The City of Nanaimo acquired 26.7 acres of land from CP Rail in March of 2013. The land is adjacent to the Gabriola Ferry Terminal, the Nanaimo Port Authority Assembly Wharves, the CP Rail Wellcox Railyard and the Snuneymuxw ‘Banana’ lands. The area is referred to as the South Downtown Waterfront. In 2014, the South Downtown Waterfront Initiative prepared a set of Guiding Principles to oversee the redevelopment of this area of the City.
The South Downtown Waterfront area of the City includes the City owned 1 Port Drive property, the NPA Assembly Wharf, the SFN “Banana” lands and CP Rail’s Wellcox Railyard. The 2016-2019 Strategic Plan identifies the phased redevelopment of this area as a key priority.
The Wellcox Railyard provides a significant barrier for pedestrians and vehicles, separating the South Downtown Waterfront from the rest of the City. Currently access is limited to a single lane wooden trestle, owned by the City of Nanaimo. The trestle is at the end of its operational life and needs to be replaced.
The goal of this study is to design the Front Street Extension across the City owned 1 Port Drive property which will become the primary access to the South Downtown Waterfront. This access will occasionally be blocked by rail traffic to the barge loading ramp. A secondary access will be required to support future development. The consultant team will work with the City, Nanaimo Port Authority, Snuneymuxw First Nations and the Southend Community Association to identify a secondary access point to south and west.