Midtown Water Supply Upgrades

The Midtown Water Supply Upgrades Project will construct two large water pipelines to replace the aging and undersized current infrastructure that transmits potable drinking water to the central and northern areas of the City. This project will enhance the existing water supply network and build resiliency within the core of the City.

The proposed new Primary Transmission watermain will deliver potable treated water from a connection point at College Drive near the Nanaimo Parkway to the Labieux Road pump station.

The proposed Secondary Transmission watermain will provide redundancy and deliver potable treated water along Bowen Road from Pryde Avenue to East Wellington Road, along East Wellington to the Nanaimo Parkway, then the watermain will have the same alignment as the new Primary watermain to the Labieux Road pump station. 

The project will be completed in two phases over the next few years.

Phase 1

Phase 1 (purple circle) will build a new Secondary transmission watermain that will deliver potable treated water from the Pryde Avenue pump station to the Labieux Road pump station. The northern half of the new Primary water supply main shall also be built in Phase 1 of the project.

Upgrades of the City’s distribution watermains and pressure reducing stations will also be constructed as part of Phase 1 in the East Wellington Road / Bowen Road / James Way area of the City.

Phase 2

Phase 2 (pink rectangle) will complete the construction of the Primary water supply main along the east side of the Nanaimo Parkway from East Wellington Road to College Drive Reservoirs.


  • Increased water supply to the City to accommodate future growth and improved firefighting capabilities.
  • Improved strength and resilience of the water supply system in the mid-town section of the City.
  • Improved water quality to all water consumers.
  • Enhanced operation and ability to efficiently deliver on ever increasing water demands.


Streets Affected Phase 1

  • Nanaimo Parkway - East Wellington Road to Northfield Road
  • Northfield Road - Nanaimo Parkway to Boxwood Road
  • Midtown Gateway  - Boxwood Road to Bowen Road
  • Beban Parkway - Bowen Road to Labieux Road
  • Labieux Road - Beban Parkway to roundabout
  • East Wellington Road - Nanaimo Parkway to Bowen Road
  • Bowen Road - Pryde Avenue to Park Road
  • Madsen Road - Griffiths Road to East Wellington Road
  • Park Road - Bowen Road to end
  • Crescent View Drive - Park Road to Boundary Avenue

Streets Affected Phase 2

  • Nanaimo Parkway - College Drive to East Wellington Road (including a road crossing at the rear of VIU)
  • Black Diamond Drive - Crow's Nest Place (crossing Venuti Way) to Jingle Pot Road
  • Jingle Pot Road - road crossing at Black Diamond Drive


  • Progress

    Upcoming Key Dates

    • July 25 2022 - Construction begins on Phase 1.
    • July 26 2022 - Clearing and grubbing begins on the project along the Nanaimo Parkway, between Northfield Road and East Wellington Road, as well as along Northfield Road between the Nanaimo Parkway and Boxwood Road.
    • August 10 - Rock Breaking begins on the project along the Nanaimo Parkway, between Northfield Road and East Wellington Road, as well as along Northfield Road between the Nanaimo Parkway and Boxwood Road.
    • Mid August (date TBD) - Delivery of the pipe for the watermains will start to arrive at Labieux Road.


    July 2022

    Phase 1 - Detailed Design is complete. A constructability review was conducted by the Project Team to finalize the design of Phase 1.   Ordering of pipe materials for the Phase 1 of the project began in May with alignment preparations to start in the summer months with anticipation of pipe installation to start in September. 

    Phase 2 - Design progress continues with the Project Team conducting a constructability reviews on the varies aspects of the design and sections of the project alignment.

    April 2022

    Council received a construction Phasing Option Report on the project and new paper articles were published shortly after the April 4 Council Meeting:

    Construction Services Contract awarded to Knappett Industries.

    March 2022

    Site preparations commence.

    Trees will be cleared along the pipeline route prior to the spring bird-nesting season. This work is expected to start on March 3, 2022 and will include sections along the Nanaimo Parkway from East Wellington to Northfield Road and through Beban Park. Please obey all safety warning signage and cordoned off areas during this activity.

    Crews will preserve as many trees as possible and will replant many of them when the project is finished.


    January 2022

    Design continues to develop and has progressed to 50% Detailed Design.

    Publication of a Negotiated Request for Proposals (NRFP) for Construction Services was posted January 5 2022, posting to close in February 2022.

    Council received an Information Report on the project and new paper articles were published shortly after the January 17 Council Meeting:


    November 2021

    Design progressed the drawings package to 30% Detailed Design in November. City Staff groups collaborated on potential opportunities to upgrade pressure reducing valve stations in the project area.

    July 2021

    The preliminary design is currently under way for the water supply transmission mains. Geotechnical field investigations are scheduled for August and September. Detailed Design to commence in the fall of 2021. Construction to start in 2022.

    March 2021

    Koers and Associates Engineering Limited was awarded the Engineering Services Contract. The engineering consultants will carry out a preliminary assessment of the proposed pipeline alignment and to prepare a preliminary pipeline design.

    Ground surveys of the proposed pipe alignment for Phase 1 started at the end of March 2021. Phase 2 surveys started in June 2021.

    November 2020

    The City consulted with the Provincial Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to ascertain the viability of following the Nanaimo Parkway as a proposed pipeline alignment route.

    July 2020

    In the summer and fall months prior to November 2020, City staff researched and then outlined eight possible pipeline alignments and held workshops with operations and management staff in Engineering, Public Works, Construction, Development Control, Real Estate and Parks to review, inform and discuss the merits of each option. Staff were then asked to review the eight possible alignments and assess them on their merits.

    The consensus of opinion was that the alignment following the east side of the Nanaimo Parkway was the most favorable option.

    April 2020

    As discussed in the Background, there was a major pipe failure in April 2020 on a segment of the City's existing Primary Transmission main that impacted the City's water supply and distribution systems.

    City Staff reprioritized the projects within the City's Capital Plan and began the research and collaborative work to develop the general scope of Midtown Water Supply Project.

  • Documents
  • Details

    An image of the proposed new Secondary Transmission watermain alignment. (Phase 1 Labieux Road pump station to Pryde Avenue pump station)

    An image of the proposed new Primary Transmission watermain alignment. (Phase 1 and Phase 2 Nanaimo Parkway - East Wellington Road to College Drive)

  • Background
    bowen rd ws pipe break 1

    The City of Nanaimo suffered the first significant failure of a primary water supply pipeline in Bowen Road on April 3, 2020 that resulted in a loss of 22 million litres of water.

    Impacts of this water loss included: three water reservoir tanks being drained, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital also lost water to the top floor and the watermain break left thousands or residents and businesses without water. The cost to repair this watermain break, and clean up the resulting damage, was $250,000.

    Circumstances could have been considerably worse but fortunately there were very few vehicles or pedestrians on the road and a lot of businesses were closed following covid restrictions and a 'stay at home' provincial health order.

    Once excavated and exposed the condition of the pipe revealed other leaks and a complete structural failure of the existing concrete pipe and the consequence of future failures is an extreme risk to the City's potable water supply.

    bowen rd water supply pipe break

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