February 28, 2024

News Impacting Central and North Vancouver Island


The Town of Port McNeill, Sointula, Alert Bay, and the ‘Namgis First Nation were all represented by the Port McNeill Tourism Commission, which was awarded a $2,000 Rural Tourism Action Grant (RTAG) to develop marketing materials for the ‘Biking the Outer Islands‘ initiative, which aims to establish a network of community bicycle routes on Malcolm and Cormorant islands.

Michele Babchuk, a New Democrat MLA, announced a $350,000 investment to improve live fire training for local firefighters in Port McNeill. Investment will be used to create regional training centers for local firefighters to improve their abilities and boost public safety, while cutting down on travel time and expenses.



 The all-electric Velis Electro aircraft, which will be used to train new pilots by Sealand Flight, has finally made it to Campbell River after a three-month journey from Slovenia, where it was manufactured.

Vicki Roberts, a registered nurse and clinical hypnotherapist has joined the team at Centered Dynamic Therapist.

The Campbell River fish trap will be built this summer with $1,143,114 million from DFO’s BC Salmon Restoration and Innovation Fund (BCSRIF) to provide salmon for three local First Nations for food, social, and ceremonial needs. A-Tlegay Fisheries Society, We Wai Kai and Kum First Nations, LGL Limited, and Wild Fish Conservancy collaborated on the project.

Mosaic and the We Wai Kai First Nation have come to an agreement to work together on planning and harvesting timber on We Wai Kai land.

970 shoppers Row, previous location of Tempest Bistro is for lease.



Comox Airshow will return on May 1, with the Canadian Forces Snowbird, which will commemorate the Royal Canadian Air Force’s centenary, serving as the event’s headlining performer.

Triple Heat Dance, a dance studio located at #3-2364 Rosewall Cres. in Courtenay, is introducing an all-abilities program designed to cater to the unique requirements of children and adults who have physical or developmental disabilities.

A Modern Purair franchise is about to be launched in the Comox Valley by Boom and Kevin Wilson.

The 2024 Career Fair of the K’ómoks First Nation will be held on March 7 at the KFN Gym, 3320 Comox Road, Courtenay.

The Jet Stream Cafe at Air Force Beach is reopening March 15th.



Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot is now offering free workshops, peer masterminds and consulting services to businesses, startups, not-for-profits and First Nations government-owned businesses that are located in Port Alberni, Bamfield, Tofino and Ucluelet. Select businesses and not-for-profits may be eligible to apply for a $5,000 Business Training Reimbursement. Funding provided by Pacific Economic Development Canada. Details and registration: 

Leave Her Wild nursery is hosting an event featuring local business women on March 8th, International Women’s Day.

North Cowichan Mayor Rob Douglas met with Mayor Sharie Minions to discuss topics of common interest including fibre supply, social issues, community policing models and other Vancouver Island related topics.

The Maritime Discovery Centre has issued a Call to Artists for works to be featured in the centre starting in May 2024.

The online public engagement for the City of Port Alberni’s Official Community Plan concluded February 23rd. To follow news of the OCP visit www.letsconnectpa.ocp

6 Port Alberni athletes are competing in bowling as part of Special Olympics Team BC at the weeklong Winter Games in Calgary.

The Broken Bow restaurant is undergoing an expansion.

The Alberni Valley Lions club made a generous donation to the Backpack Program.

Coulson Aviation, based in Port Alberni, has achieved a first for the Canadian aviation field: It has been certified as an approved training organization (ATO) with Transport Canada, and recently graduated its first class of aircraft structures technicians. Coulson is the only ATO that is not a school. There are only 20 other ATO-certified facilities across Canada, and only one other in BC.

The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC), in partnership with Simon Fraser University and National Microbiology Lab, is conducting a COVID-19 Vaccine Study regarding the Nuu-chah-nulth community. The initiative is assisting with future planning of health services and programs while laying a foundation for how research is conducted with Indigenous people.

Huupsitas, a new 48-unit apartment complex opened in Port Alberni, providing housing for seniors and people living with disabilities. The West Coast Native Health Care Society contributed the land for the building, which forms part of the five-acre Tsawaayuus Rainbow Gardens Campus of Care.

The provincial government, through BC Housing, provided approximately $5 million to the project through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund and will provide about $300,000 in annual operating funding.

The Alberni Valley Community Forest Corporation is providing $10,00 towards an upgrade to the lighthouse at the Maritime Discovery Centre.

North Island College and partner organizations secured $802,000 in funding from the Community Workforce Response Grant, through the Canada-British Columbia Workforce Development Agreement. The funding will go towards matching potential employers with skilled workers through new short-term training programs and meeting community market needs. Funds for the Port Alberni campus will be put towards meat processing, construction and heavy equipment training.

Chims Motel, located at their address 6880 Pacific Rim Hwy, Port Alberni, will have its grand opening on March 1st.



Ucluelet Brewing Company located at 1601 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet, is celebrating 4 years anniversary.

The annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival will take place from March 17-25, marking the return of Pacific Grey Whales to the West coast of Vancouver Island.



Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce welcomes its newest member, Island Grown Pasta Co.

A Volunteer Vancouver Island Passport (VVIP), a unique discount card for volunteers, will be created by the Society of Organized Services in collaboration with Leadership Vancouver Island (LVI). This project will helprecruit and recognize volunteers, with the support of the local Chambers of Commerce.

The Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute‘s Coordinator Mandy Hobkirk, will be the guest speaker at the 2024 Parksville Qualicum Beach Joint Chamber Meeting on March 7, at the Qualicum Beach Lawn Bowling Club.

The Business after Business event of the Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce will be held at the Oceanside Community Makerspace, 133 McMillan St, Parksville, on March 21, 2024.

The Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce welcomes Bigger Picture Painting Inc as its newest member.



Quantum Technology has been awarded $2,547,500 to enable it to increase production of its environmentally friendly hydrogen technology. This funding was announced by the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for PacifiCan. With the support of this funding from PacifiCan’s Business Scale-up and Productivity program, Quantum Technology will be able to expand its operations, meet the demand in both the Canadian and international markets, and improve its manufacturing process and product design.

The Nanaimo Regional District is developing a plan that will result in the construction of net-zero buildings and local energy generation. The plan aims to gradually increase the efficiency of all buildings, with the required level of efficiency increasing every five years.

The Snuneymuxw First Nation has received 81 hectares of land in the Mount Benson area from the City of Nanaimo, following the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Nanaimo Regional Hospital District passed a $48 million budget that includes a 28.2 per cent increase in the hospital district’s tax requisition on Tuesday, February 27, demonstrating its continued commitment to the NRGH projects.

The Regional District of Nanaimo requires the services of a Structural Engineering led team for the detailed design of the following bridges along the Morden Colliery Regional Trail: two truss bridges approximately ~100m and 110m in length that will cross the Nanaimo River and two bridges, approximately 20m in length each to replace the bridges over Thatcher Creek. All four bridges are to accommodate pedestrians, cyclists and equestrian users and are to meet the current CSA Bridge Code.Submissions and Questions are to be directed to: Carolyn Kennedy, Park Planner, Ckennedy [at]

The fifth Port Connect Marine Career Fair will take place on March 13th from 4:30pm to 7:30pm at the Port Theatre in downtown Nanaimo. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with 25 prominent companies from the marine industry and discover various career options.

DP World has been recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers for 2024.

Seamor Marine will be attending Port Connect 2024, the premiere local Marine Industry Job Fair in Nanaimo  hosted at the Port Theater,125 Front Street, on March 13th.

In partnership with Damen, Royal Van der Leun announced that BC Ferries has placed an order for four completely electric passenger car ferries. By 2027, two of the four vessels will be operating on the routes that link Campbell River and Quadra Island and Nanaimo Harbour and Gabriola Island.



Ladysmith’s Temperance Hotel was recently renovated by new owners Denise Bergquist and Stefan Queitsch.

The Employer Seminar #2 – Fostering Cultural Safety co-hosted with the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce is scheduled on March 5, 2024 in Stz’uminus First Nation’s Administration Building D located at 12611 Trans-Canada Hwy, Ladysmith.

Bag-in-A-Box is now available at the Art of Brewing, located at #15 – 1156 Rocky Creek Road, Ladysmith.



David Robertson

David Robertson has been named the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation‘s new chair.

In a recent public information session held at Duncan’s Quamichan School, the Ministry of Transportation unveiled its plans for the overpass that would span the highway between Beverley Street and the intersections of James Street and York Road.

The Morning Member Meetups of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce will take place at the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre on March 1, sponsored by Kubera Payments.

The province budget for 2024 includes $14 million set aside to help finance the long-needed replacement of the Cowichan Lake weir, according to B.C. Finance Minister Katrine Conroy.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is looking into acquiring Shawnigan Village Waterworks, a private water system serving hundreds of properties in the area, for $3.2 million from Rod and Sue Lidstone of Lidstech Holdings Ltd.

The province has allocated nearly $150,000 to Malahat Nation for the purpose of installing heat pumps in priority homes, conducting an energy assessment for the band office, and screening rooftop solar photovoltaic systems. These initiatives aim to contribute to a greener future for the community.

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