Friday, October 31, 2008

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

HALLOWEEN SAFETY
IS EVERYONE'S RESPONSIBILITY

We all remember how we looked forward to Halloween when we were kids. We got to stay out later than normal, even on a school night and at the end of the night, we had enough candy to keep us going for weeks. Those were the good old days. Hey wait a minute, not much has changed. This Friday night, streets across the province will be flooded with young children and teenagers going from door to door - trick or treating.

There is no doubt the focus will be on having fun and it should be – but we must not forget about safety as well. Here are a few safety tips to help you get through the night with a smile on your face;

Trick or Treaters:

  • Wear appropriate clothing for the weather
  • Make sure you are visible
    • wear reflective clothing or place reflective tape on the front and back of your clothing
    • carry a glow stick that can be worn around the neck or wrist
    • carry a flashlight
  • Walk in groups and stay together
  • Stay in populated and well lit areas
  • Never enter a house, only accept treats at the front door
  • Visit houses on one side of the street at a time
  • Cross only at an intersection or at a marked crosswalk
  • Never walk out between cars to cross the street
  • Never cross in the middle of the block
  • If possible carry a cell phone in case of emergencies
  • Do not eat homemade treats or fruit if you do not know who made them and where they came from.
  • Throw away any treats that are not in sealed packaging.


Fire CRACKERS Are Illegal

Firecrackers are small bombs and have resulted in serious injury including burns, hearing loss and loss of fingers.

Fireworks Safety Tips:
Please check with your local City or Municipality for laws relating to the sale and possession of fireworks.

  • Fireworks should only be handled by adults using EXTREME caution
  • DO NOT use fireworks that appear to have loose fuses, appear old, or show signs of damage.
  • Ignite one firework at a time.
  • Bury certain firework devices (Roman Candles) up to half their length in a bucket of sand or earth.
  • NEVER hold lit fireworks.
  • If a firework doesn't go off, do not approach or pick it up for at least 30 minutes.
  • DO NOT attempt to relight the device.
  • After 30 minutes, immerse in water and throw away.


Drivers:

  • Slow down and look ahead
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Pay more attention to intersections and crosswalks
  • Be prepared to stop for kids who may run out in front of you
  • Remember that there will be more foot traffic out Halloween night
  • And that most of it will be excited young children

With Halloween falling on a Friday night this year, it's very important to remember; if you are going to be attending an office party or an adult Halloween celebration have fun but don't drive if you have been drinking. Drinking and driving at any time is wrong but to do it on a night when the number of children out roaming the streets is multiplied several times over could be tragic.

Be responsible – Don't drink and drive any time!


Should you need to call for emergency assistance (police, fire or ambulance),

  • DO always pay attention to your location. Emergency operators will need to know where you are so they can dispatch the help you need.

  • DO NOT use text messaging as a method to call 911 for emergency services assistance. Text messaging does not allow our operators to ask questions and understand the urgency of the public's need. They will need to get full and accurate details of events and complaints. For the hearing impaired community, the best method for communicating with 9-1-1 remains the TTY format.

  • DO remain where you are at until emergency services attends and speaks to you.

Enjoy a fun and safe Halloween.


allvoices

SET YOUR CLOCK BACK THIS WEEKEND

TURN YOUR CLOCKS BACK
ON SATURDAY NIGHT


This is the weekend we officially get to reclaim the hour we lost last spring, so we get to sleep an extra hour on Sunday morning.

Of course it also means it will be getting darker sooner in the evenings until next March when the clocks go gack to daylight saving time.

Doesn't it seem we need the extra daylight in the winter and not the summer??

allvoices

'MEET THE CANDIDATES' LARRY IWASKOW

Larry Iwaskow

“Common sense, Courtesy and Respect; that is how I stand on all issues. That is what I bring to civic politics in Nanaimo

I have lived in Nanaimo since 1967. I am currently working on the new Malaspina Hotel development on the waterfront. I have worked as a care attendant and union glazier/ First Aid attendant in Nanaimo for 30 years. I reside on Protection Island with my wife and two children.

My community activity in Nanaimo goes back to 1968 with the “City Plan”. I have been a member of the Lions Club; Traffic Safety, Plan Nanaimo, and Newcastle Island Steering Committees; Nanaimo Fire Rescue and Nanaimo Volunteer Firefighter Association, and Protection Island Ratepayers Association.

I am opposed to the NNC deal as it stands. Plan Nanaimo is a great plan, chapter 5 “Ongoing Neighbourhood Planning” leaves many options open. High-rises on the waterfront are not part of this plan.

My knowledge and understanding of Nanaimo comes from my experiences as a working family man. I love Nanaimo. What I have to offer as Mayor is a breath of fresh air at City Hall. I offer you straight talk, common sense, and a commitment to responsible financial behaviour, based on a practical knowledge of Nanaimo. I know how to listen. I know how to learn. I want something better for Nanaimo, and together we can make it happen.

My Views on the Issues of the 2008 Nanaimo Civic Election

Plan Nanaimo-As a member of Plan Nanaimo Steering Committee, my reservations have proven true (i.e. 3rd street connector). Plan Nanaimo is not a blanket re-zone of Nanaimo. The Plan is a base identifying probabilities and possibilities within the City of Nanaimo and responding to those affected. Most changes to current zoning are non-essential and market driven. Plan Nanaimo goals include pedestrian safety, cycle safety, street quieting, green spaces, public walks, walkable services, mixed uses and moving the dump.

Garbage Pickup and Disposal- Garbage pick-up and disposal methods-loaded question! Present locations of dumpsites (the Nanaimo River estuary/somewhere on the mainland) are totally irresponsible. The solutions are: SEPARATE IT! Reduce, recycle, reuse, store, transport regionally by rail, spur to new sites. After observing the Japanese garbage pickup system in a residential neighborhood I believe there is a potential to adopt their system within the City of Nanaimo.

Parking in Downtown Nanaimo- The Perfect Parking Plan (P.P.P)! All streets parking one-hour maximum in the commercial core and the meters should be removed. Commissioners at exits equipped with washrooms and phones should man Gordon Street and/or Bastion Street parkades. Fees in these lots are 1st hour free and .50 cents an hour thereafter. A Perfect Parking Pass at $30-50 per month for city lots. City parking bylaw enforcement should revert to our Ambassadors to the World, the “Commissioners.”

Big Box Stores- As Nanaimo expands, current zoned property could be tolerated. I find them an eyesore (Big Box Stores) and some design could go a long way! I would rather support my local Co-op, Home Hardware and local small businesses.

Gambling Revenue- Use gambling revenue to complete the seawall from Duke Point to Lantzville. Promote a seawall trail from Victoria to Comox. Help create the East Coast Trail, a world class destination.

Leaky Condos- Buyers Beware. Building Inspectors for the City inspect for minimum requirements only. Developers, architects, designers, draftsmen and engineers design…some are better then others. There are many well-designed, beautiful condo projects of excellent quality, paying taxes and providing their owners joy.

Sewage-Sewage requires secondary and tertiary treatment.

On Transit- 15 minute service to main links on the core high density routes is possible.

On Affordable Housing- 15% of all up zonings to be designated for affordable housing; reduce minimum footage on single family dwellings.

On Homelessness- What do you do? I propose housing funded by private and provincial funds. In lieu of and as a temporary measure, utilize empty buildings from all levels of government. The mentally and physically disabled should be financially supported by provincial and federal agencies.

With Respect- Larry Iwaskow

Please Vote . . . . . November 15, 2008

Want to know more?
Phone: (250) 754-1587
bathtub_parents@hotmail.com


allvoices

Thursday, October 30, 2008

NEW FEDERAL CABINET APPOINTED

Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre

New Cabinet Charged with Protecting Canada's Future in a Time of Global Economic Instability

30 October 2008
Ottawa, Ontario


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today appointed a new federal Cabinet charged with protecting Canadians in a time of increasing global economic instability.

“While the fundamentals of Canada’s economy remain stronger, more stable and more durable than those of many other nations, it is clear that we are not immune to what happens outside our borders,” said the Prime Minister. “That is why the central responsibility of our new mandate will be to ensure that Canada’s businesses and families have the security they need to weather any global economic storm.”

As part of the strong economic focus of the new Cabinet, the Prime Minister announced that key economic portfolios would remain in the hands of cabinet veterans, including Jim Flaherty, who will remain Minister of Finance. At the same time, the Prime Minister welcomed several first-time Cabinet ministers who will bring a broad range of experience to the Cabinet table.

“This will be an experienced, economically focused Ministry that is prepared to immediately get to work in the interests of Canadians,” said the Prime Minister. “This is the right team for these times. We will build a foundation of strength that will protect the earnings, savings and financial security of Canadians and ensure that Canada emerges from this time of global turmoil stronger than ever before.”

allvoices

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PNC HOTEL DEVELOPMENT PERMIT APPLICATION SUBMITTED TO CITY

MILLENIUM/SURO APPLIES FOR
DEVELOPMENT PERMIT
NO DETAILS AVAILABLE

The local daily reports that Millenium/Suro have finally submitted an application for a development permit for the long overdue hotel to be adjacent our new Convention Center.

Considering footings were to have been poured by the end of May, the end of October is long overdue to be submitting an application for a development permit.

No details were reported as to the number of rooms the hotel would include, whether it is attached to the Convention Center, who will be managing the hotel once it is built etc., whether there would be any further cost to Nanaimo taxpayers etc.

A suspicious mind might think this latest development was timed to take some of the heat off of the politicians during the current election campaign. Why would we think this company will honor any of it's commitments now?

Related Links:
Development Permit Application
Plans for Hotel or Condominium?
Council Gets Serious with Millennium
Millennium Deal is Dead

allvoices

Monday, October 27, 2008

'MEET THE CANDIDATES' ANGELA NEGRIN

Angela Negrin

For those of you who don't know me my name is Angela Negrin, I am a 33 year old, 4th generation Nanaimoite. My parents have had the Superette Foods up on Albert for the last 31 years and I started Pirate Chips on Commercial Street almost 5 years ago now.

I grew up wanting to be just like my dad (I am the eldest of 3) and so I started learning about business and working with the public at a very young age. I can remember the days when we had a vibrant city and a downtown where people did their business and shopping, went to movies, socialized, people could send their kids to the store for some milk, we were alive, we had a pulse in the heart of Nanaimo.

After I finished college, I travelled and worked in over 22 countries and I was always flattered when people would ask me “Why are you travelling here when you come from the most beautiful place on earth?” I realize now after coming back how very lucky we are to live on the sun porch of Canada. I have seen many beautiful places and met some wonderful people, but none as great as here.

We truly have it all, mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, forests!

I was however, quite embarrassed as to what has happened with the heart of the city and overwhelmed with development in the north-end. The city seemed to me so divided and unbalanced, when it once was a vibrant whole city.

I opened Pirate Chips November 27th, 2003 because I wanted to help revitalize downtown. It has been a tough go, but a fun one, more still needs to be done. In my opinion there is too much money is wasted on attracting people who may never ever come here. We need to spend less and focus on the people who already live here and pay taxes here. The Economy and our Social systems are changing, WE are now home of a University, most of our population are baby boomers and most if not all are looking into retirement if they aren't semi-retired already. WE NEED A N EFFICIENT TRANSIT SYSTEM, one that services the university, both ferries and the airport.

Nanaimo needs to embrace its culture and identity in order to unify ourselves as a vibrant and successful city. When elected i intend to bring the fun back. I want to be proud, and I want the public to be proud of its council members. As a child I remember how important I felt when mayor Frank Ney shook my hand in the line up at the parade.

I BELEIVE IN PRESERVING AND MAINTAING OUR PARKS. People come here and live here for ALL our green space, lakes, mountains, rivers, forest, ocean. I believe in development but responsible development, where the city concentrates on governing its services rather than have dealings in real estate.

When elected I would like to propose a WARD SYSTEM whereby, each elected council member would represent an equal demographic within the city. This would require each council member to be accountable for his/her actions and the public could have a clearer voice on the council table as each demographic has different concerns.

My name is Angela Negrin and I am dedicated to making you proud of your hometown Nanaimo.

Elect me for council and lets put the HUB back into HUB CITY!

CREATING CULTURE WE CAN BE PROUD OF

allvoices

' MEET THE CANDIDATES ' BLAKE MCGUFFIE

Blake McGuffie

I am a semi-retired Tax Consultant running for Nanaimo City Council

My extensive experience in community leads me to believe that I have the skills to be a part of the leadership of our City. This is a great community that deserves a City Council that welcomes input.

My community experience includes serving on the Boards of many local organizations including the Nanaimo Child Development Centre (for over 20 years), the Columbian Centre Society, Nanaimo Foodshare (founding member and currently Treasurer, Nanaimo Community Bingo Association.

I am also a member of both the South End Community Association and the Nob Hill Residents Association.

I have served for many years on various City Committees, including Parks Recreation and Culture, Parking, Grants Advisory, Advisory Committee on the Environment, Design Advisory Panel and the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership.

My extensive income tax and business experience give me an insight into the very complicated finances of the City of Nanaimo, which is a unique skill set amongst candidates.

The three most important issues are homeless, taxation and the hotel, not necessarily in that order.

I fully support the City’s initiative of housing first. This is very difficult. The management quality of the housing is essential, as is the spreading of the housing units throughout the community. We need to provide significantly enhanced RCMP resources. Drug-related crime issues in our City need much greater attention.

Taxation is higher than it needs to be. The City currently has over $ 125 million dollars in reserves. While some of this is required for future projects, some of it can be used to reduce property taxation.

The Hotel component is necessary to the success of the Conference Centre and clearly the present Council have hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. The current deal should have been terminated when deadlines were not met, and new interested parties could be found.

The only real reward of public service is the knowledge that one has made a difference to the quality of life in the community in which we live.

The challenge in public office is continuing to receive meaningful input. There is a real danger that the information received through the process is filtered to the viewpoint of the applicant. It is essential for a Councillor to remember the PUBLIC interest at all times.

We have much land that is already serviced and ready for development. The recent decision to open up areas in the South of the City is not good planning. The test of any re-zoning application must be based on what is for the good for the community. Council must manage growth.

PNC Hotel as noted above needs a new proponent. An active search must be taken immediately. Remember this hotel includes the right to 300 housing units on the Arena site. This should be a very marketable package, even in a slightly falling market. It requires a developer who has a long term viewpoint, not a build and get out of town approach.

The City taxpayer will provide the land for the Homeless plan. The total cost should not exceed 10 %, or $ 4 million. Typically the land is 10 % of any development cost. The City has most of the necessary land in public ownership now, so the CASH cost will be considerably less.

Blake McGuffie
Candidate
Nanaimo City Council


allvoices

CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA ECONOMIC REPORT CARD


allvoices

NANAIMO CAR THIEVES 'TAKE THE BAIT'

AREA NEAR BC FERRIES
TARGETED FOR CAR THEFTS


Two adult males are in custody after the unsuccessful theft of a bait car in Nanaimo.

Nanaimo RCMP were alerted to a Bait car activation at approximately 11:30pm in the area of Otter Way located near the BC Ferries Departure Bay landing,after deploying the vehicle only two hours prior.This area has had a significant number of thefts from vehicle and theft of vehicles in recent weeks and for that reason a Bait car was deployed.

The stolen vehicle was driven by the suspects for approximately ten minutes and once in an area that poised a minimal risk to the public, the vehicle engine was remotely shut down and the vehicle came to a rolling stop.The suspects then fled on foot and with the assistance of a police dog the two were arrested and taken into custody.

The suspects ages 27 and 18 were both arrested for possession of stolen property and theft over $5000 relating to the theft of the vehicle. The 27 year old male was also in possession of a machete and a significant amount of crack cocaine and faces weapons and drug charges.

The 18 year old was in possession of a weapon commonly referred to as a “rock in a sock”, which consists of a weighted object wrapped in a sock. He was found to be in possession of a small quantity of marihuana and also faces weapons and drug charges. The two males both residents of Nanaimo, with extensive criminal records were held in custody and and will appear before before a Justice of the Peace today.

allvoices

Saturday, October 25, 2008

CLOCKS GO BACK NEXT WEEKEND IN CANADA

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME
FOR ONE MORE WEEK
TURN BACK YOUR CLOCK
NEXT WEEKEND


Some of us are still confused when it comes to knowing when to put our clocks back. It used to always be the last weekend of October.

However, as of 2007 the powers that be think we can maybe save some energy by keeping Daylight Saving Time going for another week in the fall. So now the clocks stay on Daylight Saving Time for one more week.

The first Sunday in November this year (2009) is Nov. 1 so you will have to wait one more week to get that extra hour of sleep you lost in the spring.

allvoices

Friday, October 24, 2008

BC FERRIES REINSTATES SAILINGS

BC FERRIES TO REINSTATE
CANCELLED SAILINGS


On October 1, 2008, BC Ferries announced that due to a reduction in traffic, the company would be reducing sailings on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay, Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Langdale routes at off-peak times in an effort to reduce operating costs.

The reductions would be in effect from mid-October through March 31, 2009.
Yesterday, the British Columbia government announced that as part of a provincial economic strategy, it would provide funding that will enable BC Ferries to reinstate the cancelled sailings.

Therefore, starting this Saturday, October 25, the cancelled sailings will be reinstated.
Customers are encouraged to visit BC Ferries’ website at www.bcferries.com to ensure they receive up to date schedule information.

The provincial government also announced it would provide funding that will enable
BC Ferries to offer a 33 per cent reduction of fares on all routes for the months of December 2008 and January 2009.

allvoices

NANAIMO MUNICIPAL ELECTION ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS

NANAIMO ALL CANDIDATES MEETINGS

FOR OFFICE OF MAYOR AND COUNCILLORS

  • Oct. 29 7:00 pm at Brechin United Church 'Female Candidates Only' meeting.
  • Oct. 29 7:00 pm at Coast Bastion Mayor and Council candidates sponsored by the NALT
  • Nov. 3 6:30 pm at Conference Centre (Mt. Benson Ballroom D) candidates for City Council sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Nov. 4 6:30 pm at Conference Centre (Mt. Benson Ballroom D) candidates for Mayor sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.
FOR SCHOOL TRUSTEE ELECTIONS:
  • Wednesday, October 29, 20087:00 pm – 9:00 pm Forum for Female Candidates running for City Council and School Board sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women’s Nanaimo Chapter Brechin United Church 7:00 pm -9:00 pm1998 Estevan Road Contact Person – Suzanne Andre 250-758-8722 or susanandre@shaw.ca
  • Sunday, November 2, 20082:00 pm – 4:00 pm Forum for all Candidates sponsored by the SWACA (South Wellington and Area Community Association and the South Wellington to be held in the South Wellington (Cranberry) Community Hall - 1555 Morden Road (across the street from the school) Contact Person – Krista Seggie at 250-245-0440 and Susan Toth at 250-753-3510 or info@southwellington.com
  • Tuesday, November 4, 20087:00 pm – 9:00 pm Forum for all Candidates sponsored by the Canadian Federation of University Women and the Wellington Secondary PAC Wellington Secondary School - 313 Mexicana Road - Multipurpose Room Contact Person - Jennifer Davidson 250-756-0395 or ajkdavidson@shaw.ca
  • Thursday, November 6, 20086:30 pm – 8:30 pm Forum for All Candidates sponsored by the Harewood Community Schools and NDSS Students NDSS Gymnasium – 355 Wakesiah Avenue Elementary School PAC Contact Person – Jim MacGregor 250-740-2026 or jmacgregor@sd68.bc.ca

Be sure to do your civic duty and get out to hear what the candidates have to say about the important issues facing Nanaimo. If you don't make an informed vote you have no right to complain about the decisions your elected officials make in the future.

For a list of all candidates seeking election either for Mayor, City Council or School Trustee use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


allvoices

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'SKY IS NOT FALLING" ON CANADIAN ECONOMY

Bank of Canada releases Monetary Policy Report

OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada today released its October Monetary Policy Report, which discusses current economic and financial trends in the context of Canada's inflation-control strategy.

In the Report, the Bank noted that three major interrelated global developments are having a profound impact on the Canadian economy and making the outlook for growth and inflation more uncertain than it was at the time of the July Monetary Policy Report Update. First, the intensification of the global financial crisis has led to severe strains in financial markets. The associated need for the global banking sector to continue to reduce leverage will restrain growth for some time. Second, the global economy appears to be heading into a mild recession, led by a U.S. economy that is already in recession. Third, there have been sharp declines in many commodity prices.

Consistent with the G7 Plan of Action, major economies have announced extraordinary measures to stabilize their financial systems. These initiatives will be pivotal to the resumption of the flow of credit to support global economic growth. Canada's economy and strong financial system will benefit directly from these actions.

The weaker outlook for global demand will increase the drag on the Canadian economy coming from exports. Lower commodity prices will also dampen the outlook, working through a deterioration in Canada's terms of trade to moderate domestic demand growth. The marked tightening in Canadian credit conditions in recent weeks will restrain business and housing investment.

The Bank expects growth to be sluggish through the first quarter of next year, then to pick up over the rest of 2009 and to accelerate to above-potential growth in 2010 supported by improving credit conditions, the lagged effects of monetary policy actions, and stronger global growth. The recent sizable depreciation of the Canadian dollar will also provide an important offset to the effects of weaker global demand and lower commodity prices. Overall, the Bank projects average annual growth in real GDP of 0.6 per cent in both 2008 and 2009, and 3.4 per cent in 2010.

With excess supply projected to build throughout 2009, and with lower assumed energy prices, inflationary pressures will ease significantly relative to the projection in the July Monetary Policy Report Update. Core inflation is now projected to remain below 2 per cent until the end of 2010. Total CPI inflation should peak during the third quarter of 2008, fall below 1 per cent in mid-2009, and then return to the 2 per cent target by the end of 2010.

On 21 October, the Bank of Canada lowered its policy interest rate by 25 basis points. That decision followed a 50 basis point cut on 8 October taken in concert with other major central banks. Together, these moves bring the cumulative reduction in the Bank's target for the overnight rate to 75 basis points since the Bank's previous fixed announcement date on 3 September. These actions provide timely and significant support to the Canadian economy. The cumulative reduction in the Bank's policy rate since the beginning of December 2007 is now 225 basis points.

In line with the new outlook, some further monetary stimulus will likely be required to achieve the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term. The evolution of the financial crisis, its impact on the global economy, and the timing of the effects of the various extraordinary measures being taken to address it pose significant risks to the inflation projection on both the upside and the downside.

To view the entire Monetary Policy Report use this Nanaimo Info LINK.


allvoices

NANAIMO CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL GETS A $3.5 MILLION BOOST

ISLAND COAST ECONOMIC TRUST
HELPS CRUISE SHIP TERMINAL PLANS

It was announced yesterday that the Island Coast Economic Trust is providing an additional $3.5 million to support plans to build a cruise ship terminal at the Assembly Wharf on downtown Nanaimo's waterfront.

The $18.5 million project is expected to have an economic benefit to Nanaimo and region of anywhere from $12 - $20 million annually. It is hoped the federal government will provide the remaining needed $5 million to complete the project.

Extensive work is required to turn the Assembly Wharf into a suitable terminal to receive cruise ship guests. The harbour needs dredging, there are gangways to be built and a variety of other facilities to accomodate cruise ship visitors to Nanaimo.

allvoices

FALL COLOURS IN NANAIMO

ENJOY THE FALL COLOURS
AND THE SPECTACULAR WEATHER

Many were out yesterday enjoying the near record temperatures and fantastic fall show with the changing colours of our trees.

Conditions must be just right this year as the colours are brilliant and we have not had the usual wind and rains, which remove the leaves from the trees.

The parking lot at Swy-a-lana Lagoon was a busy place with people taking advantage of the dry sunny weather and lovely art show put on by the changing seasons.

Get out and enjoy .... it might be raining soon.

allvoices

VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY TO HELP DEVELOP TOURISM

TOURISM CHAIR BOOSTS
RURAL BENEFITS FROM OLYMPIC GAMES

A regional innovation chair at Vancouver Island University to support tourism in rural B.C. will provide the knowledge to increase the benefits of the 2010 Winter Games in smaller communities and help them expand their economic base, Premier Gordon Campbell said today.

“Rural B.C. communities enjoy some of the most spectacular surroundings in the world, and this chair will help them capitalize on their natural assets by providing resources to guide tourism development,” said Premier Campbell. “We’re looking forward to showcasing rural B.C. to the tourists who will discover our beautiful province through the Olympic Games, and who will return to visit us time and again.”

The Province provided $1.25 million from the Leading Edge Endowment Fund to endow the B.C. Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development. Matching funding has been raised by Vancouver Island University, with $250,000 contributed by the B.C. Real Estate Foundation.

“Research and innovation provide a foundation for strong and vibrant local economies, which is one of the reasons we’ve invested more than $1.7 billion in research over the past seven years,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Technology, Trade and Economic Development. “By funding this chair we are helping the tourism industry meet the government’s goal to double revenues by 2015, and will provide the support for rural communities to be part of this growth.”

The chair is held by Nicole Vaugeois, who has a PhD in tourism planning and development from Michigan State University, and has worked with regional and community tourism organizations on Vancouver Island to identify opportunities to expand tourism in the region.

“The untapped opportunities in our region are significant, and I applaud our government’s support of rural tourism in B.C. and in particular, on Vancouver Island,” said Vaugeois. “I am looking forward to collaborating on quality initiatives that will support the regional economic and social development of the communities we serve.”

The chair will be part of the faculty of management at Vancouver Island University, and its research program will include developing and delivering customized management training, help regions and communities with their planning needs, and promote long-term opportunities resulting from the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“This chair and the funding to support it fit very well with VIU’s role in economic development,” said Ralph Nilson, president of Vancouver Island University. “VIU is committed to working with business to strengthen research and development. Nicole has an exceptional background in economic development and tourism, and she is a strong leader. We are very pleased to have her play this role on our behalf.”

The $56.25-million Leading Edge Endowment Fund is establishing nine regional innovation chairs, along with 20 research leadership chairs to help attract top researchers to B.C., and to retain them. Institutions provide matching funds secured from outside partners.

This is the province’s fourth B.C. regional innovation chair. Regional innovation chairs have three main goals:

· To support applied research, development and innovation that will bolster regional economic and social development in all areas of the province.

· To attract highly qualified people in areas relevant to regional social and economic development.

· To support collaboration between post-secondary institutions and their regional communities.


allvoices

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

B.C. GOVERNMENT ECONOMIC PLAN

ECONOMIC PLAN SUPPORTS

FAMILIES AND BOOSTS PRODUCTIVITY


The B.C. Government will take immediate steps to improve the province’s economic competitiveness and reduce costs for families and business in the wake of the global economic slowdown, Premier Gordon Campbell announced to British Columbians this evening.

“Today the world’s financial system is in the grips of its worst crisis in over 75 years. World stock markets are reeling, commodity prices are plunging and the world’s financial system is under attack,” said Premier Campbell. “The ripple effects are being felt in every corner of the globe and every region of our province. There are no easy solutions to these problems. However, we are going to act immediately to alleviate the impacts and to emerge stronger than ever.”

Premier Campbell outlined 10 key measures during his address:

1. Unlimited deposit insurance for deposits to credit unions: The Province intends to provide unlimited deposit insurance protection on deposits to British Columbia’s credit unions effective immediately. Deposits at credit unions were formerly insured up to a level of $100,000. All credit unions in the province have deposit insurance through the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation. The new protection will apply to deposits currently covered by this insurance. This brings B.C. in line with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, PEI, and New Brunswick, which all also provide unlimited provincial deposit insurance protection. Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland cover $250,000. Ontario provides $100,000 per registered account.

2. A new pension opportunity: The Province will create a new private sector pension opportunity for British Columbians who currently have no access to a pension plan. About 75 per cent of private sector workers in B.C. currently have no access to a group pension plan. Flowing from work done with the Joint Expert Panel on Pension Standards with Alberta, in the months ahead the government will spearhead the creation of a privately financed, defined contribution plan that will be available to employers, employees and self-employed people on a voluntary basis.

3. An accelerated, retroactive personal income tax cut: There will be a five per cent personal income tax reduction retroactive to January 1, 2008. This includes the two per cent tax cut that took effect July 1 of this year as well as the planned three per cent reduction that was to take effect January 1, 2009. Taxpayers will see the retroactive benefit on their 2008 tax return. It will put an additional $144 million in the pockets of British Columbians.

4. School property tax rebate for industry: 50 per cent of all school property taxes will be rebated to light and heavy industry to help some of B.C.’s oldest and largest employers, particularly in rural British Columbia. It will save industry about $115 million over the next three years and is on top of the approximately $24 million in annual benefits to heavy industry announced in the 2008 budget. This builds on the plan to have the lowest corporate income tax rate in Canada by 2011.

5. Accelerated tax relief for small business: Effective December 1, 2008 the small business income tax rate will be reduced to 2.5 per cent from the current 3.5 per cent. Small business income tax rates were already reduced from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent on July 1, 2008 with a plan to reduce them to 2.5 per cent by 2011. This will accelerate that tax cut by two years, resulting in a 44 per cent tax cut for small business this year alone. The savings to small business will be $146 million over three years.

6. Double commission paid to business for PST and HRT collection: The Province will double the commission it pays business for collecting the provincial sales tax and hotel room tax. That will provide more than 100,000 businesses with approximately $60 million over three years and add up to $1,200 to a business’s bottom line.

7. Accelerated public infrastructure: The Province will accelerate public investments in capital infrastructure projects. Funding will focus on projects without a long lead time that will keep people employed in our construction sector.

8. 33 per cent reduction in ferry fares for December and January: The Province will fund a 33 per cent reduction of ferry fares on all routes for December and January. This is on top of the upcoming 50 per cent reduction in the fuel surcharge on ferry fees that will come into effect November 4. In addition, ferry service levels for all routes, including the Sunshine Coast will be restored. This will require a one-time, $20-million investment.

9. Rein in avoidable government spending: The Province will re-evaluate spending priorities and focus on scaling back unbudgeted increases.

10. Recall the Legislature: As a number of these measures require legislative approval, the Legislature will be recalled on November 20.

These measures account for an additional accumulation of $485 million in tax relief and support for businesses, families and individuals over the next three years.

“These measures are as aggressive as our current fiscal outlook allows, without compromising our ability to balance the budget or cut previously planned funding lifts for critical government services such as health care and education,” said Premier Campbell “These measures will provide relief for families, workers and businesses by putting more money back into taxpayers’ pockets.”

Earlier in the day, Premier Campbell announced a series of initiatives to ensure the province is getting the best possible input and expert advice on ways to improve in competitiveness and productivity. They include:

· A new Economic Advisory Council composed of some of Canada’s top CEOs, academics and economists.

· A “New North” Economic Summit will be organized for January in Prince George and will focus on the unique opportunities and challenges in that region.

· A two-day Economic Summit will be held in Vancouver in late January to look at ways to capitalize on economic opportunities.

· New measures will be taken to implement the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement with Alberta. The agreement will be fully implemented by April 1, 2009 and create the second-largest economy in Canada.

· B.C. will work with other provinces and the federal government to eliminate regulatory duplication and reduce costs of federal-provincial overlap.


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NANAIMO MUNICIPAL ELECTION

NANAIMO CIVIC ELECTION
SIGNS DOT THE LANDSCAPE

Signs for some of the hopefuls in the upcoming Nanaimo Municipal elections have popped up like mushrooms at the high volume intersections such as these seen at Hammond Bay and Departure Bay Rd.

Modern technology has made it possible to not only see the name of some of the candidates but what they look like as well.

Have you ever wondered where the money comes from for all those fancy signs? Do the candidates dig into their own pockets so they may serve the community? Are there special interest groups in the 'back rooms' who dig into their pockets to elect their candidate so that they may craft the future of Nanaimo? Or do I just have too vivid an imagination?

Municipal elections are just as important as Provincial and Federal elections, and perhaps even more so as the decisions made by your elected Mayor and council will have a direct effect on you and your community. So take the time to find out what the issues facing Nanaimo really are and what the different candidates stand for and whether they seem to have the experience to really spend your hard earned tax dollar.

Stay tuned to this blog for ongoing information about the upcoming Nanaimo municipal election as I hope to publish information from each of the candidates to help you make an informed choice.

Democracy only works when everyone takes the time to get involved and make their opinion known come election day. If you don't take the time to participate, you have no right to complain when your taxes go up and you have no idea what they are being spend on.

Get to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues facing Nanaimo in the coming years.

For a list of the candidates for Mayor and Council use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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CANADIANS GET REFUND FOR VELFORM SAUNA BELT SOLD BY NORTHERN RESPONSE

Competition Bureau Stops Unproven

Claims in Weight Loss Infomercials

Consumers to Get Full Refund for Velform Sauna Belt from Northern Response International Ltd.

Toronto-based Northern Response International Ltd. will pay $400,000 in penalties and costs and offer full refunds to consumers who purchased the Velform Sauna Belt, an alleged weight-loss device. In addition, the company will broadcast corrective notices on television and will cease using unsubstantiated claims in the sale and promotion of the Velform Sauna Belt, as part of a consent agreement reached with the Competition Bureau.

The Bureau's concerns involved the sale and promotion of the product through television commercials (including infomercials), the company's Web site and Canadian retailers. The company’s commercials’ claimed the product, a waist belt, would melt away fat and cellulite, resulting in significant and effortless weight loss. The Commissioner of Competition concluded that these representations were false and misleading under the Competition Act. The claims were not based on adequate and proper testing as required.

The company relied on third-party information as to the performance of the Velform Sauna Belt without conducting its own independent testing.

"Businesses must exercise caution when making performance claims to the public that are based solely on third party information," said Andrea Rosen, Deputy Commissioner of Competition. "We will continue to challenge companies and senior management who do not properly substantiate performance claims to ensure that Canadians are not misled."

As part of the Bureau's continued cooperation with its international partners, this agreement prohibits the company from reselling the returned Velform Sauna Belts in Canada or any other jurisdiction, using unsubstantiated claims.

The consent agreement was filed with the Competition Tribunal today. A copy is available on the Tribunal Web site.

Consumers who purchased a Velform Sauna Belt can obtain a full refund. Further details are available by contacting:

Velform Sauna Belt Refund Request
150 Shorting Rd.
Scarborough, Ontario M1S 3S6
Toll Free: 1-866-547-2090 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST)

This action was taken as part of the Bureau's ongoing efforts to combat false or misleading health claims. This health initiative has been focussed to date on improving the quality and accuracy of information that is used to promote products, treatments and therapies for weight loss, diabetes and cancer.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CANADIAN POSTAL STRIKE THREATENED

CANADIAN POSTAL WORKERS TO STRIKE
IN NOVEMBER IF DEMANDS NOT MET

It is reported that the Canadian Post Office could be hit with a strike just in time for Christmas if workers demands are not met.
The Union of Postal & Communications Employees spokesman says the union has voted 88% in favour of strike action to back demands.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers apparently ratified their new collective agreement with a 73% in favour vote at the end of September.

UPCE members could strike no earlier than Nov. 9 if an agreement is not reached. So you better get your requests into St. Nick pretty quick.


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DRIVERS REMINDED TO SLOW DOWN DRIVING IN FALL WEATHER

ICBC reminds drivers to use extra caution

With the fall weather upon us, ICBC is reminding drivers to slow down.

In 2007, during the months of October and November, police reported approximately 780 crashes on BC's roads, in which bad weather (rain, snow, sleet or fog) was a contributing factor. These crashes resulted in approximately 490 casualties (injuries or fatalities).

While we've had some dry and favourable conditions recently, we've also experienced some wetter and colder days. With unpredictable weather it's important for drivers to adjust quickly to changing conditions that include fog as well as icy and slippery roads. All motorists are encouraged to check weather and road conditions before traveling long distances as conditions can vary widely across the province.

When the roads are wet, motorists are advised to:

  • Slow down: It can take up to three times the normal stopping distance to come to a complete stop on a wet or slippery road.
  • Turn off the cruise control: Wet roads can cause wheels to spin and lose control. The only way to stop wheels from spinning and maintain control is to immediately reduce power. An activated cruise control system applies continuous power, keeping the wheels spinning. By the time you disengage the cruise control it may be too late - you may have already lost control.
  • Avoid flooded roads: Try to avoid driving, even at low speed, through a flooded area. Deep water can stall your vehicle's engine and reduce the vehicle's braking ability.
  • Don't drive with bald or badly worn tires: Check your tires' tread, as well as ensure they are properly inflated.
  • Winterize your vehicle and plan ahead: Vehicle maintenance is cost effective and ensures reliability. Also check road conditions before heading out. Remember, while it may be raining in the Lower Mainland there could be snow and icy road conditions at higher elevations, such as on the Coquihalla and Sea-to-Sky highways.
  • Turn on low-beam headlights and wipers: Ensure you have optimal visibility of the road ahead, and that other motorists can see you.

If you're involved in a crash, ICBC is dedicated to providing a hassle-free claims experience. Claims can be reported ICBC's Dial-A-Claim centre 24 hours a day, 365 days per year:

Lower Mainland: 604-520-8222
Elsewhere in B.C.: 1-800-910-4222
Outside B.C.: 1-800-910-4222

ICBC also works with the auto repair industry to deliver excellent customer service, high quality repairs and to manage costs for the benefit of customers. ICBC has accredited more than 400 c.a.r. shop facilities across BC to ensure customers receive quality repair work that's guaranteed.

C.a.r. shop VALET facilities can also help with your transportation needs while your vehicle is being repaired. They'll even pick you up to exchange your vehicle and return it when repairs are finished, at no extra charge.

To locate a c.a.r. shop VALET near you, visit icbc.com.


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AGING CANADIAN POPULATION NEEDS MORE CARE

STATISTICS CANADA REPORT

Study: Caring for seniors

In 2007, about 2.7 million Canadians aged 45 and over, or approximately one-fifth of the total in this age group, provided some form of unpaid care to seniors (people 65 years of age or older) who had long-term health problems.

Between 2002 and 2007, the number of people providing care to seniors increased by more than 670,000.

A factor that will impact caregiving for seniors is the aging of the population. According to census data, the population of seniors surpassed 4.3 million in 2006, up 11.5% from 2001. Population projections suggest that the proportion of seniors in the general population will increase from 13% in 2006 to 21% in 2026.

In 2007, the majority of caregivers, 54%, reported that they were coping "very well" with their caregiving responsibilities. Another 42% said they were "generally okay" with this role.

Many people giving care to seniors are balancing this with other responsibilities, such as jobs and care for their own children. About 43% of caregivers were aged between 45 and 54, when many Canadians still have children living at home. Caregivers were more likely to be women who were employed and married.

In 2007, one in four caregivers, or about 675,000 people, were themselves seniors, and one-third of these senior caregivers were over the age of 75.


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DION STEPS DOWN AS LIBERAL LEADER

October 20, 2008

The Honourable St├ęphane Dion will step down as Liberal Leader

OTTAWA —The Honourable St├ęphane Dion announced today that he will step down as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada once a new leader is elected at the Liberal Party of Canada’s Leadership and Biennial Convention, to be held in 2009.

Mr. Dion will continue in his role as Liberal Leader and Leader of the Official Opposition until such time to ensure a timely and smooth transition for the party.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

NEW GIFT CARD RULES IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

MOST GIFT CARDS WILL NOT
EXPIRE IN BRITISH COLUMBIA

New regulations banning expiry dates and fees on most gift cards sold in the province will better protect consumers’ interests, Solicitor General John van Dongen announced today.

“People buying gift cards will now get what they pay for, because the value of a gift card can no longer be eroded by fees or handling charges,” van Dongen said. “We consulted with both consumers and businesses, and a strong majority support the changes.”

“These regulations will ensure customers have the information they need to make prudent decisions when purchasing and using gift cards,” said Max Logan, B.C. director for the Retail Council of Canada.

As of Nov. 1, 2008, the Public Safety and Solicitor General (Gift Card Certainty) Statutes Amendment Act and regulations will:

  • Require businesses to fully inform consumers at the time of purchase how gift cards can be redeemed, used and replaced.
  • Prohibit gift cards that expire, unless they are issued or sold for charitable or promotional purposes, or if they are for a specific good or service such as a haircut, because it is not expected that a business would make the same product or service available indefinitely.
  • Prohibit handling charges or fees, except in limited circumstances, such as if a gift card is personalized with a photograph.

Some pre-paid cards that fall outside provincial jurisdiction are not covered by the legislation, such as telephone cards and cards with credit card branding. Gift cards sold by shopping malls for use at multiple stores in a mall will be allowed to charge some fees, however, the terms and conditions for their use must be disclosed to the consumer.

Merchants can use up old card stock that may show an expiry date, but it cannot be enforced on cards purchased after Nov. 1. Consumers should keep their receipts to prove the purchase date. Receipts are also important to get replacement cards if originals are lost or stolen.

Individuals or businesses that do not comply with the regulations could be subject to penalties, and customers will be entitled to a refund if they are charged fees that are prohibited.

Customers unable to resolve a gift card problem with a business can contact the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority, which investigates consumer complaints.

More information on the new gift card regulations is available at http://www.bpcpa.ca.


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Saturday, October 18, 2008

ARE NANAIMO DRIVERS STILL BEING GOUGED AT THE PUMPS


THIS IS THE PRICE OF GAS
IN OTTAWA AS OF TODAYS DATE.


THIS IS THE PRICE OF GAS
IN NANAIMO AS OF TODAYS DATE


Oil prices have been falling like a rock this past week, which is one of the good things to come out of the present economic turmoil. They are 50% of what they were last July when pump prices peaked at about $1.50.


Now the oil companies say it takes several months for the lower crude oil prices to be reflected at the pumps. However, I seem to remember that before hurricane Ike had even hit land that on the pure speculation there would be an oil shortage the pump prices jumped by 15 cents per litre in one day.

Does that mean it takes months for falling prices to be reflected at the pumps but seconds to be changed if the price may be going up?

I am all for free enterprise but these oil companies are operating like a monopoly and the only ones who can seem to be able to bring them to heal would be a massive consumer protest of some kind.

They pretend there is competition and it seems that the Quebec government is the only level of government which has any stomach for taking these companies to task.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

BC FERRIES TO REDUCE FUEL SURCHARGE

FALLING OIL PRICES RESULT
IN FUEL SURCHARGE REDUCTION
ON BC FERRIES BY NOV. 3

Falling oil prices have resulted in BC Ferries announcing they will reduce the fuel surcharge by 50% no later than Nov. 3.


If the change can be worked through the companies computer system any sooner the changes could come into effect sooner.

It was also announced that the corporation will be deciding over the next 30 days when they will be able to eliminate the other 50% surcharge.

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FREE ELECTRONIC IMMOBILIZER FOR FORD F-SERIES TRUCKS OFFERED BY ICBC

Ford F-Series trucks most stolen vehicles in B.C.

ICBC, police respond with immobilizer offer, more bait cars

ICBC, the provincial government, and the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) have announced new approaches to reduce the theft of Ford F-Series trucks – now the most stolen vehicles in B.C.

While the theft rate for most vehicles has declined significantly over the last year, Ford F-Series trucks haven’t done as well. Thieves often target these vehicles because many are not immobilized. ICBC, the provincial government and IMPACT want to ensure drivers of these vehicles are using immobilizers to protect against auto theft.

"We have made great strides in reducing auto theft over the past five years in B.C.,” said Solicitor General John van Dongen. “By specifically targeting the most stolen vehicle in B.C., we believe we can build on our successes and further reduce vehicle theft and enhance public safety."

In 2007, Ford F-series trucks were the fourth most stolen vehicles in B.C. Now that they are in the number one spot, ICBC has launched a pilot project in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to offer owners of non-immobilized 2000 to 2006 Ford F-Series trucks a free electronic immobilizer, up to a value of $160 including installation and tax. Letters will be mailed out this month to 2,200 owners of F-150s, F-250s and F-350s. Those receiving the offer will have until December 6, 2008, to book their installation at a participating retailer.

“Immobilizers are the best protection against auto theft and we are optimistic that this pilot project, along with the bait car program and other strategies, will help continue the downward trend in theft,” says Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s Road Safety director. “The average repair cost for a stolen Ford F-Series truck is more than twice that of the average stolen vehicle in B.C. By reducing thefts and claims costs, we can keep providing customers with low and stable rates.”

As part of this initiative, IMPACT is also increasing the number of Ford F-Series trucks in their bait car fleet. “We’re taking action to further bring down auto theft,” says Sgt. Gord Elias of IMPACT. “The theft of Ford pick-ups often leads to significant public safety issues – thieves target these powerful trucks because they know how to steal them and often use them to commit other serious crimes. Now we are expanding the net and are targeting the thieves that steal these vehicles.”

The bait car program and other auto crime prevention programs and tools have been very effective in reducing auto crime. When comparing statistics in the first six months of 2008 to the same period in 2007, auto theft has dropped by 16 per cent in B.C. and 19 per cent in the Lower Mainland. In the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2003 – the year IMPACT’s bait car program first started – auto theft has dropped by 45 per cent in B.C. and by 54 per cent in the Lower Mainland.

For more information on anti-theft devices and optional insurance discounts, visit icbc.com.


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