Vision for Downtown Nanaimo
Downtown Nanaimo is the heart of the City, a people-friendly and unique place because of the harbour and the history evident in heritage sites, events and the physical design of downtown. Downtown attracts residents, businesses, government, professional services and tourists because of its beauty, spectacular waterfront, excellent transportation links, arts and culture events and facilities, culinary attractions, diverse shopping, and lifestyle opportunities, all within a positive and strong economic environment. (Downtown Plan, 2002)
Commitment to Revitalization
Since 2000, the City of Nanaimo has devoted an enormous amount of time and energy to the essential steps necessary for revitalizing Nanaimo's downtown as the heart of our community. A model for revitalization, developed by the "National Trust for Historic Preservation's National Main Street Center" and proven effective in 1,500 communities across North America was chosen and adapted for use in Nanaimo. The model offered communities a "self-help" approach to nurture their downtown's market niche, their unique identity and distinctive cultural atmosphere. The cornerstones of the Main Street approach are: promotion, design, organization and economic restructuring.
Downtown Nanaimo Partnership
In 2001, a strong partnership was formed consisting of representatives from the Nanaimo City Centre Association, Old City Quarter Association, City of Nanaimo , and community at-large to initiate implementation of the Main Street model.
In 2002, a Downtown Plan formalized the vision and set planning principles, objectives, policies and actions to guide the development and revitalization of downtown. The Downtown Plan:
- Makes it easier for businesses to invest.
- Build a vibrant, healthy and safe place for more people to live, work and play.
- Enhances the social well-being of our downtown core.
- Brings people downtown to buy goods and services, and enjoy the cultural and entertainment activities available there.
- Downtown Plan, 2002
Downtown Zoning Bylaw
In 2005 the City of Nanaimo adopted a new set of zones for the downtown to better reflect the different character areas or precincts identified in the Downtown Plan. The new zones (C-24 through C-30) replaced much of the area formerly covered by the C-11 zone. The new zones established a maximum building height of four to six stories but allowed for site specific rezoning to allow taller buildings in areas identified for taller building in the Downtown Plan.
Downtown Design Guidelines
The third element of the City's review of plans and regulations to support downtown revitalization was the preparation of Downtown Design Guidelines. The guidelines are also based on the character areas from the Downtown Plan and were adopted by Council in 2008. In 2009 the Downtown Design Guidelines were recognized by the Planning Institute of BC, receiving the Award of Excellence in that year.
- Downtown Design Guidelines (Updated May 23, 2008)
Downtown Nanaimo Partnership Society
In 2007, the Partnership became a not for profit organization, Downtown Nanaimo Partnership Society (DNPS) under the Society Act of BC. The new society continued as a partnership of the Nanaimo City Centre Association, the Old City Quarter Association and the City of Nanaimo."
The DNPS represents over 600 businesses and 300 property owners in the center of the city.
DNPS Organizational Review
The Downtown Nanaimo Partnership Society (DNPS) was formed in 2007 to carry on the work of downtown revitalization. Upon renewal of the BIA Bylaws by City Council in April 2009, the City commissioned Allison Habkirk to conduct an organizational review of the DNPS structure. Her full report, as well as key background documents can be found below:
Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association
One of the key recommendations to come out of the organizational review was that businesses that support downtown revitalization through the BIA levy should be better represented on the Board of the partnership. The decision was made to change the organization from one composed of three founding organizations to one that is membership based (i.e. that each business or property owner in the BIA areas would be eligible to vote directly for their representatives on the Board of the society). Early in 2010, the DNPS changed its name to the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association and adopted a new set of bylaws to make it a membership organization. On May 5, 2010 the newly elected board of the DNBIA took their seats as the guiding body for the next stage in the continuing revitalization of Nanaimo's downtown.
Contact Information for DNBIA
Available for viewing at the Community Planning Division, 238 Franklyn Street, Nanaimo.
- Main Street Report - An Assessment of Downtown Nanaimo's Opportunities for Revitalization, 2000
- Business Retention and Attraction Strategy, 2002
- Marketing Downtown as a Residential Location and Analysis of the Downtown Residential Market in Nanaimo, 2002