Development Plans Threaten Nanaimo

Beban Park NanaimoApplications to amend Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan will be reviewed at a meeting of the Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee in the Beban Park Auditorium at 5 pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2006. The proposals on the table provide an insight into how property developers want to change our city.

Randy Regier wants to erect two highrise hotel and residential towers on Steward Avenue near the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal. Hans Heringa wants to build apartment buildings at 2421, 2425, and 2429 Bowen Road and at 553 Third Street (near Malaspina University College). Maureen Pilcher wants a gas station at 4700 Hammond Bay Road even though the Hammond Bay Neighbourhood Plan specifically excludes such development. John Salmon is asking that land along Westwood Road west of the Buttertubs Marsh Nature Reserve be included within the Urban Containment Boundary so a subdivision can be built.

Developers working with the Snuneymuxw First Nation want to create a new town centre in the Chase River area of South Nanaimo. Highrise buildings, industrial facilities, and residential housing are included in the project. Also in South Nanaimo, Cable Bay Lands Inc. wants to create another town center in the Cable Bay area with a golf course, marina, highrise condominiums, and residential sprawl. Sadly, the area around the scenic Dodd Narrows between Vancouver Island and Mudge Island will be spoiled if this project is approved.

Several developers want the western part of the Linley Valley included within the Urban Containment Boundary so residential development can go ahead. The area in question is just west of the new Cottle Lake Park created last year after a public fundraising campaign. In 2004 the Gordon Campbell government tried to have provincial crown land (District Lot 56) in the eastern part of the valley included within the UCB so it could be sold off and opened up to the chainsaws and bulldozers. The application was withdrawn when Liberal Party strategists realized that it would become a political issue in Nanaimo on the eve of the 2004 provincial election. With another provincial election not due until 2009, the valley is under threat again. Unlike the slash and burn politicians in Victoria, the City of Nanaimo wants the virgin rainforest in DL 56 added to Cottle Lake Park.

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