Friday, September 02, 2016

That's All Folks

Taking the month of August away from the drama of Nanaimo politics and the repetition of the same series of events every year has proven to be habit forming.

I believe the last civic election brought some positive changes to city hall with the exception of the choice for Mayor and the division I feel he engendered on this council. That gave us the continued waste of tax dollars at the Colliery Dam Park, much bickering and backroom brawling that has not been healthy for the community. A city councillor threatening the rest of council with legal action over the choice of a new city manager which gave rise to many wasted tax dollars spent on legal opinion.

In my opinion there are many positive changes at city hall but will take more time to see the full benefit of those changes. Those changes are being resisted by different political forces in the city who have been accustomed to controlling that big fat purse at city hall for many moons now. Whether they will be able to recapture their position come next election will be a drama worth watching.

In the meantime, I have become quite comfortable with having a mind not consumed with the goings on at city hall and now am turning my attentions to more pleasant and rewarding endeavours.

This blog will be left in place for some time perhaps serving as an archive of city events in some small way.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dale Schulz - NANAIMO - 'As he sees it' - Aug. 28

Lifelong Nanaimo resident, professional artist and illustrator Dale Schulz 'sees' much of Nanaimo many of us simply walk by without giving a second thought.

Through the eyes of an artist the everyday can become almost magical and with a few simple photos of his daily walks, Dale captures and shares some of that magic on his Facebook page.

The following is the most recent example of what Dale sees when he walks about our lovely seaside community many of us just take for granted.

 schulz aug 28

To view all images click image above.

Dale's Post - August 28

Today Indy and I walked with our friend Atilla and the light was beautiful for taking shots. I captured some machinery, some #abandonedchairs, some buildings and flowers and some funny posters today - an amusing assortment of photos today folks!


Using Stolen Credit Cards In Nanaimo

Help needed in use of stolen credit cards
These two males, in two unrelated events, are suspected of using stolen credit cards to make fraudulent purchases.

Photo # 1 - On August 18th, this male used a credit card, stolen from a parked vehicle, to make purchases at a local 7-11 and Tim Horton's.

Photo #2- On August 20th, this male used a stolen credit card to purchase $20 dollars of merchandise from the Shell convenience store on Nicol St.

If you have any information on these crimes, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477


Saturday, August 27, 2016

BC Ferries Nanaimo Parking Lots Are Full


Update as of 12:04 pm Sat. Aug. 27:

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Horseshoe Bay terminal have reached capacity. 

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.


Update as of 11:53 am Sat. Aug.. 27:

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Departure Bay terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.


Update as of 11:15 am Sat. Aug.27

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Duke Point terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.


Update as of 11:53 am Sat. Aug. 27

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Tsawwassen terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

Use the following to check current status of all sailings to and from Nanaimo.


BC Ferries Nanaimo Parking Lots Are Full


Update as of 11:53 am Sat. Aug.. 27:

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Departure Bay terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.


Update as of 11:15 am Sat. Aug.27

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Duke Point terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

Use the following to check current status of all sailings to and from Nanaimo.


Male arrested - trafficking a controlled substance

64 yr. old Patrick Michael Andrews charged
On Wednesday, August 24, 2016, at approximately 2:48 PM an RCMP officer observed a male conduct a hand-to-hand drug transaction with the occupants of a vehicle in the 2300 block of Highland Blvd. The suspect was arrested and searched after trying to discard of the drugs. The search revealed a quantity of Canadian currency as well as a small white plastic container containing green tablets, which resemble oxycodone.  A number of similar seizures in Nanaimo, this past year have revealed that the oxycodone, once analysed, is in fact the potentially lethal substance of fentanyl.  The pills have been forwarded to the RCMP  forensic lab to be analysed.

Charges of possession for the purpose of trafficking in a controlled substance have been laid against 64-year-old Patrick Michael  Andrews, of Nanaimo BC.  Mr. Andrews appeared in the Nanaimo Provincial Court on Thursday, August 25 and has been remanded in custody until September 6th. 


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Summertime Blues Aug. 26 - 28 - Nanaimo

 Summertime Blues
Click image to visit website and lineup for the three day event.


Nanaimo Four Day Weather Outlook

Sunny, hot streak coming to an end
might even need an umbrella on Monday...


Indecent Exposure Investigation - Aug. 12 Incident

Indecent exposure- 
Harbour Front Park

The Nanaimo RCMP are investigating an indecent exposure in which a male exposed himself to a 9 year old girl. The incident occurred at the Nanaimo Harbor Front, 94 Front St, at approximately 7 pm on August 12, 2016.  

A family was out for a stroll with their two young children and were walking up the spiral stair case near Javawacky coffee shop.  While walking they noticed a male between 50-60 years sitting on a bench at the top of the stairs.  At one point, the mother turned to go back down the stairs to get her son when she heard her daughter calling for her. Her daughter told her mother the male had pulled down his pants and exposed his penis to her.  The husband tried to find the male but the suspect had left the area and could not be located.

The suspect is a white male, 50-60 years, 140-150 lbs, approximately 5'8", slight build and with short unkempt brown hair. He was wearing an olive green button down long sleeve shirt and washed out dark pants.

If anyone has information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Construction Jobs On Vancouver Island

Open Shop Sector
offers great wages and benefits

The open shop construction sector offers great wages and benefits and the industry is thriving on Vancouver Island. Apply for your next job now!. Apply HERE.


Free Movie September 4 - Country Club Mall

For more information visit their Facebook page HERE


Nanaimo Housing Starts July 2016

Housing Starts

July 2016 / 2015

Single Detached Up 5 Units
Multiple Starts Up 15 Units

Single detached housing starts in Nanaimo were up in July with 37 in 2015 and 42 in 2016 while multi-family units increased from 9 in 2015 to 24 in 2016 resulting in a combined total of 66 units in 2016 as opposed to 46 units in 2015.

Year-to-date totals show an inecrease of 5 single family units from 236 in 2015 to 241 in 2016. Multi-family dwellings decreased from 307 units in 2015 to 198 units in 2016. Combined totals for 2015 were 543 compared with 439 for 2016.

How Nanaimo Compares Year-to-Date 2015/2016

The following shows YTD housing start data for comparable urban centres:
  • Chilliwack 449                 
  • Courtenay  159 
  • Kamloops   370
  • Nanaimo    439
  • Pr. George 210
  • Vernon     373
YTD housing start data for larger urban centres
  • Abbotsford-Mission 751
  • Kelowna    1188
  • Vancouver 16953
  • Victoria   2028



Nanaimo Aquatic Centre - Maintenance Closure

Nanaimo Aquatic Centre
Closed For Maintenance

August 29 - Sept. 26

Starting Monday, August 29, the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre (NAC) will be closed for annual maintenance. The Centre will reopen on Monday September 26/16.

This year work includes replacing the three metre diving board and stand, touch-up painting throughout the facility, retiling and regrouting as needed, slide maintenance, general maintenance of the pool heat exchangers, circulating pumps and play equipment and extensive cleaning of the whole facility.


Book and Sculpture Sale - Naomi Beth & Elias Wakan

Drumbeg House Studio Annual Sale
3085 Mander Road (first road to the right off Stalker) 

Sunday, August 28th, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

You are cordially invited to visit with Nanaimo's inaugural Poet Laureate at her home on Gabriola. Everyone Welcome (house guests too) 10% of the sales will go to The Commons. This is a free event.
Elias Wakan: Sculpture
Naomi Beth Wakan: Books (including her two recent titles) and her novel
poetry bags


Fitzwilliam Gate - Summer Music Festival


Manglewood - Fitzwilliam Gate Summer Music Festival
In front of Bocca Cafe, Fitzwilliam Gate
Wednesday August 24, 12 - 1pm

Indie Entertainment and Zorkin Group have teamed up to being the Nanaimo downtown core even more LIVE-LOCAL musical talent!

Every Wednesday in August from 12 - 1pm in front of Bocca Cafe at Fitzwilliams Gate, bring your lunch and sit in the sun beside some of your favourite local businesses and be serenaded.

August 24th - Manglewood (official) (official) Scott Brown from Trooper and Richard Nott


Nanaimo Arts Council - Artists Call

Call for Two Dimensional Artists
 Port Theatre

We are accepting original works from Nanaimo area artists for a three-month Exhibition in the Port Theatre, 125 Front Street.  One piece per person please.  NOTE:  As of this rotation, exhibits in the Port Theatre will hang for three months.

Hanging date will be Tuesday, September 6, 2016, 10:00 am.  This is also the pick-up time for art that is currently hanging.  It is vital that you pick up your work as there is no storage at the Port Theatre.  NOTE:  Works currently hanging in the Port Theatre can remain for this rotation.  You MUST notify if you will be leaving your work up.

Various Art Around Town locations have different requirements so please read the Submission Form carefully.  Submission forms are available at 256 Wallace Street (9 – noon, Monday – Friday.  Other times by appointment), for download on our website or by emailing

Please pre-register by email to with the following information to confirm your participation:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Suspect Using Stolen Credit Card

Can you identify this person

The Nanaimo RCMP is investigating the fraudulent use of a stolen credit card linked to a theft from a motor vehicle. Investigators have recently received surveillance footage of the suspect who used the stolen credit card.

On August 13th, at approximately 5:30 pm, the owner of a Honda Civic reported her vehicle had been broken into while parked at the Skinner St. parkade. When the owner returned she noticed her door was unlocked and various personal items missing. Taken was an iPhone, clothing and a black wallet. Before she could cancel her credit cards, she was advised a transaction had already been made on her MasterCard at the Terminal Ave 7-11.

If you have information on the identity of the male shown in the attached photo, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 2590-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


Nanaimo Parks & Rec Activity Guide

To view/download the Fall and Winter Activity Guide CLICK HERE


Nanaimo RCMP Reports For Aug. 22/16

Two car crash at Cedar Rd and Highway 1 
Investigators are on scene of a two car collision that occurred at approximately 12:45 pm at the intersection of Cedar Road and Highway 1. Several individuals in the vehicles have been injured.
The collision forced the closure of all south bound traffic along Highway 1 and the left hand turning lane from the Island Highway onto Highway 1. Additionally, southbound traffic at the Fifth St intersection on the Island Highway was re-directed east bound onto Fifth St. 

19 Year Old Female Groped On Nicol Street

Early Sunday morning a 19 year old female was grabbed from behind then groped by an unknown male. The incident occurred at approximately 5 am on Sunday August 21st in the vicinity of the Days Inn located at 809 Nicol St.

The female told police she was walking to work and was listening to music with her earbuds in. As she passed the Days Inn she heard a noise behind her from some nearby bushes. Before she could turn, a male appeared, grabbed her then fondled her. She fought back, broke free of his grasp and ran in the opposite direction. The suspect did not follow her and he was not seen again. The female while left shaken by her ordeal was not injured and provided a detailed description of her attacker to investigators:

  • white male, 30-40 years old, medium build , 5 ft. 8 to 5 ft. 9
  •  short dark hair, cut army style, greying on the sides
  •  rough calloused hands with nails bitten off
  • black or dark long sleeve jersey with a stripe at the cuff
  • white runners
  • long pants

If anyone has information on this incident, please call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text your TIP to 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

BC Ferries - Parking Lot Full Departure Bay

Update as of 11:02 pm Aug. 20/16:

Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Departure Bay terminal have reached capacity.

For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

Use the following to check current status of all sailings to and from Nanaimo.


Nanaimo Weather August 22 - 28

It took awhile to warm up this year, but summer has finally arrived, in true west coast fashion, this will likely hold through all of September. Says he, hopefully.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The State Of The Fourth Estate Today

The Internet ------ death of the 'newsroom'?

The fourth estate is quickly becoming a mere shadow of what it once was in our society. It was the only real oversight the general population could rely on to keep elected and non elected officials honest and above board.

Sadly, that is no longer the case as real newsrooms everywhere are dying as advertising revenue flocks to the new 'eyeball arena' with a totally different method of putting the seller's message in front of potential consumers.

The victim and real lose to society with this massive shift of advertising revenue is the cutting back and continual slashing and burning taking place in newsrooms all across the country. Those newsrooms incidentally are the real source for nearly all news content we now consume for free on the Net. When was the last time a major story broke that had taken countless hours of research by one or more truly dedicated journalists who have a passion for the role they should play in society. Instead the lamestream media just keeps pumping out the 'tickle your ears' crap that means nothing of substance to anyone.

It is not just the industries fault, it is also the fault of a general population that has become less and less engaged with their role in the governance of their community, province and country as we become self absorbed in our own little worlds.


In Nanaimo for example back in the early 70's the Daily Free Press had a paid circulation of just over 10,000 copies daily. Before they closed recently, the Daily News (same paper) had less than 4,000 paid subscribers.

Locally a new 'news' source is coming onto the local scene as part of the Jim Pattison media group (means there is money to burn in the launch) which appears to be a digital version of the old Daily News. Same sort of story mix and content. The business model would appear to be a hybrid of what the Bulletin offers, and that is content free for the reading with the hopes that enough people will read the product in order to justify the advertising revenue the product must produce to support a paid staff. No revenue comes directly from readership.

The question of course is just what they can offer readers that does not already come from the Bulletin and to a lesser extent even from this pitiful blog. With the pockets of Jim Pattison to draw from they will be able to run at a loss for much longer than a poorly funded effort could ever hope. They will probably be giving away ad space in the early days trying to attract the much needed ad revenue to keep the venture afloat. Whether they are actually filling a void in the local media mix remains to be seen. One thing is certain however, unless considerable dollars are dedicated to producing a quality news product, they will be no better than what used to be referred to as shoppers. The only difference will be the fact this one can't be used to wrap your garbage in tomorrow.

The death of quality journalists and high level journalism does not bode well for our society, as literally no one else is able to keep the politicians in line, and God knows they are pretty much getting away with murder now.


Vancouver Island Exhibition Nanaimo 2016

For full details and more information visit VIEX website


Increased Thefts & B&E's Bruce Ave. & 5th

Rash of thefts recently

Over the past two weeks there has been a spike in thefts and B&E’s in the vicinity of Bruce Ave and 5th St. Nearby neighbourhoods are also being targeted.  Since August 1st, there have been several dozen thefts from vehicles, sheds and backyards reported.  During the same time, there were also 10 break and enters to homes. 

The City of Nanaimo crime map accurately reflects property related offences that occur not only in these areas, but throughout Nanaimo. Go to to see the affected areas.

Historically during July and August, communities experience an increase in crime. Primarily it is due to homes left unattended while homeowners are on vacation, tools and sheds left unlocked and vehicles parked at or near trail heads.

The following tips are provided to assist with your home and overall security:
  • Always lock your doors and keep sheds locked. While you are in your backyard, criminals are coming in through your unlocked front door. A small lock on our shed can take away the opportunity for theft.
  • Keep tools and equipment out of sight.  Criminals prefer the following items as they are easily carried away- lawnmowers, leaf blowers, grass cutters, small portable barbeques and bicycles. Keep them locked and out of sight. Register your bicycle at to assist in recovery in the event your bicycle is stolen.
  • Mark all tools, equipment and house hold items - engrave a unique number (i.e. driver's license) on each item and take a picture of it. These small steps can make the difference between having to submit an insurance claim and having your property returned. Engravers are offered on loan from the front counter of the Nanaimo detachment or can be purchased at most retail stores for a reasonable price.
  • Report all suspicious activity immediately to the police - many crimes occur during the day when homeowners are at work. If you see someone in your neighbourhood that is acting suspicious call the non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and report it. 

Suspicious behaviour can consist of – people peering into cars, walking onto properties, people going door to door, cars or persons on bikes moving very slowly through your neighbourhood. These are just some behaviours that may or may not be deemed suspicious. Trust your instincts to guide you.

If you have information on individuals involved in any of these property related offences, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477.


Complete Burning Ban In Nanaimo - Aug. 17

Province bans campfires
City follows suit
Burning ban includes cooking fires

"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."  -  Capt. Ennis Mond Nanaimo Fire Rescue 

The Province of British Columbia has placed a ban on campfires.  The City of Nanaimo will follow suit with a complete burning ban (including cooking fires) effective Wednesday August 17th, beginning at noon.

The following are permitted:
cooking devices fueled by propane, natural gas, naptha, kerosene, charcoal briquets or electricity such as barbecues, grills, smokers, portable or fixed campfire devices.  It is important to ensure briquets are fully extinguished after use.

Contact Parks and Recreation for any information on City Parks at 250-756-5200.


Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Snowbirds In Nanaimo August 10 Maffeo Sutton Park


Fishing Line Around Power Lines and Trees

Waddington and Dufferin area
criminal charges and lawsuits could result

On August 05, 2016,  BC Hydro contacted the Nanaimo RCMP to report hydro crews had been dispatched with taking down 50 lb test  fishing line wrapped around power lines in the Waddington and Dufferin area.  As well line had been wound around trees, across road ways, over houses and through yards.

Nanaimo RCMP, as well as the BC Hydro crews, believe unknown persons were using a drone to fly the wire around the lines.  Upon further inspection it was noted a small flashlight and headlamp were fastened to the line.  Investigators believe this was done so the suspects would be able to see where the drone was flying the line. 

There have been similar incidents in the past near the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital helicopter landing pad, which could cause significant problems for air ambulances. Should the pilot not see the wire there could be drastic consequences if the line became enmeshed in the helicopters rotator blades causing a possible crash.  BC hydro spokesperson, Ted Olynyk, states, "This reckless behaviour puts the public and crews at risk. If an accident or outage were to occur, those involved in this negligent behaviour expose themselves to criminal charges and lawsuits for damages as a result of an incident. BC Hydro will seek damages for costs of any work required to repair lines or make them safe."

The RCMP recognizes that guidelines and regulations around the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (drones) are continuing to evolve. The RCMP asks pilots to respect the safety tips and guidelines as outlined by Transport Canada.

Some of these tips are: fly in daylight, keep your aircraft in sight, respect the privacy of others, don’t fly in populated areas including concerts or sporting events, beaches or higher than 90 metres.  The tips also ask operators not to fly anywhere where they may interfere with first responders, or within 9km of an airport.

If anyone has information on either of these two incidents, call the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or call 1-800-222-8477. 


Monday, August 08, 2016

Missing Woman Found Alive After Four Days

Boomer to the rescue

Constable Wurzinger and Boomer Photos contributed

A 66 year old female reported missing on July 30 2016 has been found alive by Police Services Dog Boomer and his handler Constable Clay Wurzinger. The woman, who has significant health issues, was reported missing by family members on Saturday July 30, to the North Cowichan RCMP.  A missing persons investigation was immediately initiated but even with extensive patrols and numerous inquiries been done she could not be located.

With hope fading by the hour, a motorcyclist reported finding the women's vehicle on Wednesday August 3 abandoned on a logging road in the Copper Canyon area, approximately 40 kilometres west of Chemainus.

Search and Rescue(SAR) crews from Duncan and Ladysmith, assisted by the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio Society, were immediately dispatched to the area and began an extensive ground search. The search was suspended for the day when darkness set in. The next morning the search party was assisted by the RCMP Air Services helicopter Air 8 and Police Services Dog Boomer, along with his handler Constable Wurzinger.

With no track or scent detected near her car, Boomer and Wurzinger and the pilot from Air 8 set out searching the extensive array of logging roads. Approximately 5 hours later Boomer straightened, alerting his handler to a possible scent of the missing woman. Constable Wurzinger climbed over a nearby embankment and miraculously, the missing female was spotted lying at the base of the berm. In obvious discomfort and barely able to speak, the female managed to reach out, grab the officers hand and whisper “thank you” over and over again. 

SAR was alerted to their location and arrived on foot within 15 minutes. Over the next two hours emergency first aid was applied and with the female strapped to a spinal board, she was carried out to a waiting Air 8 then transported to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. She is expected to make a full but slow recovery from her ordeal.

"Constable Wurzinger and Boomer's perseverance in this search led to an outstanding result.  Outcomes like this make us all proud of the professionalism and high level of training that Clay and Boomer bring to work on a daily basis in Nanaimo.  We are lucky to have them here," said Superintendent Mark Fisher, Officer in Charge, Nanaimo RCMP.

This was a perfect example of the excellent collaboration that exists between the various RCMP police units that are available to assist and the dedicated group of trained and committed civilian organizations. It was a fantastic team effort with the best possible outcome anyone could hope for," said Inspector Ray Carfantan, Officer in Charge, North Cowichan RCMP.

As far as Boomer, he got a good rest and the opportunity to play with his favourite toy. "Catching criminals does not even come close to finding a missing person. Her will to live was amazing and I give her credit for hanging on for what must have been an incredibly tough 4 days,” said Constable Wurzinger of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Constable Wurzinger is one of four dog handlers posted to the Nanaimo RCMP Police Dog Services Section and has been with the section for 5 years. He has 11.5 years’ service and prior to being posted to Nanaimo he served the community of Quesnel.


Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Crystal Serenity Cruise Ship In Nanaimo

First visit August 5th
Crystal Serenity
Aug. 5/16 - 7:00 am - 6:00 pm

The 820 foot long Crystal Serenity will be visiting Nanaimo on Friday August 5 and will be tied up at the Nanaimo Port Authority cruise ship terminal.

The vessel can carry 1070 passengers with a crew of 655 and it's last port before coming into Nanaimo will have been Sitka. It is scheduled to be leaving Vancouver the next day for a tne day Alaskan cruise to Anchorage.


Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Summer Time And Nothin' Is Happening

The little bit about our Green Bin program, which arguably is a failed effort now leading to the implementation of millions of dollars worth of automated trucks and heavy bins for consumers to wrestle with will be the last article I will be putting on here for at least the rest of the summer. Other and better things to do. The general public is dozy enough during the rest of the year, and in the summer, they are completely out of touch, so trying to wake anyone up, is just a big waste of time.

Watch how this council goes merrily down the garden path listening to the pied piper from public works explain how this is the only way forward for garbage collection in Nanaimo. Go ahead, watch them. I would, but my blood pressure needs a break.

So, until September at least, happy holidays.


Nanaimo Green Bins & Automated Garabage Trucks

Good way of getting rid of garbage
or a big waste of your tax dollars??
Before spending millions and millions on automated trucks . . .
evaluate the system ---- are we just throwing more good money after bad?

Once upon a time in the depths of the Regional District of Nanaimo and within the City of Nanaimo a cutting edge idea was born. Instead of sending organic waste to the Cedar dump where it just rots and produces all sorts of obnoxious gases, why not convert all that waste into valuable garden compost.

So a composting plant was build in Duke Point industrial park and city residents were issued with a fancy green compost bin and set about sorting our garbage all in the interests of doing something green and cutting edge in Nanaimo.

In order to collect the sorted garbage the city embarked on another cutting edge idea of re-inventing garbage trucks to accommodate picking up two streams of garbage. One regular garbage headed for the dump, and one kitchen waste headed for the compost plant, all in the same truck. These trucks cost Nanaimo taxpayers plenty, and were by anyone's standard a failure from the get-go.

After a few years of just producing smelly, good for nothing material from all that kitchen waste the owners of that operation were told to clean up the odor problem which they said they couldn't afford. A group of local businessmen came to the rescue and for a few million more, said they could solve the problem. Part of rejigging the whole plan was to send a number of truckloads of material back to the dump after it had been composted.

To my knowledge this finished 'product' has zero commercial value, which tells you how successful this whole kitchen waste to compost program really is.

Failed composting program leads to automated garbage trucks

You may recall that the city sanitation department has been all hot-to-trot to bring in fully automated garbage collection for ages now. Some councillors, (at least the ones who seem to understand what is going on) had misgivings about going holus-bolus across the whole city with the new program and so passed a motion that would have seen only one third of the city switch over to the new system.

Wisely the Core Services Review pointed out that there was an economy to going fully automated across the entire city rather than doing it bit by bit. What the Core Services Review does not do, is provide any information that supports this whole program as the way to go with garbage in the city of Nanaimo.

Remember that bureaucracies must have projects to justify their very existence and possibly this whole automated garbage program is a totally unneeded program that could easily be avoided by simply scrapping the whole kitchen waste program, which arguably is a failure.

Sold pretty hard to Council and taxpayers

This whole full-on automated garbage pick up is clearly favoured by city staff, and there are many obvious reasons for that. As stated it provides a project which justifies existence. It will also mean that garbage men and women won't have to break a sweat picking up garbage any more. Rather than getting out of the truck and lifting bags into trucks they will sit in AC comfort while playing with a joy stick to manipulate the arm to pick up two large bins at the curb.

This change also has the appeal of providing yet more union jobs locked in at the city by displacing a private contractor who currently handles recyclables at the curb. I suspect more jobs will be created as we discover that the new system will not in fact provide for more 'picks' per shift as I doubt an operator can actually pick up two containers by the automated method as quickly as the old manual method.

The fact that the report prepared by staff used some questionable stats about work place injury made this whole program suspect from the beginning. Clearly, some members of council were not entirely sold on the idea either, hence the half-baked compromise of doing one third of the city.

This program is being sold as being able to reduce worker injury, but seems to ignore the possibility of taxpayer injury as they manhandle three large bins to the curb each week.

Maybe some of the 'real' media in Nanaimo with their well staffed news rooms can do some real investigative reporting into this whole issue. Who knows, they might even save taxpayers from another 'made-in-Nanaimo-money-pit'.