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.