Tag Archives: Johnstone

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.

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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.

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

3. What Council Candidates think about Homelessness and Affordable Housing.

This is question 3 of 4. We’ll be posting the last question on Wednesday November 5th. 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 City Council

Most Nanaimo residents understand that both homelessness and affordable housing are critical issues here in Nanaimo.  If you could only support 3 initiatives to deal with these problems, what would they be?

I am proud to have worked very hard on this issue on the Safer Nanaimo Working Group with Coun Diane Brennan.  We both came to the defence of the South End when the Balmoral Hotel issue came up.  We developed a Housing First Strategy, which outlines our needs and how to get there.  We have been working with the provincial housing ministry and expect answers in the very near future, and that will be good news for all of Nanaimo.     ~Merv Unger

We are a university town now and more than ever low income housing is a must.  I support co-op housing for university students in order to free up the low income housing currently available.  That way, a more stable market for such housing can be achieved.  I believe in an effective transit system.  It is my goal to find a permanent home for the 7-10 club.     ~Angela Negrin

1. Provincial Funding.

2. Federal Funding I would not bring Nanaimo further into debt to support wet houses, there are to many sober people that need housing.

3. I would require all casino tax revenue over current $3,200,000 — go to housing and address homelessness issues.  The issues could be policing to counceling.     ~James Younger

Hopefully there will be more than 3 initiatives.  I support the homeless shelter Councillors Brennan and Unger have been working on and believe that is a good start.  I would also like to see a ‘gathering’ place for the homeless where they can get a meal, clothing and one stop access to agencies that could help them in whatever their needs are.  The Salvation Army does a good job but they cannot be expected to do everything.  What I really want to see is a concentrated effort to provide affordable housing and not just as rental property.  Real housing that people own.  I have a plan that I have thought about since my time with Habitat for Humanity.  In a nutshell, the community could build condominiums that would provide decent affordable housing for the working poor as well as interest free mortgages.     ~Terry Lynn Saunders

1.  Adhere to the city’s policy of not converting rentals to condos; a recent major example is the attempt to stratify Seacrest Apts.

2.  Apply the will and ability to implement “Nanaimo’s Response to Homelessness”  (tabled July 08) using Toronto’s homelessness plan as a benchmark.

3.  Fast track the ability to legalize rooming houses – for both existing and new construction.     ~Pat Squire

1 – Determine the extent to which existing building codes and bylaws may cause the cost of housing to be greater than it need be to provide adequate homeless shelter and develop an inventory of sites where temporary or permanent homeless facilities could be placed.

2 – Get out in front of the homeless problem rather than being behind it playing catch up.  Beating the bushes to find the homeless is not a reasonable approach.  Until the touted units are built, we should undertake to provide some shelter for every homeless person that needs it, even if the facilities are temporary and in parks or on vacant public lots.  Efforts can then be focused on defining needs, providing services and security and moving folks to appropriate and longer term facilities as required.  The combined costs of our current system of dealing with the homeless problems in an ad hoc manner are far too high and need to be reduced.

3 – Develop a bylaw which, for large scale housing developments, requires that the project provide some affordable housing, e.g. 10-30% of units and that smaller projects pay some proportion of their development costs into a fund established to build affordable housing.  The idea is to use a portion of the increase in land values created when the City grants rezonings, development permits, etc., for public purposes.  I do not view this suggestion as “subsidizing” public housing, but rather as a recovery of part of the value which the public has created in the development process.     ~Ron Bolin

Housing is essential, but must be done in small units, with strong management so as not to impact neighbourhoods.  Our area has more than enough social services now, so I would expect NO MORE in this area.  I serve as a Director of the Columbian Centre Society who sucessfully operates 5 buildings none of which have any impact on their neighbours, so I do know it is possible to achieve.  Continued CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Enviromental Design) principles need to be be retrofitted where possible on public and private space.  The lighting in Deverill Park is an example of this.  Enforcement personnel, both RCMP and Bylaw need to continue to be diligent, and working with other agencies need to continue to shut down drug houses much more quickly than they have been able to in the past.     ~Blake McGuffie

The only answer to homelessness is to provide homes. Nanaimo recently developed a Homeless Action Plan, that has great potential and looks at providing a mix of purpose built housing as well as subsidies for rental housing. Pressure needs to be kept up on both the provincial and federal levels of government to contribute. The city also has looked at secondary suites as a means to provide affordable housing and is currently looking at developing guidelines for rooming houses. Making sure affordable and social housing are spread throughout Nanaimo is essential. See my blog gordonfuller.blogspot.com for more information and ideas.     ~Gordon Fuller

HOMELESSNESS A real big problem everywhere.  There are many empty lots around the city that could be used as campground facilities without a big concentration at any one area.  Supplied water and garbage pickup.  I believe the federal Gov. would be willing to supply army tents and these people must be considered to be Canadian refugees. Mobile housing as used for construction and oil rig camps could also be supplied for immediate shelter to fill the gap until decent housing can be generated.  This can be done NOW  at a very little cost shared by all levels of government.  I dedicate  myself to making this happen!     ~Brunie Brunie

As an apartment manger I talk to people all the time that are having a very difficult time finding a place to live.  I have three proposals that would elevate some of the housing problems.

-All condo developments would have to allow rentals not just for the original owners but of people who buy from original owners. I would also talk to the strata councils that operate preexisting condo developments to get them to allow rentals in their buildings.

-Stop the crackdown of illegal suites and make it easier for owners to turn their illegal suites into legal suites.

-There are many developers who want to build in Nanaimo. I say let them built. An increase of supply will help elevate this situation.     ~Mark Sadhra

1. Require the provincial and federal governments to make a fair contribution towards the resolution of this problem.

2. Require that a coordinated and accessible multi-disciplinary team be available to provide practical logistical support for people in crisis and/or with a housing emergency to help them access all available levels of support and assistance with a minimal level of bureaucracy.

3. Partnership with other social and support providers with a proven track record of assistance.     ~Janet Cowling

Provincial, Federal and Municipal funding for non-market housing projects that will house the homeless.

Inclusionary Zoning (developers must include a percentage of affordable housing in new development plans)/ Density Bonusing (developers can increase density provided they include affordable housing in a new project) with an emphasis on constructing rental units.     ~Bill Forbes

The first initiative I would support is aggressive lobbying of the Provincial and Federal governments to make access to affordable housing a priority in this country.  The next initiative would be to adopt “Smart Growth” principles of affordable housing which is primarily about providing a variety of housing options and setting “inclusionary zoning” (a required percentage of affordable housing units in new developments).  The third initiative would be to adequately support service providers that are often essential to the success of people new to permanent housing.     ~Simon Schachner

– Helping people with mental illness find affordable assisted living quarters.

– Separating the homeless into two groups, those that want help and those that don’t.  I want to spend tax dollars on the ones who want to help themselves but can’t.

– Crack down hard on the drug dealers to make it more of a risk to offend, currently the punishment is worth the chance to make money off the plight of others.

Its a complex issue!     ~Rob Campbell

I will continue to support the excellent work currently carried out by the service providers.  Through strong advocacy, policy change and supporting initiatives like “Streets to Homes” we can work to end homelessness.  Although viewed by some as the responsibility of upper government, we must act to improve our community through financial, in-kind or capital investment with broad participation.  We need to create a greater pride and sense of community with dignity based policy and response to issues of homelessness, addiction, crime and core issues.     ~Jim Kipp

Get Provincial and Federal Governments to accept their responsibility for this issue of homelessness.  The City should act as a coordinator with the two Senior Levels of Government.     ~Loyd Sherry

1) The City’s current Housing First action plan that involves building new housing via the donation of City-owned land, construction funds from the Province, and management by VI Health Authority.

2) The Canadian Mental Health’s project of converting the Balmoral Hotel into residences, as vetted through the South End Residents’ Association.

3) Legalization and regulation of boarding houses.     ~Bill Holdom

The issue of homelessness and affordable housing are complex and complicated as so many levels of government, various agencies and municipal governments are involved.

I do believe the current Council is making excellent progress in this regard with respect to priorizing affordable housing and the homeless in Nanaimo as a very high priority.  As I write this response I have optimism an announcement on Provincial funding for a new long term affordable housing initiative in Nanaimo is imminent.

More specifically, if I could only support 3 initiatives to deal with homelessness and affordable housing, I would continue to support:

1.  Providing City owned raw land for future low cost housing projects.
2.  Encourage more affordable rental properties to be constructed in part or whole.
3.  Direct cash in lieu from developments to fund low cost housing initiatives.     ~Bill Bestwick

We will have an announcement soon from the Province with regard to a major housing initiative for the whole city, including the homeless.  This is very exciting news.     ~Larry McNabb

Homelessness and affordable housing (lack of) are two separate issues.  One is a social issue, the other a long term economic issue.  Two major industries in Nanaimo are retirement and tourism.  Both of which rely on low paid workers who must be decently and affordably housed.  With the downturn in the market now is the time to build helping to maintain our forest industry at the same time.

We must stop treating the homeless as criminals per se.

When one becomes homeless for whatever reason one becomes depressed and then perhaps angry, paranoid, reach for the bottle or for drugs.  The problems are not caused by the homeless but homelessness.  It solves nothing to drive them out of where they are sleeping.  Everyone has a right to a good night’s sleep.  We let sleeping dogs lie.  Why not sleeping people?  Everywhere the homeless might shelter out of the rain there are chain link fences or warning notices.

We need a living room for those with no living room.  I suggest the old museum building would make a good living room.  Well patrolled.  I also think the city should rent several vacant lots.  Fence in three sides and set up with toilet facilities as camp sites.  The city should take seriously the recent decision regarding the right of the homeless to camp.  We have vacant lots.  We don’t need campsites in our parks.

The city should pressure the province to increase welfare rates and make them inclusive.  Money given in welfare is recycled into the local economy.  Throwing people off welfare encourages them to join the underground economy.     ~Tim Lander

I would support initiatives that encourage the co-ordination of many organizations such as City of Nanaimo, the V.I.H.A. Outreach Program, and B.C. Emergency Shelter Fund.  We need ways to avoid a “Tent City” in Nanaimo.

One low cost initiative could be for alternative ideas for homeless that incorporate shipping crate homes like those used in China.  Each crate is only $3,000 and could be easily located near policing stations.  They are more secure than tents and we could build a public bathroom to accommodate their needs.  Giving them support then a safe and secure place to go to in order to treat other problems; such as joblessness, addictions, and mental health.

Another alternative initiative for low income housing would be a similar shipping crate home idea but with individual bathrooms.  This way when one neighborhoods value increases, we can economically and efficiently relocate the low income housing to another area.     ~Troy Pearson

As an appointed member to the Social Planning advisory committee I am informed of issues and have an interest in working together to respond to changing social needs and issues.

-To develop a policy within the City to ensure that a percentage of any new zonings by developers contain the grant of a certain number of municipal affordable housing to the City, to be used by non-profit societies to build affordable housing.

-I would support a lobby from the Council of the City of Nanaimo to the Provincial Government, to provide more centres for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction that would allow those affected by this disease to be adequately treated in our society.

-Stand by the city policy of prohibiting the conversion of existing residential rental buildings to condominium status when the rental vacancy rate falls below 3%.     ~Diana Johnstone

Implement a model and make it a program of immediacy, perhaps the Ontario model… give it an immediate trial period, far more pressure on the provincial government and its departments to look after people, continue with the move to low cost and affordable housing for the individuals concerned…. take care to consult residents and stakeholders in the areas before implementation.  The problem is NOT only for some of the city, It is a problem for all of our residents to deal with.     ~Jack Arnold

My three initiatives would be:
a) Support fully the City’s “Housing First and Harm Reduction” action plan and ensure that the annual goals in this five-year plan are being met and that “the load” is shared equally by other parts of the City.  To have some thirteen social services dispensed from the South End alone is unfair and unacceptable!

b) I sat on both Secondary Suite Task Forces which steered Council towards legalizing secondary suites, now a possibility in the main dwelling as well as in detached structures (granny- and coach house suites) and I feel that I have contributed, albeit in a small way, towards more affordable housing.  More of this type of housing should be made available.  Similarly I support more co-op housing and it goes without saying that there will be no conversion from rental stock to condo as long as the vacancy rate is less than 3%, something which this Council is having trouble following even though this is a current bylaw………

c) Some municipalities require developers to set aside a certain percentage of new housing projects as “affordable” and I believe there should be opportunity for Nanaimo to do the same; I am using the SmartGrowthBC definition of “affordable” to be that not more than 30% of income is paid to have a roof over your head.     ~Fred Pattje

1. Those that cannot help themselves need to be helped and cared for, and we need to have facilities where they can be looked after.  That’s what we Canadians do.

2. Those that can help themselves, but refuse to work, need to be presented with opportunities to work and contribute to society.  Or, they can be re-trained to find something they can do to help them build a better life.

3. The city can look at providing incentives so that investors and developers would be encouraged to build realistic affordable housing that can be rented out at reasonable rates.  The city has the ability to create such an environment, and recognizing the opportunity, the development community could be enticed to participate, lessening dependence on the city and taxpayers.  The Federal government needs to get involved, as this is also an issue concerning Capital Gains allowances.     ~Mark MacDonald

The first initiative that I could support is an incentive for developers to build affordable housing other than condos for example.  What the developers build is dictated by good business sense and the economy.  Apartments or affordable housing are not where the best profits are realized. That is not a criticism, but reality.  So a funding incentive or relaxation on DCCs to make affordable housing attractive to build is the idea.

Second, the City’s Housing First Plan to house the Homeless is an incentive that I could support.  I believe it has been borrowed from the City of Toronto and the Streets to Homes Program that appears to be very successful.  It requires a buy in by the Province for funding and VIHA for the support needed by the individuals that are housed.

I am not aware of any other incentive at this time.     ~Ted Greves

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Filed under Answers From Candidates Here, Candidates for City Council, Homelessness

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.

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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

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

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

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Candidates for Council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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