Nanaimo City Hall.

Nanaimo councillor says Port Drive ready for development

NANAIMO – Nanaimo city councillors talked about referendum results and next steps at an open meeting Monday.

Borrowing for a sports and entertainment centre on the south industrial waterfront has been nixed, but that land is ready for development, according to city Coun. Jim Kipp.

More than 80 per cent of voters rejected borrowing up to $80 million for an event centre in a referendum, prompting city council to discuss at Monday’s council meeting the land, next steps and whether the event centre will be revisited before the next election.

There was a record 35.3 per cent voter turnout in the election, with the highest numbers at the advanced polls and McGirr and Departure Bay elementary schools, the final results show.

Bestwick said he thought the vote had much to do with the conference centre, while Coun. Ian Thorpe said he thought it was a rushed process, largely due to the Western Hockey League, and that worked against it.

The project had been proposed for 1 Port Dr. which the city purchased in 2013 with plans for a transit hub. The South Downtown Waterfront Initiative came up with a community vision for the waterfront lands.

A master plan specifically for the city-owned site is still in the works, the city website shows.

The property is now ready for development with a cultural and archaeological report, geotechnical report, servicing plans and “transportation thoughts, according to Kipp, who hopes someone understands its potential. Coun. Gord Fuller said the city has one of the best relationships with the Snuneymuxw it’s had in years and will involve them, as well as neighbourhood associations, in discussions about the south downtown waterfront.

“Yes, it won’t have an event centre on it, but I’ll fight tooth and nail that it doesn’t have three acres of pavement on it either, transit hub be dammed,” Fuller said.

Coun. Bill Yoachim said it’s time to reconcile differences, come together as one and discuss best uses for those lands, which can’t stay the way they are.

Thorpe also doesn’t want to see the land remain as it is, calling it the last beautiful waterfront property and that they have to be careful moving forward with how it’ll be used. He wants to see the waterfront initiative ideas used as a starting place.

Thorpe said council has heard a definitive message, not just with the event centre, but the lack of trust in council’s ability to show good governance and good behavior, adding he hopes it’s a lesson taken to heart.

Thorpe also said he feels so much time has gone to the event centre project that other things have naturally been put on the back burner.

“I really look forward, as we move ahead, to hopefully hearing what the people of Nanaimo want to see us concentrate on, moving ahead with smaller projects and issues we can tackle at much lower prices, issues to do with safety and infrastructure,” he said.

Bestwick said he assumes council will recognize and acknowledge what the community has told them, pull up their “big boy pants” and take the criticism levied against them and him personally for the direction they chose to go and work toward something assumably the community told them it wants.

“Let’s move on together, let’s do something that’s good and grandiose and whatever the people in the community thinks this city needs,” he said.

As for the event centre, if a different model doesn’t come forward, Bestwick doesn’t think council will have conversations about one before the next civic election perhaps longer.

Yoachim said an events centre is not in his game plan for the next 18 months and he respects what citizens have said loud and clear.

Coun. Jerry Hong said if a private developer says it is going to build it wherever, it’s not over.

“Are we going to actively pursue taxpayers’ money at this point in time? No,” he said. “But it’s not over, if somebody comes forward with a plan that’s great and it’s not costing taxpayers and people like the idea, then it’s not over.”

A memorandum of understanding with the Western Hockey League has been terminated with the referendum precedent not being met, according to city manager Tracy Samra.

Just Posted

Tilray names several former politicians to international advisory board

Many former politicians and political operatives have made a foray into the legal pot industry

More parcel thefts happening in Nanaimo as Christmas nears

Police looking for person of interest after Dec. 5 incident in hospital area

Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 13

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Baby, it’s nasty outside: wind and rain will continue across Vancouver Island

Police warn drivers and pedestrians to use precaution during expected rain and winds

Clippers win and will keep focused till the break

Nanaimo Clippers defeated Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Wednesday

Mental health issue suspected after spike belts end car chase in Lantzville

Woman in her 30s from the Nanaimo area detained after Tuesday afternoon incident

Nanaimo city council will reconsider waterfront walkway plan

Project included in financial plan but councillors want to examine scope and timelines

Customers at new Quality Foods finding spare change for Coins for Kids

Charity getting a boost from new bigger, busier Harewood location

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Trudeau government to “unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil.”

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr is back in court today to seek changes to bail conditions.

Police respond to alleged bear-spray threats in Vancouver Island park

A number of Comox dog owners have reported their off-leash dogs being threatened with bear spray

Most Read