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Current Park Projects

Greater Nanaimo Water District Land Use Review

The Greater Nanaimo Water District Lands (GNWD Lands), located at 801, 1150, and 1151 Nanaimo Lakes Road, total 97 hectares or 240 acres and became the property of the City of Nanaimo in 2004 when the Greater Nanaimo Water District disbanded.

Water supply infrastructure is constantly upgraded to keep up with evolving technologies over the years.  In 2010, Council approved the sitting of a 14 million liter water reservoir in the west corner of Colliery Dam Park adjacent to Nanaimo Lakes Road and the Nanaimo Parkway.  This decision meant that the study area lands were no longer needed for current or future water supply storage.  At the same time, Council also approved consideration of the study area as park land to compensate for the loss of park land in Colliery Dam Park.

Although institutional and recreational infrastructure exists on the property, the majority of the GNWD lands are zoned AR1 Rural Resource.  This Rural Resource designation identifies areas within the City for agricultural or rural residential use and allows for the development of larger lots without urban services.  Development within these properties would not require re‑zoning.  In addition, one parcel within 1151 Nanaimo Lakes Road is zoned Community Service (CS2).

Since 2011, interest in future recreational opportunities has been expressed from community groups such as the Nanaimo Fish and Game Protective Association and the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club. Nanaimo Search and Rescue has also expressed interested in using a portion of the property for a future headquarters and training centre.

Fill out the Greater Nanaimo Water District Land Use Review Survey.

Planning Process

Council has approved a three stage planning process to explore opportunities for park and recreational use of the City properties located at 801, 1150, and 1151 Nanaimo Lakes Road (the “Properties”). The stages include:

Stage 1: Review of Existing Conditions

  • Base mapping and surveying of existing site features and topography.
  • Biophysical site inventory (including existing trails, wildlife and vegetation populations, and environmentally sensitive areas).
  • Archaeological assessment overview.
  • Review of current site uses (animal shelter, parks operation yard, fish hatchery, and former Reservoir No. 1).
  • Return to Council with Stage 1 findings for review and consideration.

Stage 2: Assess Priorities for Park and Recreational Opportunities by obtaining public and stakeholder input

  • Host public input sessions and surveys.
  • Interview stakeholder groups (i.e. Nanaimo Search and Rescue, Harewood Neighbourhood Association, Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Fish and Game Protective Association, and the Nanaimo Mountain Bike Club).

Stage 3: Plan Preparation

  • Draft plan and recommendations for the Parks and Recreation Committee’s review.
  • With feedback from the Parks and recreation Committee, present a revised draft plan to the public for review and input.
  • Return to the Parks and Recreation Commission for final review.
  • Present final draft plan to City Council for consideration.

Timeline of GNWD Lands Development
GNWD Land Addresses
GNWD Planning Policy
GNWD Buildings and Utilities
GNWD Overview Map
GNWD Existing Land Use
GNWD Environmental Features


Beban Park Master Plan Update

Nanaimo's Beban Park is the community's largest, city-owned recreation campus. At just under 130 acres, it features key indoor recreational facilities, more than twenty outdoor amenities and large open spaces.

A master plan update process was completed in 2015 to ensure that this park campus meets the current and future recreational needs of the community. The collaborative planning process included involvement from hundreds of citizens and park users and over 25 license and stakeholder groups. Several input sessions, stakeholder interviews and two community surveys took place to help determine how the park could improve in the future. The Beban Park Master Plan was adopted by Council in May 2015 as a flexible framework to guide park improvements and development over the next 20 years. Implementation of this plan will depend on community partnerships and will be completed in many phases over the long term.

In 2016, implementation of the Master Plan is beginning with

  • Design of a Community Bike Park adjacent to the Marie Davidson BMX Park
  • Construction of a greenhouse by the Nanaimo Community Gardens Society on the former lawn bowling green
  • Community partnership to develop a shared vision for new recreational facilities in the centre of Beban Park between the Nanaimo Equestrian Association, Vancouver Island Exhibition, Island Roots Market Coop and the Indigenous Peoples Place of Culture (Boys and Girls Club, Aboriginal Centre and Metis Nation)

An open house will be held on Wednesday, August 10, 4-8 pm beside the Bowen Road Farmers' Market at Beban Park to share the collaborative vision for the centre of the park created by above groups. The public is invited to attend the open house, review information boards and talk to staff and proponents. The boards are also available for review using the link below.


Buttertubs Marsh Management Plan Review 

The Buttertubs Marsh Conservation Area (BMCA) is a 55ha reclaimed wetland and floodplain habitat adjacent to the Millstone River within the City of Nanaimo. In the 1800’s, this shallow flood plain, known then as Pearce’s Plain, was originally drained to become seasonal farmland and pasture.

In 1976, the eastern portion of the marsh was purchased by The Nature Trust of British Columbia (TNT). TNT has a 99-year lease with the Province of British Columbia to manage the site “for preservation, protection and/or development as a wildlife sanctuary”.  

The Buttertubs Marsh Management Plan was prepared in 2004. Since then a Management Committee has met regularly to administer and implement the management plan. The management committee has representatives from a variety of different interests including the City of Nanaimo, Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Nature Trust of British Columbia, Ducks Unlimited Canada, and representatives from the Friends of Buttertubs Marsh. 

At this time, the committee is working toward updating the existing plan and to consolidating the 2004 management plan with the adjacent West Marsh, which was purchased in 2012.

Useful links:


Nob Hill Park

The City of Nanaimo has received a petition and request from the residents of Nob Hill to create a dog off-leash park at Nob Hill Park. In an ongoing effort to revitalize Nob Hill Park and keep parks current with community demand, the City will consider this if there is clear neighbourhood support.

Maffeo Sutton Park Improvement Project

The City of Nanaimo is working to further improve Maffeo Sutton Park. Now the busiest park in Nanaimo, Maffeo Sutton Park has developed over the last 65 years from an industrial site into Nanaimo's destination waterfront park.

The original Maffeo Sutton Park Improvement Plan was developed in 2008 with significant input from the community. The Maffeo Sutton Park Spirit Square opened in 2009 and was part of the first phase of park improvements; however, since 2008, the park and downtown waterfront has changed. In 2011, the park expanded by 2.3 acres with addition of 150 Comox Road to the park system. Also, since approval of the 2008 park plan, the City of Nanaimo adopted a Corporate Strategic Plan and begun development negotiations on key properties adjacent to the park. Given these contextual changes, Council endorsed a planning process to update the Maffeo Sutton Improvement Plan.

The update process is underway. Public input processes were held in the summer of 2015. Below is the information that was presented at open houses, a time line of the park from the last 65 years and summaries of public input.

Lakeview Park Improvements

Lakeview Park is an undeveloped nature park in North Nanaimo along the shore of Long Lake. This 4.5 acre park was added to the park system in 1980 through subdivision. Informal trails have been developed with local use of the park; however, these are not maintained by the City are are not built to City standards.

Recently, residents have expressed an interest in improving Lakeview Park through the City's Volunteers in Parks (VIP) Program. To date, trails, parking and access points to the water have been requested. The park and trail system may also be expanded soon through adjacent development. Trail improvements will begin in Spring 2016.

Harewood Centennial Park Improvements

Harewood Centennial Park is a destination for many residents of the south end and Harewood neighbourhood. The 15.7 acres (6.4 hectare) park is situated adjacent to John Barsby High School and its facilities. Harewood is an area in transition with many new residential houses, commercial developments, VIU expansion and the construction of Tilicum Lelum House. In 2010, City Council adopted an improvement plan for Harewood Centennial Park to ensure that the outdated park amenities were improved to meet the recreational needs and desires of the changing community. Implementation of this plan will be completed over many years.

Work for 2015 was focused on construction of a playground around the existing water park. This playground opened on July 10 and is the largest destination playground in Nanaimo with equipment for kids 2 to 12. Also completed recently was a mountain bike park designed for beginning riders, park utility upgrades, improvements to the rock climbing wall and public access to three additional acres of parkland.

Upcoming work will include:

  • Creation of youth facilities, including a skate park; design work for this is beginning in 2016
  • Universal accessibility improvements to the existing change room/washroom (2016-2017)
  • Constuction of a covered multi-sport court and improvements to the existing sport court (2017-2018)
  • Creation of a perimeter trail system (2017)
  • Improving parking and vehicle circulation
  • Improving directional and interpretive signage
  • Installing public art
  • Sport field improvements



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