It wasn’t that long ago that Nanaimo had trouble attracting visionaries who would invest in the economic well being of the city. This has changed in the last few years partially due to the geographic location, improved transportation access through YCD, Helijet and Harbour Air, the availability of reasonable priced housing, and frankly, what better place to be!
In addition to the many choosing the lifestye here, there are businesses choosing to locate their business here and the quality of their offerings is attracting the monetary support as well. Northern Biomass Consulting brought their business and employees here from Prince George. High tech companies such as Inuktun Services, Real Estate Webmasters, Hyas Infosec, Indus Controls, are making inroads and attracting talent because of the affordability and lifestyle of the island. Hyas has just received an infusion of capital from none other than Microsoft.
There are several developments on the horizon that indicate confidence in the area. We have a conference hotel on the books, major apartment and condo projects including a downtown high rise. There are apartments under constructions in the North-end for the first time. The new retail spaces that have been created in the last couple of years are filling up bringing new offerings to the area.
The population growth serves to create not only new consumers, but also new vendors and the opportunity to bring in products and services that used to only be available in larger centres. This is evidenced by the direct flights to Toronto by Air Canada and the Helijet service to Vancouver and Victoria. While those additions are highly visible, there are many that do not readily show, but serve the marketplace and support even more products and services in the community and the rest of the island.
There are those who would like a bridge to the island and those who want to limit ferry sailings to keep the newcomers out. Whether we like it or not, growth will come. As citizens, it is our challenge to manage it.
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