Tag Archives: linley valley

Road network for Linley Valley West Nanaimo

The last Nanaimo council meeting of 2015 will be on Monday, December 7, 2015. Hot topics on the agenda include: road network options for Linley Valley West, Bruce Avenue, 104th Street and the Financial budget.

Road network options for Linley Valley West

In May 2015 four road network options for Linley Valley West were presented to Council. In August 2015 the City entered into an Option to Purchase 5290 Rutherford Road for $850,000. Then in October 2015, public open houses were held with a total of 300 people attending.

The following options were presented to the public:

  • Option 1 – build a new road linking Linley Valley Drive to Rutherford Road, across from Nelson Road,  with a new traffic signal or roundabout at Rutherford Road
  •  Option 2 – use existing neighbourhood streets to link Rutherford Road at Vanderneuk Road and Brookwood Drive with a new traffic signal at Vanderneuk Road

Option 1 is recommended by the City. The construction and land acquisition costs for Option 1 is estimated at $3 million.

Option One - Linley Valley Development road access
Option One – Linley Valley Development road access

In 2016, design and costing will be refined and funding  options will be brought forward to Council in advance of the 2017-2021 Financial Plan.

Traffic Volume around Linley Valley West
Traffic Volume around Linley Valley West

The traffic volume now on Rutherford Road is at 12,000 vehicles a day. What will happen when they close Rutherford Elementary on Hammond Bay Road and parents will have to drive their kids to another school?

Bruce Avenue

A commercial centre at 601 and 609 Bruce is up for approval pending zoning changes.

Many people came to council and to a public hearing on the topic. A petition of 36 people was submitted. Concerns were raised about a Heritage Oak Tree, traffic, noise and a 24 hour store.

Check out this amazing Oak tree in Harewood.

Bruce Avenue - Heritage Oak Tree
Bruce Avenue – Heritage Oak Tree
104th Street

Also up for zoning approval is 2992 104th Street near Norwell Drive. It will rezoned from Single Dwelling Residential (R1) and Community Service One (CS1) to Single Dwelling Residential – Small Lot (R2).  Every neighbourhood in Nanaimo is getting these small lot developments.

Financial Budget

Additional expenditures have increased the City of Nanaimo’s budget by $2,726,763.

Linley Valley Drive Road Design Problems

Last week the City of Nanaimo held an open house at Oliver Woods to get feedback on the future plans for road design around Linley Valley West. What is the best solution for Linley Valley Drive?

Over 600 plus homes will be built in Linley Valley West.

Linley Valley West homes
Linley Valley West homes – 615 total homes planned

The number of homes planned  for Linley Valley West are:

  •  25 homes for Rocklands
  • 200 homes for Linley Pointe
  • 350 homes for Linley Park Estates
  • 40 homes along Rutherford Road
    615 homes in total (This doesn’t include the 50 homes already built along Linley Valley Drive)

Coming up soon before Nanaimo Council will be the financial options and the preliminary costs that the Nanaimo taxpayers will have to incur. The cost of Phase 1 and 2 below is estimated at $9.9 million.

Note: Phase 2 shows plans for a road going right through and next to a wetlands area. Is this the best planning we can do?

Linley Valley West Road Plans
Linley Valley West Road Plans

There are three elementary schools that children could go to (in yellow below):

  • Randerson Ridge Elementary – 6021 Nelson Road
  • Uplands Park Elementary – 3821 Stronach Drive
  • Rutherford Elementary – 5840 Hammond Bay Road

There is a proposal to close Rutherford Elementary which will cause major traffic problems if this closure were to go ahead.

The nearest high school is Dover Bay Secondary at 6135 McGirr Road. Rutherford Road would need to have some improvements to deal with the increased congestion. At what cost and to whom?

Linley Valley West School Plan
Linley Valley West School Plan

Many questions need to be answered such as:

  • How will the traffic flow in this area?
  • Where will public transit routes be?
  • How will children get to school?

Linley Valley West Option to Purchase Parkland

Just over a year ago, the City of Nanaimo said it was too broke to Save Linley Valley West. Then last week, Council announced that they were considering spending up to $9 million in a series of option agreements which would see a portion of Linley Valley West transferred to the City as parkland.

Is this a carefully crafted plan to make the issue of Linley Valley West disappear before the upcoming election?

The Option Agreement:
Option agreements between the various owners and the City of Nanaimo have been set up. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the land will be bought. It just means that from now until the end of 2014, the land owners can’t sell to anyone else except the City of Nanaimo. For their inconvenience, the City of Nanaimo is obliged to pay an option fee, whether or not they decided to buy the land.

What is the option fee? Considering the costs of developing this land have been subsidized by the taxpayers of Nanaimo, is it fair to ask them to pay more money to these people?

If the Option is not exercised within the time set, the option and agreement shall be null and void and no longer binding upon the parties.

How much is Linley Valley worth?
Before the Official Community Plan was amended, Linley Valley West was not included within the Urban Containment Boundary. It was rezoned from AR1 and AR2 to residential in 2011 which allowed for single family dwellings on the property, resulting in a substantial increase in land value and greater profits for the developer.

Mount Benson Enterprises, owned by Norman Blattgerste, acquired 5701 Vanderneuk (96.62 acres) and the adjacent property 5600 Vanderneuk (43 acres) in 2002 for $884,000.

In 2012, the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria made a presentation to Nanaimo Council suggesting that it was possible for the City of Nanaimo to acquire Linley Valley West without having to pay market value. This could be done by rezoning the area with a ‘parks and open spaces’ designation, PRC-1, which doesn’t allow for residential development.

A month after the presentation, the City of Nanaimo purchased the house at 5775 Vanderneuk Road to be converted to a future waste-water station. The price was $425,000, the appraised value of the property. What’s happened to that? Was it ever used or is it sitting empty?

The 2013 assessment for the remaining land at 5701 Vanderneuk is $4,797,000, a 768.5% increase, almost 8 times its initial purchase price. It’s too bad that area is no longer available as parkland. Of the four properties comprising Linley Valley West, the highest native plant diversity was recorded in 2012 at 5701 Vanderneuk Road (93 species) before the destruction of the wetlands.

According to the City of Nanaimo press release, the property costs are:

  • 3518 Hillside Ave (3.5 million)
  •  5260 Tanya Dr (2 million)
  • 5600 Vanderneuk Rd & 3842 Stronach Ave ($2 million)
  • 3651 Rock City Rd ($130,000)

Linley Valley Drive
The City’s has put the first section of Linley Valley Drive out for tender for $1.7 million the road so far will be 850 feet long and 50 feet wide with room for bus and bike lanes. Road construction is planned to last throughout the summer.  Linley Valley Drive is planned to be a major thoroughfare connecting Turner, Rock City and Burma Roads.

Once again the taxpayer is lifting a larger load in this development.

Councillor Johnstone asked at an earlier Council meeting how they plan to put the road through the wetland area behind Oliver Woods to connect Linley Valley Drive to Rutherford, could they maybe elevate the road? Good question. Does anyone have the answer?

The Lawsuit:
Mount Benson Developments is still suing “Other Persons” for trespassing onto its property. When will that court case be resolved? Why did the City not listen to concerned citizens earlier and purchase this land for a wetland park?

Below is a map showing the Linley Valley Park ‘Option Agreement’ areas in light blue  and the grey area is ‘Option to Purchase’ and the light green area is ‘Future Park’.

Linley Valley Park Option
Linley Valley Park Option



Linley Valley Drive construction begins

Commencing this month, the City of Nanaimo will remove trees for Linley Valley Drive starting at Turner Road. This section,  shown by the grey area below, is budgeted to cost taxpayers $1 million. It will be approximately 85 feet wide.

The dotted line shows the continuation of Linley Valley Drive to be completed at a future date. Linley Valley Drive, upon its final completion, will be a major thoroughfare connecting Turner, Rock City and Burma Roads.

Linley Valley Drive Construction
Linley Valley Drive Construction

The City of Nanaimo has to complete construction of Linley Valley Drive and build sewer and water infrastructure to the land behind Oliver Woods which is to be ultimately owned by Insight Holdings Ltd.

SD68 agreed to sell its six acre parcel to Insight Holdings Ltd. in March 2013 for $1.5 million contingent upon the City of Nanaimo  completing the infrastructure.

At the last Nanaimo council meeting on March 3, 2014 questions were raised about another piece of property located at 420 Selby which is part of this messy land swap business.

SD68 must receive title to 420 Selby Street from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations before it transfers it to the City of Nanaimo.

All these land swaps started with Pioneer Park. The land at 6780 Dickinson Road which was originally crown land given to Nanaimo for a park. Then the City turned around and gave it to SD68 for an elementary school. In turn, SD68 wanted to sell the land for residential development.

Nanaimo residents are waiting for SD68 to transfer the land back to the City and for Pioneer Park to be officially dedicated a park.

Nanaimo Buttertubs Western Painted Turtle News

New signs have been put up at Buttertubs Marsh recently. Two areas have signs that read:
Species at Risk
Western Painted Turtle
Nest area

Western Painted Turtle signs Nanaimo
Western Painted Turtle signs at Nanaimo Buttertubs Marsh

The Western Painted Turtle is the only native pond turtle left in B.C.  This unique turtle is named after the bright yellow stripes on its head, neck, tail and legs, and the glowing red on its underside. Painted Turtles have webbed hind feet, and slender claws on their front feet.  Males have much longer claws than females.

Painted turtles can grow to over 30 cm in length. Most adult Painted Turtles spend the winter hibernating in the mud at the bottom of ponds and lakes. In June or July, female turtles lay 6 to 18 oval eggs, about 3 cm long or the length of a two-dollar coin, in a carefully prepared nest.   Nests are built between dusk and dawn.

Females are very watchful for predators. Once the eggs are laid, the female fills the nest with soil, compacting it with her feet and plastron, and then covering it with vegetation and debris. If predators do not find the nest, the baby turtles break out of their eggs around September. Even though their shallow nests can reach –5 degrees C, most hatchlings stay in the nest until the following spring.

Survival is quite low due to weather variations plus predation of eggs and hatchlings. Female Painted Turtles only reproduce about every second year, and when they do reproduce, they lay one batch of eggs in the summer. They like to eat insects, snails, earthworms, frogs, tadpoles and algae.

Western Painted Turtle - Linley Valley West
Western Painted Turtle – Linley Valley West

Many people worked hard to try and save important wetland areas in Linley Valley West where these turtles live, but the lack of action by Nanaimo City Council has led to the unnecessary decimation of the turtles in that valley.

Team Save Linley Valley West had a bio-inventory of almost 300 acres of Linley Valley West which confirmed the area’s “high overall conservation value” as home to sensitive ecosystems and threatened species. Included in the list was the Western Painted Turtle which had nesting sites adjacent to the ponds at Linley Valley West now destroyed.