City to offer first look at preliminary waterfront walkway design

By Dominic Abassi
September 25, 2017 - 5:35pm Updated: September 26, 2017 - 10:43am

A preliminary design of an elevated walkway near the Departure Bay ferry terminal.Submitted/City of Nanaimo

A rendering of a bridge in the Nanaimo River estuary area.Submitted/City of Nanaimo

A potential trestle crossing.Submitted/City of Nanaimo

A potential trail in Departure Bay.Submitted/City of Nanaimo

NANAIMO — The vision for a high-profile addition to Nanaimo's waterfront is coming into focus.

The public will get their first chance to see what a 13 km walkway connecting Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River estuary could look like at two open houses this week. A consultant prepared the renderings and design following extensive consultation with the community and a workshop in June.

Real estate manager Bill Corsan said the plan is to gather feedback on the preliminary design and then use that to create a draft plan for a report to council this fall. The report would contain timeline and cost estimates for the entire project, which Corsan said aren't ready quite yet.

Corsan said the material on display at the open houses will allow people to make some choices around the look and feel of the walkway.

"People are certainly interested in the Departure Bay section, from BC Ferries to the Kin Hut area. We've got two options for people to give us feedback on. One is an elevated boardwalk and one is an at-beach-grade walkway."

He said the City plans on completing five sections next year, focusing on areas in the Newcastle Channel, the boat basin near the Port Theatre and 1 Port Drive. "Our goal is to build all five if we can. We're going to aim high but if we get three of the five done, we'll still be happy," Corsan said.

Preliminary estimates peg the cost of the 2018 pieces at $2.5 million, money which is not currently included in the financial plan. Corsan said there are also challenges around land ownership.

"The Port Authority is the owner of some of the water lots. We have to work collaboratively with them to be able to deliver this project...There's environmental issues by BC Ferries, so we have to make sure we get approvals from DFO and Snuneymuxw First Nation to advance that section. Lots of different partners we need to work with to make this happen."

The City has so far dedicated $150,000 towards design work on the project, which council identified as a priority in their strategic plan. A May survey garnered a huge response from the community and found overwhelming support for the concept.

The open houses are Sept. 28 from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Kin Hut and Sept. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Maffeo Sutton Park.


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