News on Cornerstone

Cornerstone is the name of the new 51 unit supportive housing building funded by BC Housing and located at 285 Prideaux Street. Connective Nanaimo is the operator. You can learn about Cornerstone on the Connective website at

The latest news from BC Housing explains their HEARTH program.

“People experiencing homelessness are living in unsafe conditions in encampments throughout multiple communities in British Columbia. To address these challenges, BC Housing is working with partners to provide people living outdoors and in encampments with better access to a range of support services, new shelters, and housing options through new programs funded by the Province under the Belonging in BC Homelessness Plan: Homeless Encampment Action Response Team (HEART) and the Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH).

The HEARTH model will be used at Cornerstone. BC Housing will “be working with local shelters, with our Coordinated Access and Assessment (CAA) Managers, and the operator to identify the needs of each individual within those shelter facilities in the community to find the right fit for temporary housing. The CAA process is designed to be a thoughtful and intentional way to identify folks whose needs will best be met at the HEARTH site. That’s why for this particular model and this site, we want to ensure that people are ready and that we’re matching people up to their support needs.” You can learn more at: Encampment & Homelessness Response: HEART & HEARTH | BC Housing

It is hoped our new neighbours will begin moving in in March 2024.

Construction begins at 388 Machleary Street

The Molnar Group advised neighbours in early February 2024 that construction has finally begun at 388 Machleary Street! You can learn about Ocean View Senior Living on the Molnar Group website at:

The Molnar Group send the letter below to the surrounding neighbourhood the first week in February.

Letter from the Molnar Group

Be a Climate Hero in Our Neighbourhood: Join the Thermal Imaging Project for Greener Home Heating!

NOCA successfully applied for a grant from the City of Nanaimo and are now forming a Neighbourhood Climate Action Team. Our focus is on motivating our neighbours to make informed choices about their home heating systems, particularly encouraging the shift to low or zero carbon options. What makes our project stand out is the use of a thermal imaging camera to highlight the energy efficiency of our homes. By working together, we can create a wave of change that not only benefits our local environment but also sets an inspiring example for other communities.

What are the Project Highlights?

1. Use a thermal imaging camera to identify heat loss and inefficiencies in homes.
2. Provide homeowners with an understanding of the impact of their current heating systems and potential energy savings with eco-friendly alternatives, as well as, retrofit rebates, grants and financing possibilities.
3.Organize fun, informative, friendly neighbourhood gatherings to share insights, answer questions, and create a supportive environment for sustainable choices.
4. Document the collective carbon footprint reduction achieved by participants.

Why Join?

1. Learn about thermal imaging technology and its application in promoting energy efficiency.
2. Be a catalyst for positive change in our neighbourhood’s carbon footprint and help our City to reach our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions targets for 2030.
3. Strengthen our community bonds as we work toward a greener future and inspire others to follow suit.
4. Contribute to our documentation of how sustainable our community is becoming.

If you’re interested in being a climate hero in our neighbourhood, please let us know of your availability and thoughts. We hope to have our first neighbourhood gathering in mid-February. Together, let’s make our community a shining example of sustainable living. I am looking forward to the possibility of working with you on this important project.

Shelley Serebrin and the NOCA Board  (NOCA Climate Action Team)

Public Safety in the Old City – Who to Call

The City of Nanaimo publishes a brochure on Who To Call in the Old City. The most recent version is November 2022 and can be viewed here.

Community Safety Officers (City of Nanaimo)

Community Safety Officers focus on providing municipal supports and responses to the community and vulnerable citizens on issues including public disorder, homelessness, addictions and mental health challenges. Community Safety Officers (CSOs) conduct highly visible day and nighttime patrols, including bike patrols, throughout the community with emphasis in the downtown area, involving extensive contact and liaison with the business community, first responders, public safety, service organizations and unsheltered citizens. There are 11 officers who work in teams of 2 or 3 per shift. They work 7 days a week (NOT statutory holidays), 7 am to 10 pm.

CSOs engage with vulnerable citizens including people experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental health concerns to assist in the coordination of appropriate social, health and enforcement responses.
CSOs address contraventions of bylaws, incidents of public disorder and assist people in need, with an emphasis on voluntary compliance strategies, including referrals to services, mediation, public education, warnings, restorative justice and alternate dispute resolution.

Bylaw, Regulation & Community Safety (City of Nanaimo)

To Report (Downtown Core):

  • Downtown parking issues
  • Aggressive panhandling downtown
  • Encampment activity downtown
  • Safety matters on downtown public property
  • Downtown Bylaw matters (noise, unsightly, nuisance activities)
  • Connecting individuals in need to services

Monday to Friday (8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
Call 250-755-4422
Evenings and weekends
Call 250-758-5222 

To Report (Outside Downtown Core Bylaw Infractions):

  • Parking
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Encampment Activity
  • Unsightly Properties
  • Nuisance Properties

Monday to Friday (8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
Call 250-755-4422
Evenings and weekends:
Call 250-758-5222 

Public Works

To Report:

  • Discarded Needles on Public Property and for information on the proper disposal of discarded needles on private property
  • Garbage or Litter on City Property
  • Overflowing City Garbage Bins
  • Other After Hour City Matters

Please call or email:
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Nanaimo Fire Rescue

To Report:

  • Burning Complaints
  • Burning Permits
  • Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector Information
  • General Fire Safety Information

Please call:
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

RCMP: How to Report Crime

There are now multiple ways to report:

  • Suspicious or Illegal Activity
  • Crime after it has occurred
  • Lost, Stolen or Found Items
  • Security Matters

To learn more about reporting options, please visit the RCMP’s Online Reporting Tool page or their homepage

Please call:
Non-Emergency Assistance: 250-754-2345 – 24 Hours

The Vancouver Island Crisis Line

24-hour Crisis Line Service


Island Health

Nanaimo Mental Health & Substance Use

COR (Community Outreach Response):

  • Mobile Crisis Response via Crisis Line – 1-888-494-3888
  • Homelessness Outreach Response via Team Cell 250-741-7645

Information on Safe Handling for Needles

Street Reach (Canadian Mental Health Association Mid-Island) – 250-716-8823

Poison Control 1-800-567-8911

2023/2024 Board elected

The following were elected at our Annual General Meeting on October 17 to serve as your Board of Directors for 2023/2024.

Joy Adams Bauer, President
Brian Booth, Director
Mayta Ryn, Vice-President
Barbara Schreiber, Treasurer
Shelley Serebrin, Director

AGM – Mark your calendar

Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 PMSt. Andrew’s United Church on Wesley Street

Learn about what your Association has been up to in the past year and get involved! Renew your yearly membership. Membership is $10 (individual) or $20 (family). Pay by e-transfer to or pay at the door.

Guest speakers – Community Service Officers Shannon Moore and Adam Collishaw – will speak about safety on our streets.

Silent auction from 6:30 pm to 7 pm. Bid on gift certificates from Old City Quarter Businesses and support NOCA!

Meeting starts at 7 pm. See you there!

Celebration in the park – September 23

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 23! We are planning a party to celebrate how much we love living in the old city. Join us in Pawson Park (corner of Franklyn and Machleary Streets) from 1 to 3 pm.

Bring lunch or a snack to enjoy.

Listen to the musical stylings of Hip Billy.

Participate in our plant and seed exchange. Renew your NOCA membership

Learn about ways to retrofit your home. Bring your e-bikes! Let’s have lots of fun with our neighbours! We LOVE living in the old city!

Giant Hogweed – it’s in the ‘hood

Giant Hogweed

Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) is a member of the parsley or carrot family, Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). As its name indicates it is characterized by its size and may grow to 15 to 20 feet in height.

Giant hogweed is a tenacious perennial, which is difficult to eradicate. It is currently on the federal noxious weed list. Its placement on the list is due to its potential menace as a public health hazard. It has been spotted in various locations in the old city.

If you spot small giant hogweed plants, they can be dug-out, but care should be taken to remove much of the root stalk. This can be difficult and unpleasant. Always wear protective clothing and avoid getting the sap on your skin. Mowing serves only to stimulate budding on the perennating root stalk, but might be successful if done consistently and persistently enough to starve the rootstalk. If you find a large plant, please call the City of Nanaimo Parks Maintenance at 250-755-7515 and report to the Horticultural officer Susan Zaric. You can find more information by reading this short information sheet from the City of Nanaimo.

Let’s work to rid our neighbourhood of this pesky and troublesome plant.

Celebration Party on September 23!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 23! We are planning a party to celebrate how much we love living in the old city. Join us in Pawson Park (corner of Franklyn and Machleary Streets) from 1 to 3 pm.

Bring lunch or a snack to enjoy.

Listen to the musical stylings of Hip Billy.

Participate in our plant and seed exchange. Renew your NOCA membership

Learn about ways to retrofit your home. Bring your e-bikes! Let’s have lots of fun with our neighbours! We LOVE living in the old city!

Reclaiming the parkette

A group of NOCA volunteers have been working hard to re-imagine and refresh the green space/parkette located at Milton and Franklyn Streets. We have received a number of complaints about this boulevard and have some suggestions to improve it with the city’s permission.

View the PDF drawings and sketches below. And then provide us with your feedback by commenting on this post or by emailing

Parkette Plan

Parkette Plant List

Parkette Plant Palette

Planting Plan

Our Rationale for the changes

1.) Safety. Sight lines obstructed by roses creating a danger of children using the crosswalk. The current height of the rose bushes are 3 feet 7 inch. 

Justification: According to the city of Nanaimo’s guidelines for boulevards:

Plant Selection and Maintenance

· For boulevard areas near intersections, driveways, curbs, sidewalk edges and/or where visibility may be a concern, select low-growing plants that are no taller than 60cm. As these roses have been planted by the city, we request that the city remove them, ideally replanting them further down on the boulevard on Milton where there is no crosswalk. Again we refer to city guidelines. 

· If the plant heights are deemed to be a visibility or safety concern, or do not meet the above guidelines, the City of Nanaimo reserves the right to ask that the plants be trimmed or to have them removed.

We would like to see white winter heather planted in this section of the boulevard to again follow the city guidelines. Choose drought-tolerant plants, native plants, and plants with winter interest to create a water wise boulevard that looks great in all seasons.

The benefit of heather is that maintenance will be minimal and only require an annual trim along the sidewalk. The current selection of roses have not been adequately trimmed leading us to our second concern with its current condition. 

The lack of care of the area is making it attractive for drug use and littering of drug paraphernalia. Small children attend music lessons beside the park at Cross Canada Fiddle. Dog owners with pets will not walk their dogs through the park for concerns of stepping on a needle. Fires are being used to inhale fumes of drug substances and the material is being left and unattended.

2.) Appearance. The lack of care and maintenance for the roses looks messy and un-cared for.


Well maintained green spaces Green spaces entice neighbours outdoors on a regular basis, where they build friendships and community ties Studies show that neighbourhood beautification can reduce crime rates: In a study of inner-city neighbourhoods in the U.S., greener residences had lower crime rates, Inner-city families with trees and greenery in their immediate outdoor surroundings have safer domestic environments, Neighbourhoods with well-cared for landscapes contribute to reduced feelings of fear and violence. Community beautification raises community and individual pride, and often brings a community closer together for common activities, with noticeable crime reduction effects. In one example, Pond Street in New Haven, Connecticut, suffered from the presence of illegal drug sales, trash, loiterers, and noise complaints from residents. The Block Watch resolved to take back some of its territory by planting flowers along curbsides and in a blighted lot on the corner. With 100 percent participation of their group, they turned the neighborhood into a beautiful garden. Other cleanups and beautification seemed to flow naturally. The beautification idea has now spread to nearby streets. Besides the visual benefits of beautification, crime has receded.

Other noteworthy studies:

A benefit of the replacement of the roses to heather plants would bring the maintenance of the plants to a trim once a year and a mulching in the spring until they are established. Once established they will only need a yearly trim. These plants will also make the area unwalkable making it necessary that individuals use the sidewalk as intended.

We at NOCA are willing to purchase heather plants and move the roses if the city does not have finances or the manpower at this time. We will also transplant the roses further down the boulevard along Milton where sightlines are not an issue. This is especially important to us as a neighborhood as the house directly beside this boulevard has a home based business teaching small children music. The risks of sightlines and the negative social ramifications of the current lack of care of this boulevard is too much and we need a change.  

3. Accessibility

The movement of the benches would allow people with mobility issues to access them. Where they currently are does not make them accessible for people who cannot walk on uneven ground especially during the wet season. 

4. Damage to the tree roots.

Walking to the bench is damaging the roots of the city tree. For the long term health of the tree having this area not be walked on would be beneficial.