New council will determine how Lantzville’s village core moves forward

NANAIMO – The Village Commercial Core Improvement plan needs seven-member council to move ahead.

A vision for the heart of Lantzville is now in the hands of a new council.

The Village Commercial Core Improvement committee has spent more than a year crafting a vision for the village centre, with ideas of public art to plazas and parking. It’s all about enhancing Lantzville’s main street to help businesses and attract shoppers and it’s up to a new council on how it moves forward.

Last April, the previous council decided against endorsing the vision in its strategic plan until it received a staff report. Four councillors, including village core committee chairwoman Jennifer Millbank, have since resigned, prompting the byelection Saturday (Aug. 8).

According to Trudy Coates, director of corporate administration, a report on the plan and recommended changes is on the list for the new council. Next steps include a process to amend the Official Community Plan to include the Village Commercial Core Improvement Plan, and as a major policy piece, the required staff report won’t be presented or considered until there’s a seven-member council.

Ian Savage, a member of the core committee, hopes the work is supported. The aim is to create gathering places, bring the community together and make the core more pedestrian friendly and unique, which could help businesses.

“We got to get it through because that was a good year’s work,” he said.

Half of Lantzville’s byelection candidates consider the village core or village improvement plan a priority, according to a News Bulletin byelection questionnaire.

John English said the village core plan hasn’t been completed, but talks about keeping the core as a pedestrian-friendly zone while keeping the character of the area, which he favours.

“I would like to see us start implementing some of the things in all of those plans and if during the course of implementation we find there are some things that don’t work or can’t work then sure let’s make some changes then maybe do some revising,” he said.

Candidate Peter Popperl said he’s open to supporting projects that would beautify the village core and calls the plan sound but high level. What is done first still has to be worked out, but he said it also depends on what the community wants.

“You can’t really move forward without the buy in of the community.” he said.

Richard Finnegan said it’s time to take the next step with the plan, including setting goals, developing a budget and talking to the public and business owners.

“The main thing the city can do is work on the transportation corridor part, which is the roads, the sidewalks, the greenery and then usually businesses will step up and improve their facade,” he said.

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