Second theft of funeral vases at Cedar Valley Memorial

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

Concern for well-being

of missing woman

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

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

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

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

School trustee Charlene McKay has had enough. She resigned from the school board on Friday, citing an unprofessional work environment. The two-term member and former chairman had been elected in 2018 and again in 2022. She said the majority of the board struggles with understanding their role within school board governance and their responsibilities as an employer. She said she experienced passive-aggressive innuendo in meetings as well as harassment, amateurish e-mail communications toward her, and a work environment fraught with outbursts. She said the experiences have affected her health and led to an earlier leave of absence. MORE

Three Nanaimo dancers will take centre stage at the Canadian Highland Dance championships following their medal-winning finishes at provincial trials in Port Coquitlam last week. Annalise Lam walked away with top honours in the 18-21 age group while Allison McBride was tops in the 10-12 division. Keltie Willis was first runner-up among 16-18-year-olds. They train with Brigadoon instructor Diena Henry. The Dance Academy will stage a show on June 9 at at the Port Theatre featuring the academy’s dancers, Pacific Gael Pipes and Drums and other acts. You can get tickets by calling the Port box office at 250-754-8550 or visiting

Happy retirement to school superintendent Scott Saywell after 30 years as a teacher and administrator. He gained social media fame over the years, making school snow closure announcements while singing and playing guitar and posting videos to the school district’s YouTube page. School board chairman Greg Keller said Saywell spent his career dedicated to improving life chances for the district’s most vulnerable students. MORE

The former Nanaimo Bakery on Bowen Road reopens today as Nanay Mo’s Filipino Cuisine. The name is not a play on words for Nanaimo, but translates from Filipino to “a mother’s cooking.” Maribel Bay and her husband Irineo are the owner of Nanay Mo’s. The menu for the new takeout restaurant comes from her family’s favourite recipes from the Philippines. The Bays moved to Canada 15 years ago and have three sons: Liam, 10, Brandon, 17, and Niko, 30, with special needs requiring significant support from his family. Niko is still in the Philippines, so the Nanaimo couple have been trying to bring their son to Canada for 12 long years to make their family complete. MORE

Charlene McKay

Our illustrious leader and defender of goodness and righteousness has ridden up on his great white steed – oops, his palomino – and devised a new way to root out racists among us. Thanks to David Eby, victims of racism will now be able to report it to a government phone line in more than 240 languages. But a la George Orwell, he also wants anyone witnessing racism to rat out the perceived offenders. The helpline will collect data to create a province-wide demographic survey about systemic racism, another way of categorizing people, each into his/her pigeon hole. That in itself is racist. Too often those claiming victimhood are in fact the true racists.

The volatile gas market is at it again, dropping prices at the pump. The best bargain this morning was at Canco on Terminal Avenue at $1.759 per litre. The highest listed was $1.849. Gas Buddy’s Dan McTeague suggests if you hold off a little longer the prices might drop even more in the next few days.

A new multi-family housing project in the Newcastle neighbourhood will add 47 residential units. City Council has approved the development permit for Holly Avenue, off Rosehill Street. It will has mainly of one-bedroom apartments, nine two-bedroom apartments, three studio and three-bedroom units, as well as six adaptable units. There will be 67 under ground parking spaces and 31 long-term bicycle storage spaces. MORE

Nanaimo has a low-wage problem, and it’s getting worse. The new $17.40 hourly minimum wage falls short of the living wage for the Nanaimo region of $22.87, claims the left-wing Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The Nanaimo region is behind the provincial curve for lower-paying jobs, with about 23 per cent locally earning less than $20 per hour. Across the province it’s about 18 per cent in most cities. MORE

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is not backing off her drive to legalize and regulate drugs to mitigate the harm of the toxic drug crisis. She addressed the federal government’s Standing Committee on Health on Thursday at its 10th meeting. She told the committee that prohibition and the unregulated and toxic supply of drugs is one of the leading causes of the high number of overdose deaths in B.C. and the country. She said the unregulated and toxic supply is the central cause of the high number of overdose deaths in B.C. and the country. Henry said the proximal cause of this crisis is the increased potency and unpredictable drugs on the street. MORE

We may be in for more solar light displays in the next little while, maybe even this weekend. A major solar active region on the sun continues to put out large expulsions of plasma and magnetic energy, and these impressive solar flares are getting set to face our planet again as northern lights. That same sunspot is reappearing and it has the potential to produce some pretty strong flares in the coming days and months. MORE

QUOTABLE – The extensive work done on Metral Drive has some residents wanting to rename it the Metral Obstactle Course.

Premier David Eby

May 30, 2024

B.C. Ferries has a bunch of junk for sale – four ancient ferries need to be scrapped and recycled. Ferries is looking to dispose of them rather than sell them as ships. The Powell River Queen, Bowen Queen, Mayne Queen, and Queen of Burnaby are included in BC Ferries’request for proposals. Jeff Groot, executive director of communications, says they’ve reached the point where they need to be dismantled. They were all built in 1965, have reached or are almost past their end of life. MORE

Health care in Nanaimo and central Vancouver Island is not up to par, says the Fair Care Alliance advocacy group. They say NRGH urgently needs a new catheterization lab for heart procedures and a new patient tower. “We lack a modern hospital to provide safe care in. This is a human dignity issue,” said David Coupland, president of NRGH’s Medical Staff Association. They want pressure on the province to deliver. MORE

Hats off to Dr. Robin Love of Lantzville who will be awarded a 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians in Toronto tonight. Dr. Love recently retired at 68 as medical director of palliative care at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital and is considered a pioneer in palliative care on the mid-Island.MORE

QUOTABLE – Today I broke my personal record for the most days lived.

May 29, 2024

Some days you have to scratch and claw to find topics of interest for our readers. And then the flood gates open. For the first time in ages I watched the city council meeting online on Monday and I thought I was in another universe. Decades ago the council meetings on TV were labelled as “the circus”. Monday’s show was reminiscent of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” during the public question period when a couple of citizens in costume demanded that Mayor Leonard Krog vacation the chair. Despite repeated admonitions, they refused to adhere to the rules and finally police were called and the pair were led off in handcuffs, but were not charged. Krog said council meetings are not an opportunity to put on a play in a public place to waste taxpayers’ money. What the heck, READ MORE.


Saturday will be a momentous day for burger flippers, and anyone else earning minimum wage in our Province. The new minimum will be $17.40 an hour, a 65-cent increase, tied to the rise in the consumer price index. We already have the highest minimum before the raise. Ontario is in second spot at $16.55 with an increase scheduled for Oct. 1 to $17.20. Saskatchewan is the poor country cousin at $14 and Alberta is next at $15.


W I consider my first bribe for the October provincial election arrived in the mail yesterday. My wife and I each got $110 from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, disguised as a rebate on our car insurance premiums. I assume it was meant to convince me to vote for the incumbent party. If nothing else, it was an admission by the government that we were overcharged for our car insurance in the first place, for an inferior product. It will take a lot more than a refund of my own money to get me to change my vote.


One of the biggest complaints about developing housing has been the permit approval process. Nanaimo is one of the 14 communities participating the province’s new online building permit hub pilot project, for builders to submit relevant applications and permits. Premier David Eby said the new process for local building permits will reduce red tape and ultimately save money, speed up construction and help people get into homes faster.


A trial is under way in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo for a junior hockey player charged with sexual assault. Kenneth Boychuk, now 19, was playing with the Nanaimo Buccaneers when he was accused of sexually assaulting a girl in her home after initially connecting on social media before meeting. MORE.

QUOTABLE – We will not tolerate intolerance under any circumstances.

May 28, 2024

One man is in hospital after a stabbing in downtown Nanaimo Tuesday morning. One man was arrested without incident. Emergency services were called to Cavan Street and Victoria Crescent just before noon. The suspect fled the scene, but was soon taken into custory while the victim was taken to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.  MORE

May is invasive plant clean up time, and you can join in to get your hands dirty. Invasive plants have the potential to negatively impact local ecosystems. English Ivy, Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry are well established in Nanaimo while Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are relatively new but can have severe negative impacts. Broombusters have been cutting broom along local roads and greenspaces. Register through the City website or call 250-756-5200 for more information. The annual drop zone will take place on Saturday, June 1, 10 am to 2 pm at Bowen Park (off of Wall Street). MORE DETAILS.


Heads up. You can be fired for what you post on social media. The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal has ruled a company was justified in firing a worker who posted disparaging comments about her employer and its clients to Facebook, Candace West, claimed that her former employer Way To Go Traffic Solutions Ltd. wrongfully dismissed her without cause and without notice and was seeking $2,850 in damages. The company argued that the Facebook posts justified the firing. The posts were submitted as evidence and included numerous vulgarities in referring to her boss and some clients. MORE


Steve Marshall Group is spreading its wings, integrating two Ford dealerships in Hawaii into their operations here. Orchid Isle Ford in Hilo and Kona on the Big Island is the first expansion into the United States for the Steve Marshall Group. SMG is now 11 dealerships strong, with additional operations in body shops and detailing facilities. Breaking into a U.S. market is a big step for an automotive dealership that started in Campbell River in 1966. Founder and president Steve Marshall is known for breaking new ground after being the youngest dealer owner in Ford history when he started his first dealership when he was only 19. MORE

Interesting things you find on the city website

May 28, 2024

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

Hullo ferries have carried more than 250,000 guests in the nine months for the passenger-only sailings between Nanaimo and Vancouver. The performance record is better than 95 per cent of all scheduled sailings since launching last August. April saw a 100-per-cent performance record. MORE


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


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

Ashley Laird Baird, 41, formerly from Nanaimo, will spend at least 10 years in jail after being sentenced for second-degree murder. Baird got a life sentence with no possibility of parole for a decade in a Drumheller courtroom for the death of 34-year-old Jeffery Ryan. MORE

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

May 27, 2024

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

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

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

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

May 26, 2024

Political right beyond last-gasp reconciliation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We welcome your comments HERE.

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

May 25, 2024

University governors approve
shutting down music programs

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

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


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

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

May 24, 2024

$5-million fund-raising campaign

launched for new cancer centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 23, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

May 22, 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 20, 2024

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

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

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

QUOTABLE – Empty barrels sound the loudest

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

May 19, 2024

On the way home after Victoria Day weekend

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

Janna Whale honoured for climate achievement

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

Vancouver Island Crisis Care worker wins award

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

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

Five months to election, race uneventful so far

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


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

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

May 18, 2024

Ferries busy to start the long weekend

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

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

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

Floral vases stolen from Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens

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

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

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

May 17, 2024

Long weekend will be a good test

for B.C. Ferries before summer

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


Some school catchment areas set to change

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

Development guidelines set to change over old coal mines

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

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


Cone Zone campaign urges drivers to slow down 

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

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

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

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

May 16, 2024

Funkanometry second in Canada's Got Talent

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

Rest in peace, Wayne Campbell

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

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

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

May 15, 2024

BC Ferries adds more sailings, ends fuel surcharge

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

North End house damaged in fire, no injuries

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

Suspicious device was not a pipe bomb

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

Wow, what a windfall! Class action pays $7.86

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

Record-breaking aviator to address Aviation Council dinner 

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

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

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

May 13, 2024

School district gets funding for one-stop child-care

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

Back to class after lockdown at Pleasant Valley school

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

New municipal tax bills are in the mail

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


Commercial Street Night Market returns in June

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

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

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

May 14, 2024

Filming production begins today in Downtown Nanaimo

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

Cell phone use up to individual schools

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

Fort Nelson wildfire continues to spread

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

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

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

May 12, 2024

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

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

Cedar Farmers' Market opens today

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


Heat records set in many parts of the province

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


Fourth suspect charged in death of Sikh leader

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

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

In politics, always blame

someone else for your mistakes

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

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

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

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

May 10, 2024

Industrial development approved for south end

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

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump

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

Spectacular Northern Lights show expect on weekend

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

Nanaimo Mountie joins Tour de Rock team

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

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

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

Growing wildfire forces Fort Nelson evacuation

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

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

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

Industrial development approved for south end

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

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump

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

Spectacular Northern Lights show expect on weekend

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

Nanaimo Mountie joins Tour de Rock team

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

Foreign governments linked to cyber attact

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

Growing wildfire forces Fort Nelson evacuation

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

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

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

May 10, 2024

City's spray parks are open now

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

Quist wins provincial leadership award

Breanne Quist

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

Six more supportive recovery beds scheduled

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

55+ BC Games management confirmed by council

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

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

Individuals aged 65 and older represented 24 per cent of the total population in 2023 and are expected to grow by an additional 6,239 persons by 2033, reaching 23.8 per cent of the total population. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 10, 2024

This weather is just perfect 

for hitting the waves, but before you do it's wise to sharpen your boating skills. The Nanoose Power and Sail Squadron has a free safe boating day at the Fairwinds Marina Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, and the Royal Canadian Navy will explain their roles out on the water, as well as offer safety lessons for boaters. You can get information on online or in-person courses, along with checking boating equipment and a marine-themed garage sale. MORE

Arrest warrants have been issued 

for a former Nanaimo substitute teacher after he was charged with child pornography. Darrell Gilkes, 31, last known living in Ontario, is charged with possession and distributing and importing child pornography in Nanaimo in 2022. He was a teacher-on-call at a number of high schools during the 2022/23 school year. The charges followed a police raid at his rental suite in which several devices were seized and searched by investigators. He had been granted permission by a Nanaimo judge to relocate to Ontario to live with his parents while the police investigation continued. MORE

The first cruise ship in five years 

docked in Nanaimo around 7 p.m. Thursday. The MV Seabourn Odyssey is homeward bound on 80-plus-day cruise which launched in Australia, continuing on to Hong Kong in late March with stops in China, South Korea, Japan and Alaska. It has about 350 passengers, many of whom have pre-booked trips to various activities and destinations across the region, including in Nanaimo. The is the first of two ships schedules for Nanaimo, with four more coming next summer. MORE

Multi-media commentator Rex Murphy has died

at age 77 following a battle with cancer. MORE. Our own commentator and former Newfound and Labrador Premier Brian Peckford reflects on Rex Murphy. HERE

QUOTABLE – I’m not the greatest cook, but I’m good at stirring the pot.

NANAIMO FACTOID – The working-age population (aged 15-64) constituted 62 per cent (66,846) of Nanaimo's population in 2023. This segment is projected to increase by 22.5 per cent (+15,032) by 2033, to represent 63 per cent of the total population. Download the full 2024 State of the Economy report HERE

May 9, 2024

Organized crime recruitment rises in 

Nanaimo high and elementary schools

Nanaimo RCMP are seeing more evidence of Organized crime groups stepping up recruitments in local schools. Insp. Andrew Burton noted the increase in the annual performance plan and future priorities too city council. He said recruiting is going on in high schools and sadly, in elementary schools. They recognize that the penalties for youth involvement in these types of crimes is less than as an adult. Burton said new clothing is often enough to entice youths to start selling items like vapes, cigarettes or even harder drugs. MORE

Government computer networks were recently hit with sophisticated cybersecurity incidents. Premier David Eby said the government is working closely with the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre) and other agencies to determine the extent of the incidents. There’s no evidence at this time that sensitive information has been compromised, adding, the investigation is ongoing to determine what information may have been accessed. MORE


Two Vancouver Island campgrounds are expanding. Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Campground is adding eight new walk-in sites. China Beach Provincial Campground near Jordan River will see 33 new campsites added: 22 drive-in sites and 11 walk-in sites. Those should be open for reservations beginning today. Many provincial sites are consistently booked up months in advance, and available spots have been hard to come by. MORE

Shai Ben Eli Illan, 30, has been sentenced to 9.5 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to seven drug trafficking charges and a pair of drug possession offences. Four of the counts involved fentanyl, while other counts included crystal meth, benzodiazepine, MDMA and ketamine. MORE

Go ahead, have a drink. The water supply on the Queen of Oak Bay is safe to drink after cleanup of a toxic chemical cleaner that was accidently poured into the vessel’s potable water supply. The vessel continued service through the day and into Tuesday evening, using bottled water. The water was deemed to be safe to drink and taps had been turned back on. By 7 p.m. Thursday. MORE

One person was taken to hospital after a multi-vehicle crash along the Nanaimo Parkway. Emergency services responded to the intersection with Aulds Road near noon on Wednesday after two vehicles, collided with a semi as they went through the lights. Northbound traffic was closed off and detoured to the Old Island Highway or through Lantzville. MORE

This sounds like a disaster in the making, there’s no minimum off-street parking mandated in the province’s new housing density regulations. The regulations undermine the city’s off-street parking requirements for multi-family developments. Some councillors were not thrilled with the changes but approved the necessary bylaw amendments. The provincial regulation doesn’t ban residential off-street parking in transit-oriented areas, but it does force municipalities to remove off-street parking space minimums, effectively leaving the decision up to developers on how many parking spaces to provide. MORE

It must be election time, ICBC is doling out money. Most drivers in the province will get a $110 rebate this year and rates will remain frozen until 2026. Strong investment and financial returns and the 2021 shift to the “enhanced care” model for providing health coverage for people involved in crashes has put the Crown corporation in a solid position to offer rebates. The last basic rate increase was 2019. President David Wong says preliminary financial results show ICBC will earn net income of $1.5 billion this year, which includes the $400 million cost of the rebates. MORE

Completion of the Trans Mountain pipelinechanges the marine safety scenario for the West Coast. The Western Canada Marine Response Corporation heads an enhanced network of bases and staff on standby for the unexpected. The WCMRC base in Nanaimo Harbour is a regional hub with approximately 15 vessels with a maximum six-hour response. WCMRC communications manager Michael Lowry said their network of fulltime staff and vessels is enough to handle a 2,500 ton spill initially, including storage. MORE

Backyard Fest is back and it all goes down May 18-19 behind Sound Heritage. It’s touted as the Nanaimo music festival with tickets at $40 per day or $70 for the weekend, kids under 12 are free. There will be food, drinks and merchandise on site, and an amazing array of talented musicians performing all weekend.

From veteran political observer Alan Forseth here is the weekly candidate count update for each party as of May 6.

• Conservative Party of BC – 61 candidates nominated (+3)

• BC United (former BC Liberal) – 51 candidates nominated (+1)

• BC Green Party – 17 candidates nominated (no change)

• BC NDP – 6 candidates nominated (+1)

The next provincial election is October 19.

FROM THE WEB – The seldom-used city bike lanes are not a total loss – they create safe transit for the homeless with their shopping carts.

NANAIMO FACTOID – Population growth rates are influenced by two primary factors: natural increase (births minus deaths) and migration. In the Regional District of Nanaimo in 2022, there were 1,122 births and 2,228 deaths, resulting in a negative natural growth rate that has persisted for decades. As a result, population growth in the region has been primarily driven by migration. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 8, 2024

Public drug use banned,

'Safe Supply' remains

Mike Farnworth

Open drug use is banned again, effective Tuesday. The federal government has revoked a three-year Criminal Code exemption for personal possession of drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines in public. "Safe Supply" and simple possession will still remain legal, it's only the open public use that's banned. Federal Mental Health and Addictions Minister Ya’ara Saks labelled it a health crisis, not a criminal one, adding communities need to be safe. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said when police are called where illegal and dangerous drug use is taking place, they will have the ability to compel a person to leave the area, seize the drugs if necessary, or arrest the person.  MORE

We’ve been waiting for this – we’re getting another tease of summer. Environment Canada forecasts a high-pressure system continuing well into the weekend, bringing with it a clear sky and higher-than-normal temperatures, reaching the low twenties by Thursday. Overnight temperatures will sit around 10 degrees. Let’s enjoy it while we can, another ridge is on the way with clouds late in the weekend. MORE

Get set to fork over an extra $200 or so after city council adopted the final 2024-2028 Financial Plan and 2024 Property Tax Rates bylaws. It boils down to a 7.7 per cent increase with 6.7 per cent to cover operating costs and one per cent for the General Asset Management Reserve. For the average home this adds up to $204 a year more for the City portion of your tax bill. Other jurisdictions like the school district, regional district and hospital board are on top of that. MORE

JUST A MINUTE – Canada Post has run out of money and digging the hole deeper and deeper – it has lost nearly $750 million year to date. It blames private companies for providing service at lower cost. So, the private companies are making a profit at a lower price while Canada Post is getting huge government subsidies and losing money. Something is bass akwards here.

QUOTABLE – If money is the root of all evil, why do they ask for it at church?

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2023, children (aged 0-14) comprised 14 per cent of Nanaimo's total population. By 2033, this segment is projected to increase by 8.1 per cent, adding 1,190 children. However, as a proportion of the total population, the children category is expected to decline by 2 per cent over the next decade. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 7, 2024

Ottawa reverses public drug use decriminalization immediately

Open drug use is banned again, effective Tuesday. The federal government has revoked a three-year Criminal Code exemption for personal possession of drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines in public. Simple possession will still remain legal, it's only the open public use that's banned. Federal Mental Health and Addictions Minister Ya’ara Saks labelled it a health crisis, not a criminal one, adding communities need to be safe. Premier David Eby said that principle is what the project was about. B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said when police are called to a scene where illegal and dangerous drug use is taking place, they will have the ability to compel a person to leave the area, seize the drugs if necessary, or arrest the person if required. He said there are still expectations around safety, public spaces, in the coffee shop, on the bus, in the park, on the beach. MORE

Snuggle up, Nanaimo home owners will be a lot closer in the future. The City is looking to pre-zone 23,500 properties to handle new density legislation. City staff is trying to create new zoning and building amendment bylaw to accommodate new small-scale multi-unit housing legislation. The proposal calls for three new zoning classifications. R5 would cover three- and four-unit residential, for 22,000 properties. R14 is tailored to preserve the Old City Quarter’s character. An interim residential corridor zone meant to create even greater density than three or four units where appropriate. MORE

Nanaimo continues to rate in the top three for drug deaths. Drug use claimed 192 lives in our province in March and at least 572 died in the first three months this year. Nanaimo, Vancouver and Surrey continue to have the highest number of drug deaths in 2024. Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal health authorities make up 51 per cent of all such deaths in 2024. The March figure shows an 11-per-cent decrease in lives lost from March 2023. The rate of death among females is climbing year over year. Fentanyl has been involved in 85 per cent of unregulated drug deaths.

Nanaimo Regional Transit will get more electric buses and charging infrastructure. Sixty-six electric buses are on order for nine communities that have transit electrification infrastructure projects getting started. BC Transit expects to install approximately 134 charging points over the next two years. The 66 buses will arrive in early 2025, completing in mid-2026. Costs are shared with the federal Government, the province and local governments. For more information about BC Transit, visit

Don’t jump out of your skin at 10:55 a.m. on Wednesday. That’s when the province will conduct its semi-annual test of the Alert Ready system. The alert will be sent to cell phones and interrupt radio and television broadcasts. The province uses alerts to send tsunami warnings as well as imminent threats from wildfires, floods and extreme heat. 22 alerts were issued during last year's record-breaking wildfire season, providing potentially life-saving information when people needed it. MORE

Practise makes perfect. That’s the message behind a mock disaster training exercise by Nanaimo Search and Rescue last weekend. More than 100 volunteers responded to an imagined white water rafting incident on the Nanaimo River.A dozen south coast teams took part, with the lead exercise involving 13 distressed rafters. The training exercise included a technical swift water rope rescue and K9 unit.MORE

London Drugs has reopened all of its stores Vancouver Island although there may be limitations at some locations. The company says it will not be able to fill new prescriptions for customers. London Drugs says it will continue to work to bring all of its services and products back to regular capacity as soon as possible. MORE

It may be curiosity but the initial response to the new Evo e-bike in Nanaimo has been positive. Similar to car sharing, Evo rental stations across the city let users log onto Evo’s app to unlock a bike with fees based on length of time. It is operated by BCAA and Evo, with a goal to get more people out of their cars for trips around the city. Leanne Buhler, of Evolve e-bike and e-scooter share for BCAA, says the response in just a few days has been positive. A UBC study found e-bike adoption has surged, reducing vehicle traffic 30 to 40 per cent. MORE

Transit bus riders can have their say on potential fare changes. RDN Transit seeks feedback on changes to various fixed routes.The ever-growing population is increasing demand for service, so a significant expansion is needed to improve accessibility and address service demands. The survey is available online until May 31 HERE. Paper copies are available at the RDN Transit Office on Applecross. For more information about trip planning, schedules and to sign up for customer alerts, visit

Just so you know, the City is not conducting a phone survey on water quality. If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the City saying they are doing a water quality survey, just hang up. (I know, I’m rude, but I whistle into the phone when I get one of these.)

QUOTABLE – Now that April Fool’s day is over for another year, everything on the internet is true again.

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2021, there were 7,910 Indigenous people living in Nanaimo, making up 8.2 per cent of the population. In comparison BC’s Indigenous population represented 5.9 per cent and Canada 5.0 per cent of total population. The majority of the Indigenous population reported a single Indigenous identity, either First Nations, Métis or Inuk (Inuit). Of the Indigenous population in Nanaimo, 54.9 per cent (or 4,345) were First Nations people, 39.4 per cent (or 3,120) were Métis, and 0.8 per cent (or 65) were Inuit. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 6, 2024

The history of Japanese people in Nanaimo will come to life in two new exhibits at the Nanaimo Museum. More than 40 Japanese-Canadian families lived in Nanaimo until the War Measures Act was introduced in 1941 forcing many families out.  The exhibits focus on the contributions made by Japanese-Canadians, the tragedy and injustice of the 1940s internment camps. It will be on display until early September. The Museum is working with Seven Potatoes Society,  which is the Central Vancouver Island Japanese Canadian Cultural Society. MORE


A new cancer centre will create the need for additional treatment services at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Island Health is seeking funding from the district hospital board for projects, including the oncology network and chemotherapy. The hospital district passed a $48-million budget this year, with a 28.2-per cent increase to prepare for a number of future projects, including the cancer centre and a new patient tower. Chairman Ian Thorpe said the cancer centre and the oncology network requests are not in the hospital district’s 2024 budget.  MORE


WestJet and its mechanics union have reached a tentative agreement, avoiding a possible strike. WestJet had issued a 72-hour lockout notice on Saturday to the union, saying it was response to AMFA announcing a strike vote. MORE

QUOTABLE – If vegetables are so good for you, why do vegans always try to make them taste like meat?

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2023, Nanaimo's estimated median household income was $81,606, with an average household income of $99,320. The per capita income in Nanaimo for the same year was $42,034. British Columbia’s estimated median household income stood at $93,585, with an average household income of $119,172 in 2023. BC's per capita income was $47,443. Down-load the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 5, 2024

North Nanaimo London Drugs 

store part of gradual reopening

London Drugs North Town Centre store is open as the company begins started reopening some of its stores on Vancouver Island. London Drugs said it was gradually reopening its stores in Western Canada but did not specify which locations had reopened, saying that it wanted to slowly restart its core services. The return to service comes about a week after a cybersecurity incident closed down all locations across Western Canada.

Some with grey hair, some with less hair, 39 graduates of the 1964 graduating class of NDSS recently got together for lunch and memories at a local restaurant. The reunion was on hold since 2020, due to Covid. There were tall tales and funny anecdotes and teachers were remembered and past pranks came to light. Grads came from as far away as Kamloops. And there will be a sixtieth anniversary later this year.

Airline schedule reliability could be tested this week after WestJet issued a lockout notice to the union representing aircraft maintenance engineers. The 72-hour lockout notice affects aircraft mechanics and could result in awork stoppage as early as Tuesday. They have been in negotiations since September 2023. The airline said a potential work stoppage does not necessarily mean travel disruptions will occur, but it is taking some steps to mitigate impacts. MORE

Crews are working an out-of-control wildfire 90 kilometres west of Williams Lake in the Central Interior. The BC Wildfire Service reported the fire was discovered Friday afternoon and grew to 101 hectares by Saturday morning. It is suspected to be human-caused. MORE

May 4, 2024

May 3, 2024

Dragon Boat Festival

is back with one-day event

The Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival is getting a second life with a one-day show. The festival had been moved to Victoria but VI Paddling came to the rescue for an event July 13 with the help of Nanaimo Downtown Business Association and local dragon boaters. Non-profit VI Paddling confirmed it’s hosting a one-day event on Saturday, July 13. Tom Arnold of VI Paddling said strong support from Nanaimo area dragon boaters, along with corporate and community partners were instrumental in saving the popular event. MORE

Single family house prices were up two per cent in April over 12 months. John Cooper reports 109 single-family homes sold at an average price of $840,784. Single-family unit sales volume is up four per cent. Average days on market decreased by three per cent to 33 days. The average condo sold for $442,436 with unit sales up 23 per cent over the year. The average row/townhouse sold for $581,307. Row/townhouse unit sales are up 44 per cent. Lot sales volume is up 27 per cent with a 15 per cent drop in prices. Average lot sale price was $470,296.FULL REPORT HERE.

The Parks department has announced the schedule for the 2024 Concerts in the Park series starting May 12 and runnning until August. The free concerts showcase local talent against the backdrop of some of our most beautiful parks. Concert-goers will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of music genres, including Motown, indie rock, folk/blues, and Celtic. Bring a chair or a blanket and dress for the weather. New this year are a number of double or triple feature shows which will allow families to enjoy a variety of entertainment along with a picnic or dinner in the park. MORE


A new long-term care home in Nanaimo is one of three that will focus on livability in their design and operation. They will emphasize liveability in their design. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the project will enable more access for individuals especially seniors to the care they need and ensure that individuals receive compassionate support and comfort during their final stages of life, closer to home. Standardization is the theme and to that end, Island Health has selected Stantec as the sole consultant to design three new long-term care homes here and in Campbell River and Colwood. The new long-term care homes will feature easy-to-reach gathering places, gardens, childcare centres and design elements that ensure residents feel connected and active. MORE


Bust that broom – the city is hosting weekly invasive plant removal parties until along the Parkway Trail and several city parks including Bowen and Diver Lake to mark invasive plant removal month in May. Volunteers, city parks and rec and members of BroomBusters held the first invasive plant removal party of the year on Thursday when they broke out the hand saws and limb loppers along the Parkway Trail near Northfield Road and the Nanaimo Parkway. If you want to get involved visit the City’s invasive plant management page.


Pedaling is hard work, derailing a lot of people from cycling around our hilly community. Well, cheer up ladies and laddies, E-bikes are here. The City  is partnering with BCAA’s Evolve E-Bike Share with 16 stations downtown, in the Old City Quarter, Maffeo Sutton and Bowen parks and key commercial and residential centres with plans to expand to areas such as Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, and B.C. Ferries and Hullo ferry terminals. It’s all digital, beginning with downloading the Evo mobile app. Riders can pay by the minute or hour, or opt for a monthly subscription for reduced rates. Rental rates are 35 cents per minute, $13 per hour, or 10 cents per minute for users who sign up for a $10 monthly subscription.  Find the Evo app at MORE


Taking matters into your own hands to save the planet are not an excuse for breaking the law. Two environmental activists, who said they had no choice but to break the law to draw attention to the dangers of climate change re now awaiting sentencing after being found guilty on numerous charges. Howard Gerald Breen, 70, and Melanie Joy Murray, 48, who faced multiple charges for highway blockades and other protests in Nanaimo from late 2021 to early 2022. MORE


Province offers up to $40,000 

to build secondary suites 

There may be a treasure in your basement after the province launched its latest measure to tackle the housing crisis. The province offers homeowners up to $40,000 in forgivable loans to build a suite or laneway home on their primary property, but they must agree to rent it out at below market rates for five years. The rents will be set by the province, based on the community. B.C. United leader Kevin Falcon points out that despite a flurry of housing announcements since last fall, real estate prices and rents have inched up in Vancouver. Premier David Eby pointed to the large numbers of people moving into the province – about 10,000 people every 37 days. MORE

Flags are flying at half mast Flags at City facilities will fly at half mast today to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 150 lives. The explosions of the No. 1 Esplanade Mine are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst industrial accident in Canada. Explosions started 260 meters below sea level with a blast so forceful it rocketed through the underground shafts for almost a kilometre and the underground fire burned for two weeks. The disaster took 150 miners’ lives in the community of approximately 2,000. 

There was a significant rumble off the coast of Tofino as a 5.0 earthquake hit the area at 7 p.m. Thursday. It was registered 200 km West South West of Tofino at a depth of 10 km. 

Let’s hear it for Clippers play-by-play man Dan Marshall on being named Jim Hughson BCHL Broadcaster of the Year for the fourth time. The award is selected by the 17 fellow league broadcasters. Dan has been the voice of the Clippers on 106.9 The Wolf since 2007 and won the award in 2012, 2015 and 2016 when he was a co-winner with Alex Rawnsley who is now his color commentator for most home games. 

Dan Marshall

It will cost you a pretty penny to help reforest the city. It will take $1,500 to pay tribute by planting a tree in the city’s new tree donation pilot program. You can apply until July 26 to dedicate a tree in Beaufort Park. It’s a takeoff on past traditions of sponsoring park benches or trees with plaques. Applications are limited to 30 trees to be planted by a certified horticulturalist. MORE

It’s easy to have a heavy foot once the cold and wet winter weather gives way to May. The cops know that May is high-risk driving month, and Island drivers are reminded to take it easy on the gas pedal. The Highway Patrol is cracking down on excessive speeding and distracted and impaired driving. Keep in mind that if you’re more than 40 km over the speed limit the fines range between $368 to $483 and you can be without wheels for seven days, also having to pay hefty impoundment fees. MORE

Take me out to the ball game, enjoy the fresh air and get paid for it. The NightOwls baseball team has openings for game day staff. The team is huge on personality, mindset, and making sure fans have a good time. Previous experience is an asset but the team is willing to train newcomers. To get all the info, contact

Gas prices in Vancouver fell yesterday with another dip expected before the weekend. Island prices don’t compare to Lower Mainland, but any price drops provide at least a ray of hope for us. Last night, Nanaimo prices ranged between $1.919 and $206.9 while some Vancouver stations dropped by about six cents per litre and are now hovering around $2.109. And they are expected to drop another nickel today to around $2.059. MORE

QUOTABLE – We’ve become a place where entertainers and professional athletes are mistaken for people of importance.

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2022, overall student enrollment at Vancouver Island University remained largely unchanged compared to 2021. However, there were notable shifts within the student body demographics: domestic student enrollment decreased by 1.6 per cent, while international student enrollment saw a notable increase of 9.4 per cent but is still well below pre-pandemic levels. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 2, 2024

Rain has not been enough 

to snuff out wildfire threat

It’s been wetter than a baby’s diaper but the threat of wildfires remains high across the province.We had 85 per cent of normal precipitation last month with 56.8 mm of rain, below the average of 67.4mm. Meteorologist Brian Proctor called it a much more normal summer but because of the existing moisture deficit already there, we’re not going to see a sharp abatement of the wildfire risk. The mean temperature in Nanaimo in April was 8.6 degrees, about half a degree below normal. Proctor believes this month may be pretty similar to April across the Island, with some more showers anticipated for early in the month. MORE

You may want to stay away from Norwell Drive in your travels this morning as city crews work on a major water line break at 104 St.

The London Drugs shutdown is dragging on so the company has come out with help for pharmacy clients. Pharmacists are available by phone to support customers with urgent pharmacy needs. Just call the local store's pharmacy to make arrangements.

City Council has locked in a 2024 tax rate increase of 7.7 per cent. That’s about $200 extra for a typical home in the city, 17 bucks a month. Thanks to Coun. Sheryl Armstrong, here’s what some other municipalities did this year so you can compare.

• West Kelowna Council increased the tax rate 6.85 per cent; 
• Langford approved a 15.63 per cent increase;
• Langley Township set a 6.88 per cent increase;
• Abbotsford went up 5.12 per cent;
• Courtenay went up by about 7.5 per cent this year; 
• Victoria budget includes tax increase of 8.37 per cent;
• Saanich council approved a 7.91 per cent;
• Kamloops up 9.55 per cent.

Bill Sims

Hats off to Bill Sims, General Manager of Engineering And Public Works at the city for earning the prestigious Terry Pile Effect Award from the Municipal Insurance Association of B.C. The award recognizes dedication and leadership in advancing risk intelligence in local government. Bill's advocacy for responsible risk management shines through the environment he creates, encouraging and allowing managers and staff to tackle risk management in a proactive and responsible manner.

Scammers are calling from numbers that display on your phone as "City of Nanaimo." They are not City employees and they are not calling from the City. Employee will not call to ask for a credit card, account name, or password. Protect your information and if you suspect someone who is calling you may be a potential scam artist, hang up the phone and call the main number at 250-754-4251 for verification.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island has its Eco Elegance spring fundraiser on June 8. They have a runway show showcasing breathtaking designer and name brand finds from Big Deals Boutique, their social enterprise store. Stay tuned for more over the next month.

Adrian Dix

Health care professionals are hard to find so the B.C. government is luring them with more money to recruit and retain, especially for rural and remote communities. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced $155.7 million has been set aside as the province has a significantly increasing population and more skilled health care staff are needed. Many health occupations will benefit from the funding, including audiologists, dietitians, lab technologists and radiation therapists. About $73 million will go to keep health and clinical support workers in rural areas and giving signing bonuses for those who fill high-priority vacancies. Another $60 million will be set aside for professional development supports and mental health and wellness services for workers. MORE

QUOTABLE – He has suffered from amnesia for as long as he can remember.

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2023, Nanaimo's labour force consisted of 68,400 individuals. Nanaimo's labour force growth rate over the year was 3.3 per cent, surpassing both the 2.2 per cent growth rate in BC and the 1.8 per cent growth rate of the Vancouver Island Coast. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

May 1, 2024

Have you seen Allenby Tinn Wadden?

RCMP is asking for public help in locating 56-year-old Allenby “Tinn” Wadden, who was last seen at work on Tuesday afternoon. Wadden has not had contact with his family since Tuesday morning, which is extremely concerning. He is 5’6” and weighs approximately 232 pounds. He has short brown and grey hair, a brown and grey beard, and brown eyes. Anyone who spots Wadden or who has information on his whereabouts is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345.

Tim Horton has sweet campaign
to raise cash for operating rooms

Welcome the Cookie Monster, the annual Smile Cookie campaign is back at Tim Horton’s all week until Sunday. The money raised is going to a great cause, the Nanaimo and District Hospital Foundation for lighting upgrades to operating rooms. The perinatal operating room needs upgraded equipment and the specialized maternity ward is especially important, as it means a quicker transition for newborns needing specialized care. All that is going to cost most of the $60,000 target, so go ahead, spend a buck and a half for a cookie and indulge yourself. Or buy a couple, who will know? MORE

The number of people relying on food banks is still rising. Loaves & Fishes use continues to climb as people are unable to make ends meet. If there’s any good news the demand is up only 14 per cent from a year ago compared to 30 per cent the year before. About 10,000 monthly visits fed 4,500 people in March. Executive director Peter Sinclair credits the food bank’s food recovery program that collects food from grocery stores with the help of volunteers to sort it. MORE

Kerry Wallace Chang, 55, was judged guilty Monday of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking. The verdict came on charges from a raid four years ago at a south Nanaimo home. Chang has a lengthy criminal record with 35 convictions, including offences involving drugs, property crimes and violence. MORE

Cock-a-doodle-doo. There is a way to fight soaring grocery prices – grow your own. A city bylaw that has been around for about a decade allows 12 poultry birds on some residential properties. The city’s governance and priorities committee is happy to keep the current rules, with a little tinkering. One negative from when the bylaw was originally passed and it was a concern over vermin, specifically rats. Councillors heard some people are flouting the bylaw with as many as 150 chicken and roosters, which are a no-no. Any changes will go to full council for approval. MORE

While we’re talking food prices, if you own shares in Loblaws your quarterly dividend rose by 15 per cent as first-quarter profit and revenue rose compared with a year ago. The combined Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart says it earned a profit available to common shareholders was up 9.8 per cent from the same quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter was $13.58 billion, up from $13 billion a year earlier. MORE

How much garbage do we leave behind? Ladysmith is a lot cleaner after more than 120 tonnes was collected in the Sportsmen’s Club’s ninth annual outdoor cleanup on Saturday. It focussed on Spruston Road, Timberlands area and Peerless Road. More than 140 volunteers picked up refuse including building material and even some abandoned vehicles. Co-ordinator Dave Judson has a message, if you see anyone disposing of garbage in the bush or on the side of the road, turn them in, call the Ministry of the Environment’s hotline at 1-877-952-7277. MORE

Private property rights take another hit today as new rules on short-term rentals come into effect, limiting where people can book short-term accommodation. The government is using the bans to free up housing in the province. The new short-term rental ban affects more than 20 communities on Vancouver Island. The rules apply for any community with a population of at least 10,000 and some communities under that can opt into the program as 10 communities have. MORE

Hurry up and wait, the federal government wants more information before deciding whether to revise British Columbia’s pilot project on drug use. Premier David Eby asked Health Canada to recriminalize drug use in public spaces, such as hospitals and parks. Mental Health and Addictions Minister Ya'ara Saks says she's asked B.C. to respond to Ottawa's questions quickly, but would not say what information she's requested. MORE

It remains to be seen whether we get relief at the gas pumps as the $34-billion Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion finally starts pumping crude oil. The government-owned expanded pipeline runs from Alberta to the B.C. coast, twinning the existing pipeline. The expansion increases capacity to 890,000 barrels a day from 300,000 and will help open up global export markets for Canadian oil. MORE

The price tag for a couple of 2026 FIFA World Cup games in Vancouver could be more than half a billion dollars. An updated estimate shows the cost is now pegged at between $483 million and $581 million, nearly double the original range when Vancouver was named a host city two years ago. Inflation and updated FIFA requirements contributed to the increased costs. The province expects to offset much of the expenses with $116 million in federal funding. MORE

Female athletes in B.C. will have to continue to compete against transgender competitors in their sports. B.C. Conservative leader John Rustad’s bill to use biological sex to classify participants in publicly-funded sports teams and events was shot down at first reading in the Legislature on the strength of NDP and Green party opposition. MORE

QUOTABLE – Motto at Boeing – when one door closes another one opens.

NANAIMO FACTOID – In 2023, the City had 6,457 licensed businesses, nearly the same as 2022. The Construction sector held the largest number of business licenses, followed by Retail and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Total business licenses increased by 10 per cent over the last decade. Download the full State of the Economy report HERE

April 30, 2024

Report outlines community safety but who will pay?

City Council knows it needs more community safety measures but it’s a question of who’s going to pick up that tab. Council reviewed an independent consultant’s report on Monday, that examined the Downtown Nanaimo Community Safety Action Plan implemented in 2022. It costs $2.5 million annually with 12 Community Safety Officers. Among the recommendations in the report was an expansion to 20, 24 or 30 CSOs and covering more than

just downtown. Mayor Leonard Krog said we would see

a cleaner downtown, but it still would not be enough. The real solutions to save us from the misery on our streets is not going to come from the City, Krog said. MORE


On that topic, Victoria has had enough of paying for services under the province’s jurisdiction. The city will begin billing the province for the costs incurred. In March, council approved $100,000 for Our Place’s storage facility and operation of their community centre. When Coun. Stephen Hammond asked if there was any indication that the province will pay, Mayor Marianne Alto replied, “Absolutely none. I’m being very frank, this is a new direction.” MORE


It will be business almost as usual while Downtown Nanaimo goes Hollywood and stars in a major television series, The Last of Us. Production crews have begun hauling in equipment and closing areas in Diana Krall Plaza. Work is expected to focus around the Plaza, Commercial, Skinner and Wharf Streets for a month. Filming is scheduled for May 12 to 14. Crews will then spend the final two weeks of May cleaning up the area. Some Commercial Street businesses will close for short periods to allow for final preparations and filming. MORE


Nanaimo News NOW has an excellent feature about 82-year-old Charlie Pickard who has been hand-crafting gnome doors and bird houses, a hobby turned passion. Speaking from the garage of his Brechin Hill home, he said the reason he’s dedicated himself to this cause is simple: to make people smile. It makes for uplifting reading amid a lot of gloom. MORE


Farmers markets are a big deal for local economies. An analysis from the B.C. Association of Farmers Markets points to the economic impact. Kate Poirier, of Cedar Farmers Market, says Vancouver Island was far above average in almost every metric. The Cedar market, from mid May to late October, brought $3.6 million of economic impact, $2.4 million in direct sales and $626,000 in spending at local businesses in 2023, says Poirier. There were 58,900 visits last year, she said.


The Day of Mourning for the 175 lives lost to injuries or illnesses suffered at work didn’t capture the headlines. WorkSafeBC reported work place death statistics for the year on Sunday. More than two dozen ceremonies were held in communities across B.C. MORE


Politcal parties are now conducting nominations based on new federal electoral district boundaries that come into effect for the next election. So in the meantime, some people may be losing their MPs or some may be gaining one they never voted for. However, the new ridings take effect after next year’s election.


Cucaracha! A pest control contractor is monitoring Saanich Peninsula Hospital after cockroaches were recently spotted inside. Island Health says there haven’t been any since April 22. The contractor  continues to visit the site twice a week to monitor traps. The roaches measure about 1.3 to 1.6 cm long, are tan to light brown and have wings, but cannot fly. MORE


RCMP are monitoring a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at the University of British Columbia where protesters erected tents outside the UBC Alma Mater Society building early Monday. Protester Naisha Khan says the demonstrators are calling on the school to divest from a variety of companies they say are complicit in the war since the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7.


Premier David Eby has joined other politicians denouncing remarks at a demonstration in Vancouver where protesters chanted “long live Oct. 7.”  The rally on Friday was told by a speaker that the attacks by Hamas that killed more than 1,200 people were heroic and brave. Eby says it was the most hateful he could imagine. Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim posted on social media that people who spew this vile hatred are not welcome in the city. MORE


Today is a very special day – my Aunt Margaret is 100 years old. She is the first ever on both sides of my family to reach the century mark. Happy Birthday.


QUOTABLE – A lot of people don’t like holding hands in public, especially when they don’t know you.

Mayor Leonard Krog

NANAIMO FACTOID – Nanaimo’s population for 2023 is projected to be 107,865, with the Regional District of Nanaimo's expected to reach 182,367. Nanaimo ranked among the top five fastest-growing regions in Canada during the last Census, and future projections indicate continued robust growth in the region. Download the full State of the Nanaimo Economy report HERE

‘Precipitation deficit’: rivers recede as B.C. feeling ongoing drought trend


‘Sophisticated cybersecurity incidents’ hit B.C. government networks


Screen saver: how to stop your late-night doomscrolling habit


Garland nets winner as Canucks roar back, stun Oilers with 5-4 Game 1 win


Kelowna city councillor B.C. NDP’s newest candidate


Canadian Premier League’s inaugural 

‘On Tour’ series to kick off in Kelowna


RCMP issue public safety warning 

due to gang conflict in Kamloops


Fatal floatplane crash near Tofino 

caused by unexpected wake or object


Collaboration key in keeping Canuck viewing parties family-friendly

Preston Manning

has a bad idea

Preston Manning recently proposed the ‘regions’ concept, an idea he would like to see endorsed by a future Canadian government. I suppose he is eager to see Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre adopt this idea. Perhaps he is acting for Poilievre to test the waters before he becomes PM. From all reports he is firmly with Poilievre.

Of course, having a given federal government or Parliament endorse anything these days is the kiss of death. And it can easily be changed by successive governments or parliaments. So little of value there.

Premier says Pickton's death was 'good riddance'

The death of infamous serial killer Robert Pickton was “good riddance,” in Premier David Eby’s eyes. Pickton died after an assault in prison about two weeks ago. Eby said his first thoughts were with the families of Pickton’s victims.  MORE


Another former United MLA joins B.C. Conservatives

First-term B.C. United MLA Lorne Doerkson, has crossed the floor to join the BC Conservatives. The MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin called it the hardest decision of his life – one motivated by the inability of BC United and the BC Conservatives to strike a deal to work together in advance of the coming October election, as well as pressure from his constituents, keen to see a Conservative in their riding. MORE

Canadians' suport for LGBT shows major decline

Pride month in June comes at a time when support for LGBTQ2 rights in Canada are dropping. Ipsos polled adults in 26 countries on a variety of metrics measuring support for the queer community. Canada was among the few countries where support for rights and visibility appeared to register precipitous drops, Ipsos vice-president of public affairs Sanyam Sethi said. “What really stood out to me was how starkly Canadians are changing their opinions,” she said. MORE


14 arrested after pro-Palestine protesters block rail line

Police are recommending charges after 14 people were arrested at a protest by pro-Palestinian demonstrators who were blocking rail lines in East Vancouver. Cst. Tania Visintin said protesters blocked the CNR lines and refused multiple requests to move and some became hostile. More than three hours after police were called, protesters were arrested for mischief and obstruction. MORE

Province to cover COVID

drug after Ottawa opts out

While Ottawa bails out on coverage of an antiviral drug Paxlovid to treat mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the B.C. Health Ministry is stepping in with 100-per-cent coverage. The change took effect on Tuesday, after the federal government stopped supplying Paxlovid in March. The Health Ministry says the drug is recommended for people at higher risk of serious illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19, such as those who are immunocompromised. MORE

Dermatologists in short supply

for cancer screening clinic

A mobile skin cancer screening clinic is having difficulty recruiting local dermatologists for on-site examinations. Melanoma Canada’s The Mole Mobile launched its B.C. tour in Vancouver earlier this month. The goal was to offer drop-in assessments in B.C., Quebec and Ontario to provide information for residents on skin cancer. When the program launched this year, it aimed to conduct more than 25,000 skin checks in communities across the country. Days after the Vancouver launch, however, the program had to change its approach for B.C. drop-ins it is stretched too thin in its clinics. MORE

New program aims to end
kidney transplant rejection

A new pilot program being launched in B.C. is giving new hope for patients waiting for kidney transplants. B.C. has been selected as the test bed for a genomics project to improve kidney transplant outcomes across Canada in partnership with Canadian Blood Services. The project aims to reduce immune response through epitope-matching. Researchers hope to significantly reduce the risk of organ rejection, a major complication that can lead to graft failure and lifelong immunosuppressive therapy. MORE

Richmond claims premier interfered in drug site message

Richmond city council voted to explore a supervised drug consumption site at Richmond hospital. Hearings drew large crowds to city hall where Mayor Malcolm Brodie had to at one point rebuke the gallery amid chants of “no drugs!” Now the Premier’s Office is being accused of playing politics with the proposal. Documents show that the premier’s office drafted a statement for Vancouver Coastal Health stating the facility would not move ahead, while the proposal was still being debated by the city council. MORE

Police stripped Langley home for evidence in homicide investigation

RCMP officer transferred out of Bella Bella after racist social media posts

All-B.C. matchup featured in Canadian soccer championship semi-final

Friend getting divorced? Have you considered giving a gift?

Over the hills and 100 km away, dog flees U.S. and is captured in Penticton

Oilers rally from early deficit to beat

Stars 5-2, pull even in West final

B.C. RCMP issued 2,830 driving tickets

over May long weekend

One arrested after police clear UBC intersection of pro-Palestinian protesters

Mayor can’t talk for Kamloops any more after council strips him of that power

E-scooters to be allowed on some Central Saanich roads

Migrants smuggled from

B.C. to U.S. in rail cars

The southern U.S. is not the only area where illegal migrants are flooding across the border. U.S. authorities have arrested two men accused of smuggling dozens of people out of British Columbia and into the U.S. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Peace Arch border crossing noticed anomalies when they x-rayed a rail car crossing the border at night. A search found 28 Mexicans and one Colombian inside a load of bulk plastic pellets. Peace Arch border officials stopped another freight train and found 13 Mexicans aboard, two of whom confessed to paying $8,000 to get from B.C. to Oregon, police said. MORE


Thieves strip electric

vehicle chargers in seconds

And so it begins. Thieves are targeting electric vehicle charging cables. In a theft captured on camera, an EV was parked in front of a Surrey home on Sunday night. The video showed pair a of thieves casing the neighbourhood and within 30 seconds the cables were cut using power tools. The owner estimated the loss of two cables, and the cost of labour to have new ones installed at about $1,500. He believes the thieves were after the four to five pounds of copper they contained. MORE


Vancouver looks at selling naming rights to ease taxes

When they just can’t raise taxes any higher Vancouver is toying with the idea of selling naming rights to parks and public assets. The city announced a deal with Freedom Mobile which will see the wireless carrier take naming rights to a new PNE Amphitheatre for 10 years. Mayor Ken Sim said the city has more than 250 parks and hundreds of buildings that are all looking for naming sponsors. City Coun. Brian Montague said the city could begin to address a $500 million infrastructure deficit without constantly dipping into the pockets of taxpayers. Vancouver raised taxes 7.5 per cent this year, on the heels of a 10.7-per-cent increase last year. MORE


More seniors deferring taxes

in face of rising cost of living

Seniors have an out when they can no longer afford to pay your taxes. The number of seniors across B.C. deferring their property taxes has gone up in the face of the rising cost of living.
The Property Tax Deferral Program allows eligible homeowners 55 plus, surviving spouses and persons with disabilities to defer their property taxes until the property is sold. Senior Advocate Dan Levitt says the top issue for older people is their struggle with affordability. “Since 2019, the Consumer Price Index has risen 15.1 per cent in B.C. and seniors with fixed incomes are feeling the pressure when buying food, medical supplies and prescriptions, home support, personal care and other necessities of life. Deferring property taxes could save older homeowners up to $400 or more each month to help them remain in their home longer, Levitt said. MORE

Outsiders cutting in line

for health care in B.C.

British Columbians suffer through some of the longest wait times in the country for health care and now it appears outsiders are cutting in line. Global News has the details of a Yukon patient getting treatment within days of coming here while local residents wait, sometime for years. Heidi Slat was flown to Vancouver on Sunday to see a cornea specialist because Whitehorse does not have specialists. Her trip was covered by Yukon Health and she was able to see the specialist within a week. 2024-05-27 MORE

Penticton to host BC Summer Games 50 years after the first Games in 1978


Fort Nelson wildfire held as highway reopens, evacuation order ends


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B.C. motorcyclist attacked, cars slashed, attempted murder charge laid


Kamloops to host 2025 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships


Saanich crews extinguish fire at vacant Gordon Head home 


Canada raises cap on applications for Palestinians joining relatives


Vancouver Islander raising awareness for rare auto-immune disease

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

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

Today is the homecoming

for Fort Nelson residents

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

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


As Canada warms, infectious disease risks spread north


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


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


Sister seeks justice in stabbing death of her brother in Lillooet

Small plane crashes in

remote area near Squamish

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


New wildfire burning

near Spences Bridge 

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

Fort Nelson residents

may go home soon

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

Surrey policing decision final,

local police service taking over

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


London Drugs doesn't pay,

hacked information released

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


Health authority computers hacked by cyber criminals

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


London Drugs won't pay

cyber ransom demand

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

First Nations can now

legally own land

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

BC ready to add CPR,

drug training to curriculum

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

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

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

Two-way race shaping up
between NDP and Conservatives

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

Pickton has life-threatening

injuries from prison assault

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


Easing grocery prices

bring down inflation rate

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

Wildfire threat easing

in Fort Nelson region

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

Inshore water rescue stations

open for summer boating season

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

Fort McMurray wildfire

evacuation orders lifted

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

Canucks can wrap up

Stanley Cup series tonigt

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

Wildfire smoke not expected

to impact Vancouver Island

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

Fort Nelson wildfire conditions turning more favourable

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

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


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

Rules getting tougher

for pets going across the line

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