To the Editor,
I believe the the old A&B building along with adjacent parking lots could hold the key to change the downtown core.
We need to get tourists to the area, inform them, provide safe parking and transport them in a timely manner.
Maybe we should remove the inconvenient parking meters from downtown Nanaimo and increase free parking times, disqualify employees from parking in key street areas, move the employees’ parking to the lower levels of the Bastion Street parkade and increase the security in the parkade to promote usage.
A large number of people are getting to the retirement age and an increased use of mini-electric vehicles is evident. An increase in retirement homes in Nanaimo suggests new and promoted services in the near future. The mantra of downtown needs to wake up to changing lifestyles and street usage that doesn’t revolve around the automobile.
We need to promote bus services. The current schedule does not start early enough or end late enough.
Employees who work downtown need to drive (to and from) work because of the current bus schedule.
Late night dancers and drinkers have limited choices because the lack of late bus service leaves people with choices of walking, taxi or risk drinking and driving. The fears of insecure parking and or transportation expenses are not promoting Nanaimo’s nightlife. The lack of clientele will see more business closures if things don’t change.
Tourism Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation could be combined and moved into the A&B building site. The current tourism locations are invisible and a better place could be in the centre hub of parking and transportation. A portion of the building could provide bike, electric bike and scooter rentals.
Parking along Terminal Avenue could be developed to connect both an inner mini bus system and major bus routes.
The amount of vacant commercial buildings in Nanaimo may be due to foreign investment or investors using our town as a property hedge against inflation. There is no motivation to fill vacant properties or manage the curb appeal. The city may look at dealing with those commercial properties with some simple bylaws.