A project that will help determine the course of development for a section of industrial land in the south downtown for the next 30 to 40 years is well underway.
David Witty, vice-president of academics and provost at Vancouver Island University, is the chairman of the committee formed by stakeholder groups in June to develop a concept plan for the area that includes the Wellcox rail yard, the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf and the cruise-ship terminal.
He said Victoria-based CitySpaces Contracting Ltd., a consulting service specializing in development planning and community design, has been retained by the committee to assist in the gathering of information for the project.
Witty said the committee, which has representatives from the City of Nanaimo, Nanaimo Port Authority, Snuneymuxw First Nation and other stakeholders in the property, will hold a design charrette in the fall to allow "interested parties" an opportunity to put forth their own designs on how they'd like the site developed in the coming years.
He said the committee intends to soon circulate a schedule of events that will list key dates and the processes involved as the plan evolves.
"The plan is to put together some key principles of what people want and create a vision for the site that will stand the test of time," Witty said. "We're going into this with no pre-conceived notions to find a strategy that people find compelling."
The area includes the Wellcox rail yard that the City of Nanaimo recently bought from Canadian Pacific for $3.4-million, the Nanaimo Assembly Wharf, owned by the Nanaimo Port Authority which is expected to see major renovations and upgrades over the next year thanks to an almost $10-million investment from Ottawa and the NPA, and the cruise ship terminal.
The south waterfront area extends all the way north to the Gabriola ferry terminal and the southern border aligns with SFN territory. The eastern boundary runs along Esplanade Street and Front Street.
The concept plan produced by the committee is not intended to be a regulatory document or plan for infrastructure and other services.
But since the planning area runs through a variety of jurisdictions - such as the SFN and the NPA - the plan is expected to outline the long-term vision for the area and pave the way forward for other discussions.
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