Visioning Workshop, Monday, May 15

The Nanaimo Old City Association is holding a visioning workshop to seek community input on the Malaspina Gardens property (388 Machleary Street). Residents of the Old City and the general public are invited to attend and learn more about the potential redevelopment of the historic site.

Your input will be sought on a range of topics, including:  re-zoning, development, and heritage. The format will feature brief presentations and round table discussions. The workshop will be facilitated by Mark Holland, urban planner and resident of the Old City Neighbourhood, and Chris Sholberg, Culture and Heritage Planner for the City of Nanaimo.

Join us on Monday, May 15 from 7 pm to 9 pm at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Hall, 301 Machleary Street.  For more information contact Ian Knipe, President of NOCA at 250-753-5527, or email

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Issues raised at public meeting about Malaspina Gardens property

A number of issues were raised at the March 5, 2017 neighbourhood meeting about the future of the Malaspina Gardens property (388 Machleary St.).  Those issues are summarized in the document below.


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Successful Neighbourhood Meeting Held about the Malaspina Gardens Property

Over 70 people attended the Nanaimo Old City Association’s (NOCA) neighbourhood meeting on Sunday, March 5 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church Hall regarding the future of the property at 388 Machleary St., known as Malaspina Gardens Senior’s Residence.

Here’s a link to an article in the Nanaimo News Bulletin about Malaspina Gardens, published on March 23, 2017.

The meeting was planned and organized by a small ‘working group’ consisting of 2 NOCA board members (Ian Knipe, Janet Wright), 3 members of the association (Barb Coady, Paulette McCarthy, Todd Trimble), and Chris Sholberg, Planner with the City of Nanaimo’s Heritage and Culture Department.

Context:  A new facility to replace Malaspina Gardens is being built in South Nanaimo, with an expected opening in Spring 2017.  The owner and operator, Chartwell Retirement Residences, has publicized its intention to sell the property.

The meeting’s agenda featured (1) a summary of NOCA’s communication with Chartwell, (2) a presentation by Chris outlining the history and heritage value of the Old Hospital part of the property, possible redevelopment scenarios, and information about incentives offered by the City for preservation of heritage properties, and (3) a question and answer period.  Also on hand to answer pertinent questions was Rod Davidson, Manager of Bylaw Regulation and Security for the City of Nanaimo.

Now what?  Continue to follow NOCA’s website ( for periodic updates by the working group on activities and/or developments on this property.  Issues raised in the meeting will be publicized on the website as soon as they are compiled.  NOCA members who may wish to participate in the working group, or otherwise become involved, are invited to contact either Ian Knipe or Janet Wright

MalaspinaMtg2Mar_2017 MalaspinaMtgMar_2017

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Future of Malaspina Gardens Discussion

Press Release for Immediate Release

The Nanaimo Old City Association will be holding an information meeting to discuss the future of Malaspina Gardens property located at 388 Machleary Street in Nanaimo.

This significant one hundred and thirty-eight year old property was once the home of the Nanaimo General Hospital and Malaspina College. The historical three acre property is on the City of Nanaimo Heritage Register but now the future of the property is uncertain. The neighbourhood and general public are invited to attend and learn more about the fate of this property and historic building.

The information meeting will be held from 1pm to 3pm at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 301 Fitzwilliam Street, Sunday March 5th. For more information contact Ian Knipe 250-753-5527, President of NOCA or email Light refreshments will be served.

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Buy your NOCA membership

Thank you to the over 30 people who attended our AGM on October 17, 2016.  We recruited four new Board members. Your community association is alive and well!  It’s not too late to buy a yearly membership to show your support.  Just download our  membership-application



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Join our Board of Directors!

Mark your calendar for our Annual General Meeting on Monday, October 17, 2016. We are always looking for new Board members.  Why not consider volunteering?  You must live within NOCA’s boundaries and be a paid up member of the association.   We currently have seven people on our Board and can have up to nine.  Make a difference in your community and meet some pretty nice people!

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Tree planting on Machleary Street

On April 23, 2016 NOCA organized a tree planting party with the help of the Urban Forestry Department, City of Nanaimo.  A number of new trees were planted on Machleary Street between Comox Road and Campbell Street.  Residents of the old city had a great time planting the trees!


Planting trees along MachlearyAnother Tree Planted!

The Neighbourhood Team

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Urban Farm Faire on May 14, 2016!

Join us at Pawson Park (Franklyn and Macheary) for our annual Urban Farm Faire on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from noon to 3 pm.

  • Live music
  • Food
  • A pinata  and face-painting for the kids
  • Plants and veggie starts for sale
  • NOCA memberships for sale

A great opportunity to get to know your neighbours! Watch for a flyer in your mail box and posters around the community.  See you there!

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Check out the photos from our Urban Farm Faire!

We held our 4th annual Urban Farm Faire in Pawson Park on Saturday, May 9, 2015.  We had great weather and over 100 residents of the old city came by to visit with their neighbours, listen to live music (thank you Paul Gogo), buy perennials and veggie starts and learn about mason bees, community gardens and the importance of the “3 R’s”.P1050418 P1050420 P1050428 P1050430 P1050431 P1050432P1050435P1050436P1050437P1050438P1050439P1050440P1050446P1050447P1050448P1050449P1050461P1050463P1050467P1050470P1050471P1050473P1050475P1050477P1050478P1050479

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NOCA Requests Exemption from proposed By-Laws

The following is the content of a letter your board composed and sent to the City Council. The actual letter is attached at the bottom of this article.
Dear Mayor Ruttan, City Council and City staff,
We as the board of the Nanaimo Old City Association (NOCA) write to request that all lots currently zoned RS-1 and RS-1a within the boundaries of the Nanaimo Old City be exempt from the following changes in the proposed bylaw rezoning: reduction of minimum lot size – particularly where there is lane access, increased height of accessory buildings and allowance of corner lot duplexes.
Because time is of the essence we ask that you bring this request forward and meet with us before the bylaw change comes into effect (August 8th), so that our concerns may be addressed and amendments made before that time. Of significant time concern is the potential for bringing previously failed plans forward.
We support this request with the following points:
  • May 2, 2011 rejection by City Council of the small lot development proposal at 952 Wentworth Street – City Council soundly rejected this proposal citing several specific and varied concerns about this type of development in this area. Of more than 50% of all homes in this RS- 1 section of Old City Neighbourhood area, 80% of signed a petition against this proposal and small lot zoning.
  • July 11, 2011 rejection by City Council of a variance request for a proposed 2-storey carriage house at 281 Machleary Street citing them as unsuitable for this neighbourhood.
  • Exemption from the minimum lot size of the new bylaw for the Westwood Lake Neighborhood (passed 3rd reading at the writing of this letter).
  • The acceptance of corner lot duplexes in the Nanaimo Old City RS-1 area would have a negative effect on the area by promoting increased alley traffic and a significant change in ambiance.
While we were led to believe that the Old City Neighbourhood Plan protected us from changes currently proposed in the new bylaws, it now appears that is not the case. The Old City area is one of Nanaimo’s oldest and most unique neighborhoods, with a significant stock of heritage homes that reflects its turn of the century roots in ambiance and pedestrian scale. We care deeply about protecting this well-established neighborhood from unsuitable and irreversible change.
We respectfully ask that the RS-1 and RS-1a sections of the Nanaimo Old City be exempt from the proposed bylaw changes and that a clearly stated set of design guidelines and a process for community consultation regarding single-family dwellings in this neighbourhood be established.

pdf iconNOCA 20110726 bylaw exemption request.pdf

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