Saturday, May 31, 2008

Restaurant Staffing Issues

Staffing Issues Contribute to
Restaurant Closures

By the end of April the Vancouver Island Health Authority had issued seven closure orders to local restaurants. The same number closed in all of 2007.

Saying that a lack of good staff is a prime reason behind the closures as many people employed are not properly trained in safe food handling practices.

One case reported of Boston Pizza found that none of the staff working at the time of inpsection had a Foodsafe certificate.

Pete Maltesen, chairman of the upper Vancouver Island chapter of the B.C. Restaurant and Foodservices Association, said staffing is becoming an industry-wide problem. "That's a problem in the industry right now. Finding good employees or employees that are trained is a big hurdle."

Restaurants are not usually closed unless there has been a string of incidents.

If you would like to check your favourite eatery to see how it fared during the recent health inspection, then use this Nanaimo Info LINK. Click on the 'Food Facility Ratings' link at the bottom of the page then use the left hand pane to scroll down to Nanaimo and click enter. Restaurants are listed alphabetically. At the top of this page is a 'snapshot' of a report on the VIHA site of a well known local eatery.

Editors Comment: Have you ever wondered how well trained the person in the local restaurant or grocery store really is, when it comes to the safe handling of food? Checking some of the findings of the VIHA inspections may come as quite a shock to some who thought their favourite restaurant was 'safe'. A decline in quality staff is becoming more evident at many of the establishments which I frequent. In a city with over 3500 unemployed you might wonder why businesses seem to have a hard time finding staff. Is being unemployed more attractive than working for minimum wage?

allvoices

Friday, May 30, 2008

Banner Days Sale

Nanaimo Art Gallery Fundraiser
900 Fifth St. Bldg. 330

The Nanaimo Art Gallery is displaying and selling banners from previous years to raise funds.


The banners will be on sale until June 14 from 10:00 - 5:00 weekdays and 12:00 - 4:00 Saturdays.

At a cost of $25 for non members and $15 for members the banners make good decorations indoors or out. Who knows you may be the proud owner of the original work of a budding Van Gogh?

For more information call the Art Gallery at 754-6350.

To learn more about the Nanaimo Art Gallery visit their website using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

allvoices

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mushroom Warning



Dangerous to Children and Pets

The local press is reporting a case of Yellow Point dog breeder who recently lost two puppies who had eaten a variety of these mushrooms.

According to the websites I got the pictures from they are identified as Amanita pantherina (top and middle) and Amanita muscaria (bottom picture).

The mushroom identified as killing the puppies is Amanita pantherina which grows among tree roots, most commonly fir trees and other conifers and contains the toxic substance muscarina.

While puppies are more likely to eat the deadly mushroom than adult dogs they clearly present a serious risk to small children who will put just about anything in their mouths.

A local mushroom picker says that while a few varieties of Amanita mushrooms are edible he steers clear of them all.

allvoices

Christian Revival in Florida

Lakeland Florida Revival

Going into it's 55th day of continuous nightly meetings which last into the wee hours of the morning; the Lakeland Florida Christian Revival is reporting literally thousands of people claiming to have been miraculously healed.

The revival led by Abbotsfords Todd Bentley of Fresh Fire Ministries also claims to have emptied 55 wheelchairs and have seen 15 people raised from the dead.

Bentley (who looks more like a biker than a preacher with his tattoos and tee shirts clearly has a passion for God which comes through in his preaching) says they have secured a permanent location for the revival for at least the next two months.

Apparently the meetings are being broadcast live each night on the website of God TV which also broadcasts on some satellite networks. The meetings are aired at 5:00 pm Pacific time and run for three hours.

The God TV website can be found using this LINK.

allvoices

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Harmac Workers Draft Business Plan

Harmac Workers Vote to Buy Mill

It is reported in the Daily News that a meeting on Monday night saw 200 laid off Harmac workers vote to buy the closed mill.

A number of the mills managers have agreed to draw up a business plan which would include the employees becoming shareholders of the company.

A union spokesman said they believe the mill could be a viable business enterprise with world pulp prices at $900 tonne.

They are working on a tight deadline as the courts could allow Western Forest Products to discontinue its vital supply of wood fibre if the mill remains idle after June 13.

Editors Comment: Perhaps a partnership with mill employees and the City of Nanaimo is a viable alternative to seeing the mill closed and sold in pieces as has been the fate of Madill Equipment. Those 600 jobs are likely the equivalent of at least 1400 retail/service sector jobs to the local economy.

allvoices

Coastal Renaissance Wins Technology Award

Captain George Capacci and Andrew Martin
receive ShipPax Award on behalf of BC Ferries


BC FERRIES WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD
FOR COASTAL CLASS DESIGN

BC Ferries’ Coastal Renaissance won the prestigious ShipPax Award for Outstanding Ferry Technology for 2008.

The new Coastal Class vessel won the international award for taking the double-ended ferry concept one step higher, incorporating an economic diesel-electric propulsion system capable of achieving a 21-knot service speed.

“We are pleased to recognize the outstanding technological design features of Coastal Renaissance,” said Klas Brogren, Publisher, ShipPax Information. “BC Ferries and FSG Shipyard have set a new standard for passenger ferries with the innovation displayed in the design of the new Coastal Class vessels.”

Over 56 new prototype ships built last year from around the world were considered for the awards. BC Ferries was presented with the award at the recent 2008 Ferry Shipping Conference, attended by over 400 international delegates.

“We are extremely honoured to receive this esteemed award for the excellence in design, which demonstrates our commitment to the environment,” said Captain Trafford Taylor, BC Ferries’ Executive Vice President of New Construction. “Coastal Renaissance is fitted with numerous systems to make it one of the most environmentally friendly vessels in our fleet.”

ShipPax Information is an internationally recognized marine industry publisher with the largest database of passenger shipping information in the world. ShipPax Award was launched in 1999 as a means to stimulate innovative solutions in the marine industry. ShipPax judges promote noteworthy design features on newly-delivered ferries and cruise vessels.

TECHNOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL FEATURES
BC FERRIES’ COASTAL CLASS VESSELS

  • Hot water generators are fitted with a waste heat recovery system that uses heat from the main engine cooling system to maintain the hot water demand of the ship.
  • Hi-Fog fire response system uses water instead of chemicals, so it is safe for the crew and passengers, as well as the environment.
  • The main engine employs highly efficient Flex Cam technology that allows for reduction of smoke.
  • The vessel is equipped with Transport Canada and IMO approved sewage treatment plants.
  • Wet waste is sent ashore for composing, dry garbage is compacted onboard and recycling is collected and sent ashore for processing.
  • Water from rain soaked or snow laden vehicles, which may contain oil residue, is collected on the cardecks and specially processed to reduce any environmental impact.
  • The vessel meets “COMF+” designation of the American Bureau of Shipping, which means that the ship meets detailed standards of comfort based on physical structure as well as noise and vibration levels.
  • The ABS comfort class designation was achieved by:
  1. Resilient mounts used for main engines and alternators
  2. Enclosing all passenger spaces with insulation
  3. Using computers to control the air flow in passenger spaces
  4. Installing propellers with skewed blades for less vibration
  • The vessel is designed to exceed the environmental standards of the Intermational Maritime Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The ships’ four MaK engines are fuel efficient and have a fuel consumption rate of 178 gm/kW
  • per hour.
For complete Ferry Schedule information use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

allvoices

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

JUNE IS BRAIN INJURY
AWARENESS MONTH


June is Brain Injury Awareness Month and the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society will be kicking off the month with a Benefit Concert by the band Tongue and Groove , Featuring Tracy Myers – Myron Makepeace - Phil Albert – Galen Mongea and special guests Ed Lee on Acoustic Guitar and Ira Pelletier on Mandolin.

The Concert will be held on Friday June 6th 2008 at 6:30pm at Brechin United Church 1998 Estevan Road, Nanaimo.

There will be a fun filled auction with local Auctioneer Jeff Jorgensen.
Tickets sold on a sliding scale of $5.00 - $15.00

Proceeds from this dynamic night of music and fun will support the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society Outreach Program.

For Tickets contact NBIS at 753-5600

If you or a family member needs support to deal with an acquired brain injury, contact the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society at 250 753-5600 Tuesday through Thursday 8:30 to 4:30.

allvoices

Nanaimo Man Decorated for Bravery

Kevan Shaw to Receive
Decoration for Bravery at Rideau Hall


Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaƫlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, announced today the awarding of 26 Decorations for Bravery. The recipients will be invited to receive their decorations at a ceremony to be held at Rideau Hall
at a later date.

Among the 26 to be honored is Kevan Shaw of Nanaimo for the following act:

On November 2, 2006, Kevan Shaw assisted RCMP officers in the apprehension of a disturbed individual, in Nanaimo, British Columbia. Observing the man acting erratically, Mr. Shaw immediately called the police. Two RCMP officers arrived and quickly became involved in a violent physical confrontation with the man. With complete disregard for his own safety, Mr. Shaw joined in the struggle and, noticing that the out-of-control man was clutching an undetected knife, he grabbed his hand. Mr. Shaw then helped the officers subdue the man until back-up arrived.

allvoices

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nanaimo Tackles Homelessness

City of Nanaimo Harm Reduction
and Housing First Action Plan

An Open House is to be held on May 28th at the Bowen Park Activity Room from 4:00pm to 8:00pm to introduce a proposed Harm Reduction and Housing First Action Plan for the City of Nanaimo. The Action Plan has been commissioned by the City of Nanaimo.

In announcing the Open House Mayor Korpan stated, “This is an opportunity for the community to view and provide input into a proposed plan for tackling homelessness in Nanaimo. Homelessness has become a very visible issue for the City over the last several years.”

The Action Plan is the culmination of a series of City initiatives to address homelessness, including cooperation with the Downtown business community and neighbourhood groups and the formation of the Safer Nanaimo Working Group.
Research indicates that there are 150 to 300 homeless persons in Nanaimo although the numbers vary because of seasonality and transience relating to Nanaimo’s role as a Hub City. The majority of homeless people have addiction issues with a smaller proportion experiencing mental illness.

Eight areas of action, to be undertaken over a five-year period, are proposed. The Action Plan proposes a Housing First approach designed to get homeless people into housing and then to assist them, where possible, to move towards self-reliance and independence.

Harm reduction measures are proposed to be integrated with housing initiatives to reduce the impacts of high risk behaviour, such as drug abuse, on the homeless and on the wider community.

The Action Plan proposes that 305 housing units to accommodate homeless people be funded over five years. This additional housing will be a mix of rent supplements in existing housing, acquisitions of rental housing and new construction. The Plan recommends that new housing developments be small in size and distributed across the City. The Action Plan will enable the City to seek funding from both the federal and provincial governments for the required housing.

Mayor Korpan said, “Other communities like Portland have been able to reduce homelessness through concerted action. We can do the same by partnering with senior governments, the Vancouver Island Health Authority, non-profit service providers and the wider community. I encourage the public to come to the Open House and provide input into these proposals.”

allvoices

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Councillor Brennan Says

575,000
Tax Dollars

'A Small Dollar Figure'


In an article in the Daily News discussing the differences of opinion on local council with the purchase of the church building on Victoria Rd.; councillor Brennan is quoted as saying the purchase was not discussed by councillors as it was 'such a small dollar amount'.

It seems the idea of spending over half a million dollars to house some local arts groups is considered small potatoes by those on council supposedly watching your tax dollar.

Mayor Korpan had called the purchase a waste of tax dollars as there are many suitable facilites already available for such groups.

Taxpayers were hit with a 4% tax hike this year, and with the closure of two key industries, who knows what next year will bring. The city has already gambled nearly $100,000,000.00 on a what is yet to be proven venture with the convention center.

The idea that continuing to spend tax dollars without public input would indicate some councillors have little regard for your tax dollar.

allvoices

Friday, May 23, 2008


Beban Park Social Center

10 am - 5 pm


Saturday May 24

This year's tradeshow and forum is featuring local alternative energy sources, green home and business products, electric and low emission transportation, green building, farm & garden products and more.

The purpose of the show is to raise awareness, garner community support and offer practical solutions on creating a sustainable future for Vancouver Island’s growing energy demands, including energy conservation, renewable energy and the 100 Mile Diet.

The Tradeshow will include:

• Solar Hot Water • Wind / Tidal Power • Electric Vehicle Conversions • Waste Water Treatment • Micro Hydro • Alternative Fuels • Green Building Design • Sustainable Development • Rainwater Collection • 100 Mile Diet • Fair Trade • Air Source Heat Pumps • Green Cleaning Products • Ethical Investing • and more!

For more information use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

allvoices

Car For Sale Sign Brings Fine

Illegal in Nanaimo

If you plan on putting a for sale sign in your car, you better think again! It was recently reported that a local resident was fined $35 for having a for sale sign in his car window. The car was parked on the street in front of his house. There is also a provincial law banning for sale signs in cars parked on public roadways.

It seems a bylaw has been in effect for a long time in Nanaimo, however based on the signs around town the bylaw is not always enforced.

A spokesman for the RCMP said if the sign is obstructing the drivers view it can obviously cause safety issues. The police can use their discretion when it comes to issuing a ticket or giving a warning.

Editors Comment: If a car is parked on a residential street with a for sale sign, it would seem driving safety is not the issue. I would be interested to know what the real logic is behind this bylaw as garage sale signs are plastered everywhere, real estate signs can be posted near curbs also. As to obstructing your view that seems common sense, the same as loading your back seat so full as to obstruct your rear view is not likely the best safety move. Yet, you see trucks with no 'rear view' at all, and they are perfectly legal. Putting a sign on the side of your car would solve the safety issue, but would still run afoul of the bylaw regards being parked on a public roadway. Logic??

allvoices

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Debit Card Scam in Nanaimo

Check Your Credit and
Debit Card Statements


It is reported in the local press that staff at Galaxy Theatre have discovered a fraudulent Interac kepad at their business.

Police believe the unit was in use on Monday and Tuesday and advise people to check their financial records. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the local RCMP at 754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

These pin pads look just like a legitimate one and allow you to complete your transaction as normal, however they have been doctored to capture your account number and pin number. The thieves are then able to manufacture a card using your account number and pin number and can then access your account to either remove cash or charge purchases.

While this unit was found at Galaxy Theatre, it is likely the thieves have placed other pin pads around town. These false units can be exchanged for the legitimate ones in a matter of seconds and only requires a distracted clerk to allow the crook time to make the swap.

Last December 268 bank accounts in Victoria were drained by thieves using false pin pads.
To protect yourself from this type of fraud police offer the following advice:

For customers:

  • Check if the PIN pad has been tampered with before handing over your debit card. Look for raised screws on the back, the absence of a serial number, or the machine looks like it doesn't fit.
  • Check your bank statement often, daily if possible, for any illegal activity.
  • Call the bank at once if you are suspicious about anything in your account.

For merchants:

  • Pay attention around the cash register because "fake" customers will try to distract you while they switch debit machines.
  • Check the PIN pad regularly throughout the day and look for signs of tampering.
  • Put labels or stickers on PIN pads so they're easily identifiable by staff and to deter thieves from making a quick switch.

Canadian banks have the obligation to reimburse victims of debit card scams, said Maura Drew-Lytle, a senior media relations manager with the Canadian Bankers Association.

"If you're the victim of fraud, you can get your money back. And sometimes the banks with their monitoring systems, they can get your money back before you even know it's gone," she said.

A total of $95 million was stolen in debit card scams last year, she said.


allvoices

North Nanaimo Water Pressure Gets Boost

Labieux Booster Station Opens

Mayor and Council officially opened The Labieux Booster Station today with the firing up of the pumps as part of water infrastructure upgrades servicing the north end of Nanaimo.

The north end of Nanaimo is the farthest from the Jump Lake water supply and has some of the highest elevations in the City. With continued growth in the north end and during periods of high demand, especially in the summer, adequate water supply to north Nanaimo has been difficult to maintain. As a result, the Lost Lake and Tanya Drive reservoirs are slow to fill, and water pressures drop through the north section of the water distribution system.

According to Mayor Gary Korpan, “The Labieux Booster Station is an example of how the City of Nanaimo continues to develop improvements to infrastructure in the community and the Labieux Booster station provides for a cost effective and sustainable means for managing infrastructure.”

Larry McNabb, Chair of the Water Supply Advisory Committee stated “The Labieux Booster station is part of our Water Supply Strategic Plan. The City continues to work towards ensuring that the water supply is strengthened for the City as a whole and in the case of the Booster Station, the north end.”

To assist in maintaining and assuring supplies are kept at optimal levels, the Labieux Booster Station, with its 4 large 60 horsepower pumps, will sustain water pressures to the north end of the City. The station pushes the water to the areas that need it faster and ensures the reservoirs are replenished for fire protection and periods of high demand. All of the north end water will flow through the station and if the station senses a pressure loss at the north end of the city the pumps will only activate as required.

For more information about the Labieux Booster Station contact Bill Sims, Manager Water Resources at 755-4497 or by email at bill.sims@nanaimo.ca


allvoices

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Madill Equipment to be Liquidated

Madill Equipment to be Sold
Piece by Piece Over the Summer


The local press reports that the receivers for bankrupt Madill Equipment will be liquidating the companies assets over the summer.

RSM Richter the Toronto based receiver has been unable to secure a sale which would see the company restored as a viable manufacturer. They have therefore decided to sell the assets to a liquidation company.

This decision still has to be approved by the bankruptcy courts which is expected as the banks involved have already approved the sale.

Madill Equipment was another victim of the recent difficulties to strike the west coast forest industry.

Nanaimo's Harmac pulp mill also recently closed in what has turned out to be a devastating year for the forest industry in BC. Between these two closures Nanaimo has seen approximately 650 good paying jobs vanish as well as significant tax losses to the City.

allvoices

Rhodos in Bowen Park

Rhododendrons in Bowen Park

As always the Rhodo Grove in Bowen Park is a glorious site this time of year with great color displays from these massive plants.

If you have not already visited the park this spring, do yourself a favor and grab your camera and drop by before the show is over.

If you are new to Nanaimo and uncertain as to where Bowen Park is, use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

allvoices

RCMP Name the Foal Contest


Canada's national police force is asking for help from children and youth 14 years old and under to name six foals that will be born this spring at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Breeding Farm in Pakenham, Ontario. Some of these horses may one day be part of the world famous Musical Ride!

Every year, this contest allows the RCMP to connect with youth around the world. Challenging youth to find names for the foals provides a unique opportunity for them to be creative, said Sergeant Marc Godue of the Musical Ride Branch. Schools are also encouraged to submit class entries!

To qualify, entries must meet the following criteria:

1) Names must begin with the letter F and be between 1 and 6 letters long.

2) Entries must include the entrants name, age, address and telephone number, and the suggested name.

3) Entries must come from those 14 years old or younger.

4) Mail your entry to:

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Musical Ride Branch
c/o RCMP Name the Foal Contest
PO Box 8900
Ottawa, Ontario
K1G 3J2

Entries are also accepted on the Internet at: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca Please note that the criteria listed above applies to electronic submissions as well.

5) For school entries, please write school entry on the box or envelope.

6) Entries must be received (or post-marked) no later than July 3rd, 2008.

The winning entries will receive a number of RCMP prizes.

Winners will be announced in August of this year, and their names will be posted on the RCMP website. Winning names will be chosen by instructors of the RCMP Musical Ride Branch.

For more information on the contest, please contact:
Sergeant Marc Godue
Musical Ride Branch
(613) 998-0866

allvoices

Shop at Save On Foods Save on BC Ferries

BC Ferries is teaming up with the popular Save-On-More Rewards program. Starting this spring, customers will be able to shop, sail and save by redeeming Save-On-More points for travel on BC Ferries.

Save-On-More is one of the most popular customer rewards programs in Western Canada. In addition to earning points at Overwaitea Food Group stores, customers can also earn points through Overwaitea Food Group’s many Save-On-More business partners, and redeem them for valuable rewards like free groceries and a wide selection of merchandise and services, including travel and electronics, or even donate their points to charity.

“BC Ferries is proud to partner with the Save-On-More and the Overwaitea Food Group, which is a pillar in many of the coastal communities that we serve,” said Dan Wong, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Corporate Development. “The Save-On-More Rewards program allows ferry travellers to take advantage of great savings in a convenient way as they shop.”

Shoppers at Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Coopers Foods and Urban Fare can experience the difference with BC Ferries by redeeming Save-On-More Rewards points for travel to more than 20 scenic coastal destinations. It’s a perfect way to get free local travel.

For a one-way underheight vehicle and driver voucher, Save-On-More Rewards program participants can simply redeem 28,000 points, or pay $40 plus 7,500 points. For a one-way adult passenger voucher, customers can redeem 6,000 points.

Customers are welcome to make a reservation at www.bcferries.com for use with their travel voucher. Vouchers do not include reservations or assured loading. Vouchers are valid on all routes except for the Inside Passage, Discovery Coast Passage and Prince Rupert – Queen Charlotte Islands routes.

For complete Nanaimo to Vancouver sailing information use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

allvoices

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nanaimo North Rotary Needs Your Help

Nanaimo Rotary Club
Helping Myanmar Survivors


Your purchase of a 2009 Art Calendar for $20 will help the Rotary Club help the cyclone survivors in Myanmar.

Funds raised through calendar sales will provide a $1200 ShelterBox which provides dry shelter ( a tent) warm bed, clean water, cooking utensils, light and heat for 10 people.

ShelterBox is an international project of the Rotary Club and to date 1488 Shelter Boxes have been delivered to victims in the region.

To order your calendar please contact Gill at gill@gillcampbell.com

allvoices

Harmac Employees Offered Work in Peace River

On May 22nd and 23rd, representatives from DAISHOWA-MARUBENI INTERNATIONAL LTD., Peace River Pulp Division will be in Nanaimo conducting information sessions directed at those individuals interested in careers in Pulp industry. We’re looking for:
  • 2nd and 3rd POWER ENGINEERS with Kraft experience
  • Mechanical Coordinators (Engineer or Technologist)
  • Project Coordinator (Instrumentation Technologist / Engineer)
  • I.T. Programmer Analyst

We’re coming to your town and we want to meet people like you - highly skilled and productive! Be a part of Alberta’s strong and vibrant economy – lower taxes and higher wages are only part of the Alberta Advantage!

If you see yourself succeeding in a small-town atmosphere with great schools, medical facilities, and lots of recreational and community involvement opportunities - located in a picturesque community - come to Peace River and work with one of the top ten pulp producers in North America!

All individuals interested in these dynamic opportunities, please join us for further information on May 22nd (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) and 23rd (8 a.m. and 12 noon) at the Grand Hotel Nanaimo, in the Emerald Room.

For further information about our visit, please call: 1–866–559-5455 or for more information on Daishowa Marubeni International Ltd. (DMI) go to: www.DMI.ca


allvoices

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nanaimo Fireworks

Empire Day Fireworks Nanaimo Harbour

For information about Bathtub Weekend Fireworks July 25 2009 use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

The weather was perfect on Sunday night for the annual Empire Day fireworks display over the harbour.

People could be seen coming from everywhere as early as 8:00pm to get a good seat for the show.

No one needed an umbrella as the forecast rain did not materialize, which is one time we are happy the weatherman got it wrong.

If you don't remember this particular burst when you were watching the show, it is because it is an extreme closeup of a dandelion seed head which I took the liberty of colorizing.

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend, as it looks like the forecast showers will either be non-existent or much lighter than previously forecast.

allvoices

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Enjoy our First Taste of Summer

Don't Wait Until Tomorrow To
Enjoy the Sun and Warm Weather

Depending on which forecast is right, Nanaimo temperatures are predicted to dip back down to daily highs of 14C by Monday with high possibility of rain.

So hit while the iron is hot and get out to your favourite outdoor spot today, while the sun and warm temperatures give us a taste of what is to come.

You might want to take your umbrella to the Empire Days parade which is on tomorrow (Sunday) starting at 1:00pm downtown.

Fireworks over the harbour are scheduled for 10:00 pm Sunday night, so head down early for a good seat!

Enjoy the first warm long weekend of the season!

allvoices

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nanaimo May Long Weekend Events

Nanaimo Things To Do This Weekend

Well, it must be moving into the official spring/summer season in Nanaimo, even if the weather does not always feel like it.

Here are a few of the 'summer type' things you can do in Nanaimo this weekend.

  • The Downtown Farmer's Market is open again starting Friday May 16 from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm downtown beside the Bastion.
  • The first Nanaimo Cannon firing will happen on Saturday at noon, the May Queen Party will participate.
  • The Bastion opens again for the summer season.
  • The HMCS Nanaimo will host an open house at the Visiting Vessel Pier from 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm Saturday May 17.
  • Jaime Jorge Violin Virtuoso 7:30 pm Saturday at St. Andrew's United Church, free concert.
  • The Nanaimo Empire Days Parade is on Sunday, downtown starting at 1:00 pm.
  • Fireworks over the harbour Sunday night at 10:00 pm

You can always get out and enjoy the great outdoors with a stroll along the seawall downtown or in one of your favourite parks or trails. The weatherman promises to co-operate this weekend, so enjoy it!

allvoices

Nanaimo Empire Day Events

2008 Nanaimo

Empire Days

Event Highlights

May Queen Crowning and Pageant at the Port Theatre 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30pm on Friday May 16.

May Queen Reception at Branch 256 Legion at 9:00 pm on Friday May 16.

Nanaimo Empire Day Parade on Sunday May 18 at 1:00 pm along the traditional downtown route.

Nanaimo Empire Day Fireworks over the harbour at 10:00 pm.

For complete event details visit the Nanaimo Empire Days Society website by using this Nanaimo-Info LINK.


allvoices

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mayor Korpan Against 'Pathetic' Choice

Church Building Purchase
A Complete Waste of Money


It is reported that Mayor Korpan has always been opposed to what he calls a complete waste of money, referring to the purchase of nearly a half a million dollar building to house some local arts groups.

Korpan is of the opinion that providing more theatre space downtown, will do nothing to revitalize the area. His opposition to the purchase is because there are already plenty of places for these performing arts groups to use.

The mayor is quoted as saying there are real needs downtown, but why spend our money on something we already have, it's pathetic.

Editor's Comment:
Much is said from city managers about senior governments not providing adequate funding to municipal governments. While that is likely true, all levels of government, seem to think their function is to continue to spend the taxpayers money as if there were no tomorrow. This is just another example of such mentality.
It was recently reported that the city 'found' money, which resulted in taxes not going up by the 7% earlier reported. Would it be possible the taxes don't have to go up at all, if councillors quit spending, and kept finding??

allvoices

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hinton Headhunters looking for Mill Workers

Harmac Employees Sought
by Hinton Alberta Mill


The Daily News reports that a recruiting team from Hinton Pulp Mill will be in Nanaimo on May 21 looking for people to bolster it's workforce.

The mill in Hinton which is 20 minutes from Jasper is similar to Harmac and Harmac employees should be a goof fit for the Alberta mill.

Tradespeople being recruited include millers, pipe fitters, steam fitters, heavy duty mechanics, industrial mechanics and second- and third-class power engineers.

The company is offering relocation assistance to Nanaimo workers interested in heading to Hinton.

Members of Hinton's recruitment team will be at the Grand Hotel, 4898 Rutherford Rd., on May 21, starting at 8 a.m.

Interested workers should submit their resumes before May 16 to Human Resources, Hinton Pulp, 760 Switzer Dr., Hinton, Alta., T7V-1V7, fax to 780-865-8504 or e-mail to hinton resumes@westfraser.com.

Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.

To view the local Hinton online Newspaper click this Nanaimo-info LINK.

To see where Hinton Alberta is click this Nanaimo-info LINK.



allvoices

Nanaimo Third Best in All of Canada

Third Best Place to 'Take a Hike'

The local press reports that the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine judged Nanaimo as the third best place in Canada for walking.

We came in behind Vancouver and Fredericton and included the countries 100 most populace communities.

Cities were judged in eight categories and included trail and park accessibility, comfort and safety and interesting and attractive scenery.

According to the CFPM Nanaimo scored high because of it's 100 kilometers of trails, 1200 hectares of park space, moderate year round temperatures and great air quality.

Now everyone knows what we have known for a long time!! Nanaimo is the greatest place in Canada to live, and the third best for walking.

For more information about some of Nanaimo's Parks and Trails, click on 'Parks & Trails' using this Nanaimo-info LINK.

allvoices

Monday, May 12, 2008

BC Ferry Visits London England

COASTAL CELEBRATION MAKES
HISTORIC STOP IN LONDON
New BC Ferry promotes Vancouver 2010 Olympics and BC Tourism

BC Ferries’ MV Coastal Celebration arrived in London, England this morning for a special promotional stop on its way home to British Columbia.

The 160-metre brand new vessel, the largest double ended ferry in the world made its way up the Thames River and moored just east of historic Tower Bridge in downtown, London.

BC Ferries Executive Vice President of New Vessel Construction, Captain Trafford Taylor, departed the vessel and delivered an official invitation to the City of London to come to beautiful British Columbia, Canada and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralymic Winter Games.

The MV Coastal Celebration is a giant “floating billboard” dedicated to promoting both tourism in British Columbia and the Vancouver 2010 Games. The large photographic decals are the largest marine application of printed graphics ever undertaken in the world and were created in collaboration with 2010 Olympic sponsor 3M Canada. The special promotion is also an Olympic first.

The boldly visible vessel was viewed by thousands of Londoners and U.K. visitors as it made its way up the Thames River into the heart of the city.

The ship’s progress including course, position and speed can be viewed from a link on BC Ferries’ homepage at www.bcferries.com

For complete BC Ferry Nanaimo Schedule information use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


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Police Week 2008

RCMP Commanding Officers Message

I am pleased to take this opportunity during Canadian Police Week to comment on behalf of the men and women who proudly call themselves members and employees of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the Province of British Columbia.

Since 1950, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has continuously served as your provincial police force, serving hundreds of communities including 196 First Nation communities. We also provide Municipal Police Services in all but 11 communities throughout the province. There are over 9,500 RCMP employees here in our province, which is representative of approximately one third of the RCMP nationwide. On the front line and behind the scenes, these employees work hard to contribute to public safety and security.

We cannot reach our mutual objective of having safe homes and safe communities without an ongoing partnership between the police and you, the citizens of the communities we serve. Working together, we can identify problems and reach effective solutions by focusing on preventing and reducing crime. I extend our collective appreciation to all our community partners and, in particular, the thousands of RCMP volunteers who assist in the overall delivery of police services.

During Canadian Police Week, May 11-17, 2008, many RCMP detachments throughout British Columbia are planning events. I encourage you to attend these local events and learn more about your police services and how you can help to maintain the safety and security of your community.


Gary Bass, O.O.M.
Deputy Commissioner, Pacific Region &
Commanding Officer, "E" Division (B.C.)


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Harmac Owners Now in Receivership

Pope & Talbot in Receivership
Harmac Mill is Closed

In what has been called the worst year ever for the forest industry, 160 year old Pope & Talbot have been placed in receivership on Saturday.

The receiver is PricewaterhouseCoopers who will attempt to sell the three mills owned by Pope & Talbot. It is reported that Harmac mill will likely be more difficult to sell than the newer mill at MacKenzie.

It is reported in the Vancouver Sun that an estimated 11,000 forestry jobs have been lost since January 2007.

Locally, Madill Equipment and now Harmac have been victims of the troubles in the forest sector. Both companies employed over 600 full time employees with good, high paying jobs. The local economy will obviously be affected with these closures.

The City of Nanaimo will also see a significant taxpayer removed with the closure of Harmac.

Editor's comment: It would be a really good time for the City of Nanaimo to investigate the possibility of buying the Harmac mill. It could provide a much higher return for the City than Sports centers.

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PNC Originator Awarded $184,000 Finders Fee

PNC Initiator Owed
Finders Fee By Triarc and Suro


It is reported in the Daily News that the man who introduced Triarc and Suro to the City of Nanaimo 'players' has been awarded a finders fee in court of $184,710.

James Stevenson of J.D. Stevenson and Associates took Triarc International, Suro Development and Millenium Properties to court to collect a finders fee he claimed was owed to him.The court found that Triarc and Suro indeed did owe Stevenson the fee, but found Millenium did not.

The fee was based on the money earned by Triarc and Suro from development costs, free land, free parking and the city paying for the structural deck for the building. It was claimed this was worth $8,000,000 to Triarc & Suro.

Saying he had contacts with the 'players' in the City Stevenson said he could introduce Triarc to the decision makers and if something came out of the deal whereby Triarc could make a buck, then all well and good.

The reason Stevenson initiated the discussions was to repay a debt he had with Triarc for some $30,000, which he hoped to clear with his finders fee.

It is noted that the civic arena and foundry land came into the deal in 2004, which would further increase the value of the deal to Triarc.


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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Moms Job Worth $125,000 Year

Study Shows Stay at Home Moms
Worth Six Figure Income

It is reported by Reuters that if moms were paid for cooking, cleaning, and family care these household executives would easily be earning $125,000 annually.

After surveying over 18,000 mothers to determine their most common tasks a salary compensation company calculated what they would earn if they were paid.

In Canada the 10 most common jobs performed by mom, would command a $125,000 salary, including overtime and almost $75,000 for a working mom in addition to her 'paying' job.

Jobs on the list included cooking, cleaning, machine operator, computer tech, psychologist, facilities manager, van driver. CEO and janitor. You could add to this list nurse, ambulance driver, sports coach, personal trainer, councilor, referee, purchasing agent, accounts payable clerk, gardener, etc. etc.

Contrary to modern myth, stay at home moms are not leading a life of leisure, in fact they are likely working harder than women with 'real' jobs!

So Here's to Mom's Everywhere
You Do A Most Important Job
Which Should be Honored By All

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

BC Government Support for Forest Workers


New Forestry Programs

to Support Workers and Communities

Premier Gordon Campbell announced details of three new programs to support forest workers and communities coping with the challenges of a changing industry today.

“We’re working with forest companies, labour and communities to ensure that B.C.’s forest sector receives effective, timely assistance to deal with the impact of market volatility and cyclical change,” Campbell said. “The Province is determined to support community sustainability and help hard-working British Columbians find a place in B.C.’s booming economy.”

The programs will be funded through the $129 million Community Development Trust announced last January by the federal government. Since January, the Ministry of Forests and Range, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services have been consulting with communities, industry and labour organizations to develop programs that will have the most immediate benefit for those impacted.

Funding from the trust is consistent with Canada’s obligations under all of its international trade treaties, including the Softwood Lumber Agreement. Over 5,000 forest workers in communities across the province will benefit from programs and services made available by the trust over three years.

Tuition Assistance Fund

$17.25 million will provide an opportunity for forest workers facing layoff to upgrade their skills, knowledge and education.

Funding will cover participants’ tuition costs and other mandatory fees, to a maximum of $5,000 per worker for one year, at accredited public or private post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.

  • Individuals can apply to the fund through the Community Development Trust website at www.labour.gov.bc.ca/cdt beginning May 15, 2008.

Transitional Assistance for Older Workers

$85.5 million will provide financial assistance to help older forest workers transition to retirement.

  • Individuals will be able to apply for funding through a secretariat that will be established to administer the program. The secretariat is expected to begin receiving applications by mid-June, 2008.

Job Opportunities Program

  • $26.25 million to begin providing immediate assistance to forest workers and forestry-dependent communities in British Columbia.
  • Includes $2 million in direct assistance to both Mackenzie and Fort St. James, two of B.C.’s most forestry-dependent and highly impacted communities.
  • The program will support silviculture and reforestation in urban areas, forest fuel management and other forestry programs to provide short-term employment opportunities to assist communities and forest workers affected by layoffs.
  • The employment component will be administered by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Communities, organizations, and forest and range licensees can obtain information on submitting expressions of interest from the Community Development Trust website beginning in June.
  • Projects may include tree planting, forest fuel management, silviculture treatments in urban areas, grassland ecosystem restoration, natural range barriers restoration, fish passage restoration, roadside brushing, invasive plant management, recreation sites and trails.
  • Forestry jobs created through the fund will be paid at rates appropriate to the skills and qualifications required by the work.

To inquire about applying for assistance from the Community Development Trust, phone:

  • 1-800 663-7867 from B.C. communities outside Vancouver and Victoria
  • 604 660-2421 from Vancouver
  • 387-6121 from Victoria

Or, check the Community Development Trust website at:

www.labour.gov.bc.ca/cdt Or email: cdt@gov.bc.ca

Editor's Comment: Perhaps some affected by Harmac closing will be able to find a useful program here to help them in these changing times.


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Nanaimo Video Surveillance of Civic Property

Public Comment Invited on Draft Policy

The purpose of this policy is to establish guidelines for the use of video surveillance to enhance the security and safety of persons, properties, things, and activities that are in, on, or near facilities owned or occupied by the City of Nanaimo and used for public civic purposes.

You are invited to send your comments to Randy Churchill,Manager of Bylaw Services. phone 755-4422 ext. 4474.

You can view the draft policy by clicking this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

BC Ferries Extra Victoria Day Weekend Sailings

Victoria Day Long Weekend

Extra BC Ferries Sailings

BC Ferries is pleased to announce that it is offering an additional 70 sailings over the Victoria Day long weekend. Extra service will be available from Thursday, May 15 through Tuesday, May 20. In addition, there will be more than 100 CoastSaver sailings this long weekend, giving customers lots of opportunities to sail and save.

The majority of the extra sailings will be added to the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay route, the busiest of BC Ferries’ 25 routes. During this time, four vessels will operate on this route in order to accommodate increased numbers of travellers.

Extra sailings are also scheduled for the Horseshoe BayDeparture Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes.

Still more extra sailings are added to the Southern Gulf Islands schedule from both Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay over the long weekend. The Queen of Nanaimo, the regular vessel on the Tsawwassen – Southern Gulf Islands route, is currently being replaced by a smaller ship while it undergoes its necessary refit and drydocking. The additional sailings have been added to create more travel opportunities on this historically busy weekend. Southern Gulf Islands customers are therefore encouraged to plan their travel in advance during this busy period and to consider making reservations or travelling through Swartz Bay.

BC Ferries’ popular CoastSaver fares will be available on all Tsawwassen – Duke Point sailings throughout the months of May and June, including the Victoria Day long weekend. When travelling on a CoastSaver sailing, customers pay just $5 per passenger and $20 per vehicle. CoastSaver fares will also be available on all sailings between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay every Saturday in May and June.

Finally, travellers on the Departure BayHorseshoe Bay route are reminded that they now have the opportunity to sail on BC Ferries’ newest ship, Coastal Renaissance. Sailing times for the Coastal Renaissance are posted on our website.

For full schedule details and reservations, visit www.bcferries.com.

For Nanaimo Sailing Schedules follow this Nanaimo-Info LINK


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ICBC Earns $102 Million In First Quarter

ICBC has reported strong financial results for the first three months of 2008.

Net income for the first quarter of 2008 is reported at $102 million, down slightly from $111 million for same period in 2007.

"ICBC's strong financial results this quarter are the result of better-than-expected investment income and continued attention to operating costs," said Geri Prior, ICBC's interim president and CEO. "As the provincial economy continues to grow, there are more insured cars on the road, and our customers are increasing their coverage with us."

"For ICBC and its customers, 2007 was an exceptionally strong year financially, and 2008 is getting off to a good start."

Claims and related costs for the three months ending March 31, 2008 were $761 million, three per cent higher than for the same period in 2007.

"The moderating increase in claims costs has continued into the new year, which is good news for customers," said Prior. "Trends in claims costs are the primary factor in determining rates."

Strong financial management

  • Investment income continues to drive net income. Net income for the quarter was $102 million, including investment income of $125 million. ICBC's insurance operations ended the quarter on a more-or-less breakeven basis.
  • In line with market trends, ICBC's investment income of $125 million for the first three months of 2008 was lower than the $154 million investment income for the same period last year. Results saw lower gains on equities and higher gains on bonds compared to the same quarter in 2007. ICBC maintains a conservative investment policy with the majority of assets invested in high-quality, investment-grade bonds.
  • ICBC continues to lead the industry in low operating costs. The expense ratio - operating costs, broker commissions and premium taxes as a percentage of earned premiums - is 18.3 per cent for the first three months of 2008, compared to 18.0 per cent for the first quarter of 2007.

Moderating trend on claims costs continues

  • Net claims costs incurred for the first quarter were $689 million, representing an increase of 3.1 per cent from the first quarter of the previous year, despite unusually dry weather so far this year.
  • Longer term trends show ongoing increases in the costs associated with injury claims. This predominantly affects rates for basic insurance, because more than 80 per cent of all payouts for injury claims are under basic coverage.
  • The increased claims costs are partially due to higher estimates for the costs of all unpaid claims due to lower prevailing interest rates. Lower interest rates mean relatively higher amounts need to be set aside for claims that have occurred but not yet been fully paid out.

Ongoing decrease in auto crime costs

  • There have been significant decreases in the number of stolen vehicles in BC for each of the last five years. This trend is continuing into 2008.
  • The reasons for the dropping auto theft rate are the success of the Bait Car program and other enforcement efforts, as well as the growing prevalence of immobilizers in vehicles.

High customer satisfaction scores

  • High levels of customer satisfaction continue, as confirmed by an independent third-party organization (NRG Research Group).
  • Levels of customer satisfaction for:
  • Insurance services 94.7%
  • Claims services 82.0%
  • Drivers licensing services 92.0%

Low and stable rates

  • ICBC has held the line on rates. Rates for optional insurance are decreasing by 3.0 per cent on average, effective July 1, 2008, partly due to declining costs for auto theft claims. Furthermore, ICBC will not be proposing an increase in rates for basic insurance this year.
  • Customers who have purchased the same Basic and Optional coverages from ICBC over the last five years have seen only a $2 increase on average in their premium over this five year period.

Ongoing investments in road safety

  • ICBC continues to invest in road safety programs to reduce the number and severity of crashes, and to help lower claims costs. Examples include support for enhanced traffic enforcement by police, road improvements at high-crash locations, and public awareness campaigns.
  • Drivers can do their part by driving safely. Bad driving habits affect everyone's insurance rates.


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Nanaimo Considers Suites in Accessory Buildings

SECONDARY SUITES IN ACCESSORY BUILDINGS

- PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSIONS -

Granny flats, garden apartments, and carriage houses are commonly used terms for secondary suites in accessory buildings. At present, the City of Nanaimo Zoning Bylaw does not permit this housing form. In response to a recent proposal to construct such a unit, Council directed that the issue of secondary suites in accessory buildings be considered by the Secondary Suite Task Force (SSTF).

Since February, 2005 the City has permitted secondary suites within single family homes provided the suite is contained within the principal building. Recently, the SSTF recommended amending the Zoning Bylaw in order to allow a secondary suite within the dwelling unit or within a detached accessory building on select single family residential lots. The proposed changes, if adopted, will permit a secondary suite to be located within a detached accessory building on corner lots, lots with lanes and large lots. Following the receipt of the recommendation from the SSTF, Council directed that the public be provided the opportunity to comment on the changes prior to the drafting of the necessary amendment bylaw.

The City invites the public to attend a public information session in order to provide input on the issue of secondary suites in accessory buildings.

The two information session dates are:

Tuesday, 2008-MAY-13 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Nanaimo Ice Centre (Lounge #2)

and

Tuesday, 2008-MAY-20 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Oliver Woods Centre (Monarch 1 Room)

Currently, the Zoning Bylaw limits the total floor area of all accessory buildings on a lot to 70 m2 (750 ft2). The maximum permitted height for an accessory building in all single family residential zones is 4.5 metres (14.76 feet).

Accessory buildings are included in the calculation of lot coverage; the maximum permitted lot coverage in most residential zones is 40%. The Zoning Bylaw sets a limit of one secondary suite per dwelling and prohibits the stratification of the suite. The secondary suite can have up to two bedrooms. The City is seeking public opinion on the suitability of the above regulations as they would pertain to secondary suites in accessory buildings.

“With the creation of secondary suites in 2005, the City took a significant step forward in responding to the issues of safe and affordable housing in Nanaimo. The Secondary Suite Task Force believes that by expanding on the original program and allowing suites in accessory buildings we can provide further housing options in the community”

Councillor Diane Brennan, SSTF Member

“Today, one third of all new homes include a secondary suite. This clearly indicates the high demand for this type of rental housing in Nanaimo. The Secondary Suite Task Force recognized that in older homes it may not be as easy to add a secondary suite as part of the dwelling and that legalizing secondary suites in accessory buildings on some lots in Nanaimo will allow homeowners further options when determining whether or not to construct a secondary suite.”

Councillor Larry McNabb, SSTF Chair

A survey and comment sheet regarding the proposed changes can be found on the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca. For more information about the proposed zoning amendment, please contact David Stewart, Planner, at 755-4460 (local 4332).


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