Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nanaimo Harbourfront Plaza Renamed

Diana Krall Plaza

As part of the downtown revitalization efforts and improvements currently underway, The City of Nanaimo is honoured to announce that the Harbourfront plaza will officially be named the “Diana Krall Plaza” Diana Krall grew up in Nanaimo and is an accomplished Jazz Musician with family ties to the community. Naming the plaza after Diana recognizes her contributions to the world of Jazz and to the community as a whole.

According to Mayor Gary Korpan, “Diana is a world renowned Jazz musician with deep family roots in the community. We are pleased to recognize Diana through this plaza naming.”

The Diana Krall Plaza will see improvements in 2008 and 2009 that will include public art with a musical theme. The artwork will consist of:

• A primary sculpture 24 feet tall and 5 feet wide in the shape of a tuning fork that

will form an arch at the plaza entrance

• The sculpture will weather to match the brick and pavement colors on the

conference centre and the plaza

• At the base of the tuning fork are images of sound waves created out of black and

white stone pavers that will resemble piano keys.

• The portal will be illuminated by light at night and is capped by a bronze bird.

• The name, “Diana Krall Plaza” will be incorporated into the paving stones of the

plaza.

According to Krall she was “….honoured to have the plaza named after me. It was a pleasant surprise as I have strong connections and fond memories of growing up in Nanaimo.”

Larry McNabb, Parks Recreation and Culture Committee Chair, “…was thrilled the plaza will be named after Diana as it will honour all of her work in the music industry while bringing recognition to our community. The plaza will be a centre of activity in the downtown core and is an important part of the downtown revitalization.”


allvoices

BC To Reduce Vehicle Emissions

BC Greenhouse Gas Reduction

British Columbia is taking further action on climate change with the introduction of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act, which will save consumers money while reducing emissions, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.

“Reducing tailpipe emissions from family vehicles, such as cars, SUVs and light-duty trucks, will help curb our impact on the environment,” said Penner. “More efficient vehicles will also translate into significant fuel cost savings for British Columbians, and will provide more flexibility to make environmentally conscious choices without compromising vehicle performance, reliability or safety.”

The new legislation will put into law the 2008 throne speech commitment to set vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards equivalent to those laid out in California’s 2004 regulation. These standards will reduce GHG emissions by 30 per cent relative to current models. This will result in a reduction of 600,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually by 2016.

Seventeen U.S. states have adopted or are in the process of adopting the California model, while six others are actively considering it. Twelve out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories support California tailpipe greenhouse gas standards, with Quebec now in the process of making final revisions to its draft regulations. Together, these states and provinces have a combined population of 176 million and represent nearly half of all new car sales in the U.S. and Canada.

Under the act, automakers’ fleets of family vehicles will not be allowed to exceed pre-determined fleet-average GHG emission standards. The “fleet-average” approach will allow manufacturers to keep selling vehicles that exceed the allowed emissions – provided they sell enough low-emission vehicles for their fleets to meet the new average standards. This approach ensures that consumers will continue to have the choice of the full range of vehicles available today.

The act also provides B.C. with authority to require larger vehicle manufacturers to include a percentage (or set number) of zero emission vehicles in their fleets per year. This requirement will be based on California’s approach, and will target both GHG emissions and air pollutants.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Vehicle Emissions Standards) Act provides authority to establish additional elements of the California regime by regulation. The tailpipe GHG emission standards under this act will come into effect when California starts to implement its regulations.

To learn more about B.C.’s climate change initiatives, please visit the Ministry of Environment and the Climate Action Secretariat websites at www.gov.bc.ca/env and www.climateactionsecretariat.gov.bc.ca.

For all the details on this and other new legislation, please visit www.leg.bc.ca/38th4th/votes/progress-of-bills.htm.


allvoices

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BC To Protect Kids From Second Hand Smoke in Cars


Solicitor General John van Dongen today introduced amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act that will protect children under the age of 16 from second-hand smoke while they are passengers in motor vehicles.

“With the introduction of this legislation, we are meeting our throne speech commitment to ensure children are no longer subjected to second-hand smoke in vehicles,” said Health Minister George Abbott. “Children are the future of this province, and we want to do everything possible to ensure that they get the best possible start in life. Tobacco smoke is particularly harmful to the developing system of a young child, and this legislation complements our tobacco control strategy in moving towards a healthier B.C.”

As with other violations of the Motor Vehicle Act, enforcement of the legislation will be the responsibility of local police departments and the RCMP. Individuals found to be in violation of the legislation will be subject to a fine, and failure to pay smoking violation fines will result in a refusal to issue drivers’ and vehicle licences.

“The harmful effects of tobacco smoke are heightened in small enclosed places and this exposure can have immediate and serious, long-lasting consequences for the health of a child,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall. “Research indicates that smoking one cigarette in a parked vehicle with the windows rolled up will produce a concentration of second-hand smoke up to 11 times higher than what would be encountered in a smoky bar. The introduction of this legislation is an important move in protecting the health of young children in this province.”

B.C. joins a number of other jurisdictions in introducing legislation that bans smoking in cars when children are present, including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Yukon Territory and the U.S. states of Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Maine.

The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act support the Province’s larger tobacco control strategy, which aims to further reduce B.C.’s smoking rates and to improve the health of British Columbians. In March 2008, government implemented legislation that bans smoking in indoor public spaces and workplaces and restricts the way tobacco is displayed and sold. Other recent initiatives include the September 2007 implementation of legislation that bans tobacco use in schools and on school grounds and the introduction of a provincewide policy that will see all health authority facilities in B.C. smoke-free by October 2008.

The Ministry of Health also funds the free smoking cessation programs QuitNow.ca and QuitNow by Phone, which are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all British Columbians. QuitNow by Phone offers translation services in over 130 languages.

For more information on tobacco control in B.C., please visit the Tobacco Control Program’s website at
www.health.gov.bc.ca/tobacco.


allvoices

CARBON TAX GUARANTEES TAX CUTS FOR BRITISH COLUMBIANS

British Columbia is the first province to implement a comprehensive, revenue-neutral carbon tax – an initiative that returns every dollar raised to the people and businesses of British Columbia as tax cuts, Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced today.

British Columbia is leading the way in addressing climate change, and the revenue-neutral carbon tax is another pioneering step forward for our province,” said Taylor. “Each step we take to change our habits and behaviours, as individuals and as a community, will help leave a legacy that our children and grandchildren can be proud of.”

By tying the carbon tax to reductions in personal and business taxes, the Province is giving the people of British Columbia the power to make their own choices.

“Pricing carbon sends a clear message that there is a cost to the environment involved in emitting carbon,” said Taylor. “Leading economists and scientists agree that introducing a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the right thing for our province, today and for the future. We took time to design a model that protects low-income families and moves British Columbia to being one of the lowest-taxing provinces in Canada.”

In the first three years, the carbon tax is estimated to generate $1,849 million in revenue, which will be returned to British Columbians as follows:

· The bottom two personal income tax rates will be reduced for all British Columbians, resulting in a tax cut of two per cent in 2008, rising to five per cent in 2009 on the first $70,000 in earnings – with further reductions expected in 2010;

$784 million

· Effective July 1, 2008, the general corporate income tax rate will be reduced to 11 per cent from 12 per cent – with further reductions planned to 10 per cent by 2011;

$415 million

· Effective July 1, 2008, the small business tax rate will be reduced to 3.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent – with further reductions planned to 2.5 per cent by 2011); and

$255 million

· Beginning July 1, 2008, the new Climate Action Credit will provide lower-income British Columbians a payment of $100 per adult and $30 per child per year – increasing by five per cent in 2009 and possibly more in future years.

$395 million

Total tax cuts over three years:

$1,849 million

This groundbreaking legislation is supplemented by an immediate Climate Action Dividend, $100 for every man, woman and child in British Columbia. This dividend, which will further support our community’s ability to make greener choices, will go out to residents of British Columbia starting in late June.

For further information about the carbon tax and ideas for making greener choices, please visit: http://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca

Editors Comment: Call me a skeptic but how can bringing in a new tax actually reduce taxes?? The income tax was also a 'temporary' tax...... remember?


allvoices

Search Crews Assist RCMP


Search and Rescue crews from the Cowichan, Juan de Fuca and Salt Spring Island areas assisted the Nanaimo Serious Crime Unit this weekend with an ongoing missing person investigation.

On Saturday morning at 9:00am, approximately 45 search team members conducted a ground search in an area on Mount Sicker. The extensive search was coordinated by the Nanaimo RCMP, who are looking into the disappearance of a Nanaimo man, 30 year old Patrick Neil COTTRELL.

COTTRELL is a paraplegic and was confined to a wheelchair. He was known to the Nanaimo RCMP, and was involved in the local drug trade. He has not been seen since November 2005.

The possibility exists that foul play is involved in COTTRELL’s disappearance. Police conducted the search on Saturday in an attempt to further the investigation.

The Nanaimo RCMP is appealing to the public for information in this case. Anyone who can provide information about COTTRELL’s disappearance is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP Serious Crimes Unit or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

allvoices

Nanaimo - Woman Assaulted on Trail

E&N Trail near Highland Blvd.
Nanaimo Woman Assaulted
At approximately 3:30am on Saturday morning, a 20 year old woman was assaulted while walking on the E&N Trail near Highland boulevard.

A man walked towards the victim, acknowledged her, and immediately after he passed her by, the woman felt something come up around her neck and begin choking her. The woman struggled and screamed, causing the suspect to run off. The suspect was last seen getting into a cream coloured truck that was parked on Wilgress Road, in close proximity to Northfield Road. The woman was not injured in the incident.

Very few descriptors of the suspect and the vehicle were available to investigators, and extensive patrols of the area failed to locate any person of interest.

Police would like to speak with anyone who has information on this incident. Women are reminded to take basic safety precautions to protect themselves, which include not walking alone at night, carrying a cellphone in the event they require immediate assistance, and obtaining and reporting detailed descriptions of suspicious persons they encounter.

allvoices

Income Tax Deadline Draws Near!

The countdown is on!

Did you know…

That you have until midnight on April 30, 2008, to file your 2007 income tax return electronically or on paper? Don't forget that individuals who have a balance owing and who don't file by the due date will have to pay a late filing penalty.

Self-employed persons
If you or your spouse or common-law partner carried on a business in 2007 (other than a business whose expenditures are primarily in connection with a tax shelter), you have until midnight on June 16, 2008, to file your 2007 return. You still have to pay any balance owing by April 30, 2008.

For more information on filing deadlines, visit http://www.cra.gc.ca/dates-ind..


allvoices

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nanaimo Emergency Awareness

Emergency Preparedness Week in Nanaimo

Emergency Preparedness Week “May 4 – 10” is coming up fast. The City of Nanaimo Emergency Program would like to invite you to share in the activities of Emergency Preparedness Week.

The City of Nanaimo Emergency Preparedness team and partner agencies will be set up at Woodgrove Mall from 1 pm to 4 pm Wednesday May7, Thursday May8 and Friday May 9 distributing preparedness information.

The Disaster Assistance Emergency Social Services Team City of Nanaimo will also be attending the Central Island Multicultural Society’s HEALTHFEST at Beban Park Saturday 10th May from 10 am to 4 pm. Please visit the above locations to have a chance Preparedness Kit.


allvoices

Fatal Accident on Nanaimo Parkway

Fatality on Parkway

South of Mostar Intersection

On the 25th of April, 2008 at approximately 10:40am, Nanaimo RCMP, Nanaimo Fire Rescue, and BC Ambulance Service attended to a three car motor vehicle incident.

The first vehicle which was heading Northbound on Highway 19 struck a Flat deck truck from behind causing it to hit another vehicle in front of it. The incident occurred just south of the Mostar intersection.

The driver of the first vehicle, a 68 year old female from Qualicum Beach was pronounced dead at the scene. Occupants of the two other vehicles were taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital with non life threatening injuries.

Traffic had to be re-routed as Highway 19 had to be closed off to all traffic heading Northbound between Northfield and Mostar.

Nanaimo RCMP continue to investigate the incident and ask anybody who witnessed the incident to contact Nanaimo RCMP at 754-2345.


allvoices

Friday, April 25, 2008

BC Ferries Coast Saver Fares Until June 30

Nanaimo Duke Point Coast Saver Sailings

Coast Savers reward you for travelling at off peak times with huge savings. These savings are in effect until June 30/08 on select sailings. The Duke Point to Tsawwassen offers weekend Coast Saver savings until the end of June.


To check which sailings are offering the Coast Saver reductions follow this link.

For the Duke Point Coast Saver Schedule follow this link.


To check the Duke Point to Tsawwassen Coast Saver Fares follow this link.
Duke Point Coast Saver Fares.
For complete BC Ferry Nanaimo Sailings Information follow this link

allvoices

British Columbia To Expand Recycling Regulations

British Columbia
Expands Recycling Regulations


The government of
British Columbia intends to add mercury-containing products such as light bulbs and thermostats to the provincial Recycling Regulation, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.

“Recycling waste and other discarded items protects both public health and the environment,” Penner said. “After extensive consultations with industry and stakeholders, we have identified priority products to add to the Recycling Regulation, enhancing B.C.’s role as a leader in recycling initiatives.”

In addition to adding mercury-containing items, an expansion to the existing list of recyclable electronic products is also being planned. This will allow the current list of recyclable electronics to go beyond televisions, computers, laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers and computer periphery, and cover products such as stereos, cellphones and other hand-held devices.

“We welcome this measure, which will divert mercury from landfills and keep it out of our rivers, lakes and fish,” said Kathryn Molloy, executive director of Sierra Club B.C. “It is encouraging that the ministry is also considering solutions for a range of non-computer electronics that would address the impact of their cancer-causing compounds such as fire-retardants.”

Some electronic devices contain toxic metals like mercury, lead and cadmium. If improperly disposed of, these potential pollutants, as well as the mercury contained in products such as light bulbs and thermostats, may end up in surface and ground water. Recycling items containing these harmful pollutants will substantially curb their negative impact on the environment.

“This is a welcome and needed development,” said Brock MacDonald, executive director of the Recycling Council of British Columbia. “Extended producer responsibility programs such as this one not only divert waste from landfills, they also shift the cost and the burden of managing the materials from municipal taxpayers to industry and consumers, where it belongs.”

Under B.C.’s Recycling Regulation, industry is responsible for collecting and recycling any regulated products it manufactures or sells. It is expected that manufacturers will develop and implement their own product stewardship plans to comply with the latest additions to the regulation. These plans should be ready for public consultation and further development in 2009.

“B.C. residents have embraced our electronics recycling program,” said Alda Nicmans, executive director of the Electronics Stewardship Association of B.C., a non-profit association comprising the major producers, wholesalers and retailers of electronic products in the province. “Since the program’s launch in August 2007, over 4,200 metric tonnes of electronic waste have been safely recycled through reputable industries at depots and collection events throughout the province – meaning that these electronic products are no longer going to landfills or being illegally exported. We are looking forward to working with the ministry on the expansion of our successful program.”

“Retail Council members are involved in more than 40 recycling programs across Canada, including electronics, oil, tires and paint here in B.C.,” said Max Logan, British Columbia director of government relations for the Retail Council of Canada. “As the sellers of these products and the touch point for consumers and manufacturers, we look forward to working with the B.C. government to develop new and expanded recycling programs, and to help reduce our province’s collective environmental footprint.”

Industry-led stewardship programs facilitate material recovery and reuse, supporting the secondary processing industry and eventually eliminating these reusable/recyclable materials from municipal landfills. There are currently nine industry groups in B.C. operating recycling programs for electronics, paint, oil, beverage containers, tires, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, gasoline, solvents and flammable liquids.

Visit www.recycling.gov.bc.ca to learn more about product stewardship in B.C.


allvoices

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Nanaimo-Info-Blog First Anniversary


allvoices

Nanaimo Taxes To Increase 3.9%


Tax Increase Reduced by 3.1%

If City Council adopts the financial plan put forward at Mondays committe of the whole meeting, city homeowners will be facing a 3.9% tax increase which is nearly half the increase previously suggested.


Apparently increased income in other areas have allowed city staff to modify their financial plan while still making allowances to cover the costs of three major projects within the city.


Those projects are the Port of Nanaimo Centre, the Oliver Woods Community Centre and the Chase River Firehall.
The April 28 city council meeting will likely be the final consideration of the new budget which must be adopted by May 15.

It is also the intent to keep industrial taxes low in an effort to assist current industry which would include the troubles forest industry.

allvoices

Goodbye Malaspina College Hello Vancouver Island University

More Good News For Nanaimo

Malaspina University-College will become a university, to be called Vancouver Island University (VIU), Premier Gordon Campbell and Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell announced today.

“As the first-ever Vancouver Island university based outside the greater Victoria region, Vancouver Island University will be a critical educational, social and economic hub, giving thousands of students from Vancouver Island a chance to get the education they want closer to home,” said Premier Campbell. “VIU will build on its international reputation for its Aboriginal-focused programs, leading-edge Coastal Resource Management programs, and trades and technology programs.”

Pending amendments to B.C.’s University Act, the new Vancouver Island University will focus on the training needs of the region and build on its provincial, national and international reputation in its key areas of specialization and excellence, which include its First Nations studies, Coastal Resource Management and trades and applied technology.

“It was clear from the Campus 2020 process that British Columbians want access to university degree programs closer to home,” said Coell. “Creating this new university is part of our vision for post-secondary education in B.C., which includes a responsive system that creates more high-quality opportunities for students, and being a leader in research support.”

The institution began as a community college in 1969 and became a vocational school in 1971 to provide career, technical and trades programs. In 1989 Malaspina was designated a university college. It has campuses in Nanaimo, Cowichan, Parksville-Qualicum and Powell River.

“University status will bring enormous benefits to our students and communities, while retaining our local focus and our emphasis, above all, on excellent teaching,” said Malaspina University College president Ralph Nilson. “We plan to continue our leading role in strengthening the economic, social and cultural conditions within our region.”

“This is incredible news for our community,” said Nanaimo-Parksville MLA Ron Cantelon. “This new status will have far-reaching economic benefits for our local economy and industry in our region.”

Malaspina University-College has an enrolment of 19,124 students, including 1,129 international students. Since 2001, the Province has increased operating funding for Malaspina by $11M and invested $23.6M in capital projects, which includes acquisition of 40 per cent of the Cowichan Fairgrounds for future development.

Editors Comment: I wonder why the name 'Malaspina" could not have been kept?

allvoices

Nanaimo Schools To Close

School Board Closes
Four Nanaimo Schools


After over 80 days of public consultation Nanaimo School Board Trustees voted to close four Nanaimo Schools.


To be closed in 2012 are NDSS and Woodlands, both secondary schools and Mount Benson and Dufferin Crescent both elementary schools will be closed this June.
Rutherford elementary and Woodbank will remain open.

School district staff had recommended closing the six schools over a four year period to deal with 1800 empty seats and aging buildings within the system. The plan would save $1.7 million annually.

To contact a member of the current School Board you can visit this link.


allvoices

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nanaimo Malaspina Hotel Site Then and Now


Pacifica Development on Site of Old Malaspina Hotel

The old photo of the Malaspina Hotel circa 1940 is only barely recognizable as the site of todays Pacifica Condominium/Townhouse development.

The one common factor is the absolutely spectacular setting both buildings have enjoyed and afforded their guests.

The new development is moving right along, on it's way to the final 18th floor which should be completed later this year.

The waterfront side, lower units are pretty much complete although are not ready for occupancy.

For more details of the Pacifica project visit their website at this link.

allvoices

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nanaimo School Closures

Nanaimo District Secondary Better Known as NDSS
Considered for Closure


The local press reports that after 80 days of consultation the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district staff are making few changes to their original proposal.

In a plan to remove aging buildings from the system and eliminate 1800 empty spaces, the staff are recommending the closure of four elementary schools and two secondary schools over a four year period. It is estimated this would save the district $1.7 million each year.

The plan calls for the building of a new 1100 seat secondary school at either Woodlands or NDSS with the Woodlands site being favoured over the NDSS site as it would save $4 million.

Issues of student safety with having to go greater distances to elementary school were also raised, and the possibility of increased bus service was a solution offered.

The schools to be closed are NDSS, Woodland Secondary and Dufferin Crescent, Mount Benson, Rutherford and Woodbank elementary.

Trustees will make a final decision at a public meeting Wednesday at Wellington Secondary School.


allvoices

British Columbia Rental Assistance

The Rental Assistance Program provides eligible low-income families with cash assistance to help with their monthly rent payments.

As of April 2008 the income level which qualifies for assistance has been raised to $35,000.00.
The following guidelines will help you know if you may qualify for rental assistance.

You may be eligible for the Rental Assistance Program if you meet the following criteria:
  • Some or all of your annual household income must come from employment.
  • You have a gross annual household income of $35,000 or less.
  • You have at least one or more dependent children .
  • You have less than $10,000 in assets.
  • You file an annual income tax return.
  • You pay more than 30 per cent of your household income towards rent for your home, or pay pad rental for a manufactured home (trailer) that you own and occupy.
  • You have lived in British Columbia for the full 12 months immediately preceding the date of application.
  • You meet the residency requirements for the program.

You will not be eligible for the Rental Assistance Program if:

  • You or your family receive income assistance under the B.C. Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act (excluding Medical Services only).
  • If your annual gross household income is over $35,000.
  • You live in subsidized housing.
  • You live in co-operative housing and are a shareholder.
  • You or a member of your family do not meet the residency requirements or came to Canada under a private sponsorship agreement that is still in force.
  • You own a home that you do not live in.
For more information about BC Housing and the Rental Assistance Program visit their website using this link.



allvoices

British Columbians Continue to Enjoy Record Longevity

Clearly Living in 'God's Country'
Has it's Benefits

The new 2006 Vital Statistics Annual Report confirms that British Columbians continue to live longer than ever before, Health Minister George Abbott announced today.

The age standardized mortality rate – which reached a historic low in 2005 – was down again in 2006.

“British Columbians have one of the highest life expectancies in the world,” said Abbott. “Despite our aging population, British Columbian seniors are healthier and more active, and they are living longer than ever before.”

An increase in the average age at death means B.C.’s population will continue to get older on average. British Columbians born in 2006 can expect to live an average of 80.9 years compared to 77.44 years in the previous generation, 25 years ago.

The latest numbers in the British Columbia Vital Statistics 135th Annual Report also show that in addition to the continuing decline in the overall rates of death from cancer and heart disease, the province is starting to see what could be an encouraging trend in declining mortality from diabetes. This finding supports the current focus on the importance and potential benefits of primary care and health promotion to tackle these health-care challenges.

“The annual report from the BC Vital Statistics Agency reinforces our efforts to engage all levels of government and the private sector, as well as schools and communities in ActNow BC, to continue to increase physical activity and healthy eating among British Columbians, eliminate tobacco use and promote healthy choices in pregnancy,” said Minister of State for ActNow BC Gordon Hogg.

The number of births and marriages continues to rise as do caesarean deliveries, reflecting the increasing number of mothers aged 35 and over giving birth. The average age of a mother giving birth in B.C. is 29.9 years – which has remained steady since 2004. The number of low birth weight infants has declined.

“What’s important now is to stay the course, to continue our strong prevention and primary care strategies, so that, ultimately, we see the health of B.C.’s population improving overall,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

More than 1,700 public and private sector contributors provide data for the Vital Statistics Annual Report, including marriage commissioners, licensors, religious representatives, funeral homes, coroners, hospitals, physicians and government agents.

The 2006 Vital Statistics Annual Report is available online at www.vs.gov.bc.ca/stats/annual/index.html.

allvoices

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nanaimo April Snowfall

Is It Safe To Come Out Now??

This confused little dandelion is wondering 'what is up with this Nanaimo weather?'.

Saturday morning saw over 12 inches of snow fall on Nanaimo in a very short time. It started around 2:00am and continued until early morning.

City works were caught off guard with most 'winter' equipment not in service leaving the roads a real mess. Temperatures of course were the prime method of clearing the roads, with much of the snow gone off the roads by early afternoon.

The heavy snow which seemed to stick to branches like glue caused many damaged trees and power outages for parts of the city. Arborists and anyone with a chainsaw will be busy cleaning up the aftermath. I cleared the snow on my trees at least three times and avoided any serious damage but several shrubs and bushes took a beating under the weight of the snow.

There are even a few flurries forecast for this morning again with the snow turning to showers by this afternoon according to the weather office. You can check the Nanaimo forecast by clicking this link.

The fourteen day forecast for Nanaimo is predicts below normal temperatures to continue until about the end of the month.

So where is this global warming when you need it??

allvoices

Nanaimo Expands LEAP Benefits to Include 50 Free Swim/skate Passes


LEAP to Include 50 Free

Swim/Skate Passes for Adults

Mayor and Council for The City of Nanaimo approved to amend the Leisure Economic Access Program (LEAP) guidelines to allow adult clients currently in the program or who qualify for the program to receive 50 free swim/skate passes per year in addition to other benefits currently being offered through the LEAP program.

The LEAP program was introduced by The City of Nanaimo to the community in 1993 to allow improved accessibility for low income residents as determined by Federal Government guidelines. The goal of the program is to create more recreation opportunities for individuals who may not be able to access city facilities or programs due to income constraints. In its current format, the LEAP program provides for improved access to recreation through reduce fees, 50 free admissions for children, free locker tokens and free helmet and skate rentals. The Leap program provides 50% off four registered programs per year up to $40.00 and the Canadian Tire JumpStart program allows for 25% off up to $20.00 for qualified programs. Adults did not receive the 50 free admissions but were offered a reduced fee for admission in addition to the other benefits of the program.

By removing the financial barrier for general admissions for the adult participants and allowing for an equal amount of free passes as the children, it provides enhanced opportunity for low income families to recreate together. For more information about the LEAP program and guidelines to qualify visit www.nanaimo.ca or contact Parks Recreation and Culture at 756-5200.


allvoices

ActNow BC Tour


Act Now Tours 18 BC Communities

British Columbians of all ages will have a chance to learn more about the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle with the ActNow BC Road to Health Community Tour, a 9,000-square-foot travelling pavilion featuring interactive exhibits and informative displays, announced Gordon Hogg, Minister of State for ActNow BC.

“The healthy living message was shared with over 85,000 British Columbians who attended the ActNow BC pavilion during our 2007 tour, and we will build on that success this year,” said Hogg. “Healthy eating, increased physical activity, eliminating tobacco use and healthy pregnancies are our four pillars to increased longevity. We want to be the healthiest region ever to host an Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games by 2010, and this year’s tour will help us achieve that goal.”

The pavilion will visit 18 communities starting today at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium and finishing in Penticton at the Union of B.C. Municipalities at the end of September. Travelling with the pavilion will be 15 ActNow BC tour staff, who will promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, assist visitors in finding easy and practical tips for better health and nutrition, and connect British Columbians to the resources available in their own communities.

“The BC Healthy Living Alliance (BCHLA) is proud to be a partner with ActNow BC and the Road to Health Community Tour, which will be visiting communities across the province,” said Jean Blake, chair for the BC Healthy Living Alliance. “BCHLA is delivering initiatives in many of those same communities to build knowledge and skills and create the conditions for British Columbians to make healthier choices.”

This year’s tour will feature the ActNow BC Passport to Health, which will help guide participants through the exhibit’s activity stations. Participants will be encouraged to complete the ActNow BC Healthy Living Pledge and be eligible for prizes.

“Once again, the ActNow BC Road to Health Community Tour will aim to get more British Columbians involved in leading healthier lives,” said Dr. Art Hister, Global TV Morning News health reporter and ActNow BC Leadership Council member. “Research shows that increased physical activity, elimination of tobacco use and healthy eating can decrease your chances of developing chronic diseases and, ultimately, your body, mind, spirit and family will thank you for it.”

ActNow BC is the provincial government’s health and wellness initiative that works together with government ministries, the health sector and partners to deliver programs and services that encourage healthy choices for all British Columbians.

For more information on ActNow BC and to take the ActNow BC Healthy Living Pledge: visit www.actnowbc.ca.


allvoices

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nanaimo Airport Expansion Funding

Nanaimo Airport Expansion Funds

The local press reports that the Island Coastal Economic Trust gave the Nanaimo Airport Commission $5 million on Friday.

The funds go a long way to completing the $16.4 million expansion plan which includes lengthening the runway, improving the taxiway and airport terminal apron. It will also include improvements to lighting and navigation equipment.

It is hoped some of the work will be done either later this year or at the beginning of next year.

allvoices

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Forget That White Stuff!

This is the REAL Nanaimo we all Love!

This was taken less than a week ago, downtown in front of the old Firehall on Nicol Street.

Victoria Cresent is also a brilliant show of flowering trees as well, so if you have not taken a look at 'Your' Nanaimo .... what are you waiting for??

allvoices

Late April Fool Joke ????


Surprise Nanaimo Snowfall


This is one of those west coast deals, where it snows just to make you ask "why the heck are you bothering. don't you know it will be sunny and 7 degrees this afternoon?".

The weather office is warning another 2 - 4 cm this morning before this stops (warning issued at 4:45am Apr. 19).

There was a good 6 inches or 15 cm on the cars this morning at 4:30am and it shows no sign of stopping. April fools seems to have come late this month.

Do your plants and shrubs a favour and try and shake off some of the accumulated snow as it is wet and heavy and really bending things over.

Not surprisingly there are reports of power outages in various areas of the city this morning as heavy snow challenges tree branches and power lines.


Meanwhile our friends in Toronto today are looking forward to 22 degree temperatures!! They'll be telling west coast jokes today!

What's that you say ... 'at least you don't have to shovel it'?. Yeah... right!

allvoices

BC Venture Capital Fund Announced

BC Launches $90 million

Venture Capital Fund

The Province has launched the $90-million BC Renaissance Capital Fund (BCRCF), and secured six top-tier institutional venture capital fund managers to help attract market expertise and venture capital investment to B.C., announced Colin Hansen, Minister of Economic Development.

“The BC Renaissance Capital Fund will help British Columbia develop world-class anchor companies and continue to build on the culture of innovation we have in this province,” said Hansen. “Attracting more private venture capital to B.C. will help our most promising and innovative companies to grow and create jobs.”

The fund managers selected for the BCRCF are Arch Venture Partners, VantagePoint Venture Partners, Kearny Ventures, Walden Capital, Ventures West Management and Celtic House Partners. All six have demonstrated a consistent track record of building anchor technology companies in B.C. and the United States, and internationally. Combined, they have in excess of $2.3 billion in capital available for investment.

“Venture capital is an important source of financing for new and expanding companies in the technology sector,” said Pascal Spothelfer, BCTIA president and CEO. “B.C. is home to many vibrant start-up and early stage companies and, with the establishment of the BCRCF, there is now significant support to grow these companies to more advanced stages.”

The BCRCF has committed $90 million of capital, which can be structured over a period of up to five years. The fund refocuses a portion of the existing BC Immigrant Investor Fund that was established in January 2001 under the federal government’s Immigrant Investment Program.

“This is a powerful opportunity for local and external venture groups to work together to bring wider attention to British Columbia,” said Aspreva founder Richard Glickman. “Through the significant resources of the six managers, the BC Renaissance Capital Fund is an ingenious way to get larger funds to look at B.C. as an attractive place to invest.”


For more information on the BC Renaissance Capital Fund and the six fund managers, visit www.equitycapital.gov.bc.ca.


allvoices

Friday, April 18, 2008

Nanaimo and Area Land Trust Leads Nanaimo Hikes


NALT Volunteers Invite You to
'Take a Hike' This Saturday


Nanaimo and area Land Trust Volunteers will lead a series of hikes this Saturday along Nanaimo trails.

The hikes begin at the Millstone River Estuary under the Pearson Bridge in Maffeo Sutton Park 9:00 a.m. Stage two will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Buttertubs Marsh at the end of Buttertubs Drive (north side).

If the weather permits there will be a hike to the top of Mt. Benson leaving from Witchcraft Lake at 11:30 am. If you are going on this hike, be sure to take snowshoes and crampons. If it proves too hazardous this hike could be cancelled.

There will be another tour of Mt. Benson starting at 12:00 noon from the west parking lot at Westwood Lake. This tour will cover the ridges above Westwood Lake. You won't believe you are moments away from the hustle and bustle of modern Nanaimo!

There will be shuttle services available to transport hikers between the different hikes. The cost for the hikes are $5 to $10 per hike or $15 for the day.

For more information or to register call the NALT at 250-714-1990.


allvoices

Help For BC Forest Industry

Province to Invest $25 Million

to Aid Forest Industries

Premier Gordon Campbell announced almost $25 million for reforestation, forest health initiatives and to market British Columbia’s forest products in B.C., across Canada and around the world today at the Council of Forest Industries annual meeting.

“The future of British Columbia’s forest industry is dependent on both the health of our forests and how we market and promote our world-class forest products across Canada and around the world,” said Campbell. “The funding announced today will not only help grow our forests, but also help develop new markets to sell B.C. products.”

The Province will invest $13.5 million to accelerate reforestation and research forest health. This includes:

  • $6 million for fertilization projects to treat an additional 15,000 hectares of actively growing forest around the province that will sequester 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • $1.4 million invested in forest health activities to fight the western spruce budworm and Douglas-fir tussock moth and research new methods of seedling production.
  • $600,000 for seedling purchases to accelerate the Forests for Tomorrow program. The extra one million seedlings will absorb an additional 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime. The Forests for Tomorrow program will plant an additional 60 million seedlings over the next four years.
  • $5.5 million for the Future Forest Ecosystems Initiative research partnership with the University of British Columbia and the University of Northern British Columbia for climate change studies related to forest and range management and adaptation.

Premier Campbell also announced $11.35 million through Forestry Innovation Investment to promote B.C. wood products by opening up new markets for the Coast and Interior, developing the value-added sector, and dealing with mountain pine beetle challenges.

“We’re supporting the development of new products and aggressively seeking new customers beyond the U.S.,” said Forests and Range Minister Rich Coleman. “We want to explore new opportunities that will reposition the sector for long-term growth and stability.”

More than 80 per cent of B.C. wood products are sold outside Canada, with most of these sales going to the United States. Overseas demand for wood products continues to grow, and markets in Japan, China, Korea and Europe are increasingly attractive to B.C. companies.

“B.C. wood products have an excellent reputation around the world because they’re high quality and come from sustainably managed forests,” said John Allan, president and CEO of COFI. “Today’s announcement by the Province will help the industry market our products internationally and help weather the current downturn in the U.S.”

FII funding is leveraged by contributions from industry and the federal government. In total, more than $24.3 million is being directed to wood product development and marketing.


allvoices

Imrpoved Retirement Options for British Columbians

More Retirement Choices for

Older British Columbia Workers

Amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Act (PBSA) will give British Columbians more flexibility and choices when planning for their retirement, Finance Minister Carole Taylor announced today.

“More than a quarter of British Columbia’s population is over 55 and many do not want to retire at 65,” said Taylor. “It’s important to ensure that people have more choices when planning for their retirement, including how long they work and how they build their retirement savings. These changes provide more options.”

Individuals may now choose to begin receiving their pension at age 71, up from the previous maximum pensionable age of 69. This will give older workers the option to stay in the workforce longer if they so choose while they continue to build their retirement savings. The increase in the maximum pensionable age will apply to pension plans registered under British Columbia’s PBSA and will be retroactive for the 2007 calendar year. It will also apply to RRSP and life income funds that consist of funds transferred from B.C. registered pension plans.

In addition, amendments will allow B.C. registered pension plans to provide phased retirement benefits. Individuals aged 60 or over, or 55 and over and eligible for an unreduced pension, will be able to work and contribute to their pension plan while simultaneously collecting a portion of their pension benefits. Currently, older workers must choose between collecting a pension or contributing to their pension plan.

The Pension Benefits Standards Act helps protect the interests of pension plan members by setting minimum standards for pension plans registered in British Columbia. Many of the PBSA’s provisions are linked to federal income tax rules to take full advantage of preferred tax status made available to registered pension plans.

British Columbia and Alberta are currently working together on a comprehensive review of pension standards to ensure pension plans continue to benefit workers, employers and investors. The Joint Expert Panel is scheduled to present its final report to both governments in September 2008.


allvoices

Federal Government Helps Forest Sector

Government of Canada

Helps Forest Sector
Develop International Opportunities

KELOWNA, B.C. – The Government of Canada is investing more than $9 million to help Canada's forest sector expand overseas markets and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from forest industry transportation.

The announcement was made by the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, at the Council of Forest Industries (COFI) convention.

"This investment will help the Canadian wood-products industry become more innovative and competitive as it builds on emerging opportunities in offshore markets, particularly in China, JapanSouth Korea," said Minister Lunn. "The major portion of this funding – $7.69 million – will support the activities of the Canada Wood Export Program, known as Canada Wood, and is expected to leverage more than $15 million in offshore market development opportunities." and

The investment will support more than 100 projects, including initiatives to expand offshore markets for high-quality wood products. In addition, funding will support activities in the areas of wood-frame construction training, building codes and standards development, product testing, market acceptance and accreditation of Canadian wood products.

The Government of Canada's funding contribution to Canada Wood, administered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), will be accompanied by funding from the wood-products industry and the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.

"This investment to develop Canada's wood-export markets is another way that the government is helping Canadian forest-based communities," added Minister Lunn. "COFI is an active participant in Canada Wood and has been extremely successful, especially in Japan, where more than a million homes have been built with wood products from Canada."

The Canada Wood Program is part of the $127.5-million Forest Industry Long-Term Competitiveness Initiative announced as part of Budget 2006 to promote the continued competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry in Asian markets and the European Union.

The Canada Wood Program is part of the $127.5-million Forest Industry Long-Term Competitiveness Initiative announced as part of Budget 2006 to promote the continued competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry in Asian markets and the European Union.

The balance of the funding announced today is a $1.4-million ecoTRANSPORT investment over four years through NRCan's ecoENERGY for Fleets program. This funding will promote the use of new and emerging technologies in forest industry transportation to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The investment is part of an agreement between NRCan's Office of Energy Efficiency and Feric, a division of FPInnovations.


allvoices

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vancouver Island Symphony Enigma Gala Performance


Enigma Gala Performance

- a tribute to Maestro Marlin Wolfe

On Saturday, April 19, Maestro Marlin Wolfe performs his last official duty as artistic director of the Vancouver Island Symphony when he conducts the orchestra at The Port Theatre for the Enigma Gala Performance, an incredible finale to their "Magnificent! musical moments" 2007-2008 season.

Thirteen years ago Maestro Marlin Wolfe had a dream. That dream became a reality in the form of the Vancouver Island Symphony which he took from being a local amateur organization and transformed into a fully professional and exceptional regional symphony orchestra, one of the best in the province. Now Wolfe, whose career includes conducting orchestras across North AmericaEurope, is stepping down to pursue other dreams in his life. "I had a mission and I succeeded!" explains Wolfe. "And the Enigma Variations is a great way to end the season, on an uplifting high note!" and

Enigma is like a dream, a mystery, illusion. Says Maestro Wolfe, "The enigma is what you don't see with the music. What you do see, the reality, is the musicians on stage. This is a great program, a good crowd pleaser. I chose Khachaturian's Masquerade Suite because it is a piece that everyone will enjoy. Barber's Concerto for Violin will be performed by violinist Juliette Kang. It isn't heard that much yet it is beautiful to listen to."

But it is the closing piece, Elgar's Enigma Variations that Maestro Wolfe feels deeply. "It is a great work, a fabulous piece. I love Elgar's music." Enigma Variations, is a series of fourteen short pieces written for orchestra, and dedicated, as Elgar stated, to 'my friends pictured within.' Each variation is an affectionate portrait of one of his circle of close acquaintances. For example, Variation 11 depicts a friend's dog, Dan, falling into the River Wye. Another, Variation 9, Nimrod, the most popular of the variations and made famous in its own right, depicts a night-time walk Elgar made with his best friend August Jaeger. Variation 7 is a good-natured mimicry of architect Arthur Troyte Griffiths' enthusiastic inability to play the piano. But an underlying enigma remains. As Elgar said himself, "The enigma I will not explain." Many have theorized what this might be, however, it remains an enigma.

Join Marlin Wolfe and the VI Symphony for this spectacular season finale; ticket holders are invited to stay in the lobby after the concert for a special gala reception, to meet Maestro Wolfe, Juliette Kang and the VI Symphony musicians, and to sign Maestro Wolfe's Memory Book. To find out more about the music join Assistant Conductor Gerald van Wyck for a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. You can also hear the music on youtube.com, but nothing compares with the real thing, LIVE at The Port Theatre on Saturday, April 19.


allvoices

British Columbia Building Code Gets Greener

BC Building Code Aims to

Reduce Energy and Water Use

New standards for the energy and water efficiency of buildings will lower energy and water use and decrease greenhouse gas emissions, Minister responsible for Housing Rich Coleman announced today.

“Greening the B.C. Building Code will reduce the environmental footprint of buildings and will lower energy bills for British Columbians,” said Coleman. “It is one of the steps being taken across government to meet our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020.”

Houses, multi-family residential buildings under five storeys and small commercial and industrial buildings will have new insulation requirements. In the case of housing, builders can choose to achieve an EnerGuide Rating System rating of 77 as an alternative to meeting the insulation requirements. The EnerGuide system uses computer software to consider the building as a system, and includes an energy efficiency rating. Builders can elect to use a combination of different building materials and techniques to achieve an EnerGuide rating of 77.

High-rise residential buildings and larger commercial buildings must meet the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers 90.1(2004) standard. ASHRAE 90.1 is an internationally recognized standard for energy efficiency that applies to several building components: the building envelope; heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; water heating; power, lighting; and other equipment.

To reduce water use, ultra low-flow toilets and other water saving plumbing fixtures will be mandatory.

“This is the first time in B.C. that every building constructed in the province will meet energy and water efficiency targets,” said Coleman. “These new standards were developed after consultation with those who work with the Building Code every day – builders, designers, and local governments – as well as the general public.”

The government is committed to implementing the highest energy efficiency standards possible. The B.C. Building Code will be updated on a regular basis with green standards to support the Province’s climate action goals. The Province is exploring further changes, including grey water recycling, the use of lighting sensors and the reuse of existing buildings. More public consultation will be held as these steps are developed.

“Sustainable building practices are enhanced by a greener regulatory framework. This is very important to the building design and construction community,” said Derek Doyle, executive director and registrar of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of B.C., which participated in an industry advisory committee on the new green requirements for buildings. “APEGBC was pleased to collaborate in the greening of the B.C. Building Code.”

The new green requirements, which apply to all new construction, come into effect on Sept. 5, 2008, giving industry and local governments time to become familiar with the changes.

More information on the new green building requirements is available online at www.housing.gov.bc.ca/building by clicking on the Greening the B.C. Building Code button.


allvoices