Archive for May, 2012

Don’t forget, the Miner’s Heritage Picnic will is coming up soon. June 23 to be exact at the Deverill Square Park, corner Milton and Haliburton.

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Bike to Work Week

Commuter Challenge and Bike to Work Week are coming up!

Hi there!

Bike to Work Week is just around the corner (May 28th– June 3rd ) and it’s not too late to form a team at your workplace and get moving!  This year we have some great grand prizes for those that enter our celebration station draws. A 2012 Kona “Dew” commuter bike from Oak Bay Bikes and a weekly loaf of bread for a year from Cob’s Bakery!

Commuter Challenge (May 15th  11am until 2pm – Diana Krall Square)

Nanaimo’s Commuter Challenge, a  good-natured competition between two teams of cyclists and drivers, staged to demonstrate the comparability of urban travel times between cycling and vehicle driving over set distances.

This year we have one team made up of Mayor John Ruttan (driving) and VIU President Ralph Nilson (cycling), who will be starting from the VIU campus (in front of Building 300 beside parking lot F). This year we also have a second team made up of the Nanaimo Car Coop and  MLA Doug Routley  (cycling), who will be starting from Brookslanding (in front of Staples). All teams will start at noon and will finish at Diana Krall Square where there will be registration information, mini-bike tune-ups, displays, food and music!

Team leaders that come down to register their teams will also receive a Nanaimo Bike to Work Week T-Shirt!

So if your nearby, come on down and cheer our teams and pick up you registration package!

For details on Bike to Work Week go to www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo

Happy Cycling!

Copenhagenize Nanaimo
Discover the Copenhagen experience to improve cycling infrastructure, education and promotion in cities

Andreas Rohl, Bicycle Program Manager, City of Copenhagen and Cycling Specialist, Urban Systems Ltd.
Brian Patterson, Lead Active Transportation Planner, Urban Systems Ltd

Thursday, May 24th, 2012
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Nanaimo Museum (100 Museum Way)

Please RSVP to amir.freund@nanaimo.ca
More information at http://www.biketowork.ca/nanaimo

*Refreshments provided*

copenhagenize nanaimo poster

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I have to admit that one of my favourite activities has always been calling some of the key City Staff to get a heads-up on what’s going on in the South End.  And a big part of that enjoyment is how amazingly helpful they are.  But alas, I’ve been very busy over the past while and have been remiss in calling (and posting.)

So it was a treat to call Gary Noble, from Developments and Planning a few days ago, and get caught up.

Robin’s Gardens

The development at Esplanade and Milton is moving ahead.  All the drainage and sewer work around the perimeter have been completed, which means that the construction can now begin.  The foundation permit for the first building has been issued and the site work around that unit should begin soon.  There are a few final issues that should be addressed shortly, allowing for the full building permit to be allowed.

Port Place Mall

If you visited any of the initial plans for Port Place, you’ll remember that the other side of the high street was planned to be 5 levels…2 of retail/ office/restaurant, and 3 levels residential.  The city has worked with the developer to adjust this plan.  There will be now 2 storeys only facing the high street.  The 3 levels of residential have been moved in what the city believes is a  better configuration..they will have better views of the water and Cameron Street, and will partially cover a parkade, which, under the original drawings, they would have overlooked.

Expect to see development of this phase to begin soon…both the building that will comprise the other side of the new high street, and the planned condos and residential units that will face onto Cameron Island.

Gas Station @ Nicol and Milton

No new permits have been applied for, so the work there is likely to be a direct replacement of the original tanks in preparation to re-open.  Your intrepid reporter will call Shell in Calgary as she has time (but don’t hold your breath…:)  It is likely that the company now sees potential for the corner with a new 7-Eleven open (my comments, not Gary’s).



I asked Gary what he sees happening overall that will impact the South End.  He says there is much interest in the downtown area. The rail station is almost complete and the restaurant is will be going into it, there are building refacings happening.  The social housing unit behind the new city annex is progressing well, and there is an increased level of activity in that area, as well as downtown core.

Anything you want to know about?  Just ask!  Leave a post and I will dig as best I can.


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Jack Mar‘s father had been a church minister in Cumberland during the coal mining years there.  A few years ago, Jack and his wife Pamela, were at the site of the Kiosk at Milton Street and the Esplanade, and felt that it needed some upgrading.  They got in touch with Chris Sholberg at the City of Nanaimo, and he was instrumental in getting the signage redone and generally improving the site.  When Jack died, Pamela let Charles Torhjelm know that she would like to donate some funds to  further improve the site because it had been important to her husband that the disaster of 1887 at No. 1 Mine be commemorated in an honourable way.  The owners of the business neighbouring the site,  Van-Kam Freightways, also expressed the desire to help.


In early April, Charles, Jill Stannard and Joan Carruthers met with City staffers Jill Pasaluko, Richard Coulthard and Darren Fargo to go over the vision of the rose garden and extension of the stonework for seating and also the addition of two benches.  Roses were chosen because they would have been a popular flower seen in the gardens of the miners’ families.  A dogwood tree was planted and a garden bed was prepared behind the stonework. On the day of the event the workers placed twelve rose bushes, still in pots for later planting, on the newly prepared bed.
Around 5:00, in glorious sunshine, after a day that had been threatening rain, the tea wagon and a display outlining SECA interests and events were set up.
At 5:30, Douglas Hardie, MC for the evening, welcomed those in attendance.
A poignant passage quoted from Lynnn’s Bowen’s book, “Boss Whistle”, chosen by Kathy Torhjelm and read by Sydney Robertson, described the events in our neighbourhood soon after the whistle that never meant good news was heard by families who were about to sit down to dinner.
Joan Carruthers read a poem written for the planting of the garden in honour of the miners and their families.
Mayor John Ruttan spoke about the historical impact of the disaster.
Gordon Fuller read a letter written for the event by Jean Crowder which expressed her recognition and mentioned the importance of work safety requirements.
Douglas thanked Gail Pasaluko, Horticultural Supervisor for the City of Nanaimo, and the men who did the preparation of the site, Richard Coulthard and Darren Fargo. 
Chris Sholberg, Heritage Planner for the City of Nanaimo , Muriel MacKay-Ross, Freeman of the City and past Chairperson of the Coal Mine Workers Committee, and Pamela Mar and Jill Stannard from the Nanaimo Historical Society were invited to be honourary planters.
 Councillors  Diane Brennan, Jim Kipp, Diana Johnstone and Fred Pattje were in attendance with our Mayor Ruttan who was among the volunteer planters.  was also in attendance as were some decendents of men who worked in mines in the Nanaimo area.
Unfortunately, Charles Torhjelm, the man who had with Pamela Mar, sparked the vision for this garden, was in Victoria in hospital so was unable to attend.
At 5:55, exactly, one hundred and twenty-five years after the event that shook the earth and impacted the lives of so many Nanaimo residents, a minute of silent respect was shared.  Shortly after, there was the purposeful activity of volunteer planters, young and older, some in gardening clothes and others dressed in their best, people we knew and some we had never met, creating a rose garden to honour the miners and their families.  Stories were shared that linked us to the history of our neighbourhood and  to our neighbours, and, true to custom, then and now, in times of reflection and connection, some of those who had taken the time to remember together, had a cup of tea.
Thanks to Joan Carruthers for the report.
Here are some photos taken at the event.

Click here

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Fund raising – Pat – good idea to get charitable status, People could then get tax rebate for donations. But it takes about a year to do and much paperwork. Bookkeeping more complex plus an annual audit that costs $600 though there are ways of reducing that cost.

“Not Just A Number” Sue McDonald wrote this children’s book about the lives of two young coal miners in Nanaimo in the late 19th Century and the adventures of contemporary children who make an interesting discovery about these men. One of the miners was Chinese, hence the reference to numbers, since Chinese miners were not referred to by name but a number given them by the mining company. Sue read from her book, which we all enjoyed. It is available for $10 and will be siold at the Miners Heritage Picnic in June.

No. 1 Mine Kiosk – We will meet at 5:30 for a memorial moment of silence, reading and rose bush planting. We are sorry that Charles is too ill to attend since he has been the guiding hand behind this development.

Miscellaneous Matters

  • Kevin from the Balmoral reported that a tenant was evicted for behaviour disturbing to the other residents. Once evicted, he cannot return. Two prospective new tenants. Spring cleaning beginning. Possible offer of paint to do front and north side of building. SECA would like to help out with the painting. Second house up on Albert Street just about ready. It will be run by the Canadian Mental Health Assn.
  • Pat Portsmouth will no longer be part of the BOD, but will certainly be involved in other aspects of SECA like pushing for the implementation of the Neighborhood Plan. Many thanks and a round of applause for Pat!
  • Getting Nichol Street back – Pat – Big problem that can be resolved is Haliburton connector, which is dangerous. All the stakeholders would like to see a traffic light there. This is part of the Neighborhood Plan and if enacted would be visible advertising for SECA
  • Pat also mentioned how the Federal Govt. is abolishing the offices that served the Vets and how we need awareness of this problem.
  • David Scott is donating money in his mother’s memory to buy a transmission for the Tea Waggon. Some painting still needs doing as well.
  • Chase River – about 50 people showed up for the estuary event on the 28th of April. Everyone had a god time. Thank you Rona for the use of the BBQ.

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Darrell Bellaart, Daily News

Published: Thursday, May 03, 2012
Another fabulous article, chock full of information.  Click on the headline link to go to the article.
And…if you want to see more, including photos of the headstones and the original newspaper article posted in the New York Times on May 7, 1887, click on this link and follow the discussion thread back.

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South end remembers victims of No. 1 Esplanade Mine

By Toby Gorman – Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: May 01, 2012 8:00 AM

The calmness of a pleasant spring evening on May 3, 1887 in Nanaimo was shattered by two percussive thumps in quick succession, followed by the throaty pitch of the steam whistle at the No. 1 Esplanade Mine.

This wonderful article covers much of the orighnal story and was on the front page of today’s News Bulletin.  Thanks for the excellent article!


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