Former nuisance property gets makeover with renovations to interior rooms

NANAIMO – Owner renovating Jolly Miner Inn, located in South Nanaimo.

A Haliburton Street hotel, once designated a nuisance property, is getting a makeover.

Mike Seargeant took over the Jolly Miner Hotel, also known as the Newport Bar and Grill, located at 540 Haliburton Street, in July and started renovating the hotel’s pub and living quarters.

“The building had been neglected over time, mainly because of absentee ownership,” Seargeant said. “By taking it over I’ve been able to focus on what the building needs.”

The Jolly Miner has 20 rooms, each of which is getting new flooring, paint, blinds and steel doors and frames.

The entryways to the building are also getting steel door retrofits. The goal is to provide short-term social housing.

“Contained in each of the units will be an individual – I call them all-in-one appliance units, like you’d see in a ski chalet – so you’ve got a small sink, a two-burner hotplate, a fridge and countertop,” Seargeant said. “So it gives them privacy and safety, which are the biggies.”

One room was renovated to completion to establish a budget and work on the remaining rooms is ongoing.

The upgrades are a redemption for the hotel, which was deemed a nuisance property in 2012. The city removed that status in April of 2013.

Randy Churchill, city bylaws services manager, said a meeting in June between the city, police and Mike Seargeant Enterprises was promising and problems at the hotel have “died off the radar” but the city continues to monitor the property.

“They had a really good plan,” Churchill said. “He was taking control of it. He hired a decent manager there and they were definitely making a concerted effort and moving forward.”

Seargeant said his staff is working with government social ministries to bring appropriate clientele to the building.

Most will be short-term tenants.

“It’s certainly not hardcore low-barrier housing,” Seargeant said. “These are some people that work up north and just need a place to hang their hat when they come back to Nanaimo. There’s a mixture of tenancies.”

Once the Jolly Miner pub reopens in the spring, Seargeant can address the second phase of renovations to another pub he owns – the Patricia Hotel at 525 Hallliburton St. That hotel’s bar and band stage areas have been renovated, but now the remainder of the 1890s-era building must be upgraded.

“Our focus is going to be on the Jolly Miner and then we’ll turn our efforts to the Patricia,” Seargeant said.