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Adjustments to housing surprise city Facility no longer includes youth BY CHRIS HAMLYN THE NEWS BULLETIN
Changes to Nanaimo’s north-end social housing project caught a number of stakeholders by surprise and raised concerns about homeless youth. A B.C. government press release Monday announced adjustments to the project at 6025 Uplands Dr. Part of the province’s Housing First initiative, the development was reduced to 28-33 units from 35-40 and is no longer housing adults 19-30 years old. The release said representatives from Pacifica Housing, the project operator, and B.C. Housing met with nearby residents, community groups and businesses in the area, sharing information and receiving feedback on the development. Karyn French, Pacifica Housing executive director, said community consultation is not complete, but January meetings with staff and management of Nanaimo Seniors Village and the Vancouver Island Regional Library – along with e-mails and messages on social media sites – indicated an unhappiness with the size of the building proposed. “It wasn’t one specific thing, but a general impression on the footprint,” she said. “People wanted us to be thoughtful and one option was lowering the number of units to below 35.” The original proposal was to house predominantly adults 45 years and older, with 10 units earmarked for youth. ◆ See ‘CHANGES’ /5
VOL. 23, NO. 143
Discrimination charged in suit against RCMP BY CHRIS BUSH THE NEWS BULLETIN
A former RCMP member filed a class action lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday alleging workplace sexual discrimination and harassment by fellow Mounties. Janet Merlo, who served as an RCMP constable in Nanaimo from September 1991 to March 2010, alleges she suffered ongoing sexual harassment and discrimination by male RCMP members, which resulted in symptoms of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and Merlo ultimately leaving the police force. Merlo also alleges widespread systemic discrimination by the RCMP against female members, civilian members and civil service workers. ◆ See ‘LAWSUIT’ ‘ /4
IN FOR A SPIN Olivia Lindsay, left, Breanna Turner, Victoria Kashmere and Peyton Thompson-Wyse take a spin on a Jeux Aériens, set in motion by Benoit Ranger, a former member of Cirque du Soleil. Ranger was at Pauline Haarer Elementary School Tuesday and Wednesday, introducing students to the basics of circus arts. Ranger is drumming up interest in the arts in hopes of establishing a circus summer camp for children in Nanaimo. CHRIS BUSH/THE NEWS BULLETIN
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Thursday, March 29, 2012 Nanaimo News Bulletin
TTeachers won’t back out of extra activities
Work starting on new plan for Harewood
Scrubbing the decks Tom Etter, left, and Jim Marsh of Power West Power Washing, wash and scrub the paving stones at Maffeo Sutton Park Monday. Marsh said the cleaning crew likes rainy days when there are less people in the parks, allowing them to get their work done more quickly.
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nearing retirement and students also make up a large portion of the population. One of Nanaimo’s oldest The most recent neighand largest communities bourhood plans to be comwill soon be undergoing a pleted in Nanaimo were for process to build a neigh- Newcastle-Brechin and the bourhood plan. South End last year. Both Harewood, home to about of those processes included 12,000 people and just under some controversy, which 5,000 residential units, will helped to attract residents begin the 12-month process to participate in workshops later this year after city and design charettes. council unanimously agreed Sandy Coones, spokesto initiate a plan. woman for the Harewood With an increase in devel- Neighbourhood Associaopment pressure, tion, said the orgaconstruction of nization wants to University Village, reserve comment completion of the on the decision to Vancouver Island go ahead with a University Campus plan until it can Master Plan, and be discussed at with surrounding the next general neighbourhoods meeting. all with a plan, A neighbourCoun. Fred Pathood plan tje said Harewood addresses land use PATTJE was a natural to be and development, next. social enrichment “There is funding this and culture, economic develyear for one plan and Hare- opment, environmental wood is it,” said Pattje, add- protection, transportation, ing the financial plan set parks and design guideaside about $60,000 for the lines. process. “But it’s going to be Andrew Tucker, director a challenge because of the of planning for Nanaimo, size and diversity of Hare- said the Harewood plan prowood, and the key point is, cess will likely incorporate as it always is, attracting the some precedent-setting deciresidents we need to partici- sions for the city. pate during the process.” “The Third Street corHarewood’s official bound- ridor has been identified ary runs into Chase River in the official community near Tenth Street, west plan as a priority area for to Vancouver Island Uni- corridor planning,” said versity, east to the railway Tucker. “It’s in some ways tracks that separate it from a testing ground for policy the downtown core, and about corridors in the OCP. north to Bowen Road. The Fifth Street corridor is The area has a rich coal also a focus in terms of cormining and agricultural his- ridors and its connection to tory, is home to Colliery Dam the university.” Park, Buttertubs Marsh, Goal Seven of the OCP, the Nanaimo Ice Centre and adopted in 2008, speaks to the Nanaimo Aquatic Cen- neighbourhood and area tre, and, according to 2006 planning as critical to census statistics, contains achieving the objectives of more single people than all the document. firstname.lastname@example.org the rest of Nanaimo. People
BY TOBY GORMAN
3956 Victoria Ave.
Nanaimo teachers will not take any steps to resist Bill 22 ahead of a provincewide vote on an action plan next month. The Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association held a general meeting at Wellington Secondary School Tuesday to discuss the action plan to resist Bill 22, developed at the B.C. Teachers’ Federation’s annual general meeting last week. The plan includes a provincewide vote April 17-18 on withdrawing from voluntary extra-curricular activities. While the NDTA executive heard from members proposing that teachers take action in advance of the vote, such as no longer taking on volunteer activities, first vice-president Justin Green said no decision came out of Tuesday’s meeting. “At this point, we’re not withdrawing extracurricular activities,” he said. Some BCTF locals have already voted independently to take that action. Bill 22, passed just before spring break, makes teacher job action ille g al and appoints a mediator to facilitate bargaining. The Education Ministry announced Wednesday the appointment of Charles Jago, a former president of the University of Northern British Columbia, as mediator in the labour dispute between the union and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association. Related story /10
Nanaimo News Bulletin Tuesday, March 29, 2012
Lawsuit seeks class-action certification
◆ From /1 The suit was filed by the Vancouver office of Klein Lyons, which specializes in personal injury and class action law. Watkins Law of Thunder Bay, Ont., is also representing Merlo, who is the representative plaintiff acting on behalf of female RCMP members in the proposed class action. Jason Murray, a lawyer with Klein Lyons, said Merlo was subjected to persistent discrimination and harassment by fellow RCMP members on the basis of her being a woman.
Merlo’s Notice of Civil Claim, filed Tuesday, describes numerous incidents of sexist comments, sexual pranks, derogatory remarks, bullying and gender-based discrimination she alleges she endured during her 20 years with the RCMP. Examples include allegations of false statements made by male RCMP members to Merlo’s boyfriend, who later became her husband, that they had sexual relations with her. She also claims a supervising corporal made it a habit to posi-
It became very difficult for her to come to work every day.
tion a naked inflatable doll beside his desk and invited her to stand next to the doll. When she was pregnant in 1992, a male RC M P m e m b e r i s
alleged to have said, “It’s busy today out there, Janet could take some calls if she wasn’t knocked up.” Merlo also alleges she was falsely advised by supervisors that she was ineligible to collect additional pay for times she served as an acting corporal. “At the very least it made it extremely difficult to do her job, for her to fulfill her career as an RCMP member,” Murray said in an interview. “It impacted her life. It impacted her marriage and impacted her view of herself and her self worth on a dayto-day basis. It made it such that it became very difficult for her to come to work every day.” Murray said if the lawsuit is certified as a class action, it could be one or two years before the case goes to court. “Unfortunately class actions, because of their nature, because the technical requirements and the size and also against whom they are brought – in this case the government, the RCMP – they’re
not simple and they do take a little bit longer,” he said. Murray said Klein Lyons has not previously handled cases for RCMP members or members of other police forces, but has represented clients who brought suits against governments for government negligence, specifically institutional negligence. Murray confir med complaints are coming in from across Canada, including B.C. “Our co-council in Thunder Bay and our fir m in Vancouver have been contacted by over 150 women as of yesterday [Tuesday],” Murray said. “We’ve also been contacted by a number of men as well, both being making complaints about the RCMP or being supportive of women who are making complaints and the number’s growing.” None of the allegations have been proven in court. The defendants have 21 days from the date of being served to file a response. email@example.com
Popular restaurant featured Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here! is featuring some of B.C.’s finest eateries, including Nanaimo’s own Mrs. Riches Restaurant. The show, which has featured restaurants in Victoria and Vancouver since January, will air a segment on Mrs. Riches, Friday to Sunday (March 30 to April 1), when host John Catucci tries to power down the restaurant’s massive K2 Mountain Burger to get his picture on Mrs. Riches’ wall of fame. The show airs Friday 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
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Federal JAMES LUNNEY MP Nanaimo-Alberni Constituency: 250-390-7550 e-mail: nanaimo@ jameslunneymp.ca
JOHN RUTTAN, Mayor City of Nanaimo City Hall office: 250-755-4400 email@example.com JOE STANHOPE, Chairman Regional District of Nanaimo RDN office: 250-390-4111 firstname.lastname@example.org
JEAN CROWDER MP Nanaimo-Cowichan Constituency: 1-866-609-9998 e-mail: jean@ jeancrowder.ca
JAMIE BRENNAN, Chairman Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District School board office: 250-754-5521 email@example.com
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