Nanaimo Operations Centre Project

*** UPDATE - February 12, 2024 ***

At a special council meeting held on Monday, February 12, City Council made the decision to cancel the current Alternative Approval Process (AAP), abandon the Nanaimo Operations Centre Phase One Borrowing Bylaw 2023 No. 7362, and direct staff to return to Council at a later date with options to fund the project. The decision comes after it was determined that an error had occurred at the start of the current AAP.

In a news release last week, the City indicated an error was identified where response forms were not made available upon notice of the AAP. City staff have reviewed the process, sought legal advice and have concluded that due to the response forms not being made available on the initial day of AAP notice (January 17, 2024), the requirements in the legislation have not been met.

For more information, read the staff report (


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Head over to our Get Involved Nanaimo site for more information on this project:

Mission Statement

To address the long-standing and increasingly unsustainable health, safety, environmental and operational shortcomings of the site in a fiscally responsible manner.

Got a Question?

Check out these Frequently Asked Questions about the project and the AAP.


Our current Public Works and Parks yards are well past their usable lifespan, and no longer suitable to serve our growing community. The original Public Works buildings were constructed in the 1960's and then evolved as the City population grew from less than 45,000 in 1980. The City of Nanaimo is now 100,000 people strong and growing.

The Nanaimo Operations Centre (NOC) is a large project, designed to create an operations centre that will potentially serve our city for the rest of the century. Plans for this facility are designed with functionality, efficiency, safety and sustainability in mind.

Phase One (currently in AAP for a maximum borrowing of $48.5 million):

  • Foundational work including a new fleet maintenance facility, truck wash facilities and utility servicing for future phases of the NOC Project (max borrowing $40 million)
  • Stormwater Management infrastructure at the yard and next door at Fire Rescue Station 2 (max borrowing $4.5 million)
  • Fire Training Tower Fuel Conversion to convert the tower from burning wood for training scenarios, which is hazardous and environmentally poor, to an efficient gas system (max borrowing $1.25 million)
  • New trail to complete the circular route of trails at Beban Park, in place of an otherwise necessary sidewalk spanning the length of the Public Works Yard (max borrowing $2.75 million)

Future phases include:

  • Storage buildings
  • Storage structures and outdoor spaces
  • Heavy fleet equipment areas
  • Administration building
  • Staff parking
  • Secondary entrance
  • Fueling stations
  • Stores and supply building renovations

Detailed Project Information

Nanaimo Operations Centre Overview

The potential NOC Project consists of:

  • redevelopment of the Public Works Yard located at 2020 Labieux Road,
  • upgrades to the adjacent Fire Training Tower operations,
  • relocation of some Parks Operations,
  • renovation of the Parks Prideaux Yard located at 89 Prideaux Street, and
  • freeing up Nanaimo Annex site at 1151 Nanaimo Lakes Road for other uses.

City operations are currently provided at the Public Works Yard on Labieux Road, the Parks Operations Yard on Prideaux Street and the Nanaimo Lakes Road Parks satellite yard.

The original Public Works buildings were constructed in the 1960’s and then evolved as the City population grew from less than 45,000 in 1980 to over 100,000 in 2021. Much of the additional space was added using modular temporary facilities, not intended for permanent use. The original buildings and additions have exceeded their useful life and are costing a considerable amount to sustain them.

Public Works Yard 1960's:
Approximate Community Population 30,000
Approximate City Population 14,135

Public Works Yard 2023:
Approximate Community Population 107,000

The Public Works facilities have exceeded staff capacity and considerable efforts have been made to accommodate increasing needs by converting unsuitable spaces or adding additional trailer units to create working room. The overall result is a facility that struggles or fails to meet existing operational needs, environmental regulations, as well as building code or accessibility and gender equity considerations.

With the population of Nanaimo expected to be in the range of 126,000-141,000 in 25 years, there will be a substantial increase in the demand for services that cannot feasibly be met with the existing facility.

The NOC Project has prepared a master plan for the property at 2020 Labieux Road to address these issues. A report and business case for this project was presented in 2021 to the Finance and Audit Committee and updates were provided to Council in 2022 and 2023. Based on feedback gathered during this planning process, a phased approach to this project was explored. Phasing enables standalone units of work addressing the most urgent operational challenges to proceed while allowing time to integrate the City's evolving financial and community priorities. NOC Phases One through Four focus on:

  1. Fleet and Maintenance Building
  2. Administration Building
  3. Storage
  4. Repurposing the Prideaux Street Facility

The NOC Project, and the current focus on the development of its first phase, has been in progress for several years and many key decisions have been made to bring it to its current level of maturity. The NOC Project Phase One has now reached a point where it is ready to proceed to detailed design and construction. However, before that can happen, a commitment to additional funding is required.

Maximum Borrowing Amount - Nanaimo Operations Centre Phase One

There are no feasible grant funding opportunities for a project like NOC Phase One, and it requires the City to undertake borrowing.

With large projects involving borrowing, it can be very difficult to adjust the budget later, which is why it is important to complete suitable due diligence prior to setting a budget. Recently, with global inflation and unpredictable pricing, there has been an extra layer of difficulty in setting budgets. The development of the maximum borrowing amount has included the following:

  • Detailed programming and forecasting for space needs.
  • Preparation of an architectural concept focused on utilitarian needs.
  • Creation of a risk register to assist with setting contingency amounts and the completion of due diligence such as environmental investigations to mitigate risk.
  • A professional quantity surveyor preparation of a Class D construction cost estimate.
  • Budget setting in accordance with the City's project management framework and best practices.

The City will also complete a 'Value Engineering' review of the NOC Phase One Project, before proceeding with a detailed design. This will involve a full analysis of the planned Phase One facilities’ features, space allocations, systems, and materials selections to ensure essential functions are being achieved at the lowest life cycle cost while also being consistent with the City’s required performance, quality, reliability, and safety criteria. In short, this will be another level of due diligence undertaken to ensure the City is getting a quality facility that will meet its present and future needs while eliminating unnecessary costs.

The maximum borrowing amount for this project is $48,500,000. While this amount is not a guarantee, and there are unforeseeable factors that could influence future costs, it has been prepared with a well thought out plan and due diligence.

Borrowing of this magnitude requires consent of the electors, either through a referendum or an AAP. Given the criticality and non-discretionary nature of City operations, an AAP is the process the City is following. Staff are engaging with the community throughout the AAP to build community knowledge about this important project and respond to questions and concerns that are raised along the way. Following a successful conclusion to the AAP in November, Staff will begin negotiations with the design team for a contract to complete detailed design with the goal of starting design and permitting in 2024-2025 and construction in 2026-2027.

If you have any questions about the NOC Phase One Project, or would like more information, please contact us. We will be happy to chat with you about this project, the services our Parks Operations and Public Works teams bring to the community, and how these improvements are crucial to ensure we can continue delivering those services to you.

Contact Information

By email:
By mail: City of Nanaimo, Engineering Department, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo BC, V9R 5J6
By phone: 250-755-4460, Ext 4230

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