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?


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

1 Comment

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One response to “3. Wharf Lands

  1. I am given to understand a board walk, otherwise understood to be an extension of the sea wall, is under consideration for the areas around the rail hub and barge terminal. I am also given to understand that the E&N railway has not yet been completely moth-balled due to differed maintenance. Should the E&N be discontinued, giving up local rail access by the SeaSpan rail spur from down town, right through the south end would be disastrous to the cities long term economic viability. The rail system in Nanaimo could provide the core of an incredible community trolley transit system. Utilizing novelty railway engines and cars this could be a boon to both tourism and transit alike. However, we must be ready to commit to the discontinuing of the SeaSpan operation, the local rail system and massive impact such would have on local industry and jobs. Thus having a plan that accommodates the possibility E&N becomes viable once more and one where it does not would be most advantageous to the city. As to the specifics of any development in the rail yard, we currently have a glut on high priced rentals and condominiums in the city of Nanaimo. Implementing grandiose development schemes down town could leave us in the same position London, England was placed in with the Canary Warf developments. To maintain integration with the existing south end and to meet the needs of tourism and transit one would suggest low intensity development with significant tourist draws like non-seasonal theme parks or carnival parks, possibly more than one. Any development would have to take into consideration the input and consent of the Snuneymux First Nation and should also solicit input from the south end community association. A coherent plan that accommodates all the stake holders could see Nanaimo inundated with general prosperity.

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