Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nanaimo Labour Day Weekend Weather

2/3 Ain't Bad!


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Nanaimo Ferry Schedule Labour Day 2013



BC Ferries Nanaimo Schedule
Labour Day Weekend 2013 Click HERE

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BC Economic Snapshot Aug. 31, 2013

Housing Still a Drag on Economic Growth

VANCOUVER, BC, Aug 31, 2013/ Troy Media/ – With all the hype surrounding rising home sale trends and recovering demand in recent months, it is easy to forget that housing remains a drag on B.C.’s economy.

While MLS sales are on an upswing, new home construction investment, which accounts for nearly half of all residential investment expenditures in the province, declined for an eighth consecutive month in June. Constant-dollar or real investment in new principal dwellings fell to a seasonally-adjusted $583.3 million, marking a 0.2 per cent dip from May and 5 per cent decline from June 2012.

Through mid-year, real investment was in line with the national performance and down 0.4 per cent from the same period in 2012, with the more modest drop of 0.2 per cent in current-dollar volume reflecting slightly lower costs. The decline was isolated to townhome construction, as apartment and duplex construction gained and single-detached activity held steady.

The declining trend in home construction investment reflects the second-half lull in new project commencements in 2012 and fewer units under construction as completions outpaced starts.
While housing starts and permits have bounced higher in recent months, annual starts will fall about 7 per cent this year leading to a 5 per cent decline in principal dwellings investment and representing a significant drag on the provincial growth picture.

Housing starts are forecast to rise about 4 per cent next year to 26,600 units, but remain at subdued levels as elevated new and existing home inventories, higher mortgage rates and generally weak consumer demand weigh on projects.

Nevertheless, new housing investment is forecast to grow by a similar pace, providing a modest boost to general residential investment expenditures and provincial growth.
| Central 1 Credit Union

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Lantzville &Cedar Farmers' Market Sept. 1, 2013



 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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Friday, August 30, 2013

Why Did Colliery Dam Get So Damn Complicated?


 Time To Just Get On With It!

We are now ten months and nearly $1 million into the ongoing Colliery Dam Park dams saga and seem no closer to conclusion than this time last year.

In 2010 the city hired an engineering company to do a seismic assessment of the dams, and one of the options they presented was to rehab both dams to a 1:3000 year safety standard for an estimated amount of less than $3 million. This conclusion was based on the assumption that the dams contained no rebar, were made of poor concrete and were possibly not on bedrock.

Since that finding in 2010 nothing has changed except for the new knowledge that the dams are made with good concrete, are on bedrock and in fact contain rebar about twice the size of that in current use. The other wild card was the arbitrary decision by the Dam Safety Section of the provincial government to increase the standard for the dams to a 1:10000 year safety standard.

Given this is three times the standard required for our hospital it seems totally 'over the top' and is a bit of a head-shaker looking for the logic.

We are now engaged in another round of never ending discussions with yet another engineer to find a long term mitigation solution to this over-stated risk. Why in the world are we not simply saying to the province a 1:3000 year safety standard is an acceptable level of risk and propose that is our solution to the problem at a cost of about $3 million and if the province insists on a higher standard, they should pick up the tab.

Enough time and effort has been spent on this ridiculous 'problem' and city staff and the community have far better things to be concerned about than these two little ponds and the exaggerated risk they pose.

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How Realistic & Affordable Are Some Standards?

Worth repeating. This article appeared earlier this year and the points raised still need addressing.

When Do Common Sense Safety Concerns
Become Ridiculous, Absurd, Ludicrous, Preposterous?

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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Are Tax Increases Affordable In Nanaimo?


What Is An Affordable, Sustainable Tax Increase?

At the committee of the whole meeting on Aug. 29 city staff presented council with an explanation of an new process which is being developed to assist staff with preparing the financial plan for the city of Nanaimo.

It will be interesting to see how this exercise unfolds over the weeks and months to come as it seems that both city council and city staff are in the process of inventing a whole new approach to how to arrange the citys' finances.

At the end of the meeting I asked the new city manager, Mr. Swabey how the city went about determining what is an affordable, and sustainable level of tax increases. Given there is at least another 20% tax increase coming over the next five years I was curious how the topic of affordable and sustainable was determined.

The answer Mr. Swabey gave was that the question should be addressed to city council, as it is them who determined what is an affordable and sustainable level of taxation. I have now addressed that question to our Mayor and each member of Council and look forward to their replies which I will post here as they respond.

I suspect using the results of the recent Ipsos Reid survey will be used to support the idea the majority of taxpayers are happy with how things are going now. That survey of course is arguably flawed given sample size and the fact they only use a 4 point response option. Even at that however, nearly 40% of those surveyed said they did not wish to see their taxes increased at all, and some said they were willing to take a reduction in services to lower their taxes.

If you ask a person making $75,000+ per year who can expect another 2% pay increase, if they are concerned about a 4% property tax increase, the response might greatly differ from the person on a fixed income or employed in the service sector in Nanaimo.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Media Takes Aim At Firefighters Gravy Train

Click Image To View Globe & Mail Article
Click Image To Read Daily News Article

Everyone Loves The Firemen

It had to happen sooner or later, the mainstream media has finally got some backbone and taken a run at the National Sacred Cow aka the Professional Firefighters, who have been quietly feathering their nest for years, pretty much off the radar because of their near sacred status.

I highly suggest you read, first the article by Globe and Mail writer Margaret Wente and then the local story in the Daily written by Spencer Anderson and Ben Ingram.

You may remember earlier this year in response to a request made by Councilor Greves, council heard a one hour report on the state of affairs in the local fire department. It clearly pointed to ways of bringing the out of control firefighting budget in line. I believe it stated that firefighters are actually 'working' less than 50% of the time they are on shift, and less than 5% of their time is spent dealing with fires.

The report as I recall was not well received by Councillor Greves who as a retired professional firefighter, and local union rep was hearing information he simply didn't agree with. That report seems to have been thrown under the bus but hopefully it will return as we begin another round of financial plans for the city.

The city firefighters as I recall refused a wage increase offer from the city which, if they had accepted it would have meant they receive nearly a 20% increase in five years. For some cockamamie idea they seem to feel they need to be paid the same as their Vancouver counterparts.

Firefighters spend most of their time trying to beat the paramedics to a medical call or tending to minor motor vehicle accidents. They spend a very small percentage of their time racing into burning buildings.



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Raise the Bar for Kids Sept.7



Rhonda Heaslip, winner of multiple National Powerlifting Championships and the current national and Commonwealth powerlifting record holder, is raising money for BC Children's Hospital Foundation. She continues her fundraising initiative on Saturday, September 7th at Nanaimo's Woodgrove Mall at 2 pm. 

She will be talking about powerlifting, her record breaking and attempts and why raising money for the kids of BC is so important... and you can see her do an impressive close to or over 350 lb lift. This is a taste of what she will be doing at the World Masters Powerlifting Championships in Orlando, Florida. She will attempting to break her own Canadian and Commonwealth deadlift records.

The more she is out meeting community members, the more awareness and donations! $15,000 is the goal! More information and donations for Raise the Bar for Kids can be done online at www.raisethebarforkids.ca. Donations gratefully accepted at at the event at Woodgrove Mall. We appreciate any all support for this great cause! 

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Vancouver Island Short Film Festival Submissions

VISFF Now Accepting Submissions For 2014 Festival

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival (VISFF) is now accepting submissions for the 2014 show. The VISFF, which will celebrate its ninth anniversary in 2014, is an annual event that brings filmmakers and filmgoers together and continues to be the only short film festival on Vancouver Island that focuses on local talent. This year’s festival will take place on Feb. 7 and 8, 2014.

Now in its ninth year, the VISFF is a hugely successful event. Building on the success of eight previous years, the Festival continues to support local talent by providing filmmakers with an opportunity to screen their films in front of an audience. The Festival accepts films from any location, so local films will be shown along with films potentially from anywhere in the world.

The deadline for entry into the VISFF is November 1st, 2013. However, films submitted before October 1 will qualify for the Early Bird entry fee rate of $20. The Festival is looking for films in all genres, created by filmmakers of all levels of experience, with a running time of 12 minutes or less (including credits). Filmmakers may submit multiple entries, but each film requires a separate entry form and fee of $30 ($20 if submitted by October 1). Each film must be submitted separately (on a separate DVD etc.), and no filmmaker shall have more than two films selected for the show. The VISFF is a juried event, and filmmakers receiving the distinction of official selection are entitled to artist fees. For more information regarding film submission, filmmakers should visit visff.com for entry forms and Festival guidelines.

Drop off entries at the Nanaimo Arts Council in Nanaimo North Town Centre or mail to #259, 4750 Rutherford Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 4K6. Entry forms and Festival guidelines are available at www.visff.com. For more information, email submissions@visff.com or call 250-729-3947.

 

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Nanaimo Downtown Farmers' Market Aug. 30



 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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Nanaimo Parks and Trails Map



The Nanaimo Info map of Nanaimo parks, trails and recreational facilities has proven to be a popular, well used feature found on both Nanaimo Info Blog and Nanaimo Info.

As the top screenshot shows since the map went online in Sept. 09 the map has been used a total of 525,902 times meaning it has been used over 131,000 times per year.

The feature is easy to use with Nanaimo parks listed alphabetically which, when clicked on opens the 'pin' on the map showing the exact location of the facility.

You can use the map by scrolling down the right hand side of Nanaimo Info Blog and clicking on the 'View Parks & Facilities in Nanaimo in a larger map' link, or simply click on the following image.



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Time Saver or Mega Time Waster?

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

Comic Sketch or Accurate Forecast?


YouTwitFace, according to the Urban Dictionary;
 
The website to be formed in the year 3000 after YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook merge into the largest time wasting website ever.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where Nanaimo Tax Dollars Go



Pretty soon city council will be presented with another five year financial plan which will contain the budget for next year. Without a doubt I am willing to bet we will be seeing another tax increase likely in the 4% range. I predict city council will wring their hands, scratch their beards (sorry ladies) and explain how difficult it is to set priorities.

The following list is one I just threw together off the top of my head (so the numbers are not necessarily accurate to the penny), but it shows where massive tax expenditures have been made these past few years.
$80,000,000 for water treatment plant, new reservoir etc.
$75,000,000 for a conference centre that is likely a $45,000,000 asset
$16,000,000 for a shiny new staff office, with shiny new furniture
$10,000,000 for hotel tax exemption for downtown hotel
$  8,000,000 to fix dams 
$  5,000,000 to buy Wellcox property downtown waterfront
$  2,000,000 lost by selling old Annex for $1.00
$  2,000,000 to run waterline out to Harmac
$  1,000,000 for staff golden handshakes
$  1,000,000 on old building at 25 Victoria Road

$72,000,000, the approximate annual cost for wages and benefits for all levels of employees paid by tax dollars. This represents about 80% of every tax dollar the city collects annually. Put another way, assuming a population of 80,000 it means every man, woman and child in the city of Nanaimo pays $900 per year for staff wages and benefits.

 A Few Passing Comments:

The $80,000,000 apparently was mandated by VIHA who deemed that Nanaimo water was not safe enough in spite of a 150 year record which required boiling our water 3 times!

The $75,000,000 was for a building we had contracted to build for $50,000,000 but those in charge of the project representing the city were unable to bring the project in on budget.

The $16,000,000 for the shiny new office would not have been necessary if they had spent about $2,000,000 upgrading the old annex.

The $10,000,000 hotel tax exemption is a pure giveaway which would hardly have been the deal breaker for any company wanting to build a $50,000,000 hotel.

The $8,000,000 to fix the Colliery Dams would have cost no more that $3,000,000 in 2010 if city hall hadn't been dragging their feet. Arguably it could even cost less than that to appease the dam safety branch if more accurate studies were done on the current condition of the dams.

The $5,000,000 for the Wellcox property on the downtown waterfront, may indeed may be seen as one of those truly visionary things this city hall has done. However, it currently looks like a questionable investment of tax dollars. Consider that Seaspan holds a perpetual right of use agreement with encompasses 60% of the 10.8 hectare parcel, and ICF holds a similar agreement controlling another 10% of the total area. Neither of these companies pay the city (the new owner) any rent for the use of the property, they only pay property taxes. Currently the city has no access to the waterfront portion of this property, nor can they access the property from Front Street.

Discounting the value of the old city annex making a building with an assessed value of $3,000,000 only worth $1.00 on the open market.

The $2,000,000 (maybe high) for the waterline heading out to Harmac, was to allow the city to access Harmac water if need be, and vice versa. SFN were the benefactors of this line also, as it finally brought potable water to #1 Reserve.

The golden handshakes include the $500,000 to ex city manager Mr. Berry who wanted to retire early and since he had done such a stellar job, the city thought we should pay him the equivalent of two years salary to stay at home. More recently Mr. Holmes and Ms Samra are the latest recipients of one of those handshakes as a reward for leaving the city employ for reasons the public will likely never know. Both cases deserve some answers.

The $1,000,000 for the old building at 25 Victoria Rd. on a building that does not meet current seismic standards is just another example of city council buying votes with your tax dollars.

On The Horizon

It is still unknown how accurately the asset management tax pool will be able to handle the looming costs associated with aging infrastructure. A 2010 report estimated a $12,000,000 anuual shortfall in infrastructure funding. A shortfall city manager Kenning recommended doing nothing about until 2013.

The RDN is looking at some $20,000,000 to replace the sewer outfall pipe that is coming to the end nearly 40 years before its estimated time.






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Nanaimo Labour Day Weather Forecast


OK Lawns Are Happy
Time To Turn Off The Tap!

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Junior Archaeologist - Last Program This Year


Nanaimo Museum
Summer Program

Junior Archaeologist Thursdays in July & August from 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Children will explore Nanaimo’s ancient history through the eyes of an archaeologist. Hands-on activities include sifting through soil for artifacts, rebuilding clay pots, investigating and handling artifacts from the museum’s education collection that are more than 1,000 years old and make petroglyph rubbings. Junior Archaeologist will focus on the Inuit culture On August 15, 22 & 29 during our feature exhibit, Expedition Arctic. The program is designed for children ages 5-12 years and is included in museum admission fee. The program is offered on a drop-in basis and caregivers must be present at all times.

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Downtown Nanaimo Summertime Music



August 29th at China Steps 11:30 am-2:00 pm: 
Andrea Smith
BIO: Andrea Smith has won V.I.M.A’s Female Songwriter of the Year and first place in songwriting at the Shuswap Lake International Writers Festival in 2005. She has played with some of Canada’s greatest musicians including Don Thompson, Pat Coleman, Robbie King and Ken Lister.

Her last CD release “Sweet Embrace” has a steller line up including Phil Dwyer, David Gogo, Pat Steward, Miles Black and island favorites Todd Sacerty, Phil Whipper, Chad Geekie and Tina Jones.


Andrea is both songwriter and singer.  She is a proficient musician, guitarist and pianist recently graduated from Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies.


August 30th at Diana Krall Plaza 11:30 am-2:00 pm: 
Blackberry Island Trio

BIO: Karl Rainer  (violin) and Pippa Williams (oboe) are both well know in the community as music educators and  talented, professional musicians.
They both possess a remarkable clarity and focused sound and bring a beautiful and sensitive interpretation of the works they are presenting. Their tone quality, expressiveness and  technique are all there.

The Duo will bring a performance of an imaginative selection of works designed to celebrate  the musical creations of the great British and Italian and German composers.

Karl Rainer:
Karl studied violin with Karoly Sziladi and Joseph Berljawski. He is currently the Music Director and concertmaster of the Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra, and was a founding member of the Waterloo Chamber Players. His orchestral experience includes the KW Chamber Orchestra, the Guelph Chamber Orchestra and the Waterloo Chamber Players among many others, and he has also performed in many musicals. His concert chamber music appearances include the Leith String Quartet and the Nero String Quartet, among others.

Pippa Williams
Pippa obtained her music degree at the University of Toronto. She studied oboe with Richard Dorsey and Melvin Berman and piano with William Aide and Andrew Markow. She is the Music Director of the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra and Principal Oboe with the Vancouver Island Symphony.


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FREE Concert In The Park Series


Maffeo Sutton Park
Wed. Aug. 28, 6:00 - 7:30 PM

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra: Formed in 2003, this unique ensemble always has and continues to incorporate a mix of experienced professionals, talented pre-professional, young music students and dedicated amateurs. Under the direction of Karl Rainer, Concertmaster and Musical Director, this group of talented musicians will entertain you with arguably some of the world’s most famous and beautiful music.


 To View Poster Of All Concert Events Click Image

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BC Ferries Nanaimo Schedule Labour Day Weekend



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Bike Maintenance Workshop Nanaimo


Hub City Cycles Co-op Workshop

Hub City Cycles Co-op is have a bike maintenance workshop Tues. Aug. 27 from 6:30 - 8:00 pm at their shop at 12 Lois Lane.

The workshop is free to members or by donation for non members. You can find more information about Hub City Cycles Co-op by visiting their website.
6:30 -8 p.m. Bike maintenance workshops at Hub City Cycles co-op, 12 Lois Lane. Free for members or by donation. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/entertainment/calendar-the-next-five-days-1.602531#sthash.x6wNcoAO.dpuf
6:30 -8 p.m. Bike maintenance workshops at Hub City Cycles co-op, 12 Lois Lane. Free for members or by donation. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/entertainment/calendar-the-next-five-days-1.602531#sthash.x6wNcoAO.dpuf
6:30 -8 p.m. Bike maintenance workshops at Hub City Cycles co-op, 12 Lois Lane. Free for members or by donation. - See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/entertainment/calendar-the-next-five-days-1.602531#sthash.x6wNcoAO.dpuf

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Bowen Road Farmers' Market Open Aug.28

Bowen Road Farmers' Market
 Open Wednesday

The Bowen Road Farmers' Market which is open every Wednesday from 4:00 - 6:30 pm is becoming a very popular spot for those seeking local produce, meats, bread, baking, cheese, preserves etc. etc.

Musicians add to the 'flavour' of the market which is truly a unique experience in Nanaimo offering a wide range of specialty products and quality food items.

There are many vendors offering locally grown produce that is as fresh as it can be, unless you grew it yourself. You will also find artisan bread, meat products, soaps, honey, organic bird seed (for your feathered friends) to name a few items.

So put a big circle on your calendar for Wednesday's from now through to October, and be sure to arrive early as some of the most popular vendors, simply sell out of product.

The market is located at Beban Park on the VIEX grounds ....... you can't miss it!

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Another One Of My Favourite Nanaimo 'Views'

A Perfect Summers' Night At Swy-a-lana Lagoon

There is something enchanting about a warm summer night as the gentle ocean breeze floats across Swy-a-lana Lagoon just as the lights on the bridge add to the magical moment.

This was another one of those happy surprises when the camera seemed to capture what my eye was seeing.

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Carbon Advocates Fiddle The Numbers


They can't even decide by how much B.C.'s carbon tax reduced consumption

 VANCOUVER, BC, Aug 24, 2013/ Troy Media/ – When it comes to carbon people, one is put in mind of the aboriginal foundation myth of the world balancing on a turtle. When someone asked what the turtle was balancing on, the answer was “turtles all the way down.”

Carbon people love nothing more than studies proving that somehow a green economy forced by regulation and public money is going to work. But wherever you look – the U.S., Germany, the United Kingdom, where low-carbon advocates have lassoed the public trust – the results are financial disaster. Siemens CEO Peter Loescher just discovered this as he was unceremoniously booted from the energy giant because, after five quarters of his green energy hole, shareholders were sick of losses.

That is because when it comes to the rafts, warehouses, and tanker ships filled with “studies” – all of which taxpayers fund – it is fiddles all the way down. Which means in the real world that we lose, big time.

Kathryn Harrison, a member of B.C.’s vast, well-funded public sector, accused me of errors in a piece I wrote (Carbon taxes a war on the poor) mocking the carbon tax’s revenue neutrality, and so-called forcing of people to drive less, thereby dropping B.C.’s carbon production by 17.4 per cent. As is typical with this mess, figures slide: 18.8 per cent, 12.5 per cent? Depends on how you read the “studies.” Which is easier if you are the kind of analyst they used to call a Kremlinologist.

First of all, the report she cites – the Rivers Schaufele (RS) study – is authored by Nic Rivers, an analyst in Ottawa who consults with Sustainable Prosperity, the outfit making the claim of 17.4 per cent, 12.5 per cent or 18.8 per cent carbon drop. So essentially Harrison is using Rivers’ work as evidence to validate Rivers’ work.

She claims that B.C.’s carbon tax has “salience value,” a statistical exercise typically used in epidemiological research, when controls are ultra-strict. Harrison and her husband, both professors at UBC, have long claimed that salience value is usable in situations where rigid controls are impossible – i.e. human economic behaviour. The RS study depends therefore, almost entirely on a modelling exercise that is far from transparent.

RS’s modelling of B.C.’s per-capita gas demand is based on the assumption that without the tax B.C.’s gas demand would top out and stay at the average annual levels equivalent to the highest single month peak we have realized since 1990. But no matter where you look in the developed world, the demand for gas is dropping.

Further, B.C.’s per-capita gas demand has grown slower than the rest of Canada for more than 20 years. Is it reasonable to assume that, given the impact of the recession, the completion of the Evergreen rapid transit line and the new high downtown parking tax in Vancouver, there would be a large leap to 1990 gas demand? There are all kinds of additional reasons that gas demand dropped post carbon tax, which had zip to do with the tax, none of which were factored into Sustainable Prosperity’s study.

As to revenue neutrality, perhaps I was wrong to conflate the carbon tax with the Pacific Carbon Trust, but as a civilian, I am more concerned with ethics rather than optics, or arbitrary divisions within carbon peoples’ fiefdoms. The reality is that B.C.’s carbon tax shifts tax burdens from large, profitable businesses to the public sector (hospitals and schools), low-income families, and small businesses. This one fact makes it anathema.

Further, according to Aldyen Donnelly, president of GEMCo, the Greenhouse Emissions Management Consortium and no carbon skeptic, “Carbon taxes are before income tax, operating expenses and at least partly deductible from royalties payable by resource extractors, while families pay out of after tax income. When we account for the offsetting reductions in B.C. corporate income tax and royalty revenues, the revenue gap in B.C.’s income to carbon tax shift is closer to $600 million.” Donnelly explains the wealth transfer in starker terms: B.C.’s low-income carbon tax budget is insufficient to offset 100 per cent of low-income families’ direct carbon tax costs and does not begin to offset the other 2.5 times cost embedded in their essential product and service purchases.

In the U.S., President Barack Obama’s green jobs cost $11.45 million each. The U.K. countryside is at war with hated windmill mandates and the cost of green energy. According to the Australian government, the German government warned that their green energy transition alone may cost consumers up to €1 trillion (C$1.4 trillion) by 2030. By failing to control the cost of guaranteed subsidies, Spain has been saddled with €126 billion (C$176 billion) of obligations to renewable energy investors.

One envies the board of Siemens. Regrettably given the strength of public sector unions, we cannot do the same with the authors of our appalling mess.

Elizabeth Nickson is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Center for Public Policy (http://www.fcpp.org). She is author of Eco-fascists, How Radical Conservationists are Destroying Our Natural Heritage (Harper Collins).

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Monday, August 26, 2013

One Of My Favourite Nanaimo Views

Full Moon Over Gabriola

The other night there was a full moon over Nanaimo and the atmosphere gave the moon a magical orange glow as it rose on the horizon.

As luck would have it just as the moon was in position both Seaspan and BC Ferries were good enough to wander into the frame to create one of those pictures that make a duffer photographer like myself smile with the results.

In the foreground is what appears to be a skiff pulling a smaller boat, if it was herring season I would guess that is what it was, but I think herring season has long past.

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A Break In The Weather

Welcome Relief To Long Sunny Spell

Sun weary Nanaimoites will be please to know they can expect a welcome respite from the nearly two months of blue skies, sunshine and balmy temperatures we have had to endure this summer.

Enjoy the clouds while you can, as the long range forecast is for a return to blue skies and more sunshine soon.

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Bowen Road Farmers' Market - Popular Spot

People Line Up For Fresh Produce and Baked Goods
Shoppers Enjoy Wide Selections
Live Entertainment Adds To The Atmosphere
Come Early For Best Selection

You have to come early to avoid disappointment at the very popular Bowen Road Farmers' Market, which is held on Wednesdays from 4:00pm - 6:30 on the VIEx grounds at Beban Park.

I was there promptly at 4:00pm  last week and within minutes there were as many as 20 people in line to buy fresh produce, baked goods and specialty meat and poultry products. This market sells primarily 'farmers' products with very little, if any, crafter booths.

If you haven't checked out this popular market yet this year you might want to drop by and check out the wide range of produce being offered by local farmers. It doesn't get any fresher or closer to home than this.


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Things That Make Ya' Wonder

Securely Locked Gate At Caledonia Park

The other day while I was at Caledonia Park looking at the conditions that have drawn the ire of the VI Raiders and their football league I snapped the above picture.

It is a padlocked gate in the bleachers which as you will note is somewhat lacking in the security department if it is intended to actually keep people from going beyond the gate. It seems to be a securely padlocked hole. :^)

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Caledonia Park - The Plot Thickens?


Who Is Responsible For Upkeep?

You may recall recently that city councillors Bestwick and McKay were expressing their concern that a football club of the stature of the V.I. Raiders had to play in such a run down facility.

Poor field conditions, poor bleachers, a shortage of change rooms and a shortage of washrooms were all given as reasons the Raiders had been told by their league they would not be able to host a championship game if conditions in Nanaimo don't improve.

Senior city staffer Mr. Ritchie was quoted as saying improvements to the field could run in the $3 - $4 million range and pointed out the Raiders play 6 - 8 home games per season.

On Aug. 24, a letter to the editor from Jamie Brennan in the local Daily points out that the school district owns Caledonia Park and Rotary Bowl. The Raiders using Rotary Bowl rather than Caledonia has been an option floated if they indeed need a better stadium to play from.

You might think, that in a fairly small city the local political leaders can figure out how the Raiders could use the Rotary Bowl field for their home games rather than having to throw a few more millions into Caledonia Park. However, that seems to require co-operation between the city, the school district, the track and field club and the Raiders.

Observers of the local scene will recognize that getting four different groups in Nanaimo to get along is very much like herding cats.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

BC Economic Snapshot Aug. 24, 2013


VANCOUVER, BC, Aug 24, 2013/ Troy Media/ – Retail spending in B.C. rose in June for a second straight month to push above the range-bound trend observed since early 2012. Led by new car sales, sales volumes reached a seasonally-adjusted $5.23 billion in June, up 1.3 per cent from May and a marked contrast to the 0.6 per cent national decline.

The pickup suggests a mild improvement in consumer spending growth in the second quarter, but underlying demand still remains tepid. While sales were up 2.7 per cent year-over-year, national growth was more than 3 per cent, and through mid-year, year-to- date sales were unchanged from year ago levels.

Metro Vancouver has fared worse than the rest of province, contracting 1 per cent over the first half. Add in inflation and only minor population growth over the same period and real per capita growth declined over the same period. In short – retailers continue to suffer.

Weak retail activity will persist as consumer demand lags on poor employment and population growth, high debt loads, low credit growth and stagnant home prices. Additionally, a relaxation of duty-free allowances may have also led to increased leakage of sales to the U.S.

Current-dollar sales growth for full year 2013 is forecast to reach only a subdued 1 per cent. This will mark the slowest gain since 2009 and follows a 1.9 per cent increase in 2012. Expect growth of below 3 per cent in 2014, reflecting higher inflation and moderate gains in consumer spending.

CPI
Higher energy prices pinched consumer wallets in July to boost general consumer prices for a third consecutive month. Gains in natural gas and gasoline prices accelerated monthly growth in the consumer price index to a seasonally-adjusted 0.3 per cent: outpacing the national gain of 0.2 per cent. Since April the provincial CPI has risen about 0.7 per cent.

The recent uptrend in prices brought the CPI back to the same level observed in July 2012, following three negative year-over-year readings. Year-over-year declines over the past few months do not signal a deflationary environment. The negative annual reading in recent months primarily reflect B.C.’s shift in April back to a PST system from the HST, which lowered after-tax prices for a significant number of goods and services, notably restaurant meals. Annual inflation readings will be tempered by the effects of the policy change until April of next year.

On a year-over-year basis, food prices were down 1.1 per cent. This was driven by a 4 per cent decline in restaurant meals, while groceries were higher. Declines were also seen for personal care and health products (-2.9 per cent) and homeownership replacement costs (-2.3 per cent) which have reflected declines in home prices. In contrast, gas prices were 7.3 per cent above year-ago levels, and natural gas was up 6.4 per cent.

Recent energy price growth aside, B.C. continues to operate in a low consumer price inflation environment. Monthly growth is trending at an annualized 0.6 per cent and annual CPI inflation fluctuated below 1 per cent in the eight months prior to the tax change. Low inflation will continue to reflect B.C.’s slow growth economy, averaging 0.2 per cent this year and just over 1 per cent in 2014.

Tourism
B.C.’s struggling tourism sector showed improvement in June with the largest inflow of international visitors in more than three years.

Monthly international tourist visits surged to a seasonally-adjusted 371,590 entries in June, marking a 3.1 per cent gain from May and 6 per cent uptick from same-month 2012. A 5.3 per cent gain increase in overseas visitors from May drove the monthly advance while the number of U.S. visitors rose 2 per cent.

While it remains to be seen if June’s upshift in tourist visits – which had been stuck at a range of 350,000 to 360,000 since mid-2011 – can be maintained, the outlook for the sector is relatively positive. Year-to-date international tourist visits were up 3.4 per cent through mid-year led by more visits from our American neighbours and by travelers from Asia.

Hotel occupancy rates are consistent with 2012 levels, but still well below pre-recession numbers. Growth will gain momentum as a strengthening U.S. economy and a lower Canadian dollar push more Americans to make the trek north of the border for both recreational and business purposes, generating spin-off effects locally. Tourism from Asia also offers considerable long-term potential but European visits will be constrained by poor economic conditions.

We forecast annual international visits to rise 3 per cent this year visits are unlikely to revisit pre-recession norms before 2015.
| Central 1 Credit Union

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Lantzville & Cedar Farmers' Markets August 25, 2013



 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 Fall/Winter Activity Guide 2013

To View Activity Guide Online Click Above Image

In addition to the online turnpage version of the guide, it is also available in hard copy at recreations centres and community partner locations throughout the city including grocery stores, mall and libraries.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Nanaimo Info Blog ...... 'On - the - go'


Nanaimo Info Blog is mobile phone friendly across platforms, whether it is Blackberry, iPhone, Samsung or others, you can quickly keep up with 'Just the News You Need' wherever you happen to be.

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Nanaimo - Ladysmith 2013 Back to School Info


Back to School Information
School District 68 Nanaimo - Ladysmith

Schools Open Wednesday Sept. 4th for a full day at elementary schools; secondary school times vary. Contact your secondary school for details.

Registration starts on Monday, August 26: contact the school to confirm registration procedures.

Local School Calendar for the 2013 - 2014 school year.

2013 - 2014 Bus Route Schedule

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5 Day Weather Outlook - Nanaimo




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Nanaimo Museum Exhibit

Expedition Arctic

Expedition Arctic is a thrilling and awe inspiring new feature exhibit  on loan from the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913-1918, was one of the world’s last greatest journeys  of discovery before the age of modern communication and airborne technologies.

The exhibit highlights stories of adversity and discovery  as an international collective of scientists, sailors, guides, and hunters forged through remote arctic terrain in the name of science.
 
Visitors will have the chance to view a multitude of artifacts from the expedition, in addition to archival photographs and maps showcasing the expedition’s journey. The exhibit also hosts a variety of interactive features which enable visitors to “become” a member of the expedition.

The exhibit runs from August 15th – November 2nd.



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Secrets of Success - Primal Communications



While listening to Rob Dodds passionately articulate all the complexities of designing a 17,000 square foot office space which includes custom manufactured lights, desks, world project map and feature walls to designing an interpretive touch screen experience incorporated into a massive, custom trade show booth for a company exhibiting at MinExpo in Las Vegas, one quickly surmises that Primal Communications is playing in a field a lot larger than downtown Nanaimo. This week we sat down with him to learn about their Secrets of Success.

DNBIA: How does a local marketing firm in downtown Nanaimo attract such high profile customers?
Rob: After twenty years in business most of our clients come to us through referrals and word of mouth. We do target prospective clients once in a while and respond to the odd RFP but primarily the work we have done in the past drives positive referrals and word of mouth for us. I can even trace some of our current clients back through several referrals to clients we did business with in our first year of business.

DNBIA: How many employees do you have?
Rob: We have seven employees and are looking at adding another in late September.

DNBIA: Do you see your company expanding in the near future?
Rob: Absolutely I do. In fact, I’ve been the bottleneck to growth because of my focus on family. My wife and I have three kids; including identical twins that are eleven years old now and a teenage daughter. Raising a family took a lot of our time, and it’s a priority for us. Now that they are a little older, I have a bit more time to focus on growing the business and that’s been working well. We had a record year last year and we are on pace for a 26% percent growth this year as well.

DNBIA: How long have you been in business?
Rob: I began designing full time in 1993 in the spare bedroom of my apartment, incorporated Primal, and moved into the Baron’s Business Centre in September of 1994. Less than a year later we found larger office space on Wesley Street in the Old City Quarter and have been on the same block for over 18 years now.

DNBIA: Can you give us a short description of your business?
Rob: We are a Graphic Design & Marketing studio – Specializing in Tourism & Hospitality, Heavy Industry Marketing, Product Marketing & Packaging Design, and Branding & Communication Design.

DNBIA: Who are your customers?
Rob:  The bulk of our Tourism clients are on Vancouver Island, including almost every DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) including Tourism Vancouver Island, Tourism Tofino, Tourism Victoria, Tourism Cowichan right up to Tourism Port Hardy, and Vancouver Island North to name a few. As well we have worked with a few of the top resorts and hotels on the island like the Kingfisher Resort & Spa, The Beach Club Resort, and Brentwood Bay Resort. For product marketing & packaging design, we have worked with everything from international personal care products, major snowboard clothing companies and gift products to redesigning the packaging for St. Jean’s Cannery’s 50th Anniversary, packaging sporting goods, wine labels, packaging a line of vodka for Shelter Point Distillery, crackers and so much more. Almost 2,000 package designs to date actually! Our industry clients include heavy hitters like Cummins Western Canada, RAS Pulleys, Western Belting and Wilkinson Steel. We have worked with clients around the world including Finland, Sweden, Japan, Australia, and a few in the States of Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho and Washington.

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Are Colliery Dams As Dangerous As Claimed?



Assessment Made On Incomplete Knowledge?

Watching this Colliery Dam Drama for about ten months now has really been an eye opener as to how public safety concerns can be the catalyst for some questionable conclusions.

For example for months we have been told these two dams, impounding these two little ponds are the most dangerous in the province. Really? That sounds pretty serious, and really should be dealt with.

Until you start looking into how this conclusion was arrived at. To begin with, the middle dam was assessed for structural integrity on the assumption it was made of poor quality concrete and did not contain any rebar, in addtion to not being on bedrock. With those assumptions in place, an engineering firm stuck that data into their 'Dam Safety Modeling Super Computer Model DSM 10,000' and bingo, we are told these dams present a high risk as they 'could' fail with a 1 in 475 year chance! Now, I admit I am no rocket scientist but something which has 1 chance of occuring in 475 years doesn't really sound all that scary to me.

Something I have found most curious though, is that during the course of testing the structural integrity of the dams in order to let contractors know what they were dealing with in the demolition of these dams, it was found the dam had good quality concrete, contained rebar and it was set upon bedrock.

So, if the dams were given a 1:475 year chance of failing with faulty information about their construction, what would the new number be based on accurate information about their construction?

I repeat, I am not rocket scientist, but surely good concrete containing rebar set on bedrock has got to be stronger than crumbling old concrete without any rebar built on loose fill?

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Interim CEO - Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce


CHAMBER APPOINTS INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Kim Smythe
The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce announced the appointment of an interim Chief Executive Officer today. Odai Sirri, Chamber Chair said, “We’re extremely proud to have retained the services of Kim Smythe as acting CEO to help us through our transition. This will ensure continued quality in the delivery of services to our members and security for our staff and community partners.”

Mr. Smythe stated, “The Chamber was able to offer some flexibility in their time demands that allows me to continue serving my company’s existing clients over the next few months while devoting a lot of attention to the Chamber’s needs. I’m flattered the board recruited me and is entrusting their expectations with me.” Smythe’s firm, WestCoast Communications & Events, provides strategic planning, event management, marketing communications and public relations services to a variety of BC clients. He has also been involved in an advisory capacity on several Chamber committees and as a past board member.

Sirri continued, “We have great confidence in Kim leading us forward without the Chamber skipping a beat. This is extremely important given the number and variety of economic development projects on the community’s horizon, the opportunities emerging for local businesses and the challenges that face us all.”

The Chamber will continue accepting resumes in order to fill the CEO position on a permanent basis. More information is available on their website.

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Committee of the Whole Meeting Aug. 26, 2013


 
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Monday, Aug. 26, 2013
4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Obtain Council approval to appoint the Citys' labour lawyer
  • Packaging and Printed Paper - Financial Incentives
  • Sewer Relining Tender for Cilaire Dr., Beach Dr. and Albion Street
  • 4 different delegations not related to a Report to Council  

    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 $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

    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. even though it is not up to seismic standard. 

    Attending these Council meetings 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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    Summertime Blues Tickets Online


    Summertime Blues 2013

    THREE DAYS OF GREAT MUSIC AT
    MAFFEO SUTON PARK IN NANAIMO
    August 23m 24 & 25

    Each day will be full of entertainment, beer garden, food & artisan vendors, and artist CDs for sale.

    Click here for a list of performers and single day ticket prices

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