Sunday, July 05, 2015

Wildfire Smoke Advisory Issued

Click to enlarge

To view the full advisory click HERE.


Sproat Lake - Dog Mountain Fire Update

Photos: Courtesy BC Wildfire Service

As of 3:11 pm July 5 the BC Wildfire service reports the estimated size of this fire is 35 hectares and is burning aggressively on the top of a mountain and has backed down the slope and is now within 60 meters of the cabins.  Fire is surrounded by steep terrain on all sides. The retardant dropped by the air tankers yesterday and the water dropped by the helicopters yesterday and today has been effective in slowing the further growth near the cabins.

Cabins at the lake level with boat only access were evacuated yesterday with help from the RCMP. This area is still considered dangerous due to the rolling debris coming downhill from the fire. One of the firefighers working on the fire overnight reported a large boulder rolling down the slope to the cabin level. The public is cautioned that this is a very active and dangerous response area, and they should not approach the area by boat or foot.

There are 21 firefighters and 3 helicopters fighting this fire. Air Tankers dropped retardant on the fire on Saturday, which has the ability to retard the movement of the fire when either wet or dry. Helicopters, including a heavy helicopter, are also bucketing on the fire to cool hot spots and reduce fire behaviour.


Air Quality Index - Nanaimo

Click Image to enlarge

Due to the smoke haze and fine ash accumulating on vehicles from all over Nanaimo I contacted VIHA to see if they were making any calls as to air quality in the Nanaimo region. The person I spoke with was unaware of any air quality warnings on their site and referred me to the Government of Canada weather website.

The Government of Canada website has an air quality page with indicates that as of 2:30 am July 5 the air quality index for Nanaimo was 2 (1 being as low as it goes). It indicated that was the level for Sunday but the forecast quality for Monday is listed as a level 4.

When you can actually see fine ash particles collecting on car surfaces, you have to wonder if Level 2 has been determined by anyone actually witnessing what is happening, or if most of those folk are off for the weekend, being as how they are a government office.

A level 2 rating is classed as a low risk while a level 4 is classed as a moderate risk.

Click Image to enlarge

Click Image to enlarge


Haze Over Nanaimo Sky & Sproat Lake Fire

Photo:Nanaimo Info Blog

The above is a picture of the sun blanketed by the thick haze resulting from forest fire smoke. The Coastal Fire Centre says the haze is the result of smoke from BC's interior blowing out to the coast.

People are advised not to call about the haze, but if you see a column of smoke you should report it.

I live right in Nanaimo and I believe it is fine ash particles on my car, and I have one report that someone says it is 'snowing' in Qualicum.

Fire Near Sproat Lake

The following is a picture accompanying a CHEK report from this morning of a fire burning on Dog Mountain which has caused evacuation from cabins in the area.


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Watch Has Been Returned

There a few details being released about the return of the significant historical artifact that went missing from the Nanaimo Museum.

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.

It won't be put back on display until a new case has been made for it.


Nanaimo Weather Outlook July 5 - 10/15

The weather that summer memories are made of


Nanaimo Level 2 Watering Restrictions In Place

Click image to enlarge

During Level 2 watering restrictions:
  • Owners and occupiers of residential and commercial properties with EVEN numbered addresses may water lawns, trees, shrubs and gardens on Wednesdays and Saturdays and ODD numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays. 
  • Watering using a water hose is only permitted if it has a handheld shutoff device. 
  • Watering is not permitted during the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 
  • Driveway and parking lot washing is not permitted. 
  • Vehicle and boat washing at a residential property is permitted on your designated watering days but not between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.


Aqua Residences Condominium Downtown Nanaimo

The Condominium With No Strata Fees

According to the company website these new condominiums billed as 'Nanaimo's Most Prestigious Address' will come with no strata fees. 

The company claims:
Aqua Residences is the first Development in Nanaimo that offers home owners “NO STRATA FEES” due to income revenue streams from four furnished 1 bedroom units owned by the purchasers as common property in the proposed luxury condominiums development.

The rental revenue will be divided to all of the strata lot owners in the building on a percentage based on their unit entitlement. (Square footage of owners unit) The individual strata lot owner will then use the rental revenue to pay for their strata fees. No other developer on the island has given owners 4 furnished rental units as an incentive to purchase as an investment.


Friday, July 03, 2015

Bush Fire In North End Nanaimo

Bush Fire in Nanaimo's North End

"This fire grew very quickly and serves as a reminder of how the current fire hazard rating is at extreme.  Citizens need to be careful and aware at all times of anything that could cause a spark or be an ignition source in these dry conditions." -  Craig Richardson Fire Chief  Nanaimo Fire Rescue

Nanaimo Fire Crews responded to a bush fire on the Island Highway at 2:53 pm just behind Mary Ellen Drive.  Dry conditions and wind  caused the fire to spread quickly.  Nanaimo Fire Rescue had 3 engines on scene and due to the speed in which the fire was spreading,  mutual aid was requested from Lantzville, and East Wellington.  Coastal Fire also was requested then cancelled as crews were able to get the fire under control.

 Island Highway was closed for a period of time with traffic being rerouted to the Old Island Highway, due to heavy smoke in the area and to allow crews to work at getting the fire out.   Crews are working on hotspots and it is 90% contained.


Vancouver Island Rivers Fishing Ban - July 4/15

VICTORIA – Responding to dry conditions, the Government of B.C. has announced a Level 4 drought rating for Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, and taken the additional action of suspending angling in streams and rivers throughout southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands due to ongoing low stream flows and warming water temperatures.

At Level 4, conditions are extremely dry. Further declines in stream, lake and aquifer levels could lead to water shortages and affect people, industry such as agriculture, wildlife, and fish stocks. All water users are urged to maximize their water conservation efforts.

Effective July 4, 2015, virtually all angling in streams and rivers in Wildlife Management Units 1-1 through 1-6 is suspended. The closure has been put in place to protect fish stocks at a time when they are vulnerable due to low flows and high water temperatures. The geographic area covers Bamfield south to Victoria on the west coast, and Campbell River south to Victoria on the east coast. Key rivers affected by the order include the Caycuse, Chemainus, Cowichan, Englishman, Gordon, Little Qualicum, Nanaimo, Nitinat, Oyster, Puntledge, San Juan, Sooke, Trent and Tsable.

Qualicum ('Big Qualicum') and Quinsam exempt from closure

The Qualicum (known as “Big Qualicum”) and Quinsam rivers are the only rivers or streams in the affected area exempt from the closure. On these two streams fishing can continue as normal. These streams have sufficient water refuges to adequately protect fish, even with normal angling pressure.  

The angling closure order is for southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands only at this time, but B.C. government fisheries biologists are monitoring approximately 75 other key angling streams across the province, and if conditions warrant, additional closures are possible. Lake fishing is not affected by the order. Angling closures are enabled through the British Columbia Sport Fishing Regulations of the federal Fisheries Act.


Special COW Meeting - Nanaimo July6/15

Meeting location and agenda items change

The agenda for the SPCOW meeting on July 6 appears above and if you don't watch for the addendum you would think the meeting was being held at the SARC building and that the Colliery Dams were not on the agenda.

The fact the Colliery Dams were not on the agenda raised a flag for me, as the June 24 meeting which cancelled for lack of a quorum was supposed to be dealing with which options Council wished to proceed to remediate the dams.

I now understand that the Colliery Dams are on the agenda for Monday and the meeting will be held in the Shaw Auditorium.

Addendum publishing and delegation registration

This meeting is unusual in many respects (it was not a regularly scheduled meeting), it was also scheduled for the SARC building which does not allow for video recording of the meeting and the two items on the above agenda; Asset Management and Automation of Garbage Trucks are hardly urgent and pressing matters. The only urgent and pressing matter would be the Colliery Dams and it was not on this original agenda, but is being added by way of the addendum.

The cut-off time to appear as a delegate for this meeting is 11:00 am Friday morning, however, the addendum will not be published until Friday afternoon, meaning that many folk may only speak as a delegate if they ask council to allow them to speak as a late delegate. 

I did publish this change on Nanaimo Info Blog as soon as I was aware of it, but for anyone relying on their information from the city website, it is possible they end up at the SARC building and are unaware of the Colliery Dams on the agenda.


Nanaimo Farmers' Markets July 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 .

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

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


Thursday, July 02, 2015

Colliery Dams Is On July 6/15 Council Meeting

Any delegates need to register by 11:00 am Friday morning

The Colliery Dams is now going to be on the agenda for the Special Open Committee of the Whole Council Meeting to be held on July 6/15 in the Shaw Auditorium at 4:30pm.

As of this posting the Addendum has not been posted on the City website but I have been told by Legislative Services that it will in fact be included as an item.

Anyone who has not registered by Friday's deadline, can of course ask to be added as a late delegate at the meeting on Monday.

The City has now until July 24 to choose one of two options to deal with the Colliery Dams as the Stay application has been denied by the EAB.


Creative Expressions Of National Pride

Canada Day 2015 In Nanaimo


Nanaimo's Poet Laureate Honored

Ms. Naomi Beth Wakan

Receives FBCW Honorary Ambassador Award

Nanaimo's Inaugural Poet Laureate, Ms. Naomi Beth Wakan, has received a special award from the Federation of British Columbia Writers (FBCW).

Naomi received the Honorary Ambassador Award in recognition of the dedicated and spirited way she has made live poetry a rich and everyday component of civic life in Nanaimo. She brings poetry to all kinds of venues, from art gallery shows, festival openings to city Council meetings and local literary cafes.

The Honorary Ambassador Award is a new award, created by the FBCW to raise the the profile of writers and the importance of writing that benefits everyone.

As Nanaimo's inaugural Poet Laureate, Naomi has worked to encourage writers of all ages. Last year, she judged a national youth poetry competition. This year, she is going to run a similar competition with a Nanaimo theme for Grades 10-12. She is also contributing to an anthology of Nanaimo poetry and planning a memoir workshop for seniors.


Final - Final Black Track Tour

The last 'final' Black Track Tour hosted by Tom Paterson was so popular many people had to be turned away, so to accommodate those and any others having an interest in this most informative tour it is being offered once again on July 12/15.


Redacted City Council Video Back Online

June 22 Council video recording available on City website

A video of Nanaimo City Council's June 22 meeting has been placed back on the City's website.  The video was temporarily removed  Friday, June 26 in order to redact two recorded statements in accordance with Section 17 and Section 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  The video, featuring the remaining approximately 8 hours and 22 minutes of Council discussion, is once again available for public viewing.

"The video recording of the June 22 Council meeting is once again available on the City's website.  Two brief sections of content have been removed in accordance with Section 17 and Section 22 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act." - Guillermo Ferrero Director of IT & Legislative Services City of Nanaimo  


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Colliery Dams Not On Special Open Meeting?

Colliery Dams Not On July 6 Agenda?

The meeting of Council scheduled for Jun. 24 which cancelled for lack of a quorum was supposedly to make a decision about the Colliery Dams going forward.

Much was made in the press about this meeting being cancelled because five councillors were not in attendance. Deciding what the city should do going forward with regards the Colliery Dams was also the topic of the Mayor's recently held press conference as well.

I was surprised to see no mention of this urgent and pressing topic on the upcoming Special Open Committee of the Whole Council meeting on Monday July 6/15.


Special COW Meeting July 6/15

Special Open
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Mon., July 6/15
Shaw Auditorium
4:30 pm VICC

  • Property Expropriation presentation by Mr. Bill Corsan
  • Asset Management presentation by City staff
  • Automation of Sanitation Fleet presentation

 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.

As this is a new council with 5 new members it is important to note that the following decisions were not made by this council. I will leave it posted for a time as a reminder of the type of spending that council is capable of when the electorate isn't paying attention. 
If this new council makes questionable spending decisions as we go forward (and I am sure they will) It would be my intent to document them here and replace the following list with a 'new' list. Hopefully, it will be a very short list.


In spite of promises to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, the first thing this council has done is approve a 6% increase in wages for CUPE employees over the next 3 years. This is well above the settlements the province is signing with other unions.


On Feb. 2/15  a resolution of Council was passed with a 7:1 vote which was giving staff instructions with regards the Colliery Dams. This motion was ignored by City staff and this Council has shown no desire to see their wishes were carried out by City staff. As a precedent this is likely as disturbing as any fiscal decisions made by council. It goes to the heart of our whole democratic system.

Some Previous 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?


One Very Cool Mobile Home

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

If you haven't seen this video before it is well worth the 5 minutes to take a look, It is really quite amazing what engineered art is able to produce.


Happy Canada Day 2015 In Nanaimo


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.


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

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