Nanaimo is a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is known as "The Harbour City". The city was previously known as the "Hub City", which has been attributed to its original layout design where the streets radiated out from the shoreline like the spokes of a wagon wheel, as well as its generally centralized location on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo is also the headquarters of the Regional District of Nanaimo.
Like much of coastal British Columbia, Nanaimo experiences a temperate climate with mild, rainy winters and cool, dry summers. Due to its relatively dry summers, the Köppen climate classification places it at the northernmost limits of the Csb or cool-summer Mediterranean zone. Other climate classification systems, such as Trewartha, place it firmly in the Oceanic zone.
Nanaimo is usually shielded from the Aleutian Low’s influence by the mountains of central Vancouver Island, so that summers are unusually dry for its latitude and location—though summer drying as a trend is found in the immediate lee of the coastal ranges as far north as Skagway, Alaska.
The original economic driver was coal mining; however, the forestry industry supplanted it in the early 1960s with the building of the MacMillan Bloedel pulp mill at Harmac in 1958, named after Harvey MacMillan. Today the pulp mill is owned by the employees and local investors and injects well over half a million dollars a day into the local economy. The largest employer is the provincial government. The service, retail and tourism industries are also big contributors to the local economy.
Technological development on Nanaimo has been growing with companies such as "Inuktun" and the establishment of government-funded Innovation Island as a site to help Nanaimo-based technological start-ups by giving them access to tools, education and venture capital.
The average sale price of houses in Nanaimo for 2011 was approximately $350,000. A recent surge of higher-density real estate development, centred in the Old City/Downtown area, as well as construction of a city-funded waterfront conference centre, has proven controversial. Proponents of these developments argue that they will bolster the city's economy, while critics worry that they will block waterfront views and increase traffic congestion. Concerns have also been raised about the waterfront conference centre's construction running over its proposed budget. The current council is working hard to solve homeless issues and has established a strong relationship with the provincial government to provide several hundred low-income housing spaces. Nanaimo has also been experiencing job growth in the technology sector.
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