The District of Lantzville is 10 years old and the milestone will be celebrated with an open house on Tuesday (June 25).
Traditionally a coal mining area, Lantzville was part of the Regional District of Nanaimo, with its own director on the RDN board, until 2003, when the community decided to incorporate, with six councillors and a mayor as the governing body.
Mayor Jack de Jong, who has lived in the community for 20 years, said residents felt at the time that there were some issues that could be addressed better as an incorporated community, such as access to sewer
systems and water.
The district is not completely autonomous; due to the community’s small size, the RDN still handles bylaw enforcement and building inspections and permits, he added.
The population of Lantzville is about 3,650 and includes about 1,550 homes.
De Jong describes the district as a bedroom community for Nanaimo, with a large number of working professionals living there and 98 per cent of the tax base coming from residential.
He said over the past decade, the population has remained relatively stable, with the population actually decreasing about two per cent between 2005 and 2010.
Some key accomplishments from de Jong’s perspective over the past decade include adding a sewer system about five years ago for 550 residences in lower Lantzville – prior to that, everybody in that high-density area was on septic systems – and adding trails, the most significant of which is the trail along the E&N railway track, completed in 2011.
“Our biggest challenge was to find water,” he said.
Nanaimo city council decided Monday to proceed with finalizing a water supply agreement with the district.
“It allows us to provide some relief, we have some hardship cases,” said de Jong.
“This allows us to move forward.”
Of the city’s 1,500 homes, 900 are on the community’s water system, which is at capacity, while the remaining homes are on private wells.
Other accomplishments include the establishment of a farmers’ market in the community last year – de Jong joked that if it grows much more, the district will have to find a bigger venue.
The district is also working on a process that would culminate in policy options to enable urban agriculture in the community, a hot-button issue in recent years after a dispute between the owners of a commercial farm on residential property and neighbours.
De Jong said he’s optimistic the community will resolve this issue in the near future in a way that is acceptable to all parties.
Other potential future positives include Aspengrove School’s application to grow enrolment from 250 to 350 students, and the Seaside Community Society’s efforts to get more events happening in the district at Costin Hall.
The open house takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the district office on Lantzville Road.
De Jong said it is an informal event and people are invited to have coffee and talk with councillors and staff about future plans for the town.