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THURSDAY, AUG. 16, 2012
VOL. 24, NO. 47
Summer heats up region Heat and wind set up perfect conditions for beach, wildfires BY CHRIS BUSH
P: 250.585.1648 3392 Norwell Drive
Renovation plans for city hall gets OK from council BY TOBY GORMAN
THE NEWS BULLETIN
THE NEWS BULLETIN
Elevated temperatures and stiff breezes won’t spike the record charts, but will increase the danger for wildfire outbreaks. Temperatures in Nanaimo are predicted to hit highs of 30 C today and Friday (Aug. 16-17), but won’t come close to breaking past records. Trevor Smith, Environment Canada meteorologist, said the Aug. 15, 2010 record temperature of 33.1 C eclipsed Wednesday’s predicted high of 29 C. Predicted highs of 30 C for today and Friday also fall far short of the record 34.5 C set for those days in 1977. “On Vancouver Island you can get pretty big ranges from the water to inland, so Port Alberni’s going to be more like 33, 34,” Smith said. Outflow winds from the B.C. Interior Wednesday and today raised temperatures in the Fraser Valley and some Lower Mainland areas in the mid 30s, but all that hot air will be cooled somewhat by the Strait of Georgia before it hits the Island. What those winds will do, though, is dry out the landscape, raising wildfire danger ratings for most areas on the south B.C. coast. “It tends to be hotter weather when we have outflow winds,” said Marg Drysdale, Coastal Fire Centre spokeswoman. “So rapid drying of fine fuels is going to be happening overnight, so it’s going to dry very quickly over the next couple of days.” The Nanaimo area was still under a “high” fire danger rating as of Wednesday morning. Temperatures will cool over the weekend when there will be a 30-per cent chance of showers Saturday night through Sunday morning. ◆ See ‘POTENTIAL’ /4
CHRIS BUSH/THE NEWS BULLETIN
Tricia Reynes, lifeguard at Westwood Lake, returns to shore after checking on swimmers jumping off the far side of a swim float. The safety check was also an opportunity to take a break from the heat Tuesday. Temperatures are predicted to reach close 30 C tomorrow and Saturday (Aug. 17-18), combining with winds that will create dry conditions raising the risk for wildfire outbreaks.
Nanaimo city council gave city staff permission Monday to release a public tender for renovations to be started at city hall. With the city’s new annex nearing completion at 411 Dunsmuir St., the main city hall building at 455 Wallace St. will undergo renovations beginning in January to accommodate staff from the city manager’s office, human resources and payroll, all of whom were formerly housed in the old annex. Those renovations are expected to cost $800,000 and are part of the $15.7-million price tag of the new annex. The new tender is to complete work from a previously planned and separate renovation project that will see a $150,000 fire suppression system, alarms and smoke detectors added to city hall, as well as $130,000 to replace the existing oil-fired boiler. “That work was going to happen anyway,” said Brian Clemens, the city’s director of finance. “So we’re basically rolling all of the renovations into one. All of the work needs to be done at the same time.” Clemens said no new money was being added to either the total cost of the annex or the work to be done through the tender. As part of the renovations, a two-stop accessibility lift will be installed at city hall to make it easier for people with mobility issues to access the second floor. That $50,000 improvement will be funded through the federal government’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, and is scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2013 in order to meet deadline for the grant money. Money for the fire suppression safety work and new oil-fired boiler will be drawn from general revenue. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nanaimo News Bulletin Thursday, August 16, 2012
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Thursday, Auust 16, 2012 Nanaimo News Bulletin
RDN inventories industrial land, needs for future The Regional District of Nanaimo wants to know how much industrial land is available and what’s needed for future development. To help discover the information, the district began an industrial land supply and demand study. Pa u l T h o m p s o n , RDN manager of long range planning, said the survey, by consultants Urbanics Consultants Ltd. and HB Lanarc Golder, will help the RDN move toward its goal to enhance the region’s economic resiliency. He said people contacted the RDN over the years with concerns about industrial land. “There were some concerns that there might not be enough land or land in the right places or whether we have enough land to meet demand in the future,” said Thompson. The survey is underway and the district hopes to have it completed by early next year. Its goals are to evaluate the demand for different types of industrial land both from a regional and local perspective, to create a more resilient region that is less reliant on fossil fuels to reduce pollution and
CHRIS BUSH/THE NEWS BULLETIN
Council loses appetite for soup BY TOBY GORMAN THE NEWS BULLETIN
Nanaimo city council showed its distaste for the practices behind shark fin soup Monday, unanimously passing the first two readings of a bylaw that would ban the trade, sale or distribution of shark fins or their derivative within city limits. Shark fin soup is a traditional Chinese delicacy, often used at banquets or weddings to flaunt wealth. A bowl of soup can cost $100, while shark fins can fetch up to $800 per pound. Because shark meat is almost worthless, sharks are often caught in a net, de-finned and then tossed back into the ocean by fishermen. The practice is banned in Canadian waters, but countries like China, Spain, Costa Rica, Japan and others have no laws prohibiting finning. According to staff officials, only one retailer in Nanaimo is known to offer shark fin soup, and it has agreed to come into compliance should a bylaw pass third and final reading. The delicacy is prevalent in municipalities like Vancouver and Richmond. Anthony Marr, representing the Vancouver Animal Defence League, said the practice of finning sharks kills an estimated 70 million
to 100 million sharks annually, with many of those species considered endangered. “I realize Nanaimo does not have a lot of shark fins but Nanaimo is in a very strategic position to lead Vancouver Island in this charge,” said Marr. “Cities are rising one after another to ban this barbaric practice and I can say that because I’m of Chinese descent.” Already Port Moody and Coquitlam have shark fin bans in place, while Surrey, Burnaby, Langley, North Vancouver and other B.C. municipalities are considering it. Five U.S. states – Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington and Illinois – already have bans in effect, as do eight Ontario municipalities, including Toronto. Toronto city council has established a maximum fine of $100,000 for retailers caught selling shark fins. Nanaimo Mayor John Ruttan called the practice of finning “an absolute travesty” and a “pathetic and disgraceful thing to do” while Coun. Diane Brennan referred to it as “absolutely inhumane”. The first two readings of the bylaw passed unanimously. Marr added that sharks are slow to reproduce, and harvesting their fins at such
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a prolific rate will result in an imbalance in the ocean’s ecosystem as more shark species disappear. “At least one-third of the shark fins that arrive in Canada are from an endangered species, and that is a very conservative estimate,” he said. “Some people argue that if we wipe out sharks, an apex predator, there will be more fish for humans. That just shows a total ignorance of the ecology of the ocean.” Unlike Toronto’s steep fines, however, under British Columbia’s Local Government Act municipalities here – Vancouver being exempt as it has its own charter – have limited power to impose such penalties. If found not in compliance with the bylaw, should it pass, nominal fines would be imposed with the ultimate
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penalty being termination of the retailer’s business licence. “As far as compliance goes, the first step for staff would be, if we found out anything was happening, would be to talk to the business owner and if they didn’t comply we would have council involved,” said Ted Swabey, general manager of development services. “The method to enforce this would involve going to court so it’s not something you just want to jump into. In 90 per cent of the cases we gain compliance with businesses when there is something that doesn’t work.” There are several federal international and international laws that prohibit shark finning, including: Canada’s Wild Animals and Plants Protection International and Interprovincial Trade Act (1996); the Fisheries Act, which prohibits finning in Canadian waters; a United Nations declaration stating finning anywhere is illegal; and the Convention of the International Trade of Endangered Species, which states that no endangered or threatened species can be traded internationally. Council is expected to pass the bylaw later this summer. email@example.com
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THE NEWS BULLETIN
No one was hurt, but southand northbound traffic in both directions was backed up on the Nanaimo Parkway for about an hour Monday after a travel trailer flipped in the southbound lanes south of the Mostar Road intersection. Nanaimo RCMP attributed the crash to “wind wobble” – fishtailing caused by air turbulence between the trailer and a transport truck it was passing. No charges are pending against the driver who was driving at the posted speed as he was passing the truck.
BY RACHEL STERN
to maximize efficiencies and minimize waste generated by industries. Thompson said part of a sustainable economy is making it attractive for business to move here. Ensuring there is enough industrial land in the right places will make it more attractive for businesses to operate in the region. A survey of industrially zoned land was completed for the RDN’s Regional Growth Strate g y Review in October 2007. The majority of industrial land is in Nanaimo, representing 57.8 per cent of the RDN’s overall designated industrial land totalling 617.6 hectares. Electoral area A (Cedar, Cassidy, Yellow Point and South Wellington) makes up 11.4 per cent, totalling 121.7 hectares. Nanoose has no designated industrial land. Industry, businesses, gover nment stakeholders and community members are invited to contact the regional district to provide input for the study. To provide comments, please call 250-390-6510 or e-mail growthmanagement@ rdn.bc.ca. Study results and periodic updates will be posted on the RDN’s website, www.rdn. bc.ca. More information on the Regional Growth Strategy is available at www. shapingourfuture.ca.
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Nanaimo News Bulletin Thursday, August 16, 2012
Development corporation names CEO
The Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation has a new leader at the helm. Sasha Angus takes over as chief executive officer Sept. 4, replacing former CEO Susan Cudahy. Angus, from Edmon-
ton, spent the last five years in a business development role at the Greater Victoria Development Agency, hosting trade delegations and working on economic development strategies. He attended school in
Victoria and worked for the Alberta government before joining GVDA in 2007. â€œI am excited by the opportunity with NEDC,â€? said Angus, in a press release. â€œI have had a great five years in economic development
for Victoria and look forward to working with the board, local businesses, to attract jobs and investment to the mid-Island.â€? A.J. Hustins, NEDC board chairman, said Angus stood out as an exceptional candidate
in the extensive search for a CEO. â€œWe believe Sasha will hit the ground running and will be a real difference-maker for our region,â€? he said. For more information, please go to www.investnanaimo.com.
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tions develop as the weekend approaches. â€œDefinitely weâ€™re concerned with the weather. Weâ€™re definitely concerned with convective activity,â€? she said. Twenty-one lightning fires were sparked in the Fraser Valley and the Pemberton Whistler area from convective weather activity that generated lightning storms over the south coast last week. In spite of drying conditions, campfires are still allowed. The B.C. Coast has had 101 wildfires this year, of which 56 fires were caused by people and 45 caused by lightning. â€œ We a lw ay s a s k people to be careful because we donâ€™t want anything to happen,â€? Drysdale said. For more information about campfire safety, please visit B.C. Wildfire Management Branch B.C. Forest Fire Info page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ BCForestFireInfo.
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Parksville-Qualicum Nanaimo: 250-951-6018 ron.cantelon.mla@ leg.bc.ca
Nanaimo-N. Cowichan Nanaimo: 250-245-9375 douglas.routley. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nanaimo Nanaimo: 250-714-0630 leonard.krog.mla@ leg.bc.ca
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
Who we are: The Nanaimo News Bulletin is published every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday by Black Press. The News Bulletin, located at 777 Poplar St., is distributed to more than 33,000 households in Cedar, Chase River, Gabriola, Nanaimo, Lantzville and Nanoose. The News Bulletin is 100 per cent B.C. owned and operated.
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Getting it straight If you have a concern about the accuracy, fairness or thoroughness of an item in the News Bulletin, please call managing editor Mitch Wright at 250-734-4621, or the B.C. Press Council at 1-888-687-2213.
CANADIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER AWARD 2012
Va n c o u v e r I s l a n d
Theft victim tag-teamed by suspects Nanaimo Mounties are warning the public about thieves who use a distraction ploy to steal credit cards. The heads-up follows an incident Aug. 6 at about 4 p.m. after a woman used her credit card at a grocery store in Port Place shopping centre. She loaded her groceries in her car, got in the vehicle and set her purse down beside her. A man came up and asked her for directions to Qualicum Beach. The woman recognized him from when he was standing in the checkout line next to her in the store. After a few minutes of conversation, a second man came up and spoke a few words in a foreign language to the first man, who put his map away and both men walked into the mall. The woman discovered her credit card was missing when she got home and cancelled the card, but was told the card had already been used seven times, totalling $3,000 in purchases, at different locations in Nanaimo by the time the cancellation went through. The card was used twice at Port Place and five times at Woodgrove Centre. The victim was not held responsible for the purchases. Police said they believe the suspects are of eastern European descent. Both men wore suit jackets and had dark complexions and might also have a female accomplice. She is described as approximately 5’6” tall with dark hair. The same men might also have committed a crime in Saanich on Wednesday when a woman had her wallet stolen under similar circumstances. The suspect in that incident was described as a stocky Caucasian male, 20-30 years old, wearing a navy jacket and ball cap with a red brim. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrime stoppers.com.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 Nanaimo News Bulletin
Province after island road access BY RACHEL STERN THE NEWS BULLETIN
The province is ensuring public access to the roadway leading to Gabriola Island’s Green’s Landing Wharf by securing its legal status. The roadway crosses onto private property, and while residents have used it for decades, its legal status was never resolved. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been negotiating with the landowner since early spring to ensure public access. Kirsten Pedersen, district manager of Vancouver Island for the ministry, said the negotiations with the landowner are ongoing but the ministry is in the process of finalizing them. “This has solved a
long-standing problem and we are grateful that we can fully use Wharf Road as a public roadway,” said Jack Schick, chairman of the Green Wharf Preservation Society, in an e-mail. He said members of the society are “quite happy” that both the federal and provincial government recognized the importance of having a good, wellmaintained roadway for the public. The road, commonly referred as Wharf Road, was not surveyed as a dedicated public road, but the ministry is committed to maintaining the road for safe and reliable access for residents to the wharf, said Pedersen. She said the province recognizes continued public access to the federallyowned Green Wharf
is important to residents, especially Mudge Island residents. The wharf is an important link between Gabriola and Mudge islands for daily commuting and emergency situations. Schick said residents have used the access road that connects Green’s Landing Wharf to South Road on Gabriola for years, and there is evidence of the road being used by the public starting in 1879. Last year the Regional District of Nanaimo contemplated taking over control of Green’s Landing Wharf when the federal government announced in 2010 that it sought to divest itself of the property. Before the federal government could transfer the water lot
it needed to resolve some requirements, which included consulting with First Nations and the landowner for road access. Howard Houle, RDN director for electoral area B (Gabriola, Decourcy and Mudge islands), said the RDN looked at taking over Green’s Landing Wharf in the past, but there are currently no plans to apply for control of the wharf. A report on the implications of taking over the wharf is needed before any decision is made, he said. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Nanaimo News Bulletin Thursday, August 16, 2012
Local input needed on transit board
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Local elected officials should get seats on the B.C. Transit board and have more say on changes that affect their local service, a review of B.C. Transit operations has recommended. Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom appointed a review team in March after complaints that the provincially-appointed B.C. Transit board was
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making costly changes without consulting the communities whose fares and property taxes cover more than half the cost of transit service. Joe Stanhope, chairman of the Nanaimo Regional District, was on hand with Lekstrom to release the report Tuesday. Stanhope said the recommendations of the review team are â€œexactly what we wanted. â€œThere were some problems, and the basic problems were communications,â€? he said. â€œItâ€™s all about governance. Itâ€™s fundamental changes need to happen so that local government is recognized as a real partner and I think the recommendations of this report do that.â€? Stanhope raised the alarm in 2011 after B.C. Transit notified local officials of a doubling of management fees, after municipalities had adopted their budgets for the year. Nanaimo also protested a plan to move
CHRIS BUSH/THE NEWS BULLETIN
An independent review of B.C. Transit has recommended more say for local governments on capital expenditures, budget changes and land use decisions.
some of the communityâ€™s new buses out and replace them with older ones. The provincial government pays 47 per cent of costs for B.C. Transit service in partnership with 58 local gover nments. B.C. Transit has a target to double its ridership to 100 million passenger trips by 2018. When he ordered the review, Lekstrom ruled out any increase in the provincial share of funding. O n T u e s d ay h e declined to comment on specific recommendations until they have been reviewed by local communities and discussed at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this fall. Recommendations include: a local government advisory panel to consult on system-wide capital expenditures; local gover nments should share information on long-term tran-
sit budget changes, land use and zoning decisions; the province should amend the B.C. Transit Act to allow multi-year operating agreements; and B.C. Transit should report to municipalities twice a year ridership, cost per capita, passengers per capita and other perfor mance measures. Manuel Achadinha, B.C. Transit president and CEO, said the recommendations by the panel will help shape the future of B.C. Transit and make it better. â€œWe have proven that we are operating efficiently and effectively under the existing governance model,â€? he said. â€œWe are confident that any changes to the governance model will ensure that we can continue to provide efficient and effective transit service to our customers and to taxpayers.â€? Aside from an
intent to improve communications and strengthen the partnership between local and provincial gover nments, neither Stanhope or Lekstrom could pinpoint specifics about how those levels of government will change the ways they conduct business over future B.C. Transit issues. Stanhope was positive, though, about eventual outcome of the review and future dealings through the partnership. â€œ I h ave nâ€™ t g o n e through with a finetooth comb all of the 18 recommendations, but the theme that weâ€™re talking about â€“ government decision making and accountability â€“ are all addressed in this report and those are the things local gover nment asked for,â€? he said. â€œI can see it being a smooth ride from here on.â€? firstname.lastname@example.org - with files from Chris Bush
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