Graphic by Merv Unger

Ottawa invests in Port of Nanaimo infrastructure

Hon. Marc Garneau

The quality of Canada’s transportation infrastructure and the efficiency of the country’s trade corridors are key to the success of Canadian firms in the global marketplace. The Government of Canada supports infrastructure projects that create quality middle-class jobs and boost economic growth.

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has announced a major investment of more than $6.3 million for a project at the Port of Nanaimo that will help local businesses compete by moving goods to market and by making improvements to port infrastructure.

“Our government is investing in Canada’s economy by making improvements to our trade and transportation corridors”, said Garneau. “We are supporting projects that will efficiently move commercial goods to market and people to their destinations, stimulate economic growth, create quality middle-class jobs, and ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”

The Port will design, build, finance and operate a 60,000 square-foot Vehicle Processing Centre and supporting infrastructure to repurpose its existing Nanaimo Assembly Wharf as a multi-purpose general cargo terminal with an initial focus on automobiles. The project will improve Canada’s supply chain for automobiles imported into the country by addressing the significant existing transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities and congestion while also provid ing sustainable economic development opportunities for Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.

The project is expected to have significant economic and employment benefits by creating an estimated 200 jobs during construction and an additional 100 jobs after the construction is complete and the Processing Centre is fully functional.

The Government of Canada is supporting infrastructure projects that contribute most to Canada’s continued success in international trade.  For example, projects being funded will:

• support economic activity and the physical movement of goods or people in Canada;

• help the transportation system withstand the effects of climate change and make sure it is able to support new technologies and innovation;

• address transportation bottlenecks and congestion along Canada’s trade corridors; and

• increase the fluidity of Canadian trade around the world through our ports, airports, roads, railways, intermodal facilities, bridges and border crossings.

Provincial, territorial and municipal governments, Indigenous groups, not-for-profit and for-profit private-sector organizations, federal Crown Corporations, Canadian Port Authorities, and National Airport System Airport Authorities are all eligible for funding under the National Trade Corridors Fund.

• Transportation is an important element of Canada’s trade with other countries. In 2017, total international merchandise trade amounted to $1.1 trillion. The United States continued to be Canada’s top trade partner, with $703 billion in trade ($415 billion exported, $288 billion imported), accounting for 63.5 per cent of total Canadian trade in 2017.

• The Government of Canada places a strong emphasis on exports because of the connection between trade and good, well-paying jobs, as industries that are export-intensive pay wages that are, on average, more than 50 per cent higher than industries that are not.

Port of Nanaimo adopts a vision for the Future

Ewan Moir
DThe President's Report

We have recently completed our five-year business plan. This is an important document, approved by our board and presented to Transport Canada, which details what management is planning to accomplish. Business plans require a foundation, something solid to build upon. Looking for inspiration/being new to the port, I decided to take another look at the Canada Marina Act – the piece of the act that describes the purpose of the act I often find useful:  

In recognition of the significance of marine transportation to Canada and its contribution to the Canadian economy, the purpose of this Act is to:

(a) implement marine policies that provide Canada with the marine infrastructure that it needs and that offer effective support for the achievement of national, regional and local social and economic objectives and will promote and safeguard Canada’s competitiveness and trade objectives;

(a.1) promote the success of ports for the purpose of contributing to the competitiveness, growth and prosperity of the Canadian economy;

(b) base the marine infrastructure and services on international practices and approaches that are consistent with those of Canada’s major trading partners in order to foster harmonization of standards among jurisdictions;

(c) ensure that marine transportation services are organized to satisfy the needs of users and are available at a reasonable cost to the users;

(d) provide for a high level of safety and environmental protection;

(e) provide a high degree of autonomy for local or regional management of components of the system of services and facilities and be responsive to local needs and priorities;

(f) manage the marine infrastructure and services in a commercial manner that encourages, and takes into account, input from users and the community in which a port or harbour is located;

(g) provide for the disposition, by transfer or otherwise, of certain ports and port facilities; and

(h) promote coordination and integration of marine activities with surface and air transportation systems.

Without forgoing the intent behind clauses a1 – h we knew that our business plan had to deliver on clause a. and because we were looking five-years into the future and in keeping with our new vision, we decided to focus our study on Vancouver Island and not solely on Nanaimo/Regional District of Nanaimo, asking ourselves - what can we be doing during the next five–years that will help facilitate/drive the economy of the mid-island region and Vancouver Island?   

With the help of a consultant we studied all the economic data that we could lay our hands on that would help us better understand the potential. There is a lot of data available and even though each report provides nuggets of interesting information it was only when we assembled the data into one report that we really started to comprehend how economically exciting the islands future is. There is too much information to include here but for those who are interested in reading what defines the foundation for our business plan please head to our web-site and check out the document titled “A Dynamic and Growing Region”.  www.portauthority.npa.ca

Directors focussing on local and international growth

Dr. Michelle Corfield
Port Authority Chair

The board has been focused on maintaining a safe working harbour, growing the international business, and supporting the local community. We know not every project will succeed; but, we will continue our efforts to be locally focused in providing benefits to the Nanaimo Region, including reaching out globally, in support of Canadian trade. 

 The Port of Nanaimo has been a busy place over the past few months working toward the revitalization of the marina. The Marina Revitalization Working Group met several times to discuss the redevelopment of the marina. The current marina was built in the 1960s and now, as a result of hard work by many, we have a new plan. 

The replacement cost of the Nanaimo Marina Basin is estimated at $15 Million, which brings it up to current environmental codes and safety standards. Revitalizing the marina basin will be a catalyst for the revitalization of downtown Nanaimo.

 I had the opportunity to participate as a delegate at the Ministers Round-table on port modernization and I provided input into the review from a Port of Nanaimo perspective in the five key objectives  

1) supporting the competitiveness of Canada’s economy by facilitating the movement ofgoods andpassengers; 

2) strengthening relationships with Indigenous peoples and localcommunities;

3) promoting environmentally sustainable infrastructure and operations; 

4 ) enhancing port safety andsecurity; 

5) and optimizing governance and accountability, including with respect to financialmanagement. Participation is critical - one is to ensure that when public policy is being made, that the unique circumstance of our location on Vancouver Island is considered and highlighted. 

 I express my gratitude and thanks to those who work at the Bastion promoting our city. It was an honour to participate in the Lighting of the Cannon, marking the official start of the season.

Whale watching tours operating from Nanaimo Harbour

A shared love for British Columbia’s marine life led Mike and Jilann to a life together while founding Vancouver Island Whale Watch.  

Mike Campbell and Jilann Lechner have worked with whales for more than a decade through scientific research projects, guiding eco-tours, and driving vessels through B.C.’s coastal waters. 

Their goal is to offer the most sustainable whale watching. Their tours focus on the growing populations of transient orca and humpback whales, rather than the endangered southern resident orca.

Jilann’s background is Marine Biology. She has worked for NGOs in British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, and has contributed to projects studying orca, humpbacks, fin whales, and salmon. 

Mike graduated from the University of Victoria with an Environmental Studies and Political Science degree. 

They both find great satisfaction in connecting people with the natural world as they provide a world- class whale watching experience with a focus on conservation and sustainability. 

Their cruises take guests through the Salish Sea ecosystem to see whales and other marine life in their natural habitat. The 3-4 hour whale watching tours depart daily from downtown Nanaimo, April through October. 

And they guarantee you’ll see a whale, or your next trip is on them.As members of the Pacific Whale Watching Association, they’re part of a large network of boaters and are constantly updated with whale locations. In fact, success rate for finding whales in this region is over 90 per cent.

Graphic by Merv Unger

Work set to resume on Nanaimo Marine Response base

With the resumption of work on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Western Canada Marine Response Corp will resume work on its response enhancement program. The first priority will be to finalize the leases at the new base locations, including Port of Nanaimo, so construction contracts can proceed. 

Vessel and hiring plans will also resume.

When finished, the Nanaimo Response Base will be home to 15 response vessels and 34 full-time response personnel. 

As part of the enhancements, a new oil spill response vessel was launched in June. It is the first of four support vessels that Broadwater Industries will build for WCMRC as part of the Trans Mountain spill response enhancements. In total, WCMRC is adding 40 new vessels as part of the enhancements. Other new vessel builds under way include purpose-built skimming vessels, Coastal Response Vessels, landing craft and response barges.

Island Ferries issue an update on new service

Island Ferry Services has issued an update on the progress of it’s passenger ferry service between Nanaimo and Vancouver. The project is moving ahead but won’t be in service this summer.

In a news release, ISFL stated there are a host of “moving parts” and it’s challenging to keep them in focus and moving in the same direction, to be transparent, and to remain respectful of the other parties involved.

The company states it has been through a “Request for Expressions of Interest” with the City of Nanaimo and Port of Nanaimo, and has secured an “Offer to Lease” with the Port. The time frame for that Offer to Lease has recently been extended.

TransLink subsequently initiated its own “Request for Information” process, another lengthy undertaking that led to Island Ferries being selected to enter into commercial negotiations. “

Our commercial negotiations with Translink are under a very restrictive non-disclosure agreement,” says the news release.  We cannot speak to the details other than to say that the discussions are positive and that there are few remaining issues.

The IFSL-TransLink license must be approved by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority which holds TransLink’s lease for the SeaBus Terminal. 

1. An environmental assessment required by the Port of Nanaimo, a requirement that emerged. This includes obtaining the Snuneymuxw First Nation’s input. This process has taken much longer than anticipated but we believe that it is nearing completion.

2. Complete negotiations and finalize licensing arrangements with TransLink for use of the South SeaBus Terminal in Vancouver.

3. VFPA approval of application to complete the external modification to the SeaBus terminal. As noted earlier, the VFPA’s stated approval timeline is between 10 and 60 days.

We aren’t in control of the approval and negotiating timeline but, we will be able to set a date for the start of service. 

Tourism ambassadors leading the way

The Port of Nanaimo proudly salutes the Nanaimo Hospitality Ambassador Program which was launched in 2017 to promote Nanaimo as a whole at community and sporting events as well as cruise ship visits to our city. 

Two volunteers have made a real impression on thousands of vititors to Nanaimo. Rosa Hasselback and Genevieve Foglietta have been giving first-class service to our community.

Rosa has volunteered with the program since 2013 and has embraced and championed the changes and growth of the program in the last few years. 

Over the last five years, Rosa has contributed countless hours to promote Nanaimo to visitor and cruise passengers. Cruise ship days have a special place in her heart and she seldom misses a chance to welcome a ship to the Harbour City. Rosa can usually be found in the middle of the action at the cruise terminal directing passengers to the shuttle busses, handing out maps or just welcoming them to Nanaimo. 

Her passion to promote the hidden beauty of Nanaimo while meeting visitors from around the world, makes her a perfect fit for the program and an incredible ambassador to our beautiful city and sites. 

Rosa is totally immersed in her community when she is not volunteering for Tourism Nanaimo. She is involved in many organizations throughout the city, such as the RCMP Victim Services, Bathtub and Marine Festival and the Nanaimo Symphony and Jazz Festival. 

Genevieve started volunteering for cruise visits in 2015 and then joined Tourism Nanaimo at the Visitor Centre in 2016. She has extensive training in visitor servicing and contributed hundreds of hours interacting with visitors from around the world, providing information and recommendations on what to see and do in Nanaimo and region. She is always eager to cover a shift on special-event days or to cover staff shortages. She has been an incredible asset to the program. 

Her passion is to give back to the community she loves by showcasing what Nanaimo has to offer to visitors and residents. Since the beginning she loved working the information station at the cruise terminal during cruise days. Her friendly and open personality makes Genevieve the perfect first contact person for cruise passengers once they disembark the ships. 

As many of our Hospitality Ambassadors, Genevieve is engaged in a variety of other volunteer positions like Loaves and Fishes. 

Snowbirds zooming in on Nanaimo on Aug. 8

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds will “Fly for CH.I.L.D.” over Nanaimo on Aug. 8, raising awareness for Children with Intestinal & Liver Disorders. Their quest is to support a cure for very ill children with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The world-famous Snowbirds will fly over beautiful Nanaimo Harbour, beginning at 5:30 p.m. It’s a day for family fun and an amazing aerial show in support of the CH.I.L.D. Foundation.’

Port of Nanaimo’s Patrol Division Tara Bell shows children at Indigenous Day Celebration how to eliminate cooking oil from water to illustrate what activities are in place to protect the harbour’s environment.  More than 200 people visited the Port of Nanaimo booth with WCMRC personnel also on hand.  Giveaways also provided by Home Depot.

New plans for Nanaimo's shoreline

e Port Drive Waterfront Master Plan the on June 18. it provides policies for the future development of City-owned lands located at 1 Port Drive. 

The Master Plan provides guidance on the future land use, transportation network and servicing, open space, trails and environmental protection of this critical part of the south downtown waterfront.  To learn more about the process and read the approved Plan, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/portdriveplan.

City Council also endorsed the Waterfront Walkway Implem-entation Strategy last December.

The Strategy sets out the steps needed to complete the waterfront walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary. The goal is to complete construction of this 13km multi-use trail within a 10 year time frame. 

To build on the momentum of the Implementation Strategy, two sections of the walkway are targeted for construction in late 2018 to 2019. 

The South Downtown Water-front Section will be the first section to be built in the fall of 2018 including an interim walkway around 1 Port Drive and the creation of a safe pedestrian and cycle route adjacent to the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf. property.

McEvoy fills new position for health, safety and environment

Niall McEvoy, Health, Safety & Environmental Manager, right, with David Bolduc, Executive Director of Green Marine.

As a part of the Port of Nanaimo’s on-going commitment to the health and safety of its worker’s and care for the environment, the Port has created role within the organization to specifically support this commitment.

Niall McEvoy is the new Health, Safety and Environmental Manager for The Port of Nanaimo. 

He brings 16 years of Health, Safety and Environmental experience in from a broad array of industries including Forestry, Oil and Gas, Health Care and multiple layers of government.  Niall looks forward to making a positive impact in the Port of Nanaimo’s Health, Safety and Environmental goals.

Downtown Street Market has banner kickoff

The Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce has turned downtown Commercial Street into a pedestrian mall every very Thursday evening. Artisan vendors, entertainers, food and fun for families at the Downtown Summer Street Market. 

This adds a second market to go along with the Nanaimo Farmers’ Market at Pioneer WaterFront Plaza on Fridays.

The first street market in mid-June attracted large crowds and is expected to grow as the summer progresses.

Kim Smythe of the Chamber of Commerce said shop owners were all gleeful about what went on. I just can’t express how happy I am about how the evening is turning out, he added. 

Smythe said it was great to see people who normally don’t venture downtown supporting the local business community. He said downtown Nanaimo has gotten a bad reputation, but said there are many positives for what he called a clean and safe place to be.

“You don’t erase the undesirable stuff and leave a vacuum there, what you try to do is build at what you have and try to create an attraction with an event like this.”

The popularity of night markets has grown rapidly in urban centres over the past few years and now it’s Nanaimo’s turn to join this popular movement. 

The Nanaimo Farmers' Market celebrates its 20th year.

Port of Nanaimo Newsletter, Summer 2018

Port of Nanaimo 2018 Spring Newsletter

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