Tuesday, 16 September 2014

TENTATIVE DEAL IN TEACHERS STRIKE

http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/09/tentative-agreement-reached.html
Click image to hear Vince Ready announcement

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Democracy DOES Work When You Engage

Engaged Citizens CAN Make A Difference

Followers of this blog will know that one of my favourite mantras is that 'Democracy is far too important to be left to the politicians'.  It also gets my dander up when I look at how casually we have thrown away, what other nations are dying for.

A common refrain used to excuse ourselves from not participating is 'it doesn't matter what I say, THEY will just do what they want anyway.... what's the use' ... sound familiar?

Well the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society is a perfect example of just what a group of engaged, committed citizens can do, even when they are fighting against seemingly insurmountable odds.

On one side of this engagement you had a well financed team of professional bureaucrats armed with unlimited tax dollars, legal and engineering advice and the power of city hall behind them.

On the other side was a small group of everyday citizens who had very limited resources and little to no experience in pushing back against the juggernaut at city hall.

Against all odds they have galvanized, organized and continued the good fight for a righteous cause and something they deeply believe in.

The final act of this saga is yet to be written but what they have accomplished to date, should inspire every one of us to get informed and engaged in the running of our city because it truly is too important to leave to the elected and unelected officials at city hall.

A seriously important election is facing Nanaimo this year and who we elect will be directing Nanaimo for the next four years, and once elected they can do pretty much as they like. So it is up to all of us to do our part by participating in the civic election process, which is the one political exercise where our votes really do count, and effect our day to day lives far more than any other level of government.

Kudos to the CDPPS and the determined group of citizens who have proven it does matter what you do, and you can make a difference.

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Monday, 15 September 2014

Colliery Dam Proper Study Data Closer



After hearing a presentation from city staff given by Mr. Seward and listening to 12 delegations it appears as if city council is now wanting more information before spending between $3 - $8 million on a problem that has still not been proven to exist.

As explained before on this blog, the information coming before council has been based on a lot of hypothesis and a whole lot of speculation and conjecture. This was the same type of hypothesis about the possible outcome of a dam failure during a seismic event which of course has been proven to have been a pure work of fantasy. 

After spending about $2.5 million on the original seismic threat, attention was given to the overtopping threat posed by inadequate spillways.The most recent $1.4 million study has concluded that even in an event with a highly unlikely possibility of happening there would be no loss of life and less than $3 million in damage as a result.

Spending $8 million to mitigate a $3 million risk always seemed to me to be logic only city hall would support.

After all of this money spent on studies and reports it is still not proven under what conditions the dams 'might' over-top, it has not been proven if this overtopping would result in all of the berm washing away, and finally even if all of the berm were washed away, it is not known the dam would fail. Why? Because after spending all of these tax dollars it is still not known if the dams would fail because the modelling studies needed have not been done.

A motion brought by Councillor Kipp and supported by Bestwick, Pattje, McKay and Anderson will hopefully result in council finally having complete information before them, before they make a final decision on Colliery Dam.



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THINGS ON THE NET THAT MAKE YA' SMILE

NO LADDER ? NO PROBLEM!

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Will LNG Be A 'Go' For Prince Rupert?


“I can’t think of another town in North America — certainly in Canada — that has the ‘optionality’ of the Prince Rupert area. It’s a town of only 13,000 people, and $15-billion could get spent here in the coming seven years”

This Financial Post article reports that within weeks there are three main catalysts happening that could reshape the entire economy and labour market of Western Canada:
  • The British Columbia government outlines its fiscal regime for LNG
  • The environmental assessment for the Petronas' LNG facility in Prince Rupert will be issued
  • The Malaysian national oil company Petronas is widely expected to give a positive final investment decision to build North America's first greenfield LNG export terminal at Prince Rupert

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Bowen Road Farmers' Market Sept. 17



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!

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Sunday, 14 September 2014

Super Sunny Sunday In Nanaimo


HOW MANY THINGS ARE TO LIKE ON A SUPER, SUNNY SUNDAY?
HERE ARE BUT A FEW ........

Kayaking in the inner harbour
Catching a ferry to Newcastle Island
Feeding 'Lucy' the star attraction at the fishing pier
Lucy knows how to 'work the crowd'
Someting tells me she's done this before
Catch of the day for Lucy
Grabbing a ride of Mr. Crabby Crab as he is known to some
Rock balancing takes a steady hand and keen eye
Woodburning artisan captures the sun to work his magic
'Fish-on' right in downtown Nanaimo
More kayakers right in the harbour
Salmon is definitely on the menu tonight
Paddleboards are another popular watercraft
Brechin Point boat ramp was PACKED .... never seen so many vehicles.....

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$350,000 Tax Exemption

Exemption worth $35,000/yr for 10 years

City council recently gave third reading to a bylaw which would see a tax exemption valued at approximately $35,000/yr to the owners of the newly renovated old Free Press building on Commercial Street.

The exemption would apply for a ten year period, meaning the total value of the exemption would be $350,000 over the life of the exemption.

The building looks spectacular and is another improvement to the stock of buildings in our downtown core. It now houses a new eatery and is the home to some 100 high tech employees.

The question of course is whether or not the tax exemption is necessary for the owner who undertook a $2 million renovation of the building. Is the exemption necessary at all to encourage property owners to improve and thereby increase the value of their holding?

The same question can be asked of the hotel tax exemption, which was supposed to provide the needed hotel rooms so we can attract all those huge conventions to Nanaimo we seem to be missing out on these days.

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Seafood Chowder Competition - Sept. 20, 2014


CHOWDER COMPETITION UNLEASHES TSUNAMI OF SEAFOOD!

A torrent of succulent soups, bisques and chowders will deluge visitors at Nanaimo's inaugural Seafood Chowder Competition on Saturday, September 20th, 11:30-3:30 at Country Club Centre. Under tents in the Country Club Centre parking lot, this family event is presented by Lucky's Liquor Store and the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

Up to 16 'Chowder Chefs' from local restaurants will offer their entries to a judging panel of event sponsors, presenters, media and local dignitaries. A 'Peoples Choice Award' will also be presented at the end of the day's tastings after public feedback weighs in.

Live Entertainmentis provided by "The Big Mess" - an amazing local father and son duo. A bouncy castle, face painting and lemonade stand are part of the family day too.

Chowder samples are priced at 12 for $12 with cash donations to Loaves & Fishes highly encouraged. Admission for the entertainment is free and advance passes for a dozen chowder samplings are available through participating restaurants, at Lucky's Liquor Store, or the Chamber of Commerce offices on Bowen Road. Individual sampling tickets are also on sale for $2 each at the event in front of Lucky's.

See you there 'chowda heads'! For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 250-756-1191 or check out our Facebook page.

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

An Alternative To Our Lawn Maintenance?


A woman looks at sheep grazing in Ghent, western Belgium, Monday, Sept. 8, 2014. About 60 sheep, belonging to the city of Ghent, graze daily in the city’s parks and along the canal banks as an ecological alternative to lawn mowers. Photograph by: Yves Logghe, AP Photo

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SUNDAY FARMERS' MARKETS - NANAIMO AREA


 Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 27 - Oct. 2012)
Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 27th through to October.
The new market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.
For information contact lantzvillefarmersmarket@gmail.com.




Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 13 - Oct. 28, 2012)

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 13 to October 28, 2012 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


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NANAIMO TEMPORARY PUBIC ART INVITATION


CALLING ALL ARTISTS!

The City of Nanaimo is currently seeking submissions for TEMPORARY PUBLIC ART.  All artists are invited to submit their proposed artwork for public outdoor exhibition in City parks.  

The “Call for Artists for Temporary Public Art No. 1560” is available online.

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, November 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

Since 2010, the City of Nanaimo has been involved in a dynamic and evolving public art program that enhances and animates our City’s parks. Each year, outdoor artwork by artists is installed on a temporary basis for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. The parks essentially become outdoor art galleries and showcase artworks for a limited period of time.  To learn more, visit here.

If you require further information, please contact:

CULTURE AND HERITAGE DEPARTMENT
Phone: 250-755-4483
Email: cultureandheritage@nanaimo.ca

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Female Jogger 'Flashed' - Westood Lake


A man described as white, tall, skinny and very pale exposed himself to a female jogger at Westood Lake on Thursday afternoon at about 2:30 pm. The incident took place at Westwood Lake near the bluffs.

The culprit was naked from the waist down, and was wearing a blue button-up T-shirt with a red stripe on the bottom and he had khaki coloured shorts with him.

Anyone with information is asked to call the RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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'LIVE FREE FOR A YEAR" Woodgrove Centre



Jody Critchlow winner of last years "Live Free For A Year" event

LIVE FREE FOR A YEAR KICK-OFF

Woodgrove Centre is launching their second “LIVE FREE FOR A YEAR” campaign on September 13, 2014 at 11:00 am in centre court. “The response was so incredible last year, we wanted to give people another opportunity to enter for a chance to win,” shared Woodgrove Centre’s Marketing Director, Nola Dunn. Jody Critchlow of Qualicum Beach will speak at the Kick-Off to share how winning last year’s grand prize package has impacted her life.  

This year’s grand prize package is valued at $50,000 and is the largest that Woodgrove Centre has ever awarded. The package includes $25,000 in Woodgrove Centre gift cards, $15,000 cash, a one year lease of a 2015 Volkswagen Jetta and $5200 in grocery gift cards courtesy of Nanaimo Save On Foods stores.

Three finalists will be drawn each week for four weeks and each will be awarded a $500 Woodgrove gift card. The twelve finalists will participate in the LIVE FREE FOR A YEAR Grand Finale Event at 1:00 pm on Saturday October 18 in centre court to determine the grand prize winner.



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NANAIMO OLD CITY QUARTER HARVEST FESTIVAL

MARK YOUR CALENDAR
Saturday Sept. 20
Old City Quarter
Wesley Street Nanaimo

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

COW Meeting Sept. 15, 2014


Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, Sept. 15 , 2014
4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Colliery Dams Update
  • Three year tax exemption review
  • Permissive tax exemption Nanaimo Travellers Lodge
  • Minutes of Grants Advisory Committee

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

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

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

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

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


     Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

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

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

     
     Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





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    DALE SCHULZ ART SHOW - FRIDAY SEPT. 12

    NO SIGNS ALLOWED ART SHOW
    4:00 - 8:00 PM
    Friday Sept. 12, 2014
    776 Park Ave. Nanaimo

    Local artist Dale Schulz will be hosting an intimate showing of his work in which he has assembled a collection of what signs before sterile vinyl looked like. Today the steady hand and artistic talent of the sign writers of times past has been replaced with the precision of digitally produced vinyl signs which are void of character and life.

    Dale set about to create a collection of signs reminiscent of days gone-by when hand painted signs served the same purpose as their modern day counterparts. Each sign is created beginning life as a new looking sign but then given special treatment to created to appearance that time provides.

    A few of the signs may be offered for sale, but for the most part they are intended to add some life to the side of the shed on his property.

    Some other work will be for sale at the show

    The Summer 2014 Collection of hand-painted stools. These stools come from Yard Sales on the Island - in need of paint and a little imagination. I save them from dullness and a dismal future, and then offer them to YOU at a reasonable price. These will be for sale at the 'No Signs Allowed' exhibit opening reception.


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    DOWNTOWN NANAIMO HOTEL SITE

    Some Fencing & Pretty Signs Do Not A Hotel Make

    While going through some of my picture files I came across this one I took the day we had the 'ribbon cutting' on the site of the downtown hotel which is said to be the missing link to a successful conference centre business.

    It struck me that this picture looked a bit like what you might expect to see if a circus came to town and set up their signs and tent and invited one and all to be entertained at a modest cost.

    I realize that development of any kind can move along at glacial speed but once upon a time we were assured there would be 'shovels in the ground' by the middle of May of this year. Remember?

    Then we had the official un-announcement complete with giant scissors cutting a ribbon, which really was only 'announcing' the same deal we expected would be underway back in May.

    Mayor Seems To Miss The Point

    Mayor Ruttan is quoted in a recent Bulletin article as saying the advent of the downtown hotel should help the ailing convention business which seems to be suffering it's worst year yet. He either knows something the hotel owners aren't disclosing or he is missing the reason the hotel is being built.

    The head of the hotel group was quoted in the Daily as saying the reason for building the hotel was to bring Chinese visitors here where they could be served in their Chinese language. He made no mention of the hotel's future having anything to do with the convention business is Nanaimo.

    The numbers of the business plan put forward by the Hotel group would not support helping our convention business either. They claimed their business model included bringing 70,000 tourists per year to their hotel which would come from their Asian tourist company. How many rooms they could spare for our conventions would not seem to be really very helpful.

    Remember, adding much needed quality hotel rooms to the pool available to attract all those profitable conventions was the premise for giving this hotel a 10 year tax exemption.

    Of course, if our convention centre can't attract any more delegates than it has this year, how many rooms are available is a rather moot point.

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    RARE GUITARS STOLEN IN NANAIMO


    Nanaimo RCMP are reporting the theft of two rare guitars from Arbutus Music on Metral Drive. The two guitars vaiued at $46,000 were stolen at about 2:20 am on Sept. 10 when the store was broken into.

    The only two items stolen were the rare 1958 and 1959 Fender Stratocaster guitars, pictures have been posted on the Arbutus Facebook page.



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    City Cultural Operating / Events & Festival Grants


    "These grants are designed and intended to support local groups in their efforts to provide arts and cultural programming, to host local events and to attract cultural events to our community.  Arts and culture efforts provide significant economic impact for our city and contribute in a very meaningful way to our community's pride and spirit." Fred Pattje Nanaimo City Councillorl

    The City of Nanaimo is now accepting applications from community organizations needing financial assistance to support their cultural organization or events.  Two grants are available to local non-profit organizations: a Cultural Operating Grant and a Cultural Festivals & Events Grant.

    Guidelines and application forms can be found on the City's website or in person at the Service & Resource Centre (411 Dunsmuir Street).  The deadline for application submission is Friday, October 31, 2014.





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    FREE COMMUNITY EVENT FOR KIDS



    FREE COMMUNITY EVENT for Kids
     
     No School... Come fill your day with MUSIC!

    Singing Day in Nanaimo!  

    When: Next Monday Sept. 15
    Time:  8:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
    Where: The Port Theatre
    Hosted by: Patricia Plumley, Conductor, Symphonic Choir Program, Vancouver Island Symphony.
    Who can attend: Kids ages 9-12 years.

    The Vancouver Island Symphony and The Port Theatre present a
    Free Community Day Camp  - Singing Day in Nanaimo!  for any child that loves to sing ages 9-12 years.  

    All students must register and there is room for 200 students booked on a first come basis.   

    The Vancouver Island Symphony is delighted to offer children a day of singing with choral conductor, Patricia Plumley and what a thrill for students to be able to rehearse in the Port Theatre.

    All details on registration form - please read carefully.

    You can register by completing the
    Registration Form
    available at

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    Sunday, 7 September 2014

    On Vacation Until Sept. 11

    Me Missus and I are taking a few days off for our annual getaway from phones, and dare I say the Internet. We will be taking a few days in a remote seaside getaway where they don't even have the 'Net.

    I suspect for the first day I will be suffering withdrawal but am honestly looking forward to the the shut down. Won't even be able to see Monday's council meeting until the return to civilization. Will just have to wait to see Mr. Clemens' budget presentation and the Port Theatre presentation which will be looking for Nanaimo taxpayer support for the small performance theatre they wish to build.

    Also interested in Councillor McKays bid to give $10,000 to the Zero Waste Conference. Can hardly wait to abandon peace and tranquility and return to the real world on Thursday.

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