Archive for August, 2009

A Great sadness for the loss of Chief Viola Wyse surrounds us all.  Such a remarkable woman and an exceptional leader.  To her family and community:   You will take many steps as you move toward life without her.  Our thoughts are with you as you travel this difficult road.

If you missed any of the media articles, here are a few links:

A tribute in  the Tuesday August 18 Daily News, click HERE.

Coverage of the the ceremonies on Friday August 21, click HERE.


The water pipe upgrade project on Irwin Street between Farquhar and  Milton got started right on time and has been progressing along smoothly.  They are testing the new pipe now before they switch services over.

In the meantime, one tree had to be cut down to make space for the cul-de-sac that is planned at Irwin and Milton.

Irwin and Milton binInterestingly, during the work, the [illegally placed] much coveted ArtBin that was [illegally] fastened to the  curb blocks had to be unfastened.  It  could have been either confiscated by City do-gooders or filched by nefarious no-gooders.  But there it sat.  Do we all secretly know it belongs there now?

We’re talking with both Parks & Rec and neighbours living near the intersection about how to turn the new cul-de-sac into a city-repair style neighbourhood hub.  Stay tuned. (if you’re unfamiliar with city-repair stuff, click HERE to for the slide show from last month’s post.


IPI is rumoured to be moving their glass operations to Duke Point, at least temporarily.  Click here to link to the article in the Aug 1 Nanaimo Daily News.


The Nob Hillers have been having their own version of  “laneway woes.”  Different from the SE, one side of their problem lane has mostly businesses that serve many of the most troubled folks in the area, some with only lane access.  They started off with a laneway walk-through, and then after a clean-up start, held a laneway sale on Aug 1.

Some good positive progress.  But this work is like playing  “Snakes and Ladders.”  A shot of dubious press can undo all the hard effort by residents.

Norm Abbey responded with an excellent letter to the editor (click HERE to read it) , as did Graham Shuley  (click HERE to read it) and the cycle starts again.  It’s one slow step at a time…trudge, trudge.


Thanks to our resources:  Park Planner Kirsty McDonald, Norm Abbey from Neighbours of Nob Hill, and of course, the local newspapers who make us a LOT more interesting.

If you would like to comment, just click on the title and the complete article along with a comment box will magically appear…:)

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August Meeting Notes

It’s always an interesting meeting when our neighbourhood resource folks show up and we’re very fortunate that it happens more often than not. Perhaps the highlight of the August meeting was Christina Martens’ update on the Balmoral.  She outlined the progress on the new offices in the old bar. She described the outside work plan, which includes some outside handi-planking until the final exterior is redone.

But perhaps of most interest to the people attending were her stories about CMHA’s efforts to both manage the change and support the tenants.

Out of the original 19 tenants, 6 are still living there.  Some haven’t been able to adjust to the transition and others have moved on to better things, according to Christina.  When someone leaves, there isn’t always another person who immediately takes their place…there often needs to be some settling time for the tenants.

While there are rules, the Balmoral is also focused on supporting their tenants, and to this end, they have developed a social committee and held a few events, implemented some support services i.e. grocery shopping day, and are looking at how they can support tenants’ talents (when Christina mentioned that there were some artists, we jumped to offer them some Art Bins..:)

The logic here is that if you feel like you belong somewhere, you treat it (and others in it) better. We’ve learned that lesson here in the South End big time.

Cpl Dave Laberge gave us an update of how they’ve been working with the Balmoral, what they’ve been seeing in the neighbourhood, and where RCMP are focusing their efforts.  We always learn a lot from him and are grateful for the time he gives us.

Our monthly meetings often have interesting visitors and thoughtful discussion.  Come and join us…you don’t have to be a member of SECA to attend!


The School Board wants to hear from you!!

How do you think the Board should decide about closing schools, renovating older buildings, and distributing resources?  How should they go about planning for the future?

We think it’s pretty important because we’ve been through the closing of Princess Royal school.  And so we`ll be making a presentation at their meeting on September 9th to say that we think neighbourhoods should be included in these decisions.

But if you agree with us, you can put your two cents in right now.

Go to http://www.sd68.bc.ca/News/Facilities2009.asp to take an online survey, or to get a paper copy.

~ Sydney Robertson


Nanaimo Estuary Management Plan

Established in 2004 the 20 year management plan for the Nanaimo Estuary is required to go through a review every 5 years and SECA has recently been asked to give input.

The Nanaimo River estuary is the largest estuary on Vancouver Island and when the existing head lease for log storage expired in 2002 an integrated process, never done prior to this, was initiated to consider all resources and involve all interests.

The Nanaimo Estuary Management Plan as well as some background and other reports can be found at the following website link, http://www.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/slrp/marine/nanaimo/index.html .

Another very interesting link http://www.projectwatershed.bc.ca/documents/Rob_Lawrence_Nanaimo_River_Estuary_symposium_PP.pdf

with lots of visuals will give the reader an even greater understanding of a resource that borders the area of the South End.

You can access the estuary at Chase River Park off Raines Rd. Follow the Highway South and take a left at Cedar Rd., follow Cedar Rd and take a left across the bridge at Raines Rd. following it to the end and the entrance to the Nanaimo River Estuary Conservation Area.

SECA hopes to have one of the consultants for the review at its October meeting and we will keep you informed of any other opportunities to give input.

~Gord Fuller

Coal Town Festival muse3

SECA took its place along side the Friends of Morden Mine, Ladysmith Historical Society and the Nanaimo Community Heritage inside the Nanaimo Museum on Saturday September 29 for the Coal Town Festival. We displayed several of the panels of the SECA Miner’s Heritage Photo Collection. Many interesting conversations about the history of coal mining and the South End ensued and new contacts were made.

~ Larry Gambone

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The Neighbourhood bookshelf in front of 152 Irwin Street got all prettied up last week for its TV debut next week.

"Hey, I'm not 'the belle of the ball' but I get the job done."

"Hey, I'm not 'the belle of the ball' but I get the job done."

As pretty as it could get.  Its first winter wasn’t great…a few face plants on the sidewalk, neighbours Heather and Harold performed CPR and did a bit of weatherproofing.

But even over the winter books moved constantly, from the quiet young man who discovered the joy of reading through murder mysteries  to the whoops of delight when the right book met the right kid.

Many more books left the shelf than arrived.  My freecycle buddies (3,000 in Nanaimo) helped fill the gap. By June, though, I was too busy to pick them up, and I figured it was time for the shelf to move on to the next stage…looking after itself.

Now you remember...?

Now you remember...?

First, I  let the shelf sit empty, figuring people would “get” it.  Nope.  For almost 2 weeks, the sole book on the shelf was Richard Simmons’ autobiography.  No one even wanted to level out a table leg with it…:(

Next bright idea: put up a sign and ask people to donate.  While that did lead to someone leaving piles of pennies on the shelf, with a little re-wording, books started to trickle in…some directly onto the shelf, others mysteriously left in boxes at my door.  From the neighbours, from freecyclers like Venus, George, Val, & Tara (to name a few), today there’s everything on the shelf from a recent best seller to……..Richard Simmons’ autobiography…:)

The Neighbourhood Bookshelf will be featured on Hidden Heroes on Shaw Cable Channel 4:

  • from 6 PM Wed Sept 2 to 6 PM Thurs Sept 3
  • from 6 PM Sat Sept 5 to 6 PM Monday Sept 7

The show is normally on during the first 15 minutes of the hour.  Thanks to Bill Robinson from Hidden Heroes and Melissa Hall from Shaw TV, who made the interview a lot of fun!

~ Barbara Densmore

If you would like to comment, just click on the title and the complete article along with a comment box will magically appear…:)

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On Aug 6, Social Planner John Horn attended the Nob Hill monthly meeting to present the 40-unit housing for the homeless project that’s slated to be built at 437-445 Wesley Street.

The Wesley site is one of 5 planned properties, which will yield an aggregate total of 160 units. The other sites include:

  • 1402-1590 Bowen Rd.,
  • 1598 Townsite Rd.,
  • 3515 Hillside Ave.,
  • 477 10th St.

The goal is to provide, through building and rent subsidies, homes for the 300+ homeless in Nanaimo.

The partnership between the City of Nanaimo and the Province of British Columbia  is based on a collaborative model:

  • the City of Nanaimo provides the land
  • the Province of BC provides Capital and Staffing,
  • a Non-Profit Society provides Management,
  • and the RCMP, the Non-Profit, Mental health, and VIHA provide tenant selection.

All are low barrier housing projects. That means, according to Social Planner John Horn: “There will be a clear expectation that residents of these projects will have respect for the neighbourhood and the building. There is not a requirement that tenants participate in a mental health or addiction treatment plan etc.”

Of the five properties,  three (Wesley, Bowen and Townsite) will provide supportive housing to the homeless. That means: “in all three projects the intent is always to move folks towards sobriety and health from whatever point they are starting at.”

In supportive housing, beyond regular staff,  an ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) team, comprised of highly skilled professionals i.e. psychologists, psychiatrists, addictions counsellors, mental health clinicians etc.  will carry a caseload of clients who live there.  Funding for and ACT team has been applied for from the BC government.

The Wesley and Bowen road projects are the same size (about 35-40 units), Townsite will have two 35-40 unit buildings; one that is low barrier and one that will be second stage housing for folks further down the sobriety road.

Much of the Nanaimo’s initiative is based on models that have been highly successful in cities like Portland and Toronto.  The models revolve around the idea that when people have a place to live and a sense of ownership, they are more able to make other changes in their lives.

Hmmmm…5 interesting points…..

  1. The city stated that they would move social housing initiatives to other parts of the city, not just the South End.   A great BIG THANKS for listening to us.
  2. The city donating land keeps costs down, moves the process along quicker, and guarantees to the province that Nanaimo is serious.  However, it limits sites to the city’s existing inventory of land.  The lack of wriggle room means the city as a whole benefits, while individual neighbourhoods may not.
  3. Interestingly, one of the largest projects is going to be right behind City Hall.
  4. The Balmoral project is not part of the city initiative, but it does mark the South End as an existing social housing provider
  5. While most people are squeamish about the fancy term “low barrier housing”, it really just describes how most of the rooming houses (including the pre-CHMA Balmoral) have been traditionally operated.

Thanks to contributors who provided the info for this article:  Gord Fuller, Jacquie Howardson and Norm Abbey from the Neighbours of Nob Hill, Social Planner John Horn.

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Ok, so lots of content this month…!  How about an art break?  Talented local artist Yvonne VanderKooi has painted the front gates on her house…wonderful..!

SECA newsletter 009

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We did a second 2 hour walk on the evening of July 29 which took up where we left off on July 22 – which was from the Newport Pub site down Haliburton, by the IPI Facility and Snuneymuxw Reserve Site then across the highway and up Needham into the View Street area.

A number of issues were discussed including :

  • The importance of Haliburton Street as a key pedestrian/vehicle link through the community and its importance as both a residential and commercial street.
  • We also talked about the Coastlands mills site, including the impact of heavy industry on the area as well as its economic benefits.
  • As John Horn, Social Planner for the City of Nanaimo, was along for the walk we also covered a number of housing and social issues in the area.
  • We talked about the IPI issues and Nicol Street as both a barrier and an opportunity.

We also revisited a number of issues and discussion points raised in the first walkabout.

Gord Fuller

The area of Victoria Rd. South of 7th St. is interesting in that some is zoned Industrial some residential but in some cases would make more sense to switch the zonings.  Also, west of Victoria Rd. to the Railway tracks is primarily single family zoning but could benefit with increased density through encouragement of Secondary Suites, Carriage House and some Multi Family zonings.” Gord Fuller

Having completed the two walks, City Staff are now looking at finishing up the research and data collection work started earlier this month and preparing the first Open House event planned for mid to late September. The next meeting of the Steering Committee will occur in early September and will be focused on reviewing the background information collected by staff and preparing for the Open House event.

Thanks to Heritage/Community Planner Chris Sholberg for this report.

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Sunday Morning Soccer

The FIRST and LAST Sundays of the month.

So Sunday August 30th and Sunday September 8.

10:00 am @Deverill Park

Everyone welcome!  You don’t need to be talented…just enthusiastic……..!  Call Ed at 753.1584 for more info.



Wednesday  September 2 @  7 PM

Princess Royal Centre

Irwin at Farquhar

Slated to attend is Rob Lawrance, Environmental Planner for the City of Nanaimo.

Mark off these dates on your calendar so you don’t miss any meetings!

  • Wed Oct 7
  • Wed Nov 4
  • Wed Dec 2 (AGM)


Mini-Litter Pickup – Summers Over!  Back to Work

We’ve decided to move the mini-litter pickup to the FIRST Saturday AFTER the monthly meeting.  That way, we can remind people at the meeting to attend (and perhaps scope out a new place for breakfast.)

The NEXT Mini-Litter pickup will be Saturday September 5. We’ll meet at McDonald’s any time after 8:30.  Then at 9:30, we’ll fan out and start collecting.


Make your personal mark on the neighbourhood!

Make your personal mark on the neighbourhood!

Laneway Facelift and Party Saturday Sept 25,  2:30 PM until ??

Mark this date off on your calendar now…!  Where else can you meet some of the neatest people in town, help make a difference, burn a few calories, express your inner artist/gardener, and party while the sun goes down?

We’ll be cleaning, pruning, and doing LOTS of painting…kids welcome.

We’ll start working at 2:30, and then about 6-ish, we’ll move into a laneway potluck dinner and party.

Check back here for more details!

To see pics from our first event, click HERE.

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