The Rubber hit the Road
Daniel Appell: April 6, 2011
Council’s decision Monday night returned us to the same point we were at two years ago. It reduces the planning exercise for the Newcastle and Brechin Hill neighbourhoods to an unnecessary detour on the long road towards completing a transition on those waterfront properties.
It was (I believe this sincerely) the finest moment for this council. Afterwards, I was talking to some of the stakeholders, including property owners in the neighbourhoods, and I was very encouraged by the responses of both competing groups. I am hopeful, more hopeful then I have ever been, that competition can now change into cooperation, and the long journey towards a rebirth of that waterfront can begin in ernest. I applaud the decision of council, my pride in this city and its resilient people has being renewed and I felt honoured to have been able to witness something that will profoundly and positively shape the future of this city.
As for the planning department . . . something still has to be done that would allow this group to make a more relevant and positive contribution to the development of this city.
Good to hear the news Dan.
I too, then, have a new found respect for council after this one responsible planning gesture.
As for the, clearly-out-of-its-depth, planning department aping Vancouver’s land-lift without understanding the implications . . . well . . .
Maybe, at last the worm has turned and Nanaimo will at last experience responsible development . . . .
Oh and BTW check out Port Plaza. As it is proceeding it bears no resemblance to the publicly discussed presentations . . .
“Land Lift” is a term recently coined by Vancouver planner Rob Jenkins referring to increased land value responding to sweeping up zoning.
It applies to large areas, i.e. Vancouver’s Central Area Entertainment zone and Canada Line corridor etc.
One problem is, if applied prematurely and over enthusiastically, it may impede development, delaying over price projects ahead of the market: i.e. Canada Line, Vancouver and Cable Bay Nanaimo, likely Sandstone too, impeding other vital usage.
Apparently, judging by the current market, “Land Lift” along Nanaimo’s waterfront would be premature!
It is difficult, but necessary, for decision makers, who thrived during the glory days of indiscriminate sprawl, to change gears to a land market as commodity hedge against rapidly devaluing currency in which it may change hands, but not increase in value, nor be of any use, for a very long time: in the case of Newcastle/Brechin, maybe, not a bad thing.
For Chinese bankers, overloaded with rapidly declining US treasuries, Vancouver real estate was, maybe still is to a much lesser extent, a safe haven. Not so, Nanaimo!
Fortunately Nanaimo City Council was ahead of its planning department on the evening of April 04.