The City of Port Alberni has hired Scott Smith as the new Director of Development Services/Deputy CAO. He will oversee operations of the planning and building services departments, act for the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in his absence, as well as being directly responsible for the inventory, development and sale of City-owned properties.
Solda’s Family Restaurant at 4785 Beaver Creek Road in Port Alberni is offering dine-in and takeaway. Visit their Facebook page for their menu and hours.
The Rollin Art Centre at 3061 8th Avenue in Port Alberni will reopen February 2nd, featuring pieces from its permanent collection. To find out more, visit www.alberniarts.com.
The City of Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) have received grants from the provincial government to cover the costs incurred by COVID-19. The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has received $485,000 in total funding from the province’s COVID-19 Safe Restart Grant, while the City of Port Alberni received $3,536,000.
The BC Health Ministry has committed $6.25-million toward expansion of Port Alberni’s hospital. The expansion, designed to enhance patient care, includes an additional 244 square-metre of space, improvements to the existing emergency department space, three new patient exam beds, extra room for patients awaiting tests and results, a private, safe seclusion room for patients in need of emergency mental health care, improvements to the triage and admitting area, and two separate entrances for ambulances and the general public.
Alberni Brewing, currently under construction on Adelaide Street, has been named one of the province’s most anticipated new breweries in BC for 2021. The brewery was featured in the fall/winter 2020 issue of The Growler, BC’s craft beer and cider guide. Visit them at www.facebook.com/AlberniBrewingCompany.
Literacy Alberni Society has received a $340,000 grant to teach new online training programs, providing participants with online training in project management, design principles and WordPress, over two intakes. Anyone interested in finding out about the second intake running from February 8th to November 5th 2021, or other Community and Employer Partnership projects, can contact their local WorkBC centre.
Mountain View Kitty Cottage & Pet Services at 7898 Beaver Creek Road in Port Alberni is open. The cat boarding and grooming business is Owned by Sheena Lokszyn, a certified vet technician with fifteen years of experience.
Della Falls Water Taxi at 3198 5th Avenue in Port Alberni is now owned by brothers Zach and Noah Marley. The business offers water taxiing service from the Great Central Lake RV resort, as well as tours around the lake. For more information visit www.dellafallswatertaxi.com.
Jennifer Gillard has opened The Shear Lounge Hair Designs at 4306 Redford Street in Port Alberni. Visit this link to find out about her services and products, or call 250-913-0070 for an appointment.
PARKSVILLE & QUALICUM BEACH
Former Parksville Qualicum Beach radio personality Dave Graham was awarded the Rotary Club of Parksville AM’s Paul Harris Fellow Award for his support of the Rotary and community.
Semiahmoo Golf Centre Ltd plans to reduce the Eaglecrest Golf Club course at 2035 Island Highway West from eighteen holes to nine starting April 1st, citing economic factors and issues with the golf club’s lease agreement with the Town of Qualicum Beach. The town proposed a five-year lease with escalating rental rates to run from January 2021 to December 31, 2025. The ownership group rejected the town’s offer, and has declined to renew the lease.
The Sapphire Room Restaurant at the Crown Mansion Boutique Hotel & Villas located at 292 Crescent Road East in Qualicum Beach is reopening February 5th under COVID-19 safety protocols. To make a reservation, call 250-752-5776. crownmansion.com/restaurant
The Ministry of Environment announced the gravel, day-use parking lot at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park will be paved over at the cost of around $90,000. Rathtrevor Beach is one of twenty-four parks sharing $5 million in infrastructure funding.
The District 69 Backpack Program received $3,450 from the Parksville Rotary AM Club, raised from the Rotary’s bottle drive held every Saturday at Speedy Auto Glass in Parksville. The program helps keep children from going hungry during the weekend. providing them with backpacks filled with easy-to-prepare, nutritious and non-perishable foods every Friday.
The Town of Qualicum Beach made a deal with the St. Andrew’s Lodge Historical and Cultural Society to shoulder the utility costs of the historic St. Andrews Lodge until the end of December last year, turning over the payment responsibility to the society this January. The society has agreed to take over operation of the heritage building once the group is officially established.
Electoral Area F of the Regional District of Nanaimo will allocate $2.2 million from its community works funds for the construction of the Meadowood Community Centre project, with funds as well as the tender to be awarded to Dawson Wallace Construction for a value of $1,648.000. The project, led by the Corcan-Meadowood Residents Association, will be located on Galvin Place.
The owner of 431 College Road wishes to demolish and replicate Qualicum College, as well as develop two multi-residential buildings on the property. Qualicum Beach town council will hold a 10am online public hearing on January 27th for a proposed zoning amendment on the property. If passed, the current zoning bylaw would allow for a 62-unit multi-residential development on the otherwise 40-unit maximum property. To participate, interested parties can fill out a meeting registration here.
J&B Everything At Your Service, run by young entrepreneurs Jacob Stockton and Brett Wildeman has gifted $550 of their earnings to those in need, plus $1,500 worth of holiday items donated via family, friends and generous employers. The company offers everything from yard services to house painting, and much more. Contact them at 250-927-7695, or visit their Facebook page to learn more.
Copcan Civil Ltd. of Nanaimo has successfully bid to helm the building of a $3.3M roundabout at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A in Qualicum Beach. Reconstruction of the intersection will increase public safety, calm traffic, improve services and reduce idling.
The Pacific Prime Restaurant at the Beach Club Resort located at 181 Beachside Drive in Parksville is providing a unique outdoor meal experience, with three plastic domes accommodating up to six guests from within the same household or “social bubble.” Visitors can enjoy the view while adhering to BC public health guidelines. To make an appointment, visit their website.
Vancouver Island University is among ten post-secondary institutions to receive part of $8.4 million in provincial money to train health care assistants to work in long-term care and assisted living homes. 600 spaces are expected to be filled through the Health Career Access Program, with VIU expecting seventy-two enrolments at its Nanaimo, Powell River and Duncan campuses. The program provides on-the-job training at care facilities across BC.
Nanaimo councillors are discussing a bid to host the 2026 BC Summer Games. A staff report noted the games add an estimated $2 million to the local economy. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture provides $625,000 for the administration and operational requirements to successfully host the games. Nanaimo hosted the games in 1985, 2002 and 2014.
Nanaimo council voted unanimously to support BC Ferries’ Island-class ferry “electrification program” at a recent board meeting. BC Ferries previously announced two hybrid diesel-electric ferries for the downtown Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route will arrive in 2022. The ferries are battery-equipped and designed for full electric operation once shore charging infrastructure and funding become available. The program will see modifications to existing Island-class ferries, upgrades to ferry terminals with rapid charging systems, up to seven Island-class ferries built domestically, and upgrades to affected terminals to accommodate the new vessels and implement systems for rapid charging. BC Ferries estimates the project will cost $1.19 billion.
Nanaimo city councillors recommended approval of a new sustainable procurement policy and revisions to the existing procurement policy. Aspects of the policy will apply to everything from purchases under $5,000 to construction tenders $200,000 and over that go through a request-for-proposals process. The policy will ask staff to consider sustainability impacts, integrate sustainability considerations into bid processes and communicate with vendors about sustainability when possible. The policy is designed to advance environmental, social and ethical objectives from the city’s strategic plan, and will even consider the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
Paige Karczynski has been named as the new executive director of Nanaimo Community Hospice Society.
The Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district has renewed the contract of superintendent Scott Saywell for another four years, extending his tenure to July 1, 2025. Scott, formerly district assistant superintendent, has been Nanaimo-Ladysmith’s top school administrator since August 2018.
The Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee has approved support of a bus route between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. Staff are recommending service consisting of six round-trips during morning and afternoon peak hours, with another round-trip midday and six round-trips on Saturday. Buses would run between 7AM – 8PM on weekdays and 6AM to 7pm on Saturdays. Next, a governance structure or co-governance agreement will have to be developed between the two regional districts involved.
The Regional District of Nanaimo is searching for a new chief administrative officer after current CAO Phyllis Carlyle told the RDN she would not extend her five-year contract, signed in October of 2016. Their goal is to have a new CAO in place by October of 2021.
Lindsey Smith from Coastal Community Credit Union has written a small business advisory article on “How to Attract Start Talent” on BusinessExaminer.ca.
Vancouver Island University is expanding its Community Mental Health Worker program, now running year-round through online learning with up to twenty-eight students in each cohort. Students earn a certificate after the twenty-six week program, which is recognized by Island Health. Applications are open for the program, which starts March 15, 2021.
The Gabriola Island Recycling Organization seeks a $103,000 grant from the Regional District of Nanaimo for a textile recovery/clothing recycling program. A plan submitted to the RDN notes the organization estimates the 10-year, three-phased project could see a yearly decrease of about 23,600 kilograms of cloth waste at the landfill. It also projects about $118,000 in revenue after the first year. The recommendations go before RDN directors at their January 26th board meeting.
COWICHAN VALLEY + LADYSMITH/CHEMAINUS
Stephanie Ballantyne, Associate Broker with RE/MAX Ocean Pointe Realty, has taken over as president of the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce, succeeding Paul McGregor.
Seven streets in Downtown Duncan will soon get Hul’q’umi’num names on their street signs, in addition to their English names. Duncan’s council unanimously approved the Hul’q’umi’num Signage Project, an initiative coordinated by the Downtown Duncan BIA, Cowichan Tribes and the City. The project began in 2019 when its three partners applied for a grant from the province’s Rural Dividend grant fund.
Tammy Gurski, Jason Farrugia, and Renee Russell are the three newest directors of the board at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District applied for a grant of up to $350,000 for the Mesachie Lake Fire Hall retrofit project through the Canada Infrastructure Program – COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream. The fire hall needs showers, decontamination areas, upgrades to the heater system and building envelope and back-up power installed, amongst other work. The CVRD expects to be notified in March if it will receive the funding.
North Cowichan council has appointed Sandy McPherson, Neil Anderson, David Coulson, Cameron Campbell, Dr. Zoe Dalton, Dr. Shannon Waters, Ashley Muckle, Bruce Coates, Per Dahlstrom, Dr. Jana Kotaska, Dr. Jesse Patterson and Dr. Geoffrey Strong to the newly reinstated Environmental Advisory Committee.
Drisht Preet has opened the first Canco Supermarket in Saltair. Located in the former Byron’s building, serving the largely rural community between Ladysmith and Chemainus. Mr. Preet also owns Canco locations in Chemainus, Duncan and Nanaimo.
With the construction of a new well in Youbou, the Cowichan Valley Regional District was able to utilize gas tax funding and system reserve funds to cover the costs of associated works to bring the new groundwater system online. Three new diesel generators were also purchased and distributed within the water distribution system, ensuring that it will continue to operate during any future power outages. The budget for the project was $305,000. With the in-house expertise of utilities staff, it was completed for approximately $260,000.
The $15-million Malahat Skywalk project is expected to be completed late this spring or early summer. A.Spire by Nature, led by two of the founding partners in the successful Sea to Sky Gondola near Squamish, and the Malahat Nation have partnered on the project, intended to combine nature-based and cultural tourism experiences.
Developer Fred Green wants to add another storey to his Jailhouse development at the site of the former RCMP station on Belaire Street in Ladysmith. With four storeys, the development will have twelve units of residential housing.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District will receive $42,000 from the province’s 2020-21 Wood Stove Exchange Program to incentivize replacing old, smoky wood stoves with cleaner options. The province has earmarked $270,000 from the exchange program to assist this year.
Wild Coast Perfumery has opened at 1721 Cowichan Bay Road, creating natural, artisan perfumes made in Canada. Visit their website at wildcoastperfumes.com.
Ladysmith-born actress Pamela Anderson is appearing on a stationary billboard near the Pat Bay Highway on the Saanich Peninsula and on three rotating electronic displays south of Duncan across from the Old Farm Market in support of the Rescue And Sanctuary for Threatened Animals in Chemainus, as well as advocating for a vegan lifestyle.
North Cowichan’s council will utilize funds from its municipal forest reserve in 2021 due to the municipality’s forestry department anticipating a deficit of $592,000, to cover costs at the 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve. The shortfall comes from council cancelling logging plans for the year while the forestry review on the future of the reserve continues.
The retrofit and expansion of the Cowichan Aquatic Centre at 2653 James Street in Duncan is complete. The project was made possible in part through a $2.377 million Federal Gas Tax Grant. The expansion and improvements include the competitive pool deck, gym, group fitness rooms, and spin room, with new folding bleachers and private spaces for fitness consultations.
The City of Duncan will purchase a folding machine, at a cost of up to $12,400, used to fold paper, particularly for mailings. Duncan finance director Bernice Crossman noted that the cost to pay an employee to fold and stuff envelopes is $6,221 per year, meaning the cost of the folding machine will pay for itself in two years.
An Alternative Approval Process (AAP) is being conducted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District until February 10, 2021 for Area G Saltair electors to adapt a bylaw for a Saltair water system service loan authorization of $3.7 million for water treatment upgrades. The AAP allows eligible electors within the Saltair water system service area to borrow up to $3.7 million for necessary upgrades to the system. If approved, the additional cost for taxpayers is estimated at $270 per property per year over the term of the twenty-year loan. The loan will spread the repayment over current and future Saltair property owners.