Bye, Bye UCB, Bye, Bye Linley Valley et al.

Ron Bolin: April 17, 2014
In 1994 Council received a report entitled “Managing Blocks of Vacant Land”. This report provided options for reviewing development applications within the Linley Valley (then known as the North Nanaimo Planning Reserve) and the vacant blocks of land in the City.
In 1996, with the adoption of Plan Nanaimo, the City’s Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) was established to clearly define those areas of the City where urban growth was expected and was to be encouraged. Between the UCB and the boundary of the Nanaimo there were areas which were “outside” the urban containment boundary which were destined for rural status until the time at which these areas might be needed for development. There was enough vacant zoned and serviced land inside the UCB to accommodate approximately 50,000 new Nanaimoites, even without rezoning inside areas to higher densities. See below for a map of the UCB lands in 2006.      Nanaimo UCB 2006

The complete document can be found at:

In a late item on the agenda for the Jan. 14, 2008, meeting of Council, held at the RDN Board Room, the following is to be found:
Add ltem 5 (a) – Presentation from Mr. Berry re: UCB Recommendation, Climate Change, and Tax Equity
The agenda item itself reads:
(a) Powerpoint Presentation from Mr. G. D. Berry, City Manager, regarding the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) recommendation in the Official Community Plan – 10-Year Review Update Staff Report, Climate Change, and Tax Equity.
In the tradition of Nanaimo’s Staff getting important items on the agenda at the last minute lest either Council or the public be given time for sober reflection it remains unknown whether the result would have been different if its audience had not been hustled… but certainly the 12 year tradition of the Urban Containment Boundary died that night with almost no audience and only the lonely voice of Councillor Sherry defending it.
As you watch the videos of that meeting you may notice the enticing presentation made by Mr Berry which blames lots of our problems on our freeloading neighbours and suggests that we need to compete with them for development by getting rid of the UCB and opening up our whole area for development. Mr. Swabey is there to assist him in this effort. The eight who voted peremptorily that night for the following motion:

0408 It was moved and seconded that Council direct Staff to realign the Urban Containment Boundary (UCB) to coincide with the City boundary in the Draft Official Community Plan. The motion carried.
Opposed: Councillor Sherry

signed the death knell of the Linley Valley and opened the door to the Cable Bay and Sandstone projects, set us on a feckless path that has not produced those benefits which Mr. Berry portrayed, but has led to the destruction of large areas of the Linley Valley for new development which is effectively subsidized by those who live here already and the grooming of Sandstone and Cable Bay so as to make development possible on the timetable of any developer at any time. You may also notice the condescending tone which Mr. Barry uses with Councillor Sherry as he ignores his suggestions for alternatives: better, longer term alternatives, in my view, to the removal of the UCB.
Those who were around in those days may remember that Council meetings were televised by Shaw Cable and that the resulting videos were only kept for a week or two, i.e. no history… But some meetings were captured on home video recorders and the youtube videos were captured, transferred later to DVD and finally downloaded to Youtube by Trish Kuziek to whom we owe our gratitude.
There are eight Youtube segments to the meeting of Jan. 14, 2008, with the first five concentrating on the Urban Containment Boundary Destruction. The segments are each approximately 20 minutes long. The first segment opens with Mr. Berry giving his lengthy discussion of why we have a problem in the UCB and continues through a couple more. I think you will find yourself agreeing with some of his points, before you figure out that the suggested cure is worse than the disease. ( It is a lot like the Voting Act that Parliament is currently discussing.) The critical motion is made and carried in segment 5. One will also find Mr. Fred Taylor discussing the budget, a problem then as now in the end of segment 5 and beyond. This is a window into a past that needs to be read for what it can tell us about how our Council performs its representative functions when hustled and without reference to those represented. Things have not changed…. Yet..
Good viewing and the blog –or wherever you may find these videos- looks forward to your comments.
To see the meeting go to: