Revitalization efforts continue on waterfront site

NANAIMO – City plans to spend more than $700,000 on former Wellcox property.

It’s down to the details for the south industrial waterfront, which is slated to see more than $700,000 in work this year.

The City of Nanaimo continues to pave the way for future redevelopment of the Wellcox Yard in downtown Nanaimo, with further environmental work, archeological assessments and the tear down of an old Canadian Pacific dock this year.

A new master plan is also on the books, mapping out the details of the area’s new look – from waterfront trails to building heights and roads – and bringing the spending total to $710,000.

Nanaimo purchased 10.8 hectares, spanning the Wellcox yard to the border of the Snuneymuxw First Nation land in 2013, and took its first steps toward redevelopment last year, demolishing an old pallet yard and launching an environmental analysis.

According to a city report, better understanding of the environmental conditions of the site has been a “key step” in advancing revitalization and is needed to help with approvals from with the Ministry of Environment.

Bill Corsan, the city’s manager of real estate, says the work done so far has shown contamination covers a smaller area than expected, requiring the city to consider remedial options for approximately one hectare of upland.

It’s also led the city to do further studies this year, including investigating what lies beneath the property’s 2.8 hectare water lot.

This year, the city also plans an archaeological assessment of the property, formerly a Snuneymuxw winter village, and start its master plan. The plan will not only look at details around the use and height of buildings and width of waterfront trail but also help the city determine just what kind of remedial action it needs to take on its land.

“Depending on the use that goes into those [four contaminated sites identified on the property], you might not have to do anything,” said Corsan.

The master planning process could begin in the summer or fall.

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