Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nanaimo Mill Shooting - 4 People Shot - 2 Deceased Suspect Arrested Nanaimo Assembly Wharf

RCMP confirm they received a 911 call at 7:00 am about shots being fired at the Western Forest Products Mill at the assembly wharf.

The RCMP entered the building and have arrested a person believed responsible for the shooting. Four victims have been taken to hospital with one being transported to Victoria General Hospital in critical condition.

It has now be confirmed that two people were pronounced dead on arrival at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and the other two are in hospital. A 47-year-old mill employee is reported to be in custody. Some reports have said it was an ex-employee. A shotgun was seized after the shootings.

The investigation is still ongoing and no further details have been released.

Civic leaders including Mayor Ruttan and Premier Clark have all expressed their sadness and near disbelief that such an incident has occurred in our community. Both have extended their condolences to the victims families who are in our thoughts and prayers.


B.C. Leads Pets - Pot - Related 'Issues'

B.C. pets have most marijuana-related health claims!

As hard as it is to believe British Columbia has the most marijuana-related health claims in North America according to a pet insurance company.

An article in the Huffington Post notes that the insurance company paid over $54,000 in pet health claims related to marijuana toxicity and THC ingestion in 2012 and 2013.

It is noted that signs your pet has consumed THC include drooling, vomiting, lethargy, depression, impaired co-ordination and even comas. (Not unlike symptoms displayed in humans), :^)

The insurance company listed the top 10 regions in North America with the most marijuana related pet health claims and B.C. was number one, followed by California, Washington, Alberta, New York, Ontario, Colorado, Florida, Virginia and Massachusetts.

B.C. Bud has always been known for it's high quality, so it is little wonder our pets lead the list. So if Rover is showing signs of a severe case of the munchies, and is seeming rather mellow, you might want to check your stash.


First Downtown Nanaimo Night Market - May 2

Nanaimo Friday Evening Market
Diana Krall Plaza
May 2 - Sept. 26
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

More information and vendor inquiry HERE.


Nanaimo Tourism Economic Impact Study

Visitor Spending $72.4 million
Provides 3370 jobs

The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC) and Tourism Nanaimo released an Economic Impact Analysis of the Nanaimo Region Tourism Sector today. The NEDC commissioned Chemistry Consulting Group, a respected research firm, to undertake this impact assessment. The rationale of collecting up-to-date data and economic impact of the tourism sector is to support further industry development and create a template for ongoing tracking.

"Because tourism spending generates benefits across a range of industries, it´s an industry that is tricky to measure on its own," said Sasha Angus, CEO of NEDC. "We are pleased this report will establish a process and templates to facilitate ongoing tracking, helping us measure the growth of this budding industry in our region."

Nanaimo and Region is home to an estimated 2,154 tourism related businesses, and 551 tourism-related properties, which provide 3,370 jobs, representing 7.3% of the total employed labour force.  The annual tourism-related employment income generated is approximately $90.3 million based on National Household Survey data. After looking at various contributing sectors such as accommodation, retail, foodservice, entertainment etc., annual visitor spending was evaluated at $72.4 million, with an estimated $22.07 million collected for room revenue.

This newly released economic impact report and above figures can be found at

The mission of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation is to build a prosperous community through economic opportunity.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Board Games Afternoon Downtown Library

 Every Saturday Afternoon
1:00 - 4:00 pm
Downtown Library (Diana Krall Plaza)

Bored? Like games? Why not check out our Board Game Afternoon? 

Drop by the Nanaimo Harbourfront Library, where we have a wide variety of games available for you to play. Bring your friends or family to play with, or play a game with one of our librarians.

We have Scrabble, Chess, Cranium, Chess, Monopoly, Risk, Quelf, Settlers of Catan, & many more.

No registration required, drop-in. All-ages welcome.


Councillors Kipp, Bestwick & Mckay - Opposed

Don't Support 2014 - 2018 Budget

At the April 28, 2014 city council meeting three councilors did not vote to adopt the five year financial plan with it's 16.4% tax increase and it's 17.6% fees increase.

Councillor Bill Bestwick:

 "in the face of recovery mode, which most nanaimo-ites still feel themselves in coming out of the collapse of 07-08, we needed to make adjustments and corrections, which I do not believe went deep enough.  We need, as a city to ensure our budget is sustainable year over year and we are in a time where essentials need to be the priority and not the non essentials.  

Taxpayer fatigue is a common theme and concern and i for one believe we are facing a burn out in spending that is not sustainable".

Councillor Jim Kipp:

"The budget did not meet my expectations for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the tax percentage growth is out stripping all living cost indexes and has for many years.   Add the increases for water, sewer and user fees along with negligible increase to service levels and increasing wage/benefit you arrive at tax/cost fatigue.

Secondly, during the budget meetings, after lengthy discussion, recommendation motions for reduction or redirection of spending was either defeated or failed at the table.  The "new" zero base budget review process undertaken gave little opportunity to make changes to staffing levels, functional spans of control, department or project impact.  Add the timing of the "list of 400" and notice of surplus and the timing indicated the financial plan was in place.

Finally, searching for core taxpayer benefits, this financial plan did not identify the foundation, mandatory or discretionary services that Nanaimo provides.  Further, limited funds are allocated for service reviews or service audits, limiting the ability to undertake reviews.  Then the 1% included in the budget to asset management deficits, identified as early as 2010, is not enough to maintain what the city has let alone add...

3 strikes your out"

Councillor Bill McKay:

"As you have pointed out, we had a surplus last year of nearly $4M. What the plan suggests is that we intend to put that into reserve accounts, not use it to offset costs in this year’s budget, AND we want to increase the amount collected from you by 2.5% MORE! 
While Mr. Clemens talks about things like how we are far behind the addition of new RCMP officers based on the 2008 plan, it begs the question, “If we are so far behind, and need all these new officers, how come in the last six years, the number of files per year has gone down from 50,000 to 37,000?” It seems to me that we don’t need any more, yet we keep pushing. 
I am not in favour of continuing on with two independent swimming pools and the $3-5M in capital on Beban over the next 3-5 years. The per capita cost of the Port Theatre, that everyone loves to bash, is about $5/year, whereas the pools cost us between $45 and $55 per capita. When I discuss these numbers with other communities, they just shudder! 
We have to get a handle on this!"


Gord Fuller Raising Funds For Haven Society

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Fundraiser

This will be my fifth year as a participant in this great event supporting Haven Society.

Help me Walk a Mile in Her Shoes! On Saturday May 10th, 2014, I am participating in the 5th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Nanaimo Men's March, to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence and to raise much needed funds for Haven Society. Please help me reach my fundraising goals. Thank you in advance for your generosity
! :Gord Fuller

You can help Gord reach his fundraising goal by visiting his fundraising page and make a pledge. Click HERE.


Nanaimo Free Recycling Event May 3 & 4


MMBC - Good Policy or Smoke & Mirrors?

New Program - Same as the old
Consumers just pay more?

At last night's city council meeting our new manager of sanitation, Ms Charlotte Davis addressed city council and explained some of the changes being made to the curbside recycling program. One change is the elimination of the blue bag for newspapers and flyers, as both of these products can now go into the yellow bag. Residents can put as many yellow bags at the curb as they desire.

In addition to this change a few more items will be accepted in the yellow bag most notable aerosol can (some restrictions), paper cups, milk and cream cartons, aseptic boxes and cartons, plastic clamshells, plastic plant pots and seedling trays to name a few.

Not being accepted curbside is glass containers, plastic bags, film plastic or foam plastic. These items must be taken to a drop-off depot or put in with your regular garbage. A complete list of the changes is available in the most recent copy of the Waste-Line newsletter which has been sent to all Nanaimo households.

Consumer will pay for increased fees levied on producer

The premise behind the new program is that by charging the companies which produce and package products, they will be forced by market pressures to reduce their packaging. Sounds good, but is it likely to play out that way in the marketplace? Companies are in business to earn a profit and all additional costs eventually are born by the consumer of their products, and that is you and I.

In the end, what this really means is that the consumer will end up paying more money to see these products go into some kind of recycling program, which may or may not actually see the products being recycled. Readers of this blog realize, that much of what we think is recycled is actually resorted, re-sold and re-shipped to some foreign country where they put it into their garbage heaps.

There is also considerable burdens now being placed on small businesses who must comply with the new program or face harsh fines. This new program can hardly be considered business friendly on any level and like other poorly thought out plans will end up costing all consumers in the long run.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Document Shredding Day - May 10, 2014


Snowbirds Training In Comox Valley

If you happen to be up Comox way, you might be able to catch a free air show as the Snowbirds run through their training exercises in preparation for the 2014 season.

The snowbirds arrived in the valley in mid April and practices are likely to run through until May 7th. There is also a CF-18 practice during the day as well. Usually in the morning the Snowbirds will practice first, followed by a 30-minute CF-18 practice. In the afternoon the CF-18 will start it's practice at 1:30 followed by the Snowbirds.

The practices will take place between 9:30 am until 5:30 pm and will fly over in the vicinity of 19 Wing Comox.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Nanaimo Ratepayers Seeking Members

The Nanaimo Ratepayers Association is a voice for the average Nanaimo taxpayer and is not indebted to any of the lobby groups which influence how YOUR tax dollar gets spent. Currently, organized labour gets city council's ear, organized business interests get city council's ear, the arts and culture lobby gets city council's ear and the sports lobby gets city council's ear.

So, how does the AVERAGE Nanaimo Taxpayer get the attention of city council??? That is the void the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association hopes to fill by having a strong mandate by a large, engaged membership.

If you think no one on city council listens to your concerns and seem to think there are no limits needed when it comes to taxing and spending, then you should add your support to the Nanaimo Ratepayers Association where YOUR voice can make a difference. Alone, you are not likely to be heard, but when your voice is added to the association it becomes a part of a group city council can no longer ignore.

The Nanaimo Ratepayers Association can be a strong voice for positive governance in the city of Nanaimo, but they need YOUR support to succeed.

To learn more about becoming a member of this growing association send an email to


Nanaimo Taxes Going Up 16.4% At Least

Five Year Plan Calls For 16.4% Tax Increase
and a 17.6% Fee Increase
This does not include the RDN, School or Hospital Tax hike........

At Monday's council meeting you might expect to hear what a wonderful job your hard working city councillors have done by keeping this years tax increase to only 2.5% after wrestling it down from the 4.2% increase earlier predicted. Sound familiar?? They say it every year, if you haven't noticed.

Well, if this is your first city hall budget rodeo you will be forgiven if you don't see through the smoke and mirrors and carefully crafted bafflegab designed to distract from the fact that taxes will be going up by 16.4% over the next five years, and fees will be up another 17.6% in the same time.

The tax and spend party presiding over city hall seem to think Nanaimo taxpayers have a bottomless pit and there is no end to how many creative ways they should spend your money. A couple of glaring examples are $1,000,000 to repaint the murals at the city pools and another $250,000 for a new hot tub at Beban Park pool. Add to that the fact they have once again chosen to over tax us by $4,000,000 last year and have stuffed it into one of those hidden slush funds they seem to favour. I guess you never know when they might want another $20 million or so for a shiny new office.

Don't be misled by all of the reductions they will claim they were able to remove from the original five year plan. In fact all they have done is removed funding for the RCMP extra staff, and funding for a new firehall from the current plan, which makes it look better in an election year. Don't be fooled however, as all of those items can magically be added back in, anytime council should chose to do so.

I have asked all members of city council to tell me how they determine what level of taxation is affordable and sustainable ...................... none of them could tell me.


Annual Day of Mourning - April 28

The Nanaimo, Duncan & District Labour Council will host a Day of Mourning ceremony in downtown Nanaimo at Pioneer Plaza at 1 p.m. on Monday April 28.

The annual observance, in memory of workers killed and injured by work related hazards, is hosted by unions, central labour bodies, labour councils, municipalities and national governments in nearly 100 countries, is endorsed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and was officially recognized by Parliament in 1991.

In 2013, there were 128 workplace fatality claims in B.C. On average, more than two workers in the province die each week instead of going home to their families.


Specific Issues With Governance Documents

Why Needed At All??

The first issue with the three reports that have burned through nearly 100,000 TAX $$$$$ is why in the world after years and years the Mayor and City Manager don't know how they are supposed to do their jobs? The city of Nanaimo was incorporated in 1874, so guidelines as to  how a city is to be governed should be pretty much established by now, one would like to think.

Why does Nanaimo need a special document outlining the role of the Mayor and Council? The BC Community Charter ( Section115 & 116) already clearly establishes what the responsibilities of the mayor and members of council are with sec. 116 defining responsibilities of the mayor, and section 115 setting out the responsibilities of council members.

Our Mayor is in his sixth year of office, nearing the end of his second term, and the city manager has been employed by the city many years in senior levels of management. For those paying attention their joint salaries likely well exceed $300,000/yr. which as I stated elsewhere should allow the city to employ people who actually already know how to do their jobs.

The need to hire three outside consultants and blow off another $100,000 could be a testament to a level of competence being demonstrated by the Mayor and city manager that should be of some concern to the taxpayers picking up their paychecks. If the Mayor is not sure of his job, and the city manager seems in the same boat, it gives little comfort to realize the Mayor hires the city manager.

The Governance Framework Roles & Responsibilities Could Muzzle Councillors

If left unchanged this document could see councilors sanctioned if a majority of council wished to find their conduct inappropriate. The language around these provisions is so open it could be abused to the point where any councilors in disagreement with the rest of council could in effect become impotent as a councilor.

While the document lays out the basis for disciplining rogue councilors it uses language such as bullying and intimidation as cause to remove a councilor from a committee, limit their access to staff or to municipal resources.

Anyone who has paid attention to this council will realize this document can be misused by the majority of council to muzzle the opinion of councilors the balance do not agree with.

While the document outlines the reasons for sanctioning a councilor, which I presume needs a simple majority of council to enforce, there is no defined mechanism whereby a councilor can appeal his/her case if they disagree with the finding. As it stands it is the perfect mechanism to shut down a councilor who strongly disagrees with a council decision.

In recent years a couple of glaring examples where this process could be misused would be the $20 million 'shiny new staff office' and the $30 million to replace Colliery dams.  At a time when Nanaimo needs more transparent, open and public debate, there seems an unsettling move to more and more secrecy, and bigger and bigger tools to shut down dissenting voices on council.


Things on the net that make ya' smile

A friend sent along the following suggestion of something to consider if you wanted to spice up garbage day ................ what ya' think??


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Democracy - 'Nanaimo-Style'

One of the premises for adopting the City of Nanaimo Procedure bylaw is to make city council meetings more productive by limiting the amount of time allowed for public input. The author of the bylaw Mr. Mina stated (and I paraphrase) that a city council meeting is a meeting of council to which the public may watch. Couple that with the comment of Mr. Swabey that the public is not meant to participate and you have the basis for my angst as to where city hall would now wish to lead us.

I have long since been of the opinion that staff see the councilors as children they have to put up with because they provide the shield that keeps staff not accountable for anything. Again, my opinion only, but I have often noticed what appears like patronizing attitudes from staff directed at councilors.

 One bit of rationale for limiting public engagement at council meetings is that there should have been ample time for public input prior to the actual meeting of council. That may apply in some jurisdictions, but is far from the norm in Nanaimo.

Many times, the first time the public is aware of an issue, is when it is published as an agenda item on the Thursday preceding the council meeting. Arguably many decisions are made with far too little time for a subject to be scrutinized before making the final decision. How the members of council have time to consider agenda items is cause enough for concern, let alone members of the public who may have no familiarity with an agenda item whatsoever prior to the Thursday before a Monday meeting.

There is far too much trust put in the recommendation of staff in my opinion, who seem to demand blind faith in their ability to provide the best advice. Public input seems only tolerated when it is required by legislation but is avoided under the veil of the in-camera process as often as possible. The opportunity for meaningful public input in the new annex ($20 million), the colliery dams ($2 million & counting) the Wellcox property $11 million and counting for a plot of land we don't control 80% of, are just a few examples of ZERO public input before being told what our masters have decided.

These three examples are all decisions that could have been made out in the open if council and staff placed any real value on doing the will of the people. They have turned democracy on it's ear, and we have allowed it through apathy, lethargy or just plain stupidity.

Get a copy of the Procedure Bylaw of the City of Nanaimo (revised March 18, 2014) and compare the changes to how they want to conduct YOUR business. If it doesn't trouble you, then roll over and go back to sleep.

The biggest threat to democracy is not incompetent or crooked politicians, nor is it the fault of the bloated civil service with all their golden wages and benefit packages............... no dear reader, the biggest threat to democracy is a complacent, apathetic, disengaged, uninformed electorate.


7 - 10 Society - A Nanaimo Social Support

Gord Fuller, President/Chair 7 - 10 Club Society

Serving 85,000 Meals on a budget of $120,000

With an attitude of respect and service, the 7 - 10 Club has been providing a hot breakfast and bag lunch to all who need since 1985. A dedicated volunteer workforce of 30 people see to it that no one has to start the day hungry or go without lunch. The club also provides a place where people can socialize and support one another as they face a reality of the Nanaimo that many of us don't know.

Who are the people helped by Gord and his team of volunteers? Everyone across the spectrum, from some of the folk who look like life has not been too kind to, to your next door neighbour with their kids, who simply don't have enough money for food for the entire month after paying rent, bus passes, toiletries and all the other simple necessities, many of us just take for granted.

The club rents space from the city of Nanaimo at 285 Prideaux Street and survives on donations from very kind people and businesses. They have a monthly giving program and also gladly accept any donations you can afford. To make a donation you can visit their donation webpage HERE.

The only payroll the society has is for their cook and one part time employee. After those nominal wages and rent and utilities, the balance of every dollar donated goes directly to putting a hot breakfast and bag lunch in the hands of people who genuinely need your support. Sign up for the $20/month program and be assured your money will get a big bang for the buck!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Another West Coast Moment

Everything 'West Coast' ....... through the lens of Sheryl Falls.


School District 68 Teachers Job Action

School District Shortens School Day

As the labour unrest with teachers across the province kicks into gear, the first level of disruption will effect the time students school day ends, which will be 15 minutes earlier than normal. This is accomplished by moving recess to the end of the school day. The change comes into effect on April 28.

Parents are being asked to pick up their children early, but if they are unable to, the children will be supervised until the regular end of school time.

Buses will maintain their regular schedule and supervision will be provided for students who rely on the bus service.

On May 5 there is a non-instructional day scheduled, but the one for May 6 will not be held, and students will be required to attend school on that day.

Teachers will not be providing supervision prior and after school or during recess. Supervision will be provided by management staff and principal and vice-principals during this time.

Parents of students not using the bus are asked to drop their children off shortly before the start of school and shortly after the close of school, as supervision will be limited.


Nanaimo Wild Foods Festival Apr. 27


Nanaimo City Hall Killing Democracy!!

Reduces Public Participation
Muzzles Councillors Who Don't Agree

Two alarming documents are currently being considered by this city council, which will affect how the city get's run for decades and they do nothing to comfort the average taxpayer. They will effectively reduce the opportunity for public input and can be used to control councilors who may be in strong disagreement with a council decision.

I have personally watched the committee meetings where both of these documents were considered in their draft form and as a big fan of democracy, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up! That is no exaggeration. My biggest fear, is that once again the average Nanaimo voter will simply continue to snooze as their ability to participate in the process is eroded further. The over use and mis-use of the in-camera process has been a hallmark of this council, and if implemented, these two new documents will pretty much shut out most of the public. In my opinion, based on different comments I heard at both of these meetings, there is a disturbing tone held by the majority of council as to how city governance should be conducted.

I urge anyone who wishes to hang onto the last shreds of public input in city affairs to visit the city website and download copies of 'Draft Procedure Bylaw of the City of Nanaimo, Revised March 18, 2014' and the 'City of Nanaimo Governance Framework Roles & Responsibilities".

If you think the public is being shut out of the decision making process now, with secret in-camera meetings, minutes of these meetings that are incomplete as to what was said and what advice was given by staff, then brother, if these two documents are adopted without revision ....... you ain't seen nothing yet.

These documents, if adopted will have affect on councilors elected this fall, and frankly, I think both should be put on the shelf until after the next election, and these documents need to be a hot item in the next civic election.

City Mayor & City Manager Not Qualified?

Between our Mayor and City Manager the taxpayers of Nanaimo are paying over $300,000 per year to govern the city of Nanaimo. The Mayor is in his sixth year in office, and I believe our city manager has over 20 years experience with the city, yet they had to hire three outside consultants to tell them how to do their jobs. Is it just me, or does anyone else think that people being paid that kind of money should be past the intern stage?

Listen Carefully to the opinions expressed by top city staff!


West Coast Salish Kitchen Party

Salish Chef "Iron Chief" Bob
Painted Turtle Guesthouse 
April 25 - 6:30 - 8:00 pm 

Salish Chef “Iron Chief” Bob partners with his culinary cohorts for a soiree of West Coast culture & hospitality.  Signature dishes Salmon on Cedar & Baked Bannock are accompanied by rich, sultry samplings of savoury creations showcasing Vancouver Island flavours.  You will get your fill from four menus featuring the best of what’s in season: ‘fresh from the sea’ oysters, mussels, prawns, fish; and ‘fresh from the garden’ seasonings, vegetables and fruit.



Nanaimo Canadian Tire Store Grand Opening


The new 132,000 square foot Canadian Tire Store at Nanaimo North Town Centre had their official ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday which marks the start of 4 Days of Savings!

Most Nanaimo residents will have received the special Grand Opening flyer which was delivered to their home this week. Canadain Tire is always known for consumer friendly sales however grand opening sales usually have even more friendly pricing, and this one is no exception. For example, Friday only - a 4-pack LED solar light set, regularly $49.99 is on for $14.47, and Sunday only offers a $39.99 3-piece picnic combo for $9.97. My personal favourite is a164 piece professional grade black chrome socket set reg. $299.99 for only $77.77!

A few other grand opening special events include:

Friday : first fifty customers receive a $10 gift card.

Saturday: A Fishing Derby for the kids, gear supplied for kids to fish in the stocked pond

Saturday & Sunday: BBQ - 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Sunday: first fifty customers receive a $10 gift card


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nanaimo City Council Meeting Apri. 28, 2014

City Council Meeting
Monday April 28, 2014
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Island Conference Centre
  • Ms Naomi Beth Waken presents a poem
  • Ms. Victoria Welte receives Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award
  • Update implementation of the MMBC recycling services
  • Rezoning application2875 Departure Bay Rd. site specific liquor store
  • DVP 102 DInes Place
  • DVP 1 - 1275 Island Highway
  • DVP 897 Howard Avenue
  • DVP 3500 Osprey Lookout
  • DVP permit application process modification
  • Riparian Area Setback Variance Policy Revies
  •  Unresolved building deficiancies
  • 2013 Annual Financail Statements presentation by KPMG 
  • 2014 Financial Plan and Tax Rates Bylaws
  • Municipal solid waste solid waste collection bylaw - amend rates and charges
  • Accommodation Tax presentation Mr. Dan Brady, Nanaimo Hospitality Assoc.
  • Strategic Plan Implementation Progress
  •  Unauthorized construction - 960 Woodpecker Land and 6221 Groveland Drive

      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 Council Meeting Agenda here - - -  Agenda .

      If you can't attend council meetings in person (preferred) you can watch regular council meetings on Shaw cable channel #4. You can also watch the meetings live on the city website using this link. 

      The regular city council meetings are the only ones broadcast live on either Shaw Cable or streaming video from the city website. The Committee of the Whole meetings, while not broadcast live are recorded and can be viewed on the city website HERE.

       Some Council Decisions You Might Want To Think About

      The city just agreed to pay an outside firm nearly $25,000 to review the city website's content and set up a navigation structure. Our IT head gets paid about $150,000 a year and IT staff are paid at least $37.00/hr. and yet they can't properly set up the city website?

      The city paid a consulting firm $75,000 for the purpose of reviewing and developing governance-related policy, structures and processes. (In other words to tell the city manager and mayor how to do their jobs). A recommendation that came out of this report was the hiring of Alison Habkirk (an associate of Jerry Berry) at a cost of $8500, again to tell city management and council how to do their jobs.
      Council decided to spend $120,000 to install a public toilet at Diana Krall Plaza.

      Council decided to spend at least $200,000 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! 


      Duke Point Cannabis Facility In Production

      $10 Million Facility Starts Shipping April 28

      SEATTLE, April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Privateer Holdings' Canadian subsidiary, Tilray, announced the opening of their secure facility in Nanaimo, British Columbia, that has over 60,000 square feet of growing space and will produce more than 9,000 pounds of medical cannabis for Canadian patients in 2014.

      Canadian cannabis laws underwent a dramatic overhaul beginning April 1, when the country's new Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) took effect.  These regulations make cannabis available to patients across the country through Health Canada Licensed Producers that grow and ship directly to patients' homes.

      "The Canadian medical cannabis system offers a great opportunity for us to provide patients with premium, pure cannabis that addresses their health needs," said Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy.  "With the clarity of federal law and tight regulations for producers in place from Health Canada, Tilray was a strategic, smart investment opportunity for Privateer Holdings."

      Licensed by Health Canada, Tilray is a cannabis producer that will grow, process, package and ship cannabis directly to Canadian patients.  A completed application and signed medical document from their health care provider is all that is required to order cannabis directly from Tilray at

      Privateer Holdings closed a Series A funding round of $7 million in July 2013, and raised a bridge fund of $15 million in February 2014. The Series B round of funding of $50+ million will close in second quarter of 2014. Privateer Holdings has invested over $10 million in the Tilray facility, which will be one of the largest and most sophisticated cannabis growing facilities in the world.

      Tilray's focus is on bringing a new level of professionalism, consistency and patient-focused service to Canada's medical cannabis market.

      "Our mission is to bring medical cannabis out of the shadows and into the light," said Philippe Lucas, Tilray's Vice President of Patient Research and Services. "We want to support patients and their doctors in prescribing and using cannabis as a mainstream treatment option for conditions that range from glaucoma and migraine to arthritis and cancer."

      The Tilray brand represents exceptional cannabis products that are grown and processed in British Columbia with unrivaled purity and precision. Tilray cannabis is grown without the use of pesticides, and is harvested and trimmed by hand. Tilray cannabis undergoes rigorous testing to ensure purity, consistency and potency.

      "With Tilray, patients can trust that they're getting the same safe, effective product every time," said Lucas.    


      Nanaimo Hoteliers Approve 2% Tax

      Tax To Benefit Tourist Attractions

      Allowing the industry to direct how the tax would be spent has seen an 80% approval of the new tax by the Nanaimo Hospitality Association hotel members.

      The tax is estimated to generate between $350,000 - $400,000 with 45% being used to develop the Snuneymuxw First Nations cultural centre on Newcastle Island. Another 35% will be used to help fund festivals in the city which can demonstrate they will fill hotel rooms. The remaining 20% will be used for marketing the two projects.

      The hotel room tax will need the approval of city council and finally the provincial government before the tax comes into effect.

      The hospitality industry had resisted attempts to bring in this tax in the past, as the revenues would have gone directly to the city which would have directed spending. 


      Wednesday, April 23, 2014

      6.7 Earthquake Off Vancouver Island West Coast

       No Tsunami Warning Issued

      The USGS said a quake situated about 94 kms south of Port Hardy and 157 kms west of Campbell River registering a magnitude of 6.7 and occurred at 8:10 pm.

      They also posted a 5.9 aftershock at 8:20 pm and another measuring 4.2 at 8:40 pm both were located near the initial epicentre.


      Nanaimo Reuse Rendezvous 2014

      Saturday April 26 & Sunday April 27

      Spring is the time to get ready for summer by tidying up around the house. Reuse Rendezvous can help both you and the environment by finding a new home for your unwanted household items.

      This year’s City-wide free-cycle event is set for Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and April 27. Have fun and make space around your house by taking unwanted furniture, toys, bikes and other items to the curb for others to pick up and reuse. Please ensure you only put out items intended for others to take away.

      Reuse Rendezvous emphasizes reuse and keeps useful items out of the landfill. Make it a success by marking items set out for others to take with a free tag and by removing and disposing of any leftovers after April 27. Bargain hunters: please drive carefully, watch for children, and respect private and public property.


      Nanaimo Glad & Dahlia Society - Tuber Sale

      Nanaimo Gladiolus and Dahlia Society
      Annual Tuber Sale
      Saturday April 26, 2014 8:30 am - 2:00 pm
      Country Club Centre

      A huge selection of the many sizes and forms of dahlia flowers in their tuber form. Only $4 per tuber, except for some the of newer varieties and introductions. Some early for best selection!


      Tuesday, April 22, 2014

      Things on the net that make ya' smile

      ICF found several ways to hold the line on rail repairs...................


      Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation - AGM

      NEDC 2013 Annual Report

      The annual report presented by Sasha Angus at the NEDC AGM highlighted some of the exciting new projects and investments NEDC is proud to have played a part in this past year.

      "The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation continues to strive towards developing and promoting the region as a destination for visitors, residents, innovators and investors" declared Angus in his opening message.

      The annual report deals with economic conditions including employment, income, population and building activity this  past year. This past year has seen the release of the Economic Indicators Report which is a vital tool in attracting key industries by providing timely and relevant information as to the state of the local economy.

      NEDC has also released economic indicator reports for several of the region's key industries which includes, art and culture, technology and tourism. Surveys have also played a role by collecting feedback from the region's business owners and from visitors to our region. The business conditions survey provides information needed to address the many issues that most influence our business community.

      The Visitor Experience Survey was developed working with VIU and Tourism Tofino to gather the first set of primary research data collected for Nanaimo in over a decade. If you want to know what your customer wants............... it's a good idea to ask them, advised Angus during the presentation.

      Quarterly Business Retention & Expansion seminars were hosted to shed light on important topics of interest to business owners. The project was very successful and of great value for the many who attended.

      Business highlights from this past year included the Tilray Medical Cannabis facility which will see between $6.5 - $7 million spent on capital improvements in the $3 million 35,000 square foot facility in the Duke Point Industrial Park. The Divers Lake innovation and technology park was announced in collaboration with the Sirri Group and Inuktun Services Limited which will see a 70,000 square foot centre open in 2014 which is a major step forward for the knowledge-based economy in Nanaimo.

      The finalization of the Conference Centre Hotel deal which will see a 240 room tower complete with swimming pool, shops, restaurants and connecting bridges between the conference centre and Piper Park. The hotel is expected to attract 70,000 Chinese visitors while promoting Nanaimo as a tourism destination in China. The $50 million project will be a major asset for the community and will bolster the conference business at VICC.

      A passenger ferry service from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver is another project the NEDC have been working diligently to see come to pass. The 68 minute trip would use two high-speed passenger ferries, each carrying approximately 300 passengers.

      Two other exciting transportation events included the WestJet to Calgary non-stop daily service from Nanaimo to Calgary and the Kenmore Air to Seattle service which started in March of this year.

      The filming of Godzilla saw 300 crew members land in Nanaimo for an eight day central Island shoot which was expected to have pumped about $800,000 into the local economy.

      Tourism destination development saw Tourism Nanaimo develop the Cedar Yellow Point Artisan Trail which showcases 24 artisans, restaurants and attractions in that region. To further support Tourism a development fund has been established making $125,000 available to help groups and businesses attract overnight visitors to Nanaimo and Region.

      The year of 2012 was described as a year of planning, while 2013 was referred to a a year of doing. The meeting was well attended by members of the board of NEDC both incoming and outgoing as well as stakeholders from across the business community.

      You can download and view the complete annual report from NEDC HERE.


      NEDC Founding Directors Honored

      At the recent Nanaimo Economic Development Corp. AGM, volunteer founding directors Moira Jenkins and Bob Bennie were honored with a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication which has seen the Corporation go from a fledgling organization to it's current status in our city. Both directors are now vacating their seats on the board.

      The mandate of the NEDC is to build a prosperous community through economic opportunity.


      Monday, April 21, 2014

      Medicinal Pot Recall - Nanaimo Producer

      Green Leaf Medicinals

      First Medicinal Marijuana Recall
      Greenleaf Medicinals - Purple Cush, Batch PK-10-20-13

      OTTAWA – Greenleaf Medicinals of British Columbia, is voluntarily recalling one batch (Purple Kush, Batch PK-10-20-13) of marijuana for medical purposes. The recall is due to issues with the company’s production practices which were identified during an inspection by Health Canada and may impact the product.

      Greenleaf Medicinals is instructing clients to immediately discontinue use of any marijuana from this shipment which they may still have remaining in their possession. The company has also informed Health Canada that they are presently working with other licensed producers to find a supply of marijuana for the impacted clients. Health Canada is currently monitoring Greenleaf Medicinal’s recall.
      Producers of marijuana for medical purposes are subject to compliance and enforcement measures similar to those in place for other producers of controlled substances. They must meet strict security, control and reporting requirements, and they are regularly inspected.

      Dried marijuana is not an approved drug or medicine in Canada. Possession and use of marijuana remains illegal in Canada unless authorized under the regulations with the support of a doctor or nurse practitioner.


      Regional Recycling School Eco-Club Fundraiser

      Nanaimo Small Appliance & Power Tool Recycling Round-up

      Come down to the Regional Recycling on Saturday, April 26th to take part in a great event with a great cause! ElectroRecycle and Regional Recycling Nanaimo are proud to be presenting a fundraiser for the Departure Bay Elementary School Eco-Club where you can help by bringing your old small appliances and power tools for recycling. The more material recycled, the more money raised!

      There will also be exciting activities to reward YOU for helping to save the environment and contributing towards the fundraiser! Enjoy a FREE LUNCH from Smokin' George's BBQ, enter the draw to win a Norco mountain bike, listen to the Wave 102.3 on-location, and challenge your friends to a round in the bouncy castle obstacle course. This is a great way to spend an afternoon with your family, and an even better way to help contribute towards a great cause!

      Examples of items that can be returned include kitchen counter-top appliances, microwaves, fans, hair dryers, alarm clocks and more! For a full list of products that will be accepted on event day, visit


      A West Coast Moment

      A rare seagull sighting......... through the lens of Sheryl Falls.


      Old Free Press Building Reno Nearing Completion

      New home of Real Estate Webmasters........

      The old Free Press building downtown, next to the other Nanaimo icon, the Modern Cafe, is beginning to look like move-in day can't be far off.

      The $2 million renovation to this downtown landmark has seen restoration of the third floor which had been damaged in a fire in 1930. The building was originally built in 1893 to house the Free Press which later became the Nanaimo Daily Free Press.

      Real Estate Webmasters is the largest company in the world providing website designs for real estate agents and is headed by Morgan Carey who started the Nanaimo tech company in April 2004. His firm now employs 70+ people and the new building is designed to comfortably house up to 100 employees.


      Dining Out For Life In Nanaimo

      On Thursday Aoril 24th, over 75 of Vancouver Island’s best-loved restaurants will come together to take part in Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraiser that supports island programs and services for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

      One key area of support that directly benefits from Dining Out For Life is nutrition: “Nutrition plays a crucial role in keeping the effects of HIV and AIDS in check.” says Gill Scadeng, nutrition program coordinator at AIDS Vancouver Island. “It’s wonderful that people can come together over a great meal knowing they’re helping to provide nourishment and care to others in their community.”

      For one day, participating restaurants will donate 25% of food sales to AIDS Vancouver Island, an island-wide AIDS service organization. The annual event, now in its ninth year, has raised more than $200,000 for programs and services across Vancouver Island.

      Dining Out For Life Vancouver Island is part of a larger international effort involving AIDS service organizations serving 60 cities and regions across North America. In 2013, Dining Out For Life events across the US and Canada raised more than $4 million dollars for HIV/AIDS nutrition programs.

      Participating restaurants in Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum include;
      • 2 Chefs Affair
      • ACMe Food Co.
      • Bistro 694
      • Cedars at Tigh-Na-Mara
      • Firehouse Grill
      • Gina’s Mexican Cafe
      • Lefty’s Fresh Food
      • Lefty’s Too
      • Lighthouse Bostro and Pub
      • Longwood Brew Pub and Restaurant
      • Perkins Coffee Company
      • Smokin’ eorges BBQ
      • The Nest Bistro
      • Thirsty Camel Cafe
      • Tina’s Diner
      Dining out for life


      Nanaimo Downtown Hotel - Breaking Ground Soon?

      URBAN ONE Builders - General Contractor For Hotel Project

      Signs have gone up on the fence surrounding the vacant lot downtown which will be the home of the new high rise hotel Nanaimo has long been waiting for.

      After the experience with Millennium it is forgivable if some are a little gun-shy, but this time the hotel is a 'go' and we are likely to see shovels in the ground this May.

      The addition of 240 rooms adjacent the Vancouver Island Conference Centre should help the Centre attract larger conferences. The hotel is affiliated with a major Chinese tourism company which hopes to attract close to 70,000 Chinese visitors to our city each year.

      In addition to the 240 rooms the hotel will also include a swimming pool, shops, restaurants and a connecting bridge to Piper Park and the conference centre. The $50 million project will be a major asset for our city by facilitating larger conventions and bringing thousands of visitors each year.


      Sunday, April 20, 2014

      The Meaning of Easter -- The Debt Was Paid!


      The events of Palm Sunday followed by His flogging and crucifixion on Good Friday leading to His Glorious Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday were the fulfillment of what was foretold of Jesus in the familiar Bible verse in Luke:

      Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

      His death, burial and resurrection means He paid the debt of the sin of mankind, which had separated man from God since that terrible day in the Garden of Eden. God’s only begotten Son has reconciled what no man could reconcile and once again made the way for man to become whole by coming into perfect union with God Who made him.


      Saturday, April 19, 2014

      BC Ferries Cancels Nanaimo Sailings

      Parking Lots Full At Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay 

      Update as of 11:38am April 19, 2014:

      Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Departure Bay terminal have reached capacity.

      For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

      Update as of 11:35 am April 19, 2014:

      Please be advised that the pay parking facilities at Horseshoe Bay terminal have reached capacity.
      For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

      Update as of 8:36 am April 19, 2014:

      Please be advised that the Queen of Cowichan has cancelled the following sailings due to mechanical difficulties:

      10:30 am Leaving Departure Bay
      12:30 pm Leaving Horseshoe Bay

      For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.

      Update as of 6:18 am April 19, 2014:

      Please be advised that the Queen of Alberni has cancelled the following sailings due to mechanical difficulties:

      5:15 am departing Tsawwassen
      7:45 am departing Duke Point

      For traffic updates or more information please call us toll free at 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779), check our website at or go to on your mobile device.


      Friday, April 18, 2014

      Astounding Magician Andrew Kelly |

      If you are a fan of close up card tricks that will make ya' shake your head, this is worth the six minutes to watch. Enjoy!


      Things On The Net That Make Ya' Smile

      Military funding cuts hit the aircraft carrier fleet hard....................


      Easter Spring Fling Downtown Nanaimo

      Easter Spring Fling
      Diana Krall Plaza
      Sat. April 19 - 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

      Join the fun downtown where you will find pancake breakfast, kid's crafts, face painting, bouncy castles, Twiggly Wiggly the Clown, Emergency Response Vehicles, airbrush tattoos and many other fun activities which includes a visit from the Easter Bunny himself.

      Children attending will receive a goody bag with treats and special offers from downtown businesses.


      Aspengrove School Moroccan Affair Fundraiser

       Aspengrove School Gala Fundraiser
      April 26, 2014 - 6:00 PM
      Vancouver Island Conference Centre

      This year's gala fundraiser will be raising much needed funds to improve and update their playground.

      Your ticket includes:
      • Entry to "A Moroccan Affair" for an evening of Moroccan inspired decor, music and food
      • Champagne reception
      • Dancing and entertainment with Dr. Strangelove Band
      • Casino
      • Live and silent auctions

      For ticket and more information visit the Aspengrove School website.


      Nanaimo Job Fair - VICC April 24, 2014

      Looking for your next great job?

      Come to the Job Fair and meet some of Nanaimo's best employers as well as introducing yourself to the FREE services available through WorkBC Employment Centres.

      Please pre-register for your Line Pass at


      Government Must Rethink MMBC Recycling Plan

       Mike Klassen addresses media during RethinkitBC Coalition press conference

      New laws and fees for regulating Printed Paper & Packaging (PPP) waste were passed in 2011, as part of the BC government’s extended producer responsibility (EPR) initiative. The legislation requires all BC businesses that sell packaged goods or supply printed paper to British Columbia residents to pay a fee administered by Multi Material BC (MMBC). Under BC’s new law, any business that produces or imports PPP into the residential waste stream is referred to as a “steward”.

      The regulations take effect May 19, 2014, despite the fact that the vast majority of BC businesses have either no idea the regulation exists, or how it will affect them. The BC government has put forward a costly and ill-considered plan that will harm BC businesses and their employees, yet provide no social benefit by reducing waste.

      BC businesses are standing up to oppose the government’s new recycling regulations, and multiple business groups have come together to form the RethinkItBC Coalition. We are asking the BC government to put their plan on hold, and rethink it.

      CFIB has an action alert campaign urging the BC government to raise the exemption threshold to exclude most small businesses. To support our advocacy we encourage business owners to contact CFIB, sign our MMBC Action Alert, and spread the word to others in your network by sharing the document.

      You can download the MMBC Action Alert from the CFIB website HERE.


      Thursday, April 17, 2014

      Nanaimo BC Ferries - 2014 Easter Long Weekend


      Tree & Riparian Protection Bylaws Meaningful ?

      Windley Contracting Fined $10,500
      Removing 20 trees Encroaches on riparian leavestrip

      A development on Songbird Place in Nanaimo is the site of a local contractor encroaching on a riparian setback area and cutting down twenty trees without a permit.

      On a tip from a reader I asked the city of Nanaimo if in fact this had happened, the city replied as follows:

      Windley Contracting Ltd. was responsible for the removal of twenty trees from a watercourse leavestrip without a tree removal permit.

      The resolution was that Windley Construction Ltd.:

       1) Pay $10,500 in fines – twenty (20) tickets issued @ $500 for cutting 20 trees contrary to Sec. 5(1)(a) Cut Any Tree - Management & Protection of Trees Bylaw 2012 No. 7126 and one (1) ticket @$500 issued for Sec. 6.3.1 Watercourse Leavestrip Encroachment – Zoning Bylaw 2012 No. 4500.

      2) Complete a detailed restoration plan, prepared by a qualified environmental professional, to restore the disturbed portion of the 7.5 meter setback and to be reviewed and considered for approval by the City.

      Windley Contracting is a long standing Nanaimo firm, in fact they built the new city annex which you may recall was built without going to public tender for $12 million. Given their long association with the city of Nanaimo it is difficult to believe they were unaware of the need to obtain permits before cutting down 20 trees, and the fact that all land within  a 15 metre area from a watercourse, is to be left undisturbed.

      I have asked city staff to explain why there were not 20 counts of Watercourse Leavestrip Encroachment since they had cut down 20 trees. It would seem logical that each tree should carry the same encroachment fine.

      This raises the question as to whether or not these fines are sufficient to deter a developer from deliberately removing whatever trees he wishes if that removal will improve the end value of his/her property. The fines may be enough of a deterrent for the average property owner, but perhaps there should be a much higher fine levied in the case of a property developer or contractor engaged in the same blatant disregard for the bylaws.


      James Lunney Cautions Island Municipalities

       Rail Agreement Is In Final Days

      James Lunney MP recently cautioned delegates to the AVICC to not be hasty with decisions affecting the Via Rail and Southern Rail agreement currently being negotiated. The following is a copy of letter Dr. Lunney sent to the delegates attending last weekend conference.

      Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities
      AGM, Qualicum Beach

      Attention Delegates,
      Re: Future of Rail on Vancouver Island
       I regret that I am not able to join you this weekend in Qualicum Beach for your annual conference. It is reported you will be debating the future of rail on Vancouver Island and a confidence motion regarding the Island Corridor Foundation. I understand the frustration of many in the room over a process that has taken far too long to complete. Like many of you, I have been engaged in this process for more than 10 years, from the time of the original roundtable discussions with Rail America and the eventual formation of the ICF.

      Funding for the rail upgrades was an issue throughout the 2011 federal election. I said at that time that we would not be successful in attracting federal money without an expression of support and partnership from the provincial government. Both MP John Duncan and I, in speaking with Premier Christy Clark, advised her independently and spontaneously as she called to congratulate us on our respective victories that we would need funding for the rail. The premier came through.

      By that time we were pulling out of the recession but federal money was tight; we fought to secure that funding from the federal government.

      None of us anticipated the improbable lengthy process to secure a Train Service Agreement (TSA) from VIA. But, I can assure you that agreement is in the final days of completion. I urge you to put aside disappointments, and please do not take upon yourselves actions that would scuttle the future of rail on Vancouver Island. If you do, you will carry that responsibility into history. Rail on Vancouver Island has a proud history; it brought us into confederation. We have come too far and worked too long to falter at the finish line.

      The new TSA will secure another chapter of rail on Vancouver Island. It will be up to all stakeholders, communities and individuals to use the enhanced schedule and build on the opportunity to extend that life well into the future. I hope that most of you will agree and stand together to see that future have a chance.

      James Lunney, MP