Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan

The Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan will set the framework for more detailed future planning directions for this important waterfront area, including future land use, transportation, servicing, open space, trails and environmental protection, within the plan area. 

How to Get Involved

For questions about the project or to receive updates about upcoming events, email portdriveplan@nanaimo.ca or call (250) 755-4430.

  • Progress

    In October 2015, the City of Nanaimo began a Master Plan process for 1 Port Drive, a parcel of municipal land and water located along the southern Nanaimo waterfront.

    As part of Phase 2 ('Issues and Opportunities') the project, the City held four workshops in Winter 2015/2016 with tenants, adjacent landowners and other stakeholders to identify common interests and goals for the site. Shared objectives from stakeholders for the site include:

    • Increasing access to the waterfront with an extended walkway, enhanced public spaces and amenities;
    • Improving pedestrian and cyclist connections in the area;
    • Achieving a successful and complementary mix of commercial and retail uses; Recognizing existing light industrial uses; and,
    • Building on the “working harbour” identity of the south downtown waterfront to create a unique and dynamic space.

    Phase 3 of the project, 'Options Development,' explored concepts and options for future land uses and key plan features, such as site access, a transit exchange, and waterfront walkway.  The City hosted an Open House on June 21, 2017 at 1 Port Drive to allow the public to view concepts and options, and provide their feedback (Open House Display Boards).

    Approximately 140 members of the public attended the Open House and provided comments on sticky notes or by filling out a paper survey. There was also an online version of the survey open to all members of the public, which was posted on the City’s website. In total, 456 surveys (44 paper surveys and 412 online surveys) were completed.

    For a summary of public feedback received at the Open House and through the survey, click here. For a consolidated list of all comments submitted, click here.

    On 2018-JAN-08, Council endorsed the draft Master Plan in principle.  Staff are now working towards a final Open House to present the Draft Plan to the public before final adoption.
    At the Regular Council Meeting held April 23, 2018, the Plan received 1st and 2nd reading.  The Plan received 3rd reading at the Public Hearing held June 7, 2018.  The Plan was adopted at the Regular Council meeting held June 18, 2018.
  • Documents
  • Details

    What is the purpose of a Master Plan?

    The Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan will set the framework for more detailed future planning directions for this important waterfront area, including future land use, transportation, servicing, open space, trails and environmental protection, within the plan area. 

  • Background

    Project Background

    In March of 2013, the City of Nanaimo acquired 1 Port Drive from Canadian Pacific Railway at a cost of $3.4 million. The purchase included 10.8 ha (26.7 acres) of land and water, located immediately south of the downtown core of Nanaimo.   From 2012-2014, The City of Nanaimo participated in community consultation process as part of the South Downtown Waterfront Initiative (SDWI) to develop a vision and guiding principles for the future of the larger south downtown waterfront area.  The resulting document, the South Downtown Guiding Principles, provide the vision for the upcoming Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan process.

    Background on Property Purchase

    The City of Nanaimo acquired the lands at 1 Port Drive from CP Rail in March 2013. The lands comprise 10.8 ha of land and water (26.7 acres).The redevelopment of the property is a key priority identified in the City's Strategic Plan under Waterfront Enhancement.Work is currently underway to prepare the site for redevelopment. This includes environmental studies and demolition of improvements. The City is working with Seaspan and Island Corridor Foundation who have perpetual rights of way on the property.In 2015, the City intends to prepare a detailed Master Plan for the property. The process will require extensive public consultation to determine the long-term vision.

    South Downtown Waterfront Initiative

    The South Downtown Waterfront Initiative is a long term planning project in Nanaimo, led by the South Downtown Waterfront Committee. This process involves developing visions and opportunities for this complex and challenging property that extend 20 to 30 years into the future. The Committee has prepared a vision and guiding principles which can be applied to the waterfront lands stretching from the Gabriola Ferry Terminal in the north to the Snuneymuxw First Nation lands in the south. This includes the City's lands at 1 Port Drive, the Nanaimo Port Authority Assembly Wharves and the remainder of the CP Rail Wellcox Railyard.  

    Environmental Condition of Property

    A key step in advancing the revitalization of the site is the need to better understand the environmental conditions of the property. This information is needed to inform future detailed site planning and to assist in the approvals process with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) to permit redevelopment/subdivision of the parent parcel. The City issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in June 2014. The RFQ sought the services of an environmental consultant to prepare an updated Stage 1 Report and to conduct a Detailed Site Investigation at 1 Port Drive. The work was awarded to Tetra Tech EBA.

    The results of the work have shown that the majority of the site meets the Ministry of Environment's Contaminated Sites Regulations for future industrial or commercial development. A residential development would be permitted on the property if it is built above the first storey of a commercial or industrial building. Approximately 2.8 acres of the 19.9 acre upland has contamination that will require remedial options. The 6.8 acre water lot requires further investigation to determine how best to move forward. The 2015 environmental work plan will address both of these items.

    Island Ferry Services Ltd. (IFSL)

    For the past five years, IFSL has been developing a business plan for a foot passenger ferry service between downtown Nanaimo and downtown Vancouver. (www.facebook.com/islandferries)

    The City and IFSL developed a framework of agreements that meet the City's objectives of supporting a fast foot passenger ferry service to Vancouver, while ensuring the long-term redevelopment potential of the City's recently acquired lands at 1 Port Drive are not compromised. A key consideration is the City's ability to require relocation of IFSL's operations when necessary, and for the City to be able to construct Front Street through the property.

    Demolition of Island Pallet Solutions Ltd.

    Island Pallet Solutions Ltd. (Island Pallet) was a tenant that the City inherited as part of the purchase of 1 Port Drive from CP Rail whose lease was terminated effective 2014-SEP-30. Island Pallet's operation covered roughly 2 acres of land. This parcel is one of the few portions of 1 Port Drive that is unencumbered and is open for redevelopment by the City immediately should an opportunity be presented.

    Following the termination of the lease, a tender was issued for the demolition of the building and a cleanup of the site. The tender was awarded to Pacific Blasting and Demolition Ltd. for $522,294. The base bid included the demolition of Island Pallet ($253,350) while the remaining $252,252 represented site grading and soil disposal costs. The final project costs were $270,000 as soil disposal was not required.

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