Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Awards Nominations Closing Feb. 15/16

 20 under 40 nomination
Click image to enlarge

20 under 40 Achievement Awards
Nomination form at www.20under40.ca


Nanaimo Housing Starts - January 2016

Housing Starts  
Jan. 2016 / 2015
Single Detached Up 2 Units
Multiple Starts Up 4 Units 

Single detached housing starts in Nanaimo increased in January from 32 in 2015 to 34 in 2016 while multi-family units increased from 26 in 2015 to 30 in 2016 resulting in a combined total of 64 units in 2016 as opposed to 58 units in 2015.

YTD Totals are the same, as this is the first month

How Nanaimo Compares (for January 2016)

The following shows YTD housing start data for comparable urban centres:
  • Chilliwack 53 starts
  • Courtenay  10 starts
  • Kamloops   16 starts
  • Nanaimo    64 starts
  • Pr. George  3 starts
  • Vernon     11 starts
YTD housing start data for larger urban centres
  • Abbotsford-Mission 143 starts
  • Kelowna     54 starts
  • Vancouver 1761 starts
  • Victoria   137 starts



Monday, February 08, 2016

Canada Pulls Jets Feb. 22

CP reports Canada will be pulling our jets in the fight against ISIS on Feb. 22, but will be increasing the number of boots on the ground.

Read the full story HERE.


Nanaimo House Prices - January 2016

Nanaimo House Prices 2014

  Nanaimo Real Estate Home Sales

Nanaimo House Prices January 2016

Prices Increase 5% - Sales Flat 0%

The following information is taken from the MLS sales data from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. The information is based on single-family residential unit sales.

The month of January 2016 saw 63 homes sold, compared with 73 homes the previous month, and compared with 63 homes sold in January
 2015. This represents a 0% increase when compared with last year.

The average sale price increased in January
 2016 to $386,056.00 compared with $366,694.00 in January 2015 an increase of 5%. The median Nanaimo house price for January 2016 was $350,000.00.

VIREB cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate the actual prices in centers comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas.

In January 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $340,200, up 5.94 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The average MLS® price of a singlefamily home in January was $365,850, a seven per cent increase from January 2015 and up slightly over last month.

The January 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $268,300, down 1.22 per cent from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $332,100, up 3.77 per cent from 2015. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $304,700, an increase of 7.22 per cent over the same month in 2015. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 6.17 per cent to $358,200 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 10.03 per cent to $388,000. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $186,800, an increase of 10.64 per cent since January 2015.


Saturday, February 06, 2016

Lions FREE Skate Sunday Feb. 7/16

The Lions Club of Nanaimo will once again be hosting Free Everyone Welcome skate sessions from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm on Sundays from Sept.13/15 until March 27, 2016 at Frank Crane Arena. On Nanaimo Clippers Junior 'A' game days, the Lions Free Skate will run from 10:45 am to 12:30 pm. This valued project continues the long tradition of the Nanaimo volunteer service to the community of Nanaimo.

The Lions Free Everyone Welcome skate sessions include admission, helmets and skate rentals.

There will not be a Lions Free Everyone Welcome skate session on December 27 due to the Winter Wonderland event.


Friday, February 05, 2016

Old Nanaimo Hall City Annex - Tax Dollars Lost?

City gives away $4 million building in 2012
New owner still not paying any taxes

Regular readers of this blog will know that the saga surrounding the old and new city annexes are a prime example of wasted tax dollars. Previous senior management and two Council's on John Ruttan's watch arguably set fire to several million tax dollars under the guise of 'safety' and concern about the outcome from a seismic event.

At least $16,000,000 went into the new annex (now called the SARC) building, which arguably was only needed because senior staff of the day wanted a new playpen. The old annex on Franklyn Street had it's value completely gutted by attaching a covenant requiring demolition or a seismic upgrade. This upgrade would not have been required under the building code and I suspect this was put in place to avoid any possible embarrassment should a new owner come along and a new engineers report debunk the 'safety' issue. Remember the city did have an engineer tell us how dangerous the Colliery dam was, only to later find out, that was not accurate. Could another look at the old annex have disproven the first report?

The $4,000,000 Giveaway

In 2012 it was announced by the City, that the old annex at 238 Franklyn Street was being sold to a company called Tectonica for the sum of $2. There was however a condition attached to that sale. The company would have to either demolish the structure or undertake a seismic upgrade within 2 years, or the property could revert to the city. The actual 2 year clock did not start running until 2014 however, meaning Tectonica was to have fulfilled their part of the deal by January of this year or the property could revert back to city taxpayers.

It turns out, that in October of last year, at one of those secret in-camera meetings, this new council extended the time for the upgrade for another 5 years. It will likely require an FOI request to determine exactly why this extension was granted in-camera and why until now there has been no public disclosure of that secret deal.

No Taxes Being Paid

My attention was drawn to this whole affair when I noticed that BC Assessment was only assessing this land and building at $2, given a similar lot nearby had an assessed value of over $600,000.00 for land only. I noticed this last year and told the city, thinking they would ask BC Assessment to put a proper evaluation on the property, so the taxes could be collected.

I contacted the city for clarification on the assessment and then became aware of this in-camera deal. Arguably this is not a good deal for the Nanaimo taxpayer. It is however a very good deal for Tectonica and Mr. Darren Moss. They apparently have a 5 year option to purchase agreement, on a valuable piece of property, on which they pay no taxes, and forfeit nothing if they don't perform.

BC Assessment explained to the city that because the city had put a covenant on the property that the building could not be used until upgraded that they valued the entire package at $2.00. I am still waiting for someone from BC Assessment to explain why this makes the land of no value. If not using the land makes it of no value, then there should be no assessed value on vacant land, by the same logic.

A Good Deal For Taxpayers

If this council had the taxpayers interest truly at heart, they would take possession of the property. Remove the covenant, and put the property on the market and try and salvage some of those tax dollars council's have so carelessly thrown away.


Nanaimo Family Day Weather Forecast


Mt. Washington Family Day 50% Off

For BC residents

Have an adventure together this Family Day, Monday February 8, 2016. Come on up to Mount Washington and enjoy 50% off alpine lift tickets and nordic trail passes.


Hell's Angels Clubhouse Battle Continues

Over Eight Years - Still Not Resolved

An article in the Vancouver Sun reports the ongoing battle for the Hell's Angles clubhouse on Victoria Rd. in Nanaimo is still slowly grinding through the legal system.

The article states:

Last year, the director of civil forfeiture changed its strategy in the case, dropping allegations of past criminal conduct and claiming only that the clubhouse should be seized because it would be used in the future to commit crimes.

So the bikers went back to the B.C. Supreme Court judge overseeing the protracted proceedings and asked to regain access to the building pending the trial in May 2017.


Nanaimo Self Employed - Community Futures Survey

Community Futures Central Vancouver Island invites you to participate in their 2016 Self-Employment Survey. The survey results will provide important information, which helps form their strategy development and make appropriate adjustments to service delivery efforts.

Please complete the survey February 7, 2016 and gain the opportunity of entering in a lucky draw to Win $100 prepaid Visa card.

To participate in the online survey, click here. If you experience technical difficulties with the Internet survey and need assistance, please email.


Thursday, February 04, 2016

Committees & Commissions Recessed For Core Review

City temporarily recesses Committees and Commissions 
during Core Services Review

With the Core Services Review underway and with recommendations from the review's findings due in early May, Council has determined that meetings scheduled for some of the City's Committees and Commissions will be temporarily recessed until the review is completed. 

This decision is intended to focus the City's attention and resources on the business of effectively completing the Core Services Review during the slated three-month time line.  Of the City's 13 Committees and Commissions, the following eight are impacted.

* Advisory  Committee on Environmental Sustainability
* Grants Advisory Committee
* Nanaimo Culture and Heritage Commission
* Parks and Recreation Commission
* Planning and Transportation Advisory Committee
* Red/Green Tape Committee (has not commenced)
* Safer Nanaimo Advisory Committee
* Social Planning Advisory Committee

During the three-month recess, Committee and Commission business will be addressed as follows: Directors will be responsible for day-to-day issues; the City Manager will address overall operational issues; and Council's direction will be sought on big picture policy and operational decisions.

Committee and Commission members have been encouraged to contact City staff or appear before Council if they wish to raise or discuss Committee and Commission matters during this upcoming three-month period.

"In February 2015, Council made a number of changes to the Committee and Commission structures, including direction that the Committee and Commission structures would be considered as part of the Core Services Review.  This week's decision to recess eight of the 13 Committees and Commissions supports Council’s direction from early 2015 and prioritizes focusing resources and time on the objectives of the Core Services Review."  -  Toby Seward City of Nanaimo


Business Achievement Awards Final Call

Final Nominations Call February 8 2016

Nominations for the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards finds nearly 90 businesses on a list for consideration for the 16th annual awards – the largest nomination field ever. The business community still has until February 8 to nominate more candidates in the 2016 competition.

There are 18 categories open for ‘best of the best’ nominations ranging from manufacturing and technology to retail, restaurants, youth initiatives and much more. The Chamber of Commerce Awards have established themselves on the mid-Island as the “number one universal ‘recognition of business excellence event” on the Island.

According to Kim Smythe, Chamber CEO, “The Awards help create pride of place with a little friendly competition in the business community. Surely, if you have a friend in business, in your neighbourhood or network who deserves special recognition – let us know through a nomination! We welcome any business in the region to nominate themselves or their colleagues, their employers, and their employees.

Categories include: Tourism, Retail, Downtown Restaurant, Downtown Business, Professional Services, Hospitality, Arts & Culture, Community Service, Science, Technology, Construction, Arts & Culture, Best Employee and more. Check our website for more details at www.nanaimochamber.bc.ca

This is the 16th annual event presented by the Chamber. Nominations are open to all businesses in the Greater Nanaimo area.

The “who’s who” of the business community will celebrate with finalists at an “Oscar Style” Awards Show on March 4 in the Port Theatre with red carpets, paparazzi, jazz in the lobby and on-stage and plenty of bubbly available! 

Tickets – just $39 -- at the Port Theatre Box Office. More information and nominations at www.nanamochamber.bc.ca


Lock Down At VIU Lifted - Feb. 4//16

Shortly before 10:30 am on Thursday February 4, 2016 a lock down was initiated at the Nanaimo Vancouver Island University (VIU) campus after reports were received of a male with an object that appeared to be a handgun.

As per VIU policy, all students and staff were locked within their respective buildings. The Nanaimo RCMP attended and began searching the campus for the suspect.

At 11:00 am, the search was concluded as the male was not located. This information was forwarded to the senior administration at VIU and their decision was to lift the lock down and resume normal activities on campus.

The Nanaimo RMP is continuing with their investigation. They will be reviewing surveillance tapes and speaking with witnesses to the incident. If anyone has information they are asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo or submit a TIP online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com


Nanaimo Contractor Thwarts Would-be Thieves

Alarmed Storage Container

An alarmed storage container was enough to deter late night thieves from making off with a local contractor’s tools. At approximately 3:30 am on Wednesday February 3, an attempted theft occurred at a construction site on Kaz Court. When police arrived the only thing missing was the lock to the storage container; all tools were accounted for.

The storage container was rigged with an audible alarm thus preventing the theft from occurring. The owner of the storage container, Chris MITCHELL , a local building contractor, experienced firsthand the impact thieves can have on his livelihood. In 2012 his tools were stored in a similar container but it was not secured. When he arrived at  work the next day, the container was empty and gone were 10,000 dollars in tools. This effectively put his ten employees out of work until the tools could be replaced.

MITCHELL had enough and decided to purchase an alarm for his container. Now, when he leaves the job site, he rests easy knowing if the door is opened, an alarm sounds. MITCHELL even went a step further and installed an infra-red camera. When the door opens, the  camera snaps a picture and even sends a text to his phone with the picture attached.

The Nanaimo RCMP encourages all building contractors to consider installing similar devices. The cost of purchasing and installing this equipment is significantly less than the replacement cost of new tools.


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Dragons' Den Auditions - Nanaimo Feb. 19/16

Auditions are now open!
Feb. 19 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
Shaw Auditorium

It’s time for entrepreneurs across the country to polish up their pitches to be part of Dragons' Den! This February our producers are hitting the road on a 35-city audition tour to find Canada's best small businesses in need of a Dragon investment.

The audition tour welcomes participants of all ages, with businesses at any stage of development. Aspiring entrepreneurs should prepare to pitch their concept to the Dragons' Den producers in five minutes or less. If they show the producers they have what it takes to pitch in the Den, they could be invited to Toronto to face the Dragons. Prospective pitchers are encouraged to apply online and bring a completed application form to the audition.

To get your business on Dragons' Den, you must fill out the online application. If you plan on auditioning in person as well, please submit your online application first. Auditioning in person is very helpful, but not necessary to get on the show.

Apply now for your opportunity to pitch your business to the Dragons! Click here to start your online application.


Dianna David - Thursday Feb. 4 - Nanaimo Library

Dianna David at the Vancouver Island Regional Library

Harbourfront Branch Feb. 4 at 6:30 pm.

Dianna David is leading Crimson Coast's Body Talk Program this year. Spring Break is going to be AWESOME! Her talk is to kick off the Spring Break program registration. This is open to all ages - especially teens!

As a Transformational Entertainer, Inspirational Speaker, Creative Educator, kid whisperer, humanitarian, freestyle dancer and human being, she travels the world inspiring people of all ages to live a life of PLAY: Passion, Love, Art and Youthfulness. The art of play opens us up to seeing infinite possibilities of a life we’ve always desired to live.


VISFF - February 12 & 13 2016

11th Annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival

Presented by the Nanaimo Arts Council, the 11th Annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival celebrates the best short films from Vancouver Island and around the world. All films are 12 minutes or less and include a diverse range of genres and styles.

The festival has three shows this year at the Vancouver Island University Theatre on February 12 and 13, 2016. The opening night will start at 7pm and will also feature a musical performance by Nanaimo’s own Boomshack! 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 the Awards Ceremony and after-party at the Firehouse Grill. All the films will be shown at each of the three shows.

Tickets $15 | Students $10


Nanaimo Festival of Banners - 2016

2016 Festival of Banners
Call for Entries


For the past 28 years, professional artists and amateur painters have come together each spring to create beautiful one-of-a-kind works of art in the form of street banners. These colourful, hand-painted banners are installed on lampposts around Nanaimo for residents and visitors to enjoy from May to October. Festival of Banners brings people together for skill sharing, learning and fun, and adds vibrancy to our city streets.

Visit nanaimoartscouncil.ca for details and deadlines. Pick up your entry form today at these locations:
  • Nanaimo Arts Council, 4 Commercial St.
  • Nanaimo Art Gallery, 150 Commercial St.
  • Nanaimo North Town Centre, Guest Services Kiosk, 4750 Rutherford Rd


Downtown Parking Free Evenings & Weekends

Nanaimo Downtown Free Parking Policy Continues

At this week's city council meeting Council opted to renew a policy allowing for free parking in the evenings and on the weekends in the downtown business area.

John Cooper appeared on behalf of the DNBIA to report that the pilot program which launched in 2015 has been a success in terms of attracting more people to the downtown business area.

This means you may park for free at any of the on-street meters and the Bastion parkade any evening and on the weekends.  Areas which are not metered but have two hour limits are still enforced on the weekend.

This policy does not apply to the Harbourfront parkade or parking at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. It should be noted that there are some private parking lots in the downtown core where this policy does not apply.


Restaurant Brawl Leads To Charges - Nanaimo

Charges of Aggravated Assault have been laid against 3 adults following a brawl on December 6th, 2015 at a north end Nanaimo restaurant.

31 year old Jeremiah TAYLOR, 28 year old Sunjay SHARMA and 25 year old Hamzah Subhan KHAN, all of Nanaimo, were formally charged on December 16 with one count each of Aggravated Assault. All appeared in Nanaimo Provincial court and were later released on a Recognizance of Bail with their first court appearance set for Tuesday February 2, 2016. All three appeared as scheduled and a date of September 2nd, 2016 has been set for a preliminary inquiry.

Various conditions were imposed on the three; of note, they are prohibited from entering any establishment were liquor is sold and they are not allowed to communicate with each other for the duration of the court proceedings.

Unsolved crimes January 28th to February 2nd, 2016

1. Nanaimo 2016-2644 On Wednesday January 27, between 3 pm and 5:30 pm a Banana Republic grey overcoat and Apple I-phone were stolen from an unlocked locker at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.

2. Nanaimo file # 2016-2775 On Thursday January 28, at approximately 4:45 pm a male was found hiding inside a business located at 371 Franklyn St. A witness told police she was locking up for the night when she came upon the suspect hiding behind her office door. She confronted him and he soon left. The suspect is a First Nations male, 20-30 years of age, 150 pounds, 5 ft. 8 and was dressed in all black. 

3. Nanaimo file # 2016-2804 On Friday January 29, a child's bike was stolen from an unlocked shed at 305 Watfield Drive. The bike may have been taken around 4 am. The bike is a one speed, lime green and the front wheel is green and black.  The front and rear tires have two pegs each and there are stickers on the bike that says "Zombie" and "Dead Heads". 

4. Nanaimo file # 2016-2814 On Friday January 29, community mail boxes were pried open at 2109 Meredith Rd.  The public is asked to be vigilant and report all suspicious activity around any community mail boxes.

5. Nanaimo file # 2016-3074 On Saturday January 30, at 7:44 am a break and enter occurred at 154 Promenade Drive. Video surveillance showed two males picking open the main front door and then going up the elevator. No break and enter or thefts were later reported. The first male was dressed all in black and carried an Adidas backpack. The second male wore a grey hoodie ,had red shoes on and acted as a look out.

6. Nanaimo file # 2016-3089 On Monday February 1, between 8 am and 11 am a bicycle was stolen from a bike rack at Vancouver Island University. The bike is a red and black Jamis, 24 speed with a 19 inch frame. The serial # is Y14L003713. The bike was locked and the lock was left behind in the bike rack.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Family Play Day In Nanaimo Feb. 7/16


City Needs Your Input For New Website

 Card Sort
Click image to complete online exercise

The City of Nanaimo is currently developing a new website and is seeking the public's input. This is the second time public input has been sought - earlier feedback from the public provided direction that information should be more easily found and understood, and that the website should provide a better experience on mobile devices such as smart phones. With the design portion of this project now underway, we would appreciate help in the following ways:

Join us February 16th for a small focus group meeting to help guide the "look and feel" of the website.  If you are interested in participating, please email the contact at the bottom of this news release.

Help us by validating the placement of information on our website by completing an online exercise.  This will help ensure that the information is in the location that the majority of residents would expect to find it. You can complete this exercise using the link below in the online version of this press release.

To express your interest in the February 16th design focus group, please email: ross.collicutt@nanaimo.ca.

"We are hoping to gather ideas from a broad cross-section of our community on how the City's new website should look and feel."  -  Ross Collicutt City of Nanaimo


RDN Sewage Outfall Replacement Project

$18 Million Outfall Replacement Project Underway
Dredging, Drilling & Blasting Progressing

The $18 million outfall replacement project is completing the work of dredging, drilling and blasting in the current fisheries window. The actual installation of the 2km of outfall pipe will take place sometime in the June - September fisheries window.

The new pipe will be filled with air and floated into place, filled with water to sink in place and will be held in place with large concrete collars. The treated sewage outfall will be in 70 metres of water, 2 km out in the Strait.

This will replace the current pipe which unfortunately is having to be replaced about 20 years before it was expected. In the past year there were two cases of the pipe failing at the shoreline at Morningside Park.