Previous Strategic Plan 2016-2019

The City of Nanaimo Strategic Plan Update 2016-2019 document.

The purpose of this Strategic Plan Update is to build upon the community vision, values and commitments made under the City’s previous 2012–2015 Strategic Plan. This update will provide Council and Staff with a common focus and priorities to be pursued into 2019 and establishes a commitment from the City to its citizens and stakeholders in guiding the City and giving direction to the administration in development of operational plans and activities.

As with the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, the update restates the City’s commitment to the four values of sustainability: economic health, environmental responsibility, social equity and cultural vitality as well as adds a fifth value for an active lifestyle.

As noted in the recently completed Core Services Review Report, strategic planning is the tool with which Council determines what the City will become (the long term vision); identifies key actions needed to achieve the long term vision (strategies and priorities); and identifies important community outcomes and establishes service levels in its programs which will lead to influence of the outcomes.

To implement and promote the Strategic Plan Update, the City will develop budget alignment strategies and accountability mechanisms that ensure adequate resourcing and follow through, while the community will be advised of the update’s progress through an annual report.

Why a Strategic Plan Update?

The 2012-2015 Strategic Plan was the result of community consultation in 2012. The engagement process involved over 500 participants in various interviews and workshops over a five month period as well as input from thousands of people through the City’s blog site and an online survey.

Given the thorough community engagement foundation upon which the Strategic Plan was built, combined with the imperative to identify the City’s strategic priorities to 2019, Council have chosen not to commence another round of strategic planning but instead revise the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan as follows:

  • retain the community input from the 2012-2015 strategic plan;
  • build on accepted recommendations from the Core Services Review;
  • incorporate long-term capital project planning; and
  • link to an enhanced committee structure.

Vision Identified in the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan

During the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan process, those who live and work in Nanaimo were asked to identify what the City would be known and respected for by 2025. For the purpose of the Strategic Plan Update, Council has retained this vision and added some minor revisions related to natural environment and connectivity:

The City of Nanaimo proudly features its harbour and natural environment, its inclusive quality of life and its location as a business centre and hub for Vancouver Island, connecting its residents regionally and nationally by land, sea and air.

Through this vision, the bolded elements above become driving forces that reinforce the City’s overall Strategic Plan and shape Nanaimo’s future as a progressive urban and cultural community.

Nanaimo’s Harbour and Natural Environment – Nanaimo has a beautiful, protected natural waterfront which includes a prosperous working harbour. Against a backdrop of coastal mountains, the City is home to scenic lakes, trails and parks.

Nanaimo’s Quality of Life – Nanaimo is a distinct, healthy, inclusive community located in a unique natural setting supporting abundant opportunities for arts, culture, heritage, recreation, sports, outdoor and tourism opportunities.

Nanaimo’s role as a Business Centre and Service Hub – Nanaimo is a gathering place, a central transportation, service, shopping and commercial hub. It is home to a wide range of entrepreneurial and innovative industries, supported and encouraged by the City’s primary post-secondary institution, Vancouver Island University. 

Nanaimo’s Community Values

During the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan process, Council reviewed and endorsed the City’s commitment to four community values of sustainability (Economic Health, Environmental Responsibility, Social Equity, and Cultural Vitality) with the goal of balancing social, environment, economic and cultural perspectives. The community values, adopted in 2012, remain relevant today. Council’s five Strategic Plan Update priorities for 2016-2019 build on these community values which can be defined as follows: 

Economic Health: Creating a vibrant culture of innovation, stewardship and partnership to encourage a healthy economy, now and into the future. 

A healthy economy includes:

  • diverse jobs that enable our residents and businesses to thrive;
  • values reflecting our unique community in a changing world;
  • strong partnerships and collaboration with the private sector, educational institutions, First Nations and other levels of government, and other organizations;
  • environmental stewardship; and
  • an innovative atmosphere supporting creativity and entrepreneurialism.

Environmental Responsibility: Protecting and enhancing Nanaimo’s natural environment by looking after the community’s biological diversity in the course of land use and development. 

Being environmentally responsible includes:

  • meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs through sustainability and stewardship as a community;
  • identifying, protecting and enhancing the ecological health of Nanaimo’s significant natural features and systems; 
  • adapting the way in which we live, work, recreate and travel within the new reality of climate change; and
  • creating greater efficiencies in how we consume energy, use transportation and protect and enhance our natural environment.

Social Equity: Creating a sustainable community that reduces the effects of poverty overall, increases citizen safety and nurtures health and inclusivity.

Being socially equitable includes:

  • empowering citizens to realize their aspirations and meet their needs;
  • treating our most vulnerable with dignity and acceptance;
  • providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources; and
  • encouraging full participation in all aspects of community life.

Cultural Vitality: Supporting culture as an integral part of everyday life in Nanaimo. 

Achieving cultural vitality includes:

  • promoting Nanaimo’s arts, creativity, heritage, cultural traditions and community wellness; and
  • collaborating within the community to make Nanaimo a distinctive place to visit, live, work and play. 

In addition to the four community values identified in the 2012-2015 Strategic Plan, a fifth value has been added by Council in this update:

Active Lifestyle: Improving Nanaimo's community infrastructure and resources to enable residents to support one another in achieving an active and healthy place to live.

An active lifestyle includes:

  • creating a physically and economically accessible city;
  • providing social, recreational and sporting opportunities and amenities; and
  • providing access to walking trails, bike routes and waterways.

Where Have We Been? Progress on 2012-2015 Strategic Plan

The City has made significant progress on the six priorities adopted by the 2012 Council: 1) Asset Management; 2) Community Building Partnerships; 3) Taking Responsibility; 4) Transportation and Mobility; 5) Water; and 6) Waterfront Enhancement as outlined in the City’s 2013, 2014 and 2015 Strategic Plan Progress Reports.

Where Are We Going? 2016-2019 Council Priorities

By setting its vision below, Council has provided direction to staff and its partners on the outcomes its hopes to achieve over the next three years. Based on this direction, staff will incorporate the following priorities into its annual operations plan and five year financial plan. 

1) 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.

2) 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 space to facilitate 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.

3) 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.

4) 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.

5) 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 and design 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, food security, children, mental health and addictions.

Key Capital Projects and Initiatives (2016-2019)

After sharing their individual visions, values and priorities, Council selected the following five capital projects and two initiatives. This list identifies projects and initiatives where there is common agreement amongst Council. It does not preclude Council’s consideration of other projects and initiatives which align with the priorities listed above.



1 Port Drive/South Downtown Waterfront

South Downtown Waterfront Initiative, Official Community Plan (OCP)

Beban Park Facilities Redevelopment/Master Plan

Parks Master Plan, Beban Master Plan, OCP

Sports and Entertainment Centre


Waterfront Walkway (Departure Bay, Newcastle Channel, etc.)

Parks Master Plan, OCP

Construct Georgia Avenue Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge over Chase River

Harewood Neighbourhood Plan, OCP


Affordable Housing

Social Development Strategy, OCP

Property Acquisition

Property Management Strategy, Social Development Strategy, OCP

Strategic Plan Visual Aid

Strategic Plan Visual Aid

Last updated: June 20, 2019

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