June 2018

154 155 of the forestry company, MacMillan Bloedel) was built east of downtown in 1950, giving the town, once again, a major industrial employer. Today, service, retail, tourism, shipping, health- care, and education are its main industries. Nanaimo Regional General Hospital employs approximately 1,700. “We also have Vancouver Island University,” says Mayor Bill McKay. “They’ve got a very aggressive leadership team that has been doing some wonderful things to attract new students, including international students. They have about 12,000 full-time and 5,000 part-time students – it’s a huge economic generator.” But perhaps most important is Nanaimo’s des- ignation as the logistics and transportation hub of Vancouver Island. “We’re serviced by two ferry routes to Vancouver,” McKay explains, “one to the south end and the other to West Vancouver. They carry about five million passengers a year.”“We have an active harbor,” adds Director of Communi- ty Development, Dale Lindsay. “A good portion of all the goods coming to the island come through Nanaimo, and as a result, we’ve seen some major investments in the last couple of years in terms of moving those goods.” One of those recent investments was made by Seaspan Ferries, a North Vancouver-based parent of a group of companies that include shipyards, tugs, barges, and ship-docking services. It delivers more than half of the island’s consumer goods, and in 2017, it opened a new, 18-acre, $44-million ferry freight terminal at Nanaimo’s Duke Point, ca- NANAIMO, BRITISH COLUMBIA We’re specifically looking at infilling in our town centers, such as our down- town, encouraging growth and investment. In the last few years, we’ve seen a number of transformative projects in terms of multi-family, mid-rise invest- ment in our downtown and our other growth nodes. At this point, there’s no strong push to expand our boundaries, but rather take advantage of the infrastructure that we have available and using it in themost efficient way possible. DALE LINDSAY DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT pable of moving more than 500 trailers a day. “Another recent development that’s quite exciting is the Nanaimo Port Authority, which is associated with the federal government, and has just announced a large processing facility for European automobiles,” reports Director of Engineering & Public Works, Bill Sims. “Vancouver’s port has become very congested, and so, it’s logistically attractive to bring those automobiles into Nanaimo, pro- cess them here, and then ship them over to the mainland.” “Nanaimo is a harbor city, which is an asset we’ve taken advantage of,” reminds Lindsay. “When this city council first got elected, it adopted a strategic plan, which included an investment in our waterfront. Last year, it ad- opted a fairly aggressive ten-year plan to see the creation of a 15-kilometer walkway, con- necting many parts of our community along the waterfront. Our downtown is right in the edge of our natural harbor, but we have lim- ited portions of the walkway that have been completed in the downtown. The walkway will connect up with the Departure Bay Ferry terminal, which is a major point for ferries coming in from Horseshoe Bay. So, there’ll be benefits in terms of encouraging active trans- portation, tourism, connecting communities, and bringing people back to the waterfront.”