Mid-Town Gateway Project

The Mid-Town Gateway Project, formerly known as the Boxwood Connector project, will remediate a legacy brownfield site impacted by past industrial activity, create an all-mode transportation corridor, and unlock development opportunities at one of the main entrances to the City. 

This multidisciplinary project combines community planning, municipal real estate, complete streets and active transportation design, stormwater management, geotechnical engineering and environmental remediation.

 Mid-Town Gateway Phase2 Concept Plan

Once complete, the Mid-Town Gateway Project will:

  • Restore a wetland impacted by historical coal mining activity.
  • Improve the safe flow of residential, commercial and industrial traffic, including a focus on active transportation.
  • Complete an important link in the 'Off-Bowen' safe cycling route.
  • Enhance access to Beban Park. 
  • Create a public natural area that will serve as a detention pond during storm events.
  • Unlock a development site for a signature commercial and residential gateway development to the City.

Phase 1

The Mid-Town Gateway project will be completed in two phases.  Phase 1 was completed in 2019 and included:

  • soil and environmental improvements,
  • a new storm water pond and planting, and
  • placement of pre-load material that will be left for 2 years to help compact the soil for the future roadway improvements

The project area will remain a construction zone and fenced off while the pre-load material and plantings are monitored and maintained. 

Phase 2

After the soils under the future roadways have stopped settling (1-2 years), the pre-load material will be removed from the site and final ground improvement can be finished. Construction can then start on the new underground utilities, roadways and intersections.  

Engineering design work for Phase 2 will be completed late 2020 / early 2021.

Construction of Phase 2 is currently scheduled for 2022.

Want to Know More?

Check out the additional information under the tabs below.  Or contact:

Kurtis Noble, Capital Project Management Specialist

Email: kurtis.noble@nanaimo.ca  Phone: (250) 756-5330


  • Progress
    Mid-Town Gateway Project Schedule
  • Documents

    Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan

    The Boxwood Connector, which is part of the Mid-Town Gateway project, was identified as a major road improvement project in the 2014 Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan

    Official Community Plan

    The Official Community Plan identifies the project area as an important corridor and envisions a mix of commercial and residential development. Given the geotechncial and environmental challenges, the site has remained undeveloped leaving a large brownfield property in a prominent gateway location.


  • Details

    The images below provide details about the project. 

     Mid-Town Gateway Phase 1


    Mid-Town Gateway Phase 2 Details


    What is a Riparian Area?


    A riparian area refers to the areas bordering on streams, lakes, and wetlands that link water to land. Riparian areas provide habitat and travel corridors for fish and other wildlife. They also act as natural water storage, drainage and purifying systems.


    What is Pre-Load Material?

    Pre-Loading is a method of ground improvement that involves placement of an approved soil or gravel material over an area which applies additional load or pressure to compress the softer soils underneath.   The approved soil or gravel material is referred to as pre-load material.

  • Background


    Traffic studies have been conducted for the project area in 2010, 2013 and 2016. These studies reviewed traffic volumes and patterns in the project area in detail.  The studies conclude that traffic operations could be improved with the Boxwood Connector. The studies also indicate that improvements on Northfield Road can be phased, and that the ultimate road widening between Bowen Road and Boxwood Road can be completed several years after the Boxwood Connector is constructed, or as adjacent properties redevelop.  

    The Boxwood Connector  was identified as a major road improvement project in the 2014 Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan.  

    Below is an old photograph of the intersection of Bowen Road and Northfield Road courtesy of the Nanaimo Community Archives.  Photograph year unknown.

    old photo - northfiled bowen


    The project site was the former location of mining waste disposal and construction fill material dumping.   As a result of this historical land use, soil and groundwater contamination is present within the site.  Significant environmental studies and investigations have been conducted on the property to determine the types and levels of contamination.  With this information a detailed environmental remediation plan that meets provincial regulations was prepared and used to apply for the necessary approvals to proceed with the project. 

    The project has been carefully designed to improve the function of many environmentally sensitive features that have been previously disturbed from historic impacts. Below is a series of old photographs included in one of the environmental reports.  Photos courtesy of the BC Archives. Photos interpretation courtesy of McElhanney Consulting Engineers. 

    Boxwood Historical Photos

    Environmental remediation work, including construction of a naturalized public area with riparian plantings, was completed in 2019. This naturalized area will also serve as a detention pond during storm events. 


    With the project site being a former location of mining waste disposal and construction fill material dumping, significant geotechnical investigations have been conducted on the project site over the years. These studies helped identify the assortment of materials and conditions below the native surface, including layers of historic mining and construction waste, and layers of organic peat and soft soils. 

    In 2019, extensive soil remediation work was completed including the placement of pre-load material that will be left for 2 years to help compact the soil for the future roadway improvements. 

    After the soils under the future roadways have stopped settling, the pre-load material will be removed from the site and final ground improvement can be finished.  This will involve specialized construction equipment that compresses the soil through a method called 'rapid impact compaction'.


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