Saturday, 20 December 2014

Black Press Has Print Monopoly In Nanaimo

Obviously good for Black Press & Glacier
how about Nanaimo and Nanaimo businesses?

The recent announcement that media moguls Glacier and Black Press have divided up some of their competing money-makers on Vancouver Island is likely good for them, but not so good for local businesses.

This recent deal gives Black Press a virtual monopoly on the traditional mainstream print media in Nanaimo which eliminates the healthy market forces that true competition brings. That said, it is unlikely that Nanaimo could continue to support all three publications and consolidation of the market could well be the only way any of them will survive.

The Nanaimo News Bulletin has pretty much cornered the flyer market which in newspaper land is usually pure gravy as there are no production costs and very little extra work to include with their regular deliveries. The Bulletin has never gone for paid circulation so they are able to offer advertisers city-wide delivery which gave them the edge over the Daily which has less than 5,000 paid subscribers in Nanaimo. The Daily offers city-wide delivery on Thursday only in an attempt to take some of the Bulletins business. The Harbour City Star exists for pretty much the same reason.

HOW LONG BEFORE CONSOLIDATION AND THE AX STARTS TO FALL?

The actual change of taking over operations does not kick in until March 2 when Black Press will take control of the operations of the Nanaimo Daily News and the Harbour City Star. The reality is, that one owner does not need to compete with themselves unless they are trying to keep out competition, which in Nanaimo would be highly unlikely.

With the purchase of the Daily News and it's production facilities the staff and production facilities at the Bulletin become pretty much redundant. How long Black Press will maintain two premises, two production facilities and two news and advertising staff is a bet I wouldn't take. I predict there will definitely be a loss of jobs in the mainstream media in town. The tricky part will be how Black Press handles their union and non-union staffing. A betting guy would think they will try and shed the union if at all possible making the News Bulletin staff, likely the most secure. It is safe to say at least one third of the staff will be redundant after the operations are amalgamated and 50% of the production capacity is also redundant.

It will be interesting to see if either the Daily or the Bulletin staff 'pick up their game' when it comes to producing a better quality 'news' product as neither of them would be in the running for any awards for journalistic excellence these days. The local Daily has certainly slid with the exit of Hugh Nicholson and Mark MacDonald these past few months, and of course the Bulletin is just a flyer wrapper parading as a newspaper for a long time now.

BUSINESS WILL PAY MORE FOR ADVERTISING

Going out on a limb here, I would say the days local merchants could haggle for the price of advertising will be a thing of the past as there will likely be an astonishing similarity in what the Daily and the Bully charge for print ads and flyer delivery.

After all, they are not likely going to be competing with each other any more, once they share the same building, staff and production facilities.

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Friday, 19 December 2014

Things on the net that make ya' smile


Is this how Morris got his start??

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Mayor McKay Supports Tax Increase - 6% Wage Settlement

"The City is pleased to have concluded this round of bargaining in a productive and professional manner and I want to thank all of those who were involved in the process. We look forward to a continuation of our good relationship with the Union and our employees who provide such excellent service to the community." Mayor Bill McKay


Now with the election out of the way, we get our first glimpse at how our new Mayor intends to deal with the single biggest cost centre at city hall. Wages and benefits at city hall account for over 80% of every tax dollar collected by the city. If it were not for user fees (another name for taxes) we wouldn't have enough money left to put one new piece of pipe in the ground or fill in one more pothole.

How anyone feels in the current economic environment that another 2% wage increase each year for the next three years is good fiscal policy is a real head-shaker. If this is the first example of the new fiscally responsible council we have elected, I think we should all be very disappointed. It would seem that Mayor John Ruttan has passed on his big rubber stamp that he so effectively used to our new Mayor Bill McKay.

What's that I hear?? More broken election promises??


Fiscal restraint ?? Council gives direction and makes policy ?? Full investigation into Leadercast ?? Outside sourced core review??

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Province Supports Regional Sales Tax Request


LETTER TO THE MAYOR

Re: Mayors’ Council Recommendations


His Worship
Mayor Richard Walton, Chair
Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
287 Nelson’s Court, Suite 400
New Westminster, B.C., V3L 0E7

Reference: 231980


December 18, 2014

VICTORIA – Dear Mayor Walton:

Thank you for your letter of Dec. 11, 2014, providing me with the Mayors’ Council recommendations respecting the question to be taken to voters in spring 2015 and the proposed new revenue source.

As I committed, I have carefully considered the wording of the Mayors’ Council proposal and am pleased to advise you that the Province is prepared to support your question and proposed revenue source, with some minor refinements that reflect input from Elections BC in order to meet their ballot fairness requirements.


Revenue Source

In support of the Mayors’ request for a regional sales tax, government has approved a plebiscite on whether to enable a 0.5% regional sales tax to implement regional transportation and transit priorities as proposed by the Mayors’ Council. This tax would be separate and distinct from the Provincial Sales Tax (PST). If approved, the Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax would be applied as a sales tax to the majority of goods and services that are subject to the PST and are sold or delivered within the region.

Question

In response to your suggested question, government has approved an amended question which substantially reflects the wording proposed by the Mayors’ Council. The question will allow the voters of Metro Vancouver to have their say on whether or not the Mayors' vision and funding source meets their needs for today and future years.

The final approved question is provided as an attachment to this letter.

Vote Administration

The vote will be administered by Elections BC as a mail-in ballot plebiscite under the Election Act. Costs of administering the vote will be provided by the Province. Provincial funds will not be provided for either proponent or opponent groups.

Consistent with your recommendation on the voting period, I can also confirm that ballots will be sent out beginning March 16, 2015. To provide time for public dialogue and to allow voters to fully inform themselves about their choices, the voting period will extend until May 29, 2015. With respect to the outcome of the vote, government will consider a regional result of 50% +1 to constitute majority support for the question.

Transit expansion is vital to economic development in Metro Vancouver and will be a critical component of ensuring that the region is able to accommodate the million additional people expected over the next 30 years. I appreciate your efforts to date and look forward to a positive outcome that will benefit the residents of Metro Vancouver and the economy of British Columbia.

Sincerely,

Todd G. Stone
Minister


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CUPE Press Release


Nanaimo city workers ratify three-year deal

NANAIMO, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 19, 2014) - CUPE Local 401 and the City of Nanaimo have reached a new three-year collective agreement. The deal covers about 600 CUPE city workers and includes wage increases of 2% (effective Jan.1, 2014), 2% (effective Jan.1, 2015) and 1+1% (effective Jan.1 and July 1, 2016). CUPE 401 members voted to ratify the deal yesterday. The workers were without a contract since December 2013.
The new contract includes improvements to benefits, including orthodontic benefits for children and an increase in long-term disability payments. It also includes a new job evaluation plan that will be fully funded starting in the new year and improvements to grievance handling language and the introduction of four-hour shift minimums.
CUPE Local 401 President Blaine Gurrie thanked mediator Grant McArthur for his participation in the final four days of talks before the agreement was reached with the city.
"We originally bargained for a five-year deal and would have preferred a longer agreement, but we're pleased with the language improvements and the wage package we got," said Gurrie, adding, "it's also nice for our members to have a settlement that offers some stability after being without a contract for a year."


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Nanaimo Christmas Lights 2014


Nanaimo Info Blog file photo
Following is the list of this year's entries in the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce residential Christmas Lights contest. So bundle up, grab some cocoa and enjoy checking out these awesome displays that really brighten up the Christmas Season.

  • 2251 Belwood Road (off Westwood Road)
  • 921 Cadogan – Townsite area
  • 6425 Dover Road
  • 1205 Townsite (at Bush St.)
  • 2172 Duggan Road
  • 4311 Jingle Pot (corner of Labieux)
  • 3930 Rock City Road
  • 1836 Latimer Road
  • 520 Churchill Road (Townsite area)
  • 5922 Tasha – whole street
  • 1755 Harvest Place – Country Hills off Extension Road – whole area
  • 6148 Somerside Place – off Montgomery – whole street nicely done
  • McGirr Road – Candy Cane Lane
  • 6247 Olympia Way
  • 6060 Nelson Road
  • 5152 Sams Way
  • 2320 Whitney Road – off Bowen across from Beban Park
  • 449 Renfrew Street – off Howard Ave
  • 435 Fourth Street
  • 491 Howard Avenue
  • Cardinal Way (off Boundary Rd)



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Nanaimo Rain and Wind Warning Issued



RAINFALL WARNING issued at 10:39 am PST Dec.19/14
Rain, at times heavy, is expected. A warm, moist Pacific system will move towards the coast tonight. Rain, at times heavy, will fall on Saturday with rainfall amounts up to 60mm by Sunday morning before tapering to a few showers by midday.


WIND WARNING issue at 4:38 am PST Dec. 19/14
Strong winds that may cause damage are expected or occurring. An intense Pacific frontal system will move onto the coast tonight. Consequently, southeast winds will increase to 60 to 80 km/h after midnight and persist through Saturday morning. Winds will ease near




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NANAIMO ARTS & CULTURE (5) by Dan Appell



Last week I  raised the possibility of using aesthetics as a fundamental economic principle. This week I would like to give you an example of someone local who did this.
Merv Wilkinson bought 36.4 Hectares of forest in 1938. He recognized the value of the forest and decided "he didn’t have to destroy the forest to harvest trees.” Over the course of 70 years Merv managed to make a good living, raise a family, increase his holdings and retain a small fortune while never harvesting more wood than the land produced and never destroying the valuable ecosystem he was in charge of.

I met Merv in the late nineties. He gave a small group of us a short introduction to his work, then he spent the rest of the afternoon railing against the ignorance of provincial forest policy, the ineptness of those managing forest resources and waste that results from both these efforts. He had hundreds of examples, and an equal number of statistics. It was very mind boggling, depressing and also inspiring in that we were led to believe that change for the better was possible.

Merv advocated for his type of forest management as provincial policy. These policies would closely resemble Scandinavian practise. Had his methods became policy we would likely have retained more forest, but, as well, we would have retained more wealth.  And that wealth would have been distributed evenly to holders of small forests. That wealth would still support an extensive secondary industry and a large amount of regional development. Perhaps even a large and significant cultural community. Instead we have had a system that strips the forest while moving all the wealth associated with it offshore.

The problem with Merv’s forest management system was that it required a particular kind of intelligence. While Merv was an encyclopedia of forest management practice, he also had the kind of intelligence that recognizes value, and the need to protect value while creating value for himself, his family and his community. These are the skills we are supposed to learn in art school, and from a generous study of nature as a significant part of an artist’s training. This makes me wonder about the possible benefits of putting artists in charge of economic policy.



(Photographs and quote taken from the website “Vancouver Island Big Tress” @ http://vancouverislandbigtrees.blogspot.ca/2011/09/vancouver-islands-forest-defender-merv.html)

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New City Council - Same Old CoolAide


Heads Up to new city council

You can expect to be offered this refreshing beverage which I expect will be freely dispensed at some upcoming orientation sessions. I suspect some has already been served. It does offer the illusion that the Mayor and Council actually are directing staff.

The current 6% wage settlement is an example of the 'CoolAide' effect on our new city council.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014

Michael's Musing (2)


Council Clique
Dec 15 2014 City Council Meeting 

It was a nice meeting. Short and smooth. Do you really want to know the details? OK Everyone was in attendance this time. Councillor Yochim was on the phone from somewhere three time zones to the East and Mayor Mckay had to remember to remind him to vote. That became a kind of running joke, especially because there were no close votes and Yoachim voted yes every time. Good to prove that a conference calling Councillor can work and good to see that the lights were fixed. Last time Councillor Bestwick seemed to be getting the third degree.

  The meeting started with a touching video of Dutch citizens gathering to remember Canadian war dead on Christmas Eve. Then the Mayor let us know that this year Dutch children would be wearing City of Nanaimo pins at this years ceremony. But this was City Council not the UN so matters quickly turned to calendars and housing and parking. The first item should be a big one actually. Kipp and Fuller stared by asking for a review of the weekly meeting cycle. Why not have the agenda published before the weekend? I saw approving nods from Councillor Pratt and others. In the end Kipp suggested that the era of volunteer councillors working weekends may be past. Staff was asked to prepare a plan for Council meetings on Thursdays rather than Mondays. Passed unanimously! I reckon the City Council cable access show, with it's many fans at home and in the live studio audience will be moving to Thursday nights in 2015. 

 Next Dianne Brennan wants to make a motion, but pre-invites the Mayor to rule her out of order if he feels the need to. The crowd leans forward expectantly... But she puts forward a very reasonable suggestion that the city head off any changes to the ferry system by declaring an interest in the parks around Duke Point. Specifically Cable Bay Trail and the airspace above it. This thing about the airspace above a nature trail confuses me until I hear the word "bridge". Then it clicks for me, all this talk about bridges across islands to create shorter ferry routes has the City concerned. Why not use the existence of municipal parks and trails to get a word in edgewise on that conversation. Passed handily. 

 Now the really big deal at this meeting, was about parking downtown which Gord Fuller refers to as "urban hunting".  The Business Improvement Association, which I assume Councillor Hong belongs to, wants a change to free parking meters on evenings and weekends. The usual math on downtown parking is this. Charge to much and maybe people will park for free at the malls. Make it free all the time and then every employee downtown will be parked there all day long. Then maybe customers can't find parking and go out to the malls. Thanks to a flamboyant former Mayor, the old highway is packed with malls for people to choose from. Councillor Kipp redefined the issue for us. It's not the cost of the parking meter so much as the ticket you get for being over time.  John Cooper of the DNBIA seems well aware of this problem and suggests, with just a hint of pleading, a graduated system so that first time offenders get a warning and are given a chance to learn the ancient ways of the parking meter. On the other hand repeat offenders, like merchants and their workforce should be getting stiffer fines as they pile up tickets.  Apparently the price of a meter will be going up to $1.75 and the parkade across from the Oxy will become more user friendly. 

 With the meeting almost over Councillor Bestwick promised a Core review motion in the New Year and then we got a tragically comical question period.  At the end of every Council meeting citizens can come forward and ask questions of Council or staff. May I remind those citizens of two rules for question period. The written rule is that your question has to relate to something on the agenda. No fair asking about things taken off the agenda and implying that the City has something to hide there. The unwritten rule is that your question should be a real one. No fair making your "point" with an obvious rhetorical question and it's a little tacky to walk away when you're done showing that even you don't think your question deserves a response. No other level of government lets us do this so lets take it seriously. 

Until next time
Mike Horn


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City and CUPE Ratify Collective Agreement

"The City is pleased to have concluded this round of bargaining in a productive and professional manner and I want to thank all of those who were involved in the process. We look forward to a continuation of our good relationship with the Union and our employees who provide such excellent service to the community." Mayor Bill McKay


Nanaimo City Council and CUPE Local 401 have ratified a new collective agreement covering the period from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016.

The new contract includes wage increases of two per cent on January 1, 2014, two per cent on January 1, 2015, one per cent on January 1, 2016 and one per cent on July 1, 2016.  It also includes the implementation of a new job evaluation plan and modest improvements to employee benefits and allowances.   The monetary agreement is generally consistent with other recent CUPE municipal settlements on Vancouver Island.    

CUPE Local 401 represents approximately 750 Nanaimo employees who provide municipal services.


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Sewer Leak At Morningside Repair Complete

Leaking Pipe Successfully Repaired

The source of a leak allowing treated effluent to come to the surface in Morningside Park has been successfully repaired and work is progressing to restore the site to it's pre-excavation stage.

The leak had been caused by a near-perfect storm of events which saw excess storm water combining with regular sewer flow during a period of king tides which created a situation where treated sewage came to the surface and onto the beach at Morningside Park.

After extensive excavation, crews were able to isolate the source of the leak and using steel bands and patching material were able to close off the leak, The damaged area of pipe was then fully encased in concrete. A tracing die was added to the effluent and there were no signs of any leakage in the area of the repair.

Over the coming days the area will be filled back in but it will take several months to restore the Park and adjacent property to it's pre-excavation state.

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Nanaimo Downtown Parking

Click image to enlarge
To say that downtown parking is a simple, straightforward matter would not be exactly accurate. Recent changes to downtown rates and 'free parking' may be a bit confusing if you haven't been paying attention lately.

I hope to provide some clarity here as to where you can park for free, where and when you have to pay and how long you can stay in any one place.

WHERE AND WHEN TO PARK FOR FREE

All 'on street' parking is free after 5:00 pm and on Saturday and Sunday, however the 2 hour maximum still applies with the exception of the Bastion Street Parkade where you can park for free from Friday evening at 6:00 pm until Monday morning at 8:00 pm. The exception is the upper level which has metered parking where the 2 hour limit still applies.

There is no charge after 5:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday at the Cavan and Wallace or the Maffeo Sutton Park on Arena Street.

The parkade parking under the VICC and at the Harbour front are still paid parking 24/7.

RATES

Metered on street parking is $1.25 for one hour while off street in a parkade such as the VICC, Harbourfront or Bastion Street Parkade or Cavan & Wallace lots are $0.75 for the first 2 hours.

Clearly there is an incentive to parking in one of the parkades if you intend to stay for any length of time as it would cost $2.50 to park on street for 2 hours (which is the maximum time allowed on a meter).

MORE METERS COMING

The long term plan will be to have parking meters installed all along Commercial Street sometime within the coming year but in the meantime there is still some 2 hour free parking on Commercial Street and some other downtown streets.

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VISFF TICKETS NOW ON SALE


For the first time ever, the VISFF will have three screenings of the selected films – two evening shows and a matinee on Feb. 7.

“The Festival was jam-packed last year,” said Blakeborough. “We wanted to give our audience another opportunity to check out these great short films, so we decided to hold a matinee screening on Feb. 7. The evening shows are always very busy, so this will give our audience another opportunity to check out the Festival.”

A selection committee will comb through the films this month and announce the shortlist of selected films by January 1. All the films will be shown at each of the three shows on Feb. 6 and 7. The opening night will start at 7pm and will also feature a musical performance by Nanaimo’s own Top Men. After the matinee on Saturday at 2pm, there will be a filmmakers' Q&A with several of the films' directors. Following the final show on Saturday at 7pm, there will be an Awards ceremony and after-party (held at the Firehouse Grill).

The VISFF is a Nanaimo Arts Council Event. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students) and are available at http://www.visff.com/tickets, at the Port  Theatre, and at 250-754-8550.

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Nanaimo Water, Sewer, Garbage Increases For 2015

Water, Sewer and Garbage Rates To Increase 14.5%

Water rates are set to increase by 7.5% in 2015 which will increase the cost to the average Nanaimo single family home by $28.84 bringing the total cost of water (based on average consumption) to $413.36 per year.

Sewer fees will increase by 5% in 2015 which represents an increase of $5.35 for a single family home bringing the total annual cost to $112.28.

Garbage fees will increase by 2% and will cost a single family home $99.75 per year. The fee for tags for extra garbage bags is increasing by 50% to $3.00 per bag.

In Addition To Property Taxes
Residents Pay $625.39 For Water, Sewer and Garbage 

Some will say that user fees are not the same as taxes, those same people dance on the head of pins. The next time city hall and city council is telling you how reasonable your property taxes are remember to include the $625.39 you are also paying in user fees.


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Tilray Plans New Facility - Creates 275 Nanaimo Jobs

City Council Paves Way For Major Expansion
"Council's decision to approve the required rezoning is good news for the City of Nanaimo.  The steps taken last week through the rezoning will allow Tilray to significantly increase their operations in Nanaimo leading to over 275 new jobs." Mayor Bill McKay

During a public hearing meeting held December 11, 2014, the Nanaimo City Council approved a rezoning for an expansion of the current Tilray owned and operated medical marihuana production facility at 1100 Maughan Road. The rezoning for the adjacent properties at 1110, 1120 and 1140 Maughan Road applies the same Industrial (I4) zone, with a site-specific use of ‘medical marihuana growing and production’.  With the rezoning approved, Tilray is positioned to begin the permitting and regulatory approval process that would enable them to increase their operations in Nanaimo significantly.

Tilray began cultivating medical marihuana in Nanaimo in April 2014 with the opening of a state-of-the-art, 60,000 square foot research and production facility. Currently Tilray employs a workforce of more than 100 staff in Nanaimo.  Pending necessary regulatory approvals, Tilray plans to build a new facility that will be 284,888 square feet.  Once complete, Tilray’s second facility is expected to create an additional 275 jobs in Nanaimo, in addition to more than one hundred indirect jobs related to construction, logistics and third party services.



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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Nanaimo Daily News Sold to Black Press


It is reported in the Times Colonist that the Nanaimo Daily News is one of the papers purchased by Black Press in a deal for Vancouver Island newspapers. The article states that in addition to the Nanaimo Daily News, the Alberni Valley Times and the Cowichan Valley Citizen are also included in the deal which does not include the Victoria Times Colonist.

Black Press is to take operational control of these newspapers on March 2, 2015. When complete this will give Black Press control of all Nanaimo print media as they are also the current owners of the News Bulletin.

It is not said if Black Press will also be publishing the Harbour City Star or if it has purchased the printing facility that produces the Nanaimo Daily News and a number of other publications. Recent changes at the local Daily has fueled some speculation by local news watchers if they will continue to produce a daily publication as the quality and quantity of their content has been slipping lately.

A curious mind might wonder if this purchase wouldn't put Black Press in a position to consolidate the local publications and what is perhaps duplicate printing capacity. It has always been a bit of a mystery how Nanaimo is able to support the many print publications that currently exist.

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COST OF EXTRA GARBAGE BAG INCREASES 50%

The fee for putting out an extra bag of garbage on collection day will be increasing to $3.00 beginning January 1, 2015.

Nanaimo residents can purchase garbage tags when their garbage exceeds the one container limit on their scheduled garbage collection day. Attaching a tag to the extra standard size container or bag allows for the extra pickup. Residents may place a maximum of two additional containers or bags at the curb.

The old 'orange' garbage tags that residents have at home will still be accepted for collection. As well, retailers that have the old tags will continue to sell them at $2.00 until their supply runs out. The new 'blue' garbage tags will then be sold at $3.00.

For a list of Nanaimo facilities and retail locations that sell garbage tags, visit the City's website.

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Site C Project Approved By Province $8.775 Billion


Site C to provide more than 100 years of affordable, reliable clean power

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark announced the Province has approved the Site C Clean Energy Project, concluding it will provide British Columbia with the most affordable, reliable clean power for over 100 years.

“Affordable, reliable, clean electricity is the backbone of British Columbia’s economy. Site C will support our quality of life for decades to come and will enable continued investment and a growing economy,” said Premier Clark.

B.C.’s population and economy are growing, and the demand for power is expected to increase by 40% over the next 20 years. Site C will be required even with BC Hydro’s ambitious Power Smart programs that are targeted to meet 78% of future electricity growth.

“British Columbia has the third-lowest electricity rates in North America and we need to meet our future needs in a way that keeps rates down,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. “It’s clear that to keep rates low, we must choose the option of building Site C.”

Over the first 50 years of Site C’s project life, ratepayers will save an average of $650 to $900 million each year, compared to alternatives - this amounts to average annual savings of approximately six to eight per cent for the typical household. The project will generate a century of low-cost power, providing enough electricity for about 450,000 homes per year – an eight-per-cent increase in supply to BC Hydro’s system in 2024.

As the third project on the Peace River, the firm energy it provides will support the development of more independent power projects (IPPs) by backing-up intermittent resources, such as wind. IPPs currently provide 25% of B.C.’s electricity and will continue to play a vital role in meeting the province’s energy needs.

“Site C is essential to keeping the lights on while maintaining low rates for our customers,” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “This project will build on the success of our existing hydroelectric system and benefit British Columbians for generations to come.”

The capital-cost estimate for the project has been updated to $8.335 billion, and government has also established a project reserve of an additional $440 million to account for events outside of BC Hydro’s control that could occur over an eight-year construction period, such as higher than forecast inflation or interest rates, for a total of up to $8.775 billion. The reserve is subject to provincial Treasury Board approval.

The project, which has undergone a thorough and independent multi-year environmental assessment process, will start construction in summer 2015 and will provide approximately 10,000 direct construction jobs.

“Today’s announcement is a historic milestone and we look forward to building this important provincial project,” said Susan Yurkovich, executive vice-president responsible for Site C. “We will continue to work with First Nations, communities and landowners to ensure that we deliver on our commitments and realize the many benefits of this project.”

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Michael's Musing

The Council Clique
The first full meeting of the new Council happened on Dec 7

My brief impressions of that meeting: The themes of the meeting were Real Estate and surprises. The big item was a request from the Loaves & Fishes food bank for support buying a new, more efficient warehouse. The council debated the merits of charities owning buildings, judged it a good idea, but questioned sharply the rush to close this one good deal. Councillor Hong preferred the idea of an ongoing grant but the majority  passed a resolution to give a lump sum of about a 1/4 million. 

Councillor Hong suggested that a new distribution truck could be donated by a local dealership. Everyone pitched in ideas pot luck style. Weary taxpayers should be pleased with this Council as they were also being fiscally responsible. Billy Yoachim led the charge by asking about moving the money for the food bank from another budget line, rather than spending  any new money. Kipp asked about seeing all the years big requests at once rather than piecemeal. Fuller, Bestwick and Kipp had a conversation about getting the money from the housing fund. Kipp asks if we should raise the ten year old levy on developments, currently sitting at a $1000 dollars per door.  

 Also there was talk of other Real Estate deals. The convention center's fate, strata housing, corporate sponsorships and the best way to earthquake proof the Cranberry Boys and Girls Club. In all cases, the new Councillors seemed concerned with not wasting money and ready to send for more information. Already there was concern about a shortage of information. The second main theme I noticed in the meeting was surprises! Councillors Bestwick, Thorpe and Fuller seemed surprised at Mayor Mckay's proposal for a more involved Acting Mayor system. Mayor Mckay for his part seemed surprised at all the scepticism. Defeated. The new horseshoe table worked well but was obviously not field tested before the big day. Councillor Bestwick was having trouble under the spot lights. he was shielding his eyes and complained that he couldn't see the display screen or the presenters very well. Also a surprise was the absence of a new Council member Wendy Pratt. No surprise the meeting went discreetly in camera before the night was over. 

Everyone went to the School Board reception across the hall as a City Council after party. Yay! after parties! The next meeting will have a planning flavour as they are reviewing Official Community Plans and such. 

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JESSE WAYNE GOODALE - CANADA-WIDE WARRANT


AKA CHASE GOODALE
Should be considered dangerous

A Canada-wide arrest warrant has been issued for Jesse Wayne Goodale, 24, for parole violations.

Goodale is from Nanaimo and has contacts and family in central Vancouver Island. He may also go by the alias of Chase Goodale.

Goodale is a Caucasian male, 5-feet-10, 220 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He has numerous tattoos on his forearms and hands. "Weed" is tattooed across the fingers on his left hand and "W.G." is tattooed on his right hand.

Goodale has a history of violence and should be considered dangerous.

Anyone with information about Goodale's whereabouts or anyone who sees him is warned not to approach him, but call 911 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fantasy Castle - House Truck Design


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


Spectacular small house design built on truck platform.

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NANAIMO INFO BLOG WELCOMES CONTRIBUTORS

Nanaimo Info Blog welcomes new Columnists to your website. 

Dan Appell and his Arts & Culture column have quickly become a welcomed addtion to Nanaimo Info Blog with his unique view and insight into the Nanaimo arts and culture scene. Dan's column is only one month old and is already developing a loyal following.


Michael Horn is the second new contributing columnist to Nanaimo Info Blog with his column "Michael's Musing, reflections of Michael George Horn". Michael was a councillor candidate in the recent Nanaimo civic elections and offers some insightful and thoughtful observations on the activities of our new city council and city hall.

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Nanaimo Rental Vacancy & Rental Rates


CMHC released their fall Rental Market Indicators Report which is based on privately initiated apartment structures of three units and over. Single family dwellings and duplexes or suites would not be included in this report.

Comparing October 2013 with October 2014 Nanaimo's vacancy rate declined from 5.3% in 2013 to 4.4% in 2014 while average rents for a two bedroom apartment edged up from $806 to $812.

Vancouver Island Comparisons 
Average rent for a two bedroom unit (vacancy rate)

Campbell River $777 (4.8%)
Courtenay      $819 (1.7%)
Duncan         $759 (4.7%)
Nanaimo        $812 (4.4%)
Parksville     $766 (1.2%)
Port Alberni   $688 (5.6%)
Victoria      $1095 (1.5%)

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PNW LNG & Port Edward Agreement-in-Principle

Hon. Coralee Oakes
VICTORIA – On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Coralee Oakes today offered warm congratulations to the District of Port Edward and Pacific NorthWest LNG (PNW LNG) for signing an agreement-in-principle that would define municipal property taxation benefits for the municipality over the next 25 years.

Port Edward is the first B.C. community to sign such an agreement with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) proponent, marking another step forward in plans for PNW LNG to build an LNG facility on Lelu Island, located in the District of Port Edward on land administered by the Prince Rupert Port Authority. The first phase of the project would consist of two liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, marine infrastructure with two berths for LNG carriers, a material offloading facility, as well as administration and auxiliary buildings.

The facility would liquefy and export natural gas produced by Progress Energy Canada Ltd. in northeast B.C. for transport to Lelu Island by the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project. PETRONAS is the majority owner of Pacific NorthWest LNG; other shareholders include Sinopec, JAPEX, Indian Oil Corporation and PetroleumBRUNEI.

As a result of this agreement-in-principle, the District of Port Edward has requested that the Province introduce legislation to enable this agreement under the Community Charter. The Government of British Columbia will seek to introduce this legislation in the legislative assembly as soon as reasonably practicable in the spring 2015 legislative session.

In addition to annual municipal property taxation, this agreement-in-principle also proposes significant infrastructure benefits for the District of Port Edward, including support for water and sewer system upgrades and future construction of the Wampler Way bypass.

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STREET BANNER SUBMISSIONS INVITED


2015-16 Street Banner Design Competition

The City of Nanaimo invites all amateur and professional artists and graphic designers to enter our competition for the design of street banners. This year’s theme is: Nanaimo’s past, present and future. The chosen banners will be installed on lamp posts on major streets throughout the City of Nanaimo in the summer of 2015 and 2016. Submissions will be accepted until Friday January 9, 2015.

Please review details and submission requirements of “Street Banner Design Competition No. 1582” or contact the Culture and Heritage Department Directly.

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FANTASTIC POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS


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

Not all cop stories are bad stories.

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Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas Eve Ceremony in Holten Canadian War Cemetery

Children to wear City of Nanaimo pins at ceremony this year

In Holten the Netherlands there is a Canadian War Cemetery which marks the final resting place of nearly 1400 who died during the last stages of the war.

Each Christmas Eve the people gather to pay their respects and honor those who gave their lives in the fight for liberation. The children of the town place a candle on each of the 1400 graves as tribute.

This year 300 of the children will be wearing a City of Nanaimo pin which was sent to them as our way of thanking them for honoring the Canadians who rest in the Cemetery in Holten.

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Rainfall Event Stresses Sewage Outfall Pipe

 Signs warning public of sewage pollution
 Roadway had to be built to bring in equipment
 Excavation is right on the property line of the adjacent home
Excavation has now revealed area of damaged pipe to be repaired

The outfall pipe slated for replacement this year wasn't able to withstand the additional pressures put on the system by a combination of the rainfall event and the king tides. The damaged pipe was first noticed by a resident of the property bordering Morningside Park. While checking for any rainfall issues on his property the owner noted water gushing up out of the ground.

The repair of this leak has turned into a major construction project which first required the building of a temporary road through the park to move in equipment and also the removal of trees which had concealed the neighbouring home.

Because of slope stability issues and the proximity to the neighbouring home a geotech specialist is on site supervising the ongoing excavation that has now revealed the damaged pipe, which is still an active sewer line. It is treated effluent in the pipe and most of the flow is carried through the two kms to the final outfall by Hudson Rocks. 

This repair has presented crews with some serious challenges not the least of which is plugging a hole in a sewer line that can't simply be turned off to make the repairs. There are holding ponds in the system which can be used to divert the flow for 3 - 4 hours maximum, during which time it is hoped a repair can be made to the pipe.

This past summer a new outfall line was run from the treatment plant to Morningside Park but will not be put into service until the new outfall pipe is installed which consists of about two kilometres of pipe running underwater from Hammond Bay to Hudson Rocks.

The design phase of the marine portion of the project has now been awarded and when complete the contract to install the underwater outfall will go to tender. It is hoped this work can be completed this summer as it can not be done during the stormy fall season. The entire project is expected to be in the $18 million + range and will be replacing pipe that was expected to have a life cycle of 70 years but is needing replacement after only 45 years.

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MICROSOFT TO TRAIN WORKERS IN BC


CBC reports that Ottawa has granted Microsoft an exemption that will allow them to bring in an unspecified number of temporary foreign workers to BC as trainees without having to first look for Canadians to fill the jobs.

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STUFF YOUR STOCKINGS WITH B.C. COAL

Hon. Bill Bennett
“Most people don’t think of coal when they go shopping for gifts, but the fact is without the coal that is mined right here in British Columbia, we wouldn’t have access to things like smartphones, cars or even shopping malls.

British Columbians can take pride in knowing that no matter the product or where it was made, it probably wouldn’t exist without B.C. coal.”

VICTORIA – No matter whether you light the menorah, trim the tree or setup the Festivus Pole, your holiday activities likely have a connection to a lump of coal mined right here in British Columbia.

From the planes, trains and automobiles that are used to transport holiday gifts, to the stores where those gifts are sold – they all require steel. That steel is made using metallurgical coal.

Upwards of 90% of the coal produced in British Columbia is metallurgical coal. In 2013, B.C. exported more than 28 million tonnes of metallurgical coal.     

Planning to drive to the mall over the holidays? There are approximately three million cars in B.C. and it takes roughly 630 kilograms of metallurgical coal to produce a single vehicle.

Nothing says Canadian winter like lacing up the ice skates for a game of hockey. The steel blades that make breakaway goals possible start out as metallurgical coal.

Coal production is a mainstay of the province’s economy, generating billions of dollars in annual revenue and supporting thousands of well-paying jobs. Coal production currently represents over half of the total mineral production revenues in the province.  

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BC FERRIES CUTS 3.4% FUEL SURCHARGE


BC FERRIES DROPS FUEL SURCHARGE DEC. 17

VICTORIA – BC Ferries’ President and CEO Mike Corrigan announced today that the 3.4 per cent fuel surcharge will be removed as of Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

“With the current favourable market conditions, we have been hedging our diesel fuel costs and are now in a position to eliminate the fuel surcharge, which is great news for holiday travellers,” said Mike Corrigan, BC Ferries’ President and CEO. “We know that fare affordability is an issue for our customers and we are pleased to be able to reduce the cost of ferry travel, as every bit helps.”

BC Ferries still has an outstanding balance in its fuel deferral account, but the remainder continues to drop and forecasts indicate that the balance will be reduced to zero in the first half of 2015.

Under contract to the Province of British Columbia, BC Ferries is the service provider responsible for the delivery of safe, efficient and dependable ferry service along coastal British Columbia. 


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LIONS CHALLENGE OTHER SERVICE CLUBS

Rose Sarkany, Lions rep, Dave Ruckman and Randy Fred blind lawn bowlers, Chris Morrision, Lions rep
‘KNIGHTS OF THE BLIND’ CHALLENGE

In 1925, following an epic speech by Helen Keller, Lions Club International became the ‘Knights of the Blind in the Crusade Against Darkness’.   Nanaimo Lions have thrown down the gauntlet in support of local blind champions, Randy Fred and Dave Ruckman, and are challenging all Service Clubs to meet or beat their $500 donation.  Lions’ Rose Sarkany, also blind, is a runner and international advocate for ‘Running for Change’.   Rose brought home a silver medal from the nationals for blind bowlers in Brantford this past September but didn’t qualify to represent Canada at the World Games for Disabled Athletes this time.

Gold medalists, Randy and Dave, did qualify and to date community and club fundraising efforts get them half way to fulfilling an opportunity of a lifetime says, David Mitchell, NLBC President.  Because blind athletes must be accompanied by sighted helpers, we need to raise $20k to get both athletes and their Directors to NZ.  I am confident that the public will catch the local wave of support to see local Canadian representation on the world stage for athletes with disabilities.   We are very proud of these guys! 

Nanaimo’s Donn Sherry, BC Lacrosse Hall of Famer, heads up the NLBC Sight Impaired Program, the most progressive and inclusive in the country.   Recently, the vision impaired program has been expanded to include a broader range of disabilities. 


Visit www.nanaimolawnbowling.com for more information.

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Safe Holiday Travelling Tips


 Tran BC
Click Image to visit TranBC
Make a list and check it twice for safe holiday travel

VICTORIA – Next week, thousands of British Columbians will hit the highway to visit friends and relatives or to head to the hills for winter sports.

People travelling over the holiday season should be prepared for winter driving conditions. Here’s a list of links to check before heading out:

  • Look ahead at the route and weather. Drive BC has information on all highways in the province, including weather forecasts and highways cams: http://bit.ly/1x6HLM6 For the most up-to-date information, please check: http://www.drivebc.ca/ 
  • Prepare for an unexpected delay in cold temperatures by keeping warm clothing and food handy and a full gas tank: http://bit.ly/1qBjbk2
  • Highways can be closed to traffic for avalanche control, extreme weather or motor vehicle incidents – and there may not be a detour available: http://bit.ly/1zC9UtI
  • Is the driver rested and ready? Snow, ice and long distances can be trying for drivers whose experience in these conditions may be limited: http://bit.ly/1whcxjA
  • Expect the unexpected – such as wild animals crossing, or loss of traction, or needing a lot more stopping room. Always drive to the conditions, keep alert and leave space to stop safely: http://bit.ly/1x6K0ip
  • Is the vehicle ready for the road? Winter tires are required on highways outside southern coastal areas Oct. 1 to March 31: http://bit.ly/1AlP6ow    In good condition, these tires have a minimum 3.5 mm tread depth to provide the traction needed to drive safely on highways where winter weather can be expected – when drivers slow their speed for the conditions. Ensure the vehicle is mechanically sound and has good wipers, as well as working headlights and taillights.

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WELLCOX PROPERTY CLEAN-UP

Click image to enlarge
The old warehouse and stacks of pallets have been removed on the portion of the Wellcox property on the downtown waterfront that will be available for future development.

The warehouse foundations have been removed and the pallets, which were turned into wood chips have likely become hog fuel at Harmac. I presume the different colours of dirt in this picture represent what is being removed (black coloured) and what will be replacing it (light brown coloured). This project had a price tag of over $500,000 with about 50% of that cost being the cost of soil removal and replacement.


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Sunday, 14 December 2014

NANAIMO BOIL WATER ADVISORY CANCELLED

NO NEED TO BOIL TAP WATER

(Distributed at 8:50 a.m. Sunday, December 14) - Turbidity in the City’s water system is now within acceptable levels.  Sampling throughout the system indicates no bacteria in the drinking water.  

The Boil Water Advisory issued Thursday December 11 has now been cancelled - residents can resume drinking water from the City's supply system WITHOUT the need to boil it first.

After a Boil Water Advisory has been cancelled, it is recommended residents:

* Flush all water-using fixtures for 1 minute.

* Run cold-water faucets and drinking fountains for 1 minute before using the water.

* Drain and flush all ice-making machines in your refrigerator.

* Run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.

* Drain and refill hot water tanks set below 45 C (normal setting is 60 C).

* Change any pre-treatment filters (under sink style and refrigerator water filters, carbon block, activated carbon, sediment filters, etc.).

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