NANAIMO — The projected price tag for a highly-coveted piece of infrastructure in Nanaimo has been revealed.
A continuous waterfront walkway from Departure Bay to the Nanaimo River Estuary could cost as much as $41 million dollars. The City unveiled the cost, potential routes and design concepts for the walkway to several hundred people at a pair of open houses this week.
A big variable in the estimated cost is what type of path connects the Cilaire section, from Departure Bay beach to the BC Ferries terminal. An elevated boardwalk would cost $15.5 million, compared to $4.5 for a raised on-beach path.
Mayor Bill McKay said the walkway concept has prompted more response from the community than ever before and he has yet to hear a negative comment.
"I don't think I've heard any bad. What I have heard is people saying quite plainly 'get on with it,'" McKay told NanaimoNewsNOW at Saturday's open house in Maffeo Sutton Park.
When asked about the potential price tag, McKay said "it is what it is."
"We go to our taxpayers and we ask them 'do you want this? Here's a couple of options.' They want good infrastructure that is planned properly...When you make an expenditure where people see good value and longevity, they tend to support it in spades."
Several Nanaimo residents at the Saturday event said they had no problem with the cost, noting it was less expensive than the conference centre or proposed events centre.
However, several people told NanaimoNewsNOW they didn't feel it was the highest priority project the City could tackle.
"I think there are some other projects that need to be addressed that are visual eyesores around the city as opposed to enhancing the waterfront," said one man.
Staff will now use input collected this week to form a draft implementation plan to be presented to council this fall, with a final report ready by winter.
The City wants to complete five "quick win" sections of the walkway next year, at an estimated cost of $6.4 million. The money is not currently included in the budget.
You can see the City's presentation boards here.
— With files from Kyle Ireland and Spencer Sterritt
On Twitter: @domabassi
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