Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Volkswagen Scandal Affects 11 Million Vehicles

1.8 Million Commercial Vehicles

Volkswagen is now admitting the emissions-rigging scandal affects far more vehicles than first reported. The original report claimed nearly 500,000 vehicles were involved in the US but now the number has risen to 11 million worldwide.

The commercial division of VW admits some 1.8 million commercial vehicles have the emissions-rigging software installed designed to cheat emission testing. 

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Tourism Nanaimo Sport Hosting Grants


LOCAL SPORT HOSTING GRANT APPLICATIONS

Tourism Nanaimo is currently accepting applications from local sport organizations seeking grant funding to host multi-day sporting events and tournaments. Tourism Nanaimo will be accepting applications for this intake until 4pm on Friday, October 30th.

In 2014, the City of Nanaimo transferred the sport tourism program to Tourism Nanaimo. This is accompanied by a total of $20,000 in available annual sport grant funding.

The purpose of this sport grants program is to provide funding to local sport organizations that helps to support them in bringing multi-day events to Nanaimo. Tourism Nanaimo recognizes that these sporting events increase the economic impact and overnight visitation to Nanaimo & Region while promoting the development of local athletes, coaches and volunteers.


Eligible events must be 2 days or greater, with a significant portion of the participants and spectators staying at least one night in paid accommodation in the Nanaimo area. Detailed program information and the online application form can be found at www.tourismnanaimo.com/local-sport-grants

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Time To Be A Bear -- A Salmon? Not So Much


Local photo artist Sher Falls caught this bear enjoying salmon roe which along with the brains and skin are the best fat-packing delicacies for putting on the pounds for a long winter's snooze.

If you enlarge the above pic you can see a few salmon eggs on the bears paw. After picking out the 'tasty bits' the scraps provide lots of nourishment for the seagulls and other birds of the air who also benefit from the annual salmon run.

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Sasha Angus Joins HYAS As CEO


Nanaimo, BC - Hyas is pleased to announce that Sasha Angus has joined the company as its CEO effective October 2nd, 2015.

“We are thrilled to have Sasha join us at Hyas," said Chris Davis, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Hyas. “Sasha’s successful background in growing start ups and proven ability to attract capital from around the globe will propel Hyas and our world-class infosec technology into a major industry player.”

“I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to join Hyas,” said Sasha Angus. “The technology and team that we are developing will truly change the face of information security for small and medium sized businesses and other consumers. Hyas technology provides better than enterprise level protection at a price that small and medium sized businesses can afford.”

“The team at Hyas has created proprietary predictive domain analysis technology that can identify threats before attacks are even launched, providing “over the horizon" protection in real time and typically 27 days before other industry players are in a position to respond,” said Chris Davis, Hyas CTO.

Angus joins Hyas Inc. from the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation where he served as CEO of the corporation. While at the helm of the NEDC, Angus was responsible for developing and shepherding over $300 million in capital investment from international investors in Asia and North America. Prior to joining the NEDC, Angus helped launch the Greater Victoria Development Agency, served as a Chief of Staff in the Government of Alberta under Premier Ralph Klein, and worked in the capital markets for two national investment firms.

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Can Anyone Help This Person Out?


I came across this ad on Used Nanaimo and if anyone can offer to help this person it sounds as if they really could use a hand. The 28' mobile is their home and they need help repairing roof leaking issues and would like to get it done while the sun is still shining and things are dry.

To read the ad visit Used Nanaimo HERE.

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A Few Good Reasons To Get Out Of Nanaimo





All within a two hour drive

Here it is Tuesday night and I still don't have any idea what happened at the COW meeting on Monday. I expect city staff did there best to convince council a move to automated garbage pick up is really a no-brainer. Whether council agreed or not is still an unknown to me, and I can't say I am all that curious.

I also suspect that the fire department will have made a presentation showing how imperative it is to build a new firehall and add 20 new firefighters to our current force. I will look forward to hearing the comparisons of different fires of late and how response times impacted outcomes.

But alas, as compelling as all that business should be, I have been able to convince myself that spending the rest of the week enjoying the many sights and sounds our bit of paradise has to offer may be a far more rewarding use of time.

The above pics were taken on a nice day trip under near summer like temperatures and beautiful clear blue skies.

Another good reason for getting out of Nanaimo ...........................



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Enjoying Perfect Fall Weather

Iconic Victoria Tourist Attraction

Sadly, I had to miss the COW meeting of Sept. 28 where I am most confident our city councillors will have made many wise decisions and have decided to put the garbage automation process on hold until after the core review.

Spending time in other Island communities gives a different perspective on one's view of Nanaimo as a tourist destination. While I agree (I live there) that Nanaimo is a pleasant place to live it has miles and miles to go before it could hope to hold itself up against Victoria, which actually has a smaller population than Nanaimo.

Nanaimo pulls a half dozen cruise ships, Victoria draws 220+. Nanaimo has Bowen Park, Victoria has Beacon Hill Park. We have the seawall along the inner harbour, Victoria's walk from Ogden Point to Clover Point is spectacular by comparison. In Victoria you can actually find food truck vendors with their unique offerings, in Nanaimo, not-so-much.

Yes, Nanaimo is known for Nanaimo Bars, Nanaimo Bar Trail and the seawall. None of which qualify as tourist destination material, so why don't we decide on what we really are and focus on improving that for the benefit of those choosing to live here. One sound step in that direction is to get control of what will be never ending tax increases as city hall comes up with more and more ways to creatively spend tax dollars.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Automated Garbage Truck Decision??

Core Review Would Be Pointless
If this city council  decides to proceed with the automated garbage trucks as staff is requesting before the results of a core review are in, they might as well save the cost of the core review.

Staff is clearly trying to fast track this multi million dollar decision, and with council coming off a week at UBCM meetings, likely little real diligence has been given this decision.

This whole move is predicated on the notion the composting program (which made the failed split packer trucks necessary) is ever going to produce anything but worthless crap no gardener would ever use.

A few questions:
  • how many cities with more than one curbside container and Nanaimo's topography  are using automated trucks?
  • how many Nanaimo residents are capable of manhandling these huge containers to the curb?
  • dealing with these containers apparently has caused staff injury, what about residents injury dealing with much larger containers
It is hoped these and many more questions will be answered before Nanaimo council rushes headlong into another decision which may prove as failed as the current split packer failed experiment.



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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Monster Spray Dispensed By Sooke Pharmacy


A Dad went into a Shoppers Drug Mart in Sooke to see if the pharmacy could help with a problem his daughter was having getting to sleep. He brought in a picture of something similar he had seen online and the Pharmacist was only to happy to supply the above label which the dad put on the spray bottle he supplied.

A little creative use of photoshop and some wishful thinking on my part came up with another product, that if effective should sell like hotcakes!


Politicians in the process of telling you a 'whopper' are likely to react to this spray as Linda Blair did to Holy Water.

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Fall Marks Return Of Many Birds

Steller's Jay : 'are you lookin' at me?'

As usual over the summer many of the regulars to our bird feeders disappear, I presume heading for higher ground where it might be cooler?

Over the past few weeks a small hawk has visited our yard on several occasions, and while I did not see him make a kill, I know he had his eye on the couple of band tailed pigeons that were regulars all summer. They should have migrated by now, so I am hoping they did and did not provide lunch for Mr. Hawk.

Like clockwork the day before the first official day of fall, our fine feathered friends began returning to their winter turf which includes our yard which provides food, water and good tree cover.

The house sparrows were here all summer as was a family of about two dozen bushtits and aside from the band tailed pigeons that was pretty much it for variety. We did on a few occasions spot the timid Collared Doves which we 'heard' all summer.

Within the past few days we have seen the saucy Steller's Jay (which is a nice surprise), Towhees, Chick-a-dees, Nuthatchs (2), Flickers, Crowned sparrows,Juncos, purple finch, a robin with a speckled young one, bushtits and of course our resident humming birds.

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More Signs Of Taxpayer Fatique??

 Tax Fatique
Asked to buy copy paper to copy text books

This Huffpost article reports of a B.C. mom refusing to pick up the tab for her child's school photocopy paper. The item was just one on the list of supplies she was being asked to supply for her child's classroom. The list also included Kleenex, masking tape, Ziploc bags, Sharpies, USB Drives, and headphones.

In addition parents were being asked to cover the copyright fee for teachers needing to copy lessons from up-to-date textbooks.

Considering the amount of money B.C. taxpayers are pouring into our education system, it would seem obvious we have some serious management issues when parents have to buy copy paper, to copy text book material.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nanaimo Gas Cartel Still Gouging Motorists

Nanaimo Still Highest Priced Gas

The gas cartel in Nanaimo keeps giving good reason why the competition bureau (if we have one) should be investigating the one or two operators controlling the pump prices in Nanaimo.

WELCOME TO NANAIMO......................... The Gas Pump Gouging Capital of Vancouver Island.

Prices from Gas Buddy at 10:00 am Sept. 26/15.

Ladysmith 104.9

Duncan 104.9

Comox 101.9

Nanaimo 114.9

Where are our politicians on this issue (being an election year and all), where is our city council, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Nanaimo on this issue. After all, it is hardly in the interest of Nanaimo to be known as the gas pump gouging capital of Vancouver Island. This stuff comes INTO Nanaimo, before it gets shipped to Duncan where they are selling for 10 cents less per litre!!

No price fixing?? Really?? How in H ------ E ---------- double hockey sticks, does every gas station in Nanaimo set their retail price to the tenth of a cent, exactly the same!! Unless, of course only one or two operators own all the stations. If there were 20 stores like WalMart in town, what are the odds they would all set the price of a product exactly the same every day?? No gas price fixing??? Still believing in Santa too??


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Nanaimo River Hatchery - A Great Outing

 First 'rung' on the fish ladder (watch closely)
 Resting up before taking a run at the ladder
 Trout are also making the trip
 Tough place to spend some time
Heron watches from a high perch

While the Chinook and Coho runs aren't coming in yet, there a lots of pinks and some trout returning to the Nanaimo River Hatchery.

The weatherman is promising to co-operate this weekend so after checking out the many things to do around town, which includes River Day at Bowen Park, take a shoot out to the hatchery for an enjoyable stroll to the fish ladder where you can witness the valiant determination of our finned friends to complete the cycle of life.

The eagles haven't showed up yet, but while there we did see a couple of Blue Heron watching from a safe distance. The wind did knock over a couple of trees on the trail to the ladder, which have been bucked up and while certainly passable takes a bit more care if you aren't as agile as you once were.

Times to visit:

Chinook - Oct. - Nov.
Coho - Late Oct. - Dec.
Chum - Mid Oct. - Late Nov.
Pink - Sept. - Oct.
Eagles - Oct. - Jan.

Nature Walk - All Year

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Sunday Farmers' Markets - Sept. 26 - Nanaimo




Lantzville Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 11 -  end of Oct. 2014)

Located in the parking lot of St. Philips Church, 7113 Lantzville Road this new market will be open from 1:30 pm - 4:00 pm on Sundays from May 11 through to end of October.

The market promises to be a meeting place for friends and neighbours giving access to healthy, local food.

For information contact lantzvillefarmersmarket@gmail.com.




Cedar Farmers' Market
Open Sunday (May 11 - Oct. 26, 2014)

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

Open from May 11 to October 26, 2014 Sun 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Field of the Crow and Gate Pub, 2313 Yellowpoint Road, Nanaimo, B.C.

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


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Lions FREE Skate Sept. 26/15



The Lions Club of Nanaimo will once again be hosting Free Everyone Welcome skate sessions from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm on Sundays from Sept.13/15 until March 27, 2016 at Frank Crane Arena. On Nanaimo Clippers Junior 'A' game days, the Lions Free Skate will run from 10:45 am to 12:30 pm. This valued project continues the long tradition of the Nanaimo volunteer service to the community of Nanaimo.

The Lions Free Everyone Welcome skate sessions include admission, helmets and skate rentals.

There will not be a Lions Free Everyone Welcome skate session on December 27 due to the Winter Wonderland event.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

FEASTIVAL - Vancouver Island Conference Centre Sept. 25


FEASTIVAL”, a new and exciting showcase of the local food and beverage scene featuring some of the finest locally-sourced products, ingredients, talent and attractions on the mid-Island. Meet the folks who make and grow your favourite food and drink, all in one place, at one amazing event. From fields to farms to fisheries, FEASTIVAL is the mid-island’s premiere food to fork event. Saturday, September 26th at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from 10 am to 4 pm. www.feastival.ca.

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Clinton Fearon Solo Acoustic - Oct. 9


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Culture Days - Film Jam



Sunday Sept. 27 - 12:00 noon - 6:00 pm
Hub City Cinema Studio (15 Lois Lane)

We're having our next Film Jam for Culture Days on Sunday September 27 at noon! Culture days is a national weekend celebrating culture with interactive activities. There's nothing more interactive than a Film Jam! Meet at the Hub City Cinema Studio. We may move around downtown for different spots.

Let's make movie magic together! For those who don't know what a Film Jam is: quite simply it's when we make a movie in a day. Filmmakers of all kinds come together and in a limited amount of time improvise and shoot a short film with the resources we have available. So bring any equipment, props, and acting chops that you think we can use to create a short film.


How much time to create an idea and shoot? About 6 hours.

Who knows what we'll make for a short film this time. It might be amazing or it could be a huge mess, but no matter what hopefully we will all get something valuable out of it. This is a great way to connect with other filmmakers, build relationships, get creative, gain experience (perhaps doing something you've never done before), learn, and most of all have fun!

Most of the time filmmakers spend hours planning and preparing a project. Every once in a while it's great just to get out there, have a burst of creativity, create something in the spur-of-the-moment, and scratch that filmmaking itch.

Everyone is welcome! This is a collaboration, not a competition. If we have lots of people we may split into smaller groups. We'll see how it goes and adapt accordingly.

Remember Sunday, September 27 at noon. Book the time off!

Hopefully you can come out to this awesome event!
View the event's Facebook page HERE.

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Nanaimo Rivers Day - Sept. 27/15



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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Woodgrove Centre Gets $17 Million Renovation

Woodgrove Centre General Manager Julia Dow

IvanhoĆ© Cambridge Invests $17 Million 

Co-owners of Woodgrove Centre IvanhoƩ Cambridge announced today they will be investing $17 million to renovate Vancouver Island's largest shopping centre in Nanaimo.

Centre General Manager, Julia Dow announced some of the highlights of the major renovation which will include:

  • The food court will be completely reconfigured and renovated allowing for increased seating capacity. The modern update will include recycling infrastructure and electric charging stations and much more.
  • Guest services will be relocated and increased in size by about 1000 sq. ft.
  • WiFi will be available throughout the property for the benefit of visitors.

The project which will be complete by November 2016 will unfold in three phases: exterior work, interior work and exterior entrances and canopies. There will be no disruptions to the centre's operations thoughout the significant renovation.

Woodgrove Centre boasts 751,547 sq. ft. and features 140 retailers and welcomes nearly 6 million visitors each year. It is notable that Woodgrove Centre is the largest single taxpayer in the City of Nanaimo.

Rendering of renovated food court

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Help Locate John Douglas Grant

Not Seen Since Early September

Police in Nanaimo are asking the public to help find John Douglas Grant, 49. He left his Uplands Dr. home and has had no contact since with friends or family. He has not been active on social media either.

His disappearance is out of character although police do not suspect foul play. He also has had no contact with any of the various community resources he uses either.

John is a white male, 6' tall weighing 180 pounds with brown eyes, grey hair a burn scar on his left arm and a Tasmanian devil tatoo on his right arm. He has significant health issues and a number of missing teeth.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts are asked to call the RCMP at 250-754-2345 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, text 274637 with keyword Nanaimo.


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The Importance Of Employee Probation Periods

A Period To Assess Skills and Qualities Before Long Term Commitment

It is not uncommon for new employees to be subject to a probationary period of perhaps three months to see if the new employee will be a good fit for the organization. This gives employers the opportunity to assess the skills and qualities the employee possesses without engaging in a long term commitment, which can be costly.

Sadly, there seems to be no similar mechanism for those chosen to run the affairs of perhaps the largest corporation in the City of Nanaimo. Having to engage the services of a facilitator at a cost of possibly $100,000 should raise some questions about the skills and qualities being demonstrated by our elected CEO who has now had nine months to demonstrate an ability to do the job.

According to the Community Charter:

Responsibilities of mayor
116 
(1) The mayor is the head and chief executive officer of the municipality.

(2) In addition to the mayor's responsibilities as a member of council, the mayor has the following responsibilities:

(a) to provide leadership to the council, including by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that, in the mayor's opinion, may assist the peace, order and good government of the municipality;

b) to communicate information to the council;

(c) to preside at council meetings when in attendance;

(d) to provide, on behalf of the council, general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of municipal policies, programs and other directions of the council;

(e) to establish standing committees in accordance with section 141;

(f) to suspend municipal officers and employees in accordance with section 151;

(g) to reflect the will of council and to carry out other duties on behalf of the council;

(h) to carry out other duties assigned under this or any other Act.


NINE MONTHS PROBATION IS LONG ENOUGH

This Mayor and City Council has now had nine months to settle into their roles as directors, plotting a course to lead Nanaimo into the next decade, defining some clear goals and guidelines in an effort to see we are creating a Nanaimo that is affordable and sustainable.

So far all they have accomplished was to approve a 6% CUPE wage increase which means that exempt staff will also see a wage increase of the same magnitude over the same period. They are barely any closer to conducting a Core Review than they were six months ago and with the way they are approaching some big budget items, the review may be little more than another farcical, costly report.

There was a motion by council they would neither increase nor decrease service levels until after the Core Review had been complete. The intent of course is to finally get a handle on the number of tax dollars the community can actually afford and how those funds should be allocated. A core review was a common mantra of some members of the previous council, including the three that used to be referred to as the Three Amigos.

Now, we have the Mayor making noises to the effect that perhaps hiring more police, and building a new firehall and hiring 20 more firefighters may be possible before completing the core review! Really? That is what he has been suggesting.

This coming Monday, staff is trying to put the automated garbage trucks on the fast track. It being a multi-million dollar decision, which has all the earmarks of being another hasty decision dealing with our garbage which led to the current problems we are having with poorly planned split packer trucks. There are lots of questions that need answering before we rush headlong into a multi-million dollar decision. If council approves this purchase before the core review is complete, they might as well put the core review paper onto cardboard cores and install them in the city hall bathrooms.

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FEASTIVAL - Sat. Sept. 26 VICC Nanaimo


FEASTIVAL”, a new and exciting showcase of the local food and beverage scene featuring some of the finest locally-sourced products, ingredients, talent and attractions on the mid-Island. Meet the folks who make and grow your favourite food and drink, all in one place, at one amazing event. From fields to farms to fisheries, FEASTIVAL is the mid-island’s premiere food to fork event. Saturday, September 26th at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre from 10 am to 4 pm. www.feastival.ca.

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Nanaimo Conservatory of Music - Culture Days 2015

Nanaimo Conservatory of Music Open House 

Offers - Music Lessons for Culture Days 2015


Saturday, Sept. 26/15
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
375 Selby Street


Music lessons have been proven to help children develop a multitude and wide range of beneficial skills. The upcoming Nanaimo Conservatory of Music Open House is the perfect day to investigate music lessons for your own adult music studies or for your child. The Nanaimo Conservatory of Music is inviting everyone in Nanaimo to this special educational and entertaining fun afternoon of musical discovery. There will be performances, refreshments, demonstrations and fantastic prizes from the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, London Drugs and Tom Lee Music.

Learn more about the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music Open House for Culture Days at (250)-754-4611 or visit the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music website at www.ncmusic.ca.

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ACME Food Co Closed Mid September

Photo credit: Acme Food Co.

Downtown Restaurant Closes

One of Nanaimo's well known downtown eateries quietly went out of business this month, as expected with little fanfare they simply closed their doors for the last time. ACME Food Co operated from their Commercial Street location since 2009 and always seemed to be one of 'the' spots downtown. They offered an extensive, reasonably priced menu and operated from a high visibility traffic location, so one might think they were a recipe for success. That said, the restaurant business has a reputation for dashing hopes and dreams and swallowing life savings in a single gulp.

Just up the street and around the corner a sushi bar opened and closed without many people apparently noticing and the better known Fibber Magees pub in the old train station also closed this past summer after a fairly brief run. I note a new business seems to have opened in the same location and only time will tell if they will enjoy any greater success. One advantage of the train station location is the tax exemption which should last for several more years, that presumes the ICF is passing along that saving to their tenant.

Back on Commercial Street the restaurant (2 Chefs) which has enjoyed the benefit of the parklet reported a near doubling of their business this summer, and REWSTERS up the street is also a new spot on the block vying for dining dollars. 

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Things on the Net that make ya' wonder ....


This screengrab came from a HuffPost page with the story about baseball legend Yogi Berra's passing. I doubt if the accompanying graphic is what their editor had in mind, unless they think the Pope and President aren't baseball fans.

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Real Estate Webmasters Makes Profit 500 List

 PROFIT
REW Ranks 248/500 Fastest Growing Canadian Companies

PROFIT is Canada's leading brand dedicated to entrepreneurial business. For 30 years it has been a reliable source of timely and actionable information benefiting Canadian entrepreneurs and senior managers.

One of the reports they produce is the PROFIT 500 list of the fastest growing Canadian companies which is based on their growth over the last five years based on their revenue growth expressed as a percentage.

Local company Real Estate Webmasters has made the list ranking 248/500 with a revenue growth percentage of 239% 2009 - 2014. In addition to this ranking REW also ranked 25/41 on the list of Canada's fastest growing marketing companies.

The article notes that not all marketing companies are created equal and only the industry's top firms produce the kind of work that attracts customers and earns a spot on the 2015 PROFIT 500 ranking.

REW is described as a company creating real estate websites and providing marketing solutions for agents.  The company was founded in 2004 by CEO Morgan Carey, has grown it's revenue by 239% 2009 - 14, 75% of sales are exports, has 107 employees (2014) and an actual revenue (2014) of $9,736,859 CAD.


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Western Edge Opens Season "Making Tracks"


Nanaimo’s Western Edge Theatre opens its 2015-16 season on Sept. 25th with the premiere of a new play that begins on lovely (if rainy) Vancouver Island, but soon plunges into the Yukon woods, with results that are chilling in more ways than one.

In Mary Fraughton’s “Making Tracks,” a young woman travels with her boyfriend from Vancouver Island to her childhood home deep in the Yukon woods. It is winter, an accident occurs, and Nina finds herself suddenly alone with the ghosts of her family – who, as the hours pass, become all too real.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit their website HERE.


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Concerns With Council Prompts Online Petition

 Fix Nanaimo Now

Click Image To See Petition

PETITION OUTLINES CITIZENS’ CONCERNS WITH COUNCIL

A group of local citizens, headed by the Chamber of Commerce, are taking their concerns to the public through a petition started recently on Change.org. Simply titled “Fix Nanaimo Now”, the petition outlines their assessment of the conduct of Council and their output since being elected last November.

“It’s been ten months since swearing-in and we’ve watched relationships break down, discord grow, decorum reach new lows in Chambers and Councilors attacking each other online,” stated Kim Smythe, Chamber President and CEO who went on to say “There’s enough blame to go around and all should share. We are not picking favourites, we’re demanding Mayor and Council work together to fix Nanaimo now. This is a statement on behalf of the whole community”

In November 2014, voter turnout increased by 30% over 2011. The election of a new mayor and four new councilors was hoped to deliver positive outcomes in governance of the city, but the petition states that the opposite seems to be proven to be true.

Complaints include ongoing issues like 'decorum in Council Chambers, respectful behaviour among Councilors, questionable interaction with staff, a breakdown in civility within Council and members of the community. There are several questionable mileposts in governance that drive deep disappointment in the choices some voters’ made — the Conference Centre Hotel, Colliery Dams Park, and Core Review are examples.  

The petition http://chn.ge/1iLwlIP will remain online for an open-ended period of time under the title “Fix Nanaimo Now”. Results will be forwarded to Mayor and Council in hopes it will encourage more rapid action to acknowledge the problems and reach for solutions.  

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BC Ferries Transports 5.25 Million Passengers

BC FERRIES WRAPS UP BUSY SUMMER SEASON

VICTORIA – As the busy summer season draws to a close, BC Ferries reports an increase in ridership, strong on-time performance figures and fleet reliability score of over 99 per cent. In July and August combined, BC Ferries carried 5.25 million passengers and 1.86 million vehicles, which is an increase of 2.9 per cent and 3.1 per cent respectively over the previous year. With a fleet of 34 vessels, the company provided over 29,500 sailings on its’ 24 routes servicing coastal British Columbia. 

“We want to thank the millions of customers who chose BC Ferries as part of their summer travel this year, whether it was a trip to Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands or Haida Gwaii,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Customer Services. “We also want to recognize the excellent customer service provided by our staff during our peak season to meet the needs of all of our passengers.”

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nanaimo COW Meeting - Sept. 28/15



Regular
Committee of the Whole Meeting
Mon., Sept. 28/15
Shaw Auditorium
4:30 pm VICC


  • City of Nanaimo Long term financial planning and reserves position, Presentation by Mr. Victor Mema, Director of Finance
  • Management and operating agreement renewal - Nanaimo Museum
  • Automated Collection of Solid Waste: staff is seeking council approval to proceed with automated garbage truck for garbage pick up.
  • Community Wildfire Protection Plan Grant Resolution
  • Impact of Staffing Levels on Recent Fires in Nanaimo
  • In-House Parking Services
Council to proceed In-Camera under Community Charter Section 90 (1)


 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.

SECOND THING TO MAKE THE LIST:

On Feb. 2/15  a resolution of Council was passed with a 7:1 vote which was giving staff instructions with regards the Colliery Dams. This motion was ignored by City staff and this Council has shown no desire to see their wishes were carried out by City staff. As a precedent this is likely as disturbing as any fiscal decisions made by council. It goes to the heart of our whole democratic system.

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?

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Volkswagen Scandal - The Big Lie!

$18 Billion Fines 
Criminal Charges Possible

Sounding like the plot for some movie focused on the complete lack of morals or ethics in corporate boardrooms is the recent revelations about VW's deliberate actions to thwart emission control standards. Apparently they have been successful since 2009 by installing elaborate software in 482,000 'clean diesel' vehicles sold in the United States.

It is now known that since 2009 VW had been inserting code in it's vehicle software which monitored steering and pedal movements. If those actions indicated the vehicle was being tested for nitrogen-oxide emissions in a lab, the pollution controls were turned on thwarting the testing. The pollution controls were turned off when the vehicles were being driven regularly.

Government regulators never did catch onto the ruse which was uncovered by an independent group trying to reconcile the difference in test results on the bench and actual on the road results being reported in Europe. They did actual road testing and discovered the VW Jetta was emitting 15 - 35 times as much nitrogen oxide as the allowable limit.

This is not some isolated case of an honest mistake, but the deliberate attempt to go around emission control standards, which is not taken lightly by our friends to the south. The Department of Justice is contemplating criminal charges and the EPA could end up levying fines as high as $18 billion. In the meantime VW stocks lost 30% of their value last week.

For a more complete report check out this Vox article by Brad Plumer.

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Old City Quarter Building Facelift

Council approved $13,826.17 Improvement Grant
403 Fitzwilliam before facade improvement

403 Fitzwilliam after facade improvement

While the 'before' building was by no means looking tired or run down it certainly has been given a lift courtesy of a recent facade improvement grant approved by city council at the June 22 meeting.

The report presented to council authored by Diana Johnstone said the estimated cost to repaint the building and renew the awnings was $27,652.34 which meant the owner would qualify for a grant covering 50% of the total up to a maximum of $10,000 per side facing the street.

This is also an area of the old city quarter that will be benefiting from some pedestrian upgrades which will include curb extensions which provide a safer environment for pedestrians by making them more visible when they are waiting to cross the street.

The upgrades in the area also includes installing a rain garden at the southeast corner of the Fitzwilliam Street and Selby Street intersection. Rain gardens are an engineered landscape feature which is designed to absorb and filter rain water through soil layers and plantings, thereby increasing infiltration of rain water into the ground.

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World Rivers Day In Nanaimo - Sept. 27

Celebrate World Rivers Day in Nanaimo

Each year, the last Sunday in September marks World Rivers Day. The City of Nanaimo is pleased to partner with Nanaimo Area Land Trust (NALT) to host events on Sunday, September 27. Join in the festivities from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm at the Bowen Park lower picnic shelter.

Activities for the day include an interpretive stream walk and fry trapping, live music by local bands, Rivers Day tours hosted by Naniamo River Watershed Roundtable (pre-registration required) and a salmon BBQ hosted by NALT.

Live Music by Mt Benson Ceili Band, TerraZetto, and Jeffrey Randle.

Pre-registration is required for Rivers Day tours. See page 63 of the Fall and Winter Activity Guide.

"We have some great activities, tours and entertainment lined up this year. Join us in celebrating the waterways that are so important to Nanaimo's well being." - Deborah Beck City of Nanaimo 

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Bowen Road Farmers' Market - Sept.23/15



Bowen Road Farmers' Market Open Wednesday (May 13 - Oct. 2015)


The Bowen Road Farmers' Market is in its 8th year! Opening day for 2015 is Wed May 13th. The BRFM was started by a group of people concerned about our quickly changing world, the loss of rurality, food production, food sustainability and the connection to the earth. Our market is fun and vibrant. Weekly, we feature musicians, and of course a wide variety of friendly vendors and excellent products, produced by organic growers, who transport their food within a 50 mile radius. Come to the Bowen Road Farmers Market and meet the people who grow and produce the food you eat. See you soon!


Open from May 16 to Oct. 2015, Wed 4:00pm to 6:30pm. Located at 2300 Bowen Road Behind Beban Park,in the VIEX fairground. For more information visit their website HERE.




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AWARD WINNING JOURNALIST NEW ANCHOR OF CHEK NEWS AT 6

Vancouver Island – CHEK News is pleased to announce award-winning, veteran broadcast journalist Ben O’Hara-Byrne will join Canada's only employee-owned TV station as the anchor and producer of a new six p.m. newscast, launching October 5th.

“We’re proud to have someone of Ben's caliber join the CHEK News team,” said Rob Germain, News Director and Digital Manager, CHEK News. “Vancouver Island residents have a keen interest in local news but also want to know how national and international events affect them. Ben is uniquely qualified to deliver a first-hand perspective.”

O`Hara-Byrne brings over 15 years of international journalism experience to Vancouver Island. A journalism graduate from Concordia University, who also has an undergraduate degree in political science, O'Hara-Byrne has covered politics and foreign affairs for two Canadian national TV networks. As Bureau Chief in London, he traveled throughout Europe providing extensive coverage on international events such as the 2012 London Olympics, the resignation of Pope Benedict, the terrorist attacks in Paris in January, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

As a reporter based in China, O’Hara-Byrne covered major stories throughout Asia and the wider region. He reported from Beijing, Afghanistan, Libya, North Korea, Thailand, the Philippines and Russia.

In response to continued interest from Island viewers in local news, CHEK News is launching a new, locally produced newscast, CHEK News at 6. The program will showcase the day`s significant news and be in addition to the Island’s most watched newscast, CHEK News at 5. O’Hara-Byrne will also anchor the station’s late newscast, CHEK News at 10.

“I am looking forward to returning home to Canada and I am particularly excited to be joining the great team at CHEK,” he said, “the station's recent history is testament to their dedication and deep commitment to providing the very best in local coverage to their viewers."

O’Hara-Byrne began his career in Montreal and Toronto as a local reporter. He covered Parliament Hill in Ottawa for several years before moving to international reporting as a network bureau chief.


O`Hara-Byrne is the winner of several journalism awards including the Radio Television Digital News Association Network Spot News award; the Edward R. Murrow award and a Gemini nomination for best reporting for coverage on the Dawson College shootings in Montreal.

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