May 29, 2024

News Impacting Central and North Vancouver Island


Left to right: Alex Lumley, Dr. Sinan Alkhaleeli, and Lisa Greer.

Dr. Sinan Alkhaleeli has recently joined the staff at the Port Hardy Primary Health Care Centre and the Port Hardy Hospital Emergency Department.

Gabriely Wickstrom, General Manager of ‘Namgis Business Development Corp (NBDC), talks about how the Cabins at Alert Bay have been updated to suit the culture of their owners at the 2024 Vancouver Island North Tourism Season Launch ceremony on May 1. The plan is to build an exceptional boutique resort with an Indigenous theme that will serve as a magnet for tourists from all over the globe, generating income and opportunities for skill training.

The Forest Operations Map 1424, which is part of the BC Timber Sales, Seaward-tłasta (BCTS TST) Business Area, is available for public inspection and discussion. The map displays anticipated road construction and cut block development in the North Island-Central Coast Natural Resource District Forest Development Units under Forest Stewardship Plan #625.

Island Health will lease a three-bedroom home at 142 Cedar Street in Alert Bay to health care personnel, which was purchased by the Namgis Business Development Corporation.

With the announcement of up to $24,000 in cost coverage for energy-saving heat pumps and electricity upgrades, Ecotrust Canada celebrates the federal and BC governments’ renewed commitment to enhancing affordability for lower- and middle-class households in BC. This funding offers households across the province, who are struggling with excessive energy bills, extreme heat or cold, and rising costs associated with home energy retrofits, transformative new funding.



Sealand Flight, based in Campbell River, BC, has made a groundbreaking leap by launching its all-electric Pipistrel Velis Electro aeroplane, which is now approved by Transport Canada.

The fibre optic network is being installed by F3 Networks Canada Inc., which also has a business partnership with TELUS to offer “Purfibre” services to Campbell River neighbourhoods.

Veyron Properties Group Ltd.’s new Uptown office at 5130 Joyce Avenue is now open.

Campbell River Hospital honoured healthcare professionals throughout the month of May.

On June 3, Marine Link Tours, in celebration of its thirty years of providing distinctive coastal tours in British Columbia, will offer special guided tours aboard the M.V. Aurora Explorer.

The Communitas Supportive Care Society celebrates its 50th anniversary on June 6, with a community event taking place at 1423 16th Avenue, Campbell River.

Ecofish, in collaboration with Laich-Kwil-Tach Environmental Assessment Ltd, has improved the understanding of fish migration in the Campbell River watershed with the JHTMON-6 Fish Passage Study, which provides valuable insights into the potential relationship between flow diversion at BC Hydro operations and fish movement past physical barriers.



Doug Demarzo

Doug Demarzo, the interim CAO of the Comox Valley Regional District, has proposed a revision to the Active Transportation network plan that would link Cumberland and Courtenay via a tunnel under Highway 19, passing through the Highway 19 junction.

The Evolve E-Bike Share fleet, in conjunction with the CVRD, the cities of Comox and Courtenay, has successfully launched a multi-city shared e-bike program for the benefit of Comox Valley residents.

Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce‘s Business after Business is taking place in the newly renovated Grant Thornton LLP office in Courtenay on May 30th.

Vancouver Island University has established a research centre dedicated to assisting individuals impacted by trauma and enhancing brain health. The centre’s infrastructure and equipment receive funding from various sources, including grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the US Department of Defence in collaboration with the University of British Columbia.



Robyn Mair

Robyn Mair and Monika Scott, the business owners of Mint Cleaning, have participated in the Dragons Den program on CBC.

The minimum wage in BC is set to increase on June 1, going up to $17.40 per hour.

For local Co-ops in the Co-operative Retailing System, Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) will receive 41 FLO 100kW SmartDC fast chargers from FLO, a prominent North American electric vehicle (EV) charging firm and smart charging solutions supplier. Fast charging will be deployed across British Columbia with 23 chargers in a highway charging corridor.

Tofino Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, Longbeach Golf Course and TacoFino – Tofino for a golf scramble tournament on June 13th.  An epic day of golf, dinner, networking.



Bomber Boulders Climbing Centre, located on Margaret Street and Johnston Road in Port Alberni, was established by co-owners Alec Phillips, Deon Towle, and Kayla Rentz. The grand opening is scheduled for June 1.

The Boeing 737-700 NG, the newest plane in Coulson Aviation’s fleet, arrived at Alberni Valley Regional Airport on May 22 to begin its transformation into an aerial firefighting tanker.

A new pool for the Alberni Valley is projected to cost over $70 million, with the majority of the funding coming from a capital loan. The project was presented to Port Alberni city by staff from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and consultants from HCMA Architecture + Design.

Port Alberni SPCA is looking to hire an Animal Control Officer.

Staff from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and consultants from HCMA Architecture + Design presented a conceptual design and floor plan for a potential new aquatic centre to Port Alberni city council on Tuesday, May 21 with the expected cost is $70 million. No location has been selected at this point.



The Town of Qualicum Beach is hosting an open house at the Qualicum Beach Airport on June 19.

Parksville resident Earl Blacklock has been honoured with a BC Achievement Community Award.

Parksville council recently reviewed the city’s new zoning and development bylaw, which was designed to comply with provincial housing legislation. The bylaw aims to promote higher density and prioritize long-term rentals over short-term accommodations.

Construction is well underway on the new Oceanside Community Track at Ballenas Secondary School. A formal
groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 22 which recognized the levels of government, groups and
organizations who have worked together to raise the funds to make the track a reality. In 2021, the City of Parksville contributed $250,000 to the track project and a further $500,000 contribution was approved in the City’s 2024-2028 financial plan. The total contribution of $750,000 by the City of Parksville was allocated from the Canada Community-Building Fund.



Zara Rutherford sitting in the cockpit of the Martin Mars with Britton Coulson. Photo credit: Christopher Anderson

Zara Rutherford was brought in by the Nanaimo Airport for a Signature Dinner event on May 28th to share her journey as the youngest female pilot to circumnavigate the globe. Zara, from a family deeply rooted in aviation, is dedicated to carrying forward this legacy and inspiring young women to pursue their aspirations while working to narrow the gender gap in the aviation and STEM fields.

Ruffell & Brown Window Covering Centre and Pacific Awnings is hosting a grand opening  of its showroom on June 4 at 103-2520 Bowen Road, Nanaimo.

Chris Gilmore has been appointed to the position of A/Assistant Deputy Minister by the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation.

Bill Tucker, Korey Roberts, Pablo Yuste, Hank Sam, and George Sawatzky, the principals of Omicron Canada, have restructured Nexii Building Materials, a firm that is under creditor protection, and have purchased the business back.

The BC Cancer Foundation‘s BC Cancer Student Programs will receive funding of $50,000 from the RBC Foundation.

Nicholas Redpath, formerly with the Regional District of Nanaimo and pursued a new position with the BC Public Service as Manager of Planning and Land Use within the Ministry of Housing.

Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union, was present at an important announcement made by the Mid Island Co-op and the BC Cancer Foundation, regarding the donation of $1,000,000 from the Co-Op towards the new cancer centre in Nanaimo.

Acclaim Celtic Dancers Year End Show “What’s the Craic? 2024” featuring 4 live celtic bands and many Celtic dancers is being offered for free to the public this year at Maffao Sutton Park downtown Nanaimo removing barriers to Celtic culture on June 19.

The British Columbia government has made amendments to a law that previously restricted First Nations from acquiring land. This change now enables them to directly purchase and own land in the province.

Understanding Indigenous History: A Path Forward, hosted by award-winning Canadian broadcast journalist Lisa LaFlamme and featuring interviews with First Nations leader Phil Fontaine and human rights expert Kathleen Mahoney, will assist viewers in understanding the complex tapestries of Indigenous history and Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.



The Temperance Hotel in Ladysmith is reopened by Denise Bergquist and Stephan Queitsch.

The public is being asked for feedback on a project that the province is considering to restore the right bank of the Chemainus River just downstream of the Highway 1 Bridge.

The Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce has announced that it will be reintroducing the Spirit of Ladysmith business awards for 2024, according to its executive director Roberta Bowman. The event will take place on October 25th at the Aggie Hall. Link to nominate:…/

A $218 million budget for the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school system was approved for 2024–2025.

Cheri Mactier, president of the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce, is celebrating 25 years as a licensed real estate agent.



Linda Henry‘s Lil’s Tea An-Tiques recently opened at 56 South Shore Road.

At the Downtown Duncan Business Improvement Area‘s annual business awards ceremony on May 13, Mettra Pharmacy earned the Best New Business Award for 2023 and Cowichan Green Community won the award for Excellence and Innovation for the year.

Safetek Emergency Vehicles Ltd has been chosen to supply a new fire truck for North Cowichan’s South End fire hall. The contract for the stock fire engine has an estimated cost of around $1.4 million plus taxes.

In 2024–25, the federal government will allocate about $3 million to the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo, as well as to Indigenous and urban communities, to support initiatives that combat homelessness. This funding will come from the Federal Reaching Home program.

On June 14, the Municipality of North Cowichan will hold the grand opening of the Cowichan RCMP detachment, which is located on a five-acre plot of land that borders Drinkwater Road and Ford Road.

The Chamber Mix & Mingle will take place at M’akola Housing Society on June 11th from 5-7 pm. This evening offers a fantastic opportunity to learn about the incredible work M’akola is doing as BC’s largest Indigenous affordable housing provider, serving over 5,000 family members.

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