Archive for February, 2014

There’s nothing quite like planting a tree to make a difference in your community.  I learned this a number of years ago when the South End Community Association embarked on our long-term project to green the neighbourhood.

We’ve since planted more than 60 cherry trees along two whole blocks of Haliburton Street.  The project has been completed with the support of the City of Nanaimo, B. C. Hydro and more recently with the TD Green Streets Program.

As a community building initiative it’s hard to beat.  The whole process of coming together to dig the holes, plant the trees, caring for them as they take root and get established, and then to appreciate them year after year as they grow and beautify the streetscape has been a source of great satisfaction to all of us who have participated in the project.

Alan Kemp, Nanaimo’s Urban Forestry Coordinator, played a huge part in the success of our last round of planting and we’re hoping to work with him and his team again this spring as we pursue another grant application with the TD Green Streets Program.

Apart from the obvious aesthetic value, urban tree planting helps capture carbon dioxide, reduces storm water runoff  (and thus infrastructure costs), and cleans the air. Every $1 spent on trees nets $2.70 in benefits, according to a news release from the City of Vancouver.

Vancouver hopes to plant 150,000 new trees by 2020.  It’s interesting to consider why this has become such a priority for their city.  Perhaps they just know, as we do in the south end, that planting trees make a difference in all the right ways.  Imagine 1000 new trees in Nanaimo by 2020.

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

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  1. Introductions
  2. Financial Report
  3. Recycling Depot – Old Victoria Rd
  4. Building Proposal Presentation – 253 Victoria Rd
  5. Rowe House
  6. Public Safety – RCMP report
  7. Gung Haggis Fat Choy – Review
  8. Samaritan House – Use of Vacant Lot
  9.  Constitution
    Other Business:
  10. Mining

Treasurer S. LaRoque reported the following:

  • The General account has a balance of $2,684.72 after all expenses for Gung Haggis Fat Choy
  • The Picnic account balance is $4,871.69

Presenters on behalf of The Regional Recycling Group:  Paul Shorney/Tim Waite. Debbie Jenner, City Neighbourhood Planning, was also present to address questions.
This privately owned/operated company provides facilities for public recycling.  They operate several sites on the island and in BC.  Tim presented their proposal for a new facility to serve the South End of Nanaimo.  Rezoning to Light Industrial would be required for 2 lots (1044/1048).  The proposed site on Old Victoria Road across from Petroglyph Park falls within the Chase River catchment area, they will present to those residents next week.
The facility would:

  • operate under the requirements of the Government Stewardship Program.
  • handle recyclables including Hazardous materials such as batteries, paints and solvents, electronics and glass.
  • Be open from 8:30-5:30 Mon – Sat and 10-4 on Sundays.
  • Emphasize environmentally and user-friendly construction, landscaping and traffic solutions.  Drawings and maps of the building design and landscaping were presented in support.
  • Construction would begin in May with completion by Fall 2014.

During question period, concerns were expressed regarding pollution from processing of glass and hazardous materials.  The presenters assured those present that all processing and storage would be handled indoors. Traffic concerns were also addressed, showing a minimally invasive truck and traffic route from the highway to the site.
Presenters emphasized the public-spirited nature of the company.

Gary Noble of the City Planning Department presented a revised proposal by the new owner for an 18 unit Condo or Rental development at this site. In his proposal, the new owner has tried to address community desires expressed in response to previous development submissions by the former owner(s).
The following was presented:

  • Rezoning would be required to Downtown 12/Mixed Use
  • It would be a 3-storey building at Farquhar and Victoria
  • 3 Units would access off Victoria and 15 off Farquhar
  • Each unit would be 600sq.ft.
  • There would be 1 parking space and 1 bicycle space per Unit
  • One CarShare space would be provided at the complex.
  • Architect Bill Edmunds designed the buildings to fit with local ambiance.
  • Proposed Exterior finishes incorporate Hardie Board/Craftsman  style.
  • Ground Floor windows would be Commercial Type and Grade.
  • In discussion, the Community expressed an overall positive attitude toward the proposal, but indicated a preference for owner-occupied use.

Steve Arnett gave an update on Rowe House.  He described the facility’s resident rooms and common areas. There are presently 5 residents.  The facility can accommodate 14.
Requirements for residence are:

  • between 17 and 30 yrs.
  • All residents are currently employed
  • compliance with house rules
  • The residence is currently supervised by Caseworker Linda Milford, Gord Fuller and himself.
  • No complaints from neighbours after 6 mos.
  • A Surveillance Camera System is in place and can monitored 24/7 by computer remote
  • 25 hours of direct supervision each week.
  • Stringent resident screening
  • no guests after 11pm

Reported the following policing items of interest to the community:

  • Spike in crime, due primarily to 2 individuals.
  • a Findlayson block has been a problem area/drug house
  • Residences on Nicol St. continue to experience problem calls but there is a new on-site manager.
  • A problem property was also noted at Albert/Milton for our information.
  • The Patricia site has been foreclosed on.
  • Our attention was called to changing laws regarding medicinal marijuana grow operations, liquor sales and prostitution laws.
  • The City has ordered the demolition of Manson’s Store at the corner of Farquhar and Haliburton.  The order is currently under appeal by the owner.
  • City is still considering appropriate action toward the burned-out structures on Gillespie Street.

SECA put forward proposal to print more of our brochures outlining proper procedures for reporting nuisance properties and make them available on our blog.


  • Kudos were given to Sidney and Sandra for their hard work in organizing this event.
  • Sincere thanks also went out to all the volunteers who assisted them.
  • The event was well-attended and profitable.
  • Concensus was that it should be repeated and expanded.


  • The vacant lot behind Samaritan House across from Robinson Rentals is a City Right of Way.
  • Samaritan House wishes to utilize it for overflow parking.
  • Gord Fuller and Sandra LaRoque volunteered to meet with Jack Anderson to view the lot and report their recommendation to the executive.


  • Kathryn Hazel has reviewed the Constitution and will bring comments to the executive meeting.
  • She noted that the Constitution is old (1982), needs updating which is a lengthy process.
  • We should attempt to complete it by the next AGM.


10. Mining

  • A short report was given on the contents of the City Coal Mine Map currently on display at the Museum.
  • The Map only shows mining activity to 1902 and no street overlay is provided.
  • The City’s responsibility to share the information from the current Study in Progress with affected properties was questioned.

Adjourned at 9 pm.  Next General Meeting March 5, 7pm at Princess Royal 260 Irwin St.

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Gung Haggis Fat Choy from the South End Community Association! To understand how the famous haggis found it’s way into the traditional Chinese New Year greeting, you had to be one of the hundred or so folks who filed into the lounge at Alice’s restaurant last Friday to witness a south end cultural first. Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a fusion of the traditional Burns supper, (a celebration of the Scots poet Robert Burns), with the Chinese New Year.


Both events fall at the end of January, a time of year that can generally do with a bit of colour and cheer, and so it was that the ceremonial haggis and fish were piped into Alice’s by the regimental piper Len Campbell. The tartan swirled, the lanterns swayed, the Bayview Elementary Scottish country dancers jigged and curtsied, and the ode to the haggis was duly delivered!

It was a grand ceilidh with some top notch dancing by the Nanaimo Scottish Country Dancers and some not so top notch, but greatly enjoyed eights and reels by the general population. Leanne Routley cast her famous husband into the shadows and stole the show with a superb demonstration of the traditional sword dance. A fine night was rounded off with an open mic at which ballads and folk songs were sung and a comedienne told jokes by the long dead, but apparently revered British comedian, Tommy Cooper. Her dead pan delivery was hilarious and the jokes weren’t all bad!


It really was a great night and thanks to the inspiration and hard work of Sydney Robertson, Sandra and Mike Larocque and many others we raised about a thousand dollars which goes a long way to covering the association’s annual insurance costs.


As for those ceremonial dishes? Well the haggis is a symbol of Scottish thriftiness and generally tastes better when washed down with another famous Scottish export. The fish is called “Yu” which means abundance, and because it had a head and a tail, it symbolized abundance for the whole year, beginning to end. Gung Haggis Fat Choy!




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


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