‘We need the green space’: Nanaimo residents vote no to housing on historic Five Acre Farm  

'We need the green space': Nanaimo residents vote no to housing on historic Five Acre Farm  

Walking past Nanaimo’s iconic Five Acre Farm made local Melissa Thompson smile as she enjoyed the historic green space and gardens, which are now surrounded by development.

“It’s a hidden gem in a subdivision. We need the green space because there’s getting to be a bit too much concrete, I would say, with the city growing so much,” said Thompson, who lives nearby.

The farm on Nanaimo’s Park Avenue dates back to the 1800s when mining company manager Samuel Robins developed and sold the land to his miners to help them be self-sufficient and ride out downturns in the industry.

In 2019, the City of Nanaimo bought the property to protect it from developers but faced a housing crisis. In November, the city offered Nanaimo residents five potential options for the farm, which included developing up to two acres of it into affordable housing.

In a report that will be presented to council on Monday, 76 per cent of online respondents to the city’s survey chose Option 5, which is to preserve the farm entirely without putting any housing on it and keep its gardens that now offer community food, farming and school programs intact.

On Sunday, Jen Cody and her late husband, Craig Evans, fought to save the farm and told CHEK News the community response shows how valued the property is.

“Oh, it’s like overwhelming joy, and this property has been the work of many people over many years,” said Cody.

The community response in favour of saving the farm is expected to play a big role in Nanaimo city council choosing what option to pursue for the historic farm, and officials are expected to vote on it on Monday, Dec. 18.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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