Second theft of funeral vases at Cedar Valley Memorial

About a dozen bronze vases have been stolen from grave sites at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens in the past few weeks. The first theft occurred on or about May 12, and the last theft was reported on May 17. More details HERE.

Concern for well-being

of missing woman

The Nanaimo RCMP is asking for public assistance in locating 30-year old Alysha-Nicole Dickenson. Since Monday May 20, 2024, Dickenson has made several troubling comments to her family which have them extremely concerned for her safety and well-being.


Dickenson is of no fixed address and patrols throughout Nanaimo by front line officers have proved negative.


Alysha-Nicole isCaucasian, 5 foot 5 inches tall, 150 pounds with black hair and green eyes. The picture is recent.


If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Alysha-Nicole Dickenson please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

The Nanaimo Foundation will manage and distribute funds for a new government program for local non-profits, charities and Indigenous-serving organizations focusing on poverty reduction and social inclusion. A portion of the  $25 million community prosperity fund can be used on both operational expenses and project delivery for up to three years. Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Cedar, Gabriola Island and Lantzville applications will be handled by the Nanaimo Foundation, which is in charge of dispersing the funds. MORE

 

The Commercial Street Night Market returns to downtown Nanaimo in a couple of weeks. Beginning on June 13, the Market will host nearly 200 artisan vendors, more than a dozen food trucks, multiple musical entertainers, and a kids’ zone creating a festive family vibe over the 14 weeks. The Night Market was created to bring residents and tourists into the heart of the city to showcase our local restaurants and businesses.

 

Every story has two sides. And so it is with dog owner Adam Perret who claimed his dog was stabbed with a machete Thursday along a rural trail in Coombs. However, the man with the machete won’t be charged after Oceanside RCMP determined the dog was being aggressive and the slashing was a defensive move. RCMP said shortly after Perret called to report the incident, the couple involved provided a different version of events. They say the dog approached the man aggressively and bit him in the leg. MORE


QUOTABLE – The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.

May 27, 2024

Now the fun begins as school redistribution gets under way to reshape catchment areas for north end elementary schools. Rutherford Elementary is reopening in September 2025 and that means redrawing of catchment areas. School trustees favour mandatory enrollment. Trustees have okayed provisional adjustmentsfor new catchment areas, which would then relieve over-capacity McGirr, Randerson Ridge, Frank J. Ney and Departure Bay schools. MORE


No more ticket to ride, bus tickets will disappear for Transit riders by the end of the year. A new fare payment was introduced last November with Umo tap cards and mobile phone app, or by that good old standard, cash. With an Umo account customers can add money to their card or buy other passes. Money can be added to the cards at a vendor, online, through the app, or by calling Umo customer service. MORE


Travel on the Island Highway south of Ladysmith will be a super mess as work begins on drainage upgrades. Traffic well get through, but it will be challenging. Then after two weeks the southbound slow lane will be totally shut down for five days, 24 hours a day for deep base repair. So put that into your travel plans and use caution in active construction zones. And keep an eye on changing road conditions construction schedules here.


QUOTABLE – I was hoping to age like a fine wine but now I sort of feel more like an over-ripe avocado.

May 26, 2024


Political right beyond last-gasp reconciliation

A broken marriage that never worked in the first place has seen a last gasp reconciliation crash on the rocks.


It was never a truly harmonious marriage, there were too many hurdles as provincial Liberals and Conservatives tried to co-exist. Even the name was sand in the gears, Conservative found it hard to swallow being labelled Liberals, especially with the natural disdain for the federal Liberal Party.


With the next provincial election coming up in less than five months, and the Conservative surging in the polls, there have been pleas to unite the political right to avoid a split vote which might see the NDP returned to power for another four years.


There have been behind-the-scenes moves to get the parties together, but that effort was a loser from the start. It’s hard to say who played hardball the most, but the rift goes way back to when Kevin Falcon opened the door to the rebirth of the Conservatives when he kicked John Rustad out of the former Liberal party over climate and carbon tax differences.


That was a guaranteed winning issue for Conservatives and now that Rustad has revived them from the scrap heap it’s kind of difficult to buy into the idea of co-existing with United, especially when it’s been made clear that Falcon would demand to be the top dog. With Conservatives at 32 per cent popularity, and United battling for last place with the B.C. Greens, both at 12 per cent, it doesn’t make much sense to retreat to non-contender status. The NDP still sits comfortably ahead with 42 per cent support.


Rustad issued a statement that appears carved in stone, saying “with certainty that the Conservative Party of BC and the BC United Party will not be merging before the upcoming provincial election this fall.”


He adds that Falcon declined offers in December, 2023 to discuss a possible merger – with a single message from Falcon stating, “F#ck Off.”


With that kind of welcome, Rustad says he’s committed to running candidates in all 93 ridings, and he intends to keep his promise. He ads this election is between the Conservatives and the radical BC NDP. He’s committed to restoring common sense in British Columbia.


Rustad is dealing from a power hand at the top of a winning deck while Falcon stands at the dock after the ship has sailed.


We welcome your comments HERE.


QUOTABLE – Like drug use, bank robbery is a crime. Politicians could hand out free money in front of the banks, and look at how many lives we could save.

May 25, 2024

University governors approve
shutting down music programs

The music program at Vancouver Island University ended on a sour note Thursday. The VIU board of governors approved a senate proposal to cancel the bachelor of music in jazz studies, bachelor of music classical transfer programs and the jazz studies diploma program. It all comes down to dollars and cents since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a $9-million deficit in 2024-25. MORE


Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district has given final approval to its $218-million budget for 2024-25. There are an estimated 15,300 students in district schools in 2024-25. The district has budgeted more $91 million for teachers, including nine additional teachers. MORE

 

Move over electric vehicle charging stations. The province has a back up – hydrogen energy. Three new electrolyzers will supply 20 hydrogen refuelling stations in Nanaimo, Burnaby and Prince George. An electrolyzer uses electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and it’s believed the three stations will help support a North Vancouver facility which liquefies upwards of 15 tonnes of hydrogen per day. MORE


QUOTABLE – Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage. – Winston Churchill.

May 24, 2024

$5-million fund-raising campaign

launched for new cancer centre

Now the heavy lifting begins. The fund raising component for the new Nanaimo cancer centre has begun. The BC Cancer Foundation has launched a $5-million campaign for equipment for the facility which isscheduled to begin construction in 2025 and open in 2028. Hospital Foundation executive director William Litchfield said the Foundation working to ensure the right equipment, technology and support when it opens up so that the best care can be provided.

Mid Island Co-op has pledged $1 million in matching donations to date. MORE


The first step in repatriation of Snuneymuxw artifacts from the B.C. Museum began Thursday. But it’s only the beginning, there’s still a long way to go, says Chief Mike Wyse. Dozens of sacred artifacts, possibly thousands of years old, have been returned. The ceremony at the Recreation and Wellness Centre gym allowed band members a close look at valuables produced by their ancestors, including sacred head dresses, stone artifacts and hunting tools. Wyse said most of the collection of about 90 items were stored at Royal BC Museum in Victoria for likely many decades. MORE


About a dozen bronze vases have been stolen from grave sites at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens in the past few weeks. The first theft occurred on or about May 12, and the last theft was reported on May 17. R/Cst Gary O’Brien has more details HERE.


It comes down to a question of who gives a . . . .? Downtown Courtenay has a growing public defecation problem, raising the question of who is going to step in. The mayor and council are aware of the growing issue. It’s why city Coun. Wendy Morin tabled a notice of motion Wednesday stating Island Health should be asked to help. A public Urbaloo is open dawn to dusk. A pilot project to keep it open 24 hours failed when vandalism and other problems ended it without success. Now it and other public washrooms are closed overnight, but when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. MORE


QUOTABLE – I told a joke on a Zoom meeting and nobody laughed. I guess I’m not remotely funny.

May 23, 2024

Today is a crucial day for Vancouver Island University music classes. The university board votes today on the future of the program. Teachers and students are preaching the program’s importance. As well, a jazz diploma program, slated to start this fall, could be terminated. MORE


Our aging population is expected to see dramatic increases in dementia at a time many patients and their caregivers are already struggling to access the care they need. The Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s largest annual fundraiser – the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer's, presented by Go Auto – is set for Sunday to raise funds to support more than 85,000 people living with dementia in B.C. and their caregivers, while investing in research to change the future of the disease. If you help out right now you can double your donation – the Aune Foundation, Cowell Foundation and Lecky Foundation – will match all donations made online by Sunday up to $100,000. MORE


Parks Canada’s budget to eliminate an invasive deer species from Sidney Island has more than doubled. It has cost $10,000 per deer killed during phase one. The cull, in partnership with local First Nations, aims to restore native vegetation, trees, and shrubs. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation reports phase one of the cull last fall cost more than $800,000, including $67,000 on a helicopter to circle the island with snipers from the United States and New Zealand. To rub in some salt, local hunters killed 54 deer last fall, at no cost to taxpayers. MORE


Don’t stir the pot when it comes to regulating lawyers or they’ll take you to court. The Law Society of British Columbia has started legal action against a new law it says threatens democracy itself. The new Legal Professions Act creates a single legal regulator for lawyers, notaries and licensed paralegals. It received Royal Assent on May 16, the same day on which the Law Society announced it would file a constitutional challenge against the legislation. MORE


QUOTABLE – Advice for governments – don’t spend what you ain’t got.

May 22, 2024

Nanaimo’s new state-of-the-art correctional centre makes its official debut today with high-level politicans, including MLA Sheila Malcolmson, in the forefront. The correctional centre at Brannen Lake is touted as a significant step forward in advancing correctional services on Vancouver Island and supporting community safety. The new campus-style prison is architecturally inspired by traditional Coast Salish plank houses. It expands remand capacity for Vancouver Island and includes a unit for women. The Guthrie program which combines work, addictions treatment and counselling is included. The new centre features specialized areas for working with people with complex mental-health needs and a sophisticated health-care centre.


Terminal Avenue in the downtown is not where you want to be for the next few days as repaving work is done in the northbound lanes. vehicles travelling from south to north are being detoured. Vehicles are being re-routed along Crace Street to Esplanade and Front Street before rejoining Terminal Maffeo Sutton Park. Southbound vehicles are largely unaffected travel through the area is slow. MORE


Nanaimo’s alternative approval process disaster is still a recent memory. Now Ladysmith is going to have a go at it with an AAP to get approval to borrow $13.5 million for a new city hall. It’s part of the Buller Street revitalization project which will include a city hall and institutional/commercial space, with about 95 rental housing units on top of that. The AAP began Friday and continues to June 25 for residents to voice their opposition. MORE


The alternative approval process appears to be popular with municipalities. Nanoose Bay residents get to voice their objection to the Regional District of Nanaimo borrowing $1.1 million for a reservoir improvement project. Property owners in the Nanoose Bay peninsula water service area can stop the borrowing through at AAP. Staff have already prepared an engagement plan, elector response form and the borrowing bylaw. MORE


Cst. Ian George is working up a sweat as the Nanaimo RCMP rep in the 2024 Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, kicking off in late September. The 14-day cycle trekevent raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society. He’s not a rookie though, he rode in the Tour de Coast across the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast in 2018, but is ready for a different experience this time. NanaimonewsNOW has an excellent feature on Ian.


QUOTABLE – Always be willing to consider evidence that contradicts your beliefs and admit the possibility that you may be wrong.


May 20, 2024

All over a parking spot. RCMP and emergency services responded to the Woodgrove Centre parking lot around noon on Monday after bear spray and a tire iron were used in a dispute over a parking space. R/Cst. Gary O’Brien said a family of six, including four young children, were in one car while a man in his 60s was driving the other. He said the family was trying to park their truck and boat, and were impeded by another man driving a Hummer. Two men got out and a verbal dispute ensued and the driver of the Hummer bear sprayed the man, with spray also hitting the children. The man then got a tire iron and smashed a window on the Hummer. The Hummer left the scene, while the man and his family were treated by paramedics. MORE


Good morning, it’s back to work after the long weekend. With so many people travelling, the best news is no news on the highway traffic situation. And I heard no horror stories about B.C. Ferries. Today’s rain should give way to sunshine by tomorrow and into Thursday, so have a great day.


It’s summer break but that's no excuse for not covering all base to get ready for university. After registering for classes, you’re going to need to find housing for the school year. There are few vacancies in Nanaimo’s housing market so don’t dawdle. Choices include single-unit apartments, shared secondary suites and homestay. Finding the right housing fit can take some time. House-hunting is a lot of work, but looking through listings will help you decide what suits you. Here are some tips to help you find a place. VIU has prepared of list of what to do and what choices you have. MORE


QUOTABLE – Empty barrels sound the loudest

THIS IS THE LAST in a series of Factoids from the Nanaimmo's State of the Economy report. On average in 2023, Nanaimo households spent eight per cent more on shelter, four per cent more on food, and three per cent more on household furnishings and equipment compared to the national average. Conversely, they spent 19 per cent less on transportation costs and 18 per cent less on personal insurance payments and pension compared to the national average. I hope you found these items informative. You can download the State of the Economy report HERE


May 19, 2024

On the way home after Victoria Day weekend

Good morning, here we go on the downslide of the Victoria Day weekend. For those to left the island get ready to contend with crowded ferries and waiting in lineups. Weather conditions will make the waits more tenable as the sun keeps hanging around. Early reports this morning indicate B.C. Ferris is not having any problems with vessels, so just learn to hurry up and wait.


Janna Whale honoured for climate achievement

Congratulations to Nanaimo’s Janna Wale on being honoured as an emerging leader by the B.C. Achievement Foundation. She was recognized for her work as a policy adviser with the Indigenous research stream at the Canadian Climate Institute. The 28-year-old took an interest in climate action as a teenager when she noticed sockeye salmon disappearing on her annual summer trip to Gitanmaax First Nation with her family. MORE


Vancouver Island Crisis Care worker wins award

Elizabeth Newcombe of Nanaimo came home from Las Vegas with more than she went there with. She was honoured by the American Association of Suicidology for her work with the Vancouver Island Crisis Society. She was awarded the 2024 crisis service award at the 57th annual conference in Las Vegas. Elizabeth had solid support, bringing five supervisors to the award ceremony in Las Vegas. MORE


QUOTABLE – You’re only as good as the boundaries you set for yourself.

Five months to election, race uneventful so far

Sunday marks five months until election day in the province n October 19 and nothing we’re seeing is sparking excitement so far. Premier David Eby is busy applying bandages to everything in sight while not solving anything.

 

BC United leader Kevin Falcon is not making a blip on the radar as his party continues to struggle for relevance.


B.C. Conservative are at an all-time high in the polls likely if for no other reason than that they are not BC United. The latest Abacus Poll shows the NDP with a six-point lead over the Conservatives. BCU and B.C. Greens are sharing also-ran status. See the FULL COMMENTARY

May 18, 2024

Ferries busy to start the long weekend

This is the third busiest weekend of the year on B.C. Ferries schedule and the long weekend traffic so far has impressed that fact. There were full loads with waits in the lineup. Windy conditions also created some havoc, so if you really want to leave this rock for the weekend, patience is the word. MORE


Don't forget life jackets when heading out on the water

Now that we’re into the great outdoors, boating safety is paramount during Safe Boating Awareness Week ­– lifejackets save lives. Kyle Wiens, boating safety officer for Transport Canada said that message should be particularly stressed to boaters on the West Coast. Remember, water is so cold that it becomes a shock factor leaving you incapacitated.


Floral vases stolen from Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens

About a dozen bronze floral vases have been stolen from the Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens on Cedar Road. That’s created a traumatic reaction from loved ones with family members buried at the site. Angelique Richardson of Arbor Memorial said they are working with police. She called it a senseless act. MORE


QUOTE – With today’s student protests sweeping the world, remember that being young does not make you right.

NANAIMO FACTOID – The estimated median household income in Nanaimo in 2023 was $81,606, marking a significant 19.8 per cent increase over the past five years. By 2028, Nanaimo's median household income is projected to reach $94,387, reflecting a growth of 15.7 per cent. In comparison, BC's median household income was $93,585 in 2023 and is anticipated to grow by 15 per cent over the next five years. You can download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 17, 2024

Long weekend will be a good test

for B.C. Ferries before summer

Hundreds of thousands are hitting the waves this long weekend, kicking off a projected record-breaking summer season for B.C. Ferries which is expecting eight million passengers and 3.2 million vehicles between June 1 and Sept. 5. Nearly 600 new staff are on board for the summer to work on board ships and terminals. MORE

 

Some school catchment areas set to change

Some kids will be changing schools this fall when Rutherford Elementary School re-opens and catchment zones are redesigned. Trustees support a plan to move some students to Rutherford while adjusting the boundaries of several other elementary schools.The biggest changes are expected to involve boundaries of Frank J. Ney and Departure Bay elementary schools. MORE


Development guidelines set to change over old coal mines

Imagine the bottom falling out of your home. It has happened in the past when homes were built over old coal mines. City staff are updating development guidelines for geotechnical reports and assessments. The update consolidates guidelines for geotechnical documents for re-zoning, development permits, and development variance permits. It adds guidelines for geotechnical assessments, including background information on historical mining, mining-induced geological hazards, risk of collapses, gas leaks and water contamination. MORE


Drive up and donate for diabetes
This long weekend is a great time to get your house in order by decluttering. The best part of that is you’ll be helping nearly 12 million Canadians with pre-diabetes and diabetes. You can drive up and donate gently used clothing and small household items Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Diabetes Canada Clothing Collection Centre, 4166 Departure Bay Rd. MORE

 

Cone Zone campaign urges drivers to slow down 

Hey, we’re all in a hurry behind the wheel, but tens of thousands of roadside workers and millions of drivers in B.C. share a common goal. They all want to get home safe each day. The annual Cone Zone safety awareness campaign reminds drivers to avoid speeding, aggressive and distracted driving, and to obey flaggers and traffic signs. If you’re under the impression that it’s not a problem, a traffic enforcement event saw 42 tickets issued in two hours – with at least 31 drivers using cell phones. MORE

Healthamongus getting kids in shape
A sure sign of spring is school kids swarming fields for games and physical activity for Healthamongus Week. The new artificial turf fields at Harewood Centennial Park are the perfect setting after a four-year hiatus. They’re engaging in soccer, relay races, tug-of-war and other activities geared toward teaching children fundamental movement skills, such as running, jumping, kicking, throwing and dribbling. Healthamongus is a feature of the city and local schools. MORE


QUOTABLE – If government can suspend your rights any time it deems something is a crisis, you don’t have rights. You have permissions.

Overall student enrollment at Vancouver Island University remained largely unchanged in 2022 compared to 2021. However, there were notable shifts within the student body demographics: domestic student enrollment decreased by 1.6 per cent, while international student enrollment saw a notable increase of 9.4 per cent. You can download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 16, 2024

Funkanometry second in Canada's Got Talent

Congratulations to dance duo of Jacksun Fryer and Carlow Rush for coming second in Canada’s Got Talent on Tuesday on the season finale. Known as Funkanometry, they left much of their final performance up to the judges, letting them control the pace and flow of the dance. Judges flipped paddles with ‘Faster’ or ‘Slower’ with Rush and Fryer adjusting to match. MORE


Rest in peace, Wayne Campbell

Just got the sad news this morning that Wayne Campbell, former editor of the Nanaimo Daily Free Press, has died at age 75 in Welland, Ont. Condolences to his family.


QUOTABLE – You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you.

In 2023, the occupation with the highest number of job postings was for "retail salespersons," followed by cooks and "retail and wholesale trade managers." Across sectors, the highest number of job openings in 2023 were in the Healthcare and Social Assistance sector, followed by Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services. You can download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 15, 2024

BC Ferries adds more sailings, ends fuel surcharge

BC Ferries' four-per-cent fuel surcharge will disappear June 1. That’s an enticement for more people to sail as they add 350 more sailings this summer trying to avoid a repeat of last summer's travel frustrations caused by mechanical problems and staff shortages. Many of its former casual staff positions, and current casual staff have been given better compensation and working conditions to help remedy the crew shortages. The company hired 1,200 new staff last year and 500 more this year. MORE


North End house damaged in fire, no injuries

No injuries were reported after fire damaged a house an scorched landscaping and caused some on Hammond Bay Road Tuesday afternoon. Emergency personnel responded to the 5200 block Hammond Bay Road at 3 p.m. and quickly doused the flames which burned a fence and landscaping and damaged the siding of the home. MORE


Suspicious device was not a pipe bomb

Pleasant Valley Elementary School went into shelter-in-place Monday afternoon after discovery of a suspiciousdevice found near a school. Police determined that the “pipe with caps on both ends” was in fact not dangerous. The shelter-in-place was initiated out of an abundance of caution, police said. 


Wow, what a windfall! Class action pays $7.86

A number of Nanaimoites will not be going on any world cruises now that they’ve received their share of the Life Labs class action settlement. The $9.8-million settlement was shared by more than 900,000 Canadians, getting $7.86 each by direct deposit or $5.86 by cheque. Somewhere there’s about $2 million difference between the two figures. KPMG administered the claims and lawyers were also involved. MORE


Record-breaking aviator to address Aviation Council dinner 

World-renowned aviator Zara Rutherford will be the headline speaker at the BC Aviation Council’s annual conference in Nanaimo May 28. She is a record-breaking pilot and a passionate advocate for women. She is the youngest woman to solo circumnavigate globe in a small aircraft in 2022. Her family is deeply rooted in aviation, and Zara is dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue their aspirations. Tickets for the dinner at the Conference Centre are $99 per person, available through bcaviationcouncil.org.


QUOTABLE – Which is worse, low class or no class?

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2022, the City of Nanaimo was home to 3,610 businesses with one or more employees, indicating a consistent growth trend in the overall number of businesses with employees over time. Over the past decade, the number of businesses with employees has increased by 17.4 per cent. Additionally, in the past five years, sole proprietorships have seen a notable increase of 9 per cent in Nanaimo. You can download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 13, 2024

School district gets funding for one-stop child-care

Nanaimo-Ladysmith is one of three school districts to get one-stop child-care programs at local elementary schools this fall. Premier David Eby says offering parents before-and-after-school child care at the same location will save families time and money, create less stress for parents and is an efficient use of school space and resources. Early childhood educators and school district support staff will provide learning and care for children in classrooms and school spaces they are familiar with. The province will provide $2 million to the three districts over two years, creating 180 new licensed child-care spaces. MORE


Back to class after lockdown at Pleasant Valley school

The coast is clear for a return to classes at Pleasant Valley Elementary School this morning after a shelter-in-place disruption Monday. No details have been released. The designation involves a potential environmental hazard, according to the District’s emergency procedures. Everyone has to remain inside the school with the principal tasked with monitoring access to the school. MORE


New municipal tax bills are in the mail

Get ready for a little shock therapy as your 2024 Nanaimo tax bills hit local mail boxes in the next few days. The 7.7-per-cent increase talked about to date applies only to the city portion of your tax bill, school board, regional district and others have their own increases.

 

Commercial Street Night Market returns in June

Hollywood will soon be gone and downtown Nanaimo will give way to normal. That means the Commercial Street Night Market returns June 13 to launch 11 weekly markets along the street. The markets attracted more than 75,000 people in 2023. Planning for this year began right after last year’s even finished. Chamber CEO Corry Gervais promises some additions, pointing to 150 vendors and more food trucks in a designated area. MORE


QUOTABLE – People often mistake me for an adult because of my age.

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2023, Nanaimo's labour force consisted of 68,400 individuals, showing a growth rate of 3.3 per cent, surpassing the 2.2 per cent growth rate in BC and the 1.8 per cent growth rate on the Vancouver Island Coast. BC is projected to have 1,017,000 job openings between 2022 and 2032, with nearly 80 per cent of these positions requiring some level of post-secondary education or training. You can download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 14, 2024

Filming production begins today in Downtown Nanaimo

Cameras were set to begin filming this morning on the two-days shooting schedule for the HBO series ‘The Last of Us.’ Most of Commercial Street has been transformed into an apocalyptic version of Seattle for the filming today and and Tuesday. Traffic controls were to begin around 2 a.m. today with film crews begin arriving at 5 a.m. Cameras were expected to begin rolling at 7 a.m. on Commercial and Skinner Streets. MORE


Cell phone use up to individual schools

Sometimes no decision is the best decision. Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board is leaving a decision on cell phones in the classroom up to individual schools until they an create over-all guidelines. The Education Ministry has ordered that as of July 1 all school districts are required to include “one or more statements about restricting the use of personal digital devices at school” within their school codes of conduct.


Fort Nelson wildfire continues to spread

A wildfire near Fort Nelson has forced thousands to flee their homes. It could spread into the town itself, warns the B.C. Wildfire Service. the Parker Lake Wildfire had grown to 4,136 hectares by Sunday afternoon, burning out of control about 3.5 kilometres from Fort Nelson. Evacuation orders remain in place for about 3,000 residents of Fort Nelson and the Fort Nelson First Nation. The fire is expected to continue spreading toward Highway 97 and the Fort Nelson First Nation with a timed impact around dinner time today. MORE


QUOTABLE – Personal attacks actually cheer me up. It means they have no logical, political argument left.

In 2023, the City of Nanaimo had 6,457 licensed businesses. The largest number of business licences are held by the construction sector, followed by retail and the “professional, scientific and technical services” sector. The number of total business licences increased by 10 per cent over the last decade. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 12, 2024

Which comes first, the chicken, the egg . . . or rules?

There’s something romantic about living in the city and growing your own food, including livestock. City council is looking at clarifying rules for backyard chickens and ducks. This was an issue in 2010 when I was a councillor. Now Public Safety Director Dave LaBerge reports that last year Nanaimo Animal Control Services got 39 calls about backyard chickens, about half for poultry at large. Other complaints centred around excessive numbers of hens or ducks, coop violations and rooster problems. There have been complaints about odor, flies and vermin attracted to coops. MORE


Cedar Farmers' Market opens today

A late reminder, if you hustle you can still get in on the Cedar Farmers’ Market which opens today and runs until 2 p.m. at the field behind the former Woodbank Elementary School on Woobank Road.

 

Heat records set in many parts of the province

When heat records are set it’s almost automatic to think of Lytton, and that’s where the temperature reached 33.9C on Friday, breaking the record from 2019. Penticton broke a record dating back to 1924, hitting 29.7C. The Southern Interior was not the only area feeling the heat. Dawson Creek beat its 1969 record of 25 C, reaching a new mark of  25.2 C. The heat and sunshine is a pleasant relief but not good news for the wildfire situation in the province. MORE

 

Fourth suspect charged in death of Sikh leader

A fourth Indian national has been charged with murder in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar last year. Amandeep Singh, 22, has been charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The 22-year-old was already in custody in Ontario for unrelated firearms charges. Three others – 22-year-old Karan Brar, 22-year-old Kamalpreet Singh, and 28-year-old Karanpreet Singh – are facing the same charges. Those three were arrested in Edmonton earlier this month. MORE


QUOTABLE – Don’t worry about getting older, you’re still going to do stupid stuff, only slower.

In politics, always blame

someone else for your mistakes

Politics is all about deflection – blaming someone else for your mistakes. Our illustrious prime minister was in the province this past week pointing a finger at Meta, aka Facebook, for depriving Canadians of local news on that social medium. That is particularly critical now with the wildfire season when British Columbians need up-to-date news reporting.


Let’s backtrack here, Mr. Prime Minister, you were the one who tried to extort Facebook and the company responded with blocking links to Canadian news. But he continues to point the finger in other directions, not recognizing that when you point a finger there are three other fingers on that same hand pointing back to you.


A look in the mirror might put things into perspective. He might see clearly whom the blame belongs to. And then again, he might not.

Visible minorities make up 10 per cent of Nanaimo's population, increasing diversity in the region as the overall population expands. By 2023, Nanaimo's visible minority population is estimated at 10,675. The three largest minority groups are Chinese, South Asian, and Filipino, comprising 3.1 per cent, 2.4 per cent, and 0.9 per cent of the total population, respectively. It is projected that the total visible minority population will grow by 16 per cent by 2028, with the largest increases expected from Chinese migrants (596), followed by South Asian (309) and Filipino (246). Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 10, 2024

Industrial development approved for south end

City council has approved a development permit for a light industrial development at 924 Old Victoria Rd. It will be four buildings with 17,000 square metres of floor space on the now-vacant lot. MORE


To the dump, to the dump, to the dump

It’s garbage cleanup time and Milner Group is coming to the rescue with a charity residential yard and wood waste recycling day. It’s by donation with the proceeds going to the Nanaimo Child Development Centre. Take your load to the dump on Biggs Road between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. today.


Spectacular Northern Lights show expect on weekend

Northern Lights are expected to put on a dazzling display over our area through the weekend. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a severe geomagnetic storm is set to hit Earth. The activity from the sun is expected to be so severe, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Centre issued an extremely rare storm watch, the first of its kind since 2005. Timing remains uncertain as at least seven earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejections are on their way. MORE


Nanaimo Mountie joins Tour de Rock team

Const. Ian George will represent Nanaimo RCMP in this year’s Tour de Rock bike ride where police and emergency responders bike for 14 days over 1,200 kilometres across Vancouver Island. The team has already kicked off its training and has been starting from the basics to ensure everyone is on the same page. The annual ride has been run since 1997. It raises money for childhood cancer research and for programs likeCamp Goodtimes. MORE


Cyber attacks linked to 'state or sate-sponsored actor'

B.C. Government websites, networks and servers are targeted by approximately 1.5 billion hacking attempts daily and growing. Shannon Salter, head of civil service has revealed that a “state or state-sponsored actor” are behind the incidents. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said there's no evidence that any sensitive personal information was accessed and assured that no ransom demands have been made. Police and federal agencies are investigating. MORE


Growing wildfire forces Fort Nelson evacuation

All residents of Fort Nelson and Fort Nelson First Nation have been ordered to evacuate in the face of an out-of-control wildfire. The blaze broke out Friday afternoon approximately 12 kilometres west of the community and has been growing rapidly. Residents were advised shortly after 7 p.m. Friday to drive to Fort St. John. The B.C. Wildfire Service said the new blaze was estimated at 50 hectares shortly before 5:30 p.m. Just an hour later, it had frown to 400 hectares. By 8 p.m. it had doubled again to 800 hectares. MORE


QUOTABLE – Message to the Gaza protestors, keep those tents, you’re going to need them after you leave university without a degree.

The largest growth over the next decade is projected in the 25-44 age category (early working years), with an increase of 9,452 persons. The second-largest growth category is the 65+ category, with an increase of 6,239 persons. Nanaimo's average and median age was younger in the 2021 Census compared to the 2016 Census, indicating a trend towards a younger population. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 10, 2024

City's spray parks are open now

The water is flowing at the city’s water spray parks, in time for the hottest weekend of the year. Harewood Centennial Park, Departure Bay Centennial Park, Mansfield Park and Deverill Square are expecting thousands over the weekend as temperatures reach near-record levels. City manager of parks operations Charlotte Davis said final tests were completed Friday and the parks are open and ready for use this summer. MORE


Quist wins provincial leadership award

Breanne Quist

A great big congrats to Breanne Quist for winning the 2024 Women in Sports & Leadership Award from BC School Sports, comprised of 450 schools in the province. Breanne is the athletic director and a high school teacher at the Nanaimo Christian School. The Ladysmith native played virtually any sport she could, with basketball eventually being her preferred passion as she obtained her teaching degree at VIU as a student-athlete. She’s been the athletic director for eight years while doubling as a high school teacher. MORE


Six more supportive recovery beds scheduled

The Island Crisis Care Society will open a six-bed supportive recovery project this summer to provide stable housing, food, mental health resources and individualized support plans for up to 18 months at no cost to the individual. Society Director Corrie Corfield said a referral process is being finalized. MORE


55+ BC Games management confirmed by council

The Board of Directors is no in place for the 55+ BC Games in Nanaimo. President Diana Johnstone and Vice-President Mary Smith have named 11 individuals to serve as directors and all were approved by Nanaimo City Council on Monday, May 6. SEE THE FULL LIST.


QUOTABLE – A man who knows more than others, becomes lonely

Long, hot summer in store for forest fires in British Columbia

This summer is going to be a long one for forest fires. Ongoing drought and unstable weather continue to feed wildfires in the northeastern part of the province. Hugh Murdock of the B.C. Wildfire Service said while the fires burning near Fort Nelson are getting the most attention, the region as a whole is seeing a tremendous amount of fire. About 2,500 square kilometres are burning, he said. The Parker Lake and Patry Creek fires, which are closest to the community and are being battled by 130 firefighters, only account for about a third of that total area. MORE

Today is the homecoming

for Fort Nelson residents

Fort Nelson residents will be allowed to go home today after they were forced out by wildfires almost three weeks ago. There are still active fires in the area so an evacuation alert will remain in effect until the risk has been eliminated. An estimated 3,700 area residents were impacted. Four homes were destroyed by the blaze and an additional six properties were damaged. MORE


Leaders must disaster-proof Canada’s hospitals against climate change: experts

 

As Canada warms, infectious disease risks spread north

 

Energy efficiency renovations begin at Saanich’s Cedar Hill Recreation Centre

 

Sidney’s rental protection efforts offer little solace to turfed-out tenants

 

Sister seeks justice in stabbing death of her brother in Lillooet


Small plane crashes in

remote area near Squamish

The Transportation Safety Board is working with RCMP and the BC Coroners Service after a plane crash near Squamish Friday night. RCMP said they have got a report of the crash in a remote area. Police said they received an automatic crash notification from a smart phone Friday evening, adding that the location of the phone was in a remote area on the outskirts of Squamish. MORE

 

New wildfire burning

near Spences Bridge 

The BC Wildfire Service is battling an out-of-control blaze about five kilometres north of Spences Bridge. It is burning in steep terrain on the east side of the Thompson River. The wildfire was estimated at 10 hectares on Friday, but updated Saturday morning at 30 hectares. "The wildfire is burning on a steep slope and displaying rank 3 and 4 fire behaviour, meaning a vigorous surface fire with a moderate rate of spread," the service said in its posts. MORE

Fort Nelson residents

may go home soon

Thousands of people driven from their homes by forest fires may soon get to return home, as early as Tuesday. The final major hurdle is restoring emergency-room operations at the hospital in Fort Nelson. Mayor Rob Fraser said there are people who can look after themselves, fully self-sufficient, taking the risk with respect to weather but the entire community has to be considered. "We have to take into consideration everybody who might not be able to take care of themselves before we can open that highway. But we are close, we are very close. MORE

Surrey policing decision final,

local police service taking over

A final verdict been rendered. The B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that Surrey will have its own police force, beginning in November. Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he hopes the city will now work with the province to continue the transition from the Surrey RCMP to the Surrey Police Service. "What we really want now is the City of Surrey to realize that the decision by the court has been made, that the transition to the Surrey Police Service will continue," Farnworth said. The SPS is scheduled to become the police of jurisdiction in the city in late November. MORE

 

London Drugs doesn't pay,

hacked information released

Cyber criminals have released some hacked data from London Drugs after the company refused to pay a ransom. The company says the files may contain some employee information. Brett Callow, a B.C.-based threat analyst, said the hacking group LockBit had released what it claimed was the company's data. Lockbit has been described by British authorities as the world's most harmful cyber crime group. Callow said the information could represent hundreds of thousands or possibly even millions of individual records. London Drugs said it was "unwilling and unable" to pay a ransom. MORE

 

Health authority computers hacked by cyber criminals

The First Nations Health Authority is the latest the victim of a cyber attack. The health authority detected the intrusion into its corporate network on May 13. Counter measures launched in time to prevent the attackers from encrypting its network, but did not specify what type of employee or public data could be affected, or whether sensitive information such as health records were accessed, saying only that there was no evidence the attack impacted any clinical information systems. MORE

 

London Drugs won't pay

cyber ransom demand

London Drugs has no intention to pay a ransom after a cyber attack that forced the closure of all of its stores in Western Canada. The company says a “sophisticated group of global cyber criminals” are demanding a ransom, saying they’ll leak the company’s data if it doesn’t pay up. The company said that to date it doesn’t appear that patient, customer or primary employee databases have been compromised, but the investigation into the cyberattack is ongoing. London Drugs did not name the criminal group behind the attack, but cyber security company Emsisoft identified it as LockBit, a prolific ransomware operation. MORE


First Nations can now

legally own land

First Nations can now legally own land in B.C. Legislated changes took effect Tuesday removing a major barrier that hindered First Nations in B.C. from owning land. The legislation brings the land ownership laws around First Nations in line with individuals, corporations and modern treaty nations across B.C. MORE


BC ready to add CPR,

drug training to curriculum

Education Minster Rachna Singh says the province is ready to act on CPR and naloxone training in school system. That comes after an 18-year-old girl lay dying from a fentanyl overdose while her UVic classmates watched helplessly, not recognizing what happened to her or how to perform CPR. Sandra Clark, the executive director of the ACT Foundation, a charity that trains people in how to perform CPR and administer naloxone, says the goal is to see every young person graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge to save a life. The Foundation not only wants the life-saving lessons to be mandatory in B.C. high schools, it wants the training to include overdose response. MORE


BC Ferries get $75 million loan
to buy zero-emission ships

Canada Infrastructure Bank is lending $75 million to BC Ferries to help buy four zero-emission vessels and install electric charging infrastructure. The federal Crown corporation says it has closed the deal as the company expands the electrification of its fleet. Terminal upgrades are to be completed by 2027 and the battery electric ferries will be used on small-volume and shorter routes. It's part of the plan to replace its existing fleet with quieter and more environmentally friendly vessels. MORE

Two-way race shaping up
between NDP and Conservatives

The NDP is maintaining a hold a solid lead, with the BC Conservatives solidifying their spot as the primary challenger ahead of October’s election. The Research Co. poll shows 42 per cent of respondents would back the BC NDP, followed by 32 per cent for the BC Conservatives. BC United, a year after rebranding from the BC Liberals, was tied with the BC Green Party at 12 per cent. Housing is the key issue for voters with 40 per cent saying housing, homelessness and poverty is the most important issue. Mario Canseco, president of Research Co. said health care came second as a top issue at 21 per cent, with economy and jobs falling three points to 15 per cent. The 18-to-34 demographic is especially concerned with housing, adding that age group is considering the BC Conservatives more than any other. MORE


Pickton has life-threatening

injuries from prison assault

Serial killer Robert Pickton suffered life-threatening injuries in a major assault Sunday at a Quebec prison on sunday. The 74-year-old was taken to hospital with sever injuries. A 51-year-old suspect is in custody. Pickton was convicted of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after being charged with the murders of 26 women. MORE

 

Easing grocery prices

bring down inflation rate

The annual inflation  rate slowed to 2.7 per cent in April, as cooling grocery price pressures offset higher fuel costs. Inflation on food slowed to 1.4 per cent annually last month, down from 1.9 per cent in March. Slowdowns in annual price growth for meat, non-alcoholic beverages and bakery and cereal products helped to pull down the yearly inflation rate. Statistics Canada noted that prices at the grocery store had jumped 21.4 per cent from April 2021. MORE

Wildfire threat easing

in Fort Nelson region

The wildfire situation in the province appears to be heading toward control, but there are still some smaller fires burning near Fort Nelson. The wildfire destroyed four homes and damaged another six properties. More favourable weather conditions allowed the emergency operations centre to complete a structural damage assessment and contact property owners impacted by the Parker Lake wildfire. Six other properties suffered “severe loss” but homes were not impacted. Shops, sheds, boats and vehicles were destroyed, however. MORE


Inshore water rescue stations

open for summer boating season

Coast Guard Crews are standing by at inshore rescue stations ready for summer. Four Inshore Rescue Boat Stations reopened Saturday at Cortes Bay, Sointula, Nootka Sound, and Kelsey Bay.The stations are open from May to September when crews respond to incidents, including disabled vessels, run aground, lost in the fog, or taking on water, as well as medical emergencies and other situations. MORE


Fort McMurray wildfire

evacuation orders lifted

All evacuation orders for Fort McMurray have been lifted and residents can return home. Weather conditions helped firefighters make progress in battling the blaze that triggered the evacuation of four neighbourhoods on the southern edge of the city. About 6,600 residents were forced to hastily leave their homes on Tuesday, but a statement from the municipality said firefighters have made considerable progress on the fire since then. MORE

Canucks can wrap up

Stanley Cup series tonigt

Tonight could be a big night for hockey fans in the province as the Vancouver Canucks meet Edmonton in the sixth game of the Western Conference playoffs. But just in case, if the Canucks don't wrap it up tonight in Edmonton, they have one more chance after that in the seventh game at Rogers Arena Monday evening. Tonight's game starts at 5 p.m. 


Wildfire smoke not expected

to impact Vancouver Island

Breathe easy, any wildfire smoke wafting over Vancouver Island will not be dense enough to impact air quality. Wildfire smoke from the Parker Lake wildfire near Fort Nelson is expected to cover the whole Island. BlueSky Canada predicts it will probably be a very low smoke event, if there’s even any smoke that hits Vancouver Island at all. All the smoke around the Island is off the coast and not likely to cover Vancouver Island. MORE


Fort Nelson wildfire conditions turning more favourable

It was "the grace of God" that a wildfire didn't sweep through Fort Nelson last Friday, says Rob Fraser, mayor of the regional municipality. Everyone in the town of about 4,700 was ordered to leave as winds hit 70 km/h. B.C. Wildfire Service says the blaze continues to threaten Fort Nelson, spanning nearly 130 square kilometres. The fire has spread away from the town along its southern flank. Cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity are expected to make for more favourable conditions over the next couple of days. MORE

Possible party merger has
Premier’s full attention
Talk about a possible merger of the B.C. Conservative and B.C. United parties has Premier David Eby’s attention. Eby HAS warned his caucus of the potential merger, saying the fall election is shaping up to be the “starkest choice in a generation.” Conservative leader John Rustad and BCU leader Kevin Falcon have acknowledged talks behind the scenes. Eby took aim at the Conservatives earlier this week, mentioning Rustad and his party 10 times, while referring once to BC United. The legislature has adjourned for the summer, with the fall election  on Oct. 19. The standings in the legislature are 55 New Democrats, 26 BC United, two Conservatives, two Greens and two Independents. MORE

 

SkyTrain attacker gets
10-year prison term
A man convicted of attacking a SkyTrain attendant in 2021 has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Transit police say Howard Geddes Skelding was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and forcible confinement. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2021. Skelding assaulted a SkyTrain attendant at Braid Station by violently attacking the attendant. She fought him off and called for help. Skelding was arrested at the scene. MORE

Rules getting tougher

for pets going across the line

Taking Rover on a jaunt to the United States soon be harder. The U.S. Center for Disease Control is bringing in new rules starting Aug. 1, intended to make sure dogs coming into the country are healthy and don't pose a risk. Among the changes, dogs must be at least six months old and healthy. They’ll also need a microchip and a CDC dog import form receipt – even if you’re just hopping over for gas or groceries.