Opinion

Yes, Nanaimo is kid-friendly

Maybe kids really do enjoy visiting 19th-century colonial trade-route fortifications like the Bastion.

The City of Nanaimo recently began looking into ways we might be able to make our community more child-friendly. The municipality’s social planner John Horn wonders if there are measures the city can take, and ways it can work with stakeholders to make sure Nanaimo has kid appeal.

In recent years, we’ve tried to style ourselves as a retirement destination, promoting activities and amenities aimed at the baby boomer set. Maybe we’ve had a measure of success; certainly there’s anecdotal evidence that retirees like it here.

But of course it’s important to have a city that suits everyone, so that Nanaimo feels like home to residents of all ages.

When parents think about moving their families, they take a comprehensive look at the community. They expect safe, clean neighbourhoods, good schools, shopping and services, parks and recreation, arts and culture – basically all the ideals of any thriving city. People thinking about moving here will come to Nanaimo and they’ll look around and they’ll make up their own minds as to whether we fit that image.

But it makes good sense, too, for the City of Nanaimo to look within and take stock of all that we have to offer children. That way, when someone asks, we’ll have an answer ready, and we can confidently reply that we’re a great place for growing up. Or this could be a chance to try to promote another aspect of our city, and that’s usually worthwhile, too.

Nanaimo is a sufficient size that in most cases, we should try to be everything to everyone. We don’t need to be Disneyland, and we won’t strive to be. Because after all, we’ve got the Bastion, and it’s got a cannon, and as the kids say these days, that’s pretty cool.

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