Nanaimo, on the Brink of Change?

I think that Nanaimo is about to be discovered in a big way.  I don’t mean by the tourists although we have one of the most picturesque waterfronts on the island and over 200 walking trails and parks within easy access.

What I do mean is new residents.  Greater Nanaimo currently has a population of around 130,000 people with all of the amenities you need including a first class university with campuses in three communities. The latest statistics show the average price of a single family dwelling at $365,000.  Compare this with Victoria at $618,000 and Vancouver at $1,300,000!

Nanaimo is 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver by seaplane.  In addition we have BC Ferries, Hellijet, a busy airport, and the possibility of a fast foot passenger ferry in the near future. This combined with today’s technology where you do not have to be working where your company is located makes Nanaimo an attractive place to live and raise a family.  Add to this a first-class symphony orchestra, a vibrant arts community, and a dozen golf courses within an hour’s drive!

Don’t get me wrong, I think that Vancouver is a beautiful city with one of the best settings in the world.  I lived in the west-end many years ago and still love to visit the downtown core for the hustle and bustle of the ‘big city’ but that is mostly because I know I am 20 minutes from home on the island!

One of the best experiences I had was when I sat on the board of an organization based in Vancouver.  The board meetings always ran too late to catch the ferry back to the island so I was put up in a hotel in downtown Vancouver.  I would get up in the morning, take the 10 minute walk to the harbour, and fly back to Nanaimo.  Breakfast would be on the harbour minutes from where I landed and then I would walk a block to work.

There are many who have ‘discovered’ Nanaimo already and live here and work in Vancouver.  While this is not something new, with affordability of housing being what it is in the lower mainland, I think it is about to become a trend very soon!  Not only will they come here to live, some will bring their businesses or start new ones, fueling the local economy with new money and employment.

Are you ready?

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