Monthly Archives: October 2008

2. What Council Candidates think about transforming Nicol Street.

Question 2 of 4 questions.  Please check back soon for Question 3.

There are comments posted at the end of this article.  If you want to read them as well as those of the candidates, just click on the title…the complete post will open up.

Want to keep track of candidates responses? We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet. Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for Council

It seems that when the new Island Highway was completed, Nicol Street’s shift from highway to city street was overlooked in the process. We still have cars racing down an underutilized road with few safe crosswalks and no traffic calming measures. Motels that were vibrant decades ago have resorted to housing low-income and transient tenants to keep cash coming in, magnifying the area’s social problems. Further up Nicol, most stores are either struggling or empty, partially due to the lack of parking access or community development.  The province is in charge of highways, the city in charge of streets. What is Nicol Street classified as? If elected, what actions would you recommend to the city to transform Nicol Street from an outdated highway to a vibrant urban corridor?

Nicol Street, although it is called a Street, is part of Highway 19A, and thus a provincial responsibility.  Because it is a main thoroughfare, the city can put pressure on the provincial ministry of highways to beautify the street, and can cooperate with the ministry in making it more presentable.  To continue with the points made in the first question, if people feel safe and business owners identify the volume of traffic as an opportunity for their business, then that should result in more new development, and add to beautification efforts.     ~Mark MacDonald

First off Nicol St. is not an underutilized road, it is far from that.  As I live on the corner of Nicol and Needham I am aware of just how busy it is and the need for some sort of traffic calming measures.  There is usually one accident per month at this intersection and the only fortunate thing is despite some pretty serious collisions no one, to my knowledge, has died.  Nicol St. is actually a part of the Trans Canada Highway system. 20 odd years ago Nicol St., even though a part of the highway of the time, was actually 2 lanes with an Island running through the middle of it, it had a wonderful canopy of trees and was very pleasant.  Prior to the new bypass going in the province took out the island, expropriated part of the properties on both sides (mine lost 7-8 feet) and put in what you see today.  Personally I would love to see it go back to the way it was, or some other form of trafic calming measures, and would work to put that forward.  It is unlikely anything would happen soon if ever though as part of working on the Neighbourhood Plan for the area we could look at this as an issue.  This can work congruently with looking at the redevelopment of commercial space along this corridor to retail below with housing above.  The province has primary responsibility but I do believe the city and residents should have some say.     ~Gordon Fuller

Nicol Street is the Trans Canada Highway which starts from the Departure Bay Ferry, follows Stewart Ave., Terminal Avenue, Nicol Street and out of the City.  So it is a Provincial Highway.  The City cleans the street and looks after the storm sewers but the Province looks after snow removal.  The City looks after the sidewalks and back from the street.  I am not an urban planner but if there was enough interest and it was presented to Council, perhaps someone could be hired on the recommendation from Council to study the problem, discuss it with the residents for further input and recommend some changes that would be presented to the Provincial Government.     ~Ted Greves

I would work with the provincial representative to see what changes could take place.  Work with the city for a safer corridor for travel and residents.  Take all that information and come up with a plan with community input. To find the best solution working together.     ~James Younger

Nicol Street is our entrance way and where first impressions are made.  I would like to propose a WARD SYSTEM so we can have a clearer voice on council and the south end can receive the tender loving care it deserves.  I would also support more efficient intersections on the parkway and transit exchange downtown.     ~Angela Negrin

Nichol Street is a numbered classification of Provincial Highway under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Highways (MOT), typically known as HWY # 1 and HWY 19A.  The City of Nanaimo has no jurisdiction over Nichol Street.  The provincial government – through the MOT – in the past has relinquished bits of the Island Highway to the City and this has typically been perceived as “downloading”.  Any changes to Nichol Street would have to be a joint venture between the City and the MOT.  That would probably mean the City may be able to make changes, but the funding for the work and the planning would be paid for by the City and be permitted by the MOT.

As a Gateway corridor to Downtown I would recommend that the city study the prospect of making Nichol Street through Terminal Avenue from Southgate to beyond Brooks Landing more pedestrian and bicycle friendly emphasizing vehicle calming to reduce speeds and make the core of our city more accessible to visitors and residents alike.     ~Bill Forbes

That is a very good question, one that has massive impact on the city and the community.  As a highway, it is funded by the provincial transportation ministry, who would love to have us take it over and assume the costs.  However, it is definitely as issue that needs attention.     ~Merv Unger

I contacted the EmCon people (Road Maintenance Service) and their actually is a designation that the Nicol Street road surface from curb to curb is part of the Island Highway.  Surface maintenance, ensuring the roads are clear of debris, snow, and drain blockages fall under their jurisdiction, beyond that the responsibility for sidewalks, beautification and such is a city responsibility.  While Nicol Street is not the main highway, it would seem pertinent to make the entrance from the Underpass at Chase River and in through Nicol street a priority…  It is the SOUTH entrance to our city and need to have more done with it.  Encouragement of combined enterprises, assessment of parking opportunities… so that small business could have a foothold along the street.. again adding to the idea of making the section similar to that found in othe cities (the “Gastown” idea/West 4th Avenue in Vancouver,etc.)     ~Jack Arnold

With your long overdue Neighbourhood Plan will come a whole array of positive possibilities.  When the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association ( DBNA ), of which I am a founding member and which I served as Vice President and Treasurer, commenced our negotiations with the City in order to obtain our plan, we had ample opportunity for input and discussion which ranged from traffic-calming to the establishment of a commercial node, etc.  The best suggestions always came from the residents themselves!  In order to re-establish Nicol Street as a vibrant urban corridor we need to practice proper urban planning and that, among other things, involves getting serious about infill and densification of the sort that brings more people to your area to support those existing and new businesses in a way that is sustainable.  We all agree that some 8000 more residents are needed in, or close to, the downtown core in order to make the proposed revitalization work and the South End must play a very important, if not the most important role in achieving that.  Projects such as Cable Bay and Sandstone, at the periphery of the municipality, do not help in this regard.     ~Fred Pattje

There are areas along Nicol Street where underground pedestrian walkways and bicycle paths could be integrated with cul-de-sacs to make it safer for children and the elderly to cross the highway.  The use of roundabouts along Nicol Street to establish it as a true street and not a highway should be researched.  The Street itself might benefit from zoning that would favour establishment of a corridor where townhomes and apartments were developed above businesses with a height limit of 3-4 storeys. Another possibility is the use of two-way left turn lanes as was recently done on upper Departure Bay Rd.  The type of street enhancement that the City funded in the Old City Quarter should also be considered.     ~Janet Cowling

Nicol street is still classified as a highway for good reason.  Ferry traffic from departure bay needs to be connected to a highway.  With the increase in population in the south end businesses will see more customers. Developers are seeing the value in building in the south end and with the help of city council Nicol street can become vibrant again.     ~Mark Sadhra

The South End is the same old mix of small industrial and residential, defined on one side by railroad and on the other by Nicol Street which is a major truck route.  Twenty years ago we entered into a discussion over Nicol Street with the Provincial Highways Department to no avail.  The only answer to the problems of Nicol Street would be to upgrade the railroad and move it to Duke Point.  Until that time we are left with a major truck route through our community.     ~Tim Lander

Nicol Street is a joint jurisdiction with the province responsible from curb to curb, and the city beyond that.  From the intersection by the old firehall to Nicol and South Street – a distance of 1.7 km – there are only 2 crosswalks in an area of the city with a very high concentration of pedestrians and cyclists.  This is still primarily a residential area and nowhere else in Nanaimo does this situation occur.   More crosswalks and beautification of blocked-off side streets would be a starter; the dual jurisdiction does not pose an easy solution.     ~Pat Squire

The fact that Nicol Street is in Nanaimo means we should clean it up, and not wait for provincial help.  First off we have to make it attractive to business owners and buy locally.  It has to be a safe place to walk around without fear of drugs or bodily harm.  We need to help people who were once good tax paying citizens get off the streets, sometimes all they need is to know there is a house that they can take prescription their meds.  The Gordon Campbell Liberals devastated health care leading to good honest citizens being forced to make bad decisions.  Some repeat offenders need longer incarsuration times.  We should save money which could go towards building new low income housing.  More and more I meet with the “working poor” as I go door to door, they need real tax relief.     ~Rob Campbell

Nicol Street is still a major throughfare for people travelling up island even though they can take the parkway and bypass downtown.  Nicol Street is still a street (50km) and deserves some beautification to encourage those who pass through to stop, shop and eat.  Several gas stations have closed and those sites would make good parking lots for access to the shops.  Planting more trees and flowers, with benches to sit and chat would help to ‘funk’ up the place.  The ‘arts’ district could expand up Nicol as well.      ~Terry Lynn Saunders

Your question contains a very good description of the Nicol Street reality, and I completely agree with the goal of transforming it into a “vibrant urban corridor”.  Nicol Street is still classified as a provincial highway and falls under provincial jurisdiction.  The City considers it a major arterial road.  In the revised and recently adopted Official Community Plan (Plan Nanaimo), much of Nicol Street is designated for mixed residential and commercial development, subject to rezonings (and the approval of the provincial ministry).

If re-elected, I would move that Council proceed with a recommendation in the new Plan Nanaimo – that a neighbourhood plan be developed for the South End “in the short term”, or as soon as possible.  As with other neighbourhood plans we have completed, the process of developing that plan would be very inclusive and consultative with most of the input coming from South End residents.  When complete, the South End Neighbourhood Plan would become part of the City’s Official Community Plan and would guide development in the area and along Nicol Street in more sensitive and precise ways than the overall OCP does now.

I believe this process would be the best way to influence the transformation of Nicol Street.     ~Bill Holdom

Nicol Street is still a portion of the Number 1 Trans Canada Highway.  There is need for an urban planner to review and come up with a concept plan for those properties fronting Nicol St.  It could be that the land for a proper concept plan would be the west side of Haliburton to the east side of Victoria Road from Crace Street at the north to Woodhouse Street at the south.     ~Loyd Sherry

I agree that with the fact that the construction of the parkway changed Nicol Street. I question the term “underutilized” though because I think that a lot of traffic uses Nicol during peak times.  It is sad but true that this once vibrant area has become a prime candidate for renewal, both physical and social. What to do with this issue? Confirm the current road designation, which I think is urban collector.  Determine if the designation is valid through a traffic study, which needs to include all forms of traffic. Then work with all stakeholders to improve the physical standards such as curbing, calming, landscape, lighting and shared space policy and enforcement.     ~Jim Kipp

Years ago (10) I was part of a team (EDG) who undertook the task with volunteer labour to provide a bit of a face lift to residences and buildings along Nicol Street.  We contacted the absentee landlords to provide permission to upgrade the fences and boulevards, had paint and lumber donated, and worked with volunteers to make the street more welcoming and inviting for new business.

Today I would like to see the City of Nanaimo lobby for an urban renewal grant from the Province to undertake a redesign of Nicol Street much like a downtown revitalization project. The street should incorporate such modern techniques as traffic calming and landscaped centre medians. I would see my role as a researcher/listener connecting with community representatives as well as the appropriated provincial experts who could work to solving these problems.     ~Diana Johnstone

Technically to my knowledge Nicol Street is referred to as the Old Island Highway and fundamentally is a feeder road in and out of Nanaimo.  While the Parkway has alleviated considerable traffic volumes including commercial vehicles and heavy trucks, it will always be a major connector.

I would definitely support a comprehenisve plan for the Terminal Avenue through the Commercial Street intersection and South on Nicol Street.  Naturally an undertaking of this magnitude is a lengthy process which may involve expropriations, property consolidations, rezonings, streetscape upgrades to name a few.

Like all massive projects and undertakings the priorization of the project on the capital planning list and funds available are necessary to move any multi million dollar project through.     ~Bill Bestwick

Nicol continues to be a “highway”.  Having said that the City has effective control.  The road needs to be redone as TWO lanes of traffic, with parking restored on both sides wherever possible, and remaining areas used for proper turning lanes.  I expect this could be accomplished quickly from Milton to downtown, and the rest worked on later.  It is VERY possible to make this change with City Council support.     ~Blake McGuffie

Nicol Street is classified as a highway still because it is a major trucking route in Nanaimo.  The city needs to re-classify the highway as a street and lower the speed limit by at least 10 km/h.  Finally we should include Nicol St. in the City Beautification Projects like hanging art and flowerpots.

To rescue the motels and assist the struggling shops, we need to consider extending the Urban Containment Boundary on the Official City Plan to include the motels.  We also need zoning for multi-level residential buildings that include a building requirement for small commercial units on ground/street level, in front of at least one floor of public parking.  The first 3 floors of these (maximum 12 story) buildings could be dedicated to parking.  We could reduce our parking situation, while increasing our potential tax base, discourage transient tenants, and help Nicol become the best street it can be.     ~Troy Pearson

Nicol Street from curb to curb is the responsibility of the Province.  From the curbs back is the responsibility of the city.  Shall the twain ever meet?  Much of the traffic which previously used this route heading up-island has now been rerouted to the bypass thus reducing business opportunities along the street.  This curbs investment in the area, which is also in one of the older city neighbourhoods and could use upgrading (see response to question 1).  If Nicol Street is to be transformed it will be primarily through the efforts of the neighbourhood working with developers, small businessmen and the city to introduce or upgrade shops many of which may initially need their backs to Nicol St. as there is no parking along the highway and the frontage is forbidding.  Should such groups develop a successful plan, they could approach the province for traffic calming measures such as roundabouts, boulevards, etc. which might slow traffic, allow for on street parking and bring the storefronts back to the street (this is problematic as Nicol Street is a provincial highway.  The city, I presume for the obvious political reason, does not include Nicol St. in their 5 year traffic counts and it is difficult to immediately judge the longer range implications of such a move).  While provincial agreement to such measures on a provincial highway might be a long shot (and it would undoubtedly make the city responsible for road maintenance rather than the province), it might be worth a try after the appropriate planning and implementation implications are known.  This would be up to the Nicol Street Neighbours and the City.  Perhaps there needs to be a Nicol Street Partnership similar to the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership.     ~Ron Bolin

This is part of the long-range picture for our city, and Nicol Street will not be left out.  Though it is classed as a highway, the city has a role to play in making it a vibrant part of our downtown and south end.     ~Larry McNabb

I believe Nicol St. is classified as a highway.  If this is the case it would be a matter of Provincial jurisdiction.  However, I am sure the City could exercise some measure of influence if it chose to do so.  I have always thought that corridor had amazing potential.  I think an upgrade similar to that of near Terminal Park would be in order, a grassy median with trees and crosswalks.     ~Simon Schachner

Don’t forget to check out the response to this question from our Mayoral candidates here.


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2. What Mayoral Candidates think about transforming Nicol Street.

Question 2 of 4 questions.  Please check back soon for Question 3.

Want to keep track of candidates responses? We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet. Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for Mayor

It seems that when the new Island Highway was completed, Nicol Street’s shift from highway to city street was overlooked in the process. We still have cars racing down an underutilized road with few safe crosswalks and no traffic calming measures. Motels that were vibrant decades ago have resorted to housing low-income and transient tenants to keep cash coming in, magnifying the area’s social problems. Further up Nicol, most stores are either struggling or empty, partially due to the lack of parking access or community development.  The province is in charge of highways, the city in charge of streets. What is Nicol Street classified as? If elected, what actions would you recommend to the city to transform Nicol Street from an outdated highway to a vibrant urban corridor?

The best option is the de-industrialization of the Assembly Wharf and rail yard but until that happens we need to enforce Truck Route and noise rules.  With the great views and infilling, I expect this area to see a major residential revival over the next 10 years.  Nicol St would likely see commercial on the street level with housing above.  As Nicol street is part of the Provincial Highway system, any development along the corridor will require MoT approval.     ~Gary Korpan

Nichol Street is still under the jurisdiction of (the Provincial) Highways Department and requests for change are at their discretion.  There will likely be a future opportunity to bring this under municipal control, but before this can occurr, we must ensure that Nichol Street is upgraded, at Provincial cost, to a primary road standard consistant with present day codes, together with securing the necessary funding to offset the transfer costs. ~John Ruttan

Nicol Street is a highway/truck route, I believe.  At the steering committee level (Nanaimo Traffic and Safety) I proposed traffic calming and designated bike routes on old Victoria Rd. and Haliburton St. and improve access to Nicol St. businesses from both.     ~Larry Iwaskow

The DNPS held a planning charet several years ago to generate ideas and plans for a transformation of Front Street from Esplanade to Comox Road.  A planning charet brings together all sectors, neighbourhoods, businesses, etc for a brain storming planning session.  The sky is the limit in terms of ideas and plans can become very creative.  I would use the planning charet model to determine the needs and generate ideas from the neighbourhood and businesses and services on and around Nicol Street.  I would expect to see traffic calming ideas, improved transit strategies, greening options, ideas for commercial space and more.  From there, we would begin the hard work of creating a strategic plan to begin to refine and ultimately implement the plan.     ~Diane Brennan

Don’t forget to check out the response to this question from our Council candidates here.

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1. What Council Candidates think about changes in the South End.

Question 1 of 4 questions.  Please check back soon for Question 2.

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Candidates for Council

The South End is changing.  Would you briefly comment on your understanding of the changes here?

Exciting things are starting to happen in the South end of Nanaimo, including some upscale new retail developments with the grocery stores as well as the new Rona Store. More upscale housing is coming to the area as well. This comes as a results of council’s action on cleaning up our streets and our parks in the South end.     ~Larry McNabb

The current Nanaimo City Council has repeatedly demonstrated they feel that south end has little residential value, leaving residents the task of reclaiming their neighborhoods with no tangible support.

The Official Community Plan shows Port Place Shopping Center has no value to the Council even though it has a full parking lot day after day. The present council favors demolishing Port Place Shopping Center so the wharf lands can become a money pit in the form of a Multiplex. When the mall is gone, Gabriola, Protection, harbour boaters/visitors, the cruise ship tourists, and downtown residents will lose an extremely valuable mall they can walk to.

In exchange for this critical part of Downtown Nanaimo, we will get unneeded commercial enterprises like a Hotel, a larger Casino, and a Multiplex we cannot afford; while losing many current downtown businesses that cannot pay the increased rent resulting from increased property taxes.          ~Troy Pearson

The South End has one of the most eclectic blends of residential and commercial as well as a little light industrial thrown into the mix.  For me the diversity of people in the area is fantastic as is the commitment of those people living here to bettering the South End for everyone.  Previously given quite a bad rap for its concentration of social issues the South End Community Association has been working to change and eliminate these perceptions. This is happening but slowly. We are seeing an influx of new families to the area and development of vacant space for housing is gradually taking place. Over the years a number of people in the area, including myself, have been pushing to get the city to decentralize its social services and avoid the concentration of services in the south end that has happened in the past.  For a number of years SECA has been hoping to develop a neighbourhood plan and we have been told we would be next on the list.  The city has in its yearly budget $60,000.00 to be put towards developing neighbourhood plans and yet we still wait.  A neighbourhood plan will go a long way, working in conjunction with the city’s Official Community Plan, to move towards the removal of light industrial zoning in residential areas that has and still does cause problems for residents of the area.  When elected to council I will push to have the neighbourhood plan process for the South End start immediately.     ~Gordon Fuller

Changes? What changes? I have seen millions of dollars spent, but no real changes are happening.  The business people of downtown had to purchase their own security before the city finally pitched in.  I have noticed that the drug activity has moved south easterly.  We now have a “Red Zone’.  We have funding for a new Nob Hill park.  There has been some development of the Harewood Park Mall.  NDSS is closing and the new University is taking over the space.     ~Angela Negrin

I’ve heard it said that “the downtown goes as the South End goes” and so I see South End changes going hand in hand with those in the downtown core.  That is not to say at all that South End changes are a direct result of the downtown revitalization attempts which the City has initiated, in fact I believe the opposite to be true and that changes which are happening in your neighbourhood, as well as the Nob Hill one, are a direct result of a community which has made the decision that enough is enough and one which has decided to “take back the hood”, so to speak.

The restoration of pride in neighbourhood and all that comes with it is a great “people’s effort” and credit for all the positive changes which are happening goes to you, the folks who live in the area, and no one else and attests to the fact that grass-roots initiated changes are powerful and long-lasting.

These changes need to be encouraged by the City and they need to be validated with an appropriate Neighbourhood Plan.

Our Official Community Plan refers to Neighbourhoods and Neighbourhood Plans as “the building blocks of our municipal society”; that South End building block is long overdue and I don’t want to wait another five years to see yours, and the Nob Hill one, placed.  The time for that is now and I will work towards expediting that goal!     ~Fred Pattje

There appears to be a number of changes in the south end.  The South Town Centre project seems to be moving ahead with the light industrial and residential neighbourhood projected at 2,500 residents.  Cable Bay Development is also on the horizon with a 420 acre site that includes a golf course, 80 hotel suites, 250 low density attached dwellings and 1075 high density homes with a Commercial Town Centre.  Also Southgate mall is expanding.  So the result of which is more traffic, more residents, and more services needed, and more infrastructure development.

The next change is the move to tackle the Homeless, drug addiction and prostitution problem by the south end residents and the City.  With the City’s “Housing Action” and the latest “Streets to Homes” project underway there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Then there is the improvement of Deverill Park on the corner of Haliburton and Milton.

The other change that is of upmost importance socially for south end residents is the action that they have taken to take back the streets and their neighbourhoods and speaking out more through the press and to the City Council.  A good example is the opposition to the Balmoral Hotel as a homeless drop-in centre.  The people rallied against it and were successful.     ~Ted Greves

I have lived in Harewood since 1975 and have seen a lot of changes I like the new look Harewood mall although I believe there should be sidewalks on all four sides the developer should put these in.  If this was a mall project in the north end they would be part of the bidding process.  When road work is done around here it sometimes looks like their not finished when indeed they are.  We should not allow any pipeline work through the Colliery Dam, that would not even be considered if it was neck point.  I see us growing along with Vancouver Island University in a positive manner.  I still live in Harewood I attended Barsby as did my son.  I stick up for Harewood and have for 33 years since I moved here as a 13 year old.  I hope we have a south end voice on City Council this election.        ~Rob Campbell

What has struck me recently has not only been changes to some of the homes and buildings, but more importantly in the people and the neighbourhood association.  You are likely the most active, influential, and effective neighbourhood in Nanaimo right now.  Your street walk program, identification of crack houses, engagement with the RCMP and City staff, participation in the Balmoral Hotel proposal, and involvement in several clean-up initiatives, to name some of the actions I’ve heard about, are all excellent.  As well as getting others to do their jobs better, you are doing many things for yourselves.  I can’t remember a time during the 19 years I’ve been on Council when the South End residents were so active or so positive.  Not only are your actions changing your neighbourhood for the better, but you are changing attitudes as well.

Some visible changes include the tasteful restoration of some of the heritage homes in the area, and improved upkeep on many others.  The Community Health facility at the Princess Royal School site provides an improvement in accessible service.  You’ve also had to face some serious challenges, such as when the people evicted from the “Red Zone” downtown started drifting into your area.  But your energetic response to that situation reveals real neighbourhood pride.

Of course, I would want to listen to your understanding of the changes rather than trusting only my own impressions, since you live there and know the situation much more intimately than I can.  I got a good snapshot of what was happening at the large neighbourhood meeting held at Bayview School a year or so ago.  However, it seems to me that the South End is on its way to becoming one of the City’s most interesting and attractive neighbourhoods – one with a strong sense of its identity, its past, and its future – and as a City Councillor, I will certainly support your efforts.     ~Bill Holdom

Yes the South End is changing.  Some of the changes include:  Malaspina University College has become a University, the NIC and NAC are complete, Hawthorne phase 2 is near completion and Hawthorne Corner is built, Knob Hill Park has been rejuvenated, Harwood Mall is being redeveloped, Southgate Retail accessibility is being expanded, and the massive 25 year build out of an entire new community on the South Nanaimo Lands is planned.

Other changes include:  the decimation of the Chase River Community Plan, the continuance of urban sprawl, neighbours and communities uniting to help the homeless and underemployed and to fight the blight of the johns, dealers, and pimps.

My understanding is that the South End is a huge vibrant part of the City of Nanaimo with a strong sense of community and a strong will to move forward in a positive, inclusive way and the City of Nanaimo must supply the resources to move the South End forward.     ~Bill Forbes

I lived in Harewood and on Haliburton Street in 1980’s, and it is startling to see the changes in the area.  I recently toured the under renovation Balmoral Hotel, which is being transformed by Canadian Mental Health into a much more livable space.  Upgrading buildings like this, in this way, is a very positive step towards helping the South End.  It raises the bar for everyone.  While there on tour, watching first hand the drug deals being made up and down the street, in broad daylight, was shocking, bringing home the reality that problems in bigger inner cities are here as well.  It’s going to take a lot of hard work and investment to bring the South End to where its enthusiastic residents want it to be.  I applaud the efforts of the South End Community Association to improve the ambience and quality of life.  I also believe strongly that the issue of safety must be addressed to bring the South End to its full potential.  In New York City, former Mayor Giuliani instituted a policy of charging individuals for petty crimes, in hopes of turning around a downtown that visitors often feared to tread.  By charging people for jay walking and other misdemeanors, a respect for the law was reintroduced, and the number of major crimes started to recede as well.  Gradually, the heart of the city became a friendly and inviting place, where people now feel safe to stroll and shop.

Studies show that if graffiti is quickly removed, those who deface property, at the very least, are less likely to return to do it again.  Broken window syndrome is also something to consider.  When broken windows are not quickly repaired, more windows are broken, as it looks like nobody cares. When they are repaired immediately, less windows overall are broken.  These are examples of what happens when people care and are concerned for their neighborhood.  When this takes place, a greater respect for the law and quality of life results, and the entire neighborhood becomes safer and benefits.  If city by-law enforcement steps up their efforts in taking people to task for their actions, that will be a key to restoring confidence in the entire South End, along with other measures.     ~Mark MacDonald

A quick drive around the South End of Nanaimo reflects the changes I see happening in the community.  Houses are being renovated, lawns and gardens are being well maintained and Deverall Park is becoming a destination playground and a training field for sports teams.  As a Commissioner on Parks Recreation and Culture I was pleased to support Deverall Parksrenovations and lobbied members of the Gyro Club of Nanaimo to help finance this important project.  I am delighted that the South end will now have a large regional shopping area that is more accessible to south end residents.  It seems obvious the community is working together to make positive changes and if elected to council I will support this effort.     ~Diana Johnstone

The SouthEnd is again becoming a place that people are willing to live in.  It is a vital part of what is going to be the CORE in Nanaimo.  It’s proximity to the “Old City” centre and its revitalization give sit the perfect opportunity to become a focal point in the City.  This area has a major role that it can play.  Many of the homes are of the heritage type and are being or have been restored.  There are arguably some of the finest views of the harbour, and the islands from this vantage point. The people who live there are working hard to make a difference.  The potential is there for a continuation along the Nicol Street and below area to have a number of shops, markets and services, for instance with shared off stree parking, that could easily rival Vancouver or Granville Island, or a West Vancouver market/stores, and housing area.  The citizens need to be included in the plans of Council so that additions to their area are with consultation rather than being overlooked.     ~Jack Arnold

I believe that the South End is poised for renewal as an affordable and desirable place to live.  This will require planning and co-ordination with local stakeholders.  The area needs to encourage a healthy mix of single and multi-family dwellings and discourage absentee landlords.

Residences that are not locally-owned should be required to maintain appropriate sanitation and appearance standards so as not to detract from the enjoyment and value of homeowners who have pride of ownership.

The recreational and green space areas need to be properly policed and maintained by the City to reinforce the message that this is a real community.  Any residence or place of housing that becomes a focus of illegal or disruptive behavior should attract immediate and persistent bylaw, police, health and fire-safety enforcement.

The South End should have its own community centre similar to the Oliver Road centre in north Nanaimo.  There should also be improved access to the waterfront areas.     ~Janet Cowling

The South End has suffered historically due to zoning changes that saw the area as a place for light industrial and related businesses; its future as a residential neighbourhood was discounted.  However, it has attracted young families, heritage buffs, a few developers, and people who want to live near downtown.  They co-exist (not always harmoniously) with industrial buildings, empty lots and absentee landlords and their tenants.

Recent strategies related to the Cavan/lower Victoria area didn’t solve much; they only moved the problems to the South End. The local residents, in grassroots initiatives working with the city, VIHA, the police, and the CMHA are taking back the neighbourhood in an inclusive and constructive manner.

Deverill Park is becoming a community hub, through a complete park upgrade,  local/potluck events, and local sports teams using the playing fields.  Beyond the park, the South End Community Association has launched its Art Bin project, a newsletter/blog, and regular ongoing community events.  I understand a Neighbourhood Plan should be undertaken soon.  A vibrant neighbourhood in transition, a growing collective voice, and a future that holds great possibilities.    ~Pat Squire

As an adjacent resident, I believe the area is gentrifying.  Most residents take a huge amount of pride in their property and their neighbourhood.  As the Chair of the City Design Advisory Panel I have been really pleased with the development applications for infill in the area.  I have been involved in Civic affairs for a considerable time, and have not ever seen a neighbourhood group that has worked so well, or been so effective as SECA.  An essential component of change is convincing the City to get on with a Community Plan for the area, so we can get rid of future industrial type operations, which no longer fit the area.          ~Blake McGuffie

I live at Victoria and Milton.  I live it every day and for the most part it is spectacular.  The houses are being bought from absentee landlords and being renovated, and condos may soon start appearing.  The more people buy here and live here the more vibrant it will be. ~James Younger

I live in the south end and constantly see changes.  We are growing by leaps and bounds because it is still relatively inexpensive here and we still have vast tracks of land available for growth.  However the taxes are making it difficult for people to keep land that has been in their families for generations.  Farm land needed for growing our food is being sold because of taxes. Dollar value of land should not be the only criteria for taxation.  Farm status used to allow a farmer to work the land and save taxes but the amount a farmer needed to earn has increased to the point where it becomes more desirable to sell rather than keep the farm.     ~Terry Lynn Saunders

The changes I have witnessed: the South End was a family-owned and occupied area up until the early 1980’s.  Families moved to other parts of the community and major businesses started to close.  Clientele at the bars started to change.

Since the set up of the South End Association there has been a steady increase in the residents bringing pride and improvements to the neighbourhood.

The South end should not be used as an area to concentrate Social Services programs.

It was great news to hear about the proposed housing development across the road from the old Balmoral Hotel.  It is also good news about the new development on the Robins Gardens property.     ~Loyd Sherry

Decreasing available rural land in the north end, coupled with dreams of large rural land development on the southern periphery of the city have led the eyes of developers to gaze south to our southern urbanized communities as well.  This offers both promise and dangers: Promise as redevelopment can upgrade and renew the housing stock and infrastructure in the South End Community, and danger as affordability could be severely impacted.  It will be important for the neighbourhood and for Council to keep an eye on the balance.

I will support all reasonable measures to encourage redevelopment and densification in our existing urban neighbourhoods rather than distant development on the city’s edge.  I will also push to demand that developers present their plans to the surrounding neighbourhoods before extensive planning time is spent at city hall.     ~Ron Bolin

The Gateway to the South End is Esplanade and as you turn down Esplanade you know you are entering a mixed industrial/ residential neighbourhood.  Some minimal landscaping would be welcome at the corner of Front and Esplanade, and of the corner across the road from the Hope Centre and along Fry Street (which used to be residential).

There are still a lot of large vacant lots.  I feel the city should buy them while the market is depressed and build town houses with infrastructure of coffee shops and small stores.  An increased density will naturally bring these neighbourhood friendly businesses.

I hope the present improvements to Princess Royal Park (Haliburton Park, Deverel Sq) will include a picnic shelter so we can enjoy evenings of music in the park, jams, etc. but maybe our insane fear of the homeless will preclude the building of such a shelter.

We are on the ocean, yet our community has no ocean access!           ~Tim Lander

The south end is growing.  More people are moving to the south end because of the lower housing costs and Malaspina VI University.  Developers are also building in the south end to meet the needs of these people.  With the increase in population existing businesses will see an increase in customers and new businesses will open up.     ~Mark Sadhra

I have paid close attention to the South End, and am very supportive of the actions taken to date by the residents to reclaim their neighborhood.  Elected officials can only help, it is the residents who have to take the initiative, and that’s what they have done very successfully.  That community spirit has to be maintained.  The citizens of the southend have done a marvelous job of reclaiming their neighborhood, and I want to ensure that their success is maintained.     ~Merv Unger

The changes in the South End in recent years have been very positive for the most part.  The neighbourhood has gone from having a rather negative reputation to that of an active community that works together to build a strong sense of community and to tackle difficult social issues.  I have been living in the neighbourhood for three years and have felt the positive upswing since the beginning.  This positivity has clearly been noticed as a new condo development is being planned for Haliburton St.  But the neighbourhood still faces many challenges.  There has been a very visible increase of drug and prostitution related activity in specific areas that is likely the result of the “red-zone” policy around Victoria Crescent. ~Simon Schachner

The South End is a massive geographic area which inevitably will develop and revitalize in the next decade and beyond.  It is clear to me there is confidence in the South End region as evidenced by the recent improvements to the Harewood Mall (University Centre), the South End shopping node which will soon include a state of the art Building Supply centre and of course the proposed Sandstone and Cable Bay developments.

As well, the City has recently opened a new Firehall Station which is symbolic of the emerging and anticipated population growth in the South End.

The South End is becoming a desirable and affordable section of the expansive City of Nanaimo with residential development in the Cinnibar area with surrounding amenities to support growth in this area.

I view the South End and Old Highway Corridor to and from the rapidly improving Airport to become a self contained Town Centre with all the amenities including shopping, recreation, transportation, education and medical services to support the residents of this emerging area.

As a former resident of the South End attending Harewood Elementary, living on Haliburton Street, attending John Barsby and NDSS and my wife working at Bayview and Georgia Elementary for the past 15 plus years, I am very committed to seeing the South End grow and prosper with responsible and comprehensive planning.     ~Bill Bestwick

I was born in Nanaimo and I lived in the South End as a child and owned my first house at 645 Haliburton. My niece and her family live at 640.  I have many friends that live and work in the area, including no. 1 reserve. I have lived, worked and enjoyed the South End a lot of my life.  I have watched with great interest south Nanaimo as it has changed through the years. I have been a strong advocate of urban containment and committed to the Official Community Plan. I will work to support a strong foundation of neighbourhood planning and valued public input and visions.     ~Jim Kipp

Don’t forget to check out the response to this question from our Mayoral candidates here.

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1. What Mayoral Candidates think about changes in the South End.

Question 1 of 4 questions.  Please check back soon for Question 2.

Want to keep track of candidates responses?  We’ve created a handy-dandy rating sheet.  Click here for a copy you can print.

Candidates for Mayor

The South End is changing. Would you briefly comment on your understanding of the changes here?

The south end is changing yet again. It has always been an affordable inclusive neighbourhood but over the past 7 or 8 years, it was becoming a neighbourhood in decline. First, its school was lost, then the parks and streets began to be gathering places for a homeless, often drug addicted and/or mentally ill people. In response, a number of social service agencies began to offer services and the neighbourhood started to feel under siege.About 2 years ago, the neighbourhood began to push back and today we are seeing a vibrant action oriented community emerge that is determined to be in charge of its future. The neighbourhood is taking steps to return to its “affordable neighbourhood” roots with an emphasis on inclusion.     ~Diane Brennan

As a resident of Nanaimo since 1967 my observation has been that the South End neighbourhood has struggled with residential in too close proximity with heavy industrial. As we continue to encourage industry to move to Duke Point the resurgence of the area will occur. Finding the balance between the historic character and incorporating new residential and commercial growth is a major challenge. As long as we are all respectful of the revised Official Community Plan, with Neighbourhood involvement, I am optimistic the area can progress as its residents prefer.     ~Gary Korpan

A community is trying to form a plan to reduce industry and improve residential as well as enhancement and upgrades on specific commercial and industrial properties. As an example South Town Center, Cable Bay, Multiplex, Cruise Ship slips, and Port Place Mall Casino.     ~Larry Iwaskow

Don’t forget to read the responses to this question from City Council Candidates here.

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NALT’s All Candidates Forum

Nanaimo & Area Land Trust is hosting two All Candidates Forums focussing on the topic of environmental sustainability in the Regional District of Nananimo.

The forum for candidates running in the City of Nanaimo’s 2008 Municipal Election will be taking place in the Ballroom of the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo. Wednesday, October 29th 2008 7:00 PM

The forum for candidates running in all other jurisdictions in the RDN will be taking place in the Costin Hall in Lantzville. Thursday, October 30th 2008 7:00 PM

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Answers are in.

Tomorrow we’ll start to post the responses we received from candidates! Almost every candidate replied.

To make things FAIR for candidates, we used a random draw system to list responses, so those who were genetically gifted at the start of the alphabet don’t get the usual advantage.  However we jumble, Mayoral and Council candidate responses will be kept separate.

The random draw done yesterday morning by Anne using stick it-notes and bread making bowl.  The dog scrutineered 😉

We’d like to encourage further comment or discussion in the comment section after posts.

We’re aware, as we amalgamate the answers, that all the candidates might cause that little “tilt” button in the back of your head to start flashing.  Never fear… in our quest to make this process SIMPLE and EASY for everyone, we’ve created a one-page sheet you can use to to keep track as you read responses.  We found it helpful to do an overall read first, and then return and dig deeper.

You can download/print it from here:

south-end-votes sheet

If you’re not sure of the process we’ll be more than happy to talk you through it. Just leave us a comment by clicking on “comments” at the end of this post or email us at

Barbara, Pat and Anne

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Celebration of Life for Gino Sedola Sunday October 26

If you’re a South Ender (or a former one), you may be interested in attending Gino Sedola’s Celebration of Life on Sunday October 26 from 1:30 to 4:30.  I’ve cut and pasted the obit from the Nanaimo Daily News, since linking to this article wasn’t very easy.

GINO SEDOLA Freeman of the City, Retired Teacher, Former Alderman and Past Chairman of the Nanaimo Harbour Commission. On October 9th, after living an extraordinary life, Gino Sedola passed away peacefully while holding the hand of his loving wife, Leona Trimble. Predeceased by 1st wife Elaine; mother Christina and father Angelo. Survived by his brother Fred and family; and by his “brother by choice ”, Alvin Gallazin. Dearly loved and sadly missed by his children Paul, Anne, Janine and their families; and Leona’s children, Trish, David, Sharon, Karen, Art and their families, including numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren; and many cherished friends. Gino was a member of more than 25 committees including founding member and original director of the Nanaimo Museum Society. A Celebration of Life will be held at the New Nanaimo Museum. 101 Gordon St, on October 26th 1:30 – 4:30p.m. 147824

Another article:

Nanaimo loses mentor Gino Sedola

Gino really was the voice of/for the South End, and our leader (of sorts).  He will be sorely missed.

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