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Nanaimo's waterfront walkway project expanding

Steps toward upgrades and expansion have put the Harbour City on the verge of seeing a seamless waterfront walkway, according to the Nanaimo Port Authority.

Nanaimo city council will decide next month whether it will ink a letter of intent with Nanaimo Yacht Club to share costs in a $1.25-million walkway expansion project. The upgrade will be the first time the waterfront promenade is enlarged, according to Bill Corsan, the city’s manager of real estate, who says until now the focus has been on building the walkway.

The City of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Port Authority have been working toward a seamless waterfront connector between the yacht club and B.C. Ferries, requiring additions and upgrades as property owners redevelop or renew their water lot leases.

The Waterfront Suites and Marina has the pilings installed for its portion of the trail, while Nanaimo Shipyards is expected to add walkway as it develops its float-home community. Newcastle Marina Holdings Ltd. has not taken any redevelopment steps, but is reportedly open to creating an interim passage so the city can see an uninterrupted trail.

“When the shipyard and Newcastle goes through that will basically be the last link,” said Mike Davidson, the port authority’s director of property and environment, adding he believes the two parcels could be done within five years.

The new upgrade by the city and the yacht club is a requirement of the port authority before it grants the club a new 30-year lease and would start no sooner than 2017. It would expand the trail from three to seven metres and include improved lighting, handrails and an extended cycle path.

Early estimates by Golder Associates peg costs for the yacht club at $579,000 and the city at $670,000. Corsan said it is unusual for the municipality to do walkway expansions, but in this case it has lease obligations.

Nanaimo city council will decide on the letter of intent in August.

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