Economic Development Strategy 2020

The City of Nanaimo initiated an update of a number of key strategic planning policy documents in 2020, including a new comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  The Economic Development Strategy has taken its overarching direction from Council’s Strategic Plan and will be integrated into the City’s new Official Community Plan.  The strategy provides the roadmap for building a thriving, resilient and prosperous region over the next three years.

The purpose of the strategy is to strengthen the economic base of the region and contribute to sustainable prosperity for residents and businesses.  The strategy sets out the future direction for economic development in order to increase opportunities for the growth of existing businesses, the establishment of new enterprises and increased employment opportunities for our residents.

Nanaimo City Council made a commitment to re-establish the City’s economic development function following the closure of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation in 2017.

On November 18, 2019 Council established the The Economic Development Task Force (the Task Force).  The Task Force had two deliverables: to create an economic development strategy for the City of Nanaimo and to develop an external agency (Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation).

Economic Development Strategy

The Task Force engaged Lions Gate Consulting Inc. to prepare the Economic Development Strategy with a work plan including the following key steps:

  • Review of background documents;
  • Interviews with key informants;
  • Preparation of a Current Situation Report;
  • Sectoral Focus Groups;
  • Scenario Planning workshop with a focus on the impacts of COVID-19;
  • Survey to local businesses to understand issues and opportunities;
  • REIMAGINE Nanaimo Sub-Survey with a focus on economic development;
  • Economic Development Strategy Planning Workshops; and
  • Preparation of a Draft Plan.

The Strategy was prepared in collaboration with Council's other key initiatives, notably, REIMAGINE Nanaimo, the Mayor's Task Force on Recovery and Resilience, and the Health and Housing Task Force, to ensure alignment of priorities and resourcing.

Final Economic Development Strategy

Nanaimo Prosperity Corporation

Neilson Strategies was engaged by the Task Force to facilitate discussion, undertake research on best practice, and to prepare the Corporation Charter for the external agency.

The key elements of the Charter are the following: Purpose, Mandate, Ownership, Board of Directors, Funding, Remuneration and Five-Year Review.

Final External Agency Corporation Charter





  • Progress
    • The inaugural meeting of the Economic Development Task Force was held on December 9, 2019 .  The Terms of Reference for the Task Force was reviewed with the membership and initial input on the Request for Proposals for the economic development strategy was received.
    • The next meeting was held on Jan 06, 2020, during which time the Task Force members reviewed the draft Request for Proposals for the economic development strategy, discussed the external agency format, and approved a tentative Task Force work plan. 
    • The Request for Proposals for the economic development strategy was issued on Jan 15, 2020 with responses due by Feb 14, 2020.  The proposals were reviewed by the appointed Task Force members and the consultant, Lions Gate Consulting Inc., was selected for the assignment.
    • The third meeting was held on Feb 18, 2020 in which Neilson Strategies was asked to facilitate a session with the Task Force around options for the external agency.
    • Lions Gate Consulting Inc. have commenced work on the Economic Development Strategy.  In the May 13th Task Force meeting Steve Nicol, President, Lions Gate Consulting Ltd., provided a presentation regarding the initial findings of current situation assessment and obtained input from the Task Force on the engagement process for developing the economic development strategy.
    • The preliminary stages of the work plan include background research and data analysis.  The community engagement strategy includes stakeholder interviews, community-wide survey, business survey and  sector workshops to refine goals, identify specific actions, and complete the strategy.
    • Work on the development of the external agency continues, which is being led by Neilson Strategies, who is in the process of developing a draft framework for the external agency that will be shared with the Task Force at a future meeting.  Once a preferred model is developed, the Task Force will provide a recommendation to Council.


  • Documents
  • Details
  • Background

    Council made a commitment to re-establish the City’s economic development function following the closure of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation in 2017.

    In April 2019, Council engaged the services of Neilson Strategies to review the economic development function and to recommend a service delivery model.

    The findings by Neilson Strategies were presented to Council at the 2019-SEP-09 Council meeting with recommendations to: 

    • Deliver economic development through an in-house/City-owned agency hybrid model.
    • Create a new external agency (the Nanaimo Prosperity Agency) to complement the City’s in-house expertise.
    • Allocate specific functions between the internal and external agency.
    • Establish a committee (task force) to over see the creation of a new economic development strategy and to further develop the external agency.

    The Terms of Reference for the Economic Development Task Force (the ‘Task Force’) were approved at the 2019-OCT-07 Council meeting.  The Economic Development Task Force (EDTF) was established by Council on 2019-NOV-18.  The Task Force has two deliverables: to create an economic development strategy fro the City of Nanaimo and to develop an external agency (Nanaimo Prosperity Agency).

    The Task Force is comprised of thirteen members, including representation from:

    • City Council members (2)
    • Snuneymuxw First Nation
    • Vancouver Island University
    • Chamber of Commerce
    • Nanaimo Port Authority
    • Nanaimo Airport
    • Community Futures
    • Five members-at-large

Help us improve our website

Don't include private or financial information in this form.

Collection and use of your personal information

Information collected on this form is done so under the general authority of the Community Charter and Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), and is protected in accordance with FOIPPA. Questions about the collection of your personal information may be referred to the Legislative Services Department at 250-755-4405, or via email at Please also see our Privacy Policy.