Wednesday, 29 October 2014

No Fireworks In Nanaimo

Enjoy a Safe Halloween Without Fireworks

"Fireworks are banned in the City in the interest of public safety due to their high potential to cause personal injury and damage to property." : Ennis Mond Chief Fire Prevention Officer

As Halloween approaches, the City of Nanaimo reminds residents of two important rules that enhance public safety. 

Residents are also reminded that bonfires are not allowed unless a special event burning permit is requested in person at 580 Fitzwilliam for Halloween (Oct 31) and Guy Fawkes Day (Nov 5).  Both permits must be obtained before noon on those dates.  All other burning regulations apply.

The City encourages residents to use caution when undertaking Halloween activities and to ensure any candles or other combustibles are fully extinguished after use.


Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Diane Brennan Thinks Taxes Are Fine

Click Image To Watch Video
Councillor Brennan Claims No Taxpayer Fatique
Uses Ipsos Reid Poll To Support Her Case

At the electronic town hall meeting held March 26, 2013 Councillor Brennan offered her opinion on the matter of taxpayer fatigue in the city of Nanaimo.

If you listen to the entire discourse of Councillor Brennan it is clear she sees no evidence of taxpayer fatigue. It is interesting she quotes the Ipsos Reid survey to support her claim there is no evidence of such fatigue.

Now if you look at page 18 of the survey she is quoting here is what you will find:

 Click Image To Enlarge

The question posed to those taking the survey asked if increased taxes or seeing a reduction in services was preferred. On this one question the respondents were split nearly 50/50.

43% of respondents said to increase taxes to either maintain current levels or enhance services.

41% of respondents said to cut services to either maintain current tax levels or cut services to reduce taxes.

When nearly 50% of those who answered the question said they would sooner see services cut before any more tax increases, it clearly is a sign of taxpayer fatigue. It seems that Councillor Brennan did not give this survey a very thorough read.


All Candidates Forum Nov. 4 - Nanaimo

Chamber of Commerce 
Announces All Candidates Forum

The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce released its plans for the 2014 Nanaimo All Candidates Forum on November 4 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre starting at 5 pm in preparation for the November 15th civic election.

“We believe we have a unique approach to getting information from candidates to voters, recognizing that educated voters are the key to a successful government”, said Kim Smythe, Chamber President & Chief Executive Officer. “Because we have a high volume of candidates, we’ve coined the term ‘speed campaigning’ to get as many people through all the candidates they wish to speak with.”

The Mount Benson Ballroom at the VICC will be divided into three sections, one for each of the candidate groups – School District, Council and Mayoral. Tables will be provided for each candidate to provide a focal point for discussions. School District and Council candidates will not speak from a podium. Instead, candidates will be able to present from their table and manage their own audiences engaging with them one on one.

“We will ring a bell every 5-7 minutes to encourage people to move to another candidate’s table. We expect that most people will come with a list of those candidates they’d like to speak to in person, rather than try to research all 59 candidates in one night,” noted Smythe.

School District and Council Candidate rooms will open at 5 pm. The Mayoral candidates’ room opens at 6:30 for one on one discussions. At 7:30 pm, each Mayoral candidate will be invited to speak and take questions for up to six minutes. At 8:00 pm, the format will switch to moderated, pre-screened questions for Mayoral candidates. The event ends at 9:00 pm.

Young Professionals of Nanaimo are partners and will help voters on-site. Hilary Eastmure of Coast 91.7 FM will moderate the Mayoral sessions. Shaw TV will tape these sessions for future broadcast.
Candidates are urged to visit the Chamber website to register for this event. A $25 plus GST table fee is required for cost recovery for every candidate wishing to participate or attend.




Tidewater Book Festival

A full day of 10 workshops is scheduled for Sunday 2 November, offering informative sessions led by publishing professionals on topics ranging from the practicalities of self-publishing, through how to design and edit a book, to how to craft your pitch and sell successfully. These workshops will be held at the Painted Turtle Guesthouse, and a full-day pass is available, as well as the option to pick and choose individual workshops of interest.


Halloween Fun At Woodgrove Centre

3 ½ year old Princess, Jordyn Good is ready for the Halloween fun at Woodgrove Centre.

Children 12 years and younger in costume are invited to Trick or Treat for Charity at Woodgrove Centre in support of Nanaimo & District Crime Stoppers on Friday, October 31 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm.

A suggested donation of $1 per child can be made at one of the stations at the main mall entrances, where reflective wristbands will be distributed while quantities last.

Families can also visit the “spooktacular” Halloween display in centre court near the water clock fountain.


Port Theatre Nanaimo Oct.29, Nov. 1

ELVIS - The Moments
Wed. Oct. 29 - 7:30 PM

Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival
Starting Sat. Nov. 1
Harbour City Theatre 25 Victoria Rd.

Friday Nov. 7 - 6:30 PM


Monday, 27 October 2014

Progressive Nanaimo Public Forum

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

This is a video of my introduction speech at the new candidates forum recently sponsored by Progressive Nanaimo. This was the third such forum and I was pleased to see the level of interest with over 300 Nanaimo citizens in attendance.

To view all of the candidates presentations, including the Mayoral candidates visit Progressive Nanaimos' youtube channel.

This video was from the Q&A regards the Colliery Dam.


Halloween Family Fun - Nanaimo


Sunday, 26 October 2014

This Election Is Turning Into A Big Yawn


I've had to be particularly careful in my approach and reporting on the election this year, as being a candidate has put me in a different position than I am accustomed to.

That said, based on what I see in the papers and have seen around town, except for the usual proliferation of candidates signs, you might be forgiven for thinking there is no election this year.

Where is the lame-stream media in all of this anyway? Do they ever actually get out of the office and interview candidates to see if any of them have anything meaningful to say? For that matter would the local press-titutes recognize a meaningful comment if it bit them on the nose? I doubt it.

The 'legitimate' media (not lowly bloggers) offers candidates a bit of space to highlight their 'profiles' which of course they have to write themselves, giving free content to the publishers for their 'special election editions'. The primary purpose of these editions being to sell advertising of course. Getting candidates to supply free content is a stroke of brilliance.

Since the publisher and editor left the Nanaimo Daily, they have quickly resumed their role of lap-dogs to city hall, happily taking their direction and content from Mr. Cooper I presume.

I asked the fill-in editor at the Daily Snooze what would qualify as a legitimate news story brought forward by a candidate, and was basically told a candidate could say anything they want in an advertisement. Really? Is that what the 5th estate has become these days?

Why aren't they interviewing our Mayor demanding that he defend his record of the past six years, of course that would require a reporter who has been paying attention these past six years. Likely, hard to find. How about some probing questions about all those in-camera meetings? Ever-increasing taxes? More golden handshakes and approving unfunded 'vote-buying' motions? To name just a few.

What about the 911 decision which is costing us dearly? Whatever happened to the fire department report and the call for the economy of 2 man, rapid response trucks? Justify the Colliery Dam decision or the Leadercast fiasco. How about millions of dollars of hotel tax exemptions which will have zero impact on our failed convention business?

In a 'real' newsroom those last few ideas would be all the fodder needed to get a journalists' blood boiling ...................... but then again, this is Nanaimo, don't you know.

Note: the local radio stations of course are not worth mentioning, they have little interest in any story they can't fully report in 15 seconds.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Duncan Edges Out Nanaimo

An article in the Financial Post points out that Duncan edged out Nanaimo in a CFIB survey which polled over 100 Canadian cities to find out how friendly they were to independent business owners.

It examined three broad areas: presence (how many small businesses existed), policy (how positively local government policies affected business conditions), and finally perspective. This describes small-business owners’ attitudes towards business and living conditions in their local cities.

In the overall ranking Duncan came in at #43 while Nanaimo came in at #54. Duncan had improved its' standing from 2013 when it was rated #73 while Nanaimo dropped from #42 in 2013. Duncan scored 54.3 overall while Nanaimo came in at 50.8.

On the category of presence Duncan scored 8.9 while Nanaimo scored 9.9, perspective saw Duncan at 21.5 while Nanaimo was 14.8 and finally on policy Duncan was 24.0 and Nanaimo 26.0.

What you can take away from these results, like most things based on statistics is questionable, but if nothing else it appears that Duncan is a friendlier place for independent business owners.


New WestJet Flight Starts Oct. 26/14

Nanaimo Airport Welcomes Second WestJet Flight

It's been 16 months to the day since WestJet Encore began daily non-stop service from Nanaimo to Calgary. During that time, the Nanaimo Airport has enjoyed strong passenger growth, which has resulted in the addition of a second WestJet Encore non-stop flight to Calgary.
The new daily flight starts Sunday, October 26. Arriving in Nanaimo at 6:36pm and departing for Calgary at 7:06pm.

"Developing service is key to Nanaimo Airport's continued growth to ensure safe, reliable transportation for Central Vancouver Island residents," shares Mike Hooper, President and CEO of the Nanaimo Airport. "The addition of the second flight to Calgary, is a major indicator of how strongly the mid-island region is supporting the new service." This new flight brings the total daily scheduled departures from YCD to 14 flights.

In the first six months of 2014, the Nanaimo Airport has enjoyed an average of 33.3% growth per month. Year to date growth in 2014 has been 21%. "We're optimistic the addition of this flight will help us maintain the strong growth throughout the remainder of the year," explains Hooper.


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Apparently this Yorkie doesn't like crusts!


Friday, 24 October 2014

Free Symphony Sat. Oct. 25


City Council Meeting 10/27/14

  Nanaimo City Council Meeting

Monday Oct. 27, 2014
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

        Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
        Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

        If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

        You can view this Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

        If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

        The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.

         Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

        The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

        The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.
        Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

        Council decided to spend at least $200,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

        By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

        We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

        We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

        Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

        Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

        Council decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

        Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 


        Rex Murphy - Ottawa Shooting

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


        Thursday, 23 October 2014

        Honour Soldiers At Cenotaph This Week

        Public invited to honour soldiers killed this week
        "We believe our downtown Cenotaph is a fitting place for local residents wishing to honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent following the tragic events that unfolded in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu earlier this week.  Our thoughts remain with the families, friends and fellow soldiers who knew and cared for these men.": Mayor John Ruttan

        Nanaimo residents wishing to honour Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, of the Argylls of Canada-91st Canadian Highlanders and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent of the Joint Personnel Support Unit at the Integrated Personnel Support Centre, both killed this week during acts of terror against Canadian Forces personnel, can do so by leaving flowers at the base of Nanaimo's downtown Cenotaph in Dallas Square at the corner of Church St. and Front St..

        Flowers may also be left at the Royal Canadian Legion Branches #10 at 129 Harewood Rd. or at #256 at 1630 E. Wellington Rd.


        Linley Valley Acquistion Completed

        At the Oct. 20 City Council meeting, staff were authorized to complete the acquisition of the final two properties associated with the Linley Valley Parkland Acquisition Program. Direction was given to acquire 5600 Vanderneuk Road and 3842 Stronach Ave. for a total price of $2 million. The lands are a combined 50.4 acres in size and will transfer to the City on October 29, 2014.

        In total, 177.5 acres of new parkland will have transferred to the City by the end of October 2014 at a cost of $5.66 million.  The Linley Valley park system will expand to 405 acres as a result of this year's acquisitions.