Friday, May 31, 2013

Debit Machine Fraud


 Change Your Merchant Access Code

If you are a business owner you need to be aware of a new fraud involving the use of your debit machine.

Short version: while one accomplice distracts the clerk, the other who is pretending to authorize a purchase is actually cancelling the transaction and issuing a refund back to his account. The amount of the fraud could be up to $1,000.

The key to the fraud is a generic access code assigned to these machines, which should be changed by the merchant after purchasing the machine. Merchants should change this access code.

Several males and at least one female have been involved in this newest scam.

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Van Isle Throwdown Centre Stage

Click Image For Details

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Wooden Skyscrapers Becoming Popular

WINNIPEG, MB, May 29, 2013/ Troy Media/ – In 1885, the Home Insurance Building in Chicago opened its doors. At 10 stories, it was the world’s first skyscraper, and the first building to use a steel frame in its construction. Since then, the use of steel and concrete has proliferated, allowing North American architects to build taller and ever more impressive multi-storey structures.

While these two materials dominate modern high-rise construction, both come with serious environmental concerns. Three and 5 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions are generated in steel and concrete production, respectively. As such, a growing number of architects argue we must find a new material to meet building needs in the 21st century, and they believe they have the perfect alternative: wood.

Of course, wood is not actually a new product; humans have been using lumber in construction for thousands of years. Even in 2013, almost 80 per cent of Canadians live in wood homes. Because of very legitimate concerns of rot and fire, however, back at the turn of the last century building codes restricted wood structures to no more than four stories — and these regulations have remained on the books since.

Today though, the technology exists to build timber-framed high-rises stretching up to 30 stories tall. Proponents point out such wooden skyscrapers would not only be cheaper than their steel and concrete counterparts, but sustainably-forested timber is also far more environmentally friendly than conventional construction materials. According to Vancouver architect Michael Green, there is enough wood grown every 13 minutes on this continent to make a 20-floor building and, unlike producing steel or concrete which emits greenhouse gases, using wood in construction actually sequesters carbon.

In fact, due to the effects of climate change and insect infestation, there is a growing population of dead trees in North America. Instead of leaving these to decompose and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, advocates argue this bountiful resource could easily be harvested, treated, and put to use building up cities.

In 2009, the first modern wood high-rise was built in London, England. The nine-storey condominium tower proved hugely popular, with all 29 of its units selling out within an hour. A seven-floor building then went up in Sweden, and Melbourne, Australia, currently boasts the world’s tallest modern wood building, a 10-storey skyscraper. The apartment block will soon be eclipsed though, as Vancouver, B.C., is reviewing a proposal for a 16- to 20-floor wooden tower, and Sweden has already approved a skyscraper of 30 stories.

Certainly, many people may be skeptical of the feasibility of wood cities, fearing the lumber will easily catch fire. Yet, as Geoff Triggs, an expert with LMDG Building Code Consultants points out, wood high-rise construction does not use small two-by-fours. Rather, super-compressed mass timber — engineered wood layered together with adhesives or fasteners — is used to make huge panels 64 feet long and 12 feet wide. The compressed lumber has proven to be as strong as concrete but much lighter, which improves a building’s structural integrity. Moreover, these panels can be made off-site and then installed, dramatically reducing construction time as there is no waiting for poured concrete to dry.

Most importantly, the compression process creates dense wood blocks that, much like a big, fat tree stump in a fireplace, are very difficult to burn. When a fire does catch, it moves slowly and behaves predictably, allowing for uniform safety measures to be put in place. A 2012 study published by Surrey, B.C.’s, fire chief noted that modern fire protection systems such as sprinklers (that did not exist when most regulations regarding wood building construction were adopted) “more than mitigate” the risks of building tall timber structures.

In the next 20 years, three billion people will be moving to cities around the world, and high-rises will be a critical part of their housing mix. According to wood advocates, modern safety measures and technology mean this ancient material can be an asset in building these new skyscrapers. The biggest hurdle will likely be convincing the public that wood is just as safe as conventional concrete and steel — but as more wooden buildings go up, engineers will be able to provide hard evidence as to whether or not they are more dangerous than conventional structures.

It would be nice if they do prove to be secure; beyond the considerable environmental benefits, wood could add an appealing warmth and dimension to the skyline that is impossible to achieve with drab concrete and steel. If nothing else, it would give new meaning to the phrase ‘city of trees’.

Troy Media Municipal Affairs columnist Benjamin Gillies is a political economy graduate from the University of Manitoba, where he focused on urban development and energy policy. He works as a consultant in Winnipeg.

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Three Councillors Seem To Get It!


Trying To Reduce Taxes
Brought Scorn & Ridicule From Other Councillors

Anyone who has followed City Council from last December until this May hoping upon hope that this council might actually try to find a way of holding the line on taxes were of course disappointed at the outcome.

Those who were really paying attention have to wonder if the majority of this council even have the ability to read and understand the plan set before them, or whether they just asked Mr. Kenning for his opinion and vote accordingly.

Enter the 'Three Muskateers' who were first opposed to giving approval last January not agreeing with the premise that the plan could be altered any time up until it's adoption. Councilor Anderson demonstrated his lack of understanding not seeing how, once adopted the plan couldn't simply be changed.

Sometime during the five months this council had the budget at their disposal the '3 Musketeers', aka known as Kipp, Bestwick and McKay tried to get a motion passed that would have staff look for ways of reducing the budge by up to 5%. This motion was shot down by the balance of Council, with Councillor Brennan saying that finding budget savings was function of council and not staff.

During the process there was an electronic town hall meeting which was supposed to field questions from the public about the financial plan. At that meeting I asked Mayor Ruttan for councillors to suggest how they were considering lowering the budget. His paraphrased response was to the effect that answering my question would be quite time consuming.

Finally, at the eleventh hour the '3 Musketeers' put a motion on the floor which called from spending suggestions that would have held this years budget increase to zero. After being scorned and chided by the balance of council, and Councillor Greves accusing Councillor Kipp of playing 'silly bugger' for the first time in five months, this council actually did find a tax reduction of some $54,000.

I have to wonder how many more savings could have been agreed upon if the balance of council hadn't been playing silly bugger for the balance of the last five months.

These three also supported Councillor Pattje's motion to replace the dams in Colliery Dam Park over the next two years, in the most economical and least disruptive plan. The plan which was not supported by the balance of council who have adopted what is arguably a poorly thought out option which has no guarantee the dams will ever be replaced, and with no idea what the cost will be.

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market Open May 31


 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 24 - Oct. 11, 2013)

We are proud to say that we believe our market is one of the prettiest on the island. We have a large base of drop in vendors which keep our market ever changing. We enjoy watching the eagles fly overhead, the boats coming and going and the planes taking off every Friday. Our vendors always have a smile for our visitors. Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving.

Also open for all cruise ship dates Fri 10:00am to 2:00pm.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at www.nanaimofarmersmarket.com or call 250-754-1998.


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Colliery Dam Video

Note: Email Subscribers May Have To Visit Nanaimo Blog to view video


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Great Turnout For Nanaimo Ratepayers Association

First Public Meeting A Big Success

Nanaimo Ratepayers Association President Don Graham addressed a crowd of nearly 60 people who turned out at the association's first public meeting Wednesday evening at Kin Hut..

Don explained how the ratepayers association was formed a few months ago with a few citizens discussing the current state of Nanaimo civic government. This evolved into the formation of a duly registered society founded by five directors who held their first meeting in his home.

Jim Taylor the interim Vice President of the association gave a presentation outlining some of the questionable ways city hall has been spending tax dollars over the past few years. One notable example was the $16,000,000, in-camera decision which resulted in the new city annex being built without ever going to public tender.

Taylor finished his presentation with an invitation for those present to become a part of the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association which hopes to become a new special interest group vying for attention at city hall. The special interest group the association will represent is the 'average' Nanaimo taxpayer.

Over 30 of those in attendance became members of the association by taking out a $10 membership.


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One Question About DSB Colliery Dam Decision

If Dam Safety Branch Is Now Saying ....

there is only one acceptable option to mitigate the 'hazard' the Colliery Dam ponds present, why did they not simply say so, BEFORE we spent how many hundreds of thousands of dollars on useless engineers studies??

The chronology of this whole saga, and the changing 'facts' along the way certainly makes one wonder, if a full, independent inquiry shouldn't be made into this whole affair. A good place to start, would be with the in-camera meeting last October when council was told it would cost $30 million to replace the dams and only $7 million to remove them. Why is this council and staff so afraid of making those minutes available for public scrutiny?

Another burning question, is why wasn't this 'hazard' dealt with back in 2010 when there was a much less expensive remediation option on the table.

This city council and city staff have a lot of questions that need answering as to why we are in such a tither over two insignificant puddles in Harewood.

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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

'nuff said.............

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Nanaimo Weather Improving



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Female Jogger Assaulted At Westwood Lake


Nanaimo Mounties are investigating an incident in which a 35-year-old female jogger was assaulted by a masked man in Westwood Lake Park Sunday.

Police said the incident, which happened at about 5:20 p.m., was initially reported by two other joggers and not by the woman who was allegedly attacked. The victim has since contacted police and is cooperating with investigators.

The two female joggers told police they were jogging along the flat straight portion of trail on the back side of Westwood Lake when the victim ran up to them and said she had just been assaulted by a man wearing a black ski mask. She appeared frightened but did not have any physical injuries.

The attacker had jumped out from some bushes and she defended herself by punching him in the face and kicking him, which stopped the assault and she fled the area. The male was last seen running up the hill toward the power lines.

The suspect is Caucasian with an average build. He was wearing a black ski mask, dark loose pants and a light-colour T-shirt.

Anyone with information about this incident or the suspect is asked to contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

There have been several confirmed reports in recent years of female joggers being confronted by unknown males in Westwood Lake Park.

Police are recommending joggers always run with a buddy and carry a cellphone or whistle. If confronted, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible and attract attention to you by making as much noise as possible.

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Bowen Road Farmers Market Open Wed. May 29


Bowen Road Farmers' Market Open Wednesday (May 15 - Oct. 2012)

The Bowen Road Farmers’ Market is brand new! It was started by a group of people concerned about our ever quickly changing world, the loss of rural areas, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant market. Weekly we feature musicians and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products produced by organic growers who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers’ Market and meet the person who grows and produces the food you eat. See you soon!

Open from May 15 to October 31, 2012, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information call 250-390-5199 or visit their website HERE.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Has Common Sense Been Suspended??


When Do Common Sense Safety Concerns
Become Ridiculous, Absurd, Ludicrous, Preposterous, Farcical
Or Just Plain Cockamamie?

I realize that when an engineer is tasked with approving any decision for which he/she may be held liable they will always err on the side of safety. Hence, the expression 'over-engineered'.

The term 'over-engineered' would be not unlike the standard that the Dam Safety Branch is holding the city to when it comes to designing the dams at Colliery Park. Because of a combination of probability and outcome (loss of over 100 lives) the Dam Safety Branch requires a new dam (or rehabilitation) be able to meet a standard for an event that 'could' occur with a once in a 10,000 year chance.

We are all for public safety and the reduction of risk, hence we have speed limits, airbags, helmets, mouthguards and the like but there comes a point where even bubblewrapping everyone would still be considered to pose a potential 'risk'  albeit it may only happen once in a 10,000 year period, that some bureaucratic office might deem unacceptable.

Sound like so much nonsense? Well that is exactly what the Dam Safety Branch brain trust has decided is the new standard for dam safety.

How Much Of This Safety Paranoia Can Society Afford?

It is all well and good for some guy or gal hauling down $200,000 or so, to arbitrarily decide that Nanaimo taxpayers are going to have to spring for a dam what can withstand a 1 in 10,000 year event. A decision which will cost Nanaimo taxpayers multiples of what it would cost to build a dam that is designed to withstand a 1 in 3,000 year event.

What will the economic impact of this decision have on the 1649 dams throughout the province? Think about it!

How much paranoia driven decisions being made by highly paid 'professionals' can we as a society afford?

Not unlike another unelected bureaucracy that requires us to spend $82,000,000 to insure the safety of a water supply that has been safe for 150 years!

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Avoid High-Risk Driving Behaviour

Road risk forecast - prepare for spring conditions
As the weather gets warmer, plan ahead for extra traffic so you're not tempted to rush to your destination. No one likes getting stuck in heavy or slow traffic, but don’t let it get the better of you and react poorly or you’ll increase your risk of having a crash.

Stay safe by avoiding these top 5 high-risk driving behaviours:

  1. Failing to yield: It may not always be easy to decide who has the right-of-way at intersections. Signs and traffic signals often help determine who's allowed to go first. If in doubt, always be ready to give the right-of-way.
  2. Ignoring traffic lights: If you're approaching a light that's been green for a while, slow down and prepare to stop if the light changes. Remember that yellow lights mean you must stop unless it is unsafe to do so.
  3. Tailgating: Always leave a safe following distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front so you have enough time to react to the unexpected. You need a following distance of at least two seconds in good weather and road conditions. Allow at least three seconds when you’re behind a large vehicle that could block your vision, or a motorcycle that could stop very quickly.
  4. Speeding: Slow down and be more realistic about travel times to help reduce your risk of getting in a crash.
  5. Improper passing: If you’re planning to pass, make sure you do it safely and legally. Keep within the speed limit and communicate clearly by using your signals. Big trucks can't slow down as quickly as you can so leave extra room before pulling back in. Avoid passing on the right, and ensure you can see the vehicle you’ve passed in your mirrors before pulling back in front of it.
Tailgating, failing to yield or speeding seem harmless, but these high-risk driving behaviours contribute to almost half of all police-reported casualty crashes in B.C. And, 60% of all crashes in B.C. take place in intersections.
Check out our interactive crash maps for more information.

High-risk driving campaign on now

From May 15 to June 15, ICBC and police are running a high-risk driving awareness campaign. This campaign reminds drivers to slow down so they can be more prepared to expect the unexpected.

The month-long campaign includes enhanced police enforcement and volunteer Speed Watch deployments in high crash locations. We want to help drivers avoid high-risk driving behaviours because fewer crashes and injuries lower claims costs and help keep rates as low as possible.

 


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Nanaimo Property Tax Notices Arrive

Be Sure To Claim The Homeowner Grant

Approximately 36,000 tax notices for the 2013 assessment year are scheduled to be distributed to property owners the week of May 20, the City of Nanaimo announced.

Payment for property taxes must be received by the end of day on July 2, following which a 5 per cent penalty will be applied on any payment received after July 2. Eligible property owners have until July 2 to apply for a Provincial Home Owner’s Grant to avoid penalty on the Home Owner Grant amount.

Tax notices can be reviewed online for those property owners who have a registered MyCity account.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Smart Cars Can Do Tricks ........
................... Roll Over ....... Good Car!

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Nanaimo Ratepayers Association Meeting May 29

Wed. May 29, 2013
7:00 PM
Kin Hut Departure Bay

The first public meeting of the newly formed Nanaimo Ratepayers Association (NRA ...... no, not the Rifle guys) will be held on Wednesday, May 29th at the Kin Hut in Departure Bay.

The Nanaimo Ratepayers Association is non partisan and welcomes all taxpayers in Nanaimo, and that includes those who rent, as they too are paying taxes.

A primary focus of the association will be putting the brakes on what appears to be out of control spending at city hall which has seen property taxes increase 115% between 2001 and 2017. This is at a time when there is an identified shortfall in the funding of water, sewer and roads but sufficient money for $16,000,000.00 for new staff offices.

By having a strong membership representing a broad cross section of the community the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association will be able to provide a voice at city hall which can't be ignored.

If you are not happy with how your tax dollars are being spent, and don't feel anyone at city hall listens to you, be sure to come out and hear what the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association can do with your help and support.


Note: the author of this blog, Yours Truly Jim Taylor (not the famous one) is one of the founding directors of this association who feels only a strong organized voice will be heard at city hall, where far too many decisions are made in secret and are not subject to proper public scrutiny.

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Colliery Dam Park Lakes Aerial View

Aerial View Of Colliery Dam Park Lakes

This aerial photo taken about a week ago by Ken Plant really makes you wonder how these two little ponds (not even really lakes) could cause all the destruction and mayhem some of the city's professional staff believe them capable of.

There are some serious questions raised about the validity of the loss of life and property that was claimed possible in the inundation study commissioned by the city.

This whole 'case' to remove the dams seems to have been overstated right from the beginning. Remember we were told it could cost $30 million to replace the dams. Now that price is in the order of $8.6 million. The idea that the dams holding back these little puddles have to be able to withstand an event with a one in ten thousand year chance of happening is another example of the 'over the top' logic that city staff and the dam safety branch are applying to these tiny bodies of water.

Putting this whole thing in context, these two puddles hold about 200,000 cu. metres of water, while Westwood Lake holds over 3,000,000 cu metres and is not built to the same standard.

You will have to forgive some people observing this whole little drama for coming to the conclusion that something just doesn't smell right about this whole deal.

Are The 'Dambusters' Pulling A Fast One??

There is something about this motion that Councillor Brennan is supporting which does not ring right. Councillor Johnstone has said on a Facebook post that once the dams are removed, they will be replaced after the city gets the permits and permission of the First Nations people.

I strongly suspect, that the 'Dambusters' who simply want the dams gone, are playing a fast one, by insisting the dams be removed right now, under the guise of 'public safety', knowing full well that once the dams are gone, they will never get permits to replace them.

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Many Want A Core Review

91% Want An Independent Review

In spite of all the fear the term 'Core Services Review' stirs up at city hall over 90% of 1930 people taking the survey feel one would be good for the city.

Sadly, many councillors and city staffers seem to think the only product of a core review will be the lose of jobs. This speaks volumes to the lack of understanding which surrounds this very essential tool for making sure Nanaimo taxpayers are getting the best bang for their buck.

Why would hard working, capable and loyal employees think a review would be a threat to their jobs? The services they provide are necessary in the community which provides the job security they should take comfort in.

I can see the fire department getting a little 'antsy' given the recent study of that department indicates that all firefighters are only busy 50% of the time and less than 2% of their calls actually involve fires. There is a department where there very well could be over-staffing issues which should be dealt with.

A core review would take a look at all aspects of how city hall delivers the services Nanaimo taxpayers are more than happy to pay for and perhaps find some money saving measures in how those services are delivered, which does not mean firing people who deliver those services.

Personally, I get a little antsy myself, when a corporation the size of the city of Nanaimo seems so reluctant to allowing a fresh set of eyes take a look at how we are doing business.

I wouldn't expect any kind of support from either councillors Brennan or Greves as they both are heavily supported by either CUPE or the IAFF.

In fact I don't expect much to change at city hall until after the next election, when there is the possibility Nanaimo may elect a council which has a better grasp of fiscal matters as clearly this council is a disappointment. Five months with an $851,000,000 budget and not ONE suggestion as to how to save one thin dime.

McKay, Kipp and Bestwick were the only three who tried to save tax dollars by scrutinizing the budget, only to be met with scorn by the rest of council with their 'tax and spend' mentality.

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Farmers Markets Open Today



 Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 5 - Oct. 2013)
Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 5th through to October.

Fresh, local and friendly. The Lantzville Farmers Market is dedicated to bringing you the very best in West Coast products and services.

For information contact lantzvillefarmersmarket@gmail.com.




Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 5 - Oct. 2013)

Take a Sunday drive out into the country, park in the fields of the Crow and Gate Neighbourhood Pub, feel grassy field below your feet and talk with the farmer that grows your food.

Open from May 5 to October 2012 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

For more information visit their website at www.cedarfarmersmarket.com or call 250-668-5783


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Nanaimo Info Blog Enjoys Good Ranking

Google Search Returns Nanaimo Info Blog

This is just a little self-congratulatory, back patting much akin to a local newspaper writing about some award they have won.

Nanaimo-Info-Blog.com with nearly 6900 archived articles relating to Nanaimo, is considered by the Google search engines as an authority on things Nanaimo. One of the ways websites are recognized by the Google search engines is based on the amount of content the site has relating to a specific topic.

As an example of Nanaimo-Info-Blog returning a highly placed reference when searching on Google, the search phrase 'Nanaimo Fireworks' had the article appearing in this blog in the first spot on the first page of the Google search. That is out of 122,000 other results relating to that specific topic.


For a little blog that started as an interesting little hobby six years ago, it has become  a trusted source for Nanaimo information, with a particular attention being paid to how things are run at city hall.

I am always surprised when I am approached by a total stranger wanting to know if I am Jim Taylor (I am never sure if they are friend or foe) the guy who writes Nanaimo Info Blog. Last weekend while taking pictures of the Empire Day Parade, I was standing beside a couple who inquired about my name tag which says Nanaimo Info Network. When I told them I publish several Nanaimo websites, they asked if this blog was one of them and then told me 'they read my blog all the time and like my coverage of city hall'. This couple had moved here in 2009 and found my blog a good source of local information.

Well, that is enough back-patting for now, as my arm is getting a bit tired. But hey, if I don't blow my horn from time to time, no one else will.

And by the way, this interesting little hobby has turned into a 40 - 50 hour/week job for which I have yet to charge for. My wife, says I really need to figure out how to do something about that. I tend to agree, and since this blog when combined with several other sites, does enjoy good exposure it could be a viable advertising venue for local businesses. However, that means I would have to put on my 'Ad Sales' hat in addition to my reporter/editor/photographer/webmaster/janitor hat, and I'm just not sure there is room for another hat. :^)


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Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

So This Is Why Kids Used To Sleep So Well!

My son and daughter-in-law have been sleep deprived for over three years now as my darling little granddaughter seems to think that not sleeping through the night is just the way things are supposed to work.

The above photo shows a 'tonic' from long ago which could help explain how parents in times past preserved their sanity by getting a good night's sleep.

The tonic consists of 46% alcohol which should help someone nap, but in addition it also contained Opium.

The dosage on the bottom covers ages from 5 days up to adults. I figure my granddaughter would be in the 20 drops range, which would most likely improve the sleep pattern in my son's house.

However, acquiring a taste for alcohol and opium is not likely a good life choice either.

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Suddenly Bankrupt

As many as 70% of bankruptcy filings are made by people with strong credit scores, according to Trans Union.

This article in the Financial Post shows an increasing number of bankrupt filings are from people with strong credit scores, who have been able to meet their debt obligations, but suddenly seem to hit a wall where the debt is no longer manageable.

One of the fastest growing bankruptcy groups are seniors who were indebted when they retired and who continued to borrow. This can be blamed in part on declining interest income from savings.

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BC Economic Snapshot May 25, 2013



VANCOUVER, BC, May 25, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C. retail sales jumped 1.0 per cent in March over February to $5.16 billion, seasonally adjusted, mainly on the strength of a spike in new vehicle sales. Despite the best performance in one year, March 2013 sales were slightly below the year ago level.

Adjusting for retail price inflation, real retail sales increased 1.5 per cent over the previous month to the highest level since November 2011. While March’s increase was a positive development, it did not result in a breakout from the range-bound trend that has persisted since late 2011.

Slow job growth during this period is a likely contributing cause which translates directly into slow income growth and subdued consumer confidence. The slower housing market could be another cause. More cross-border shopping is another possible factor, but this is difficult to quantify.

This year is shaping up as another mediocre growth performance with sales to date down 1 per cent to $13.7 billion from the first three months of last year. The retail sales forecast for 2013 calls for a slight 1 per cent increase, the smallest yearly gain since 2009. In 2012, retail sales rose 1.9 per cent compared to 3.2 per cent in 2011.

Housing
Investment in new housing construction in B.C. is declining and past its peak for this cycle. The latest estimates from Statistics Canada, after seasonal adjustment, show a consistent decline off the October 2012 peak through to March 2013. With housing starts and prices trending down and housing sales at low levels, this investment downtrend will continue into 2014.
Less investment spending means fewer construction and related jobs as well as a negative impact on retail sales. It will drag down or hold back overall economic growth in the province.
A similar situation is unfolding nationally. The policy-induced housing slowdown cools the economy as well as housing prices.


Jobs
New survey data from Statistics Canada on job vacancies reveals additional insights into the labour market. The Job Vacancy Statistics survey provides a monthly portrait of the level of unoccupied positions, job vacancy rates and unemployment-to-job vacancies ratios.

One new metric is the job vacancy rate calculated as a percentage of vacancies to labour demand defined as the total of unmet (vacancies) and met demand (occupied positions). A higher job vacancy rate indicates a stronger labour market with more positions posted by employers going unfilled. This is a new survey so some caution in its use is in order until a longer history is available.

The data pertain to all businesses having at least one employee, excluding those primarily involved in agriculture, fishing and trapping, private household services, religious organizations, military personnel of defence services and federal, provincial and territorial public administration.

The graph shows the B.C., Alberta, and Canada job vacancy rates, and not surprisingly, Alberta’s rate at 2.5 per cent was well above B.C. and Canada at 1.5 per cent in the three months ending February 2013. In level terms, the estimated number of job vacancies in B.C. was 27,500 compared to 46,900 in Alberta and 209,900 nationally as of February. These data are three-month moving averages and are not seasonally adjusted.

Higher job openings and labour demand in Alberta will remain a migration magnet at the expense of B.C. and other provinces. Alberta’s job growth so far this year is 2.0 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent for Canada and 0.2 per cent for B.C.
| Central 1 Credit Union

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Contest & Video Lure Tourists

Note: Email subscribers may have to visit Nanaimo Blog to view video.


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Bike To Work Week In Nanaimo

Bike to Work Week is coming!

It’s time to dust off the bike, pump up your tires, lose your car keys and jump on board for this year’s Bike to Work Week. May 27 to June 2 is Bike to Work Week in Nanaimo. Encourage your colleagues, friends and family to get on their bikes and join you. Register your team or as an individual on line today at www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo. All team leaders receive a free Bike to Work Week t-shirt.

All week celebration stations will be set up around the City to offer snacks, drinks and encouragement for the many cyclists participating in the challenge. Cyclists will have a chance to win prizes at each station including a chance to win the grand prize: a KONA Dew Commuter Bike donated by Oak Bay Bikes or a weekly loaf of bread for a year from Cobs Bread! If you can’t make the celebration stations visit one of Nanaimo many bike shops to enter. The more you participate, the better your chances are to win.

Celebrate the completion of Bike to Work Week with a Wrap up Party at Country Club Centre on Friday May 31st, from 4:00 – 7:00pm. Join fellow commuters for a free Kinsmen BBQ, great musical entertainment (Kumbana Marimba), bike polo demo, good company and prizes.

In preparation for Bike to Work Week, we will be holding a fun “Commuter Challenge” on Friday May 24th at Diana Krall Plaza. Cyclists and drivers will demonstrate the comparability of urban travel times between cyclists and car drivers over set distances. Meet us in Diana Krall Plaza at 5:00pm, to enjoy live entertainment and cheer your favorite team in to the plaza. Following the arrival of our participants we will head out on a 10km community ride.

For more information on bike to work week, please visit our website at http://www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo

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Friday, May 24, 2013

2013 Empire Day Parade Results


Best Service Club:
1. Shriners
2. Eastern Star Jobs Daughters
Best Theme Award:
1. Hungarian Cultural Society
Best Commerical Float:
1. Island Savings
2. Slegg Lumber
3. Lucky One Charities
Best Non-Commerical Float:
1. Bathtub Society
2. Angels Abreast Dragon Boat Team
3. Cowichan Lake – Lady of the Lake
Best Motorized Presentation:
1. Old English Car Club
2. Bobby the Clown
3. Vintage Tractors
Best Animal Presentation:
1. The Kennel Club
2. Plum Creek Ponies
Best Cultural Presentation:
1. VIVA
Best Childrens Presentation:
1. Flower Princess
2. Sea Cadets
3. DJ Book It

allvoices

Thursday, May 23, 2013

City Council Meeting May 27, 2013

 
Nanaimo City Council Meeting
Monday, May 27, 2013
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre

  • SUPPLY WATER TO LANTZVILLE! One of those quietly done little 'deals' it looks like will slide by, is allowing Lantzville to have access to a water supply from Nanaimo. Why live in Nanaimo and pay our high taxes when you can have the benefits and live in Lantzville?
  • Restaurant/pub at 1690 Stewart Ave. is seeking a development variance that would change a 15m watercourse setback to a 0m setback. Interesting?

Democracy Is Too Important To Leave To The Politicians
Do Your Civic Duty By Getting Informed and Getting Involved

If you say: " I'm too busy just trying to keep it together to get involved, consider that perhaps, if you were more involved you might not be having so much trouble keeping it together "!

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


 Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

Council decided to spend at least $160,000 on the old theatre on Victoria Rd. when a $20,000 solution would have done, until it is decided what is to be done with the building long term. Two engineers have raised questions about the seismic standard of the building, but staff seem content to ignore the concern.  

By deciding to bring downtown parking enforcement 'in-house' which was supposed to save tax dollars, we are now going to lose $140,000 in the first year.

We are paying over $60,000/yr. for downtown parking attendants (meter maids).

We gave a $300,000 tax exemption to the bar operating in the old train station. This exemption was originally thought to apply to the area of the train station used as a train station and not the area operating as a pub.   

Council decided to spend $170,000 on an electric Zamboni, when a propane fueled one costs $80,000 and does the same job.

Council decided to spend thousands of dollars to implement a policy of banning the sale of bottled water at civic facilities.

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??

Two years ago they decided to spend $16,000,000.00 on a new staff office, an amount equal to YOUR tax increase for 5 years! 

Recently voted to spend $160,000 instead of $20,000 on old theatre at 25 Victoria Rd.

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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Port Theatre Nanaimo May 25 & 26, 2013

RHYTHM DANCE
Saturday May 25  7:00 PM

ISLAND SOUL CHOIR
Sunday May 26  2:30PM

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Small Business Like Credit Unions


Small Business
Rates Banks

Credit unions the best for small business; among the big banks, CIBC still the worst

Toronto, May 22 2013 - Credit unions continue to outperform banks when it comes to serving the financial needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to a new research report issued by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Among the big five banks, the Bank of Montreal (BMO), and Scotiabank were tied with the highest overall scores while CIBC received the lowest.

“Banks need to pay close attention to the report’s findings if they are serious about serving the small business market,” said CFIB vice president of research Doug Bruce. “Overall, credit unions do the best job of serving entrepreneurs, while Scotiabank and BMO are tied in receiving the highest overall scores among the big banks. CIBC is the worst big bank for small business – that’s the same as it was in 2010, when we issued our previous banking report.” 

In addition to providing bank scores by size of business, CFIB’s Battle of the Banks includes a wealth of information including SME market shares of the banks, and policy recommendations. The bank scores are based upon nearly 13,000 survey responses from small business owners on four key issues: financing, fees, experience with account managers, and service.

Battle of the Banks shows a disturbing trend: the smaller the business, the lower the overall bank score. Compared to larger businesses, smaller firms have a tougher time getting the financing they need from their bank.

“Access to affordable financing and banking services is essential for hard-working entrepreneurs, and it’s clear that all of the banks should do more to serve small business clients,” said CFIB president and CEO Dan Kelly. “I strongly encourage small business owners to visit the CFIB website and find out how their bank performed in our report.”

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Local Authors Release New Cookbook


Local Nanaimo authors Lorna Malone, and her two daughters—Alison Malone Eathorne and Hilary Malone—have just released a new cookbook, Sea Salt: Recipes from the West Coast Galley.

Sea Salt is a gorgeous new collection of over a hundred sea-tested gourmet recipes suitable for meals aboard but equally satisfying for the home dining table. The authors are themselves dedicated sailors and bring readers on a voyage around Vancouver Island aboard their classic wooden sailboat Aeriel, drawing inspiration from the area’s seafood, farmers’ markets and wineries.

Join the Malones as they celebrate its release with a book signing on Saturday, June 1 at Nanaimo Maps and Charts (8 Church Street) from 2pm to 3:30pm.

For more information, call Nanaimo Maps and Charts at 250-754-2513 or go to www.seasaltcookbook.com.


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Colliery Dam Park Update

Jeff Solomon Addresses Park Supporters

Colliery Dam Park supporters attended an information meeting at John Barsby School where Jeff Solomon provided an update on the current status of the moves to remove the Colliery Dams this summer.

The group hopes that at the May 27th city council meeting a city councillor may decide to have the issue of removing the dams this year revisited in favour of keeping the dams in place this year and replacing the middle dam next summer, with the lower dam being replace the following year. This would be the best case scenario.

Several other action plans were discussed if the hoped for reversal does not happen this coming Monday. One such action will involve legal action based on the legal rights of anyone owning property which fronts on the Chase River. The matter of an injunction was also discussed.

A generous contribution from an audience member insures the group will be able to seek legal advice to look into their many legal options at this point.

Two young girls presented Mr. Solomon with nearly $100, which they were able to raise through a sidewalk lemonade sale they undertook this past weekend.

Members of the Council of Canadians addressed the meeting inviting any interested members to attend a workshop they are putting on this coming June 1 which is a course in civil disobedience. The course seeks to inform just what the legal rights and consequences are of different levels of civil disobedience.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE PLANNED

Mr. Dave Cutts, Veterans of the Clayquot also addressed the crowd, and made it very clear that while they shared objectives (keeping the lakes) that his group and Jeff's group were two totally different entities. They do not share member information etc., and in fact act completely independent of each other.

Mr. Cutts and his group will be meeting this Sunday at the lower Colliery Dam at 1:00 pm to help develop their different committees and layout their plans for occupying the park over the summer. To date, they have 70+ people signed up to camp in the park over the coming months while others will be occupying platforms in the trees within the park.

If successful Mr. Cutts group will likely delay the removal of the dams for some time and will without doubt focus considerable media attention on Nanaimo over the coming months.

The story of how David (average citizens) are taking on Goliath (city council and city staff) in a valiant fight to preserve these two lakes in the heart of Harewood is tailor made for the six o'clock news.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thing On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

Want To Give Your Barrista Kittens?

Next time you and a friend order a latte, show them this picture as an example of what you want.

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Some Nanaimo 'Colour'

'Tim' And His Faithful Companion

If you've spent any time strolling around downtown, chances are you have seen this gentle soul who is never without his faithful little dog.

Tim can often be seen in the area of Diana Krall plaza pleasing the ears with his melodious flute. Sometimes he can also be seen as in the picture above cruising about the inner harbour, again with his faithful companion always nearby.

Next time you are downtown and you see Tim and friend, stop and say hello, he always has a pleasant word, and cheerful smile.

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Westwood Lake vs Colliery Park


If 'Public Safety' Is The Issue
How Long Before Westwood Lake Is 'Too Dangerous'?

The idea that Colliery Dams present such an urgent safety hazard seems to illuminate the inconsistency that this city council and city hall management consistently apply. Consistently inconsistent ......not a quality that breeds confidence.

Last October when it was announced that due to the dangerous condition of the dams and the immediate threat they presented to those downstream from the dams meant they would have to be removed at the earliest possible time. Removal was the only viable option as replacing them could cost as much as $30,000,000.00 we were told and there was a 40% chance they would fail in the next 50 years. We were told that removal and restoring the river was the cheapest option costing an estimated $7,000,000.00.

Since that original position of costing $30,000,000.00 and 40% chance of failure has now been discredited, the only position council and staff have to fall back to is one of public safety since their original claims of cost and danger no longer 'hold water'.

A serious problem with the logic which says the dams have to be drained immediately is the incredible view that only the 100 or so people living in the flood plain are in jeopardy when this catastrophe strikes. If Nanaimo is truly in such imminent danger what in the world is our council doing to mitigate against the other matters of public safety that surely must exist?

If this council is in possession of credible information that the dams in Harewood are in peril and can't possibly be left for even one more year, how does that impact the rest of Nanaimo?

Should we all be selling our homes (who would buy them?), and moving to much safer zones as clearly one would have to be foolhardy to remain here with such certain danger.

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Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market Opens May 24, 2013


 Nanaimo & Area Farmers' Markets

Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market
Open Friday ( May 24 - Oct. 11, 2013)

We are proud to say that we believe our market is one of the prettiest on the island. We have a large base of drop in vendors which keep our market ever changing. We enjoy watching the eagles fly overhead, the boats coming and going and the planes taking off every Friday. Our vendors always have a smile for our visitors. Open from First Friday in May to Friday before Thanksgiving.

Also open for all cruise ship dates Fri 10:00am to 2:00pm.

90 Front Street, Nanaimo. On Pioneer Waterfront Plaza  For more information visit their website at www.nanaimofarmersmarket.com or call 250-754-1998.


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Mike Duffy Scandal




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Letter Writer Expresses Utter Frustration


The following is printed as a letter to the editor and has not been edited in any fashion. It is a heart-felt plea from yet another Nanaimo resident who simply cannot reconcile the reasons this city staff and council keep giving as justification for ripping out the lakes at Colliery Dam Park.

Christina closes her letter with her opinion that there should be an election to replace the Mayor. Does anyone feel like taking on a recall petition?


Why I believe our council has a hidden agenda in regards to the Colliery dam.

I think our council most definitely has a hidden agenda, especially after the meeting of May the 13th 2013.

I sat through the whole council meeting watching the bored faces of most of council who had obviously made up their minds well in advance as citizen after citizen, professional after professional pleaded to keep the dams.

First the big issue with council was cost. They argued it would cost more (and now mysteriously, they propose we have the money both to demolish and then rebuild the dams.) and then while the provincial branch had spoken with some members of the preservation society, telling us we had plenty of time and there was no hurry to remove the dam, as early as 72 hours before the meeting, council mysteriously had a piece of paper that allegedly states the province wants a decision immediately that same day (suspicious! even noted by one of the fellow council men)

We should all take note of the three people on council who stood up for their community, and remember who voted to destroy the dams and demand an election because I don't trust our current mayor, Park destroyer, anti environmentalist, Rutton and the council men who voted against rebuilding right away including Diane Brennan (I find it appalling this lady is in charge of the Nanaimo environmental sustainability committee.) The bored look Brennan had the whole time the community was speaking was unbearable, but the look of shock and surprise she had on two occasions (once while a speaker mentioned hidden agendas, and once when a fellow council men said the sudden change of heart from the provincial branch was suspicious and she chewed him out for stating it) was very interesting, slightly amusing and again, highly suspicious.

Those who voted for destroying the dams are the council people I think have a hidden agenda and desperately want the dam gone for whatever scheme they have. I find it funny they act like the dam is leaking and ready to break but its been said by scientists and engineers that the dam is built to the same safety level as our hospital and homes. Our homes would fall down on us before the dam broke, so I find it suspicious first council went on about the cost.. now they're doubling the expense and claim its about public safety (because they want it built to the standards of a nuclear power plant right away instead of leaving it as for a short time)

I think this whole thing is a sham and I'm glad our community came out in support of the colliery dam. The show of our community was truly heart warming even though the decision by council was heart breaking to the point I stood in that auditorium in tears and continued on to give the mayor and council a piece of my mind, then received an applause from the people who had stuck around to listen as I yelled "You do not speak for me or my community."

Thank you to all who came out and spoke out for democracy. For the wildlife that lives off the water in the dams, for the children who swim and fish in the dam, and the community that thrives on the dam. Thank you all. I no longer have faith in our current mayor and believe we desperately need a new election as there is something highly suspicious, even noted by one of the council men, at the meeting, about this whole dam debacle.

Christina Zurita

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nanaimo Ratepayers Public Meeting

Wed. May 29, 2013
7:00 PM
Kin Hut Departure Bay

The first public meeting of the newly formed Nanaimo Ratepayers Association (NRA ...... no, not the Rifle guys) will be held on Wednesday, May 29th at the Kin Hut in Departure Bay.

The Nanaimo Ratepayers Association is non partisan and welcomes all taxpayers in Nanaimo, and that includes those who rent, as they too are paying taxes.

A primary focus of the association will be putting the brakes on what appears to be out of control spending at city hall which has seen property taxes increase 115% between 2001 and 2017. This is at a time when there is an identified shortfall in the funding of water, sewer and roads but sufficient money for $16,000,000.00 for new staff offices.

By having a strong membership representing a broad cross section of the community the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association will be able to provide a voice at city hall which can't be ignored.

If you are not happy with how your tax dollars are being spent, and don't feel anyone at city hall listens to you, be sure to come out and hear what the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association can do with your help and support.


Note: the author of this blog, Yours Truly Jim Taylor (not the famous one) is one of the founding directors of this association who feels only a strong organized voice will be heard at city hall, where far too many decisions are made in secret and are not subject to proper public scrutiny.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Perfect Weather For Empire Days Parade




Just a couple of the participants in Sunday's parade showing the cultural diversity that makes Canada a most unique country.

More pictures of the parade will follow, just as soon as I sort through them all.

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Vesta Fire Wows Audience

Vesta Fire Entertain Crowd

Part of the fun in Diana Krall Plaza was the performance by an entertainment troupe known as Vesta Fire.

While small in numbers they are large on audience satisfaction offering something for everyone, from juggling, acrobatics, unicycle riding, tumbling, exciting escapes, death defying feats and so much more.

Vesta Fire is a professional troupe which offers a wide range of entertainment for every occasion. You can learn more about this talented troupe by visiting their website HERE.

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Empire Days Family Fun Addition




 Family Fun A Popular Addition To Parade

This year Diana Krall Plaza was a hub of free, family fun as the Empire Days Society expanded an already popular event on parade day.

The plaza was home to a pancake breakfast with funds raised helping the Kinsmen club, there were bouncy castles, magicians, an entertainment troupe,  balloon artists, a ride, lots of different food and more.

I got to the Plaza around 11:00am and the place was packed with lots and lots of young families with Nanaimo's newest citizens enjoying was a great day in Nanaimo is all about.

Of course they took a break from all this free fun stuff, to watch the free, fun parade that began at 1:00 pm.

A perfect day, with perfect weather in our own little perfect piece of paradise.


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Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Wrong Dam Decision?


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BC Economic Snapshot May 18, 2013



VANCOUVER, BC, May 18, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C.’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined 1.1 per cent in April from March due to temporary factors. The switch back to the PST tax system from the HST on April 1 reduced the cost of many services and some goods to consumers.

Notably, restaurant meals declined 6.2 per cent from March, nearly the entire 7 per cent HST rate. Other price declines in a variety of services occurred such as personal care and taxi and other local and commuter services which declined 6.2 per cent.

The other major change was in gasoline prices, which were down 1.5 per cent in April from March. There was a 15.7 per cent drop in furniture prices in April from March. It is not clear what is behind this decline but there was a 13.5 per cent jump in February. The furniture price index is now at prior levels.

The year-over-year change in the CPI was a 0.8 per cent decline in April compared to a 0.5 per cent increase in March. This CPI inflation measure has been less than 1 per cent for the past eight months. This month’s decline in the CPI does not signal a deflationary economic environment since it is due to temporary factors.

The May CPI will bounce back since the tax change is a one-time event. Nonetheless, inflation will remain low, which is a reflection of a slow growing economy.

Housing

Latest data on residential markets in B.C. indicates sales activity is stabilizing with prices continuing to slide lower.

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