Legacy Projects and Community

The YPN believes in making our community a better place to live, work and play. As community leaders, our members continually strive to make a positive impact in our city, tackling local projects that improve our economy, the environment and support our local youth.

Samaritan House Teaching Kitchen

“We believe that for a city to be healthy and prosperous, it must provide for those who are most
vulnerable.” – Island Crisis Care Society
With the rising number of homeless women in our community, the Young Professionals of
Nanaimo is committed to improving the lives of vulnerable women who are experiencing
homelessness in Nanaimo. The YPN is leading a campaign to build a Teaching Kitchen as a part
of the Samaritan House expansion project.
For more than 30 years, Samaritan House has provided emergency and supportive housing to
Nanaimo’s most vulnerable women. Samaritan House, which is operated by Island Crisis Care
Society, is in desperate need of upgrades and expansion to meet the changing needs of
homeless women in our community.
Nanaimo’s poverty rate is higher than both the provincial and the national averages. Samaritan
House is operating over capacity nearly every night and far too often having to turn away
women seeking shelter. Often vulnerable women will be forced to find shelter in unsafe places.
They will be at risk of sexual assault and other forms of trauma, adding to their already
vulnerable situation. Shelter is a human right. No women in our community should have to
sleep in harm’s way.
The expansion of Samaritan House will more than double its current capacity. The improved
shelter will do more than provide a safe place to sleep. It will have a positive influence on the
people who live there. It will provide a safe place to heal. Thoughtfully planned spaces will
increase opportunities for learning, personal development and life-skill building, such as how to
economically preparing healthy meals.

The Teaching Kitchen will help the women who are nourished at the shelter learn about healthy
meal planning, how to economically prepare meals, and help mothers build skills to provide
meals for their children.
In leading this campaign, the YPN is committed to raising the capital to cover the full cost of the
construction of the Teaching Kitchen. By lending our support, Island Crisis Care Society staff
can focus more efforts on their expansion project campaign and on program delivery. In
harnessing the power of our membership network, the YPN will provide sweat equity to the
construction of the Teaching Kitchen. We will also encourage the donation of items to outfit
the kitchen, such as pots and pans. Upon its completion, YPN members will have the
opportunity to lead cooking skill-build sessions at the Samaritan House Teaching Kitchen.
Making a financial gift or a donation of time to the Samaritan House Teaching Kitchen is a
meaningful way to demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of vulnerable women
who are experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo.
To learn more or to join our efforts, including participating on the Legacy Project Committee,
please contact YPN President, Laurie Bienert at president@ypnanaimo.com or 250-667-4292.

All donations will receive a charitable tax receipt. The Nanaimo Foundation is donating
administrative support to this special project at no cost to the YPN or Samaritan House.
Charitable tax receipts will be sent from the Nanaimo Foundation. All donations will go directly
to the Samaritan House Teaching Kitchen.

YPN COMMUNITY GARDENS – TURNER RD

Have you ever wondered what all of the colourful pots and planters situated on the Island Highway across from the Cactus Club are for? For the past five years, the YPN Community Gardens have been a fixture in north Nanaimo, brightening up this busy intersection.

When the gardens were originally built in May 2011, we never anticipated what a labour of love it would turn into by the entire community. Over the years, over $15,000 of materials and man hours donated. We currently have 64 4’ x 8’ garden beds on site, as well as a large wooden shelter, which was built by the VIU Carpentry department. The plots are leased to community members for a low monthly fee, with many contributing produce to the cause. There is also a wall of tire planters that is filled with flowers and non-edibles, as well as a picnic bench and garbage can donated by the City of Nanaimo, and an outhouse on site, donated by DBL.

We were thrilled to see the community embrace this project, but we are most proud of the working relationship that we have built with the Loaves and Fishes food bank over the last 5 years.

This year, we are getting even more use out of this space, as we have begun to host events and information sessions for those who are looking to gain a bit more knowledge about gardening and local food.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to come by and visit the gardens, we invite you to come and check them out! For more information on how you can get involved with the YPN Gardens, please email gardens@ypnanaimo.com.

NANAIMO TRAIN STATION

Young Professionals of Nanaimo spearheaded a res toration project in partnership with the Island Corridor Foundation and Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Area. The partnership succeeded in June of 2009 in raising the required $420,000 to complete the station in large part due to the efforts of the YPN, Blair Mckinnon and the MacKinnon family.

 Once rehabilitation is complete VIA Rail’s ticket office will occupy 20% of the space. The other 80% of the building has been rented to tenants Trevor and Jane Ivens from the Fox & Hound English pub. They are currently finishing the inside of the train station to convert it into a traditional Irish pub-style restaurant called Fiber McGee’s! It is our hope of the restaurant owners to have the restaurant open the summer of 2012.

 The VIA side of the station is dependent on continued use of passenger rail up and down Vancouver Island. A proposal to improve commuter rail service on Vancouver Island has been accepted from VIA and a revised proposed schedule will travel south from Nanaimo to Victoria at 6 am, returning North to Courtenay, back to Victoria, with its final stop at 6 pm in Nanaimo. This improved rail service currently depends on the federal government accepting to match the Province’s 7.5 million in funding promised last year. There is an urgent need for your immediate participation to maintain rail on Vancouver Island. The federal government will be making a decision during the next several weeks of whether to approve the $7.5M rail infrastructure application the ICF has requested.

 The YPN Board of Directors thank you for your past support of the train station rehabilitation. It is our hope to see the Nanaimo Train Station reclaim its role as a transporta tion hub and economic driver for both Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.

A&B SOUND BUILDING – PROJECT PURPLE

Four years after closing its doors as Nanaimo’s A&B Sound electronics retailer, the downtown purple eyesore commonly referred to as the ‘Barney Building’ received a much needed facelift, after falling into disrepair with little interest from potential buyers.

Affectionately known as “Project Purple” the YPN sent in a team of volunteers to repaint the dilapidated building that is situated in the heart of Nanaimo’s downtown core.

A&B SOUND BUILDING – PROJECT PURPLE

A neglected corner of Nanaimo got a much-needed facelift thanks to the YPN in 2014. Cappy Yates Park, located at the corner of Fitzwilliam and Wallace Street, was completely overgrown, with iron gates that deterred most from stepping foot in the area.

After the Old City Quarter Association reached out for help, the YPN with the permission of the land owners, brought in over 50 volunteers with weed whackers, rakes and wheelbarrows to transform the overrun property.

Along with removing the iron gates that blocked entry to the outdoor space, the group also cleaned up a number of needles with the assistance of Harris Health.

The park clean-up has since inspired another group to continue improvements, making this a space that can now be enjoyed by everyone.

COMMUNITY STAGE

The Nanaimo Community Stage has been a partnership project between the Downtown Nanaimo Business Improvement Association, the Young Professionals of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo 2014 BC Summer Games Society Legacy Committee.

Recognizing the need for a Community Stage, the YPN contributed $10,000 to help fund this project that can be accessed by a number of groups and organizations in Nanaimo.

The total stage dimensions are 24′ x 32′ with a 250lb per square foot live load capacity. The stage  has 24 – 4’x 8′ stage top pieces that  can be arranged in a number of ways to suit your event whether it is for a live music, theatrical performance, dance or  fashion show. It also includes double rails around the sides and back and a 4 step stairway.

WRITE TO READ PROJECT

An exciting new project is in the works that offers the hope of new beginnings for the Snuneymuxw First Nation. The Young Professionals of Nanaimo (YPN) and Herold Engineering are teaming up to help build a new library in the traditional Snuneymuxw territory.

Snuneymuxw Councilor Emmy Manson feels that this project will open the door to many new opportunities, and looks forward to creating a learning centre that provides access to teachings centred on education, language, technology and culture.

“The most important thing for us is access,” said Manson. “Library programs often focus on children, but adult literacy is a large struggle in our community due to residential schools and colonization. We want to create a learning space that is not just about academia, but that also reflects our culture. It is important to implement our heritage early on, and provide a space that our children and community can identify with,” she said.

The undertaking was inspired by the Write to Read Project, an initiative originally started by former Lieutenant Governor of B.C, the Honourable Steven L. Point. The Write to Read Project helps to create ongoing and lasting relationships between people living in urban environments such as towns and cities, and the First Nations people of British Columbia who live in rural, remote or suburban communities that may not be well served by educational and employment opportunities. Specifically, the goal is to assist with efforts to improve literacy in aboriginal communities across British Columbia.

The project has already begun to take shape, with Britco Structures Inc. donating two trailers to form the base of the library. Mike Herold has also agreed to donate his engineering services to the project, and the YPN will be spearheading the fundraising initiative, with an aim of raising $100,000.

Herold is passionate about First Nations issues and is a long-time advocate of this program, having already participated in a number of these projects across the province. The president of Herold Engineering said he is excited to drive this initiative forward in his hometown of Nanaimo.

“We need to change the system, and it starts with education,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whose fault it is or how we got here – all of us need to step up and help the fight.”

The Young Professionals of Nanaimo (YPN) were originally introduced to this project by Herold, and immediately saw the value of getting involved. “We see this partnership as something that can benefit our entire community,” said YPN president, Daniel Martinez.