Terminal Avenue Upgrades

*Update January 21, 2022

Public Engagement Summary Released!


Thank you again for everyone who shared their comments about the early design concepts for The Hub - Public Space and Transit Improvements at Terminal and Commercial. The concepts were developed to set the tone for experiencing our downtown with new plaza and park spaces, improved cycle and pedestrian connections, and streetscape upgrades in the heart of our city.

This fall, we engaged with the community including key stakeholders and the public to understand community perspectives about the project. We received nearly 1,000 survey responses, welcomed about 180 people at the outdoor public event on Saturday, September 25, and heard lots of great comments during our online stakeholder meeting.

The Public Engagement Summary is now available and provides the highlights about what we heard, information about the engagement process, and a detailed summary of survey responses. Input will be used to inform the next steps in the process which includes further design development and Council consideration.

If you have any questions about the summary, please do not hesitate to contact us at thehub@nanaimo.ca.



Terminal Avenue Upgrades

Terminal Avenue is an important gateway to Nanaimo’s downtown core. Over a number of years, community consultation efforts have consistently highlighted  the need for redevelopment along Terminal Avenue. Building off the “Terminal-Nicol Re-imagined” document, a grass roots effort to develop a planning document to push forward the redevelopment of Terminal Avenue, the City is taking steps to create a cohesive vision for a vibrant, thriving downtown Nanaimo. 

Terminal Nicol Reimagined - Esplanade to Comox RoadTerminal Nicol Re-imagined - Esplanade to Comox Road

Phase 1 - Esplanade to Commercial Street

The City of Nanaimo's capital planning and budgeting process has identified Esplanade to Commercial Street as Phase 1 of the overall project with construction tentatively scheduled for mid-2022. In addition to required utility upgrades, this phase will seek to accomplish an enhanced pedestrian experience, improve crossing facilities at Commercial Street, Gordon Street and Esplanade and resurface the vehicle lanes.

Terminal Avenue 1960's

Proposed Terminal Avenue Upgrades

500 Block of Terminal Avenue - Public Realm and Transit Improvements

The 500 Block of Terminal Avenue has been identified as a priority area for revitalization. In addition, the intersection at Wallace, Victoria, Albert and Commercial was the number one priority in the Downtown Mobility Hub Engagement Process.

Victoria Crescent 1955

500 Block of Terminal 2021


Various efforts over the last fifteen years have indicated the desire of a downtown transit exchange. In addition to the aforementioned Terminal-Nicol document, the 2014 Nanaimo Transportation Master Plan (2014) identified moving the downtown transit exchange from Prideaux Street to the Assembly Wharf, which is the current location of the temporary transit exchange.

The Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan (2015-2018) identified Front Street as the preferred location for the exchange while the Downtown Mobility Hub Engagement process elicited feedback on the Front Street exchange. Priorities for the transit exchange from Phase 2 of that engagement process are found in the figure below:


Building off that feedback, the City is currently developing a consultation program for concept proposed downtown transit exchange location on the 500 Block of Terminal Avenue.

  • Progress

    Terminal Avenue Phase 1 (Esplanade to Commercial Street)

    This portion of Terminal Avenue is currently in detailed design with construction expected to proceed in summer 2022.

    Terminal Avenue Phases 2&3 (Commercial Street to Wentworth Street & Wentworth Street to Stewart Avenue)

    These phases will undergo a functional design study in 2022 and be divided into detailed design assignments with construction target years of 2024 and 2025.

    Downtown Public Realm and Transit Improvements

    Investigation and concept development was undertaken in winter and spring 2021 for feasibility and initial costing projections. 

    Currently the team is moving ahead with three concepts and expects to start a public engagement process at the end of August 2021.

    The City will have completed the land assembly by mid-August 2021 by reaching agreements with the owners of 565 Terminal Avenue, 575 Terminal Avenue and 6, 10 & 14 Commercial Street.

    *Update July 30, 2021 - Release of Concept 3/3

  • Documents
  • Details

    Terminal Avenue Project FAQ

    Q1: What are the projects being considered along Terminal Avenue from Esplanade to Commercial Street?

    Concepts for physical improvements are under development, in concert with Nanaimo’s partner agencies, for the following areas:

    • Terminal Avenue, from Esplanade to Commercial – pedestrian-scale improvements and road repaving
    • Concept development of an attractive public space or plaza on the site of the former Jean Burns building, including this block of Commercial
    • Upgrades to the Albert/Victoria/Wallace intersection
    • Development of the Albert St cycle route to and through the downtown
    • Potential to incorporate a transit hub between Terminal and Shaw Lane (south of the Jean Burns site)
    • Concept development of improvements to Lois Lane, in coordination with the potential proposed transit hub and plaza area

    Q2: Why did the City purchase the properties on the 500 block of Terminal Avenue?

    Council is taking the following actions for a cohesive, thriving, livable downtown:

    • Through a series of steps, Council has acquired several key properties on the west (south) side of the 500 Block of Terminal, between Commercial and Esplanade. (The former Jean Burns building along with the print shop and tattoo shop).
    • Council’s intention is to use the important corner of Commercial & Terminal to create a positive and attractive public space, and spark excitement in ensuring downtown remains vibrant and thriving.

    Q3: How will this project contribute creating a vibrant, dynamic, thriving downtown?

    With extensive public realm improvements and surrounding plaza spaces, 500 Terminal will be more than a spot to start or end a trip - it will help shape the urban landscape for downtown Nanaimo. Projects at this location provide an opportunity to address many longstanding concerns raised by residents and businesses, including:

    • Improving linkages between Downtown, Victoria Crescent and the Old City Quarter across Terminal Avenue
    • Filling in the very large hole in the ground at the corner of Commercial and Terminal (Jean Burns building) and activating this highly visible, underutilized site.
    • Improving the functionality and safety of the intersection at Wallace Street / Albert / Commercial / Victoria
    • Improving pedestrian and public safety in and around the project site

    Q4: What is being done for safety, specifically at night?

    • Plaza and public realm spaces will be planned in accordance with Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED ) principles and best-practices for safe and comfortable public space. 
    • Programmatic public realm improvements aim to provide positive activity throughout the day and into the evening hours.
    • Upgraded lighting will be integrated along Terminal Avenue, and within the plaza and public realm improvements, to increase visibility for cars, buses, cyclists, and pedestrians 

    Q5: Is a transit exchange being planned for this location?

    The City is exploring the potential to incorporate a transit hub between Terminal and Shaw Lane.  As the Terminal Avenue Upgrades Project is already scheduled for 2022, pursuing the exchange at this location will allow for possible implementation within the next two to three years.

    Q6: Could the City put a transit exchange in a different location?

    Through the recent engagement exercises,  the City has pursued three main options for the downtown transit exchange and the Downtown Mobility Hub engagement process elicited feedback on the Front Street location. While these locations are still viable, the opportunities presented by the Terminal exchange over the others are as follows:

    Port Drive

    • The development of the port drive site still requires a significant level of investigation and the timeline to install a permanent exchange could be greater than 5 years
    • Integrating the transit exchange into whatever redevelopment occurs on that site is a challenge. Removing that requirement allows for flexibility in future redevelopment.

    Front Street

    • The Front Street concept is an "on street" exchange. If possible, it is preferable to remove general traffic from transit stops and this location has the additional coordination challenge of the Ferry traffic to Gabriola.
    • The long term preference is to have a roundabout servicing the Port Drive lands and constructing this intersection within an operational exchange would likely require the temporary relocation of the exchange.

    Q7: How will buses be routed to avoid traffic congestion and negative impact to the pedestrian experience of downtown?

    The project team is currently exploring multiple options for routing of buses to determine strategies that focus on increasing mobility in the downtown core.

    • Final routing alignments will be determined in the future detailed design phase, based on requirements and input from the Regional District of Nanaimo, BC Transit, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, Emergency Services, and public input.
    • Traffic heading south on Terminal Avenue will be stopped with a red light at the Gordon Street pedestrian lights to make way for transit vehicles exiting the exchange

    Q8: How will the local businesses be affected? How will they receive deliveries?

    • Service access to all local businesses will be maintained
    • Service access routing may differ depending on the overall project design (to be confirmed during detailed design)
    • The City will be consulting directly with local businesses on this project.

    Q9: How will the project affect parking?

    • Changes to public parking areas will be studied further during the detailed design phase, based on the confirmed conceptual direction.

    Q10: What will be the impacts to existing trees?

    • The impact to existing trees will be further clarified during the detailed design phase, based on the final routing alignment of the transit exchange.
    • The preservation of existing trees will be prioritized 


  • Background

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