Friday, February 27, 2009
Friday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Saturday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Sunday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
For Nanaimo Movies Guide use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Nanaimo residents were in for a surprise this morning as they awoke to nearly a foot of freshly fallen snow.
Transforming the familiar spring green into a wonderland of white, giving kids the day off school and causing some to be either late for, or miss work altogether.
City crews still had blades on their trucks and were reported as prepared for the reminder that winter has not officially left Nanaimo just yet.
Puffed up against the cold air, this forlorn looking Robin seems perplexed by what greeted his eyes this morning. Taking worms off of the menu and replacing them with a few berries still hanging on different trees and bushes.
This daffy daffodil wonders if he/she perhaps bloomed a little early this year. This is usually what gives us Nanaimoites bragging rights over the rest of Canada at this time of year.
This was one time the weatherman was bang on, unfortunately. Now if he can only be as accurate for blue skies and warm temperatures this summer!
All schools in Nanaimo- Ladysmith district 68 will be closed today because of the heavy snowfall.
Buses cannot run and it is uncertain if all teachers would be able to get to schools, so the decision has been made to close all schools.
What is a bit of a pain in the neck for most, is surely welcomed by the children, as no child can resist a snow day.
Get out and build a few Frosties before regular temperatures return and the white is once again replaced with the more familiar green.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Follows are quotes from the official website of the British Monarchy.
The Royal Household aims to provide exceptional advice and support to The Queen, enabling her to serve the nation and its people.
We employ approximately 1200 staff across a wide range of professions with varied skills including those relating to: catering and hospitality, gardening, finance, secretarial, media relations, marketing, human resources, IT, property surveying and maintenance, equine management, visitor management and retail, furniture restoration, curatorship and strategic planning and research.
Each summer during August and September the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace open to the public for eight weeks.
A team of approximately 300 temporary staff is recruited each year to welcome over 350,000 visitors from around the world to The Queen’s London home.
In our most recent staff satisfaction survey, 98% of summer staff enjoyed their experience and each year a large percentage of employees return to work again the following year.
We also recruit temporary staff to work during the busy summer season at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
For Business Advice
In this issue:
Strong leaders build stronger companies
The best practices to strengthen leadership skills in your business – an interview with Jean-René Halde, BDC's President and CEO
Surviving in trying times
In this economy, focus on things you can control
Tips for making the right equipment purchase
Innovation, training and safety among the top criteria for success
Take advantage of the 2009 federal budget
Tax changes, allowances and incentives for entrepreneurs
Success story: ADF Group Inc. – Thinking big
How ADF Group overcame its financial hurdles and grew
BDC's new branding
Who we are and what we do
Entrepreneurs are also invited to ask a question online to our consulting expert. This month's theme is Corporate Social Responsibility.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
In addition many retailers are offering further incentives to replace those old inefficient stoves with new EPA approved appliances.
For more information on this program use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
A compliment to Vancouver Island Music most of her life, Alice writes and performs her own original music.
Classically trained in voice and guitar, she loves to play many other instruments, some of which include pennywhistle, hand drums & dulcimer.
Alice's celtic lyrics and inspirational songs have a unique flavor all their own. Interpretive cover tunes are also thoughtfully woven throughout her performances.
Her collaborative efforts with other musicians on Vancouver Island have been expressed through benefit concerts, coffee houses, festivals, house concerts, weddings and funerals.
"Her songs evoke haunting visions of powerful waves on an unforgiving coast. Yet she can write with humor and playfulness.”
"Her music is Celtic, but describing in that genre doesn’t describe the clear sweetness of her voice or the originality of her lyrics”
Alice's New CD "Dreams of a Barren Woman" based on Isaiah 54 has been released and you can hear clips from it online.
"This CD has been a dream in the making for some years....and yes, dreams come true and You can make them happen!! I call it a girl CD, although both genders are enjoying. This CD is a life experience and the songs follow a story."
Some of the New Songs are available for you to listen online and make up your mind whether you want a copy for yourself, the art work is worth having if the music doesn't turn your crank.
You can see some You tube clips by clicking here. If you like what you hear, you can order a CD and enjoy a 10% discount by clicking here.
VANCOUVER – The Province is proclaiming Feb. 25 as Anti-Bullying Day to support efforts to end bullying behaviours in schools and communities across the province, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today.
“School districts, schools, families and communities are working together to create an environment of respect and are making our schools and streets safer,” said Premier Campbell. “All across British Columbia, parents, teachers and students and community members are taking a stand against bullying and saying that no one should ever be made to feel intimidated, afraid or discriminated against.”
The Ministry of Education has developed a resource for parents that will be distributed to all public, independent and band schools to help families better understand their shared role in bullying prevention. The parent resource brochure and Internet safety tips are published in 14 languages and can be found online at this Nanaimo Info LINK.
All 60 school districts have codes of conduct in place reflecting the legislation passed in the fall of 2007. This step fulfils a commitment to institute “zero tolerance” of bullying in B.C. schools. School districts across the province have set up student web forums, introduced anti-bullying programs facilitated by local police and community groups, and have made information available through school district websites to help parents deal with children who are either bullied or being bullies.
“Feb. 25 is a day we can all stand up together and take a stand against bullying,” said Education Minister Shirley Bond. “We all have responsibility to ensure schools are safe places to learn. Students can help by standing for their classmates, parents can help by talking openly with their children about acting in a respectful way towards others, and schools can help by holding students accountable for their actions.”
Anti-Bullying Day highlights British Columbia’s commitment to being a safe and inclusive province and is an opportunity to actively promote respectful and kind behaviour among citizens. It recognizes efforts to build communities that foster respect, fairness, equity and compassion, and to celebrate the actions of individuals, schools and communities to address bullying, harassment and intimidation.
“I want to thank CKNW and Christy Clark for being a leader in helping promote Anti-Bullying Day in B.C.,” said Premier Campbell. “We can all play a role in making British Columbia a safer place to live.”
Anti-Bullying Day complements the Province’s beliefs that a healthy environment and educated populace are essential to healthy human development, and that a safe, humane society is the outcome of an enlightened and caring community.
Monday, February 23, 2009
The Toronto Star reports the almost unbelievable story of a couple who have had their home run into twice in the same month by cars.
The first incident on Feb. 2 involved an elderly couple who lost control of their car and crashed into the living room after hitting a snowbank.
The owners of the house moved all of their belongings not destroyed in the first crash into their bedroom and were living elsewhere awaiting repairs.
This past weekend a 25 year old male suspected under the influence, crashed his car into the bedroom of the same home after running a stop sign.
When it gets repaired it would be no surprise if this home goes on the market!
VICTORIA – British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) today released its third quarter results for fiscal 2008/09. The company reported a net loss of $14.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2008, compared to a net loss of $7.8 million in the same quarter last year. Net earnings for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2008 were $47.5 million, down from $67.7 million for the same period in the previous year.
Due to the seasonality of ferry travel, BC Ferries typically generates higher net earnings in the first and second quarters, which are subsequently reduced by net losses in the last two quarters of its fiscal year. The company utilizes the third and fourth quarters to perform upgrades, maintenance and refits and to undertake mandatory inspections on the majority of its vessels.
For the three months ended December 31, 2008, total revenue increased by $12.9 million to $149.4 million while total expenses increased $19.7 million to $164.0 million, compared to the same period last year. Revenues for the nine months ended December 31, 2008 increased $36.9 million to $553.4 million with expenses in the same period increasing $57.1 million to $505.9 million, compared to the nine months ended December 31, 2007. Of this increase in expenses, over $32 million is due to higher fuel expense primarily as a result of a lift in fuel prices as established by the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner. Amortization and interest expense have increased $17.2 million and $12.5 million respectively, due to our significant asset renewal program.
For the complete statement use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
So what is behind all this Chicken Little reporting anyway?
Well, Stats Canada just released a report showing that retail sales have indeed fallen when comparing Dec. 08 with Dec. 07 sales figures.
The decline nationally is posted at -5.4%, B.C. -5.6%, Ontario -6%, P.E.I. -4.5% and Nunavit -0.7%.
Another Way of Seeing Things
As a retailer of course you want to see ever increasing sales numbers and ever increasing profits. But really, is the world ending because you took in $94.60 this year instead of the $100.00 you took in last year?
I have to wonder why all the media these days seem bent on making things appear far more dark than they really are. This whole recession/depression can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if the press keeps hammering away and over blowing the negative!
The recession is driven by people not spending, and if you keep telling people the end is near, they indeed will not spend. And presto ........ your bad news headlines become reality.
Friday, February 20, 2009
Fears Nanaimo Will Lose
It is reported in the local daily that Ron Dale put forward a successful motion calling for the school board to reinstate the previously approved plan for renewing Nanaimo schools.
The newly elected board rejected the previously adopted plan which had been accepted by the Provincial Minstry of Education. During the recent election they promised to look at alternatives to the previously approved plan which they and a vocal citizen group are opposed to.
They have however, not put forward anything even remotely approaching a plan and the education minister has made it clear there will be no provincial funding without a properly studied and researched plan in place.
This new school board has now put in jeopardy a plan that so far has taken 11 years to put together, and had the blessing of the provincial ministry which would have provided funding for the $87 million renewal plan.
If you agree with Ron that this board needs to reinstate the already approved plan, then let the trustees know how you feel.
I think they were probably elected by the typical vocal minority while the apathetic majority slept through the last election. If you don't like what you see happening, then let them know. They still should respond to public support and they clearly have put forward no viable alternatives.
If their decision is not changed, Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District will look pretty much the same in another ten years.
You can contact your trustees by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Despite the global economic downturn, the number and value of major construction projects planned or underway across B.C. went up during the fourth quarter of 2008, Ida Chong, Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, announced today.
“British Columbia continues to show resilience, with 880 major construction projects, worth an estimated $179.4 billion,” Chong said. “With Premier Gordon Campbell’s announcement of $14 billion in new infrastructure spending and the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games around the corner, B.C. has what it takes to build for a strong future.”
According to the Major Projects Inventory, December 2008 edition:
- Eight hundred and eighty major capital projects, worth an estimated $179.4 billion, were planned or underway in B.C. between October and December 2008.
- This is an increase of 21 per cent in estimated value from the same time period in 2007, when 835 major capital projects worth an estimated $148.1 billion were planned or underway.
- Thirteen major construction projects started during the fourth quarter with a total value of $1.9 billion. The largest of these projects is the Gateway Program’s South Fraser Perimeter Road in the Surrey/Delta area, valued at $1 billion and expected to create an estimated 7,000 new jobs by 2021. It is estimated that the remaining 12 projects will generate 8,334 direct and indirect jobs.
- Construction was completed on 17 projects in the fourth quarter, with an estimated capital cost of $1.3 billion, including the $298-million Vancouver Island Transmission Reinforcement project near Tsawwassen.
- Forty-nine major construction projects are on hold, worth an estimated $14.2 billion.
Published quarterly by the Ministry of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, the Major Projects Inventory lists all major projects that are proposed, planned or underway in British Columbia. The inventory includes projects with a capital cost of at least $20 million within the Lower Mainland and projects valued at $15 million or more in the rest of B.C.
Budget 2009 is investing almost $14 billion in infrastructure projects, separate from the investments listed in the Major Projects Inventory, in every region of British Columbia. The Province will move forward on its capital plan and partner with the federal government and municipalities to build and upgrade housing, hospitals, schools and roads. These new and accelerated investments will generate as many as 88,000 jobs across B.C.
The December edition of the Major Projects Inventory will be available online using this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Friday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Saturday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Sunday calendar of events use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
For Nanaimo Movies Guide use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Calls For Entries
The Nanaimo Arts Council invites entries from young people and elders for the March intergenerational showcase at the gallery in Nanaimo North - Town Centre. This is a wonderful opportunity for children/youth and elders to participate in a painting and 3d sculpture art show.
The age categories are children 6-9, junior 10-13, youth 14-18 and elders 75 years of age or better. All entries must be original work done by the artist. The fee is $5.00 per entry. No commission will be charged on sales. Deadline for entries is March 1st, 2009.
OTTAWA, February 19, 2009 — Housing starts reached 211,056 units in 2008, a decrease from 228,343 in 2007, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) first quarter Housing Market Outlook, Canada Edition report. Starts are expected to be about 160,250 for 2009 and about 163,350 for 2010.
“The new home market is moderating due to a number of key factors,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist for CMHC. “The economic downturn will result in a decrease in demand for home ownership leading to a decline in housing starts and existing home sales in 2009. Housing market activity will begin to strengthen as the Canadian economy rebounds in 2010 and the level of housing starts over the forecast period will be more in line with demographic fundamentals.”
Existing home sales, as measured by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®)1, are expected to decline 14.6 per cent during 2009 to 370,500 units. In 2010 the level of MLS® sales is expected to increase by 9.3 per cent to 405,000 units. The average MLS® price is also expected to decrease over the course of 2009. Average prices are forecast to be $287,900 for 2009, a decline of 5.2 per cent, while 2010 will see little change from 2009 average prices.
As Canada’s national housing agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable homes — homes that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.
For more information, call 1-800-668-2642.The B.C. housing starts outlook:
2008 actual starts 34,321
2009 forecast starts 22,800
2010 forecast starts 20,700
Experiencing a crash can be frightening and stressful to say the very least, so ICBC and its Autoplan brokers have teamed up to distribute a claims card – titled At the scene of a crash – to help customers remember all the vital information they need to gather in order to make a claim.
“Our customers who have never been in a crash may not know what information to collect, which only adds to an already stressful situation,” said Craig Horton, senior vice president of claims at ICBC. “We believe this card will help reduce the stress for those customers involved in a crash.”
The card will make it easier for customers to record important information at the scene, such as:
- The location, date and time of the crash
- The licence plate numbers of other vehicle(s) involved
- Witness names and contact information
The claims card also includes a diagram to help customers illustrate what happened at the scene.
In addition to English versions, cards are also available in Cantonese and Punjabi.
“At the scene of a crash cards are available from local Autoplan brokers or ICBC Claim Centres, and will help ensure a hassle-free claims experience for our customers,” said Horton.
Claims can be filed 24 hours a day, seven days a week using ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim lines. Customers in the Lower Mainland should call 604-520-8222, while those elsewhere should call 1-800-910-4222.
Download a copy of the At the scene of a crash card.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, along with Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon and Community Development Minister Kevin Krueger, announced an investment of over $110 million for 41 infrastructure projects to help smaller communities throughout British Columbia meet their pressing infrastructure needs, help stimulate the economy and support continued economic growth.
"We are teaming up with the B.C. government and local governments to deliver results to British Columbians by building roads, bridges and water systems," said Day. "The combined investment of more than $175 million from the three levels of government will make a difference in our B.C. communities by creating jobs, improving our quality of life, and helping our economy now and for years to come."
"The B.C. government has been working with the Government of Canada to get these dollars flowing quickly into communities across the province," said Falcon. "Not only are these projects important improvements to local infrastructure, they're an important stimulus to local economies, and it's estimated that this investment will create 1,750 direct and indirect jobs."
As an example of a project that will be funded, the City of Kamloops will receive $14.2 million from the federal and provincial governments to upgrade and update the existing wastewater treatment plant to provide tertiary treatment and nutrient management. The project benefits the 85,000 people served by the treatment plant as well as residents of surrounding rural areas who rely on the plant for their sewage disposal. The upgrades will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through methane capture, allow for the reuse of reclaimed wastewater effluent and composted sludge, and increase effluent quality for the protection of the Thompson River.
The federal and provincial governments are providing up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs, with local governments covering the remainder of project funding. Together with funds from the communities, the investment in community infrastructure will total more than $175 million.
"Local governments receiving this funding will be glad to know that the decisions have been made and that the projects can begin shortly," said Union of B.C. Municipalities president Robert Hobson. "Funding through the Communities Component will provide some welcome support to a number of communities across British Columbia.
Communities that applied in the first intake will be informed within the next couple of weeks as to the status of their applications. The federal and provincial governments will launch a second intake soon and will consider applications received by March 16 for the next round of approvals. Applications received after that date but by the deadline of April 24 will be considered in a subsequent round of approvals from this intake.
Elections BC is currently taking applications for positions in the upcoming provincial elections.
Applications are being taken for Election Workers and Office Support Staff. For more information on these job openings use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Budget 2009 supports infrastructure projects to create thousands of jobs and build opportunities in every region of the province while providing stability and confidence for British Columbians by investing in health, education and social services, announced Finance Minister Colin Hansen today.
“Budget 2009 builds on B.C.’s Economic Plan to help families, communities and business alleviate the effects of the economic slowdown,” said Hansen. “Despite unprecedented global economic turmoil, we are improving public services and making critical investments to create tens of thousands of jobs and position British Columbia as a leader in the coming economic recovery.”
Budget 2009 invests almost $14 billion in infrastructure projects in every region of British Columbia. The Province will move forward on its capital plan and partner with the federal government and municipalities to build and upgrade housing, hospitals, schools and roads. These new and accelerated investments will generate as many as 88,000 jobs across B.C.
“Our immediate investment in infrastructure will help stimulate the economy, maintain stability and keep British Columbians working during the downturn – every job counts,” Hansen said. “With our federal and municipal partners, we will build the assets we need to support future growth and development in our province.”
Budget 2009 enhances the fundamental public services on which British Columbians depend. As a result of a comprehensive review of government spending that began last fall, $1.9 billion will be reallocated to strengthen health, education and social services.
Over the next three years, health-care funding will increase by $4.8 billion. By 2011/12, total provincial health spending will be $17.5 billion – an increase of 65 per cent since 2001.
The budget maintains funding for kindergarten to Grade 12 education, resulting in per-student funding of $8,242, the highest level in B.C. history. The budget invests $228 million over three years in post-secondary education to enhance access to institutions, expand health education programs, and fulfil the commitment to increase the number of trained physicians in B.C.
For British Columbians in need, Budget 2009 invests $351 million to support income assistance, programs for adults with developmental disabilities, and funding for healthy child and family development.
As allowed by the recently amended Balanced Budget and Ministerial Accountability Act, Budget 2009 includes a temporary deficit for two fiscal years due to the impact of the global economic crisis on provincial revenues. The deficit is forecast to be $495 million for 2009/10 and $245 million for 2010/11, with a return to balanced budgets by 2011/12.
“There is no doubt that volatile commodity prices, instability in financial markets and weaker global economies have had a detrimental effect on our revenues,” said Hansen. “Our enduring commitment to sound fiscal management and prudent budgeting ensures we will not leave a legacy of deficit budgets for future generations.”
With Budget 2009, the government sets out a plan to take full advantage of four key opportunities in the coming economic recovery: being a leader in the new, green economy; building on the Asia-Pacific Gateway Strategy; becoming a centre for international commerce; and, capitalizing on the benefits of hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
“We have worked hard over the last seven years to bring British Columbia back to being a destination for people to live, work, play and invest,” said Hansen. “Our increasingly diverse economy will enable B.C. to weather the economic storm better than almost any other jurisdiction on the continent. British Columbia will emerge stronger, more confident and enter a whole new stage of growth.”
For the full budget speech and more details use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Back Country Roads Can Be Hazardous
Port Alberni: On Monday night February 16, 2009 at approx 11:00 p.m. two fishermen were reported overdue. The left their residence in Nanaimo late in the afternoon to go fishing in the Nahmint River approx 30 km's south of Port Alberni. By 11:00 p.m. they had not returned home and were reported missing.
The two men one 34 and the other 35 years old apparently were not prepared to spend the night in the bush. RCMP patrols were conducted in an attempt to locate their vehicle. The roads in the area were mostly impassible due to the amount of snow in the area. When their vehicle was not located, the Alberni Search and Rescue Team was activated. The Alberni Search and Rescue Team and the RCMP were able to locate the vehicle at approx 10:30 this morning. The vehicle was stuck in the snow and there was evidence of a fire. From the evidence at the scene it appears as though the two attempted to hike out of the area. At 11:50 a.m. the two were located as they were attempting to walk out of the area. They appear to have survived very well and are in good shape.
As this search ends, the Port Albern RCMP are monitoring another situation involving a stuck vehicle on Mt. Arrowsmith. Apparently a family from the Parksville area decided to drive to the old ski hill on Mt. Arrowsmith yesterday and got stuck. They contacted a friend to assist and he drove to the area and also got stuck. The group were prepared to spend the night, and one person in the group was given a ride out to get equipment and friends to retrieve the vehicles.
The RCMP are reminding all users of back country roads to check to make sure the road they are using is passible. Although there does not appear to be much snow at the higher elevations the mid elevations have seen a lot of snow and there have been numerous reports of vehicles getting stuck. The RCMP will ensure the occupants are safe, however the recovery of a vehicle is the owners responsibility.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In many instances, family, friends, relatives and associates know exactly what criminal activity a person is engaged in. These people are enabling violence to continue by not notifying the police. We need your assistance to put a stop to the violence before more innocent lives are lost.
Now more than ever, anyone with information HAS TO COME FORWARD TO POLICE.
Investigators from the RCMP and VPD will appear on Global TV News at 6:00 pm tonight and on Wednesday night to discuss what police are doing to target organized crime in the province of BC.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team tip line 1-877-543-9217 will be answered live from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm tonight and tomorrow night. Calls that can't be answered live will be directed to voice mail and someone will call you back.
This tip line is always in effect - so if you can't call tonight, please call anytime and IHIT investigators will follow up on your call.
If you wish to remain anonymous you can call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Do your part in keeping yourself and your family safe
Anyone that decides to associate with people who are involved in gang activities in any way are simply putting their own lives at extreme risk. If you are going to choose to associate with those involved in organized crime, then you are knowingly putting yourself at risk.
You may say “how was I supposed to know?” Your instincts are a great measure. You are likely dealing with someone involved in criminal activity, gangs, or organized crime if a person:
- has an abundance of cash,
- drives high end vehicles,
- seems to have more money than his salary would provide, or
- doesn’t appear to have a real job
Ask your young adult children the hard questions about their friends and associates. Don’t settle for a vague answers. “If you’re are thinking there may be an issue, there likely is an issue”.
Criminals with guns pose a clear and present danger to our communities. The police are doing everything in our power to take guns like these out of the hands of criminals. If you have information about illegal guns, then it is up to you to do the right thing and come forward with that information to police. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
IHIT Tip Line - 1-877-543-9217
Crime Stoppers - 1-800-222-TIPS to make an anonymous call.
Exists In B.C.
Building British Columbia’s economic strength to create jobs, stability and confidence for families and capitalize on the opportunities of the new world economy was the focus of the speech from the throne that launched the fifth session of the 38th parliament today.
“British Columbia’s new economy must focus on smarter government, leveraged investment, and constructive change founded on new partnerships,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “We are experiencing a seismic shift not just in British Columbia, but around the world. That shift calls for us to take steps to build our economy both in the short term, and for the future.
“British Columbia has enormous potential in clean, low-carbon energy, mining, forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, tourism, trade and transportation. We will take steps to seize those opportunities to build a better, stronger future for all British Columbians.”To read the full report use this Nanaimo Info LINK.
More than 2,800 cases investigated to protect customers from fraudsters
A staged accident ring, a bribe and a fraudulently reported stolen motorcycle are among ICBC’s 2008 list of Top Five Frauds, highlighting individuals and groups who were caught trying to defraud the public insurer and its customers last year. They were among 2800 cases of fraud investigated and 54 convictions achieved by ICBC’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in 2008.
“We estimate fraud and exaggeration costs each of our 3.1 million customers in the range of $100 to $150 per year,” said Steven Tripp, manager of ICBC’s SIU. “That amounts to theft from our customers. We’re committed to protecting them and to keeping rates low and stable.”
No. 1 ‘Staged accident ring’
In September 2008, a court awarded ICBC more than $369,000 from 22 people who worked together to defraud ICBC. This group of friends and family members staged 12 intentional crashes dating back to 1995. In addition to the court award, ICBC secured $226,000 in settlements from various defendants.
No. 2 'It’s not a bribe, it’s a tip’
A Vancouver woman, who’d failed the knowledge test three times and the driving test another three times, placed two one hundred dollar bills on the driver examiner’s seat before he got into the car. She told investigators she thought the ‘tip’ would ensure she passed the test. The woman was sentenced to nine months conditional house arrest after pleading guilty to trying to bribe the driver examiner.
No. 3 ‘ Maybe if I destroy the evidence…’
An Abbotsford man reported his motorcycle stolen. After paying out the claim, ICBC discovered the bike had been abandoned in Sasquatch Provincial Park weeks before the alleged theft.
SIU officers interviewed the man and during a recorded statement, he claimed he lent the bike to a friend who crashed it and wouldn’t return it. The man then grabbed the digital recording device and ran out of the Claims Centre. The SIU officer caught up to him but not before the man smashed the recording device to the ground, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the evidence.
The man pleaded guilty to making a false statement to ICBC and mischief; he was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay $3,069 in restitution. He was also sentenced to six months probation and 15 hours of community service.
No. 4 ‘Caught on tape, working’
After crashing his vehicle, this driver claimed he was too injured to continue to work or even drive. Surveillance video not only showed him working and driving but lifting heavy boxes and equipment as he moved his business to another location.
He pleaded guilty to making a false statement to ICBC and was fined $2,000. He also repaid the $4,400 ICBC had paid him for lost wages.
“Inflating injury and damage claims is a common form of fraud,” said Tripp. “We have to safeguard our customers from fraudulent acts and those whose false claims threaten stable rates for our customers.”
No. 5 ‘Restorative justice at work’
A young Kelowna man admitted to totalling his grandmother’s car, after first claiming he was the victim of a hit and run. He opted for the restorative justice program, writing a letter of apology to community members involved, speaking to media about his experience and lessons learned and performing two days of community service. He also had to repay ICBC $18,900 for damage to his grandmother’s vehicle.
ICBC takes all allegations seriously and follows up on all tips and information. The public can help by reporting suspicious, exaggerated or fraudulent claims to ICBC’s fraud tips line at 604-661-6844 or 1-800-661-6844, toll free from anywhere in the province. Tip information is confidential and callers can remain anonymous.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The weatherman helped by a stalled high pressure system are promising a very sunny and pleasant week for Nanaimo.
While other parts of Canada deal with sub zero temperatures and that white stuff, Nanaimo residents can get into the garden or spend time strolling our famour seawall.
Enjoy while it lasts!
It is being reported in the Vancouver Sun that a British and a French nuclear submarine on separate patrols, collided in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean!
Fortunately any major disaster was avoided however no one is saying how two state of the art nuclear powered submarines could run into each other in open water.
Maybe they hired some ex-B.C. Ferries crew member or the skipper from the Exxon Valdese?
with a Whimper in 2009
British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports residential sales dollar volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC declined 61 per cent to $873 million in January, compared to the same month last year. Residential unit sales fell 57 per cent to 2,115 units during the same period. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $412,934 in January, down 9 per cent from January 2008.
“Home sales were sluggish in January, reflecting an overall malaise in consumer confidence and a weakening provincial economy,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.
“Reports of an increasing number of consumers shopping for a home have yet to materialize in the sales statistics,” added Muir. “The large selection of homes for sale in January likely reduced any sense of urgency for potential homebuyers to commit to a purchase.”
Improving home affordability resulting from lower mortgage rates and home prices is expected to elevate sales activity in the province this spring.
To view more complete statistics use this Nanaimo Info LINK to see complete PDF document.
With Olympic Tickets!
Corporation committed to rewarding customers and business partners with vast majority of its 2010 ticket allocation
ICBC is a proud supporter and sponsor of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (2010 Winter Games), and is looking to share in the excitement.
ICBC requested 2,264 tickets for the 2010 Winter Games, and its sponsorship is funded entirely out of the marketing budget from the optional insurance side of the business, where ICBC operates in a competitive marketplace. There is no impact on basic policyholders.
As part of its sponsorship of the Games, ICBC will be using approximately 75 percent of its 2010 Winter Games ticket allocation to reward customers, business partners and suppliers.
ICBC is proud of its involvement with the 2010 Winter Games. More than 140,000 British Columbians have already shown their support by proudly displaying 2010 Winter Games licence plates on their vehicles as part of the ‘Behind the Drive’ campaign, and we will be thanking them for their support by entering their names to win tickets in a program soon to be announced. This is in addition to the 2010 Winter Games tickets we have already given away.
The remaining 25 percent will be used by ICBC employees that have a legitimate business purpose, such as hosting customers and business partners. In addition, a small number of ICBC employees who participate in various corporate health and wellness activities will also be entered into draws for 2010 tickets.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture have engaged Asbell Management Innovations and CEI Architecture to conduct a redevelopment study on the viability, sustainability and preferences for Beban Park indoor facilities.
To assist in gaining perspective, the following are the components of the study: Beban Park Swimming Pool; Frank Crane Arena; Beban Park Social Centre. The facilities currently operate as separate entities; separate staff teams administer each facility. Repositioning Beban Park as a refreshed, revitalized facility of choice for residents is the goal of the report. Your responses will be used in facility development analysis.
Have Your Say
You can participate in the direction of the redevelopment of this popular public facility by filling out a short survey using this Nanaimo Info LINK.
Based on average MLS sales summaries for Nanaimo and other Canadian cities for January 2009.
January 09 - $273,607
January 08 - $308,322
January. 09 - $431,312
January 08 - $505,899
January 09 - $536,162
January 08 - $588,183
January 09 - $362,143
January 08 - $408,672
January 09 - $343,632
Janaury 08 - $374,449
January 09 - $290,930
January 08 - $285,736
January 09 - $348,390
January 00 - $359,101
January 09 - 37
January 09 - 75
There were 115 unit sales across the VIREB region in January 2009, down 56 per cent from the 265 posted in January 2008.
For the monthly period from December 2008 to January 2009, sales volumes declined in four of VIREB’s six zones, were the same in the Parksville/Qualicum zone and increased substantially in the Port Alberni/West Coast zone.
“We are seeing the impact of global economic concerns, no question. It’s clear some buyers and sellers are taking a wait and see approach,” says VIREB President Ray Francis, noting persistent snow on the ground and cold well into the New Year also slowed things down.
The 12-month average sale price across the VIREB region for January 2009 was $321,804, down six per cent from the $342,944 posted in January 2008. Average prices were down in all of VIREB’s six individual zones.
Properties listed for sale increased 29 per cent from January 2008 to January 2009.
“Lately I’ve been hearing from some REALTOR® members that their business has been getting noticeably busier,” he says. “I’ve also heard from a few mortgage brokers who have seen an increase of first-time home buyers getting pre-approved.”
“I feel there is some pent-up demand building up out there, so I over the next 2 or 3 months I would anticipate that we will start to see increased activity.”
For the 12-month period from the end of January 2008 to the end of January 2009, average sale prices in VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River decrease 15 per cent (to $263,758), the Comox Valley declined 13 per cent (to $304,114), Nanaimo is down 3 per cent (to $348,390), Parksville/Qualicum was down 2 per cent (at $375,350), Port Alberni dropped 10 per cent (to $215,692) and the Cowichan Valley declined 8 per cent (to $357,232).
“We have to remember that people buy or sell real estate because something in their lives requires them to do so: growing family, separation, empty nesters, not because the media says it’s a good time to buy or sell,” Francis says.
“We’re continuing to advise sellers to be realistic and work with their REALTORS®,” he says.
“Economists are saying next year is expected to be a year of stabilization in the economy and the housing market.”
VIREB represents approximately 1,111 licensed REALTOR® members in more than 85 member offices on Vancouver Island (north of Victoria).
VIREB cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate the actual prices in centers comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Fri., Feb. 13, Sat., Feb. 14 (Valentine's Day!) ~ 7:30 pm
Phoenix Auditorium, The Haven, 240 Davis Rd.
Fri., Feb. 20, Sat. Feb. 21 ~ 7:30 pm
MATINEE: Sun., Feb. 22 ~ 2 pm
Nanaimo Entertainment Centre, 46 Nicol St.
Buy Online By Clicking Here
"We call it 'A play for people who prefer movies,'" says Western Edge Artistic Producer Frank Moher. "It has more than enough laughs and wonderful characters to satisfy our regular audience. But because it also incorporates clips and characters from films like 'Star Wars,' 'Five Easy Pieces,' 'The Maltese Falcon,' 'All About Eve,' and 'The Godfather,' it's definitely a movie lover's treat as well."
Patrick Henry Olfert age 46 a resident of the Nanaimo area is in custody after an extensive police search stemming from a shooting incident on Rugg Rd Sunday February 8.
Olfert appeared before a Nanaimo Provincial court judge on Wednesday afternoon on numerous firearm related charges.
The incident began at approximately 2:30 pm on Sunday February 8 when a male called 911 from a property located in the 1500 block of Rugg Rd stating he had been fired upon by a male who had driven onto his property. After discharging the firearm, believed to be a shotgun, the suspect fled in the vehicle he had arrived in.
EHS attended along with Nanaimo RCMP members and examined the male who appeared to have been struck with some shrapnel related to the discharge of the firearm. His injuries were non life threatening and he was cleared by attending paramedics. Olfert then allegedly drove to several other residences and uttered threats to two separate males.
Police quickly responded to the residence and to the suspects known address. The suspect vehicle was located at the suspects home along with a pistol grip shotgun found in his vehicle. A high powered rifle and ammunition were also seized from the suspects home.
By Monday a Canada wide warrant was issued for Olfert. An extensive search was under taken and by Tuesday evening he was located and taken into custody without incident.
The charges against Olfert range from Possession of a Weapon Dangerous to the Public Peace, Discharging a Firearm with Intent to Disfigure, Possession of a prohibited weapon and Uttering threats.