Volunteers with the Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club and Nanaimo Rowing Club are digging in to power the effort to build a new boathouse at Long Lake.
The two clubs need to replace the aging building, a combination boathouse and public washrooms and change rooms constructed in the 1960s, with a new structure that will shelter the clubs’ canoes, kayaks and sculls, provide a clubhouse for members and create new public facilities and a playground.
“It’s a joint building with the rowing club and us,” said Joyce Mark, canoe and kayak club commodore. “We’re doing some massive fundraising. It’s a large budget – $900,000.”
The city will contribute $300,000 to construction costs if the clubs can bring in the balance.
Not only is the interior of the existing building inadequate, but canoes and kayaks are stored in a caged area near Loudon Park’s parking lot, which is open to the elements that cause the crafts to deteriorate prematurely. It means money must be spent to replace ruined boats instead of maintaining existing craft and building surplus money to expand the fleet.
The Long Lake Community Boathouse project will effectively revamp Loudon Park.
The new building will be constructed at the site of an existing children’s playground and a new play area would be built where the existing building now stands.
“It will be quite nice because we won’t have to avoid running over children when we’re getting the boats to the dock because we’re not going through the park anymore,” Mark said. “We can go straight from our boathouse to the dock.”
Kate Rutherford, Nanaimo Rowing Club president, said discussions over getting the project started have gone on for 10 years. Architectural plans were drawn up last year.
The clubs are currently approaching local Rotary clubs and other organizations that can help contribute, plus club members are organizing fundraising events, including a wine and appie night at Lucky’s Liquor Store Nov. 23.
Mark said she wants to see the project completed within two to five years.
The public can chip in on the fundraising efforts by voting for the project online.
“Aviva Insurance Company is spreading $1 million across Canada,” Mark said. “Whoever has the most votes gets the money, is really what it comes down to.”
Mark said the club is up against stiff competition from other organizations across the country.
“We’ve got one last try to get enough votes in to try and get some money,” Mark said. “Any amount of money is helpful.”
To vote for the boathouse project, please visit www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf17101.