Caledonia Park to get upgrades

Caledonia Park has been called the worst football stadium in Canada, but some of the name calling can stop now. City councillors approved a plan earlier this month for $380,000 worth of upgrades to the Wall Street facility.

The larger changeroom building will receive minor renovations. The smaller change-room building will be lengthened by about six metres (20 feet) and will be fitted with new showers. Caledonia Park’s grandstand structure – bleachers and shell – will be demolished and replaced by uncovered, portable aluminum bleachers. Seating capacity will remain at 700.

“What we’re trying to do is mirror the other changerooms as best we can so that the visiting team and the home team have suitable facilities,” said Richard Harding, the City of Nanaimo’s director of parks, recreation and environment.

The Vancouver Island Raiders football club is contributing $19,500 worth of in-kind materials and labour including some demolition and disposal.

Raiders president Kabel Atwall was able to share the news about Caledonia Park improvements at a B.C. Football Conference meeting this past weekend.

“Everybody there is quite happy over what’s happened and the fact we can host playoff games again…” he said. “We’re happy and thankful to the city for moving on it the way they have.”

The project will be put to tender next week, Harding said, and he hopes work will start as soon as late April and finish as soon as late June. After that, the next group of city councillors can begin thinking beyond interim measures at the park.

"We'll still come back to them in about eight months' time with a long-term improvement plan with some options for them…" Harding said. "There’s other things, long-term, that the community needs to look at to improve that facility as a stadium."

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