Monday, December 31, 2007

PRIME MINISTER RINGS IN NEW YEAR WITH GST CUT

GST DROPS TO 5%

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that starting January 1, 2008, the Goods and Services Tax will fall by another percentage point. As a result, from now on Canadians will pay only five per cent GST.

The Prime Minister, flanked by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, made the announcement at the same Mississauga consumer electronics store where he originally promised to cut the GST during the 2005-06 election campaign. “This Government promised to lower the GST from seven to six to five per cent and today we are delivering on that promise,” Prime Minister Harper said. “The two-point reduction will save the average working family hundreds of dollars per year on day-to-day purchases, not to mention hundreds more on a new car or thousands on a new home.”

Reducing the GST from six to five per cent builds on the Government’s initial cut from seven to six per cent on July 1, 2006 and fulfills the campaign promise to lower the GST to five per cent. This permanent tax cut will benefit all Canadians regardless of age or income – including those whose incomes are too low to pay income tax. For consumers the total savings from the two per cent reduction will be almost $12 billion next year.

“Reducing the GST is part of our broader plan to ensure Canada’s long-term economic growth and prosperity,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Under our Government, taxes are headed only one direction: down.”

Since coming to office, the Conservative Government has taken action to cut sales, income and business taxes, reducing the overall tax burden for Canadians and businesses by close to $200 billion, and bringing taxes to the lowest level they have been in nearly 50 years.


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NEW YEARS EVE IN NANAIMO

FINALE 2007 IN NANAIMO

If you are looking for something for the whole family be sure to check out the 'Finale 2007' at Beban Park.

This family friendly celebration will ring in the new year with swimming, skating and more.
For information please call 756-5200

From Nanaimo-info Blog - - - - -
"May you all have a Happy and Prosperous New Year".


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VANCOUVER ISLAND SHORT FILM FESTIVAL


Films Chosen for Festival

After several months of preparation and promotion followed by a thorough judging process, 21 films have been selected for the third annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival.

60 original short films were entered into the festival by local filmmakers. A jury selected 21 films that will be shown at the festival on January 18 and 19, 2008 and awarded prizes by a final panel of judges.

“We are thrilled with the quality of films,” said VISFF organizer Johnny Blakeborough.

“It was a tough process, but the final 21 films are excellent. We anticipated some great films, but these exceeded our expectations and should make the festival an event to remember. There are so many talented filmmakers in our community and we are very excited to give them an opportunity to showcase their talents.”

The selected films include Sometimes by Scott Amos, Grass by Scott Amos, Sticks and Stones by deVilliers van Zyl, Love is Blind by Josh Hauca, Traditional Fishing by Harold Joe, Brownie Points by Nicole M. Nattrass, Searching for Wallenberg by Rick Raxlen, 21 Kilograms by Jim Wagner, Outside My Window by Kristen Wald, Bricklayer by Vincent Wells, L19: Disposed by Paul Whittington, Chicken on the Run by Gregory Ball, Dialtone by Gregory Ball, The Secret Life of Toast by Graham Stark, Slacking for Gold by Graham Stark, A Part of Our Heritage by Graham Stark, Eyewitness Accounts by Graham Stark, Trailer Dance: A Love Story by Fran Benton, Nice Shoes by John Gardiner, Bad Brownie by Chad Schroter-Gillespie and Kitty Cat, Kitty Cat by Simon Berman.

All short listed films will be shown at the January 18 and 19 screenings with the chance to win awards in several categories. 10 of the films come from 9 Nanaimo filmmakers.

“Our main goal is to turn the spotlight on our talented local filmmakers,” said Blakeborough.

“More than anything, this festival is for them. It’s an opportunity to show their films in front of a large audience.”

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival will take place on January 18 and 19, 2008 at the Malaspina University-College theatre.

Tickets to the festival are available in the Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery in North Town Centre and Falconer Books in Port Place Mall. The first night of the festival will include a screening of the selected films, while the second night will include a screening of the films and an awards ceremony for best films and prizes for winning filmmakers. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door, but last year’s festival sold out very quickly, so everyone is encouraged to buy them in advance. Tickets are $15.

All types of short films were accepted for consideration into the festival. All films had to be 10 minutes or less to be considered.

Information on the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is available on the website at www.visff.com. For more information, contact admin@visff.com


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Friday, December 28, 2007

BC FERRIES CURRENT SALING CONDITIONS

BC FERRIES NANAIMO SAILINGS

You can check the current sailing conditions for Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay at Nanaimo's Departure Bay Ferry Terminal by clicking here.

You can check the current sailing conditions for Duke Point to Tsawwassen at the Duke Point Ferry Terminal by clicking here.

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NANAIMO CONFERENCE CENTER NEWS

PNC RETAIL SPACE OFFER BEING CONSIDERED

The local press reports that a business consortium which owns various retail space in Nanaimo, has put forth an offer to purchase the retail space in the new Nanaimo convention center.

If the deal goes ahead the company would then lease the space to a variety of retail businesses. The city would not disclose who was putting forth the offer saying that confidentiality prohibited them from such a disclosure at this time.

Editors Comment; it is unfortunate that the city has found itself in the position of having to sell this space, rather than reaping the long term benefits of leasing it directly to different businesses.

For booking and more information about the Vancouver Island Conference Centre use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

WIND AND SNOW WARNINGS ISSUED FOR NANAIMO

ENVIRONMENT CANADA HAS ISSUED
THE FOLLOWING WEATHER WARNINGS


WIND WARNING
SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS OF 50 TO 70 KM/H WILL DEVELOP LATE THIS MORNING EXCEPT IN NORTH VANCOUVER ISLAND AND CENTRAL COAST - COASTAL REGIONS WHERE SOUTHEASTERLY WINDS OF 60 TO 90 KM/H WILL DEVELOP THIS MORNING. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS. (Issued at 4:18 am PST Dec. 27/07)

SNOW WARNING
5 TO 10 CM OF SNOW IS FORECAST FOR GREATER VANCOUVER AND WESTERN FRASER VALLEY TODAY. 5 CM OF SNOW IS EXPECTED BY THIS AFTERNOON FOR CENTRAL COAST - COASTAL SECTIONS. OVER HIGHER TERRAIN OF EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND 5 CM OF SNOW IS LIKELY. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS. (Issued at 4:18am PST Dec. 27/07).

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL

The First Christmas

And he took Mary his betrothed wife, being with child.
And while they were there, the days for her deliverance were fulfilled.
And she brought forth her son, the First-born, and wrapped Him, and laid Him in a manger-- because there was no room for them in the inn.
And in the same country there were shepherds living in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. And they were grievously afraid.
And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:5-14

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Monday, December 24, 2007

SOME BC FERRIES NANAIMO EXTRA SAILINGS CANCELLED

QUEEN OF ALBERNI OUT OF SERVICE

FOR ONE WEEK

The Queen of Alberni, operating between Duke Point and Tsawwassen, has
experienced a mechanical failure on one of its main engines and is expected to be out of service
for approximately one week as the vessel undergoes repairs.

The Queen of Coquitlam, which is scheduled to provide extra service on the Horseshoe BayDeparture Bay route, will be deployed to the Duke Point – Tsawwassen route starting Saturday, December 22. The regular schedule will remain in effect on that route from December 22 onward.

On the Horseshoe BayDeparture Bay route, the two regular vessels, the Queen of Cowichan and Queen of Oak Bay will provide service on the regular schedule. The extra sailings scheduled for the next week are cancelled.

All sailings on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, including the extra sailings will remain as scheduled.

BC Ferries estimates the Queen of Alberni will return to service in approximately one week. An update regarding repairs to the Queen of Alberni will be provided next week.

For detailed schedule information as well as reservations, visit www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779) or *BCF from a cell phone.

To view B.C. Ferry Nanaimo Sailing Schedules or check the current conditions at Nanaimo Ferry Terminals use this LINK.



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Sunday, December 23, 2007

ANOTHER WIND WARNING ISSUED

NANAIMO WEATHER WARNING
Issued at 4:20 am PST Dec. 23/07 by Environment Canada

SOUTHERLY WINDS UP TO 100 KM/H OVERNIGHT ACROSS THE NORTH AND CENTRAL COAST AND WEST VANCOUVER ISLAND ARE EXPECTED THIS MORNING. SOUTHEAST WINDS UP TO 70 KM/H WILL SPREAD TO EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND LATER THIS MORNING. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

WIND WARNING ISSUED FOR NANAIMO DEC. 22

ENVIRONMENT CANADA HAS ISSUED
THE FOLLOWING WARNING

Issued at 5:46am PST Dec. 22/07
SOUTHEAST WINDS OF UP TO 90 KM/H EXPECTED THIS MORNING FOR THE NORTH AND CENTRAL COAST AND NORTH VANCOUVER ISLAND. SOUTHEAST WINDS OF UP TO 70 KM/H EXPECTED THIS MORNING FOR EAST AND WEST VANCOUVER ISLAND..THE SUNSHINE COAST..GREATER VICTORIA..THE SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS AND GREATER VANCOUVER. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

LEAD TESTING KITS UNRELIABLE FOR CHECKING TOY SAFETY

HOME LEAD TESTING KITS
ARE NOT RELIABLE

Recent recalls of toys containing excessive amounts of lead have resulted in an increase in the promotion and use of home lead testing kits. Health Canada's Product Safety Laboratory has evaluated a number of home lead test kits available on the Canadian marketplace and found that the results they give are not fully reliable. Test results vary considerably from one brand of test kit to another and are also affected by the type of product or material being tested.

Lead is a soft, heavy metal which is poisonous when absorbed into the body. It is a naturally occurring element that is found in trace amounts everywhere in the human environment. Lead is especially toxic to young children, and can cause serious learning and behavioural problems even at very low exposure levels. Regulations under Health Canada's Hazardous Products Act restrict the amount of lead which can be used in children's products, such as toys and children's jewellery.

Since the test kits indicate the presence of lead by a colour change, the results may be affected by pigments present in the tested product. Also, the test kit may not detect lead in a product which has a protective or decorative coating. The test results are hard to interpret since a positive reading does not necessarily mean that there is enough lead in the product to create an exposure risk. The kits have a limited shelf life, and performance can be affected by the age of the kits.

Because of these concerns, Health Canada does not recommend the use of home lead test kits by consumers

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN
FROM LEAD EXPOSURE


If you suspect a toy, children's jewellery item, or other product may contain lead, immediately remove it from the reach of children.

If the product is low cost, it can be thrown away in normal household waste.

If the product is not a low-cost item, contact the manufacturer or retailer regarding your lead content concerns.

Remove from children's reach any product which has paint peeling off any of its surfaces. Children may eat peeling paint containing lead.

If you believe your child has swallowed an object containing lead, seek immediate medical attention. There is a serious risk of severe or fatal lead poisoning if an object containing high amounts of lead remains in the body.

If your child has sucked or chewed regularly on a product which you think may contain lead, ask your doctor to test your child's blood for lead.

Check Health Canada's website regularly for up-to-date product recall information. You can also check company Web sites for information on products they have recalled.

A full list of product recalls in Canada, including recalls related to lead content, can be accessed on the Healthy Canadians Web site, at or on Health Canada's Web site.

Further information on Lead and human health can be found at: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/iyh-vsv/environ/lead-plomb_e.html


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WIND WARNING ISSUED FOR NANAIMO

ENVIRONMENT CANADA ISSUES
FOLLOWING WARNING AT 4:30 AM TODAY

SOUTHEAST WINDS 50 TO 70 KM/H BECOMING SOUTHWEST 50 TO 70 KM/H THIS AFTERNOON. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.


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SAFE WINTER DRIVING TIPS

PLAN A SAFE HIGHWAY TRIP

THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Before highway travelling this holiday season, the Ministry of Transportation recommends motorists plan a safe trip by checking the DriveBC website (www.drivebc.ca) for the latest road and weather conditions. Travellers may also call the toll-free DriveBC line (1-800-550-HWYS).

Drive BC has more than 100 highway webcams throughout the province that show current road conditions with links to Environment Canada weather forecasts for the highway to be travelled. DriveBC also provides road reports, travel advisories, road closure information, winter driving tips, toll-free phone numbers for the ministry’s road maintenance contractors - which also provide local road condition information - and other important links.

The ministry’s road and bridge maintenance contractors will be patrolling highways and plowing and sanding where needed. Motorists are advised to stay well back of a plow truck, do not pass when its lights are flashing and never pass it on the right. Plow trucks will move to the side of the road to allow travellers to pass when it is safe to do so.

Drivers should make sure their vehicles are ready for winter driving. Most important is a good set of winter tires. Motorists should plan more travel time for trips, slow down and allow more following distance between vehicles. For long distance travel, drivers are encouraged to pack an emergency kit including blanket, flashlight, emergency rations, and warm clothing and footwear. Other winter tips include:

  • Carry chains suitable for your vehicle and practice installing them
  • Fill your gas tank to avoid gas line freeze-up
  • Replace worn windshield wiper blades and top up windshield fluids, as road spray may reduce visibility
  • Do not use cruise-control or overdrive
  • Watch for wildlife, which may be feeding along roadsides
  • Take extra care in shaded areas, bridges and intersections, which are more vulnerable to black ice
  • Reduce your speed; remember that the maximum posted speed is intended for ideal road and weather conditions

The ministry has been working with other partners including ICBC, RCMP, BCAA, the BC Trucking Association, highway maintenance contractors and WorkSafeBC to help promote winter driving preparedness. Other web sites with winter driving information include:


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ICBC WIN FRAUD SUIT AGAINST NANAIMO MAN

NANAIMO RESIDENT ORDERED

TO PAY ICBC $87,000

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ordered Cole Owen Adams of Nanaimo to pay ICBC $87,337.90 in damages. The ruling concludes a civil action filed by ICBC against Adams in November 2006, related to four stolen vehicles claims from 2003.

ICBC was seeking to recover the costs paid out for the stolen vehicles claims, plus the costs to investigate, legal fees and punitive damages. On December 12, 2007, ICBC was awarded $47,337.90 in special damages for the recovery of all external and internal expenses, and $40,000 in punitive damages.

"We are very pleased with this award. It reinforces our zero tolerance for fraud," said Steve Tripp, ICBC manager of Fraud Prevention and Investigation. "We combat fraud to deter others and to recover fraudulent payments, which helps to keep rates low and stable," said Tripp.

The scheme was uncovered on February 5, 2004, when Nanaimo RCMP searched Adams' home and found three dismantled vehicles, and the license plate from the fourth stolen vehicle. The vehicles, a 1989 Honda Civic, 1999 Honda Civic, 1996 Acura and 1997 Honda Civic, were stolen from Nanaimo and Vancouver.

In addition to the civil action, Adams has also been convicted of possession of stolen property, an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. He received a nine month conditional sentence, one year of probation and was fined a $100 victim service fee.

ICBC invests more in fraud prevention and investigation than most property and casualty insurance companies in Canada. Customers are encouraged to do their part to help fight fraud by reporting suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claims. Information provided to ICBC's fraud tips line (604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844) is confidential and callers can remain anonymous.


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Monday, December 17, 2007

BC FERRIES EXTRA HOLIDAY SAILINGS

BC FERRIES ADDS HOLIDAY SEASON SAILINGS

BC Ferries is pleased to announce that it will offer more than 120 extra sailings between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island to meet increased traffic demands over the holiday season.

Between December 20 and January 6, one hundred extra sailings will be added between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, and twenty-two extra trips will be provided between Horseshoe Bay Departure Bay.

Traditionally, December 26 and 27 are the busiest days for ferry travel over the holidays. For customers intent on sailing at specific times, reservations are recommended, particularly on these two days.

Meanwhile, BC Ferries will offer its popular Coast Saver fares on all sailings between Tsawwassen and Duke Point, every day from December 19 though January 6. During this period, customers will be able to save $5 per passenger and $15 per underheight vehicle. Coast Saver fares are also available on the 7 am and 9 am Sunday sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. All told, that’s over 275 sailings with an opportunity to save this holiday season.

Please note that on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, sailings will be reduced on some routes to reflect the traditionally lower traffic volumes.

For details regarding schedules, reservations and a complete list of CoastSaver sailings, visit www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779).

To view the B.C. Ferry Nanaimo Sailing Schedule or check current conditions at either Nanaimo B.C. Ferry Terminals use this LINK.


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HOLIDAY FOOD SAFETY

HEALTH CANADA REMINDS CANADIANS
OF HOLIDAY FOOD SAFE

Food is an important part of many holiday celebrations. However, many of the foods found at holiday parties, such as baked goods, eggnog, cider, seafood and turkey, can carry bacteria that cause foodborne illness. You can help reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses for your family and friends during the holiday season by following some basic food safety tips.

Baked goods: Holiday cookies and squares are a special treat, but uncooked cookie dough, batters or frostings made with raw eggs can contain Salmonella bacteria. Always make sure your baked goods are cooked thoroughly and never lick the spoon or eat raw cookie dough when baking using raw eggs.

Eggnog: Store-bought eggnog is pasteurized to remove any dangerous bacteria before it is shipped for sale. If you’re making eggnog at home using raw eggs, be sure to heat the egg and milk mixture to at least 71° C (160° F). Immediately after heating, refrigerate the eggnog in small, shallow containers to allow it to cool quickly. Or, use pasteurized egg and milk ingredients, which are available at many grocery stores.

Fruit juice and cider: When making punch or serving cider, check the product label to make sure the juice or cider has been pasteurized. Unpasteurized juice may contain bacteria like E.coli or Salmonella that can make you sick. If it has not been pasteurized, you can make it safer by boiling the product before serving.

Oysters and seafood: Some people enjoy eating raw seafood, such as oysters and sushi, during their holiday festivities. However, because raw or undercooked fish and seafood may contain bacteria, parasites or viruses, special care in their preparation and handling is needed. If you choose to serve and eat raw oysters and seafood, care is needed, as with any perishable food. Keep seafood like raw oysters or cold cooked shrimp rings refrigerated and serve them on ice to ensure they remain cold at holiday buffets. People who are more vulnerable to the risks of foodborne illness, such as older adults, pregnant women, young children and people with weakened immune systems, should avoid eating raw or undercooked fish and seafood.

Holiday Buffets: If you are serving food buffet-style, use warming trays, chafing dishes or crock pots to keep hot foods hot, and put serving trays on crushed ice to keep cold foods cold. Don’t let food remain at room temperature for more than two hours or add new food to serving dishes already in use. Instead, use a clean platter or serving dish each time you re-stock the buffet.

Turkey and stuffing: If cooking a turkey for a holiday meal, use a digital food thermometer to make sure it is cooked properly. The temperature of the thickest part of the breast or thigh should be at least 85° C (185° F). To prevent potential cross-contamination, cook stuffing separately in its own oven dish or on the stove top. If you do stuff your turkey, stuff loosely just prior to roasting, and remove all stuffing immediately after cooking. Cook stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 74° C (165° F), and refrigerate within two hours of cooking.

It is estimated that there are between 11 million and 13 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.


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Friday, December 14, 2007

SAILBOATS SEEN ON LONG LAKE NANAIMO

FIVE SAILBOATS SAILING ON LONG LAKE

While not of the same stature as the Coastal Renaissance these sailboats provide an interesting scene for passersby, as they glide silently across the surface of Long Lake.
They are skippered by land based captains via remote control who could be seen steering their vessels from a nearby dock.
The next time you go flying by on the highway take a glance and you might see this flotilla passing by.

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COASTAL RENAISSANCE DOCKS IN NANAIMO

COASTAL RENAISSANCE
AT HER NEW NANAIMO HOME


Coastal Renaissance, the first of three new Super C-class vessels built for BC Ferries, arrived in Nanaimo yesterday afternoon after a 48-day, 9,990 nautical mile journey from Germany.

After final inspections are completed, the ship will be officially handed over to BC Ferries. In the coming months, crews will be trained and familiarized in the operation of this brand new state-of-the-art ship, the largest double-ended ferry in the world. Coastal Renaissance will enter service on the Departure BayHorseshoe Bay route in March 2008.

Public open houses are being scheduled in Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria for late January and early February 2008 to give all members of the public a preview of BC Ferries’ newest ship. Details about the public open houses will be issued shortly.


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Thursday, December 13, 2007

AVOID IDENTITY THEFT AND PROTECT YOUR CREDIT

The following advice is offered by a major Canadian credit card company to help you safely use your credit card when making purchases.

- Protect your credit card using simple measures such as signing the back of the card, placing passwords on new or existing accounts and being vigilant when purchases are being processed

- Safeguard your personal information - do not share or disclose your PIN number(s), hold your mail if away from home on travel, and secure your belongings (purses/wallets) in public places.

- Streamline your wallet - Before you head to the malls, clean out your wallet and take only the credit cards, checks and/or cash that you need for the day.

- Hold on to your receipts - Keep receipts with you rather than putting it in the bag- and get gift receipts that can be used for returns or exchanges. Keep the originals in a safe place and shred them after you're certain the charges match to those on monthly bank and credit card statements.

When shopping online:


- Look for signs that a Web site is safe - Only buy from a seller you trust and look for signs that the site is secure, such as a closed padlock on the browser's status bar. When you're asked to provide payment information, the beginning of the Web site's URL address should change from http to shttp or https, indicating that the purchase is encrypted or secured.

- Don't fall for a false email or pop-up - Never respond to emails or instant messages that ask you to provide account information for "verification." Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software - and keep them up to date - to protect your home computer.

- Consider how you'll pay - Credit cards generally are a safer option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn't delivered or isn't what was ordered.

- Keep a paper trail - Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and copies of any email you exchange with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren't any unauthorized charges.

Five key steps to take immediately if you are a victim:

1. Call the two national credit bureaus and request that a fraud warning or alert be placed on your credit file and request copies of your credit report for review. TransUnion Canada can be reached at 1.877.525.3823 and 1-877-713.3393 in Qu├ębec; Equifax Canada can be reached at 1.877.323.2598.

2. File a police report and request a copy of the report or case number. Banks and creditors often need proof of a crime to erase debts created by identity theft.

3. Contact all creditors to alert them of your situation so that new accounts are not approved or opened in your name by impostors.

4. Protect your bank accounts by cancelling ABM cards that are compromised in any way, requesting stop payments on stolen cheques and adding a password to accounts.

5. Contact PhoneBusters National Call Centre (1-888-495.8501) to report the crime.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

COASTAL RENAISSANCE TO ARRIVE IN BC

Coastal Renaissance, BC Ferries’ newest vessel is on schedule to arrive in B.C. on Thursday, December 13. The ship will sail by Beacon Hill Park in Victoria at approximately 8:00 am, proceed to Vancouver and make its way under the Lions Gate Bridge at approximately 12:30 pm.

The ship will then make a 360 degree turn in Vancouver Harbour, showcasing the massive photographic invitation to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic games that appears on its hull. After the ship circles Vancouver Harbour, it will proceed to its new home at Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo.

It is expected to arrive in Nanaimo between 4:30 and 5:00pm on Thursday. The newest ferry will not be in service until sometime in January of next year.

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SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE

EVANGELISTIC TABERNACLE (NANAIMO)
PRESENTS THE SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE 2007

Evangelistic Tabernacle at 1300 Princess Royal Ave. once again will be producing this popular family event.
Program schedule:
December 14 - 7:00pm
December 15 - 4:00 and 7:00pm
December 16 - 4:00 and 7:00pm

Free tickets are available from
ET Family Church
Nanaimo Christian Books and Music
The Buzz Coffee House

For Information About 2009 Singing Christmas Tree use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

For more information you can visit the Evangelistic Tabernacle website here.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

IF YOU DRINK PLAN A SAFE RIDE HOME

Police roadchecks are on now

ICBC, police and the provincial government are reminding motorists of the dangers of drinking and driving and urge you to plan a safe ride home.

Despite decades of impaired driving awareness, drinking drivers are still responsible for approximately one in 10 injury collisions in the province, and about one of every four fatal crashes involves alcohol.

"Police roadchecks are on now, so plan a safe ride home this holiday season," says ICBC Loss Prevention Manager, Brian Sargent. "You or your passengers could be injured or killed in a crash, and you risk losing your licence, time in jail and possibly a criminal record."

In 2005 there were approximately 1,030 alcohol related crashes on Vancouver Island. Out of those crashes there were about 690 injured victims and 21 fatal victims. Those statistics are higher than the previous year 2004, when there were approximately 920 alcohol related crashes including about 640 injured victims and 17 fatal victims.

While drinking and driving results in an unacceptable number of crashes, there are other consequences for consideration as well. Having your vehicle impounded, paying stiff fines or facing jail time with the promise of a criminal record for life, could all have a serious effect on your holidays, not to mention the rest of your life.

CounterAttack police roadchecks were introduced 30 years ago and continue to be a successful element of the police campaign. They are on now, up and down Vancouver Island, and will take place throughout the holiday season. If you expect to drink, don't take any chances. Plan to take a bus, call a cab, arrange for a designated driver or phone someone for a ride. If you're having a party or gathering, have plenty of non-alcoholic options available and make sure all your guests have a safe way to travel or insist that they stay.


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Monday, December 10, 2007

AVOID FIRE RISKS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

HOLIDAY FIRE SAFETY

About one quarter of all fires in December are typically related to holiday activities, but British Columbians can ensure a safe, festive season by following a few simple tips.

In December 2006, of the 238 fires recorded by the Office of the Fire Commissioner, 19 were caused by candles, 30 attributed to cooking and two blazes originated with Christmas trees. Some of these fires caused injuries while total property loss was almost $2 million.

Life-saving steps to help enjoy a fire safe holiday season include:

CANDLE SAFETY

Never leave lit candles unattended and keep them away from combustible materials.

Decorate with flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.

Keep Christmas trees, wrapping and decorations away from heat sources.

Keep your real Christmas tree fresh by watering it often, or consider a fire resistant artificial tree as an alternative.

Always turn tree lights off before leaving home or going to sleep.

Use lights that have been tested and labelled by an approved testing laboratory.

Don’t overload electrical circuits or extension cords.

COOKING SAFETY

A stovetop fire can start in a flash. Stay in the kitchen when something is cooking.

Keep a lid nearby to smother flames if a fire starts in a pot.

All combustible items should be kept a safe distance away from the stove, including tea towels, wooden or plastic spoons and paper towels.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner also recommends each home have working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan in place. For more fire safety information, please visit www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/firecom/index.htm.


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Friday, December 07, 2007

NANAIMO BOIL WATER ADVISORY LIFTED

NOT NECESSARY TO BOIL WATER NOW

The City of Nanaimo in consultation with the VIHA have determined it is no longer necessary to boil water in Nanaimo.

Recent snow run off and heavy rains had made the boil water advisory necessary as turbidity levels were quite high.

All is back to normal now.

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SIGN UP FOR EMERGENCY ALERT

NANAIMO EMERGENCY ALERT PROGRAM
During the recent boil water advisory, the Emergency Alert program was put to the test, and passed with flying colours.
If you are registered with the program you will receive a phone call and email in the event of a public emergency.
If you are not already registered, take a moment now to register, it is free and the city is offering a prize of $1000 on a draw basis for those who register.
To register for the emergency program click this link.

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HARMAC PULP MILL ASKS FOR TAX REDUCTION

ASKS NANAIMO CITY TO REDUCE TAXES BY 50%

It is reported in the local press that the management of financially troubled Harmac pulp mill have asked the City of Nanaimo to consider reducing their taxes by 50%.
Mayor Korpan is quoted as saying the city could not reduce one taxpayers rate without reducing all by the same amount. Other comments reported speculate that the tax reduction of nearly $2 million would neither make nor break the troubled industry.
In the meantime, another 26 workers have been laid off at the mill as they try to restructure their finances. It is also reported recently that a potential buyer was in town looking at the mill.
If the mill should close, it would be a huge impact on the local economy as all of the 500+ jobs are high paying jobs, and the mill contributes nearly $4 million dollars in local taxes.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

BOIL WATER ADVISORY STILL IN EFFECT

RUSHING RIVERS STIR UP OUR WATER SUPPLY

The following comes directly from the City of Nanaimo website. As of 9:00am today, the boil water advisory is still in effect.

From the City website:

High turbidity levels have been detected in the drinking water supply. High turbidity (cloudiness) levels may occur in surface water sources due to seasonal weather changes causing excessive surface runoff, flooding or lake turnover. High turbidity has been associated with higher occurrences of intestinal illness.

Water users are advised to bring all water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and let it cool before using it or use bottled water. Until further notice, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice or fountain drinks, brushing teeth and for preparing food that will not be cooked. We will inform you when you no longer need to boil your water. Please check our website at www.nanaimo.ca or listen to 102.3 the Wave for the most up-to-date information. Vancouver Island Health Authority has additional information regarding boil water notices at http://www.viha.ca/mho/environment/water_quality/boil_water/


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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

SANTA VISITS DOWNTOWN NANAIMO

SANTA & MRS. CLAUS VISIT THIS FRIDAY

This Friday, Dec. 7 at 3:00 pm Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves will arrive downtown via West Coast Air. Free hot chocolate is available for all.
The group goes from there to Port Theatre for some festive crafts and holiday treats.
In the evening, there will be a parade along Commercial St. and Church St. with the jolly ole guy and several other entrants.
Canada Post will be collecting letters to Santa along the parade route, the parade starts at 7:00 pm.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

BOIL WATER ADVISORY IN EFFECT

NANAIMO RESIDENTS ADVISED TO BOIL WATER

As a Nanaimo resident who registered for the Emergency Alert Program with the City of Nanaimo, I received an automated phone call at 9:15am advising that a boil water advisory had been issued.

The VIHA website did not have an alert listed as of 9:15 am but I would expect their site to be updated soon. Residents are advised to listen to 102.3 FM for further advice.

HOW TO BOIL WATER
(the following comes from the VIHA website)

Tap water should be boiled for one minute. Use any clean pot or kettle. Kettles that have automatic shut offs are acceptable.

After boiling, let the water cool by leaving it on the counter or in the refrigerator in covered containers. After water is boiled it can be stored in food grade containers at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

You can bring back flavour by shaking water in a container, pouring the water between two containers, and/or adding a pinch of salt.


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COUNCIL VOTES TO SPEND $200,000

COUNCIL DECIDED TO SPEND $200,000
TO RESTORE E.J.HUGHES MURAL


The local press reported that city council has reversed a previous decision and are now going to spend $200,000 to restore the 1938 mural which used to be in the old Malaspina Hotel.
The restored mural will hang in the new convention centre.

Comment: In the recent budget draft city manager Jerry Berry blames senior government downloading of responsibility as a main factor in the rising tax increases in Nanaimo. This $200,000 expenditure can hardly be blamed on senior governments.

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MUDDY WATER COULD LEAD TO A BOIL WATER ADVISORY

NANAIMO WATER COULD GET MUDDY
WITH ALL THE SNOW MELT AND RAIN

With all the quickly melting snow and the heavy rains we have been getting there is the possibility that drinking water in Nanaimo may become cloudy or muddy.
Officials are monitoring water quality and will post a 'boil water advisory' if they deem it necessary.
To check if a boil water advisory is in effect check the VIHA website here.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

NANAIMO WIND AND RAIN WARNING

PINEAPPLE EXPRESS TYPE SYSTEM
BRINGS LOTS OF RAIN


After the significant snowfall over the weekend, Nanaimo can now expect lots of rain. This combined with quickly melting snow could cause local rivers to flood their banks. Anyone who has basement flooding problems should keep a close eye on things also.

The following warnings have been issued by Environment Canada this morning:

RAINFALL WARNING
TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 70 TO 160 MM FOR GREATER VANCOUVER INCLUDING NORTHSHORE MOUNTAINS..FRASER VALLEY..WEST AND INLAND VANCOUVER ISLAND AND UP TO 260 MM FOR HOWE SOUND THROUGH TONIGHT. 40 TO 60 MM OF RAIN IS EXPECTED ELSEWHERE. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

WIND WARNING
SOUTHERLY WINDS OF 60 TO 80 KM/H WILL SPREAD TO GREATER VANCOUVER EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND SUNSHINE COAST AND WESTERN FRASER VALLEY THIS MORNING. NORTHERLY OUTFLOW WINDS OF 80 TO 100 KM/H WILL CONTINUE FOR THE CENTRAL COAST - COASTAL SECTIONS TODAY AND TONIGHT. THIS IS A WARNING THAT POTENTIALLY DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

NANAIMO SNOW WARNING

ANOTHER SNOW WARNING FOR NANAIMO

The weather office issued the following snow warning this morning. We missed the last snowfall predicted but we might not be as fortunate this time. So remember to leave your car at home if either you or it, are not ready for winter driving.

Environment Canada weather warning:

SNOWFALL AMOUNTS OF 15 TO 25 CM OVER EAST AND INLAND VANCOUVER ISLAND AND 5 TO 15 CM ELSEWHERE BY SUNDAY MORNING. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

BC FERRIES FINANCIAL RESULTS

BC FERRIES RELEASES

SECOND QUARTER FINANCIAL RESULTS

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) today released its second quarter financial results with net earnings before extraordinary gain of $61.0 million and $75.4 million for the three- and six-month periods ended September 30, 2007, down from $68.9 million and $83.8 million for the three and six months ended September 30, 2006.

“These earnings allow us to continue our extensive fleet and asset renewal program to ensure the ongoing safety and reliability of our operations,” said BC Ferries’ President and CEO, David L. Hahn. “Our commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure is already showing positive results with two new ships added to the fleet last year and significant upgrades well underway at many of our terminals, including extensive modifications to prepare for the arrival of our three new Super C-class vessels entering service next year.”

For the six months ended September 30, 2007, $80.2 million was invested in BC Ferries’ fleet, terminals and information systems, including:

• $56.8 million in new vessels, vessel upgrades and modifications;

• $12.4 million in terminal marine structures;

• $8.5 million in terminal and building upgrades and equipment; and,

• $2.5 million in computer hardware and software development.

For the three months ended September 30, 2007, total revenue increased from $202.9 million to $220.2 million, while total expenses increased from $134.0 million to $159.2 million, compared to the same period last year. The increase in expenses was primarily due to a:

• $7.7 million increase in operations expenses, including a $5.0 million increase in wages and benefits;

• $7.3 million increase in maintenance costs, reflecting BC Ferries’ ongoing significant investments in its fleet and other infrastructure; and

• $6.9 million increase in interest and amortization expenses resulting from new vessels and other assets entering service.

Total revenue for the six months ended September 30, 2007 was $379.9 million compared to $349.3 million for the six months ended September 30, 2006. Expenses for the six-month period were $304.5 million, up from $265.5 million for the six months ended September 2006.

At September 30, 2007, the balance in BC Ferries’ deferred fuel cost accounts was $13.5 million, down from $18.3 million at June 30, 2007. The reduction is due to the highly seasonal nature of ferry travel whereby BC Ferries carries the majority of its passengers during its second quarter. The fuel deferral account balance is expected to rise again during the last two quarters of the fiscal year.

Despite the reduction in the deferred fuel cost accounts, BC Ferries continues to be concerned about the high cost of fuel. The company has implemented a wide variety of fuel reduction measures and is continuing to look for ways to further reduce its fuel consumption.

The full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at www.sedar.com.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

COASTAL RENAISSANCE PROGRESS

BC FERRIES NEWEST SHIP ON THE WAY

This snapshot of the current position of the Coastal Renaissance taken the morning of Nov. 28/07 shows the ship off the Mexican coast.
The next scheduled stop for the newest BC Ferry is Ensenada Mexico. The ship is making good time and currently travelling at 15 knots.
To view the Coastal Renaissance progress visit the BC Ferry website here.

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NANAIMO COULD GET MORE SNOW TODAY

MORE SNOW ON THE WAY

Environment Canada has issued the following snowfall warning:

A TOTAL OF 10 TO 20 CM OF SNOW IS EXPECTED BY THIS EVENING FOR INLAND VANCOUVER ISLAND AND OVER HIGH TERRAIN OF EAST VANCOUVER ISLAND. A TOTAL OF 5 TO 10 CM OF SNOW IS EXPECTED BY THIS EVENING OVER HIGH TERRAIN OF GREATER VANCOUVER. THIS IS A WARNING THAT SIGNIFICANT SNOWFALL IS EXPECTED OR OCCURRING IN THESE REGIONS. MONITOR WEATHER CONDITIONS..LISTEN FOR UPDATED STATEMENTS.

It would be a good idea to make alternate travel plans if your car does not have good snow tires or chains. Make sure you have a snow brush and scraper in your car, and a small snow shovel in the trunk can always come in handy.

Be sure to pick up some hot chocolate and wood for the fireplace on the way home, that way you can enjoy the winter wonderland to the maximum, should the weatherman be right.

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BC GETS TOUGHER WITH SMOKERS

British Columbia is taking steps to reduce the health effects of tobacco use through new regulations that restrict the promotion and sale of tobacco products, as well as a ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces and workplaces, announced Health Minister George Abbott today.

“We are working to reduce tobacco use across our province and ensuring that British Columbians are protected from the deadly effects of second-hand smoke,” said Abbott. “Stricter regulations about public and workplace smoking are part of our strategy to reduce the impact of tobacco on our health system and prevent chronic diseases associated with tobacco use.”

The new regulations fall under the Tobacco Control Act and will take effect on March 31, 2008. The new tobacco regulations will ban:

· Smoking in all indoor public spaces and work places, with exemptions made for the ceremonial use of tobacco by Aboriginal people;

· Smoking within three metres of public and workplace doorways, open windows or air intakes;

· Tobacco sales in public buildings including: hospitals and health facilities, universities and colleges, athletic and recreational facilities, and provincial government buildings;

· Display of tobacco products in all places where tobacco is sold that are accessible to youth under 19; and

· Tobacco ads that hang from the ceiling, countertop tobacco displays, self-serve tobacco displays and outdoor tobacco signs.

These new provincial regulations will establish a baseline of regulation that landlords, businesses, municipalities and health authorities can choose to exceed to fit the needs of their community, clients and population. Unless prohibited by municipal regulations, smoking will still be allowed on the outdoor patios of restaurants and bars.

The new regulations will take effect on March 31, 2008, allowing retailers and other businesses four months to ensure that their premises comply with the changes required by the Tobacco Control Act. In June 2007, the Province held a six-week public consultation to allow the general public and stakeholder groups, such as retailers, the hospitality sector and health advocacy groups, the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed tobacco regulation.

“Eliminating smoking in public spaces and all workplaces will have a positive impact on indoor air quality and the overall health of British Columbians,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “Most smokers start before the age of 18 and limiting youth access to advertising is also an important step in protecting the public health of this province.”

Tobacco use kills over 6,000 British Columbians each year, and is estimated to cost the B.C. economy $2.3 billion every year. Cigarette smoking is the primary risk factor for diseases of the circulatory system, cancers and respiratory diseases, and exposure to second-hand smoke kills approximately 100 people in B.C. each year.

“Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in British Columbia and, unfortunately, the number of new cancer cases is estimated to rise this year in the province,” said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO of the BC and Yukon Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. “Exposure to second-hand smoke increases our risk of cancer and implementing regulations that restrict exposure to the harmful effects of tobacco use is a significant step in our fight against cancer.”

In September 2007, legislation took effect that banned tobacco use in schools and on school grounds and in October 2008, implementation of smoke-free premise policies in all health authorities will be complete.

The Ministry of Health currently funds smoking cessation programs such as QuitNow.ca and QuitNow by Phone, which are available, with translation services in 130 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all British Columbians.

The new legislation supports the Province’s larger tobacco control strategy and programs such as ActNow BC. This tobacco strategy aims to further reduce B.C.’s smoking rates and to improve the health of British Columbians. ActNow BC works with provincial government ministries, the health sector and a variety of health promotion partners to deliver programs designed to encourage healthy choices by all British Columbians.

The new tobacco control regulation will be available on-line at www.health.gov.bc.ca/tobacco/.


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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FIRST TASTE OF WINTER FOR NANAIMO



YES....THAT WHITE STUFF IS CALLED S N O W

For some peculiar reason the precipitation falling on Nanaimo late yesterday decided to change form into a rare looking white substance. I am told other parts of Canada are very familiar with this strange material and have adapted different means of dealing with it.

For Nanaimo residents adopting some of these habits could be helpful, however it is easy to forget since snow is such a rare occurence. A few reminders which could be helpful:

If your tires are bald, you might want to consider taking a cab or bus.
Footware with good traction are a great idea.
Clearing any snow or frost from your car windows makes for safer driving.
Remembering you can not control your car on snow or ice the same as you can on dry pavement.
Putting a bit of salt or sand on walkways can avoid nasty slips.
Allowing yourself extra time to get to your destination so you can slow down.

Be of good cheer as we all know this 'snow stuff' seldom last for more than a day or two.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

B.C. FUNDS NANAIMO ABORIGINAL NURSING PROJECT

Government has awarded $30,703 to the Snuneymuxw First Nation Health Centre as part of B.C.’s Aboriginal Nursing Strategies, a provincewide program that this year will provide $500,000 to 15 Aboriginal nursing projects across B.C., Nanaimo-Parksville MLA, Ron Cantelon announced today.

“That this project has received funding from Aboriginal Nursing Strategies is exciting news for the Snuneymuxw community and for the people of this riding,” said Cantelon, speaking at today’s cheque presentation. “Improving the health care outcomes for Aboriginal people is one of the goals of this government, and providing information about nursing careers to Snuneymuxw youth and supporting Aboriginal students who are already in nursing school are important steps in this direction.”

The Snuneymuxw First Nation Health Centre project will use the funding to build on its established coaching programs. The project will focus on providing educational supports to Aboriginal youth with an interest in nursing and to Aboriginal students already enrolled in nursing programs. The Snuneymuxw First Nation Health Centre also aims to strengthen its ties with Malaspina University-College.

Aboriginal nursing projects receiving funding through the Ministry of Health’s Nursing Directorate must focus on at least one of four main goals:

· Recruiting and/or supporting Aboriginal students.

· Recruiting and retaining Aboriginal nurses.

· Supporting nursing in Aboriginal communities in B.C.

· Developing health promotion and disease prevention materials for B.C.’s Aboriginal communities.

Since 2001, the Province has invested $174 million towards B.C.’s Nursing Strategy with a focus on educating, recruiting and retaining qualified nurses.

“Through this project we will work to empower our youth and to assist them as they move forward in their nursing careers,” said Sandra Good, health administrator for the Snuneymuxw First Nation Health Centre. “By offering information about nursing as a career and providing culturally appropriate coaching, we hope we can emphasize the importance of community-based responsibility for the health of our people.”

The Ministry of Health issued a Request for Proposals for Aboriginal nursing projects for 2007/2008 in June 2007. A total of $500,000 was available to Aboriginal groups, post-secondary institutions, nursing associations and other organizations. All projects must be completed by March 31, 2008 and each project organizer must submit a final evaluation report to the ministry by April 15, 2008.

“It is wonderful that the Snuneymuxw First Nation Health Centre coaching program will focus this year on Aboriginal youth who have expressed an interest in becoming nurses,” said Laureen Styles, dean of the Faculty of Health & Human Services at Malaspina University-College. “This coaching program grows stronger each year and by including tutoring and tips for juggling the balance between life and school, this project will provide Aboriginal youth with confidence in their ability to become successful nurses.”

For more information about Aboriginal Nursing Strategies, please visit www.health.gov.bc.ca/ndirect/.


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