Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Bowen Road Farmers' Market - July 30, 2014

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
 Open Wednesday

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market which is open every Wednesday from 4:00 - 6:30 pm has become a very popular spot for those seeking local produce, meats, bread, baking, cheese, preserves etc. etc.

Musicians add to the 'flavour' of the market which is truly a unique experience in Nanaimo offering a wide range of specialty products and quality food items.

There are many vendors offering locally grown produce that is as fresh as it can be, unless you grew it yourself. You will also find artisan bread, meat products, soaps, honey, organic bird seed (for your feathered friends) to name a few items.

So put a big circle on your calendar for Wednesday's and be sure to arrive early as some of the most popular vendors, simply sell out of product.

The market is located at Beban Park on the VIEX grounds ....... you can't miss it!


Bathtub Street Fair - Show n' Shine 2014

Last weekend's Bathtub Days Street Fair included a show n' shine both days on Victoria Crescent with lots of interesting offerings for gearheads and just regular folk to spend time admiring.


Monday, 28 July 2014

Dogs You Meet Downtown Nanaimo

High Fashion Pooch

While downtown in Nanaimo on Saturday afternoon taking in the Bathtub Days Street Fair I saw this very stylish Poodle (I think it's a poodle).

He/she was sporting the typical Poodle haircut including the poms around the ankles originally intended to keep their joints dry when they were swimming. However, the typical Poodle trim seems to reveal that someplace in this canines' pedigree there appears to be an encounter with a Zebra.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Nanaimo Bathbub Race 2014 - Winners

Nathan Barlow dashes to shore with Shawn Lamareux right behind
Nathan Barlow, Shawn Lamareux, Mayor Ruttan
Shawn Lamareux (l) Nathan Barlow (r)

 Quick Times Turned In By Race Winners This Year

While Nathan Barlow officially finished mere seconds ahead of best friend and fellow competitor in a demonstration of true bathtubbing sportsmanship, waited for his good friend so they could officially ring the bell together.

The extremely low tide likely presented the most challenging part of the course for the men and women competing in this year's international bathtub race. After being folded up in a tiny bathtub for nearly 2 hours, jumping out onto the wet sand and rocky shore of Departure Bay beach and then racing up to the bell was not a feat for mere mortals. That said, a few competitors made it look like a sprint after a walk in the park.

Sea conditions were described as very good and the finishing times for the top contenders would seem to support that report.

Close Finishes

Mere seconds separated the first five to finish this years bathtub race:

1. Nathan Barlow 1hr. 14:20

2. Shawan Lamareux 1 hr. 14:30

3. Ross Elander 1 hr. 20:47

4. Rob Saywell 1 hr. 20:56

5. Brandon Leigh 1 hr. 21:10


Bathtub Street Fair Packs Downtown

Nanaimo Bathtub Days Street Fair Saturday 

Commercial Street lived up to it's name on Saturday as Nanaimo residents filled the street to check out the street vendors and also take part in all the fun activities planned which included lots of things to occupy kids of all ages. Local restaurants had outdoor seating on the street, creating a most pleasant atmosphere.

The Nanaimo Bar Trail judging contest was popular as over 200 folk lined up to sample 10 different recipes to find Nanaimos favourite Nanaimo bar, details to follow. There is no truth to the rumour that those sampling the bars had to be treated for sugar shock for fear of going into a sugar coma!

The event continues on Sunday from 9:00am - 4:00 pm, so after seeing the start of this years exciting bathtub race, head on over to Commercial Street to see what all the excitement is about.


Airplane Crash At Cottonwood Golf Course

Crash Near Nanaimo Airport Claims Two Lives

A single engine, two seater amateur built Avid amphibious aircraft crashed on takefoff from Nanaimo Airport on Saturday evening. the Vancouver Sun reports.

The aircraft crashed on takeoff going down on the nearby Cottonwood Golf course near the 15th hole. There were some golfers on the course at the time but no injuries were reported.

No details are being released at this point relating to the crash victims. The RCMP, the Transportation Safety Board and the BC Coroner's service are investigating the crash.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Bathtub Days Street Fair July 26 & 27

Bathtub Days Street Fair 2014
Saturday 9am to 8pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm

Nanaimo’s Biggest Street Party is Back

Join the DNBIA for a two-day street party that will take place on Saturday July 26th and Sunday July 27th in the heart of downtown Nanaimo. The Bathtub Day Street Fair has something for everyone, a kids zone, friendly competition, arts, culture, live entertainment, a parade, talent show and more.

Street Fair – Saturday 9am to 8pm, Sunday 9am to 4pm.

The streets will be closed to traffic both days so that people can enjoy the open air street market which will have close to 40 vendors selling their wares, in addition to all of the  great stores downtown which will be showcasing their wares for your enjoyment.

Kids Zone

jump around
Families, be sure to head over to the Jump Around Kids Zone in Diana Krall Plaza where kids can enjoy, arts and crafts, games, face painting, a fish pond and more. The “Big” kids can take aim at the dunk tank in front of the Palace  Hotel or show off their inner cowboy by riding the mechanical bull.

Pacific Coast Mustang Association Show N Shine

Be sure to make it down both days to visit the Downtown Show N’ Shine which will feature all manners of vehicles. Do you have a car you would love to show off? Make sure to join in the fun. Registration will be open to the public both days on a first-come first serve basis.

 Paint Out/Shoot Out

And what’s a party in the Arts & Culture District without Arts & Culture. Visitors will enjoy the great Paint Out/Shoot Out that will be taking place Sunday, July 27th during the Bathtub Days Street Fair.  Find out how to register at the Nanaimo Arts Council.

Dine Al Fresco at one of the Patio Side Eateries

Downtown streets will take on all of the ambiance of a trip to Europe with many downtown eateries putting tables street-side, so that you can enjoy  lunch while sipping your favourite beverage and listen to local  musicians.

Contests, Contests, Contests

A Street Fair isn’t a party without a little friendly competition. While Bathtubbers are busy sailing across the Strait of Georgia, you can get in on a little friendly competition of your own.

Thrifty Foods Watermelon Eating Contest

Join us in Diana Krall Plaza on Saturday for the return of the Thrifty Foods Watermelon Eating Contest. There will be different age categories so everyone can get in on the fun.

Nanaimo Bar Competition

Think you bake up the best batch of Nanaimo Bars on the Island? While here’s your chance to prove it and take home the gold. Watch this space for more information on how to enter

Waiter’s Race

The madly contested Waiter’s Race will take place Sunday, July 27th in front of the Queen’s Hotel, where the fleet-footed folks from the Quarterway Pub will be defending their two-year title.  Come down and cheer on your favourite Nanaimo Pub staff.
Stay tuned for more information on how to enter the competitions.



Mayor Ruttan 'Victim' Of Legal Opinion?

 Wording Could Impact City Staff

Mayor Ruttan seems to be once again victim to the opinion of others as witnessed by his reasons for deciding to discuss Bestwicks' notice of motion in-camera. Ruttan is quoted in the Daily News as saying he thinks it's very regrettable, where we are all the way around. He then went on to say he would like to be more open and transparent about it if he could but under the circumstance based on a lawyers recommendation he is just not able to do it.

Ruttan said the reason for going in-camera was concern that wording in the motion could impact city staff members. Really? That is the reason for going in-camera? That is the legal advice "the motion COULD impact city staff members" that you have decided to take this matter IC?

Follows is the wording of the notice of motion, as read by Councillor McKay in open council on July 14, 2014 minus the preamble containing all the 'whereas' clauses:


Option #1:

 1.      Council strike a task force to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
2.      City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records; and
3.      City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.

Option #2:

 1.      Council appoint an independent investigator to conduct an investigation of the events leading up to the cancellation of the Leadercast on or before May 5, 2014 and report back to Council before August 31, 2014;
 2.      City Staff be directed to cooperate fully with the investigation by providing all relevant records on a confidential basis and support to the independent investigator;
 3.      City Staff be directed to seek the cooperation of the VICC Operator and Event Sponsors in order to make a full accounting of the facts and where necessary seek consents to waive confidentiality arrangements.
 4.      The independent investigator must demonstrate that he or she has no prior business dealings with the City of Nanaimo, City Staff, the VICC Operator, Council or the Event Sponsors; and
 5.      Any requests made by the independent investigator to City of Nanaimo under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC) and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Bylaw be given top priority.

Recommended options for an independent investigator:

o   Honourable Brian Peckford, former Premier of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador;
o   Mr. Mike Patterson, former Council member, the City of Cranbrook, from 1979 to 1999, the last nine years as Mayor; or
o   Mr. Jonathan Baker, Legal Counsel of Baker and Baker, and former Alderman, the City of Vancouver, serving from 1986 – 1992.

Recommended options for a task force:

o   Councillors Johnstone, Bestwick and McKay; and
o   Exclude any City Staff that may be in a conflict of interest – City Manager, Manager of Legislative Services and General Manager Corporate Services.

Follows is the wording from the Community Charter referenced as reason for taking this matter in-camera:

90  (1) A part of a council meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to or is one or more of the following:
(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality;
(c) labour relations or other employee relations;
(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;
(i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;

How It COULD Impact Staff

The Notice of Motion refers to staff's involvement should council agree to conduct an investigation in this matter as follows:
  • City staff provides all relevant records
  • City staff seeks the co-opertaion of VICC operator, event sponsors
This motion would hardly seem to provide impact on city staff members beyond simply doing their job. Since when was that reason to throw a veil of secrecy over what should be a public matter? In fact over something that is a public matter, having been read in open council.

After an investigation is conducted it could very well impact city staff, should the investigation discover some form of wrong-doing on the part of city staff members. However, at this point it would seem the only impact this motion would have on city staff would be to conduct their job in a fashion you would expect.

One could be forgiven if one were to wonder if the reason for all of the secrecy at this point isn't because of a fear this investigation would uncover some wrong-doing. It would seem the only reason at this point for such a bizarre move by city hall which included redacting a public record.

Demand A Written Opinion From Mayor Ruttan & City Lawyer

Since the taxpayers of Nanaimo are picking up yet another legal bill associated with the May 5th Leadercast decision, we should be allowed to read the written opinion which supports the application of the provisions of the Community Charter Sec. 90 in this case.

We should also see a written opinion from our Mayor as to his rationale for adopting the opinion that this notice of motion could impact city staff.

Yet another example of Democracy - Nanaimo-style!!


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets July 2014

 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 2 - Oct. 11, 2014)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

We are proud to say that we believe our market is one of the prettiest on the island. We have a large base of drop in vendors which keep our market ever changing. We enjoy watching the eagles fly overhead, the boats coming and going and the planes taking off every Friday. Our vendors always have a smile for our visitors. Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at www.nanaimofarmersmarket.com or call 250-754-1998.

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
Open Wednesday (May - Oct. 2014)

The Bowen Road Farmers’ Market was started by a group of people concerned about our ever quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant market. Weekly we feature musicians and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products produced by organic growers who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and meet the person who grows and produces the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May to October 2014, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information call 250-390-5199 or visit their website HERE.

 Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 11 - Oct. 2014)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 11th through to October.

The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.

For information visit lantzvillefarmersmarket.com. or call 250-729-8646.


Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 12 - Oct. 27, 2014)

Take a Sunday drive out into the country, park in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub, feel grassy field below your feet and talk with the farmer that grows your food.

Open from May 12 to October 27, 2014 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

For more information visit their website at www.cedarfarmersmarket.com or call 250-668-5783


Nanaimo 2014 Bathtub Race & Marine Festival

Nanaimo Marine Festival and
World Championship Bathtub Race

Friday, July 25 to Sunday, July 27, 2014

Salutes the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce 125th Anniversary

Friday to SundayMaffeo Sutton Park
Food Vendors, Arts & Crafts Fair, Children's Craft Tent, Static Displays, Kiddies Karnival
Saturday at 10:30amSailpast on Wheels Fun Parade
Starting at Selby Street, proceeding down Fitzwilliam Street and along Front Street to Cliff Street
Saturday at DuskFireworks in the Nanaimo Harbour
Sunday at 11:00amWorld Championship Bathtub Race
Race starts in Nanaimo Harbour and finishes at approximately Noon at Departure Bay beach

Download Schedule

Event Schedule


Nanaimo City Hall Cover-up?

Is This Even Legal?

In what many council observers are describing as just plain bizarre city council and city staff seem to be taking extraordinary measures to see the public doesn't find out what happened before the Leadercast simulcast was cancelled by council on May 5th.

At the July 21st special city council meeting which was attended by Mayor Ruttan and Councillors Brennan, Greves, Johnstone and Pattje it was decided to follow staff's advice to consider this notice of motion in-camera. 

I have spoken with three different lawyers none of whom believe you can take a notice of motion in camera, which would make it illegal, if that opinion is correct. They also all agree, that this particular notice of motion does not meet the test for the sections of the Community Charter city staff is claiming gives them the legal right to handle this matter in-camera.

The motion itself, is asking council if they agree to having an investigation undertaken which would look into events leading up to the Leadercast cancellation on May 5th. The sections of the Charter quoted follow, and it appears that none of these provisions apply to this notice of motion.

Reasons given for going IC to discuss notice of motion for Leadercast investigation:

90  (1) A part of a council meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to or is one or more of the following:

(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality;

(c) labour relations or other employee relations;

(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;

(i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;

As with any bizarre behaviour, it spawns all sorts of speculation as to what is really going on here, as it would appear there is something this council and city staff desperately want to keep out of the public realm and away from public scrutiny. The prevailing rumor on the street is that the simulcast was actually cancelled before the May 5th council meeting. If correct this would mean it had been cancelled without proper authority and city council was duped into passing the now infamous motion to cover someone's butt.

Of course this is nothing but pure rumor and speculation, which of course is always the by-product of what happens when officials dummy and lawyer up,which is what appears to be happening at city hall with this latest little drama.

I have filed a complaint with the BC Ombudspersons office asking them to intervene in this whole questionable affair. If you consider the fact that city staff sat by and said nothing about the illegal motion of May 5th and are now engaged in what is questionable decisions surrounding a notice of motion, you might be forgiven for questioning the qualifications of city hall staff making important decisions these days. As for the qualifications of this city council to make important decisions, sadly they do not have a stellar track record, having to look no further than the Colliery Dams Debacle as proof of that conclusion.


Great Turnout Freedom BBQ

Ezra Levant & John Carpay Attend BBQ

Ezra Levant and Sun Media hosted a Freedom BBQ in Maffeo Sutton park on July 23 as a celebration of their efforts which saw city council apologize and rescind the now infamous motion of May 5th.

In spite of less than perfect weather hundreds of supporters attended with 600 having preregistered for an event that was announced about one week ago. The food lineup seemed to be static for about an hour, as new arrivals kept replacing those getting their food on the other end.

About twenty volunteers were kept busy serving up hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, drinks and deserts. The speech was short, sweet and to the point and well received by those in attendance.

There was bouncy castles, slides, face painting, balloons and cottom candy which kept kids of all ages happy and occupied.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Nanaimo City Manager Explains Democracy

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

Nanaimo City Manager explains his view of democracy

During the governance review committee, city manager Ted Swabey offered his opinion on how democracy is supposed to work. The sound quality is less than perfect, follows is a transcript of what he is saying:

"There's a big push for representative democracy in some way and I really think that is not the way to go, democracy is you are elected to make decisions and debate among yourselves the crowd is there to witness how democracy is working, not to be part of it."


Nanaimo Sailpast on Wheels Parade - 2014

Everyone Loves A Parade . . . . 

File Photos from 2013 Sailpast on Wheels Parade

Nanaimo Bathtub Races
Sailpast on Wheels Parade
Saturday July 26 - 10:30 am
Downtown Nanaimo


Nanaimo Bathtub Races Fireworks - 2014

Bathtub Race Fireworks Display
Festival of Lights & Music 
Nanaimo Harbour, Sat. July 26 - 10:00 pm

The Quality Foods "Festival of Lights & Music" fireworks display sponsored by your Quality Foods stores and the LNBS and simulcast of CKWV 102.3 the WAVE.

"Vancouver Island's Premier Fireworks Show"


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Leadercast Investigation Notice of Motion

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

Bestwick Notice of Motion

The above is the audio of the notice of motion as read into the record by Councillor Bill McKay. We are now told that either city staff or city council sought legal advice relating to this motion. The advice they received apparently led them to the conclusion the motion must be dealt with 'in-camera'.

As with most things legal, differing opinions are the norm. One lawyer may think this warrants the secrecy of going in-camera, while another may not agree. I hope the citizens of Nanaimo have the opportunity to seek a second legal opinion, as it seems almost inconceivable what is contained in this motion that would warrant such secrecy.

Listen to the motion yourself, and as an armchair lawyer, can see you why this motion could not be dealt with in an open council meeting??


Worth Repeating - Nanaimo City Hall & Democracy

This first appeared on Nanaimo Info Blog last April and certainly is worth repeating in light of what is currently happening with the Leadercast investigation motion and what appears to be an attempt to remove it from public view!! Listen to the two tapes of what senior staff think about the process!

Reduces Public Participation
Muzzles Councillors Who Don't Agree

Two alarming documents are currently being considered by this city council, which will affect how the city get's run for decades and they do nothing to comfort the average taxpayer. They will effectively reduce the opportunity for public input and can be used to control councilors who may be in strong disagreement with a council decision.

I have personally watched the committee meetings where both of these documents were considered in their draft form and as a big fan of democracy, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up! That is no exaggeration. My biggest fear, is that once again the average Nanaimo voter will simply continue to snooze as their ability to participate in the process is eroded further. The over use and mis-use of the in-camera process has been a hallmark of this council, and if implemented, these two new documents will pretty much shut out most of the public. In my opinion, based on different comments I heard at both of these meetings, there is a disturbing tone held by the majority of council as to how city governance should be conducted.

I urge anyone who wishes to hang onto the last shreds of public input in city affairs to visit the city website and download copies of 'Draft Procedure Bylaw of the City of Nanaimo, Revised March 18, 2014' and the 'City of Nanaimo Governance Framework Roles & Responsibilities".

If you think the public is being shut out of the decision making process now, with secret in-camera meetings, minutes of these meetings that are incomplete as to what was said and what advice was given by staff, then brother, if these two documents are adopted without revision ....... you ain't seen nothing yet.

These documents, if adopted will have affect on councilors elected this fall, and frankly, I think both should be put on the shelf until after the next election, and these documents need to be a hot item in the next civic election.

City Mayor & City Manager Not Qualified?

Between our Mayor and City Manager the taxpayers of Nanaimo are paying over $300,000 per year to govern the city of Nanaimo. The Mayor is in his sixth year in office, and I believe our city manager has over 20 years experience with the city, yet they had to hire three outside consultants to tell them how to do their jobs. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that people being paid that kind of money should be past the intern stage?

Listen Carefully to the opinions expressed by top city staff!


What Is City Hall Afraid Of Now??



More Democracy - 'Nanaimo'Style'??

What in the world is this city council up to now? Do they actually have any idea how this looks like they are afraid of what an investigation into the Leadercast fiasco will reveal if it proceeds in an open council? Does Nanaimo really need anymore bad press?

Councillor Bestwick's 'notice of motion' was read in open Council by Councillor McKay at the end of the July 14th city council meeting. Basically this motion (as I understand it) calls for an independent investigation into the events that led up to the Leadercast simulcast cancellation of May 5th.

For reasons unexplained we are now being told this is a 'labour' issue and is therefore being taken behind the veil of secrecy offered by the in-camera process. Those familiar with how information can be controlled and manipulated will take no comfort in this piece of manoeuvrings which once more would remove all public scrutiny.

If the suggestion is that this will somehow implicate staff, and therefore needs to be done in secret, it raises the reason for suspicion even higher in my humble opinion. If there is nothing to fear, then why the need for secrecy?

Ezra Levant will be in town tomorrow with Mr. Carpay hosting a BBQ at Maffeo Sutton Park, and while his style is 'over the top', perhaps he might have an opinion on how this city council is proceeding with the investigation that led to the Leadercast fiasco. Is this another example of how this council thinks that democracy should be administered? Only involve the public, when it is convenient, and shut them out when it means you might be held accountable?

I hope we are not heading for even more unwelcome national attention  with this latest example of 'Democracy - Nanaimo Style".


The 'Real World' vs Nanaimo City Hall

A recent article in the local Daily referred to the severance pay being offered to employees of Canpar who are being laid off as Loomis is now taking over their contracts. The article said the union would be arguing for larger severance packages as what is being offered is 2 days for each year of service, according to Federal guidelines.

That is an example of the 'real world' which is in sharp contrast to the world of the entitled and privileged that work for the city of Nanaimo.

Consider the following examples of severance pay recently paid out, courtesy of the Nanaimo taxpayer:

Jerry Berry .........$480,000

Per Kristensen ...$272,473

Douglas Holmes .$239,602

Andrew Tucker ...$136,247

You might be wondering "who the hell has been watching our tax dollars?".


Things on the net that make ya' smile

What could go wrong Billy-Bob??