Zoning Bylaw Open Houses

Posted By: Gord Fuller

As someone who lives and has lived in the South End for a number of years I have often been curious when it comes to the location of City run Public Open Houses around issues like the OCP Review, Parks Bylaw and most recently the Zoning Bylaw re-write.  I for one like to participate when possible towards the betterment of my community but I also want accessibility in doing so.  I am assuming many in the community are like minded.

Regarding the Zoning Bylaw rewrite I have been at a few things where it was discussed so was curious when it was announced at a PNAC (Plan Nanaimo Advisory Committee) meeting that there would be some open houses for the public to view the progress to date.  What got me even more curiouser, if that is even a word, were the locations of the open houses (see below). Once again there seemed to be a lack of any venue south of Third Street and while one might expect the Ice Centre to serve most of Harewood what about the South End, Chase River as well as other points south?  Why?

What follows is a result of my inquiry.

Question to:  Al Kenning- City Manager as well as cc’d to Mayor & Council.

Good day Al et al.  I was at the PNAC Meeting when the open houses were mentioned for the New Zoning Bylaw, also noticed on council agenda (below), and it struck me as curious as to why there was no scheduled open house in the South End Area of Nanaimo.  Is there some rational for this or is it just an oversight?  It strikes me that a considerable portion of Nanaimo’s population lives in the southern portions of the City and that an open house, say perhaps at the Chase River School, would benefit the area.

(a) New Zoning Bylaw – Public Open House Dates

Mayor Ruttan to announce the following New Zoning Bylaw Public Open House Meetings:

• 2011-FEB-08 at the Nanaimo Ice Centre

• 2011-FEB-10 at the Beban Park Social Centre

• 2011-FEB-16 at the Dover Bay Secondary School (Multi-Purpose Room)

All Open Houses will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Thanks for your consideration in this matter.

Answer

Hi Gord,

When we booked the venues for the Open Houses, we considered the event at the NIC as being in the south end, the Beban event to cover the central area and the event at Dover as covering the north.  I guess it’s a matter of perception.

We have used Chase River School in the past, notably for public meetings during the Sandstone OCP application process, and the School District always put us in the library which was totally unsatisfactory.  Given the number of display panels and the number of residents we hope to attend, we needed to find larger venues, preferably in City facilities (as you can see, we were unable to book Oliver Woods for the north end session).

The draft zoning bylaw (text and map) is available on the City’s website and Planning staff have made presentations to neighbourhood groups, as well as other interested parties, upon request.  The new zoning bylaw is a standing item on the planNANAIMO Advisory Committee agenda and a display on the new bylaw is available in the lobby of the Development Services department in the City Hall Annex.  As you can see, while the public open houses are very important to seek input on the proposed bylaw, they are just one element of a much more comprehensive public consultation program.  A second round of public open houses are scheduled for the late spring (dates and locations TBA).  We’ll look at moving one of those events further south.

Thank you for your suggestion and interest in the new zoning bylaw.  I hope you are able to attend one of the scheduled events.

Andrew Tucker

Director of Planning

City of Nanaimo

My Reply

Thanks for the prompt reply Andrew.

Interesting, I never thought of the NIC or really even the Aquatic Centre as being in the south end.  Part of the problem is that many in the areas south of the Ice Centre are seniors as well as low income people who may not have computers and also be at the mercy of transit.  While the South End Neighbourhood association is fairly well attended and we do have an extensive e-mail list to get information out even this only accounts for a very small number of people in the area.  While I recognize it may be too late at this point in time, though late February could be an option, to schedule something for Chase River or even Bayview Schools I do hope that in the future this area will be better served towards accessing these types of events.

Regards;

City Council Meeting: January 24, 2011

Likely because of my initial inquiry, when the locations were brought up at the council meeting it promoted discussion.  The result being that a location such as the Moose Hall, Chase River Firehall or some other venue in the area will be looked at to hold a Public Open House in February like the others.

What this shows is that sometimes one person can make a difference by asking questions of the right people, it never hurts to ask. It also helps that I showed up at the council meeting, they all know me, as a reminder to them.

Why should you care about the Zoning Re-write?

Really that is a subjective question in that if you rent it will have little or no impact but if you own property it likely will.  Will the impact be positive or negative? That will be for the land owner to decide.  It will also prove useful to developers to be able to locate potential projects in areas that would not require rezoning.  So if you are interested here are some links and if you are able I encourage you to attend a Public Open House to give feedback.

Proposed New Zoning Bylaw explanation and links to Draft Zoning By-law and Draft Zoning Land Use Map

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