Saturday, October 03, 2015

Garbage Collector Injury Rate In Nanaimo

Collecting Garbage Is Not A New Service
How come worker injury is now such a big deal?

I am not entirely sure my memory is totally accurate but I remember a time when Nanaimo residents could put out two large garbage bags or two garbage cans for weekly pick up. In those days kitchen scraps and 'compostables' were not separated but were put out with the regular trash.

Clearly, lifting the bag containing all the garbage would have presented a heavier lift than the current system presents. Presently, the same amount of garbage that used to occupy one garbage bag is now split up into two different containers. It would seem that each 'lift' would be lighter than lifting the same quantity in one bag.

Then came a time we could only put out one bag or one garbage can for regular pick up. If we wanted to put out more we had to pay $2/bag or can. Compostables were still combined with other garbage and put at the curb in one bag. The driver had one bag per stop to pick up and toss into the truck or one garbage can to empty, but everything was in the one container.

A few years back we got onto the green bin for compostables which also included the types of food scraps I would never have put into my own compost pile. This gave rise to the questionable program of diverting that type of waste from the landfill and sending it to the experimental composting plant run by ICC. That is topic for a complete other article at a later date, but a case can be made for that program being a costly failure which has created as many problems as it ever solved.

With this new system the driver would have to pick up (every other week) one garbage can or bag of regular trash. Every week they would have to pick up and empty the green bin containing kitchen scraps etc. So, one week the driver had to pick up two things (green bin & one bag) and every other week only had the green bin to deal with. So instead of picking up or emptying one garbage container they now had two things to deal with. Arguably they are not handling any more weight and in fact are dealing with half as much weight as they were years ago per lift.

So why has this new system spawned all these work place injury claims now and was never an issue before, when arguably the drivers are not dealing with any more weight? Is this a matter of not being trained properly on how to deal with the green bins? Is it a case that when they doubled the number of 'picks' (one green bin and one garbage bag) they didn't consider the impact that doubling the 'picks' would have on the collector? Are some workers simply coming to an age where they can no longer perform the same physical duties as they once did? Could it be that 'garbage men' of old were simply stronger and better suited to the job that sanitation engineers are today? (:^)

On the matter of repetitive strain injury if the intent is as I have heard to be able to collect from 900 homes in a day, does that mean the collector will now have to make 1800 repetitive motions with a joystick? How many clerks do you see wearing wrist supports?

Finally, would this whole problem simply go away if we returned to putting all refuse in one easy to fling bag and forget this failed green bin program?? These injuries never seemed an issue until we got into the green bin split packer, made-in-Nanaimo experiment.

One Sure Fire Solution To End Garbage Collector Injury

Why have none of our councillors asked staff to find out what the cost would be to simply contract-out the entire waste/recycle/compost business and remove all future liability from the city?


Violent Sex Assault Suspect Sketches Released

Nanaimo RCMP are hoping these sketches will lead to information about the May 6 violent sexual assault of a 37 year old woman by two men in Harewood between Ninth and the Parkway.

One suspect is described as Aboriginal, heavier build, taller than 5'7" with a circular tatoo on the back of his calf.

The other suspect is described as a white male mid to late 30's with shoulder length hair between 5'5' and 5'7" tall.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the RCMP Nanaimo detachment.


Cruise Ships Are A Boon To Island Economy

229 Ships Visit Ogden Point Victoria
500,000 + Visitors Injecting $30 million+

A recent short visit to our capital city to the south was a bit of an eye opener when it comes to the impact the cruise ship business has on their economy. In a matter of 3 short days we saw six large cruise ships tied up at Ogden Point.

This traffic provided a steady stream of visitors on tour buses, pedi-cabs and of course the iconic horse drawn buggies delivering a serious cash injection to local businesses.

Can Nanaimo Compete With Victoria?

Given that we are actually bigger than Victoria by population we might like to think we can entice some of those 229 ships to stop in Nanaimo instead of Victoria. Well, that is simply not dealing with reality on any level and we are deluding ourselves to think otherwise. Spending a day taking in the sights of Victoria is miles and miles ahead of anything Nanaimo has to offer. Our waterfront is nice, theirs is spectacular and it goes on forever. Our inner harbour is quaint. Enough said. We do have parks and trails, but have you seen Beacon Hill Park?

I am not bashing Nanaimo, merely making the point the idea that we will ever become a destination for cruise ships to stop is simply silly thinking. We could turn Newcastle Island into something great, but we still can't compete with the complete package Victoria has to offer. We might be able to run bus excursions from Victoria but will need much more to become a destination.

A Few Comparisons

On Sept. 26, 28 and 29th Ogden Point saw 6 large cruise ships tied up with a total passenger count of 12,404. On two days in July and one day in September Nanaimo cruise ship terminal saw 2 large and 1 small cruise ship tie up bringing a maximum of 5402 visitors to Nanaimo. The number for Victoria was actual passenger count whereas the Nanaimo number is maximum number of passengers possible.

From April through September a total of 229 cruise ships were scheduled to visit Victoria with an estimated 513,000 tourists injecting $30 million plus into the local economy which is reported to support 800 jobs.

Another consideration with regard the value of cruise ships to the local economy is determined by 'when' on the cruise a ship stops to visit. For example the last cruise ship to come to Nanaimo was on the last day of it's cruise with their passenger getting off the ship the next day in Vancouver. It is reasonable to assume that most of those passengers had already purchased mementos and gifts for friends and family by the time they get to Nanaimo, so the number of dollars they are apt to spend may not be significant.

Next Year Six Ships Coming To Nanaimo

It seems Nanaimo is getting noticed in the world of cruise ships with the announcement by the Port Authority that six vessels are scheduled to come to Nanaimo next year. We still have some distance to go to return to the total of thirteen ships which stopped here before the terminal was built and passengers were tendered into the harbour from their anchored ship.

There is no downside to hosting visitors on cruise ships regardless of how much money they inject into the local economy. That said, Nanaimo has to step up it's game if we ever hope to maximize the potential this industry could have on our economy.

If we are going to encourage cruise lines to stop in Nanaimo we likely have to offer them something they can't get in Victoria. Making Nanaimo a destination in addition to Victoria and not instead of Victoria could bear fruit, trying to compete with Victoria is a recipe for failure.


Friday, October 02, 2015

Market Value of Colliery Dam Timber?

Some trees cut at Colliery Dams Park

To make way for the auxiliary spillway at Colliery Dams a wide swath of trees had to be felled. The above picture was taken on Sept. 19/15 and only shows one woodpile.

I have no idea how many board feet of timber would come out of these trees but have spoken with some who suggest it could easily be $100,000 worth and perhaps considerably more.

I have asked the city manager for the volume of timber and what it's market value is, and as yet have not had a reply.  From comments made at the last COW meeting it sounds as if the city manager took it upon himself to give this timber to SFN for firewood and ceremonial use. He said he had no direction from council and said it was a no-brainer to give it to SFN.

I will be interested to know by what authority the city manager can dispose of city assets without the approval of council.


Tender Call For Wellcox Trestle Repairs & Upgrades

$90,000.00 probable costs extends design life to 2018

An engineering report from Herod Engineering reports their opinion of probable construction costs to complete the recommended repairs will be in the order of $90,000.00.

The firm was hired by the City to complete an assessment of the Port Way Trestle which resulted in repair recommendations which are intended to increase the design life of the trestle to 2018.

Recommended repairs include tightening of loose bolts, installing channel cladding on pile caps, installing new columns and repair mudsills in some piers.

The City issued a request for tender on Sept. 22/15 which will be open until Oct. 7/15 at 3:00 pm at which time the tenders will immediately be opened in Public in the Purchasing Department at 2020 Labieux Rd. Nanaimo.


Orchid Society Show & Sale - Nanaimo Oct. 2-4/15


Thursday, October 01, 2015

More Fantastic Nanaimo Weather Coming


Bite of Nanaimo - Tickets Now On Sale


VIU Open House - Friday Oct. 2/15

Friday, October 2, 2015 · 10 am to 3 pm

If you’ve never taken the time to visit your home-town university on the green slopes overlooking Nanaimo’s Harbour, mark your calendar!

The entire community is invited to a Campus-wide Open House at Vancouver Island University (VIU), sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, on Friday, October 2, 10 to 3 pm at the Nanaimo campus.
  • Why? We want you to learn about all the amazing things VIU has to offer – not just for students, but for everyone in the community.
  • Where? Every corner of the campus has something to explore, so check out the schedule, and make sure to take a guided campus tour!
  • Who? VIU’s Open House is for everyone! Come on by if you’re young or old, retired or in high school, with kids in tow, or on your way home from work. You’ll get a warm welcome from faculty members, students and staff, who will help you discover VIU and answer your questions.
To view a list of all Open House scheduled activities visit the VIU website HERE.

Complimentary Parking · Prizes · Refreshments


NCDC Live TELETHON - Sun. Oct. 4/15

Nanaimo Child Development Centre TELETHON

The 3rd annual Nanaimo Child Development Centre Telethon will air live from the Port Theatre on Shaw TV on Sunday, October 4th between 12 noon and 8PM, in a community partnership between the NCDC, The Port Theatre and Shaw TV. Free Admission.
Call in phone number day of event (250) 591-KIDS (5837)


Will We Ever 'Hear that train a comin'?

Is there any truth to the rumor the the ICF is no longer doing anything except cashing pay cheques??


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Volkswagen Scandal Affects 11 Million Vehicles

1.8 Million Commercial Vehicles

Volkswagen is now admitting the emissions-rigging scandal affects far more vehicles than first reported. The original report claimed nearly 500,000 vehicles were involved in the US but now the number has risen to 11 million worldwide.

The commercial division of VW admits some 1.8 million commercial vehicles have the emissions-rigging software installed designed to cheat emission testing. 


Tourism Nanaimo Sport Hosting Grants


Tourism Nanaimo is currently accepting applications from local sport organizations seeking grant funding to host multi-day sporting events and tournaments. Tourism Nanaimo will be accepting applications for this intake until 4pm on Friday, October 30th.

In 2014, the City of Nanaimo transferred the sport tourism program to Tourism Nanaimo. This is accompanied by a total of $20,000 in available annual sport grant funding.

The purpose of this sport grants program is to provide funding to local sport organizations that helps to support them in bringing multi-day events to Nanaimo. Tourism Nanaimo recognizes that these sporting events increase the economic impact and overnight visitation to Nanaimo & Region while promoting the development of local athletes, coaches and volunteers.

Eligible events must be 2 days or greater, with a significant portion of the participants and spectators staying at least one night in paid accommodation in the Nanaimo area. Detailed program information and the online application form can be found at


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Time To Be A Bear -- A Salmon? Not So Much

Local photo artist Sher Falls caught this bear enjoying salmon roe which along with the brains and skin are the best fat-packing delicacies for putting on the pounds for a long winter's snooze.

If you enlarge the above pic you can see a few salmon eggs on the bears paw. After picking out the 'tasty bits' the scraps provide lots of nourishment for the seagulls and other birds of the air who also benefit from the annual salmon run.


Sasha Angus Joins HYAS As CEO

Nanaimo, BC - Hyas is pleased to announce that Sasha Angus has joined the company as its CEO effective October 2nd, 2015.

“We are thrilled to have Sasha join us at Hyas," said Chris Davis, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Hyas. “Sasha’s successful background in growing start ups and proven ability to attract capital from around the globe will propel Hyas and our world-class infosec technology into a major industry player.”

“I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to join Hyas,” said Sasha Angus. “The technology and team that we are developing will truly change the face of information security for small and medium sized businesses and other consumers. Hyas technology provides better than enterprise level protection at a price that small and medium sized businesses can afford.”

“The team at Hyas has created proprietary predictive domain analysis technology that can identify threats before attacks are even launched, providing “over the horizon" protection in real time and typically 27 days before other industry players are in a position to respond,” said Chris Davis, Hyas CTO.

Angus joins Hyas Inc. from the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation where he served as CEO of the corporation. While at the helm of the NEDC, Angus was responsible for developing and shepherding over $300 million in capital investment from international investors in Asia and North America. Prior to joining the NEDC, Angus helped launch the Greater Victoria Development Agency, served as a Chief of Staff in the Government of Alberta under Premier Ralph Klein, and worked in the capital markets for two national investment firms.


Can Anyone Help This Person Out?

I came across this ad on Used Nanaimo and if anyone can offer to help this person it sounds as if they really could use a hand. The 28' mobile is their home and they need help repairing roof leaking issues and would like to get it done while the sun is still shining and things are dry.

To read the ad visit Used Nanaimo HERE.


A Few Good Reasons To Get Out Of Nanaimo

All within a two hour drive

Here it is Tuesday night and I still don't have any idea what happened at the COW meeting on Monday. I expect city staff did there best to convince council a move to automated garbage pick up is really a no-brainer. Whether council agreed or not is still an unknown to me, and I can't say I am all that curious.

I also suspect that the fire department will have made a presentation showing how imperative it is to build a new firehall and add 20 new firefighters to our current force. I will look forward to hearing the comparisons of different fires of late and how response times impacted outcomes.

But alas, as compelling as all that business should be, I have been able to convince myself that spending the rest of the week enjoying the many sights and sounds our bit of paradise has to offer may be a far more rewarding use of time.

The above pics were taken on a nice day trip under near summer like temperatures and beautiful clear blue skies.

Another good reason for getting out of Nanaimo ...........................


Enjoying Perfect Fall Weather

Iconic Victoria Tourist Attraction

Sadly, I had to miss the COW meeting of Sept. 28 where I am most confident our city councillors will have made many wise decisions and have decided to put the garbage automation process on hold until after the core review.

Spending time in other Island communities gives a different perspective on one's view of Nanaimo as a tourist destination. While I agree (I live there) that Nanaimo is a pleasant place to live it has miles and miles to go before it could hope to hold itself up against Victoria, which actually has a smaller population than Nanaimo.

Nanaimo pulls a half dozen cruise ships, Victoria draws 220+. Nanaimo has Bowen Park, Victoria has Beacon Hill Park. We have the seawall along the inner harbour, Victoria's walk from Ogden Point to Clover Point is spectacular by comparison. In Victoria you can actually find food truck vendors with their unique offerings, in Nanaimo, not-so-much.

Yes, Nanaimo is known for Nanaimo Bars, Nanaimo Bar Trail and the seawall. None of which qualify as tourist destination material, so why don't we decide on what we really are and focus on improving that for the benefit of those choosing to live here. One sound step in that direction is to get control of what will be never ending tax increases as city hall comes up with more and more ways to creatively spend tax dollars.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Automated Garbage Truck Decision??

Core Review Would Be Pointless
If this city council  decides to proceed with the automated garbage trucks as staff is requesting before the results of a core review are in, they might as well save the cost of the core review.

Staff is clearly trying to fast track this multi million dollar decision, and with council coming off a week at UBCM meetings, likely little real diligence has been given this decision.

This whole move is predicated on the notion the composting program (which made the failed split packer trucks necessary) is ever going to produce anything but worthless crap no gardener would ever use.

A few questions:
  • how many cities with more than one curbside container and Nanaimo's topography  are using automated trucks?
  • how many Nanaimo residents are capable of manhandling these huge containers to the curb?
  • dealing with these containers apparently has caused staff injury, what about residents injury dealing with much larger containers
It is hoped these and many more questions will be answered before Nanaimo council rushes headlong into another decision which may prove as failed as the current split packer failed experiment.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Monster Spray Dispensed By Sooke Pharmacy

A Dad went into a Shoppers Drug Mart in Sooke to see if the pharmacy could help with a problem his daughter was having getting to sleep. He brought in a picture of something similar he had seen online and the Pharmacist was only to happy to supply the above label which the dad put on the spray bottle he supplied.

A little creative use of photoshop and some wishful thinking on my part came up with another product, that if effective should sell like hotcakes!

Politicians in the process of telling you a 'whopper' are likely to react to this spray as Linda Blair did to Holy Water.


Fall Marks Return Of Many Birds

Steller's Jay : 'are you lookin' at me?'

As usual over the summer many of the regulars to our bird feeders disappear, I presume heading for higher ground where it might be cooler?

Over the past few weeks a small hawk has visited our yard on several occasions, and while I did not see him make a kill, I know he had his eye on the couple of band tailed pigeons that were regulars all summer. They should have migrated by now, so I am hoping they did and did not provide lunch for Mr. Hawk.

Like clockwork the day before the first official day of fall, our fine feathered friends began returning to their winter turf which includes our yard which provides food, water and good tree cover.

The house sparrows were here all summer as was a family of about two dozen bushtits and aside from the band tailed pigeons that was pretty much it for variety. We did on a few occasions spot the timid Collared Doves which we 'heard' all summer.

Within the past few days we have seen the saucy Steller's Jay (which is a nice surprise), Towhees, Chick-a-dees, Nuthatchs (2), Flickers, Crowned sparrows,Juncos, purple finch, a robin with a speckled young one, bushtits and of course our resident humming birds.


More Signs Of Taxpayer Fatique??

 Tax Fatique
Asked to buy copy paper to copy text books

This Huffpost article reports of a B.C. mom refusing to pick up the tab for her child's school photocopy paper. The item was just one on the list of supplies she was being asked to supply for her child's classroom. The list also included Kleenex, masking tape, Ziploc bags, Sharpies, USB Drives, and headphones.

In addition parents were being asked to cover the copyright fee for teachers needing to copy lessons from up-to-date textbooks.

Considering the amount of money B.C. taxpayers are pouring into our education system, it would seem obvious we have some serious management issues when parents have to buy copy paper, to copy text book material.