VIU’s History Goes Back More Than 80 Years

Today the premier post-secondary educational institution in the Central Vancouver Island region, Vancouver Island University (VIU) has origins dating back more than eight decades – having evolved to accommodate the changing needs of the communities it serves.

Today VIU is a full spectrum degree granting university (offering master’s and bachelor’s degrees as well as two year diploma and single year certificate programs) with an enrollment of more than 16,000 dispersed between its four Central Island campuses. However its origins are much more humble, stretching back to 1936.

That year Jack Macready, a mechanic and garage owner opened a single room automotive repair training facility at Wakesiah Avenue and Fourth Street in Nanaimo. That first year a grand total of eight students joined Macready in his shop, learning skills to help propel them into automotive repair careers.

In 1938 the federal and provincial governments launched programs to assist with the funding of vocational training within the province. As a result Macready’s initial workshop was moved to a larger space on the property of Thomas Hodgson School, located at the corner of Machleary and Wentworth Streets in the city’s downtown core. Renamed the Dominion Provincial Youth Training Centre, the enhanced institution had a focus of providing training for youths eager to enter the workforce.

During those early years, while the different levels of government provided the basic funding, the slowly expanding school relied heavily on the support of the local community to succeed. For example during the depths of the Great Depression local support included everything from donating equipment to providing firewood to help heat the school.

As the years passed, and the educational needs of the community began to both grow and evolve. As a result the Dominion Provincial Youth Training Centre was rebranded the B.C. Vocational Training School in 1959, a centre that provided a much more diverse vocational training opportunity than its humble predecessor. By 1969 the institution was refocussed and renamed again, becoming known as Malaspina College.

Located on the site of the former Nanaimo Hospital on Kennedy Street, Malaspina College offered a much more academic curriculum than its vocational ancestor. In 1976 Malaspina College moved to custom built facilities at its present Fifth Street location, being renamed Malaspina University-College in 1989 as it dramatically expanded on the type and range of programs it offered its growing student body. The final evolution to a full degree granting university occurred in 2008 when the institution became known as Vancouver Island University.

Today, in addition to the main campus in Nanaimo (with more than 900,000 square feet of build space), VIU operates campuses in Duncan and in Powell River in addition to an educational centre in Parksville. With a current enrollment of 16,175 (including nearly 1,600 international students) Vancouver Island University continues to grow, expand and adapt to the emerging technologies and evolving educational needs of is student body.

Housing Inventory Climbs While Sales Decline

According to the latest stats fewer homes were sold across Vancouver Island last month than a year ago, despite there being a larger number of homes to choose from. In its most recent statistical report the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) stated that board-wide the number of single family homes sold during May was down 12 percent when compared to May 2018.

Last month 459 homes were reported sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System – during the same month last year 519 single family homes changed hands. However the May sales numbers were up from April, when only 412 homes were reported sold on the MLS® System.

Last month the number of apartments sold within VIREB’s coverage area, which extends from the Malahat to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, dropped by seven percent, while townhome sales actually increased a full 19 percent year over year.

While the number of home sales has declined from last year, the number of homes currently on the market has risen steadily from a year ago. VIREB reports that during May there were 1,482 individual properties listed for sale on the MLS® System, an increase of 22 percent from May 2018 when 1,217 properties were on the market.

The expanded inventory wasn’t limited to single family homes either, as the number of apartments listed for sale increased 18 percent year over year. Last month 339 apartments were available for purchase. During May 2018 only 287 apartments were on the market. Interestingly the number of townhomes for sale actually decreased five percent last month, down to 187 from the 197 listed for sale a year ago.

Regardless of the dip in sales, housing prices continued to rise all across Vancouver Island during May. VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones, with the board-wide benchmark price of a single family home hitting $512,500 in May, up four percent from a year ago. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments climbed six percent to $300,700 last month, while townhome prices jumped seven percent year over year to close the month at $445,500.

Similar price hikes were reported all across Vancouver Island last month. In Nanaimo for example the benchmark price of a single family home rose two percent to $557,500 in May, while in the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price rose three percent to reach $587,100.

In the Cowichan Valley the benchmark price rose two percent to hit $469,400, while in the Comox Valley it climbed four percent to end the month at $518,400. Further north in Campbell River the benchmark price reached $428,900, an increase from May 2018 of four percent. In the Alberni Valley the May benchmark price of a single family home jumped seven percent year over year to hit $314,100.

In today’s dynamic real estate marketplace it’s more important than ever to use the services of a skilled and experienced REALTOR® when marking the most important purchase of your life. Give Peter and Kathy a call today to begin your journey toward home ownership.

Transit System Services the Entire Region

One of the many things that makes living in Nanaimo a pleasure is the ease of getting around the community, thanks in no small part to the services of the Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System. While in some major Canadian cities bus service is a municipal function, across British Columbia the job of getting people to their destinations falls to BC Transit, a provincial crown corporation that was created to provide public transportation services outside of the Lower Mainland region.

The Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System has the staff and the resources to provide both conventional bus services and special needs paratransit services within the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). Headquartered at 6300 Hammond Bay Road in North Nanaimo, the Transit Systems is operated by the RDN’s Regional Transportation Services Department and is jointly funded by the RDN and BC Transit.

Working seven days per week (with reduced levels of service on weekends and statutory holidays) the Service currently operates 17 scheduled bus routes throughout the region. Founded as a transportation service in 1969 the Regional Transit System currently has a fleet of more than 50 buses and is a leader in the use of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to fuel its energy-efficient rolling stock.

The Regional District of Nanaimo Transit System not only operates a fleet of vehicles that services the needs of the entire Regional District of Nanaimo, it also hosts a state of the art maintenance and service depot to help keep its units rolling and in tip top shape.

BC Transit itself is the evolution of the province’s first organized transit service, the British Columbia Electric Railway, which was initially founded in 1897. By 1961 this service became a division of BC Hydro, which operated it until 1979 when it was restructured by the provincial government into the Urban Transit Authority which in turn was rebranded BC Transit in 1983.

Public transportation in British Columbia as we know it today truly is the end result of an evolutionary process. The original BC Electric Railway was incorporated to operate the facilities of the Consolidated Railway Company (CRC) which had been created in 1896. The CRC itself was a consortium of 10 individual companies that had been involved in electric-based transportation services in one form or another – from light rail to street cars and tramways in Vancouver, New Westminster and in Victoria.

Over the years the use of streetcars and interurban trams gave way to more conventional buses – gas-powered and in the case of Vancouver, electric trolley buses. This focus on electrical vehicles encouraged the provincial government to hand over operation of the province’s public transportation system to BC Hydro in 1962. The development of BC Transit in 1983 helped to unify the overall planning and delivery of public transportation for all of the different municipal transit systems in British Columbia, including the system currently enjoyed by Nanaimo area residents.

Island Home Sales Continue To Slide

According to statistics released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) home prices across the Island continued to rise last month, even as the number of actual sales dropped. VIREB’s stats show that board-wide the sale of single family homes dropped 13 percent last month when compared to a year ago, with 412 single-family homes being reported sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System during April. During April 2018 a total of 475 homes traded hands.

Despite the drop, the April sales figures are still 33 higher than the sales numbers recorded during March when only 308 home sales were reported. The dip in sales were not restricted solely to single family homes as both apartment and townhome sales also recorded year-over-year declines, three percent and 24 percent respectively.

Vancouver Island’s once strong Seller’s Marketplace has been gradually replaced by one much more balanced as the inventory of available properties is higher now than it has been for months. In April the housing inventory reached 1,289 homes, an increase of 22 percent from a year ago when only 1,056 homes were listed for sale. This is the highest inventory of active listings since August 2018.

The surplus of available properties isn’t restricted to single family homes as both apartment and townhome numbers also recorded increases during April. Last month 301 apartments were available for sale within the VIREB coverage area, which extends from the Malahat in the south to the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island. That figure represents a 16 percent rise over April 2018 when 260 apartments were on the market. Townhome numbers were even higher, with 199 listed for sale last month, an increase of 23 percent from a year ago when only 162 were listed on the MLS® System.

Regardless of the dip in sales, home prices continued to rise last month all across Vancouver Island. VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones, with the board-wide benchmark price hitting $517,800 last month, an increase of five percent from April 2018. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments rose eight percent year-over-year last month to reach $325,900, while townhome prices climbed 10 percent from April 2018 to end the month at $429,700.

Each of VIREB’s zones recorded benchmark price increases last month. In Nanaimo for example the benchmark price rose three percent to $560,800 in April, while the Parksville – Qualicum Beach area’s benchmark price climbed four percent to $582,500 last month.

In the Cowichan Valley the benchmark price last month reached $480,700 which is a five percent increase over the one recorded in April 2018. Further north in the Comox Valley the benchmark price increased six percent to reach $509,600, while in Campbell River the April benchmark price climbed four percent to $421,000. In the Alberni Valley the April benchmark price was $307,700, an increase of nine percent from April 2018.

So, what does it all mean? In a marketplace as dynamic and changeable as Vancouver Island’s its more important than ever to employ the services of a professional REALTOR® when making the largest purchase of your life. Give Peter and Kathy a call today to begin your quest for the home of your dreams.

Experience Strathcona Provincial Park

Blessed as it is with a wealth of scenic and recreational opportunities Vancouver Island offers a wide range of potential destinations for travellers from across the globe. Now that spring has really kicked into gear one of the most sought after locales for wilderness lovers is Strathcona Provincial Park.

The oldest provincial park in the province and the largest on Vancouver Island, Strathcona Provincial Park encompasses more than 250,000 hectares of wilderness, dominating much of the central portion of the Island. Initially created in 1911, the park is roughly triangular in shape and essentially spans the entire width of the Island – from Herbert Inlet off of Clayoquot Sound on the west coast, to within 13 kilometers of the Georgia Strait on the east coast near Comox.

Dominated by dense forest and some of the Island’s tallest mountains, the park is home to such spectacular natural wonders as Della Falls, the highest waterfall in Canada with a drop of more than 440 metres in three interlinked cascades. Towering eight times higher than Niagara Falls (and among the 10 highest falls in the world), viewing the Della Falls can only be achieved via a strenuous hike, but for those who have made the trek the sight of such a unique splendor is considered well worth the effort.

The eternal icefield of Forbidden Plateau is another of the Park’s most memorable natural treasures. Dotted with small lakes (tempting summer anglers with their stock of rainbow trout) the Plateau is a pristine example of subalpine terrain, ideal for hikers, nature photographers or anyone who loves the beauty of the outdoors.

Near the center of the Park is the mountain known as The Golden Hinde, the highest peak on Vancouver Island, standing more than 2,200 metres high. Located just west of Buttle Lake, The Golden Hinde is the source of the Wolf River, a meandering water course that snakes its way through the Park’s dense forestland.

The Park is home to a wide variety of forest and plant life, including Douglas-fir, western red cedar, grand fir, amabilis fir and western hemlock. During the summer the park is known for its spectacular floral displays, including such flowering plant species as heather, lupine, Indian paintbrush, phlox, moss campion, monkey flowers and even violets. A diverse range of wildlife also call the park home such as wolves, cougars, Roosevelt elk, black-tail deer and the iconic Vancouver Island marmot.

While a certain amount of visitor themed development has occurred within the Park’s boundaries (such as an extensive network of trails), on the whole the region is undeveloped so much of it is ideally suitable for experienced hikers or those with a real love for untouched wilderness.

Strathcona Provincial Park is open all year round, providing camping facilities at Buttle Lake and Ralph River, as well as five marine backcountry camping areas, on Buttle Lake and Upper Campbell Lake. An extensive system of hiking trails, two boat launching ramps on Buttle Lake, picnic grounds and an adventure playground are also provided for family-focussed adventures.

The park can be reached in a number of different ways, but its main headquarters and campgrounds are reached via Highway 28, about 28 miles west of Campbell River. Why not plan an outdoor adventure of your own this year and pay Strathcona Provincial Park a visit – you‘re certain to come away with some spectacular memories.

Home Prices Rise – As Housing Sales Slip

Single family home sales dipped, while housing prices in every area of Vancouver Island rose last month, according to information recently released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). This is the continuation of a trend that has dominated the regional real estate market since the beginning of the year.

According to the VIREB stats 309 single family homes were sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System last month, a drop of 23 percent from the same time last year when 399 properties traded hands. Despite that decline the March sales were still 36 percent higher than the number of homes sold during February. The reported drop in sales was not restricted solely to single family homes. Apartment sales last month were down 10 percent from a year ago while townhome sales plunged 30 percent from those reported in March 2018.

As part of an ongoing trend, while home sales dipped last month, the number of properties available for sale rose by 20 percent. In March 2018 there were 976 homes listed for sale within VIREB’s coverage area, which extends from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the start of the Malahat in the south. Last month a total of 1,172 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® System.

Active home buyers currently have a larger pool of properties of all types to choose from. The VIREB stats show that the number of apartments available for sale last month reached 284, an increase of 20 percent from a year ago when 237 apartments were listed for sale. The number of townhomes on the market in March climbed 24 percent from last year with 183 listed for sale. In March 2018 there were only 148 townhomes on the market.

Despite an expanding inventory of properties and declining sales figures home prices continued to climb last month. VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones. The board-wide benchmark price of a single-family home hit $510,800 in March – an increase of six percent from a year ago.

The price increases were not restricted to single family homes alone. The board-wide benchmark price of apartments climbed eight percent from last year to reach $319,800, while the townhome benchmark price climbed an identical eight percent to reach $414,700 in March.

Home price increases were reported all across Vancouver Island last month. In Nanaimo the benchmark price rose four percent year over year to reach $554,300 in March. In the Parksville / Qualicum Beach area the benchmark price hit $577,300, an increase of four percent from March 2018. In the Duncan area the benchmark price climbed five percent to end the month at $471,500.

Further north in the Comox Valley the benchmark price climbed eight percent to reach $507,100, with Campbell River’s benchmark price climbing an identical eight percent to $417,200. In the Alberni Valley the benchmark price of a single-family home reached $299,400 last month, an increase of eight from a year ago.

In a real estate market as dynamic as Vancouver Island’s it’s more important than ever to rely on the skills and experience of a real estate sales professional. Give Peter and Kathy a call today to begin your search for your dream property.

March a Busy Month for the Avid Gardener

Now that the unwelcome snows of February are a fading memory, the damp and green of March offer the Greenthumb among us the first real opportunity to get out there and begin the task of springtime gardening. As the weather warms and the hours of daylight lengthen, for the residential gardener March is very much the month for clearing the debris of winter, of prepping, planting and sowing in the garden. Here are a few tips to help get the annual process underway.

Perennials and bulbs: The first step for looking after perennials in the garden is to clear away the dead stems and any other debris, to allow the fresh growth to emerge. It’s hard to plan for the growing season unless you know what has successfully over-wintered, so bulbs and perennial plants will need all of the help they can get.

Robust plants such as echinacea and rudbeckias can grow riot unless cut back to the ground level first – which will encourage the development of controlled and managed sprouts. Any perennial plant that grows with many stems, such as geraniums and daylily will need to be divided to prevent them from choking themselves out, while allowing the gardener to effectively double their stock of plants.

Fruit and vegetables: Many gardens are created with the table in mind, so March is the ideal month to sow such tasty staples as tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce and other salad greens. A cover of mulch will help protect the young plants from any late season frosts.

A variety of other vegetable favorites such as peas, carrots, beetroot, cabbage, spinach, turnips, spring onions, leeks, broad beans, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and assorted herbs can also be planted this month. March is also the month to plant early potatoes, garlic and shallots, as well as such long term crops as asparagus and even strawberries.

Roses and flowering plants: Not everything in the garden has to wind up in the kitchen, as flowers add beauty and fragrance that can dramatically enhance the enjoyment of a property. If you’re into roses many gardening experts believe that March is the latest you should plant bare-root roses. Plants of this type are often purchased by mail order and arrive not in a container but with their roots exposed. Once they arrive it’s important to get them into the ground as soon as possible to provide the roses with their best chance of survival.

Early season lawn care: March is the month to start getting the lawn in shape. After months of neglect over the winter a good old fashioned ‘spring cleaning’ will help jumpstart any lawns growth. With rake and pruning tools, clear debris and prune dead materials from trees and bushes. March is considered too early in the year to aerate a lawn as exposing roots to any potential frosts could do serious harm. The use of a pre-emergent herbicide can help to defeat weeds before they have an opportunity emerge. A possible chemical free alternative to using herbicides to smother weeds is an application of cornmeal gluten.

Carry out a little personal research, contact the many quality gardening shops in the region to develop the plan and the methods that will work best for you, your budget and your yard. Whatever the need or approach, March is the perfect time to locate your gardening gloves, oil up your tools and to get back out there digging in the dirt – something you’ve been waiting to do for months now. Happy gardening!

St. Patrick’s Day: A Celebration with Ancient Roots

For many around the world St. Patrick’s Day has become a welcome time of comradeship, green beer and a commemoration of everything Irish. But this annual event, held each year on March 17th, has roots that stretch back to the earliest centuries of the Christian era – during the Roman occupation of the British Isles.

With such ancient origins much of St. Patrick’s personal history can at best be described as vague. What is known is that the boy who would grow up to become Ireland’s patron saint was born Maewyn Succat, sometime between 373 and 390 AD. As much of the region’s history has been lost to the mists of time the exact place of his birth is also uncertain.

It is said that he was born in the village of Banna Vemta Burniae, but no scholar has ever officially located his place of birth. Some believe this lost village was located in Scotland, others claim his birthplace was in Wales, both areas being under Roman occupation at the time, but no definitive geographic location has ever been confirmed.

What is known for certain is that the young Maewyn Succat was the son of a Roman-British officer named Calpornius, who also served as the deacon of an early British Christian church, which probably played a role in his eventual rise as a major church icon.

While originally not overly religious, the young man who would eventually become known as St. Patrick, found his life irrevocably changed when at the age of 16, as he was tending to a flock of sheep, he was kidnapped by Irish pirates and spirited away to the Emerald Isle where he was sold into slavery. According to one ancient chronicler the youth spent the next six years imprisoned near Mount Slemish in County Antrim in modern Northern Ireland where he was put to work as a herdsman.

His interrupted life and forced servitude saw him become increasingly religious as time wore on. He had come to view his kidnapping and imprisonment as a form of punishment for his earlier lack of faith. As a captive herdsman he spent long hours in prayer, hoping for a chance to escape – an opportunity that arose when, following a waking vision, he was able to stow away on a vessel bound for Britain and an eventual reuniting with his family.

Following a dream, he realized he had been given a mission from God to return to Ireland, to introduce the Irish to this new and growing faith. Feeling he wasn’t personally prepared enough to become a missionary he travelled to France to study theology at a monastery, where he worked for the next 12 years before (with the blessing of the Pope), he returned to Ireland to begin his ministry.

While not the first Christian to become a missionary in Ireland (that honor is given to an earlier preacher named Palladius), the now re-named Patrick is credited for having officially brought Christianity to Ireland, starting right where he landed, at Strangford Loch in County Down, Northern Ireland.

After winning the support of the region’s pagan kings Patrick spent the next two decades preaching and converting the locals before dying on March 17, 461. He is buried near modern Downpatrick in County Down. Credited with various miracles, and as the founder of numerous monasteries, churches and schools, Patrick has left a lasting impression on the Irish, and on those who celebrate the contribution the Irish have made to the world at large.

Housing Inventory Grows While Sales Dip Lower

It’s a fact – the Vancouver Island real estate scene has definitely transformed into a much more balanced marketplace. According to the statistics released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) home sales across the island dropped sharply last month when compared to a year ago, despite a swelling inventory of available properties and a steady increase in the selling price of homes.

During February 228 single family homes changed hands on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System, down 28 percent from February 2018 when 315 were reported sold. Last month’s sales totals were still up 10 percent from the number of properties sold during January.

The number of properties available for sale within VIREB’s coverage area, which extends from the Malahat to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, rose by 23 percent from a year ago – with 999 homes currently on the market. In February 2018 only 812 properties were listed for sale on Vancouver Island.

The increase in available properties encompasses all sectors of the housing market. The number of apartments on the market climbed 17 percent to 261 (from last year’s 224), while the total of townhomes on the MLS® System jumped 28 percent from a year ago to hit 163 from the 127 available for sale in February 2018.

VIREB uses benchmark pricing to track the value of typical homes in each of its individual zones – with price increases reported across the board from a year ago. For example the single family home board-wide benchmark price reached $507,800 last month, an increase of six percent from last February, and a slight increase over the number reported in January 2019.

The board-wide benchmark price of apartments sold last month climbed 11 percent year-over-year to reach $324,500. This is two percent higher than the benchmark price reported in January. In the townhouse category the February benchmark price hit $413,600, which is also 11 percent higher than the price recorded a year ago, and marginally higher than January’s price.

Similar price increases were reported last month in each of VIREB’s individual zones. In Nanaimo the benchmark price of homes sold in February rose three percent above where they were a year ago to close the month at $545,700. In the Oceanside area the benchmark price climbed nine percent year-over-year to reach $586,400 in February, while in the Cowichan Valley the benchmark price climbed seven percent from a year ago to hit $463,100 – which is actually a slight decrease from the price reported in January.

Moving further north, the benchmark price reported in the Comox Valley climbed seven percent to reach $504,500 last month, while Campbell River’s benchmark price was listed as $418,100, an eight percent increase over the price reported in February 2018. In the Alberni Valley last month the benchmark price was up a full 14 percent from a year ago, hitting $307,100.

The Vancouver Island real estate market has gradually shifted from a seller’s market, where properties were few and in high demand, to a more balanced marketplace that offers the buyers more choice and greater opportunity to negotiate price. Now more than ever consumers need the services of a professional REALTOR® to effectively navigate the process of buying or selling a home. Contact Peter and Kathy today to begin the journey for you and your property.

City is a Key Part of the Regional District of Nanaimo

While the City of Nanaimo is a self-governing municipal entity, it also serves as the hub and principal service centre to a much broader market area – the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN). Analogous to the county systems in place in other portions of Canada, the regional district concept was first introduced in British Columbia in 1965 as a means of providing an improved range of services to the various less developed and underpopulated rural areas in the province.

At that time the province was in a phase of rapid expansion, resulting in most rural areas not having a general purpose local government. In the mid-1960s land use planning and regulation was administered directly by the provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs and provincially-funded staff using the authority of the Local Services Act. Local services such as fire protection, street lighting and water supply were provided either by independently incorporated improvement districts or through local municipalities under contract to the ministry.

Without the existence of a general purpose rural government citizens in the rural areas often lacked or were underserved in the delivery of such critical services as water, sewer and fire protection. Unincorporated areas were also perceived as lacking significant political accountability. As a means of leveling the playing field, and to ensure that all BC residents had access to the same level of service and representation, the Regional District system was introduced.

Located on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, bordered to the south by the Cowichan Valley Regional District, to the west by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and to the northwest by the Comox Valley Regional District, the RDN’s main administration offices are located on Hammond Bay Road in North Nanaimo.

Formally incorporated on August 24, 1967, the Regional District of Nanaimo had a population of about 150,000 during the 2011 census and includes the City of Nanaimo (population 90,504), the City of Parksville (population 12,514), the Town of Qualicum Beach (population 8,687) and the municipal district of Lantzville, with a population of 3,601.

In addition to its primary population centers the RDN also includes seven individual electoral areas that contain unincorporated communities. The Regional District provides a wide range of services and duties for the residents, including being the owner and operator of the Nanaimo Regional Transit System, an entity that provides conventional local bus routes as well as special needs paratransit services for the region’s residents.

The RDN is one of 29 regional districts in British Columbia, and covers an area of 2,038 square kilometers, making it one of the province’s smaller regional districts in terms of land mass. In comparison the Peace River Regional District covers more than 117,000 square kilometers, but has a total population of less than 70,000 residents.

A key element in the delivery of services and as a means of providing a unified voice for residents of the more rural areas, the Regional District of Nanaimo is a vital part of the area’s governance and is a significant player in regional infrastructure development – an increasingly important role it will continue to play as the area’s population continues to grow.