Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Email re Port Place Mall to Mayor Ruttan; Council; Planners Swabey, Tucker. May 10, 2010

Mayor Ruttan
Nanaimo City Councillors
Director, Planning Andrew Tucker
GM, Development Ted Swabey

I am an enthusiastic fan of your award winning document Downtown Design Guidelines. (The Planning Institute of BC's 2009 highest honour) This plan and its guidelines approved and adopted by Council were to serve as a "living" document that was to be implemented when redevelopment was initiated in the downtown core.

I've been following with interest the opportunity that's arisen to work with the property owner (First Capital Realty Inc.) on the redevelopment of the Port Place Mall property. I appreciate the fact that this property owner has made a considerable investment in our city, having purchased the strata ownership of the commercial space in the Port of Nanaimo Centre and holds other Nanaimo commercial properties including Longwood Station and a portion of the Terminal Park shopping plaza. I'm sure you agree that the chance to redevelop a site of this key importance to the City might come along once in 25 years. It's so important for all concerned, including of course the developer, that we get it right.

I recently inquired as to the status and timelines of the redevelopment and rezoning applications and Director, Planning Andrew Tucker informed me that they are on hold as the proponent wishes to make alterations to both sets of plans already submitted. I also asked if Victoria architect Franc D'Ambrosio whose firm authored the Downtown Design Guidelines had been brought into the process of these redevelopment and rezoning applications. Andrew replied that Mr. D'Ambrosio was not currently under contract with the City and had not been consulted.

It occurred to me that I could approach Mr. D'Ambrosio and ask his thoughts. To my great pleasure Mr. D'Ambrosio was willing to discuss this. I found him to have a sincere and knowledgeable interest in the success of our downtown and a unique and detailed appreciation of both its problems and its potential. He wondered if, given the delay in these applications, it isn't time for a sober second thought.

With respect, and as formally as is possible using this channel, may I request that architect D'Ambrosio be approached by Mayor Ruttan and/or Director of Planning Andrew Tucker for his uniquely well-informed input into the development of this key site?

Thanks in advance for your attention to this.

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