Nanaimo’s next official community plan has been drafted and citizens are encouraged to take a look before it is potentially adopted this summer.
The City of Nanaimo announced this week that it is entering the final stage of engagement on ReImagine Nanaimo, a new master plan for the city that will replace not only the existing OCP, but a number of other policy documents.
The draft plan offers guidance on land use and future growth, but overlays OCP with planning around transport and active mobility, climate action and resilience, accessibility and of inclusion, and parks, recreation and culture, and Nanaimo’s donut setting.
“It was a bit of an experiment…” said Lisa Bhopalsingh, director of community development, at a town council meeting on Monday, February 28. “We haven’t yet found any other local government in Canada that tries to do something like this.”
The goals of the ReImagine Nanaimo Plan are meant to overlap and align with the goals set out in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Regional Growth Strategy.
“Nanaimo is the primary focal point for the majority of the region’s urban growth and as such we play a very important role in absorbing most of our region’s future growth and development,” Bhopalsingh said. , suggesting that containing growth in Nanaimo helps protect the watershed, resource lands, and “every other rural attribute” of the region.
The draft land use plan proposes some modifications compared to the previous OCP. The 2008 Nanaimo Plan identified five town centers across the city, but OCP’s 2022 plan increases that number to seven – a downtown town center and six sub-town centers, adding the Nanaimo North Town Center and the Country Club Center (the others are Woodgrove, Hospital District, University District, and Chase River).
The target densities in the OCP project are 250 units or more per hectare in the city center and 200 units per hectare in secondary urban centers, with these two target densities rising to 150 units or more per hectare. The target density is 100 units per hectare in corridors along major arterials and collector roads, and a variety of densities up to 60 units per hectare in other neighborhoods.
ReImagine Nanaimo is structured around five goals: resilient and regenerative ecosystems; equitable access and mobility; community well-being and livability; reconciliation, representation and inclusion; and a prosperous and resilient economy.
Councilors praised the plan at a meeting of the Governance and Priorities Committee on Feb. 28, along with the board. Zeni Maartman calling it “an incredible plan” and the product of a lot of hard work and community engagement, and Coun. Don Bonner calling it a “fabulous document [that’s] will guide us through the best part of the next generation.
Com. Ben Geselbracht said the city’s decision to incorporate various city plans appears to have been a good decision.
“Going through it, I can certainly appreciate and see the care taken to kind of have a cohesive whole and a strong rationale and logical basis for how it’s put together,” he said.
Advisors discussed the wording of the document, wondering if the statements of aspiration were worded too strongly or not strongly enough.
“For each goal, it becomes a very complex conversation around the skill set we have, the urgency, the specificity,” Geselbracht said.
Bhopalsingh said the ReImagine Nanaimo plan will come with an integrated action plan and monitoring plan, and there will be measurable targets and indicators. She said “the rubber hits the road” with the actions the council takes and the budget resources it devotes to different priorities each year.
“The action plans … will be written separately and not adopted by regulation, so there will be a lot more leeway to go through them and incorporate them into work plans each year,” added Jake Rudolph, executive director. .
Mayor Leonard Krog said he thinks the ReImagine Nanaimo plan project “sets the right tone” in recognizing what the municipality can do in terms of city building and placemaking while acknowledging the role of others. levels of government, the private sector and the non-profit sector.
“It’s quite an impressive document and I suspect the ultimate compliment will be that a number of other communities might skip part of the process and come see what Nanaimo has done here in this draft and copy it,” said- he declared.
Nanaimo residents are now invited to have their say through April 8 and can complete an online survey at www.getinvolvednanaimo.ca/reimagine-nanaimo. The expected timeline is for city council to give the plan’s first and second readings in May, with a public hearing to follow in June and potential adoption of the plan in July.