Archive for October, 2013

The Daily News has approached our Chair,  Douglas Hardie to provide a weekly column focusing on the south end.  We’ll post the articles here and welcome your feedback and suggestions for future topics.

One of our challenges in the south end has been to shift the negative perceptions and myths that exist about the neighbourhood. A few years back I joined a conversation with a class of VIU students on the topic of community development and I asked the class about their perceptions of the south end. None of the students lived in the neighbourhood and few had actually spent any time there, yet all had a strong sense that the area was unsafe and generally a place to avoid at all costs. The south end was clearly defined as Nanaimo’s “problem” neighbourhood and the fear and anxiety that was palpable in some of the students was a reminder of how perceptions can be shaped by emotion rather than a more reasoned appraisal of the facts. It was an interesting conversation and it got me thinking about this universal urban process that leads to one area of a city becoming defined as the “problem neighbourhood.”

One of the great contributors to research on the family, Dr. Murray Bowen, developed a systems theory that describes how various relationship and emotional processes in a family can develop symptoms that manifest in a vulnerable family member. The problem tends to get defined in the individual, but the anxiety driven process involves the active participation of the whole family. Ask a family member who has been defined as the “black sheep” how difficult it is to get family members to relate to them differently and you begin to get a sense of how just how binding these processes can be.

The great NIMBY debate can be viewed as a symptom of this basic emotional process. When a neighbourhood perceives a threat, (real or percieved), anxiety rises and resources are mobilized, often with a goal of making the problem go away. It’s natural for the human to seek distance from the intensity of emotional problems. We may have great compassion for others struggling with problems of one kind or another but we don’t really want to live up close to it. This anxious process plays out on a city level by pushing the problems, (and the intended solutions) into one distinct neighbourhood. This process serves to relieve the anxiety of the moment, (NIMBY), but tends to reinforce the broader systemic and social problems over time, (see Vancouver’s downtown east side). It’s interesting to consider how this reactive distancing process may be contributing to, and maintaining the problem on both an individual and neighbourhood level.

The City of Nanaimo has decided to pursue a policy of spreading supportive housing projects throughout the city. It’s an impressive example of how a city can tackle it’s problems in a more progressive manner. The policy requires strong and far sighted leadership and signals a willingness to embrace the anxiety of dealing with these problems as a whole community. I think we are all the better for it.

Douglas Hardie is Chair of the South End Community Association and can be reached at dhseca@gmail.com

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Signy Parkin passed last Friday, October 11. Her obituary was in Thursday’s Daily News, and it is in the Harbour Star that was distributed yesterday. An informal service will be held at Signy’s memorial site at Cedar Valley at a future date to be determined. Small gathering of friends will be held for Signy on Sunday, October 27 at 2 PM at St. Andrews United Church on Fitzwilliam Street

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The South Downtown Waterfront Initiative is a long term planning project in Nanaimo, led by the South Downtown Waterfront Committee. This process involves developing visions and opportunities for this complex and challenging property that extend 20 to 30 years into the future.

Thanks to all who helped make the recent Harbour Fair a success, and who continue to join the conversation through our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. These thoughts and ideas are forming the foundation on which we are building a vision and Guiding Principles for the South Downtown Waterfront. But we are not finished listening.

The Committee is hosting THREE additional events to gain your input:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Join internationally renowned urban planner Dr. Larry Beasley in the Shaw Auditorium. Everyone is welcome to attend. No registration required.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
An interactive event (World Café style) providing opportunity to explore ideas further, and to have open discussions with neighbours and fellow community members. Everyone is welcome to attend. Registration is required. Please register online


Thursday, November 14 to Saturday, November 16, 2013
A 22-hour, multi-day, focused and deliberate session made up of a small group of experts and community members. For more information click .


Next Committee meeting – Tuesday Oct 22 Board Room, City of Naniamo Service and Resource Centre, 411 Dunsmuir

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The Hummingbird Project at Bayview & in the South End is coming along – such wonderful staff & students!Hum

Next week begins the series of 4 community art drop-in workshops so residents in the neighbourhood and families of the students at Bayview can also participate in the project. Be a part of a public art project at Deverill Square Park that will Hum2boast over 250 painted panels along the fence lines – a veritable outdoor gallery! Join in the fun! The dates for the community drop-in workshops at Bayview school are;
Thursdays, October 17 & 24 6-8 PM
Mondays, October 21 & 28 3-5PM.

Hum3Paint a panel – volunteer to help in the workshops – prime & clear coat artwork – drop off flyers – help with the final celebration – carpenter skills for the installation & more!Hum4

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“The Harbour Fair on the Wellcox Lands last Saturday gave the many citizens who attended a whole lot of information, and, for many of us, a chance to explore this area for the first time.

 The South Downtown Waterfront Initiative is a long term planning project in Nanaimo, led by the South Downtown Waterfront Committee. This process involves developing visions and opportunities for this complex and challenging property that extend 20 to 30 years into the future.

 Transit had a couple of buses making a tour of the site (about 27 acres) and it is certainly easier to understand the scope  than looking at a map.  But  it’s at the moment an awful lot of asphalt.  We had Bernie Dumas from Port Authority acting as guide and of course, were taken to the cruise ship terminal and stopped to look around the building which is very impressive.  There are half a dozen very little trees and a handkerchief of grass outside the door but I was assured that this will be extended!

 The whole site is very complex with different owners and histories.

 RDN would like to put a transportation hub here and I was informed that it would cover up to an acre.

 It looks as if Sea Span might move to Duke Point; RDN, the river estuary group, BC Transit and Nanaimo Port Authority were all well represented and ready to answer question, as were some city planners including our friend Chris Sholberg.  Fred Pattje was at a table as the City representative on the Initiative Committee and you can catch an interview with him on channel 4.

 SECA was there with the tea wagon and some goodies and a goodly gang of our members pouring tea and giving information.  Gord had his famous hot dogs on hand.  And it didn’t rain!

 There were plenty of opportunities to give our input and visions and you can still have input…..go to http://www.southdowntownwaterfront.ca/p/home.html and explore all the information

 I urge all citizens to take some time to spend half an hour looking to see what other cities have done.  I remember The Forks many years ago as rail lines and asphalt.  Go www.theforks.com and see what beauty has been brought to this area of Winnipeg.

 The best suggestion I heard was let’s have a brewery and a pub in a nice garden down there and we can sit outside with the tourists and enjoy the scenery!

 Pat P”

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Neal Brown called with news that Signy Parkin – Nob Hill’s cheerful, hard-working and always optimistic “paper-girl”  – is in the NRGH palliative care unit, with cancer. Signy has also been a tireless collector of signatures on many campaigns – from protecting the Great Bear Rainforest, to making our electoral system more democratic. Neal says Signy is still taking visitors. Signy is also a great proponent of the south end; often sharing her unique perspective on things – (And also long-time SECA member)  See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/plenty-of-names-continue-to-make-the-news-in-nanaimo-1.649846#sthash.AHEgMGGW.dpuf

 From Monday’s  Daily News.

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Several people have requested this recipe- so here it is!

24 graham wafers
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 pkg sliced almonds
1 cup chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with tin foil, forming 1/2 ” raised “walls”.
Arrange graham wafers on tin foil in 4X6 rows.
Melt butter in saucepan or frying pan on stove. (This step provides a good moment to think of Chef Bruce Chandler (master chef, teacher, friend), if for none other of the many reasons he will be remembered, because he always advocated that there is no appropriate substitute for real butter.)
Add brown sugar and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Spread mixture evenly over graham waters.
Sprinkle with almonds and chocolate chips.
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

Cool (or not) and break into irregular pieces (or not).


This recipe doubles well in case you want to use up a pound of butter all at once or do not want half a bag of chocolate chips waiting in the fridge.

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