388 Machleary Street

May 29, 2019 – 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.

May 16, 2019 – 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.

March 7, 2019 – 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 https://www.nanaimo.ca/whatsbuilding/Folder/OCP00089

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 info@nanaimooldcityassociation.ca

The 388 Machleary Street working group held its first meeting in January 2017.  Reporting to the Nanaimo Old City Association Board of Directors, its purpose is to represent the neighbourhood in the redevelopment of the former Malaspina Gardens/Old Nanaimo Hospital property at 388 Machleary Street.  The working group acts as a “clearing house” of information about the redevelopment of the property for old city residents and coordinates and gathers resident input. It meets on an ad hoc basis to discuss recent developments, consider strategy, conduct neighbourhood forums, and engage with developers and City decision-makers.

January 24, 2019 – 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.

For more information on NOCA’s activity in response to the Molnar Group’s proposal for 388 Machleary Street in the coming months visit the complete post on our homepage.

December 20, 2018 – NOCA has been contacted by the Molnar Group about an Open House the Molnar Group is hosting in the New Year regarding their development proposal for the old hospital site at 388 Machleary Street. The Open House will be held from 5:30 to 7:00 pm on Friday, January 11, 2019 at St. Andrew’s United Church.  The Molnar Group tells us the purpose of the Open House is to give us an update on “where the design stands and any other related details (units, landscaping, parking, etc.).”

September 30, 2018 – The City of Nanaimo planning staff have informed the NOCA Board that the Molnar Group continues to work on updating the required plans and supporting reports to advance the proposed development on the former hospital site on Machleary Street. When City of Nanaimo planning staff receive the updated project information, the city will refer the information to NOCA for review.

June 1, 2018 – 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.

April 10, 2018 – On April 10, your association sent a letter to representatives from the Molnar Group and the City of Nanaimo along with the results of the survey of neighbourhood perspectives on the Molnar Group’s development proposal for 388 Machleary Street.  The survey was completed by over 50 people who attended our neighbourhood meeting on March 27, 2018. You can view the documents below:

April 10, 2018 letter
Survey of neighbourhood perspectives

March 28, 2018 – Over 80 people attended our community meeting on March 27.  They heard from representatives of NOCA’s 388 working group, and the Molnar group (the developer who now owns the land at 388 Machleary Street). City planning staff answered questions about the process to apply to amend the Official Community Plan and neighbourhood residents completed a work book to provide their feedback on the Molnar Group’s latest proposal for the site. You can view the NOCA presentation here. Read an article in the Nanaimo News Bulletin here.

March 14, 2018 –  Are you interested in the future development of the property at 388 Machleary Street (the former Old Hospital/Malaspina Gardens site)? The Nanaimo Old City Association (NOCA) is holding an important  neighbourhood meeting on Tuesday, March 27 from 7:00 to 9:30 at St. Andrew’s United Church Hall on Wesley St.  Come out to see the Molnar Group’s revised proposal for this iconic neighbourhood property and hear from City of Nanaimo representatives about the processes involved in redevelopment. This is a major opportunity to ask your questions, put forward your comments, and influence the future or our neighbourhood!

January 12, 2018

Meeting with city staff re 388 Machleary Street – 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!!

December 12, 2017

NOCA appeared as a delegation at a City Council  meeting on Monday, December 11.  In her presentation, President Joy Adams Bauer highlighted some of our findings from the community visioning workshop held in May 2017. Click on the highlighted words to view the presentation and read Joy’s remarks.

December 3, 2017

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.

NOCA Slides November 30, 2017

November 13, 2017

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 — Letter to Molnar Group

October 10, 2017

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.

October 6, 2017

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.

July 11, 2017

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” at this link.

May 29, 2017

The Malaspina Gardens working group held a very successful community meeting on May 15, 2017. Approximately 50 – 60 people attended. Mark Holland (professional community planner and old city resident) and Chris Sholberg (City of Nanaimo Heritage Planner and NOCA liaison) gave very informative presentations. Participants completed a workbook which gave them the opportunity to state their preferences regarding any development possibilities for the site of the old hospital. The working group will be collating the input from the workbook in the coming weeks. Once collated, the information will be posted on our website. Stay tuned!

May 2, 2017

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 lank@shaw.ca

April 8, 2017

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.

March 5, 2017 neighbourhood meeting feedback

March 26, 2017

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 (oldcitynanaimo.com) 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 iank@shaw.ca or Janet Wright jaydubya@shaw.ca.

MalaspinaMtg2Mar_2017 MalaspinaMtgMar_2017

February 21, 2017

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 lank@shaw.ca. Light refreshments will be served.