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Income Tax filing deadline April 30

April 25, 2024

Residential construction accounts

for just over $300 million in 2023

The city issued 1,170 building permits last year, with a value of $365 million, about $25 million higher than the nine-year average. Residential construction accounted for just over $300 million of that total. Multi-family units made up the majority with 912. Single-family dwellings hit 124, and secondary suites at 122. FULL STORY.

A man with developmental difficulties was bear sprayed in the face while walking his dog last week. Nanaimo RCMP and the victim’s family are asking for help in identifying the assailant. The victim’s sister Sherry Smart said the impact has been catastrophic. “Completely unprovoked, unnecessary and frightening. My brother was very frightened,” she said. It happened shortly after 8 p.m. last Thursday when the 54-year-old was walking by the roundabout where Big Bear Ridge meets Godfrey Road. MORE

A huge shout out to all the folks who produce the News Bulletin each week. The paper was named the best community newspaper in British Columbia at the B.C. and Yukon Community News Media Association Ma Murray Awards, winning the General Excellence Award in the largest circulation category, 31,000 and higher. It’s a first since 2011 that the News Bulletin has won the General Excellence Award. Way to go gang. MORE

The deputy leader of the Green Party of Canada will spend an additional 48 days in jail following sentencing in BC Supreme Court in Nanaimo on Wednesday. Angela Davidson, 38, was sentenced to 60 days in jail with credit for 12 days served and 75 hours of community service after being found guilty earlier this year on seven counts of contempt of court. Justice Christopher Hinkson said Davidson continued violating the court injunction after her first arrest for contempt. The charges stem from incidents in the Fairy Creek watershed and old-growth forests from May 2021 to January 2022. Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May was in the courtroom. MORE

A tactical evacuation was ordered by the Peace River Regional District and the District of Chetwynd for a fire in the Peace Region. The B.C. Wildfire Services estimated the blaze near Highway 97 at 40 hectares. The order covers areas west of Bisset Creek, south to the Pine River, East to Wildmare Creek and includes all properties on the north side of the highway. RCMP and the Chetwynd Fire Department were working to get residents safely from their homes. MORE

THE MONEY TREE - $5.2 million in Community Gaming Grants will be shared among 62 organizations for capital projects that will improve quality of life in B.C. communities.

This year's funding also includes:

* $250,000 for seismic upgrades at the Errington War Memorial Hall;

* $250,000 to replace artificial turf field at Braefoot Park to Lakehill Soccer Association’

* $130,000 for a water tender truck for firefighting on Saturna Island;

* $89,691 for commercial-grade kitchen equipment at the Shelbourne Community Kitchen Society;

* $80,000 for building renovations at the Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association of North Vancouver Island; and

* $62,920 to replace the gymnastics floor at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club.

The funding is part of $140 million provided annually through Community Gaming Grants to not-for-profit organizations.

QUOTABLE – The naked truth is always better than a well-dressed lie.

April 24, 2024

Electricity demand for data centres

raises new questions for city council

The recent focus on electricity demands of cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence data centres around the world should raise new questions about rezoning for a data centre on East Wellington Road last April. The bylaw rezoned the properties to I3 with data centre as a site-specific permitted use. The application did not go into specifics of the data to be processed. That could put a severe demand on our electricity supply on Vancouver Island. The city still has a second kick at the can as a development permit application has not been made. PERSPECTIVE

City Council has given third reading for 127 market rental housing units on Nicol Street at Needham. Director of Development Approvals Jeremy Holm said the application is the first of its kind in Nanaimo under new government rules to speed up housing projects. It comprises five under-used properties in the south end including 1.5-metre strip of City-owned property sold to the developer. It will be six storeys, wood-framed over a two-level concrete parking structure.

Hats off to City staff who have won the Canadian Award for Financial Reporting and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. This is the third year in a row that Nanaimo has been honoured by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. These awards are given for the City's Annual Municipal Report and it's shorter version the Annual Report Highlights document. The 2022 Annual Report and Annual Report Highlights can be found on the City’s Website.

Nanaimo is one of eight communities for the next housing targets set by the government. The province says 20 communities were chosen due to being high-growth and high-needs areas where more action is needed to build more homes quicker. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the goal is to build on the work municipalities are already doing, while they continue to implement the recent provincial legislative changes. MORE

New Westminster Mayor Patrick Johnstone is not a fan of the province’s housing target list. Twenty more cities will get housing targets, but the mayors of some of them argue that they’re already doing everything they can to build and that they’re being singled out. “I’m calling BS on this priority list,” said Johnstone. He said the government has to stop pointing fingers and start doing its job. MORE

Harbour Air is adding spark to it’s adoption of electric aviation technology to electrify its seaplane fleet. The airline has a letter of intent with U.S.-based MagniX to buy 50 electric engines to retrofit its fleet. MagniX is working with Transport Canada and Harbour Air to get all certification for its DHC-2 Beaver electric engines to be flight-ready. Harbour Air has tested the DHC-2 Beaver engine, dubbed “e-Beaver,” in flight. They have completed 78 electric flight tests. MORE

The Surrey Police Service will replace the RCMP on Nov. 29, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced Tuesday. The date does not mean the transition will be complete – finalizing it is a process Farnworth estimated will take at least two years. The SPS and the RCMP will continue work side by side, as they have been throughout the transition. MORE

The money tree is turning into an orchard. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is offering $5 billion in loan guarantees to support Indigenous communities for ownership stakes in natural resource and energy projects. The PM says the program will help Indigenous people get a fair share in Canada’s economic growth. MORE

Meanwhile, Premier David Eby announced $25 million to expand a milk production at Vitalus Nutrition in Abbotsford to raise milk production by 50 per cent. The project will boost local production for dairy products such as butter, which is now shipped from Eastern Canada. Eby said it will also create up to 100 more jobs at the site. MORE

QUOTABLE – Some of you walked into my life and made it better. Some others walked out and made it fantastic.

April 23, 2024

A dream comes true for Nanaimo

as artificial turf sports fields open

Harewood Centennial Park is is now open with two multi-sport artificial turf fields for soccer, field lacrosse, football and baseball. The fields were opened to the public Saturday more than a decade after they were planned. The price tag came in at just under $10 million, including the turf, LED field lighting, 400-seat bleachers and a media/coaching booth slated to open this summer and can be used 24/7. MORE

Get in the swim, and it’s all free. The Lions free swim goes every Saturday from this weekend to the end of June, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Nanaimo Aquatic Centre (no session on June 15). The city’s Parks and Recreation, Lions Club, Country Grocer and a slew of other community sponsors present the fund afternoon for the community.


It’s annual general meeting time at the Chamber of Commerce on Friday, April 26. Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation Minister Brenda Bailey will be the headline speaker. Networking starts at 11 a.m. with Bailey taking the podium at 11:45. The business of the annual general meeting is slated for 1 p.m. at the Grand Hotel.

Hon. Brenda Bailey

Rover is no longer restricted to the car decks on B.C. Ferries, he can now enjoy the upper deck on the Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay. BC Ferries has added outdoor pet areas after a pilot project on the Earl's Cove – Saltery Bay route in fall 2022 then expanded to the Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay and Powell River – Comox routes in spring 2023. Now the outdoor space has been added to the Queen of Surrey and the Queen of Coquitlam as well. MORE


Oh the stupid things some people do after having a few to many wobbly pops. Too much booze appears to have motivated two men to remove and make off with a heavy metal sign hanging outside NYLA Fresh Thread on Commercial Street. The bold feat was captured by the security camera at the store April 8 but the video had to be edited before release on social media.

Canadians are not buying what Justin Trudeau is selling. Last week’s budget failed to spark a rebound in the polls for the Liberal party, according to new Ipsos polling released Tuesday. “If the purpose of the budget was to get a political reboot going, it didn’t seem to happen,” says Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Public Affairs. The budget included billions of dollars in new spending aimed at improving “generational fairness” and rapidly filling in Canada’s housing supply gap. MORE

QUOTABLE – There are a lot of childish adults who missed the growing up part.

April 22, 2024

Nanaimo Hospital Foundation launches campaign for cancer centre equipment

Spirits are high at the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation now that the next steps have been taken to build a new cancer centre. That has the foundation trying to raise $160,000 to fund an instrument for early detection and treatment for cancers. CEO Barney Ellis-Perry said the new cancer centre will need state-of-the-art equipment for our growing population. He added it will facilitate brining in another pathologist to speed up the whole process. MORE


RCMP arrested seven suspects in the Cowichan Valley after property searches turned up multiple firearms, including 3D-printed handguns, and several kilograms of drugs. Police seized suspected fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine. Police have identified one of those arrested as 38-year-old Grant Giles of the Fraser Valley. He is charged with four counts of drug trafficking and one count of failing to comply with a court order. Giles has a lengthy criminal history, including previous charges of assault, drug trafficking and flight from police. MORE


A 1,600 hectare wildfire is burning out of control between Quesnel and Williams Lake. The fire had grown from only 50 hectares on Saturday. It is the only one of seven wildfires in the Cariboo region that was listed as out of control. The fires are under investigation but are believed to be human-caused as there were no lightning strikes when they started.  MORE


An estimated 700,000 people packed the streets of Surrey during the weekend for one of the largest Vaisakhi celebrations in the world. Vaisakhi dates back to 1699 and celebrates the revelation of the Khalsa, which refers to the community that considers Sikhism its faith. It has become a holy day to mark the birth of the Khalsa fraternity. MORE


You are never too old. Just look at 99-year-old Betty Brussel who made history Sunday setting a new world record for the 100-to-104-year-old age category at the B.C. Masters Swimming provincials in Surrey. She finished the 800-metre freestyle in 26 minutes and 17 seconds, a new world record for the age category. Betty now has 10 world records on her record. She will turn 100 in July and still dives off the platform with grace. HERE


 One of the things that makes political leaders as uncomfortable as a cat on a hot tin roof is leading the polls by too wide a margin heading into an election. We’re five months away from a provincial election and Premier David Eby has had a comfortable lead in the polls. That ride is starting to get a little bumpy these days with rising disatisfaction over drug decriminalization, infringement on property rights, health care and more. Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer has an excellent view of what is happening HERE.


QUOTABLE –  Would you call a taxi service for seniors an Oldsmobile?

Lining up at the trough again

A petition is floating around social media to stop Bill C-65. What’s that all about? Some in Parliament are trying to have the fixed federal election delayed by one week. Sneaky. Delaying the election by one week will make a number of politicians eligible to get full pension benefits which would be paid through taxes for the rest of their lives. If you want to sign the petition, go HERE

April 21, 2024

There's money to be had

with electric vehicle rebates

Everybody is handing out money. The feds are handing out tax dollars, the province is handing out tax dollars and now the city says “me too.” BC Hydro has a rebate for electric vehicle charging facilities and now the City is offering rebates on top of Hydro. Separate applications must be submitted to the City and Hydro to get both rebates. The City offers top-up rebates of $150 for single family homes, duplexes, row houses and townhouses. An additional rebates of up to $1,000 for an EV ready plan and $100 per parking space with access to an EV charger available for apartments and condo buildings. MORE

You can have all the thumb drives and CDs you want, but vinyl is back for music lovers. And there’s no greater source than the Nanaimo Record Show at the Bowen Park Auditorium today. It continues until 4 p.m. so head on down there.


Snow pack levels are about half of normal in the mid-Island and that means water restrictions are on the way. The Regional District, the City and Parksville will institute enhanced restrictions May 1 with watering based on odd-even house numbers. Houses will be allowed to water between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and  between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. on assigned days. Hand watering, drip and micro irrigation are allowed, as well as watering vegetable and food gardens. MORE


A lot of effort is being put into saving a trapped orca whale near Zeballos on the north Island. Something’s a little contradictory though. Seals were killed to feed the whale in the meantime. Does that put whales on a higher level than seals?


A planned a 4-20 party went up in smoke in Vancouver Saturday when participants were met by fences and police. It was supposed to be at Sunset Beach with vendors and a stage, but Vancouver Police told organizers that there would be enforcement of applicable laws, including for the sale and possession of cannabis. The Parks Board called the 4-20 gathering "unpermitted" and "non-sanctioned," promising to fence off certain areas of the park and close Vancouver Aquatic Centre, the Sunset Beach washrooms and the parking lots for Sunset Beach, English Bay and the aquatic centre. MORE


The federal and provincial governments are providing nearly $16 million for a solar farm in Anahim Lake where power is diesel generated. It is expected to be the largest off-grid solar energy project in Canada. It will reduce diesel generation by about 64 per cent, equal to 1.1 million litres reduction in diesel use a year. BC Hydro will buy the solar energy and integrate it into power lines and a battery storage system to serve the community. MORE


We already have a doctor shortage, but now the federal budget puts another crunch on the profession. The proposed capital gains tax increases has some family doctors fearing it will affect their retirement savings. Ontario Dr. David Poon said they don’t get pensions, or retirement funds, insurance or sick days. They have to save up for their own retirement and for their families. He has started a Facebook group ‘Professional Corporation Advocates’, which aims to rally professionals, especially doctors, against the changes. MORE

QUOTABLE – Is there a greater mystery than how the left wing (or right wing) mind works?

April 20, 2024

Nanaimo homeless population count

passes 500 and continues to grow

How bad is the homeless situation in Nanaimo? The latest count from 2023 reports 515, up almost 20 per cent from 2020. The count found that 82.5 per cent of the respondents had lived in the city for more than a year, and not a single one was a recent immigrant to Canada. More than one-third of respondents said their most recent housing loss came from eviction. 

Dodd’s Furniture is throwing in the towel and closing its Nanaimo location, selling everything including the building. In typical Gordy Dodd fashion, a newspaper ad states they are emptying their warehouse with $4 million in inventory on the block and “no reasonable offer will be refused.”

Oops! A small oil slick in a local marina was likely caused by an accidental activation of a bilge pump. The Port Authority became aware of a vessel in the marina leaking oil and the patrol division and Canadian Coast Guard were alerted while crews on site deployed pads to absorb some of the slick. MORE

If you want to preach the Gospel, go where the sinners are. That appears to be the philosophy of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church on alternating Sundays at LevelTwo Nightclub with music, drinking, dancing and talk about Jesus. A newspaper story says it’s shaped by the night club experience.

Michael Campbell’s podcast deals with every-day financial matters. To that end, he has some interesting facts about the federal budget. Canada will have the third highest capital gains tax rate on the planet after June 25th. Mike says he’s already heard from people who’ve owned rental properties for over a decade - with long term tenants. They are now going to sell as soon as possible because of the change to capital gains tax in effect on June 25. They are listing and giving tenants notice immediately – two months to find a new rental. HERE

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation comments that every time you pay GST you are actually paying the interest on the federal debt. Interest charges on Canada’s debt will be $54 billion this year – GST revenue will be $54 billion. That’s just the interest on the debt, now costing taxpayers more than $1 billion a week. Check it out HERE.

QUOTATION – Just because you are the loudest does not mean you are the smartest.

April 19, 2024

Eby not budging despite frustration over drug decriminalization problems

Premier David Eby is not giving up on drug decriminalization in spite of growing opposition. Public frustration is growing around open drug use and hospital safety, as critics question his government’s planning for and response to complications from decriminalization. Eby argues the government is trying to keep people alive, to get them intro treatment. “We have attempted to put in place a system that recognizes some of the impacts we've seen of the ongoing toxic drug crisis that we're in, including public drug use by some individuals and we're not going to let it go,” he added. MORE

Premier David Eby

Meanwhile down the road, the Oregon legislature recognized its mistake on drug decriminalization and rolled back the program. State legislators reinstated a misdemeanour for possession starting Sept. 1. The default penalty is probation with mandatory addiction treatment, with no jail time or fines. If someone breaks probation they could face up to six months in jail. MORE

The controversial Howard Johnson Hotel redevelopment is back to square one. City Council passed third reading after a public hearing on Thursday with a written presentation from Snuneymuxw. Chief Michael Wyse's five-page letter outlined concerns about the huge development. He cited environmental impacts and potential grave sites or artifacts on the site, which was once the Swayxum Village. MORE

Chief Mike Wyse

Cheers to Adrianne Dartnall and Rick Lennert of Nanaimo for being presented the Governor-General's Meritorious Service Medal for their charity work as founders of the Kids International Development Society. They accepted the award in Ottawa recently. The G-G's websote recognized the “remarkable contributions in many different fields of endeavour, from advocacy initiatives and health-care services, to research and humanitarian efforts. MORE

It's a title not everyone would strive for, but Victoria has the dubious distinction as Dope City, thanks to Uber Eats delivery service. That might explains lot of things about our capital city. Cannabis delivery started last year through Uber and since then Victorians have ordered the most marijuana in any city served by Uber. Metro Vancouver area communities round out the top five. Uber says the most expensive order placed in the province over the past year hit $307.98 for an ounce of bud and a bong.MORE

Ottawa’s new dental-care plan is creating more aches than buy-in from providers, leading the government to allow direct billing on a claim-by-claim basis without signing on to the program. Dental clinics have been slow to sign up for the new program, even though 1.7 million seniors have already enrolled. They’re not thrilled about how much the government plans to pay for services and the administrative burden. MORE

Short-term rentals owners have a hammer over their heads with pending regulations that include penalties of up to $10,000 per day. Investigations will be conducted by a provincial enforcement unit, which will launch once the new rules take effect on May 1. Daily penalties will range from $500 to $5,000 for hosts, depending on the infraction, and reach as high as $10,000 for corporations. Premier David Eby reiterated that the purpose of the regulations is to open up thousands of potential long-term housing units that are offered on apps such as Airbnb and VRBO. MORE

QUOTABLE – How come sheep don’t shrink when it rains?

April 18, 2024

What we have here is a

complete failure to communicate

A growing number of constituents on social media are pissed off at the lack of response and service they get from some of their elected representatives. Most people believe if they have a problem they can contact their Councillor, MLA or MP. That’s not what happens. Here’s a question, would you vote for someone who does not respect you enough to answer the phone, or acknowledge that they’ve even read your correspondence? The worst invention since the telephone is the automated answering machine which forces you to leave a message so they can decide whether to talk to you or ignore you.

The earth moved near Port Allice yesterday as two earthquakes rumbled under water about 200 km to the west. The first was 4.8 magnitude, then the second, at 4.3 magnitude followed late last night. Earthquakes Canada says no damage would be expected and it was not felt. No tsunamis is expected following these quakes.

Whatever floats your boat. Carol Love of Nanaimo is serenading ann Orca whale calf with her violin, hoping to entice the animal to leave the remote lagoon where she has been trapped for almost four weeks. Carol is watching the tides at the lagoon and will play at every high tide to entice the orca calf to pass through a narrow channel, under a bridge and into the open ocean. Her concerts come as a rescue team continues preparations for another attempt to catch the Orca calf in a net and transport it to the nearby ocean. MORE

Get ready to duck, there’s an aerial bombardment coming to the sky over Nanaimo as the province targets hundreds of hectares of the Island with a biological insecticide to reduce the spread of invasive spongy moths. Large sprays are also planned for Qualicum Beach, North Saanich, Greater Victoria and Cowichan Bay. Three aerial assaults are set from late this month to mid-June, depending on the weather, at dawn and end no later than 7:30 a.m. MORE

That little construction project you’re planning could turn into a big boom. Nanaimo recorded 20 gas line strikes from digging activities in 2023, the most by any one city in the region and 15 per cent of all reports on Vancouver Island. 132 lines were hit last year on the Island. The rule is simple, check before you dig to find out where the gas lines are. MORE

The murder trial of Paris Jayanne Laroche, 28, resumed yesterday. She has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder and indignity to human remains after Sidney Josephe Mantee, 32, was murdered in 2020. She had admitted to undercover police and several witnesses to striking Mantee in the back of the head multiple times with sledgehammer. MORE


There have been no known instances of human trafficking from Nanaimo Airport and they want to keep it that way. The airport has signed on to a new awareness campaign (#NotInMyCity) to “prevent, disrupt, and end sexual exploitation and trafficking. Terminal and customer care manager Laurie Hawthornthwaite said transportation hubs like airports can play a crucial role in spotting and disrupting human trafficking, as long as they know how to spot the indicators. Information posters are set up around YCD with the steps if you suspect someone might be the victim of human trafficking. MORE


We have miles and miles of streams in our greater neighbourhood, and they get messed up. A salute to Nanaimo Area Land Trust NALT volunteers who have been busy cleaning up to fulfil their mission - to support, promote and protect the natural values of land and water in our area. Here are the Cat Stream Streamkeepers at a recent cleanup blitz. Thank you.

You never know what you’ll find in our rivers. How about a submerged car lot? Or even a school bus? Metro Vancouver police found the bus and other vehicles in the Fraser River while investigating a car found in the river with its lights on and the motor running, but no occupant around. The RCMP underwater recovery team found the stolen vehicle along with multiple other vehicles that appear to have been there for some time. MORE

Do we have any idea of the cost of everything in the federal budget? The numbers are so big it’s beyond comprehension for most of us. We might guess that spending on health care would top the list. Well, you’d be wrong. The cost of servicing the national debt is greater than health care. New spending includes $8.5 billion for housing, a $6 billion Canada Disability Benefit, a $1 billion national school food program, and a $500 million fund for youth mental health. The government expects to recoup $19 billion by raising the capital gains tax level and taxes on cigarettes and vaping products but that still leaves them in the hole with a $40 billion deficit which accrues interest upon interest. MORE

Hey, we’re in the playoffs. The Canucks have home playoff tickets after about a decade in the wilderness. If you plan to attend, better arrange for a mortgage, the price for a single Premium ticket is 600 bucks. They tout an elevated experience as you get arena seating with 400-Level views of the ice, as well as access to a Premium Buffet featuring the "Millionaires Menu". You just might have to be one to buy in. If they win each series in seven games that’s 16 home playoff games – just under ten grand. Check it out HERE. Regular seats are also available but still at elevated prices. Go Canucks.

QUOTABLE – The benefits of aging – a failing memory absolves a guilty conscience

April 17, 2024

I hear the gravy train a'comin,

it's the election handout special

We should have elections more often, they make our elected officials more visible and generous. You can tell election time is upon us, our representatives are showing up to glad-hand with the masses. A couple of cabinet ministers held a town hall this week at the Chinese Cultural Centre. MLA and cabinet minister Hon. Sheila Malcolmson and MLA Doug Routley were joined by Citizens Services Minister George Chow on Monday where the focus centred on doctor shortages and other local priorities. That goes along with the promises of a Nanaimo cancer centre and 20 new complex care spaces. Keep it coming, it’s our money. MORE

Just like a rubber ball, they keep bouncing back – former BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins has resurfaced as the new boss at FRS Clipper in Canada, the ferry that sails between Victoria and Seattle. It also has a CEO for the American side of operations. Collins was canned at BC Ferries in mid-2022, as it dealt with staffing shortages and unreliable service. MORE

Buckets and buckets of money continues to be cast upon the waters to relocate an orca whale trapped in a lagoon up Island. The Department of Fisheries says a new attempt will be finalized in the next few days. Any new attempt to capture and release the young whale will depend on weather and the availability of equipment and personnel.

Thanks for the ride, but no thanks. So much for being evicted. A moulting juvenile elephant seal apparently wasn’t thrilled about his new digs on the northern part of the Island after he was relocated there. He immediately swam back to the Victoria area on an astonishing six-day journey. He has a degree of comfort around people that could lead to trouble.

Premier David Eby tends to get cheeky at times so couldn’t resist taking a poke at other provinces that have balked at conditions for infrastructure money from Tuesday’s federal budget. The funding has strings attached that have Alberta and Ontario premiers resisting. “We are prepared to accept all of the money that is refused by other provinces, that refuse to take basic steps to ensure the availability of housing. We have already implemented all the pieces the federal government wants other provinces to do,” Eby said. MORE

Another one bites the dust as Western Forest Products indefinitely ceases operations at its Alberni Pacific Division facility. It has already been shut since the fall of 2022. WFP says it has been unable to reach a deal that would allow the site to keep operating. The remaining 60 employees are being offered voluntary severance pay.

The safe drug supply controversy isn’t going away, and Premier David Eby doesn’t buy the argument. Vancouver Police Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson told a House of Commons committee Monday that about half of hydromorphone seizures were diverted from safe supply drugs. Speaking as the president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, she said roughly 20 per cent of hydromorphone prescriptions in B.C. are from safe supply. Eby said this was the first time he’s heard these numbers from the VPD, countering that half of the hydromorphone diverted is from people’s prescriptions for pain or other uses. MORE

QUOTABLE – Here’s a thought. Politicians’ wages should be reduced at the rate of inflation.

Budget 2024

If government was run like a business it wouldn't be in business any more. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s budget on Tuesday predicts another huge loss and continuing to pile on the red ink. It projects spending $535 billion in 2024-25, with a $39.8 billion deficit, compared with $40 billion last year. There is $11.5 billion in new spending this year with $8.5 billion over the next five years to build millions of new homes and nearly $2.6 billion to enhance student aid and grant programs and open up new job opportunities. Then it targets those Canadians who have secured their future through investments, raising the taxable level of the capital gains tax to 66 per cent from 50 per cent.

Budget 2024: Unused defence and Canada Post land tapped for housing

Budget 2024: Smokers and vapers to help pay for increased drug spending

Budget 2024: Capital gains hike coming as the wealthy asked to pay more

Budget 2024: $5B in Indigenous loan guarantees won’t bridge gap

Budget 2024: Criminal code changes aim to put the brakes on car theft

Budget 2024: Five years worth of carbon rebates on the way to businesses

April 16, 2024

Nanaimo Cancer Centre gets green light,

construction scheduled to begin in 2025

A new Nanaimo Cancer Centre at NRGH has the green light with construction slated to begin in 2025. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced the beginning of the procurement process adding the state-of-the-art facility will benefit patients in Nanaimo and the surrounding region through the latest medical technology. The three-storey centre will be built next to the ambulatory care building. The new single-storey addition will be home to a new community oncology network clinic and expanded pharmacy. FULL REPORT

Adrian Dix

NANAIMO WILL GET 20 new complex care spaces for those with mental health or addiction challenges. It’s part of a 240-unit addition province-wide.  The spaces come with wrap-around supports for people with overlapping challenges including developmental disabilities, trauma or an acquired brain injury. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Jennifer Whiteside said more people can get the co-ordinated care they need right in their own homes, and they can live happier and healthier lives in their communities and remain connected to their support networks. MORE


A RESIDENTIAL FIRE that heavily damaged a carport, garage and boat on the weekend is under investigation. Nanaimo Fire Rescue Assistant Chief David Dales said the fire in the 3000 block of Neyland Road generated multiple 911 calls when neighbours reported it at about 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue crews continue to search in the Oceanside area today for John Mathers, 75, who was reported missing on Monday after he left his home in the morning to run errands and did not return. His truck was found Monday evening at Englishman River Falls Park. Mathers is 5’10”, 140 pounds with balding light brown hair and a short beard. MORE

A WOMAN WHO STABBED a man sleeping at a bus stop at Port Place in 2022 has been sentenced to two years time served and two years probation. Kimberly Anne Lewis, 53, pleaded guilty to the attack between two people known to each other that left the victim seriously injured. She will remain indefinitely at a residential treatment centre in Mission. MORE


BACK ON IDOL – Lauren Spencer-Smith was back on American Idol as a guest performer on Sunday. She sang “Fingers Crossed”, a single she released in 2022 and previously reached number one on charts in Ireland and Norway. It was Lauren’s first time on the American Idol stage. Her run on the program was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, competing from her home along Sprout Lake. She was recently nominated for three Juno awards. MORE


INCREASED CARBON DIOXIDE is leading to more vigorous tree growth, sending extra pollen in the air. Arborist Dan Sharp of Davey Tree Services says the pollen season is longer. He adds more heat and carbon dioxide means increased growth, but with less moisture in our spring and summer it’s tricky to predict what comes next. MORE

QUOTABLE – How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage.

April 15, 2024

SPRING MAY BE HERE – A temperature record that stood for almost a century was broken Saturday in Nelson as the mercury hit 23.3 C and then rose more than a degree higher, to 24.6 C. on Sunday. A stretch of sunny weather in the Lower Mainland may be interrupted by a few showers today but sunny days are in the forecast Tuesday through Friday with highs hitting 16 C. Lest we get too cocky, a snow warning is in place for Fort Nelson with five to 10 centimetres expected to fall today. MORE

PERSPECTIVE – WHY DO WE HAVE such a major shortage of doctors? An informative article in the Sooke News Mirror explains what their community has to go through to bring in foreign-trained doctors. It's worth reading. HERE


IT’S A SUCCESS STORY for the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter after they raised $289,000 to bring their building up to building and fire code standards. They raised the money through grants and fund raising efforts, including $120,000 from the federal Reaching Home program. Some of the money will be invested in the upgrades, and the rest will supporti the shelter’s Clean Team which cleans up neighbourhood graffiti and litter, as well as the shower program at Caledonia Park. MORE

SHORT-TERM RENTALS – The city is adapting to new provincial Short-Term Rental Accommodation Act to restrict short-term rentals with changes over the next year. The province in implementing the new rules through this year and into early 2025 with enhanced regulation and enforcement. That means you have to register all short-term rentals, sharing host data with municipalities, and requiring advertising platforms to remove listings without valid business license or registration numbers. MORE


ALL DOWN HILL – Registration opens today for the Hub City Soap Box Derby on Franklyn Street in mid-August. Jay Clayton said the move to Franklyn Street from Wesley Street creates a new look for racers in their home-made vehicles, as well as spectators. The downhill grade will be a little steeper speeding up the racers. The Old City Quarter Association and the Downtown Business Association are involved in the event. MORE

QUOTABLE – We can’t solve hunger, homelessness or poverty here at home but we think we can change the climate in the entire universe.

Sunday, April 14

Numbers are down but severity of reported crimes is on the increase

FEWER VICTIMS ARE REPORTING crimes but the severity of those reported is rising. RCMP Insp. Andrew Burton laid out the picture at a public safety committee meeting reporting on calls for police service between 2019-2023. He said the numbers fluctuate for many reasons, but some could be because people don’t bother to report crimes and police are concerned it could be a factor.“I encourage people to pick up the phone and make the call. I think it’s easy to get frustrated and say ‘oh nothing is going to get done, I’ve called before, nothing is going to get done.’ I can tell you nothing will get done if you don’t call the police,” said Burton. MORE

ISLAND WISH LISTS – Island communities bared their needs at the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention ending today in Victoria. Among the 57 resolutions, Nanaimo presented a wish for a provincial housing co-ordinator saying that homelessness and housing instability in the province have been growing at an unprecedented rate. Mayor Leonard Krog said we have a lot of people who are not in need of supports but just need a place to live. The Alberni region is looking for an alternate route for emergencies. MORE

IN CASE YOU’VE GOT SOME GOLD lying around, Nanaimo Women Helping Women could sure use it. They have launched a fund raiser to collect unwanted gold and silver jewellery to convert to cash for their programs and supports. Founder Kerri Isham said some women have a mismatched single earring or a broken chain in their jewellery box that could be donated. If have a donation, send an email to arrange drop-off at two locations in the city, or pickup. MORE

QUOTABLE – Your personal problems don’t merit a cultural revolution.

OUR RIGHTS ARE eroding. New international agreements in the works will hand over pandemic powers to the World Health Organization. One of the main concerns is that the WHO will have authority to declare a health emergency, making it the final authority for the world’s public health response. The UN is ramping up efforts to persuade member countries to get in line before its annual meeting beginning May 27. MORE

April 13, 2024

Hollywood Nanaimo will shut down
section of downtown for six weeks

BEWARE OF ZOMBIES – Our downtown will be transformed into a movie set with a major section of Commercial Street closed as it is transformed into a filming zone. During other times in the six-week run, access will be maintained for surrounding businesses and the Vancouver Island Regional Library. The tuning fork sculpture and some trees at Diana Krall Plaza were temporarily removed in March to accommodate the show. HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’  is filming its second season in B.C. The show is based off a hit video game 20 years into a global pandemic, which transforms people into zombie-like creatures.

DOWNTOWN CHAOS – Crews have begun removing awnings from downtown businesses to reduce loitering after numerous fires set by squatters who shelter under them. And another business is ready to throw in the towel after three breakings in just over a month. Kwak Kihong, owner Nanda Korean Fried Chicken, says he’s scared and angry, and considering closing the doors to his business. MORE


WANTED ON WARRANTS – Police on the Island are looking for 38-year-old Morgan Elizabeth Blanch who is wanted on a load of unendorsed warrants including possessing a weapon for dangerous purpose; theft under $5,000; break and enter; theft of a motor vehicle and fraud. Blanch is 5’8″ tall Caucasian female, 141 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. Police are asking anyone who has any information about her whereabouts to contact the RCMP. MORE


THERE ARE NO TICKETS – Don’t try to buy Taylor Swift concert tickets on social media, you’re likely to get burned. Police warn fans not to fall for scams advertising resale tickets on Facebook to her sold-out Vancouver shows.

West Shore RCMP said it has received complaints about a fraud on several Facebook community groups and Facebook Marketplace. They they believe the Facebook account advertising the tickets had been hacked or cloned.


SWITCHING GEARS – After taking a new tack, Habitat for Humanity is developing a multi-unit affordable housing complex with four buildings at 5915 Metral Dr. Executive director Jeff Krafta says it will be unlike previous single-family builds. It’s a 25-unit stacked townhouse, with some one-bedroom ground floor or upper floor units, and some units with both an upstairs and a downstairs. MORE

A SIGN OF THE TIMES – Nanaimo’s iconic welcome sign in Maffeo Sutton Park has been defaced. The multi-coloured O was spay-painted with lettering reading “No WEF” – the World Economic Forum. The city says the multi-coloured 15 segments represent diversity. Mayor Leonard Krog was not amused, expressing anger over the vandalism. MORE


THE MILITARY MUSEUM is recognizing the men who played a vital role in  Canadian war history. More than 2,000 men from China died while working as labourers on the battlefields of Europe in the First World War. An estimated 80,000 Chinese men were transported by train from Victoria to Halifax in 1917 in secret by the government to bypass a $500 head tax on Chinese labourers. MORE

THIS IS SICKENING – Labour Minister Harry Bains revealed in the Legislature that 36 health care workers got WorkSafeBC compensation last year for exposure to substances of various kinds, including drugs. He said the health care workers, including nurses, had time-loss claims accepted for exposures that include tobacco, medications and even drugs and 14 of these workers were nurses. MORE


EIGHT YEARS OF DRUG CRISIS  – More than 2,000 Island people have died during the eight years since the toxic drug crisis was declared a public health emergency on April 14, 2016. The death toll is 2,428 during that time. Members of Island Health’s Harm Reduction Team reflect on this somber anniversary. FULL STORY

QUOTABLE – If the professor on Gilligan's Island could make a radio out of a coconut, why couldn't he fix a hole in a boat?

ROAD TO DAMACUS – The climate evangelist federal NDP appear to be seeing the light, shifting away from carbon taxes as the only solution to our changing climate. Now they want premiers to come up with new ideas to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. This week the NDP supported a Conservative motion demanding that Prime Minister Trudeau meet provincial and territorial leaders within five weeks to discuss the policy. The Conservatives preach that the carbon price is making life less affordable for Canadians. Trudeau says that message seems to be resonating with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. As long as voter opinion polls show Conservatives rising, and the NDP lagging, Singh recognizes the need to veer away from the Liberals. How much longer can the NDP and Liberals stay in bed together, how much longer can their common law relationship last?  


April 12, 2024

City and Hospitality Association square off over hotel room tax

WHOSE MONEY IS IT? – The city and tourism operators are wrangling over who controls and administers hotel tax revenue. The tax is charged to short-term rentals like hotels, to boost local tourism marketing, programs and events. The tax has been handled by the Nanaimo Hospitality Association since its inception, but the City wants switch control of the $1.2 million to Tourism Nanaimo which was formed since the original deal which expires at the end of this year. Tourism Nanaimo is responsible now for destination marketing for the region. MORE

FINDING A FAMILY DOCTOR should become a lot easier as the province streamlines the process to connect residents to family doctors. The Health Connect Registry has more than 800 primary care providers who can take on as many as 170,000 new patients. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the plan will accelerate the patient-doctor matching process to help the 310,000 who are on registry. The new system goes into effect April 17. MORE


AROUND THE CLOCK SERVICE – Gabriola Island is getting an enhanced full-time ambulance station. Each station has eight full-time positions, with paramedics on duty 24 hours a day. It’s part of the move to provide more ambulance services in line with a provincial conversion plan to enhance 911 responsiveness and provide reliable out-of-hospital care. MORE


LACROSSE SEASON SAVED – Hazelwood Construction Services has come through to rescue the Nanaimo Senior B Timbermen as the title sponsor for 2024. A player-led intervention saw the team return to the floor last year after a key sponsor pulled out. COVID shut down the West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association for the 2020 and 2021 seasons and not operating for three years threatened the future of the team until Hazelwood chipped in.  MORE

DID YOU GET ONE? A total of 838 red light tickets were issued to drivers running through the Island Highway-Bowen Road-Norwell Drive intersection last year. That’s a big jump of 21 per cent from the previous year when 663 tickets were issued. That was also the highest total of any camera outside the Lower Mainland. The Island Highway-Aulds-Hammond Bay Road intersection monitors double duty, nabbing 152 speeders last year along with 149 red light runners. MORE


IT TOOK ONLY ONE DAY for scammers to zero in on an increased subsidy for elderly low-income renters. The agency warns on its website and social media that it will never use text messages to invite recipients to claim benefits. The province announced on Tuesday that it was granting $430 to the about 20,000 seniors in the SAFER program. BC Housing informed recipients that they will get the one-time benefit with their regular payments this month. Don’t respond to any test messages on this topic. MORE


IN ANOTHER SCAM, multiple suspects impersonated police officers to defraud a senior. New Westminster police said the suspects spoke to the senior at her home and talked her into handing over several credit and debit cards, which were later used to make fraudulent purchases. MORE


QUOTABLE – If you have a problem with what I say, then yes, you do have a problem.

A GIFT HORSE – Ottawa is extending the amortization period to 30 years on insured mortgages for certain homebuyers, on the premise of making home ownership more affordable. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the extended amortization will be on insured mortgages for first-time home buyers of newly-built homes, effective Aug. 1. What that really means is paying interest for an additional five years, and that can that add up. Always be careful of government bearing gifts. There will be a lot of that in the next year and a half.    24-04-12


Low snowpack levels raise concern about drought threat 

THE SNOWPACK on our mountains is the lowest in more than half a century at only 49 per cent heightening concerns about possible drought. Levels in March reached their second-lowest point in history. River Forecast Centre Hydrologist Jonathan Boyd said despite Vancouver Island having the second-lowest snowpack in the province, none of their measurements were at record lows. The lowest year recorded was in 2015 when Vancouver Island was 15 per cent of normal for April 1. MORE

CATCH BASIN CLEANING – You’ll see them on our streets throughout the summer. City Public Works staff and contractors will begin the annual storm water catch basins clean out on Monday – 10,000 catch basins. They will start in the Duke Point area and work their way north along various streets in the city. There will be large equipment and staff working on roads so use caution and obey traffic control personnel directions. The job is expected to be complete by August. MORE

THE FOREST INDUSTRY will reach new heights with building-code changes allowing for mass timber use in buildings up to 18 storeys. The expansion includes building with mass timber for housing, retail, light and medium industrial construction and care facilities. Mass timber, also known as engineered wood, can be used in place of steel or concrete and is made of smaller wood connected with adhesives, dowels, nails or screws to create larger structural components. MORE

OPEN CAREER FAIR – VIU’s Career Studio is staging a career fair April 26, and you’re invited. It’s open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium (Building 190). There will be more than 40 businesses and organizations ranging from government and health care to banking and construction industries. For anyone looking for local talent, they’re still accepting employer participants. MORE


BAD LEADERSHIP will be the focus of VIU’s Jarislowsky Chair in Trust and Political Leadership, Dr. Michael MacKenzie’s keynote presentation on April 15 at the Engaged Speaker Series. There have been countless books about leadership, but most focus on good leadership. Dr. MacKenzie argues we don’t spend enough time talking about bad leadership, or bad followers. A panel discussion will follow with CKNW radio host Jas Johal moderating with Shachi Kurl, President of the Angus Reid Institute, and Lisa Helps, former mayor of Victoria. It’s at VIU’s Malaspina Theatre (Building 310) at 6:30 p.m. or online via Zoom webinar.

QUOTABLE – Please and thank you are still magic words


Fair Care Alliance advocacy campaign launched locally

INADEQUATE HEALTH SERVICES have led to the launch of an advocacy campaign. Donna Hais introduced Faircare Alliance as a new voice of health care advocacy at Monday’s City Council meeting. went live this week, while several highway billboards are in the process of being installed to draw more attention to what advocates call a severe specialized health care deficit on Vancouver Island north of Mill Bay.

NO SURCHARGE, YET – B.C. Ferries is bearing the increase in the carbon dioxide tax, but no decision has been made to increase the fuel surcharge at this time.

HAPPY CENTENNIAL – The 205 Collishaw Air Cadets squadron and 808 Thunderbird Wing Nanaimo are celebrating the hundredth birthday of the Air Force with an open house on Saturday. It’s at the Thunderbird Wing’s lounge on Nanaimo Lakes Rd. from 1-4 p.m. The event includes guest speakers, a slide show from one of the VIU students with pictures from the past and information about the RCAF. MORE


GOOD NEWS FOR SENIORS – The province has a one-time $430 gift for about 20,000 seniors in its SAFER program for elderly low-income renters. Eligible seniors don’t need to apply for the payment, since they are already of the SAFER program. The program will expand eligibility for seniors with annual incomes up to $37,240, a rise of $4,240. Other changes will include the possible annual review and amendment of rent ceilings, which are used to determine how much rental assistance a senior receives. MORE


A TREATMENT CENTRE for Indigenous youth will be ready to open by this fall in Lantzville. The Orca Lelum Youth Wellness Centre will be the first on the Island to offer detox services for Indigenous youth. Premier David Eby brought a $7.1 million grant from the province, with another $1 million from Island Health. Eby said the Indigenous-led work done at the society is a shining a light of hope. Indigenous people are six times more likely to die of an overdose in this province, and that’s why it’s so critical working in partnership with First Nations leadership to respond to the crisis, Eby added. MORE

IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s on May 26 will honour Sue and Andrew Dysart for their contribution to the community and their desire to help other people affected by dementia. It takes place atNanaimo Yacht Club. Registration starts at 10 a.m. followed by the Walk from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Andrew is among the 85,000 people with dementia in British Columbia. The walk will raise funds in Nanaimo for essential programs and services and ensure people with dementia and the people who care for them don’t face it alone. For more information contact

QUOTABLE – Another way to look at Monday’s eclipse, Planet earth got mooned.

Safe Supply drugs being traded

for illicit drugs on the streets

ARE THE FOUR PARTIES in the province aware there’s an election on October 19? Why are none of them addressing homelessness and street disorder, which remains “the” topic here in Nanaimo? Is it because we have a lack of shelters and therefore are more visible? The situation is pretty much the same across the Province. It would be great to hear from our MLAs their explanation for the lack of serious discussion. How about canning the bafflegab and delivering the solutions needed, including secure involuntary care? The status quo is not good enough, say something, there’s only six months remaining until the day of judgment, October 19.


So-called safe supply drugs are being traded for illicit drugs right in front of pharmacies. Prince George RCMP arrested two people who were offering illicit drugs in exchange for safer supply opioids. When asked about the arrests Premier David Eby dodged the issue, thanking the police. However, BC United critic Elenore Sturko came up with a common sense solution where drugs would be taken by the user where the medication is dispensed, thus cutting down the opportunity to exchange it with a drug dealer. MORE

TRANSIT HUB HOUSING – The government is serious about locating housing near transit. It has bought two lots in Saanich for hundreds of units of housing in multiple buildings, along with retail and commercial space. The move to buy land is meant to address concerns about property values climbing near transit hubs. MORE

TAKING VOTERS FOR A RIDE – The Regional Transit Committee is recommending free rides to the polls on municipal, provincial and federal election days. In past, the RDN has supported free fares on specific election days to encourage voting and to ensure residents without transportation to get to the polls. MORE

GOOD IDEAS OFTEN lose their sheen in the light of day. Municipalities are digging into the fine details of new housing density legislation, and possible impacts on firefighting tools to protect high-rise and mid-rise buildings. Lantzville doesn’t have four-storey residential structures that may be mandated by new housing legislation, meaning they may have to add ladder trucks, and that comes with the question of funding sources. MORE

BOOSTER CLUB – Another round of COVID-19 vaccination booster shot invitations are on their way. People who haven't had a booster against the XBB. 1.5 Omicron variant will be offered the free shot. Others include adults 65 and older, Indigenous adults 55 and over, residents of long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities, and anyone older than six months who is “clinically extremely vulnerable.” Anyone who wants a booster can book an appointment or walk into a pharmacy where the shots are available. MORE

VINYL IS BACK IN STYLE – Who would have imgined that records could make such a comeback? The Nanaimo Record Show is testament to that as it returns to the Bowen Park Auditorium April 21, with more tables and more than 500 feet of records. Downtown Nanaimo has at least five places to find LPs. This year’s show has attracted more vendors than ever from the mainland. It takes place at the Bowen Park Auditorium, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is two bucks and kids under 12 get in free. MORE

TOURISM IS RELIANT on circumstances and businesses are hoping for a big comeback this year. There’s room for optimism, across Canada visitor numbers in January were up nine per cent despite challenges like a lack of snow for ski resorts. Brian Cant of 4VI, the new moniker for Tourism Vancouver Island, says there is optimism for a strong year ahead, but there is concern about inflation impacting travel. MORE

QUOTABLE – To be clear, the experts weren’t wrong, they lied. There’s a big difference



THE HOMELESS SITUATION in Nanaimo is not getting any better. A report from last April found that at least 515 people were without homes in Nanaimo, up almost 20 per cent from 2020. The study also found that one third of those surveyed were First Nations. Mayor Leonard Krog believes the homeless population is actually much higher, more like 900 or 1,000. The B.C. Urban Mayor’s Caucus that he sits on has been calling on the province to deal with this for a long time. MORE

THE SOLAR ECLIPSE will cover less than 30 per cent of the sun as it glides past the west coast today. But even that may be obscured by clouds over the region. The Nanaimo Astronomy Society will be set up at Piper’s Lagoon with the expected high point between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Anyone planning to view the eclipse is warned over and over, make sure you don’t stare directly at the sun, use proper eye protection. MORE

INCOME TAX TIME – Many people have already filed their income tax returns, and brings out scammers to target your expected refund. Canada Revenue Agency and Service Canada never telephone about your account. Such a phone contact, no matter how legitimate it sounds, is a scam. Just hang up. On a side note, many scammers harvest personal information from innocent-looking social media likes and shares. They are designed to glean information from you that can be used by scammers.

QUOTABLE – Life is too short to waste by being miserable.


MONDAY’S SOLAR ECLIPSE will cover mainly the east side of the continent, but we may get a sample as it gets dusk here. We’re on the western side of the eclipse path. Nanaimo Astronomy Society members and volunteers will try to make the most of it at Pipers Lagoon Park with telescopes and special glasses for viewing.


A ROLLOVER CRASH along the Nanaimo Parkway on Saturday sent one man to hospital. The truck left the Parkway near south Jingle Pot Road and rolled into the ditch, creating a difficult recovery operation. A second person was out of the truck before crews arrived. MORE


HABITAT FOR HUMANITY is changing gears to provide more density and leasing to replace home ownership in a bid to combat high housing costs. Habitat is aiming to begin construction s this year on a 25 unit, three-storey complex at 5915 Metral Dr. MORE


IT’S GOING TO BE EASIER to get a drink this summer. As the tourist season approaches, the B.C. Government is loosening the rules for liquor sales at breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries. Wineries can increase the size of servings up to 10 ounces per customer. Breweries and cideries can offer flights up to 24 ounces, while distilleries can serve a maximum of three ounces of a spirit. Manufacturers can offer another seating area where visitors can try samples during tours. MORE

ANDREW HARRIS WILL SIGN a one-day contract with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to retire as a member of the team. The Winnipeg native began his career in junior football with our own VI Raiders before turning pro with the B.C. Lions in 2011 and winning a Grey Cup. He then helped the Bombers win two Cup titles and another one with the Toronto Argonauts. Andrew is the CFL’s all-time leading Canadian rusher, with five 1,000-yard rushing seasons over his 13-year CFL career. He was earlier reported to have a management position with the Raiders. MORE

QUOTABLE – Life could be worse . . . milk could have pulp


WELCOME TO A GREAT STURDAY MORNING. It's going to be a wet day, so head out to one of the hotspots in town this weekend, the Rotary Club of Nanaimo twice-a-year book sale in the cozy confines of North Town Centre. There are somewhere near 80,000 titles and about 40,000 or more will be sold at the sale. About $130,000 is raised annually from the book sales, with nearly $2 million raised to date. Go down there, you're sure to find some treasures there.


15 PEOPLE DIED from toxic drugs in Nanaimo in February, tying the high mark from last year. At least 177 died in B.C. in February, an 11-per-cent rise from a year ago. It is the 20th consecutive month in which there have been at least 175 deaths. Most of those deaths are not on the street – 86 per cent occurred inside. Only 13 per cent occurred outside in vehicles, sidewalks, streets and parks. The Northern (76.7) and Island (54.3) health authorities recorded record-high rates of death to start the year. Vancouver, Surrey and Nanaimo have the highest number of unregulated drug deaths so far this year.


EXTRA DUTY FOR LISA MARIE – Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Lisa Marie Barron has been handed additional responsibility within the federal NDP caucus. She’s now the party’s critic for democratic reform. She has been advocating for electoral reform for some time. She will also keep her role as critic for fisheries and oceans. MORE


END OF THE LINE – Paper Excellence Canada is returning million of dollars to the provincial and federal governments and will not restart operations at its Crofton mill. The company announced an investment of nearly $50 million a year ago to upgrade paper operations at Crofton mill, restart the paper machine and put employees back to work. That didn’t happen, and now the company announced the indefinite curtailment operations. It has returned $4.5 million to the province and is working through the administrative process of returning the federal funding, too, previously announced as $14.3 million. MORE


POLICE ARE TRYING to identify a motorcycle rider shown on social media weaving through traffic at nearly 300 km/h south of Nanaimo. The video was posted but has been removed. Const. Dave Pennington of the BC Highway Patrol in Parksville recognized the stretch of road, saying it’s a 90 km/h zone between Morden Road and the Nanaimo Airport. MORE


PRE-ELECTION ACTIVITY is beginning to heat up in the mid-Island. B.C. Conservatives are busy filling their roster of candidates for the October election. The latest to declare is Viraat Thammanna for Nanaimo-Gabriola Island. Viraat has been active in local politics, running twice for Nanaimo city council. He’s been a real firecracker in volunteering in the community. In the Ladysmith-Oceanside riding, RDN Director Lehann Wallace is opposing MLA Adam Walker for the NDP nomination. MORE. See the new electoral district boundaries HERE.

IONA CAMPAGNOLO, British Columbia’s first female lieutenant-governor, has died at age 91. She served as lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2007 after earlier service in the federal Liberal cabinet. MORE


GAS PRICES IN THE LOWER MAINLAND usually filter down to our market, and the future does not look good for local drivers. Vancouver prices soared to $2.149 per litre on Friday and experts warn prices could climb as high as $2.30 by mid-April. In Nanaimo, prices were still under $2 per litre at $1.999 on Friday night.


QUOTABLE – I never dreamed that I would become a big spender, but the cost of living has turned me into one.


DEI is the 'in' philosophy these days, but how many people really know what it means? Diversity is recognizing that everyone is different. Equity is recognizing that everyone is the same. Inclusion is embracing both those groups under the same umbrella. Lots of luck with that!

ILLICIT DRUG USE is not limited to northern B.C. WorkSafeBC has inspected several Vancouver Island hospitals after nurses and health-care staff claimed exposure to illicit drug smoke. Postmedia reports the inspections at Campbell River General Hospital, Victoria General Hospital, Royal Jubilee in Victoria, and at several community health sites were in response to worker exposures to illicit substances in work sites, a June, 2023 WorkSafeBC report states. The issue has surfaced after a leaked Northern Health memo advised nurses not to confiscate drugs or small knives from patients. MORE

CHANGING STRIPES – Former NDP MLA Gwen O’Mahony has jumped ship and is running for the B.C. Conservatives in the new Nanaimo-Lantzville electoral district in the October election. Party leader John Rustad says it is evidence of building a big-tent party. O’Mahony was the MLA for Chilliwack-Hope from 2012 to 2013. She said things have changed in this province, the world has changed, the B.C. NDP has changed, citing the NDP position on drug decriminalization as one of her motivating factors. MORE


VANCOUVER ISLAND UNIVERSITY is phasing out four programs after this year to align with regional needs and demand. Enrolment has dropped combined with the increased costs of delivering services for fewer students. Students in those programs will continue to graduation but no new students will be enrolled in these courses:

• Advanced Diploma in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Applications

• Integrated Engineering Technologist (Engineering Transfer Diploma will continue)

• Master in GIS Applications

• Online Learning and Teaching Graduate Diploma. MORE


NO MORE WAITING FEES – Child care providers are no longer allowed to charge fees for being on wait lists. Many child care providers were charging between $25 to $200 or more to put their names on a wait list. That’s a no-no as of April 1. Minister in charge Mitzi Dean said eliminating waitlist fees will mean that families no longer face having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars simply to find a child care space. MORE

QUOTABLE – Cell phones bring you closer to those far from you but take you away from those sitting next to you.


HERE WE GO AGAIN like a broken record leading up to the provincial election. The governing party runs taxpayer-funded puff advertising and the opposition screams foul. It was the same thing when roles were reversed, the Liberals/United were in power and the NDP in opposition. They complained about what they said was partisan advertising by the government. For countless elections I have challenged all parties to unequivocally commit to ban such advertising in total for the future. It never happens, they just can’t help themselves. 24-04-04


UTILITY LINES PULLED DOWN – Power and communications lines were pulled down by a semi-tractor trailer yesterday afternoon. The driver had pulled out of a driveway onto Townsite Road and the trailer snagged the communication lines, pulling them down onto several parked cars. MORE

PEARL JAM FANS in Nanaimo will be able to get to and from the Pearl Jam concert in Vancouver in May. The band will stage two shows at Rogers Arena on May 4 and 6. Hullo is offering late-night sailings those dates to ferry people to Nanaimo with 11:55 p.m. departure sailings both nights. MORE

MORE THAN 350 VIU STUDENTS are showing off their stuff at CREATE 2024. The annual conference recognizes and celebrates student scholarship, research and creative activity and provides an opportunity to share their work and get feedback. This year’s conference runs from April 8 to 12 at various locations on the Nanaimo campus. MORE

CHAMPIONS RECOGNIZED. The Dover Bay Dolphins senior boys basketball squad got their just deserts Wednesday, being honoured for winning the provincial senior 3A championship last month.They were feted at a school-wide assembly and banner-raising ceremony. Frank Linder won the most valuable player award at provincials. MORE

GET YOUR FIX IN HOSPITAL – Health care workers in northern B.C. have been told that patients can use drugs while in their rooms and keep knives under four-inches. That opened a heated debate in the legislature Wednesday when BC United’s Shirley Bond introduced a memo with instructions to staff, citing it as evidence of a free-for-all with open drug use as a result of decriminalization. The memo says the decriminalization of drugs means that staff should neither search patients’ personal belongings for substances nor take them away if found. MORE

SHORT CIRCUITING – BC Hydro is running out of power and is on the hunt for private sources as electricity demands increase. The Crown utility is looking for clean power to add to its grids in the first call in 15 years. It is looking to acquire about 3,000 gigawatt hours per year. That it would provide electricity for 270,000 homes or about a million electric vehicles per year. Growth in all sectors has created the need due to population growth, housing construction and industrial development. MORE

QUOTABLE – My biggest problem is I’m too honest – I get into trouble because I say it like it is.

THEY ARE LEAVING – B.C. had a net loss of 8,624 people in interprovincial migration last year, the first time in more than a decade, reports Statistics Canada. Premier David Eby said he is aware of the trend and is taking the issue head on by improving affordability for young people in the province. MORE

YOU CAN’T PARK FREE on the streets near Nanaimo Hospital any more but the city is making it easy for you to cough up. Pay parking is now in effect. Welcome to HotSpot Parking, a web-based, mobile solution for convenient payment on your cell phone. There are also ticket kiosks that accept quarters, loonies and toonies. There’s still some free parking options on side streets. Pay parking is 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Saturday and free on Sundays. Check it out HERE.

THIS IS WHEN YOU LET your sweet tooth take over – ­it’s Girl Guides cookie time. Girl Guides holds two nationwide cookie fundraising campaigns per year with 100 per cent of the proceeds supports Girl Guides programs. Keep your wallet close at hand for when they show up. MORE

REGULATING RENTALS – The government is clamping down on landlords, stopping bad-faith evictions, protecting families who add a child and helping landlords who have problematic tenants. Changes would ban evictions for personal use in purpose-built rental buildings, force the landlord to live in the unit for a year.

If passed, it will prohibit landlords from increasing rent when a child is added to a household. MORE.

THE GASOLINE PRICE did not pop over the two-dollar mark on Monday after a 3.3 cents per litre carbon tax hike. Prices reported on Gas Buddy hovered between $1.989 and $1.999 on Tuesday. With summer coming, don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last of fuel under two bucks for some time.

QUOTABLE – Easter is over but no, you can’t get out the Christmas decorations yet.

THE CARBON TAX rebate scheme is a dream come true for socialists – redistribution of wealth. This program hits the target bang on. It makes all Canadians pay the tax through various avenues from fossil fuels to basics like food. One third of the amount collected is returned to only a select few Canadians as rebates, based on income. Best of all, the carbon tax is designed to rise each year, more money in the hands of the powerful elite. The gift that keeps on giving. It makes Prime Minister Trudeau’s insistence on raising the carbon tax perfectly clear, take from everyone and give back to a chosen few to buy votes. Who wouldn’t vote for a leader who is so generous with other people’s credit card? "Fighting climate change? Saving the the planet? Nah, that's just a convenient diversion.      



FEDERAL CONSERVATIVE LEADER Pierre Poilievre brought his federal election campaign theme to Nanaimo on Monday to a crowd of more than 500. He labelled the next election in 2025 as the “carbon tax election”. The came on the day that the federal tax on carbon emissions rose significantly, adding 3.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline. Poilievre said the provincial government is expected to collect $9 billion more in carbon taxes and give back $3.5 billion in credits, a net cost of $5.5 billion in taxes in B.C. MORE

MEANWHILE, DEMONSTRATIONS took place in various B.C. locations protesting the carbon tax increase. The protests caused traffic disruptions along highways 1, 3 and 5. Throughout the day. B.C. opposition leader Kevin Falcon said every time the carbon tax,so is the cost of transportation, which increases the pressure on grocery prices. Falcon’s then-Liberal government brought the tax to B.C. in 2008. MORE

AN ADDICTED DRUG TRAFFICKER has been sentenced to 20 months is jail after pleading guilty to four drug charges in 2021 Gordon Clifford Brooks, 58, was handed the sentence in BC Supreme Court last week. GHB along with supplies to make it, cocaine and fentanyl were seized following searches of a vehicle and a Nanaimo motel room. MORE

QUOTABLE – I will always defend your right to be wrong.


PIERRE POILIEVRE is riding a wave of popularity with his campaign against carbon tax increases. In politics its easy to gain momentum and it's hotter than a firecracker right now. But there’s no guarantee of the shelf life of an issue. With about 20 months to go before the next federal election, it would be easy for the Conservative leader to fall victim to premature expectations. How long can he sustain his axe the tax mantra? There's always the danger that it could go stale by then. 24-04-02

TAKE TODAY’S NEWS with a grain of salt. Loof Lirpa is hard at work at many news outlets filling them with April 1 material. The joke is already on use with numerous price increases today – carbon tax, ferry fares (3.2%), hydro rates (2%) alcoholic beverages (2%) and the federal minimum wage. There may be others. The biggest joke is Prime Minister Trudeau insisting he needs to raise the carbon tax so he can give it back to us in rebates. And yes, members of Parliament gave themselves a raise.

AN ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE CRASH south of Nanaimo Sunday afternoon resulted in a woman being airlifted to hospital in Victoria. The crash happened as the woman was riding a quad ATV in the Nanaimo River Road area with a man on a motorcycle. MORE

OVER THE LIMIT – A man and his wife were fined a combined $7,000 for over-fishing clams and oysters at Nanoose Bay beach and lying about it. Sam Lam and his wife Hieu Tran each pleaded guilty to retaining oysters and clams above the daily limit last June. 54 oysters and 140 clams were harvested, well over the daily limit of 12 oysters and 60 clams. Lam was fined $5,000 for attempting to mislead the fishery officer, and Tran was fined $2,000. MORE


THE ROTARY BOOK SALE returns to North Town Centre on Friday, running until April 14. There will be 80,000 used books and a goal of raising $100,000. Books cost up to $3 each. With the exception of April 5, when doors open at 8 a.m., the sale will follow mall hours of 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. MORE For more information, visit

EXPLAINING THE CARBON TAX – Canada has two different carbon pricing programs – one for big industry where companies pay the price on a share of their actual emissions, and a consumer carbon levy which is applied to fossil fuels. The consumer levy affects individuals, small and medium-sized businesses, First Nations, as well as public-sector operations such as hospitals, universities, schools and municipalities. Today’s price change affects the consumer levy, which applies in every province and territory except British Columbia, Quebec and Northwest Territories. The Canadian Press has an in-depth look at all aspects of the Carbon Tax.

QUOTABLE Remember that whoever is trying to pull you down is actually beneath you.

B.C.’s Parkland refinery back in operation after extreme cold shutdown

Vancouver Canucks look to veterans after clinching playoff berth

Joshua scores twice as Canucks claw out 3-2 win over slumping Ducks

B.C. pizza chain to open shop in Kelowna

Vancouver Canucks clinch first playoff berth since 2019-20 NHL season

Kelowna RCMP confirm 2 dead in Adams Road incident, investigation ongoing 

17-year-old dead after stabbing in Prince George: RCMP

RESIDENTS AND DEVELOPERS have waited and waited and waited for action on the building permitting process. The city is buzzing at almost-unprecedented development and is looking at ways to become more efficient. Council got a detailed report on the development approval processes at a governance committee meeting. The main theme of report by consultant Allan Neilson was shortening wait times for property owners and developers to move through City processes. MORE



OPEN DRUG USE will continue, thanks to the B.C. Supreme Court extending an injunction by the Harm Reduction Nurses Association. The province implemented the drug ban following concerns about open drug use in the wake of the decriminalization of small amounts of illicit drugs. The Supreme Court had originally issued an injunction until March 31 and then extended it to June 30. MORE


MEANWHILE, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth is rightly outraged after an online video showed open drug use in a Maple Ridge restaurant. A group of men were smoking drugs in a booth. Staff at the Tim Hortons said they were forced to evacuate the restaurant. “There’s absolutely no place for that,” said Farnworth. “It’s illegal. People should not have to put up with that. It’s … absolutely just disgusting.” He added he would like to see the offenders hauled off and charged. MORE 


JUST HANGING OUT – Thirty-six-year-old Douglas Lance of Nanaimo, is in custody after being arrested on three indecent exposure charges in Greater Victoria and Burnaby. He faces eight charges from three incidents where he is accused of exposing himself and committing indecent acts, including involving minors. He was arrested March 24 and released and was arrested again three days later after a new complaint. He was also wanted in relation to a charge in Burnaby last November. MORE


CANUCKS PLAYOFF tickets are now available, but be prepared to shell our majorly. With late night ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver, a number of folks will be lining up for tickets. Tickets in the upper deck of the arena start at $250 each, and they will be higher in the lower deck. That’s for the first round, if the Canucks move on to the second round, expect to pay even more. Add on a hot dog and a beer and the ferry fare, sheesh! MORE

QUOTABLE – Just because you disagree doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Kelowna RCMP confirm 2 dead in Adams Road incident, investigation ongoing

Robert Barron column: Dealing with dementia difficult for everyone concerned

B.C. superstar Dallas Smith debuts at Opry

17-year-old dead after stabbing in Prince George: RCMP

Man accused in Penticton drug trafficking case flees B.C. ahead of trial

B.C.’s Tyler O’Neill breaks MLB opening day homer record

Supreme Court upholds Yukon First Nation’s lawmaking authority

Kelowna’s Japan sister city, Kasugai, donates to wildfire relief efforts

LONG WEEKENDS usually spell hours spent in your car, and this weekend is no exception at B.C. Ferries and Canada border crossings. Ferries has warned passengers without reservations they could face multiple-sailing waits. Delays of more than two hours were reported at the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway border crossings on Friday. Ferries estimated 434,000 passengers will board between March 28 and April 2, suggesting reservations and travelling as foot passengers or during less busy times to avoid sailing waits. MORE

FERRY WORKERS SMILING– Unionized BC Ferries workers just scored a retroactive wage increase ranging from 7.75 to 20.75 per cent through an arbitration panel after negotiations came to a standstill last fall. It’s retroactive to Oct. 1 through next March. Ferries president Nicolas Jimenez called it one of the largest increases in the company’s history. Some workers, including licensed mariners, will get special increases above the 7.75 per cent. MORE

CHEAP FLIGHTS GETTING SCARCEFlair Airlines is the only ultra-low air carrier left in the Canada now that Lynx Air has shut down. Experts caution travellers to weigh cheap fares against the reputational and financial uncertainty dogging Flair. They say Flair faces headwinds in making the ultra-low-cost fare model work in Canada. MORE

GET PROFESSIONAL HELP– Canada Revenue Service keeps adding to the challenges of filing income tax to the point of frustration. This year is a whole load of twists and turns. Now principal residences, small businesses and home-based businesses are all facing new rules. The best idea is to gather all your documents and receipts and head to a tax expert. The filing deadline is April 30. Here’s an expert on what you need to do and what you’re facing. MORE

WHO ASKED HIM? – Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is sticking his nose into the debate over B.C.’s fish farms. The federal government is considering extending the licences of salmon farms for two to six years to give the industry more time to transition. MORE

QUOTABLEIf electricity comes from electrons, where does morality come from?

Owner of Kelowna business fatally shot in dispute, family says

Dealing with dementia difficult for everyone concerned

B.C. superstar Dallas Smith debuts at Opry

17-year-old dead after stabbing in Prince George: RCMP

Man accused in Penticton drug trafficking case flees B.C. ahead of trial

B.C.’s Tyler O’Neill breaks MLB opening day homer record

Supreme Court upholds Yukon First Nation’s lawmaking authority

Kelowna’s Japan sister city, Kasugai, donates to wildfire relief efforts

Dallas Stars clinch playoff spot with 3-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Spotted Lantern Fly could eat into Okanagan fruit and wine industries


BACK IN THE SADDLE – Organizer extraordinaire Diana Johnstone it back, doing what she loves best. She has been named president of the 2025 games event once known as the B.C. Seniors Games. It’s the 55-Plus Games now, and will be held here in September, 2025. Joining Diana in the leadership of the games organization will be Mary Smith who has been named vice president. Both are volunteer roles. MORE


THE SEARCH been called off for a woman missing since mid-February. Sara Sherry, 45, was last seen Feb. 15 driving onto the logging roads off Northwest Bay. She was reported missing two days later. Her vehicle was found  a week later, however no trace of her was found. Numerous air and ground searches have not been successful and no further searches are planned, said Oceanside RCMP. MORE

WEST SHORE RCMP have arrested a Nanaimo man for exposing himself in public two times earlier this week. The 36-year-old man faces several charges related to three separate investigations, including three counts of an indecent act, one count of indecent exposure to a minor and one count of failure to comply with a release order. MORE

THE MARS MARTIN water bomber is heading into formal retirement, on its way to the BC Aviation Museum which has acquired the massive water bomber from Coulson Aviation to show if off at the museum based at Victoria’s airport. Pilot Peter Killin and co-pilot Rick Matthews have the honour to fly the plane on its final mission. The Mars water bomber served B.C. and beyond for 50 years, and saved lives and forests across North America. MORE

COVID-19 IS STILL WITH US, but fading. The number of patients hit its lowest level of 2024. The latest data update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control shows there were 133 test-positive patients in provincial hospitals as of Thursday. Not everyone who is hospitalized with COVID-19 in B.C. is there because of the disease. The totals the BCCDC reports include patients who have serious cases of COVID requiring hospitalization and those who are hospitalized for other reasons and test positive after admission. MORE

When opinion

supercedes the law

Our system of governance is supposedly based on the legislative branch making the laws and the judicial branch enforcing them. The injuctionagainst British Columbia’s public drug use ban has been extended to the end of June. In the meantime, everything is falling apart. There was an incident with a group of people openly using drugs in a restaurant. “There’s absolutely no place for that. It’s illegal. People should not have to put up with that. It’s . . . absolutely just disgusting,” said Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, adding he would like to see the offenders hauled off and charged. Decisions like this are not based on law but on opinion. The system is not meeting our needs, an overhaul must put the elected people in charge, not the appointed judiciary.


Ready or not, say


to cash

Some things change, ready or not. We’re been hearing about adopting a cashless society, but it’s actually sneaking up behind us. Some banks have already shut down all cash operations, moving to kiosks in malls where you can do your business. In the long run that means no more cashiers – shades of Walmart – and possibly no more high-rent district branches. Basically, we will be their cashiers, and they'll still charge us. I tried to do some transcations recently at a local bank and they said the only option was online. Like it or lump it.



You've got to love David Taxman Eby’s reasoning. Replying to a letter from Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre asking to halt an April 1 carbon tax increase, Eby argued that by taking less money from us he would have less money to give back to us in rebates. Poilievre asked Eby to join seven other premiers in opposing the increase, saying the 23-per-cent rise amounts to an extra 18 cents on a litre of fuel. The premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have asked the federal government to drop the increase. Eby rejected the plea and threw in an insult labelling the idea as coming from a baloney factory. Poilievre shot back saying people in our province don't have money to even buy baloney. Is that what we really need in our political discourse? MORE