Willie Thrasher starts a morning busking session at Georgia Park on Nanaimo’s waterfront Monday. The developers behind a scheduled hotel project that would have incorporated the park no longer want to lease the land.

Willie Thrasher starts a morning busking session at Georgia Park on Nanaimo’s waterfront Monday. The developers behind a scheduled hotel project that would have incorporated the park no longer want to lease the land.

Hilton hotel developers withdraw request for Nanaimo parkland

NANAIMO – Hotel's backers no longer need to lease Georgia Park.

Hilton hotel developers no longer need to lease Nanaimo green space.

Insight Holdings Ltd. has tweaked its plans for the use of Georgia Park in its waterfront hotel project and no longer requires a 60-year lease with the city.

Last year, the company was looking to take up 28 per cent of Georgia Park for a loading dock, restaurant patio and grand staircase. The changes then were valued at $1.5 million and would have added to $1.2 million in improvements already promised for other areas of waterfront parkland.

As part of the agreement, the amenities would have remained open to the public and the city was prepared to make the developers responsible for maintenance and rent.

Now an alternative is being proposed after ‘considerable opposition’ to the leasing of parkland, a city report shows.

The pitch is to see politicians withdraw approval-in-principle for a lease agreement and expand a statutory right of way to cover improvements instead. The move would see the same amount of money invested into park amenities like a staircase and public plaza, but it would be part of a public thoroughfare through the hotel from Front Street and would remain city property. A loading dock and restaurant patio is no longer slated for Georgia Park and developers would be responsible for maintaining any improvements it creates.

The lack of a lease also means there won’t be a referendum.

The pitch went to council for debate Monday night.

According to Dale Lindsay, the city’s director of community development, under the proposal developers won’t end up with exclusive rights to use the park for non-park uses but will benefit from certainty.

“They’ve revised their project and they know they can do it on their property now,” he said. “The applicants were hearing some of the concerns in the community that were being raised about the concept of leasing park space for uses that were ancillary to the hotel and as a result they took a step back and revised their project to eliminate the need for those lease areas.”

The multimillion-dollar Hilton hotel is planned to rise 35 storeys from the Nanaimo waterfront, with 303 rooms, a health club and bar/café, two restaurants and eight retail units.

A city report says it’s anticipated a development permit will come from the hotel in the coming months and a building permit will be submitted by this fall. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2016.

Insight Holdings said the company did not have a comment at this time.

Just Posted

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

New Vancouver Island University chancellor Judith Sayers was sworn in at a virtual ceremony June 17. (Submitted photo)
VIU’s new chancellor seeks innovation and equality in post-secondary education

Judith Sayers officially sworn in as Vancouver Island University chancellor

Letter writer suggests ways residents and the municipality can address the problem of litter along the highway. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t add to litter problem

Letter writer who picks up litter along Parkway Trail implores Nanaimo to be tidier

Janice Coady, left, Aimee Chalifoux and Linda Milford at a vigil for Amy Watts on Wednesday, June 16, outside Nanaimo city hall. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
‘We need to do better,’ says mother of woman killed in Nanaimo

Vigil held for former outreach worker Amy Watts, whose body was found downtown June 3

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell

Most Read