Make your voice heard!

It’s not over!  It is now more important than ever for you, as a resident in our neighbourhood, to make your views known to City Council.  Thursday September 19 @ 7 pm is the date of the public hearing to determine the fate of the 388 Machleary Street development site. 

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NOCA has done its best to represent the views of residents who participated in our community meetings in 2017, 2018 and our survey in March/April 2019.  Your input has informed our position.  NOCA opposes the precedent-setting changes required in Nanaimo’s community and neighbourhood plans and zoning bylaw to enable the Molnar Group’s proposed 175 unit development (in three 4 – 5 storey apartment-style buildings and 15 town homes) to proceed.  NOCA’s position is:
  1. The land use designation for the 388 Machleary site must not be changed from “neighbourhood” to “corridor” to allow density that is 9 times that of the surrounding neighbourhood and 3 times what the majority of survey respondents supported and the maximum the current OCP supports.
  2. We support rezoning the site for residential use, as opposed to the current “Community Service” use.
  3. We support a moderate increase in density for the site, in comparison to that of the surrounding neighbourhood.  NOCA has suggested a mix of duplex, four-plex, town homes and cluster housing to a maximum of 58 dwellings on the site.  According to our survey results, there might be support for up to 75 units on the site.
  4. We believe the Official Community Plan and Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plan (and the processes that led to those plans) must be respected in the scale of changes made to permit residential use on the site.
  5. NOCA welcomes more people living in the Old City.  However, the addition of 175 “families” on this one site is problematic in terms of traffic flow on roads meant for local traffic and overflow/on-street parking from the development.  These will adversely affect the day-to-day movement of the entire surrounding street blocks between Fitzwilliam and Albert Streets.
  6. We question the entire process that allows a change of this magnitude to be initiated by a developer and facilitated by City Staff (and potentially, Mayor and Council) without an official review and conversation about the vision for this site and the neighbourhood as a whole.
  7. NOCA will be asking City Council to either: reject the amendments brought forward by the Molnar Group and not pass 3rd reading; OR put the development proposal on hold and enter into a community engagement process with the neighbourhood to define what is appropriate for this property; OR put the development proposal on hold until the OCP review (to begin in late Fall 2019) is completed and the level of density desirable for the site is determined.

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What do YOU want to say to Mayor and Council? You have your chance at the Public Hearing on September 19.  Make your voice heard!

City Council votes in favour

At the August 26, 2019 meeting of Nanaimo City Council, the Molnar Group’s application to amend the Official Community Plan and rezoning application for 388 Machleary Street (the former site of Malaspina Gardens/the old Nanaimo Hospital), to allow the development of a 175-unit multi-family development, passed two readings. The City reports that a third reading will be considered once a road dedication, community contribution, site improvements and public rights-of-way have been secured.

The next step is a Public Hearing which will be held on Thursday, September 19, 2019.  NOCA encourages all residents to attend the public hearing and make their voice heard.  You can speak at the public hearing or send in a written submission. Learn more about public hearings by reading the city’s Public Hearing Information Sheet.

Learn more about the staff report voted on by Council here.

Stay tuned to this website for any updates between now and September 19.

City Council to vote on Molnar Application August 26

The Nanaimo Old City Association has been informed by the City of Nanaimo that the Molnar Group’s application to amend the Official Community Plan for the property located at 388 Machleary Street (the former site of Malaspina Gardens/the old Nanaimo Hospital) will be before City Council on Monday, August 26 at 7 pm. Council will vote on a staff report and bylaw.

NOCA needs YOUR support at the City Council meeting. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. NOCA will apply to be a delegation at the meeting. We will have five minutes to speak to the agenda item. The City Council agenda will be online on August 22nd at

City Council will vote either for or against the staff recommendation. If Council votes “yes”, the next step is a Public Hearing which will likely be held on September 19, 2019. If Council votes “no”, the Molnar Group has the option to bring back the same proposal within six months from the date of the “no” vote. The developer also has the option of making a new application to amend the Official Community Plan with a new proposal.

NOCA’s response to Molnar Group’s Application

Your neighbourhood association has been working hard on our official response to the Molnar Group’s application to amend the Official Community Plan for the property located at 388 Machleary Street.  Thank you to everyone who completed our most recent survey (March/April 2019) and to those who attended our community meetings in 2018 and 2017 as we discussed our dreams for this piece of property. Our official response to the Molnar Group’s application was sent to the City of Nanaimo on May 28, 2019.

For a chronology of our work on this issue, please visit our 388 Machleary page.


Survey results in!

The results are in on our 8 question survey. The survey was developed to gauge neighbourhood residents’ support on the specifics of the Molnar Group’s proposal in the areas of density, land use and parking.  The purpose of the survey was also to help ensure residents of the old city understood NOCA’s belief in the importance of the Official Community Plan (2008) and the Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plan (1992) as a lens through which to view any new development in the old city.

We received 148 responses.  An executive summary of the survey results can be found here.

Survey on application to amend Official Community Plan

The City of Nanaimo has received the Molnar Group’s application to amend the Official Community Plan for the property located at 388 Machleary Street (the former site of Malaspina Gardens/old Nanaimo Hospital).  The application is asking to “re-designate the land use designations in the Official Community and Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plans to authorize a medium-density multi-family residential development.”

You can view the application on the City of Nanaimo website at

You can provide feedback to your neighbourhood association about the application by completing our 8 question survey.  Please print the survey, complete and drop in the mailbox at 108 Milton Street or 25 Machleary Street. If you’d prefer to complete via email, please email

Update on old hospital site

The Molnar Group held their 2nd community Open House on Friday, January 11, 2019 to present the current concept drawings of their proposed development for 388 Machleary Street. More background and detail can be viewed here.

Residents who were at the recent Open House, and others, may believe that the proposed development represents what is going to be built on the property, that approvals have already been given, and that “tweaking” the plans as presented is all that can happen now.   However, the Nanaimo Old City Association has learned that the Molnar Group’s proposal is still at the earliest stage of the City’s project development process. To date, no approvals or amendments to existing policies that guide development in the Old City have been given, or even comprehensively reviewed. More information about the City of Nanaimo’s process for an Official Community Plan Amendment Application can be viewed here.

It is important for Old City neighbourhood residents to know that our community’s input at this early stage has its strongest voice.  On Jan. 15, 2019 NOCA’S “388 Working Group” met and reaffirmed its position (communicated to the Molnar Group in a letter dated November 8, 2017 that the scale (density) and much of the design of the Molnar Group concept is inconsistent with the Official Community Plan, the Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plan, existing zoning bylaws in the surrounding community, and the community’s desires for the neighbourhood character and function to be maintained.  Future meetings and communications to City officials and the neighbourhood will focus on this message.  Click here for notes about current Land Use policies applicable to the immediate neighbourhood.

NOCA’s activity in response to the Molnar Group’s proposal for 388 Machleary Street in the coming months

  • NOCA has sent a letter to Mayor and Council and City planning staff, advocating for the reinstatement of the Community Planning and Development Committee. This committee will provide a critical voice for NOCA on behalf of the neighbourhood.
  • The 388 Working Group is planning a communication strategy for discussions with individual Council members in the next month or two.
  • NOCA is considering an updated presentation to the new Mayor and Council (a presentation was made to the former mayor and council in December 2017).
  • NOCA may plan another community meeting in the coming months.

NOCA will continue to actively represent the interests of the Old City in maintaining its character and integrity.  Your participation and support in this important neighbourhood effort is welcomed and appreciated!

How can you get involved?

The more informed we all are about how the City’s existing policies and bylaws apply to the 388 property and surrounding neighbourhood, the stronger our neighbourhood voice will be.  Here are some suggestions. Become familiar with sections on Land Use Designation in the following documents:

Write to NOCA (www.nanaimooldcityassociation/Contact) supporting the integrity of Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan and the Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plan as they apply to the property known as “388 Machleary Street” (formerly Malaspina Gardens or The Old Hospital).

Successful AGM

At our recent NOCA AGM on October 15, 2018, representatives from Energy Solutions Vancouver Island (ESVI) made an informative presentation about residential solar PV systems (solar panels).   For more on this and to acquire a pdf copy of the presentation, click here. NOCA is now a non-profit member of ESVI.  This entitles paid NOCA members to receive, free of charge, ESVI’s Small Solar PV System Installation Specification.  This document is a useful reference for homeowners to use when requesting quotations from solar PV vendors.

New Board Elected

The NOCA Board of Directors for the 2018/2019 year are:

Joy Adams Bauer, President
Brian Booth, Secretary
Ian Knipe, Vice-President
Penny MacMillan, Treasurer
Penny Mosolov, Director
Eve Reinarz, Director
Kelsea Shadlock, Director
Margot Thomaidis, Director

 AGM Presentation

AGM Presentation                                            Ian Knipe and Joy Adams Bauer

Plans for old hospital site

The City of Nanaimo has informed the NOCA Board that planning staff have received formal applications to redevelop the property at 388 Machleary Street. Staff are reviewing the information submitted in support of the joint Official Community Plan (OCP) and Zoning Bylaw Amendment applications. As the initial review of the application continues by city staff, NOCA can expect to receive a referral request in the weeks ahead.

City staff also tell us that the formal amendment review process, will likely begin in the fall of this year (2018). Prior to the meeting of the city’s Community Planning and Development Committee, the developers are required to host an open house to provide the community with more information about the development proposal. City staff anticipate the developer’s open house will also likely be held in the fall of this year.

For more information on 388 Machleary Street, visit our 388 Machleary Street page.