Bell Tower removal; Save Five Acre Harewood Farm; 34 petitions

Coming up on Monday, July 10th Nanaimo Council will hold a regular council meeting and a fresh new councillor will join the team. Some topics for the evening include:

  • Old City Quarter Business Petition
  • Changes to the Financial plan
  • Sale of 100 Gordon Street $750,000 (tax free 10 years)
  • Demolition of bell tower at 34 Nicol Street
  • New ‘Pacific Station’ sign at 5200 Dublin Way
  • Off-street parking bylaw review
  • Relocation of Nanaimo Search and Rescue to Nanaimo Lakes Road

The City received 34 petitions in favour of forming the ‘Old City Quarter Business Improvement Area’ (OCQBIA). There are 62 properties in the area. Nanaimo council voted unanimously in favour of the annual grant of $41,593 for the next five years to the new OCQBIA on May 8, 2017.

Old City Quarter Business Improvement Area – yellow area between Franklin and Wentworth Streets

The idea is that the new OCQBIA group will make improvements and keep the area clean.

Spending Money

Money needs to be moved from operating and capital funds to pay for some of the new items council approved including:

  • $62,500 Rogers Hometown Hockey Event (total $349,000)
  • $40,774 for Old City Quarter Business Improvement Area
  • $30,000 for 580 Fitzwilliam Roof (total $269,886)
  • $150,000 Nanaimo by-election

Nanaimo By-election July 8th

Saturday, July 8th is the last day to vote in the Nanaimo by-election. The timing of this by-election before and after the first long weekend of the summer is terrible. Another dodgy decision was to have the only advance voting station at a church. Will the public ever learn how much was paid to the church for this service?

Here is a video of the Nanaimo By-election All Candidates Meeting and Debate held on June 27th. Eleven by-election candidates participated.

Update: Sheryl Armstrong elected

Sheryl Armstrong has won the Nanaimo by-election with a landslide of 3,611 votes out of a total 7,400 votes cast.

The turn out for this by-election was a record low compared to the 24,000 votes cast in the Events Centre referendum.  It has cost Nanaimo taxpayers $20 per vote.

What if people were paid $20 to get out and vote? Would that be considered a rigged election?!

Removal of bell tower at 34 Nicol

Firehall No.2 at 34 Nicol Street is a heritage building and a landmark built in 1893. It is a very good example of Victorian Italian architecture with a fortress-like crenelated roof-line. The large doors at the front lower level were designed for easy access for horses and equipment to enter and exit. The hose tower was built in 1914 to dry the fire hoses.

Nanaimo Fire hall No.2 at 34 Nicol Street built in 1893

There is a request to remove the grey bell tower structure below because it has been reported to leak.  It was added on in 1992 to replace the hose tower that once stood there.

Fire Hall today with 1992 bell tower on top – request to remove

Last Five Acre Harewood Farm circa 1888

Two people came to last week’s Nanaimo Council COW (Committee of the Whole) meeting and presented an idea to save the last five acre farm in Harewood. This farm dates back to 1888 when the Vancouver Coal Mining and Land Company started a planned agricultural community; the first of its kind in British Columbia. Five acre parcels were leased to coal miners on the condition that a portion of the land was used to produce food. Eventually Harewood became known as the breadbasket of Nanaimo.

They showed a three minute video titled “A historic farm for Nanaimo’s future at 933 Park Avenue” Here are some highlights from the video:

“The Five Acre Farm at 933 Park Avenue is one of the last intact pieces of the historic Harewood 5-Acre parcels.

For the last three years, two local non-profit organizations, Growing Opportunities and Nanaimo Foodshare have been working together to operate an organic demonstration farm using the property as an education centre, therapeutic space and source of local food.

The farm is ecologically significant. It includes a wetland and stream that is a tributary to the Chase River. It is also a significant green space in the neighborhood and has been identified as an open space in the Harewood Community plan and part of a network of green spaces centered around the stream.

This area is being rapidly developed with dense single and multiple family housing.  The time to implement this part of the Harewood community plan is now.

Harewoodians would like to see this historic farm purchased and held in trust by the community in perpetuity as an educational farm and community green space.

If you want to get involved in this project or want more more information, contact Growing Opportunities at or (250) 713-3374.