Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Port Place Mall Renovation

Old Makes Way For New

If you have lived in Nanaimo for more than the last ten years you might remember when Port Place Mall was called Harbour Park Mall. At one time Harbour Park Mall was 'THE' mall in Nanaimo being the home for one of Nanaimo's major department stores as Sears occupied the space now housing the casino.

It was the bustling place on Saturday mornings as most of Nanaimo made their way downtown to take advantage of this weeks sales, and to check out Sears main rival at the Eatons store on Victoria Cresent. From one end of Commercial Street to the other there was a wide variety of stores that served the needs of Nanaimo residents. There was a camera shop, jewelry stores, furniture stores, hardware stores, sporting goods, Woolworths and the Met, discount furniture store, Nanaimo's best bakery, clothing stores and more. It truly lived up to it's name of being Commercial Street.

The recent $100 million center piece, aka the Vancouver Island Convention Centre has certainly changed the appearance of downtown, and there is indeed renewed foot traffic as locals stop for a coffee or something to eat, but it no longer lives up to the name Commercial Street as there are few reasons you would head downtown to do your major weekly shopping anymore.

The above picture shows what is now a vacant lot which used to be occupied with about half of Port Place Mall where the food court used to be and the government liquor store and post office. I am sure when this project is finished complete with new highrise it will be another positive change to Nanaimo's downtown. However, I can't help but wonder if the Nanaimo of 40 years ago wasn't just as nice a place to live in spite of all the growth we seem to cherish. That was back in the days before user fees, when your taxes actually paid for your water, sewer and garbage. That was also back in the days when double digit tax increases were not the norm and councils would never have dared to spend $16 million on a new office without first asking the taxpayer if they thought it was a good idea.

Aaaaahhhh for the good old days.

allvoices

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