Friday, September 30, 2011

Girl Approached Thursday Afternoon

2200 Block Sun Valley Drive

Nanaimo RCMP are issuing an advisory after a young girl was approached by a male in a car yesterday afternoon.

The 12 year old girl was biking home from nearby Coal Tyee Elementary when she was approached in the 2200 block of Sun Valley Drive by a male driving a car. The male pulled up beside her, offered her candy then asked her to get into his vehicle. She did not speak with him and immediately left the area. She biked directly home. Once at home, she called her mother who told her to call 911 and report it. By that time almost 20 minutes had lapsed. Officers flooded the area searching for the car but were unsuccessful in locating it.

The vehicle is described as being either a 2 or 4 door, older model car and gold/beige in color. It may resemble a Nissan Sentra. The interior was gold/beige and there were white scratches on the passenger side mirror

The male is white , thin and between 40-50 years of age. He had a brown beard and a very deep voice. He wore a blue and white ball cap and had black sunglasses on the top of the hat. He also wore a blue and white checkered sweater with a white shirt underneath.

“This young girl did everything right. She did not speak with the male and she recognized the danger in the situation. She then left the area immediately and reported it as soon as possible, "said Constable Gary O’Brien, media spokesperson for the Nanaimo RCMP.

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Woodgrove Mall Turns 30 Today!


Vancouver Island's largest shopping centre is 30 years old today, and to celebrate they are kicking off a month long event starting at 6:00 pm tonight. Between 6:00 - 9:00 pm tonight the first 300 people who show Guest Services receipts totalling $30 or more (before taxes) will get a $30 Woodgrove Gift Card.

During the same time period tonight  there will be 30% off sales at participating retailers, you can view a complete list of details at the Mall's website HERE. From 6:00 pm Friday September 30 until 11:59 AM on October 29 the Mall will be hosting huge contest that will see some lucky shopper walk away with $30,000 in Woodgrove gift cards.

Woodgrove Mall employs over 1100 people and is now the city of Nanaimo's biggest single taxpayer. Happy 30th to everyone at Woodgrove Mall and may you have many more.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nanaimo Clippers Home Opener

Click Image To Enlarge

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Thinking Outside the Box?
Make That Inside the Box!
Or PC on a Budget.

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Turkey Dinner Help Needed


Volunteers and Donations Needed

The Nanaimo Working Group on Homelessness is seeking community support again this year with their community Thanksgiving Dinner Saturday Oct. 8 at St. Paul's Anglican Church.

The group needs turkeys, stuffing, hams, carrots, brussell sprouts, gravy, potatoes and frozen veggies. As much as donations the group also needs volunteers to help with the preparation and cooking of the meal which will be served between 4:30 - 6:00 pm at 29 Church Street.

To volunteer your time or to donate to the cause you can contact Cheryl Dodge with the John Howard Society at 250-754-1266 or email at Jhsnan2@shawcable.com.

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PFLA Says Rally Misguided


The following is taken directly from the Private Forest Landowners Association website in response to the rally against the export of raw logs. It is the 'other' side to this story which doesn't seem to be told very often. If this is the unvarnished truth, you have to wonder what we are doing in the management of this incredible resource.


What do you think??
 
"While the PFLA commends the spirit of Mr. Bercov, and his associates, we’re quite frankly a bit baffled by their opposition to log exports.

Here’s why:

1. B.C. has a surplus of timber.


That’s right, a surplus of timber. Each year, millions of cubic metres of trees go unharvested. These are trees planted, grown and approved for harvest as part of the annual allowable cut (AAC). We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: there is no shortage of timber in B.C.

2. B.C.’s domestic market for logs has collapsed.


Sawmills on the B.C. coast don’t have the capacity to process the available timber. Present processing capacity is 15.5 million cubic metres; available timber is 24 million cubic metres (that’s a difference of 8.5 million cubic metres per year, or approximately double the log export volume).

3. B.C. mills buy logs at prices lower than log production costs.


What it costs to plant, tend and harvest trees exceeds the log prices offered by struggling B.C. sawmills. Uncompetitive mills use the government’s surplus test policy to obtain logs at reduced domestic prices, often significantly less than their international competitors.

4. The log export business is keeping the coastal forest industry alive.


Isn’t this ironic? Without access to a better price for a portion of the harvested timber (the portion exported in the round to international markets) nobody could afford to harvest trees. If nobody goes to work in the woods there are no logs for domestic mills.

5. B.C.’s forest workers, families and communities count on getting the best price for timber.


Relying on the domestic log market is not a viable option. The woods support thousands of rural jobs, but only when log prices are high enough to cover the costs associated with planting, tending, managing, and harvesting timber.

In light of what we consider to be pretty compelling information, we encourage Mr. Bercov, and his associates, to re-evaluate rallying against log exports. Forestry in B.C. is in a state of flux, now more than ever, it’s important to consider the facts, as they are."

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Buy Small Appliances Before Oct. 1 & Save

New Environmental Fee Kicks In Saturday

As of Saturday, October 1, 2011 you will be paying a new recycling 'fee' on 120 small appliances. The new fees will be levied on all sales of small appliances after this Saturday. As of Saturday you will also be able to take your old small appliances to the local Bottle Depots or the Recycling Exchange free of charge for drop off.

A complete list of the small appliances that will be subject to the new fees can be seen at the Unplugged Recycle Website HERE.

Follows is a list of the fees which start on Saturday by appliance category, so if you plan on buying a new large microwave soon, you will save the $10.00 fee if you buy before Saturday.

Click Image To Enlarge

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Biological Station Departure Bay Nanaimo

Pacific Biological Station 
Gets Historical Event Status

In operation since 1908 the Pacific Biological Station in Departure Bay has been recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada as a national historic event. It was not declared a national historic site as the DFO had originally hoped for.

The station was founded by George William Taylor who served for a time on Vancouver Island, including Nanaimo and Gabriola Island as an ordained Church of England priest. However, it was his interest in the study of marine biology which led to the establishment of the Pacific Biological Station in Departure Bay.

It was Taylor's large scientific and extensive zoological collections that were well used by visiting investigators during the early years. He was truly a pioneer in the study of the vast marine biology that abounds on the west coast of Canada. He was recognized and respected by colleagues from around the world.

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Nanaimo 2011 Civic Election Issue


Maybe Now We Can Get Some Answers
Why City Staff Gets A New Office
Instead of ZERO Tax Increases For 4 - 5 Years!

Since the details of this questionable deal remain hidden behind the cloak of secrecy known as 'in camera' and city council and city hall management are so reluctant to reveal the details, you have to wonder just what in blazes they are doing with our 16,000,000 tax dollars!

There is no logical reason for the process that led to this decision being kept from public scrutiny any longer, unless there is something to hide. Since I have not been able to get any of the details it leads me to the conclusion that this deal stinks and everyone involved hopes the public will just ignore it (which they have) and not hold anyone accountable come this next election.

But as Ricky Ricardo of I Love Lucy fame would say "they've got some splainin' to do".

allvoices

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Yes, That Is A Skateboard!
Hope They're Not Going On The Freeway!

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BC Ferries Boss Jumps Ship?

Did He Run BC Ferries Well?

Depending on who you listen to Ferries boss Hahn upgraded the fleet, and improved several terminals giving us a world class ferry system which gives him straight A's for a job well done.

On the other side of the discussion are those who say he created a world class cruise line instead of a more modest, fully functional means of getting vehicles on and off of Vancouver Island. Do we really need Spirit Class vessels all the way from Germany or could the watery highway to Vancouver Island have been just as well served with less upscale vessels which arguably are more costly to run when not at capacity.

If you look simply at the numbers you are not as likely to give Mr. Hahn straight A's considering that in 2006 the companies net earnings were nearly $50 million and they have steadily declined to a meager $3.4 million in 2010 and are now projected to be in the red by over $20 million.

So, is Mr. Hahn really leaving BC Ferries now to save the company his hotly debated salary and benefits or is he getting out while the getting is good and wants to avoid what happens when the 'brown stuff, hits the fan'.

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Take Back City Hall


Canadian Taxpayers Federation
Launches Campaign
"Contract With Taxpayers"

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is challenging those wishing to be elected to city council, either as Mayor or Councilor to sign a document which would see taxpayers better protected from their own city hall. Sadly, that is what local politics has come to and by electing candidates that support this contract, things could change at city hall.

To view and download the contract which you can ask candidates to sign, visit the Canadian Taxpayers Federation website HERE. Once signed, the contract will be sent to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and the names of candidates who have signed the agreement will be posted on their website. Signed contracts must be received by Nov. 4 to be posted on their website.


The Contract includes these points that candidates are asked to support:
  • holding property tax increases to the provincial rate of inflation or lower (unless councils get approval from taxpayers in a referendum)
  • moving toward fee for service for as many functions as possible
  • a promise to not take on or fund services that are the proper jurisdiction of federal, provincial or regional governments
  • investigating partnerships with other governments, non-profit organizations and businesses to reduce costs of service delivery making infrastructure and public safety top budgetary priorities
  • ensuring taxpayers’ personal property rights are respected and upheld
  • ensuring complete, accurate and timely information is released to taxpayers, and increasing dialogue between taxpayers and elected officials public disclosure of all receipts charged to municipal expense accounts
  • supporting measures to improve transparency and accountability, such as a Municipal Auditor General, introduction of municipal politician recall rules, and the use of referenda, plebiscites and citizen initiatives to gauge public opinion on major expenditures and issues
  • supporting the introduction of a Taxpayer Protection Bylaw that financially punishes any mayor and council for raising taxes above the rate of inflation with a one-year, 15% pay cut
Nanaimo Info Blog will post the names of any local candidates who have signed this agreement. If you are an involved citizen of Nanaimo, you may want to download the document and approach all candidates in our upcoming election to see if they will sign the agreement.

It is a specific form of accountability that is currently lacking in local politics. Last election we were told that this council would be open and transparent, yet they have conducted major decisions behind closed doors under the veil of 'in camera' which keeps their reasons secret. The city hall annex is a prime example of such secrecy.



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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nanaimo Air Quality Is FANTASTIC!

Ranked 4th In The Whole World
Now That's Something To Brag About

The World Health Organization recently released results of a study that looked into urban air quality of over 1100 cities worldwide in 91 countries.

Of the top 10 least polluted cities in the world, 8 of them were in Canada and in number 4 spot was our very own Nanaimo!

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FREE Picnic In The Park
Sunday Oct. 2, 2011 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Maffeo Sutton Park

The Nanaimo African Heritage Society invites all of Nanaimo to attend this FREE event this Sunday, downtown in Maffeo Sutton Park.


This event is planned as an old fashion picnic for the soul, to bring many cultural groups and families together in celebrating the many contributions our different cultures bring to the community.

The day will feature performing arts, such as dance and music groups, children’s performances, games and prizes, vendor tables with visual art. Fun for the whole family!
 

Admission is free! Either you pack your own picnic or choose to purchase from a large range of homemade delicacies made by a variety of cultural cooks.

We do hope you’ll be free to come and bring family and friends with you. For more information call 250-729-9332.

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Small Appliance Recycling Program

Click Image To See Accepted Products
Program Starts Oct. 1 In British Columbia

Starting October 1, 2011 BC residents will be able to discard unwanted small appliances without charge at the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange and the Nanaimo Bottle Depot locations.

The new program 'Unplugged' is a non profit organization aiming at keeping unwanted appliances out of the landfill and directing them back into the recycling stream. While there is not charge for dropping off your small appliances as of Oct. 1 there will be a new fee levied at the point of sale when you purchase a new small appliance in the future. We are told this is a fee and not a tax.

Basically the program will accept 120 different small appliances which are powered by either 12 volt or 120 volt power supply which are either plugged in or run by battery power. The see exactly what small appliances are accepted, click on the above image to visit the Unplugged website.

Information about the Nanaimo recycling centers is available at the Nanaimo Info website HERE.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Nanaimo Airport Expansion Complete

$26 Million Expansion Complete
Push To Expand Direct Flights To Alberta

The expansion project which saw Nanaimo Airport double the terminal and lengthen the runway is being hailed as a major step forward for the economy of Nanaimo and the mid Island region. Next on the agenda will be to attract direct flights to Calgary and Edmonton via Jazz Air.

While the Nanaimo airport reports an increase in traffic with a total passenger count in 2010 of nearly 165,000 people it still lags well behind Comox airport which recorded 296,567 passengers in the same year.

Clearly, Nanaimo should be able to offer a better service to some mid island passengers currently using the airport at Comox if we had more flights. However, like all business the competition is fierce and any increase in business locally at the expense of Comox will likely be hard fought.

Comox Airport is aggressively pursuing added services to their facility which already includes direct flights to Canadian destinations via West Jet in addition to offering charter flights to holiday destinations in Mexico in the winter months. A recent study Comox airport commissioned indicates that a one flight daily service to the USA could add $24 million annually to the local economy.

This is another area where Nanaimo should be able to establish itself as a central hub for travel to and from Vancouver Island however, Comox shows no signs of giving up market share easily.


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Daily News Raise - a - Reader Campaign

Hope To Raise $50,000
To Support Literacy In Nanaimo
The Nanaimo Daily News will be blanketing Nanaimo coffee shops, gas stations and stores this Wednesday hoping to raise $50,000 to support Literacy Central Vancouver Island and Early Learning Vancouver Island.

The VI Raiders and the Nanaimo Clippers will be providing volunteers who will be handing out the special edition of the Daily News for donations to help improve literacy skills, which 40% of Canadians are reported to have difficulty with.

Comment: 40% of Canadians have reading issues?? I guess we aren't spending enough on our schooling programs, either that or the new crop of teachers are failing miserably.

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Nanaimo's Postcard Perfect Scenery


Sunrise Nanaimo Inner Harbour

Saturday morning was one of those postcard picture perfect sunrises over the inner harbour as those who toil along the waterfront were already hard at it, while many of us were still warm and snug all tucked in our beds.

What a beautiful part of the country we are blessed to live in. Sometimes I have to kick myself for casually taking for granted what a marvelous place I have to live in.

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Last Cruise Ship Of 2011 Visits Nanaimo


Norwegian Star In Port On Sunday Sept. 25

Depending on whether you looked north of south, the Norwegian Star arrived in Nanaimo to clear skies with sunshine (albeit fleeting) or foreboding dark clouds from the north and west. Over the course of the day our guests got to experience just how changeable our west coast weather can be.

I am sure that Nanaimo's warm hospitality more than made up for any deficiencies in the weather department and that our visitors will have fond memories to take back home.

Did you notice how the Norwegian Star appears to be smiling as she enters Nanaimo harbour? I wonder if she smiles in all ports or just here??

allvoices

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poor Workmanship Is Common Place

Is It A Lack Of Skill? Knowledge? Or Morals?

The leaky condo fiasco that hit the British Columbia housing market several years back is a prime example of a complete failure in the field of workmanship. From the architects and designers, to the contractors, sub trades and building inspectors there is evidence that doing your job, and doing it well is simply an old fashioned idea of a bygone era.

Gone too is accountability and bearing a consequence for not doing your job well and that is a plague that applies to all levels of our society today. Big banks, greedy traders and brokers can basically lie, cheat and steal with impunity these days, so it is little wonder that the guy working for $15 - $30 an hour no longer takes responsibility for the quality of their work and no longer takes pride in his/her work but simply sees it as a means to collect a pay cheque.

Sticking with the construction business for a minute I recently came across a perfect example of lousy workmanship in the home my wife and I have lived in these past 12 years. For the sake of 50 cents worth of material and an extra 10 minutes on the job a area of flashing and caulking was ignored when a previous contractor put the new shingles on the roof and installed new gutters. Their lousy workmanship gave a small place for water to enter behind an area of stucco rather than being directed into the gutters and away from the wall. It has taken many years for that water to rot the wood behind the stucco which has now allowed an area of stucco to fail. In the overall scheme of things it is not a really big deal as the damage is merely cosmetic and the rot did not enter anything structural. I am capable of making the repair myself and the material involved would not likely exceed $100.

However, it is the same lack of quality workmanship that has led to a minor inconvenience to myself that has led to thousands and thousands of dollars being spent by homeowners who thought they were buying a brand new condo which they would expect to last a lifetime.

A few days ago I wrote a small article about my experience with two different national companies in the oil and lube business who both failed to properly lubricate the five grease fittings that are a part of the steering components of our car. The damage caused to steering components has run into several hundred dollars, simply because at least two different people either don't know or care how to do their jobs properly.

We may pride ourselves with all our great technical advances but I fear we have failed to carry forward the same work ethic and pride of a job well done that served previous generations well. It was this same lack of pride that allowed the North American auto industry to loose their place in the world as a maker of quality automobiles. Japanese automakers, did not overtake the Big 3 because they discovered quality, they overtook the Big 3 because they cared and took pride in their work, while we in North America were more interested in how much sick time we could get, how many paid holidays, how large our pensions would be etc.

I can remember many years ago, it was common knowledge not to order a North American car if it came off the line on either Friday or Monday, as both days were famous for the production of lemons. We've certainly come a long way!

allvoices

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nanaimo Community Visions Rally

Non-Partisan Rally Defines Vision For Nanaimo's Future
Wednesday Oct. 5th VICC 6:00 PM

The Community Vision Rally is sponsored by a non-partisan group of local business and professional associations. There is no coincidence that it takes place a month before civic elections although no candidates are being promoted or given a forum. By emphasizing that 'vision' in leadership is an important key to the future you want for Nanaimo, we hope the choice of candidates will be clearer during the coming campaign and turnout at the polls stronger than ever. Remind those that want to lead us how important vision is and help them make Nanaimo a place where the world wants to be.
 

Find out how Whistler, BC took a hard look at their post-Olympics future and decided – between businesses, city hall and the community at large – what Whistler would become ‘after’ achieving status as one of the top luxury ski resorts in North America. Mayor Ken Melamed discusses how they focused on growth and sustainability and developed their “2020 Plan”. 

Then, hear one of the world’s foremost experts speak on the success and sustainability of cities today and how many are grappling with their future plans. Learn how community service, leadership and vision come together to build the communities of tomorrow from our keynote speaker for the evening: MIKE HARCOURT. Former Premier of BC from 1991-96, twice Mayor of Vancouver, and multi-term City Councillor, Mr. Harcourt is an icon of community service and leadership. 

Do you have a ‘vision’ of what you want Nanaimo to become in the future?

Nanaimo’s Community Vision Rally on Wed. October 5th at the VICC asks you to put your imagination to work. Attend and learn how the entire community can bring imagination, vision and hard work together to create reality from dreams.


 

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Fake $100 Bills In Nanaimo


High Quality Counterfeits In Nanaimo

Police are warning local merchants to be extra vigilant when it comes to accepting Canadian $100 currency in light of a recent increase in high quality counterfeits showing up are area businesses.

There have been 11 reports of the bogus bills so far this month and police have little to go on as to the identity of the criminals passing the phoney bills.

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Nanaimo's Mystery Hero


Ran Into Burning Building
 
Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog to view video.

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VI Raiders Football Home Game



VI RAIDERS vs CHILLIWACK

Saturday Sept. 24, 2011
Kickoff 2:00 PM
Caledonia Park Nanaimo

If you can't attend you can watch the game live by using this Nanaimo Info LINK.

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Nanaimo's Jobless Get National Focus

Globe and Mail Article Highlights
Nanaimo's High Unemployment

This article in the Globe and Mail makes the point that the Premier's 'Canada Starts Here' job creation program offers little for Nanaimo's jobless to get excited about. Local social activist Gord Fuller is quoted as saying the 7 - 10 Club provided a hot meal and bag lunch for nearly 400 people each day this past week.

Local unemployed 31 year sawmill worker Mr. John Little has retrained in Web design, computers and cooking and has only had 14 days of work in the past 23 months.  He sees little to be hopeful about in Nanaimo and expects to move to Alberta when he becomes eligible for severance.

Mayor Ruttan and MLA Krog have both taken exception to remarks made by Liberal parliamentary secretary, that perhaps some people should consider relocating to where the jobs are if their prospects in Nanaimo are not all that attractive. While both the Mayor and MLA are expected to try and make political points, the advice to move to where the jobs are seems like quite a sensible one. To my understanding that has always been the way in our great country, and particularly in the area of construction. People simply go to where the work is, which was the case in Nanaimo during our construction boom days.

As much as I am a member of the Nanaimo Cheering Club; we need to face the reality that without decent paying jobs to come to young families will have to buy their new home someplace else. It would seem the only immigration that will boost our construction sector will be people in the position of being able to retire and therefore not have to rely on local employment.

As I have noted before, Nanaimo really has to make up it's mind what kind of a centre it is. It has several things that it 'kinda' is but nothing really clear about what it is overall. While we are a nice place to visit and spend some time, we are hardly a vacation destination. While we do have some industry there is nothing massive on the scale of southern Ontario. We have no local area resources that pay the freight like they used to, such as forestry or fishing or mining. Our position as being the best retail location on the Island has been eroding over the past years as Duncan to the south, and Comox to the north have attracted major retailers.

We are a lovely part of the world in which to live, we have excellent health care facilities, easy transportation to Vancouver via ferry or air, a first class convention facility, a university, excellent recreation facilities of all kinds. Unfortunately what we are lacking is the engine that will create better paying jobs to attract and keep young families. Perhaps, we need to just accept that and fashion ourselves as a retirement mecca and develop facilities that make us more of a tourist destination rather than a place to pass through on the way someplace else.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

World Finances Explained



The European Debt Crisis Explained
This satirical exchange actually makes more sense than a lot of the blah ... blah .... blah that comes from economists, politicians and other 'experts'.

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Port Theatre Nanaimo Upcoming Events


EZRA LEVANT
Award-Winning Author & Provocateur
Friday Sept. 23rd 7:00 PM
DOUBLE DIAMOND
presented by The Wave 102.3 FM
Saturday Sept. 24th 7:30 PM
The ULTIMATE TRIBUTE to the KING
Monday Sept. 26th 7:30 PM
The NATIONAL BALLET of CANADA
Friday Sept. 30th 7:30 PM

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Fred Pattje In Nanaimo Civic Election 2011


Councilor Fred Pattje
Will He Run Again??

While he has not officialy announced his candidacy for the next civic election in Nanaimo this November, if I were a betting man, I would say he intends to run for a second term.

Mr. Pattje gained his place in the public eye when he spear headed the campaign using the alternate approval process to halt the Cable Bay project a few years ago.

During his term on council he has certainly put a great deal of time into the position which of course is a luxury of being retired and being able to turn the position into a full time one. He makes the effort to show up at public events (good practice for any politician) and is one of the few councilors who give you the courtesy of replying to an email question.

If Mr. Pattje does decide to run again, it will be up to voters to decide if the decisions he has made demonstrate the critical thinking that is best for Nanaimo taxpayers.

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Officially Fall In Nanaimo


Move Aside Summer - - - Here Comes Fall

Ever wonder why this part of the world is referred to as the Wet Coast? It seems that right on cue with the offical start of the fall season the weather systems have changed and the fall rains have moved into Nanaimo.

Of course after the long dry spell we have had the rain brings relief to local plant life and lifts the high fire hazard our area forests have been under for sometime now.

Another sure sign of the change of seasons was the arrival yesterday of the Juncos and Towhees at the bird feeder.

We can hope the weather man has it wrong for Sunday as sunshine would be more welcome for our guests arriving on the last cruise ship of the season.

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Low Barrier 'Wet' Housing In Nanaimo


Vancouver Island Health Authority
Needs To Make Some Things Clear

Now that the location of the north end low barrier wet housing project has been announced, the firestorm of opposition has been nearly instantaneous. The online version of the Daily News likely received more comments about this announcement than all other stories they run combined.

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about how these projects are going to function and those misunderstandings can be directly blamed on the complete lack of information that VIHA has provided regards the operation of these projects. The lack of clarity coming from VIHA has left the city of Nanaimo's social planner (yes, we have a social planner) Mr. Horn to try and answer questions which he clearly has no authority to answer since he has no say over how these projects are going to be managed. You might question exactly why we need a social planner, as that type of social engineering should likely fall to the province.

There were hundreds of concerned citizens in attendance when the city entertained a public hearing regards the project adjacent Quarterway School. Many concerned residents expressed themselves to council, who listened very politely but in all likelihood have very little knowledge as to exactly how these projects will be run either. Their opinions are based on the desire to help homeless people in Nanaimo and see that the considerable funding approved by the province is actually used in Nanaimo and not put in jeopardy. But there is no one on city council who can say with any authority that these facilities will not simply become havens for the  drug addicted and drug dealing blights on the neighbourhoods where they locate.

Questions that VIHA needs to answer, it is not fair to expect city councilors to know the answers to these questions as they have zero say on how these projects will operate. If VIHA chose to fill up one facility with people transitioning from prison to freedom, the city would have no authority to stop them.

Question for VIHA:

  • Are these facilities only going to house people with drug and or alcohol issues?
  • Are these facilities going to provide housing for people being released from prison?
  • Are these facilities going to be suitable to house the single parent who can't afford regular market housing in Nanaimo?
  • Are these facilities going to be suitable for housing seniors on fixed incomes who can't afford market housing in Nanaimo?
  • Will homeless and drug addicted souls be brought in from other communities?
  • What studies support the concept of wet housing?

allvoices

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Cruise Ship Of Season


Norwegian Star Visits Nanaimo This Sunday

The Norwegian Star, which is a sister to the Norwegian Pearl (which was the first ship to use the new terminal) will be in Nanaimo this Sunday from 7:00 am - 5:00 pm.

Esplanade Street will have a temporary closure in effect during this time to help with the movement of our guests that day

Lets hope the sun decides to make an appearance so that the visitors to our fair shores will have a fond memory of our lovely city to take back home with them.

For anyone interested in some of the specs of the Norwegian Star, she is 294 metres long, 32 meters wide, draws 8.53 meters, has 15 decks and can carry 2.240 passengers with a crew of 1100.

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

 Clearly Should Not Have Done It Himself
His Missus wanted another outlet in the other room??

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City Hall Parking Changes


Can No Longer Exit Onto Wallace

The lane in front of city hall which comes directly off of Wallace Street is no one way with the right lane converted to a parking lane as the bottom photo illustrates. This means you can no longer go down the lane and exist directly onto Wallace Street. Instead you must use the Dunsmuir Street exit.

The parking beside city hall is now a one way loop with one area reserved for city hall staff parking and the balance intended for city hall customer parking. I did not find out how many extra spaces this provides but understand it is all a part of changes resulting from the new $16 million annex being built on Dunsmuir Street.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New City Hall Annex


$16,000,000 Annex Underway

Wasting no time getting shovels into the ground the company awarded the $12 million+ contract to build a new annex instead of upgrading the existing, has begun site preparation work.

This single project calls to question the rational and critical thinking of all members of council and senior city staff. Can you imagine awarding a $12,000,000.00 contract without ever having gone to public tender? However, that is exactly what this city council and city manager Mr, Kenning think is a demonstration of best practice and due diligence when it comes to spending your tax dollar.

At yesterdays FPCOW meeting council debated whether to award the contract for auditing city accounts to an out of town company who had submitted the lowest of four bids for the contract. There were four bids considered ranging from $38,000 - $46,000 and the criteria for accepting the out of town bid was the considerable saving of $8,000.00.

Rationale?

Compare putting to tender a contract of less than $120,000 so you are certain Nanaimo tax dollars are being well spent, while at the same time awarding a $12 million contract without having even one other tendered bid for the same building??

I have tried to get information about the process that saw Windley contracting being awarded this contract without going to tender, but the whole process including which councilors supported this decision is being firmly hidden from public scrutiny under the often abused in camera shroud. This is a tactic employed by elected and unelected officals when they don't want the public to know what they are doing.

Perhaps during the upcoming civic election, this will become an issue that candidates will have to explain if they expect to be re-elected. Remember leaving the current annex as it is would mean no tax increases for 5 years and renovating the exisiting annex would mean no tax increase for 4 years, but building this new annex means a tax increase of at least 21% over the next five years.

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Nanaimo Council Pay Raise

Two Councilors Opposed To Motion

After much debating city council agreed to adopt a new policy which will see their wages come in line at the median rate of twelve comparable communities, with the increase being phased in over the next three years (2012 - 2014).

Councilors Pattje and Sherry both voted in opposition with Councilor Sherry feeling the raise is unwarranted, and councilor Pattje while not being opposed to the fairness of the increase felt he would have trouble explaining it to Nanaimo taxpayers.

Councillor and the Mayor are certainly not underpaid if the number of hours they devote to the job is actually required to perform their duties. Someone else would have to decide if all the committee work councilors are asked to do is really necessary.

That said, it is my observation that most councilors put in the equivalent of full time hours doing what seems to be expected of them. If that is in fact the number of hours the job requires then the current rate of $26,414 is on the low side and even the median of $34,582 would not be considered being overpaid. Increasing the Mayors rate from the current $79,547 to the median of $89,839 is harder to justify.

If a councilor did put in 40 hours in a week for 50 weeks out of the year at the rate of $26,414 their effective rate of pay would be $13.20 per hour. An increase to $34,582 would increase that rate to $17.29 per hour. The Mayor on the other hand using the same number of hours worked is currently being paid $39.77 per hour and the increase would raise that rate to nearly $45.00 per hour.

While some may argue that city councilors should be doing the job solely out of a sense of civic duty the reality is that unless someone is being compensated fairly for their time these positions will likely only be filled by people in retired or semi-retired positions, as they are the only people in a position who can afford the time. You can argue the pros and cons of filling council with retired folk as they perhaps bring more experience to the table simply due to their age, however, observation would also prove that some fresh thinking could be beneficial. Observation would also conclude that age does not always bring sound critical thinking to the table either.

On the subject of hourly rates etc. it should be pointed out that there are about 160 people on city staff earning on average $100,000 per year which works out to $50.00 per hour, presuming they actually work 40 hours each week for 50 weeks. There are also several on city staff earning in excess of $75 per hour with the city manager topping the scales at over $100 per hour.

Back in the days when city councilors could get together for a few hours twice a month to discuss civic affairs overseeing budgets in the low millions (if that) then perhaps members of the community could be expected to donate their time simply out of a sense of civic duty.

However, today we have a city staff of over 700 (at least) who see how over $160 million is going to be spent (over $60 million goes to city payroll). In order to see that taxpayers are getting a good bang for the buck and to make sure that all contracts awarded by city hall are on the up and up, you need a new caliber of city councilor, who in essence are the board of directors of a substantial corporation.

A corporation, of which every single taxpayer in the city of Nanaimo is a shareholder. Perhaps our taxes would not have to be continually increasing if there were a better caliber of councilor overseeing our affairs. And as the old saying goes, 'if you are going to pay peanuts, you are only going to be able to hire monkeys'.

While no one is more in favour of holding the line on tax increases, this is one area where I think we get what we pay for and in the overall scheme of things if you increased every councilor's wage by $10,000 per year the increase would  mean another $80,000 per year which in the grander scheme of things should be money well spent.

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Nanaimo Astronomy Society Meeting

BLACK HOLES presentation
Thurs. Sept. 22, 2011 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Beban Park Social Complex
2300 Bowen Road
If you are curious about the night sky, you are invited to attend the free Nanaimo Astronomy regualr monthly meeting to learn more about telescopes and viewing the vast universe around us.

This months meeting will have guest speaker Mr. W. James Slater who will give a presentation on Black Holes, which is an object whose gravity field is so great that nothing can escape from it, not even light.

Curious?? Then come out this Thursday and learn what the Nanaimo Astronomy Society is all about. It could be the start of an amazingly fascinating new hobby.

For more information you can visit the Nanaimo Astronomy Society website HERE.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Nanaimo and Canadian House Prices August 2011



NANAIMO REAL ESTATE AUGUST 2011
Total Nanaimo Home Sales
Increase 21% Over 2010
Prices Up 5%
The average sale price increased in August 2011 by 5% to $365,537.00 compared with  $348,930.00 in August 2010.  For the month of August 2011 total number of sold homes in Nanaimo increased from 91 units in August 2010 to 110 units for the month representing a decrease of 21%.

The prices on Vancouver Island seem to have not been subject to the same swings as other areas of the country. Nanaimo average house prices are still below their peak of $379,291 reached in Nov. 2008.


VIREB President Jim Stewart says; “We continue to see stability in the real estate market, with mortgage rates remaining low. Vancouver Island continues to be a great place to invest.”

For more information about Nanaimo House Prices and comparisons use this Nanaimo Info LINK.

Following sales figures are based on average MLS sales summaries for Nanaimo and other Canadian cities for August2011.

National Average
August11 - $349,916
August10 - $324,992

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Downtown Ferry Has MLA's Support

HARBOUR LYNX FERRY File Photo

Local MLA and former city councillor Ron Cantelon is quoted in the local Daily as saying a downtown ferry 'lives on in his mind' and that he is hopeful that private company Seaspan will start a ferry service which could compete with BC Ferries for downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver. The article then goes on to say that Seaspan has not done any studies to support the idea and have not committed to such a service.
Mayor Ruttan has also repeatedly made his wishes known on the matter that a private company start the service which would link Nanaimo and Vancouver and a 2006 Nanaimo economic development report indcates the 650 people who commute daily to Vancouver should make the service viable.
 
While this 'story' has little actual news value it makes it clear that elected politicians and the public sector have different opinions than the private sector. You can rest assured that if private money thought they could make this service profitable, they would be all over it. Something like the much talked about downtown hotel project. It seems that only politicians see the opportunity with either of these services, perhaps that is because they never spend their own money.
 
I would also wonder why a company like BC Ferries couldn't be pressured by Mr. Cantelon and his government to initiate a downtown to downtown service as they are the major ferry service provider in the province. If anyone should be able to profitably offer such a service you would think they would be the logical choice. 

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Port Place Mall Renovations


Renovations At Port Place Mall Progressing

The above images show Port Place Mall as it currently is in the top photo while the bottom is a picture of the sign showing the artist concept of what it will look like finished.

There will be a new road running through the property which will connect Terminal Avenue and Front Street with a new building on the left hand side of the new street. The project hit a bit of a snag this summer when they found some soil contamination they had to deal with. The sign says the project will be opening this year, but obviously it won't make that deadline.


The remaining are of what used to be Harbour Park Mall is fully renovated housing the main tenants consisting of Thrifty Food, London Drugs and the Liquor Store. It is nice and bright and airy, and if you haven't been down for a while you might be surprised with the improvement. Thrifty Foods and London Drugs stores are the same inside as they have always been, it is only the connecting mall areas that have been renovated.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

HST On Homes Over $525,000


Homebuilders Want Help Now

The Nanaimo home builders are reported in the local Daily as joining the lobby of the provincial government for HST relief now, rather than waiting for 18 months. They claim that homes priced over $525,000 have simply stalled as buyers wait for the HST to come off these homes.

I am somewhat confused as I understood that the HST was a neutral tax which would result in the rebates and savings accrued by builders offsetting the HST so the end selling price would be no higher with the HST added on. In other words, if that is true, then when the HST comes off, the builders will be increasing their selling prices to offset the lost rebates etc. meaning no difference to the consumer in the end.

Perhaps that is the message the home builders need to get across instead of asking the government to roll back the HST immediately. If the HST were in fact rolled back, does that mean the builders would have to return the rebates from these homes ? Would that, not in turn raise the final selling price??

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Grandpa's Little Sweetie

Amelia Anne Sept.2009
Amelia Anne Sept. 2011

It really doesn't seem like two years have passed since the birth of our Grand daughter but a week ago my wife and I attended her second birthday party in Victoria where she is still living at home with my son and his lovely wife.

She is finally deciding that Grandpa isn't such a bad guy after all (I don't think the facial hair helps, mine not hers! lol), as she actually allowed me to take her hand and escort her at the playground.

She is a delight indeed and I do love the twinkle in the eye and that cute little dimple. This is one of the best parts about publishing your own blog, I can brag on Amelia without even having to take my wallet out to show her picture. :^)

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Your Comments Are Invited


To Post Your Comments On Nanaimo Info Blog

Some readers feel this website could better serve the area if instant posting was possible as opposed to waiting for comments to be moderated as they have in the past.

To that end I have removed the moderation delay, which means any comments will appear as soon as they have been posted. This will also allow readers to engage in 'conversation' with each other on topics of interest, much like a forum.

Since I will not be moderating comments, I just ask you keep it 'clean' and if any post borders on slander or liable it will be deleted completely.

In Order To Post Your Comment

The above illustration shows the 'comments' button, which appears in the lower left hand side of each story appearing on Nanaimo Info Blog. Simply click on the word 'comments' and you will be able to post your opinion. The number to the left of 'comment's' indicates how many comments a certain story has received.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

We Can't Stand The Truth?


Nanaimo Unemployment Is Alarming
'Sound Bites' Don't Change That

John Les, the parliamentary secretary for the Premier upset a few local sensitivities with his suggestion that if you are having trouble finding a good paying job in Nanaimo, you might want to consider the prospects in other BC communities. All he has done with his statement is prove why politicians are so often loath to speak the plain, simple truth.

The first I noticed was when the News Bulletin took exception to his comments on their editorial page saying more or less that Mr. Les should not have said what he said. That seemed to be all that was said about it until an arcticle appeared on Sept. 14 in the national newspaper, the Globe and Mail which seems to focus more attention on a subject than our local media. This has resulted in our Mayor rising to the defense of the city in print and also on CHEK television, along with city hall staffer Ian Howatt. Basically both Ruttan and Howatt said things in Nanaimo are improving and pointed to a couple of things supporting their claims. If you listened to what either of them said exactly, you will notice that neither of them really said anything of substance.

Mayor Ruttan is quoted in the Daily News as saying "there is no need to go .... you can talk gloom and doom all you want, but there is work here". I am not sure how much work and what type of work the Mayor thinks there is right here, he seems to be ignoring that double digit unemployment number which has been hanging on since the spring of this year. He also doesn't seem to acknowledge that many people who have decided not to go are also relying on school feeding programs, soup kitchen type feeding programs and food banks just to keep body and soul together.

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Nanaimo FPCOW Meeting Sept.19, 2011


 Monday September 19, 2011 4:30 p.m.
City Hall Board Room
455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, B.C.

City Director of Finance, Mr. Clemens will make a presentation updating council on performance measures.

Council will also be asked to approve a second round of Community Service Grants. You might want to know why staff recommends paying $1600 for haircuts for homeless and low income people but denies Citizens on Patrol money to provide additional patrols in areas most susceptible to crime. Or how the Nanaimo Community Gardens Society plan to use $1000 in the Gleaning program.

Remember it is city council on the advice of city staff that make decisions all the time on how to spend YOUR tax dollars, and unless you pay attention they pretty much just do as they please. $16 million for a new office without going to public tender, is just one example of what happens when you (the taxpayer) isn't paying attention.



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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Budget Cut Backs Needed In All Government Departments
Ok .... This May Be A Little Over The Top

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Wal Mart Expansion Progressing

Crane Hoisting Steel Beams Into Place

The renovation/expansion of the Wal Mart in Woodgrove Mall is moving right along and hopefully will be all closed in before the weather turns.

The expansion which saw the closing of the tire and oil and lube centre will be making way for an expanded grocery section in the store.

I saw a news item the other day which was highlighting the biggest employers in the world, the first was the US Department of Nation Defense, the second was the Chinese Army and in number three spot was Wal Mart.

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