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Some of you requested to know more about the Marriott Hotel site at 100 Gordon Street that is currently under construction near the Port Theatre, where the Gordon Street bus exchange used to be. I chatted with Bill Corsan, Nanaimo’s director of community development, about this site just before Christmas.
“It’s a good news story for the city. When the conference centre was built, a hotel was supposed to have been built around the same time and then it didn’t happen because the recession hit, and the developer who was going to build it was all tied into the Olympic Village so his company went down and we lost the hotel there,” said Corsan. “And we spent the next five, seven, eight years trying to find someone else to come in and build the hotel.”
They finally did a request for offers and ended up awarding the contract to PEG Companies of Utah. The Marriott Hotel site will feature a nine-storey, 172 room hotel called The Nanaimo Courtyard by Marriott.
“We kind of went through an open process, and council had a chance to vet all these developers and last January we had the groundbreaking,” said Corsan. “Snuneymuxw First Nation have taken an ownership position in the hotel, which is exciting. They’ve put money into it and out of that will get a return on investment from the hotel and will also get employment opportunities, which is kind of win-win.”
I appreciate all the questions and comments you have sent in about various other sites you are curious about around town. I will try to find out what I can about them as well.
Also on the agenda is my series on rental affordability in Nanaimo, which won in our story poll. There is a lot to uncover and I’ll keep you updated.
In other news
I was gutted to hear that Snuneymuxw First Nation is battling an outbreak of COVID-19, with an estimated 19 cases reported on reserve, and a shelter-in-place order currently in effect. The impact this could have on the close-knit community and especially on elders is concerning. Our sister organization IndigiNews, which serves First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities in the Okanagan and Vancouver Island in partnership with APTN, will be looking into the situation as it unfolds. Follow IndigiNews on social to get the latest updates on their reporting.
On a more positive note, I learned that downtown clothing store Lucid on Commercial Street has partnered with the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre (NAC) to sell Section 35 brand clothing in support of Team 700, an Indigenous youth-led boxing team that is sponsored by NAC in partnership with Red Girl Rising. According to NAC, Team 700 is the only competitive Indigenous boxing team in B.C., and they run drop-in boxing classes that are both co-ed and for two-spirit, trans- and cisgender women.
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