Downtown land purchase finalized
SPENCER ANDERSON DAILY NEWS Sanderson@nanaimodailynews.com 250-729-4255
Nanaimo Daily News
Mar 30 2013
The city has finalized its purchase of the 26.7-acre Wellcox Railway lands, opening the door to a potential partnership with the Regional District of Nanaimo to develop a future transportation hub. The $3.4-million purchase from Canadian Pacific Rail…read more…
Archive for the ‘Neighbourhood Flavour’ Category
Downtown land purchase finalized
Opportunities exist in south end
This waterfront neighbourhood might one day be Nanaimo’s next cash cow, say real estate agents
Ben Ingram, Daily News
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Waterfront walkway study may help beat ‘formidable obstacles’
Effort would aimed at finding where city should invest money for enhancement
Tamara Cunningham, Daily News
Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012
A waterfront study could find new ways to push past the “formidable obstacles” facing an extended waterfront walkway, city officials say.
Read the rest here.
(Given what is happening, it may be easier to bring the walkway south than north…:)
To Be, or Not to Be? THAT is the question.
At the last City Council meeting on Monday, December 3, 2012, City Council voted to consider spending up to $800,000 over a 5-year period in exterior building repairs to Nanaimo Centre Stage. Over the next few months they will decide between making a long-term investment in Nanaimo Centre Stage or selling the building and terminating our current License of Use.
Over the past week, we have received many phone calls and emails from our renters and patrons with questions and concerns about our next steps moving forward and what we can all do to work together to preserve the future of Nanaimo Centre Stage. The Centre for the Arts Nanaimo (CAN) board of directors and staff would like to thank all of you for offering your pro‑active support for Nanaimo Centre Stage.
Is NCS worth saving?
Absolutely! Nanaimo Centre Stage is used by almost 30 unique arts and cultural organizations. 70% of those organizations are local. We maximize profits for our artists, allowing them to run their own bar, concession, merchandise tables, and box office. We have built in technical equipment so renters do not have to bring in outside rental equipment. We offer a flat fee on rent and do not take percentages or charge additional fees on the above-mentioned items. We have three long-term tenants who operate exclusively from NCS and consider it home. These organizations depend on this unique space to operate their businesses and have made a long term commitment to working with us.
But this isn’t solely about providing a home for arts groups. There is much more at stake here. Our renters run the gamut of cultural and community institutions. Our facility has been used by live theatre, music, film, cultural & community advocacy, visual arts, First Nations, youth, health and business organizations. NCS serves more than just one purpose for Nanaimo.
During the 4 years that we have been open, we have fast become a cultural institution in the South End community. We see this reflected in many of the users and patrons of this theatre, and I can personally speak to this, not only within my position at the theatre, but also as a resident of the South End neighbourhood. NCS is not only my place of work, it is also the hub of my community. I know nearly all of the neighbouring residents on our block and they are happy and excited that we are there, and I talk with many of them on a regular basis about the shows and activities that are happening at the theatre.
Just in the past two months there have been two new businesses which have moved in next door to NCS, into a building that sat vacant for nearly a year, directly because of our existence. Lately, it has become a challenge to find a parking space on the street due to the hub of new activity. The neighbourhood is safer, more lively, and more active because of our presence.
The official South End Community Plan adopted by the City of Nanaimo in 2010 envisions Victoria Road as a main pedestrian thoroughfare as Nanaimo grows and the density in the downtown core increases. Our colleagues and the patrons at theatre already see this happening. There is a positive, healthy buzz on Victoria Road, and we know we are at the beginning of a turning point in the South End. If the investment is made now and we continue our long term commitment to the cultural vitality of the neighbourhood, in the next decade the South End will be a renewed, vibrant extension of our City Centre. Nanaimo Centre Stage is vital to the revitalization of the South End neighbourhood.
A venue like NCS is a place where people come together. It is a place that is accessible, and it is a place that inspires people. It is a place where dreams manifest. It is a starting point. As manager at NCS, I have had many conversations with people who have walked in the doors, who have seen the stage, who have seen the sound and lighting equipment, and the other amenities we offer the community, and have said, “You mean, I can rent this space? I could do an event here?”
YES, YOU CAN!
And I have watched those very same people go on to create incredible shows and events that bring the community together. If you have rented Nanaimo Centre Stage, if you have walked through the doors to watch a play, or hear a concert, or dance at a party, you know exactly what I am talking about and you have shared in that passion.
Is the building too run down and old to save?
Absolutely not. An initial engineering assessment done by Herold Engineering in 2008 says the building requires no seismic upgrades. In addition, the second engineering report completed by Reed Jones Christofferson in 2012 confirmed that the foundation of the building is solid and in good repair.
Initial upgrades to the building in 2008 brought the building up to Building Code regulations, improving wheelchair accessibility, fire and safety requirements. Since CVI Centre for the Arts-Nanaimo has held the License of Use for the building, we have invested over $50,000 in interior building upgrades. These include the purchase of a new fuel-efficient heating system, interior renovations, re-carpeting, painting and other minor cosmetic repairs. In all of our repairs we have not encountered any major issues with the interior structures of the building, and many of our renovations and upgrades have come in under budget. We have plans to install a proper dance floor in front of the stage, upgrade the washroom facilities, and make a few more minor interior repairs, but most of the building is in good to excellent condition and requires no major repairs or renovations. It is just the exterior of the building that needs attention.
Can’t we just put the money toward a new theatre?
Nanaimo Centre Stage was not built in a day, or even a few years. Before we even opened our doors in December 2008, it took years of planning, meetings, feasibility studies, and searching to find an appropriate location. Knowing the cost of a new small, rehearsal and performance space, we had to wait for the opportunity to acquire a suitable existing space, and working with the City, the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership Society, and many of the local arts organizations and patrons, this was achieved with the building at 25 Victoria Road. It has taken nearly a decade of work by many, many hands and minds to make NCS what it is today. It would take years, possibly a decade or more, and possibly a few million dollars more to re-establish something similar. Nanaimo, the arts & culture community and the South End community would be without an integral cultural institution for many years to come.
Does the City really need to spend over $800,000 to save NCS?
Not necessarily. The current report presented to Council is a black and white scenario; either approve $800,000 over 5 years or sell the building. As we all know, artists don’t think in black and white, we prefer colour. We are innovative problem solvers and look at a wide range of solutions, and we are experts at adapting and acquiring resources to create our work. Over the next little while, we will be exploring whether there are alternatives to the scenario presented to Council. Many of our supporters have already offered suggestions.
There may be capital improvement grants available and public fundraising is definitely an option to cover a portion of the repair and improvement costs.
What can I do to help and get involved?
Write a letter of support to City Council with copy addressed to CAN and let them know how NCS has impacted your life and made a difference in your community. Council email addresses can be found on the City of Nanaimo website here: http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/municipal/city-council/CityCouncil.html and you can send a copy to the CAN office at email@example.com.
Please be kind, respectful, and factual with your message.
Spread the word! Please share this notice with your friends, family, colleagues, and community contacts and encourage them to contact city council and voice their support. If you have a blog or a website, please consider reposting this message or linking to it.
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to send an email to the CAN office about this topic. Investing in Nanaimo Centre Stage is much more than providing money to a single building that will support a handful of people. CAN created Nanaimo Centre Stage because of a recognized need in the community to provide a small, affordable performance facility, and our many renters and patrons have proved in just a very short few years that it was a worthwhile endeavour. Thousands of people in the community have benefited from our presence. Nanaimo, the South End community, Downtown Nanaimo, and the Nanaimo arts and cultural community have been tremendously enriched by our existence.
With many thanks and hopes for our continued success,
Aaramë Robillard, Manager and the CAN Board of Directors
Nanaimo Centre Stage
CVI Centre for the Arts Nanaimo
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~Margaret Mead
From small-scale projects to major real estate developments, community is gradually transforming
Krista Bryce, The Daily News, Published: Monday, December 03, 2012
A ripple effect from two new developments in Nanaimo’s south end has the potential to eventually transform the community into a more alluring place to live, according to a developer and city planner.
Read the rest of the article here.
We’ve got new doors! Thanks to Belinda for providing the cedar.
My neighbour Heather headed down to Rona to get the wood cut, and when told staff that she was determined to build new doors for the library, they helped her with the cutting, and even donated the hardware to get the doors together and rehung. YAY Rona! (and when Heather told them what it was for, they knew about our little community bookshelf…COOL!)
We can paint the doors funky when the weather gets warmer, but for now, they will do.
We weren’t sure if we would make it through the winter without leaks, so Harold Horne helped rig up a little “shower cap” that should keep everything dry until spring.
So…she may not be gorgeous, but she’s full of good reads for a rainy winter eve.
Someone generously donated the wildly popular “5o Shades” trilogy….wow!
And there are lots of newer books, too.
Right now, we’re a little short on kid’s books.
It’s this type of sharing that makes the library work. Thanks, everyone.
Character of the city’s south end proved attractive for consultant
David Scott and his wife moved to Nanaimo from Vancouver four years ago
Julie McManus, The Daily News
Published: Saturday, October 06, 2012
Seems to me that a sense of belonging is something that many of us want in our lives…it’s so easy to get isolated in the busy-ness of life and the world of technology. But this neat little article, sent by Madilynn Rotar from R-U Computing, who was one of the initiators of the Lavender Lane project gives some easy ideas for simple ways to get connected with your community.
Some of them we’re already doing in some ways i.e. by coming together to solve a problem, the Lavender Lane folks have managed to get to know each other, and are now planning monthly potlucks…not just for the people on the lane, but for the neighbours in their area that want to get connected to each other.
In my own block on Irwin Street, Sydney and Pam have organized both Halloween and Canada Day events, where we have blocked the street off, and let the kids and dogs have a great time. I try to organize the odd event that allows people to stop by, get reconnected/caught up and then go on their way (or at least I talk about doing it…sorry neighbours…:)
The recent block party hosted by the folks over in the 300 block of Kennedy last Saturday is a prime example of what can happen when proactive people get connected. Pulled together in well under 2 weeks, the full-day event had a street yard sale, street games, live entertainment, a BBQ. And it was capped off as 100 kids watched movies and ate popcorn in a vacant lot, with a screen made from a wooden frame and a sheet, while their parents got to hang and enjoy the evening.
When I stopped by and talked to one of the organizers, she said that the whole event was infectious…that while it started simply as a street sale, it grew and grew as neighbours created ways to get involved. The turnout was huge, but beyond that, the sense of connection that came out of it was…as they say in the credit card commercial…priceless.
And that’s kind of how community works…often someone just needs to plant the seed and it starts to grow.
- Are there any community-building efforts in your little corner of the South End?
- Do you have any community builders that you would like to appreciate?
- Or are you new and looking to get connected to some of the community building “movers and shakers” in the neighbourhood?
- Did you help out at Lavender Lane and want a potluck invite?
If so, I’d like to hear from you!
Oh what a day it was! Over 50 people showed up over the course of the day to work on Phase 2 of Lavender Lane.
But the work wasn’t just the day of…it started before, with much preparation.
The night before, a bunch of neighbours got out into the laneway and watered everything down so we’d be ready to lift sod in the morning.
Then, the next day, we pulled up sod, painted fences, dug holes (and more holes), and ultimately got everything planted.
Took a break for lunch in the middle.
And then capped the day off by hanging signs on each end of the lane.
We couldn’t have taken on this effort without the generous donations from:
The local businesses who provided both product and advice
Hazelwood Herb Farm… lots of lavender and a variety of herb and medicinal plants
Longlake Nursery..20 large lavender plants
VIU Horticulture Program…. variety of plants
Cinnabar Valley Garden Centre Supplies….bark mulch, top soil and bone meal (and a lot of invaluable advice)
Buckerfield’s ….Lavender Plants
ABC Restaurant / Days Inn….Sprigs of lavender for the invitation envelopes.
Art Knapp….$50.00 gift certificate
Home Depot….$50.00 gift certificate
Sharecost Rentals….sod lifter
Dulux Paints …5 gallons red solid hide stain (doesn’t it look terrific?)
And the local businesses who provided sustenance for the day:
Thrifty Foods …$100.00 gift certificate
Dairy Queen…Dilly Bars and ice
Tim Hortons…Donuts and coffee
Country Grocer …$25.00 gift certificate
To the creative folks who helped us put our mark on the lane:
Graham Eyford...Lavender Lane sign
Sidney Robertson…Lavender Lane sign
The Haven Society….24 Bird Houses
And to Tom Grauman…$10.00 cash donation.
Thanks to the media:
To CHEK TV for their feature on the evening news
And to Rachel from the NanaimoNews Bulletin for coming out and covering the day.
Whew! And finally….
Thanks as well to R-U Computing ….printing all the news stories, invitations and providing all of the envelopes.
And……Barbara Densmore ….for designing the awesome professional invites, creating awareness of the Lavender Lane Project on the South End website, inviting the news and providing tons of encouragement to carry us through!
And to everyone who showed up. More than thank you…how inspiring it was to have people who don’t even live on the lane to come and help us. This is community at its very best.
[Editor's Note: huge huge kudos to Angie Eyford, for her tireless determination and effort. Angie found donations, picked up plants, door-knocked, pulled together all the invites, and made everything come together. Angie, you have an invisible halo over your head.]
Stayed tuned for follow-ups.