Nanaimo Operations Centre Project

Nanaimo Operations Centre 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.


The Potential Nanaimo Operations Centre (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 Phase One Project 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

There are no feasible grant funding opportunities for a project like NOC, and it would require 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 electorate, either through a referendum or an Alternative Approval Process (AAP). Given the criticality and non-discretionary nature of City operations, an AAP is the recommended process. Staff will be engaging with the community throughout the AAP process 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, Staff would then begin negotiations with the design team for a contract to complete detailed design with the goal of completing design and permitting in late 2024 and construction in 2026-2027.

Contact Information

By email:

By mail:  City of Nanaimo, Engineering Department, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo BC, V9R 5J6

By phone:  250-754-4460, Ext 4230

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