Live in Nanaimo? Make your voice heard!

Last week, the other Realtors at my company and I were visited by a City Planner by the name of David Stewart who works for (surprise) the City of Nanaimo. He came to give a presentation about the city’s plans to zone areas in such a way that will be conducive to making Nanaimo grow in a positive fashion.During the presentation he confessed that ultimately, his purpose for the visit was not to tell us how things were going to be, but rather, to look for feedback and input from professionals who work in fields that are in a position to have an informed perspective on how they should proceed. Realtors, obviously, being among the professionals on that list. I have to say that I was impressed that they have a democratic enough approach to pro-actively go out into the community looking for the perspectives of others to add to their own. (Kudos on that City of Nanaimo.)

I emailed him afterward offering my perspective of wanting more neighbourhood communities that are more walkable (i.e. more basic amenities like small stores, restaurants etc withing walking distance of homes) and a busier, more vibrant downtown core.

But they don’t just want the input of Realtors. They want the input of the general public as well. This is where you come in.

Here is part of his reply (printed with permission of course):

The more feedback we get from the public and especially those involved in land development and sales the easier it is for me to write a Bylaw that works for Nanaimo.  Your comments certainty hit on two key issues (walkable communities and a stronger downtown) that all of us in the planning department have been working to promote for years, but of course still have a lot more work to do.  I agree that Nanaimo’s land use makeup and long linear layout makes pedestrian activity difficult.  The new Official Community Plan (OCP) acknowledges this challenge as well and hopes to fix it by focusing on key urban nodes (Woodgrove, the hospital, downtown, VIU, and South Nanaimo Lands) and connecting these nodes with corridors.  The corridor designation within the OCP is a direct result of Nanaimo’s linear layout, however; rather than supporting ‘highway oriented uses’ along these corridors like the current Zoning Bylaw does the OCP hopes to develop the corridors into Pedestrian friendly areas.  With the re-write of the Zoning Bylaw we plan to follow the lead of the OCP in this regard and hopefully go even further in planning mixed use communities and pedestrian oriented development (which we hope will catch on in the development and real-estate community).   Let us know if you have any suggestions on how to do this.

There is a survey available for the residents of Nanaimo as well. Click here and do your part to make the layout of the communities grow in a way that represents what you as a citizen want.

Ryan Coffey

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