Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nanaimo Info Blog Scoops NDN??


Blog Published On March 27th
NDN 'Claims' Tip March 28th
Hmmmmmmmmmmm.......

Back in the good ole days. long before facebook and twits (there still were twits back then but no Twitter) and for that matter even local news on the tellie, there was a long standing competition among the local NEWSpapers to see who could scoop the other by being the first to break an important story.

Guys  (mostly) with 'PRESS' cards tucked in the band of their hats would make a mad dash to the local PAY phone (remember them), excitedly hollering into the phones......STOP THE PRESSES!

Well, those days are but a fond memory with the electronic age pretty much scooping anything the print world has to offer these days. Still, if you want some real depth, ink on your fingers and something to hide from the Missus behind, you still can't beat a good old broadsheet newspaper. Sadly, modern technology and the bean counters have changed the function of the news room to the point the eager cub reporter of days gone by could hardly recognize the place.

Back On Point

The recent little storm brewed up by the CEO of the NEDC by contracting with a Toronto based firm to put together the new Tourism NANAIMO website, being published by Tourism NANAIMO, who are run by the NANAIMO economic development corporation is the story this blog 'scooped' from the big boys, fully a day ahead of the local daily.

The article on this blog was written on Monday March 26 after I returned from the Council Meeting where Ms. Cudahy head of the NANAIMO economic development corp.announced the new website for NANAIMO tourism. I scheduled it for the next morning March 27 to be published.

Now for the pesky timeline, that 'proves' I scooped the big boys........they 'claim' to have had an anonymous 'tip' on the morning of the 28th which launched their in depth investigation of this breaking news story. Fully 24 hours after I 'scooped' them..............

I rest my case!  :^)

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Nanaimo Parks and Trails Map

Nanaimo Info Parks & Trails Map Very Popular

The map and guide of Nanaimo parks and trails featured on Nanaimo-Info.com which is a sister site to Nanaimo-Info-Blog.com has proven very popular over the past two years with 323,038 views since being posted.

The popular map has an alphabetical listing of all Nanaimo Parks with each park 'pinned' on the city map showing exactly where they are. It makes it fast and easy to locate a park you may have read or heard about, but are not certain of the exact location. It is also very useful in locating parks in your area you may not be familiar with.

Our parks and seaside location, and great outdoors are part of the features Nanaimo boasts when we compare ourselves to some of the less fortunate locations in our great country. Just another reason we are without doubt and ideal place to live, work. play, visit and invest.

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Downtown Farmers' Market Looking For Vendors


Downtown Farmers' Market Invites Vendors

The Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market is inviting potential vendors to have their products adjudicated on Tuesday April 10th, 2012 between 6:00 and 7:00 pm in Nanaimo.

The Market is in it's 15th year and insists that all offerings be made by the vendor as opposed to simply retailing products bought and sold. This is in keeping with their slogan " We make it, bake, grow it".

The Market is accepting vendors from all of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands to participate in their popular market located right downtown overlooking the harbour in Pioneer Plaza beside the historic Bastion.

This year's market will be held every Friday from May until October from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM with this season's first market being held on May 11th.

If you are interested in more details you can call 250-754-1998 or email ndfms@shaw.ca, more information about the market is also available on their website HERE.

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Work BC Employment Services Nanaimo


 Click Map To Locate Offices
Two WorkBC Centre Offices In Nanaimo
Open April 2, 2012

There will be an office at GT Hiring Solutions (2005) Inc. at 255 - 2000 Island Highway, Nanaimo, Phone 250-729-5627. They also have another location at 101 - 155 Skinner Street, Nanaimo, Email: info@slbconsulting.com.Phone 250-714-0085.

Employment Program of BC

As of April 2, 2012 the Employment Program of BC will make it easier for people to find work and provide stability for their families through a wide range of integrated employment services and supports. The new program replaces four provincially funded employment programs and six programs funded under the Canada-BC Labour Market Development Agreement with an integrated approach for British Columbians needing services.

To learn more about the Work BC Employment Program visit their website HERE or contact either of the local offices listed above. If you click on the map above you will link to an interactive map which shows the exact location of these offices and their hours of operation etc.

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Nanaimo Art Show & Sale


“Gallery 223 proudly presents Federation of Canadian Artists Arrowsmith Chapter, Spring Juried Show” Exhibition and Sale: March 31 to April 11

Show opening March 31, 11:00am to 4:00pm

Gallery 223
223 Commercial Street, Nanaimo
Phone: 240-741-1188

Gallery 223 is a proud supporter of Vancouver Island artists and is very pleased to host this show featuring the work of the FCA and 26 talented artists. Lisa Danesin, Deborah Daffe and Jacqueline Smith received Awards of Excellence for their submissions. Artists works are on display at www.gallery223.ca choose search Artists, and scroll to Federation of Canadian Artists.

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Model Boaters Show Their Stuff


NANAIMO MODEL BOAT SHOW
Country Club Mall March 29 - April 1

A display of finely-crafted scale boat models and a pond on which the public can observe radio-controlled model boats in operation.  The public is invited to try their hand at operating a boat, and to talk to the modellers about their projects and their weekly Sunday morning sessions on the water at Inn On Long Lake.

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Get Rid Of Unwanted Items This Weekend



REUSE RENDEZVOUS 2012
Saturday March 31 & Sunday April 1

Spring is the time to get ready for summer by tidying up around the house. Reuse Rendezvous can help both you and the environment by finding a new home for your unwanted household items.
This year’s City-wide free-cycle event is set for Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1. Have fun and make space around your house by taking unwanted furniture, toys, bikes and other items to the curb for others to pick up and reuse. Please ensure you only put out items intended for others to take away.

Reuse Rendezvous emphasizes reuse and keeps useful items out of the landfill. Make it a success by marking items set out for others to take with a free tag and by removing and disposing of any leftovers after April 1. Bargain hunters: please drive carefully, watch for children, and respect private and public property.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Nanaimo Barbecue Festival


Nanaimo's First Annual Thrifty Foods 
Barbecue Festival
Needs Volunteers

On July 14 & 15 the first ever Nanaimo Barbecue Festival will take place in downtown Nanaimo with world class BBQ enthusiasts coming from all over to compete in this Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned cook-off. We're talking world class BBQ coming to Nanaimo which is officially sanctioned as a Jack Daniels qualifier in this major BBQ event. Special rigs and recipes are all the rage with these competitors who will be competing for $10,000 in prize money. They take their BBQ VERY Seriously!

Huge Family Fun FREE Events

In addition to the world class BBQ competitors that will be cooking up a storm downtown there will be a Family Fun Zone, a Car Show 'n Shine, a Bike Show 'n Shine, a Pancake Breakfast  and of course a Rib Eating Contest (pledges will go to the Hospital Foundation through their website) a Summer Fun Expo in Vancouver Island Conference Centre and a Live Entertainment Stage headlining David Gogo! To learn more about this thrilling event you should visit their website HERE.


Event Organizers Need YOUR Help

An event of this magnitude needs an army of volunteers  to chair committees and help out at the event itself. By getting involved with this inaugural event you can be a part of history as this is surely going to become an annual event which will see Nanaimo put on everyone's radar.

If you are interested in getting involved with this amazing community event you should contact Alison at Nanaimo BBQ Fest, email is preferred but phone calls are also happily taken.

Alison@nanaimobbqfest.com or phone 250-729-5033

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Time To Fix Power Outage ------ 30 minutes!
Time To Locate Source Of Power Outage ---- 30 Days!

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Mayor Calls For Tax Revolt



Campbell River Mayor 
Calls For Tax Revolt
Budget Proposes 
13.6% Tax Increase

"Rise Up The Public 
Is Getting Screwed"

How many more years before Nanaimo is faced with the same tough decisions that Campbell River is now facing? Can you imagine a time when a Mayor is calling for a tax revolt because a city can't keep it's own spending in line, and just keeps on taxing and spending?

Consider the difference between the Campbell River council and our own city council. There, the Mayor and members of council are telling the staff to get their house in order, and figure out how to live within the city's means. Here, on the other hand, we have a Mayor and council who think nothing of adding another $700,000 to the budget, against the advice of the city manager.

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Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Kicks Off April With Simultaneous Conferences

Two conferences running simultaneously kick off activity for April at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.  'Connections' is the focus of this year's annual BC Transit Conference scheduled April 2 - April 5, 2012. Delegates will attend multiple workshops to enhance partnerships, increase revenue growth and improve fleet management while enjoying picturesque Nanaimo, BC and all that is to offer in the second largest city on Vancouver Island. The event will see 160 delegates visiting Nanaimo.

The other conference in town is being hosted by the Conference Centre and the Coast Bastion Inn and will see 100 delegates attending The Business Improvement Areas of BC conference. ‘Inspiring Innovation’ this conference’s top ten reasons to attend are location, to get inspired, network, discover, source, learn, belong, share, and explore. Attendees from BC communities encompass city and urban planners, downtown executives, public and elected officials, architects, educators, consultants and tourism professionals. The conference boasts a healthy agenda with interesting and thought-provoking sessions lead by inspiring speakers and keynote address. This conference is scheduled for April 2 - April 4, 2012.



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Local Advocate Responds To NEDC Head


The following is a response from local advocate for social change, Mr. Gord Fuller, replying to comments made and reported in the press by new NEDC head, Susan Cudahy. His reply appears on his website which you can visit HERE.


Editorial: Nanaimo could use return of civic pride
 
As one of those that frequently speak my mind I want to say I contend the vocal minority aka. naysayers actually care a great deal for this city and recognize its potential to become great.

Should we sweep our opinions under the rug, gloss over the facts, or like the three monkeys; hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil? I think not. In recognizing potential one must also recognize flaws. Only then can we work to make things better.

Statements like Ms. Cudahay’s ‘the idea we have a lot of unemployed or that people can’t find jobs here is a bit of an urban legend,’ are a perfect example of what raises people ire. Perhaps Ms. Cudahy would like the newly created position of Communication Manager with the City.

Some not to pretty truths about Nanaimo; 18th worst of 92 health areas for Economic Hardship in BC; 15th – More than twice the provincial average - for those on Income Assistance and E.I.; 15% of the population of Nanaimo receiving some form of Income Assistance; 11th highest for youth 19 – 24 on income assistance; 40% of the workforce has only part time jobs; 7.8 percent of families live on less than $20,000 per year; 26% of wage earners earn less than $15,000.00 per year, $3000.00 below established poverty levels.

Sifting through spin there is much the new Economic Development Corporation is doing that makes sense and can have a positive impact however let’s not gloss over the reality. I am proud to be associated with those that are willing to speak out; I am proud to call Nanaimo home; I am proud to be working towards making the community a better place for ALL.

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CJHL & Clippers Unveil Logo



 Nanaimo Hosts First
Western Canada Cup 2013

Nanaimo, BC, March 29, 2012 – The Canadian Junior Hockey League and Nanaimo Clippers today held a press conference in Nanaimo, BC, the host community of the 2013 Western Canada Cup.

The Press Conference was an exciting opportunity for the host committee to introduce the community, media and fans to the newly formed event and a chance to welcome the executives from the four western leagues to the host city.

“We are incredibly excited to be awarded the opportunity to bring the inaugural Western Canada Cup to the city of Nanaimo, our loyal fans, and corporate sponsors”, stated Nanaimo Clippers owner Ken Wagner.  “The Western Canada Cup will be a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our beautiful city and province. It creates an equally exciting opportunity to showcase Western Canada’s top hockey talent to our deserving fans.  We are confident our tournament committee will set exceptional standards with the inaugural Western Canada Cup.”

To read the full story visit the Clippers website HERE.

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Teen Participation Disappointing


Only 13 Teens Attend

It seems that the voting age public in Nanaimo are not the only ones who seem apathetic to local governance matters.

In spite of extensive promotion and the use of social media and the offer of Free pizza and pop only thirteen teens attended the Strategic Planning Worshop at Wellington Secondary on Thursday afternoon.

While the numbers were few those in attendance offered some very valuable input which was received by more members of city council than I have seen at any one of these events. In fact city staff and council and facilitators likely outnumbered participants.

Sadly, it would seem the next generation has been infected with the same apathy towards participating in the democratic process as the generation that chose to stay away from the polls in droves at the last civic election.

I wonder just how much importance is being placed on being informed and engaged in democracy these days?  Or is that one of those archaic ideas from the past that considered the 3R's were the most important things to 'get right' when educating our young people.

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Coast Guard Auxiliary Rescue Dragon Boaters


 Coast Guard Auxiliary
Trains 'For Real'

Good fortune was smiling on 18 dragon boaters on Wednesday night when their craft overturned in Departure Bay. Apparently some rollers from the ferry caught the crew off guard and were quickly swamped and overturned.

It is thought someone onshore spotted their emergency, called it in and since the Nanaimo Coast Guard Auxiliary were in the midst of a training session they were able to respond within five minutes.

Apparently one boater did swim to shore but the others had to be plucked from the bone chilling water by the Coast Guard.

The boaters seem to have been less than fully prepared, as one person did not have a lifejacket on, and it is reported several others put theirs on after the boat was hit. They also did not have a flashlight or flares or any signalling device except a whistle. Perhaps dragon boats need to be held to the same safety standards are other watercraft.

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BC Seniors Renovation Tax Credit


As of this Sunday, April 1, a new B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit will be available to help with the cost of permanent home renovations so that British Columbians aged 65 and over will have the flexibility to remain in their own homes longer. 

“Home is where the heart is. We know that seniors, like everyone else, are happiest in their homes,” Premier Christy Clark said. “That’s why our government introduced the Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit, to help seniors stay independent, healthy and in their homes.”

The refundable credit will be worth up to $1,000 each year, and it will be available to seniors or family members sharing their home, regardless of whether they own or rent.

The maximum credit will be $1,000 annually, calculated as 10 per cent of eligible expenditures. The credit will be available to individuals who incur eligible expenditures on or after April 1, 2012. The credit can be claimed by seniors, whether they own their home or rent, and by individuals who share a home with a senior relative. 

Legislation will be introduced later this spring, at which time a detailed list of eligible expenses will be available. Eligible expenditures will include things like:
  • Upgrades to improve accessibility, including handrails, grab bars, walk-in bathtubs and wheel-in showers.
  • Wheelchair ramps, lifts and elevators.
  • Motion-activated lighting.
  • Certain renovations to allow a first-floor occupancy or secondary suite for a senior relative (e.g., adding a bedroom/bathroom to the main floor so a senior can have access without having to use the stairs, eligible renovations must be “disability” related).
Below are some expenditures that will be excluded from eligibility:
  • General maintenance, including roof repairs, windows, flooring, insulation and painting.
  • Devices, such as equipment for medical monitoring and home security, smoke alarms, appliances.
  • Services, including home care, housekeeping and gardening.

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile


The Latest Designer Fixture ---- CFLC
Compact Fluorescent Lamp Chandelier


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Thursday, March 29, 2012

CFIB Gives Budget A "B"

 Small business gives the budget a B: CFIB

Vancouver, March 29, 2012 – The 2012 Federal Budget had some positive news for small business with major progress on 8 of CFIB’s top 12 priorities for 2012. However, this budget did not go fast or far enough in dealing with spending, the federal deficit or public service compensation and pensions.
Employment Insurance (EI): Small businesses will be pleased that the EI Hiring Credit was renewed for 2012. “The recent increase in EI premiums harms small Canadian businesses and extending this credit makes it easier for them to continue to support Canada’s economic recovery by creating jobs,” said Catherine Swift, president of CFIB. In addition, positive changes have been made to the EI rate setting process and future increases will be capped at 5 cents for employees and 7 cents for employers.
Spending: “We were disappointed in the baby steps taken by the federal government to restrain its spending,” commented Swift. While there has been a lot of talk about the amount of spending reductions in this budget, overall program spending continues to rise.
Pensions: The government has begun to tackle unsustainable federal public sector and MP pensions. CFIB is particularly pleased that there is a commitment to have public sector employees contribute more to their pension plans and measures were taken to discourage early retirement. “These are important steps in tackling the $150 to $230 billion unfunded liability currently facing the federal public sector pension plan,” said Swift.
Old Age Security (OAS): While supportive of the idea of raising OAS benefits for those who delay their retirement, many small firms will be concerned with the increase in the eligibility age for OAS to 67. “Until all MPs and public sector workers start retiring at age 65 or older, there should be no increases in the eligibility age for Old Age Security for the rest of Canadians,” Swift said.
Innovation Programs: While more details are needed, many small and medium-sized firms will be alarmed with the changes to Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SRED) tax credits.

CFIB was also pleased to see movement in some other key areas:
  • increasing accountability at CRA by having it provide written responses in electronic form through the My Business Account,
  • the government’s commitment to make red tape reduction permanent by implementing a one-for-one rule, among other measures,  
  • work to reduce the backlog and processing time for immigration and temporary foreign worker applications to help small firms their growing labour shortages.

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Canadian Penny Eliminated

Still Legal Tender But No Longer Made

'A penny for your thoughts' and 'watch the pennies and the dollars take care of themselves' are two more expressions that will seem pointless in the very near future.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said of the lowly penny "they take up too much space of our dressers at home", for that and other reasons the shiny pocket ballast will no longer be a part of our Canadian currency. Meaning purchases will be rounded off from now on, and we will no longer jingle quite as much when we walk.

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Budget Changes OAS Age Eligibility

By 2023 Age of Eligibility 
For OAS Rises To 67

The federal budget tabled by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will see the age to qualify for the Old Age Security plan in Canada increase to age 67 by the year 2023. That means if you are currently 54 or older as of March 31, 2012 it will not affect you.

A couple of other highlights from the budget include 19,200 federal public sector jobs being cut over 3 years, with many of these coming via attrition. The budget also looks to returning to a surplus budget by 2015, which will be an election year.

There are no significant tax changes in store for individuals, and cross border shoppers limits rise this summer to $200 for 24 hour trips and $800 for trips of 48 hours or more.

The retirement age for federal public servants rises to 65 from 60 for people hired in 2013, and public servants will also pay more into pensions under a 50/50 formula.

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Nanaimo Conference Centre Retail Space


Some Of The Cheapest Retail Space In Town!

The market is never wrong and the market says the retail space at the Conference Centre downtown is simply not worth the $25 SF they were once asking for it and are now offering the space for $15 SF (asking rent).

There is space in Terminal Park Mall asking $22 - $25 SF, Metral Drive $26 SF and Southgate Plaza at $25 SF for comparison purposes. Granted, these spaces are also still available but it would seem that in downtown Nanaimo in what is arguably the premium location, retail rents are 'dirt cheap'. Of course to put those numbers into context a 1000 square foot store at the conference centre which includes the triple net factors still costs over $2100 per month and you still haven't paid for your utilities.

So before you rush to sign that lease hoping to make your fortune selling Grandma's secret recipe cookies make sure your business plan can afford to earn $2100 per month before you start paying yourself.

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Nanaimo Petro Canada Highest Price On Island


What's With Nanaimo's Petro Canada Stations??

I live close to the Petro Canada Station by Terminal Park Mall and it always seems they are the first to jack their prices and sooner or later if no one follows they eventually come back down. Lately they are really outdoing themselves even charging nine cents more per litre than the Petro Canada stations in Victoria.

Prices Around Nanaimo 127.9 - 134.9 (Except For Petro Can)

Considering that oil prices have been falling and corporate greed is the only likely reason behind the insanely high pump prices, Nanaimo prices really take the cake. We are consistently higher than either Comox or Duncan, and have been forever. The above Petro Canada comparisons were based on Gas Buddy prices this morning at 7:30 AM.

Charging thirteen cents more than Comox and sixteen cents more than Duncan it would seem the operators of the Nanaimo Petro Canada Stations should be in line for some kind of 'Gouger of the Year Award'.

Most other Nanaimo gas stations are still pumping at 134.9 with the Gas n Go at Morden Road and on Victoria Road both pumping for 127.9. So clearly there is 'some' competition in the local market but I am sure you could argue we are really being hosed at the pumps and have been for years.

Why? I think it is because we have taught the oil companies they pretty much can charge what they like and all we will do is grumble and complain from time to time as we let them continue to fleece us.

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Nanaimo Cruise Ship Focus


Note: email subscribers may have to visit website to view video.

Unique Reason To Visit Vital To Success

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Nanaimo RCMP Charge Man With Fraud

Click Image To Take Test 

Michael Chodorowski Charged With Fraud

On December 1, 2009, Nanaimo RCMP initiated a fraud investigation conducted jointly with the BC Securities Commission. It is alleged that a number of investors from BC and Alberta were defrauded by 40 year old Michael CHODOROWSKI, of funds in excess of $2.0 million.

This morning, Friday March 16th, Nanaimo RCMP located and arrested Michael CHODOROWSKI without incident on a Canada Wide Warrant for eight counts which include: Theft Over $5,000 x 4; Fraud Over $5,000 x 3 and Laundering Proceeds of Crime.

 Are You Vulnerable To Investment Fraud?

 Click Image To Enlarge

The story of a man arrested in Nanaimo and charged with several counts of fraud (has not been proven guilty) brings attention to a particularly unsavory crime that seems to be on the increase in North America. Very believable, well spoken confidence men and women with promises of earning you money through their investments have been capable of bilking people out of millions.

The BC Securities Commission have a website designed to help us educate ourselves about investment fraud and how to avoid becoming a victim of these smooth talkers. They offer excellent advice on how to become an informed investor and how to spot scams. You can visit their website HERE.

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BookFest 2012 Nanaimo


26TH Person To Buy Ticket Wins A FREE Book

BookFest provides the rare opportunity for elementary school aged children to meet some of Canada's best children's authors and illustrators.

Join Andrea Beck, Mike Deas, Julie Flett, Michael Kusugak, Julie Lawson, Martin Springett, Joan Betty Stuchner, Paul Yee and Werner Zimmermann as they enchant young and old with dynamic presentations that bring their books to life. Find out what happened after the Titanic went down, hear the true story of a Great Dane who adopted a Comox Valley fawn, learn secrets shared by a hen from Chelm and discover graphic novels that will entice even the most reluctant reader.

Enjoy the energetic rhythms of the Oceanside Jangano Marimba Band as well as face painting and bubbles at lunch time.  All sessions take place in venues surrounding the Diana Krall Plaza in the heart of downtown Nanaimo.  The renowned BookFest presenters will be available for book signing following the last session.  Bring your own favourites or buy books on site.   The Harbourfront Library provides free rhyme-time, musical storytime and puppet show for preschool children too young to attend BookFest.

For only $10, children ages 5 to 12 get three sessions with some of Canada's finest children's authors, illustrators and storytellers. Family passes are $25. 
Adult admission is free but all adults need to be accompanied by a child. 


Sessions sell out so buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

To help you make session choices, a printable version of the flyer is on the BookFest website.

Click here for quick overview of authors and session times Tickets available through The Port Theatre on-line, in person or by phone- 250.754.8550

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile


I thought Nanaimo was the first to use bathtubs as a means of tranport, apparently according to this old fim, someone else also saw the tubs transportation potential.


There are no dates stated but judging by the vintage of cars, this idea came into being many years before our famous race using the tub for other than getting clean.

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Nanaimo Tourist Website & Visitor Guide


NEDC Launches New Tourism Website 

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) is pleased to announce the release of the newly designed official 2012 Visitor Guide, and www.tourismnanaimo.com website.

“The updated look and feel of the Visitor Guide and web site better reflect the reality of what Nanaimo and surrounding areas have to offer. Our focus now is on the culinary, arts and culture, theatre and nightlife with a complimenting balance of water, environment, parklands and trails. Visitors will find that we are the better alternative to serve as a mid-island accommodation base for their travels throughout the Island.” says Susan Cudahy, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.

The marketing creative is designed to communicate “The Top 15 Things to Love about Nanaimo” and this message will be carried through a series of television ads that will be running April through July in the Alberta Campaign offered through Tourism Vancouver Island.

The new Visitor Guides are being distributed widely throughout British Columbia and Alberta with 125,000 copies available. Locals looking for ideas on what do with visitors can pick up Guides at the visitor information kiosk located in the lobby of the Vancouver Island Conference Centre at 101 Gordon Street, by requesting a copy on line, calling 250-756-0106 or visiting the website for a guide download.

Tourism services in Nanaimo have been undergoing significant changes that started last year with moving the delivery of the visitor information function under the newly formed NEDC. The updated design and content of the Visitor Guide and website are a reflection of the combined new vision of the NEDC Board of Directors and Tourism Leadership Committee. 

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Short Film Festival Tickets On Sale Now


Vancouver Island Short Film Festival 2012
TICKETS NOW ON SALE
 Tickets are on sale now for the 7th annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival, which takes place on April 13 and 14 at the Malaspina Theatre at Vancouver Island University.

Tickets are available at the Nanaimo Arts Council in Nanaimo North Town Centre, the House of Indigo on Church Street and the Nanaimo Art Gallery on the Vancouver Island University campus. Some tickets will also be available at the door. Tickets for this crowd-pleasing show are $15 and are also available online at visff.com/tickets

All types of short films were accepted for consideration into the festival. 


“The quality and diversity of styles and ideas is what really sets our festival apart,” said VISFF Director Johnny Blakeborough. “This is our seventh year and each year our submissions get better and better.”

The VISFF is open to submissions from all over the world but it has always been a place to showcase the work of Vancouver Island artists. Last month, a three-person jury selected 13 films that will be shown at the festival on April 13 and 14 at 7 PM at the Malaspina Theatre on the Nanaimo VIU campus.

“Our main goal is to turn the spotlight on our talented local filmmakers,” said Blakeborough. “More than anything, this festival is for them. It’s an opportunity to show their films in front of a large audience.”

There will be two screenings of the 13 jury-selected films. Opening night will be Friday April 13 and will feature a filmmaker’s question and answer panel after the film screenings. There will be food, music and an awards ceremony at the second screening on Saturday April 14. Awards will be handed out for best films and cash prizes for winning filmmakers.
The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival creates opportunities for local filmmakers. The festival is not only a venue for their films, but also an opportunity to network with other film professionals and inspire growth in our film community.
The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is made possible with the assistance of the Nanaimo Arts Council and the Elephant Room Creative. Information on the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is available on the website at www.visff.com. For more information, contact Festival Director Johnny Blakeborough at admin@visff.com or phone 250-729-3947.


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Strategic Planning Meeting

Fourth Strategic Planning Session Well Attended

While not as large a group as those who attended the first Strategic Planning meeting at the VICC, approximately 65 people were in attendance at Oliver Woods Community Centre to offer their input into the process.

The meeting follows the same format as all others with the first half looking for information by way of answering structured questions. The second half of the meeting involves group discussions around a wide variety of topics ranging from fiscal responsibility, developing our waterfront, encouraging economic growth, sustainable environment and many other issues. Group discussions produce in point form recommendations that they feel should be considered when formulating a strategic plan for the city to guide us forward.

The meeting at Oliver Woods was primarily attended by folk representing various community organizations ranging from sports interests, social clubs, athletic clubs, hobbiests, cycling coaltion the VIEX and many more.

The next meeting in the series will take place on Wednesday night from 6:30 - 9:30pm at the Dorchester Hotel, while registration is recommended it is not required and any member of the public is welcome to attend.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Model Boat Show At Country Club Mall


NANAIMO MODEL BOAT SHOW
Country Club Mall March 29 - April 1

A display of finely-crafted scale boat models and a pond on which the public can observe radio-controlled model boats in operation.  The public is invited to try their hand at operating a boat, and to talk to the modellers about their projects and their weekly Sunday morning sessions on the water at Inn On Long Lake.

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Nanaimo Spring Reuse Rendezvous



REUSE RENDEZVOUS 2012
Saturday March 31 & Sunday April 1

Spring is the time to get ready for summer by tidying up around the house. Reuse Rendezvous can help both you and the environment by finding a new home for your unwanted household items.
This year’s City-wide free-cycle event is set for Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1. Have fun and make space around your house by taking unwanted furniture, toys, bikes and other items to the curb for others to pick up and reuse. Please ensure you only put out items intended for others to take away.

Reuse Rendezvous emphasizes reuse and keeps useful items out of the landfill. Make it a success by marking items set out for others to take with a free tag and by removing and disposing of any leftovers after April 1. Bargain hunters: please drive carefully, watch for children, and respect private and public property.

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New $50 Polymer Canadian Currency



Bank of Canada Issues
$50 Polymer Bank Note

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney today officially announced the new $50 polymer bank note’s entry into circulation, during an event at the Canadian Coast Guard’s Qu├ębec port facility. These new notes will be available at financial institutions from coast to coast to coast starting today.

The front of the new $50 note features a portrait of Sir William Lyon Mackenzie King, while the back depicts the Arctic research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, in port during the ceremony, as well as other imagery that reflects Canada’s commitment to Arctic research and the development and protection of northern communities. Most importantly, the new $50 bill, like the rest of the polymer series, features a unique combination of state-of-the-art security features, making them the most secure bank notes ever issued in Canada.

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Nanaimo Lacrosse Equipment Swap Meet


Sunday April 1, 2012
Nanaimo Ice Centre 9:00 am - Noon

The Nanaimo District Lacrosse Association is hosting their annual equipment swap this coming Sunday at the Nanaimo Ice Centre. If you have any unwanted gear you are invited to attend and offer it for sale.

The Timbermen junior women's team will also be on hand selling a Senior and Junior A family season passes for $149. The pass will allow a family of four to attend every regular-season home game.

For more information about this meet or the Nanaimo District Lacrosse Association you can visit their website HERE.

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Nanaimo City Council Notes March 27

Notes From City Council Meeting 
March 27, 2012

Acting Mayor Kipp displayed his council experience by admirably conducting the city council meeting on March 27, in the absence of Mayor Ruttan who is currently enjoying sunnier locales.

Ms. Clift and Mr. Sims of the city public works department gave a brief update on the progress of the new $72 million water filtration plant which is scheduled for completion by March 2015 under the demands of VIHA. You may recall there has been some controversy over whether or not the Nanaimo taxpayer really needs to be shelling out another $72 million to treat water that by most standards already sets a standard for excellence.

Ms. Cudahy the head of the newly formed Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) gave a short presentation summing up the progress of the NEDC highlighting what they have accomplished in the first six months of operation. It is notable this is the first report to city council and one thing seems clear, and that this is NOT just another level of bureaucracy in the city controlled by city council.

Nanaimo taxpayers seem quite content with the $844 million finanical plan recently approved by city council as no one came forward to address the issue during an open segment of the agenda when they could have expressed their thoughts on the matter of city taxing and spending.

Several matters were dealt with under the heading of community safety and development ranging from zoning amendments, neighbourhood planning, development variances and unsightly premises.

Coucillors who wish to may now have a city paid smartphone for both personal and city business use. This is strictly a personal choice, and would qualify as a taxable benefit.

After a presentation by the Council of Canadians asking city council to declare Nanaimo as a "Blue Community" which among other things would see bottled water removed from city sites and city events council had to do some two stepping to undo a hastily passed resolution

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New Tourism Nanaimo Website

Tourism Nanaimo Launches New Website

When NEDC head Ms. Cudahy addressed city council she announced the new website for Tourism Nanaimo had been launched the same day.

It is certainly an improvement over the previous site and the only slightly disappointing aspect of the site is that it is the product of a Toronto based company. It's too bad with all the local tech savvy companies that we couldn't have sourced someone local to complete the project.



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Fake $20 Bills Making Rounds

Check Those $20 Bills

Police are warning local business folk to be vigilant after several reports of counterfeit $20 bills being passed in the city.

The reports of the bogus $20's have come from different parts of the city and police have no suspects at this point.

If you would like to know how to spot a bad Canadian $20 note visit the Bank of Canada website HERE.

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Nanaimo Hosting Creative Communities Event


GORD HUME

Public Invited to Creative Communities Event

Cities across Canada are becoming focused on building their creative local economies. The emerging creative economy will be the focus of seminars and discussions on Wednesday, April 11 when Gord Hume, renowned community planning expert, author and public speaker presents at the Creative Communities event being hosted by Parks, Recreation and Culture and the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. The goal of the event is to provide opportunities for dialogue, discussion and ‘next steps’ as Nanaimo plans its future cultural and economic strategies.

There are two public sessions being held at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, pre registration is required. The first will be a session from 8:30-11am and costs $20.00 (includes a continental breakfast). You can register at ireg.nanaimo.ca and enter barcode 110039. The Chamber luncheon to be held 11:30am-1:30pm is also open to the public, but pre registration is required by calling 250-756-1191. The cost for the luncheon is $45.00. Residents are welcome to attend one or both of the sessions.

“Nanaimo has many natural assets, but it appears to be a city at a cross-road. New tourism strategies, an updated Cultural Plan, a new Economic Development focus and the Strategic Plan that is being developed with the community should provide a clearer path forward. Then the community and its leaders need vision, courage and commitment to move ahead. I think Nanaimo is positioned for success,” explains Gord Hume.

For more information about the event please visit www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-760-1139.

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Truth In Advertising??

Amazing SEA-MONKEYS!!
What A Con!

Any red-blooded Canadian kid growing up in the late 50's and 60's can likely remember ads similar to the one above in just about any comic book you may have bought.

It held out the promise of owning a bowlful of happiness with the Amazing, Live SEA-MONKEYS 'So Eager to Please - They Can Even Be Trained'. What a crock!

The author of this insult to young minds is reported as saying he bought about 3.2 million pages of comic book advertising and it worked brilliantly!.

So what did you get for your $1.25 (real money in the 60's), you got a package of brine shrimp eggs, the same kind as tropical fish keepers use to raise live food for their fish. I can't prove it, but I suspect the die-off rate was likely well over 99%, and those that did hatch did not resemble the nice drawing whatsoever, and they certainly could not be trained.

I suppose this was the beginning of my learned skepticism which has been reinforced over the years especially as it applies to the politicos at all levels, be they civic, provincial or federal. They all promise a bowlful of happiness during election time, but after elected seem to set about doing what their masters got them elected to do.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

When I was a kid, 'dressing up your bike' consisted of adding streamers to the handle grips and maybe, if you were really well off you might even add a light and generator set.

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VICC Sign Advertises Port Theatre

Using Sign Just Makes Sense

The big LED sign on the end of the VICC is now being used to promote events at the Port Theatre. For the past five years or so this method of promoting performances at the theatre was not employed for reasons that remain a mystery.

Perhaps increased promotion will help the theatre improve their bottom line, which these past few years has not been heading in the right direction. Whether the financial situation at the theatre is all simply a matter of the current economic troubles or whether it is the result of errors in judgement on the part of the theatre management team is subject to debate.

The annual general meeting of the Port Theatre will be held March 26th at 7:00pm at the Port Theatre if you are interested in seeing how the theatre has been performing financially and how they plan on making changes that will improve their financial performance.

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NRD Recreation Gets Provincial Funding


 $578,910 For Three Projects

"These investments will allow more Island residents and visitors to enjoy our recreation amenities. Encouraging healthy, safe physical activity is a priority for our Province, and projects like this go a long way towards getting people outside and staying fit. They also make our Island communities more attractive to families and new businesses, which provide jobs and other economic benefits."   Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development -

The Nanaimo Regional District is receiving a total of $578,910 for three recreation projects that will help encourage physical fitness and provide more activity options for families, announced Ida Chong, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

Of this funding, $439,410 is going toward the construction of the new Cedar Skateboard and Bike Park - the first of its kind in the community.

The community of Bowser is also going to see upgrades to the Henry Morgan Community Park, including a natural play area, sport court and bmx pump track, thanks to an $85,000 investment.
Finally, $54,500 has been earmarked for Phase 1 of the Meadowood Drive Community Park, adjacent to Little Qualicum River Regional Park. Improvements include a multi-use sports court with basketball and ball hockey facilities, gravel parking area and amphitheatre.

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Forever Snow Screening and Fundraiser

Forever Snow
Film Screening and Fundraiser


Some of us strongly feel that "ski season never ends".  Well come out and see those friends that you may happen to enjoy the company of more frequently during "fresh snow on the mountains" season.

Share your Winter 2012 stories and enjoy the latest film from Sweetgrass Productions: Solitaire. View Film Trailer HERE.

Silent Auction Fundraiser for the Island Avalanche Bulletin

Monday, April 16, 2012
Doors at 6:30pm Films at 7:30pm

Malaspina Theatre - VIU
Building 310, 900 Fifth Street Nanaimo

$13 in advance / $15 at the door

Tickets online foreversnow2012.eventbrite.com

Tickets available at Valhalla Pure, Nanaimo

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NEDC Seeks Input From Tourism Sector


NEDC Invites Tourist Related Companies Input

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) is set to host the next Nanaimo Business Counts industry sector forum to collect industry feedback from the Tourism sector.

The NEDC is working to support its third largest industry by gaining direct feedback on the business challenges, obstacles and opportunities that tourism companies feel are critical to their advancement and expansion within the City of Nanaimo. The forum is designed to capture that information and ensure that it is integrated into the future plans of the NEDC to support advocacy, legislative change and marketing initiatives that will drive the tourism industry to future success.

The forum will be held on Tuesday, March 27, from 12 – 2 pm, at the offices of the NEDC located at 104 Front Street and will be facilitated by a leading expert in garnering significant data on business retention and expansion opportunities within municipalities.

Economic development is not just about attracting new business but also supports the advancement and expansion of those honored businesses that have made Nanaimo their home. The tourism sector encompasses not only local attractions and accommodation providers but also transportation, sporting events, and other sub-sectors. In Nanaimo there are 312 businesses in the accommodation and food service sectors alone, accounting for 5.38% of all businesses here.

“The Tourism sector is often viewed as outside of the mainline business community. The NEDC wants to ensure that our Tourism businesses have a voice as an integral business sector that employs our residents and students and is a driving force in the economic strength of the area. The data collected from this forum will help supplement the great work already being done by the Tourism Leadership Committee and Nanaimo Hospitality Association by helping to build the capacity of our tourism providers” says Susan Cudahy, CEO of the NEDC.

Opportunities exist for local tourism companies to engage in the process. Businesses who wish participate are asked to contact the NEDC at 250-591-1551 or katie.ferland@investnanaimo.com

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

BC Economic Snapshot March 24, 2012

VANCOUVER, BC, Mar. 24, 2012, Troy Media/ – The overall increase in B.C.’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) remained at 1.7 per cent in February for the third consecutive month.
While the year-over-year change was moderate, there were considerable differences in some CPI components – notably energy and food. Excluding food and energy, the CPI rose a mere 1.1 per cent in February, fractionally higher than 0.9 per cent in January.

Energy prices were 4.7 per cent higher than last February, down slightly from 4.8 per cent in January but well below the 9.8 per cent increase seen in all of 2011. Despite the year-over- year easing, energy prices are rising once again.

The CPI energy index rose to 150.4 in February from 148.3 last December with the gasoline index rising to 174.6 from 171.3. In plain terms, the price of regular unleaded gasoline at Vancouver self-service stations rose to 129.5 cents per litre in February from 126.6 in December. Prices in March are up as well and will be reflected in next month’s CPI report.

Food is another component pulling up the CPI. Food prices rose 3.4 per cent in February and were broadly based across food products. Fresh fruit and vegetables were 6.8 per cent and 5.4 per cent higher, respectively. Meat was up 4.8 per cent and dairy products up 4.2 per cent. Food purchased at restaurants rose 1.9 per cent.

Clothing and footwear jumped to 5.7 per cent in February from 3.0 per cent in January. More strikingly was the month-over-month increase at 4.2 per cent, led by a 10.3 per cent surge in women’s clothing.

Components pulling down the CPI were shelter at 0.3 per cent year-over-year, recreation, education, and reading at 1.0 per cent, health and personal care at 1.1 per cent, and alcoholic beverages and tobacco at 1.5 per cent.

Overall CPI inflation is predicted to remain below 2 per cent during 2012 though some components, such as energy and food, will be well above the average. Last year, B.C.’s CPI increased 2.6 per cent.

Retail sales
January retail sales gained on the strength of new vehicle sales. B.C.’s seasonally-adjusted retail sales edged up 0.3 per cent in January from December following a 1.4 per cent drop. Year-over-year sales were up 4.1 per cent in B.C.

Excluding sales at new car dealers, retail sales were up only 2.1 per cent from last January and, excluding sales at all automobile dealers and gasoline stations, sales were up 1.8 per cent.

Metro Vancouver retail sales came in 5 per cent higher than last January, but excluding automobile dealers and gasoline stations, sales were up 2.4 per cent. All retail sales in the rest of B.C. were up 3.3 per cent. After adjustment for price changes, B.C. retail sales in 2002 dollars are estimated to have increased 0.1 per cent in January compared to a 1.2 per cent drop in December.

To put is a longer perspective, inflation-adjusted retail sales increased 0.3 per cent in 2011 versus 2.3 per cent in current dollars. The retail sales outlook appears somewhat better in 2012 but will remain well in the moderate growth range. Our latest forecast is a 3 per cent increase in 2012, which compares to 2.3 per cent in 2011 and 5.3 per cent in 2010.

Factors influencing consumer spending do not point to much faster growth this year, despite record low interest rates. Job and income growth looks to remain moderate with population growth to slide slightly as well.

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Final Strategic Plan Workshops


Final Community Workshops 
Scheduled For Strategic Plan 

Four more workshops are planned for the public to provide input to Nanaimo’s Corporate Strategic Plan.

The remaining workshops are directed to specifically defined groups. These include Community Groups on Tuesday, March 27 at 7 pm in the Oliver Woods Community Centre, a Business Symposium on Wednesday at the Dorchester Hotel at 6:30 pm, one for Teens and Youth at Wellington School on Thursday at 4 pm and a session for Seniors on Saturday at 10 am in Oliver Woods. Registration for these events is encouraged at YourVoiceOurNanaimo@nanaimo.ca.

The workshops are being presented to gather input from residents to assist in developing the city’s first Strategic Plan. The input will help to provide municipal leaders with a wide range of perspectives and ideas and ensure the community’s vision and priorities are included in the planning process.

The Strategic Plan’s goal is to set a policy framework to link all existing City plans, and to establish priorities for municipal investments over the next 3-5 years.

Councillor Jim Kipp, chair of the Steering Committee for the process said, “The point of these workshops is to try and come up with ‘priorities’ for Council to consider as they plan and budget for the coming years. We’d like to do this with the community’s ideas in mind, so this is their time to share where they think we should go next.”

Mayor, Council and city staff will participate in their own workshops to reflect on community input and add their own insights and perspectives on strategies. All of these activities will culminate in a Wrap Up Community Forum on June 6. Final presentation of the Strategic Plan is scheduled to come before Council on July 9.

The Strategic Planning blog went live March 1 and can be accessed through the city’s website at www.nanaimo.ca. Please check the blog for a document which provides an initial scan of the City’s operating environment. Details on the workshops and events along with schedules and locations can also be found on the city’s website or residents can call the City at 250-755-4406.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nanaimo City Council Meeting Mar. 26,2012



Nanaimo City Council Meeting
Monday, March 26 , 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 decided to add another $700,000 to the $844,000,000 financial plan to pay for a communications person (spin doctor), do you think that is a good use of YOUR tax dollar??

The 2012 - 2016 Financial Plan Will Affect You:
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.

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Nanaimo Is A Good Place To Retire


Nanaimo Ranks As Good Place To Retire 
#15 Of 191 Canadian Cities 

While Nanaimo ranks well with other Canadian cities as a desirable place to retire we are still trailing other Vancouver Island communities.
While Nanaimo ranks as #15, Saanich ranks #3, Victoria ranks #4, Courtenay ranks #6. When compared with other BC communities we also trail Vancouver at #12, Salmon Arm at #13 and Kamloops at #14.

The best place to retire in all of Canada according to this study is Kingston Ontario followed by Halifax NS.

Comparing ourselves to other Island communities as a good place to retire Nanaimo has an edge over Saanich when it comes to housing costs where we are #169 and they are #186, however in the category of weather they are #1 and we come in at #32. The category of 'health' favours Saanich at #33 while we come in at #155.

We also trail our Island friends to the north in Courtenay where housing costs rank #160 compared to our #169, weather they ranked #23 to our #32 and on health they ranked #125 to our #155.


Conclusions??

Assuming for a minute that the methodology behind these numbers reflects a degree of accuracy Nanaimo would be a choice based on housing cost advantage alone when compared with Saanich where we would lose out on health and weather. So a retiree, with the money to pay for Saanich real estate would likely not consider Nanaimo based on weather and health which are two seriously important factors when trying to figure where to live out your golden years.

However, the real 'sleeper' in the contest is little old Courtenay (which is not so little any more) which beats us on all counts cheaper housing cost, better health index and better weather index.

There is no doubt that Vancouver Island will be seriously considered as a retirement mecca for all retiring Canadians wishing to escape the harsher winters that they may have elsewhere. Which means all Island communities will find themselves in a race to attract this demographic, and according to this study, Nanaimo needs to improve in a few areas, unfortunately weather is not one we can do anything about. Or can we??

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Bastion City Wanderers Mar. 24 Nanaimo


Bastion City Wanderers Volkssport Club
Saturday March 24th
Registration 9:45 AM
Buttertubs Marsh
More Information 250-756-9796

The Bastion City Wanderers from Nanaimo, BC, are part of the Canadian Volkssport Federation which are non-profit walking clubs, with activities in all provinces and territories across Canada.

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How To Be Smart With Your Smart Phone


 
Get savvy with your smart phone and avoid fraud

VICTORIA – The rise in popularity of smart phones with social media applications can put consumers at risk of fraud.

The Province, Consumer Protection BC and the Better Business Bureau are teaming up during Fraud Prevention Month to provide tips to help British Columbians get smart about their smart phone usage.

According to a recent study by Javelin Research and Strategy, smart phone users are at greater risk of identity theft and fraud than average consumers. Sixty-two per cent of smart phone owners do not use a password to protect their home screens, 32 per cent save log-in information on their phones and a third of users do not have the most current security updates on their operating systems.

Here is a typical user scenario:  Samantha carries her smart phone with her everywhere. She runs all of her favourite social networks from her phone and it is loaded up with all of the latest apps, including one app that allows her to do all of her banking on the go. Samantha also keeps all of her personal information on her smart phone so that it is handy – phone numbers, addresses, birthdates and even passwords. One day Samantha leaves her phone on the bus. Not only is Samantha’s personal information now available to any stranger who picks up her phone, she is now a potential victim of fraud and identify theft.

Here are some tips to protect you and your family and become smart phone savvy:
  • Get the latest operating system for your phone so your security is up-to-date. 
  • Add a password to your phone for access, so if it is lost a person does not have access to your phone and your personal identifiers. 
  • Password-protect everything, preferably with unique passwords for each social media service.
  • Look for ‘remote wiping’ programs in the user manual of your smart phone so in case of loss you can remove and destroy all data from your phone from a remote location.
  • Check applications for geo-tagging that allow you to “tag” a photo or video with your current location. You can turn this “tagging” option off in applications if you feel uncomfortable broadcasting your location publically. 
  • To avoid risk of financial loss, do not do your banking over public Wi-Fi networks. 
  • Be sure all the apps you download come from legitimate vendors. Check user reviews and learn about what the application needs to access on your smart phone. For example: If a wallpaper app needs access to your contact list, there probably is a virus attached to the application. 
  • ‘Start with Trust’ when dealing with businesses and companies you’ve never heard of by researching them at: www.mbc.bbb.org 
  • To stay informed about possible scams and to warn others:
  1. Visit Consumer Protection BC on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionBC
  2. Report any fraudulent activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501.

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