warm up the crowd and get everyone ready to welcome Santa and his Elves back to the harbour city.  From there, children can escort Santa to the grand opening of his workshop at 101 Gordon Street in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.  Santa’s Workshop will be a beehive of activity between 2:30pm and 4:30pm and families can enjoy free hot chocolate, cookies and live entertainment with Andrew Crosby. Don’t forget to pick up your antlers to wear to the parade.

        Head down to Diana Krall Plaza at 4:30pm before the parade begins for the lighting of the 24 foot Christmas Tree. There will be plenty of activity happening in and around Commercial Street as service clubs and businesses get in to the festive spirit and hand out treats to parade goers.

        The annual Lion’s Club Santa Claus Parade will begin at 5pm.  Enjoy brightly lit floats, marching bands and of course Santa Claus.




        We all know that politicians have a reputation for saying whatever they think might get them elected, and then turn off the hearing aide once safely ensconced in the seat of power.

        As a fellow candidate during the most recent election I think I can safely say, that those elected would agree on the following courses of action during their term in office. I think the order I have assembled the actions is a sound way to approach things in order to achieve their stated goals.

        GOVERNANCE REVIEW RECOMMENDATIONS - the recommendations that would effectively limit and stifle public input during open Council Meetings needs to find its way into the trash can.

        LEADERCAST INVESTIGATION - I believe this is one of the solemn promises made by our Mayor- elect Bill McKay. It would be consistent with what he and Councillors Kipp and Bestwick attempted to bring about during the previous council. This is something that was never resolved to public satisfaction and another example of the previous Mayor and Councils desire to keep as much out of the public eye as possible. Getting this taken care of from the get-go will go miles to establishing the credibility of Mayor-elect and this council.

        CORE SERVICES REVIEW -  or Program and Services Review, or Taxpayer Benefits Review, or whatever else you choose to call it. This was the mantra of Councillor Jim Kipp throughout this past council's term and sadly, the majority of council either didn't know the purpose of such a review or they were heavily influenced by the union strength on Council, which only see these reviews as 'witch hunts' to quote Councillor Brennan.

        This review is absolutely essential if this city is ever going to be put on a even keel. The review MUST be done by other than city hall staff who simply are not capable of bringing a fresh, objective approach to the whole process. If this Mayor and Council can 'get it together' and agree on how to proceed, hopefully it will be done before we head into the 2016 budget process. Few things are likely to change for the 2015 budget period, except to find where to find some extra money to fund those last few vote-buying exercises of the outgoing council.

        ZERO BASED BUDGETING - This should be easy to initiate, the only difficulty will come when our new Council is faced with a budget clearly showing that all the money being spent now, is absolutely necessary.

        DEAL WITH COST OF WAGES AND BENEFITS AT CITY HALL - The single biggest cost centre at city hall is the cost of wages and benefits to our well-paid (and some may say overpaid) city managers and union employees. The amount of money paid for wages and benefits at city hall is over 80% of every tax dollar collected by the city. Note, this is tax dollars (over $92,000,000) and does not include user fees, dcc's, transfer payments etc.
        Exempt staff contracts need reviewing and an end has to be put to these unbelievable severance and retirement packages we keep having to pay for.

        I'm not sure how my 'wish list' dovetails with our new Mayor's agenda as outlined on his election website, but will be interested to see the impact a competent, focused and functional council will have on this city we all love to call home.

        I am sure I speak for all of us in wishing them all the very best as they undertake the daunting task of guiding Nanaimo over the next four years into a period that finally fulfills all of the latent promise and potential that seems to have eluded us so far.

        Click image to enlarge


        Thursday, November 27, 2014

        Letter to the Editor

        Immediate reforms to restore confidence in Council

        This Monday the newly elected Mayor and Council will be sworn into office at the Port of Nanaimo Conference Centre in public session open to everyone. The peaceful transition of government is one of the most inspiring and important components of democracy.

        Given the degradation of democratic principles by the outgoing Mayor and Council, it will be a challenge to restore public confidence. Immediate reforms to restore such confidence in Council include the following.

        A resolution this Monday by the new Council stating: "Unless required by law, Nanaimo City Council shall direct that all 'confidential', 'secret', or 'in-camera' communications of all types shall be made public and posted online as soon as they are no longer needed solely to protect the interests of the citizens of Nanaimo."

        Further, a resolution this Monday by the new Council stating: "It is the policy of Nanaimo City Council to provide open, accessible governance and any policy that unduly prevents that is hereby rescinded.No unreasonable restrictions on public questions in open, public Council meetings shall be permitted."

        This is a good start. More to follow. Now let's get on with the core reviews of all City functions, programs, processes, and facilities.

        Gary Korpan


        NANAIMO ARTWALK - 2014




        There are some big changes with the Hamperville Christmas Hamper program which is a joint effort of the Salvation Army and Loaves & Fishes Food Bank.

        The major collection/sorting/shipping will happen in their warehouse at 210 Fry Street, but distribution of hampers will be from satellite locations across the city from south to north, which should make it easier for clients this year to collect their hamper.

        Another big change this year is the way the hamper contents will be chosen. Clients will be able to choose what items they will be putting in their hampers, rather than being given a pre-packed hamper which may or may not contain items they would choose.


        The new distribution system will require more volunteers than in the past and as always volunteers are who make this program a success, with 700 needed this year.

        To register as a volunteer go to the Hamperville website at and click on the Volunteers tab which will take you to the sign up page.



        New Terminal Opening in Nanaimo, BC. Shipping to and from Nanaimo has never been easier for Day & Ross Customers.

        The above announcement appears on the Day & Ross Freight website indicating that as of Dec.1 they will be operating a satellite terminal in Nanaimo serving Nanaimo and points north and west.


        Wednesday, November 26, 2014

        Things on the net that make ya' smile




        BC Ferries will be operating five vessels on LNG by 2018

        VICTORIA – The BC Ferries Commissioner has approved BC Ferries’ application to convert its two largest vessels, the Spirit of Vancouver Island and the Spirit of British Columbia, to dual fuel, as well as to proceed with the mid-life upgrades of the vessels. By using LNG instead of marine diesel fuel, as well as making some hull modifications, BC Ferries expects to save approximately $9.2 million per year (in today’s dollars) over the remaining 27-year life cycle of the two vessels.

        “This is a huge step forward to help address fare affordability, as using LNG will greatly reduce our operating expenses on these two vessels,” said Mark Wilson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Engineering. “LNG also offers significant environmental benefits, cutting carbon emissions by about 25 per cent, sulphur oxides by almost 100 per cent and nitrogen oxides by 85 per cent, which translates into much cleaner exhaust emissions than diesel fuel.”

        In addition to converting the two Spirit Class vessels to LNG, BC Ferries is also building three, dual fuel intermediate class vessels scheduled for delivery in 2016 and 2017. These ships will operate in the Southern Gulf Islands and on the Powell River – Comox route.

        BC Ferries spent $126 million on fuel last fiscal year and the two Spirit Class vessels consume approximately 15 per cent of the fleet total. Converting these ships to LNG will reduce their cost of fuel by approximately 50 per cent.

        The Spirit of Vancouver Island’s LNG conversion and mid-life upgrade is planned from the fall of 2016 through the spring of 2017. The Spirit of British Columbia’s project is planned to occur from the fall of 2017 through the spring of 2018.

        BC Ferries is presently conducting a worldwide procurement process to select a prime contractor and the dual fuel propulsion equipment supplier. The company plans to make a selection not later than the second quarter of 2015.

        Under Section 55 of the Coastal Ferry Act, BC Ferries must not incur a major capital expenditure without first obtaining approval for the expenditure from the BC Ferries Commissioner.
        Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia.


        Nanaimo Residential Christmas Lights Contest 2014


        Once again the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Spirit of Christmas light up contest for both commercial and residential entrants.

        If you want to enter your home in this years contest you can find the above form online which you can print and return to the Chamber or simply phone 250-756-1191 and the friendly folk at the Chamber will take all your info over the phone. You can download a printable pdf form here.

        The deadline to have your entry into the Chamber is 4:00 pm on Wednesday Dec. 17 and judging will take place on the evening of Thursday December 18th.

        Be sure to watch Nanaimo Info Blog for a list and map of this years winning entries, this is always a very popular event over the holiday season, and spending a night or two touring Nanaimo, admiring the fantastic displays has become a tradition we all enjoy.


        Nanaimo Building Permit Video

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


        Click image to enlarge


        Tuesday, November 25, 2014

        Zero Waste Nanaimo Kick-off

        One of the main spinoffs from the Zero Waste International conference held in Nanaimo last month is the creation of Zero Waste Nanaimo.

        Zero Waste Nanaimo’s goal is to ensure that the Nanaimo region becomes one of Canada’s first authentic zero waste communities.

        The kick-off event will be held on Friday (Nov. 28) at 6 p.m. at the 7-10 Club headquarters, 285 Prideaux St.

        For more information,
        please contact Ian Gartshore at 250-754-0698.


        More Censorship From Mayor Ruttan

        Nanaimo resident Dominic Jones
        Delegate not allowed to speak
        "Nanaimo residents have been cheated of the result they actually sought on election day"

        At the November 24 Nanaimo City Council meeting, Nanaimo resident Dominic Jones attempted to present his concerns about the recent election results given the illegal use of social media by Mrs. Diane Brennan.

        The complaint which Mr. Jones filed with Elections BC has been previously published on this website and can be viewed in it's entirety HERE.  As I understand the purpose of his delegation was to have his complaint become a part of the city record, as council were receiving the official results of the election.

        As soon as Jones made reference to Mrs. Diane Brennan he was challenged and told his presentation could not be a 'personal attack' on Brennan. Jones continued a short time before being challenged by Councillor Anderson and I believe Brennan along the same line claiming a point of order and that the substance of the delegation was not related to the agenda item.

        After not being allowed to make his presentation Jones was allowed to have the written presentation put on the record which was submitted to staff.

        Mayor offside with ruling?

        Mayor Ruttan earned a reputation for secrecy and lack of transparency during this last term in office, and his performance at his last council meeting is yet another example of what appears a desire to silence any voice he doesn't agree with. In this case he prevented a citizen from exercising their right to speak in open council with no valid reason for doing so. Of course he was pressed by the 'point-of-order' twins, Councillors Anderson and Brennan and as usual the balance of council seem impotent to intervene. Perhaps they don't wish to expose their ignorance of the procedural rules by challenging their fellow Councillors.

        Councillor Diane Brennan
        Impact of internet campaigning on election day?

        At issue with Mr. Jones is his concern of four instances of unlawful advertising by Mrs. Diane Brennan which are unlawful under Section 45 (3) (a) of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act.

        In his written submission (entered into the record, but not allowed to be presented publicly), Jones notes the recent election results show the electorate delivered an emphatic rebuke to Mrs. Brennan in the election. Despite increased voter turnout, Brennan's popular support fell from 7.3% of the poll in 2011 to 4.7% in 2014, a drop of 35% receiving 1,338 fewer votes in spite of increased turnout.

        He further notes Brennan squeaked into office with just 100 votes or 0.08% over the next candidate, who actually received slightly more votes than in the prior election. Now the question is what impact did Mrs. Brennan's unlawful internet campaigning on general voting day have on the outcome of the election.

        You can download and read Mr. Jones Delegation to Nanaimo City Council HERE.


        Nanaimo Woman Missing

        Elizabeth Jane Hull - Missing Since Sunday

        Nanaimo RCMP need help from the public to locate 64-year-old Elizabeth Jane Hull, who has not been seen since noon on Sunday.

        She has been having medical issues of concern to her family, and police say she has not been in contact or left information on social media sites. It is also believed she does not have any money and has not accessed joint bank accounts.

        Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Sarah Lefurgey at 250-754-2345.



        The Vancouver Short Film Festival (VISFF) is holding a bonus film screening of ten classic VISFF films on Friday, November 28 at 7pm. The films by local Vancouver Island filmmakerswill be shown at Vancouver Island University in one of the large lecture theatres (Bldg. 355, room 203).

        Admission is $5 and will help raise funds for artists fees for the 2015 Festival.

        For more information visit the VISFF website HERE.




        The above chart shows the number of votes each of the incumbent members of Council have received in recent elections. I leave it to wiser minds than mine to interpret and conclude what, if anything the numbers indicate.

        In 2011 there were 64,057 eligible voters registered and in 2014 that number had slipped by 196 to 63,861.  That is another stat that raises a few questions, if we are a city that is supposed to be growing it comes as a surprise we have fewer voters over a 3 year period.


        If you consider there were 63,861 eligible voters in this election it means that Bill McKay captured 10.02% of the eligible vote, Beill Bestwick captured 16.00% of the eligible vote, Jim Kipp captured 11.18% of the eligible vote and Diane Brennan captured 10.25% of the eligible vote.

        While the voter turnout did edge upward from 26.9% in 2011 to 34.9% in 2014 that still means that 65.1% of the eligible voters did not participate in this most important civic duty. We still have much reason to hang our heads.


        Monday, November 24, 2014

        Help Habitat for Humanity

        Click Image To Visit Their Website




        The above article in today's Financial Post reports that oil prices could drop to $60 if OPEC doesn't cut back on their output. I doubt there ever was an oil shortage, just a sound way to control prices on the part of the producers.

        That said, it is interesting to note oil prices are off 34% since June, yet nothing approaching that kind of drop is showing up at the pumps. As usual the Nanaimo gas retailer cartel are once again demonstrating their complete lack of conscience as they continue gouging Nanaimo motorists.


        The following prices came from Gas Buddy at 10:30 am Nov. 24/14.

        NANAIMO 121.9

        VANCOUVER 119.0

        DUNCAN 118.9

        VICTORIA 115.9

        COMOX 114.9

        TORONTO 106.9

        OTTAWA 103.5

        CALGARY 95.9



        Internet screen-grab of Automated External Defibrillator

        On Thursday, November 20th during a Nanaimo Oldtimers hockey league game a 34 year old player went into cardiac arrest on the players bench. 

        Teammate Clayton Wilcox and Darren Chadwick, a goal tender for opposing team responded immediately. After assessing the condition and finding no pulse Darren started CPR and Clayton retrieved the on site Automated External Defibrillator. 911 was called and Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded immediately. The player was conscious when transported to NRGH.

        Early reports indicate that the player is doing well and will recover without any permanent damage.

        First AED installed in 2008
        Third time used to save a life

        AED's (Automated External Defibrillator) have been installed in many public facilities in Nanaimo since 2008. The incident on Thursday marks the third time the devices and quick action are credited with saving a life.

        At Nanaimo Ice Centre in 2009 and at Cliff McNabb Arena in 2010 the devices were pressed into service by members of the public in attendance and successfully saved lives.

        "Early CPR and the right equipment on hand is super important.  With these two things people will survive.  I have experience but you don't need it if you have the right equipment. The AED made a difference, every little bit just makes it easier."  Darren Chadwick Goal tender, paramedic Member of the Community.


        Nanaimo Port Authority Appointments

        Ms. Moira Jenkins

        Ms. Moira Jenkins, Ms. Donna Hais,

        and Mr. Chris Badger

         OTTAWA, Nov. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, today announced the appointments of Ms. Moira Jenkins and Ms. Donna Hais to the board of directors of the Nanaimo Port Authority for a term of three years, and of Mr. Chris Badger for a two-year term.

        Ms. Moira Jenkins has more than 40 years of experience with the RBC Financial Group. She has been the Vice-President Commercial Banking of the Vancouver Island North region since 2005, and prior to that, occupied various managerial positions. She has also been involved in several organizations in the Nanaimo community. Ms. Jenkins holds a personal financial planning designation and a Fellowship designation from the Institute of Canadian Bankers.

        Ms. Donna Hais is General Manager and Partner of two businesses: R. W. (Bob) Wall Ltd, and Canadian Cache Development Corporation. She holds a business administration diploma from Malaspina College and is significantly involved in the Nanaimo community. She has served as President of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the Nanaimo Executive Association. Ms. Hais also won the Vancouver Island Business Excellence "2014 Community Leader of the Year" award.

        Mr. Chris Badger, now retired, spent his career in the marine industry. He was the Chief Operating Officer of Port Metro Vancouver from 2008 to 2011 and Vice-President Customer Development and Operations of the Vancouver Port Authority for seven years prior to that. He is a master mariner and a member of the Golden Key International Honour Society. He also served on the board of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, the board of the Western Marine Community Coalition and the board of the International Sailors' Society Canada. He holds a bachelor's degree in General Studies as well as a diploma in Executive Management Development, both from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.

        Hon. Lisa Raitt

        "I am pleased that Ms. Jenkins, Ms. Hais and Mr. Badger have agreed to become part of the Nanaimo Port Authority board of directors. Their combined experience will be truly valuable for the organization."The Honourable Lisa Raitt,Minister of Transport


        Sunday, November 23, 2014

        Nanaimo Council Corner


        Over the next four years our city council has been charged with a near impossible task for mere mortals. In spite of all the good sounding election promises (note, that wisely the re-elected incumbents said very little, the voice of experience) delivering on them will be a Herculean feat that will prove that good intentions are not enough.

        To come anywhere close to achieving goals such as continuing to maintain our aging and in some places failing infrastructure without taking taxes to great new heights while attracting and retaining business or industry that will provide all those family-supporting jobs we sadly lack; will take a level of expertise and competence yet to be seen at city hall.

        I have sent a very brief query to our new council members (and returning) and have invited them to allow me to publish their answers here. It will give folk an opportunity to get to know our newest Councillors and see what they think they have gotten into and what they hope to accomplish.

        I have also extended the invitation to all members of council to use this space anytime they choose if there is something they wish to say, or for that matter rebut something I have said on this site, they disagree with.

        I will be interested to see how many Councillors will respond, and whether they will have found it necessary to run their response past Mr. Cooper, the city Communication Manager or whether they can be open and transparent from the get-go.

        Stay tuned.


        Island Pallet Demolition

        Location of Island Pallets being demolished and old warehouse building foundation being removed, to allow for soil removal and replacement as part of the Wellcox property re-development.
        Those piles of what looks like dirt of ??? is actually the shredded remains of all those pallets you once saw stacked up all along the chain link fence surrounding the property.
        A very large 'jack-hammer' on the working end of an excavator, used to pulverize the concrete foundation of the old warehouse building on this site.
        Tangled mass of reinforcing steel that once held together the foundation and supporting walls of the old warehouse on this site.


        What was billed as a $500,000 demolition and soil removal and replacement project is well along on the site of the Island Pallet location on the Wellcox property on the downtown waterfront.

        This is basically the only area the city can proceed with and make some use of on this downtown waterfront property which is primarily occupied by Seaspan and the ICF. Actually developing and using this piece of the property would be premature at this point based on the report presented by the South Downtown Waterfront Developement Committee, which completed an extensive study of the potential uses for this piece of property.

        There are many hurdles to be overcome before this site comes close to reaching it's potential some of which include the perpetual rights of use licences held on this property by both Seaspan and ICF which basically gives these two firms control of 80% of this site.

        The other expense taxpayers have taken on is the $7 million to replace the existing trestle which leads to the Nanaimo Port Authority properties. The other area of this property which could see use this coming year is the old Gadd site where Island Ferries is hoping to establish their downtown to downtown ferry service next spring.


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

        Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation

        To download the NLSF 2014 report to donors, click on the following image:

        NLSF Report


        Saturday, November 22, 2014

        Great Nanaimo Toy Drive - 2014


        Drop off locations are now accepting toys and gifts and cash of course, for this years Great Nanaimo Toy Drive.  Some loactions include:
        • Woodgrove Centre by the Food Court
        • Saveon foods - at the cash registers
        • Country Club Mall inside the main entrance
        • Nanaimo North Town Centre by London Drugs
        • Coastal Community Credit Unions
        • Port Theatre
        • Nanaimo Fire Halls Numbers 1,2,3 & 4
        • Budget Storage


        There is a big change in registration this year. New locations and times. The Madill building will not be used this year.
        Please check the registration page for all updates.


        Council Seating Change - $4,000

        One of the recommendations that came out of the Goverance Steering Committee report was by changing the configuration of the seating in Shaw Auditorium it would improve how city council conducts their meetings.

        This is the same committee which cost taxpayers about $100,000 to hire consultants to tell the Mayor and City Manager how to interpret Roberts Rules of Order and the Community Charter.

        Originally it was estimated to cost $8,000 for the changes, but staff are saying it can be completed internally for $4,000. I presume this is the material cost and the labour cost associated is not being counted as the staff are already on the payroll.

        If I understand this project was already approved by this council and this is just a report on the progress of the work to be completed in Dec. 2014.

        Note: I assume that Nanaimo City Council are not the only users of Shaw Auditorium, so I wonder how this configuration works to accommodate other users of the auditorium? It appears to greatly reduce the usable floor area in front of the existing council desks.


        Document Shredding Nov. 22/14

        4th Annual document shredding
        Saturday November 22, 2014
        Woodgrove Saveon Foods 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

        Donation of $10 - Proceeds to Crimestoppers


        NANAIMO ARTS & CULTURE by Dan Appell

        Shalema Gantt

        a personal view of arts and culture in Nanaimo by Dan Appell

        I’m hoping this will become a series of articles dealing with the persons and conditions creating cultural experience in Nanaimo. It should give you a bit of a warning about who and what is about to happen, and some insight into what it takes to produce art and cultural events in this city.

        My first article is focusing on the Nanaimo African Heritage Society (NAHS) and their upcoming plans for February’s Black History Month.

        The African Heritage Society is in its 14th year. It was founded and still directed by Shalema Gantt. The purpose for her society is threefold; to improve our understanding of the contributions black people have made to the people of the West coast, to promote black american and African culture, and bridge the cultural divide between black people and the rest of the world. For Shalema, the focus of these three rather large tasks is February and Black History Month.

        For most of the year, Shalema, is involved in one way or another, organizing events for Black History Month. Her efforts become concentrated from now until the end of February. For the next three months, Shalema’s role will alternate between producer, director, editor, salesperson, showman, performer, designer, hostess and whatever else it takes to get this thing done. And each day, seven days a week she is all of these things.

        By the end of February, Shalema will have created an Opening Ceremony, a Gospel Song Festival, a Hip-Hop rave, a concert tribute to Bob Marley and a Closing Gala. Plus, she will have produced a small book that informs us about some aspect of black culture, and all the printed material to promote these events. When its over she will have left a small trace of appreciation for the achievements of Black people in this community.

        What Shalema does is very difficult, stressful, and exhausting. She has given herself a huge task and everyday she rises to fulfill it.

        Without Shalema Gantt its safe to say that Black History Month would come and go without much notice. We would lose an opportunity to be entertained and informed from a perspective that is not our own. Would this matter? Are Shalema’s efforts worth it? All I can tell you, and this is all I’ve ever learned; the more we know and care and understand about other people, the better we become. This is the purpose of culture, and the fundamental belief of all of us involved in cultural endeavours; all of our lives are worth improving.


        Friday, November 21, 2014


        Follows is a suggested letter to be sent to the Chief Electoral Officer if you feel that Councillor Brennan gained an unfair advantage during the election by the misuse of social media on election day.

        If the electoral officer hears from enough concerned Nanaimo voters, he will have to demonstrate his support of the law about using social media on election day by taking some appropriate action.

        If using social media on election day is not considered to have the potential for influencing the vote, then the rule should be struck down, and all candidates can use social media on election day.

        If however, it is deemed to give those using social media an advantage, then clearly Mrs. Brennan's actions should bear consequence.

        The following letter can be copy and pasted, altered to suit your thoughts and emailed to Mr. Archer at

        Be sure to sign the letter giving your name and address.

        Keith Archer, Ph.D.
        Chief Electoral Officer
        PO Box 9275 Stn Prov Govt
        Victoria BC V8W 9J6
        By Email:

        Dear Sir:

        Pursuant to Section 75 of the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, I respectfully request a formal investigation into the unlawful actions on general voting day by Mrs. Diane Brennan, candidate in the 2014 Nanaimo municipal election.

        Of the eight candidates declared elected, Mrs. Brennan received the lowest number of votes. She was elected by a margin of 100 votes more than the candidate with the next highest number of votes. She received 4.73% of the total vote compared to the next candidate with 4.65% -- a difference of only 0.08 percentage points.

        It is my belief, that her deliberate unlawful actions in the election, gave her an unfair advantage. Without the advantage Mrs. Brennan would have failed to secure sufficient votes to be elected on November 15, 2014.

        As we have seen at the Federal Level, when the integrity of our democracy is at risk, severe punishment is appropriate. The unlawful advertising was deliberate, campaign oriented, calculated to reach electors at the most opportune times at voting places, and conducted with demonstrable contempt for the rules.


        Nanaimo Gold Medal Lawn Bowlers

         Help send Nanaimo Gold Medalists to New Zealand

        National Gold Medalists, Randy Fred and Dave Ruckman, both local, blind lawn bowlers, have qualified to compete at the World Championships for Blind Bowlers at New Zealand in February 2015.   Randy has lived without vision all his adult life; Dave went blind over a 3 day period a few years ago.   

        Randy and Dave are athletes who have been outstanding achievers on lawn bowling greens and throughout their ‘lives with and without vision’.  They have deservedly become Canadian representatives on the world stage for athletes with a disability.  Citizens nationwide deserve to know about the amazing achievements of these blind gold medalists because they will be representing Canada and Canada is YOU and ME!   

        By rule, blind competitors must be accompanied by Directors/Coaches.  A fundraising committee has committed to raising $20,000 to enable these outstanding athletes to fulfill an opportunity of a lifetime and compete internationally.  The Nanaimo Lawn Bowling Club has recently launched a ‘crowd sourcing’ campaign  to garner sufficient funds to send Dave and Randy (and their Directors) on this Journey.


        $25,000 VICC Study Recommended

        Staff Recommends Spending $25,000 
        Market Feasibility Study Update For VICC

        One item on the Nov. 24th City Council meeting that got my attention was a staff recommendation to put out an RFP to complete a partial update of the 2004 Market Feasibility Study for the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. Yes, you read that right .............. spend $25,000 for a partial update of a ten year old study!!! Expletive ... deleted!!

        HERE'S A SUGGESTION ..........

        Why consider spending 25 grand partially updating a ten year old study, when you can just look at the results since the VICC opened and draw some pretty basic conclusions of our own. Have five respected business people in our community evaluate the performance of the centre and follow their recommendations for the future of this tax-sucking vortex!

        During the recent election campaign I suggested putting this building on the open market to see what the private sector thinks the building is worth, and what they would do with it. If the offered price would not get us out from under the outstanding debt, estimated at about $22 million, then we would have to approach divesting ourselves of this liability with some creativity, but it is clear the status quo is pure folly. An estimated five million tax dollars are being burned every year maintaining the status quo on this monumental blunder, poorly conceived and poorly administered by previous councils and administrations.


        This building which was pitched to the public as costing $42 million (including a downtown hotel) cost taxpayers at least $72 million as a result of complete ineptness on the part of city staff of the day charged with overseeing this monumental project, which was clearly well beyond their ability to deliver.

        Just a few examples of complete ineptness on the part of the city manager of the day to manage such a project:
        • project was taken to a public referendum with a $42 million price tag attached which was to include the convention centre and a new hotel, final project cost at least $72 million and did not include the hotel
        • project manager was paid $3 million to oversee the project including the construction of the hotel, was paid with no mechanism for performance guarantee
        • performance bond was returned even though project was not complete
        Can you imagine a project manager in the private sector responsible for a $42 million project, coming in at $72 million and being allowed to keep their job? Then, can you imagine the same manager being given a $500,000 severance package when they wanted to leave the company?

        There is a world of difference between the private and public sector, and consequence for performance is one of them.

        BTW does anyone know what's up with a certain city management staffer who might have been connected to the Leadercast thingy that had some connection to this building and the management of same?


        Operation Red Nose Nanaimo - 2014

        What is Operation Red Nose?
        Operation Red Nose is an educational campaign and a free service for you, your co-workers, friends and family which provides a safe alternative to drinking and driving. The service is provided free of charge, however, donations are very much appreciated and gratefully received. Operation Red Nose is a confidential service, and is available to any person operating a motor vehicle who does not wish to drive their car for any reason. A person does not have to be drinking to use this service. However, Operation Red Nose is NOT a taxi service. It is only available to people AND their vehicles to the destination of their choice within each service area.

        Operation Red Nose Nanaimo is now in its 18th year helping to create safer communities by providing an alternative to drinking and driving during the holiday season. Proceeds from this event will support local athletes and youth through programs and services such as the Don Long Bursary, XploreSportZ, Active Star and PacificSport Youth Leadership.
        How can you help?
        In 2012, nearly 300 volunteers were able to get over 1,500 people home safely over the campaign which provided 11 operational evening from late November through New Year’s Eve night. Operation Red Nose could not happen without our dedicated volunteers and the numbers indicate that there is a need for this service in our community. The larger numbers of Red Nose volunteers means that we can ensure we get even more of our neighbours home this year.

        We are seeking volunteers for various positions and for all operational evenings. Please visit our Become a Volunteer Page for more information and to join us today.

        We also look for support from local businesses. Together we can make a difference. Visit our Become a Corporate Sponsor Page for more information.

        Or please contact our Operation Red Nose Coordinator, Jeanne Seney at or 250-740-6572 .

        What areas does Operation Red Nose Nanaimo Service?

        Operation Red Nose Nanaimo operates from Lantzville in the north to Ladysmith in the south.

        What are the Operation Dates for 2014?
        Operation Red Nose accepts calls for services between 9:00pm and 3:00am on the following dates highlighted on the calendar below. 


        Thursday, November 20, 2014

        Morgan Carey Pitches The Dragons

        Real Estate Webmasters CEO
        In The Dragons' Den

        Local high-tech website design and marketing company founder, Morgan Carey appeared before CBC's Dragons in the den looking to sell a stake in his company. The episode was aired on Nov. 19 and Morgan is the final pitch of the night.

        Morgan explained his company was not in need of cash but was looking for the connections and contacts the Dragons have to drive his company from currently employing 100 people to employing 1000 people in the next five years.

        Morgan was offering a 4% share in his company for $2 million, Jim Treliving offered the $2 million but for a 10% stake, Morgan countered and they came to an agreement of 5%, meaning the company is considered to have a $40 million evaluation.

        Morgan recently moved his company into the old Free Press building after a $2 million reno, which is also the site of his restaurant REWsters ........   no, that is not a typo it shouldn't be ROOsters even though Morgan does have much to crow about.

        This is exactly the type of business Nanaimo should be bending over backwards to attract as it provides good paying, family supporting jobs attracting young, creative and vibrant people to our city. It is also a business which brings new money into the community as most of their clients are from 'away'.

        Click HERE to watch Morgan in the 'den'. This links to the entire episode and Morgan appears at the end.


        Nanaimo City Council Meeting 11/24/14

          Nanaimo City Council Meeting

        Monday Nov.24 , 2014
        7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
        Vancouver Island Conference Centre

              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! 




              The whole focus of my recent election campaign (many will tell you this is the flaw) was focused purely on the levels of taxation and city spending the community can actually afford. I was advised that my myopic focus would likely not get me enough broad support to win a seat but the 5658 people that did vote for me were only voting for one thing ........... city spending restraint. A platform which I feel could have provided 'elected' numbers had the message been presented using a larger promotion budget than I had at my disposal. Full page ads, with the same simple message could very well have translated into higher numbers at the polls. But considering a full page ad is in the $2,000 territory it was simply beyond the reach of my budget.

              During the campaign period I did not do a lot of the 'advised' vote-winning activities such as going here and there to different special interest groups putting together support from across the community. Granted this is a good vote-getting/buying strategy that has merit to get elected, but, frankly is just not my cup of tea. I am of the opinion that unless and until we are assured our basic infrastructure such as water, sewer, roads, sanitation and safety are fully funded and protected we can not keep throwing money out the window on vote-getting projects.

              That, however, is exactly what I expect to see as we begin to see which special interest groups have been elected. The IAFF union supported councillor to loose his seat came as quite a surprise but I will be interested to see which other candidates got the union-nod. I know that Councillors Bestwick and Yoachim were endorsed by CUPE via a postcard they mailed out during the election. The IAFF members were out in a force of eight to support their candidate (Ted Greves) at the Chamber of Commerce forum at the VICC during the election.

              The union 'special interest' is one I have some difficulty with when you consider the percentage of tax dollars that are consumed paying their wages and benefits at city hall. When you consider the wages and benefits to the RCMP (never shown as part of the wages and benefits on city reports) combined with union and exempt staff at city hall, that is where over 80% of your tax dollar now goes. If it weren't for the revenue from user fees (just another name for tax) the city wouldn't have enough money to fill the pothole in front of your house. Note, when I claim 80% of tax dollars I am referring to the revenue in the city budget coming from property taxes alone. This of course is not the entire city budget which is also funded with user fees, transfer payments, DCC's and reserves, the reference is purely to the revenue coming from taxes which is now in the $93,000,000 range.

              Put another way, with 745 FTEs employed by the city this means that less than 1% of the total population consumes 80% of the taxes paid by the rest of us. Sustainable? Affordable? City hall, and council will tell you it is.

              TO BE CLEAR

              This is not sour grapes on my part, nor am I claiming that "I" could have been elected by simply having a bigger budget. I am saying that with proper communication the 'fiscal restraint' message resonated with a lot of Nanaimo residents and that number could have been enlarged with more publicity.

              This council was not given a blank cheque to start throwing even more tax dollars onto the fire. Whether they have the backbone to start dealing with the out-of-control wages and benefits being supported by the rest of the community remains to be seen.

              My new byline:

              Jim Taylor .....  
              Nanaimo Councillor-in-waiting