Monday, August 31, 2015

Wellcox Property 'Deal' - Good or Bad? Transparent?

Blue = City of Nanaimo     Red = Seaspan     Green= ICF
The Last Nanaimo 'Frontier' 
Did Council Have All the Facts?

One would be hard pressed to say that buying this 'prime' piece of Nanaimo downtown waterfront property isn't visionary and showing great foresight by the council under John Ruttan that decided to purchase it for the city.

The question that now arises however is whether or not city staff were completely forthright and transparent with how this proposal was presented to city council and the citizens of Nanaimo.

I remember the first 'version' of this purchase went something like this: we bought this prime piece of land for a mere $3.4 million which would be covered by about $2 million from the RDN who wanted to put their bus terminal on the property. Initial reports from previous studies done by the old owners indicated soil remediation would not be a major concern.

What Was Not Made Apparent At The Time
  • Seaspan and the Island Corridor Foundation both possess perpetual rights of use licences which gives them full control of about 80% of this property with no rent being paid, and in the case of Seaspan they do pay about $30,000/yr. in taxes for this waterfront property.
  • The trestle which provides access to the assembly wharf and the Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal was in disrepair and will require about $6-$7 million to bring up to standard.
  • Taxpayers assumed responsibility for the roadway from the trestle to the Cruise Ship Terminal entrance and the Nanaimo Port Authority offices.
  • Taxpayers will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to demolish and remove the old pallet farm and warehouse they were using.
  • Taxpayers will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove the old dock, which we are told will be charged to Seaspan someday.
  • Taxpayers have no idea how much it will cost to get Seaspan to give up their perpetual right of use licence which costs them nothing in rent to use this prime piece of waterfront property.
  • Taxpayers will receive no benefit in either rent or taxes from the Island Corridor Foundation.
  • Accessing this property from Front Street will likely prove a very costly exercise if we are dealing with level rail crossings etc.
  • Taxpayers were not told at the time going into this deal, that staff thought soil remediation could run into as much as $30 million.
  • Taxpayers still do not know what the implications are of the archaeological site found on this site will be.
  • Taxpayers have never been presented with a realistic, open and transparent estimate of what we are in for, before this land is fully developed, assuming it can be fully developed.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nanaimo Colliery Dam Saga - Taxes Burned?

Have Nanaimo City Councils
been badgered by bullying bureaucrats?

Those who have followed the Colliery Dams Debacle from inception by it's author Mr. Al Kenning to the conclusion under the direction of Mr. Swabey and Mr. Seward and Mr. Davidson have to wonder if any power actually rests with the people, or if democracy is just an illusion used to keep the mob in check?

Those Elected Said Dams were Fine

There was no doubt during the last election a promise was made to put the bureaucrat-orchestrated dam debacle to rest, and let common sense prevail. Our Mayor, when running for office said city council was a laughing stock with the way they handled the dams, and that they were just fine. Those close to this issue, agree with that sentiment totally.

How can the electorate put faith in the process after what we had witnessed during the first effort to remove the dams? We had P Eng stamps on documents and studies claiming the loss of 150 lives, massive property destruction, daycares and schools washed away as the dams failed in 3 minutes during an earthquake. Remember? Turned out this was an incorrect conclusion when proper due diligence was done.

Now, after putting that bogeyman to rest, another bureaucrat-led study has concluded that some people might die in what is called 'Noah's' flood, an event which 'they' claim might happen once in 34,000 years. This conclusion was based on the same type of science as the first conclusion along with hypothetical assertions and assumptions, all coming with the authority of a P Eng stamp affixed. Sound familiar?

Due Diligence Thwarted by the Bureaucrats?

To their credit the newly elected council tried to honour their commitment to bring fresh eyes to the Colliery Dam Debacle but the Mayor changed his mind after being elected and any hope of credible due diligence went out the window.

At the end of the day we have bureaucrats insisting that millions of tax dollars be spent while at the same time denying our duly elected council to exercise the due diligence they promised the electorate.


Nanaimo Chinese Women Society Fundraiser

Nanaimo Chinese Women Society
Raise Funds For Nanaimo Hospital Foundation

A charity sale organized and hosted by the Nanaimo Chinese Women Society (NCWS) was held at Rock City Centre on Sunday from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm. The Society was raising funds for the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation for the purchase of a surgical headlight.

Fundraising included the sale of clothing and household items as well as collecting empty bottles and providing live entertainment.


Wellcox Property On Nanaimo Council Agenda

 Site of old 'pallet farm' now used for parking
Trestle now a public liability

Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan
Terms of Reference

After a presentation at the Aug. 31 Council meeting by Mr. Dale Lindsay and Mr. Bill Corsan it is being recommended that City Council adopt the Terms of Reference for this property's development.

The purpose of the Master Plan is to address key issues and to provide specific policies for future land use, transportation, servicing, open space, trails and environmental protection, as well as phasing of development for this portion of the south downtown waterfront. The long-term vision for the area includes enhancement of the downtown waterfront, improving connectivity of the south downtown with the surrounding neighbourhoods, and creating opportunity for a new regional transportation hub.

The following graphic shows the current encumbrances on this piece of property with approximately 80% of the land under the control of Seaspan and the ICF. The area along Front Street identified as 'City' is the area now used for parking, where the pallet farm used to be. This is also the area where a significant archaeological find was discovered while demolishing the warehouse that used to sit on the property.

The piece of property identified as 'City' which is on the waterfront to the right of the Seaspan ROW is the area the city has leased to the company trying to secure financing for a downtown to downtown ferry service.

The 'Trestle' is required currently if there is to be vehicular access to the assembly wharf or the Nanaimo Port Authority lands and cruise ship terminal. When the City purchased this property we assumed the responsibility for the trestle and the road which goes to the Port Authority. The trestle is said to need $6-$7 million in repairs for which the Nanaimo taxpayers are now liable.

It is also unknown what the cost will be to Nanaimo in order to 'buy-out' the ROW (Right of Way) agreement currently held by Seaspan and the ICF. Seaspan pays no rent for this property but do pay taxes, ICF pays nothing for either rent or taxes, and the ferry company is said to have leased the property, but I understand that only kicks in, when and if they begin operating.


24 Hour Parking On Nanaimo City Streets


Residents reminded of 24 hour parking period

"Reducing the number of vehicles stored on City property ensures our streets are not congested." -  Rod Davidson Manager of Parking Services City of Nanaimo

The City reminds residents that vehicles cannot be parked on any highway or street for a continuous period exceeding 24 hours.  This requirement is in place to ensure vehicles are not stored on City property.

Streets (which include boulevards) are for the use of all residents and cannot be used by property owners for their own storage purposes. Vehicles must be moved after a period of 24 hours.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nanaimo Aquatic Centre Closed Sept. 7 - 28/15

Nanaimo Aquatic Centre 
Closed Sept. 7 - 28
Annual maintenance

The work being done in the pools this year includes pump and plumbing maintenance, upgrading the leisure pool lighting to high efficiency LED, adding the slide and crawl net back on the boat play feature and painting the exterior of the building. Crews will also be adding a new air handling unit for the leisure pool and will be rebuilding the dehumidification compressors on both air handling units for the large pool.

The weight room will reopen earlier this year but with limited hours. From Monday, September 14 through Sunday, September 27 the weight room will be open from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm daily.


Friday, August 28, 2015

Pink Salmon Fishing Open In Nanaimo

Nanaimo Info Blog File Photo ©

Pink Salmon Open In Departure Bay & Nanaimo Harbour

Fisheries has announced the opening of Departure Bay and the Nanaimo Harbour for fishing of PINK SALMON ONLY effective immediately until Sept. 30/15.

The daily catch limit is 4 Pink Salmon and zero retention for other species of salmon. A gear restriction is also in effect in the above areas. Angling is permitted  using gear which includes a single pointed barbless hook with a maximum  distance between the hook point and the hook shaft being not greater than 15mm.
Anglers are further reminded of the following:
  • This opening is for PINK SALMON ONLY.
  • There is a daily quota of four (4) pink salmon per day in effect. 
  • Intentionally foul-hooking salmon or attempting to foul-hook salmon is illegal. Lack of compliance in this fishery could result in the fishery being immediately closed on short notice, therefore your cooperation is encouraged.
  • Violations may be reported anonymously by calling 1-800-465-4336.
  • All other species of salmon encountered or other finfish must be released immediately with the least amount of harm.
  • Anglers are reminded that a Rockfish Conservation Area is in place nearby in portions of Departure Bay and Northumberland Channel not included within the areas that are opened by this notice.


Core Review Poll - 93% Favour Outside Consultant

Readers of Nanaimo Info Blog clearly favour having an outside consultant conduct a core review of how city business is conducted. With over 3800 votes cast there is little doubt as to the desire to have a meaningful core review undertaken.

This City Council is engaged in the process of hiring an outside consultant to conduct the review and to date have held two meetings as the 'Core Review Steering Committee'. However, a meeting scheduled for last week was cancelled which would have dealt with the terms of an RFP for a consultant to do the review. That meeting has not yet been re-scheduled, meaning it will likely be several more months before a consultant has been selected.

When or if a core review is actually done, it will clearly have no impact on the next two years city budget. There is already some discussion among councillors as to whether the Hammond Bay firehall and additional firefighters and additional RCMP officers and the automation of our garbage trucks aren't all things we can implement before a core review is complete. It is those 'rumblings' that are already giving the core review some of the earmarks of just another expensive and pointless exercise at city hall. Combine that with the 6%, 3 year contract signed with CUPE, and resulting increases flowing to exempt staff, and you have to wonder if there ever was any genuine intent to take a serious look at how our city tax dollars are spent.


Water Quality Advisory - City of Nanaimo

Rain may increase sediment

"This water quality advisory is precautionary in nature.  After such a long period without rain, the forest has accumulated a significant amount of dry litter.  It is likely that heavy rain will wash this into creeks and rivers near the City's drinking water intake, and we will see increased turbidity in the water supply.  Operations staff are ensuring that disinfection levels are stable, and will continue to monitor over the weekend." - Bill Sims City of Nanaimo

Environment Canada has issued a weather alert for heavy rain over the coming weekend.  Following the prolonged dry period, this may result in an increase in sediment running into the City's drinking water supply.  The City of Nanaimo is therefore issuing a Water Quality Advisory that residents may notice cloudy or discoloured tap water.  

Disinfection levels are good and the water is fine to consume even though it may appear discoloured. Residents with compromised immune systems should boil drinking water for one minute.

The City of Nanaimo would also like to advise that, due to the drought conditions this summer, soils have a reduced capacity to absorb water, thus creating a risk for flash-flooding during periods of heavy rain.  Roads are likely to be slippery.


Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival 2015

 Blues Fri
 Blues Sat
 Blues Sun


Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Grassroots" CALL TO ACTION

Engaged Citizen Calls For Action

Have you had enough of government bureaucrats using an extortionist's bullying tactics to force us to spend several million dollars on digging a huge gash in Colliery Dam Park? Have you had enough of watching as Government Extortionists force us to spend our money on something that is not properly shown to be a problem? Have you had enough of being bullied and harassed and forced into doing something right away, that can easily wait until next year while proper studies are done to establish what really is required?? If so, this if for YOU!!

On Monday, our duly elected Council is due to award a contract to a contractor that involves spending up to $5 million or more of our money on cutting down several dozen trees and digging a huge channel through what is now wildlife habitat in our Park. This ugly gash has not been properly shown to be needed. I invite you to join together and gather in protest, as is our right!!

At 6:00PM, Council will be announcing who will be getting the contract to destroy part of our Park and replace it with a huge ugly gash. This is not only needless, it is unconscionable.. If we stand by and say nothing - We Share The Guilt.

I ASK YOU TO JOIN ME IN THE STREET OUTSIDE THE CONFERENCE CENTRE AT 5:30PM, WHERE I WILL MAKE AN ANNOUNCEMENT I CAN'T MAKE HERE. We will raise our voices in solidarity and bond as a group of concerned citizens. We will not just give up and go home to sulk! We will stand up for what we know is right! We will fight!

This is completely my doing and is intended as a "grassroots" thing. The Colliery Dam Society is not organizing this - but they are invited to attend. The Dams Direct Action Group is not organizing this - but they are invited to join in. The SAVE the Dams fbook admins are not organizing this, but are invited as well. It is up to US, is up to ME and YOU! Are you going to just quit and go home, or are you going to stand up and be counted??!

This is your chance to be seen and heard. This is your chance to participate. This is your chance to do what is right. Please, take it.. At 5:30 on Monday, join me outside the Conference Centre. Bring your signs, and bring your hearts and voices. Together, we will be strong! Together, we will show we stand for justice and what we know is right!

Again, please help spread the word by copying this statement as you "share" .. Or, "invite" your friends..

Terry Lee Wagar


More On Taxes Than Food, Shelter & Clothing

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

To download your copy of the Canadian Consumer Tax Index 2015 Edition click HERE.

Stats and data interpretation are for someone with more brain power than I possess, however what can be concluded from the above would make it clear that government's hands are deeper into our pockets now than before.

The above stats would also indicate we have more discretionary income than before if you consider in 1961 taxes, food, shelter and clothing accounted for 91% of family expenses  and in 2014 it accounted for 79% of family expenses. Another interesting fact might be what % of family expense was debt.


VI Endurance hosts Nanaimo Ocean Swim

Ocean Swim Attracts 54 Entrants

A Nanaimo endurance race company is hosting the second Nanaimo Ocean Swim and SUP Race this weekend on Newcastle Island.

VI Endurance is the brainchild of Matthew Lamb who moved with his family to Nanaimo in 2012 after spending 14 years as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force stationed in Winnipeg. It was there he worked with a friend who organized trail races and got a taste for race directing.

His company specializes in putting on small, high quality events which he believes will make Nanaimo an endurance race destination. 

The Nanaimo Ocean Swim is a 2km, 4km & 11km swim starting and ending on Newcastle Island, Nanaimo BC.

The 2km swim will be an out and back from the main beach in Newcastle Island. The 4km swim will be around Protection Island. The 11km swim will take swimmers around both Newcastle and Protection islands. 

The race courses have been designed around the way the tides work. For 80% of the 11km and 4km swims swimmers will get a push from the incoming tide; so they wind up having quite a fast race. That being said, it will be a tough race this year because the forecast is calling for rain and winds of 18kph and the water temperature is expected to be around 16C. 

The inaugural race saw 10 racers last year and this year has exploded to 54 entrants. There are 12 people doing the marathon swim with 4 of them following channel rules.  The 4km race has 25 entries and the 2km has 16. The combination of contestants, armada of kayaks, SUPers and power boats will mean at least 80 people on the water this Saturday.

The swimmers have come from all over Canada with the farthest coming all the way from Ottawa. A large contingent of Americans come from Washington State. A combination of a few first timers and many experienced open water swimmers gives this race a unique feel. 

This year there will be a 2km pre-swim on the Friday before the race and a post-race dinner at a local restaurant. 

To learn more about this and other events hosted by VI Endurance visit their website HERE.


Nanaimo Gallery Row Art Festival Aug. 29/15


Nanaimo Weather Forecast Aug. 28 - Sept. 1

Cooling off with the chance of some showers .....


Artificial Turf Replacement Beban Park Nanaimo

Work to prepare the field's surface for the new turf

One of the artificial turf fields at Beban Park will be sporting a brand new surface this fall with the installation of new artificial turf which also has a 3/4" shock pad beneath the turf. 

The new turf provides a number of improvements including natural grass-like look and feel and a better infill between the grass fibres providing impact absorbing cushioning and better traction. A stronger backing consisting of polypropylene fabrics will provide increased durability which gives the turf a life expectancy of 14 - 16 years.

The $600,000 project is expected to be ready for play in September. The old turf will be stored on-site and used around the community to possibly provide 'turf' on medians etc.

The artificial turf provides for much more useful time on the fields as they are not subject to the same wear and tead and maintenance issues which comes with natural grass during our wet winter season. A typical grass field may get 500 hours of use whereas the artificial turf is seeing nearly 2,000 hours of use which makes this one of the most used sports fields in Nanaimo.

Artificial sports field at Beban Park


Morningside Park Still Closed - Pipe Installation

Decision to install temporary by-pass

With two costly leaks this past year it has been decided to install 30 metres of new 5' sewer pipe and tie it into the existing sewer outfall pipe at Morningside Park.

The outfall pipe is scheduled to be replaced completely next year and some of the installation this year is just being done early, however a portion of the installation only serves as the temporary connection. The temporary portion of this installation is estimated to cost $200,000.00 while the permanent portion of the project is estimated at $700,000.00.

The existing pipe is 40 years old and had a life expectancy of approximately 60 years, however in some places the coating on the inside of the pipe is failing causing corrosion of the pipe, resulting in leakage.

The two repairs this year have resulted in extensive excavation in the park and on the foreshore of Hammond Bay. A neighbouring homeowner has suffered considerable inconvenience during the repair of both of these treated effluent leaks.

Given the experience of these past two leaks and the possibility that high tides and winter rainfalls could further stress the pipe and result in more repairs the choice to be proactive was made. The work is expected to commence late in September and be complete before our fall rainy season.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When what to my wondering eyes did appear ......

No ... it wasn't Santa
BUT ........................

While I was out foraging for food today at the big box store that shall remain nameless I came upon a site that indeed caused me to wonder if I had had a very long nap unawares.

There in a centre aisle display was a six foot high snowman all lit up with the latest in LED technology, right across the aisle from holiday wreaths, ribbons and Christmas Crackers.

I immediately fired up my celluar and asked me missus if she thought I should stock up now before they were all gone. She sort of snorted and asked if I had forgotten my medication again.


National Dog Day - Poster by Sher Falls

Click Image to enlarge
Photo: Sher Falls © 

In honour of National Dog Day, local photo artist Sher Falls put together this collection of some of her canine captures.

More of Falls work can be seen at her website or you can also catch her at the Parksville Street Market which has their last day next Tuesday Sept. 1/15.


Nanaimo City Council Meeting Aug. 31/15

City Council
Mon., Aug.31/15
3:00 PM 
6:00 PM Colliery
SHAW Auditorium

Note: at 3:00 pm council will deal with agenda items 1-8 which includes presentations from staff dealing with parking services, the Wellcox property, automated garbage trucks etc.

At 6:00 pm council will be dealing with agenda item 9 (a) Colliery Dams construction contract award to Copcan Contracting Ltd.

 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.


On Feb. 2/15  a resolution of Council was passed with a 7:1 vote which was giving staff instructions with regards the Colliery Dams. This motion was ignored by City staff and this Council has shown no desire to see their wishes were carried out by City staff. As a precedent this is likely as disturbing as any fiscal decisions made by council. It goes to the heart of our whole democratic system.

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?


Nanaimo Bus Service Changes - Sept. 6/15

 Bus Schedule
Nanaimo Bus Service
Service Changes
September 6 2015
  • New Frequent Route: 40 VIU Express
    • 15-30 minute average weekday and 10-15 minute peak weekday service connecting Downtown, Vancouver Island University, Country Club, Nanaimo North Town Centre and Woodgrove
  • Redesigned Rider’s Guide
  • New route-numbering system
  • 1 Country Club/Downtown – service between Country Club and Downtown
  • 20 Hammond Bay/Dover – formally 2 Hammond Bay
  • 25 Ferry Shuttle – service from Downtown to Departure Bay ferry terminal, Thursday to Monday
  • 30 NRGH – formally 3 Hospital, serves Rosstown-Pheasant Terrace area
  • 50 Woodgrove/Downtown – formally 8 south and 9 North
  • 88 Parksville – local Parksville route with community bus, transfer to 91 for regional service
  • 91 Intercity – formally 90 Intercity


Nanaimo RCMP Seek Public Help

Kristen Marie D'Amour

Missing Since August 17

20 years old, 5' 5" tall
100 pounds with shoulder length brown hair
hazel eyes and some pock marking

If you have information about Kristen please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637, keyword Nanaimo, or online at


Nanaimo Park Hours - Reminder For Users

The City of Nanaimo wishes to remind residents of the hours of operation for city parks.  Unless there is a declared fire hazard, the hours of operation are as follows:

  • Maffeo Sutton, Diana Krall Plaza, McGregor Park, Georgia Park, Queen Elizabeth Park E&N Trail and Parkway Trail are open 24 hours per day.
  • Loudon Park – 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. October 01 to March 01, and 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. March 01 to September 30
  • All Other Parks – 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. November 01 to March 01, and 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. March 01 – October 31
  • Recreational Centres – 24 hours per day as needed
  • Activity Centres – 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
  • Night Lighted Play Areas – 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Persons using park facilities and some park events can create noise and nuisance concerns for residents in the immediate area of the park. For this reason park users are asked to familiarize themselves with and observe park hours.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Nanaimo Summertime Blues Festival 2015

Summertime Blues Festival 2015
Maffeo Sutton Park
Fri. Aug. 28 - Sunday Aug. 30


Nanaimo Reservoir - 40% Capacity By Nov. 1

Jump Lake reservoir Photo credit: City of Nanaimo
If current 'draw down' rate continues

While not yet cause for serious concern the current drought means water levels by Nov.1 could be 10% - 20% below typical levels at the Jump Lake reservoir.

This reservoir tends to fill back up quickly when the anticipated 'pineapple express' rolls through which some weather forecasters say will happen with the expected effects of El Nino this winter. 

More water released into the Nanaimo River than consumed by Nanaimo

As part of Nanaimo city's water licence we are responsible for maintaining the fish habitat in the Nanaimo River. To that end during the low flow season from July 1 through to Sept. 30 as many as 60 million litres per day are released into the river. That compares with the 48 million litres being used by Nanaimo residents.

However you look at it having an abundant water supply is absolutely crucial to having a community we all can live in. A possible shortage of water in Nanaimo is something only a few years ago would have been considered unthinkable.

In an ironic twist, by cutting back on our own water consumption we have reduced anticipated revenues into city coffers by nearly one million dollars this year. That million dollars of course will have to be made up by all of us, who will be consuming even less and paying even more as we go forward.


Wellington School Demolition Continues

Wellington Secondary demolition well underway
Clearing the concrete and steel reinforcing
Another shovel of broken concrete onto the pile
Wellington Secondary Upgrades Continue

The old 'front' of Wellington Secondary is nothing but a pile of rubble now that a piece of heavy equipment continues to break up into bite size pieces to later be hauled away and disposed of.

The school has undergone renovations as part of a seismic upgrade improvement costing a total of $23 million and is a 3 year project. This is the final phase of the project as this block will be rebuilt and will become the new main entrance to the school fronting onto Departure Bay Road.