Youth riding lawn mower

dies in collision with truck

A 14-year-old youth has died after the sit-down lawn mower he was operating failed to stop at an intersection and collided with a pick-up truck. The collision occurred at approximately 12:15 p.m. on Thursday at the intersection of Lindsey Road and White Road, in Cedar. DETAILS


Ushering out the old year

with unfinished business

Out with the old and in with the new. It would be great to start 2024 with a new slate, but that’s not the way things work.

Optimism is in short supply as we stumble into 2024. Listing all the baggage we bring with us in the new year would be a very long list.


Top of mind issues include Canada’s housing crisis that is leaving a lot of Canadians without a place to lay their heads. It’s not a case of putting the cart before the horse as homelessness and mental illness and drug use are joined at the hip. Health care is a mess, abetting that problem. Open drug use is now fair game. Many government programs have only made things worse.


Heading into a provincial election for an October vote will have us talking about these issues along with others. Affordability is one of the main issues as we get hammed with inflation along with all the other challenges. Going to the grocery store is a dreaded chore these days, and the future doesn’t hold much relief.

That's only scratching the surface. Politicians have a lot to answer for in the coming campaign. And make promises they will.


A great way to usher in 2024 tonight is to use common sense. Police will be out in force to keep drinking drivers off our roads, but that should not be the determining factor. It’s not a matter of escaping responsibility but rather acting responsibly. Don’t drive if you plan on consuming alcohol or drugs tonight. If you do you are endangering not only yourself but everyone else on our roads. There’s nothing appealing about starting the new year with a hangover or waking up in a jail cell.


Greeting the new year, our mailboxes bring a taste of what’s in store as many people wait with baited breath to see their property assessments. The real estate market has been in flux and that may be reflected in your assessment. A quick glance reveals both ups and downs of values, as of July, 2023. Notices have been in the mail for a couple of days, but you don’t have to wait, you can take a look at yours HERE 

Quotable – And now I'm going to take the rest of the year off.


Island Health using lifestyle
to lure health care workers

Island Health is trying to lure more health care workers to our Pacific paradise by selling the benefits of our lifestyle through a $340,000 advertising campaign. Vice President of Clinical Services Jason Hanson said there’s lots of competition for the few available and qualified professionals so the ads focus on the natural beauty and recreation of the Island. MORE


Who would not want to live here? If that message needed reinforcement, daily high temperatures were recorded in 10 B.C. locations on Thursday. White Rock reached 14.1 C, eclipsing the city’s old mark of 11.7 way back in 1929. It was a similar story on Wednesday with 13 records set as West Vancouver reach it 14 C. Meanwhile, ski resorts are crying for snow. MORE

If you’re dedicated to saving the planet you might want to try changing your diet. Shellfish produce a mere fraction of the of carbon dioxide emissions as beef and chicken meat. Beef emissions are 30 times higher. B.C. produced 8,226 tonnes of oysters in 2022, an increase of four per cent from the year before. Sixty per cent of B.C. oysters are exported to the U.S., then Asia and the rest mostly to the Lower Mainland restaurant industry. If every Canadian ate just one oyster a year, it would represent nearly a third of all the oysters produced. FULL STORY


An Abbotsford man has been sentenced to nearly five years in jail after pleading guilty to multiple impair driving charges. He may hold a Canadian record with 21 convictions for drunk driving. The latest was after a motorcycle accident last year led to 66-year-old Roy Heide, whose blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. He pleaded guilty to multiple impaired driving infractions on Dec. 18. MORE

Quotable – No matter how big a hammer you use, you just can’t pound common sense into stupid people.


Oceanside victim hit with

$100,000 crypto swindle

No matter how many warnings are issued, people are still falling victim to crypto currency scams. Oceanside RCMP report that a resident fell victim by giving her banking details to a fraudster on a telephone cold call. Once he got the banking details, the scammer was able to access the victim’s account and send several e-transfers to a crypto company. The total loss was more than $100,000, said Sgt. Shane Worth of Oceanside RCMP. MORE


Gabriola Islanders can expect water taxi only service on specific late night and early morning sailings January 15 – 17 to allow overnight geotechnical work on the marine structures at the Descanso Bay and Nanaimo Harbour terminals. This work is in support of future terminal development. As service will not be available for vehicles, check BC Ferries online for sailing times.

Quotable – I don’t trust coffee that takes more than 10 words to order.


This is what we call a slow news cycle in the media world, when a lot of organizations take a break over the holiday period. Media are full of reflection on top stories of the past year. So things are kind of dry in your Daily Buzz. But fret not, everything should be back to normal by the middle of next week when politicians and bureaucrats head back to work.

Local schools have cashed in on lottery money from the provincial government. Here’s how the money will be split  – NDSS $31,740; Dover Bay $29,940; and Wellington $19,780. Money goes to parent advisory councils for equipment and costs associated with extra-curricular activities.


Southern resident killer whales have welcomed a new arrival. Researchers spotted an unfamiliar calf swimming with J pod off the coast of Washington State on Tuesday. The Center for Whale Research reports the calf was not with J pod during other recent encounters, suggesting the orca was likely just a few days old.

Quotable – Last night the internet stopped working so I spent a few hours with my family. They seem like good people.


2023 kicks up

a storm on its way out

The old year is rather feisty, not going out with a whimper. Environment Canada has issued wind warnings for a majority of Vancouver Island, including the west coast and Oceanside regions, with  gusts over 100 km/h. The west side of the island expects waves up to 20 feet into this afternoon. An intense Pacific frontal system will remain off the coast today through Friday. Conditions are expected to taper this evening, but regain strength into Thursday, Dec. 28.


Nanaimo's Matt Wood had a goal and a pair of assists at the World Junior Hockey championship in Sweden Wednesday as Canada hammered Lativa 10-0. Canada is undefeated after beating Finland on Tuesday.

They did it again. Some 150 crazies scampered into the frigid water at Departure Bay Beach on Boxing Day in the annual polar bear plunge. Now in its sixty fourth year, event made its comeback after a three-year break for the pandemic.


It’s rather comedic when experts explain the rise and fall of low gas prices on Vancouver Island. One says it may be due to the mild winter weather. Moshe Lander of Concordia University believes the lack for household heating and lower demand for air travel is the reason for the drop in price at the pump this year. The GasBuddy website states the relatively low prices the Island is seeing are close to what drivers saw at the pump two years ago during the pandemic. Just keep your eyes on the signs when you travel around this season. There’ really only one explanation, prices go up and down at the oil companies’ whims.


Who needs cell phone service on the ski slopes? Mount Washington Alpine Resort had no Wi-Fi or Telus cell service on Tuesday due to a damaged cable. The outage is affecting the resort’s own phone services and website, including its weather feeds, live webcams and other online features. Telus was dispatching a repair crew, though there was no timeline for the repairs. MORE

Quotable – Caution. Consumption of wine may lead you to think you are a good singer.


Weather plays havoc with transportation

A NOTE to all the Snowbids down south in the U.S. deserts and in Mexico who get their daily news lineup here. Here's what you didn't know.

UPDATE – Highway 4 has reopened in both directions at Cameron Lake after it had  been closed on Monday due to debris and falling rock between Cathedral Grove and Koen Road. A geotechnical assessment is under way. There is no detour route. The next update was expected at 10:00 a.m. today. MORE

The strong wind made waves for ferry travellers on Christmas day with several cancelled sailings between Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland. Evening sailings from the four major terminals were cancelled due to adverse weather conditions. Between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay, the 8:05 p.m., 8:45 p.m. and 10:10 p.m. sailings were cancelled. MORE

Vancouver Island marmots are on the comeback trail, bouncing back from near extinction. Nanaimo’s Marmot Recovery Foundation reports a baby boom this year with 59 pups has brought their population up to 306 animals after there were 30 remaining in the wild in 2003. Only four pups were born in 2022. The marmot is one of Canada’s most endangered species. The recovery foundation started in 1998 by capturing marmots for a breeding program. There is a facility on Mount Washington with breeding programs at the Calgary and Toronto zoos. MORE

Many seniors in our province are at risk of becoming homeless, says seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie. The need for homes for seniors has become dire for those with low, fixed incomes. The BC Housing wait-list for social housing has 18,865 households on it, with seniors and families in the greatest need, a 27-per-cent jump from 2022 Mackenzie said as more people retire and start collecting pensions and other benefits, many seniors see their incomes drop dramatically from their working years, sometimes to the point where they can no longer afford to pay rent. MORE

Gift cards are a last-minute resort for many Christmas shoppers. But, make sure you use them. The National Retail Federation in the U.S. says tens of billions of dollars worth wind up forgotten or unused. In British Columbia, gift cards, vouchers or credits for a specific dollar amount are not allowed to expire. But if you stuff them in a drawer or forget about them, that’s lost money. If in doubt, check the specific business the card was issued by. MORE

Quotable – The biggest scam in the world, paying taxes on the money you make. Then paying taxes on the money you spend, and taxes on the thing you own that you already paid taxes on with already-taxed money.

What's in Santa's bag?

It's the day before Christmas and all through the house. . . some people are difficult to shop for, but for some the obvious quickly kicks in. Here  are my idle thoughts on Christmas Eve.

Leonard Krog, mayor, the wisdom of Solomon in dealing with the extremists on council.

Nanaimo city council, new pot hole repair equipment. Natural gas heaters won’t be necessary, they produce enough of their own. Besides, natural gas is banned in Nanaimo.

David Eby, premier, real housing solutions for the homeless, drug addicted and mentally ill, which have been out of reach. It’s been patchwork so far.

Adrian Dix, Health Minister, about a thousand health care workers returning to work after they were fired for refusing to be vaccinated.

MLA Sheila Malcolmson, more staff to answer the phones in her constituency office. Answering machines are great for politicians but not for constituents.

John Rustad, BC Conservative leader, a way to convert poll numbers into Legislature seats in the October, 2024 provincial election.

Kevin Falcon, Opposition leader, Dale Carnegie communications courses.

Sonia Furstenau, Green Party leader, a simple reality check. Idealism doesn’t pay the bills.

Lisa Marie Barron, Member of Parliament, freedom from the constraints . . . of the Liberal party.

Bill Sims, City Public Works director, a place to call home – a new public works facility which has been pushed off the budget table for ages.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister, an early retirement would look good under the tree.

Pierre Poilievre, leader of the Opposition. Public opinion polls that translate into votes in 2025.

Jagmeet Singh, federal NDP leader, a divorce from the ties that bind him to Justin Trudeau.

For all of us, government that works for the people, not for the politicians.

For those I forgot, Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

Politicians react to court

ruling on open drug use


Local politicians are weighing in on the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision to block new provincial laws against the public consumption of illegal substances.

Friday’s ruling was in favour of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association to impose a temporary injunction until March 31.

Skiing resorts hit hard

by warm, wet weather


The weather continues to cast a cloud over ski resort operators. Much of the southern portion of the province has been hit with mild weather. Some resorts estimate that business is down 50 per cent from last year and believe the losses during the Christmas season can't be recovered, regardless of the weather. MORE

2023 was a near blackout

for province’s film industry


The B.C. film industry is struggling to regain a lot of lost business in 2023. A record $4.9 billion in production spending in 2022 was a strong rebound from the pandemic. It’s different now with the fallout from the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes hits home. Shawn Williamson, the president of Brightlight Pictures, says the strikes shut things down, 95 per cent of what is typically shot in Vancouver was on hold. The provincial government gave $15.9 million to the struggling industry in April. MORE

Court blocks law prohibiting

public use of illegal drugs


A new law to restrict public use of illegal drugs has been blocked by the British Columbia Supreme Court. The ruling imposes a temporary injunction until March 31, with Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson saying irreparable harm will be caused if the laws come into force. The act was passed by the legislature in November, allowing fines and imprisonment for people who refuse to comply with police orders not to consume drugs in certain public places. The Harm Reduction Nurses Associationargued the act, which has yet to come into effect, would violate the Charter of Rights in various ways if enforced. MORE

Trucking company suspended

After Hwy 99 overpass crash


Chohan Freight Forwarders’ fleet of 65 vehicles has been suspended from operating in B.C. after one of its trucks struck an overpass on Hwy 99. The Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement branch suspendied the company while the investigation is under way, which will likely cost the company tens of thousands of dollars. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the suspension is a result of the company’s unwillingness or inability to operate safely within the province, following its sixth infrastructure crash in two years. MORE

Kevin Falcon dismisses

B.C. Conservative surge

Dec. 28, 2023

Opposition Leader Kevin Falcon remains insistent his party can turn things around by the next election in October. He says he’s not buying the recent polls that found John Rustad’s BC Conservatives have surged ahead of his party. Falcon insists voters are confused about the Conservatives, being separate from the federal Conservatives. MORE

Port Hardy Emergency
closed due to staffing shortage

Dec. 28, 2023

The Port Hardy Hospital emergency department is closed again today and will reopen on Friday. Island Health says the closure is due to a staff shortage at the hospital. This comes just days after the emergency roomwas closed for another staff shortage. It was closed on Christmas Eve before reopening on Christmas Day.

Eby lays out plans

into election year

Dec. 27, 2023

Premier David Eby is taking the B.C. Conservative party seriously. In a year-end interview with CTV, the premier said. “The threat that they represent … is bigger than an electoral threat, it’s a threat to the province’s prosperity, and I’m very anxious about it,” he said. As the year comes to a close, Eby enjoys a big lead in the polls but that won’t tempt him to call an early election before the fixed election date in October. MORE

Dec. 24, 2023

Prime Minister Trudeau’s
year-end Global interview

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he knows people are frustrated with him, especially the same young voters who helped propel his party to a majority government in 2015. He told Global News Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stephenson in a year-end interview, deflecting responsibility on the global financial crisis: “I didn’t make a promise that I was going to make things better for them and then walk away after four years or even after eight years. I said I’d be there to fight for them every single day.” The full interview airs onThe West Blockon Christmas Eve at 8 a.m. Pacific time.

Dec. 23, 2023

Myra Falls Mine shutdown
came amid record profits

The company which owns the Myra Falls Mine near Campbell River shut down the operation even though it reported record profits. Trafigura laid off nearly 300 people on Monday, saying increased operating costs and depressed metal prices mean the operation is no longer financially viable. Trafigura’s website shows record net profits for 2023 of $7.4 billion (USD). A corporate video posted nine days before the layoffs includes the executive chairman and CEO Jeremy Weir talking about the year’s successes, including in minerals and metals. Zinc prices came off a 10-year high of almost $3,500 USD per metric ton in 2022. The Myra Falls operation is now in bankruptcy protection, leaving workers shut out and dozens of creditor out millions of dollars. MORE

Dec. 22, 2023

Federal government posts
$15.1 billion six-month deficit

The federal government went deeper in the hole with a $15.1 billion deficit of between April and October, $7 billion of that was in October. Last year, during the same period the deficit was $0.2 billion. Government revenue rose by $3 billion, or 1.2 per cent, due to higher interest and other non-tax revenue. Public debt charges were up $7.5 billion, or 38.1 per cent, largely due to higher interest rates but partly offset by lower consumer price index adjustments on real return bonds. See the detailed explanation HERE.


More people leaving B.C.
than migrating to our province

Alberta bound, Alberta bound. The great exodus continues as more people left the province than came in between July and September. Many outgoing residents went to Alberta. It was the fifth quarter in a row that B.C. saw a net decrease in interprovincial migration – 17,186 people left and 12,552 moved here, making for a net loss of 4,634. MORE


RBC takeover of HSBC Canada
get final approval from Freeland

Say goodbye to HSBC Canada. A $13.5-billion takeover by RBC has cleared the final hurdle as Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland approved the deal despite calls to block it over concerns of reduced competition. Freeland’s approval was the last hurdle for the deal after the Competition Bureau approved it in September. The takeover comes with conditions, including that none of HSBC Canada’s 4,000 employees be fired within six months of the closing date, or two years for front-line staff, and that banking services continue to be provided at a minimum of 33 HSBC branches for four years. MORE



Wild and windy christmas for Vancouver Island

A series of strong storms is set to hit north Vancouver Island from today into Sunday afternoon with wind gusts between 90 and 120 km/h. Environment Canada says the winds will hit exposed coastal areas. There’s potential that even stronger winds will begin Christmas Day and into next week. MORE

Reports are emerging of Taylor Swift fans getting swindled online by fake ticket ordering sites. In one case it went so far as to have a friend of the victim vouching for the fake seller, who it turned out had likely been cloned with a fake account. Some people have been bilked out of thousands of dollars. Even though the tickets are hard to come by, order only through reputable registered ticket agencies. There are no deals.

The Centre for Disease Control has issued it’s final Covid-19 report for the year showing flu and respiratory season is upon us. The number of flu and RSV continues to rise while Covid cases are down. Researchers also monitor virus concentrations at wastewater facilities across the province showing increasing concentrations at most plants.


Goodbye winter solstice, days are getting longer

We're getting more daylight now that we’ve passed the winter solstice. The gain is minuscule at first, a matter of seconds a day, but will steadily grow until daylight expands by three minutes per day in March. That fluctuates dependent on where you live. The further north you go the greater the daylight gain.

The visitor information centre on the Nanaimo Parkway will close for the final time today. Tourism Nanaimo said in a press release that the Northfield Road location will close permanently and relocate to the Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The new location will open on March 1.

It’s virtually impossible to complete Christmas shopping when your plastic won’t work. Moneris, which manages the credit and debit card system, said late Friday an earlier issue that prevented card processing has been resolved. But there was mayhem before that time. BC Ferries reported delays, payments for travel or on-board purchases had to be made manually and advised bringing cash for the time being. So much for the rumored cashless or digital economy. MORE

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is leaving . . .  going to Jamaica for the Christmas holidays in the sun with his family, Dec. 26 to Jan. 4. Here’s the news flash, he’s paying his own way. The PMO says it consulted the federal ethics commissioner ahead of the trip, and that the family will cover the cost of its stay as well as the cost of travelling on a government plane. But don’t start a celebratory dance just yet, there’s no mention of the cost of the RCMP security detail which goes wherever the prime minister goes. Justin's estranged wife Sophie and children will travel with him. MORE

The year end is a great time to take stock of how we fared in light of rising costs and inflation. Forbes Magazine ranks billionaires around the world, including the richest people in Canada. The richest people in Canada are my former employer, David Thomson and family. Check the top billionaires and how they made their fortunes. HERE.

Quotable – As this year draws to a close, I urge you to take care of yourself because spare parts for older models like you and I are no longer in stock.


Students live the

real Christmas Spirit

You’ve got to hand it to kids from several schools who went our of their way to create a better Christmas for people without a home. They stepped up in the Everybody Deserves a Smile delivering 785 packages with gloves, a scarf, toiletries and home-baked cookies to nine social service agencies on Thursday.  Led by Grade 7 students at Ecole Hammond Bay Elementary School they were joined by Rock City, Uplands, Departure Bay, Fairview, Aspengrove and NDSS. MORE

The Christmas rush is about to begin for B.C. Ferries, but two sailings from Swartz Bay were held in dock this morning awaiting replacement crew members. The 8 a.m. Queen of New Westminster left 47 minutes late, and the 7:45 a.m. Coastal Celebration sailing got under way 51 minutes late. Ferries tells travellers to arrive during the check-in window noted in their booking confirmation email to maintain the reserved status,BC Ferries says in a notice on its website.


City council has given the green light for 171 multi-family residential units at 325 Watfield Ave. It will have two six-storey buildings close to NDSS. They will be a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments. Half of the parking spaces will have EV charging stations, a public pedestrian trail, an outdoor patio and a children’s play area.  MORE


 An out-of-control truck damaged two homes on Rock City Rodd Wednesday afternoon. Police said the driver was a 37-year-old man. Investigators said the vehicle turned onto Rock City Road at high speed and crashed near the home, damaging two pillars and the front yard of one house, along with the trailer, fence and siding of another home. There were no signs of impairment and the driver declined medical attention. HERE

In the You've Got to be Kidding department, people are questioning whether Parks Canada got its money’s worth in the eradication of 84 invasive deer on Sidney Island this month. Three marksmen from the U.S. and New Zealand used a helicopter to kill the dear at a cost of more than $800,000 – about $10,000 per dear. Parks Canada could have held a special hunting season, with limited licenses, and actually made money on the project. Hunters would have been delighted and we could have saved $800,000. MORE

RCMP seek public help to find a man who missed a health-care appointment and is now considered missing. 24-year-old William McMurray, who also goes by Liam, missed a scheduled appointment and “there is significant concern for his health and well-being. If you have information, call the RCMP at 250-754-2345.

A Christmas miracle of another type, who would have dreamed that the Vancouver Canucks would be sitting in first place in the National Hockey League just before Christmas? The Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights each have 47 points, but the Canucks have more wins.

Quotable – Car and Driver magazine says 95 per cent of all electric vehicles are still on the road. The other five per cent made it all the way home.


Don't get your hopes up for a white Christmas

With apologies to Bing Crosby, it may sound cliche to dream of a white Christmas but I doubt any one really loves trudging through snow, unless you are a skier. Environment Canada forecasts temperatures six to eight degrees above normal for winter. You might see frost on the windshield but that’s likely as white as you’ll get. Remember this time last year when flights were grounded, ferries shut down some sailings and Canada Post stopped delivering packages after a snowstorm brought more than 20 cm of snow.


I bet Downtown businesses are breathing a sigh of relief now that the city has boosted the Vandalism Relief Program. It will let them apply more than twice a year up to $5,000 per incident. The program is run by the Chamber of Commerce. CEO Corry Gervais said a lot of time they have had to wait until they can afford to replace glass or a door, or other vandalismlike graffiti. How about clamping down on the criminal element? MORE


Can you sing or dance? In public? The city parks department is looking for performers for the Concerts in the Park series between May and August throughout the city. Applications are open until Jan. 15. For more information on the Concerts in the Parks series and to apply, let your fingers do the walking to the Concerts in the Park page.


Nanaimo-based VMAC Global Technology is expanding with a new 5,000-square-foot manufacturing plant which employs more than 180. The province is contributing up to $3.4 million through the BC Manufacturing Jobs Fund. It allows VMAC to scale up the production of lightweight air compressors for the heavy-duty commercial electric vehicle market, including semi-trucks, buses and other specialized vehicles requiring air brakes and air suspension.

Anthony Rouskov Nielsen, who nearly killed a senior couple in their home two years ago, has been handed a five and a half year prison sentence. He was credited for time served since his arrest immediately following the 2021 attack. He will have to spend 942 more days in the pen and will be subject to a 10-year weapons ban after his release and has to provide a DNA sample. MORE

Who in their wildest dreams would have imagined comparing Canadian health care to the Mexican variety? I got a note from a Nanaimo snowbird nesting in Mexico for the winter. He relates a story about a Nanaimo friend of his in desperate need of a hip replacement and was told that it would be 18 months on a waiting list. His pain was so bad he was confined to a wheelchair. In desperation he went to Mexico and in two weeks he had his surgery. Now six month later he’s back playing oldtimers hockey. There are many similar cases. See the whole story HERE.

While we’re on this topic, Ethan Baldwin of Courtenay has been waiting for spine surgery for seven years. It’s been frustrating, to say the least. His family got a call that surgery was scheduled this week for the 20-year-old. But two hours before the surgery was scheduled to begin, they got a call that it had been cancelled due to the lack of ICU beds. This is an ongoing nightmare for Ethan and his family. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Wednesday he will personally investigate the circumstances surounding this case. MORE


Quotable – I woke up this morning determined to drink less, eat right, and exercise. But that was hours ago when I was younger and full of hope.

47 new safe spaces

for women and children

12-20 –

Nanaimo women and children leaving violence are getting 47 safe spaces in a new housing development. It features 30 self-contained second-stage units with their own bathroom and kitchen, as well as 10 rooms with 17 transition beds for short-term stays. Three second-stage housing units and one transition room will be wheelchair accessible. Haven Society will operate the homes which are expected to be completed next fall.

B.C. Ferries is adding 34 extra sailings between Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay over the Christmas travel period. Typically, the most popular travel time before Christmas Day is Dec. 23. The most popular after Christmas Day will be Dec. 26 and 27. Sailing schedules are reduced on some routes, so check individual schedules online. In 2022, 911,000 passengers and 428,000 vehicles travelled on ferries over Christmas and expects similar numbers this year.

Five Acre Farm was spared developers’ hammer and nails Monday as city council turned down the idea of affordable housing on the site. It will be set aside for park use, farm practices and a protected wetland. Council looked at five options which also included a combination of park and affordable housing. Coun. Ben Geselbracht said green space is in short supply in the city, adding it offers great opportunities to continue building on agricultural and food-growing initiatives. MORE

Christmas shopping this year has been the most challenging I can remember. First there’s the challenge of finding the right gift for each person, and then elbowing your way through the masses shopping for it. So, you find what you want only to be told it’s not in stock, available online only. They can order it for you, but it will take a while until you can pick it up at the store. I’m old fashioned, I want to see it, touch it and take it home if I decide to buy it. No wonder gift certificates are turning out to be the top choice as gifts.

QuotableI was always taught to respect my elders but it’s getting harder to find one.

Merry Christmas,

the tax man cometh

12-19 – Nanaimo city council unanimously approved third reading for the 2024 budget on Monday with an eight-per-cent tax increase. If you own a typical home you’ll face a $213 increase on your tax bill, rising to $2,860 from $2,647 this year. Oh, and you’ll get your new tax assessment notice in the mail right after Christmas.

But that’s not all, with a big hike for the Nanaimo Regional Hospital District which unanimously approved its 2024 provisional budget. It calls for a 28-per-cent jump in property taxes between Cedar and Bowser, $355 for a property assessed at $800,000. A staff report stated planning is based on the board’s prior year direction and capital requests from Island Health. MORE

Great Nanaimo Toy Drive organizers were concerned with the increase in need this year, but they need not have worried. After all, this is Nanaimo where we step up when needed. The 2023 campaign has wrapped up, and it may be one of the most successful in its 41-year history. Janet Mirau of the toy drive said at least 800 local families were supported this year. MORE

If you're hoping for a white Christmas you will likely be disappointed. Peering ahead, the weather prediction is for a green Christmas this year on Vancouver Island. But that’s not out of the ordinary in an area where snow comes as a surprise. Across Canada, those who are used to snow and cold on Christmas day, well it’s going to be green in most areas across the country. So, sit back and enjoy, unless you were planning a skiing trip.

Winter Wonderland is back Dec. 24 and 26 to 30. The Frank Crane Arena will be transformed into a West Coast Winter Wonderland theme featuring twinkling lights, seasonal music, a forest of real trees, a decorated 1957 blue Chevy truck filled with trees and presents and other holiday decor. Activities over the six days include free skating sessions. In addition, there is no charge for helmet or skate rentals. A Kinsmen Pancake Breakfast will occur on Thursday, December 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Beban Park Social Centre. There’s a whole lot more HERE.

BC Transit has special service for New Year’s Eve across the province. In Nanaimo, there will be extended service on New Year’s Eve, December 31. Transit will be free between 8 p.m. 2:30 a.m. To view schedules click HERE.

Sean Carl John Patterson has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a man at Port Place. He appeared in provincial court in Nanaimo on Monday to enter the plea. A BC Supreme Court trial had been scheduled but has now been cancelled. He was initially charged with second degree murder. Crown counsel Nick Barber said an assessment to determine any mental health concerns will assist with the sentencing process. MORE

Quotable –  The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland was “where billionaires go to lecture millionaires on how ordinary people live.” –  James Delingpole, British journalist

Five Acre Farm's future

on council agenda tonight

1218 – Tonight’s city council meeting could define the future for Five Acre Farm. Residents were given options in an online survey and 76 per cent want to preserve the entire property rather than have it going into housing. The city-owned farm  dates back to the 1800s when the mining company sold the land to miners to help them be self-sufficient during downturns in the industry. Much of the farm has been developed. In November, the city posed five options for the farm, which included developing up to two acres of it into affordable housing. It’s on tonight’s city council agenda. MORE

A 4.9-magnitude earthquake Sunday on northern and central Vancouver Island wasn’t a big shaker but noticed by some people in Nanaimo. The quake hit in mid-afternoon, on the mainland, 137 km northeast of Campbell River and 222 km northwest of Vancouver. Earthquakes Canada said it was felt on northern and central Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Greater Vancouver. There were no reports of damage. MORE


Some lower lying areas along the coast could see flooding this week as another rain storm hits Georgia Strait. Environment Canada said flooding is possible during high tide on Monday and Tuesday. Several East Island municipalities, including Victoria, Duncan, Nanaimo, Comox and Campbell River, will see rain this week. MORE


The Regional District needs $89,176,700 in tax revenue and that translates into a 13.5- per-cent tax increase. The RDN board approved its 2024-2028 financial plan last week after some directors’ hesitance at the size of the increase. They wanted a closer look at some items in the budget reduce the huge tax hike and ease the financial burden, particularly on residents, who are on a fixed income. DETAILS


The economic squeeze could challenge Christmas dinner, but there’s help available. Some restaurants will be open on Christmas day and two organizations will be providing free meals. The 7-10 Club and Maranatha Church will welcome all comers. About 120 meals were served at the church lat year. MORE


Milner Christmas Magic continues nightly until Wednesday night. It’s your last chance to stroll through the twinkling woodland dazzling with sparkling light displays. Open nightly from 5 to 8:30 p.m.

Quotble – Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day drinking beer.

Two killed in car crash

on Nanaimo River Road

12-17 – Two people were killed in a single vehicle crash early Saturday morning on Nanaimo River Rd., near the Nanaimo Lake Deadwood campground. Cst. Mike Thompson said the investigation is continuing with the Integrated Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Service and the BC Coroner Service MORE

While many real estate sales in the past year drew offers well over the asking price, the situation is reversing. That is showing up in some real estate transaction in Nanaimo recently as sales and prices drop. Realtor John Cooper provides regular updates on the local market. He reports that asking prices on some listing are coming in below the tax-assessed value, and a number of sales closing nearly 10-per-cent below the listing price. READ REPORT


Relief is on the way for French Creek residents who are enduring more than their share of odors. The French Creek Pollution Control Centre will undergo major improvements beginning next summer. The Regional Nanaimo District has approved $25,496,859 an expansion and odour control upgrade project. The federal government providing $10,198,744, the province another $8,498,103. The RDN is picking up the balance of $6,800,012. MORE

Quotable – We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom.

Dec. 21, 2023

COVID test supplier got billions
in contracts after edited results

A Covid rapid test importer got $2 billion in federal contracts, despite giving incomplete data about its product’s accuracy. Global News reports a year-long investigation revealed that BTNX, based outside Toronto, deleted dozens of specimens from a study it submitted to Health Canada making it appear more reliable and sensitive than it really was. The device could detect the virus in users who were the most contagious, but results from leading regulators indicate the test was much less dependable in all other cases. MORE

Earthquake hits Alaska
Andreanof Island near Adak

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake rattled the Andreanof Island off Alaska this morning. It was centred 106.8 km SE of Adak, Alaska at 6:55 a.m. Pacific Time. There have been no reports of damage.


First building permit issued
for Lytton rebuild process

Frustrated evacuees who have been waiting to rebuild since the disastrous wildfire in the Lytton two-and-a-half years ago finally have something positive. After facing delay after delay, the first building permit has been issued and construction of a new home is under way. The original home was destroyed in the fire in June of 2021, when most of the community burned to the ground. Since then, property owners have faced lengthy delays in trying to rebuild. MORE

More international medical grads
now working as doctors in B.C.
Almost all of the 666 international medical graduates registered in the province this year are now working as doctors, with more than half in family medicine, says Health Minister Adrian Dix. He says as many as 700 doctors who weren’t practicing family medicine a year ago are now working in the sector. Increasing the number of family doctors includes more spaces in medical schools for both Canadian and international students. MORE


Advice for naked intuders, never break into senior woman's house
A 72-year-old woman used a shovel to chase a naked man from her Vancouver home on Tuesday night. Vancouver police say the man entered the home by smashing a window with a metal rod. The woman, who lives alone, got out of bed, grabbed a shovel and chased him from her house as he swung the rod at her. She then cornered the suspect in his vehicle until police arrived. MORE


Myra Falls Mine workers left
in a state of shock, confustion

Former workers at the Myra Falls Mine are not sure what they’ll do next. Some are third-generation miners and say the layoff this week is a gut punch. Unifor Local 3019 President John Humphrey said it was a shock, close to Christmas and nobody was expecting it. Mine owner Singapore-based Trafigura, said increased operating costs and depressed metal prices  mean the operation is no longer financially viable. Myra Falls Mine has sought creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to enable the company to be restructured.” Contract negotiations with the union Unifor as recent as November provided no hint that trouble was coming, according to union staff. MORE

Dec 20, 2023

Clinic closure leaves
thousands without doctor

Thousands of patients in Victoria will have to find a new doctor in the new year after Shelbourne Medical Clinic announced it is shutting down. About 3,500 patients will be affected when the clinic shuts down at the end of March due to the retirement of one of the three family doctors at the clinic. The remaining two doctors can't keep the practise running on their own. MORE

Canada Revenue Agency
fires 185 employees
The Canada Revenue Agency has fired 185 employees for claiming a federal COVID-19 benefit when they were not eligible for it. The CRA is reviewing approximately 600 cases in which employees took the Canada Emergency Response Benefit during the pandemic. The benefit was $2,000 a month to Canadians whose jobs were lost or downgraded as a result of public-health restrictions. MORE


Gas-powered new auto sales

to be phased out in 12 years

Automakers have 12 years to phase out combustion engine cars, trucks and SUVs marking the end of the road for gas-powered vehicles in Canada. New regulations coming this week will effectively end the sale of new gasoline or diesel vehicle in 2035. Automaker will have to show a minimum percentage of vehicles they sell are fully electric or longer-range plug-in hybrids. MORE

Population increase hits
almost half a million in 3Q

Canada’s population grew by almost half a million in the third quarter of this year – more than 430,000, marking the fastest pace of population growth in any quarter since 1957, putting the population at more than 40.5 million. That has been fuelled by international migration, including about 313,000 non-permanent residents who came over the three months. Those non-permanent residents were mostly work and study permit-holders, and to a lesser extent, refugee claimants. MORE

Celine Dion has lost
control of her muscles

Celine Dion’s sister says the singer is facing further challenges as she continues to live with a rare neurological disorder. Claudette Dion said her sister is focused on overcoming her illness, called stiff person syndrome, but that progress has been difficult. “She is working hard, but she does not have control of her muscles. Vocal cords are muscles, and the heart is also a muscle. That is what really hits me.” MORE

Volcanic lava misses
small Icelandic town

Lava from a large volcanic eruption in Icelandappeared to be flowing away from the only town in the area, offering hope that homes and lives would be spared even though the seismic activity could last months. The eruption on Monday spewed lava and smoke more than 100 metres into the air. The Icelandic government said the eruption is not a threat to life and there are no disruptions to flights to and from Iceland and international flight corridors remain open. MORE

Majority of Canadians
want Trudeau to quit

12-17 – Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to step down, but most don’t believe he will. New polling by Ipsos  for Global News found 69 per cent of Canadians feel Trudeau should resign as Liberal leader and prime minister. Ipsos CEO Darrell Bricker said they followed up with respondents on why they think Trudeau should step aside. While some just never liked  him to begin with, things got more interesting. There is regional consensus that Trudeau should go. This has historically been the case in the Prairies and parts of B.C., but now is this has seeped into Ontario and Quebec and even in Atlantic Canada, Bricker said. MORE


Mission clamping down
on secondary suites
12-17 – While senior governments strive to ease the housing crisis, Mission has created a new program requiring secondary suites to be register, with a new fee. Mission mayor Paul Horn said the new fee is to help plan in the city and to get an accurate count of unauthorized suites in the city.  “We have countless unauthorized suites out there. We don’t know how many. And those suites haven’t had an easy way to come in and become officially recognized with the city,” he said. MORE

Gun control regulations

get approval in senate
1215 – New gun regulations are set to get royal assent today after the senate passed Bill C-21 on gun control. The bill has been with the senate since May and will place stricter rules on hand guns and some rifles. MORE

Death rate rising for
homeless population

1215 – The death rate for homeless British Columbians has risen in recent years, reports the B.C. Coroner Service. At least 342 homeless people died in 2022, 75 more than in 2021, and 198 more than in 2020. From 2015 to 2022, 1,464 people have died. During that period the annual average was 143 deaths. That has more than doubled to 305. MORE

Government may revisit
assisted suicide rules
1215 – Opponents to widening assisted dying rules have new hope with Justice Minister Arif Virani saying the government is looking at pausing its original plan to include patients whose only underlying condition is a mental disorder. It would be the second time the Liberals have hit pause on the plan. In February the government imposed a one-year delay amid widespread public and political concern. Cabinet will consider the input of a joint parliamentary committee, as well as medical experts and other stakeholders, Virani said. MORE

City gearing up for big

welcome to the New Year

12-16 – Get ready for a big splash to welcome 2024. The City’s Parks department is kicking off the new year in fine fashion. The second annual bash will be held at Beban Park on Jan. 1 from 12-5 p.m. Start the new year by actively participating in swimming, skating, arts and crafts, games and inflatables and entertainment. Food trucks and concession will be on site. Tickets are available on the day of the event or in advance at Beban Park Pool office. Tickets are only $12 or purchase a "festive five" pack for $48, and tickets would make great stocking stuffers. MORE DETAILS.

Relief from gas pains is on the way. FortisBC is cutting about $1 a month off natural gas bills in the new year. Rates are regulated by the BC Utilities Commission.Diana Sorace of FortisBC said customers will see relief on their gas bills ­– approximately $11 or one per cent a year, based on about 90 gigajoules of consumption. Natural gas will be banned for new construction in Nanaimo this year. MORE

Separating the water from the solids. The RDN has allocated close to $2 million over the next five years for chemicals as part of sewage treatment. Alumichem Canada will supply provide de-watering polymer at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre.

Getting drugs behind prison walls is as easy as ordering from Amazon, say correctional officers. They are fighting an uphill battle to combat daily drone deliveries of drugs, weapons and cellphones. John Randle, of their union, said the technology is a huge plague for his members, dropping drugs in quantities he’s never seen before. Drones make daily deliveries to all eight B.C. medium and maximum institutions, delivering packages to outstretched hands through prison cell windows, Randle said. MORE

Quotable – The danger of politics, left, right and centre, is that supporters are dedicated to the belief that their way is the only way and everybody else is wrong.


Gas prices declining for

pre-Christmas season

The price of a fill up has dropped as low as $1.489 in Nanaimo. Prices have been dropping recently with the majority of stations sitting at $1.519. Several stations in Vancouver had prices sitting at $165.9 while others were at $162.9 per litre. Analyst Dan McTeague of Gas Buddy says prices haven’t been this low since last December. He said the fluctuation takes place just before Christmas and then prices rally as they are doing everywhere else in North America.


Travellers on Hullo Ferries will soon be able to rely on Nanaimo Transit to and from the ferry terminal. Regional Transit will make a quick trip from Port Place to the Hullo terminal in early January. RDN Transit Senior Manager Darren Marshall said they have had many requests to get service to the terminal, so that passengers can transfer out at any of the exchange locations and hop onto the shuttle to either Departure Bay or Hullo ferry terminals. MORE

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has turned down a controversial rezoning application that has been simmering for more than half a decade. Area directors denied the application from Radius Recycling, formerly known as Schnitzer Steel, which is looking to continue operating a scrap metal recycling business in Cassidy close to the Nanaimo Airport. MORE 


A new mural at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre reflects recommendations of an inquiry into COVID-19 era hate crimes. The B.C. Office of the Human Rights Commissioner released its “From hate to hope” report of the inquiry into hate in the COVID-19 pandemic” report in March, and as part of that commissioned murals. Local muralists Humanity in Art, with assistance from Risebridge non-profit summer program youths, created the artwork, which had its revealing Thursday.

Quotable – Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.


School board looking at
portable classroom for now

School trustees will examine prefab/modular units to take pressure off. School District. Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh said the district would definitely lean toward to Wellington Secondary School as a location. He added the move should not hurt their case to fund seismic upgrades or an entire replacement of NDSS. MORE


Former Nanaimo NHLer Gene Carr has died at 72. The Los Angeles Kings announced his death. He played eight seasons in the NHL with five teams in the 1970s. He played for the St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Atlanta Flames.  He scored 76 goals and 136 assists for 215 points in 465 NHL games. MORE


The Caledonia Park free shower program at will get extra funding if city council approves a recommendation from the finance committee which is also looking for a more permanent, long-term shower solution. The total funding for the shower program, operated by the First Unitarian Fellowship Church, is now $97,750. MORE


The new walk-on ferries are proving popular with travellers. Hullo Ferries tells us it has transported 100,000 guests between #Vancouver and #Nanaimo to date.


How many remember live radio plays? You can see one in production Sunday Dec. 17 as Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre creates the story of Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol. This adaption was written by local author Jim Mayher and is presented as a live radio play in the theatre lobby, building 310. Actors will perform the characters’ voices accompanied by live sound effects. The show begins at 7 p.m. and doors open at 6:30. Tickets are free, available from Eventbrite. Check out more details HERE

Milner Christmas Magic continues from today until Dec. 20. Stroll through the twinkling woodland dazzling with sparkling light displays. Open nightly from 5 to 8:30 p.m.


Quotable – Brain cells die, skin cells die, even hair cells die, but fat cells have eternal life.


COVID outbreak declared

at Nanaimo General Hospital

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. The Island Health active outbreak list webpage, states the outbreak started on Dec. 12 on the fifth floor. The provincial criterion for declaring an outbreak includes a suspicion or confirmation that multiple cases have been linked to the health-care system within a 10-day period, and that those infections likely came from the same unit or facility. The cases must also exceed the number of COVID-19 cases that would be expected from the community, or if the severity is higher than average. MORE

The City now has three daytime warming centres providing refuge during cold weather and connect users to basic needs and services. Approximately 138 homeless residents will have daily access to the city-funded warming centres:

– 520 Prideaux Street operated by Risebridge Society - up to 48 people at a time, 7 days per week, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., between Nov. 14, 2023 and Mar. 31

– 5 Victoria Road operated by the 7-10 Club Society – up to 30 people at a time, 7 days per week, 11 a.m. to 7 pm., between Dec. 17, 2023 and Mar. 31

– 2025 Bowen Road operated by Island Crisis Care Society – up to 60 people at a time, 7 days per week, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., between Jan. 2, 2024 to Mar. 31 MORE

Nanaimo's Matthew Wood won't be home for Christmas after he was named to Team Canada in the World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden, starting on Boxing Day. It gives all of us more reason to watch the tournament on TV. Wood, 18, leads the University of Connecticut Huskies in scoring as a second-year player with seven goals and 12 points in 17 games. MORE

South Wellington is getting a community centre, thanks to funding from the Regional District. South Wellington Elementary School south of Nanaimo. which has been vacant for some time, will be brought back to life. The RDN board approved an additional $1.3 million for Electoral Area A funds to refurbish the school. MORE

The death rate for illicit drug use in Nanaimo is more than double the rest of Island Health and it shows no sign of slowing down. Ninety nine people died in Nanaimo from the start of the year until Oct. 31 surpassing the 85 all of last year. Medial Health Officer Dr. Shannon Waters told city council on Monday that drug poisonings mirrored increases this year in fatalities with at least 906 incidents per 100,000. MORE

Quotable – It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s who is around the tree. – Charlie Brown

Injury in police cells
under investigation

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is investigating after a man in custody collapsed inside a police cell on Sunday 11:45 a.m. Emergency Health Services brought the man to hospital with a serious undisclosed injury. He had been arrested on Friday and was supposed to be held until Wednesday to appear in court. This is the second incident the IIO is looking into, after an allegedly intoxicated man asked for medical attention in July after being put in the cells. MORE


Former Nanaimo CKEG and Vancouver Canucks sportscaster Joey Kenward has revealed he has leukemia. The Dover Bay high school grad said he was healthy with no symptoms until a few days before blood work showed that he had the disease. “If I had two messages for anyone reading this, it would be to get your blood tested – even if it’s once a year – and don’t take anything for granted when it comes to your health,” he posted on his X account. A GoFundMe page has been established to support him and his family. MORE

A hearing this week will determine whether Simon Baker of Nanaimo is criminally responsible for the stabbing death of Victoria nurse Denise Allick in 2022. Baker has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Autopsy results found that 41-year-old Denise Allick had been stabbed six times. The hearing will determine whether the slaying was due to a mental disorder. MORE

BC Ferries has paused a terminal modernization application to the British Columbia Ferries Commissioner, saying it needs more time to figure out the complexities. The “Major Terminal Efficiency Project” called for tickets to be on your phone, with automated scanners at the gate for foot passengers to speed up walk-ons. A pre-gate camera would scan the licence plate, matching it up to your reservation and indicating your lane in fewer than 10 seconds. MORE

What will Canada look like in 20 years and are we ready for an aging population? CTV News take an in-depth look at what lies ahead for Canada’s demographic. Check this out HERE

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign has some spots still looking for volunteers. If you’ve can squeeze in a couple of hours, call Kettle Co-ordinator BrendaLea Dudley to get set up for a shift or two. 250.740.1004 or her cell at 250.716.6595

Dec. 14, 5 p.m. Save-On-Foods, Woodgrove, outside kettle

Dec. 19, 3 p.m. Nesvog Meats, Terminal Park, outside kettle
Dec. 22, 5 p.m. Thrifty Foods, Port Place, inside kettle.

Quotable – Science is all about evidence and not about proof

Joey Kenward

Have you got the Christmas spirit yet?

The Salvation Army Christmas Kettle campaign has some spots still looking for volunteers. If you’ve can squeeze in a couple of hours, call Kettle Co-ordinator BrendaLea Dudley to get set up for a shift or two. 250.740.1004 or her cell at 250.716.6595

Dec. 14, 5 p.m. Save-On-Foods, Woodgrove, outside kettle

Dec. 19, 3 p.m. Nesvog Meats, Terminal Park, outside kettle
Dec. 22, 5 p.m.  Thrifty Foods, Port Place, inside kettle.


Winterfest under way

in Downtown Nanaimo

Neither wind nor rain or snow can detour Santa from his destination, and this weekend was no exception. He left his reindeer in their warm barn and relied on Harbour Air to make it to his downtown Nanaimo workshop at 234 Commercial Street. He will be in his big chair on Sunday and again Dec. 9-10, and 16-17 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. It’s all part of the third Winterfest with late-night shopping, Christmas markets in Downtown Nanaimo. Some downtown businesses will also be open until 8 p.m. Thursday nights until Christmas.

Former Nanaimo lawyer Marc Andre Scheirer, who was convicted of sexual assault in 2020, has been disbarred. The assault occurred when he was practising in Abbotsford in 2018. A hearing panel concluded that disbarment was the only appropriate sanction for his utterly reprehensible conduct. He was given a suspended sentence and two years of probation on the criminal charge. TRIBUNAL RULING.


There will be no shuffling of the chairs at the District 68 school board table, all positions were acclaimed. Greg Keller remains chairman while Naomi Bailey is back in the Number two spot. Leanne Lee stays on as head of the business committee with vice-chairman Mark Robinson.


A Cowichan Valley Regional District committee has given its blessing to a rezoning application from a metal recycler near the Nanaimo Airport, pending further environmental assessment and planning. The CVRD’s electoral area services committee debated a list of staff recommendations related to OCP amendment and rezoning applications from Radius Recycling, formerly known as Schnitzer Steel. MORE

Quotable – Three years ago I was worried about getting toilet paper. Now I’m worried about paying for toilet paper.

Ferry sailings resume

Reissued at: 2:41pm

The weather has improved and the Coastal Celebration and Coastal Inspiration will resume service with their 3:15 pm sailings.

For up-to-date sailing and departure information, check Current Conditions, visit or follow @BCFerries on X.


Drinking, driving campaign

nets nine suspensions

Some people never learn. Nine local drivers were handed 90-day driving suspensions after being stopped in the annual Light Up the Province, a month-long enforcement campaign. RCMP R/Cst. Gary O’Brien said officers stopped more than 300 cars and 10 drivers had been drinking before driving. Road checks will be strategically set up on weekends through the end of the year with the focus on impaired drivers. MORE


RCMP seek public help in locating Brett Bystrom, who has more than a dozen warrants for his arrest. The warrants are from Nanaimo, Comox Valley, North Cowichan and Port Alberni and Ucluelet. MORE


Nanaimo residents living near public transit could soon have a lot more neighbours. New provincial housing legislation requires 31 municipalities to zone for transit-oriented development. The act creates minimum allowable densities and restricts local government authority over parking requirements. Transit-oriented areas are defined as within 400 metres of a public transit exchange, with greater density prescribed within 200 metres of a bus exchange. Nanaimo’s city plan already identifies seven urban centres that support higher-density development and includes all the city’s existing bus exchanges. MORE

Quotable – Democracy means respecting opposing views and not demonizing those with a better idea.

Sharing is what Christmas

is really all about

Christmas comes in many ways, and for some giving is just as rewarding as getting. Do you know someone who is stepping up with the Christmas Spirit and helping others? That's how you can share. See the two examples of what we mean. We believe they should be recognized and we’d like to let everyone know. If you know of a heart-warming story, send the details to The Buzz.

For Matt Stephens it was sharing with others when he handed out 40 turkeys and hams from his pickup on Monday. He bought the manna from heaven with his own money and announced on social media that he was handing out the star of Christmas dinner in Harewood to people who are struggling. He said people are wondering where their next meal is. “So I figure I’m just going to change gears and get a whole bunch of turkeys and hams. Let’s get back to old school Nanaimo, where we all help each other,” he told CHEK News. 1212

Just up the road in Parksville, Jayson Perry, a homeless man who spends his time picking up garbage along roadsides, had his bike stolen while he was working. That struck a note with Larry Carter of Nanaimo who drove to Parksville on Monday to surprise Jayson with a new bike. “He’s helping all the neighbours around town, helping clean up the roads, it’s fantastic,” said Carter. MORE 1212

Santa Claus is carrying on a 19-year annual tradition on Tuesday morning when he brings presents and Christmas cheer to children and families spending the season in hospital. He’s getting a lot of help from BCEHS and Helijet coming in on a BC Ambulance Service helicopter at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital just before 10 a.m. It’s a busy schedule as he also visits hospitals in Victoria, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Surrey, and New Westminster later in the day.

We’re getting back to normal, good old flu is back as Covid-19 fades. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, in an update on Monday, said Covid activity remains low following a peak in mid-October, while cases of influenza continue to rise, with children high on the list. As of Thursday, 182 patients were in hospital with Covid, including 17 in critical care, while about 79 per cent of influenza tests were the H1N1 strain. Dr. Henry is still encouraging people to get the vaccines for both. MORE 1212

BC Ferries is ordering four new hybrid-electric Island Class ferries which will serve the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island and Campbell River-Quadra Island routes by 2027. The new boats will allow Island Class vessels already serving those routes to be redeployed to Salt Spring, Quadra, Cortez, Denman and Hornby islands, boosting capacity, the company said. There are six Island Class vessels in the BC Ferries fleet. Adding four more will reduce the variety of vessels, making maintenance, training and operations easier. MORE 1212

Quotable – Glass takes one million years to decompose, which means it never wears out and can be recycled an infinite amount of times.


Snow in the forecast

for Saturday morning

We could get an early taste of a white Christmas Saturday morning. Environment Canada has issue a weather notice saying if you don’t get snow, expect a windstorm. Up to 2 centimetres of snow is possible, then further inland up to 10 cm. Port Alberni is forecast to get up to 5 cm of snow. And a reminder, if you haven't got your winter tires on yet, now might be a good time to get that done.


A major commercial and residential development at the former Howard Johnson Hotel remains in limbo. It is held up as negotiations continue between the property owners, the province and Snuneymuxw. Plans call for a hotel, more than 750 residential units and retail space.  


NanaimoNewsNOW has launched its interactive look at some of Nanaimo and the central Island’s best decorated homes and businesses. Click here to view the map, which is compatible with all computers and devices, choose a neighbourhood and head out one evening for a dose of holiday cheer. Please respect privacy by not trespassing and enjoy their decorations from the street or sidewalk.


This Christmas video was released by General Motors and it has caught on in a big was on social media. Hopefully when you view it you will realize why, and how beautifully it deals with a very sensitive issue at this time of the year for many citizens. VIEW VIDEO

Quotable – As I watched the dog chasing its tail I thought dogs are easily amused. Then I realized I was watching the dog chasing its tail.

City approves second

Alternative Approval

The City is going ahead with a second Alternative Approval Process to borrow up to $48.5 million for the first phase of the Nanaimo Operations Centre (Public Works yard) project. The revised AAP will begin Jan. 18, 2024, and conclude on Feb. 20. During this period, eligible electors have the opportunity to submit their responses regarding the borrowing bylaw. Official forms will be available to pick up from City Hall and for printing from the City website beginning on Jan. 18. For more information see the City website at and for more information on the project visit See the full city news release HERE

Loaves and Fishes got an early $121,000 Christmas gift from the B.C. Government. It is one of the food banks in the mid-island which provide healthy food to those in need. It's part of $15 million announced in August for distribution by Food Banks B.C. to local organizations around the province. The Ladysmith Resource Centre Association got $12,500, and Gabriola Island’s People for a Healthy Community got $7,500.

Youth artists can make their mark by creating an artistic design to celebrate and share information about the City’s Youth Lounge. If your entry is chosen you’ll get five hundred bucks. The call for youth artists is open to youth between the ages of 13 and 20, who live on Vancouver Island, and have a connection to Nanaimo and/or understanding of this place. The Youth Lounge is a free program for youth age 11-18, in partnership with the BGC Central Vancouver Island. Review the complete guidelines on the City’s website. See here for MORE

Cold and rainy weather has arrived and now is a good time to prepare for winter and storm conditions. The city has released a list of things you should check off to make sure you’re in good shape for any weather conditions. It looks at flooding, parks use and snow on the streets. In case of extreme storm weather that may warrant an emergency response or major closures, alerts will be sent out on the City's emergency alert system. Learn about Voyent Alert! and sign-up for emergency notifications

INFilm will continue to get a $50,000 grant from The Regional District for movie and TV production on the central and north Island. Lauren Melanson, East Wellington-Pleasant Valley director, sought to end a $50,000 annual contribution saying rural areas don’t see the benefit. Nanaimo Hospitality Association executive director Dan Brady and Brandon Lepine of INFilm made the case in favour of the grant. Mayor Leonard Krog argued rural voters are getting enormous benefit, the region is getting incredible benefit. MORE

If you are waiting to hit the slopes, I have good news. Mount Washington opens on Friday with more groomed terrain this year. The season kicks off with the Whiskey Jack Chair open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with access to several mid-mountain trails like Coaster, Terrain Park and Lower Linton’s Loop. The natural snow base is 38 centimetres, with more in the forecast. MORE

Quotable – Being taught not to talk about politics and religion has led to a lack of understanding of politics and religion.



We're a generous lot

helping those in need

Nanaimo placed sixth in the most-generous communities on the GoFundMe Canada’s Top 20 list. The top seven are from B.C. – Victoria, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Prince George, Kelowna, Nanaimo and New Westminster in that order. GoFundMe measured the number of donations per capita made through the throughout the year. It recorded two million donations for people, causes, and organizations compared to almost 1.86 million donations over the same period in 2022 – representing a 7.3 per cent increase. MORE

With that uplifting news,  Loaves and Fishes expects to deliver 3,500 hampers this Christmas season, on top of the regular hampers distributed weekly. That’s where you might be able to give a hand. Kate Fisher, volunteer manager, says in order to sort that food and get it out they need the additional hands. More than 600 volunteers have helped out at the food bank this year, including 200 on a weekly basis. Call them if you can give a helping hand. MORE

The Nanaimo Art Gallery is looking for a new home and will get help from city staff to evaluate possible sites. The gallery wants to build a new facility. Initial estimated to cost about $20 million. MORE


Tenants have begun moving in to the 53-unit affordable housing apartment building in the 6000 block of Hammond Bay Road close to Dover Bay Secondary School. Operated by the Ballenas Housing Society, it has one- and two-bedroom suites. Half the units will be geared to income and close to a dozen will rent as low as $375-$500 per month. Nanaimo MLA Sheila Malcolmson was on hand for the opening of the project built in partnership with federal, provincial and local governments. MORE


It’s tough to fathom with the recent rains that the dry November has forecasters worried. Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan said there was 121.6 mm of precipitation, below the typical 197.2 mm making it the 29th driest November since 1892. By January, with an El Nino, we will likely be dealing with a warmer-than-seasonal winter and into spring as well. If it’s consolation, we started December wet as an atmospheric river began dropping heavy rain on parts of Vancouver Island since Monday. MORE


In another big step in his hockey development, Nanaimo’s Matt Wood has been selected to Canada’s World Junior Championship team tryout camp. The 18-year-old is one of 16 players vying for a forward position on this year’s team, which only has one returning player from last year’s gold medal-winning squad. He leads the University of Connecticut Huskies as a sophomore with seven goals and 12 points in 17 games. The 15th pick by the Nashville Predators at the 2023 NHL Draft this past summer was on Canada’s bronze medal team in April in the Under 18 championship in Switzerland. MORE

Quotable – May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.


Inflation hits city budget
before it is even passed

The city invited taxpayers to an e-town hall to chat about the budget with a 6.6-per-cent property tax hike. At the last minute they threw in additional items, raising it to eight per cent. That does not include expected large expenses, such as the RCMP contract, Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation, snow and ice control, (hope for global warming), the breakfast meal program and downtown event grants. Councillors also gave the blessing to seven more staff to maintain city services for a 0.92-per-cent tax increase. Other additions include a fire clerk to support Fire Rescue and the firefighter training facility. A full-time transit planning specialist was also added to manage transit stop amenities. MORE DETAILS

City Council voted Monday to hold another alternative approval process for elector approval to borrow $48.5 million for the first phase of upgrades to the public works yard on Labieux Road. A clerical error invalidated the first AAP last month. MORE


Vancouver Island University is phasing out its high school program due to money problems. As a result, the board for the high school has decided to close the school as of July 31. MORE

A couple of shifts could use your help this week in the Salvation Army kettle campaign. Both are outside Nesvog Meats in Terminal Park.
Dec. 9, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dec.13, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Call BrendaLea Dudley at 250-740-1004 or on her cell at 250-716-6595 and she’ll set you up.

This is one of the most dangerous months to be on the road. Last December there were nearly 1,000 crashes a day. Here’s an explanation from Worksafe BC on the risks and what you can do to help keep safe. Check out the statistics for Central Island communities by going to ICBC Reported Crashes/Tableau Public, choosing the region, and then on the new page using filters on the right side to choose the month.  MORE

Quotable ­– The friends we meet along the way help us appreciate the journey

City budget discussion

going online tonight

It’s time to speak up or shut up. Tonight’s e-town hall will help explain the city budget process, online at 7 p.m. To make things even more interesting, city council increased the budget on Friday, going to an eight-per-cent tax increase from the earlier 6.6 per cent. The public participation will give a good idea of public interest. You can submit questions through a form on the City’s website, via the event page on Facebook or on Twitter. Or you can phone in until 4 p.m. to 250-754-4251 and in person or online and at the Conference Centre.

Environment Canada rain and wind warnings remain in effect for today with high tides for parts of Vancouver Island. An atmospheric river was forecast to hit Vancouver Island this morning, bringing very heavy rainfall with an increased risk of landslides and flooding. It will likely ease off by tomorrow morning. Flash floods and water pooling on roads are possible. BC Hydro also issue the alert for possible power outages.MORE

The Securing Small Business Rebate Program to help prevent and repair damage from vandalism is proving popular with more than 600 businesses applying so far. The $10.5-million program allows businesses to apply for as much as $2,000 for repairs from vandalism. It adds up to $1,000 for prevention measures, such as the installation of security cameras and shatter-proof glass. The program is administered through the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. MORE

Quotable – Does anyone know when the employee Christmas party is for self checkout at Walmart?



Nasty winter weather

on the way this weekend

Ready or not, it’s time to get serious about winter. Environment Canada has issued a special weather warning of extremely high tides this weekend. Low atmospheric pressure and seasonally high tides will produce elevated water levels from mid- to late-morning on Saturday and Sunday. Coastal areas of southern Vancouver Island are at risk of minor flooding. Gale warnings are also in effect off western Vancouver Island until Monday. MORE

Commercial Street is the focal point as Winterfest returns to downtown Nanaimo this weekend with night shopping, Christmas markets and more. This is the third iteration of the promotion since the pandemic. MORE


Vancouver Island University students have more access to scholarships, awards and bursaries following the university’s annual Giving Tuesday campaign. The campaign raisded more than $350,000 for scholarships, bursaries, awards and special initiatives with all proceeds supporting students. A record-breaking number of new donors were first-time contributors. One hundred per cent goes to the donor’s cause of choice. MORE DETAILS.

To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit the VIU Foundation’s Giving Tuesday homepage.


It’s easy to get into the Christmas spirit after you take in the Milner Christmas Magic annual festive light display. It begins this weekend and runs until Sunday night from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. It continues the following weekends, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15. Admission is by a suggested donation of eight bucks for adults, $4 for children and $20 for a household, or give what you can. There’s even more cause for celebration this year, it’s the 20th anniversary of the light show. You can even do some Christmas shopping at the Gingerbread Gift Shop and visitors can enjoy hot food and beverages in front of Milner House. FULL STORY


Have you done your Christmas shift yet? No experience needed. The Salvation Army kettle drive has two shifts that need help – Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can choose Thrifty Foods in Longwood on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call BrendaLea Dudley at 250-740-1004 or on her cell at 250-716-6595 and she’ll set you up.

Quotable – Have you ever heard a rumour about yourself and actually wanted to hear more?



City set for second

alternative approval

Opponents of the city’s alternative approval for a new public works centre may get a second kick at the cat due to an administrative error the first time around. The timing of the advance notice did not meet the Province's legislative requirements. Staff now recommends a second AAP in January. Council will consider options at the Dec. 4 Council Meeting. Following that, the City will outline next steps in the proposed project. MORE

The Holiday/Christmas Season brings out the best and unfortunately, the worst in people. Every year criminals await the opportunity to steal your hard-earned money, rob you of recently purchased gifts and squash those memories that would have been created. Don’t let this happen to you! To assist with keeping you safe this Holiday Season, the Nanaimo RCMP presents 12 tips to a safe holiday season. SEE THE LIST

Hundreds of British Columbians appear to have lost faith in the plan to help British Columbians with breast and prostate cancers to get radiation treatment in Bellingham. It would pay the expenses for 50 patients per week because wait times in B.C. Since the program began, 1,310 patients were referred for radiation in Bellingham, but only 533 were actually eligible and agreeable to going to the United States for their radiation. Only 310 have started it, an average of just under 12 patients per week. FULL STORY

The public and the media attending Vancouver City Council meetings are now screened with metal-detector and bag searches. The stepped up security comes in part from an increase in harassment, threats and violence directed at elected officials. Chief Safety Officer Magnus Enfeldt citied the evolving security environment and similar measures that are in place in other cities like Calgary and Toronto. MORE

Quote – If you’re too big to do the small things then you are too small to do the big things