Tuesday, March 01, 2016

100 Gordon St. AKA Conference Centre Hotel Site

More 'Nanaimo-Prime' Dirt

I will rely on readers to jog my memory but the last time I think this site served any useful purpose was when it was the city bus downtown depot. Before that it had been a large parking lot which served the merchants and businesses when Commercial Street, really was commercial.

We now have the Wellcox property being added to the list of 'Nanaimo-Prime' dirt which will be subject to the direction of our civic leaders.

Of course there is the 'Hilton' hotel site on Front Street not to mention the mega project announced for the Howard Johnston property. Both of these projects are in the hands of private developers so thankfully we don't have the wanna be business types at city hall playing with tax dollars on either of these.

When pondering why that prime piece of dirt by the Ferry terminal on Stewart Ave. never was able to succeed, I wondered just how many of these pie-in-the-sky ideas have ever been subjected to a credible piece of market research and analysis. By that I mean I wonder if many of these good sounding ideas based on the premise of  'build it and they will come' have been the product of the public sector, as the private sector isn't willing to invest in them. Conference centres and cruise ship terminals spring to mind.

Currently the city is funding a feasibility study to analyse the possibility of a hotel on the above site being successful, and whether it would mean our $72 million conference centre could live up to expectations. 

Perhaps the market is telling us something, we just don't want to hear and that is building some scaled down version of Disneyland is not a realistic star to hook our wagons to.

We spout all these grandiose sounding ideas of what will pave Nanaimo's way forward, from wooing Chinese investors to building some world-class tourist attraction, yet in reality, it has taken us how long to finally figure out Food Trucks?? 

When was the last time we heard anything from our City Council, the NEDC, Nanaimo Tourism or the DNBIA that didn't just involve paying more and more people to do a study or two, print up a brochure or two and run a few ads? These are all taxpayer funded entities who may or may not really know what they are doing. Only time will tell if their efforts are producing any real fruit.

In the meantime there is no shortage of "Nanaimo Prime' dirt at various locations around town. If you travel from downtown to Departure Bay along the water, I doubt anyone can make the argument our most precious asset is reaching it's full potential.



  1. yup. you're right----- lots of empty dirt, and tons and tons of boring, overdone, poorly attended 'festivals'

    We are awash in 'festivals'

    welcome to Nanaimo

  2. more studies! more bureaucrats! more money thrown at networkers after gov't money!

    fire the works of 'em and put money actually towards something - not administration and wages!

  3. Nanaimo was and I often fear will always be a coal mining city, not an enterprising city. At least when we mined coal the holes in the ground produced something.

  4. Years ago, I jokingly suggested to a friend that that empty plot of land should be used for skeeball until they figure out what to do with it. Now, in hindsight, a skeeball area would have been awesome (or at least better than the current situation). Everyone loves skeeball.

    1. I love playing skeeball at the fairs!


  5. OK ... I'll bite what exactly is SKEEBALL???

  6. Why not make the spot into a coal mining museum / interpretive centre? I'm sure there are some shafts even close-by.

    It could draw tourists from the #1 attraction, the seawall, into the mine museum, then up to the Military Museum, and hopefully onto Commercial Street via a yellow brick road - or some kind of enticing connector.



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