June 2023 archive

July 1, 2023

The B.C. Ferries chaos at the start of the Canada Day long weekend is unacceptable, says Transportation Minister Rob Fleming. On Friday, sailings between the mainland and Victoria were fully booked by 2:30 p.m. By 6 p.m., sailings to Nanaimo from both Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay were also at capacity. This followed a similar situation on Thursday when all routes to the Island were sold out by mid-afternoon. “The situation right now is unacceptable, B.C. Ferries needs to provide a better more reliable service. Multiple sailing waits when you’re in a hot car with your kids and dog is not a pleasant experience,” he continued. MORE

Don’t be surprised if you get pulled over by the RCMP this weekend. ICBC and the RCMP are conducting their annual July CounterAttack campaign to help get drug and alcohol-impaired drivers off the road. CounterAttack campaigns have been running in the province for more than 35 years. An average of 23 people are injured in at least 89 crashes which occur on the Island on Canada Day.

It would be difficult to maintain any confidence in all levels of government, especially if you lived in Lytton. It has been two years since a massive wildfire roared through the Village, burning 90 per cent of structures and homes. But the rebuilding process has yet to begin. Two people also died in the blaze. Mayor Denise O’Connor said it’s unbelievable the process hasn’t started yet. The RCMP investigation remains active. Staff Sgt. Kris Clark said investigators continue to assess for criminality but noted there is no timeline for completing the work. MORE

QUOTABLE – You’re never too important to be nice to people.

Click here for details

June 30

HMCS Nanaimo is in town for the Canada Day long weekend, offering tours. The ship recently returned to Canada after participating in a multinational, joint and combined exercise involving more than 1,000 military personnel fromother Canadian forces beside the United States, NATO and Japan. HMCS Nanaimo is docked at the Visiting Vessel Pier, offering public tours Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’re even offering boat rides.

It's another long weekend of long ferry lineups with hours-long sailing waits. First, service was reduced on the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route when the Coastal Celebration remained out of service and sailings were cancelled. There were long waits for Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo sailings on Thursday. All that will, of course, translate into similar problems in the other direction after the weekend. MORE

Vaping is safe, you say? Not on your life, says Fraser Health which issued a public warning after benzodiazepines were detected in vape juice sold in Chilliwack. The juice that tested positive contained cannabis and suspected synthetic cannabinoids and was sold in refillable, unmarked and unbranded cartridges. Side-effects include prolonged sedation, nausea, vomiting and blackouts. MORE

QUOTABLE – It’s not a conversation when one person does all the talking.

June 29, 2023

Maffeo Sutton Park will be a beehive of activity on Canada Day with events and entertainment galore. However, if that’s not enough action for you, bathtub racers will be doing their thing at Departure Bay Beach in a warmup race leading to the real thing July 23. Commodore Greg Peacock expects about 20 tubs to race in front of the beach. The first bathtub race was originally on Canada Day race when it launched as a Centennial event in 1967. MORE

And down the road in Lantzville, Branch 257 Royal Canadian Legion also hasCanada Day Celebrations on Saturday at 11 a.m. There’s live music and hamburgers and hotdogs in the parking lot at the rear of Legion. The cake cutting ceremony will be at 2:30 p.m. and the traditional Legion mead draw is at 3:30 pm. All guests signed in for the Canada Day Celebrations can join in the meat draw, gift card draws and 50/50. Tickets go on sale at 3 p.m. in the lounge.

Congratulations to Nanaimo’s Matt Wood, 18, who was selected in the first round of the NHL draft by the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. Though he was born in Lethbridge, he lives in Nanaimo. He played junior hockey with the Victoria Grizzlies and then University of Connecticut. The 6-foot-4, 197-pound forward was the fourth-ranked North American player in Central Scouting’s pre-draft rankings. MORE

He had some 'splaining to do, but it didn’t add up. He was stuck in a manhole, with no pants, just one shoe and a headlamp around his neck. Workers in the area of Tenth Street heard cries for help coming from a manhole. They pried off the cover and pulled the guy out. Carl Savard said his first story was that some people put him in there and then it changed to his girlfriend pushed him in there and then it switched to it was already open and he fell in it.” He added the man was cold and dirty, but otherwise apparently unharmed from his ordeal. MORE

It might be a good idea to stay away from a number of Nanaimo intersections. The Old Island Highway, Aulds Road and Hammond Bay Road is the worst intersection on Vancouver Island with 61 crashes last year, despite 13 fewer than the previous year. Three other local intersections were also in the top 10: all on the Old Island Highway – Bowen Road and Norwell Drive with 58; Mostar Road and Rutherford Road, with 56; and Enterprise Way, with 50. MORE

Vancouver Island marmots are making a comeback as they move into the wild after a year at the Marmot Recovery Foundation facility on Mount Washington. They’ll all be released to survive on their own this summer – four were released Wednesday. They were taken higher up the mountain, after four volunteers carried the cages on their backs to their final destination. Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, carried one of the marmots. MORE

The province is launching an online reservation system so you can make an appointment with a pharmacist for treatment of minor ailments. You will be able to book appointments with 600 pharmacists who have signed on to the system. The province expanded the scope of pharmacists earlier this month, allowing them to treat 21 minor ailments like acne, shingles or urinary tract infections, as well as prescribe contraceptives. Chris Chiew, president of the B.C. Pharmacy Association, says it will be easier for patients to find care rather than going to an emergency department. To make an appointment, click HERE.

QUOTABLE – Scientists pretend they can prove climate change . . . but they can’t tell the difference between boys and girls.

June 28, 2023

RCMP, Fire Rescue and B.C. Ambulance Service attended a three-vehicle crash on Uplands Drive near noon today. It is believed two vehicles collided and one of them then careered into a parked car. Paramedics treated the injured at the scene. Traffic was restricted to a single lane on Uplands for a while.

British Columbia port workers have issued 72-hour strike notice with job action looming by Saturday. It affects about 7,400 terminal cargo loaders and 49 of the province’s waterfront employers at more than 30 B.C. ports. Union members voted 99.24 per cent in favour of strike action earlier this month. The union said contracting out, port automation and cost of living are key issues in the dispute.

Get ready for a big party this weekend as Nanaimo celebrates Canada Day. The City is celebrating Canada’s 156th birthday at Maffeo Sutton Park from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, starting with a celebration of flags and opening ceremony. Entertainment will begin at 11:40 a.m. Take a look at the whole lineup. MORE

BC Ferries is shuffling the decks on the Canada Day weekend schedule. Coastal Celebration’s refit has been delayed resulting in decrease over all passenger and vehicle capacity between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. More than 6,600 bookings were reassigned to the Spirit of Vancouver Island, Spirit of British Columbia and the Queen of New Westminster. For any travel on holidays, always check the Ferries website and Twitter account.

BC Ferries has also announced that foot passenger travel on the Queen of Oak Bay is expected to be very busy on Tuesday, July 4: 11:05 am departing Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay due to heavy group bookings. Arrive at the terminal as early as possible and being prepared for possible sailing waits as a foot passenger on these sailings.

RCMP are looking for a pair of dognappers after 10-eight-week-old German shepherd puppies were stolen on Monday from a back yard on Black Diamond Drive. Five of the puppies have since been recovered. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of the puppies, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. MORE

Nanaimo Transit is investigating after a blind woman was refused to board a bus while travelling with her guide dog. Donna Hudon says it happened twice, and she believes drivers have passed her by because of her dog. Recently when she boarded a bus the driver asked for guide dog certification papers. She showed the driver her service dog card and ID, which show she’s blind. This was not enough and the driver kicked her off the bus. She complained to the Regional District’s transit manager, who apologized profusely, says Hudon. BC Transit says it’s taking this matter seriously. It says certified guide and service dogs are always allowed on public transit, but it doesn’t include emotional support or therapy dogs. MORE

An ounce of prevention – the city is making sure it is ready for weather emergencies, particularly for our 1,000 or so homeless. That number is rising. Mayor Leonard Krog told Coast Radio that emergency shelters have to be included in the city’s emergency plan. It’s a question of how to access water, sunscreen, and shade. The city wants to ensure it is ready for a real heat spell so that cooling shelters will be available. “We want to make sure we are responsive as much as we can. We hope not to run into a crisis, but if we do the city is prepared,” The Mayor added. MORE

Don’t go there – Drones are hampering aerial firefighting efforts by wildfire crews as they battle a fire visible from Port Hardy. Transport Canada and BC Wildfire Service prohibit the use of UAVs and drones near wildfires. MORE

Who cares about the public? – The Education Ministry ignored public consultation showing the majority of teachers, students and parents didn’t like plans to do away with letter grades from kindergarten to Grade 9. A report showed 69 per cent of people being dissatisfied with the policy and only 13 per cent were satisfied, with the dissatisfaction rate highest among teachers at 77 per cent, followed by students at 68 per cent. The plan includes new requirements for students to self assess. MORE

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is celebrating Canada Day with another carbon tax called the Clean Fuel Regulations, the second hike since April 1. By 2030, the carbon tax plus the CFR will increase the cost of a litre of gasoline by up to 54.57¢. British Columbia imposed its carbon tax in 2008. Between 2007 and 2019 the province’s emissions increased by four per cent. Canada’s total emissions also increased between 2019 and last year but still accounting for only 1.5 per cent of global emissions. MORE

QUOTABLE – We have unlimited information at our fingertips and yet people have never been dumber.

The difference between Walmart and politicians

June 27, 2023

When all else fails, turn to the private sector. The city is looking for private developers breathe life into the former Jean Burns building which is now vacant at a high-profile downtown intersection. An expression of interest process had begun to redevelop the property which has been blight on downtown since the 2016 fire. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 3. The property has contamination and geotechnical issues but Mayor Leonard Krog sees a lot of upside for the private sector. MORE

The British Columbia Wildfire Service responded to two suspicious wildfires near Port Alberni Monday morning near Rogers Creek and the city's Sahara Heights neighbourhood. Two wildfire crews and one helicopter attacked the fires which were quicly held after they were initially reported as out of control earlier Monday. A provincial natural resource officer says the first are suspicious and likely human-caused. Ninety-eight wildfires were actively burning in B.C. on Monday, with 53 fires considered out of control. MORE

A stinking mess – one lane of Highway 19 north of Nanaimo was closed Monday afternoon following a fish spill. DriveBC reported one lane closed between McKercher Road and Superior Road in Lantzville due to the spill. Some witnesses said the spill was fish guts and another said the smell was so bad that driver thrugh the area go straight to a carwash.MORE

RCMP are looking for help to find 38-year-old Georgia Schell was reported missing on Monday. A rental vehicle linked to her was not returned Saturday when it was due back. She is believed to be on northern Vancouver Island, where she was recently sighted in the Comox and Sayward areas. Schell is five feet, four inches tall, with a slim build and long, dark hair. If you know where she might be, all the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

June 26, 2023

They’re here

The two ships for the new Nanaimo-to-Vancouver passenger ferry service have arrived in Victoria. They will make their way to Nanaimo soon and begin service sometime in August. Hullo will offer up to seven daily roundtrip sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre. MORE

A great start to another week of real summer, with sunshine and mid-20s temperatures in the forecast for central Vancouver Island. Enjoy it to the max.

The Cameron Bluff wildfire had far-reaching impact, it even went as far as blood donation. A mobile donor centre scheduled in Alberni this week has been moved to Nanaimo from June 27-29 at the Beban Park Social Centre. Doors will be open to donors from noon until 6:45 p.m. for all three days. If you had an appointment in Port Alberni, you can rebook by visiting blood.caor by calling 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283). MORE

School kids won’t be getting letter grades and percentages any more leaving some parents and students steaming. A proficiency scale will be expanded to include Grade 9 students. A pilot program now applies to all public schools, no more letter grades from Kindergarten to Grade 9. The change has stirred a lot of attention online, with parents reacting to the news that only students in grades 10, 11 and 12 will get letter grades and percentages. MORE

QUOTABLE – Resistance to institutionalized treatment for the mentally ill and drug addicts invariably brings up objections based on human rights. Those who do not have the capacity to exercise their rights due to their condition are, in effect, being denied their rights. They need help.

June 25, 2023

As expected, the NDP won the two provincial byelections Saturday. It was the share of popular vote that surprised in one of those ridings – NDP candidates in both ridings got more than half of the vote. In Langford-Juan de Fuca, Conservative Mike Harris was the big surprise with almost 20 per cent of the vote, behind NDP Ravi Parmar who won with 53.35 per cent. Green Camille Currie tallied 17.62%. BC United’s Elena Lawson was fourth with 8.63%

In Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, NDP’s Joan Phillip scored 67.86 per cent. BC United’s Jackie Lee got 13.77%, BC Green Wendy Hayko 11.41%, Conservative Karin Litzcke 4.88% MORE

South Nanaimo residents feel caught in the crossfire of drug decriminalization policies and are demanding better safety. They rallied Saturday to express their concern and anger. Tereza Bajan, of Neighbours of Nob Hill, said residents are fed up with rampant drug use, assaults and crime. She strongly disagrees with how overdose prevention sites, including one at Albert Street and a former peer-run Nicol Street site, were situated near the area. In addition, prostitution on Victoria Road has harmed the area over the years, she said. MORE

It’s the world’s largest hockey stick, but its days may be numbered. Duncan is looking for answers from its residents, especially since replacing it would carry a heavy price tag. The stick now on the side of the Duncan Arena graced the entrance of the Canada pavilion at Expo 86, but 37 years later the Cowichan Valley Regional District said it is coming to the end of its life. The regional district estimates that it would cost between $1.5 million and $3 million to build and install a replacement. If residents trun thumbs down, then the stick will be torn down at the end of its expected life in three years or earlier, if it becomes a safety hazard. MORE

Highway 4 to the West Coast is open this morning with alternating traffic.

QUOTABLE – Happiness is when you realize your children have grown up to be good people.

June 24, 2023

UPDATE - 9 a.m. Saturday, Hwy 4 is open to alternative single lane traffic.

It’s an on again, off again situation on Highway 4. It was reopened to single lane traffic for a short while yesterday and then wind conditions forced officials to close it down again. High winds pose safety concerns for cranes suspending protective wire mesh at the site. Once the wind dies down it will require several hours to raise the cranes and mesh back into place. Check www.DriveBC.ca for updates. The detour route between Lake Cowichan and Port Alberni remains open. See photos of both Highway 4 and the detour route. HERE

One thing about living in Nanaimo, you never know what you’re going to get. Residents of the apartment complex near North Town Centre have reported grazing fawns in the area in recent days. And then a bear was spotted in the driveway. You don’t get that in major metropolitcan areas.

The Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Food for Summer program got a big boost when Island Savings matched Woodgrove Chrysler’s donation to $20,000. Abby Sawchuk of Loaves and Fishes, said people need secure access to food year round, adding donations tend to drop in summer but the need is still there. MORE

The BC Wildfire Service took quick action on a small wildfire near Whisky Lake, south of Extension on Friday. It was located behind the Extension Fire Department hall on Bramley Road and by 11 p.m., it was “being held” by the wildfire service with no further growth expected. Two helicopters were brought in to fight the fire. MORE

Going to the beach is a little easier now. The City has installed Mobi-Mats at Neck Point Park, Loudon Park and Colliery Dam to go with an existing one at Departure Bay Beach. That improves accessibility for wheelchair users, including strollers and wheeling kayaks to the water. MORE

QUOTABLE: Definition of a will – a dead giveaway.

June 23, 2023

It won’t come as a surprise if the NDP candidates win both byelections tomorrow. What will draw interest is BC United, the former BC Liberals and the Green Party. Greens came second in both ridings last time. In a sense, the spotlight may well be on BCU leader Kevin Falcon to see whether he and his party are making an impact. And the BC Conservatives now have a sitting MLA, John Rustad, as leader and it will be interesting to see how that could impact BCU. Langford-Juan de Fuca and Vancouver-Mount Pleasant are both considered solid NDP territory, having been held by former premier John Horgan and cabinet minister Melanie Mark. MORE

BC Ferries summer season is under way with more sailings and more staff, however, reliability remains a concern due to staff shortages. Summer schedules involve five additional ferries between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the Southern Gulf Islands. That requires hundreds of additional crew to staff 4,700 additional sailings until Labour Day. A system-wide hiring initiative has added more than 1,200 staff in the last year including 140 recently recruited professional mariners with more than 70 from Ukraine. MORE

Congratulations to Peter Kuziek, winner of the Mike Docherty Lifetime Achievement Award presented by BC Transit. It’s part of Transit’s annual recognition of their staff for professionalism, teamwork and dedication to public transit in their communities Transit SuperStars. Peter spent43 years in the RDN transit system. He has been a mechanic, dispatcher, trainer, planner, scheduler, and even acting operations manager.Peter has returned as a casual driver from time to time after retiring in January, 2022. For a list of all previous winners, go to:https://www.bctransit.com/transit-superstars.

The Child Development Centre’s Silly Boat Regatta Kickoff has a special event set for July 14 to raise more funds as they recover from COVID. It’s at the Port Theatre with food and entertainment.Jason Hewlett will host with comedy, music and an inspirational messages. He has a very cool message, so this is a great just entertainment night or a team building experience.Businesses bringing their staff as a team-building evening, as well as supporting the kids in our community. Tickets are on sale now.

In a ruling that could impact our area of the Pacific, a U.S. appeals court has overturned the shut down of the southeast Alaska chinook salmon troll fishery to protect orca whales. The summer season will start next week for an industry that supports some 1,500 fishery workers in southeast Alaska. The ruling “recognized the absurdity of closing down a vital economic industry for an issue that is already being remedied by the federal government,” said Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor. MORE

QUOTABLE – Five years ago, teenage climate icon Greta Thunberg predicted the world would end this year. It hasn’t happened, causing great consternation and disappointment in the climate change movement.

June 22, 2023

The Commercial Street Night Market opens its 2023 season tonight, running every Thursday between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. until the end of August. MORE

Cathedral Grove and two other day-use parks along Hwy 4 have been closed to allow work to open four-lane alternating traffic. Cameron Lake and Beaufort in Little Qualicum Falls will also be closed to help reduce traffic congestion and keep traffic through the corridor flowing smoothly. Barrier fencing is in place at Cathedral Grove. Parking areas are reserved ministry staff who will be on site to guide traffic.
MacMillan Park:https://bcparks.ca/macmillan-park/
Little Qualicum Falls Park:https://bcparks.ca/little-qualicum-falls-park/

A pair of thieves may think they got away, but they left a calling card – a cell phone – after stealing from a vehicle last weekend. A homeowner in the 4100 block Ross Road called police to report that he had scared off two teenage males from his carport. They got away with two watches and a white gold ring with a ruby stone. RCMP also report at least two other thefts from vehicles over the past few days. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345. See UNSOLVED CRIMES

Old news warmed over? An appearance in Nanaimo yesterday by Premier David Eby was stated to “reaffirm” a commitment to share knowledge and develop new housing for all who live in Snuneymuxw territory. In other words, it was old news repackaged.

Here’s an opportunity to give back to your community. Clay Tree Society is looking for new board members. Clay Tree is a local non-profit agency that provides assistance and support for people with developmental disabilities by utilizing programs, techniques, and systems that help participants live a full life of quality and dignity. Their goal is to help participants, staff, and volunteers become the best versions of themselves while respecting their autonomy, cultural diversity, and right to privacy. Check HERE for more details.

QUOTABLE – Climate indoctrination is really emotional intimidation.

June 21, 2023

It's the first day of summer with visions of barbecues, beaches and fun on warm days and nights. That’s just what we’re going to get, says Environment Canada, predicting higher-than-normal temperatures for most of Canada. On Vancouver Island, where it counts, the probability of above-normal temperatures is 60 per cent. Many parts of the country are already experiencing wildfires, driven mainly by higher temperatures and seasonal dryness. MORE

Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day, celebrating First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture. It will be held at Maffeo Sutton Park tonight from 5-8 p.m. with entertainment, activities, vendors and food trucks.

A new public works facility, which has been bogged down at city council, finally took a step forward Monday as councillors gave three readings for a $48.6-million borrowing bylaw. It only took a few minutes to pass the first three readings, with little discussion and unanimous support. Mayor Leonard Krog said the speed of the approval comes after the proposal has come before council several times already. MORE

Problems never seem to end for B.C. Ferries, the new Island Class ferries can't seem to accommodate extreme tides. The Gabriola Ferry Advisory Committee says vehicles are missing sailings since the arrival of the new ferries. BC Ferries has always had challenges with loading and unloading longer or low vehicles at extreme low or high tides but the committee argues it’s happening more often with the new ferries. The way the old dock fits the new ferry makes it difficult at low and high tides to get long loads on board, said Steven Earle, chair of the committee. It’s the same on other routes with the Island Class ferries. MORE

You may be able to go to Port Alberni and the west coast by this weekend. The government says it is on track to allow limited traffic on the route with single-lane alternating traffic by June 24 or 25. Crews have cleared away fallen trees and debris and are installing temporary safety measures to allow the highway to reopen. Approximately 124 metres of roadside barriers have been placed along the side of the highway near Cameron Lake and protective mesh curtains will be suspended from cranes. A four-hour detour route around the fire site via logging roads is being used by about 1,000 vehicles a day. It will remain in place until Highway 4 is fully open. MORE

Tuition and fees for the fall semester at Kwantlen Polytechnic University will be free for First Nations students this fall. University President and Vice Chancellor Alan Davis said education is fundamental to reconciliation. The tuition waiver applies to students from the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt and Kwikwetlem First Nations. MORE

June 20, 2023

Residents of the Newcastle neighbourhood have had it. They are fed up with the criminal activity after another shooting left a man in critical condition near the homeless encampment last week. It was the second shooting in three months near the camp. Karen Kuwica, president of the Newcastle Community Association, said there have been incidents involving stashed weapons, stolen property, explosions, pedestrian-caused vehicle collisions and assaults in the area. MORE

Nanaimo had 13 toxic-drug deaths in May and 58 in the first five months this year, the second highest in one year. British Columbia is on pace for its deadliest tainted-drug deaths on record with 1,018 in the first five months, new data from the BC Coroners Service shows. Central Vancouver Island (Cowichan Valley to Oceanside, Alberni Valley, Tofino, Ucluelet) had 89 tainted-drug deaths during the first five months of the year, 68.7-per-100,000 people. That’s fourth highest among 16 health service delivery areas. MORE

If you want to get your driver licence, don’t rely on mom and dad to teach you. Fifty per cent of those who are parent taught fail their test. Students who take a course or even a couple of lessons, improve their pass rate to about 74 per cent. ICBC says 22 per cent more road tests were completed in May on Vancouver Island compared to the monthly average. The problem is that nearly half of those tests result in failures because they are unprepared. MORE

Off the beaten path: an elderly lady told the sad story of how she lost her husband. He needed a blood transfusion, but his blood type was not on record. His doctor asked her if she knew what it was, in order to save his life. She had never known his blood type, so she could only sit by and say goodbye. “I’ll never forget how supportive my Richard was. Even as he was fading away, he had such a great attitude as he kept on whispering, “Be positive, be positive!”

June 19, 2023

An 18-year-old Nanaimo teen was airlifted to Victoria hospital with life-threatening injuries after a beating with a baseball bat on Friday. Video of the attack at Bruce Avenue and Dundas Street shows a teenage boy attacking another boy with a baseball bat before fleeing on foot with a group of four or five youths. Police later located a vehicle associated to the assault and identified the registered owner, but no arrests have been made. “This was a vicious attack carried out in broad daylight that has shocked the community. We want to assure people that this is a priority investigation and that the investigators are focused on identifying who is responsible. . . ”, said R/Const. Gary O’Brien. Investigators with the Major Crimes Unit are actively investigating. MORE

The new 12-bed intensive care unit at NRGH will open next week – June 28. It includes larger single-patient rooms; ceiling-mounted service booms and overhead patient lifts; a medication room; and a family consult room. Construction also continues on a new 12-bed high-acuity unit (HAU) at the hospital, which will provide patients with more acute care and closer monitoring than a general hospital ward, but requires fewer resources than an ICU.FULL DETAILS

Gentlemen . . . and ladies, stop your engines! The school board has issued new rules for idling buses while dropping off and picking up students. Gasoline vehicles can idle for no longer than one minute while diesels have the same rule on school property, but up to five minutes elsewhere. MORE

Stephen Bradley Ewing, 43, has been sentenced Friday to five years in penitentiary after pleading guilty to sex crimes. That related violent incidents at a Lantzville cabin in 2018. The sentence replaces an ongoing jail term after Ewing pleaded guiltyearlier to violent sex crimes against six other women in Nanaimo, Lantzville and Parksville in 2018 and 2019. MORE

The Cameron Bluffs wildfire is under control after burning 229 hectares of forest. On Saturday, there were still 108 firefighters, three helicopters and four pieces of heavy equipment working on the blaze. A chance of showers in the from now until Tuesday could help supress the fire further. Highway 4 is expected to remain closed until at least June 24. MORE

Summer starts in a couple of days, but you’d never know it, snow and rain fell on theOkanagan ConnectorSaturday night. DriveBC’s webcams show the snow falling fromMerritttoKelowna, just after midnight, but it thawed almost immediately. MORE

Quotable – Isn't it amazing how many people are offended on someone else’s behalf?

June 17, 2023

Well, it’s Saturday and more than half of the month is already gone. Remember the Kootenay Ice hockey team from the Western Hockey League that once hoped to move to Nanaimo if we spent a fortune on a new ice centre? Well, we said no, and off they went to Winnipeg where they nested for four years. Now they’re off to Wenatchee, Wash. And lack of a new arena for Winnipeg was the tipping point. MORE

With the highway closure, Port Alberni has been isolated for weeks , but some relief is on the way. Helijet is starting daily service Monday between Nanaimo and Port Alberni. They will fly once a day from the Nanaimo heliport at 9:30 a.m. and arrive in Port Alberni 20 minutes later. It will leave Port Alberni at 10:30 a.m. to return to Nanaimo. Tickets start at $175 for a one-way trip and require special booking. To reserve a ride, contact Helijet at 1-800-665-3454.

Nanaimo Ladysmith public schools have opened their first child care facilities as part of a new provincial initiative. Forest Park Elementary School, with more than 70 spaces, and Ladysmith Primary School, with more than 75 are now open. A centre at Chase River Elementary is anticipated to come online next and work toward a child care centre at Rock City Elementary is under way. MORE

Congrats to Danielle Hyde, VIU director of athletics and recreation, who has been named 2023 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association athletic director of the year. She guided the 2022-23 season which had varsity soccer, basketball, and volleyball teams all qualify for national championships, a feat no other Canadian post-secondary institution achieved. MORE

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a significant rise in hate-related incidents claims an opinion-based report from the B.C. Human Rights Commission. Kasari Govender reported on the rise of hate during the pandemic, titled “From hate to hope“. She conceded the report focused on incidents not only based on race or religion, but gender, disability, including poverty and homelessness. She said the data are not complete, it’s a minimal data set about people who reported to police, with police not necessarily using the same uniform standard of how they assess hate. That’s the problem with this type of conclusion, it’s an opinion and lacks verification based on fact.

June 16, 2023

The spotlight is on downtown as the Commercial Street Night Market reopens for business next Thursday. It will be open 5-9 p.m. as vehicle traffic is blocked off. Market co-ordinator Aurora Zuraw said 200 vendors will be on Commercial selling crafts, food and the like. There will be street entertainers each night throughout the summer. MORE

A large addition has been completed to Ecole Hammond Bay Elementary School. The five portables on the property will be relocated to other sites, but kids will have to finish out this term in the portables and wait until the next school year. MORE

For what it’s worth, Canada’s population will hit 40 million today. Statistics Canada says itPopulation Clock— that models real-time growth using factors such as births, deaths and migration — will reach the 40-million mark just before noon today, Pacific time. Stats Can chief statistician Anil Arora said this is cause for celebration.

QUOTABLE - With all the recent rhetoric labelling hatred, remember a divergent view is not automatically hatred.

Emily Zomar-Sousa

Do you know where Emily Zomar-Sousa is?

Nanaimo RCMP are trying to find 22-year old Emily Zomar-Sousa, who has not been seen or heard from by her family for several weeks.Emily has no fixed address and her family is concerned for her safety and well-being. She may be living at an unknown location in north Nanaimo. She has no phone and was last seen and spoken to by the Nanaimo RCMP on May 25. Emily is 5 ft. 4, very thin with long blonde hair and blue eyes. The picture is recent. If anyone has information on her whereabouts, please contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

June 15, 2023

One man is in hospital and two people are in police custody following a shooting near a homeless encampment. The incident occurred Wednesday in the 200 block of Terminal Avenue. Police responded to reports of gunfire near the encampment on the banks of the Millstone River. When officers arrived, they located a man with a life-threatening injury, believed to have been caused by a firearm. Police provided emergency first aid and were able to stabilize him. He was transported to Nanaimo hospital for medical treatment. While police were investigating the shooting, police also responded to a report of a man who had been stabbed in the 100 block of Victoria Rd. He was not co-operative and no suspects have been identified. His injuries were considered minor. He was was treated at hospital and later released. This incident was unrelated to the shooting but did require additional police resources to respond and to investigate properly, said O’Brien. Anyone with information on either of these incidents, please call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

Shane Moon, 29, has not been seen since leaving the hospital Sunday. Health-care staff are concerned for his well-being and safety. He is 6’2’, 230 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. If anyone has information on his whereabouts, please call the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345, quoting file No. 2023-19689.

A Nanaimo man was sentenced to 20 months in jail for filming his partner in the shower without consent and being in possession of child pornography. The man’s name will not be released to protect the identity of his victim. He also pleaded guilty to importing and being in possession of child pornography, and secretly recording nudity in a private place. Police recovered more than 30,000 photos and videos depicting children being sexually abused. MORE

Costs keep rising, and that’s nothing new when it comes to public infrastructure. The costs of the Terminal Avenue Corridor upgrade between Esplanade and Commercial has climbed to $7.3 million after the city’s finance committee added another $1.5 million to the pot. The extra spending needs final city council approval. MORE

Playing political games with pharmacare

Politics is a game played by those we elect, and not always in our best itnerest. The NDP and Liberals are playing games with a confidence-and-supply agreement ensuring NDP support for the government to hold off an election until 2025 in exchange for progress on NDP priorities. That includes a universal pharmacare program before the end of this year.

Now NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is playing games, tabling his own pharmacare legislation, no longer willing to wait for the Liberals to make good on their promise.

Singh says the NDP has lost faith in the government’s commitment to pharmacare and wants to take matters into their own hands. Is losing faith any different than losing confidence? That gets the headlines, but there’s little chance of anything happening. Historically, oppositions motions wither on the vine. And that’s the way politics is played – creating an illusion that you’re doing something.

If the NDP is really sincere there’s a much quicker way to get the result they are looking for – scrap the support for the Liberals, call a non-confidence vote and set the stage for a general election if their demand is not met.That should get the Liberals to move or get off the pot.

June 14, 2023

As if the isolation due to wildfires is not enough, thousands of people are without power – more than 15,000 customers in Port Alberni, 2,300 in both Tofino and Ucluelet. The outages come amid a wind warning for West Vancouver Island, where Environment Canada says 80 km/h winds will hit exposed coastal sections. MORE

It could be late June before Highway 4 is reopened on a limited basis, more than two weeks after the Cameron Bluffs wildfire first shut it down. The province said it is tentatively planning on reopening the highway to single-lane alternating traffic in late June. MORE

Concerts in the park are back, starting Friday, at Maffeo Sutton Park with Alternative Rock group Cosmosaurus.There will be 10 concerts at six parks with a different genre from jazz to 60s and 70s to Celtic punk rock. Mayor Leonard Krog says the artists participating are a great example of the talent in Nanaimo.

The summer schedule:

  • Friday, June 16, Maffeo Sutton Park: Cosmosaurus (Alternative Rock)
  • Monday, June 19, Kin Park at Departure Bay: Tasha Adams (Jazz)
  • Tuesday, July 4, Pipers Lagoon Park: Island Time Saxophone Quartet (Wind Instruments)
  • Wednesday, July 12, Pipers Lagoon Park: From the Earth (Folk Duo)
  • Friday, July 14, Kin Park at Departure Bay: Velvet Stardust (60s and 70s Covers)
  • Wednesday, July 19, Bowen Amphitheatre: Colliding Canyons (Psychedelic Rock)
  • Tuesday, July 25, Colliery Dam Park: Gab Gosselin (Acoustic Guitar/Vocals/French Repertoire)
  • Friday, July 28, Maffeo Sutton Park: Grinning Barretts (Celtic Punk Rock)
  • Tuesday, August 1, Westwood Lake Park: Myc Sharratt (Folk)
  • Wednesday, August 16, Bowen Amphitheatre: Details (Rap)
    Print and save this schedule.

Treat Williams, star of Chesapeake Shores, which was produced in the Central Island, died in a motorcycle accident on Monday. He was 71. He played the matriarch of the O’Brien family in the show. The Hallmark production was produced here for six years, from 2016 to 2022. His death was confirmed by his agent of 15 years, Barry McPherson.

A lot of so-called hate speech is really just stupid speech.

June 13, 2023

LATEST UPDATE – Highway 4 at Cameron Lake is expected to open to single-lane alternating traffic by the weekend of June 24/25. “The ministry urges drivers to use patience since traffic queues are expected to be extensive during this time. The ministry will continue to monitor the state of recovery before moving toward on a full reopening expected in mid-July. Until the highway is fully open, the detour will remain available,” a statement from the ministry outlined. Pavement conditions of the 1.5 kilometres of highway adjacent to Cameron Lake are intact, roadside barriers have been damaged as a result of falling trees and debris.

EARLIER STORY - The Highway 4 shutdown continues to play havoc with Port Alberni and beyond, impacting thousands of people — commuters, tourists and those relying on deliveries to the community. North Island College has postponed its Port Alberni graduation ceremonies for 60 students. Usually at this time of year, beaches, roads and restaurants in Tofino are packed with tourists, but the wildfire means visitors are staying away. The only way in is by logging road, but officials are asking that the detour be used for essential traffic only. MORE

Pacific Coastal Airlines is adding two new routes from Nanaimo Airport beginning in September. There will be daily non-stop flights on the Nanaimo - Vancouver South Terminal and Nanaimo - Kelowna routes, with a 19-passenger pressurized turboprop Beechcraft 1900. This aircraft has comfortable seating, a spacious six-foot cabin height, and ample cargo capacity, ensuring a pleasant and convenient travel experience.

Climate is tagged to virtually any topic these days, but the mayor of San Francisco reached a new level when he referred to “climate homelessness.”

June 12, 2023

Terminal cargo loaders at British Columbia's ports have voted overwhelmingly to strike. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Canada, which represent 7,000 workers, says a vote over the weekend yielded 99.24 per cent support for strike action against the BC Maritime Employers Association if necessary. The two sides are in a cooling-off period until June 21, while the union's U.S. counterpart holds its own talks with West Coast ports leading to disruptions in ports, including Los Angeles. MORE

A man died in a motorcycle collision with a vehicle early this morning on the Island Highway in Nanaimo. The collision happened around 5 a.m. at the Island Highway and Oliver Road. The cyclist was reported to have been heading north and collided with a southbound vehicle turning onto Oliver. He was pronounced dead 20 minutes later and B.C. Coroners Service was advised. MORE

It's going to beanother hot one today, so make sure you dress accordingly. We're expecting a high of 26 degrees before levelling off to 17-18 degrees by mid week.

The out-of-control wildfire at Cameron Bluffs is now burning 254 hectares. Rain and cloud over the weekend made it difficult to estimate the size of the fire but fire fighting crews were able to make gains and strengthen containment lines. Now come drier conditions in the next few days before the rain is forecast to return. One firefighter was injured on the mountain Saturday and transported by air ambulance. MORE

Literacy programs for Indigenous elders, including those who asttended residential schools, are now offered in Nanaimo. Eagle Feather Literacy and Literacy Central Vancouver Island have developed the program with money from the Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy in the first national granting project, First Nations elders Linda Jack and Norman Mitchell announced. MORE

Catching fish under the minimum weight limit can be costly. Ken Hsien Lin had five under-sized chinook on board his boat on Jan. 25 when a federal fisheries vessel conducting compliance checks stopped by. He was tabbed with a $4,000 fine after pleading guilty. And you can squeal on anyone engaging in illegal fishing activities by calling DFO at 1-800-465-4336, or email DFO.ORR-ONS.MPO@dfo-mpo.gc.ca. MORE

June 11, 2023

It's a slow news day with the forest fires in the spotlight on Vancouver Island and across the province. And that could get worse as hot, dry weather returns to the coast today.

Friday night‘s rain helped to slow down the out-of-control wild fire near Port Alberni as crews battle the blaze that shut down the only paved road. Coastal Fire Centre reported the fire still growing. The detour established Wednesday reopened Friday evening as Highway 4 remains closed. The four-hour detour on logging roads through remote and rugged terrain, was shut down for most of the day while a vehicle that rolled into Francis Lake was being retrieved. MORE

For those who want to go to Toronto, direct flights from Nanaimo Airport resume on June 23. Along with the renewed 4.5 hour flight, the airport plans to add another Vancouver departure to its summer schedule. MORE

Highly respected prosecutor Glenn S. Kelt has died at the age of 70. He handled many high-profile cases including homicide trials across the province, including several in Nanaimo.Probably most notable was the trial of Allan Schoenborn who was found not criminally responsible for slaying his three children in Merritt in 2008. MORE

June 9-10, 2023

Highway 4 will remain closed beyond the weekend. A detour has reopened to traffic. Additional firefighting crews will join more than 60 already on the ground at the Cameron Bluffs wildfire which is still out of control. Air tankers, firefighting helicopters and other pieces of heavy equipment continue to battle the blaze, which has grown to 208 hectares since it was first reported Sunday. Crews are working to safeguard Cathedral Grove. For the latest road conditions, go HERE.

RCMP are investigating a break in and theft at the Vancouver Island Raiders field house at 110 Wall St. The lock on the front door had been compromised. The heist included20 Nike Vapor footballs, five travel bags, two Riddell helmets, two pairs of football cleats along with team jerseys, tools and equipment. Police are looking for information ­ – contact the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345.

The sun will return. Today's weather will be about the same as Friday and then along comes another scorcher starting Sunday through Monday.

Beware of free money – The City hopes to recover big bucks in land use planning for the gateway to north Nanaimo. City council voted Monday to apply for the Union of BC Municipalities Complete Communities program to develop an area plan for the Woodgrove Urban Centre neighbourhood. If the bid succeeds the city will be for up to $100,000 and an additional $50,00 through the Regional District for a total of $200,000 after the city pays $50,000. Tell us it's not for more mess ups like Metral Drive and Front Street. If that's in the package, say no to the free money. MORE

WildPlay’s downtown zipline at Maffeo Sutton Park slides back into action for the summer on Sunday. The price is right, the first ride will be free on opening day, with subsequent rides $8, from noon-6 p.m. So if you’re seven years and older and under 300 pounds give it a shot. The ride will be open on major event days throughout the summer, as well as select weekends in July. MORE

Hats off to Nanaimo paramedic supervisor Alex Mattes, who won a silver medal at an international first responders competition in the Czech Republic. He was a member of Team Canada B.C. which competed against 23 teams from 15 countries when teams of doctors, paramedics and police put their skills to the test during a 24-hour shift. They workED 10 to 12 scenarios and were judged on their patient care, knowledge, medical skills and over all scene management. This year it included simulated toxic substance exposure, radioactive material exposure and a hostage situation. MORE

Things are not getting any better for Port Alberni and the West Coast. The Hwy. 4 detouris closed to all vehicles until to 9 p.m. tonight to remove a large truck that rolled into Francis Lake. Travellers are asked to avoid travel along this route before and after the closure as commercial trucks will be lined up to get through.The Coastal Fire Centre reported this morning that the Cameron Bluffs fire grew slightly overnight to 208 hectares.The increase was mostly on the southern flank in the mountains area, away from Hwy. 4. MORE

WestJet will shut down its Swoop brand by late October as it integrates the budget carrier’s operations into its main banner. The move comes after ratification of a new collective agreement that brings pilots of both carriers onto a level pay scale. WestJet will offer some ultra-low-cost tickets after the Swoop shut down. MORE

Gas prices are flirting with the $2-per-litre level again on Vancouver Island. Gas Buddy report some Nanaimo stations at $1.849 today. Since October, prices have been on a steady increase, from $1.58 per litre.

Telus is boosting its PureFibre network in Nanaimo with a multi-million dollar infusion. The company is investing $11.7 million for network infrastructure and operations, offering better technology, ability to connect with others and access to resources and information. MORE

June 8, 2023

What everyone has been waiting for. Hulo Ferries released fare and launch information this morning. It’s going to cost $39.99 to ride the new passenger ferry which is scheduled to begin sailing in early August between Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. There's a $10 discount off that price for your first sailing HULLO Ferry announced details of fares and its launch target this morning. DETAILS.

Highway 4 could remain closed beyond the wildfire at Cameron Bluffs, the only highway access to Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet. The B.C. Ministry of Transportation says the wildfire continues to make driving unsafe on a seven-kilometre stretch between Koen Road and Cathedral Grove. Damage to the road and instability of the slope above the highway means this closure is likely to last beyond the fire itself, said the ministry. A detour is in place to route traffic from Port Alberni through to Lake Cowichan via Bamfield using forest-service and privately-owned industrial roads. At last report, the fire was approximately 140 hectares large and out of control. MORE

An air quality advisory has been issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley as wildfire smoke and high temperatures create hazy, hazardous conditions. The advisory is expcted to remain in effect until a change in weather. "Smoke concentrations may vary widely across the region as winds, temperatures, and wildfire behaviour changes," the advisory says. MORE

Man dies in crash south of Nanaimo. A single vehicle collision south of Nanaimo has claimed the life of A 33-year old Nanaimo man on Tuesday evening on White Rapids Road. Several witnesses told police that the older pickup had been speeding prior to the crash. The driver lost control and ended up striking a tree. MORE

Important date goes virtually unnoticed One of the most significant dates in human history barely made a tick on the news calendar. The D-Day battle on June 6, 1944 is believed to have turned the tide of the Second World War into the Allies' favor 79 years ago. Check out the HISTORY

Quotable - News media are becoming less and less relevant, drifting away from news and more toward social engineering.

June 7, 2023

Highway 4 detour in place due to Cameron Lake Bluff wildfire

Highway 4 remains closed at Cameron Lake Bluff due to wildfire affecting the area.

A detour is in place and drivers are strongly encouraged to avoid travel in the area unless essential. The detour will route traffic from Port Alberni through to Lake Cowichan via Bamfield using forest-service and privately owned industrial roads. The gravel detour route has narrow sections, sharp curves, single-lane bridges and challenging terrain. There is no cell service, gas stations or washroom facilities on the detour route. For up-to-date information about driving conditions, visit: https://www.DriveBC.ca

BC Ferries planning terminal streamlining

BC Ferries check-in and boarding processes at five major terminals could be going high tech. The corporation has applied to the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner to upgrade terminals at Duke Point, Tsawwassen, Horseshoe Bay, Departure Bay, and Swartz Bay. It will result in reduced ticketing and check-in wait times. It would add seamless, contactless journey for foot passenger travel with enhanced kiosks, fare gates and boarding pass validation. The plan calls for express lane check-in at the terminals for pre-paid reserved customers. More than 16.5 million passengers and 6.8 million vehicles travelled through BC Ferries’ major terminals last fiscal year.

Almost everything will cost more with bank rate hike
The Bank of Canada raised its key rate by a quarter per cent to 4.75 today, the first increase since January, the highest since April 2001. Several factors led to the bank’s decision to raise the key interest rate, including economic growth in Canada. Gross Domestic Product exceeded expectations in the first quarter of this year, growing by 3.1 per cent. The central bank says demand in the economy has rebounded, with surprisingly strong consumer spending. Housing market activity has picked up again and the Canadian labour market remains tight. MORE

June 7, 2023

What were those sirens? Firefighters battled a fire at a recycling depot at 332 Tenth St. 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Tenth Street, between Douglas Avenue and Southside Drive, was temporarily closed. And firefighters battled another fire on Stewart Avenue in mid-afternoon in an unoccupied commercial building in the 1300 block.MORE

The Nanaimo Family Life Association is among support groups sharing an $809,000 grant to the Seniors Services Society of B.C. It will help seniors with mental illness and addictions at risk of becoming homeless. The government’s program is city-specific, and helps seniors access mental health, addiction and financial assistance along with housing and advocating for seniors in rental disputes. MLA Sheila Malcolmson said Nanaimo Family Life helps break through isolation and grief, to help connect seniors with housing and mental health supports. MORE

A campfire ban is going into effect this weekend covering all of Vancouver Island and parts of the Mainland. The Coastal Fire Centre ban covers all types of fires except the use of outdoor stoves for cooking, heat, or ambiance that burns charcoal briquettes, liquid fuel, or gaseous fuel with a flame less than 15 cm tall. Anyone in contravention is subject to a $1,150 ticket. If convicted in court the fines can go up to $100,000 and/or one year in jail. There are 78 active wildfires in the province with people being the suspected cause of 32 of them. MORE

North Cedar Fire Department ordered a campfire ban on Sunday due to dry conditions. Nanaimo firefighters have doused numerous bush fires in parks and undeveloped areas in recent weeks. They responded to 14 bush fires between June 2, and Monday afternoon. MORE

Not so fast, says Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon of a View Royal plan for a six-month pause of new development. Mayor Sid Tobias says there are enough projects under way – sevenprojectsare under way or in the process of being approved. Kahlon’s message for View Royal was quite clear. “We’re all in a housing crisis, and all communities have to play their part.” View Royal is one of the municipalities on the government’s naughty list with the greatest potential growth and means to build housing but are too slow to approve new units. MORE

Goodbye buffet, BC Ferries is closing the Pacific Buffet permanently after losing $1.2 million a year. Nanaimo-route users won’t shed any tears, the buffet was offered only on Victoria sailings. The company said that even a 30-per-cent price hike would continue to lose money, because of increased cost of food and labour. MORE

A wildfire in the Cameron Bluffs above Cameron Lake continues to cause problems, including Hwy. 4 traffic disruptions. The fire had grown to an estimated 109 hectares as of midday on Tuesday. Fire operations forced a brief closure of Hwy. 4 near Cameron Lake and the BC Wildfire Service advises travel may be affected intermittently, with single lane alternating traffic. MORE


The problem with closed-minded people is their mouth is always open.

June 6, 2023

They’re on their way. It will be a red-letter day in Nanaimo when two new passenger ferries finally arrive here to begin service this summer. The two 354-seat vessels have left the shipbuilding site in Vietnam on their way to Nanaimo. Vancouver Island Ferry Company plans seven daily trips to and from Vancouver, with a 70-minute crossing time. Fares and schedules will be announced in the coming weeks. MORE

Free is a magic word, but remember it’s also a four-letter word. The provincial government’s lure of free money in ane-bike rebate has British Columbians clamouring to cash in. The rebate provides between $350 to $1,400 based on income. MORE

A salute to Nanaimo RCMP Cpl. Mike Ramsey for being selected to ride in the Tour de Rock in September. Each year’s team is made up of first responders – from civilian and military police forces, firefighters, ambulance paramedics and guest riders from news media – who train for months to prepare for the 1,200-kilometre tour, raising money for Canadian Cancer Society research and programs for childhood cancer.MORE

Vancouver Island University will get $1 million from the province for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning Pathways programs. The money will be shared between the four main areas of health care, early childhood education and technology and trades to better prepare students for the workforce. MORE

Oceanside RCMP responded to two incidents at the 5K Foam Fest at Arbutus Meadows Event and Equestrian Centre in Nanoose Bay over the weekend. A vehicle drove into an enclosed area, narrowly missing a number of people. Police said the driver appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was prohibited from driving for 24 hours. In a second incident, emergency crews responded to a skydiver apparently misjudging a landing and hitting the ground hard. MORE

An out-of-control wildfire near Port Alberni covers about 20 hectares of dense forest. The B.C. Wildfire Service says the Cameron Bluffs fire was discovered Sunday on the southern shore of Cameron Lake covering less than a hectare. By Monday it had grown to 20 hectares, with eight firefighters and one helicopter attacking the blaze in the steep terrain. The wildfire near Sawyward is no longer out-of-control and is being held, the Coastal Fire Centre says. MORE

June 4, 2023

The race is on, the Van Isle 360 Yacht Race set sail from Nanaimo Harbour Saturday morning, beginning a two-week circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. The race will have stops in Comox, Campbell River, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet and Victoria, ending in Nanaimo on June 17. MORE

The cost of educating our children has passed the $200-million mark. The school board has approved a $200.6-million budget for 2023-24. Teachers’ salaries make up about $76 million, rounded figures show $14 million for support staff, $12 million for education assistants, more than $9 million for principals and vice-principals, and $5 million each for substitutes and other professionals. There was concern in some quarters about fewer education assistants. MORE

Does this sound familiar? Comox Valley Regional Transit is facing possible cancellations and route changes due to a staff shortage. Some routes may be changed or cancelled on short notice. Alerts will be issued on theBC Transit website, as well as theNextRideandTransit App. BC Transit is trying to hire more drivers for the Comox Valley Regional Transit System. Anyone interested can applyonline.

With all the heat and tinder-dry conditions, some drivers are still tossing cig butts out of moving car windows. LETTERS


My wife went grocery shopping yesterday and came back virtually empty handed. "Everything was out of our price range."

June 3, 2023

The city is snooping into your garbage. Education hasn’t solved the problem of recycling contamination so the City is beefing up the approach. Blue bin inspectors began work yesterday walking ahead of the collection trucks to remove items which aren’t supposed to be there. If they find such items they take them out. They do that before trucks collect those routes. MORE

The six-vehicle crash resulted after a 73-year-old driver apparently went into medical distress while driving on the Trans-Canada Highway south of Nanaimo on Friday. He was pronounced dead after emergency crews arrived. His wife was injured and taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. MORE

A pair of brush fires within minutes of each other in Bowen Park and a nearby wooded area off Buttertubs Drive yesterday are being treated as suspicious. Fire Captain Scott Mitrenga said it was lucky it was a pretty damp area and looked to be potentially purposely set. MORE

June 2, 2023

How hot was it? Nanaimo set records in May with the hottest temperature since 1899 with a monthly mean temperature of 15.7 degrees Celsius, 3.2 degrees above normal. It was also a slightly drier month than normal. The highest single day temperature hit 32 degrees on May 14. MORE

The new parking area at Westwood Lake Park opened yesterday, the first phase of improvements. There are 94 parking stalls now. Work continues at the park and the city urges caution by park users. The second phase will expand the beach, with accessibility improvements, picnic areas, seating, shade and green space, a completed loop trail, and accessible and inclusive washrooms contained in a new amenity building. Second-phase work is scheduled to begin in late 2024. MORE

Fire crews quickly extinguished a small for at the former Travellers Lodge on Thursday. Stu Kenning, assistant fire chief of operations, said crews found a small fire in the building and acted quickly. There was smoke damage in a portion of the building. MORE

Free money will do it every time. The government’s handout for e-bike enthusiasts is proving so popular it crashed the website. The agency administering the rebate said the outage was due to an overwhelming demand. There were 5,500 applicantsby 4:30 p.m. The page was replaced by a waitlist application. Then the application to be waitlisted also stopped working.

June 1, 2023

Welcome to June from the new World Headquarters of Nanaimonet. We'll be undergoing some changes in the next litle while but hopefully that won't impact readers' enjoyment of this site. Stay tuned.

2023 tax notices are in the mail so you can start gathering what few shekels you have. There are countless ways to pay – at any bank or credit union, or at the service and resource centre, 411 Dunsmuir St. You can also mail a cheque by using the postage-paid return envelope in tax notice packages. Another option is to set up pre-authorized withdrawal plans with the city. Make sure you pay by July 4 or you’ll have a penalty added to your account. For more information on taxes, home owner grants and other ways to pay, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/taxes.

Tent caterpillars are back, but don’t worry about it. The species is native to the Island and nest in trees every year, but every five to seven years can break out in large infestations. A city news release says they do not cause significant or lasting damage to healthy mature trees, so city staff normally do nothing about them and let nature take its course. They are not dangerous. For more information on tent caterpillars, visit the Government of Canada website http://ow.ly/8hIV50OqAJN.