Heritage Hospital; Nanaimo Council Petitions; Student housing; Sale of Cats, Dogs, Rabbits

There will be a busy Nanaimo council meeting on Monday, August 14th with lots of interesting topics on the agenda such as:

  • the demolition of the old Nanaimo Hospital
  • new 220-bed student housing project in Harewood
  • infill on Hammond Bay Road
  • banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at retail stores
  • new Nanaimo Port model
  • petition regarding conduct at Council

Old Nanaimo Hospital Demolition

Nanaimo Council will consider approving the application to tear down the Old Nanaimo Hospital building at 388 Machleary Street. The owner, Chartwell Retirement Residences of Mississauga, has moved residents to the new Malaspina Gardens Senior Residence at 100 Eleventh Street.  They are willing to save a lamp post and a cornerstone for historical reference but not the building.

Old Nanaimo Hospital building at 388 Machleary Street to be torn down

The Old Nanaimo Hospital building is on the City’s Community Heritage Register but doesn’t have protected status. It was built between 1925 and 1942 and is a good example of Classical Period Revival style architecture.

The hospital was designed by Alexander Henderson who, in partnership with George Grant, designed the Vancouver City Hospital in 1903. Also, Alexander Henderson designed the Freemason’s Ashlar Lodge on Commercial Street.

From 1968-1975 the building was used as the Malaspina College and then as the Malaspina Seniors Residence.

Student housing project on Harewood Road

At the corner of Harewood Road and Wakesiah Avenue there are plans for a 220-bed student housing project. Zoning would change from a single family residence to 8 fourplex buildings.  Last year the property owner Hai Yang Developments was denied permits because the density was too high for the area. The site is located across from Colliery Dams Park and the nearest bus is on Fifth Street which is .25km away.

Harewood Student housing project
Looks like the alley way will get more traffic

5670 Hammond Bay Road

There is a rezoning application to divide one lot into two lots. The lot next to it was one lot which was divided up into three lots. The City supports the infill housing plan for the neighbourhood.

Another in-fill project on Hammond Bay Road (1 lot into 2 lots)

Expansion of NRE

The NRE (Nanaimo Recycling Exchange) would like to expand into the lot north of their current site on Kenworth Road. The NRE receives free-for-service funding through the City and RDN. The cost of building sidewalks around the property is estimated at $400,000. The NRE is unable to pay for this and is requesting the City to have another option. The RDN has recently approved $300,000 for recycling.

Why can’t ALL recycling be picked up at the curb? The traffic congestion caused by people  going into the NRE is growing every year.

Nanaimo Recycling Exchange wants to expand to lot next door

Regulations on pet services and sales

The City of Nanaimo currently has no regulations regarding pet stores or animal daycares, kennels or groomers. The SPCA would like to see the City have some regulations regarding:

  • number of employees per pets managed
  • amount of space for animals
  • adequate training

The Canadian Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers Association do not permit breeders to sell  dogs or cats to pet stores. The SPCA concludes that dogs and cats sold in stores come from unregistered breeders from Canada and beyond.

Two options are proposed:

  1. Option A: ban the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores
  2. Option B: no ban, implement regulations and bylaw enforcement

The SPCA is recommending option A whereas the pet stores want to see option B.

One problem with the sale of cats and rabbits is that there is no license required. Cats and rabbits roam neigbhourhoods and no one knows who they belong to. We have a struggling bird population that is in peril because of loss of habitat and feral cat over-populations and rabbits which ruin bird nesting sites.

New Nanaimo Port Model

A letter was sent to the City from SFN (Snuneymuxw First Nations) requesting a meeting to discuss an alternative to the Nanaimo Port Authority model. The new model would include SFN, City of Nanaimo, Nanaimo Marina Association and other industry users.

The SFN signed the Pre-Confederaton Treaty of 1854 and the agreement stated that the SFN would “carry on our fisheries as formerly.” However, over the last 150 years this has been a major challenge. The Nanaimo Harbour Commission was created in 1961 and the SFN was not engaged and the treaty was ignored.

The federal government sent a letter to SFN in May 2017 saying they have no interest in meeting. Prime Minister Trudeau was here the other week; it is unclear if they were able to have a meeting with him.

Two Petitions target Council Conflicts

A petition has been put forward that asks the Mayor, Council and CAO (Chief Administration Officer) to sign a code of conduct. The petition called “Tell Mayor and Council and CAO to put our community first” which asks for all parties to stop playing political games at taxpayers expense.

There is another petition that was started this week, “Call to Action to hold Nanaimo Council accountable for violence against Indigenous woman” which asks Council for an official apology and for the resignation of Mayor McKay.

It appears that the CAO and the Nanaimo Council are at an impasse. It’s time for the separation of Church and State in Nanaimo.