Archive for November, 2009

Beer & Burger was INDEED a Lucky Night!

Fitness Edge tickets

Who bought the Fitness Edge passes? Maybe the person who chooses carrot sticks over cookies at the AGM holiday feast!

The Newport Bar was packed with neighbours for the Third Annual SECA Beer And Burger on Friday November 13th. Folks were knocking back pints, munching burgers, joking, chatting, perusing the silent auction goodies and generally having a time of it. Like in the Louis Jordan song, “the joint was jumpin’”.

The beer and burger night was a roaring success, with more than $1600 raised for the association. Many thanks to the businesses and individuals who contributed items for the auction and to the Newport Bar. Special thanks to Moni, Sandra and Joanne, the queens of the event.

Finally caught...the colourful and soon-to-be-legendary South End Flat Fish. Bidding, of course, was frenzied for this wonderful quiltwork by Sydney Robertson.


AGM and Holiday Feast Wed Dec 2 @ 6 PM

SECA is hosting its AGM on Wednesday December 2 at the earlier start time of 6pm. We’ll host out meeting from 6 to 7:30 PM, then we’ll usher in the festive season with a potluck buffet.

All the usual AGM bits and bobs, including financial report, year in review, and election of office bearers.  New memberships for the upcoming year will be available for the nominal price of $5.

SECA is the city’s most active neighborhood association and the past year has been filled with the usual mix of campaigns, events, controversy, and fun.

Please join us for this annual review and celebration of south end living.

Bring pot luck snacks and desserts that don’t require any heating.  All welcome and don’t forget, 6pm start.


Douglas Hardie, Chair

(The AGM will be held in the usual place:  Princess Royal Centre, corner of Irwin and Farquhar)




November Meeting Highlights

The November SECA meeting was as busy as a “one armed paper hanger.”

A design presentation for a condo development at 253 Victoria Road brought up a lot of lively discussion.  While the development has some interesting features, many attendees were concerned about how the modern design would blend in the with neighbourhood.

The city has been quite active in giving neighbourhoods the chance to provide input, and Gary Noble from City Planning attended as well.  After some discussion, Douglas drafted a letter to the city that covered the concerns and recommendations of the residents.  The developer/city went through the same process with the Nob Hillers the following week.  The city’s Design Panel is now taking all the feedback they have received and putting a report together with recommendations for the developer.  Stay tuned for next steps.


New member David Scott is a professional cartographer who is creating a community mapping process for the South End.  This is a wonderful process that will dovetail beautifully with the Neighbourhood Plan.  He handed out maps to people who are interested in marking some of the South End’s features.  So far, we’ve got folks who have volunteered to map many different aspects of our neighbourhood, including:

  • Art Bin locations
  • Areas where people still tend to litter
  • Fruit and nut trees
  • Potential community garden locations

Click here to see a community map from James Bay in Victoria.

You can see some of the maps in progress at the City Repair talk on Sunday night.

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Cpl Dave Laberge reported at the last SECA meeting  that the Value Lodge on Nicol St (where Alice’s Restaurant is) has been officially declared a nuisance property.


The condo development application for 253 Victoria Road was presented at the Nov. SECA meeting.   See the SECA section for more info.

The owners of the MGM Restaurant hope to replace the restaurant with a 4 storey apartment building.  First, they need to rezone the property, and that requires a comprehensive process. The city wants neighbourhood input.  Local architect Ian Naimeth will be at the Dec 2 SECA meeting to present the plans. We’ll have a short discussion after.  If this interests you, be there right at 6 PM.

Port Place Mall redevelopment plans went to the design panel for review on Nov. 26.  They have some more work to do before they re-present on Dec 9.

119 Halibuton Street (across from the Balmoral) is still in the “seeking funding” stage.

And finally, the engineers on Robin’s Gardens property are working on drawing required to get a building permit.  The properties need to be amalgamated as well.  We may see something happening early next year.

~ Thanks to Gary Noble, Development Approval Planner

Laura at "the South Enders" reading last year

We lost a long-time member and a real community advocate this past month with the passing of Laura Ann Ramsay.  Most recently known as the author/editor of the South Enders, she was the inventor and chief director of the Strawberry Social tea at the Miner’s Picnic.  Scroll down to read the obituary from the paper.  She will leave a big hole in [the heart of] the South End. We’ll miss her.


We’re sure that Parks and Rec staff were as horrified as we were when a jeep tore through the new cul-de-sac  at Milton and Irwin Street last week, leaving deep gouges in the new sod, but thankfully missing the Gino tree.  Staff were out lickety-split, fixing the grass as best they could and placing huge boulders to stop any more midnite racers.  Thanks so much for your immediate help!


In the News

There have certainly been a lot of stories of interest to South Enders lately.

Our disappearing heritage: ‘Out with the old, in with the new’ habit erases remnants of Nanaimo’s history.  Discusses some of the heritage buildings that are missing from our landscape, many in the downtown core.

Sandstone development approved. Councillors vote to amend official community plan for 2,400 new homes and industrial spaces in city’s south

Plan to develop assembly wharf may cost $250,000. Industrial property will be site of new cruise ship pier


More Art in/for the Neighbourhood

Birdbee Art School will be back in action in the New Year! Nicole & I will be running a combined theatre & visual arts class for kids beginning in January on Friday afternoons likely between 2-5 PM at Firebird Studios.

I would also like to offer just a visual arts studio class for kids on Saturday mornings if there is enough interest.  If you want more info on either of these, call me at 754.0677

Also, I am in the process of painting a public mural on the building at Deverill Square Park.  I welcome visitors, community input, help painting the image or a nice hot drink of sorts!!

~ submitted by artist Yvonne Vander Kooi

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Balmoral Update

Balmoral Good Neighbour Committee Update

The 2nd meeting of the Balmoral Good Neighbour Committee Meeting was held on Monday, October 26th.
We had the following people show: Christina Martens, Sydney Robertson, Alison Millward from VIHA, Pam James, Mike Baird, Ed Chan, and Jacquie Howardson from Neighbours of Nob Hill.
We presented a brainstorm list of questions for the FAQ sheet.  Christina and Alison will have a go at answering the questions and will present it back to the group for editing at the next meeting.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings, please call me @ 753.1584.

~ submitted by Ed Chan

The Buzz

Balmoral resident George Simich is editing a monthly newsletter called the Buzz.  In its second edition, he mentioned Halloween…the carving of pumpkins, placed in the front window of the former restaurant.  And of trick or treaters — over 4 dozen showed up. (Editor’s note: More than at my place…:)


CMHA is still attempting to find funding alternatives which will ensure 24 hour on-site management.  Following is a letter from SECA Chair Douglas Hardie to Minister Rich Coleman, asking him for more support.

If 24 hour supervision at the Balmoral is important to you, please consider copying this letter and sending it off to the Minister yourself.

October 26, 2009

Minister Rich Coleman
PO Box 9058
Victoria BC
V8W 9E1

Re: Funding to support low-barrier housing project at the old Balmoral Hotel, Nanaimo.

Dear Sir,

I am writing in support of the request by the Canadian Mental Health Association for your financial assistance with respect to the low-barrier social housing project that is currently underway at the old Balmoral Hotel in Nanaimo.

Our community has embraced the need for this kind of innovative housing effort as the best way to address the chronic mental health and addiction issues that have challenged our neighborhood over the past several years. We recognize that the provision of stable, secure housing is a critical factor in terms of addressing the complex needs of these individuals. We also recognize that for a low-barrier housing project to succeed it is essential that it is supported with the kind of capital and operating resources necessary to do the job properly.

This project is important, not just for the clients it serves but also because, as the first of its kind in Nanaimo, it has the potential to demonstrate that the model can work and that it can be embraced and supported by the neighborhood in which it is located. It would be a great shame if the project failed due to insufficient resources, a situation that would likely reinforce the divisiveness that has characterized efforts to deliver harm reduction services in residential neighborhoods. Thank you for your consideration.


Douglas Hardie
Chair, South End Community Association
32 Gillespie Street
Nanaimo, V9R 4Y3
Tel: 250 754 0677

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About 44 South Enders came to the Issue and Opportunities Workshop on Thursday, Nov. 12.  It was an interactive event, with the intent of getting residents’ thoughts out of their heads and down on paper, and also to share and discuss those ideas with their neighbours.

We worked with big maps in the centre of each table…it’s quite amazing to look down on a huge aerial photo of the neighbourhood.   The urban design consultants – Urban Forum Associates and Ramsay Worden Architects used the aerial maps to walk us through the topography of the South End, explaining key points that will influence any future changes

Then we did some round-table discussions focused on 3 areas:

  1. Land use: basically, that’s about what type of buildings we want to see. About what the mix looks like (i.e. stores, parks, retail, community facilities etc.) And about what’s now working right now.
  2. Making a safe and friendly neighbourhood.  We talked about how to build a better sense of community, what would provide more safety and security, and what could be added to make the South End more liveable.
  3. Environment and getting around.  We talked about what needs protecting, about parks and open spaces.  And about how people get around the neighbourhood and how that could be improved.

Right now, Community Planning Department staff are currently collating and analyzing the information collected at the workshop. The input will be used in the next steps of the planning process.

If you couldn’t make it to the workshop, you can still give your input, but you need to hurry…deadline is December 1.   You can give your feedback using the on-line form by clicking here.

If you think better with a pen in your hand, you can call Chris @ 755.4472 and he will get one for you.

The next step in the neighbourhood plan process is an urban design workshop planned for mid-January.  “Urban design” basically means working with the architects to look 20 years into the future to create some different visions of how the neighbourhood will look.  More on that coming up in the next newsletter.

~ Thanks to Chris Sholberg, City Planner

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Christmas, of course!

Last year, a group of us went to Dufferin Lodge to entertain the shut-in residents on Christmas Day.  It was a real treat for them (hey, we were better than the alternative, which was nothing…:))

Here’s the article.

You don’t have to be a South Ender to join in, and you certainly don’t need talent, just a little holiday spirit and a big heart.

If you’re interested at all, call Barbara at 740 0123 over the next few days.  If there’s enough interest, we’ll do it again this year.

All there in great spirit, with our delightful head cheerleader directing us front and centre..:)

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So much going on!  Here’s a synopsis and links for more info

Issues and Opportunities Workshop on Thursday night

This is an actual brainstorming workshop.  We’ll use the initial feedback that we residents gave the city about what we liked/didn’t like.  We’ll work together to come up with ideas for to improve the South End.  It’s a great way to get your ideas heard, and to listen to what other people want.

The city needs to know how many people will attend so they can get organized.  If you’re coming, call Chris @ 250.755.4472
It’s 6:30 PM at the Bayview School gym.  Part of the Neighbourhood Planning process.

SECA Beer & Burger on Friday night

This could be your lucky night!  Only $13.  Shop for Christmas, win big in the 50/50 draw, come hang with your friends.

The Newport Bar & Grill 6 to 9 PM

You can chance turning up at the door, but to ensure that you don’t go hungry, pick up a ticket in advance.

  • Sandra’s Head to Toe Salon  753.1394
  • Newport Bar & Grill,
  • or from any SECA board member.

Laura Ramsay Memorial Service on Saturday

People have been asking about the service for this dedicated South Ender.  It’s on Saturday at 2 PM at the Sands Chapel  (just north of the Pearson Bridge/downtown, by the water.)  More info.

South End Studios Featured in Artwalk this Weekend

First off, Yvonne Vander Kooi is happily and creatively ensconced in Fire Bird Studios at 345 Haliburton Street. She shares with painter Alejandra Gomez. They are opening the studio to the public this weekend and invite you to come for a visit.  They are participating in the Nanaimo art walk along with about 30 other artists who are opening their homes/studios to the public. Check out the website indicated below for a sneak preview of the artists and their work as well as a map of the studios on the tour. Again, we are open on Saturday and Sunday, October 14th & 15th from 11-4PM and would love to share our work with you. We have originals, prints, art cards & of course treats! Hope to see you there!


~ submitted by Yvonne Vander Kooi

Other South end artist studios you can visit:

Dyane Brown @ 87 Nicol Street (neath Arbutus Books)

Jan Smart @ 430 Victoria Road (cottage behind off the lane).

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Balmoral Good Neighbour Committee

The 2nd meeting of the Balmoral Good Neighbhour Committee Meeting was held on Monday, October 26th.

We had the following people show: Christina Martens, Sydney Robertson, Alison Millward from VIHA, Pam James, Mike Baird, Ed Chan, and Jacquie Howardson from Neighbours of Nob Hill.
We presented a brainstorm list of questions for the FAQ sheet.  Christina and Alison will have a go at answering the questions and will present it back to the group for editing at the next meeting, Monday, November 23rd, at 7 pm.
If you would like to attend one of these meetings, please call me @ 753.1584.
~ submitted by Ed Chan

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RAMSAY, Laura Anne June 15, 1950 ~ October 27, 2009 Passed away in the arms of her husband Jim Robertson, on October 27, 2009 at Royal Jubilee Hospital, after a courageous 57-year battle with Diabetes. Laura was predeceased by beloved family members, infant sister Bobbi, brother Garry and father Robert. She is lovingly remembered by her husband Jim, mother Arleen Ramsay, sister Glenda Nikirk (Doug), children Chad (Tara), Morgan (Laura) and Kirsten, grandchildren Kayleen, Jayda, Nadal, Shelby, Montana, and Bailey, as well as nephews Malcolm and Rodney Ramsay, and Brett Nikirk and niece Carly Nikirk. Laura was a bright, energetic woman who led by example. Her ability to love was boundless and she was an inspiration to all who had the pleasure to know her. Even in failing health, she refused to be hampered by pain or blindness and was able to complete and publish her book “The Southenders ” a tribute to the south end of Nanaimo, her home and the community she loved. A Celebration of Laura’s life will take place on November 14, 2009 at 2:00 pm at Sands Funeral Chapel, 1 Newcastle Avenue, Nanaimo, BC. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Laura’s name to the Kidney Foundation or the Canadian Diabetes Association. Sands ~ Nanaimo 182441

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