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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Posted on Sunday Feb 12:

ON the council agenda tomorrow nite (Feb. 13) is the declaration of the former Newport Hotel as a nuisance property.  Apparently it is both a health and a fire hazard, with many nefarious activities being conducted on premise, despite the RCMP’s ongoing efforts to encourage the landlord to manage the building better.

Thanks to the RCMP and city staff for your focused efforts on this very sad situation.   Having properties like this is just a no-win situation.

And I just received this e-mail, which may help you residents who are living in the area:

As of Monday night, Feb 13th,  the Newport (aka Jolly Miner) has been deemed ‘nuisance”. As most of us down here are aware, this place has been a real detriment to our neighborhood and has been an on-going issue.

 What ‘nuisance’ means to us is that every time someone ‘logs’ a complaint with the RCMP, Fire, or City it works against the owner of the ‘nuisance property’ and whenever a service is required there, such as the RCMP / Fire /City, the owner of the building gets billed by the city for the man hours and service of our civil servants.

 What is deemed nuisance is :

  • garbage that does not get picked up,
  • hollering and swearing from within or outside the building,
  • street workers,
  • drug users /pushers,
  • any suspicious activity,
  • and anything that you believe to be a ‘nuisance’

(unfortunately complaining about the state of the building does not count).

  The building also has a ‘no trespassing’ law against it so anyone that does not live there is not allowed in it. IF you see characters coming and going, call and log a ‘complaint on a nuisance property’.

IF you see any activity that you feel warrants a call, please call:

  the By-Law office at the city: 250 -755-4422

and /or RCMP Non Emergency Line – 250-754-2345  

and tell them you are ‘wanting to log a complaint on a nuisance property, being the Newport Hotel and that the complaint is this…. This way, they will ‘log the complaint’ and call the police out if necessary.  IF you just call the police without reporting you want to ‘log a complaint’ it may not get ‘logged’ and therefore will not billed to the owner.

IF we don’t stay active on this property, it will get taken out of Nuisance and we will be right back where we started from. This is the only way we can get our neighbourhood back and as the battle has been long and hard down here, we do all need to work together.

It also sends a message to others that are thinking they might want to do some such rentals – don’t’ mess with us! We love our neighbourhood!

Cheers, Madilynn

and the article from the Daily News.  Click on the headline to go to the full article on-line.

Nuisance south-end property labelled as a ‘hub’ for crime

Ex-tenant routinely bothered by drug dealers, hookers

Tamara Cunningham, Daily News

Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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 Of the 3 articles in the paper last week featuring the South End, there were lots of positive on-line comments, and the usual few from  “Nanaimo’s nattering nabobs of negativity”  (no, this is NOT my term) who most likely haven’t set foot in our lovely neighbourhood in the past decade.

I appreciated reading this letter in today’s Daily News that Madeleine Bruce took the time to write.


Many beautiful homes in Nanaimo’s south end

The Daily News

Published: Monday, February 13, 2012

A little known aspect of the south end is the beautiful smalllooking heritage houses.

I have been in two, one at Victoria Road near Watkins Street and another one at 131 Victoria Rd.

The house at 131 Victoria Rd. is a Craftsman, which would be worth zillions if it was in Vancouver. It looks like nothing from the street, but these Craftsman houses had exquisite details inside.

 This house has an original set of etched French doors, leading to a little sunroom that looks out onto the estuary. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet.

One bedroom has a now extinct antique wall treatment. The rooms have high ceilings and original wood floors. There are several unique stained glass windows. And this house is on Victoria Road near Milton Street.

The other house has a real old fashioned little pantry with shelves and a closing door, and that door has a tromp l’oiel original painting on it. A basement room has sliding glass doors that look out onto a little walled garden that has a pond and working water fountain of an old stone, moss-covered cherub.

This house also has a window seat in the living room.

Madeline Bruce, Nanaimo

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Editorial: Haliburton area ready for significant shift

The Daily News

Published: Friday, February 10, 2012

We get attached to our neighbourhoods, relying on their various aspects for a sense of home.

One of Nanaimo’s most distinctive neighbourhoods – beloved by those who live there and looked down on by those who don’t – is facing the reality that change is in the wind

Clicke here to read the rest.


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