Watch for a new-look website!

We are launching a new-look website on March 3, 2018.  Our new address will be  We look forward to your feedback on our new look once we launch!


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388 Machleary Street Update

In mid December, 2017, the 388 Machleary St. working group was invited to meet with key people from the Molnar Group and City of Nanaimo planning staff to discuss NOCA’s letter of November 8, 2017 to the Molnar Group.

The Molnar Group stated their intention to hold a second community meeting (expected in February 2018) to present more detailed proposals incorporating aspects of NOCA’s feedback to their original proposal (which Molnar shared with the neighbourhood at their “Community Talk/Preliminary Proposal”on October 17, 2017). Old City residents can anticipate receiving notification of the meeting by mail from the Molnar Group.

NOCA intends to canvas neighbourhood feedback by holding our own community meeting, details of which will be posted on our website and shared with residents via door to door leaflet distribution.

We encourage your involvement and input in this important community issue! Stay tuned!!

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388 Machleary Update

Members of the association met with city planning staff at the end of November.  We shared our comments about the proposal by The Molnar Group for development of the site at 388 Machleary St.  NOCA will appear as a delegation at a City Council  meeting on Monday, December 11.  President Joy Adams Bauer will highlight some of our findings from the community visioning workshop held in May 2017. In the weeks and months ahead, we look forward to continued discussions with city staff, elected officials, old city residents, any developers who come forward. You can view the information we shared with city planning staff on the link below.


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NOCA writes to the Molnar Group

On November 8, 2017, NOCA wrote to The Molnar Group outlining the association’s feedback to the October 17, 2017 “Community Talk/Preliminary Proposal” hosted by The Molnar Group regarding 388 Machleary Street (the site of the old Nanaimo Hospital/former Malaspina Gardens Seniors Residence).

The letter outlines views, comments and concerns about the proposed development as outlined by The Molnar Group at the October 17, 2017 meeting.  NOCA looks forward to continued engagement with The Molnar Group and the City of Nanaimo with the goal of achieving an outcome that considers the concerns of local residents and the integrity of the Old City.

Read the letter at the following link — LetterToMolnar388 MachlearyNov8_2017.


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New Board elected

At our AGM on October 16, 2017, seven members of the association were elected to serve on the Board of Directors.  Thank you for your leadership! Your Board for the coming year is:

  • Joy Adams Bauer, President
  • Ian Knipe, Vice-President
  • Barbara Schreiber, Treasurer
  • Janet Wright, Secretary
  • Ian Easton, Eve Reinarz, Todd Trimble, Directors

If you missed the AGM and your chance to renew your membership, please email us at and we will arrange to collect your $10 membership fee.  Thank you for supporting your old city community, a place we all love to call home!

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Friday Night feel good movies!

Join us for a series of “feel good movies” at St. Andrews Church Hall (enter off Wesley Street).

Friday, February 16, 2018 – The Big Fish
Friday, March 16 – Coco
Friday, April 27 – Breathe
Friday, May 25 – Victoria and Abdul

Friday Night Feel Good Movies are supported by the Nanaimo Old City Association (NOCA).  Thank you to St. Andrews Church and Debbie Marshall for the use of their space, and Mark Tuit for the use of his sound system.

Donations towards the hall and purchase of the movies are gratefully accepted!

Learn more about our Friday Night Feel Good Movies

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Molnar Group holds community meeting

The Molnar Group recently held its first community meeting (on October 17, 2017) to build on the community workshop report released by NOCA (in July 2017) about the site at 388 Machleary Street (the location of the former Malaspina Gardens Care Home and the old Nanaimo hospital).

The Molnar Group invited residents of the old city to hear, see and comment on the Molnar Group’s preliminary proposal for the site.


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Demolition of Malaspina Gardens property – update

Demolition of the buildings at the former Malaspina Gardens property are well underway by Clearview Demolition Ltd. of Surrey, BC (, following presentation of a demolition permit application to City Council in August.  The NOCA Board, through a working group that includes non-board members of the association, continues its involvement in representing the neighbourhood in the future of this property.  Contact information for the demolition is posted on the project gates on Machleary Street, and contact with Clearview’s Project Manager for the site has been made.

Demolition is being undertaken in two phases:  (1) the newer (1992) addition – now completed, and (2) the original (1925) building.  Workplace BC is fully aware of the project and work procedures, and Clearview is adhering to the City’s noise bylaw regulations with respect to allowable days and hours for demolition activity.  A security guard is on site through the night.

An environmental assessment by Envirochem Environmental found non-friable (i.e. does not become airborne) asbestos in the original building, mainly in the flooring and some in the drywall.  Currently this being removed (completion expected by 3rd week in October).  Removal procedures include sealing areas inside the building where asbestos is to be removed, workers wear protective clothing, use of hepa filters, double-bagging asbestos materials, and testing areas for fibres after asbestos removal.  Demolition of the original building is expected to be completed before Christmas.

On request by NOCA to Chartwell Retirement Residences, the following features of the original building at the former front entrance on Kennedy Street will be saved:

  • the metal doorway pediment
  • the gateposts and stairway
  • the cornerstone near the front entrance

Once a new property owner is confirmed, NOCA will continue its initiatives to represent the neighbourhood in the property development process.


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City Council to receive report from NOCA

The NOCA Board recently learned that Chartwell (the owner of the former Malaspina Gardens site on Machleary Street) has applied to the City of Nanaimo for a demolition permit.  City Council will consider the application at its meeting on Monday, August 14, 2017.   NOCA has written a letter to Council (see link below) and also sent our “Report on the Outcomes of the Community Workshop on the Future of the Malaspina Gardens Site to City Council.

NOCA letter to City Council – August 10, 2017 – LetterCouncilMalaspinaAug_2017

UPDATE:  City Council authorized the demolition permit and demolition has begun.

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Community comments on future of Malaspina Gardens site

In spring of 2017, the Nanaimo Old City Association (NOCA) held workshops about the future of the Malaspina Gardens seniors home site when its owner and operator Chartwell moved residents to a new facility.  These workshops looked at the history, heritage values and possible future redevelopment issues for the site.  Approximately 60 participants completed a survey workbook on their opinions of issues and opportunities.

Executive summary of the results

  • Respect for the heritage values of the site is very important, but that does not mean that the old building needs to be saved, as there is widespread understanding that saving the building will be challenging and expensive.  Other options can include saving part of the building, saving and reusing artifacts or materials from the building, or providing interpretive information about the site.
  • While there is a community plan in place (OCP / Neighbourhood plan) and some feel strongly that it should be followed, others are open to changes in the residential uses on the site and even the inclusion of other local, low-impacts uses that would benefit the neighbourhood.  Other housing types that could be supported besides seniors housing include single family, town/row houses, condominiums.  There is also some interest in a daycare, café, yoga studio and others.
  • The architectural style of any new development was explored and the community gave nearly unanimous support for heritage inspired building designs.  There was some support for modern Westcoast styles as well but little support for minimal urban modernism.
  • New development needs to maintain a single family friendly face to the streets around the site, including approximately two-three story street walls with setbacks similar to the homes along the streets now.  The massing should be varied and not present an large block unvaried wall to the street.
  • There is some support for buildings up to six storeys but only if the design is excellent and if view corridors to the harbour are maintained from Machleary Street.
  • Landscape design should support native species and bird/butterfly habitat.  The older existing trees and some shrubs should be preserved wherever possible.  Street furnishings including benches, garbage cans, and nice lighting would be appreciated.
  • Parking should be located on the site, underground wherever possible, as there is significant concern about negative parking impacts from new development.
  • The community is interested in any new development providing new amenities to the community including some affordable housing, a community meeting or gallery/yoga space, some public open space and public art.  The adjacent park offers playground and community garden space so these are seen as less important for the site.
  • The primary concerns residents have include the site becomes derelict and a crime magnet. New development needs to clearly respect and reflect the historic nature of the neighbourhood.  There is fear of large high rises changing the character of the area and erasing the heritage values of the site.
  • The character of the neighbourhood is seen as quiet, heritage, arts and crafts homes, mature green space and a strong sense of community.

View the entire “Report on the Outcomes of the Community Workshop on the Future of the Malaspina Gardens Site”.MalaspinaGardensFinalReportJuly4_2017

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