Archive for August, 2008

Welcome to the first edition of SECA Newsletter. We hope to keep you informed of news and events of importance to folks living in Nanaimo’s South End. Newsletters will be published on a monthly basis, with up-dates and informational postings as needed.


1. Christina Martens from the Canadian Mental Health Association will give us an update on their purchase of the Balmoral Hotel, including the progress and the planned use of the building. Come and get a better understanding of the adjusted plan.

2. Then we’ll “turn the tables” and get YOUR input and ideas on some of the projects that are either underway or planned as part of the South End’s improvement efforts.

Wednesday Sept 3 @ 7 PM. Princess Royal School. Irwin @ Farquhar


Perhaps a little short notice, but on Saturday August 30, there’s an old-fashioned painting bee at Fernville House, the heritage house now sitting at the corner of Irwin and Milton. Sydney and her family have put a lot of time and energy into the South End, and now they need our help. Bring painting tools and come any time between 10 and 6 PM. If you can help out, call Barbara Densmore at 740.0123 by Thursday evening so she can make food arrangements. If you’d like to know more about the project check out

http://nanaimo.shawtv.com/ then click on the Our Shows tab near the top of the page —  then click the Hidden Heroes logo– and select Sydney Robertson from the list of stories.

UPDATE: What fun that was!  34 people showed up over the day to help out.  Sydney and the girls laid down the rules, the first one being 1. Our motto is “perfection”...”Better than it was!”

Click on this link to see photos.

Painting Bee Photos

Want a photo of yourself?  If you aren’t computer savvy enough to download copies from Picasa, just e-mail Sydney… fernville@telus.net  and she can send the pics to you.  Or leave a comment below, and we can look after from here if she’s up to her armpits in drywall mud….:)

Thanks to Bill Robinson for featuring the Painting Bee in his Hidden Heroes column in the Harbour City Star…what a great article!  Sorry, it’s not on-line, so we can’t provide a link.

We’ll be resuming our monthly mini-litter pick ups in September. Always the last Saturday of the month, pencil in September 27 on your calendar. Meet at the MGM Restaurant for breakfast/coffee at 9:00 AM, then fan out with a partner to clean up for an hour. By 11:00, you’re on your way, and you’ve been able to meet your neighbours, help the community and do bend-over exercises at the same time..:)

If you missed the Miners Heritage Photo Display at the Miners Picnic, you can see it at the Labour Day Picnic held 11AM to 3PM at Transfer Beach, Ladysmith on Monday September 1.

If you’re feeling the slightest bit handy, the Neighbours of Nob Hill need some help with the assembly of the new playground equipment going into Nob Hill Park on the weekend of September 20 & 21. For further information call Barbara Henoch at 591.2444; she will be happy to provide details around what to bring and exactly when to meet.

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If you ordered one of those colourful artsy SECA T-shirts, it’s in. And there are an extra 15 available, assorted colours (red, green. yellow. blue, black) and sizes (med to XL). Cost $20 each. To order, call Sandra at Sandra’s Head to Toe Salon 753.1394. She will be at the September meeting and can bring yours to the meeting if you wish.

Thanks to Gord Nixon from the city and his team for initiating the clean-up of lots on Haliburton Street. And to McDonald’s for fencing the lot next to their building.

We’ve been notified that the proposed multi-family project at 1150 Milton Street (old Robins’ Gardens site) is moving forward and the Development Permit application went to the Design Advisory Panel on Thursday, July 24 for review. The plan is for 6 buildings with 10 units each. The developer plans to keep as many trees as possible, focusing on the more mature ones.


You’ve heard people talking a lot about the Official Community Plan for the city of Nanaimo. We’ve been invited to create a Neighbourhood Plan for the South End, with a probable start date of early next year. With light industrial, retail, multi-unit and residential zoning in our area, it’s critical that we are able to plan for growth that works for the community. If you’d like to get more info about this project, please call Douglas Hardie at 754.0677.

There’s a civic election coming up in November, and given everything that we’ve been going through in the South End over the past few years, it would make sense to get out and VOTE and to VOTE for candidates who will help us gain more of the positives and reduce more of the negatives that are particular to this area. More coming on that in next month’s newsletter.

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In the next provincial election, which is 12 May 2009, the South End has been split into two different ridings, based on this dividing line:

– east along 5th

– south down View to Needham

– east along Needham to Centre

North of this line is the new Nanaimo riding, which is currently represented by Leonard Krog MLA. However, if you live south of this line, you’ll now be in the constituency of Nanaimo Cowichan, currently represented by Doug Routley MLA. First Nations will be included Nanaimo Cowichan.

Unfortunately we were not successful in our appeal for all the South End to be included in the Nanaimo Constituency, even though we have more historical connections than the area around Rutherford!!

For more information, call Pat Portsmouth at 753.9772

To see actual riding boundaries, click here:



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This fall should witness the beginning of an ambitious redevelopment plan for Deverill Square Park, one of Nanaimo’s oldest and best loved parks. The city of Nanaimo will begin upgrading all the play equipment in the park and installing state of the art equipment that will be accessible for both able and disabled children.

The Rick Hansen foundation has donated $50,000 to the project and the Gyro Club of Nanaimo have pledged a further $20,000 towards the effort. There are plans for a multi use court for the old basketball site, a walking path around the park, improvements to the curbs and parking, and a redevelopment of the North East boundary that blocks Irwin at Milton.

SECA has been talking with various groups including the Chinese Cultural Society, Snuneymeux First Nation and the Labour Council about developing a series of themed gateways into the park that would add aesthetic appeal and honour the rich history of the park and the cultural and industrial influences that shaped the neighbourhood.

In the meantime, new floodlights have been installed, youth soccer and the VI raiders are regularly using the park, various neighbourhood gatherings have taken place in the park over the past few months including our 15th annual Miners Heritage Picnic.

Watch for an open meeting with Parks and Rec this fall to brainstorm these and other ideas.

Deverill Square Park is the gem in our neighbourhood. The best way to keep it safe is to invest in it, show our pride in it, and play in it! For more information, call Douglas Hardie at 754.0677.


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Balmoral Update

It’s been almost 6 weeks since we received the good news that the plan to add a Living Room component to the Canadian Mental Health Association’s purchase of the Balmoral Hotel has been scrapped, and replaced with an appointment-only office. There are other components to the social housing plan. We’ve invited Christina Martens from the CMHA to attend our September SECA meeting, to update us on the process, the overall plan, and to answer questions. We’ll keep you updated here.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, this link will take you to Derek Spalding’s update in last Friday’s Daily News.

Rooming house residents’ eviction fears put at ease

Sept 9 update:  another link to a recent article in the Nanaimo Daily News:

Uncertainty causes stress for Balmoral Hotel occupants

Editor’s note: we wish we had the time and manpower to contact people individually, but we don’t, so this newsletter contains meeting notice information. It goes out to about 300 people by hand and e-mail, including Balmoral residents.

CMHA met with the Balmoral residents on Monday September 22, with what seems like a positive first step.  Although 3 residents must be moved because they are living in illegal rooms/suites, they will be placed:

Balmoral tenants search for new home

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We’ve just passed the 20 Artbin mark, a pretty good feat for a grassroots project that started with no money less than a year ago….just with the advice from the RCMP that a clean neighbourhood doesn’t attract people who tend to make it dirty.

Thanks to the core group of brave souls who stepped up to paint and host bins, and to even fund them…you know who you are! And to the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, Pacific Prime Painting, and Three Hour Sail for paint donations, and to Home Hardware for the deal on bins. We are really grateful for your support.

We’ve got enough learning now to begin placing them in the most-needed places, and are now ready to invite the city and local businesses to get involved.

Some of the bins have been produced at Artbin Painting Parties, and some people have preferred to paint on their own. Our next painting event is planned for October.

If you’d like to paint an Artbin, or to volunteer to look after one, please call Barbara at 740.0123. We’d like to find someone who can help organize and manage this effort as well.

In the meantime, check out this photo display of some of the Artbins in the neighbourhood, or watch this clip from the Hidden Heroes TV feature:


Click on the Our Shows tab near the top of the page —  then click the Hidden Heroes logo— and select South End Community Assn from the list of stories.


Thanks for reading!  Want to comment on our newsletter? E-mail us HERE

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