A rendering of Terminal Avenue with a transit exchange next to the roadway. (City of Nanaimo image)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Hub plans for downtown shouldn’t include bus loop

Transit exchange will detract from prime piece of entertainment district, says letter writer

To the editor,

Re: Start over on design of ‘Hub,’ Letters, Sept. 8.

I can’t agree with the letter writer that it’s typical of the City of Nanaimo not to listen to the general public (I think on most things the mayor, council and city manager have been doing a great job, including a great job of listening).

But I think the letter writer is absolutely right about the three options suggested so far for the Jean Burns site. We should certainly be looking at options that do not feature a bus loop – which, as the writer says, is perfectly fine where it is now.

The Jean Burns site is in the middle of what is supposed to be the ‘entertainment district,’ so let’s think of entertainment. How about a multi-level little entertainment complex, with movie screens for sports and cinema together with a 100-seat venue for live music, poetry readings, or book launches. Wrap around it all a café/bar with nice snacks and a covered veranda overlooking the street, have some retail at street level, keep Commercial open so as not to close off things for existing retail businesses, and add some additional green to Diana Krall Plaza to make that nearby plaza a more attractive open public space.

How many cities can you think of that make a bus loop the central feature of their entertainment district? Zero, and no wonder. We will never turn a bus loop into “a welcoming destination” and “a vibrant pedestrian realm,” and it is folly to try.

Don LePan, Nanaimo

READ ALSO: Nanaimo ‘hub’ project could permanently close section of Commercial Street to cars

To the editor,

Re: Start over on design of ‘Hub,’ Letters, Sept. 8.

The city has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants, staff hours and community hours to produce neighborhood plans. This idea is in direct contravention of at least two of those neighbourhood community plans.

The port master plan was only completed three years ago, cost many many thousands and included a transit hub plan. Yet this current idea is in direct contravention. None of the current city councillors seem to care about the many thousands of dollars spent on consultants or staff at the time.

This council is making a typical ‘Joni Mitchell’ mistake, putting up a parking lot on one of the most prestigious and valuable pieces of downtown real estate. The city has had to fence off the Italian fountain, directly across the street, who in their right mind would think a green space beside the transit hub would not attract the same problems?

Now let’s think, who thinks closing off part of Commercial Street is a good idea? Is the intention to close off all of the whole downtown? The bicycle lanes proposed represent massive traffic changes, virtually cutting off a whole section of downtown, affecting the whole city. Businesses on Victoria Crescent will be on a virtual dead-end from the rest of the core.

Where is the master plan? Where is the community engagement?

Tim McGrath, Nanaimo

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