To the editor,
One of the speakers at the governance and priorities committee meeting referred to the “extreme lack of sophistication with regard to the planning of the site.” I thought that the city offered a lot of sophistication – for instance, in its three options for the proposed public space at the site of the old Jean Burns building, which even included elements of environmental remediation. The speakers seemed to imply we already have enough public space downtown, a viewpoint with which I disagree. The plaza on the Burns site would help revitalize the area and could become the new home for the Bastion farmers’ market, and for pop-up retail kiosks to help new businesses get a head start, as has been suggested by a café owner.
There was also criticism of prioritizing a bus exchange over more residential and retail/business space in the area. I think this may reflect a failure of imagination. If we’re going to have residential, why not micro-suites for low-income people, and if retail why not selling goods that are actually needed in the downtown core so that people don’t have to travel to one of the megamalls. For those without cars, this can be challenging.
Also needed is studio or rehearsal space for artists and musicians or inexpensive office space for non-profits. More condos or glossy retail outlets is not sophisticated thinking. Let’s think outside the box for this wonderful spatial opportunity.
Don Alexander, Nanaimo
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