Monthly Archives: March 2011

1. Vision for Nicol Street

1.  The South End Community has a vision for Nicol Street outlined in their newly created Neighbourhood Plan.  If elected, what actions would you recommend to the city to transform Nicol Street from an outdated highway to a vibrant urban corridor?
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If elected I would recommend to the city staff that they work with South End Community to continue the revitalization of the Nicole Street Corridor. This could be accelerated if the CON worked with property owners when building permits are taken out for projects along this corridor.

More home based business should be encouraged – including professional offices, healthy food outlets, corner stores and other environmentally sound activities. If there were proper incentives, vacant lots and unsightly premises would be built on or cleaned up.

I have seen a real change in this area over the last few years with the completion of new houses and general repairs and remodelling of existing homes and businesses.

I would encourage CON staff to listen to the South End Community Association when dealing with applications such as the proposed 24 hour 7-11 operation. The CON currently has the Parks personal taking care of the landscaping, but again more could be done.

— Murray McNab

I have looked very carefully at your plan, which I have to tell you, is absolutely fantastic, and is something both the City planners and yourselves should be extremely proud of!

What we need to do now is determine how to get started.  We will need to get staff to develop an implementation plan with budget estimates and a funding formula. If I am elected, I will make it a high priority goal to work with staff and Council to fast track this very important project.

–Bill McKay

Now that more traffic is using the Parkway, Nicol Street could be turned into an attractive road, reduced to one lane in each direction, plus cycling lanes, lots of trees, better (and replaced) fencing, bus turn-outs for the city and Greyhound buses (preferably with some shelters), added street banners, and more. I named this issue as a part of my platform a month ago. See Issue #10 at my website.
–Ian Gartshore

 

On examining the recommendations and suggestions in the Urban Design Framework & Guidelines, there are many, many propositions that will help refresh Nicol Street and turn it into an exciting urban corridor.

I especially like the widened sidewalks and ask if they can’t be widened a bit further, especially on the northern portion — the ‘gateway’ as its known. Building setbacks, articulation along building faces and mandatory awnings are also attractive and have potential to increase pedestrian use. I didn’t see any reference to ensuring building heights vary along a block so you don’t end up with a long row of ‘walls’.A mix of architectural styles — from faux heritage to post modern and art deco would be exciting to see as well.

It is an absolute ‘must’ that no street entry parking be considered in the future.

I have a view in opposition to the recommendations though — I would promote the inclusion of large scale public art in the Nicol Street plan, much like Vancouver has recently done on Knight Street — a corridor somewhat similar to Nicol. The concept of Brownfield redevelopment to spur economic growth should be expedited.

— Brian Fillmore

I strongly agree with the concept of turning Nicol Street into a vibrant corridor. I would certainly support and encourage development proposals that would contribute to fulfilling the South End Neighbourhood Plan.

To attract developers, I would investigate extending the current downtown core exemption from development cost charges to include Nicol Street. An exemption from DCCs would provide a significant incentive to developers and investors, and should trigger the kind of economic activity the South End needs.

At the same time, we don’t want just any development — we want those developments that contribute to the community’s vision. For instance, I would support an amendment to the business licence restricting business hours for the proposed 7/11 convenience store on Nicol Street if the store’s 24/7 operating hours become a nuisance to the neighbourhood.

–Darcy Olsen

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2. Potential Park Space

2. The South End Community has a vision of creating parks space that is sadly lacking in the area. If elected how would you support and initiate the possible acquisition by the City of Nanaimo of either the properties at 901 & 925 Harbourview St. or 101 South St. for use as public parklands in the South End Neighbourhood?

Parks are vital for health, a sense of well-being in the community, air quality, and more. The city could do more to purchase properties, although finding the money is always an issue. Working with non-profits such as NALT (Nanaimo and Area Land Trust) and developers may help to stretch the funds. Community involvement in the actual creation of park-land once the property is secured would be a task SECA is up to! See Issue #4 at my website.

–Ian Gartshore

 

I calculate that the combined total of these properties is 25 acres. At $500K per acre that works out to about $6 Million per parcel. I would first investigate the communities ability to raise those funds, how they would propose to do so, and what kind of time frame we would have to work with.

–Bill McKay

I agree that the South End needs more parks space, especially on the waterfront. I would try to ensure that at least one of those properties is high on the priority list of potential park acquisitions identified by the Parks, Recreation, and Culture Commission.

–Darcy Olsen

Neighbourhood Associations should be given assistance to develop public-private and non-profit partnerships to derive the funding for such badly needed projects that don’t easily fit into every taxpayers priority list. SECA could be a model for this kind of initiative in Nanaimo.

–Brian Fillmore

I do agree that park space in the south end of Nanaimo is currently insufficient for a healthy community. I am not familiar with the properties that you list as possible public parklands, but if elected, I would certainly investigate any opportunity for their acquisition by the CON.

As you know it is often much more palatable for the rest of the taxpayers if the area closest to these parks could somehow raise a portion of the funds for such a purchase. I know that this would be difficult, but as a recent purchaser of the 2 houses on Crace Street I would be glad to help with any fundraising efforts.
–Murray McNab

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3. Wharf Lands

3. The Port Authority has recently built a cruise ship terminal on their wharf lands. What would your vision for the neighbourhood abutting this property be?  How will that impact our neighbourhood?

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As stated above, I now have a rather large vested interest in what happens with the new Cruise Ship Terminal and the surrounding area. I would love to see a complete makeover of the existing rail yard as has been proposed by the Railway Foundation. This could become a tourist attraction with possibly a working steam train running on existing tracks between Duncan and Parksville or beyond.

The current zoning allows for the densification of this area. This will lead to more local services and amenities. There are many great, hard working people living in this area and the views from this area are spectacular. This area is very close to downtown and it would take very little effort to promote the use of public transit, walking, bicycling, or other “green” modes of transport.

I worked down on Fry Street about 15 years ago and have been most impressed with the positive changes in the neighbourhood.
— Murray McNab

Many options abound. While recognising the need for industrial land and especially the fact that Nanaimo is a transportation hub city, how could the whole city work toward a comprehensive plan to better utilise that area?

It seems to me that a transportation hub may be one option, but only one that is attractive and draws people to this beautiful water-front area. I could see a year-round farmer’s market here, one that would be appreciated by locals, accessed by foot, bicycle, public transit, and by the tourists who wish to experience something unique. Affordable (not social) housing also comes to my mind.

— Ian Gartshore

The Cruise Terminal development opens up a world of possibilities for the South End. There is ample land there for many mixed uses, far beyond expanding the residential component of the South End. Entertainment, light industry, commercial, professional offices, even a high tech park highlighting green industries could be attracted to co-exist in a ‘village within a city’ enhancing the attractiveness of the existing South End as a revitalized, people-friendly part of the city to live.

Careful planning must be employed right away to make sure the opportunities to fashion this part of the South End in an enviable manner are not missed.
— Brian Fillmore

Cruise ship terminal and wharf lands: This question is quite complex. The wharf lands have the potential to become a major addition to downtown Nanaimo, with shops, offices, and residential (possibly fairly high density).

Much of the area is also a specified land claim of the Snuneymux First Nation, who will need to be consulted and who may become a participant in any development. And the Port Authority is of course a major player.

In my view, all planning for this area should be done publicly, in a transparent fashion, and should include the South End Residents Association. Whatever vision emerges will need to satisfy all parties and must pay close attention to the transition zone between new development and existing homes and businesses. If we do it right, the impact on the existing neighbourhood should be very positive and enriching.

–Darcy Olsen

I have not seen a long range strategy for the balance of the assembly wharf and adjacent property. I also understand that what we know as the CPR land is now for sale. If so, there may well be a requirement to move the rail lines from downtown.

If the Wilcox lands and the CPR property become part of a major redevelopment, why can’t we work with private developers to purchase from the E&N, the adjacent rail right of way with the mind to develop the waterfront portion in a manner that blends well with the South End ‘Master Plan’?

If marketed and executed properly, the entire south end of the assembly wharf area and the entire South End Community could be one of the hottest redevelopment areas in Canada. Why can’t we take some of the energy from places like Whalley, in Surrey, and create the same kind of excitement here?

I’m not suggesting a wholesale replacement of neighbourhood, but rather an integration of the old and new. Imagine redevelopment and enhancement with ‘people places’, extended sea wall, new waterfront shops, and perhaps a transportation terminus! Can I do this alone? Absolutely not, but with buy in from Council, staff, your community, and the rest of Nanaimo, why can’t we think big!
— Bill McKay

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4. Neighbourhood Plan Ideas

4.  What are the ideas from the South End Neighbourhood Plan that are the most impressive to you and if elected how would you work towards their implementation?

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I was impressed with the whole plan, but one part that caught my attention was the plan for Halliburton Street and Needham Street as every neighbourhood should have a gathering core for residents. The plan for urban gardening brings neighbours together and enhances livability of the neighbourhood. These goals could be reached by encouraging local businesses to invest and I would work hard to ensure that City staff and crews do their part to help bring about these visionary policies, and that sufficient funds are budgeted.                        
— Darcy Olsen

I love your plan!  It is well laid out, takes the community in a completely new direction, and could turn South Nanaimo into the ‘jewel of Nanaimo’!  I am really excited.  What we all need to do now is create the excitement, put into place the incentive programs or perhaps even declare the area an ‘economic development zone’.  I believe in Nanaimo.  I believe in our potential. I believe if we work together we can create an exciting and dynamic City.                                                                 
— Bill McKay

There are so many highlights within the Neighbourhood Plan. I think that SECA have done an amazing job in coalescing and harnessing community spirit to take control of their future. I believe neighbourhoods (through their associations) deserve a much stronger voice in planning and management of their part of the community.

I would personally like to see the vital importance of revitalization and enhancement of communities to be somehow reflected in the new Economic Development Strategy. Should we be targeting business recruitment according to the general needs of the community, or should we look at ourselves one neighbourhood at a time and figure out what fits and what do we want most?

SECA and other associations should be given the tools to expedite their abilities to reach the goals stated in their vision of themselves and if money is the problem, then economic development can help make such progress a reality.  
— Brian Fillmore

I am most impressed with the way the South End Community Plan is working towards creating a sense of “Community”. This idea is greatly lacking in our fast paced, hurry up and ignore thy neighbour, society. I would work with CON staff to ensure that this plan, as devised by your community, is followed and implemented with their assistance wherever possible. I have attended 2 of your monthly meetings and have been impressed by the sense of community, positive attitude and “can do” spirit of all in attendance.  
— Murray McNab

This is difficult to answer, as SECA is a very impressive group/community and the plan reflects this; there’s much to choose from!  Believing as I do that all of Nanaimo can be a more socially, financially, and environmentally sustainable community, I am pleased with how the South End Neighbourhood Plan reflects the importance of this vision.

I especially like the idea of increasing population densities in appropriate ways that assists sustainable movement (cycling, walking, transit) and includes greater social cohesion/involvement/safety, protection of the natural environment, and a greater amount and diversity of employment, shopping, and learning.  My campaign platform is in keeping with all of these.

To implement these ideas I would advocate for more walking/cycling paths, accepting higher density zoning by utilising such concepts as cohousing, walk-ups (no high-rises!), more community gardens, “tools” for neighbourhoods to clean up old properties (especially the Manson store), having the city co-hosting educational opportunities with the community and non-profits (e.g. gardening, how to respond to social problems), working with the neighbourhood in redesigning it and attracting suitable businesses, and a better coordination of services.

We need to move away from the over-reliance on the single-occupancy motor-vehicle. The South End is already closer to this goal than any other neighbourhood in Nanaimo, resulting in less traffic noise (except along Haliburton), pollution, and injuries. The city can do more to build on SECA’s current strengths and justifiable pride.  
— Ian Gartshore

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While we’re waiting for their responses….

…check out these ones from the Nanaimo News Bullletin, which should be in their newspaper today.

Nice job!

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Candidate By-election Questions

Well, we’ve finalized the questions that we will be asking potential council candidates in the upcoming by-election on March 26. Here they are:

1.  The South End Community has a vision for Nicol Street outlined in their newly created Neighbourhood Plan.  If elected, what actions would you recommend to the city to transform Nicol Street from an outdated highway to a vibrant urban corridor?

2.  The South End Community has a vision of creating parks space that is sadly lacking in the area. If elected how would you support and initiate the possible acquisition by the City of Nanaimo of either the properties at 901 & 925 Harbourview St. or 101 South St. for use as public parklands in the South End Neighbourhood?

3.  The Port Authority has recently built a cruise ship terminal on their wharf lands. What would your vision for the neighbourhood abutting this property be?  How will that impact our neighbourhood?

4.  What are the ideas from the South End Neighbourhood Plan that are the most impressive to you and if elected how would you work towards their implementation?

Come back march 18…we’ll start posting responses then…!

 

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