Nanaimo Column: New CEO Taking Over At VIREB In New Year

January 6, 2022

Major Plans Unveiled For Green Thumb Nursery Property


NANAIMO – The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board will have a new Executive Officer in February, as Jason Yochim will be taking over the position as Bill Benoit is set to retire after 20 years in the role.

Jason has 30 years’ experience in the real estate sector, most recently as CEO of the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association, and he previously led the Saskatchewan Realtors Association, as well as being CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors. He also served as Chair of the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce.

Pharmasave has opened a new store on 3rd Street in the award winning Village on Third Street, which won the Judges’ Choice Best Overall award at this year’s Vancouver Island Real Estate Board Commercial Building Awards.

Village on Third was built by Chris Lundy and his team at Westmark Construction. The project has another new tenant: The Bee’s Knees Café and Catering, which also has a location at Country Club Centre.


Green Thumb Nursery in north Nanaimo is preparing to be transformed into the Bowers District, featuring 2,500 homes.

The city has passed first and second reading of development plans for the property at 6261 Hammond Bay Road. The Wilhelmina Group Limited Partnership is behind the project, and Barefoot Planning and Design has prepared documents for the project, which will include low-rise residential and high density commercial properties. There could be buildings of up to six-storeys in height, and a public hearing will be held in the future.

It will also include connecting Calinda Street, which currently ends on Hammond Bay Road, and Enterprise Way, which leads in from Real Canadian Superstore and ends at the Island Highway.

The Boatshed Waterfront Grill, offering casual and fine dining, is now open at 4760 Brenton Page Road in Ladysmith. That is the location of the former Page Point Marina, now called Raven Point Marina, on the other side of Ladysmith harbor.

Comsense Kitchen Cabinets has opened a new showroom in the Old City Quarter

The Soda Exchange is serving customers from Ladysmith to Qualicum Beach with refills of Sodastream bottle exchanges. They charge $10 per bottle, and orders can be made online.

Perhaps there’s no prouder papa these days than “retired” accountant Doug Johnston, who is pleased to mention that his daughter, Kristie recently completed a virtual running marathon, where runners ran on their own and were tracked electronically to determine the top 10 in each age group.

Kristie finished an amazing 4th in the world in the 45-49 year old category, and was 9th in the world for women over 40, while knocking 17 minutes off per personal time to post a 3:10:42.

If that’s not enough, Kristie once completed the Boston Marathon on a broken foot. . .her husband Bill had to pick her up and carry her once she crossed the finish line.

Sounds like Kristie is just as determined as Doug, the “Eveready Bunny”, whose commitment to fitness is legendary.

A Popeye’s fried chicken outlet is rumored to be locating near Wendy’s adjacent to Woodgrove Centre.

Congratulations to Sharon Kelly for becoming a National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC).

David LeNeveau, an investment advisor with Rockmoor Wealth Management, is Deputy Chief of the East Wellington Fire Department.

The former Nanaimo Clipper and National Hockey League goaltender played for Canada’s National Junior Team in the World Junior Hockey Championships in 2003. His tandem mate Marc-Andre Fleury, the three-time Stanley Cup winner and reigning Vezina Trophy holder, recently posted his 500th win the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rod Maley is enjoying his time in “retirement”, after he sold the Cap-It operation on Bowen Road at the corner of Kenworth Road, across from Laird Wheaton GM.

Rod had been in the business for 30 years, and still owns the property, and the business is now owned and operated by Cap-it International.

Hats off to Mosaic Forest Management for its generosity, as it recently confirmed it will donate $37,000 to more than 20 local community groups and food programs.

More good news for Lifesupport Air Medical Services Inc., as owner Graham Williamson announces the company has been awarded its third consecutive accreditation from the European Air Medical Institute (EURAMI).

LifeSupport has been re-accredited for long range and inter-continental air ambulance, regional fixed-wing air ambulance, adult critical care and advanced adult critical air transport, and commercial airline medical escort.

One of LifeSupport’s services sees their team transport medical patients from all over the world back to Canadian hospitals.

The City of Nanaimo has paid $1.3 million for a vacant lot on 1861 East Wellington Road that will allow the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank to expand its operations by building a warehouse.

Pacswell Nanaimo Inc., represented by BJK Architecture Inc., has submitted a proposal to the City of Nanaimo to build two new industrial buildings at 4101 and 4125 Jingle Pot Road, close to the Shaw building on Boban Road.

The buildings total 51,000 square feet, one with six units and the other with nine.

Coastal Community Credit Union has launched Central 1’s new Forge 2.0 digital banking solution to improve services for its members.

James Mitchell, VP Technology at Coastal Community, says “our members have been asking for improvements to our app’s layout and usability, so we are very excited to launch on the Forge 2.0 platform. The team at Central 1 helped us move quickly through our implementation, allowing us to get the new app in our members’ hands and deliver a better user experience.”

Mark MacDonald is President of Communication Ink Media & Public Relations Ltd. and can be reached at


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