The City of Nanaimo is looking at potential improvements at Westwood Lake Park, including expanding the parking lot and first beach area. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

The City of Nanaimo is looking at potential improvements at Westwood Lake Park, including expanding the parking lot and first beach area. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

City looking at improving Westwood Lake Park’s amenities

Increased parking, better washrooms among concept ideas

Westwood Lake is a destination for beach-goers, anglers, walkers, joggers and mountain bikers, and the city has some ideas about ways to make the park better.

Nanaimo city councillors, at a finance and audit committee meeting last week, voted to consider $750,000-$1 million in amenity improvements at Westwood Lake Park when they begin budgeting for 2022-26 in the fall.

Richard Harding, the city’s general manager of parks, recreation and culture, told the finance committee that $50,000 was budgeted last year for conceptual designs, and “we’re at a stage now that we’d like to go out and test that with the public to get some more feedback.”

A staff report noted that draft concepts include increased parking, new or renovated washrooms, a new playground, expansion of the first beach, additional picnic and special event areas, and more.

The report mentioned that community feedback was collected as part of the ReImagine Nanaimo master planning process, and members of Westwood’s neighbourhood association and user groups were consulted. Some of the input included support for maintaining the park’s natural areas, addressing over-use concerns, considering structures for events and group use, improving accessibility, replacing the playground, adding picnic tables and other seating and shade areas, and more.

Westwood Lake was dedicated as a park in 1957 and Harding said “nothing’s substantially changed” since then. Mayor Leonard Krog said the park is “being loved to death.”

READ ALSO: What’s so great about Westwood Lake?

“Improving and increasing access to waterfront areas has been a community priority identified in parks, recreation and culture master plans since 1994,” the report noted. “Acquisition of land adjacent to Westwood Lake Park has also been a focus and several additional park parcels have been acquired over the years by purchase and through the development process.”

Councillors, at the meeting, were prioritizing a list of future projects and Coun. Erin Hemmens said in her mind, Westwood Lake Park was a “clear winner” as a project that will provide a return on investment.

“Westwood Lake is seeing more use every year. It’s also a key in terms of sports tourism with the growing mountain bike community,” she said.

Coun. Ian Thorpe also spoke in favour of looking at park improvements during the next budgeting cycle.

“This is a key recreational facility and I think improvements are needed there badly,” he said.

Harding suggested improvements at the park would be phased so that sections would remain open, and said “key gateway amenities” like parking would be addressed first.

“It’s never fun to go out and plan a parking lot. Everyone sings Joni Mitchell to me whenever we talk about it,” Harding said. “But … people are still driving up there in droves, so until we find another way to get there, people want them.”

He said the city would like to engage with the public over the summer when Westwood Lake is busiest, and said the concepts will also be put to the city’s inclusiveness and environment committees.

Staff reported that the money for park amenity improvements could come from reserves.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City Hallparks

Just Posted

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

Curl B.C. chairperson Teri Palynchuk is this year’s winner of the Janette Robbins Award for leadership. Palynchuk is pictured here with the Curling Canada Foundation Cup along with past chairperson Peter Muir, left, and Curl B.C. CEO Scott Braley. (Photo courtesy Curl B.C.)
Nanaimo curling exec wins Curl B.C. leadership award

Teri Palynchuk receives Janette Robbins Award

(Black Press file photo)
RCMP: Air ambulance called to Whiskey Creek after crash involving 2 motorbikes

Both riders taken to hospital with serious injuries

Vancouver courthouse. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man loses bid to appeal conviction for 1999 rape at Abbotsford music festival

James Redden, 53, formerly of Nanaimo, was found guilty in 2019 following six-day trial

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

There is an emergency shelter near the Golden Ears peaks. (Facebook/Special to The News)
Hiker fogged in on Golden Ears, spends 2 nights

Talon Helicopters, Ridge Meadows Search and Rescue bring him home Monday

Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada, speaks at a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul facing no-confidence motion from party brass

move follows months of internal strife and the defection of MP Jenica Atwin to the Liberals

Tulips bloom in front of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Thursday, May 10, 2018. Day two of a full week of scheduled hearings will be heard in Federal Court today on a case involving Indigenous children unnecessarily taken into foster care by what all parties call Canada’s “broken child welfare system.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
AFN slams Ottawa for ‘heartless’ legal challenge of First Nations child compensation

2019 decision awarded $40,000 to each Indigenous child removed before 2006

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Island man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Ivy was thrown out of a moving vehicle in Kelowna. Her tail was severely injured and will be amputated. (BC SPCA)
Kitten thrown from moving vehicle, needs help: Kelowna SPCA

The seven-week-old kitten had severe tail and femur injuries

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates that less than five per cent of mass-marketing fraud is ever reported.
Tips to avoid scams targeting Vancouver Island seniors

In most cases, fraudsters impersonate an individual, business or agency seniors recognize and trust

A health-care worker holds up a sign signalling she needs more COVID-19 vaccines at the ‘hockey hub’ mass vaccination facility at the CAA Centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brampton, Ont., on Friday, June 4, 2021. This NHL-sized hockey rink is one of CanadaÕs largest vaccination centres. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
‘Vaxxed to the max’: Feds launch Ask an Expert campaign to encourage COVID shots

Survey shows that confidence in vaccines has risen this spring

Port Alberni court house (Alberni Valley News)
Inquest set into 2016 death of B.C. teen after a day spent in police custody

18-year-old Jocelyn George died of heart failure in hospital after spending time in jail cell

Most Read