New residents

New residents

Nanaimo south end’s renewal attracts attention

NANAIMO – Community hopes to win annual Great Places contest.

Nanaimo’s south end is an urban mixed bag of old and new, decline and renewal, deterioration and gentrification, cultural diversity and a vibrant community rich in personality that is getting notice in this year’s Great Places in Canada contest, hosted by the Canadian Institute of Planners.

Nanaimo’s south end is among 32 Canadian locations in the running for the annual contest.

The city’s Commercial Street won the contest’s Great Streets category in 2011.

Chris Sholberg, city culture and heritage planner, was among staff at the city who recommended the South End Community Association submit a nomination.

“It was kind of a redemption story, how they were able to turn the south end around a few years ago from sort of a crisis situation with the open-air drug market and issues going on all through the neighbourhood to actually reclaiming it as a neighbourhood,” Sholberg said.

The south end is the cradle of Nanaimo’s industrial past where miners’ cabins dating from the mid-1800s still line Haliburton and Nicol streets. For residents, it’s a place with historic, cultural and emotional investment.

Douglas Hardie, South End Community Assoiation chairman, credits the citizens and RCMP with cleaning up the drug and sex trade that overran the district during the lowest point of its decline several years ago.

Hardie has lived on Gillespie Street since he came to Nanaimo in 1990.

“I think we’ve got a pretty realistic appreciation for our strengths and what we’re up against,” Hardie said.

The south end is undergoing a gentrification with investment from new residents and businesses.

Sydney Robertson and her husband moved to Nanaimo from Vancouver in 2007, bought a 125-year-old heritage home on the Esplanade and moved it to the corner of Irwin and Milton streets. She and her husband wanted a neighbourhood like the one they left in Vancouver.

“This neighbourhood has real roots,” she said. “It’s not just about the heritage houses. It’s the miners’ cottages and the people who grew up here and never moved or moved and have come back. People have stories about growing up in the south end. It’s a real neighbourhood. People know each other.”

Six nominations will take home the honours, either as people’s choice winners based on overall numbers of votes, or as the grand prize winners based on planning excellence and as determined by Canadian planners.

Each grand prize-winning place will receive a steel plaque acknowledging the contest win.

To help decide the winners, please visit www.greatplacesincanada.ca. Voting is open until Sept. 25.

Just Posted

An artist’s rendering of a proposed student housing complex at 326 Wakesiah Ave. (WA Architects Ltd. image)
Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-staff as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

FILE - This July 6, 2017 file photo shows prescription drugs in a glass flask at the state crime lab in Taylorsville, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Contaminants in generic drugs may cause long-term harm to DNA: B.C. researcher

Scientist says findings suggest high volume overseas facilities require strict regulation

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., on April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Labour shortages, closed borders major obstacles to B.C. restaurant, tourism restarts

Industry expert says it won’t start to recover until international travellers can visit

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

Most Read