Nanaimo's waterfront walkway expansion focus of community meetings

By Dominic Abassi
May 7, 2017 - 1:50pm Updated: May 9, 2017 - 10:54am

If all goes according to plan, this section of Nanaimo's walkway will connect downtown to Departure Bay.nanaimoinformation.com

NANAIMO — People will soon get a chance to offer their input on a highly anticipated priority project for Nanaimo's waterfront.

The City of Nanaimo will hold two open houses this month to gather input and share updates on plans to extend and connect the waterfront walkway.

A consultant was hired in March and is currently studying several areas of the 13 km project, including environmental and land ownership issues, according to the City's real estate manager Bill Corsan.

Corsan said community meetings planned for May 17, 18 and 20 are designed to provide background and research on the overall walkway plan, as well as give the public a chance to offer their ideas.

"I think it's really important that people have their say and let us know what their vision is for the project before we spend any money on detailed design work or even various alignments."

Feedback will be included in a design to be created for a public workshop in June.

The city is focusing on five sections to be completed by the end of 2018. Corsan said they are segments that continue or fill existing gaps in the walkway.

"We identified a few sections along the Newcastle Channel that aren't complete yet. That would be great to finish off so that we'd have that continuity from BC Ferries all the way to downtown."

Other priority sections being planned for next year would stretch from the edge of the Departure Bay ferry terminal to Beach Estates Park, an area in front of the Port Theatre in the boat basin and an interim walkway on City land at 1 Port Dr.

Corsan said $150,000 has been committed to the study and consultant work. He said a very rough cost estimate for the 1.5 kms planned in 2018 is around $2.5 million.

On May 1, council endorsed an application for federal Gas Tax Fund money to help pay for the 2018 work, which is not currently included in the financial plan.

The long-term vision for the walkway would see it connect Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary within 10 years.

The May 17 open house goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kin Hut. On May 18, a meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Maffeo Sutton Park. May 20 is back at the Kin Hut from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

[email protected].

On Twitter: @domabassi

Nanaimo spent more than 20x the average on Hometown Hockey