The City of Nanaimo has started the re-zoning process for a proposed commercial and residential plaza at Boxwood and Northfield roads.
City council, at a meeting Monday, July 5, passed first and second readings of a re-zoning application to designate five properties on Northfield and one on Boxwood as mixed-use corridor. The application from Island West Coast Developments Ltd. also includes site-specific zoning for a 40,000-square-foot supermarket.
“As part of the Mid-Town Gateway project, the properties are envisioned as a significant development site at the junction of key corridors of the city,” noted a staff report. “The site will be located at one of the primary entry points to Nanaimo.”
The concepts show, in addition to the supermarket, four other buildings: three five-storey buildings with ground-floor retail space and four floors of residential units on top, and one office building. No prospective commercial tenants were named in the staff report or discussed at Monday’s meeting.
“This is very conceptual at this stage. It’s not intended to be a final design,” said Lainya Rowett, the city’s manager of current planning.
The City of Nanaimo is actually listed as one of the applicants, as it owns the property where the Boxwood Connector will be built. The city will receive frontage of the five Northfield properties, which will be dedicated as road right-of-way to expand Northfield Road.
The staff report noted that based on the scale of the proposed development, the city would expect a $222,000 community amenity contribution, and the applicant is proposing a public plaza with an estimated value of $329,000.
The applicant invited neighbours to a public information meeting in May, and according to the staff report, participants commented on density, traffic and availability of parks. IWCD vice-president Patrick Brandreth told council the majority of the concerns were around potential catchment schools for children living in the new residential units.
City council passed first and second readings of the re-zoning application 8-0, with Coun. Don Bonner removing himself from discussions due to perceived conflict of interest as a neighbour of the proposed project. A motion for staff to move forward with securing road dedication and community amenity contribution passed 6-2, with councillors Tyler Brown and Ben Geselbracht opposed because they felt the proposed community amenity missed the mark.
The application is slated to go to a public hearing July 22.