To the Editor,
Re: A city’s vibe is its biggest attraction, Opinion, Aug. 18.
Last February my family came out from Calgary to visit me. This was the first time they visited me since I moved to Nanaimo 16 years ago.
My family stayed at a hotel downtown. They ate at almost all the downtown restaurants. They visited all places to see downtown, including the museum, the Boat Basin, Old City Quarter and the parks.
They loved it. They especially enjoyed the food, but they also liked walking through the old streets finding interesting architecture, colourful shops and quirky little monuments.
I have to admit, my family’s wide-eyed enthusiasm reminded me of why I moved here. When I go downtown I see the colossal failure of the conference centre. I am still rankled by the loss of valuable historic buildings in Maffeo Sutton Park. I am bothered by the hideous residential towers.
To my mind, downtown Nanaimo is an unfinished destination. A collection of foolish decisions, lost opportunity and unrealized potential. All of this my family, gleefully, overlooked.
I feel frustrated because, since I got here, we have made downtown less attractive to ourselves. We visit downtown less and less.
Some people who have lived in this city all their lives visit downtown as often as my family. Some come downtown only when they have to. Some fear coming downtown. Some, like myself, just forgot to appreciate what is good about this place.
The “vibe” of any city emanates from the heart of a city, and is created by its citizens. We are the “vibe,” and we are not in the heart of our city.
Once we get our downtown to a point where we can all enjoy being here, you can be sure visitors are going to love this place even more.