Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Historic Watch Missing - Nanaimo Museum

Stopped at exact time of accident that killed 16 coal miners

Of no commercial value whatsoever the historical value of this watch makes it one of the Museums most important artifacts.

The watch was owned by Rober McArthur who was one of 16 miners who died one morning in September 1918 when the cable on the elevator snapped and they fell to their deaths at the bottom of the shaft.  

The Museum staff want to see the watch returned and are offering a no-questions asked reward of $500 for it's return. Anyone with information should call the museum at 250-753-1821 or the Nanaimo RCMP detachment at 25-754-2345.


Colliery Dams Spillway - Just a Trickle

The 'Falls' at the end of the spillway of the lower dam June 29
The 'Falls', same place last Dec. after heavy rains

The water flowing into and obviously out of Colliery Dam Park ponds has slowed to a near trickle with one side of the spillway entrance completely dry. The lack of snowpack and the long dry spell are resulting in the flow drying up earlier this year.

Some speculate that now that none of the city water supply gets released into the river that too is also having an impact.


Newcastle Island Ferry Summer 2015

Newcastle Island Ferry Service 

The company that operates the Protection Island Ferry which runs from Protection Island to the downtown inner harbour is now also providing service to Newcastle Island.

While no long term arrangement has been made the owner of the ferry service is currently in the process of adding one more vessel to their current fleet of three vessels.

The current schedule is slightly reduced from the schedule offered by the Victoria based firm that had been servicing the run for the past nine years.

The ferry runs daily from the dock at Maffeo Sutton Park.


Popular Nanaimo Swimming Holes

 Long Lake just north of Country Club Mall
 Westwood Lake off Jinglepot Rd. the only Lifeguard protected Nanaimo lake
Colliery Dams Park in Harewood ... everyone's heard about this spot

If you are looking to beat our current heat wave and paying to swim, or saltwater or chlorinated water is not your thing there are several popular freshwater swimming holes to choose from.

Long Lake on the Island Highway North, just past Country Club Mall is a popular spot and the lake also allows power boats for some high speed on the water fun. This lake is also popular with local fishermen looking to land a trout for supper.

Westwood Lake off of Jinglepot Rd. is the most popular freshwater, summertime swimming hole in Nanaimo. It is the only lake which offers lifeguard protection over the summer. There is also a food concession available. This is also a popular fishing lake which is stocked with rainbow trout.

Colliery Dams Park (everyone has heard about this spot) offers refreshing cooling off options. The only downside, is that the lake does not have any safe wading area for the young, non-swimmers. It is also a stocked trout lake as well as the lake behind the middle dam.


$500 Fine Puts 'Teeth' In Nanaimo Hot Dog Bylaw

Nanaimo Bylaw Amendment First In B.C.

At the June 22 meeting of City Council the first three readings were given to a Animal Control and Licencing Bylaw amendment which gives enforcement some teeth when it comes to leaving dogs in hot cars without adequate ventilation.

The amendment was the result of work ordered by Council following a submission from the SPCA who are seeking a more easily enforced compliance tool. Until this bylaw is given final adoption on July 20/15 the only offense for leaving a dog in a hot car came under the criminal code. This now allows for a $500 ticket to be issued if the internal temperature exceeds 23 degrees Celsius without adequate ventilation. The internal temperature will be determined by use of a heat gun.
There is also a provision in the bylaw amendment regulating the transport of dogs outside the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

Enforcement Process

If someone comes upon a vehicle with an animal in distress they are advised to call Animal Control at 250-754-1397 (not 911). Animal control will dispatch an officer who will contact RCMP enroute (they alone have authority to enter the vehicle, but not deal with the dog). Once on scene the animal control officer will determine a course of action which could include entering the vehicle which the RCMP officer is able to do.

If a City of Nanaimo bylaw enforcement officer comes upon a vehicle with an animal in distress, they will also contact animal control. All three agencies can issue a $500 ticket if a dog is left in a vehicle without adequate ventilation and the internal temperature is 23 degrees Celsius or above.


Monday, June 29, 2015

City's Stay Application Strength Challenged

Follows is a Facebook post by Mr. Cliff Marcil who has assisted the CDPPS technical committee but actually withdrew from the committee in disagreement with the way the committee was going to function. 

It would appear that Mr. Marcil raises enough questions about the process to date, to not give comfort to the decision to spend millions and millions of tax dollars based on the city staff-led technical committee results.

Follows are my comments regarding the Order and the City's stay and appeal. It is difficult for me to understand why some or all of these points were not made in the City's Stay Application and it is my view that the Stay Application is not as strong as it could have been had some of these comments been added:

1. I believe the timelines imposed by the Comptroller’s Order are not only unreasonable but are also unrealistic and impossible to meet. It could be hazardous (environmentally and safety-wise) to be in the mid-point of construction and have to stop due to weather or closed fisheries conditions. In my view this time-line is irresponsible and poses a much greater risk by attempting to complete remediation work this year. As late as February 2015 City staff were of the opinion that work could not be completed this year if a decision was not made almost immediately.

2. These dams have stood for more than 105 years with no factual evidence of ever overtopping. This was confirmed by Golder in their DSR Report of 2003. What possible risk could there be that would compel the Water Comptroller to force the City to carry out remediation instead of engaging in further diligence in such limited timelines? I contend therefore that the urgency and scheduling of remediation work to be unnecessarily harsh, unreasonable, and unwise.

3. The latest classification of the Lower Dam was deemed to be Very High; however as part of the further diligence process the City should conduct further study and analysis to confirm this conclusion, since, amongst other reasons, I believe that the environmental consequences of any dam failure have not been assessed on an incremental basis. This is the proper methodology to establish dam classification for these criteria as per the CDA Guidelines. I can find no details in the Golder Reports that would confirm that Golder did indeed perform the assessment of consequential environmental damages based on an Incremental Basis as per the CDA Guidelines. In order to do so an environmental assessment would have been required to determine what the consequences of an IDF flood event would be without the dams failing to establish a baseline and again I find no such information or evidence of this kind of assessment being completed by Golder.

4. I believe that DSS personnel have acted in an unprofessional manner, and may have failed to apply the required and expected degree of diligence in reviewing previous reports -such as the previous DSR’s and particularly the Associated Engineering Inundation Report of 2012. This contained several assumptions and speculative conclusions; consequently DSS personnel issued several letters to the City and even to a local newspaper claiming that up to 150 fatalities could result from the failure of the dams in an earthquake mode of failure. I believe that this is now a prime motivation factor in forcing the City to implement expensive and intrusive remediation options, despite evidence showing that the dams are not of danger in the event of an earthquake. The conclusions reached in the AE 2012 were prima facie questioned by laypeople in Nanaimo who were familiar with the dams and park, and these conclusions have been effectively shown to be exaggerated and or incorrect in Golder’s more recent reports.

5. The Comptroller appears to have failed or neglected to consider that the Owner of the dams is a City Corporation (Municipal Government); as such the City has a duty to be diligent, accountable and transparent in all of its dealings related to the dams. The City owes duty to taxpayers to ensure that proper diligence is carried out before rushing into a remediation option which could prove to be a) not required and b) not the ideal remediation.

6. From reports I believe that the City has spent approximately $3 million on engineering reports to date and according to Council’s last resolution the City needs reasonable additional time to carry out more investigation and analyses to ensure that remediation will be minimally intrusive. This would include minimizing the possible effect any chosen remediation option may have on not only the park but also on the flow levels for the lower Chase River.

7. Not only have the dams never overtopped in their 105 year history but also the Inflow Design Flood to which the lower spillway is being ordered by the Water Comptroller to be upgraded to is a 1 in 34,000 year flood event! It strikes me as absurd that the flood hazard is based on an extrapolated 1 in 34,000 year event yet the Water Comptroller is ordering the City to proceed with a remediation option on an urgent and claimed imminent safety hazard all the while knowing that the engineering diligence has not been completed. A stay and or a revised order as may be decided by the Environmental Appeal Board would allow the City through a Committee to complete the work (studies/research) that was never finished with the objective to answer the question – “What is the actual flood performance of the dams” - A solution can only truly be defined by a proper understanding of the problem.

8. In his letter of January 23, 2015, the Comptroller of Water Rights wrote the following to the City of Nanaimo: “On October 29, 2012, the City of Nanaimo provided a plan to address the safety hazards identified at that time. To date, that plan has not been implemented. Please note that although the dam failure consequence classification of both Middle Chase River Dam and Lower Chase River Dam is now set at a lower classification than previous, both dams still have serious deficiencies that require immediate attention.”

The insistence that the City still meet a plan provided under very different states of knowledge and circumstances seems to be unreasonable. It is my understanding that further Risk Analysis and Studies performed by Golder after October 2012 have greatly lowered the seismic risk and that no lives would be lost due to a seismic failure. This is very different than the context under which the urgent schedule was originally crafted since the previous Associated Engineering report had concluded the seismic hazard to be extreme (i.e. up to 150 people could be killed as a consequence when the dams would fail in a seismic event) This reduced risk is confirmed in the Golder reports and again in the Golder’s Consequence Classification letter of November 21, 2014 to the City which said: “The risk of failure of the dams due to earthquakes was extensively evaluated (including extensive geotechnical investigations on the Lower Dam) as part of the studies conducted earlier this year, with the finding that the risks and consequences of failure due to earthquake hazards were much lower than those due to flooding (storm) hazards (Golder 2014, b and d). Similarly, the extent of flooding and the consequences related to the earthquake and “other causes" induced failure modes were significantly lower that the above storm induced failure modes and therefore do not control dam classification.”

It is clear to me on reading the Engineer reports prepared by Golder that there was an urgent schedule set up to focus on remediation of the dams in 2012. However this context has changed as evidenced by the findings resulting from further investigative studies and analysis. However the Water Comptroller insists on treating the dams as though the conclusions arrived at by Associated Engineering were still applicable. They are not.

9. I quote the following from the Golder Remediation Options Report dated August 29, 2014:

“In-situ management of contaminated soil, or other material, would typically include an assessment of risk to human health or the environment, resulting from these materials remaining in-place. Also, given the accessibility of the Site to potential receptors (human, terrestrial, avian, aquatic, etc.), potential exposure to the identified soil contaminants is considered possible, and the risk associated with such exposure should be evaluated.
It is recommended that a preliminary risk assessment be conducted, based on existing conditions, to help make sure that no sensitive receptors have been missed, that critical pathways have been evaluated, and to verify that no unacceptable risk is incurred as a result of in-situ management. If issues are identified through such an assessment, a plan for risk mitigation may then be developed.”

Should we not be concerned that the risk of exposure to potential soil contaminants has not been properly evaluated and in an attempt to comply with the timelines ordered by the Comptroller that work may proceed without this precautionary step being completed thereby putting downstream residents at increased risk. I believe that the City needs to take the time to complete these types of analyses before any remediation work in the ground is carried out. Moreover I have concerns that the timelines will not permit completion of the required further site investigation and other assessments work as per the below excerpt from Golder’s Remediation Options Report of August 2014:

5.5 Further Work
Site investigations. The investigations to date have provided information necessary to undertake preliminary designs of remediation options for the Lower Dam. In order to complete a detailed design, further geotechnical investigation work is required which would include:
Additional drilling into the downstream face of the dam to better delineate the material (particularly the cinder and slag fill); and,
Drilling along the foundation of the proposed spillway to identify soil conditions and the depth and quality of bedrock.
Other assessments. Additional assessments such as geo-environmental assessment (as described earlier in this report) will be required as the project proceeds.

10. I have comfort and confidence with the City's current evacuation plans in the event of a flood and believe that a rainfall event of the magnitude required to cause overtopping of the dams would happen over the course of sufficient time to allow the City to take emergency measures such as pumping, sandbagging, etc. These types of short term mitigation measures will also reduce the stated risk of granting a stay and or extension of the timelines ordered by the Comptroller.

11. I believe the City has very good reason to ask for a stay or extension to carry out further diligence, especially in light of the established reduced risk to public safety. This can be supported by the following excerpts from Golder's reports as follows:

a) Remediation Report August 29, 2014:
- “Having a timely permanent solution in place by no later than 2015 and ideally in 2014.” (Note that this goal was set under the context of the Associated Engineering Inundation Report of 2012.)
- A key project challenge was the tight timeframe, as there was a strong preference to carry out the options assessment and selection as well as detailed design and construction of the dam remediation in 2014.
- Due to access, budget and time restraints, a test pit investigation program was considered optimal for collecting information on the properties of the dam fills on the downstream face, near the existing spillway and on the dam crest.
- A third planned core hole (CH14-01) was not completed due to time constraints.
- Due to time constraints, the development of the remediation options was carried out concurrently with the site investigation (Golder 2014a), the risk assessment (including the dam safety analyses, (Golder 2014 b, c and d) and the dam re-classification. This parallel sequence of events required some assumptions during the options development, including the use of the design criteria for the previous dam classification (since the dam was not re-classified until later in the options development), as well as certain assumptions of how the risk assessment may be applied (since, for DSS, this was the first application of the risk assessment process for dam safety analysis in BC).
- Due to time constraints this list of initial options was developed in conjunction with a preliminary flow and scour analysis.
- Due to poor supportability of the loose cinders and slag fill surface which might settle or move with time, construction difficulties of forming and placement of concrete on a steep surface, cost and time limitations, the CRCS option was not carried forward as an overtopping protection system.
- In order to provide a consistent basis for comparison, the screened option assessment was based on a hydraulic capacity of 175 m3/s. At the time this work was undertaken the dams were both assigned a consequence classification of Extreme, and therefore a conservative flow requirement, slightly greater than the regulatory requirement (PMF), was selected. As noted in Section 4.0, the hazard classification for the Lower Dam was later reduced to Very High.
b) Risk Assessment June 2014:
- These predictions took into account the potential effectiveness of evacuation warnings and considered “incremental” consequences (i.e., consequences that are in addition to those that would occur if the dams were not there). For several scenarios, flooding or incremental consequences have been interpolated/extrapolated from the results of other scenarios, due to the high cost and time required for hydraulic modeling.


Canada Day In Nanaimo - 2015

This July 1, join the City of Nanaimo in celebrating our nation's 148th birthday. Nanaimo's Canada Day festivities will be held in Maffeo Suton Park from 11:00 am until 3:30 pm.

It's a great day for all ages to stay in town and show their national and community pride. Everyone can enjoy the Celebration of Flags and Opening Ceremonies, multicultural food fair, Bastion Waterfront Farmers’ Market, interactive booths and live entertainment throughout the day.

  • Celebration of Flags & Opening Ceremonies take place from 11:00 am to 11:30am.
  • Live entertainment by The Clanns, Doctors of Rock 'n Roll, The Big Mess and Myc Sharratt.
  • Wear red and white to celebrate Canada's 148th Birthday.

Parking at Maffeo Sutton Park will not be available on Canada Day. There will be many free parking options near the park including all City metered spots, City parkades and parking lots downtown.


There will be plenty of free parking options available within walking distance of Maffeo Sutton Park. The Bastion Street parkade, Harbour Front parkade, Port of Nanaimo Centre parkade and the Wallace and Wentworth parking lot will provide free parking on Canada Day. Parking at City of Nanaimo on-street meters will also be free but with a two hour time limit per metered parking space.

A limited number of handicap spaces will be available, however event organizers expect these to fill quickly.  Drop offs will be permitted but drivers should expect delays.

Free parking options include: Bastion St parkade (entrances: 200 block of Terminal Ave & 236 Skinner St), Harbour Front parkade (entrances: 125 Front St & 51 Gordon St), Port of Nanaimo Centre parkade (entrance: 101 Gordon St) and Wallace & Wentworth parking lot (corner of Wallace & Wentworth St)

Parking at City of Nanaimo on-street meters will be free but with a two hour time limit per metered parking space.


Facade Improvement Grant 403 Fitzwilliam Street

Council approves $13,826.17 Facade Improvement Grant

At the June 22 council meeting approval was given to a Heritage Facade Improvement Grant for the S&W Apartment building at 403 Fitzwilliam. The building is on the corner of Wesley and Fitzwilliam in the Old City Quarter.

Since 2003 this Grant Program has been a part of the Downtown Revitalization Strategy to encourage rehabilitation and enhancement of heritage buildings in the downtown core.

The grant program has a budget of $20,000 and is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis and will cover up to 50% of the cost of the project to a maximum of $10,000 per building side facing onto a street. The program has paid out a total of $274,169 to date for 29 exterior building facades.


Nanaimo Property Taxes Due July 2/15

July 2 is property tax deadline

Nanaimo property owners are reminded that the 2015 Property Tax deadline is quickly approaching. All payments must be made and Northern and Rural Home Owner Grants must be claimed by end of day July 2nd to avoid a 5% penalty that will be applied to any outstanding tax balance.

Last minute payments can be made at the City of Nanaimo's Service and Resource Centre (411 Dunmsuir Street) with debit card, cash or cheque during office hours, or by putting a cheque in the drop box located by the front doors of the building at any time. You can also make internet or telephone banking payments for your property taxes.

Please note that some banks are no longer accepting the Home Owner Grant applications. Please check with your bank before going to the branch if you plan to pay your taxes and claim the grant at your bank.

You can claim your Northern and Rural Home Owner Grant without making a payment. An outstanding grant is subject to penalties after July 2nd. The grant can be claimed online at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/hog

Please remember that post marks are not accepted as the date of payment. It is now too late to mail in your payment and/or grant.

If you intend on making payment at your bank as well as claim your Home Owner Grant, make sure to ask your bank if they will be forwarding the grant to the City. If not, you will need to complete the grant by another method. The teller's date stamp will be accepted as the date of payment.

"Provincial Legislation does not allow for waiving penalties under any circumstance, so when we say July 2nd is the due date, it really is. Please contact our office if you need help claiming your grant or to go over payment options." - Diane Hiscock Manager, Revenue Services City of Nanaimo


La Familia - Live Vault Cafe July 4


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Things on the Net that make ya' smile


Nanaimo Weather June 29 - July 12

Blue Skies, Buckets of Sunshine and Balmy Breezes 
Coming Our Way......

The only 'downside' to this sunny, dry weather is the continuing tinder-dry conditions we are experiencing in our great outdoors, so we all need to use extra caution with potential fire-starters. A reminder that ALL open burning is banned and the only exception is using a propane fired appliance or a bbq, but open fires of any kind are strictly forbidden.

Lots of liquids, lots of sunscreen and just enjoy this little piece of paradise we have the privilege to call home.


Fire Razes Southwood Drive Home Nanaimo

All occupants safe
Early morning fire razes one home damages two others

Nanaimo Fire Rescue reports they responded to a house fire in the 1000 block of Southwood Drive at 2:00 am this morning. The house was fully engulfed when they arrived and had also spread to the house next door.

This was a very intense, hot fire and high winds blowing embers presented a serious challenge for Nanaimo fire Rescue Crews. They were assisted by City of Nanaimo Engineering and Public Works staff who controlled debris in the water runoff, RCMP and BC Ambulance were also in attendance assisting with this fire.

The house where the fire started is a total loss and a neighbouring house suffered structural damage and may also be a loss. The third home involved sustained exterior damage due to winds blowing embers and from the intensity of the fire.

Six people have been displaced and have received assistance from Community Assistance Program volunteers. The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

 Fire investigators on scene investigating cause of blaze
 House razed in early morning blaze on Southwood Drive
 Home at 1057 Southwood Dr. exterior damage to siding

House at 1065 Southwood Dr. heavily damaged and possible total loss


More Temporary Art In Nanaimo

Dancing Eagle
by Joel Good

Joel Good is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and brings a unique personal style to traditional Coast Salish designs.

Joel's work is on display this year in Maffeo Sutton park under the City's temporary public art program.


Nanaimo 911 Service Goes To E-Comm This Fall


Council approves transfer of 911 service to E-Comm
Move anticipated to save money and adopt better technology

On Monday, June 22, Council voted unanimously to support the transfer of the 911 Primary Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to E-Comm Emergency Communications for British Columbia Incorporated, based in Vancouver, BC.  The move to E-Comm provides a number of benefits to the City of Nanaimo including:

  • Cost savings - EComm is the lowest cost of all options.
  • Economy of scale - E-Comm is a large organization with the ability to respond quickly to changing situations.
  • Technology upgrades - EComm will shoulder the purchase of "next generation" technology, a requirement the City would otherwise have to carry itself.
  • Established connections - EComm has considerable experience in managing emergency communications.

The change to E-Comm will have no impact on the public's experience when dialling 911.

Dispatching emergency services will continue to be handled from the respective agency’s own dispatch centres (for example, Nanaimo FireComm will continue to dispatch for central island fire services).

The RCMP determined that managing PSAPs was not a core policing function, but they would continue to do so provided municipalities and regional districts completed an MOU with them that would see the service continue on a fee basis.

"Transferring the E911 operation to EComm will result in cost savings and will enable the participating jurisdictions to take full advantage of technological advances expected to occur in the near future." - Mike Dietrich Manager Police Support Services City of Nanaimo

Currently the City of Nanaimo is partnered with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) in the ownership of the Central Island 911 system.

The Central Island 911 partnership covers an area that includes all of the CVRD, the City of Nanaimo, the District of Lantzville and RDN Electoral Areas A, B and C.

The Central Island 911 partnership engaged POMAX Consulting to identify options and make recommendations regarding the future of the 911 PSAP in the central island area. The report can be found on the City's website.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nanaimo Council - Who Has A Majority? Authority?

The local Daily recently asks the question if there is a division at City Hall as it is apparent that council seems divided on the Colliery Dams issue.

The division seems to break out with Mayor McKay, Councillors Brennan, Pratt and Thorpe on one side of the issue with Councillors Bestwick, Fuller, Hong, Kipp and Yoachim on the other side of the issue.

On the matter of the Colliery dams, Councillors Pratt and Thorpe don't appear to be all that well informed on the issue, content to take the city-staff-led technical committee conclusion on the matter. While Councillor Brennan supports staff's recommendation, as she did last term when she was willing to have the dams removed.

Last November the future of the Colliery Dams was clearly an election issue, and McKay said something to the effect the dams were just fine. The majority of Council that was elected clearly said they did not support the options put forward by the technical committee.

Could an argument be made, that the five councillors who are opposed to the two options which Nanaimo taxpayers are seemingly being forced to choose from have the moral and electorate authority to continue on the path they are now on?

Another Way To Look At Electoral Support

Bestwick 10.218 
Yoachim   8,794
Pratt     8.307
Kipp      7,142
Hong      6,996
Thorpe    6,977
Fuller    6,703
Brennan   6,547
McKay     6,400


Nanaimo Basks Under Summer's Sun

Nanaimo benefits from moderating ocean breezes

Nanaimo benefits from three things - location, location and finally location. While other parts of the Province swelter under temperatures approaching 40 degrees we enjoy the moderation our ocean-front location brings.

That said, with temperatures approaching daytime highs of near 30 degrees it is wise to make sure we stay hydrated by drinking plenty of that pristine water we are famous for, stay in the shade when possible and enjoy one of our many water-options. You can go to an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, one of our many freshwater swimming options which include Westwood Lake, Long Lake and Colliery Dams being three of the more popular, saltwater options abound from Swy-a-lana Lagoon, Departure Bay, Piper's Lagoon and Neck Point.

There are also water parks around time to help keep the kids (of all ages) cool while having some fun. They can be found at Deverill Square Park, Departure Bay Park, Mansfield Park and Harewood Centennial Park


Nanaimo Buys Two New Garbage Trucks - $800,000


Council approves purchase of "Automation Ready" garbage trucks

Nanaimo City Council approved the purchase of two "Automation Ready" garbage trucks at a Special Open Council Meeting held Monday night, June 22. The new trucks will have the option to collect waste both manually (as per the current practice) and in an automated fashion (utilizing a mechanical arm). The tendering process for the trucks will now begin and it is hoped that the trucks will be in service by early 2016.

The two new trucks replace two existing trucks which have reached the end of their service life.

Funding for the two new trucks (expected to cost around $400,000 each) is already in place and has been provided through the City's Equipment Reserve Fund which is paid for by garbage user rates.

The trucks will initially be used to collect waste manually whilst Council considers the potential to move towards Automated collection.

Residents in Nanaimo currently pay $99.75 a year for the collection of solid waste at the curbside.

"The purchase of two new garbage trucks will allow us to replace some of our ageing solid waste collection fleet and to pursue the option of Automated collection in the future. This is a very positive step towards modernizing the way we collect solid waste in Nanaimo." -Charlotte Davis Manager of Sanitation and Recycling City of Nanaimo 

Staff will present options for the move to automated collection at a special meeting to be held in July. The benefits of automated collection include an expected reduction in worker injuries and a more user-friendly pick-up system.

The move to automated collection would necessitate the replacement of the remainder of the sanitation fleet and the purchase of around 90,000 wheeled carts.

Should Council wish to proceed with the automation of Solid Waste Collection services in Nanaimo it is possible that they may elect to proceed following the completion of the planned Core Services Review.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Complete Burning Ban In Effect In Nanaimo


Complete burning ban effective June 27th at noon
Fire Risk in Community

The Province of British Columbia has placed a ban on campfires due to the recent heat wave.  The City of Nanaimo will follow suit with a complete burning ban effective June 27th, beginning at noon.

This ban now includes cooking fires which were not banned earlier. Propane fired appliances and BBQ's are still allowed.
With hot weather the City is continuously responding to small accidental fires. Residents are encouraged to use extreme caution and that rapid reporting of fires is critical.

"With the recent notice from the Province of an increase to the fire risk, Nanaimo Fire Rescue is advising residents there is now a complete burning ban in the City of Nanaimo.  We want to remind residents to be vigilant and report any fire activity quickly." - Ennis Mond Captain Fire Loss and Prevention Nanaimo Fire Rescue 


Newcastle Island Ferry Service 2015

The Victoria company which has provided the ferry service to Newcastle Island will not be operating in Nanaimo any longer. A notice on their website referred inquiries to Chris Good at 250-740-2300.

Snuneymuxw are the operators of the park and have arranged for the Protection Island Ferry Service to fill in until a permanent solution is found. Following is the schedule posted on the Snuneymuxw website:


Nanaimo Weather Outlook June 27 - July 1/15

Break out the suncreen!


Westwood Lake Lifeguards On Duty June 28

Lifeguards On Duty

The City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment have announced that lifeguards will be on duty at popular Westwood Lake beginning June 28/15.

The guards will be at the Lake from 12:00 - 6:00 pm starting Sunday June 29 and continuing until September 7, 2015.

Swimming lessons are available in Westwood Lake, for more information call 250-756-5200 or register online at ireg.nanaimo.ca.

Westwood Lake is the only outdoor swimming area that has lifeguards on duty in Nanaimo. There are lifeguards in attendance at the Kin Pool at Bowen Park which has drop in swimming from 1 - 3 pm and a fee of $3 is charged by the White Rapids Swim Club which operate this pool.


Nanaimo Summer Concerts In The Park 2015


Summer Concerts in the Park

Two of Nanaimo's parks will be filled with music again this summer. The Parks, Recreation and Environment department is pleased to bring back the Summer Concerts in the Park series starting July 8.

Concerts will be held Wednesday nights in July at the Bowen Park Amphitheatre starting July 8 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm and starting August 6 in Maffeo Suttan Park on Wednesday nights from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. Back for another year is the Lunchtime Concerts in the Park every Monday in Maffeo Sutton Park starting July 13 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.

Summer Concerts in the Park series starts July 8 and runs until August 26.

Summer Concerts in the Park Lunchtime Series runs in Maffeo Sutton Park running every Monday (July 13, 20 & 27 and August 10, 17 & 24) from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm. No concert on holiday Monday, August 3.

July 8, 15, 22 and 29 (Wednesday evenings) concerts will be held at the Bowen Park Amphitheatre from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

August 5, 12, 19 and 26 (Wednesday evenings) concerts will be held in Maffeo Sutton Park from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

"This a great ongoing event throughout the summer. We have a good variety of musical genres  that will appeal to all ages. Join us this summer for some excellent music in two of Nanaimo's wonderful parks!" - Deborah Beck Recreation Coordinator City of Nanaimo 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mayor McKay Retracts Statement

The following statement was issued by Mayor McKay retracting a comment he made during the Colliery Dam Press Conference held Thursday afternoon.

“During this afternoon’s news conference, while discussing the challenges facing our case, I indicated our legal counsel has, in his twenty-two years experience, represented twenty appeals before the Environmental Appeal Panel (EAP) and was not successful in any case. This statement was incorrect.  Mr. Harding has successfully represented clients during many EAP hearings and at all levels of courts throughout British Columbia.  With respect to the City of Nanaimo’s case concerning the Colliery Dams, Mr. Harding was very clear when giving his advice to Council that he did not believe the City had a case.  Council chose not to follow his advice.  I have since spoken to Mr. Harding personally and have apologized for my remarks.”

Mayor Bill McKay


Farmers' Markets In Nanaimo & Area Summer 2015

 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Bastion Waterfront Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 15 - Oct. 2015)

Salutations Nanaimo Folk, Vancouver Islanders and visiting guests. Welcome to the Bastion Street Farmers Market 2015 Season! Starting May 15th, the market will be open every Friday from 2:00pm until 6:00pm. This market is located on Pioneer Plaza near the Historic Bastion on Nanaimo's Waterfront. This is the market's 18th year. Please join us this and every Friday until October.

The Bastion Street Market features local farmers and food producers so you can purchase your seasonal agricultural fruits and vegetables, bakery goods, meat, cheese, eggs, preserves, beer and wine, honey, coffee, tea, spices and more over the season.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza For more information visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1591647114426009/ .

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Open Wednesday (May 13 - Oct. 2015)

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market is in its 8th year! Opening day for 2015 is Wed May 13th. The BRFM was started by a group of people concerned about our quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant. Weekly, we feature musicians, and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products, produced by organic growers, who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers Market and meet the people who grow and produce the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May 16 to Oct. 2015, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information visit their website HERE.

Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 17 - Oct. 25 2015)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 17 through to October.

The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.
For information visit their website or contact lantzvillefarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 10 - Oct. 2015)

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 10 to October 2015 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  or call 250-668-5783


Tilray Cuts Staff By One Third

Tilray medical cannabis growers Nanaimo


It is reported on CTV that the largest medical marijuana producer located at Duke Point has laid off one third of their workforce.

Of the total workforce of 185 employees 61 employees have been let go with severance packages of at least eight week of pay.


It seems like only yesterday we were being told of this company's plan to triple it's production space in Duke Point. That doesn't seem consistent with today's news.


City Assumes Stay and Appeals To Be Rejected

Council needs to make Colliery Dams decision

At a news conference in the SARC building, Mayor McKay advised that the letter endorsed by Council at the June 22 meeting was rejected by the Water Comptroller. The city lawyer advises that in his opinion the city has little chance of a successful stay or appeal being granted.

In anticipation of the stay and appeal being rejected city council will be asked at the next Council Meeting to decide on the only two options they have ever been presented with which is either the swale or the labyrinth options which would keep an overtopping event from causing a dam failure.

As neither of these options have ever gone to tender, the prices estimated at this point are just that, estimates, which as we all know routinely go over budget. We are told the best guesses at this point are $3 million to $6 million for the swale option and as much as $8 million for the labyrinth option. Of course it is impossible to know what will happen when the work actually gets underway.

The next regular scheduled meeting of Council is a COW meeting on July 13/15. Of course a Special City Council Meeting could be called at anytime, however, I would expect given the topic attendance by all Council members would be desireable.


Gmail 30 Second Recall Option

Ever have sender's remorse?

The next time you put together an email telling your boss what you think of them and are struck with deep feelings of misgiving AFTER having hit the 'send' button ....... Gmail gives you 30 seconds to retrieve what could be a career-ending email.

The Undo Send is an option available to Gmail users which has to be enabled and you can set the amount of time for that sober second thought, or the chance to correct that typo you didn't see until after hitting the send button.

In the "Settings" you'll be given the option "Enable Undo Send" along with a drop-down that allows you to select from 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds of time to grab that email before it is forever in the hands of the intended.

Of course for those of us not using Gmail, I suppose we could put a 'questionable' email into our 'draft' file and sit on it for an hour at least, allowing for some sober reflection before explaining to our boss, our inner most feelings.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Special City Council Meeting Cancelled

No Quorum Cancels June 24/15  Council Meeting

The meeting scheduled for 5:30 pm in the Doug Rispin Room at the conference centre which was to be held in-camera and then reconvened at 7:00 pm was cancelled for lack of a quorum.

The purpose of the meeting was in question in  my mind after Monday's Council meeting when the Mayor asked the city manager if the city lawyer would be present. The City Manager said he would not as there was nothing new to add that council was not already aware.


Mayor & Council Bans Signs In Council Chambers?

Signs Now Banned In Nanaimo Council ?

The front page article in today's Daily clearly declares that Signs are not allowed in city council meetings. I have not been able to determine if that is a unilateral decision by Mayor McKay or if it requires a motion of Council.

I do understand that Mayor McKay (or anyone acting as Chair) can have someone removed from council chambers for disruptive behaviour and so they should be able to, but does displaying a simple sign rise to that threshold? According to this headline, our Mayor seems to think it does.

I have contacted his office for comment but my call was not returned, neither was an email asking for clarity, sent yesterday. I hope this is not leading Nanaimo into another 'Ezra' moment after grabbing headlines as being plagued by racism.


City & Firefighters Ratify Collective Agreement


Nanaimo City Council and the City’s unionized IAFF Local 905 Fire Rescue employees have ratified a new collective agreement covering the period from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015. The new agreement includes the following wage increases:

* January 1, 2012 - 2.5%
* January 1, 2013 - 2.5%
* January 1, 2014 - 2.5%
* January 1, 2015 - 2.5%

This settlement is an extension of the 2010-2011 collective agreement providing changes limited to wages and term, while keeping in line with the Fire Bargaining pattern established throughout the Province.

The City and the Union have committed to meeting and starting the next round of collective bargaining in the fall of this year.

"I would like to acknowledge everyone involved during the bargaining process who worked together to arrive at this important agreement between the City of Nanaimo and IAFF Local 905.  As is the case with all collective agreements the City enters into, we look forward to a continuation of our good relationship with the Union as well as our employees who provide critical services across our community." - Bill McKay Mayor City of Nanaimo

"The membership of IAFF Local 905 are pleased to have reached this agreement with the City and ratification by both parties. This is a step towards building a strong relationship with the City and providing a solid foundation for our members moving forward after being without a contract for many years. We are proud to be employees of the City of Nanaimo and providing the highest professional emergency and non-emergency response to the citizens of Nanaimo, in their time of need." - Mike Rispin President IAFF Local 905 


Nanaimo Water Supply Update


Nanaimo responding well to level two water conservation

Nanaimo residents have responded quickly to the elevated level two water conservation measures implemented June 15.  In a recent comparison of the week before and after the implementation, daily consumption has declined by 7.5 per cent, from 59.5 million litres per day to 55.1 million litres per day. Under level two conservation, even numbered addresses can water on Wednesdays and Saturdays while odd numbered addresses can water on Thursdays and Sundays.

The City of Nanaimo’s water supply at Jump Lake is currently 92 per cent full.  Compared to previous years, summertime draw-down has started approximately one month earlier than normal, however, given the storage level and the corresponding level of consumption, the City is confident there is sufficient water storage to last the summer.

The increased conservation level supports the Province's call for voluntary water use reduction and helps to ensure the City's water supply will remain in good shape for the duration of the summer.

Nanaimo residents have been self-regulating in response to the warmer drier weather and practising water conservation.

This is the fifth update on water levels since late March, when the City advised it was monitoring water levels and climatic conditions carefully. The City will continue to monitor and provide updates to the public.

"Two main factors have helped build resiliency to drought: Nanaimo residents have been practising water conservation for decades, to the point that overall annual consumption is declining year over year.  The second factor is that Jump Lake - the source of supply - is located well back in the mountains and received significant rainfall in the early spring, leaving it close to full.  While the City's water supply is in good shape with sufficient water, the City is responding to the Provincial call to voluntarily reduce water use by implementing Conservation level two watering restrictions.  This cautious approach will ensure that the system remains robust.  The City appreciates residents' participation in conserving water; a 7.5 per cent drop since implementing level two restrictions is very impressive." - Bill Sims Manager, Water Resources Engineering & Public Works

  • No watering is permitted between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • No washing of driveways or parking lots is permitted. All water hoses must have a hand-held shutoff device.
  • Residential property residents may wash a vehicle or boat only on their watering day, and not between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.


Summertime Music Series - Lois Lane

Every Thursday Summertime Music Series
12:00 - 2:00 pm
Lois Lane - Downtown

To view the 2015 season lineup visit their website HERE.