NOCA’s response to 388 Machleary Development Permit Application

Thank you to those neighbourhood residents who provided comments on the Development Permit Application for 388 Machleary Street.

NOCA sent the letter below to staff in the planning department who will consider our comments and communicate back with the applicant.  Once the application has been reviewed by internal departments at the city (including the Engineering and Transportation Sections), planning staff will follow-up in response to the questions posed in the letter.

NOCA’s response letter

388 Machleary Street Update

The City of Nanaimo has informed NOCA that an application has been made for a development permit for the property at 388 Machleary Street.  The proposed development is a 14,484 m2 seniors congregate housing facility with 149 units.  The property is currently zoned for this type of development.

Additional information regarding the Development Permit process is posted on the City’s website:

According to the current CS-1 zoning, seniors congregate housing means “a residential or institutional facility which provides sleeping units or dwelling units for persons all of whom are aged 65 or older, one or more meals per day and housekeeping services, contains a common dining area with a capacity sufficient to accommodate all residents of the residential facility, and may contain accessory personal service and accessory convenience store uses.”

City planning staff do not anticipate any variances with the development. A variance is a permit required to vary things like building setbacks, height, or parking requirements.  The City’s review process will be focused on the design (form & character) of the building and site. This means NOCA may provide comments on the design (form & character) of the building and site.  You can find the application (including drawings and landscaping) online at

As a resident of the old city, you are invited to provide feedback on the design.  NOCA will collect the feedback and share with city planning staff. Please forward your feedback to NOCA by May 18th.  Thank you!

Being a good neighbour in uncertain times

As we all learn how best to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped our world, let’s remember to look out for one another.  The NOCA Board of Directors reminds you to keep an eye on your neighbours while remembering social distancing precautions.  Follow the advice of health professionals. Check the links below.

Public Health Agency of Canada

BC Centre for Disease Control

Broombusters & Nanaimo City Parks Reaching Out to You!

Scotch broom is an aggressive, alien invasive plant. It spreads quickly, crowds out native plants, & is a serious fire hazard. 

Broom removal isn’t that hard.  It is not that difficult to get rid of broom.  Most plants die when cut properly at ground level. Broombusters’ website gives all the information you would need to eradicate broom from your property and area.  You can do it!

The presence of invasive plants brings down property values & impacts health and safety.  Let’s do our part of minimize the impact of invasive plants in our neighbourhood!

Affordable Housing project proposed for old city

The Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society (NAHS) has contacted the Nanaimo Old City Association (NOCA) about a housing project NAHS is proposing on Prideaux Street (close to Comox Road).

The Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society was recently bequeathed five small walk-up apartment buildings for seniors (62 units) in this area of the old city. The buildings are at the end of their lives and in very poor condition.  NAHS is proposing a 130 unit 6-storey building to replace four of the buildings on the east side of Prideaux, and a second 5-story building with 40 to 44 bachelor suites to replace the building on the west side of Prideaux.  These buildings would house a mix of tenants including low income families, singles and people with disabilities in the larger of the two buildings and single individuals in the bachelor units on the small site at 66 Prideaux.

NAHS plans to apply for funding from BC Housing in the spring of this year to fund the project.  The project requires an amendment to Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan (OCP) to rezone the properties from their current lower-density to a higher density, multi-unit residential. The OCP amendment is to have the NAHS parcels of land included with the adjacent Urban Node district to create a more contiguous land use area and shift the Urban Node District to the natural boundary of the train tracks and green area to the west. Comox Road is currently designated as an “urban arterial road”.

If funding is secured, NAHS will engage with NOCA, the City and BC Housing during the design and construction of the buildings.

The Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society presented their ideas to the NOCA Board on January 20, 2020 and received general support from the Board for the project.  The Board wishes to gage the views of NOCA members and residents in the old city about the proposal.  Please send any comments by January 31 to

Any questions about the project will be sent to NAHS for response.

New Board elected at AGM

Over 30 residents attended our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on October 21.  Memberships were renewed and a new Board was elected.  If you haven’t renewed your membership, it’s not too late! Please consider becoming a member of NOCA and supporting your local neighbourhood association. You can print the application below and either scan it and email it to, pop it into the mail or drop it in our treasurer’s mailbox. Thank you!

Membership application

OCP Amendment Fails

City Council voted 6-3 against the bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan (as requested by the Molnar Group and recommended by city planning staff) at the Public Hearing on October 9, 2019.

The staff report presented for Council’s consideration, “an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment application to amend the land-use designation within the OCP from Neighbourhood to Corridor, to amend the text of the Old City Neighbourhood Concept Plan, and to concurrently present for Council’s consideration a “City of Nanaimo Zoning Bylaw 2011 No. 4500” amendment application to rezone the subject property from Community Service One to Comprehensive Development Eleven to develop a 175-unit multi-family development.”

Councillors Bonner, Brown, Geselbracht, Hemmens, Maartman and Thorpe voted against the OCP amendment bylaw.  Mayor Krog and Councillors Armstrong and Turley voted in favour.


It’s not over yet!

Round one of the public hearing to determine the fate of the 388 Machleary Street development site adjourned at 11 pm on Thursday, September 19. The Public Hearing will resume at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 9 at the Shaw Auditorium in the Conference Centre downtown.

You still have an opportunity to make your voice heard!  Any member of the public can speak at a public hearing or send in a written submission. Let’s add to the 43 written submissions received by council as of September 19th!  And let’s add to the many,many folks who addressed council on September 19th. The more old city residents the better.  Learn more about public hearings by reading the city’s Public Hearing Information Sheet.

Contact the members of city council at mayor&

You can provide a written submission by any of the following methods:
IN PERSON: Drop off at the reception desk at the City of Nanaimo Service and Resource Centre, located at 411 Dunsmuir Street.
POSTAL MAIL: Mail to the City of Nanaimo, Community Safety & Development Division, 455 Wallace Street, Nanaimo, BC, V9R 5J6.
EMAIL: Email should be sent to
WEBSITE: Submit comments directly through the City’s website at
Please note that written submissions will form part of the permanent public hearing record.

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. 

Click on the green sentence below to:

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.

Click on the green sentence below to:

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.