Thursday, March 31, 2011

CBC Vote Compass Biased To Liberal?


For Those Who Think The CBC Is A Liberal Organization
Funded With Canadian Taxpayer Dollars
This 'Compass' Raises Some Interesting Questions

So, Mr. Mansbridge ... what do you think about this 'compass', rigged or just coincidence, when regardless of how you handle the questions you come out Liberal??

I Took The 'Compass' Questions

To see for myself I went through the 'compass' once simply answering that I neither agree nor disagree. Sure enough it led to the conclusion I was a Liberal. Conclusion? The Liberals don't have any policy on these issues at all.

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NDP Ad Just Plain Silly

Ad Is Simply Misleading
Doesn't Build Trust In Party
I realize for the next few weeks we are going to be assaulted with messages from all different political parties. The PC will tell us how evil Iggie is, Iggie will tell us how terrible Harper is, and the NDP will tell us how terrible they both are.

I presume all these tactics must appeal to the 'base' these parties are aiming at, but personally I find most of them simply an insult to the average person's intellect.

I realize that healthcare is the NDP mantra and have been riding on Tommy's coat tails for years, without ever actually accomplishing anything other than giving the hard working blue collar guys a place to park their votes where it is safe from the business friendly fiends of Younge St. and all those evil corporations that everyone works for.

Just Plain Wrong!

The current cute ad the NDP brain trust came up with tries to pin the Emergency Room debacle of a few weeks back on Stephen Harper. Anyone familiar with the 'facts' surrounding this issue knows that Harper does not run the hospital affected, in fact the province does in a round about fashion as well as the staff at the hospital itself.

I was just as shocked when I first heard the news story about ER patients having to be treated in a Tim Hortons one night. Sounded terrible as I had visions of people in stretchers being wheeled across the street to the local 'Timmies'.

Turns out, the Tim Hortons was IN the hospital adjacent the ER and had actually been designed to handle overflow in the event an unusual emergency happened. Which apparently is what did happen, and the ER was overwhelmed with about 100 patients coming in as the result of an accident. Enough to overwhelm most ER's anywhere!

So what is Mr. Layton suggesting, that we triple the size of our ER's to handle the unusual emergency? Since we as a nation are only $500 billion in the hole, how much more debt is he willing to heap onto my grand kids?

Come on, Jack, you are insulting the intelligence of anyone who actually cares about how the country is run and should give your head a shake.

While you're at it, give Stephen and Iggie's head a shake too.
If you agree let local NDP MP Jean Crowder know what you think about this kind of nonsense. Drop her a line HERE.

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Port Theatre Nanaimo April 2

TOMMY HUNTER - Last Concert Tour
April 2 - 7:00 pm

After 36 consecutive years on national television and over 65 years in the entertainment business, Tommy Hunter, the man known to millions of as "Canada's Country Gentleman" has decided to perform across Canada one last time before hanging up his guitar.


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Nanaimo News Notes March 31, 2011

New Exhibit: at the Nanaimo Museum focuses on the robust community of coal mines, trains, families and farming in the area south of Nanaimo known as South Wellington. Photos and artifacts provide a glimpse into this area based on the book Treasures of South Wellington written by Clare Singleton.

Art for Life: aims to help the Nanaimo Hospital ER expansion raise funds with the Art for Life exhibit on Apr. 2-3 at Gallery 223 Commercial Street. 20% of all sales will go to the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation.

Escape Fire: Thanks to a neighbour a father and son living on Barclay Road escaped their burning house. In what is described as suspicious, a fire started in and destroyed their van, with the fire spreading to their home. No one was hurt in the incident.

VIUFA: will be able to picket the trades area of campus, after the Labour Relations Board dismissed an application by VIU to restrict pickets on the campus.

B & E: Mark's Work Wearhouse on Metral Drive was the target of a determined thief sometime early Wednesday. The crook gained entry by using a power saw to cut through the outside wall, once inside he/she dashed through the store, with alarms sounding, grabbing misc. articles of clothing before making good their escape. A tracking dog was unable to assist in locating the clothing thief. Anyone with information should call the RCMP at 250-754-2345.

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Liberal Candidate Drops Out

Al O'Halloran 53, the RCMP member who took a leave of absence to try his hand in the political arena has decided politics is not for him.

After only three days the would-be candidate has withdrawn from the race with a much better understanding of what is involved to enter the fray.

His withdrawal in the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding now means the Liberal party is without a candidate for the seat now held by NDP Jean Crowder.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

VIU Theatre Students Carry On

VIU third and fourth year students have been working on their theatre presentation of "Wedgie" written by Jason Patrick Rothery since last September and in true theatre fashion in spite of current difficulties the show will carry on.

Their gala opening planned for tomorrow night, March 31 will be held in the lower parking lot near Wakesiah Ave. with the aid of one large tent and several smaller ones. The catered event will begin at 5:00 pm.

The other two presentations on April 1 and 2 will take place at 8:00 pm at the John Barsby Auditorium.

Tickets are $12 for adult and $10 for students and seniors, with Gala night tickets $30 which includes live music, free beverage, silent auction and munchies. You can reserve your tickets by sending an email to malaspina.theatre.students@gmail.com, just include your name and a ticket will be reserved for you,  or call  250-616-2745 for more information.

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VIU Strike Alternate Plans for Students

Regarding Academic and Diploma Programs
  • If VIU resumes classes on or before April 11, 2011, classes will be extended to April 29, 2011. The exam period will be cancelled.
  • If classes do not resume on or before April 11 classes will be extended into May. The length of the extension will be determined once the labour dispute has been resolved.
  • In this event, summer session (intersession) classes scheduled to begin in May and June will be postponed and rescheduled. 
Plans for These Areas Will Be Posted by March 31
  • Adult and Continuing Education programs
  • Education programs
  • Health and Human Services programs
  • Trades and Applied Technology programs

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When A Politician Says ...

Sustainable

what they really mean is " we can get away with doing it this way, until we are long out of here collecting our pensions"!

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Nanaimo News Notes March 30, 2011

GNCC: the Greater Nanaimo Cycling Coalition will be meeting with city officials in an attempt to come up with ideas to encourage more Nanaimo residents to use their bicycles for transportation which has health benefits among other things.

Nanaimo Bird Reports: if you spot a bird you think should be reported be sure to call 250-390-3669 and report your name, phone number , date and species and location of your sighting.

Council forgoes LEED certification: for the most part the city will build new buildings to the LEED standard guidelines, which maximize energy efficiency. However, they will no longer, as policy apply for the LEED certification which is costly and adds nothing of value to the actual building.

Nanaimo Condos: are not seeing the same upward surge in prices currently being seen in Vancouver where Asian buyers still see Vancouver condos as a bargain. Typically Nanaimo condos tend to remain fairly steady, however, lagging sales recently have led to several price reductions across the city.

Pamela Mar: is being recognized with the BC Community's Achievement Award at Government House on April 20. The Nanaimo Museum nominated Pamela for her exceptional efforts as a volunteer who has given over 8,000 hours of her time in a volunteer capacity.


RCMP seeks nomination: Sgt. Al O'Halloran a 32 year veteran of the RCMP is taking  leave of absence without pay in order to run under the Liberal banner in the Nanaimo-Cowichan riding in the May 2 election.

VIU Strike: still drags on in spite of a full day of negotiations on Monday. The labour relations board has been asked to allow the lower portion of campus to be opened where the trades courses are taught by BCGEU members who have a contract with VIU.

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Madill Equipment Back In Business


Madill 3800C Log Loader manufactured in North Saanich by the Nicholson Manufacturing company is on it's way to Oregon.

 For more pictures and information about the re-birth of Madill Equipment view the Times/Colonist story by clicking HERE.

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Do Councilors Listen?


Why Voters Are Apathetic?

We recently went through a civic byelection, which seemingly did not garner much public interest, with 90% of eligible voters not participating. There is much speculation as to why we seem to slowly be killing democracy in our country and wiser minds than mine may or may not find the answer.

We currently have an example developing in our city of Nanaimo surrounding the issue of building 'wet housing' otherwise known as supportive housing and also known as low barrier housing. Regardless of what title you wish to hang on it, this type of housing is designed to provide shelter for people with drug and alcohol and mental health issues. These would be the people incapable of finding housing using the housing allowance already available to them on social welfare. These places will not be housing the single parent just trying to keep it together.

There are two groups of concerned citizens living in the hospital and Quarterway school area who are seriously opposed to the idea of putting 70 such housing units within spitting distance of Quarterway School and an area with considerable senior housing. It should be noted that originally the plan for this area would have seen in excess of 100 such housing units.

One of these groups addressed city council on Monday night and among other things presented a petition with 1000+ names expressing their opposition to these two projects in such close proximity and also the density of either of the developments.

In spite of the public opposition to the project on Bowen Road, Council gave first and second reading to a bylaw which would allow this project to proceed. There will be a public hearing on the matter April 14 in Shaw Auditorium, where supposedly, city staff will fairly listen to the concerns of the affected residents.

It will be interesting to see, as this unfolds whether the opinion that: " it doesn't matter who you vote for, they just do what they want anyway" proves to be true. If so, local council can shoulder partial blame for their part in slowly killing democracy in Nanaimo.

The following map shows the locations of wet housing projects as currently planned by city staff and approved by city council.
Click Image To Enlarge

There is a new page titled "WET HOUSING' which will be devoted to this topic until it's conclusion. There is a tab above to open that separate page. Proponents and Opponents are invited to contribute their thoughts on this hot topic.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stephen Harper and Maria Aragon


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Abandoned Service Stations An Eyesore

Warning of Dangers Within
When you drive around Nanaimo there are several sites, where oil companies used to offer gasoline and diesel for sale for the thirsty motoring public. I am not sure of the exact reasons the companies have found it economical to abandon these sites, rather than upgrade them and continue to sell their wares. I suspect it is a matter of pure economics as is usually the driving force behind most business decisions.

As a result of these station closures several 'prime' Nanaimo locations sit vacant as the land is polluted to the point it has become unusable, presumably the result of years and years of faulty tanks leaking petroleum product into the soil. They are quite the eyesore and because of their high profile locations are difficult to ignore.

I understand that city hall has been wrestling with the problem recently and as yet have not made any public statements as to a policy to deal with these blights on the landscape. To their credit, the Young Professionals of Nanaimo have been championing a program that would see these vacant lots used as community gardens using raised beds which would avoid the problem of the contaminated soil on these sites. This however would only provide a partial solution as during fall and winter months, not much gardening would be done.

Perhaps the Parks and Recreation department could get involved with some of the different arts groups in town and put panels on the chain link fences that could be used by 'juried' grafitti artists to show off their talent.

As to why the oil companies were not required to return the land to it's pristine state, rather than just abandoning these sites, is probably just another example of how no one really has much say about what the big oil companies do. Proof of that can be seen every time you fill up your car.

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Nanaimo Theatre Group Presentation

Written by Joe DiPetro

March 23 - April 9, 2011

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Nanaimo News Notes March 28

New Councilor: Ted Greves will be sworn in April 6 and his first official council meeting will be April 11. Greves received the support of 25% of votes cast in the byelection which saw a disappointing 10% turnout by local voters.

NDTA: will not get their day(s) in BC Supreme Court until sometime in July. Their first scheduled appearance was only for one day, and it is not felt sufficient to make their case in their challenge of class room sizes.

HST Referendum: Premier Clark has set the date for a mail in vote regards the HST to June 24. This will give BC voters the opportunity to scrap the HST and return to the PST.

VIA Train Service: work on the train tracks should be completed so that train service between Victoria and Nanaimo, in both directions, will resume on April 8. Bus service will still be in effect for passenger service between Nanaimo and Courtenay while repairs continue on that segment of track. More information available at 1-888-842-7245.

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Nanaimo Airport Improvements

Nanaimo Aiport Expansion

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Sign of The Times??

City Council Broadcast 
Preempted By Hockey Game

Imagine my surprise when I went to watch the City Council meeting on my computer using the link to the city website, only to find the meeting would not be broadcast because of a hockey game.

I was a little curious knowing that our own Clipper's season had come to an end, and couldn't imagine the local cable company preempting such an important event as a local city council meeting for something as trivial as a hockey game.

To add insult to injury it turns out that the game that upstaged city council was Red Deer playing Edmonton. My apologies to hockey fans everywhere, but a local council meeting should trump hockey, don't you think?

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Nanaimo Street Entertainer Bylaw

Public Meeting re: Street Entertainer Bylaw
Wed. March 30, 2011-7:00 PM
Dodd Narrows Room in VICC

To see the draft proposal for the Street Entertainers Bylaw visit the city website HERE.

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Non-Voters Should Pay More!

Non-Voters Taxes Should Increase!

Perhaps if people were required to vote under penalty of seeing their taxes increase 25% more than anyone else, people might actually get off their butts and participate in their community and their country.

It is a crying shame that while people around the world are putting their lives on the line to bring in a democracy and remove tyrants, we can't even generate enough interest to take 10 minutes to cast a ballot. There are no acceptable excuses for this complete lack of caring about how we are governed.

10% Turnout "Not Too Bad" ?

Mayor Ruttan is quoted in the local press as saying that the 10% turnout wasn't too bad for a by-election! What kind of society have we devolved into, when our Mayor thinks that 90% non-participation isn't too bad?

Why Every Vote Counts!

This commentary admittedly paints with some broad strokes, but I feel is a reasonable comment on how politics work and in particular here in Nanaimo.

There will be an organized group, ie: Labour Council who would like to see someone elected who would be sympathetic to labour. For example they would be in favour of wage increases and benefits that could actually be of detriment to the city as a whole, but does favour their support base.

There will also be a business-friendly group who want to see a councillor elected who is sympathetic to the cause of business who favour development for the sake of development, tax reductions for business, lax rules covering the use of signage and even outright grants to help promote business in the community. This group would favour directing taxpayer dollars to business promotion advertising etc. and their elected councillor would be expected to make that case in council chambers.

Neither group, actually represents the majority of residents living in the city of Nanaimo, yet they will be the only ones with a voice on council if the majority of the residents don't take the time to elect THEIR representative to council

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Port Theatre Nanaimo March 29 & 30, 2011

WONDERLAND
Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Tues. Mar. 29 & Wed. Mar. 30
Both Evenings 7:30 pm

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Nanaimo City Council Meeting TODAY

Nanaimo City Council Meeting
Monday March 28, 7:00pm
Democracy Works When The Public Stays Involved
It Is Too Important To Leave To Politicians
If you can attend in person that is the best way to see your business being taken care of, second best is watching on Shaw Cable from the comfort of your easy chair, it is also available live online using this link, and last but not least is reading what the local press says went on.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Model Flying Aircraft A Big Hit

PDQ Flyers Display
Flying Models Of All Sizes

Members of the Parksville District & Qualicum Flyers Association put on a display of radio controlled flying model aircraft at Nanaimo North Town Centre on Saturday.

The 65 member association get together regularly at their field in Nanoose to fly their radio controlled model aircraft which are scale models of real airplanes, past and present.

The craft are powered by either gasoline, a mixture of alcohol and oil or electric batteries and can basically do anything their full size counterparts are capable of.

The pilot of course remains on the ground as they take their plane through the actual takeoff, flight and landing just as you would a manned aircraft.

Models range in size from a small, battery powered craft you can fly indoors to much larger models with wingspans ranging up to 10 feet. The typical plane is capable of speeds ranging from 15 - 50 mph and attain altitudes of about 100 - 150 yards, which would also be the distance from the pilot they would fly their craft. It is important of course to maintain visual contact as, even though they are on the ground with a joystick, they are in fact flying the plane.


If you have an interest in this fascinating hobby you should visit the associations website by clicking HERE.
 

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Fairway Market Nanaimo Opening April 12

Customer Curious About When Fairway Will Open
New Fairway Market Store Opening April 12
Nanaimo North Town Centre
People living near the Nanaimo North Town Centre and customers who have missed the Fairway Market that used to be in Brooks Landing will be happy to know their favourite supermarket will be open April 12.

The 25,000 square foot store is the 9th store the company owns and will employ 110 staff members which brings the total number working for the company on Vancouver Island to 900.


The store is a welcome addition to the Nanaimo North Town Centre mall which has been without a supermarket for several years now.

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Nanaimo Parks Map Popular

Click Image To Enlarge
Nearly 168,000 Viewers!

The Nanaimo Info map of Nanaimo Parks and Facilities has proven quite popular with users of the site.

It is a Google Map with city parks listed alphabetically and linked to a map location showing exactly in the city where the park or facility is located.

If you haven't made use of this popular feature it is available on the right hand side of this blog, part way down the page or also on the Nanaimo Info Parks and Trails page located here.

If you are looking for a new park to explore, or perhaps just want to know where a park is you have read about, you will find this Parks Locator a handy reference guide.

Simply click on the link View Parks & Facilities In Nanaimo in a larger map located beneath the map to view.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Nanaimo By-Election Winner

Winner Nanaimo Council By-Election 2011
And The Winner Is ..... Ted Greves

The candidates which ran in the election were Brian Fillmore, Ian Gartshore, Ted Greves, Bill McKay, Murray McNab and Darcy Olsen.


There were a total of 6,323 votes cast and Ted Greves received 1,606 which represents 25% of the total votes cast.There are 61,860 eligible voters in Nanaimo which means that just over 10% of those who could, actually participated in the process.


It is a sad commentary on our democracy when nearly 90% of local citizens ( I use the phrase lightly)  don't care enough to even vote.

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Nanaimo Civic By-Election


TODAY IS VOTING DAY

VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE 
OF YOUR CHOICE

GET OUT AND VOTE!
IT IS YOUR DUTY

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Nanaimo By-Election Sat. Mar. 26

Nanaimo By-Election 
Your Vote Counts
It Is Your Right and Duty To VOTE!

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Nanaimo News Notes March 26, 2011

VIU Strike Heats Up: The striking union is employing a new tactic in the current dispute with VIU. They have launched a lawsuit against VIU administration over alleged defamation rising from the ad VIU ran recently. The ad purported to explain several issues in the current labour dispute which the union claims were false and defamatory.

Earthquake Seminar: Nanaimo Fire Rescue is responding to calls from anxious Nanaimo residents concerned about being prepared for an earthquake. The recent events in Japan seem to be causing people to take the possibility of an earthquake more seriously. Nanaimo Fire Rescue will be hosting a free seminar this coming Thursday in the Shaw Auditorium in the conference centre at 7:00 pm. The event will be videoed and available on the city website www.nanaimo.ca,

Cranes to Uplift Japan: will be at Rona Building Centre on Maki Road from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. They are also hosting a hot dog sale at Country Grocer in Southgate Mall from 3:00 - 6:00 pm and will be at Walmart from 10:00 1m - 6:00 pm. They will also be at Rona and Walmart on Sunday as well from 12:00 - 4:00 pm. Stop by and help support our friends in Japan.

Dump Becomes Parkland: one man's trash is another's treasure as the saying goes. Proving that to be more than a saying, the RDN is turning 8 hectares of the Cedar landfill site into a nature park at a cost of about $4.5 million. They had hoped to have the park opened last year but provincial red tape tied up the project by about a year. (Ironic) The site of the landfill will be reshaped and capped with a layer of clay that rain can not penetrate preventing water penetrating the trash base which would cause harmful leach-ate. The park is hoped to be open this summer.

Earth Hour: Tonight at 8:30 pm, join the rest of the planet in cutting down your energy consumption. Turn out the lights, turn off your computer and other things electric and light up your candles. Maybe we can get the hydro meter to run backwards!

Highway Contract: local contractor Windley Construction won a $41 million provincial contract to build 9km of four lane highway between Windfield and Oyama. The project was to have been completed in 2012, but has been held up a year waiting for Federal government approvals. (Ironic)

E&N Rail Station: renovations and restoration project at the fire damaged Nanaimo train station is apparently on budget and looking to open with tenants in place by this Christmas. The building is undergoing an extensive rebuild after being damaged in an arson fire.

Shaw Layoffs:  a total of 53 central island jobs will be lost at Shaw Communications by April 26 as the company does some restructuring. Twenty of their technical support staff will be phased out during the reshuffle.

No More Tim Hortons: for Stephanie McClay, 28 of Nanaimo after being released on a peace bond after being charged with one count of robbery, with conditions, one of which is that she not go to any Tim Hortons in Nanaimo. Stephanie was arrested after someone entered the Tim Hortons at Brooks Landing at 1:00 am demanding money from the staff. One staff member thought they saw the handle of a gun in the woman's pocket, the other ordered the thief to leave and called police. Stephanie was picked up moments later a few blocks away.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Canadians Will Have Federal Election



Non-confidence motion passes which means Parliament is now adjourned and we will be going to the polls in early May.

Prime Minister Harper and Liberal Leader Ignatieff gave brief glimpses of what we can expect to be the issues on the campaign trail.The Prime Minister says he was dissappointed the Liberal / NDP / Bloc Coalition saw fit to not pass the budget he says would continue the course for economic recovery.

While Mr. Ignatieff says the Conservative government are in contempt of Parliament and care more about jet fighters than the welfare of Canadian families.

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Radio Controlled Aircraft On Display

Radio Controlled Aircraft
Larger Radio controlled Plane
 The PDQ Flyers and the Nanaimo Modelairs will be at Nanaimo North Town Center this Saturday, March 26.

They will be displaying radio controlled aircraft of all types, some with wingspans of 10 feet. The club will have two or three flight simulators for all to try a hands on flying lesson.

For information call Bruce Berry at 250-468-5249.

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Federal Budget Highlights


Budget Delivered March 22, 2011
Non Confidence Vote Will Kill

Follows is the press release from Ottawa highlighting elements of the budget Finance Minister Flaherty delivered in the House on March 22. The opposition non-confidence motion, if passed, will effectively kill this budget and send Canadians to the polls.

If you are up for a little reading, the press release follows in it's entirety, you decide if things will be any better because we have gone to the polls.

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today tabled a budget plan that launches the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, a low-tax plan for jobs and growth, which keeps the Government on track to return to balanced budgets in the medium term.

“Our Government will build on the success of our stimulus plan,” said Minister Flaherty. “As the private sector moves ahead as the engine of growth and job creation, our Government will foster the right conditions for long-term economic prosperity, while staying on track to return to balance in the medium term.” 

Building on the sustainable, low-tax environment and growth-friendly policies put in place since 2006, the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan will focus on supporting job creation, supporting families and communities, investing in innovation, education and training, and preserving Canada’s fiscal advantage.

Supporting Job Creation


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Nanaimo News Notes March 25, 2011


VIU Theatre Students: are caught between the rock and hard place as the labour dispute threatens the production and staging of this years theatre play, Wedgie,  written by Jason Patrick Rothery and was to open at a gala event March 31 at Malaspina Theatre. The group has worked since last September on the production, are committed to catering services, and now looks like they have no place to put on their event. If you can help in some way call 250-616-2745 or email malaspina.theatre.students@gmail.com.

Dog Parks in Nanaimo: PRC is recommending that council make the off-leash parks at Colliery Dam, Beaufort Park and Diver Lake permanent after last years trial period. They are also recommending adding May Richards Bennett Park, St. George Ravine Park and Invermere Beach as pilot off-leash parks this year. Good news for Rover!

Advance Poll Turnout Poor: with two advance polls complete now and only 502 people casting ballots, it seems Nanaimo is in for a poor turnout on Saturday for the civic by-election. If current trends hold it is estimated that only 11% of eligible voters will turn out. Hopefully, the estimates are wrong, and the polling stations will be flooded with concerned citizens having their say, on election day.

Nanaimo Welfare Roles High: Nanaimo once again has the dubious distinction of having more people relying on social welfare than the province as a whole with 3.3% of residents under 65 needing temporary income assistance. This compares with the provincial average of 2.2%.

NDTA In Supreme Court: the NDTA is making it's case for class size in the B.C. Supreme Court, the decision could be precedent setting in how grievances are addressed in the province. This is a battle the NDTA has been engaged in for sometime now, and perhaps the Supreme Court decision will bring some needed clarity to the issue.

VIU Strike: keeps dragging on with neither side seeming optimistic a settlement will come anytime soon. Both sides seem at a stalemate with the latest demand from the union of an 18 month layoff notice period, replacing their previous no layoff demand.

Nanaimo Families Look To Parksville: for affordable housing. Some Nanaimo families are desperate to find affordable housing to the point of putting their names on waiting lists for subsidized housing which is available in Parksville.

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VIU Strike, Off-Campus Classes Okay

Students wishing to continue their English as a Second Language classes got some good news from the labour relations board.

The board ruled that the striking VIUFA can not picket off-campus sites. Earlier this week their pickets stopped ESL classes from taking place at a motel on Stewart Ave.

Comment: Perhaps as part of the ESL classes, a brief history of the labour movement, particularly in Nanaimo, might help students understand what is going on right now at the Bastion of higher learning.

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Hats Off To By-Election Candidates

Kudos To 
Brian, Ian, Ted, Bill, Murray and Darcy
While most of us just sit around and bitch and complain about how lousy our government is, or how we don't like our taxes always going up to support waste in government spending, and  then do nothing else about it.

These six members of the community have enough concern and commitment to actually do something about it and have allowed themselves to enter the local political scene so they may be able to make a positive change. Each bringing to the table their own perspective on how to best do the job and help their fellow citizens and the community in which they live.

They have given significant amounts of their own money, and even more of their time to engage in the whole process of running for the seat on city council. They have faced the glare of the TV lights and answered the probing questions presented by the local media and have laid themselves open to public scrutiny as few of us would be comfortable with. They have answered phone calls and emails and talked themselves hoarse in their effort to have the privilege of representing us in local governance. For that we should thank them all!

Saturday, March 26 is election day in the city of Nanaimo and as a result of YOUR decisions, expressed through YOUR ballot only one will win the seat on council. That is democracy in action, and hopefully enough of us participate to ensure it works properly, "the voters are never wrong".

To all candidates I would like to say a sincere "Thank You" and to those who do not win in this by-election, I hope you will step forward again in the fall and give us the opportunity to vote for more than one, because all are worthy.

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Nanaimo Reuse Rendezvous April 2,3,4,

FREE STUFF IN NANAIMO
APRIL 2,3,4, 2011

If you are looking for a great bargain or don't want to see your used items go to waste be sure to participate in the annual weekend curbside swap meet.

FREE CYLERS

  • Mark your items with "FREE" tags. Make your own tags or pick them up at City Hall, Public Works, Beban and Bowen Park, the Aquatic Centre and the Nanaimo Recycling exchange.
  • Ensure only items for Reuse Rendezvous are put out.
  • Remove items not taken by the evening of April 4th. Garbage collection services will not pick them up.
  • You are responsible for disposal of leftover items.

FREE SEEKERS

  • Have fun.
  • Watch for children.
  • Respect public and private property.
  • Take only items that you can use.
  • Slow down. Remember to obey traffic signs, speed limits and to park carefully.

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Japanese Students Arrive In Nanaimo

Students Studies Uncertain

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Community Gaming Grants Increased

Victoria Adds $15 Million To Community Gaming Funds

Premier Clark made good on an election promise to increase funding to the community gaming grants by $15 million. This will restore some 500 organizations to historical funding and should help ease the crunch many local organizations have been feeling recently.

Groups involved in community education like parent support services, youth arts, community service groups such as Kiwanis and others, local festivals, fairs, museums and a variety of cultural groups will benefit from the increase in funding.

Currently there is $120 million set aside from gambling revenues, and this will increase to $135 million with today's announcement.

Comment: I am sure many worthwhile organizations are pleased with this news, however, the skeptic in me always bristles a little when it looks like someone running for public office (she has not been elected yet) appears to be using taxpayer funds to gather support. I would be less skeptical, if the announcement were made after she actually wins a riding.

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Nanaimo SCAM ALERT


 Mystery Shopper Scam

A local job hunter was the target of a scam designed to prey on the gullible and those who are desperately looking for a new job.

After responding to an ad online on Cragslist which was for a bookkeeping position she received an unsolicited offer from a 'mystery shopping company' offering to pay $300 for a 2 hour assignment.

Included with the assignment as a money order for $3890 which she was told to deposit in her own account, and after a few days, withdraw all but $300. She was then to use the cash to purchase a money order to be sent to a Liverpool address.

Of course the original $3890 money order is a fake and in a few weeks will come bouncing back to the victim's bank account leaving them out over $3500.

RCMP would like to hear from you if you have received similar offers.

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Nanaimo News Notes March 24, 2011

Nanaimo North Town Centre: is a mall that has attracted several new merchants in the recent past. The new Fairway Market to be open soon is adding a much need Supermarket to the mall which has lacked one for several years now. Inside stores which have been vacant for sometime are filling up also. If you haven't been by for awhile now, stop in and you will be surprised by the changes.

Local Liberals: simply aren't ready for an election and there former candidate, Jim Stewart is quoted in the Daily as saying it seems ridiculous to force an election at a time when the economy seems to be recovering and spending $300 million on an election seems irresponsible to him.

Train to Run South: the plan for the VIA Dayliner to run south to Victoria in the early morning is still on target for early 2012 according to Graham Bruce of the Island Corridor Foundation. It still depends in part on a commitment from senior government to put up $15 million for infrastructure funding.

Free Stuff: one man's trash is another man's treasure, so don't forget you can get rid of your unwanted stuff in the city wide Reuse Rendezvous running from April 2 - 4. Simply get your tags from city hall marking the stuff as free and put it out on the curb April 2 - 4. Be sure to remove anything not taken the evening of the 4th.

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Off Site Classes Picketed VIU Strike Get Uglier

VIUFA Picket BCGEU Classes

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Years Live Eagle Nest Cameras

Click Image To See Cameras

The Hancock Wildlife Foundation website has once again got live streaming video from several nesting eagle sites. In fact one nest now has brand new hatchlings in the past two days.

Several of the other nests do contain eggs and are expected to hatch shortly. It is a unique view of these majestic birds we would never see without these well placed cameras.
Fascinating!

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Lighthouses To Remain Staffed

Senate Committee Report Stops De-staffing of Lighthouses

Apparently the Senate Committe listened to the concerns of coastal Canadians on the matter of removing people from the Lighthouses on the Coast.

Given the importance of having a real live person manning these lighthouses the committee could not support the Canadian Coast Guard plan to replace all lighthouse keepers with automated systems.

Of course this is still a political decision and a change of government, now or later could make de-staffing an issue once again at a later date, for now manned lighthouses will still keep watch on our coasts.

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News Notes From Around Nanaimo March 23, 2011

Advance Voting: a reminder, that if you are not able to vote this Saturday in the civic by-election, you can cast your ballot today, in the advance poll at the Conference Centre downtown.

Kayak Trail System: opening in May, a kayak trail system connecting Nanaimo and Sidney in Saanich will offer kayakers two trail systems for overnight or several day trips for paddlers. Paddlers can access the trail at Cedar by the Sea boat ramp or Newcastle channel. The trail includes 30 sites offering camping, day use and access, giving paddlers a trail with calm, protected waters.

Local MP Says NO to Budget: Jean Crowder local NDP MP for Ottawa echoes her leaders assertion that the Conservative budget as presented yesterday will not get their support.

Get Walking: the Bastion City Wanderers is hosting a 10k walk in Cedar this Saturday. Register at 9:15 am in the parking lot at Yellow Point Rd., for details call Ethel at 250-756-9676.

Tofino Air: moves their operation to the Inner Harbour instead of Departure Bay as of April  1. They will operate from their new office at #7 - 90 Front Street. The new location offers their customers a more convenient, accessible location adjacent hotels, shopping etc.

EDC Head Hunt Not Cheap: The city as contracted with a 'head hunter' firm to try and attract and secure someone to fill the lead position on the yet to be formed Economic Development Corporation. The exact cost of the search is unknown as it is based on the salary which comes with the position. The head hunters charge 28% of the successful candidate salary, so if the position offers $100,000 the head hunter fee is $28,000. It is unlikely anyone truly qualified would earn less than $200,000 so, that finders fee could grow to $56,000 to conduct a successful executive search. This is not the kind of position you are likely to fill by running a help wanted in the local paper, hence the seemingly costly search to fill the position. The actual hiring will be done by a committee established by the Economic Development Commission, of which Mayor Ruttan is head.

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ICBC Improves Nanaimo Roads


ICBC invests $116,000 to improve Nanaimo roads in 2010
Most Nanaimo residents have seen the geometric improvements along Highway 1 near Nanaimo airport. These are among the nine road improvement projects ICBC invested in Nanaimo in 2010 to help make roads safer for everyone.

ICBC launched the road improvement program in 1989 and since then, has invested approximately $100 million in projects across B.C. In 2010, ICBC invested approximately $1.3 million in projects on Vancouver Island and $9 million in 280 projects throughout B.C.

“Road improvements deliver real value to our customers, and everyone on our roads, from drivers to pedestrians,” said ICBC’s John Pump, manager of the road improvement program. “Safer roads lead to fewer crashes and help prevent injuries and death, which also translates into lower claims costs and helps keep rates stable for our customers.”

“Traffic enhancements like these are small projects with big safety benefits," said Ron Cantelon, Parksville-Qualicum MLA. “By working together with ICBC and our municipal counterparts, we're working to ensure crashes are fewer, injuries are reduced, and lives are saved.”

A 2009 independent evaluation concluded that for every dollar invested, ICBC and customers see a return five to 12 times the investment. That is, for every dollar invested, ICBC and customers save $5.60 over two years and $12.80 over five years in reduced crash costs. All proposed road improvement projects are assessed on their ability to make roads safer.

Projects underway or completed in 2010 in Nanaimo:

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Spring Election In The Air??

Gentlemen ..... 'Start Your Engines'

It is clearly sounding as if Canadians will be heading to the polls this May to choose our Federal government, given the lack of support the opposition has for yesterdays Conservative budget.

Delivering well crafted speeches opposition leaders were quick to denounce the budget Finance Minister Flaherty delivered in the House yesterday.

All that remains now is for a little bit more Theatre in the House and then they will be taking their show on the road to tell all Canadians why we should vote for them again.

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Bill Bestwick Surprised By Firing

Bill Bestwick Discusses Dismissal

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nanaimo By-Election Voting Locations


 Where To Vote In Nanaimo By-Election


GENERAL VOTING DAY March 26, 2011 is open to qualified electors in the City of Nanaimo between the hours indicated on the following:
  • Chase River Elementary School 1503 Cranberry Avenue 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Departure Bay Activity Centre 1415 Wingrove Street 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Dodd Narrows Room, Vancouver Island Conference Centre 80 Commercial Street 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Georgia Avenue Elementary School 625 Georgia Avenue 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • McGirr Elementary School 6199 McGirr Road 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Nanaimo Regional General Hospital * 1200 Dufferin Crescent 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Oliver Woods Community Centre 6000 Oliver Road 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Protection Island Fire Hall * 26 Pirates Lane 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
  • Quarterway Elementary School 1632 Bowen Road 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
NOTE there are limited voting hours at the stations marked with an *.

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Advance Poll Nanaimo By-Election


Wednesday March 23, 2011
8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Dodd Narrows Room
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
80 Commercial Street Nanaimo
If you are not going to be able to vote on Saturday in the upcoming civic by-election be sure to cast your ballot on Wednesday at the advance poll in the VICC. Have YOUR say in how YOUR city will be run! VOTE

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72 Hr. Preparedness Not Enough

Councilor Jim Kipp
People Need To Be Prepared 
For 7 Days

At yesterday's Finance Policy Committee meeting, Councilor Kipp addressed council regards emergency preparedness.

Currently the public is being told to prepare for being able to care for themselves for 72 hours in the event of a major disaster. Councilor Kipp is urging the city to let the general public know they should be prepared for at least 7 days rather than 72 hours.

In light of how disrupted things actually become in the aftermath of a major event, such as we are seeing in Japan and Christchurch recently, the previous instruction of preparing a 72 hr. kit is simply not long enough.

Councilor Unger posed the question "how many people, even in this small group, are actually prepared even for 72 hrs.?". Good question .... are YOU???

To get more information about emergency preparedness you can visit the Government of Canada website by clicking HERE.

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Questions To By-Election Candidates


The following are candidate's answers to some quesitions I asked their opinions on. All candidates were asked the same questions and the answers received are quoted below. I also asked other questions which are pretty much duplicated in both local papers, so am not adding them here.

Q.How would you prioritze city spending, what are the first ten items the city should spend money on?

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Things On The Net That Makeya' Smile

Wonder If I Can Get One 
From Home Depot This Weekend??

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VIU and BCGEU Reach Agreement

BC Government Employees Union
and VIU Reach Two Year Agreement
VIU and VIUFA Still Deadlocked

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island University (VIU) and faculty represented by the BC Government Employees’ Union have reached a tentative two-year agreement under the government’s 2010 mandate, announced Finance Minister Kevin Falcon.

“I congratulate those involved on the agreement reached between the BCGEU faculty and Vancouver Island University under our 2010 mandate,” said Falcon. “I’d like to extend my thanks to the negotiators, particularly for their negotiating efforts during what continue to be challenging economic times.”

The agreement covers 350 faculty members who deliver trades, health sciences, adult basic education and international education at VIU. Other programs at VIU are delivered by members of the Vancouver Island University Faculty Association, which is currently on strike.

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News Notes From Around Nanaimo March 22

Cosmetic Chemical Ban: kicks in for Nanaimo on April 4, at which time local gardeners will not be able to use certain chemicals to keep their lawns 'golf course perfect'. Direct any questions you have about what is and what is not allowable to the city of Nanaimo 250-754-4251.

Nanaimo Women's Resource Centre: have a facebook page for those interested, it can be found HERE.

Daily News Starts New Feature: described as neighbourhood-focused storytelling, the first feature focuses on how the north end of Nanaimo is running out of room to develop.

City Hall Computers: have been rid of the 'qakbot' virus/worm that was able to bypass anti virus software and launch on the city network of computers. In all a total of 440 machines wound up being infected with the information stealing virus. The virus was first detected Wednesday at 12:30 am which led to the immediate disconnect from the internet so that data could not be compromised. It took until the next morning for the computer security company to write the 'fix' for the virus and then began the process of purging each an every computer on the network. This process took a long time as the virus was capable of 'hiding' and computers had to be check twice. The head of the IT Dept. is confident that no data was compromised and not personal resident information was accessed by the virus.

BC Hydro Office: on Madsen Road was broken into and several vehicles damaged and tools taken. Six Toughbook computers were also stolen with the total estimated value of all goods lost to be about $30,000.00

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