Posts Tagged ‘Social Issues’

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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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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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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SECA Challenges Rest of Nanaimo’s Neighbourhood Associations

Plant-Out in Maffeo-Sutton Park  Wednesday June 3  5:00  – 9:00 PM

The City received a Trees For Tomorrow grant from the Provincial Government for Maffeo-Sutton Park.  Part of the grant’s parameters included community/volunteer help, and they have invited Neighbourhood Groups and Associations to come out to help.  Basically what we will be doing is showing up wearing shoes (not sandals) to plant 1200 shrubs and place topsoil.

Noooowwww…..it’s not REALLY a competition….BUT…we ALL know that NO-ONE – NO-ONE is better at work parties than we South Enders!! So we’ve issued a challenge to the rest of the community associations in Nanaimo…the neighbourhood that plants the MOST shrubs (and does it well) wins a coveted SECA Art Bin…!

The city really deserves our help…they’ve bent over backward for us.

So if you are up for the challenge, want an up-close look at the changes, say “thanks” to the city, and — most importantly — prove that –as Pam James says — “for a bad ‘hood, we’re pretty good!” send us an e-mail:  southendcommunityassociation [at] gmail.com

No need to turn up for the whole thing, just a 90 minute shift would be great.   Just let us know when you can make it and we’ll get it organized.

Our ONE complication is the SECA Monthly meeting that begins @ 7 PM.   But we’ll work with that and around that as best we can.


Next SECA Meeting  Wed June 3 @ 7 PM

Princess Royal Centre

Corner of Irwin and Farquhar

Planting volunteers are excused from getting dressed up for the meeting and the round at the pub after  (not that anyone dresses up anyway…ha ha!)



Food Skills for Families on a Smart Budget

Fridays May 22 – June 26  11:00am – 2:00 pm

REGISTER: Call Nanaimo Foodshare  (250)753-9393

**A call to all who enjoy food and want to eat and cook healthily**

Stretching your food budget is not always easy. Come and learn how to cook simple meals common to Canada while learning healthy cooking/eating skills that can also assist in meeting your budget. You’ll meet new friends and see others you already know while having fun cooking together!

Food Skills for Families on a Smart Budget provides you with a unique opportunity to:

·        gain hands-on cooking experience, each week you’ll learn while cooking

·        try out and adapt simple recipes to take home

·        learn about nutrition, making healthy food choices, safe food handling and storage, meal planning, healthy snacks, shopping and much more

·        have fun and share in the enjoyment of the food and making new friends

·        learn how to find and prepare healthy foods that meet your cultural, social and financial needs.

FREE: six sessions, 3 hours each

#1 – Introduction to Healthy Eating

#2 – Eating For Good Health

#3 – Meat Alternatives, Milk Alternatives and Healthy Fats

#4 – Planning Healthy Meals, Snacks and Beverages

#5 – Supermarket Tour

#6 – Celebrating Canadian Classics

WHERE:   NANAIMO FOODSHARE  271 Pine Street Nanaimo



The threat of hunger is all too real for hundreds of men, women and children in Nanaimo.  You can show that you care, that you can make a difference.  Here’s how:

1.  Attend the Info Picnic

11:00 Am to 1:00 PM  Friday June 5

Bowen Park (picnic shelter near the volleyball courts)

Join Us for lunch – 11-1pm at Bowen Park, near the volley ball courts- Bring your lunch and something to share with others.

Come and meet the many organizations providing services to people in distress or working directly to keep hunger at bay, including:

  • The Salvation Army (will be providing coffee)
  • The 7-10 Club
  • Nanaimo Women’s Resource Centre
  • Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre
  • Nanaimo Family Life Association

2.  Buy a Hunger Awareness Day Lunch Bag

Loaves & Fishes Food Bank will also be distributing Hunger Awareness Day Lunch Bags before the event.  For a suggested donation of $5, a Hunger Awareness Day lunch bag will show your support for those in need.

Then on Friday June 5th use that bag to pack your lunch to work or better still join Loaves & Fishes Food Bank and friends in Bowen Park for a lunch time celebration of caring and sharing.

Bags available from Loaves & Fishes Food Bank -250-754-8347 order a bunch and take them to your workplace, your church, wherever there are people who care.

For more information call JoAnne Dundas at Loaves & Fishes -754-8347


More Trees on Haliburton?  Maybe!

From Chris Sholberg at the City of Nanaimo:

A Trees for Tomorrow grant application has been submitted to the Province for the Haliburton Street tree planting project, and we are currently waiting on whether the application is successful or not.  If successful, we will be in touch to coordinate timing and other details – likely this would be a Fall, 2009 project.

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‘War zone’ not always ideal for New Hope

Click here for an article on the current service situation at the New Hope Centre, from the April 17 issue of the Nanaimo Daily News.


New Election Boundaries – do they Affect YOU?

We originally posted an article about the boundary change when it was announced last August, along with a map.  In order to help you get a little more cozy with blogging, we’re going to show you how to access it here.

Over in the right hand column, you’ll see a heading titled “Tags.”  See how all the words are different sizes?  That’s because every time that topic is mentioned, the word gets larger.  If you wanted to read ALL the posts on a particular topic, just click on that word and voila….up will come all the posts.

Now, the post announcing the electoral boundary change  was under the title “Provincial Election 2009”.  So just click on it, and you will see the heading for the article: “Are YOU Losing Leonard?”

There you are, now you can say: “Yep, I can blog.” to anyone who remotely cares…:)


Neighbourhood Plan Passed!

We’ve just received word that the council budget  that contains the Neighbourhood Plan for the South End has received second approval!  This is GREAT news for all of us.  Thank YOU, councillors! (and Mayor Ruttan, too)


McDonald’s Grand Re-opening Ceremony Saturday April 25 @ 1 PM

If you’ve missed the ads in the papers, the Nicol Street McDonald’s is holding their gala-gala reopening event THIS week.   Deals on menu items every day until Saturday.  And an official invitation to join them on  Saturday at 1 PM for cake/cupcakes and their official ribbon cutting ceremony!

Congratulations, Wayne, Josh, and team.  The new update looks great.

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Gang Awareness Workshop Tuesday, April 28

The Community Policing and Services Office is presenting a Gang Awareness Workshop for parents on Tuesday, April 28 from 7 to 9 p.m.  The workshop will be held in the multipurpose room at John Barsby Community Secondary School.

Rick Stewart a retired staff sergeant from the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) will be presenting important information on the following topics:

  • the definitions of gangs
  • tier levels of gangs and an overview of gangs in B.C.
  • why children are joining gangs
  • understanding gang culture
  • the impact of media
  • what parents can do

He has been investigating street gangs since 1997 and was heavily involved with the development of EPS’s Gang Unit.  He is currently involved with the RCMP in B.C., working for the Drugs and Organized Crime Awareness Service (DOCAS) of E Division, and is the Project Coordinator for the Vancouver School Board’s YES (Youth Empowered and Safe) gang prevention project.

For more information, contact Sharon Welch by email Sharon.Welch@nanaimo.ca or call 250 753-3777.


McHappy Day is Wednesday May 6

Come and support the local Child Development Centre by dining at McDonald’s on Wednesday May 6.  Watch local community leaders try to emulate McD staffers by helping out, either out front or behind the counter.  Service with a smile!


Next SECA Meeting set for Wednesday May 14

The next SECA meeting will be delayed one week, and is set for the usual time (7 PM) at the Princess Royal Centre.  We’ll send out a reminder in advance.


Be Part of the E. J. Hughes Exhibition and Mural  May 15 to June 7

Word of the day: Docent. A person who is a knowledgeable guide, esp. one who conducts visitors through a museum and delivers a commentary on the exhibitions.

The restoration of the EJ Hughes Mural which was discovered in the Malaspina Hotel is almost complete and the Mural will available for public viewing in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre (VICC) as of May 15, 2009. The Nanaimo Art Gallery is coordinating a number of events to celebrate the restoration and unveiling of the mural and the most significant of these events will be a major exhibition of EJ Hughes work at the Downtown Gallery from May 15 to June 7.

The Gallery is looking for volunteer docents to be

1)  on site at the Downtown Gallery during the EJ Hughes exhibit (May 15 to June 7) and

2) at the Mural site in the VICC during the initial weekend (May 15 to 18) to provide interpretation and information to the public.

Docents will receive training on EJ Hughes and his work as well as on the Mural and the restoration process.

If this is of interest to you and you would like to volunteer your time to be a docent please let me know.


Ed Poli

Ed Poli & Associates, Management Consulting

Ph – (250) 716 1277 Fax (250) 716 1244


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Neighbourhood Plan Delayed

In light of the current economic situation, city officials have been pouring over their budgets, trying to get as much for their dollar as possible.  One of the possible budget lines on the chopping block was the 2 neighbourhood plans slated for this year.

Now we’re not really sure about those other guys, but we believe that there is NO neighbourhood in the city undergoing as much change as the South End right now.  A neighbourhood plan will:

  • Allow us to plan for less light industrial and more residential.
  • Give us the clarity to get involved in issues like wharf lands development.
  • Help us better partner with downtown to deal with safety issues and Nicol Street improvements.
  • Ensure that if/when the Sandstone and Cable Bay developments south of town ramp up, we won’t become the default high-traffic corridor to downtown.

So we sprung..er, sprang to action (dictionary.com says both words are good, so we did both..:)  SECA board member Pat Portsmouth presented our case to City Council on March 16, and our board members attended council meeting on March 23.   Pat reminded them that: 1) we’ve been very busy since we applied for the plan back in September 2007,  2) that we’re ready to go and that 3) we’re a thrifty bunch of volunteers.  She and board Vice Chair Gord Fuller have been lobbying to get the votes we need from council to stay on the budget for this year.  We’re optimistic…as usual…!

News coverage:

South-End Residents Want Promised Plan

Thanks to Matt Hussman at the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership for writing a letter of support for our plan.


Deverill Square Park Improvements


You may have noticed some upgrades to the washroom building at Deverill Square Park.  The Parks Recreation and Culture Department has been working to make them safer and universally accessible. The upgrades are nearing completion.

In addition, families in the South End can look forward to a new tricycle trail and spray park for summer 2009.   Underground works will begin this April while paving and above ground work will be completed by June 15th (in time for the warm weather and Miner’s Picnic).  The conceptual water park design and elements are pictured below.

Parking and road end upgrades along Irwin Street are also planned for fall 2009.

~Kirsty MacDonald
Parks and Recreation


Omni Foods Moves To South End

Omni Building

The building at 106 Fry Street has been spiffed up and now houses Omni Foods.  Omni Foods warehouses and distributes a wide variety of food items to convenience stores including Shell, Husky, Esso, Gas n Go, and the General Stores and Markets.

Originally located on Boban Road, they outgrew their former location and moved to the South End in December.  Welcome to Barry, Donna, Dave and the rest of your staff, and thanks for the great reno job!


Nanaimo VIPs attend SECA Meetings

We’ve been really fortunate over the past few months to have some great resource folks attend our meetings and give us updates.  We’d like to say “thanks” to:

  • Chris Sholberg, who is our neighbourhood plan expert
  • Dave Laberge and Cameron Thompson from the RCMP, who have attended the past 2 meetings to give us updates on their efforts
  • Matt Hussman from the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership, who has been keeping us abreast of their activities
  • MLA Doug Routley, who dropped in in February
  • Councillors Fred Pattje and Jim Kipp, who were great resources at our March meeting.

We know it takes extra time for you to come and attend, and we are really grateful for your ongoing support in the South End!


Haliburton Loses a Bit of Traffic

Two houses containing illegal suites at 45 & 47 Haliburton Street were the source of inspection by the fire department, leading to tenant evictions.  As well, the RCMP executed a search warrant at 47 Haliburton St on March 18, resulting in the arrest of numerous individuals and the seizure of drugs, money and weapons.

Links to news articles:

From the Nanaimo Daily News:

Hazards prompt fire chief to evict downtown tenants

Evicted tenants scramble to move :Fire department orders occupants to vacate dangerous illegal suites in downtown home

From the Nanaimo News Bulletin:

Tenants forced out of unsafe Nanaimo rental suites



Fencing Guys Not Impacted by Recession!

Once upon a time this whole part of Esplanade had shrubs and was a problem area that attracted litter and vagrancy.

This fence has been recently installed; going all the way from the harbour truck entrance at Crace and Esplanade around the corner at Front Street.

Dog inspecting new fence just before christening it (if you know what I mean!)


Laneway Clean-up Started

A small, creative group of folks met a few weeks ago to talk about the problems in the lane between Nicol and Haliburton Streets (200 block.) Five property owners took up our invitation to meet with a few SECA Board members, our Bylaw officer, Bill Kiselbach, and Chris Sholberg and John Horn from the City Planning Department.

As happens so often here in the South End, the discussion dealt with a very tough issue with loads of cooperation, good sense, empathy, creativity, and even a measure of fun!  The group will begin forming a more detailed plan in the next few weeks, including both short- and long-term ways to deter drug-related activity in the lane.  Look for some aesthetic improvement very soon!

Thanks to John Cross for providing the meeting space!

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