Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Communications Director Poll

Starting today there is a new poll on this page on the right hand column. It is to do with the recent decision by five councillors to add another $140,000 to the city budget to create the position of Communications Director even though city staff was not recommending adding this expense at this time.

Councillors Anderson, Brennan, McKay, Johnstone and Mayor Ruttan were in favour of adding this expense to this years budget.

What do you think? Have your say by particpating in our short poll.

Simply look for this poll to the right and check off your preference.

Note: to email subscribers, you will have to visit the news website at in order to participate in this short poll.



Local photo artist Sheryl Falls applied some of her artist skills to create this clever tribute to that day that only comes along every four years.

The purpose of a leap year is to get our calendars back in line with the universe which of course never was subject to our idea of when the first day of summer was to occur. Since this is the year we all get one extra day........I wonder what we'll do with it?


Vacancy Rates In Nanaimo Rise

 Nanaimo Vacancy Rates Up Sharply
Nearly Double Oct. 2010 - 2011
3.3% - 6.3%

The following information is taken from the CMHC Rental Market Report released in the Fall of 2011. As with all statistics they are seldom easy to interpret the underlying causes, however, the fact that the vacancy rate in Nanaimo has jumped from 3.3% in Oct. 2010 to 6.3% in Oct. 2011 likely means one of three things, people have left the area, people have purchased houses and no longer are in the rental market or there has been a sharp increase in available rental units.

If you consider the number of houses sold in Nanaimo over the period it is unlikely option two is a main factor.  Option number 3 is also not supported by the data which shows 3317 units in 2010 compared with 3324 unites in 2011.As to what conclusions can be drawn it will be interested to see what our local civic leaders have to say. I suspect it likely indicates a number of people leaving the area given the current employment challenges in Nanaimo. Whatever the reason the number of actual units involved is not all that significant even though the percentage change seems considerable if you are looking for 'trends'.

Map Showing Vacancy Rate Changes Oct. 2011 Compared With Oct. 2010

The dark blue bar shows vacancy rate for Oct. 2011 and the light grey bar shows the vacancy rate for Oct. 2010. Nanaimo shows a much sharper change than most other areas studied.

Follows are some more statistics relating to the Nanaimo Apartment Rental Market taken from the same study.

Total Number of Private Apartment Units & Vacancy and Rent in $.
(Note Vacancy % is 2010/2011 stats expressed in %, Rents 2010/2011 in $)

  • Bachelor 245 units, 1.6% /7 .3% $519 / $538 
  • One bedroom 1615 units 2.4% / 5.3% $648 / $661 
  • Two bedroom 1336 units 4.8% / 7.6% $789 /  $802 
  • Three + Bedrooms 128 Units 1.7% / 3.9%  $957 / $955 
  • Total all categories 3324 units 3.3% / 6.3%

Total Number of Private Row (Townhouse) Units & Vacancy Rates and Rent in $.

  • Bachelor 6 units no other data available
  • One Bedroom 19 Units  0.0% / 10.5%   $659 / $656
  • Two Bedroom 136 Units  3.8% / 9.6%  $816 / $841
  • Three Bedroom 61 Units 8.1% / 8.2%  $973 / $978
  • Total in all categories 222 units 4.6% / 9.5%


Mt. Washington POWDER ALERT, Feb. 29

Snow Information
Overnight: 30 cm  Snowbase*: 396 cm
24 Hrs: 30 cm  48 Hrs: 30 cm

Snow Conditions: Powder Alert - Powder Alert


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kung Fu Bear


Crimson Coast 'Wee Tipple' Event

Crimson Coast is excited to announce a new partnership with The Grand Hotel and a change in venue for their 9th Annual Wee Tipple event -- in The Grand's Crystal Ballroom!

Tickets for this fundraiser are still priced at only $55. Share our event listing with friends, family, colleagues and clients... find us -- and like us on Facebook.


Troubling Nanaimo Profile


 Dr. Paul Hasselback who is the new Medical Health Officer for the area preseneted some troubling statistics as they relate to the overall health and well being of Nanaimo residents. The following highlights speak for themselves, and I understand the complete document is available online at the VIHA website.

Some revealing highlights in the Local Health Area Profile Nanaimo (68) presented by the new VIHA public health officer at Nanaimo City Council meeting Feb. 27, 2012 include:
  • Nanaimo had a higher percent of people on income assistance (7.9%} than BC (4.5%} or VIHA (5.4%).
  • Nanaimo had more low income seniors (9.5%) than VIHA (8.6%} but fewer than BC (14.7
  • More Nanaimo grade 4 and 7 children scored below standard in writing (25.6%} than BC children (18.7%)
  • More Nanaimo grade 4 and 7 children scored below standard in reading (24.2%) than BC children (20.5%)
  • Fewer 18 year olds graduated high school in Nanaimo (64.3%) than in BC (70.2%}.
  • The percentage of people in Nanaimo spending more than 30% of income on rent (48.6%) was higher than BC (43.4%)
  • There were more female lone-parent families in Nanaimo (25.7%) than BC (20.5%)
  •  The serious juvenile crime rate was higher in Nanaimo (6.7 per 1,000) than BC (4.2 per 1,000)
  • There were more non-cannabis juvenile drug offences in Nanaimo (63.2 per 100,000) than BC (52.4 per 100,000)
  • There were more children on income assistance in Nanaimo (7.8%) than in BC (4.0%)
  • Overall, Nanaimo scored poorly on almost all indicators of crime
  • Overall, Nanaimo scored poorly on nearly all indicators of child and youth healthy development
Councillor Kipp asked Dr. Hasselback who should be the champion who would address what is clearly a startling picture of Nanaimo's young people. Dr. Hasselback, had no real answer.


Nanaimo Arts Council Display

Lawrence Walrond is a well respected (now retired) teacher and photographer who has resided in Nanaimo since September 1970. He has travelled throughout Canada, USA, Great Britain, France, Monaco, Spain, Central and South America and the Caribbean. In all these places he is inspired by the many landscapes, in his words, "of this wonderful place we inhabit." 

To see Lawrence's display you will have to hurry as Feb. 29th is the last day it will be at the Nanaimo Arts Council  gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre, near Sears.


Home Show Busy

Home Improvement Always Popular

The home show at Beban Park this past weekend was packing them in on Saturday while I was there, as people browsed the displays looking for ways to improve their houses.

Just about any type of home improvement product was on display from windows, heating and cooling, bedding, wall beds, hot tubs, renovation companies, alarm companies and on and on the list goes.

It is clear to see this is one segment of our business community that still seems to have a solid customer base if the show's turnout is any indication.


Port Theatre Annual General Meeting 2012


Monday, February 27, 2012

Vancouver Island Symphony Fundraiser

We are so excited to announce that the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver is joining our Special Event Partners in offering their Executive Chef to the Newfoundland Kitchen Party fundraiser for this one night only!
 "The Vancouver Island Symphony is tremendously pleased to announce that Dana Hauser, originally from Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland, one of Canada's top Chef's, will be attending this great fundraising party to prepare a selection of traditional Newfoundland dishes for our guests to sample.  Guests will also have an opportunity to mix and mingle with Dana throughout the evening."

 In addition to the Fairmont Waterfront's generousity, our auction is gathering some fantastic collectibles.  WE are VERY fortunate this year.  On the block will be a Bruce Springsteen hand autographed electric guitar,  a framed 11 X 14 autographed photo of Wayne Gretsky, a 3 night trip to New Orleans with cooking classes and no black out dates.  You can fly with any number of airlines.  


Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Take A 'Bite' Out Of Car Theft!
Install A Live Watchdog Alarm System!
(Wonder if he doubles as a turn signal?)


BC Forest Service Centennial

B.C. Forest Service celebrates 100 years of excellence

Today British Columbia celebrates a truly significant milestone: the centennial birthday of the BC Forest Service.
One hundred years ago today, the Province created the first government agency to preserve B.C.’s forests through forest fire prevention, use of timber management areas, tree planting and the diversification of tree-growing.
Since Feb. 27, 1912, the BC Forest Service has been in charge of managing and protecting the province’s forests and range lands. The dedication and hard work of the men and women of the BC Forest Service have resulted in 100 years of excellent forest stewardship in British Columbia.
The BC Forest Service has marked many milestones over the past 10 decades, including:

  • 1927 – Opening of one of the province’s first experimental forest nurseries in Victoria.
  • 1938 – Planting the one-millionth tree.
  • 1940s – B.C. forest surveyors were used in World War II for the D-Day invasion to fly over French territory and describe the topography.
  • 1955 – Helicopters were first used for forest inventory and mapping.
  • 1970 – Creation of styro-block and plug system that revolutionized the planting and growth of seedlings, leading to an exponential increase of seedlings planted.
  • 1981 – Planting of the one-billionth tree.
  • 1994 – Forest Practices Code was introduced.
  • 2004 – Forest and Range Practices Act and regulations came into force.
  • 2008 – Planting of the six-billionth tree.

During 2012, the ministry will host numerous celebratory events throughout the province. For more details and a complete list of events, contact your local district office or visit the BC Forest Service Centenary website


BC Ferries 3rd Quarter Loss $23,100,000.00

$17,953,000.00 Interest Paid To Service Debt

British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) released its third quarter results for fiscal 2011/12. The company reported a net loss of $23.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2011, compared to a net loss of $12.5 million in the same quarter last year. Net earnings for the nine-month period ended December 31, 2011 were $28.7 million, down from $42.8 million for the same period in the previous year. The loss in the third quarter of fiscal 2010/11 included a one-time gain of $9.3 million from the sale of the company’s former head office building.

BC Ferries’ full financial statements, including notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis, are filed on SEDAR and will be available at


Installing A Water Saving Toilet?

City of Nanaimo Toilet Replacement
Rebate Program 2012

Thinking of replacing a toilet?
If you qualify, the City of Nanaimo will give you a $50 rebate towards the cost of an approved maximum 4.8-litre toilet or a dual-flush toilet when you replace a 13-litre or larger flush toilet.

To download the Toilet Rebate Appliction Form visit the city website HERE.


Nanaimo City Council Meeting Feb. 27, 2012

Nanaimo City Council Meeting
Monday, February 27 , 2012 - 7:00 PM
Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Convention Centre

You can view this week's Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

Democracy Works When The Public Stays Involved
It Is Too Important To Leave To Politicians

Council at the last FPCOW Voted To Spend $140,000 To Hire a Communications Officer (spin doctor) so that Council and City staff can better explain how they are spending YOUR tax dollars. Councillors Anderson, Brennan, McKay, Johnstone as well as Mayor Ruttan voted for this expense, which is not actually recommended in the financial plan before them. Wonder why?

Dealing With 2012 - 2016 Financial Plan
Tax Increases Planned 16% Water Rates Increase 25%
$350,000 House Taxes and User Rates To Increase $375.00 /Yr.

Attending in person 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.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Regard For Nanaimo Tax Dollars!

Councillors George Anderson, Diane Brennan 
and Bill McKay Clearly Tax & Spenders!

It is a little discomforting to realize that our three newest city Councillors have adjusted quickly to council's true calling....... find as many ways as possible to spend YOUR tax dollars!

The first example of these new Councillors attitude to spending tax dollars creatively came at the recent FPCOW meeting where veteran tax spender Councillor Brennan led the charge to see the city hire a $143,000.00 a year SPIN DOCTOR so we can be told with OUR tax dollars what a wonderful job they are doing.

Can you imagine having to spend nearly $3,000 a week so some city hack can write propaganda designed to make you think they are spending your tax dollar wisely. Hiring a spin doctor to tell us how wisely they are spending money is one of things that is so ironic you just have to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

The new TAX & SPENDERS were joined by the seasoned spenders of Councillor Johnstone and Mayor Ruttan in making what is arguably the most symbolic example of a complete lack of concern over how much we are already being taxed for the privilege of living under this city administration.


Say NO To Spin Doctor

FEB. 25TH, 7:00 pm Shaw Auditorium

If you don't think that YOUR tax dollars need to go to pay for a $140,000.00/ yr. Spin Doctor let YOUR city council know what you think. That will work out to nearly $3,000 a week! Imagine!!!

You can tell city council what you think of the blatant waste of YOUR tax dollars if you show up at the city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 at 7:00 pm in Shaw Auditorium. You do NOT need to have registered as a delegate to have your say. There is an open session on the agenda at the start of the meeting where the public can speak to the Financial Plan.

You may not realize that with the acceptance of this new financial plan council has decided how to spend $844,000,000 over the next 5 years! Your taxes will have increased by 98.5% since 2001, add to the the increase in user rates etc. and YOU are paying TWO TIMES as much for the privilege of living in the city of Nanaimo.

Ask yourself if you can justify spending two times as much for the level of services you are getting now as you were in 2001??

Don't let a fear of speaking in public stop you, and don't be intimidated by the forum, simply come to the council meeting and when the Mayor asks if anyone wishes to speak about the Financial Plan, simply go to the podium and tell council, in your own words what you think about them deciding to spend $143,000 on a Spin Doctor, rather than just telling you why they are doing what they are doing in their own words!!


Geek Week In Nanaimo March 20 - 22

Presented by: Pacific Coast Stage Company and
VIU Performing Arts Club

Announcing Geek Week March 20-22, 2012 at VIU Theatre. Returning Nanaimo favorite, Charlie Ross (One Man Star Wars Trilogy) brings his latest smash hit to Nanaimo for one night only.  In One-Man Lord of the Rings Ross delivers the whole trilogy by himself in one frenetic hour. This Vancouver Island actor, playwright and self-proclaimed “professional geek” found international ............ click HERE to continue..


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Former Mayor Blasts Council Decision

"Any elected person needing a "communications officer" is either incompetent, lazy, hiding something, or worse."

Former Mayor Gary Korpan recently submitted the following opinion on city council's 4 - 5 decision to hire a spin doctor at city hall This controversial move was championed by Councillor Brennan and had the support of Councillors Anderson, McKay, Johnstone and Mayor Ruttan.

With 23 years experience on Nanaimo Council, 15 as Mayor, it is safe to assume I am one of the  two or three people most knowledgeable of the  true need for a City of Nanaimo Communications  Officer. Let's be blunt. There is absolutely zero  need for such a disgusting waste of taxpayer's  money.

As I stated, when this was first suggested  by Diane Brennan in December (conveniently  after the elections): "Taxpayers are fed up with wasting money on useless bureaucratic positions. PR flacks are the worst. People want answers  from the people in charge (elected or appointed),  NOT some PR idiot. Any publicly funded body  that has a PR or "communications officer" is  wasting our money. Fire them all." 

Let me add. Any elected person needing a  "communications officer" is either incompetent,  lazy, hiding something, or worse.  Any Council member voting for this nonsense  has no sensitivity to the poor economy and  the taxpayers' anguish over waste in government.

Apparently the Council majority has no confidence in  the ability of the current mayor or staff to communicate  with the public. Perhaps Mayor Ruttan should resign  if Council has such little confidence in him.

Stop this NOW!



Nanaimo Food Services and Helping Hands

Loaves & Fishes Community Food Bank
1009 Farquhar Street, Nanaimo, 250.754.8347
Food pick-up available every Monday, 1:00pm - 3:00pm and Thursday, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Clothing Room

Nanaimo 7 - 10 Club
205-285 Prideaux Street, Nanaimo, 250-714-0917

The 7-10 Club Meal Program provides a hot nutritious breakfast, homemade soup, plus a brown bag lunch to go that is served by community volunteers to those in need during the  hours of 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  All meals are offered at no charge.

Salvation Army
19 Nicol Street, Nanaimo, 250.754.2621
Lunch and dinner available seven days a week. Lunch from 12:00pm - 1:00 pm (lunch is free).
Dinner from 4:00 pm - 5:30pm ($2 cost for dinner; tickets are available at New Hope Centre).
Bread & goodies are available at the above times.

Salvation Army Family Services
19 Nicol Street (upstairs), Nanaimo
Food hampers available Monday to Friday from 9:00am-12:00pm and 1:00pm-2:30pm. Must show identification for self and everyone in the family. Bread & pastries available during meal times 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm & 4:00pm - 5:30pm Monday to Friday.
Drop-in for assessment and referral to other community resources such as:

Nanaimo Community Kitchens 250.753.7470
Organize groups to cook together, share costs and take meals home (50% food subsidy), nutritious food for under $1 per serving.

Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre

602 Haliburton Street, Nanaimo, 250.753.6578
“Building Better Babies” provides juice and milk for pregnant women & babies up to 6 months old. Christmas food hampers for clients of Tillicum Lelum.

Nanaimo Food Share 250.753.9393
A network of groups concerned about food security and food issues.

VIU Community Gardens 250.753.7470
Provides opportunities and education regarding food growing & sustainable living.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

A Reaaaallllly Cool Chair!!


Head Coach Signed With VI Raiders

Matt 'Snoop' Blokker

The wait is over for VI Raiders fans, it is now official that Head Coach Matt 'Snoop' Blokker has hammered out a deal that sees him as head coach for the next two years.
In addition to the Head Coach title he is also the director of football operations which will give him more influence over the team.
This could be the year the VI Raiders add another national championship to their trophy wall, having won the last six BCFC crowns.


Nanaimo Conservatory of Music

presents Vancouver Island Chamber Music Festival
Feb. 24 - 26, 2012
Nanaimo Centre Stage 25 Victoria Road

Don’t miss this amazing festival of chamber music. More than 40 musicians, professional and amateur, will perform in 8 concerts over three days. In addition, three of the ensembles will be doing community concerts at a local retirement residence, an elementary school and at the University. This is an expansion of the inaugural festival from last year and is shaping up to be just as exciting and of equally high quality.

The Festival kicks off on Friday evening at 7:00 PM with Mount Benson Brass Werks, a local brass ensemble featuring Heather Walker on French horn, Shawn Wright on trombone and Mark D’Angelo on trumpet.

For complete information about this exciting event visit the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music website HERE.


Mt Washington Powder Alert Feb. 24, 2012

Snow Information
Overnight: 15 cm  Snowbase*: 344 cm
24 Hrs: 15 cm  48 Hrs: 15 cm

Snow Conditions: Powder Alert - Powder Alert


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Snowfall Warning For Friday Morning

Snowfall Warning

Issued at 10:43 AM PST Thursday 23 February 2012


Snowfall accumulation of 5 centimetres expected Friday morning. This is a warning that significant snowfall is expected or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.


A low pressure system will approach the BC coast tonight. Rain and snow will begin overnight over much of the Inner South coast. Mostly rain is expected near sea level with up to about 2 cm of snow likely over some areas. Higher elevations and inland areas will see heavier snow with up to 5 cm expected Friday morning. Eastern sections of the Fraser Valley will see snow somewhat later with heavier snow occurring in the afternoon. Snowfall accumulations of 10 to 15 centimetres are expected for inland sections of the central coast beginning this evening. The snow is expected to change to rain on Friday before noon.


Only in CANADA EH!

Hockey Loyalties Begin At A Tender Age


Hydro and ICBC Collecting Taxes?

Government grabs $942 Million from Hydro
Another $1.2 Billion from ICBC

That is the headline story in the Times Colonist as they investigate just how much money the provincial government siphons from Crown corporations. This raises a fundamental question about whether this deceptive means of collecting taxes should be allowed.

If the corporations are having to raise rates, and they are, while at the same time forking over excess cash to the government, aren't they just conveniently allowing the government to pretend they are not raising taxes as much as they really are?

To read the complete article use this link to the TC story. Remember we are facing increases this year from both of these Crown corporations.


Segways In Nanaimo Parks?

Segway Victoria is trying to drum up support to bring their business to Nanaimo.

They hope to get the city's approval to provide guided tours of some of Nanaimo's parks and perhaps along the waterfront. What they are proposing is guided tours, with up to eight people riding the two wheeled electric vehicles, being led through some of Nanaimo's parks and trails.

Apparently getting approval for these two wheeled wonders presents all sorts of challenges which is why they don't seem to have ever caught on in this part of the world.

What do you think? Good Idea or Not So Much??


Missing Cash and Cocaine Spark Investigation

$10,000 and .3 Grams of Cocaine Missing

The local Daily is reporting a Nanaimo RCMP investigation of one of their own after cash and cocaine went missing from their evidence locker.

Superintendent McPhail said it is personally very upsetting as it calls into question the integrity of over 9,000 employees across the province. He is promising to get to the bottom of the matter as quickly as possible.

In the meantime the officer under investigation has been reassigned and will not be responsible for evidence. The article in the Daily said that no drug charges were laid in the case, but does not make clear why the cash would not have been returned to the owner?

It used to be one of those 'wink/wink' jokes that if you wanted to buy good hash, you needed to know a good cop.

Other Police News
Victoria Chief Improperly Stores Gun

In what is almost humorous if it wasn't serious, the Victoria Police Chief was reprimanded for improperly storing his service revolver. It should have been unloaded, in a locked drawer inside a locked locker. Instead it was found under the seat of his unmarked police car.

The humor behind this story is the fact his mishandling of his own weapon came to light as a result of a search of all police vehicles as they were searching to find missing tear gas, pepper balls and a shotgun which another department had somehow lost.

At the end of the day, police are just people like all of us, but we do rightly expect a little higher standard from them than the rest of us mere mortals.


First Time New Home Buyers Bonus

Up To $10,000 First Time Buyers Bonus
Available Feb. 21, 2012 - March 31, 2013

The bonus is equal to 5% of the purchase price of the home (or in the case of owner-built homes, 5% of the land and construction costs subject to HST) to a maximum of $10,000.

Subject to approval by the legislature, the B.C. government intends to implement a temporary BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus. Effective February 21, 2012, to March 31, 2013, the bonus is a one-time refundable personal income tax credit worth up to $10,000.

For complete details and to see if you qualify for this 'First Time New Home Owner's Bonus' view full information HERE.


Last Chance To See NTG Presentation

Written by Mark Twain & David Ives

A struggling artist finds a hilarious way to boost his sales when he feigns his demise and returns as his twin sister to manage his affairs.  Originally written by Mark Twain and then adapted by the incredible David Ives, Is He Dead? is a witty, delightful play in the style of the French farce.  It will tickle the intellect as well as the funny bone!

For complete details click the image above.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

What ....... No Duct Tape ???


Port Theatre Nanaimo Feb. 22, 25,26

Wednesday, February 22, 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 25th, 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 26, 7:30 PM


BC To Privatize Liquor Distribution

Province acts to modernize B.C. liquor distribution system

Yesterday the Province announced it intends to approach the private sector to see how liquor distribution in B.C. can be delivered in a modernized and cost-effective manner.

The Province will conduct a Request for Proposals to transfer the government-owned and operated liquor distribution branch warehouses in Vancouver and Kamloops to the private sector by 2015. 

By privatizing the warehouses, the Province will realize a long-term capital gain, and create an opportunity for the private sector to find more efficient ways to distribute liquor in B.C.

Currently, liquor is distributed throughout the province by both public and private services. The two government-owned warehouses distribute approximately 55 per cent of the liquor that is sold in British Columbia.

The Liquor Distribution Branch is responsible for the implementation, distribution, wholesaling and retailing of alcohol in B.C., and operates 197 government liquor stores and two warehouses. The government-operated liquor stores will not be affected by this Request for Proposals.

The two warehouses employ about 400 BCGEU staff between them.


Occupy Nanaimo Still Active

Publishes Newspaper Online and In Print

Since moving from their location in Diana Krall Plaza the Occupy Nanaimo group has not been as visible this past little while, but that does not mean they are still not active and seeking to bring about some meaningful change to our society.

On the 15th of this month they published the first issue of their own newspaper which can be viewed online by clicking the above banner or a printed version may be found at various locations around the central island area.

The group has a permanent place for their Tuesday night general assemblies in the same location as the 7-10 club occupies on Prideaux Street. Attendance at last nights meeting was perhaps a little low on numbers but not low on passion and determination. They hope once more people are aware of their new permanent location that attendance will once again pick up.

24 Hour Vigil This Saturday

The following information is posted on the groups website:

On Saturday February 25th, Occupy Nanaimo will be joining in Solidarity to protest against Island Timberlands plans to log Cortes Island. We are joining in this protest with Occupy Powell River and Occupy Vancouver, who will be holding 24 hour occupations against Island Timberlands plan to clear cut the Beautiful forests of Cortes Island. For those that aren’t aware, Island Timberlands is owned by Brookfield Asset Management. Brookfield Asset Management also owns Zuccotti Park, aptly renamed “Liberty Park” by Occupy Wall-St, the Heart of the Occupy Movement and the Location of their September 17th Occupation.

We, of Occupy Nanaimo, will meet at DKP at 11am and march to I.T. offices where a 24hour vigil will be held in honour of the old growth forest of Cortes. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to show up and support any time during the 24hours…This is our chance to stand up for our right as the people of British Columbia not to lose some of the last of the remaining percentage of old growth forest left in Canada. We demand respectful and responsible handling of our precious natural resources, so again we ask you to please join if you can!!


BC Budget Highlights

BC 2012 Budget Highlights

You can read a reader-friendly, plain language overview of the Budget 2012 HERE.

You may also view a slide presentation by clicking the following image.


Black History Month Grand Finale

Artisan Fair & Finale Concert

Sunday Feb 26th
At Bowen Park Complex
Artisan Fair at 11:00am
Dinner and show at 4:00pm
$15 tickets

Enjoy the afternoon by stopping by Beban park for a look at exotic wears, fine jewelry and hand crafted knick-knacks!

Later, dance and dine with the Nanaimo African Heritage Society as we wrap up a successful Black History Month!

Entertainment by Ezra Kwizera and Jean Pierre Mokkoso
Join us in celebration of our final Black History Month 2012 Concert! Become drawn into another world with the storytelling talent of both Ezra Kwizera and Jean Pierre Mokkoso.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going .. Going .. Gone

Making Way For The New

Looking much like a hungry, house eating mechanical dinosaur this large backhoe makes short work of a small bungalow in the Townsite area.

Clearly the old home was of no value and the land was the only true value of this corner lot facing Millstone Ave. Over the coming weeks it will be interesting to see what kind of new home rises on this site which right now is just covered with rubble. While new construction is generally a good thing, Nanaimo's affordable housing stock just got a little smaller.


What Nanaimo City Council Does?

 Whatever City Staff Tells Them To Do!

City Council recently gave third reading to a Financial Plan approving the spending of $843,932,768 between 2012 and 2016. This amount will see residential taxes increase by 4% this year and a total of 16% over the life of this plan. During the same period industrial taxes will be rolled back by 37%. This also means that city taxes will have doubled since 2001.

I have personally attended every city council and finance policy committee meeting since this plan was first presented by city staff, and have yet to witness ANY discussion, direction or deliberation come from this council relating to this document. Basically, what has been prepared by city staff, without council direction is simply getting the old 'rubber stamp' of approval from council.

This little game of smoke and mirrors gives both city council and city staff the ability to duck any responsibility for poor policy as each can point to the other as being the ones responsible. Staff can't proceed without council approval, council only takes recommendations from city staff, so when you ask who is responsible, they can both rightly point at each other.

You would be forgiven if you think the Councillors you elect actually set policy and direct city staff. That is all just a part of the little drama city hall watchers see, as council and staff go about playing their scripted roles on our little corner of the stage.


Council Votes To Spent Another $140,000

Councillors Anderson, Brennan, Johnstone, McKay 
and Mayor Ruttan Vote For City Spin Doctor

Councillor Brennan introduced a motion at the FPCOW yesterday which will require the financial plan to be 're-jigged' as it no longer conforms to the plan given three readings at the last council meeting.

Demonstrating her lack of understanding Councillor Johnstone said it would not affect the Financial Plan as it was not being spent this year. There was no basis for that decision, as now the city manager will be able to fill the position so that council and staff can defer comment to the new 'spin doctor' rather than having to answer questions directly. Transparency you say??

At a time when the Mayor and Councillors who voted to hire a spin doctor, would tell you they are doing their best to hold the line on taxes, in five minutes they decided to spend what is arguably an unnecessary $140,000.

This person will still not be allowed to shed any light on the decision making process that led to the decision to spend the equivalent of 5 years tax increase on a new office for staff. The fact, that a year after the fact, neither city council, nor city staff want their decision scrutinized, just adds further fuel to the fire of suspicion surrounding this questionable decision.

If City Councillors and City Staff know what they are doing and why they are doing it, why would they need a professional wordsmith to craft their message? I understand the desire to have someone to hide behind as many Councillors seem of the opinion they won't be held accountable for the things they have not said.

Given the way the local press polishes up press releases from the city now and avoids all reporting that might be contrary to the city 'spin', I can't really imagine how a full time spin doctor will fill their days and weeks at city hall. Does it really take $140,000 a year to craft one or two press releases every month??

$3000.00 A Week To Tell YOU What City Hall Is Doing?

I follow city hall going's on probably as much as anyone in the city (I know, I know, silly me) and I can not for the life of me imagine how the city is going to need to craft even one message a week to tell Nanaimo taxpayers how your money is being spent.

Presuming they can actually find one thing a week to put on the spinning wheel, it is likely going to cost Nanaimo taxpayers $3,000 for that 'news' item.

Has this city council lost all credibility when they say they care how your money is spent, then turn around and fork out $3,000 a week to write a press release?? A the very best, this could be a very part time, contracted expense used occasionally when something really important has to be conveyed to the public.

No Sir, Mayor Ruttan and Councillors Anderson, Brennan, McKay and Johnstone cleary demonstrate their disregard for how they spend YOUR money.


Monday, February 20, 2012

CFIB Consider Balanced Budget Imperative

Shachi Kurl CFIB
CFIB Urges Government Action 
on Taxes, Spending & “Family Day”

As BC’s provincial government prepares to unveil the budget for the 2012/13 fiscal year, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business is appealing to Premier Christy Clark to ensure that the needs and priorities of the critical small- and medium-sized business sector are not forgotten.

“BC’s small business sector is the backbone of our provincial economy and has been hit hard by global economic turmoil and rising costs at home,” says Shachi Kurl, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs.

“We are very encouraged by recent statements from Finance Minister Kevin Falcon indicating that BC is on track for a balanced budget by 2013/14. Our surveys show that 91% of CFIB members consider this a priority, and it’s imperative for the health of BC’s business climate that this be the case,” says Kurl. “We will be looking to ensure this government keeps spending within reasonable limits tomorrow.”

Ms. Kurl says that CFIB will also be looking for government to honour its commitment to eliminate the Small Business Tax. “We recognize the fiscal circumstances of this government, and understand it is likely not possible to eliminate the tax by April 1, 2012, as originally promised. However, we call on the government to do so as soon as is fiscally possible within a balanced budget framework.”

Kurl says CFIB will also be looking for action to help mitigate the impact of the proposed Family Day holiday, which CFIB estimates will cost an average small business paying average wages $1135 in labour costs alone. “Member support for Family Day nearly doubles when potential government offsetting measures are considered.” CFIB is also looking for a freeze on the Carbon Tax Rate after July 1, 2012; and looking to see the Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code enshrined in legislation as part of a clear and consistent transition back to the PST.


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BC Heritage Week Feb. 20 - 26

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Celebrate the Power of B.C. this Heritage Week

Heritage Week kicks off throughout the province on Monday with a host of exciting events highlighting the role power production has played in British Columbia’s history.

Beginning Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Stave Falls Visitors Centre in Mission, families can tour Turn on the Juice: the Development of Electricity in Mission, chronicling the early development of power in B.C.

The Western Canada Power Company, now BC Hydro, began construction of the Stave Falls Powerhouse and Dam in 1909. It was used to generate power for the Fraser Valley until it was decommissioned in 2000. Today the facility, a National Historic Site of Canada, tells the story of how power helped build B.C. “Heritage is not just about celebrating our past, it’s about preserving our future. This year’s theme of Energy in B.C. helps remind us we need to build a sustainable future for our children.” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.“The Province recognizes the value of preserving historic buildings in our communities and showcasing ways we can retro-fit these buildings to conserve energy.” noted Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines.

Find an event in your community:
For information about the Nanaimo Heritage Summit this week visit HERE.


Nanaimo Newcomers Meeting

Monthly Meeting Oliver Woods Centre 7:00 PM

The Harbour City Newcomers' Club is hosting it's monthly meeting at Oliver Woods Community Centre, 6,000 Oliver Road at 7:00 PM Feb. 20th.

The HCNC is open to both men and women, singles or couples who are new to Nanaimo and the surrounding area. The club is run by volunteers who form the Executive Committee and act as Activity Conveners.

Their mission is to provide friendship and new opportunities to individuals who have recently moved to the Nanaimo area. Our club wants to help you create a new social network in a casual, supportive, and fun environment. We want to share our experiences in this paradise that we now call home!

To find out more about this newcomers' club and view their calendar of events you can visit their website HERE.