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Strategic Priorities 2016 - eTown Hall

We wish to thank everyone who participated during the July 25, 2016, eTown Hall. The turnout was great. Please check back as we update this page with answers to questions not answered during the event’s available time.

In June, 2016, Council updated the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan to reflect their vision for the City through 2019. Below you will see five priorities identified by Council along with various projects and initiatives the City is working on that complement each priority. These Priorities were the basis of the July 25, 2016, eTown Hall. 

If you are interested in a collection of all of the questions and comments we collected during the lead-up and during the eTown Hall, you can download the PDF below:

eTown Hall 2016 - Strategic Priorities - Questions and Comments

Please check back by the end of the week of July 25, 2016, for responses to many of the unaddressed questions and comments.

Questions and Comments from the Event

1) What are we doing to promote tourism? Perhaps we should pursue a more “Vancouver” style. Video
2) Online:  Where is sustainable food, support for local agriculture and food production? Video
3) Comment from Economic Development Board: They like the addition of economic health in the plan, but would like to see wages increase. They were excited about the downtown development and creating a “front door for Vancouver Island.” They are happy to see Council seeking advice and input early in the planning stages. Video
4) Why are you changing the bus routes? Is there going to be more affordable housing made available? Can there be affordable housing options specifically for individuals with disabilities? There are some safety concerns (comments about attacks) regarding individuals with disabilities and their accommodations. Video
5) Online:  What is the status of the Departure Bay walkway? Video
6) Question from Nanaimo Child Development Centre: How does council plan to incorporate and increase accessibility to Nanaimo parks and recreation to create inclusive playgrounds? Currently only 4 out of 200 of our parks are accessible for people with physical and mental disabilities. Video
7) Online:  Has city council met with the Snuneymuxw First Nations? And if so when? Video
8) Online:  What is the nuisance property program? Is it to deal with messiness or criminal activity? Video
9) Comment from the Chamber of Commerce: Wants to see council continue on its current course and they highlighted connectivity, collaboration, innovation, entrepreneurial government, master planning, community design, quality education and quality of life, liveability, social consciousness, sustainability, and a vibrant economy. Video
10) What does it mean under Phase 2 (Recreation, Culture, Sports and Tourism) when it says “supporting”? Is this something the tax payers have to pay for? Under infrastructure, does that include our drinking water shed? Comment made about not supporting the removal of environmental committee. Video

11) Concern over agriculture. Speaker would like to introduce local produce as a priority to public health. Could the city help through municipal agriculture policy like the City of Richmond is working currently doing with one acre parcels? Ideas:

  • Food security officer
  • 7 days a week farmers market
  • Water smart options
  • Require more food storage space
Video
12) Concern over lack of green space spread evenly over Nanaimo. The south end has less versus the north end. Parks should happen throughout Nanaimo for community. Video
13) Online:  There is no security in downtown parks and playgrounds. Why is there no security on the list? Video
14) Online:  Will bike lanes be physically separated from car lanes? Video
15) Comments made about supporting environmental committee or possibly members of the environmental committee being assigned to all other committees. What is a key suggestion for fighting poverty? Video

Unaddressed Questions

Q. Many council plans are exciting for Nanaimo. With one condition they all require tax money to become a reality. I most want council to expedite the needed high rise hotel downtown for the convention center. Where is council at on this project?

Council will be reviewing two reports by CBRE at the August COW: one on the costs of building a hotel at 100 Gordon Street, and one on the VICC operations.  Once it has considered the recommendations it will then determine the best course of action.

Q. Why after years of saying no to a multiplex is the city talking about this! Especially in light of the Howard Johnson coming forward with a plan to build one.

Council has asked staff to investigate options for the construction of a sports and entertainment complex such as P3s.  The City has several reports on potential sites and funding options and related reports on the maintenance and replacement of sports and recreation facilities.  Any decision about allocating funds will be taken in the overall context of the recreation, culture and wellness needs of the community.

Q. Curious what some of the members of council feel got left out of this strategic plan? Things that didnt make the cut that they are disappointed to see go?

As explained at the eTown Hall, the selection of a few capital projects does not come at the expense of the other projects or new ideas for projects. The decision to highlight the 2 strategies and 3 capital projects was to signal council was taking a closer look at allocating more resources to them sooner within the 5 year financial plan. 

Q. I am curious as to what the plan is for affordable housing as rents and real estate are now ridiculously overpriced compared to ten years ago. I also hear mumbles of yet more houses being built but nothing of the new jobs that will need to support those houses. I was born in 1990, and since I was born our population has gtown by 20,000 people. I would like to see our economic status improve by having enough open jobs for those people. Also, why are we STILL looking at tourism as our only foreward-thinking industry when we know that tourism is only good while the economy is also good? We are sitting in one of the richest resource areas in the world, yet we keep sending away raw products to be made into something, then shipped back to the island at 3 times the cost. When will we address the production based jobs that would give us stability and full time jobs? We need to be more than a cruise port and a retail shopping experience, there isn't anywhere for a worker to grow in those jobs, hit full time or EVER see a benefits package. Please, address the issues of your residents who are already HERE. We need you.

Once council decides to approve this one, staff can get to work on developing the strategy in consultation with the committee and community.

Strategic Priorities

Phased Development of South Downtown Waterfront

This priority supports the creation of a complete community along Nanaimo’s south downtown waterfront. It will be a catalyst for our community’s future health, a key economic driver for downtown revitalization and a destination to access attractions, services and amenities. Providing linkages between our downtown, the Port Authority and Snuneymuxw First Nation lands, this transformational priority will draw in developers, attract investment and generate strong community pride.

The City aims to:

  • Complete the Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan;
  • Adopt a strategic development plan for the entire South Downtown Waterfront lands in collaboration with the Nanaimo Port Authority and the Snuneymuxw First Nation;
  • Construct an access route to the South Downtown Waterfront lands; and
  • Support the establishment of a foot passenger ferry.

Some projects and initiatives the City is working on that support this priority include:

  • Master plan for development of the South Downtown Waterfront (Wellcox) Lands
  • Access Study for South Downtown Waterfront Lands
  • Passenger Ferry service from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver
  • Waterfront Multi-use Trail Study
  • Property Management Strategy

Recreation, Culture, Sports, and Tourism

This priority supports a healthy, active, thriving community for the benefit and enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. By providing the necessary resources and facilitating the development of recreation, sport and culture, Nanaimo, through this priority, will grow as a community that appeals to investors, tourists, residents and newcomers of all ages seeking a vibrant West Coast lifestyle.

The City aims to:

  • Provide a major boost to downtown revitalization by supporting the creation of a sports and entertainment centre;
  • Support the establishment of a newly expanded Port Theatre Community Performing Arts Centre;
  • Increase the City’s public art/space program;
  • Create an inclusive approach to culture through multi-cultural programs and capital projects;
  • Promote natural heritage and green space/parks stewardship; and
  • Connect walkways along our waterfront.

Some projects and initiatives the City is working on that support this priority include:

  • Beban Park Master Plan and facility redevelopment
  • Sports and entertainment centre
  • Public Art Program
  • Maffeo Sutton and Georgia Park upgrades
  • Partners in Parks (PIP) program
  • Newcastle Island business plan in partnership with BC Parks and Snuneymuxw First Nation
  • Harewood Centennial Park plan
  • Small theatre addition to the Port Theatre (Community Performing Arts Centre)
  • Passenger Ferry service from downtown Nanaimo to downtown Vancouver
  • Waterfront Multi-use Trail Study
  • Hospital Area Neighbourhood Plan (local area mobility hub)
  • Archeological Overview Assessment
  • Greater Nanaimo Water District property strategy
  • Nicol Street-Terminal Avenue corridor plan
  • 100 Gordon Street (conference centre) hotel
  • Property Management Strategy

Public Safety

This priority supports the collective wellbeing of our community by protecting the lives of all our residents. Through programs supporting protection, prevention and education, Nanaimo will be a safer and more secure community.

The City aims to:

  • Promote community-wide emergency planning; and
  • Provide public safety through fire and police protection.

Some projects and initiatives the City is working on that support this priority include:

  • Project 529 Bike Identification Program
  • Nuisance Property Designation Program
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program
  • Nanaimo Overdose Prevention Working Group
  • Fire plan
  • Emergency Response and Recovery Plan
  • Study on replacement vs renewal of Fire Station 1
  • Seismic upgrade to the Command and Business Centre (580 Fitzwilliam Street)
  • Emergency Pump Station to ensure water for firefighting
  • Water treatment plant
  • Annual sidewalk maintenance
  • Annual bridge maintenance and inspections
  • Traffic signal maintenance and inspections

Governance Renewal

This priority guides Council and staff in renewing the City’s capacity to effectively and efficiently serve the residents of our community. Through regular public outreach, Council will establish a respectful tone that facilitates understanding, openness and thoughtful discussion concerning how our city is governed.

The City aims to:

  • Carry out the approved Core Service Review recommendations (and in particular adopt policies and procedures to standardize city operations, including the approval of an operations plan);
  • Adopt a new public meeting parliamentary procedures bylaw to improve efficiency;
  • Implement a new committee/commission structure that is consistent with the City’s values and supporting strategic priorities; and
  • Support a healthy corporate culture through the adoption of various organizational tools and initiatives.

Some projects and initiatives the City is working on that support this priority include:

  • Core Services Review recommendations
  • Participation with 11 other municipalities across Canada to develop a best practices Asset Management policy and governance framework
  • Updating/development of financial policies
  • Additional opportunities for public input during the budget process (Citizen Budget Survey, eTown Halls)
  • New committee structure

Community Wellness

This priority recognizes healthy communities directly reflect the wellness of its individual members. Through investments in infrastructure, including bike routes, parks, and trails, and with decision making which addresses the reduction of poverty, the importance of economic accessibility and the impacts of climate change, this priority enhances a sense of place, supports sustainability and protects Nanaimo’s most vulnerable.

The City aims to:

  • Invest in walkways and bike routes;
  • Improve existing parks and trails; and
  • Facilitate discussions on topics of strong community interest, including affordability, accessibility and functionality; and
  • Through partnerships, develop a poverty reduction strategy focusing on affordable housing, homelessness, children, mental health and addictions.

Some projects and initiatives the City is working on that support this priority include:

  • Child Poverty Working Group  
  • Seniors connect program
  • Rent Supplements Program
  • Supportive Housing
  • Community Outreach Van
  • Kids for Kids Program
  • Law Enforcement Torch run
  • Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program
  • Nanaimo Overdose Prevention Working Group
  • Mental health and substance use in youth action team
  • Beban Park Master Plan and facility redevelopment
  • Maffeo Sutton and Georgia Park upgrades
  • Partners in Parks (PIP) program
  • Second Street bikeway
  • Turner Road and Dover Road bikeway
  • Bruce Avenue bikeway
  • Wakesiah bikeway
  • Estevan Complete Street project
  • Buttertubs multi-use trail
  • Adding sidewalks to existing roads (Benson Street and Victoria Road)
  • Property Management Strategy

Background Information

Here is the Strategic Plan Update for 2016-2019 on which the eTown Hall was based:

e-Town Hall Policy No. 1-0530-02

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