Super fun cleanup and party!

What fun we had at our annual spring cleanup and old city celebration in Pawson Park! Thanks to the City of Nanaimo for the grant and for providing vests and pickers for the cleanup and for taking the garbage away. Thanks to White Rabbit Coffee for the treats after the cleanup and thanks to the Nanaimo Fiddle Society for some terrific toe-tapping music played by fiddlers of all ages!

Conversation at White Rabbit Coffee

Spring cleanup and old city celebration – Saturday June 8 in Pawson Park

Cleanup from 10am to 11am

Get outside and clean your yards, boulevards, and streets, mow your lawn, tidy your yard and help a neighbour. Wear a green shirt! If you want to pick up litter in the neighbourhood, come to Pawson Park at 9:45. You’ll get garbage bags, pickers and vests supplied by the city of Nanaimo.

11 am drop off your garbage bag at Pawson Park and return your gear. The City will collect the litter our volunteers have picked up on the streets and alleyways.

11:20 am meet at the White Rabbit Cafe for complimentary coffee/tea to celebrate.

Annual Old City Celebration 2 pm at Pawson Park on Saturday, June 8.

  • 2 pm seed and plant sale/swap.  Come and choose some seeds and plants to beautify our boulevards and alleyways. 
  • 3 pm Fiddle music with Trish and Geoff Horrocks. (Weather dependant as fiddles do not like rain). 
  • Bring plants to trade, sell or gift away. 
  • Artists are welcome to set up a table and sell their work. Set up at 1:30 pm
  • Old city residents who have a business in the old city are welcome to have a table to promote their business. To participate, please join NOCA for only $10!  Pay at the park.

Mark your calendars for Monday October 21 for our Annual General Meeting from 6:30 pm to 8 pm Join us to review our activities of the past year and discuss important factors for our neighborhood. 

Help out your Association – volunteers needed!  We have lots of FUN!

  • Board members
  • Flyer distributors
  • Social media contributor
  • Annual spring clean organizer

Contact us at

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

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!

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.  

Helping our unsheltered neighbours

Are you interested in joining our “unsheltered neighbours working group?”

A goal is support our unsheltered neighbours and find solutions to stop the vandalism, fires, drug use in front of areas where children gather in the old city.  All residents of the old city are welcome to attend our working group meetings which happen once a month either 10:30 am at La Isla Cafe or evening meetings at 7 pm at the Black Rabbit restaurant.

Upcoming Meetings
Wednesday, July 19 – 7 to 8 pm
Wednesday, September 20 – 7 to 8 pm
Wednesday, October 18 – 10:30 to 11:30 am
Wednesday, November 15 – 7 to 8 pm

The importance of sheltering people from the cold and who are in need is seen and felt, nonetheless the crime and disruption into the neighbourhood needs to be discussed with the service providers and the city. 

NOCA has established a working group to focus on the unsheltered members of our neighbourhood. The group is chaired by long-time old city resident Doug Creba, and reports to the NOCA Board. There are currently five NOCA members on the working group. If you are interested in joining, please let us know.

Who are we? – A working group reporting to the NOCA Board – We are focused on unsheltered members of our community who are having a negative impact on our community and can often be disruptive.

Who can participate? – All residents of the old city are welcome to participate. Membership in NOCA (or not) is not a limiting factor to participation. Please share this invitation with all your neighbours so they have the option to be involved.

People taking a lead 

1. Are members of NOCA

2. Report back to NOCA 

3. Require NOCA approval for any actions taken

MANDATE – We are a working committee of NOCA and we only work within the old city boundaries

CHAIR — Doug Creba

SCOPEWe are separate from the group working with the overnight shelter operators at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. here may be overlaps in our work but we can manage those as they become apparent. We see our mandate as addressing issues related to and arising from the unsheltered community within our area. We are not mandated to deal with zoning, parking or major crime etc.

CARING and RESPECT– One guiding principle is that we must always work in a respectful manner; respect for all individuals involved or impacted. 

PURPOSE – Identify issues in the neighbourhood as they arise; share information: 

1. through NOCA social media

2. word of mouth

3. contact with City

4. contact with Police

Organize support and report to

1. City 

2. MLA’s and Premier

3. Police

4. Organizers for support for the homeless like the Nanaimo Family Life Association which operates the winter overnight shelter at St Peter’s Catholic Church.

COMMUNITY – Our interaction may involve but is not limited to :

* St Peter’s shelter — staff and clients (during shelter operation – December 1 to March 31
* Nanaimo Family Life Association
* Connective (formerly John Howard Society)
* Risebridge
* Safe Injection site on Dunsmuir Street
* Block Watch
* Pauline Haraar school
* City of Nanaimo, Community Safety Officers and other relevant departments
* BC Housing

Concerns around current supports for the homeless

1. Risebridge Warming Centre – needs longer hours 

2. St. Peters winter shelter – Security Issues with security guards not always showing up and not having authority to move people on.

3. Safe Injection Site at Albert and Dunsmuir Streets uses security and staff to reduce impact

ISSUES – The following information is just a starting point and more issues may arise in the future.

Hot spots– places where our attention is drawn due to activity in that place

* Pawson Park
* St Peter’s parking lot
* All along the train track Albert, Fitzwilliam behind Old City Panache and fire department offices
* Franklyn Street park at Milton Street
* Old Hospital site (388 Machleary Street)
* Wellesley Street – Delicados Restaurant
* TELUS building – Fitzwilliam Street at Wallace Street
* Railways
* Laneways 

Areas close by that may result in overlap (outside NOCA boundary but the issues do not respect boundaries) 

* Risebridge on Prideaux Street.
* Cat Stream at Third Street
* downtown

BEHAVIOURS that are not welcome

* theft, B&E etc.
* open drug use
* loud behaviour all times of day 
* littering – garbage and sharps
* setting fires
* vandalism (rocks through windows) 
* graffiti 

ACTIONS, – Techniques and methods for response to issues

1. Block Watch 

2. Good Neighbour Agreements

3. Vacant Property Act (Fire and police can come in without a warrant; used in Harewood to shut down crack houses. Bylaw officers do have power if they are ordered to use it. This kind of legislation would provide permitting and monitoring

4. Shelter Bylaws – To set rules for operation

5. Resiliency Action Teams needed – Quick response to problems. Harewood has a person who cleans up graffiti and a nuisance property person

6. Reporting

7. Community Patrol 

8. Communication with Support Groups for Homeless

9. Passive Intervention 

10. Regular meetings of neighbourhood committee

11. Regular clean up of streets, litter and more including SHARPS

If you’d like to be part of the solution and care about your neighbourhood, please get in touch with us at

From your unsheltered neighbours working group

Cleanup a Success!

Thank you to the city of Nanaimo for the donation of mulch for our beautification of the boulevards and alleyways as well as the clean up gear and garbage pick up for our annual spring clean up.

Thank you Joel and Melissa, you are cleaning all-stars. 

Thank you White Rabbit cafe for our volunteer treats.

Thank you to all of our neighbourhood volunteers.