Council approves priority projects for Nanaimo

By Dominic Abassi
August 16, 2016 - 3:12pm

NANAIMO — Nanaimo council has nailed down their vision and priorities for the city.
A new strategic plan has been approved by council, covering 2016-2019, and builds on the old plan that expired last year.
Five capital projects and two initiatives are the focal point of the plan:

* 1 Port Drive/South Downtown Waterfront 
* Beban Park Facilities Redevelopment /Master Plan
* Sports and Entertainment Centre 
* Waterfront Walkway
* Georgia Avenue pedestrian/cycling bridge over the Chase River
* An affordable housing initiative
* A property acquisition initiative

The new blueprint also adds a new 'community value', which is Active Lifestyle.

The priorities were pared-down from a list of 46 possibilities, with council spending a day session in a room at VIU in June to come to some form of consensus on which projects to focus on.

An e-town hall meeting was also held to take feedback from the public, with Diane Brennan expressing that she felt there should have been more interaction with the community to get their perspective, even before council had created their short list of ideas.

At the meeting when the strategic plan was approved, several councillors spoke up to assure the public that other ideas not on the list would still be considered moving forward.

Much more work needs to be done, as none of the priority projects council identified have any concrete budgets or plans associated with them.

Part of the process, according to a city news release, will be developing budget strategies and accountability mechanisms to make sure adequate resources and follow-through is dedicated to the initiatives.

UPDATE: Driver plows into dumpster, cruiser in Nanaimo RCMP parking lot