Neighbourhood Association Supports Policy

The City of Nanaimo will support neighbourhood associations that meet and maintain the following organizational criteria.

The neighbourhood association must:

• Have an elected executive that meets on a regular basis (at least once a year);
• Have a membership structure (not necessarily fee paying);
• Hold an annual general meeting, and provide a copy of the minutes to the City with updated membership numbers;
• Keep minutes for executive and general membership meetings;
• Engage with its membership for input prior to responding to City development referrals, such as Official Community Plan (OCP) and rezoning applications; and
• Provide periodic updates to members related to the activities of the group.

Neighbourhood associations that demonstrate compliance with the above organizational criteria will be supported by the City of Nanaimo as summarized below.

Communication and Engagement:

1. Council will host an annual engagement opportunity to hear the concerns and priorities of neighbourhoods, and to share updates on City initiatives.

2. Staff to provide communication and information support to neighbourhood associations.

3. Staff to attend Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network meetings (up to three times a year) as a resource person for communication and information.

4. Staff may attend neighbourhood association meetings and annual general meetings upon request by the association.

5. An annual review of Neighbourhood Plan implementation progress will be completed with neighbourhood associations (where a plan exists).

6. Standard communication and engagement to be applied consistently by the City to all active neighbourhood associations.

7. Staff to encourage developers requesting an OCP amendment or rezoning to establish early contact (ideally at pre-application stage) with a neighbourhood association where a development is located within the association’s boundaries to build awareness and open dialogue with the community.

8. Staff to encourage OCP amendment and rezoning applicants to submit to the City a summary of community engagement undertaken by the developer with the application.

9. Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment and rezoning development applications will be referred to relevant neighbourhood associations for input purposes and a summary of community input received will be included in related staff reports.

10. Adequate time to be given to neighbourhood associations to respond to OCP and rezoning amendment application referrals.

11. When a development referral response is provided to the City, staff to confirm in writing that the response has been received.

12. Development Permit applications to be referred to neighbourhood associations for information purposes.

13. Neighbourhood associations may be included in stakeholder engagement for City capital projects within their boundaries. Administrative:

14. Printing support to be available upon request (to print neighbourhood mail outs or handouts produced by the association). Priority will be given to neighbourhood associations that do not receive grant funding.

15. Provide a meeting space for Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network meetings (e.g. SARC Boardroom).

16. A neighbourhood association information webpage to be maintained on the City of Nanaimo website (providing neighbourhood associations contact list and boundary map, as well as Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network mandate and contact person). Educational:

17. An annual “Planning and Development 101 Session” may be provided to the Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network upon request.

18. A Development Tool Kit for citizens may be provided that presents a user-friendly understanding of the City’s development approval process.

19. Information (and a tool kit) regarding how to start up and maintain a neighbourhood association may be provided. Funding:

20. Provide project and/or event based funding support through existing programs such as Social Planning and Culture/Heritage grants.

21. A Neighbourhood Grant Program may be established for neighbourhood associations with registered society status (or directed through the Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network) to offset costs for operational needs such as liability insurance, printing, online meeting platforms, organizational software, website development, and community events.

The City of Nanaimo will provide support to neighbourhood associations that do not meet the above organizational criteria as follows:

1. Staff to provide communication and information support regarding planning matters.

2. Provide project and/or event based funding support through programs such as Social Planning and Culture/Heritage grants that do not otherwise require meeting the above organizational criteria for eligibility.