City mulls future of transportation

The city is planning for the future of getting around a growing Nanaimo and is looking for public input.

The city is planning for the future of getting around a growing Nanaimo and is looking for public input.

A pair of open houses Tuesday (June 14) at Beban Park Social Centre, 4-8 p.m., and Thursday (June 16) at Nanaimo Fire Hall No. 4 in Chase River, 5-8 p.m., kick off development of a transportation master plan to guide decisions on major transportation and infrastructure issues over the next 20 years.

Gordon Foy, city transportation engineer, said one objective in Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan is mobility sustainability and trying to shift from a more vehicle-type focus to some alternative modes.

“In terms of more of a vision, the OCP is our starting point and the purpose of the master plan is about putting more details on that vision and getting a little bit more specific about transportation in general,” said Foy. “When we started to develop the process and what issues we’re going to deal with, it became apparent that it would be worthwhile to go out and talk to the community even before we have a lot of material to show or share.”

The open houses will let people know the city is starting its transportation plan, get some early feedback on key issues, and build a network to exchange information.

“We want to know if people like online material, a website to go to, or do they like open houses,” said Foy. “We want to flush out some of those issues that will influence how we deliver the planning process. Our goals will come out in the first phase of the process.”

Development of the transportation plan is expected to take about 18 months from consultation to adoption by city council.

Foy said it’s vital to contact people who are interested in being a part of the process.

“One thing we believe is if the population doesn’t feel they’ve had the chance to participate and be part of the plan, it’s likely there won’t be as much buy-in,” he said. “If you see a plan come out after an 18-month process where you’ve been to open houses, checked out the website and maybe went to a working group on a specific issue, you’re going to feel some ownership.”

Online content, including copies of open house materials, surveys and background documents are available on the city’s website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/transportationplan.