Departure Bay Neighbourhood Changed Forever

At the August 12, 2013 Nanaimo City Council meeting, all the councillors voted unanimously to allow Brooks Landing Shopping Mall to expand into neighbouring Lynburn Estates in Departure Bay, despite the action of residents taking their case to the highest courts in BC and winning.

In 2010, the Supreme Court of BC rejected Brooks Landing’s application.  The judge said 2180 Highland Blvd cannot be used for commercial purposes as this would be incompatible with the surrounding residential neighbourhood and would go against the neighbourhood covenant building scheme.

Brooks Landing appealed the judge’s decision on the grounds that the residential neighbourhood building scheme was “obsolete.” The BC Court of Appeal rejected their case. But somehow the City of Nanaimo doesn’t care about high court rulings! Here is how it went down at the council meeting:

  • Pattje: just for the record there was a request for this general area to have a liquor store and the zoning that is now being requested does permit for a liquor store
  • Bestwick: we are dealing with accepting the report … we are not dealing with site specific use
  • Kenning: if the applicant goes ahead and applies for a liquor store then we can address it later
  • Pattje: the only reason I am bringing this up is there was a delegation not happy about the planning…
  • Ruttan: maybe something else will be proposed like a doctors office …

All councillors voted in favour of the motion; Councillor Greves was away.  As is habitual, the mayor was the first to raise his hand.

Below is a picture of the lot next to Brooks Landing Shopping Mall taken in 2011 before the house and trees were removed from the site.

Brooks Landing Shopping Mall Expansion into Lynburn Estates
Brooks Landing Shopping Mall Expansion into Lynburn Estates in Departure Bay
Lynburn Estates in Departure Bay
“Big Old Lots”, a thing of the past in Departure Bay – trees to be replaced by parking lot – note the white stripes lead to the pedestrian tunnel
Lynburn Estates home removed to make way for mall
Departure Bay home in Lynburn Estates removed to make way for parking lot

If a liquor store does get built on this site that would be another terrible blow for this neighbourhood. Why? Because across the highway is Woodlands Secondary School and there is a tunnel under the highway that links the school to the mall.

Tunnel under highway to Brooks Landing Shopping Mall
Tunnel under highway to Brooks Landing Shopping Mall

Here is another look at the tunnel from the mall side.  There should be a law that requires a liquor store NOT to be located within walking distance from a school.

Brooks Landing Shopping Mall Pedestrian Tunnel
Pedestrian Tunnel seen from Brooks Landing Shopping Mall

The motion passed second reading to permit construction of a commercial building. Below is the proposed conceptual site plan.

Brooks Landing Shopping Mall Expansion
Brooks Landing Shopping Mall Expansion