Archive for February, 2012

Please excuse this ‘generic’ outreach, but we are trying to reach out to local residents, and persons who have interest in the Nanaimo River and estuary. As you can please consider forwarding this note and background to others who may share such interest.

As you know MISSI has been involved with a proposal for an extension of the proposed National Marine Conservation Area for the Southern Strait of Georgia, recommending that the northern boundary include the Nanaimo River estuary. I have attached a map on the proposed extension to the National Marine Conservation Area, and a file that we have previously circulated.

Momentum picked up considerably following a letter we received earlier this month, requesting meetings be arranged with Parks Canada and local government, from the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Peter Kent. This is then an excellent opportunity to further a long-term Federal/Provincial marine initiative that would address coastal, resource and sustainability interests in this largest estuary on Vancouver Island.

As noted in remarks by a Parks Canada director in Saturday’s local paper, it appears that there is a willingness to consider the proposed extension into the estuary, and to negotiate working relationships that would share the skills and benefits invested in an NMCA designation
(attached). Should you wish I’d be pleased to provide additional background materials, including a summary of recommendations from the Nanaimo Estuary Working Group’s 2006 report. We believe this report complements NMCA objectives, and those of the mid island region.

We are in the process of contacting all of those who we can identify with express interest in the Nanaimo River and estuary – to seek your support for this NMCA proposal. Should you wish further information, or clarification on the proposal to include the Nanaimo estuary in the Southern Strait of Georgia NMCA, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Laurie Gourlay, President, MISSI

Mid Island Sustainability & Stewardship Initiative, P.O. Box 333, Cedar, B.C., V9X 1W1
(250 722-3444)

www.missimidisland.com> <info@missimidisland.com

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UPDATED FEB 27, 2011

When I read Fred Taylor’s comment in the Daily News earlier on this week (48 nuisance calls to the Newport in the past 2 years, 50 calls to the Balmoral in the past year), an alarm bell went off for me.  Anyone who lives in the vicinity of the Balmoral and the Newport Hotels knows that the difference between the 2 low-barrier operations is like night and day.  Still the numbers were curious.

So I got on the phone  and placed 3 calls:

  1. Randy Churchill, Manager of By-laws
  2. Dave LaBerge, from the RCMP
  3. Kevan Griffith, supervisor at the Balmoral.

Here’s how it goes…..

Nuisance calls as recorded by the city/RCMP have a clear set of criteria. In most cases, one thinks of a nuisance call as being one that is directed at a property by the neighbours.  And that is what a majority of the calls to the Newport would seem to be.  Apparently there have been many more calls there in the past 2 years, but not all of a nuisance nature.   This number can be confirmed by at least 4 neighbours who have made the majority of calls to the city and police, and will attest to making far more than 48 calls.

In the case of the Newport, as with the Value Lodge and King Arthur’s Court in the past, the nuisance designation was meant to protect the residents.  Where there is an uncontrolled culture, and there is the threat of harm, or of someone ultimately being killed through illicit activities, it is the process of last resort, because it can mean that tenants end up on the street, which is the last thing that most people want.

The Newport was deemed to be a nuisance property 2 months ago, but they were given a reprieve, based on a full “laundry list” that the landlord was given after a 1/2 day on-site meeting.  While some of the list items were fulfilled by deadline, others weren’t.  So the Nuisance Designationwas no surprise to the landlord and the property owner.

Have there been calls since the designation?  Yes, there have been.  There were actually 3 calls the day the initial reporter went in to cover the story.  And we know the sad story of the woman who overdosed in one of the rooms, may she rest in peace.

Now, despite Mr Taylor’s wording,  the Balmoral is NOT a nuisance property.   But it still had 50 calls in the past year…huhhh??

Remember that the Bal is not just a residence, but has Social Services for the public on the main floor.

First, let’s turn this around and suggest that a call can also originate from within the building. This is the case with the Bal, who have made the majority of the calls.  The last call to the RCMP was to remove a non-resident who was drinking in front of the building.  Recent calls have included break-in/theft, or various crimes, the types of calls similar to what happens in a neighbourhood.

Many of the legitimate calls originate from the social services offices, who serve a large number of clients who are NOT building residents.  The RCMP is a community partner in the Balmoral, so there are regular updates and alerts.  Manager Kevan Griffiths offered this:  “if you see the police there, it’s likely because we have invited them.” 

Have there been complaints against the Balmoral by neighbours?   It would appear, from an initial off-the cuff calculation (hey don’t pin any of this on the folks I interviewed, this is just MY rough guestimation)  that  1/3 to 1/2 of the calls have come from a single person.  (And if you live here, you know who that person is.)

So if you deduct the single caller, you are looking at perhaps 25 to 35 calls, mostly directed at users of social services or visitors to the building, not residents.   I didn’t get a scoop on the numbers of visitors to the building and its services, so I have nothing to compare it to.  Are 2 to 3 calls monthly a lot?  How many calls did the the former Living Room on Nicol Street used to get?   The downtown bars?  Is there anything you can even compare it to????  Comments, please?

But the one thing you can’t compare the Balmoral to is the Newport.  So this at least moves the newspaper comments from  “apples to oranges” to “apples to apples”. so to speak.


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Nature of complaints helps police determine ‘nuisance’ designation

Walter Cordery, Daily News

Published: Friday, February 24, 2012

Not all properties that prompt “nuisance calls” to the RCMP are treated equally, according to a police spokesman.

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Woman found dead in parking lot of “nuisance property”

Police have questions about incident that led to unexpected death of 56-year-old Nanaimo resident

Matthew Gauk, Daily News

Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Police are investigating after a 56-year-old Nanaimo woman was found dead in the parking lot behind the controversial Newport Hotel early Sunday morning.

Click on headline link to go to the complete (sad) story.

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Death at Newport


Published: Monday, February 20, 2012

Police are investigating the unexpected death of a 56-year-old Nanaimo woman in the rear parking lot of the Newport Hotel early Saturday morning.

Click on the headline link to read more.

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Tamara Cunningham, Daily News

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012

The manager of the Newport apartments in Nanaimo’s south end is outraged the property is considered a nuisance, calling the designation unfair.

Click on the underlined heading to read the article.



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Walter Cordery, Daily News

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Transit rider Hermine Hick has been upset about the service to south-Nanaimo residents for years.

Click on headline to read the complete article.


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