Wednesday, 4 March 2015

More Herring 'Action'

Click Image To Enlarge

The herring in Deep Bay have provided quite the bounty for not only the commercial fishermen, but the eagles and gulls and the bloated sea lions (in the foreground) with Chrome Island in the background on yet another perfect day on Vancouver Island. 


Mayor McKay Concerned For Personal Assets

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

At the March 2 Nanaimo city council meeting, Mayor McKay explained why he was supporting a motion put forward by Councillor Thorpe which is in direct opposition to a motion put forward by Councillor Yoachim on Feb. 2 and passed by council 7:1.

If you listen to the above video you will hear Mayor McKay say:

"Very well respected lawyer in our community who is also an MLA said to me "you better be careful because once they place an order on you that you can be held criminally negligent". This didn't come from staff, didn't come from the dam safety branch, it came from a well respected member of the Legislative Assembly. Am I concerned, the reason I voted against, err, voted in favour of the motion that Councillor Thorpe put forward is because if something, if they start doing something, we don't know what they are going to do, but if they do, I want my vote to be on the other side of that because I certainly don't want to put my personal assets on the line, because we are going to quibble about a few, you know, cubic metres here or cubic metres there, we've been ordered to do something here, we're just going to have to see how it plays out."

There are a few conclusions one might take away from this utterance of Mayor McKay in which he is supporting a motion put by Councillor Thorpe which is in direct opposition to the Feb. 2 motion supported by this Mayor and council put forward by Councillor Yoachim.

It is curious why Councillor Thorpe's motion was not ruled out of order by Mayor McKay due to it being in contradiction to the previously passed motion by Councillor Yoachim.

He seems to think the letter received from DSS is on par with 'once they place an order on you', which is the advice presumably given by MLA Leonard Krog. (Advice given as MLA or lawyer?).

Mayor McKay would seem to place acting in the interest of his personal assets above the interests of the city of Nanaimo taxpayers.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Nanaimo May Long Weekend Celebrations Get New Life

Downtown Business Leaders Breath New Life Into May Celebration

The cancellation of the May long weekend celebrations in Nanaimo with it's weekend parade and fireworks has lead to the formation of a new group adopting the name 'Nanaimo Heritage Days'.

Two of the driving forces behind the new organization are downtown businessman, city councillor Jerry Hong and Nanaimo's well known Morgan Carey owner of Real Estate Webmasters simply couldn't stand by and watch this Nanaimo tradition pass from the scene.

A new society yet to be registered, plan to start a new tradition this year under the banner of 'Nanaimo Heritage Days'. More information about this new society and their plans for a new Nanaimo tradition can be found on their Facebook page HERE.

Carey's company Real Estate Webmasters (REW) will be the first title sponsor this year. This years event is truly a community effort resulting from the joint efforts of the Chamber of Commerce, DNBIA, SFN and Rotary among others.


Things on the Net that make ya' smile


CDPPS Questions DSS Letter & Staff Silence

Jeff Solomon Addresses Council

Once again Jeff Solomon from the CDPPS appeared before Nanaimo City Council at the March 2 council meeting. He made a brief presentation which focused on the timelines and interaction with the DSS over the past two years during the Colliery Dam Saga.

Mr. Solomon's timeline would suggest there has been some kind of collaboration between city staff and DSS providing support to the city's position of removing the Colliery Dams. 

He also questioned what has been the lack of response from city staff to the direction given in Councillor Yoachim's Feb. 2 motion which included city staff and the other stakeholders meeting to come to an acceptable solution to this ongoing saga.

He made it quite clear his group is ready, willing and able to do their part to arrive at the least expensive, least intrusive solution to this problem, which some see as not a problem at all. Among other points Solomon touched upon was the fact that the city engineers have not provided his group with the information they used when calculating the capacity of the spillways to handle excess water in a storm event. 

During his presentation Solomon noted that the engineering firm which claims the spillway can handle a maximum flow rate of X cubic feet per second have never actually been on the site and taken measurements of the actual spillway. They have been asking to examine the calculations used to arrive at the conclusion the existing spillway is inadequate. To date the city has not been forthcoming with that information making it impossible for the CDPPS to confirm the spillway capacity, which they feel could be grossly understated.


Monday, 2 March 2015

Mayor McKay's Colliery Dam Position - Worth Repeating

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

During the election campaign Bill McKay was asked for his opinion on the Colliery Dams. Now that he is Mayor McKay his position on the Colliery Dams seems to have changed somewhat.


Nanaimo Media Covers City Council

Nanaimo Info Blog Covers Media & Council

It is a bit of a game sometime for people with cameras to catch other people who are usually using the camera, while they are using their camera. I refer to it as 'shooting the shooter'.

Well in this case it was a hat trick being able to catch three of Nanaimo's local media in one single shot. Bonus points!!

I managed this little capture at the Mar. 2 City Council meeting which included left to right, Jett Bassi CTV, Hilary Eastmure 91.7 Coast FM News and Spencer Anderson of the Nanaimo Daily.

While Spencer covers most city council meetings it is unusual to see CTV or 91.7 FM News covering city hall meetings. Perhaps they thought something on the agenda might be exceptionally news worthy. However the only really involved agenda item was the letter from DSS telling the city they had until March 27 to come up with the final plan for Colliery Dam. This was the last item on the agenda and I think both Jett and Hilary had left long before then. 


Helijet Nanaimo - Vancouver Starts Mar. 11/15

Today, Helijet is pleased to announce its renowned passenger helicopter service will start connecting downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015.

In just 18 minutes, Helijet’s familiar 12-passenger, twin-engine, two-pilot Sikorsky helicopters will whisk passengers on a scenic journey between the two downtown harbours. Equipped to operate in both daylight, after dark, and in most inclement weather the Sikorsky S76 will operate 14 scheduled flights (seven return flights) between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. weekdays.

Tickets for the Nanaimo service are now available, with an introductory fare of $109 one-way (regular fare is $129). Book Online Now or call Helijet Reservations at 1-800-665-4354.

Departs Nanaimo: (Monday – Friday only)

Flt#902 – 0735
Flt#904 – 0840
Flt#906 – 0945
Flt#908 – 1340
Flt#910 – 1635
Flt#914 – 1745
Flt#916 – 1850

Departs Vancouver: (Monday – Friday only)

Flt#901 – 0705
Flt#903 – 0810
Flt#905 – 0915
Flt#907 – 1310
Flt#909 – 1605 
Flt#913 – 1715 
Flt#915 – 1820


Nanaimo Active Seniors Group - Open House


Herring Are Spawning - Everyone's Lunch Counter

The water turns turquoise and the fowls of the air and the creatures of the sea and the two legged ones with boats and nets all gorge themselves on one of nature's bounty - the annual herring spawn.

Photo artist Sheryl Falls captured some of this annual wonder up Island yesterday where eagles, gulls and many other winged creatures joined with the seals and sea lions and of course the top predator (man) as the sea turns turquoise and everyone fills their belly.


Port Theatre - March 2015

Lots To Choose From
 Port Theatre March 2015

For event details, information and to purchase your tickets online visit the Port Threatre website HERE.


City Council Meeting March 2/15

Conspicuously Absent From The Agenda

You may recall at the February16 City Council meeting there was an agenda item that would have given first three readings to the 2015 - 2019 Financial Plan Bylaw.

This is the bylaw that would see Nanaimo taxpayers being levied a 1% tax increase rather than the 1.8% increase originally put forward by staff. This was the motion that was defeated by four councillors who feel they have not done their best to see if further tax reductions can be found. The motion had been supported by four councillors who seem to think another 11% tax hike is a justifiable increase.

If memory serves, this item was to come back before council for consideration at the Feb. 23 COW meeting which was cancelled, and also again at the March 2 Council meeting. This item is not on the agenda for the March 2 council meeting.

The Feb. 16 meeting clearly showed a divided council which is currently deadlocked on the matter of this years budget. Councillors Hong, Yaochim, Bestwick and Kipp feel they should be able to find further economies and seem convinced there is tax fatigue in the community. While Mayor McKay and councillors Brennan, Pratt and Thorpe seem of the opinion the community can afford another tax increase of 11% over the next five years.

At the Feb. 16 meeting Councillor Kipp put forward a motion that would have instructed staff to reduce the overall budget by 2%. This motion was also defeated on a tie vote.

Since this item is not back on the agenda for March 2 it is possible that even behind closed doors this council has not been able to bridge the gag between the 'tax and spend' councillors and the 'hold the line on taxes' councillors.

This lowly scribe has suggested that council simply instruct the city manager to prepare a budget with a 2% tax decrease with no service cuts. After all controlling spending and managing efficiencies is what our high priced staff are supposed to be able to do. Aren't they?

Anytime it is suggested to the city manager to reduce taxes the standard reply is to ask council what services they wish to cut to achieve the reduction. I would submit, that is not the job of city council, but rather that is the job of the city manager. Perhaps one economy could be found by freezing all exempt staff salaries for the next five years.

Not putting the $4.9 million in surplus funds under the city managers bed is another way to lessen the burden on weary taxpayers.


Festival Nanaimo - Top Notch March Lineup

Festival Nanaimo plans to bring March in like a lion, with a blend of music, family events and more worth roaring about.

The festival, launched in January after many months of preparation, hopes to bring in visitors to the city and offer a wider array of activities for families looking for something fun to do during the extended March break.

“We started talking about doing a Festival about eight months ago that would be multi-dimensional and encompass all the arts as well as showcase all the great things to do in Nanaimo, says Festival Nanaimo executive director Margot Holmes, noting March is a particularly busy month. “The Port Theatre is busy almost every night, the Vancouver Island Symphony has two concerts, TheatreOne has two one-act comedy shows, Nanaimo Conservatory is bringing pianist, Andre Laplante, Crimson Coast Dance presents BodyTalk, the Nanaimo Art Gallery and Nanaimo Museum have great interactive exhibits to name only some events.” 

The Vancouver Island Symphony, with its history of strong ticket sales and ability to partner with other groups, has committed to be the lead organizer behind the festival for at least two years, said Holmes, also the VIS executive director. The festival brings together arts organizations to work with other groups such as the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Nanaimo and local businesses to showcase all the great things to do here in Nanaimo, says Holmes.

The festival lineup is top-notch. “The nine Festival Nanaimo Signature Events were chosen knowing the entertainment that Nanaimo audiences enjoy,” Holmes says, citing a concert that will have musical greats Jim Byrnes, Barney Bentall and John Mann performing together in one show. “This is an extra-special event and tickets are going fast. Tiller's Folly and Royal Wood will be sharing a show. Anyone who loves great Canadian song writing should be at this show. I saw Chase Padgett's show 6 Guitars and it is fabulous. I laughed so hard and it is so good artistically.”

Some shows are virtually selling themselves. Ticket sales have been so good for the award-winning musical theatre show, Tonight ... Piaf starring Joelle Rabu that a second show was added. The Festival Nanaimo shows mark the first time this show will be performed with orchestra.

Among many other events the festival has in store are:

A free street party March 17 at 5:45 p.m. in Diana Krall Plaza to mark the 50th anniversary of the Irish Rovers featuring a live feed of the sold-out Rovers' Port Theatre show, beer garden, musical entertainment, special VIP seating and a celebration of all things Irish.

During March Break, the band Speed Control offers a five-day rock & roll camp for ages 8-80 with a lunch time concert at the Port Theatre March 27.

March 28 is PirateFest Family FunDAY at Swy-A-Lana Lagoon with a pirate parade, pirate sing-a-long , treasure hunt and lunch at family rates. 

But, says Holmes, “Festival Nanaimo is more than just the arts. You can do it all - golf, hike, walk, cycle, run, attend the boat show, be a spectator at the CCAA Women's Basketball National Championships and the Provincial Masters Curling Championships and attend the opening of NS3's New Science Studio. Local hotels are offering special rates and weekend packages and your favourite restaurants will be offering special menus.”

Check out for details, new events or to buy tickets and festival passes. Festival Brochure is available in Nanaimo Magazine. To get involved with Festival Nanaimo through sponsorship70s, donations or to volunteer, go to the website or call 250-754-0177.


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sunday Morning At The Harbour

 A moody sky
 A quiet Sunday on the docks
 Row ..... row ..... row
'Buds' enjoying 'guy stuff'


Strait Hunter Visits Nanaimo

Strait Hunter tied up at the visitor's pier

The 60 metre R/V Strait Hunter was spotted tied up at the visitors pier in the inner harbour on Sunday morning. 

According to the company website the R/V Strait Hunter is a 60m vessel with an ice strengthened hull and has been built and maintained as a survey research platform. With accommodations for 36 personnel, large air conditioned survey rooms, on and offline processing areas, built-in work stations and spacious deck it is ideally suited for surveys in water depths ranging from 100m to full ocean depth.


2015 Heritage Building Rehabilitation Awards

Recognizing excellence in heritage building rehabilitation

On January 19, Council approved award recognition of two heritage rehabilitation projects completed in 2013/14. Owners of these buildings will be honoured at the upcoming 2015 Culture & Heritage Awards ceremony, to be held on April 9, 2015 at the Port Theatre (Nanaimo, BC).

MCCOURT RESIDENCE (750 Franklyn Street)

Owned by Ms. Andrea Saam-Lawry and Mr. Tim Lawry. To be presented with a Heritage Rehabilitation Award (Residential) for exterior rehabilitation work completed in 2014

ST. PAUL'S ANGLICAN CHURCH (100 Chapel Street)

Owned by The Anglican Synod of the Diocese of BC. To be presented with a Heritage Rehabilitation Award (Institutional) for roof upgrade work completed in 2014

The City of Nanaimo is committed to fostering, nurturing and promoting the protection and conservation of Nanaimo's built heritage. When properly planned and managed, these resources help to create a community with a unique sense of place, where lively and meaningful interaction takes place. The purpose of the Heritage Rehabilitation Awards is to formally recognize the efforts made by individual property owners to conserve and rehabilitate Nanaimo’s heritage buildings.

A few of previous award winners include: The Bastion (98 Front Street) Palace Hotel (275 Skinner Street), Esquimalt & Nanaimo Railway Station (321 Selby Street), Harris House (375 Franklyn Street), Harrison Residence (546 Prideaux Street).


West Coast Moment by Sheryl Falls

West coast 'fishermen' getting ready for herring season


Friday, 27 February 2015

Nanaimo City Council Meeting March 2/15

City Council Meeting
Monday, March 2 , 2015
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Is. Conference Centre

  • Council Advisory Committees and Commissions
  • Heritage Commission Repeal Bylaw
  • Council Appointments
  • Core Services Review Steering Committee
  • 2014 - 2018 Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw
  • Regional District of Nanaimo Bylaws
  • Council Meetings and Agenda Circulation Times
  • 2014 General Election Financing Disclosure Statements
  • DP 476 Nottingham Drive, 850/870 Jackson Road, 3602 Place Rd.
  • Linley Valley Urban Reserve Area Plan
  • Structural upgrade order - 1377 Townsite Rd.
  • Unresolved building deficiencies 485 Pine St., 45 Haliburton St., 177 Bird Sanctuary Dr., 102 Kemp Place.
  • Unauthorized suite - 762 Townsite Rd.
  • Property Maintenance Bylaw, 2404 York Cres., 812 Short Ave., 435 Prideaux St.

     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.

    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?

    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??

    Three 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! 


    Citizen Bob FYI Nanaimo Commentary

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

    Citizen Bob 'Reaches Out' to Mayor McKay


    Thursday, 26 February 2015

    Social Enterprise Catalyst Comes To Nanaimo


     4:00 – 5:30 PM

    If you manage or are a board member with a charity or other not-for-profit that operates a business as a social enterprise, did you know you could be eligible to present your business pitch at the upcoming Catalyst Gala for a chance at $50,000 in cash and technical supports to help you succeed!

    The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce is excited to host this free event March 3rd for the Catalyst Gala on May 20th at the Port Theatre.  Catalyst is one of a series of events taking place over the next few months to build capacity and strength in non-profits.  Learn through these events how to reduce your need for charitable giving and public sector support.

    A social enterprise is defined as a business whose mission, conduct and revenue stream address a cultural, social and/or environmental need as their principal goal.  Profits from the sale of goods and services are targeted to specific causes.  Success stories abound in the world of social enterprise and Catalyst showcases, supports and inspires these throughout Vancouver Island. 

    Join us March 3rd and hear from a panel of experts in the field, funders, Catalyst event sponsors, and operators from some of our local social enterprises.  Learn more about the world of social enterprise, how it works, and what the business model is.  Find out if your organization can qualify for the $50,000 in cash and technical support available through Catalyst. 

    To RSVP and pre-register (no cost) for the launch: or call 250-756-1191

    For general information:


    Ezra Levant Is Crowdfunding

    According to this Huffpost article Ezra Levant is attempting to crowdfund a news studio now that Sun News no longer exists.


    Nanaimo Empire Days May Long Weekend Parade Cancelled

    Society Votes To Cancel Long Weekend Parade & Fireworks

    The Nanaimo Empire Days Society held a general membership meeting on Feb. 25 at which the membership voted to ratify a recommendation from the executive that the society would not undertake the sole operation of the May long weekend events.

    The general membership also considered a proposal put forward that would have seen them participate in a joint venture which would include SFN and the City of Nanaimo participation in the event. This proposal was also rejected, albeit a closer vote than the first order of business.

    The society will now decide over the coming weeks and months what they will do as they decide how to wind down their society.


    Nanaimo Festival of Banners - 2015

    Festival of Banners – My Favorite Things

    Each spring for 27 years, Nanaimo Art Gallery has organized the Festival of Banners, which has become a beloved tradition and an important community project.

    To participate, create an imaginative, original design based on the 2015 theme “My Favorite Things”, and submit your completed and coloured entry form to Guest Services at Nanaimo North Town Centre or directly at the banner site (across from Designer Depot). You will pay the $10 fee at the banner site when you are scheduled to paint.  The project coordinator will contact you to schedule a time to paint in March, April at Nanaimo North Town Centre.  Banners are installed on lamp standards in mid-May.

    Entry forms can be found at customer service in Nanaimo North Town Centre, at or at the Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre or at both Nanaimo Art Gallery locations 150 Commercial Street and Vancouver Island University.  Banners are limited this year to 200, so get your submission in early!

    For more information please call 250-729-3947 or email


    Kismet Academy Performance


    Spring is in the air -- and it's February

    Red-winged blackbird in Buttertubs Marsh

    As a boy growing up in rural southern Ontario, one of the welcome songs of spring came from the return of the Red-winged blackbird with their distinctive song. I presume it was likely the males that did the singing trying to attract a mate for the season of renewal ahead. The males are the ones decked out with the fancy clothes and the females wear a sensible camo outfit to hide while safely hatching the brood.

    Of course living in the Sunporch of Canada we are treated to this harbinger of the spring to come when the rest of the country is trying to dig out their cars.