Colliery Dam Park battle not over; Nanaimo Street Entertainers; NRE closing

A split council meeting was held on Monday, July 24th. The first section dealt with a new motion from Councillor Kipp on expanding Colliery Dam Park.  Council voted to add two parcels of land to the Colliery Dams Park.

The second part of the meeting heard issues from Nanaimo’s street entertainers.  There is only one good spot to perform in town and the fight is on!

Correspondence was received from the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange about their shaky future.

Councillor Hong was absent for the first section and showed up for the second half. Councillors Brennan and Thorpe were absent. Councillor Kipp apologized twice for missing last week’s meeting. Councillor Fuller pulled a crisis management special by claiming his plan of ‘pissing people off’ succeeded.

Colliery Dams Park expands

First there were two speakers who spoke in favour of saving the GNWL and adding the land to the Colliery Dam Park.

Then came defeat of the old motion made last week. Everyone voted to defeat last week’s motion except Mayor McKay who supported the housing development below the Parkway.

Next, Councillor Kipp made a motion to add 801, 1150 and 1151 Nanaimo Lakes Road to the Colliery Dam Park. The area is already listed as Park and Open Space in the official community plan. There would need to be a bylaw put in place to dedicate the area as a park. Watch for this at an upcoming council meeting.

The land below the Parkway is listed as rural resource and can still be developed.  Why Councillor Kipp didn’t include this land to be saved as parkland in his motion is unclear.

Councillor Fuller gave notice that he would bring forward a motion at the next meeting to make the area below the Parkway as ‘Park and Open Space’. If it is listed as ‘Park and Open Space’ it can still be developed and is not fully protected as parkland.

Is Council hanging on to a faint hope that they will cut off a slice of land to develop into housing. Will they break the public’s patience?

Councillors Hong, Brennan and Thorpe were absent for the vote on the Colliery Dams park expansion.

Public Presentations

Here are some of the highlights of what the two delegates had to say:

Speaker 1:
Many people have signed petitions to save these lands for a future park (180 people signed the petition) There never was any suggestion that part of the area would be developed. Staff recommend the area be saved as park. The survey says the same.  Save the area as a park! This is a once in a life time opportunity; we are hoping this can be saved.

Kipp: …You want two areas to be saved as a park? (above and below the Parkway)…

Speaker:  … Yes…

Speaker 2:
Back in November 2010, staff was directed to look at creating a park in the GNWL. In July 2013 staff was asked to look at creating a park and in June 2017 the City made an announcement that they joined the  Douglas Fir Conservation habitat group.  Colliery Dams has Douglas Fir habitat and wetlands.

There have been surveys, petitions, and consultations – 90% want GNWL saved as a park. Why are people’s wishes ignored? The map of the area above the Parkway is divided up like a dog’s breakfast! This was not shown to the public.  The GNWL should be saved for future generations. There were 680 who signed an online petition to save the land as a park.

Council Discussion

Kipp: …hope we defeat the old motion…wildlife corridor…deer getting hit …a 20 year fight… zoning on parkland…affordable housing has a place…hold for a park…it can be developed later if people want because of the way it is zoned…

Yoachim: …my position has not changed…people have been through a lot with Colliery Dam…people have fought to save the area including some people at this table, including myself…we have the opportunity to save this gem…so let’s do it now…

Fuller: …no one came up to talk about saving the lands expect my brother…I don’t think a lot of people are paying attention…I want to piss people off and get them mad…and get them to look at this…I read the report and the survey report…on the survey it said that people supported development along Harewood Mines Road…that’s where the idea came …I’ve been talking to lots of people about selling the land at market value…get some money and put it into Colliery Park…we may want to create a park reserve fund…we do have a park fund but it only has $40,000 in it…It’s not going to pay for the upgrade to the parks that we want…if all of this becomes park we can still remove [parts] of it from the park…through the alternative approval…process… Linley Valley Park could be developed in the future…

McKay: … people are looking for affordable housing…people can’t find it…develop lots along 7th …simple family homes…

Bestwick: …parks and open space is a critical piece of our City…this is an unbelievable nature habitat…my position is unchanged…

The motion made last week to develop a section of the GNWL was defeated…

Mayor Mckay voted in favour of the old motion for the housing development.
Councillors Bestwick, Yoachim, Armstrong, Kipp, and Fuller, opposed.
Absent were Councillors Hong, Brennan, and Thorpe.

Councillor Kipp’s New Motion

Kipp gave a new motion to rezone lands north of the Parkway for park use. All voted in favour expect Mayor McKay.

Councillor Fuller’s New Motion

Fuller: …I thought Kipp’s motion was going to consider the whole area as park?….[Kipp’s motion only talks about the land above the highway] …I want another motion on the lands south of the highway…

Staff: ….lands south of the parkway are listed as rural resource lands…the lands north of the parkway are listed as Parks and Open Space…

Fuller: … properties are designated rural resources [south of the Parkway]…lands can be designated park and be taken out… I want input from SFN…I give notice of motion to make lands south of the Parkway as Parks and Open Space…

Yoachim: …this motion is on the fly…

More action will be coming up at a future council meeting on the Colliery Dam Park lands south of the Parkway. Will it be made parkland?

Greater Nanaimo Water District Lands & Collery Dam Park – land below Parkway not a park – yet (red line was area proposed for a housing development)

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange closing

The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange (NRE)on Kenworth Road may close down on March 31, 2018. The problem is the NRE is so successful it needs to expand but they don’t have the land or the money required. For the last five years the City of Nanaimo and the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) haven’t got involved. Guess why?

What does the City of Nanaimo and the RDN plan to do with all the garbage produced? The landfill in Cedar will be full soon. Is all the garbage going to be burned up in a new incinerator at Duke Point that looms on the horizon?

Why don’t we have a state of the art recycling facility? VIU could have a research lab that could come up with new products made from our waste. Recycling is big business. Nanaimo could break some new ground and be a zero waste city.


Back on May 19, 2014 marked the official start date of the MMBC (Multi Material British Columbia) program in BC worth over $80 million. The BC government in its wisdom let the MMBC be the sole recycler for most of the province.

Unfortunately,  MMBC is not required to report on any recycling data. Instead of BC communities getting the profits from recycling, those profits are going to the corporations running the MMBC program.

Where does that leave Nanaimo? Is the MMBC taking over? How much will it cost and will the taxpayer be hung to dry again?

Nanaimo Street Entertainment Crisis

Two speakers came to speak to council about the Nanaimo street entertainment crisis. The problem is there is only one good place to perform and make any money!

Here are some of the highlights of what they had to say:

Speaker 1:

I am not allowed to use a microphone and people can’t hear me when I am performing down on the waterfront. We need to revisit the 1998 busker bylaw. It is not working. We are being treated like panhandlers and we are not.   A location was removed from outside  Serious Coffee on Commercial Street. I was singled out in an email by the City not to be invited to a busker consultation meeting.

Fuller: … the original bylaw eliminated busking…it took 6 months to get buskers on the committee…agree we need to re-visit the  busking bylaw…

Speaker 2:
Street entertainers are important to Nanaimo and give a good first image of our town. There is a lack of bylaw officers to enforce the rules. People are playing on the street without a license and in non-official spots and for too long in one spot.  One problem is that there is no audition process.

There are a lack of spots to play on the harbour front. There used to be 6 spots to play and now there are only 3.  There once was a spot out side the ice cream shop on the waterfront and in front of the Lighthouse Bistro and the Pacfica Condos.

I am asking Council to bring back at least two of those spots.

The only real viable spot to make any money in all of Nanaimo is down in front of Trolls Fish and Chips but the competition is fierce so I would like to propose a $50 fee for that one spot only and the other spots at the regular fee of $25.

Yoachim: …would buskers be open to rotation?

Speaker: ….used to be the case but it had too many problems…every spot was open to play at and then a rotation …but people argued about time…they allowed people to preform two hours a day and they couldn’t come back for the rest of the day…any spot this applies…four or five years ….now there are performers who keep performing where they are not supposed to such as in front of the Lighthouse [Bistro]…I shouldn’t have to approach them – it’s the bylaw officers’ job…

Yoachim: …two hour window…enough time?…

Speaker: …used to be four hours…because of the lack of spots…two hours is enough…hard to busk for four hours…

Yoachim: …is it two hours all at once?

Speaker: Yes, all you get is two hours…

Hong: …would you like a schedule system?

Speaker: ….no…first come first serve gives more people more opportunity to busk…I won’t busk downtown or at Maffeo Park because there’s no traffic there…There is one spot that is safe…there is no safety downtown…there are no bylaw officers out there…

Hong: …if buskers are interested in time slotting…we have the ability to do it …we can promote buskers…a calendar…

Speaker: …need more spots to play…

Fuller: …I went to a meeting 5 years ago…and one person from the Pacifica Condo complained…and they pulled the spot…

Speaker: It was a great spot…

Fuller: …Maffeo Sutton could use some more busking spots…no people there…food trucks not working out there…

Mckay: ...Pacifica leases the land for $40,000 a year from the Nanaimo Port Authority [NPA]…time to revive the busker bylaw…some restaurants are hiring buskers to attract people…

Yoachim: …review and modernize busker they [NPA] pay for bylaw enforcement?

Mckay: …City agreed to pay for bylaw services and NPA agreed to allow busking

Yoachim: …no cost to the port…they should bring something to the table…

What will happen to the Nanaimo Street entertainers? Has anyone suggested that they can play inside some of the empty malls around Nanaimo?

Famous Nanaimo Street Entertainers

Many famous musicians have played as street entertainers in Nanaimo.

Kenton Dick, a young Nanaimo jazz musician, is the first Canadian to be awarded the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston. The scholarship provides Dick with full tuition for four years worth approximately $240,000. This is a a very talented player to watch.

Willie Thrasher, who used to play in front of Pacifica Condos, was featured in Native North America (Vol. 1) which was nominated for best historical album at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Thrasher also recorded a full-length album commissioned by the CBC. That album, Spirit Child, was initially released as a five-song broadcast and was later issued commercially.

Question Period

There were lots of questions on Monday night:

  • Is Council aware that there was a lot of thought that went into how busking spots were selected?
  • How often does the bylaw patrol the harbourfront?
  • Why are you not reading the riot act at the being of the meetings anymore?
  • Has the City ever given out $50,000 fines for moving contaminated soil?
  • Does the City keep minutes of Western Neighbourhood Association meetings?
  • Is there an inventory of lands owned by the City?
  • My questions never get answered – Why?
  • Why is this the first time we hear about the idea to develop the GNWL lands?

Advice from Councillor Hong

“If you have any questions that you would like to be made part of the public record, send an email to and ask that it be included in the ‘correspondence’ section of the council meeting agenda.”

2 thoughts on “Colliery Dam Park battle not over; Nanaimo Street Entertainers; NRE closing

  1. Your comments regarding Recycle BC (formerly MMBC) are factually incorrect. The program’s annual budget is approximately $80 million, not $400 million.

    We are not the sole recycler for the province. Our program only covers residential recycling and employs a number of companies that work on our behalf for both collection and processing. In addition, all private recyclers and haulers continue to operate in a thriving commercial sector that does not involve Recycle BC.

    We report annually on our progress in managing residential recycling across the province. You can view any of our annual reports on our website at The so-called profits from the sale of the commodities at best cover 20% of the costs of operating our program. The remainder is paid for through fees levied on our members based on how much packaging they supply to the residential marketplace in BC. (more packaging and printed paper = higher fees)

    Both the City of Nanaimo (for curbside) and the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange (for depot) have contracts with Recycle BC so it is the producers of packaging (not the taxpayer) that is currently supporting residential recycling in Nanaimo. This type of extended producer responsibility is what has made BC a leader in recycling across North America.

    Allen Langdon

    Managing Director
    Recycle BC

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