Archive for April, 2010

The Nanaimo Estuary is a busy place this time of year.  And Chase River Estuary Park Day, an event that provides hands-on education, will be held on Saturday May 8.

“Few people know that Nanaimo has one of the largest estuaries on Vancouver Island,” says Rob Lawrance, Environmental Planner for the City of Nanaimo.  “It’s actually quite an active place; on a continental flyway for a number of bird species, it’s where they feed and rest.   The eelgrass beds provides both food for a number of fish species and protection for young salmon.  That, of course, attracts a variety of birds and the cycle of life goes on.”

You don’t often get the opportunity to see all the activity, but on Saturday May 8, you can, with the help of some local experts at Chase River Estuary Park.

□       Charles Thirkill, a well-known biologist and author, will be talking about the “small fry” salmon and encouraging youngsters to catch and release the little fish who will eventually become bigger ones. A few wader boots will be supplied.

□       Steve Baillie, a well-known naturalist, will be helping to point out the wide range of different birds in the park and their songs.

□       Molly Byrne, a retired biology teacher, will share her wealth of knowledge about both the interesting birds and plants in the park.

□       And Pamela Shaw, an adjunct professor at UVic and ardent estuary supporter will share some historical information about the Estuary, which contains fish weirs stretching back over 1,000 years.

There will also be guided nature walks, displays and a hotdog BBQ by donation.

“Chase River is a miniature version of the Nanaimo Estuary.  It’s like a secret little spot hidden in the city,” says Rob Lawrance.  You can access the park at the foot of Haliburton Street, just south of the Bold Knight restaurant.  Organized by the South End Community Association, the free event runs from 10 AM until 2 PM.

Click below for the poster.

Chase River Estuary Park Day

For a little more information on the estuary, click on the title below:

Needs of industry and nature collide in estuary. After more than a century of damage caused by industrial use, the Nanaimo River estuary is slowly returning to a natural state

Robert Barron, The Daily News,Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010

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Building Developments

The architect for the Robins Gardens project was in on Monday getting building permit for a construction trailer which has just been placed at the corner of Milton and Esplanade, and for the first condo unit, will go close to existing trees that are being saved on the north-east corner of site.  The first building has a planned layout of 12 units, with parking under the building  Owners will see how the market responds before beginning the next building; a total of 5 have been planned.  Expect construction to start sometime around June.

The planned 7-Eleven at Nicol and Milton has been reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation.  They will not allow a right turn into the site from Nicol Street,  but will allow a right turn out onto Nicol St.

City is continuing to work with Port Place Mall owners, nothing significant is happening.

Planned apartment building at 275 Nicol Street.  Building inspections is working with a prospective contractor, getting ready to go ahead.

At 13 Haliburton, the character 6-plex still working on parking issues.

Thanks to Gary Noble, Development Approval Planner, for the update.

Movin' on up on Haliburton Street!

Heritage and Community Planner Chris Sholberg is working on our draft Neighbourhood Plan, once it’s complete there will be an Open House of the community to attend.   Stay tuned for more details.

A call in to Bill Kiselbach, our local By-laws officer, gained the following information:

“Things have quietened down quite a bit, it’s nothing like it used to be.  Both the RCMP Bike squad and ACT/Crisis Response team are doing good work.” He’s finding less loitering in both of the problem alleys:  “People are not staying, they are on the move.” Derelict vehicles and foliage have been cleaned out of problem areas.

He says the change is spreading into the “Red Zone” area:  “We used to see all the same people, Footprints knew their names.  Now we see all kinds of people, new people, families with kids, tourists, walking around Victoria Crescent.  People stop into the CPSO office and ask for recommendations for lunch places.  You wouldn’t have seen that a few years ago.”

To read more about this, check out the May 3 article in the Nanaimo Daily News by Danielle Bell:  Red Zone helps to clean up once drug-riddled streets

Friends of Harewood Plains Meeting April 27

Over 50 people showed up at the The Friends of Harewood Plains meeting on April 27.  The objective is to preserve and protect the wildflower meadows on Harewood Plains.  A slide show displayed destruction of this delicate region.  There appears to a significant amount of interest in this area, home to a number of rare plant species, including the Lotus Pinneatis (showed above.)   A May 1 article in the Nanaimo Daily News gives more info.  Click here to read it.


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More than 40 South End neighbours and friends were out on the street early last Saturday morning. The goal was to plant 30 Japanese flowering cherry trees on the 600 block of Haliburton. By two o’clock all those trees were in the ground, standing proud and tall and our merry band of tree planters were munching Gord’s famous hot dogs. (vegans excepted) And weather-wise, it couldn’t have been better, for as you know, the sun always shines on the old South End! Most tree planters said it the best SECA event ever, a lot of fun, but also bringing folks together and meeting neighbors you never met before.

A special thanks to Alan Kemp, the City Arborist, who did so much to make this day a success. Thanks also to Chris Sholberg of City Planning and Warren Jaques from the Newcastle Neighborhood Assn. who were right in there digging and planting.

And thanks most of all to BC Hydro for creating and funding the initiative that will make such a big difference in our neighbourhood.

To see a slide show of the planting event, click, here.

For some candid shots of the hardworking planters, click here.

There was a “fabby” feature on the planting on Shaw Cable, channel 4 shown April 20-26.  Wonderful interview with Alan Kemp, some great candids at work…hey we’re no slackers when it comes to hard work! Thanks Melissa!

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April Meeting Notes

Listening carefully to the 7-Eleven presentation. No slurpee sounds heard!

Will from Delinea Design presented the plan for the planned 7 Eleven at Nicol and Milton. The site was originally leased to Imperial Oil, who sub-leased the storefront location to 7 Eleven.  The site has been sitting empty after being decommissioned as a gas station.  The owner, Keith Brown from Kenco Enterprises, plans to build only a store and to lease it once again, to 7 Eleven.

The building is quite an attractive design, with subdued signage.  It has more of a residential look; according to the designer, it made more sense to fit the building into the residential flavour of the neighbourhood.  At about 3000 square feet, a 2 bedroom caretaker suite is planned over the store.

Discussion ensuing:

  • Access: will access from Nicol actually act as a traffic slowing tactic?
  • Concerns about a possible pay phone on the site.
  • And a lot of discussion about whether the operation was planned to be open 24 hours daily, and whether there was enough traffic to warrant the overhead of a 24 hour operation.
  • There was also much dialogue about what the impact on the neighbourhood would be…while it’s wonderful to have something built on the deserted lot, and while it would be great to have a convenience store again in the neighbourhood, would the laneway behind the store, which is already suffering under stress, become part of a litter/loiter thoroughfare stretching between the store and the Methadone Clinic on Victoria Road?

After some discussion, the membership decided to support the development, while expressing some strong concerns about the discussed issues and asking for more information.

The new Friend of the South End recognition was presented to Mern Pinneo, who has tirelessly stood at the corner of Nicol and Needham for 2 hours daily, for over 15 years, as the school crossing guard for Bayview School.

We planned for the Tree Planing event on April 10, with the help of City Arborist Alan Kemp.

Anthony from Island Earthwork gave us a presentation on cob construction.  Cob is a mix of sand, clay, and straw. We’re excited by the idea of building a cob bench somewhere in the South End.

Jim Young from CMHA attended and gave an update report on the Balmoral.

Next meeting is Wednesday May 5 @ 7 PM.  Princess Royal Family Centre, corner of Irwin and Farquhar.  We’ll devote most of the meeting to some of the ideas that are popping up around neighbourhood revitalization.

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Mark these upcoming dates off on your social calendar:

June 26: 18th Annual Miner’s Day Picnic. All the old favourite activities/entertainment and a few new ones!

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Click on the headline to be taken to the entire article.

Condos eyed for Port Place plan.  Project will be introduced in several stages

The Star, Published: Friday, April 16, 2010


Third store opens for Salvation Army (at Southgate Mall)

By Rachel Stern – Nanaimo News Bulletin,Published: April 14, 2010


Darrell Bellaart, Daily News, Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Story ends for longtime bookseller

Large chains dominate in the competitive industry, says owner of Falconer’s books

Walter Cordery, Daily News, Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Residents rescue neighbourhood

South-end citizens come together to clean an area once rife with crime and disorder  (article about tree planting day)

Danielle Bell, The Daily News,published: Monday, April 12, 2010


Cruise ship terminal still stuck in mud

Little said as talks continue between Ottawa, Snuneymuxw and port officials

Darrell Bellaart, The Daily News,Published: Thursday, April 08, 2010


7-Eleven store may be key to rejuvenation

Business may be resurrected at south-end corner where it previously encountered many localized problems.

Derek Spalding, The Daily News, Published: Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Derek Spalding, The Daily News, Published: Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Meeting may salvage shaky deal to build cruise-ship dock. Port authority, MP differ on who needs to resolve impasse

Robert Barron, The Daily News,Published: Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The Daily News,Published: Monday, April 05, 2010

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