Category Archives: Development in South End

2011 Election Campaign: Answers to Question #2

A little framing first:   We in the South End are absolutely ecstatic about our shiny new neighbourhood plan.  Yes, it’s ambitious…over 100 action items.  Capable Chris Sholberg and his team led us through the planning process, which they made very clear and easy.  And we want to work with the city to help execute it.   But the process toward that isn’t so clear. So the question we asked was:

2.  The South End recently completed its Official Neighbourhood Plan.  How do you see Council’s role in supporting its implementation?



Candidates for Mayor

Dan Didio

did not reply to the survey

Roger McKinnon

did not reply to the survey

Jim Routledge

Wow – Good document – I was aware of it and of some of the general reasons for neighbourhood plans.  I reviewed this.  I don’t know how to exactly address your question.  I picked out a few things that jumped out at me.  I hope that tells you more about me and what my intentions might be with respect to the Plan.

Neighbourhood History

The Snuneymuxw, a Coast Salish people, have lived on the Nanaimo Harbour for thousands of years.

The South End’s industrial heritage is the city’s most significant. At the time of its closure in 1938, the No. 1 Mine, located at the foot of Milton Street, was the oldest operating coal mine in British Columbia. Over 18 million tons of coal had been removed from beneath Nanaimo’s Harbour. During its 55 years of operation, the mine was the city’s biggest employer.

5.4 Social Enrichment and Culture

Communication and Partnerships

12         Increased communication between the City, the neighbourhood, School District #68 and the Snuneymuxw First Nation for purposes of communication and partnership on servicing, security, community building, planning and arts / culture initiatives is encouraged.

5.5 Environmental Protection and Enhancement

Sustainable Building Technologies

8         Development of the Assembly Wharf / CP Lands as a model sustainable, green neighbourhood in a manner similar to Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek or Victoria’s Dockside Green is encouraged.

The 9 pages (approaching 100 items) of  Section 7.3 Implementation Strategy are specific & measurable.  They are designed to be tracked and reviewed.

I need guidance on this whole thing – it’s been a particularly good question.  I am from the other end of town, so forgive me if I take some time to get up to speed on all areas.   If elected Mayor, I will devote time to this and probably go along with what is clearly a well thought out and seasoned approach.  I see no reason now to do anything other that is for sure.  I support the OCP sincerely, this is part of that so I support it too.

The question that I feel obliged to ask is “How do you want me to see councils role with it?  Get more involved, stay away. How has it been going?

John Ruttan

I congratulate the South End for the successful completion of their “Official Community Plan”. I want to see the City of Nanaimo work collaboratively with the residents of the South End to assist them in meeting their goals. The City has great respect for those resident associations who see the need for change and are prepared to work with us on developing a strategy for success.

Candidates for Council

George Anderson

I believe that it is councils responsibility to work with south end to make sure the plan comes to realization. There needs to be open communication and transparency about the plan, and making sure that there is a timeline in order for it to be achieved.

Bill Bestwick

It is imperative Council continue to build relationship and support the SECA in advancing its priorities and initiatives.  Through policy implementation and cooperation with the stakeholders businesses and residents continue to reach agreement and consensus on residential development and imrovements.

Arlene Blundell

City Council should use this plan as an important tool in creating mid-term goals for the city as a whole.  It should be supported in every way, UNLESS any particular part is not in the best interests of the community as a whole.

Diane Brennan

By following the January 2011 implementation plan for short, medium, and long term actions.

By keeping a careful eye on the city’s budget to ensure funds available for implementation; and

By maintaining a reasonable relationship with the planning department and with the mayor and council.

Brunie Brunie

I have read your comprehensive community plan. As a councilor I would most certainly vote on all facets of green transportation.  My hot rod bike is the way I personally get around.  I love it and plan to never again own a car.  Another reason I can live within my means.  Safe cycling is the way of the future and I don’t mean share the road with the car.

I would encourage many more small business’s bringing more vibrancy and self sufficiency to your area. Growing organic local food big big time as the most important economic development is my no. one platform so grow grow grow!!!

Gord Fuller

Council must take active participation in working to implement all neighbourhood plans. It can do this through ongoing communication with neighbourhood groups and encouraging staff participation with these groups as well. Items in the plan are comprised of those the Neighbourhood can accomplish, those Neighbourhood and City work on together and those that are largely the responsibility of the City. Ongoing communication will be key to their implementation.

Ted Greves

The first way of supporting the Plan is to become informed about it and its Ten Guiding Principles. I know there is an extensive Implementation Strategy and as stated “The Strategy identifies actions, timing and responsibilities of the City….” So, if the City supports the Neighbourhood Plan it will encourage its implementation with its actions at the Committee and Council level.

Diana Johnstone

City Council must maintain open communication with SECA throughout the entire range of implementation from immediate to ongoing. Council, along with city planners should be supportive to help ensure that the projects in progress are moving forward as anticipated. They should always be mindful that the implementation is in line with the Official Community Plan and other community projects ensuring connectivity, and that consultation is ongoing.

Council members should take an active role in attending SECA meetings (when possible) and perhaps carry out an annual review with the neighbourhood to maintain interest, keep up to speed with accomplishments and be supportive of actions that still need to be identified.

Jim Kipp

Neighbourhood plans are the fundimental bases for our official community plan.  Supporting the visions of the community process by the development of policy using Bylay 4500 as an example.

Gary Korpan

I was the Mayor that got all our work in Plan Nanaimo actually adopted as Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan in 1993. It gave for the first time special significance to Neighbourhood Plans. I was particularly gratified to see the diligence and public participation your neighbourhood undertook in developing your Neighbourhood Plan. Council is to be guided by that component within the context of the whole bylaw. As always, elected officials must represent the greater good of the whole community over special or local interests if there is a conflict of direction or guidance.

Rodger Lomas

The ONP fits nicely and complimentary into the present global OCP. As we move into an inclusive Visioning process and formulation of the look, feel and flavour of the Nanaimo of the future that the people of Nanaimo want to see – then these plans ONP and OCP will be critical in the revision of each to reflect the Visioning outcomes and subsequent implementation plan, schedule and budgeting.

Zeni Maartman

The South End has been very proactive for a good number of years. The citizens have worked hard to build a better South End and we have! I will work with the South End, and support it’s implementation, within the guidelines of our OCP. Neighbourhood Associations play a vital role in our city. I would like to see all neighbourhoods throughout our city form associations, as the building blocks for our vision for the future. When I was a School Trustee, each trustee was assigned a set of schools to be the official Trustee Liason. We could have a similar program with Councillors.

Jeet Manhas

We spend enormous amount of time on our official Neighbourhood Community Plans. After they have been completed, at present we don’t have proper process to implement these plans.

We need to be more assertive in bringing these neighbourhood plans to be successful. When I am elected I want to work with neighhourhoods and city staff on setting a program to have these plans implemented.

Bill McKay

As I stated in the March by-election, it will be Council’s role to provide an environment that will be welcoming to private capital.  A small local developer who is building in our area, and who has dealt with many cities in past stated that Nanaimo is one of the WORST communities he has ever had to work with in an effort to move one of his projects forward.  We need to welcome investment, work with the neighbourhoods to ensure the type of development is appropriate, and move the projects along as quickly as possible.

Darcy Olsen

Communication between Council and Nanaimo neighbourhood associations, such as SECA, is key.  Nanaimo City Council needs to incorporate Neighbourhood Plans into the Official Community Plan so it has the full support it deserves.

Fred Pattje

It was a great source of satisfaction for me to have been able to help facilitate the South End’s Neighbourhood Plan. Our Official Community Plan speaks of these plans as ” building blocks of our municipal society” and I fully agree with that description. Council’s role in implementing this plan has many aspects and varies from assisting to maintain the character and livability of your neighbourhood to providing access to neighbourhood service levels to increasing housing choices and a host of other objectives in between………

Trent Snikkers

The South End Community Plan will be transformational.  I believe that neighbourhood plans form an integral part of the Official Community Plan.  It is not practical for any one City Councillor to fully grasp all the concerns of every neighbourhood and Neighbourhood Plans can facilitate the decision-making process for City Council.

As a city Councillor I would push to bring this Plan forward as expediently as possible to help the South End move ahead as a distinct community in Nanaimo.  The potential of the South End to become one of the most vibrant parts of Nanaimo is incredible.

Rob Zver

Council should work closely with the South End residents to assure that when they make decisions around land use it is within the communities desires and also enhances the vision of the city as a whole.

Leave a comment

Filed under Answers From Candidates Here, Candidates for City Council, Candidates for Mayor, Development in South End

4. What Council Candidates think about a Multiplex.

Please feel free to share your comments or questions to candidates in the comment section below each posting!

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

Over the past term, a motion was filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End, but it was not clear about who would pay for it.  How necessary is a Multiplex?  Who should pay for it…should it be a public or a private enterprise?

I’m all for a Multiplex.  I’m not committed to any location. That has to be decided through proper study of potential locations throughout the city.  I’m uncertain about the need for it, but I am certain that a Multiplex must be a private business venture funded by private interests.  I am opposed to the City of Nanaimo providing any monies, land or services for a Multiplex project.     ~Bill Forbes

It is not clear that a Multiplex is necessary in the present economic climate.  If someone put forward a sound business plan the viability of which was confirmed by independent and professional auditors then this would merit attention. Such a report would have to consider not only the construction cost but the operating costs for this type of venture. It would also have to take into account whether the new facility would render recent similar expenditures redundant or otherwise uneconomical.

Any project which was approved would have to be designed so as to integrate with and enhance the surrounding neighbourhood and host location.     ~Janet Cowling

I consider the wharf lands in the South End as Nanaimo’s “last urban frontier” and do not want to see a Multiplex there!  That land is far too valuable for an operation which would sit empty most of the time, bring too many cars into the down-town core with all the negatives that come with it.  That land should be used to create a healthy mix of low, middle and higher end housing, something which would benefit the maximum number of residents and help to revitalize in a responsible manner.  Some, unfortunately, believe that a conference centre, next to an expanded casino, next to a Multiplex will achieve that…………  This area would also present a perfect location for a central downtown transportation terminal, where an improved public transportation system could eventually be aligned with rail transportation, both normal and light-rapid, as well as a foot-ferry to Vancouver and other transportation possibilities.  If there is to be a Multiplex, it should be done as a private enterprise and without taxpayer’s money or give-away’s of city land as has been done in the past.  DND land, close to the Parkway and Vancouver Island University would be a more appropriate location, in my opinion.     ~Fred Pattje

A private enterprise funded Multiplex should have taken priority before the Conference Center.  The two projects go hand in hand, but only the Multiplex would have been successful if it stood alone.  We do not need a Multiplex on wharf lands, further increasing parking problems.  This is one of the only ideas on the table that will be a major blow to the already struggling economic market in Nanaimo.  A Multiplex in Nanaimo is not as valuable to residents as the Port Place Shopping Center is.

If we must build a Multiplex which will likely further increase our property taxes, we should consider alternate locations for it such as Nanaimo District Senior Secondary Property which will be vacant in a few short years.  We also must be able to make it a 5000 seat building as well as prepare it to be an emergency shelter in case of major disasters.     ~Troy Pearson

My personal view is that a multiplex, similar to the one just completed in the centre of Penticton B.C.’s conference area would be a great complement to the city.  My position is that there needs to be a private company who is the principle… the track record of bureaucracy’s running business has never appealed to me.  There would be a major emphasis on a partnership where the city taxpayer was NOT left holding the bill.  There would be a major amount set aside by the developer/business in trust with the city to cover any chance of failure to perform.  For our city to move into the conference, entertainment, tourism new era, such a structure is a key part of the picture.     ~Jack Arnold

No motion was passed to build a multiplex, and it is not within our immediate plans. We are only looking at possible future sites, trying to preserve that area of the city for future uses, making sure that they fit into the over-all plan for the city and for the south end. A new arena is only one possible element.     ~Larry McNabb

Actually no motion was ever filed, however, the multiplex idea has been on the City’s radar for quite some time (see link for city info). The wharf lands per se, unless one is talking of the Port Authority pier only, are owned by varied private interests. Prior to the last election in 2005 the Friends of Plan Nanaimo had put together the concept of actually combining the Convention Centre with a cruise ship facility, hotel and housing on the wharf lands and lands immediately surrounding them.  The area of the wharf lands was mentioned at one time as an option for the multiplex because of the large amount of space required, lands at Beban Park have also been considered. Personally I think if a multiplex is ever approved the only thing the City should provide is the property to build it on.  Revenues from the Multiplex would then go to the city based on the commercial value of the land contribution.  A facility such as this should not become a burden to taxpayers.     ~Gordon Fuller

I’m not convinced we need a Multiplex, but I’m trying to keep an open mind.  I would definitely want to see a thorough examination of how such a facility would benefit Nanaimo and how the facility would be built and operated before making a decision.  Equally, I’m not at all sure that the waterfront land adjoining the assembly wharf is the best place for such a facility – that land may have a “higher and better use”, as the realtors like to say.  Since the primary users of the facility are likely to be private companies like hockey teams and event organizers, I would want the facility to be paid for by private enterprise, perhaps assisted by senior governments.  Any local government investment in a Multiplex would have to be approved by referendum, in my view.  I would oppose a public-private partnership, as I don’t think those arrangements work very well.

Frankly, I would rather put my efforts this coming term into seeking a foot passenger ferry that would run from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver.  I think that service would clearly benefit Nanaimo in a number of ways.  The benefits of a Multiplex are not nearly as clear (to me).     ~Bill Holdom

I would support a multiplex, but on the University grounds.  We can build access to the parkway, and build a parkade with a transit exchange.  I would like to see it as a mixed private/public enterprise and build it on the old NDSS site.     ~Angela Negrin

A Multiplex would complement the downtown, I not sure that it is necessary.  It must be federally and provincially funded, not built first then ask for funding later when you can’t get it.  I would support a privately funded enterprise with reduced city costs.     ~James Younger

We need more ball fields and ice for our kids we should not have torn down the Civic Arena.  I would be in favor of manning the new complex with city staff not contractors.  We should be able to build it and run it and have a profit left over.  I would want to find a different location than the old wharf lands.     ~Rob Campbell

I believe a multiplex would be a good addition to new facilities for the City of Nanaimo when the population warrants it. I would strongly oppose any public money being put into this concept and believe it should be private enterprise.     ~Diana Johnstone

I’m not sure the multiplex is a necessity but it might be a nice place to have if we can get the central Vancouver Island residents to buy in.  We would need them to be willing to travel to Nanaimo for big shows and games if we want to fill the proposed 5000 seat capacity.  It should definitely be paid for by private enterprise.  The city might be able to come up with a good deal on the land.     ~Terry Lynn Saunders

First, no such motion was passed.  What council asked staff to do was to find the most suitable location for a “future” multiplex project.  Our history of major projects has been that they are built every eight to 10 years – i.e. the Port Theatre, the Aquatic Centre, the Conference Centre, etc.  There is no immediate plan to proceed with such a project unless there is a private operator who wants to make that investment.  We have more pressing issues than a Multiplex at this time.     ~Merv Unger

I think that a multi-plex is one of the next wish list items that our community supports.  I support the idea and concept of what this type of facility brings to a community. Kamloops, Kelowna and similar communities do host large community, sport and concert events that we cannot facilitate. But in my estimation it would require a large private small public partnership arrangement.     ~Jim Kipp

A multiplex is not necessary for Nanaimo’s well being.  I can appreciate the exciting new possibilities such a facility could bring to the city so if the private sector is prepared to pay for it I would welcome it.  If the proposal is for another city-funded mega project in the face of already soaring property taxes my feeling is that it would be extremely irresponsible and I could not support it.     ~Simon Schachner

For clarification, a motion was not filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End.  A motion was approved to identify potential locations within the Downtown Zone for the future siting of a Multiplex.  While the Wharf Lands may be identified by the professional agency enlisted to identify locations and the pros and cons of each, a decision on where to build has not been contemplated or identified.

When thinking of the City of Nanaimo as a City of approximately 90,000 residents and growth projections reaching 120,000 in the next 15 to 20 years, it is important to at minimum contemplate sports, recreation, art and entertainment centres to meet the anticipated growth.  One must also consider the age of existing facilities and size of existing facilities.  Beban Park is reaching a critical stage of its life expectancy and some have suggested it is outdated and too small to meet the emerging needs of our City.

With that said, people are free to form their own opinions on the “necessity” of a Muliplex.  I happen to believe at the heart of every growing and revitalizing City is its culture, which includes first and foremost venues in which to have performances year round, appealing to all citizens.

Without adequate reserves or funding in place, or Provincial participation to build and operate a Multiplex, there is really only one option and that is to partner with a private consortium to build and operate a Muliplex.     ~Bill Bestwick

I’m not in favour of a Multiplex.  It would bring nothing to the South End but parking problems.  To build a multiplex when we need housing is nothing short of cynical.     ~Tim Lander

Over the past few months, I’ve talked to hundreds of people on the street, and only 2 even mentioned a Multiplex as a point of interest.  There was a lot more concern about the lack of hotel or retail tenants in the new convention centre.

A multiplex is a facility of interest, but not a necessity.  Nanaimo’s role would be in facilitating zoning and licensing.  Development costs would have to be private.     ~Pat Squire

A multiplex is very important to Nanaimo especially to the south end. A multiplex in the south end will drive more people into the area helping out local businesses. The only reason a private enterprise would want to build a multiplex is because they see profit in it. If they see profit in it why can’t the city. No matter who funds it a multiplex in the south end needs to be built.     ~Mark Sadhra

A multiplex makes no sense whatsoever.  There is no economic case to be made for one to be built either publicly or privately.  The Frank Crane Arena has a 3,000 person capacity which the Clippers, who are the primary high volume fan base users virtually never fill.  Concerts which would fill a larger capacity facility do not happen often enough to cover the capital or operating cost of such a facility.  In the Victoria and Kelowna examples they have privately built and operated facilities on publicly owned land.  In each case the cities pay over TWO MILLION a year for the public use of these facilities.  That amount tranlates to a 4 % property tax increase to EVERY property owner in Nanaimo.  A multiplex is a complete non-started to me.     ~Blake McGuffie

A Multiplex is as necessary as the money which investors will put up to build it.  A facility built to make a profit for private interests should be built with private money on privately owned land.  If public monies or land are involved it should only be when the project clearly demonstrates a direct and positive return on investment to the public as investors rather than benefactors.  Furthermore the public should only be involved in providing funding or land to the project following a referendum in which clear terms have been approved by the public.

I am against public monies for private projects, but would abide by a decision otherwise based on a referendum vote of our citizens.  I would, however, under any conditions, strongly protest the kind of unclear, constantly reinterpreted, publically subsidized and toothless P3(?) agreement with which we have found ourselves saddled in the Conference Centre.     ~Ron Bolin

How necessary is a multiplex?  It isn’t necessary.  Water, sewer, streets, solid and liquid waste disposal and Fire/Rescue and Police Departments are necessary.  But, if we are looking at economic development depending on the economy at the time, a Multiplex would be great to have.  I don’t believe the City has the funding to pay for a Multiplex.  I am not sure the citizens of Nanaimo would support a public funded venture of this type or possible size after the most recent public/private partnership with the Convention Centre and related Hotel.  Even as I write this there are reports of a severe down turn in the American economy and the good possibility that Canada will follow.  So, it might prove difficult for private funding to succeed as well.     ~Ted Greves

Many believe that Nanaimo needs an Entertainment and Sports Complex that gets us back in step with almost every other major BC city.  I believe this is an important economic driver for Nanaimo, as it brings in revenue from outside the community to watch entertainment and sporting events – as well as creating new jobs.  A Multiplex becomes a catalyst for investment, as downtown Kelowna has demonstrated.  Restaurants and other establishments are immediate beneficiaries prior to and after an event is held.  Nanaimo is a regional centre, and needs a regional facility like a Multiplex.  However, a Multipelx cannot be funded like the conference centre – there is no appetite from taxpayers for another similar major project.  Creative ways need to be found to attract the Private Sector to build and operate a Multiplex.  The Private Sector would do a much better job of running an operation like this.  The bigger question to me, though, is how an offer to build a Multiplex a few years ago featured a guaranteed contract with a locally bonded construction company for $34 Million was not pursued by the City – which is now floating a $75 Million Multiplex.  Who is doing the math and the estimating?     ~Mark MacDonald

The motion was to identify land suited for Multiplex.  To the best of my knowledge there has been no commitment to build and there has been no call for a proposal.  Size and costs would be needed and then the question of who pays would need to be answered.     ~Loyd Sherry

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

1 Comment

Filed under Answers From Candidates Here, Candidates for City Council, Development in South End, Multiplex

4. What Mayoral Candidates think about a Multiplex.

Please feel free to share your comments or questions to candidates in the comment section below each posting!

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

Over the past term, a motion was filed to build a Multiplex on the wharf lands in the South End, but it was not clear about who would pay for it. How necessary is a Multiplex? Who should pay for it…should it be a public or a private enterprise?

A Multiplex on zoned lands with private funds built for profit would be an asset and taxable.     ~Larry Iwaskow

I support the concept of a multiplex however, there are many issues that must first be answered.  I am firmly of the opinion that the Taxpayers of Nanaimo have little appetite to take on yet another mega project without knowing the true total cost of the PNC.  The “Taxpayers Bank of Nanaimo” is closed.  I would consider a possible public/private partnership, subject to prior qualification, whereby the City may consider providing suitable land if available, however only with a revenue share from the completed project. ~John Ruttan

The council motion instructed staff to survey the downtown (from the Howard Johnson in the north to Milton Street in the west and south and down to the waterfront on the east) for a possible multiplex site.  The downtown was chosen as council wished to encourage transit use to and from the complex and to bring people downtown.  The council has not yet received the report from staff.  I would consider a land grant for a multi-plex but I would not favour any public funds to build it: it has to be entirely financed by private funds.  I would not support a multi-plex outside the urban centre of Nanaimo.  I don’t know if a multi-plex is necessary.  A wide ranging community consultation would have to take place before we would know the degree of public support for such a project.     ~Diane Brennan
The taxpayers of Nanaimo cannot afford a massively expensive project like this for the foreseeable future.  As your Mayor, I have always said I need to see a credible business plan that shows a Multiplex is financially viable, not dependent on city taxpayers.  That there is sufficient population to support it, and the capital costs are paid by the beneficiaries.  Private sector initiatives like this should be paid by the private sector.  The City can assist in access and servicing but we are limited in our ability to subsidize something that is lower in priority to more necessary projects… like the water system upgrade.     ~Gary Korpan

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Answers From Candidates Here, Candidates for Mayor, Development in South End, Multiplex

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.


Filed under Answers From Candidates Here, Candidates for City Council, Development in South End

South Town Centre Development

Some of the questions posed so far are related to the planned development of a new “Town Centre”  near the Cedar turnoff south of town.  An article in the Nanaimo Daily News on Saturday Oct 4 describes “the massive shopping centre comparable to Woodgrove Centre and the approximately 2,500 units of housing the development will create.”  It also speaks to a planned industrial component.

To read the complete article, click here:

Industrial Park Meets Need

While this development may not be in OUR neighbourhood, it will impact it significantly.  For example:

1.  This development may provide a cost-effective place for light industry or warehouse operations currently operating in the South End, Nob Hill, or Old City neighbourhoods.  Ultimately, it may provide a solution to the growing residential neighbourhoods close to downtown.

2.  Your real estate value will be impacted significantly, either by having an additional 2,500 units move into the market, or by attracting more people to the South End.  I wonder which is more likely?

3.  Commercially, the results of large scale development in the North End are pretty obvious…malls, more malls, few public meeting places (unless it’s a mall…:), no visible community character.  Many South Enders are a little allergic to that type of development.  How can we ensure that our traditional community character is not paved over with the parking lots?

4.  This overall development plan will allow us to spend less gas $$ heading to the North End to see a movie or shop.  Combined with other area growth i.e Cable Bay, how will it impact traffic?  (Asked by someone who sat in constant congestion at Park Royal, where the developers and city did not work together to aid traffic flow.)

5.  The revitalization of the downtown core and (wouldn’t it be nice?) Nicol Street may be impacted by a flood of retail space south of town.  This may not be direct competition…i.e. mall chains vs independent businesses.  It may drive the cost of retail space down (which would help the young entrepreneurs who tend to look for funky areas and cheap rent) but it may also impact shoppers (who only have a limited amount of $$ to spend, despite what the credit card company tells them.)

There are pros and cons around this development.  What are some of YOUR questions or concerns?

1 Comment

Filed under Development in South End, South End Press