Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bill McKay Makes Colliery Dam Position Crystal Clear


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



During the election campaign Bill McKay was asked for this opinion on the Colliery Dams. His position is crystal clear, and on Monday we will have the opportunity to see a politician follow through on what they said to get elected.

Finally, we can put this waste of time issue behind us without wasting one more tax dollar and with any luck perhaps we can recover some of the money we have spent on questionable advice from engineers.

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Super Bowl Ads 2015

 Super Bowl Ads 2015
Can't wait until tomorrow to watch the show within the show? Click image above or HERE to see this years ads. Maybe you should go and get a 6 pack and buffalo wings first though!

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Nanaimo Free Skate - February 1/15



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Things on the Net that make ya' say aaaaahhhhhh

Mastiff (weighing 132 pounds) befriends abandoned Chihuahua pup (1.1 pounds) at the RSPCA.


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Friday, January 30, 2015

Nanaimo City Council Meeting Feb. 2/15




City Council Meeting
Monday, Feb. 2, 2015
7:00 PM Shaw Auditorium
Vancouver Is. Conference Centre


  • Meeting Dates and Agenda Circulation Times
  • DVP 5930 Nelson Street
  • Rezoning App. 4295 Jinglepot Road
  • Colliery Dams Update
  • Animal Control Standards and Care of Dogs
  • Animal Control - Cat Regulations
  • Hospital Area Transportation and Utility Replacement Tender
  • New Building Canada Fund - Small Community Fund Grant Application
  • Property Maintenance Bylaw remove materials from 2477 Rosstown Rd., 1520 Frew Rd., 673 Hamilton Avenue
  • 1520 Frew Rd. required to demolish buildings or bring up to standard
  • Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw
  • Councillor Bestwick motion regards 1406 Bowen Road development

     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.


    As this is a new council with 5 new members it is important to note that the following decisions were not made by this council. I will leave it posted for a time as a reminder of the type of spending that council is capable of when the electorate isn't paying attention. 
    If this new council makes questionable spending decisions as we go forward (and I am sure they will) It would be my intent to document them here and replace the following list with a 'new' list. Hopefully, it will be a very short list.

    FIRST THING TO MAKE THE LIST:

    In spite of promises to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, the first thing this council has done is approve a 6% increase in wages for CUPE employees over the next 3 years. This is well above the settlements the province is signing with other unions.

    Some Previous 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??

    Three 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! 

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    Turn down the heat - Donate a sweater


    Turn Down the Heat 2015 Campaign

    The Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association will once again participate in the provincial wide Turn Down the Heat campaign from February 1st-7th, 2015. Participating businesses in over 20 Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) will turn down the heat at work and at home and wear sweaters to help promote energy conservation.

    Downtown Nanaimo BIA members will be encouraging people to bring in their gently used sweaters and other suitable clothing items to be donated. The two societies in Nanaimo that these donations will go to this year are Nanaimo Women’s Centre and the Men’s Resource Centre.

    The DNBIA is proudly working with other BIA’s in the province and FortisBC to raise awareness and to surpass last year’s donations of over 5000 sweaters. Our goal this year is to collect a minimum of 20 plus sweaters and other items, such as hats, gloves and coats, per donation box.

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    Islands Short Fiction Contest 2015

     Short Fiction
    Click Image For Submission Form

    Islands Short Fiction Contest 2015


    In partnership with the Vancouver Island Regional Library & Vancouver Island University Department of Creative Writing & Journalism.

    Deadline for entries:  March 16, 2015. Over $2,000 in cash and prizes including a VIU Creative Writing Bursary!
    Click Here for more info. 

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    Gord Fuller's Condition Updated By Robert Fuller

    Robert Fuller, the brother of Gord Fuller addressed a crowd of concerned folk at the Colliery Dam on Thursday under a clear blue sky. 

    He was pleased to report that while the road ahead for Gord is a long one, he is cautiously optimistic that Gord will make a full recovery. He noted that while concern for Gord is appreciated people should not try to visit him in hospital or make calls to the hospital as staff can not give out information and taking the call uses their time.

    Gord is still under sedation but has opened his eyes on occasion and seemed aware of people around him which as Robert put it is reason for cautious optimism.

    Robert noted that events of late put into sharp focus what is really important in life, and it is not the Colliery Dam or City budget or any of those other things we fuss so much about, rather it is about our relationships one with another. He commented that the number of people present represented what community was all about, which is something Gord has worked so hard for.

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    Buttertubs Beaver Shot


    Buttertubs Beaver Basking In The Sun

    Local photo artist Sheryl Falls 'shot' the Buttertubs Beaver yesterday, who like us two-legged creatures was enjoying another late January winter day in Nanaimo.

    Some of the marsh regulars commented that they hadn't seen the beaver for quite some time and had been concerned he/she had come to a bad end. Last seen slowly swimming back to the lodge in the marsh.

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    Thursday, January 29, 2015

    Nanaimo Circus Lessons - Sundays

    Finally! Ongoing Circus Lessons in Nanaimo!
    For kids, AND ADULTS!


    We're so happy to be partnering with Nanaimo Gymnastics School this fall to offer CIRCUS training! This ongoing ground-based circus class will focus on prop manipulation, performance skills and partner work. Circus is a non-competitive, creative sport that provides the basics of rhythmic gymnastics prop work. Hoop, baton, and ball will be explored, as well as juggling, stilting, slackline, unicycle, character work, and other fun circus skills.

    Come Play With Us! SUNDAYS! 
    For children 8-12 yrs: 10 am to 11 am. 
    Adult/teen 11:00 am to 12:30 pm

    Click HERE for more info! 

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    Theatre One Fringe Flick 'Force Majeure' Feb. 1-2

    For Tickets & Information Visit Theatre One Website HERE

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    Vancouver Doesn't Make The Cut


    TORONTO & MONTREAL - BEST PLACES TO LIVE
    SAYS THE ECONOMIST SURVEY

    The Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU) Safe Index 2015 released on Monday, which rates the safety of major cities all over the world, placed Toronto in eighth for its safety measures (and first for North America), while Montreal came in fourteenth. But when it came to looking at where the best place to live overall were, Toronto was on top, and Montreal came in second place.

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    Vancouver Island Short Film Festival Feb. 6 & 7 2015


    VISFF Matinee Show and Filmmakers Q&A

    February 6th at 7pm with music by Top Men
    February 7th at 2pm with Q&A
    February 7th at 7pm with Award Ceremony

    Held at VIU Malaspina Theatre building 310
    Tickets $15 (students $10)

    Tickets are now on sale for the 10th Annual Vancouver Island Short Film Festival. Celebrating short films from Vancouver Island and around the world, all films are 12 minutes or less and include a diverse range of genres and styles.

    The festival has three shows this year at the Vancouver Island University Theatre on February 6th and 7th. The opening night will start at 7pm and will also feature a musical performance by Nanaimo's own Top Men. After the matinee on Saturday at 2pm, there will be a filmmakers Q&A with several of the films' directors. Following the final show on Saturday at 7pm there will be the Awards Ceremony and after-party. All the films will be shown at each of the three shows


    The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is a Nanaimo Arts Council event. For complete details, check us out on facebook.com/visff, email admin@visff.com or call 250-729-3947. To purchase ticket

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    WHY WAS RCMP KILLER FREE?


    57 CONVICTIONS - 30 PENDING CHARGES

    "How is a man with 57 convictions and 30 pending charges against him free to be at a casino on a Saturday night?

    A man who the Parole Board of Canada once called "a dangerous person who has demonstrated blatant disregard toward the criminal justice system as well as a lack of respect to the public in general."

    These are the questions that remain after 34 year old Shawn Rehn shot two RCMP officers outside of a casino in Edmonton, killing Constable David Wynn."

    This Sun News Network article by Rachael Segal concludes it was not the failure of the system but not using the tools within the system that allowed Shawn Rehn to be free at a casino on a Saturday night.

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    Millions of downloads tracked daily



    "Canada's electronic spy agency sifts through millions of videos and documents downloaded online every day by people around the world, as part of a sweeping bid to find extremist plots and suspects, CBC News has learned."


    This CBC report claims that as many as 10 - 15 million uploads and downloads can be accessed every day in the hunt for terrorists.

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    More West Coast Beauty


    From the lens of photo artist Sheryl Falls, another West Coast Moment titled 'The Eagle has landed'. More of Falls work can be seen on her website


    Simple pleasures ..............

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    Port Theatre Nanaimo - February 2015 Schedule

    For more information and to purchase event tickets online, visit the Port Theatre's website HERE.

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    Do Politicians 'Play Fair'? Is Santa Real?

     Smear Campaign

    “We can plant anything we need to through him,” Routley tweeted to Heaney on Saturday. “He does a lot of mudline research and also creates memes. Some of … [them are] mine but not what I necessarily wanted to own. You may want to figure that resource into the equation.”


    The preceding comes from a Vancouver Sun article which suggests that beneath those smiling 'elect-me' faces there could lurk the devious mind of a modern day politician willing to do whatever it takes to win.


    Politicians may muse about apathetic voters etc., but it is this kind of behaviour that just reinforces the general public opinion of politicians in general. A little bit of 'Googling' and you will find that politicians seem to make the top ten most hated professions lists along with telemarketers, used car salesmen and the tax man.

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    Irish Rovers - Nanaimo March 16 & 17

    THE IRISH ROVERS' 50th Anniversay Tour
    March 16 & 17

    The March 17th show has sold out but there is still limited seating available for the March 16th performance. You can check for more information and order tickets online using this LINK.

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    Island Roots Market Co-op Nanaimo Jan. 28/15


    Pleasant Valley Hall
    6100 Doumont Rd. Nanaimo
    Wednesday's 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm


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    Monday, January 26, 2015

    Winter Weather Warning For Nanaimo

    Be Careful Not To Over-Heat By Over-Dressing

    Due to daytime temperatures climbing into the double digit range, Nanaimo residents are advised to not dress in heavy winter coats or multiple layers that are required winter-wardrobes in the less fortunate parts of our great Dominion. Failure to heed this warning could result in possible heat exhaustion or in some extreme cases even heat stroke.

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    Some Construction Around Downtown Nanaimo

     Changing skyline on Front Street
    The new condominium on Chapel Street is flanked by Nanaimo's oldest highrise on the left, and the newest highrise on the right. The building was sold on the basis that two rental units in the building would supply sufficient income to eliminate strata fees.

    Tim Horton's Gets a Makeover
    The Tim Hortons at the corner of Wallace and Comox Rd. is still providing their customers with a drive-thru service during their current renovation. The Timmy's at Brooks Landing recently underwent a similar makeover.

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    Things on the Net that make ya' smile



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    Indecent Exposure Suspect 375 Selby St. Nanaimo




    Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public's assistance to identify a man involved in an indecent exposure outside the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, located at 375 Selby St., on Friday at approximately 4:45 pm.

    An 11-year-old girl was waiting for her mother to arrive, when she saw a man standing outside the front door of the Conservatory of Music that opens onto Selby St. The man  exposed himself and began masturbating, he then left the area. The girl's mother arrived, and when told what happened she reported the incident to the Nanaimo RCMP.

    Patrols of the area did not locate the suspect.  The young girl provided a description to an RCMP forensic artist and this sketch was prepared. The suspect is believed to be a white man, or possibly First Nations, in his 30s, five foot 11 with a dark tan and short brown hair. No clothing description was obtained.

    If you have any information on this incident, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com or by phone at 1-800-222-8477.

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    B.C. Fish & Wildlife Permits Move Online


    Streamlined fish and wildlife application moves to online only

    VICTORIA – To improve service, a variety of fish and wildlife applications will be available online only effective Monday, Feb. 2, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.

    The latest permits to move online include:

    • Angling guide, game guide outfitters and transporters’ licences; 
    • Export permits; 
    • Transportation permits for endangered species, rainbow trout and farmed sturgeon; 
    • Scientific fish collection permits; 
    • Fur trade and trapping licences; and 
    • Various permits specifically required under the Wildlife Act, including permits for: 
    1. possessing dead wildlife or wildlife parts; 
    2. capturing, possessing or importing live wildlife; 
    3. rehabilitating injured wildlife; and, 
    4. operating a vehicle in an area closed under the act. 

    Hunting and fishing licences will continue to be sold through retailers. Fishing licences will still be available online.

    FrontCounter BC is the integrated, one-stop service for clients of B.C.'s natural resource ministries and agencies. For applications and further information, call toll free at 1-877-855-3222 or visit:www.frontcounterbc.gov.bc.ca

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    Sunday, January 25, 2015

    January 26th Nanaimo COW Meeting Cancelled

    According to several different posts on Facebook the Committee of the Whole Meeting scheduled for 4:30 pm January 26th has been cancelled.

    This is obviously due to the heart attack suffered by Councillor Gord Fuller who is in intensive care, heavily sedated and intubated. The next 24 hours are a critical time for a most loved Nanaimo personality.

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    Nanaimo Councillor Gord Fuller In Hospital


    It was gut-wrenching to hear the news, that Nanaimo City Councillor and advocate for the disenfranchised, Gord Fuller was stricken with a heart attack on Sunday about noon.

    Information about Gord's attack was posted on his Facebook Page by friends and family who were attending at NRGH emergency.

    The only information released at this time is that Gord is in serious condition in ICU and nothing will be known of his condition until tomorrow. His brother Robert Fuller is the person information will be released through and the public is asked to not call NRGH as they can not give out any information on Gord's condition.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gord and his family for a full and complete recovery.

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    Saturday, January 24, 2015

    COW Meeting Changes Questioned

     CHEK NEWS
    Click Image To View News Clip

    CHEK News Victoria reported on the city staff recommendation that the Committee of the Whole Meetings be moved to the SARC building on Thursday afternoons at 1:00 pm.

    Yours truly expressed my concern this move would have on the ability of the average Nanaimo taxpayer to see how our business is being conducted, as the meetings would not be televised or recorded according to the City Manager's recommendation.

    The City Manager has stated in the past that he is not a fan of participatory democracy being of the opinion the public is to observe how council functions and is not to participate in the process.

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    Colliery Dam 'Engineering' Needs Investigation


    What Exactly Has $2.5 Million Purchased?
    Council Needs To Find Out Before Spending Another Dime!

    Once again city staff is putting a recommendation before council after yet another engineering study suggesting we now need to accommodate more water than the current spillway can handle in an event most unlikely to ever happen. It is yet unproven that the concrete dam would fail, even in the event of an over topping.

    There are serious questions which need answering about the $2.5 million which has been spent on engineering recommendations that arguably have been made using exaggerated risks, faulty measurements and incomplete and often wrong suppositions. Sudden failure, no rebar, crumbling old concrete, to name a few.

    Clearly it is beyond the ability of this Council or the taxpayers of Nanaimo to evaluate what seems to be a large expenditure of tax dollars which has only provided conflicting advice. The process has resulted in findings which simply can not be trusted.

    This city council needs to call upon the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia to investigate this whole case and put the whole issue on hold until their findings have been made.

    The taxpayers of Nanaimo have spent $2.5 million and only a review by the regulator of this profession can be relied upon given the track record of the engineers the city has engaged.

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    Colliery Dam Update January 26/15

    Recommended Swale To Cost 
    $3,000,000.00 - $5,000,000.00

    City Council will be considering the latest recommendation from city staff in the ongoing Colliery Dam Saga which to date has burned through over 2.5 million tax dollars which always seems to raise more questions than it answers. 

    At one time the 'officials' were telling us that unless we put out up to $30 million as many as 150 people could die and countless property damage in Harewood would result. A million or so later, it turns out that was all simply not true. Latest studies indicate there could be the loss of less than one life and perhaps $2 million in property damage if the dam should fail as the result of an over-topping event. To date it has not been proven the dam would fail in this scenario either.

    Nevertheless, we must completely suspend logic as city staff once again is convinced we have to spend up to $5 million to mitigate against a potential $2 million loss resulting from an unproven failure scenario.

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    Nanaimo Hotel Tax Benefits To Local Tourism

    Room Tax to Encourage 
    Visits and Sports Tourism


    The City of Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Hospitality Association (NHA) and the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC/Tourism Nanaimo) are pleased to announce provincial approval of a new source of funding for developing Nanaimo as a tourism destination. Nanaimo will be taking another step toward developing the potential of its tourism industry with the approval of the two per cent Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT).

    The tax will be charged and remitted to the Province in the same fashion as the PST, those funds will be sent to the City of Nanaimo who in turn will forward the funds to the NHA who will determine which projects receive funding according to strict guidelines.

    The MRDT applies to taxable accommodation sold in hotels, motels, resorts, hostels, bed & breakfasts and other establishments offering short-term accommodation.
    "The accommodation operators in Nanaimo strongly believe that we must give people a reason to stop and visit the city that we all know and love. We must increase overnight stays.  The monies generated by the MRDT will help support the development of new tourism experiences and will augment the great work currently being done by Tourism Nanaimo and the NEDC."  Dan Brady, Chair of the NHA.

    It is anticipated the tax which comes into effect of April 1/15 will generate $400,000 annually which will be used to fund programs designed to attract people who will not only come to Nanaimo, but will stay for at least two nights in local accommodation.


    The funds will be dispersed at the rate of 45% to Festivals and events, 35% to Sports Tourism and 20% to the cost of marketing such programs.

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    Nanaimo Free Skate - January 25/15



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    Friday, January 23, 2015

    COW Meeting - January 26/15




    Committee of the Whole Meeting
    Monday, Jan.26 , 2015
    4:30 PM Shaw Auditorium
    Vancouver Island Conference Centre



    • Meeting Dates and Agenda Circulation Times
    • Colliery Dams Update (spend $250,000 on design work)
    • Animal Control Standards and Care of Dogs
    • Animal Control - Cat Regulations
    • Hospital Area Transportation and Utility Replacement Tender

       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.


      As this is a new council with 5 new members it is important to note that the following decisions were not made by this council. I will leave it posted for a time as a reminder of the type of spending that council is capable of when the electorate isn't paying attention. 
      If this new council makes questionable spending decisions as we go forward (and I am sure they will) It would be my intent to document them here and replace the following list with a 'new' list. Hopefully, it will be a very short list.

      FIRST THING TO MAKE THE LIST:

      In spite of promises to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, the first thing this council has done is approve a 6% increase in wages for CUPE employees over the next 3 years. This is well above the settlements the province is signing with other unions.

      Some Previous 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??

      Three 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! 





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      Cougar Spotted Near Randerson Ridge School

      CTV News reports Nanaimo Cougar Sighting

      NANAIMO - A recent cougar sighting near Randerson Ridge School is prompting parents, guardians and children to be more vigilant.

      McGirr Elementary School sent a release to parents and caregivers this morning. It serves as a reminder for all locals to be cautious, and gives tips on what to do if you encounter a large cat.

      So, what do you do if you spot a cougar?

      - Never approach a cougar. They are said to be unpredictable, and can be dangerous if they are feeding on a kill.
      - Always give a cougar an escape route.
      - Stay calm and speak to the cougar in a confident voice.
      - Pick children up off the ground immediately.
      - Don't run. Instead, back away slowly. Sudden movements can provoke an attack.
      - Don't turn your back on the cat. Face the cougar and stand up tall.
      - Do everything you can to increase your size by standing tall, picking up sticks or branches and wave them around.

      For students walking to or from school:
      - Walk in groups.
      - Don't walk through trails and stay on the road.

      You can find more information on the Conservation Officer Service here.
      If you see a cougar, you're asked to call 1-877-952-7277 and ask for the conservation officer on duty.


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      Thursday, January 22, 2015

      City Manager Recommends COW Changes


      Schedule for 1:00 pm Thursday
      Not Broadcast or Record Them

      At first blush this recommendation would appear to take a giant step backwards in the area of openness, transparency and public scrutiny.

      As part of the intention to change council meetings and committee of the whole meetings from Mondays to Thursdays there is a recommendation which would hinder public scrutiny of the business conducted by this council.

      During the last city council's term Gord Fuller pressed long and hard to have the COW meetings videoed which has proven a very positive step in being able to review how things get done by your city council.

      If this city council adopts the city manager's recommendation it will greatly limit public scrutiny and input into the process. By holding the meetings at 1:00 pm it would limit the number of people able to attend during normal working hours. By not televising or recording the meetings it further restricts the public's ability to see what this council is up to.

      It will be interesting to see just how this new council handles this recommendation going forward. If they adopt the city manager's recommendation they will be telling the public loud and clear, they really don't want to encourage their input or scrutiny.

      Another test for this new council, which according to the rumbles in the coffee shop is quickly looking more like the old one all the time. The first tip off was the ratifying the 6% union contract, then accepting a 1% tax increase without even looking at the budget. If they adopt this COW change, so much for transparency.

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      Vancouver Island Short Film Festival

      Student filmmaker returns to VISFF

      Steff Gundling is no stranger to the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival. The filmmaker, who was awarded two prizes at the 2013 VISFF for her very first short film 'Year Of The Living Dyingly' will be showing her new documentary 'Habit' on February 6 and 7 at this year's tenth annual show.

      “For me, filmmaking is about experimenting, trying new things, and problem solving,” said Gundling. “I know what story and mood I want to get across in what tone, and then it's about organically finding your way through it..”

      Gundling’s newest film will be screening at this year’s VISFF – one of 14 films selected from 65 entrants. This new film –‘Habit’ – is a documentary about the small habits everyone has.

      “I was challenged in myfilm classes to do a documentary and at the time I was trying to quit some of my vices,” said Gundling. “I had cut down on caffeine, smoking and alcohol and that’s where the idea for the documentary came from. As I was looked inward about why I was doing certain things, I started to notice the habits of other people.”

      Gundling’s first-ever short film ‘Year of the Living Dyingly’ won two awards at the 2013 VISFF for best Student film and best Technical. Being accepted into the festival that year was exciting for her, but winning awards was a shock.

      “It was a complete surprise. I’d be lying if I said I don’t love the awards or that I’m not excited about my success, but for me, it was more about my personal achievement, going to the event, and having the film seen by the audience for the first time. That was a big thing. I remember when they called me up for the first award, I fell down the stairs. I slid all the way down and had to get back up there. I was so nervous. But walking away from it was such a great experience. That’s  one of the reasons why I was kind of scared to submit my new film this year. It’s always a bit scary. But it feels great to be involved in the  festival again and be selected.”

      All fourteen selected films will be shown at the VISFF on February 6th and 7th at the Malaspina Theatre on the Nanaimo campus of Vancouver Island University.

      The VISFF received 65 entries of short films from Vancouver Island, the  mainland, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and also Missouri, New York,  Ireland, Switzerland the Netherlands and Iran. This is the most diverse selection of films ever submitted to the festival.

      This year, for the first time ever, the VISFF will have three screenings  of the selected films – two evening shows and a matinee on Feb. 7.  Tickets are available online at visff.com/tickets. Tickets are $10 for  students and $15 for regular tickets. There will also be tickets  available at the door. All screenings will showcase the same 14 films.  The Friday show will be followed by a musical performance by Nanaimo’s  own Top Men, the Saturday matinee show will be followed by a filmmaker  Q&A, and after the Saturday evening show there will be an awards ceremony for the winning filmmakers.

      The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival is a Nanaimo Arts Council event. For complete details, check out visff.com. To purchase tickets go to tickets.porttheatre.com, visit the Port Theatre (125 Front Street) or  call 250-754-8550.

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      Mayor McKay Wants 1% Tax Increase

      Wants 1% Tax Increase in 2015

      At the special committee of the whole meeting on January 21, Mayor McKay put forward a motion instructing staff to prepare a budget with a 1% tax increase rather than the 1.8% increase currently in the draft budget.

      While this sounds like a positive step it should be noted it sends the signal that he has no hope for a 0% tax increase, or better yet a reduction in the current budget which could roll taxes back.

      This motion was passed with three councillors absent from the meeting. Councillors Kipp, Yoachim and Fuller were unable to attend this special meeting (these men do have 'regular' jobs) and while Councillor Bestwick tried to defer the motion until Monday his motion was defeated. The reason for deferral until Monday, would allow the three absent councillors to give their input into the most important document council deals with.




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      Wednesday, January 21, 2015

      Time For A Massive National Building Program

      'FREE' Money Available - 
      Time For A Major Infrastructure Program?

      The Canadian economy is subject to so many external forces (Obama doesn't like pipelines), we don't know what our LNG will ever actually sell for and on and on it goes.

      Given that money is nearly 'free' these days (and is if you can print your own), then this humble scribe suggests we go on a major National Infrastructure Building progam and re-build our crumbling municipal infrastructure, our roads and bridges and ports and airports etc.

      This could provide all those good paying, productive jobs that would make us the envy of the developed world and leave something of real value for those to follow.

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      Nanaimo Five Year Draft Financial Plan Available

      Download the 2015 - 2019 Draft City of Nanaimo Financial Plan HERE.

      The 148 page document will provide you will all you would ever want to know about where your tax dollars are going. As all of us know they have not been holding even in living memory and they are not budgeted to hold even going forward.

      For comparison in 2013 the actual revenue from property taxes was $89,382,256.00 and by 2019 that is budgeted to increase to $112,103,753.00. Revenue from user fees (another name for taxes) totaled $35,523,218.00 in 2013 and will increase to $43,237,527.00 by 2019.

      Another interesting piece of information contained in this document is the cost of wages and benefits for the City Manager's Office which was $415,222.00 in 2013 and is budgeted to be $671,616.00 by 2019.

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      Nanaimo Family Play Day - Feb.8 & 9


      Family Day Weekend Events With the City of Nanaimo

      "We are excited to bring a variety of opportunities for families to spend time together during this upcoming Family Day long weekend including the Family Play Day at Oliver Woods. There will be something for everyone like story time, table games and a scavenger hunt." Deborah Beck Recreation Coordinator City of Nanaimo 

      The City of Nanaimo invites the community to join in on special family-focused events during the Family Day long weekend. The third annual Family Play Day will be held on Sunday, February 8 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm at Oliver Woods Community Centre. Family Play Day activities will include fort building, gym games and challenges, puppet making and much more. Tickets to Family Play Day are $12 per family of 5 or $3 each (children 2 years and younger are free) and can be purchased at Beban Park, Bowen Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre.

      On Family Day, Monday, February 9, Nanaimo Ice Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre will be open for special skating and swimming events. NIC will host Everyone Welcome Skates and Stick 'N Pucks. NAC will host an Everyone Welcome Swim.

      * Family Play Day activities will be held at Oliver Woods Community Centre on Sunday, February 9 from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm.

      * Tickets to Family Play Day are $12 per family of 5 or $3 each (children 2 years and younger are free) and can be purchased at Beban Park, Bowen Park and Oliver Woods Community Centre.

      * Nanaimo Ice Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre will be open on Family Day, Monday, February 9 and will host special Family Day skate and swim activities.

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      Nanaimo Art Gallery Jan. 24 - May 2, 2015


      GLEANERS

      January 24 to May 2, 2015
      Downtown Gallery
      Opening January 23, 7pm



      Sean Alward, Joost Conijn, Randy Lee Cutler, Steven Davies, Michael Drebert, Joar Nango, Kara Uzelman

      Curated by Jesse Birch

      This exhibition takes its name from Jean Francois Millet’s painting The Gleaners (1857), which depicts three peasant women hunched down picking the remainders of a harvest. The traditional practice of gleaning involves gathering and sharing forgotten or ignored food crops, but gleaning occurs whenever things or ideas that were once cast aside are given new value.

      Storytellers acquire their tales through travel to distant places, slow engagement with a single place or idea, or a combination of the two. In Gleaners, the process of collecting stories is integrated within the narratives themselves. These tales are shared through a range of media including photography, video, sculpture, music, and word of mouth.

      The exhibition will be accompanied by information about Nanaimo’s organised food gleaning programs courtesy of Nanaimo Foodshare.

      Free events and public programming:

      A talk and tour on the relationship between collecting and storytelling with artist Kara Uzelman and curator Jesse Birch on Saturday, January 24.

      Image: Joost Conijn, Wood Car, Video, 2002

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      Tuesday, January 20, 2015

      Kenmore Air Nanaimo - Seattle Schedule Change


      Kenmore Air is cutting back their scheduled flights between Nanaimo and Seattle as a result of less than hoped for traffic. They had been offering 2 round trips daily but that is being reduced to 2 round trips weekly as shown on the above schedule.

      To check the Kenmore Air Nanaimo - Seattle schedule visit their website HERE.

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      Council Approves $262,156.00 Culture Grants

      Click Images To Enlarge
      Council Approves Grants Supporting Community Groups

      At the January 19th City Council meeting council approved the 2015 cultural operating grants and the 2015 arts & cultural festivals and events grants as recommended by the Cultural Committee/Heritage Commission with the exception of funding for the Nanaimo Empire Days Society.

      The budget for the operating grants is in accordance with Council Policy to allocate $2.55 per capita which will increase to $3.00 over a period of three years. The total available this year amounted to $231,826.00. This year's grant total is based on a population of 90,912.

      The funding of $30,330 for the 2015 arts & cultural festival & events was approved to increase by 10%/yr. for 5 years beginning in 2015. This funding escalation was approved by the previous council in March 2014.

      Ms. Shalema Gantt appeared before council obviously not in agreement with the amounts approved for the African Heritage Society and looking for an explanation as to why that group's funding seems out of line with funding approved for other applicants.

      The African Heritage Society had asked for a $5000 operating grant and was allowed $600, they also applied for a festivals grant of $2500 and were granted $500.

      Five Applicants Receive 75% Of Available Funds

      Of the total of $231,826,00 available for operating grants $174,426.00 or 75.2% was granted to five of the twenty-four applicants. There was much discussion among council as to how these funds are distributed and whether or not funding should be reduced for established groups, making more funding available to bolster newer groups.

      The funding asked for and given to the top five recipients:

      • VI Symphony asked for $85,000 and received $85,000
      • Theatre One asked for $45,000 and received $42,926
      • Crimson Coast Dance asked for $25,000 and received $18,500
      • Arts Council asked for $15,000 and received $14,000
      • Conservatory of Music asked for $14,750 and received $14,000

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      Council Approves 2015 Temporary Outdoor Public Art

      From Jason Gress Who Created 'The Frame'

      The above artwork is described as recycled forklift (bronze) and wood/fiberglass box, 8'x10'x16' to be installed in Maffeo Sutton Park or Diana Krall Plaza.

      At the January 19th city council meeting approval was given to proceed with seven different works of art to be installed around Nanaimo in the Temporary Outdoor Public Art program. Each of the seven works will receive an honorarium fee of $4,000 for which the artist will put the work on display for one year. At the end of the year the artist is responsible for removal of the piece, which also could be gifted to or purchased by the city.

      The program which started a few years ago has resulted in some memorable and welcome additions to our public spaces. The frame in Maffeo Sutton park is likely one of the best known, most photographed pieces of public art the program has produced. The 'crab' that was near the entrance to the crabbing pier was also a most popular piece with kids of all ages.

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      Monday, January 19, 2015

      Nanaimo Theatre Group Auditions - 'Bus Stop'


      Nanaimo Theatre Group auditions for their 
      2015 Festival Show Bus Stop

      Written by William Inge and presented by Permission of Dramatists Play Service, Inc.,  the play is set in a road-side diner during a snowstorm and follows the experiences of people struggling to connect.

      The unlikely ensemble of characters in the comedy is faced with making serious decisions in their lives.  Bus Stop was first staged in 1955 – a year perched on the edge between the perceived age of innocence and the new world of the ‘60s which was about to unfold.

      Auditions will be held  Wednesday, January 21 , from 7  to  9pm  and  Saturday, January 24 from  2 to 4pm . Callbacks, if necessary, will happen on  January 28 & 31 .

      Audition pieces from the script will be provided.

      For more information regarding rehearsal dates, roles or special required skills visit  Nanaimo Theatre Group website .

      The Bailey Studio is located at  2372 Rosstown Road, Nanaimo

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