Posts Tagged ‘Visions for the South End’

It was standing room only at Mark Lakeman‘s talk and visual presentation on Sunday Nov. 29.  He told us that City Repair began when a handful of neighbors painted an intersection to slow the traffic. From there the concept grew to include cob benches, tea rooms (both fixed and mobile) tree and verge planting, public art of all description, community gardens and a beautiful village for the homeless. City Repair has now expanded to 20 cities across Canada and the USA.  SECA is already on the right path, according to Mark, both with the projects we are working on and our mindset.

Councilors Fred Pattje and Jim Kipp attended, as did Matt Hussman of the Downtown Nanaimo Partnership, and many city planners. Nice to see a lot of younger people there. Everyone seemed very inspired by the talk.

A big thank you to the Nanaimo Museum and staff and a special thanks to Barbara Densmore who did a fantastic job arranging the meeting.

Click here to see a slideshow of the evening.


MarkLakemanMark Lakeman is a visionary architect, founding member of Portland’s City Repair & the 10-Day Village Building Convergence/VBC, and director of the ecological design firm Communitecture.

Formed in 1996, City Repair was conceived as an “anti-virus” to combat isolation and over-commodification of conventionally designed cities, by literally inserting villages into cities.

Now a national movement, City Repair combines architecture, urban planning, anthropology, community development, public art, permaculture and ecological design in projects that transform public space.

Visit www.cityrepair.org

See pics of Portland City Repair projects from one of our previous posts.  Click here.

The talk was organized by The South End Community Association (SECA) with the support of the Planning Institute of BC, North Vancouver Island Chapter.

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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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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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Greetings from the neighbourhood plan steering committee with the first of a series of reports and updates as we embark on our neighbourhood planning process.  Hopefully you are all familiar with the concept of a neighbourhood plan and what it means to our south end neighbourhood. We have established our steering committee which is made up of a number of SECA members and other individuals from the community representing business, senior and youth interests.

(editor’s note:  just in case you haven’t noticed, if the steering committee wants to dance after a meeting, they will all have a partner…there’s an equal number of men and women…:)

SECA Members Douglas Hardie, Gord Fuller, Blake McGuffie, Pat Portsmouth, Pam James are joined by Ron Thomson (and daughter Amy), at large resident;  Charles Torhjelm, Seniors rep; Rebecca Chan, Youth rep;  Moni Murray, Nicol Street Hostel, Business rep, and our illustrious leader Chris Sholberg.  Missing from Picture:  Darren Moss, Tectonica, Business rep; Leanne Dawson, at large resident; and Carla Smith, industrial property owner rep.

SECA Members Douglas Hardie, Gord Fuller, Blake McGuffie, Pat Portsmouth, Pam James are joined by Ron Thomson (and daughter Amy), at large resident; Charles Torhjelm, Seniors rep; Rebecca Chan, Youth rep; Moni Murray, Nicol Street Hostel, Business rep, and our illustrious leader Chris Sholberg. Missing from Picture: Darren Moss, Tectonica, Business rep; Leanne Dawson, at large resident; and Carla Smith, industrial property owner rep.

Chris Sholberg from the City is leading the process and we met with him on Wed July 22 to embark on a walkabout of the neighbourhood.  The intent was to begin a process of identifying key themes and issues that we might want to address through the neighbourhood planning process.

It was fascinating to look at the neighbourhood that we are all so familiar with, through the neighbourhood planning lens.

  • We started off with an appreciation for the wonderful park and the trees that surround Deveril Square Park.  Is there a finer stand of Maple trees in the city?  We thought about trees again when we looked at Haliburton street, and wondered how the street would look if trees were planted along its entire length.
  • We paused on Esplanade beside Robins Gardens and considered the potential impact of the planned residential development there.
  • From there we looked across the reclaimed land that hosts the railway tracks, mill and deep water docks and wondered about development possibilities, public access to the water, public access sea wall and possible park land bordering the No 1 reserve to the North.
  • Then we walked over to Nicol St. and experienced the oppressive noise and pollution of this car focused highway that cuts through the centre of our neighbourhood.  What measures might calm the traffic and noise pollution?  What kind of residential and commercial mix would rejuvenate the street and make it a place for people not cars.
  • Finally we stopped by the old Balmoral and talked about  a vision for our neighbourhood that is inclusive and diverse and addresses complex social issues in a creative and balanced way.

One thing we learned from the exercise is that we all have ideas and thoughts about how we would like to see things develop in the south end.   What did team members find most surprising or intriguing?

CharlesThe most surprising thing for me was that across the road from Robins Gardens (where the rail tracks are) used to be sea and sand and the tides would come and go there. That is why it was an attractive Motel at the time. Somehow or other the beach got filled in and that is what you see today. ~ Charles Torhjelm


Gord Fuller

For me the most notable thing was the huge potential for the Port, Rail & Industrial Lands.  If all the stakeholders can come together on this one the benefit to the South End as well as the whole of Nanaimo would be phenomenal. ~ Gord Fuller


“It is over 42 years since I came to this beautiful country which has given me so many opportunities and now I am retired I have time to give something back. The South End neighbourhood has so much potential and the people are lovely.

PatI believe that someone, somewhere has to start the ball rolling  to stop the urban sprawl of Nanaimo; that creating more density in our neighbourhoods will help keep taxes down; improve our environment in many ways.

Not gentrification but comfortable homes for working people with maybe little infill cottages for the elders and well planned low rise apartments.  But all this will need plenty of open spaces so that people can walk and children can skip.

My impression on our first walkabout?  How hard some business and people have worked to improve their effect on the neighbourhood.   How unattractive some of the light industrial areas are.

The worst is what a negative effect Nicol Street has on the whole community.”   ~Pat Portsmouth

It’s going to be a fascinating conversation and it’s only just beginning.

Will YOU get the Chance to give your input too?

Phase 1 (out of 5), is really about creating the starting point:  assembling all the info that we already have about the South End in one place.  Part of that process will include a Public Open House, anticipated for mid to late September.  If you come, you’ll learn how we’re creating the plan, what we know so far about our neighbourhood (i.e. zoning, the official city plan, census, etc.)  From that will come a community wide survey for residents to complete, so we get a clearer sense of Who/What the South End is at this snapshot in time.

All that will prepare us for the next step, Step 2 (out of 5).   That’s where we’ll dig deeper into issues and opportunities in the South End, and start to figure out what/who we want to be in the future.  Between October and December, there will be various open houses and other opportunities to gather input from all who are interested.  Watch this space!

Thanks to SECA Chair Douglas Hardie and Community Planner Chris Sholberg, both for their leadership in this project and for writing this post.

If you want to post a comment, just click on the title and the whole article with comment box will magically appear…:)

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Development: City planners consider proposal

Darrell Bellaart, Daily News

Published: Thursday, June 04, 2009

Port Place shopping centre’s owners have submitted their plan for redevelopment of the mall and city planners like what they see.

Architectural drawings registered at city hall show a completely revamped mall with new traffic corridors to allow better pedestrian and vehicle access.

Click here to read the complete article.

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The Southenders is an excellent collection of stories from the neighborhood we love. I really want to thank Laura Ramsey for putting this book together. Sometimes you will laugh, and other times you will be on the verge of tears. But I don’t see this book as only providing entertainment or “remember when” sentiments. The Southenders is a virtual text book of what constitutes a community and a constant reminder about what has been lost. Anyone interested in overcoming the social problems in the South End should study this book. It is a good read for anyone, anywhere, who seeks to restore the notion of community. As we now begin the process of developing a Neighborhood Plan, time would be well spent reflecting upon the nature of the old South End and consideration of the lessons rooted in its history.

On numerous occasions the authors mention “everything you needed was within walking distance”. Haliburton Street had about a dozen shops strung along six blocks; a supermarket, general store, fish and chips shop, ice cream parlor, butchers, a laundry, to name but half of them. They were all owned by local people.

What does this mean? Haliburton was an active pedestrian street. The more people you have on the street the less likely the occurrence of anti-social behaviour. Local ownership means money generated by sales circulates in the community. Such shops tend to buy local produce, which in turn helps the Nanaimo region. Neighborhood businesspeople are a stabilizing factor in any community. Walkability means less auto traffic and less need for cars. This means a quieter neighborhood, safer streets and less need to spend money on transportation.

Community rooted business helps create the situation where “everyone knows everybody.” This gives rise to a sustaining, secure, environment, most especially for children. In the old South End, children spent their days unsupervised and devised their own play. They could do this because their living situation was secure, a result of living in a true community.

There was ethnic diversity, but social and demographic stability, rooted in little divergence between wealth and poverty. Everyone, shop
keeper, miner or auto mechanic, had more or less the same level of income or as mentioned, “We were all poor by today’s standards.” No one was homeless. Though not mentioned in the book, housing was not overly expensive relative to income.

No one writing about the old South End mentions addicts, though some folks undoubtedly liked their “likker.” Happy people do not become addicts. Lack of community, which means lack of connection and lack of roots, creates “social anomie” often called alienation. Some people turn to harmful drugs to fill their empty, dislocated, fragmented lives.

Work was integrated into the community. While we do not wish to return to the the coal mines or have screeching saw mills in our back yards, the South End was a place of work. This was not a “bedroom community” but a 24 hour a day community. There was no commuting, people were only minutes from their work and could walk.

By the 1950’s the mines had closed and there were not enough neighborhood industries to absorb the work force. By the early 1960’s all across Canada, shopping centres were the new craze, and malls built in the 1970’s featured national chain stores, both sounding the death knell for many small neighbourhood shops.  Suburbs sprung up, with a greater focus on the back yard than front porch.

The stories in The Southenders reminded me of that front porch time, encouraged me to think about the future of the neighborhood as a community restored. I see once once again, an integration of residence, consumption, work and leisure. Shops along Haliburton, and not corporate logos either, but locally owned. Non-invasive businesses employing residents. Affordable housing, including housing cooperatives, low cost condos, secondary suites and lane cottages to maintain the demographic mix of working class, lower-income professional and small business people. New shops with apartments above them on the second and third floors. Allotment gardens for the apartment dwellers. No homeless, as they now have inexpensive rooms. Drug addicts receiving treatment, both detox and therapy. Expanded park facilities and a community centre hosting all manner of get-togethers. Less traffic and better conditions
for walking and cycling.

That’s what my version of a restored South End looks like. What do you see as the future of our neighborhood? Please don’t hesitate to share your vision with us, here, at What’s Up in the South End.

~Larry Gambone

New Book Celebrates the South End – Nanaimo Daily News

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