Landmark signage installed at Maffeo Sutton Park

0429 - Downtown Nanaimo is the heart of the city, providing a variety of retail shops, a range of housing opportunities, professional offices and services, and the majority of cultural attractions in the city. Council has identified downtown as an area of priority attention through it’s Strategic Plan.

At a recent Governance and Priorities Committee meeting, Nanaimo City Council was provided with an update on a number of public realm improvements and environmental beautification projects that have been completed, or will be completed, in the coming weeks. The goal of the improvements is to enhance the look and feel of downtown Nanaimo, the City's spectacular walkway, and Maffeo Sutton Park. They included:

* Selection of temporary outdoor public art
* New wayfinding signage for Commercial Street and the Old City Quarter
* Expansion of the downtown patio program
* Renewed decorative lighting on Wesley Street 
* Refreshed crosswalk paint lines on Commercial Street and Front Street
* Creation of an inaugural mural program for owners with blank walls 
* Maffeo Sutton Playground Upgrades - Phase 1 Complete.
* Continuation of the Street Banner Design Program. The theme ,Nanaimo 2121: One Hundred Years Forward.
* Artistic interventions such as the One Song Staircase. 
* Installations and updates of water fountains as well as public washrooms
Nanaimo citizens visiting the Swy’ A’ Lana Lagoon area can now enjoy the breathtaking views of our waterfront next to a new landmark downtown attraction sign that spells out the City's name. The letters will be 5 feet high and about 35 feet long. The colourful "O" can mean different things to different people. For example, the different colours in the “O” represents the diversity of the 100,000 plus voices who have shaped and continue to shape our spectacular City. It also represents an inclusive Nanaimo, full of opportunity for generations to come.

"Through the City's engagement activities, we heard from the public that investing in public realm improvements and beautification is important to Nanaimo citizens. In 2019, Staff began working on many of the improvements and beautification work Council approved, however, the pandemic put a pause on some things. I am thrilled to see the progress being made on the initiatives and the smiling eyes through the masks as the public explore and experience our spectacular City." – Leonard Krog, Mayor.

Nanaimo celebrates 2021 Youth Week

0429 - The City of Nanaimo is pleased to present the 2021 Youth Week celebrations. Activities are planned from May 1 to May 7, all with the intent of celebrating youth in Nanaimo. 

Highlights include a Fun Fitness class, a "Star Wars" themed evening, A Video and Board Game Cafe, a hike to Sugarloaf Mountain, as well as dodgeball and skating sessions. A full schedule of events can be found on the YOUth Nanaimo Facebook page and on the City of Nanaimo website, www.nanaimo.ca.

Strategic Link: Youth Week supports the Livability pillar of the City of Nanaimo's strategic plan. The events provide recreational opportunities to young people while also helping to engage and connect youth in Nanaimo.

* Youth Week events are geared to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years.

* There are 12 events scheduled over seven days from May 1-7, 2021.

* All events require pre-registration through Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Culture and follow the lastest Provincial Health Guidelines to keep everyone safe.

QUOTES

"The youth are our future! Youth Week is a great chance to celebrate the young people in our community with all their energy, enthusiasm and the many great ideas they bring forward to make our City a better place," says Mayor Leonard Krog.

* BC Youth Week is a provincial celebration of youth held annually during the first week of May. It is a week of fun filled interaction and a celebration intended to build a strong connection between youth and their communities. This event is intended to highlight the interests, accomplishments, and diversity of youth across the province.

Youth Week https://www.nanaimo.ca/NewsReleases/NR210429NanaimoCelebrates2021YouthWeek/Attachments/youth-week-2021.pdf

Link to Youth 2021 Information on the City website https://cnan.ca/330P648

City remembers miners lost in 1884 disaster

File photo

Flags at City  facilities will be lowered to half mast on Monday, May 3 to mark the anniversary of the coal mining disaster of 1887 that took 150 lives. 

The explosions of the No. 1 Esplanade Mine are known as the worst mining disaster in British Columbia's history and second worst in Canada (the mining disaster of 1914 in Hillcrest, Alberta killed 189 miners). A jury blamed the explosion on the firing of an unprepared and badly planted charge that ignited accumulated gas fuelled by coal dust.

"We are remembering and honouring the 150 lives that were tragically lost in our community. Those who died were our hard working pioneers who left loving families behind, but we have never forgotten," said Mayor Leonard Krog.

* On May 3, 1887, shortly before 6 pm, two explosions occurred in the No. 1 Esplanade Mine.

* If you would like to learn more Nanaimo's coal mining history and the tragic accident, please visit the award winning, walk through coal mine exhibit at our local Nanaimo Museum.

Nanaimo Museum Coal Mine Exhibit
https://cnan.ca/2R5JGSL

Heritage Walks Through Time
Self-guided heritage tour brochures
https://cnan.ca/2R8N9Qc

Next week is emergency preparedness week

0429 - Being prepared is important and something the whole family can do. As Emergency Preparedness Week approaches, the City of Nanaimo is encouraging residents to prepare for an emergency by making a kit, drafting up a plan and signing up for the City's Voyent Alert! Emergency Notification System. 

Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk and the impact of whatever emergency we might face - whether natural or human-induced
By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies – anytime, anywhere. It is important to:

* Know the risks – Although the consequences of disasters can be similar, knowing the risks specific to our community and our region can help you better prepare.
* Make a plan – It will help you and your family know what to do
* Get an emergency kit – During an emergency, we will all need some basic supplies. We may need to get by without power or tap water. 

From May 2 to May 8, the City of Nanaimo encourages residents to take concrete actions to be better prepared. Experience has shown that individual preparedness goes a long way to help people cope better - both during and after a major disaster. It can make a world of difference.

For more information about how you can prepare for emergencies and to make a kit, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/emergencykit or the Province of BC website www.gov.bc.ca/preparedbc.

Strategic Link: Providing information and resources for residents to be prepared for an emergency supports a livable community.

* Emergency Preparedness Week is a national event co-ordinated by Public Safety Canada.

* The City of Nanaimo is encouraging residents to make a kit during this week or check their kits if you already have one.

* Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for Anything! Know the risks in the community and prepare for emergencies.

* Voyent Alert! can send emergency information a variety of ways. Residents can choose to receive a push notifications through the Voyent Alert! smartphone app, an email, text or a phone call are also options should there be a local emergency impacting City of Nanaimo residents. Visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/alerts to learn more and sign up.

"As citizens we have to work together and support the collective response to COVID-19 and reduce the risks found in our community," says Mayor Leonard Krog.  "We realize now more than ever how important it is to prepare for the unexpected. Many City of Nanaimo residents have started to build an emergency kit and there is no time like today to complete it.  A few simple actions will help you build upon all of the hard work you already have in place”."

Personal Preparedness
https://cnan.ca/2H0xqLx

Emergency Call Alert System
https://cnan.ca/2JL8KYw

Registration begins for parks, recreation and culture

0416 - The City of Nanaimo, Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture is offering recreation programs and activities for the upcoming summer season. This includes summer daycamps held at a variety of locations throughout the community, adult outdoor courses, swimming and skating lessons. In addition, there will be plenty of free activities to participate in, including the Playground Program, the Golden Bucket Search and swimming at Westwood Lake Park with lifeguards on duty.

Registration for programs begins on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Residents can look for summer program offerings in the following ways:

* View an online PDF of the Summer Activity Guide starting on Friday, April 30, 2021
* Pick up a hard copy of our program guide at Bowen Park, Beban Park Social Centre, Oliver Woods Community Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre starting on Monday, May 3 (for those who do not have online access)
* Visit recreation.nanaimo.ca and choose "Register for a Program" to search programs by various categories and key words (for the best user experience, please choose Chrome as the browser)

Register online through recreation.nanaimo.ca (accounts should be set up in advance of registration date), by telephone at 250-756-5200 or in-person at Bowen Complex, Oliver Woods Community Centre and Nanaimo Aquatic Centre. With limited capacity to have people gathered due to Provincial Health Orders, the City is encouraging residents to use the online platform as much as possible. If coming in or calling is an only option, the City is asking for everyone to be kind and patient as requests are processed.

The City is aware of and is following the latest Provincial Health Guidelines and will continue to monitor and action any required changes. Participants will be contacted through email or phone if there are any cancellations or modifications to their registered programs.

KEY POINTS

* Registration for summer programs, including daycamps will begin on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

* The City encourages citizens to use the online registration process as much as possible as a way to limit the number of people in facilities.

* Programs will continue to follow the latest COVID-19 Provincial Health Guidelines. Should further Provincial Health Orders require program changes, the City will follow up directly with those affected through email or telephone.

"Parks, Recreation and Culture and summer go hand in hand. I invite you to take part in a variety of summer registered programs, as well as the many free community activities, including the popular Playground Program, 
and Search for the Golden Bucket Challenge. All programs follow the latest Provincial Health protocols to keep everyone safe and healthy while participating."

  Leonard Krog           
  Mayor           
  City of Nanaimo       

May is Invasive Plant Month in Nanaimo

Click on image to enlarge

Nanaimo residents take part in a variety of work parties as part of Invasive Plant Month and to bring invasive plants to one of two drop zones to protect parks and natural spaces from being overtaken by invasive plants.

"Invasive plants are non-native plants that cause environmental harm to our ecosystems by out-competing our native plants for space, nutrients and sunlight,” says Mayor Leonard Krog. “They can lessen the diversity of our ecosystems and destabilize them, increasing further invasion of non-native plants. Join the community for some organized invasive plant work parties with Parks, Recreation and Culture to help keep our parks and open spaces free of invasive plants."

Invasive plants have the potential to negatively impact local ecosystems. Plants, such as English Ivy, Scotch Broom and Himalayan Blackberry, are well established in Nanaimo. Others, such as Knotweed and Giant Hogweed are spreading. 

Work parties will focus on the removal of Broom, Daphne and Ivy at various locations, including Pipers Lagoon Park, Neck Point Park, Linley Gyro Park, Lotus Pinatus Park, Sugarloaf Mountain and Bowen Park. Also, residents who remove invasive plants from their own property can bring them to the two Drop Zones for safe disposal. 

All work parties will follow the latest COVID-19 protocols by working in small groups, physically distanced and wearing masks.

If you are able to participate in any of the work parties, you can register through the City website or call 250-756-5200.

Invasive species control falls under Environmental Responsibility, one the four Pillars of Sustainability in the City's Strategic Plan.

Residents can drop off invasive plants they have removed from their property at the Drop Zones located at Linley Gyro Park on Saturday, May 1 and at Bowen Park (off Wall Street) on Saturday, May 29. Both Drop Zones are open from 10 am to 2 pm.

Online program registration for Work Parties      

City, VIU sign understanding to work together

0419 - Nanaimo City Council and Vancouver Island University (VIU), announced the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between the City of Nanaimo and VIU.  

Under the terms of the MOU, the City and VIU, will work together to:

* Establish a framework for collaboration between the two organizations;
* Adopt a cooperative approach to working together for the mutual benefit of the City and VIU, the students and broader community;
* Pursue areas of common strategic interest; 
* Actively participate in joint initiatives, projects and activities; and, 
* Identify and address common areas of concern that may emerge during the life of the MOU. 

An Executive Committee will also be established consisting of the senior leadership team from both the City and VIU. The MOU is effective as of Monday, April 19, 2021 until December 31, 2023. 

QUOTES

"Nanaimo is fortunate to have a university that offers programs ranging from graduate and undergraduate degrees to vocational and trades diplomas and certificates, as well as continuing education programs in health, education, sciences, arts, business, trades, leadership, leisure, community planning, education and so much more. Tapping into this wealth of knowledge and innovation can benefit the community and position the City for a brighter future." 

**Leonard Krog, Mayor, City of Nanaimo** 

"I’m excited to expand on the already strong relationship VIU has with the City of Nanaimo to share ideas and collaborate on projects to aid in our economic and social recovery. We are a university built by and for the community, and partnerships like this one are woven into the fabric of everything we do. I look forward to broadening the number of initiatives we collaborate on to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of our region."

**Dr. Deborah Saucier, President and Vice-Chancellor, VIU**

City surveying on rental housing and short-term rentals

The City is seeking feedback from residents and property owners on proposed bylaw changes affecting the use of homes as short-term rentals. The City is also providing an opportunity for renters and landlords to share their experience finding and maintaining homes for rent.  

Housing Affordability was among the top three concerns for community members who participated in the first phase of engagement for the City's REIMAGINE NANAIMO strategic policy review completed in January 2021. Consistent with recognizing this concern, the surveys are part of ongoing implementation of the City’s 2018 Affordable Housing Strategy recommendations and the recently completed 2021 Health and Housing Action Plan. Both these documents support ensuring accessible and affordable market rentals for Nanaimo residents.  

The Affordable Housing Strategy specifically provides direction to address short-term rentals (STRs) that include the use of online accommodation platforms. The purpose of the review is to ensure that: potential negative impacts of short-term rentals (STRs) on long-term rental housing supply are managed; STR accommodation operators are good neighbours; and that there is equity relating to regulation and licensing among STR operators and other accommodation businesses including hotels and motels. The intent of the review is to find the right balance that protects affordable housing and neighbourhoods while still providing opportunities to support the economy and allow a range of short and long-term accommodation within the City. 

The proposed bylaw changes have been drafted based on feedback received from prior community engagement conducted in 2019. The proposed changes include; allowing short-term rentals in all zones; allowing short-term rental of an entire home provided the short-term rental operator lives in the home the majority of the year; requiring a business license for short-term rental accommodation and providing an explanatory guide and operator declaration form for short-term rental operator requirements.  In addition to the opportunity to provide feedback to the proposed bylaw changes affecting short-term rentals, the City is also conducting surveys to understand existing rental needs, challenges and opportunities in Nanaimo from the perspective of both renters as well as landlords and property managers.  

The surveys are available online on the City’s public engagement website [Get Involved Nanaimo](https://www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca/reimagine-nanaimo) until May 10, 2021. Hard copies will be provided to known market rental apartment buildings and can also be provided upon request.

KEY POINTS

* The City of Nanaimo is seeking feedback on draft changes to zoning and business bylaws related to regulating the short-term rental of homes. This feedback will be provided to Council along with the recommended bylaw changes.

* The City also wants to provide renters and landlords an opportunity to share their experience finding and maintaining rental housing. This feedback will be used to inform City staff and Council of the challenges and opportunities related to rental housing in Nanaimo.

* Homelessness and Housing Affordability were among the top two concerns heard from community members who participated in the first phase of engagement for the City's REIMAGINE NANAIMO strategic policy review.

* The surveys will be open until May 10, 2021 and can be submitted online through getinvolvednanaimo.ca or via hard copy.

"I encourage all residents to complete the surveys, which will help the City protect rental housing and advance the goals of the City's Affordable Housing Strategy and the Health and Housing Action Plan," said Mayor Leonard Krog.

Three long-serving Public Works employees recognized

At Nanaimo's Council meeting on March 29, , Mayor Krog and Council joined Chris Anderson, President of the Public Works Association of BC, in recognizing three staff for outstanding service.

Angela Mowatt received PWABC's 2020 Dedicated Service Award for a Public Works employee who demonstrates exemplary service when performing their day-to-day responsibilities. Angela's knowledge, dedication, and calm, friendly demeanour make her the go-to resource for staff and residents. Each day, Angela is there for her coworkers and the residents of Nanaimo and she is truly the heart of the Department.

Ritchie Fulla received PWABC's 2020 Outstanding Public Works Employee Award for going above and beyond day-to-day responsiblities, demonstrating exemplary care and concern for colleagues, community and the industry. During Ritchie's 45-year career serving the residents of Nanaimo, Ritchie could often be found leading group tours of the City's watershed and water treatment facilities for elementary school classes, university students, staff, and members of the public. 

John Elliot received PWABC's 2020 Manager of the Year Award for exemplifying the spirit and professionalism of Public Works and the Public Works Association. John is deliberate in developing personal relationships with the public, showing empathy and helping residents impacted by adversity at any time, day or night. His personal approach enhances the City's reputation with the public and results in improvements to Nanaimo's work programs, making life better for all. John is also looking to the next generation of Public Works professionals.

The Public Works Association of BC represents individuals working for municipalities, utility companies and engineering consulting firms, in every community throughout BC and Yukon. PWABC members are dedicated to improving the quality of life for citizens.

Three of Nanaimo's Public Works staff were recognized with awards from their colleagues across British Columbia. Together, Angela Mowatt, John Elliot and Ritchie Fulla have over 110 years of service to their community.

"These three outstanding, long-serving public servants are the best of the best and bring honour to themselves and our City, which they serve with dedication and energy. The City is so proud of them and so grateful for their service to all of us," said Mayor Leonard Krog.

Public safety initiatives expanded in Nanaimo

0323 - The safety and well-being of Nanaimo citizens is a priority for Nanaimo City Council and the Nanaimo RCMP. 

## Situation Table Progress ##
Last month, Nanaimo Council directed staff to work with the Nanaimo RCMP to implement a provincially-funded Situation Table in the City of Nanaimo.
Situation Tables, bring together front line staff from the public safety, health, and social services sectors to identify vulnerable peoples in an effort to connect them with services they need in a coordinated and efficient way. And, the concept of Situation Tables aligns well with the work of Council's Health and Housing Task Force and the recommend actions of the Health and Housing Action Plan (HHAP) including supporting an Integrated Coordinated Access (ICA) model.  

In past two years, the Nanaimo RCMP Detachment has been experiencing a significant increase in “Check Well Being” calls and calls for service in which individuals are experiencing a mental health crisis. For example, in 2020, Nanaimo RCMP responded to 2,220 Check Well Being calls and an additional 2,442 mental health related calls. The Situation Table, (along with a well-developed ICA system), will create common languages, tools and processes across the public safety, health and social service sector and help individuals access the services they need.
As the details of the Situation Table are being worked out, Constable Joshua Waltman, Nanaimo RCMP’s first appointed Medical Health Liaison Officer (MHLO), will continue to building relationships with partner agencies. Since he started with the Detachment in November of 2020, Constable Waltman has meet with Nanaimo Regional General Hospital Psychiatric Emergency Services (NRGH PEP), the Island Health Community Outreach (COR) team, and Probation Services. He has also attended calls for service jointly with 150+ separate clients to help find responses that are more effective and reduce emergency call volume.

## Community Safety Audit ##
The Nanaimo RCMP in partnership with the City of Nanaimo and 4th year criminology students  from Vancouver Island University started conducting [Safety Audits](https://bit.ly/3w1ka11) in selected neighbourhoods throughout Nanaimo.  For some residents in Nanaimo, there is an increased feeling of fear that comes with an increase in crime activity. Over time, this has shown to undermine the safety and security of our communities and weakens the cohesiveness of neighbourhoods. The goal of the Safety Audits project is to will work in partnership with selected neighbourhoods to find ways to reduce opportunities for crime and incorporate relevant crime prevention programming. Six neighbourhoods have been selected and the surveys are expected to commence in early April 2021. 

“I am pleased to see the enhanced public safety measures being rolled out by Nanaimo RCMP and Community Policing, with the help and support of the Province and many community partners, that continue to make Nanaimo an attractive place to call home.”  - Leonard Krog, Mayor, City of Nanaimo 

“The situation table will improve the informal process that our new Mental Health Liaison Officer has been working hard to develop with our many partners. By formalizing this process, we hope to better improve our collective service delivery to the most vulnerable in our community. “ - Inspector Lisa Fletcher, A/Officer in Charge, Nanaimo RCMP

Report to Council - Situation Table Update
https://cnan.ca/3sgwvfm

Mounties want to hear from you about crime in your neighbourhoods
https://cnan.ca/2PqjiSM

City looking for someone to serve on airport commission

Nanaimo City Council is currently recruiting one representative to sit on the Nanaimo Airport Commission Board of Directors.  The current term is three years with the option to extend twice for a total of nine years. 

In order to support the Nanaimo Airport with their development goals, the ideal candidate will have Civil Engineering and/or Land Development experience.  Knowledge of airports and airlines is desirable but not essential. The representative must meet the eligibility requirements as described in the Nanaimo Airport Commission bylaws.

For more information about the role of the City representative on the Nanaimo Airport Commission including the mandate, eligibility requirements, time commitments, responsibilities, and remuneration please visit the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca under Your Government/Boards and Commissions.

Interested applicants must submit a completed application form to the Legislative Services Department by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 8, 2021.

Mail/Hand:  Legislative Services, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5J6 

Email:  Legislative.Servicesoffice@nanaimo.ca

Front Street to have Complete Streets makeover

New two-way protected cycle lanes a first for Nanaimo

Starting this month, Front Street will begin its transformation to a modern street that will increase the comfort and safety for people who walk, bike, take transit and drive along Nanaimo's downtown waterfront. Approved by Council in 2020, the project is a continuation of the City of Nanaimo's commitment to Complete Streets and will connect cyclists between Maffeo Sutton Park and the recently completed waterfront walkway at 1 Port Drive.

The project includes reduction of vehicle travel lanes from four to two (one lane in each direction), creation of Nanaimo's first two-way protected cycle lane and installation of improved transit stops. Pedestrian crossings will be enhanced, including a new elevated crosswalk near the Nanaimo Law Courts and a new crosswalk near the temporary transit exchange. The project will also include improvements that will provide overall traffic calming along Front Street.

The Government of Canada contributed $605,000 to the project through the Federal Gas Tax program, which is administered in British Columbia by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Work is expected to start in March and will be completed before Summer 2021. For more information, visit the detailed project web page at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/FrontStreet

Strategic Link: Environmental Responsibility, Livability, Excellence in Governance

KEY POINTS

* The Front Street cycle lanes are one of the short-term cycling priorities identified in the Nanaimo Downtown Mobility Hub Project.

* Complete Streets are designed for everyone - pedestrians, bicyclists, public transportation users and motorists - by increasing the safety and comfort for people who walk, bike, take transit and drive.

* Commuters can expect delays during construction and are encouraged to plan their commute accordingly, and use alternate routes whenever possible.

"By utilizing Federal monies, this necessary improvement to Front Street provides a great opportunity to add to Nanaimo's active transportation network with a two-way cycle track. This project is a great example of saving dollars by doing a number of improvements in one go," said Mayor Leonard Krog.

Applications open for city poet laurieate

The City of Nanaimo invites applications for the position of Poet Laureate. Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will be appointed by City Council for a two-year term and will serve as a literary ambassador for the City, charged with creating and presenting poetic works and engaging activities for the benefit of our community. 

Past City of Nanaimo Poet Laureates include Naomi Beth Wakan (2014-2017), and Tina Biello (2017-2020). Youth Poet Laureate Valina Zanetti completed her term in February 2021. All three Poets made impactful and memorable contributions during their terms, bringing their unique voices to the role. 

Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will have a track record of engagement with the literary community and will bring their own artistic objectives, experiences and networks to this dynamic civic role. Over the course of their term, they will collaborate with City staff, and with other community partners, producing and sharing work with diverse audiences. 

Poets are invited to review the complete guidelines including eligibility requirements and details on how to apply on the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/poetry.

The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2021 by midnight.

Strategic Link: The Poet Laureate program aligns with the goals of the City of Nanaimo’s Strategic Plan and the Cultural Plan for a Creative Nanaimo by creating a vibrant culture of innovation, stewardship and partnership to encourage a diverse and healthy economy now and into the future; supporting arts and culture as an integral part of everyday life; and strengthening the creative sector by investing in organizations and people. who animate our cultural spaces.

KEY POINTS

* The City of Nanaimo invites applications for the position of Poet Laureate. Nanaimo’s next Poet Laureate will be appointed by Council to serve a two-year term and will serve as a literary ambassador for the City, charged with creating and presenting poetic works and engaging activities for the benefit of our community.

* Poets are invited to review the complete guidelines including eligibility requirements and detail on how to apply on the City’s website at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/poetry, or attached to this news release.

* The deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2021 by midnight.

QUOTES

"The arts play an essential role in our community and since the Poet Laureate position was established, we have all been entertained, inspired, challenged and brought together in different ways through poetry. We look forward to how the next Poet Laureate will take up this role."

  Leonard Krog
  Mayor
  City of Nanaimo

"In preparing this call to poets, we consulted with members of the literary community who are enthusiastic about the special role of the Poet Laureate and its potential. We’re looking forward to receiving applications from Nanaimo poets and learning about the dreams and directions they have in mind for activating this role, and we look forward to collaborating to help them realize projects."

  Julie Bevan
  Manager, Culture & Events
  City of Nanaimo

Relative affordability and remote-working trends paint good outlook for Nanaimo

2021 State of the Economy report is a snapshot
of Nanaimo’s future-ready economy


The City of Nanaimo has just released its second expanded edition of the State of the Economy report, and while the impact of the pandemic has been uneven across different sectors of the economy, statistics show that Nanaimo is performing well on most economic indicators. 

The report outlines our economy by analyzing the make-up of Nanaimo, from population to demographics and development to infrastructure. Data, analysis and insights on Nanaimo's current economic and business conditions show that Nanaimo's growth rate is outpacing Vancouver Island, BC and even Canada's averages.

Nanaimo's Gross Domestic Product is $4.3 billion (2019). Nanaimo surpassed the 100,000 residents milestone in 2020; the City's population has grown by 22% (over 18,000 people) since 2011. Growth also reflects greater ethnic diversity in the population.

Despite a downward trend in housing starts in 2020, building permits were strong at $243.1 million (the second highest total in Nanaimo's history). The price of an average single family detached home increased by 9.7% and sales volumes were up in every category of housing. 

Despite a 4% increase in units supplied, the average rental vacancy rate dropped to 1%. Additionally, there is huge demand for affordable independent senior living spaces.

6,281 businesses are licensed in the City of Nanaimo, for a total increase of 7% in the last decade. In 2020, the largest growth in business licenses occurred in the Professional/Scientific/Technical Service sector, while the largest drop was in the Accommodation/Food Services and Retail sectors.  

The greatest number of jobs continue to be provided by the Healthcare/Social Assistance and Retail sectors, followed by Construction and Accommodation/Food services.

These are just a few of the facts that show Nanaimo's growing and desirable economy. Read the full State of Nanaimo's Economy report for a much more detailed look.

* Nanaimo's State of the Economy report outlines our economy by analyzing the make-up of Nanaimo, from population to demographics and development to infrastructure.

* Data, analysis and insights on Nanaimo's current economic and business conditions show that Nanaimo's growth rate is outpacing Vancouver Island, BC and even Canada's averages.

* Contributing greatly to our economic strength is Nanaimo's population growth. Nanaimo surpassed the 100,000 residents milestone in 2020. The City's population has grown by 22% (over 18,000 people) since 2011.

"These statistics reflect so well on Nanaimo. I say it all the time - our city is an incredible place to live, work and play. And now we’re 100,000 residents strong and growing! That’s going to look great on our population sign," said Mayor Leonard Krog
  

Annual water main flushing program begins March 2

The City of Nanaimo's Engineering and Public Works Department will begin its annual water main flushing program on Tuesday (March 2). While this program is under way, short periods of low pressure and discoloured water may be expected. Any discolouration in water residents may experience during the flushing program is temporary and not a health hazard.

For more information about the water main flushing program and a neighbourhood flushing schedule, visit www.nanaimo.ca/goto/waterflushing.

* City crews will flush water supply mains from the South Fork dam to the water treatment plant. On each street, clean drinking water is flushed at a high velocity through water mains to ensure that all piping is refreshed and any minor sediment within the pipes is removed.

* Residents are asked to minimize their water consumption if a change in water appearance is noticed. To clear water lines, residents are advised to turn on a cold water tap until the water runs clear. Any discolouration in water residents may experience during the flushing program is temporary and not a health hazard.

* Anyone with a weakened immune system should reference information on Island Health’s website.

"Water main flushing will begin in the Harewood neighbourhood and move north through the City. We expect the program to move along quickly due to no sediment entering the system thanks to the City's water treatment plant," said David Myles, Manager of Utilities.     

 

Tim Doyle appointed as new Nanaimo Fire Chief

Fire Chief Tim Doyle

02/17 – After a search that drew dozens of applications from across the country, the City of Nanaimo is pleased to announce that it has selected Deputy Chief Tim Doyle as its new Fire Chief.

Acting Fire Chief Doyle has been with Nanaimo Fire Rescue for the last 20 years, serving as Assistant Chief (2014-2017) until his appointment to Deputy Chief in 2017. 

During his time with Nanaimo Fire Service, Acting Fire Chief Tim Doyle has been integral in the operations and administration of the Fire Department, including overseeing the construction of the new Fire Station No. 1, recruitment, training, the [Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy (VIERA), and leading emergency operations. 

Having built a reputation as an effective leader, collaborator and educator, Acting Fire Chief Doyle's deep expertise in public safety will be invaluable to the community as he leads Nanaimo Fire Rescue in this exciting new chapter.

Strategic Link: Taking responsibility to be excellent in municipal public safety and governance.

KEY POINTS

* Acting Fire Chief Tim Doyle has been with Nanaimo Fire Rescue for 20 years and has been the Acting Fire Chief since January 1, 2021.

* Acting Fire Chief Doyle will assume his role as Fire Chief for the City of Nanaimo effective February 22, 2021.

QUOTES

"The City is thrilled to welcome Tim Doyle, as Nanaimo Fire Rescue's new Fire Chief. Fire Chief Doyle has a deep understanding of public safety and his leadership will continue to help build on the already incredible efforts of Nanaimo Fire Rescue."

  Jake Rudolph
  Chief Administrative Officer
  City of Nanaimo

"The fire department is made up of people wanting to help people in their time of need, including our non-emergency staff.  As such, it is an honour to be entrusted with the responsibility of representing the City of Nanaimo Fire Department and supporting the community during emergencies. As the new Fire Chief, I see it as a privilege to lead this courageous team of women and men by doing what I can to help support their health and wellness and making sure they get home safely to their loved ones."

  Tim Doyle
  Fire Chief
  Nanaimo Fire Rescue

Rent Bank opens in Nanaimo and Regional Districtc

Nanaimo's now has a rent bank which was launched which was launched late in January. 

A rent bank is a short-term or temporary homelessness prevention tool that helps to provide housing stability for low- to moderate-income renters who are unable to pay rent or utilities due to episodes or emergencies that compromise their ability to pay. 

The rent is supported by the City and BC Rent Bank and operated by the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society. Establishing a rent bank is one of the goals of the City's Affordable Housing Strategy. 

Council allocated $90,603 last July from Housing Legacy Reserve funds to the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society to operate a temporary local rent bank as a pilot project. An additional $43,000 and in-kind support was also awarded from BC Rent Bank to support the project, including supporting funding for those living in the Region outside of the City.  Additional funding has also been provided from United Way, through the Reaching Home program.

A rent bank provides financial assistance in repayable loans, to households at risk of eviction for reasons such as non-payment of rent or utilities. Most individuals who receive a rent bank loan do not qualify for traditional loans from banks, due to a poor credit score, unstable work, and/or not having collateral to guarantee the loan. 

The goal of rent bank loans is to ensure households are able to stay in their homes during a time of temporary crisis. In addition to providing loans, rent banks also provide support for renters who need other supports to help them maintain their housing.  

The rent bank will be available to residents of Nanaimo and the Regional District of Nanaimo. Apply online at https://bcrentbank.ca/apply/ or to contact the John Howard Society at 250-754-1266.

First phase of Reimagine Nanaimo is complete

The first phase of Council's REIMAGINE NANAIMO project is complete and preparations are under way for the second phase of this coordinated update of the City's key planning documents. This project includes updating the Official Community Plan and Climate Action Plan; updates to the Parks, Recreation and Culture Plan and Water Supply Strategic Plan; and creating a new Active Transportation Plan. Public engagement for Phase 1 (Gathering Ideas) of REIMAGINE NANAIMO launched in July 2020 and concluded at the end of November 2020. Input from the first phase will be used to shape the scenarios developed as part of Phase 2 (Exploring Options).

In spite of the challenges posed by the global pandemic, the process resulted in the largest response to date of any City engagement campaign. Engagement opportunities included everything from pop-up information booths in City parks and local shopping centres to over a hundred stakeholder meetings/workshops with community groups and organizations. It also included the City's online public engagement platform, [Get Involved Nanaimo](www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca), which featured REIMAGINE NANAIMO's project information page and seven online questionnaires (one general Ideas Questionnaire and six shorter topic-specific questionnaires) resulting in nearly 5,500 completed questionnaires. The project also included a statistically valid mail-out survey. 

One of the incentives to complete a questionnaire or statistical survey was the opportunity to enter a draw for a $500 gift card (2); a $100 gift card (6); or a one-month bus pass (6). All prize winners have been contacted and received their prize. For a full list of winners, please visit www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca. One individual donated their $500 gift card to Loaves and Fishes, while another winner of a bus pass donated it to the Haven Society. 

The final $500 gift card prize was for the Creative Community Contest, which was also chosen by a random draw. The winning entry, The Dream Park, depicts an imagined park with fun for all ages. Congratulations to all the prize winners! Visit www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca for the full Phase 1 Public Engagement Summary and details on public engagement for Phase 2 of the project.

Family Day activities with Parks, Recreation and Culture

 

The Nanaimo Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture has planned Family Day activities to keep Nanaimo families busy during the upcoming long weekend. Supported by the Province of British Columbia, the following free family-friendly events will take place over the Family Day holiday weekend:

* STORYWALK® "My Friends and Me": February 11-15 at Oliver Woods Playground - This event is brought to the community in partnership with PacficCARE. PacificCARE will be doing random drop-ins to give away family resource back packs.
* ROCK YOUR WEEKEND: February 13-15 - Paint a rock to share with the community. Place your rocks at your favourite park or trail entrance sign. Share a picture of your rock by tagging Parks, Recreation and Culture on Instagram (@nanaimoparksandrec) and using #rockparksandrec to be entered into a draw for one of three $50 Parks, Recreation and Culture gift cards.
* "Then & Now" Scavenger Hunt: February 15 - Find one of six hidden prize tickets throughout the City based on photo clues. Determine the present-day location by looking at old photos of the location. Photo clues for the "Then & Now" Scavenger Hunt will be posted on Instagram (@nanaimoparksandrec) and website on Saturday, February 13, and tickets will be hidden on the morning of Monday, February 15. (One prize per family. There are six tickets available; one at each location.)
* FREE SKATING SESSIONS: February 15 at Nanaimo Ice Centre - 10-11 am (Parent and Tot), 11:30 am-12:30 pm (Everyone Welcome), 1-2 pm (Everyone Welcome). These sessions must be booked up to 72 hours in advance by calling 250-756-5200 or registering online as per Provincial Health Guidelines. Only 40 skaters per session.

More information on the activities can be found at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/family-day-2021.

Strategic Link: Providing free and low cost recreation activities supports a livable community.

KEY POINTS

* These events are free thanks to support from the Province of British Columbia.

* Registration for skating sessions is available up to 72 hours in advance by calling 250-756-5200 or online.
"We are excited to bring these free Family Day weekend activities to the community that will get families participating in activities together while still following COVID-19 Provincial Health Orders. We are grateful to the Province of British Columbia for their financial support."

  Grace Bell     
  Recreation Co-ordinator       
  City of Nanaimo        


Feb. 4, 2021

Winter Wellness Challenge Feb. 8 to March 19

The City's Parks, Recreation and Culture and New Balance Nanaimo bring the “Walk On” Winter Wellness Challenge to the community. It will take participants on a walking journey from Nanaimo to Victoria and beyond. The challenge will take place from February 8 to March 19, 2021.

Here are the steps in participate:

* Track steps each day or distance walked by using a tracking device or app of your choice (Fitbit, smartphone, smartwatch, pedometer, computer or a mobile app such as mapmywalk).
* Input step data each day into the form on the online at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/walk-on-challenge; a Step/Km Converter can be found on the page.
* Each Friday, weekly progress from participants will be collected and tallied.
* Each Monday, participant totals will be shared on our Results Board on the website (a great way to challenge your co-workers and friends).

Participants can join this challenge at any time between February 8 and March 13. By doing so, walkers have a chance to win some great prizes. Each week, a name will be drawn for prizes from New Balance Nanaimo and Parks, Recreation and Culture. Prizes are based on participation rather than total distance walked. The more times walkers input their data, the more ballots are entered for a chance to win weekly and the grand prize draw.

Intake now open for the City's 2021 Resilience Grant

The City is accepting applications for a special, one-time Resilience Grant, which supports arts and culture activity in 2021. The grant is administered through Culture and Events. 

This grant opportunity is specially designed to respond to the emerging needs of Nanaimo’s arts and culture community with flexible, rapid one-time funding. Offering awards in the range of $1,000 to $5,000, the program is intended to help recipients navigate changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, while supporting local initiatives that contribute to the stability of the arts and culture ecosystem, help with community resiliency, create public value, and take advantage of emerging opportunities. 

"This rapid-response grant program has been specially designed for Nanaimo’s arts and culture community in 2021", said Mayor Leonard Krog. "It’s intended to contribute to community resiliency by supporting vibrancy and innovation in the sector. The City is listening and we are responding to our community's needs, and this grant represents one of the ways we’re working to ensure that arts and culture is an integral part of every day life in Nanaimo."

Individual artists, collectives and non-profit organizations with an arts and culture mandate are eligible to apply. Full details about eligible activities, costs and funding priorities are contained in the program guidelines. 

Guidelines, criteria and application forms are available online (www.nanaimo.ca/culture-environment/grants), attached to this news release, or by contacting the Culture & Events office directly. The deadline for applications is March 1, 2021 at midnight. Please reference application package for more information.

* The Resilience Grant offers one-time funding in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 to Nanaimo-based individual artists, organizations or collectives with an arts or culture mandate.

* The program is designed to promote new, one-time programs, events, or initiatives taking place in 2021, and organizational activities designed to adapt or respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The deadline for applications is March 1, 2021 at midnight.