Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Nanaimo House and Real Estate Prices April 2015


Nanaimo House Prices 2014

  Nanaimo Real Estate Home Sales


Nanaimo House Prices April 2015

Prices Increase 9% - Sales Increase 57%

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 April 2015 saw 148 homes sold, compared with 129 homes the previous month, and compared with 94 homes sold in 
April 2014. This represents a 57% increase when compared with last year.

The average sale price increased in 
April 2015 to $387,469.00 compared with $356,103.00 in April 2014 an increase of 9%. The median Nanaimo house price for April 2015 was $370,000.00.

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.


The April 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $273,100, up just under two per cent from April 2014. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $324,200, up slightly over last year. Duncan reported a benchmark price of $294,000, an increase of 3.97 per cent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 3.60 per cent to $347,500, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 2.69 per cent to $357,100. The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $188,900, virtually unchanged from this time last year.


allvoices

Ferry Dock Belongs To Seaspan?

City budgets $400,000 to remove dock

At the May 4th City Council meeting Councillor Yoachim asked a question as to the ownership of the Ferry dock the City (taxpayers) have budgeted $400,000 to remove. He asked if the dock belonged to Seaspan, who incidentally control most of the usable land in the parcel we purchased. Mr. Lindsay from the city responded in the affirmative and said that the cost of removal would reduce the compensation Seaspan is to receive for the land.

Given that Seaspan are in possession of a perpetual right of use licence costing about $30,000/yr in taxes (they pay no rent) which gives them use of nearly 16 acres and all of the waterfront, they would seem to be in a very strong bargaining position as the city spends tax dollars developing this property.

Seaspan is developing their property at Duke Point, and the assumption is that sooner or later they will be moving their operation out to Duke Point, meaning they would no longer have need of the Wellcox property. If that is the case, you might assume the land would be of no value to Seaspan one day and only time will tell how many tax dollars have been spent on this piece of property.

One of the reasons given for proceeding with the removal of the dock is to make way for a fast foot ferry, which was supposed to be operating at the end of March on the 'Gadd' property portion of this property.

I realize many of the details of this whole process are and will be conducted in-camera since we are dealing with a land deal, but I am not likely the only one who questions how well tax dollars are being spent by people who have no skin in the game.

Councillor Yoachim was the only councillor to express some concern about proceeding at this point given the implications of the recently discovered midden and the ferry operators progress.

If in fact the dock presents a liability as stated in the staff report, and if it is the property of Seaspan, could the city not order them to remove it at their expense, rather than spending $400,000 from the taxpayer's purse??

allvoices

Monday, May 04, 2015

City Council Passes 2015 Budget

With no time on the clock........

Mayor McKay said he was expecting balloons and confetti to drop from the ceiling when this council finally agreed to the 2015 budget. It had been the subject of many election promises to hold the line on taxes and while he supported it, Councillor Hong said he intended to work harder on the next budget, in addition Councillor Yoachim voted for the budget but expressed his concerns for upcoming budget increases going forward.

Councillor Kipp said he seldom voted for the budget but given this was the last one that Mr. Brian Clemens would be presenting as he is retiring after working for the city for 28 years, Kipp voted in favour of this budget also.

allvoices

Emergency Preparedness Week in Nanaimo

NEWS RELEASE

Its Emergency Preparedness Week May 3rd to May 9th!
Are you ready?

As we go about our everyday lives, emergencies may seem like a distant possibility. Emergencies, however, can happen anytime and anywhere. Preparing an emergency kit, having an emergency plan and knowing the risks are crucial to minimize the impact of an emergency situation. Preparing for an emergency is important and something the whole family can do. By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies and minimize the impact on yourselves and your families.

Mark Emergency Preparedness Week by making a kit. For more information about how you can prepare for emergencies visit fire.nanaimo.ca. Here you will find information and links on how you can prepare your families and workplace for emergencies

* Approximately 85% of Canadians agree that having an emergency kit is important in ensuring their and their family’s safety, yet only 40% have prepared or bought an emergency kit.

* Using non-voice communication technology like text messaging, email, or social media instead of telephones takes up less bandwidth and helps reduce network congestion after an emergency

"Emergency Preparedness Week is a reminder of the unpredictability of emergency situations and the importance of being prepared as individuals and as a community. In a disaster affecting a community, some services we take for granted might be unavailable for several days or even longer. Families should be prepared to take care of themselves at the very minimum for 72 hours, however, due to Nanaimo's location on an island it is recommended that we all prepare for 7 days." - Karen Lindsay Emergency Program Manager City of Nanaimo

allvoices

Wellcox Property Pre-development Continues

Site of Pallet Farm 
Pallet Farm Cleaned Up
CP Ferry Dock Next - $400,000 budgeted for removal

At the May 4/15 Council meeting staff will be asking council to approve issuing a tender for the removal of the CP Ferry Dock as it is no longer serviceable and needs to be removed to enable future development going forward.

The staff report makes reference to this site as being the permanent home for a fast foot ferry service. Currently the Gadd site has been leased to operators of a fast foot ferry service, which has still to materialize.

There is a budget allowance of $400,000 for the removal of the dock, and since the tender call is for more than $250,000 it requires council's approval before proceeding. 

The implications of the archaeological site which was discovered during the Pallet site clean up has yet to be determined.

Currently Seaspan has a perpetual right of use licence for 15.5 acres of land and water on this site including the CP Ferry Dock. The map below shows the location of the dock and which land within this parcel is controlled by the City of Nanaimo and Seaspan. I believe that the ICF also has a right of use licence on this property as well. It would also be presumed that SFN will have claim as well given the archaeological site discovered recently.





allvoices

Sunday, May 03, 2015

A Reader Writes ...........................

Unfair tax treatment

MoneySense magazine Jan 2015 page 22 states:

"Based on BC tax rates, a single senior with $50,000 in taxable income can expect to pay more tax than a senior couple with $70,000 in income that is equally split."

Remember, this is before the current efforts to add to the income splitting windfall for higher income folks the federal (Conservative) government is trying to implement.

It would be interesting to ask the Tory candidate, Mark MacDonald, if he agrees with such tax unfairness, prior to the upcoming election?

Cheers
Gary Korpan

allvoices

Nanaimo Weather Outlook May 4 - 9



allvoices

Nanaimo Street Banners 2015 - Installed

NEWS RELEASE 

Artist Laura Timmermans, City Works Crew
2015/16 City of Nanaimo 
 Street Banners Installed
Artist Laura Timmermans

In late 2014, the City of Nanaimo invited all amateur and professional artists to submit designs for the City's 2015/16 Street Banner Design Competition.  A total of eight submissions were received. 

The successful banner design, by local artist Laura Timmermans, has now been installed on lamp posts on major streets throughout Nanaimo.  The inspiration from the banner design came from her experiences living in Nanaimo.  The design focuses on lifestyle one can experience while visiting or living in our community. 

Laura Timmermans is currently working as a freelance Graphic Designer in Nanaimo.  She received her BA Degree in Graphic Design from Vancouver Island University in 2013.

The banner program has been brightening our city streets and corridors for close to 30 years.

"Street banners grace many streetlight poles during the spring and summer seasons creating a fun and festive atmosphere.  The City's street banner program aids in the promotion of cultural arts and adds colour and excitement to Nanaimo." - Brian Denbigh Manager of Roads & Traffic Services City of Nanaimo

allvoices

Saturday, May 02, 2015

May is Invasive Plant Month in Nanaimo



allvoices

Spring Carnival at Nanaimo North Town Centre


Sunday May 3 - Noon - 6:00 pm

allvoices

A Sunny Afternoon At Colliery Dam Park




Memories are made of this...

I presume the older couple sitting on the bench were reminiscing and reflecting on memories of 'once upon a time' while the two young buds were in the process of making new memories.

allvoices

Bastion Gets Ready For Another Season


Bastion gets a fresh coat of paint and new pavers

If you've noticed the Bastion looking a little 'fresher' these days, it is because of the fresh coat of paint it recently received. The paving stones are also being replaced with new ones, replacing the tired cracked ones that were there last year.

Renewing the pavers meant the area was open to run new water and drain lines to the drinking fountain and also install a new one.

Bastion open from May 15 - Labour Day weekend 10am - 3pm

The Bastion season opens on Friday, May 15 highlighting this year’s International Museums Day, an international event celebrating the role of museums in society. The daily cannon firing will commence and there will be a visitor information kiosk as well as exhibits inside the Bastion. Open daily 10:00-3:00 through to Labour Day weekend. Admission by donation.

allvoices

Friday, May 01, 2015

City Flags Half Mast - May 3/15

NEWS RELEASE
Distributed April 30, 2015

City flags at half mast in memory of lost miners

Flags at City of Nanaimo facilities will be lowered to half mast on Sunday, May 3 to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 150 lives.

The explosions in the No. 1 Esplanade Mine which occured on May 3, 1887 shortly before 6:00 pm are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst in Canada (the mining disaster of 1914 in Hillcrest, Alberta killed 189 miners).

"This tragic event in Nanaimo's history will forever be remembered by the community. Lowering of the flags is one way we can honour the 150 lives lost on this sad day." - Bill McKay Mayor City of Nanaimo 

allvoices

NEDC Wins Economic Development Marketing Award


Award presented at the BC Economic Summit

NANAIMO, British Columbia: The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) has just been awarded the “Economic Development Marketing Award” at the BC Economic Development Association’s annual awards. The presentation took place during the BC Economic Summit in Richmond, BC on Tuesday, April 28th, 2015.

“The NEDC would like to thank all the community partners and advertisers who helped make this publication a reality,” said Sasha Angus, CEO of the NEDC. “It is a great resource for showcasing to the world the quality of opportunity and quality of life that we have in the region.”

Sophisticated business publication 

“The BC Economic Development Association was proud to award our 2015 Economic Development Marketing award to the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation,” said Dale Wheeldon, President and CEO of BCEDA. “Their sophisticated business publication expertly illustrates many of the reasons why the Nanaimo region is an excellent place for investment.”


View the Business in Nanaimo publication online here:  www.InvestNanaimo.com/BusinessinNanaimo.

allvoices

BC Teachers Union Appealing To Supreme Court


This article in the Huffington Post reports the BC Teacher's Federation will be heading to the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal the Province's highest courts ruling which went against them.

The court ruled that the government had not violated the teacher's charter rightss to bargain class size and composition, which reverses a lowe-court decision in favour of the union.

allvoices

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Snowbirds Comox Training Over For This Year

Photo credit Sheryl Falls
One of the Snowbirds Signatures

The Snowbirds have finished their spring training at Comox airbase for another season and those of us fortunate enough to witness their feats of precision flying were fortunate to have such a vantage point.

The days we were up there felt like an early summers day and the weatherman could not have been more cooperative.

I believe the next time you can see them in Comox this year is during an Air Show in August.

The CF - 18 Hornet put on a 20 minute demonstration either at the beginning or the end of the two daily shows put on by the Snowbirds during their practice sessions.

Photo Credit Sheryl Falls




allvoices

Province Issues Revised Order For Colliery Dams


City of Nanaimo Press Release
Distributed April 30, 2015


City receives revised Order from the Provincial Dam Safety Section

On April 29 the City received a revised Order from the Province's Dam Safety Section which included the consideration of a third option (overtopping design) to address risks associated with the Lower Colliery Dam.  The revised Order states that, pursuant to the Water Act, the Comptroller of Water Rights orders the City of Nanaimo to:
  • Select one of three Lower Dam remediation options (labyrinth spillway design, auxiliary spillway design or overtopping design);
  • Notify the Province of the selected option by June 1, 2015 and, if proceeding with the overtopping option, include a report from a qualified independent expert concurring the overtopping meets the required regulations (the independent expert is required to have qualifications in dam design, hydrology and overtopping protection of dams);
  • Prepare and submit design and construction plans to the Province by June 22, 2015;
  • Substantially complete construction of the chosen remediation option by November 15, 2015;
  • Evaluate options to remediate the Middle Colliery Dam by the end of 2015 and implement a revised plan no later than 2017.

The timelines provided to the City by the Comptroller of Water Rights must be carried out in a tight window of time. City Staff will work closely with all required parties to meet the associated deadlines.

Members of the public seeking information concerning the Colliery Dams are encouraged to visit the Colliery Dam Information page located on the City's website.

"City Staff will quickly move forward with identifying a third party expert that is acceptable to the Comptroller." - Toby Seward Acting GM, Community Development and Protective Services City of Nanaimo 

allvoices

Colliery Dams - Direct Action Group Takes Shape

"THE DAMS ARE FINE"

Mr. Terry Lee Wagar, who has been involved with the Colliery Dams Park saga for quite sometime has begun a new group on Facebook with the intent of preserving the integrity of Colliery Dam Park even if that involves committing civil disobedience.

One of Mr. Wagar's posts on the page in part says:

" Members of this group agree with then Councilor Bill Mackay that "the Dams are fine".. Unlike Mr.Mackay, however, we mean it and are willing to back it up with Direct Action. Direct Action means that we are willing to commit Civil Disobedience, by means of public protests, and other actions that may not be legal - such as blocking construction work at the Dam, or defying court orders aimed at stopping public protest. This group is for people to publicly state their intent to stand up and risk arrest to fight for our Park.

Members of this group know that the Dams have not been proven dangerous, and will not stand for their tax dollars being wasted on needless work at the Park"
You can check out this new group and follow their progress by visiting their page which is public.


allvoices

At the Queen's - Thursday April 30/15



allvoices

City of Nanaimo Colliery Dams Update


City of Nanaimo Press Release
Colliery Dam Update

At its meeting held April 27, Council directed staff to request that the Comptroller of Water Rights amend his Order of April 9 to allow consideration of a third remediation option (overtopping) and a 30-day extension for the City to submit a remediation option, submit a design, and substantially complete the chosen remediation for the Lower Colliery Dam.  The third remediation option includes hardening the downstream embankment of the Lower Dam and improvements to the Lower Dam spillway/dam.  Additionally, Council directed staff to engage an engineering consultant to assist in preparation of the design drawings, costs and timelines and allocate funds to undertake the work required.

The City has received verbal confirmation from the Dam Safety Section that the Comptroller would agree to the time amendments and third remediation option and that he would be responding formally later this week.

City staff have notified the engineering consultants that will be involved in the preparation of the design drawing, costs, and timelines.

Members of the public seeking additional information concerning the Colliery Dams are encouraged to visit the Colliery Dams Information page located on the City's website.

"Staff and consultants will be moving forward immediately in preparation of this information for Council’s consideration prior to the June 1 deadline for submission of a remediation option for the Colliery Dams." - Toby Seward Acting General Manager, Community Development & Protective Services City of Nanaimo 

allvoices

Colliery Dams Are Just Fine Leave Them Alone


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


They are 'just fine' but lets spend Millions of tax dollars on them anyway!!!

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

During the campaign he said the dams were fine and we should leave them alone. Before getting elected he seemed to promise under his leadership we would not spend any more money on them.

Now, that he has been elected to the 'Big Chair' he seems to be of the opinion that council is no longer a cat chasing it's tail, and that the community is no longer laughing at them. 

I would hazard a guess that it seems he is now the one chasing his tail, and many while not laughing at him, are absolutely upset at what appears another example of political flip-flop, saying one thing to get votes and then the opposite once elected.

allvoices

Council Meeting/Agenda Changes


Agenda packages available Tuesday

During its April 20th meeting, Council voted to adopt the City of Nanaimo's Procedure Bylaw so as to introduce a series of updates and timelines which, once implemented, are intended to streamline processes supporting Council meetings.  Key changes include:

  • With a few exceptions, Council meetings will be held the first and third Monday of each month (previously meetings were held during the second and fourth week).  Committee of the Whole meetings will be held the opposite Monday.
  • The deadline to submit items for inclusion on a meeting agenda is 12 p.m. on the second Friday preceding the meeting; the agenda will be published and made available to the public by 4 p.m. on the Tuesday preceding the meeting. 
  • The deadline to submit a late item or appear as a delegation is 11 a.m. on the Friday preceding the meeting, with the addendum agenda made available by 4 p.m.

"Allowing a greater opportunity to review agenda packages before meetings allows Council and the public to become better prepared to discuss City business." - Bill McKay Mayor City of Nanaimo

allvoices

Band Tailed Pigeon Feeding Frenzy




The band tailed pigeons have returned to the neighbourhood and while seeing 2 or 3 at a time at the feeder is not unusual, the other morning no fewer than 8 of them tried to top up at the same time. The pan can easily accommodate a half dozen sparrows, but 8 of these guys was a bit of a show.

allvoices

Many Canadians Expect To Never Stop Working

Semi-Retirement Expected By Many

A Canadian Press article published by Huffington Post suggests more than half of Canadians either plan to ease into retirement by working reduced hours or have no plans to ever quit.

While financial pressures have a bearing on some peoples need to keep working 38% were choosing to work because they did not want to fully retire. Many said they choose to continue to keep physically fit and mentally active.

World's Best Places To Retire in 2015

According to International Living the best place to retire is Ecuador which is listed as the #1 retirement haven. They claim a couple can live well there on $1400/month including rent. A doctor's visit is said to cost $10 while a main course in a restaurant can be had for as little as $2.50.

World-class medical facilities are reported throughout the country and direct flights from the States are listed as another advantage claiming one of the most robust economies on the continent with a GDP growing an average of 4.54% a year since 2,000.

allvoices

Public Art Relocated Downtown


"Spindle Whorl"

Public art to be installed at corner of Commercial/Wallace/Victoria Cr.

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

"Spindle Whorl" was carved by artist Joel Good in 2013 as part of the City's Temporary Public Art program.  Since 2013, "Spindle Whorl" has been displayed in Maffeo Sutton Park for public viewing.

Joel Good is a member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation who brings a unique personal style to traditional Coast Salish designs. Historically used as a tool for spinning wool into yarn, the spindle whorl has become an iconic symbol for the Snuneymuxw. Carvings in relief depict family stories and legends.

This week, "Spindle Whorl" will be relocated to the corner of Commercial Street/Wallace Street/Victoria Crescent (location of the old Spar Tree & High Rigger) and a public seating feature will be installed.


allvoices

Green Bin Theft In Nanaimo - Growing Problem



The City of Nanaimo would like to remind residents to keep a close watch on their green bin, as thefts are on the increase. 

The Public Works Department receives one or two calls a day from residents reporting missing green bins.

Bins are going missing in all parts of the city. They are mostly taken on collection day when they are placed out at the curbside. 

Please note that the refuse collectors will never remove your green bin.
  • Residents should write their address on the can in large letters to dissuade thieves.
  • Place your green bin at the curbside before 8 am on the day of collection. Do not put it out the night before.
  • Remember to remove your green bin from the curbside as soon as possible after it has been emptied.

Green bins can be purchased from the Public Works Department on 2020 Labieux Road. They cost $25.

"It started off as the odd surprising one off call from residents to say that their green bin had gone missing, but the problem now seems to have escalated. We are now receiving one or two calls a day to say that the bins have been stolen. The best way to protect your green bin is to clearly write your address on it." - Charlotte Davis Manager Sanitation and Recycling City of Nanaimo 

allvoices

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nanaimo City Council Meeting May 4/15




City Council Meeting
Mon., May 04, 2015
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Is. Conference Centre

Note: Prior to this regular meeting, council will attend an in-camera meeting which started at 5:30 pm.
  • 1 Port Drive CP Ferry Dock Demolition Tender (Wellcox Property)
  • Access Options for Linley Valley West/Linley Valley Drive
  • Liquor Licence Application for permanent change - 241 Skinner Street
  • DVP 3280 Crystal Place . 3680 Howden Drive
  • DVP 6284 Icarus Drive
  • Resoning Application 5030 Hammond Bay Road
  • Unresolved building deficiencies - 2137 Duggan Road
  • Appointment of Bylaw Enforcement Officers
  • Property Maintenance Bylaw - 2004 Lakeside Drive, 555 Milton St., 96 Princess Street, 2612 Labieux Rd.
  • Bylaws - Financial Plan Bylaw 2015 be adopted, Tax Rates Bylaw 2015 be adopted, Road closure and decication removal Albion St. adjacent 456 Bruce Ave., pass third reading.

     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.

    FIRST THING TO MAKE THE 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.


    SECOND THING TO MAKE THE LIST:

    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?


    allvoices

    South Island Zone Drama Festival


    allvoices

    Income Tax Filing Extended to May 5/15


    This Canadian Press report says Canadians will now have until May 5/15 to file and pay their income taxes for 2014.

    The extension was due to an error in a notification sent out by CRA to tax preparers indicating the deadline was May 5.

    Good news for procrastinators and those owing taxes.............. 5 more days to put it off, and who knows, maybe in those 5 days your winning lotto ticket might come in.

    allvoices

    Colliery Dams Solution



    allvoices

    Nanaimo Events This Weekend - May 2 & 3

    The Tidesmen Chorus present
    Gunfight at BBS Corral
    May 2 - 2:00 & 7:30 pm

    BookFest 2015
    Saturday May 2 - 11:00 am

    Island Fantasy Ball
    May 2 & 3
    Beban Park Social Centre

    Opera Nanaimo presents
    La Fille du Regiment
    Sunday May 3 - 2:30 pm


    allvoices