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Park plan offers upgrade options

The city is using pedestrian counters to determine which parks are Nanaimo’s most popular. The walkway at Georgia Park on the waterfront is the park path most travelled.  - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
The city is using pedestrian counters to determine which parks are Nanaimo’s most popular. The walkway at Georgia Park on the waterfront is the park path most travelled.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo residents could soon weigh in on a new look for the city’s waterfront park.

The City of Nanaimo anticipates an updated Maffeo Sutton Park improvement plan could be ready for public input as early as September.

While no details of the plan have been released, the city’s parks and open space planner Kirsty MacDonald said it focuses on physical changes like improvements to the lagoon, playground and existing amenities with limited lifespans. Residents could also see concepts for Georgia Park, considered one of the city’s original waterfront parks and neighbour to a potential Hilton hotel.

The green space was acquired by the city in 1940 and 1948 – more than two decades before Maffeo Sutton was created and has never seen a full improvement, according to MacDonald.

Plans shown at a Hilton hotel open house revealed there could be an artificial beach, kayak launch and new walkway but MacDonald says it's only one concept and ideas will be tested as part of the improvement plan. The changes also hinge on what happens with the hotel, which is currently in a rezoning process.

“We are waiting to see what the context is because whatever we do needs to blend and be beneficial for the public as well as the development, whatever that becomes,” she said.

The city has been working on updating its park improvement plan since 2011 when new land was added to the park. The 0.9 hectare property, on the former Civic Arena site, had previously been part of the city's incentive package for developers of a conference centre hotel.

news@nanaimobulletin.com

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