Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Colliery Dams Saga - A Look Back - First 30 Days

Nanaimo Info Blog October 30/2012
Note the 'Big One' was the bogeyman we needed to deal with!
Earthquake Could Cause Dam To Fail
Should We Mitigate Against All Possible Calamity?
Can We Mitigate Against All Possible Calamity?

I suspect the incident in Oliver about two summers ago where the failure of a private dam caused a mudslide and the loss of six homes resulted in another over reaction from the mandarins that haunt the halls in Victoria and around the province.

This stepped up vigilance surrounding the safety of dams in the province has likely resulted in the verdict by a branch of government that the dams in Colliery Park need to be removed as they could, possibly, maybe fail in the event of a significant earthquake. Not unlike the verdict we need to spend $72 million to treat water that is currently deemed by the city to be equal to commercially filtered bottled water. Both these dams, and our drinking water have 100+ years of history which don't seem to matter when those tasked with public safety think they can guard against all possible calamity. After all, if they weren't making all these important decisions, what would they be doing? Flipping burgers?

Just how large does this earthquake have to be to cause these dams to fail? What kind of damage would that level of quake cause to the other dams in the water supply system. The water mains and reservoirs etc. etc. are likely to be a complete disaster in the event of the BIG ONE everyone seems so afraid of. To say nothing of all the buildings in Nanaimo that would be reduced to rubble if a quake of that magnitude should occur.


Remember a little while ago, city staff hauled out the 'seismic event' chestnut and pointed to the extreme hazardous condition of the 75 year old city annex. Of course when public safety is the issue how can we quibble about the cost?

Well, what about ALL the other civic buildings that will never survive this much feared earthquake, or the schools where our most precious citizens spend their days? There is no real consistency and the reason of course is that it is virtually impossible to retrofit all civic buildings to the current seismic code, which incidentally means very little in the event of the 9 or 10 BIG ONE we are always told about coming sooner or later.

Is this a necessary decision that really has to be made, or just another example of bureaucracies having to justify their existence by appearing to do something?

Nanaimo Info Blog November 9/2012

A steady stream of Harewood residents filed into the Harewood Activity Centre on 4th Street to see what the city has planned for the demolition of the two dams and the restoration of the Chase River Creek bed.

When I arrived at 4:00 pm there were no parking spots in the lot and it remained that way for the two hours I was in attendance. The display consisted mainly of the same graphics which appear on the city website except they are blown up into poster size for display purposes.

Many city staff were present to answer questions but the general din of the room made it near impossible to hear how concerns and questions were being dealt with.

Of the people I spoke with I would say they were split about 50/50 when it comes to being convinced this is the right move for their area with some questioning the need to remove the dams altogether. There was more than one person speculating that the real reason for emptying the dams was to enable future development of the land through that area.

A general distrust for what they were being told is a common theme. Even those who felt in the interest of public safety removing the dams was the thing to do, many were still not convinced the danger was as real as presented by staff.

Several people who claim to know the area feel that once the dams are gone there is going to be a very ugly, deep ravine exposed which will in no way resemble the park they have all come to enjoy using over the years. There is nothing to compare with this park in all of Harewood and the loss of it is troubling to many who find it is a free, safe place for their kids to go and just have a good time.

Nanaimo Info Blog Nov. 19/ 2012
John Barsby School
Tuesday, Nov. 20th 7:00 PM

Nanaimo residents are not convinced the city has given enough consideration to the option of upgrading these dams, which apparently was an option presented in the 2010 seismic report done on these dams.

It is pointed out that the social and environmental aspects make the exploration of upgrading the dams something that needs considering. The dam is seen as an important part of the parks system for which Nanaimo is justifiably proud.

If you think this issue demands more consideration than a decision made behind closed doors and recommended by a few city staff, then this is the perfect opportunity to participate in this open and transparent democracy your city council is always talking about.

Comment: It will be interesting to see how the local media covers this issue as the local daily has already come out four square behind removing the dams, although I doubt they have anything more than city staff's opinion on which they base their opinion. I doubt if they have done any real investigating to see what the options really are.  It's not called the Daily Snooze for nothing.

Nanaimo Info Blog Nov. 20/ 2012
Over 500 Attend Public Meeting
To Save Colliery Dam

One thing is certain and that is if city staff and city council think that the Colliery Dams have come to the end of their useful life, they have not read the public very well and may be victims of just listening to their own opinions.

It was a packed out meeting in the gymnasium at John Barsby School on Tuesday night where organizer Jeff Solomon with the aid of many organizers were able to send a message loud and clear to city hall. The message? Colliery Dam and the lakes they create are worth saving and no one is convinced the city gave any other options enough serious consideration.

For a grass roots organization flying by the seat of their pants with little over two weeks to organize they have done a remarkable job of getting the area sitting up and paying attention to what I suspect city hall figured would be just another slam dunk.

City hall has been taught for the most part they can get away with just about anything with little to no public push back. A $72 million water plant and $16 million annex comes quickly to mind. These two projects for the most part barely caused a ripple on the pond but the loss of Colliery Dam and the lakes they create were not going to go unnoticed, even if the local press started playing the official city tune from the get-go.

A retired engineer who is a part of this grass roots group was able to explain what the studies the city commissioned say and don't say about the condition of the dams and the alternatives to improve the level of safety. Needless to say they disagree with the conclusions of city staff who ultimately are the ones who have swayed council in their decision.

If city council can't figure out that in-camera meetings and not engaging the public is the best way to get things done they really haven't learned a thing since the low barrier housing fiasco. You can't keep making decisions in secret and then just think you can ramrod it through without ruffling a few feathers.

You can expect to hear much more from this group as they get themselves organized and focused in their fight with city hall to save the Colliery Dams. Tactics to apply political pressure were discussed as well as the possibility of a full on occupation similar to the Friends fo the Clayquot action were not ruled out.

City councilors and city staff will always tell you how keen they are for participatory democracy. We'll see!

Nanaimo Info Blog Nov. 25/ 2012
 Delegation Appeals To City Council

There are three delegates listed on the Monday Committee of the Whole meeting who will be presenting to council regards the Colliery Lakes Dam removal decision.

Unfortunately these delegates will not necessarily gain the public attention they deserve due to the fact they are not allowed to make their presentations before a regular city council meeting. A regular city council meeting starts at 7:00pm whereas a COW meeting starts at 4:30pm which seriously limits the number of people who can attend. The lack of being broadcast, and the usual lack of local media coverage (this blog excluded) means most issues presented at a COW meeting get about as little attention as possible. A cynic would say that is by design by staff and council so they may reduce the publicity some issues might otherwise gain.

If the three presenters on behalf of the save the Colliery Lakes group are as articulate as they were with their arguments at the meeting held at Barsby last week it should make for an interesting alternative to the view already presented by city staff.

From the information I have gained from city staff it is fair to say there never has been an accurate cost estimate of what upgrading the dams might be, as the decision to remove the dams was considered the only viable option given the seismic hazard assessment report followed by the inundation report.

To support their decision the city refers to the finding that there 'could be' a 15% - 40% chance the dams would fail in the next 50 years due to a seismic event. I'm not sure how the rest of Nanaimo will fair if the same criteria is applied to a hazard assessment of other structures in Nanaimo.

The engineer speaking on behalf of those opposed to the decision to remove the lakes, claims a 1.6% chance in 50 years based on the same studies.

It will be interesting to see how convincing this delegation is and how receptive city council may be to the differing viewpoint of this delegation. I suspect the majority will dig in their heels and defend their decision.

Regardless the outcome, it is always refreshing to see members of the community actually participate in the decisions being made by a handful of elected and non-elected officials.

Nanaimo Info Blog Nov. 26/ 2012

Many Questions Need Answering About Process

The recent controversy over the city staff-led decision to destroy Colliery Parks Lakes has brought to light some serious questions about the whole process and how city hall staff handled this issue.


The whole timeline of this matter needs some consideration and the way in which city manager, Mr. Al Kenning chose to deal with this matter. The Dam Safety review conducted in 2003 recommended a seismic hazard assessment based on concerns about the dam. The city did not authorize this work until Feb. 2009 and that assessment was not issued for use until April 2010. There were serious concerns raised about these dams at this time. However, it was not until Sept. 2012 that the flood inundation study was released. Given the seriousness city staff now attaches to these dams, why have they seemingly dragged their feet so long on this file?

It was also during this timeline that city staff were busy convincing city council of the pressing need to provide them with a shiny new office.

Costs To Destroy Dams Not A Firm Price:

At the COW meeting of Nov. 26, 2012 it was revealed by Mr. Sims, the head of the water department that the publicized price of $7 million to remove the dams is no better than an educated guesstimate, as is the price of $20 - $30 million to upgrade these dams. If nothing else, you really have to question just how seriously this matter has been considered by Mr. Kenning, if getting nothing better than guesstimates when making buying decisions you have to wonder about those best practices we hear about from time to time.

You may recall when it came to awarding the $12 million contract to build the new Annex, which decision was also based on 'seismic assessment', there never was a tendering process used. Rather it seems that once again guesstimates were the order of the day, for example when deciding against buying an existing building and upgrading it, it was said to cost between $1 million and $8 million to upgrade. That's a pretty wide guesstimate, but was enough for city staff to abandon buying an existing building in favour of spending $16 million on a shiny new office.

Just Leading To A Foregone Conclusion?

You have to wonder if there ever was any genuine desire on the part of Mr. Kenning to retain the Colliery Park Lakes or if their removal was the plan from the beginning. Of course there has to be the appearance of doing the city's business in a proper manner following best practices. But you would be forgiven for concluding Mr. Kenning believed destroying the dams was the best option and set about to convince city council that was what had to be done and based his persuasion on questionable guesstimates at best.

The Process:

The process was clearly handled in such a manner as to completely eliminate any possible feedback from the public or any time given for any input from the public with what is proving to be possibly viable, and cost saving alternatives. Some councilors would have you believe they were given very little time to agree with staff's decision to destroy the lakes. There is no doubt the public was denied any opportunity to put forward their concerns or ideas about a safe, agreeable resolution.

On the surface it appears that staff, once again are simply operating in a high-handed manner designed to push this decision through without due consideration from council or the public.

Openness, Transparency, Participatory Democracy, Accountability, Communicate:

Do these principles actually describe goals this city staff and city council really believe in, or are they just buzz words of the day designed for that famous 15 second sound bite we all think passes for news these days?

Based on the current Colliery Park Lakes fiasco, I think it appears these are just the buzz words of the day rather than being truly reflective of anything meaningful coming from city hall.

Nanaimo Info Blog Nov. 26/ 2012
 Councillor Pattje's Motion Opens Door To Discussion

After hearing credible representation from the society to save Colliery Parks Lake, Councillor Pattje's motion to have city staff meet with society members to discuss options to removing the dams was passed by the majority of council. Councilor Bestwick was the only dissenting vote.

The wide range of price tags associated with upgrading the dams simply can not be ignored. For example retired, life long resident Mr. Heathcote who has worked in the construction business and on such projects as the Elsie Lake Dam believes the figures quoted by city staff of $20 - $30 million are grossly over estimated. The probability of a dam failure of 1.6% in 50 years is in sharp contrast to the figure of 40% used by staff to justify their recommendation to remove the dams.

One after another delegates made compelling cases to city council which could only result in revisiting this decision if there is to be any confidence the city has made the right choice. Pointing out the complete lack of public input on the matter, to the fact it seems the decision to remove the dams was made by one or two city staff, to unreliable estimates to upgrade the dams, the delegates raised more than enough unanswered questions which means listening to this group's input is the only viable option.

The motion which was successful requires staff to meet with the friends of Colliery Park Lakes and report back to council with other options which should be considered.


Watering Restrictions Revert To Level One

Level One Watering Restrictions In Effect

The city is advising residents that Level One watering restrictions are now in effect due to the recent rainfalls which have replenished Jump Lake reservoir to 75% of full storage capacity.

This means that even numbered houses may water on even number days and odd number houses may water on odd number days. Watering is not permitted between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm and washing of driveways or parking lots is not permitted.

Residents may wash a vehicle or boat only on their watering day and not between the hours of 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. These restrictions will remain in effect until Sept. 30/15


Colliery Dams Auxiliary Spillway Deal Approved


Nanaimo House and Real Estate Prices - August 2015

Nanaimo House Prices 2014

  Nanaimo Real Estate Home Sales

Nanaimo House Prices August 2015

Prices Increase 6% - Sales Increase 24%

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 August 2015 saw 128 homes sold, compared with 148 homes the previous month, and compared with 103 homes sold in 
August 2014. This represents a 24% increase when compared with last year.

The average sale price increased in 
August 2015 to $389,021.00 compared with $368,679.00 in August 2014 an increase of 6%. The median Nanaimo house price for August 2015 was $367,000.00.

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 August 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $275,400, an increase of 3.21 per cent from last year. In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $339,200, up 4.22 per cent from 2014.

Duncan reported a benchmark price of $299,800, an increase of 8.32 per cent over the same month in 2014. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 7.77 per cent to $356,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 4.87 per cent to $375,500, unchanged from last month. The price for a benchmark home in Port cAlberni was $192,200, a decrease of 1.49 per cent since August 2014.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Freedom of Expression Challenge Brewing??

Mayor's Interpretation of Community Charter
Raises several issues to be decided in court

During the raucous city council meeting on Aug. 31 Mayor McKay invoked Sec. 133 as the basis for having someone expelled from the meeting. Councillor Fuller appealed the ruling from the Mayor and the Mayor refused to entertain the appeal.

This is opening one ugly, messy can of worms, but this is Nanaimo and we have come to expect such from our City Hall governance .......... can you say Leadercast??

The Community Charter States:

Authority of presiding member

132  (1) The mayor or the member presiding at a council meeting must preserve order and decide points of order that may arise, subject to an appeal under this section.
(2) On an appeal by a council member from a decision of the presiding member under subsection (1), the question as to whether the chair is to be sustained must be immediately put by the presiding member and decided without debate.
(3) As exceptions to section 123 [general voting rules],
(a) the mayor or other presiding member may not vote on a motion under subsection (2),
(b) the motion passes in the affirmative if the votes are equal, and
(c) the mayor or other presiding member must be governed by the result.
(4) If the mayor or presiding member refuses to put the question under subsection (2),
(a) the council must immediately appoint another member to preside temporarily,
(b) that other member must proceed in accordance with subsection (2), and
(c) a motion passed under this subsection is as binding as if passed under subsection (2).

Expulsion from meetings
133  (1) If the person presiding at a council meeting considers that another person at the meeting is acting improperly, the person presiding may order that the person is expelled from the meeting.
(2) If a person who is expelled does not leave the meeting, a peace officer may enforce the order under subsection (1) as if it were a court order.

Reason for an appeal of a ruling of the Chair

 A member's right to appeal a ruling from the chair as explained by George Demeter is to protect the assembly against the arbitrary control of the meeting by its presiding officer.

City of Nanaimo's (Mayor's) Official Take on Sec. 133

The Mayor and apparently the city of Nanaimo is taking the stand that the Mayor can arbitrarily decide to expel anyone from a meeting that he alone deems acting improperly. The way he is interpreting the Community Charter Sec. 133 is that, the decision to expel is his and his alone, even if city council does not agree with him. That seems to be one interpretation of Sec. 133, but like all legal interpretation it is subject to challenge, and I am willing to wager, it will be challenged before this latest drama is concluded.

Challenges Under Section 132

Any time the presiding member (the Chair) decides on a point of order to preserve order, that ruling is subject to an appeal as per 132 (2). If the presiding member refuses to put the question, council MUST immediately appoint another member to preside temporarily.

Hypothetical scenario which could happen if City Council does not agree on a point of order from the presiding member:

the presiding member (Mayor) says someone must put down a sign in the gallery. That point of order can be appealed by a member of council, and the presiding member MUST allow the appeal, if not, council MUST temporarily replace the presiding member. The product of that vote could say council does not support the point of order to put down the sign. This would make that ruling invalid.

The Mayor could still unilaterally declare someone is acting improperly and order them expelled invoking Sec. 133, but he would now be acting against the expressed wishes of Council which would seem to contravene his duties under the Community Charter and some will argue goes against the spirit and intent of Sec.132.

Since the city of Nanaimo does not have a Bylaw governing the display of signs in the gallery, and the Mayor is acting in an ad hoc fashion and if he continues to invoke Sec. 133 claiming no appeal can be made .............. well he would be acting like a tyrant, in some people's view.

Nanaimo's History Of Ignoring Charter of Rights and Freedoms

It was a short time ago that the City of Nanaimo under Mayor Ruttan's watch decided to ignore the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in what is now known at the Leadergate affair. During that whole distasteful drama, city hall attempted to stonewall Nanaimo citizens and it was only when subjected to the glare of the national media, that city hall came to it's senses and reversed their opinion and apologized.

It seems the current Mayor is setting Nanaimo once again on a course that will put us once more into the glare of the 'big time' media.


Nanaimo City Council Meeting - Sept. 2/15

Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015
1:00 PM
Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Convention Centre

The purpose of the Special Open Council meeting is for Council to consider awarding the Colliery Dams Tender Contract. 

NOTE: This meeting had first been advertised as being in the Mt. Benson Rm.


Maffeo Sutton Park - Public Input Invited

Public Input for Maffeo Sutton Park

"Maffeo Sutton is becoming a waterfront hub for recreation, gathering and entertainment. Through this park planning process, we're looking forward to hearing the community's ideas to improve the park over the next 15 years and make it an even better open space for Nanaimo."Kirsty MacDonald Parks and Open Space Planner City of Nanaimo 

The City of Nanaimo is currently working on an updated improvement plan for Maffeo Sutton Park and is looking for the public's input. From 11:00 am to 7:00 pm on Monday, September 14 and Thursday, September 17, the public is invited to drop by Maffeo Sutton Park to share their thoughts and ideas for the future amenities of the park.

Residents and park users can provide their feedback by attending an open house at the park, filling out an online survey, visiting the idea flag displays on the park bridges or by emailing comments to

Maffeo Sutton Park is now the busiest park in Nanaimo and has developed over the last 65 years from an industrial site into Nanaimo’s destination waterfront park.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Nanaimo City Council Aug. 31 - Colliery Dams

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

Mayor says his ruling is beyond appeal


Colliery Dam Contractor - Not Decided

 Colliery Dams Protesters demonstrate outside convention centre
Gallery waiting for council meeting to reconvene

Council Meeting Adjourned  
Dams Decision Not Made

True to form the latest episode in the Colliery Dams Debacle added yet another page in the never-ending story that should never have been written.

On the agenda for the Aug. 31 Council meeting was the staff recommendation to award the construction of the auxiliary spillway to Copcan Contracting Ltd, which was the highest rated Tenderer for the project.

Mr. Terry Wagar, a Colliery Dam Park supporter organized a grassroots movement in an attempt to let city council know there is still strong opposition to the decisions being made to do with Colliery Dams Park.

City Council was scheduled to deal with the Colliery Dams tender starting at 6:00 pm having concluded other city business which started at 3:00 pm. 

Rather than simply attempt to conduct the meeting and get on with the staff recommendation, Mayor McKay chose to assert his authority as Chair to have members of the audience put their signs on the floor before he would proceed with the meeting. 

His ruling from the Chair was appealed by Councillor Fuller, who under Sec. 132 of the Community Charter was exercising his right to appeal a ruling from the Chair. Mayor McKay refused to acknowledge Fuller's appeal citing Sec. 133 of the Charter and refusing to discuss Fullers appeal.

Clearly not able to control the crowd or the meeting the Mayor 'adjourned the meeting until the gallery is cleared' and then vacated the Chair. He did not however, instruct RCMP officers present to clear the gallery which led to considerable confusion in the gallery as to what would happen next. At this point Councillors Fuller, Kipp, Bestwick and Hong left the Council Chambers which meant there was no longer a quorum of council, effectively ending the meeting.

Where this goes from here is anyone's guess but events of this evening raise several important questions which need to be addressed. The most concerning one to me, is the Mayor's claim of legal counsel giving him carte blanche to expel anyone from a meeting he deems to be acting improperly, and the basis for that ruling not being subject to an appeal from a member of council. That, in my opinion, is a dangerous position to take as it gives all power to the chair which cannot be appealed. That flies in the face of the spirit of Sec. 132 of the Charter.

If Council can not successfully appeal a ruling from the Chair because the Mayor 'says that is the opinion of my legal counsel', then I sincerely hope members of the community will mount a challenge to this assertion and appeal this matter to a court.

Sign outside Aug. 31 Nanaimo City Council meeting at VICC


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.