A show of pride in the downtown core by the Young Professionals of Nanaimo could be the catalyst to start a wave of restoration to buildings in need of some tender, loving care.
The former A&B Sound building at the corner of Commercial Street and Terminal Avenue has been both a topic of conversation and butt of jokes since closing its doors four years ago.
It became known as the ‘Barney Building’ due to its bright purple exterior, attracting attention to the downtown for all the wrong reasons while the city, businesses and property owners strive to head down the road to revitalization.
Seeing the building’s state as a detraction to downtown rejuvenation, the YPN took it upon itself to breathe some life into the property even though its future remains up in the air.
With permission from the property owner and donations of paint and other supplies from Nanaimo businesses, the ‘purple dinosaur’ received a coat of grey with dark brown awnings to fit in with the heritage feel of neighbouring buildings.
It’s a project that serves a tip of the hat to YPN for a job well done, and one that hopefully catches the attention of other property owners.
Downtown Nanaimo has been fighting since the explosion of shopping malls in the 1980s to establish an identity.
With the Port Theatre and other venues, cruise ship terminal, art centre, condominiums, shopping and restaurants, the core pieces are in place to attract people to live and visit – and the dollars they will spend.
What the downtown has that shopping centres don’t, is character. But it needs every stakeholder to invest in the idea of revitalization.
It doesn’t need buildings that are eyesores. It doesn’t need half-finished projects sitting idle.
It needs pride and commitments. It needs more efforts like those of YPN.