Do You Know About These 4 Major Projects Planned for Nanaimo?

Nanaimo is the fastest growing region on Vancouver Island according to the latest State of the Island Economic Report. Alongside our impressive growth we have 4 Major Projects planned for Nanaimo in the next couple of years. These major projects will be big economic drivers for Nanaimo promoting growth, jobs and business opportunities.

All projects fit nicely with the city’s strategic plan that strives to showcase of our harbour, natural environment and benefit economically as a business centre and hub connecting Vancouver island by land, sea and air.

It’s an exciting time to be in Nanaimo and these large-scale projects are a certain glimpse of things to come for the city!

1- Port Drive / South Downtown Waterfront

Nanaimo owns 26.7 acres of Waterfront property located at 1 Port Drive in Nanaimo adjacent to the downtown core. Plans for the areas has involved much of the public’s input from workshops and surveys from an open house and online. Objectives identified include a walkway, pedestrian and cycling connections, mix of commercial and retail (recognizing light industrial uses) and operate as a “working harbour”.

Part of the plans include a new foot passenger ferry service that will run to downtown Vancouver operated by the Island Ferry Services Lts.(IFSL) scheduled to start service in summer of 2018.

2 – Nanaimo’s 13km Waterfront Walkway

Another city project with strong community backing is the development of the Nanaimo Waterfront Walkway. Right now, the walkway is disjointed in sections and stops downtown but the plan is to connect the existing systems and build one continuous walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo Estuary in the South End.

Upon completion, the walkway will become Vancouver Island’s longest Waterfront Walkway at 13km. This project has also heavily involved the public in its planning and concept development. Final Implementation Plan and Report for council completed in 2017. Consultation of Engineering, Design and Construction will take up much of 2018 and construction is set to take place in 2019.

More Nanaimo Walkway Plan


3. The Nanaimo Ocean Discovery Centre

Nanaimo and Central Vancouver Island has long been known for great scuba diving that attracts divers from all around the world. The area is also a hub for leading undersea technology so the idea of a Ocean Discovery Centre was naturally born. Spearheaded by the Nanaimo Deep Discover Association (made up of local business owners), the world class facility would aim to promote more awareness of our natural environment, promote tourism and connect local residents closer to what’s beneath our ocean.

The Centre’s visions states:

“An inspiring collection of interactive displays, robotics, submersibles and large format theater experiences showcasing the history, the present, and revealing the future of ocean ecology & sustainable technologies.”

Features of the one of a kind Ocean Discovery Centre include Canadian’s First Deep Water Technology Marine Display that simulates the experience of diving into one of our local submerged ship wrecks.

The centre will be funded by provincial and federal government and plans are moving forward as council has approved proposed plan of the facility to be included in their waterfront plan.

More details in this shaw tv interview below or visit the Nanaimo Ocean Discovery Centre and on Facebook.


4. A 9 Storey New Mariott Hotel

City council unanimously approved the sale of land across from the Convention Centre in Downtown Nanaimo for the development of a 9 storey, 155 unit, Mariott Hotel by PEG Development

This is great news for Nanaimo since the lack of accommodations in Nanaimo have prevented the city from hosting larger conferences and events.

As part of the deal negotiated by the city, PEG has a 10-year tax exemption if the building permit is taken out by November 27, 2019 and hotel open by Dec. 31, 2020.

Also approved for near future is a 90 unit boutique hotel to be built in the downtown core.


Other projects for Nanaimo include an expansion of the Nanaimo Airport and flight offerings (including direct flights to Toronto). Also, as a part of VIU’s master plan, they are slated to begin construction of a 100 unit student housing building in Spring of 2018.

Other ideas that have floated around include a zip-line attraction on Newcastle Island, better access to Ammonite Falls and even a Gondola up to the top of Mt. Benson! Not a lot of progress to report on those 🙂

You can also visit the city’s website for a list of all City of Nanaimo Projects