Nanaimo residents asked for input to transform highway

NANAIMO – Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined project is now underway, with the first public feedback session Sunday (Sept. 20).

A new street scape can bring the whole downtown together and change the personality of one of Nanaimo’s major roadways, according to members of Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined.

The Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined project, led by a newly struck committee, is about to hold its first public event Sunday (Sept. 20).

From boulevards in the centre of Terminal Avenue and Nicol Street to trees, fewer car lanes and street lights, people will be asked what features they want to transform the look of the highway that stretches from the Days Inn hotel to Comox Road.

It’s all part of an effort by the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association to support revitalization of an area challenged by potential ground contamination, costs of remediation and a street scape that doesn’t encourage drivers to stop.

The City of Nanaimo has provided $50,000 toward the first phase of the street scape project, which runs until October and kicks off public input. Future phases involve exploring possibilities, stakeholder meetings, options and a new concept for the corridor.

Doug Kalcsics, a member of the street scape project committee, said the highway doesn’t serve the same purpose as it did prior to the Nanaimo Parkway and sees a chance to give the streets more urban character and a “certain quality” that doesn’t otherwise exist.

“Now there’s an opportunity to really change the personality of the street and perhaps re-knit it back into the communities on either side of it,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to a solid plan and strategy that has broad acceptance and will stand the test of time.

Public input begins at My Street, a one-day event by a different organization that aims to show people the potential of Nicol Street with pop-up stores, vendors, food trucks and music.

The Terminal Nicol Re-Imagined team will be on hand for people to provide feedback on what elements they want to see carried forward.

“There will be ways to place your priorities, play with the models a little bit … and try to get a sense of some of the constraints up and down the corridor,” said Darren Moss, chairman of the street scape committee. “Whatever we might like to do, there are some real constraints on the corridor that are difficult to change, things like curb-to-curb width and buildings on either side.”

To learn more, please visit  My Street happens on Nicol Street from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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