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City of Nanaimo finalizing designs on Long Lake boathouse

$3.8 million in the 2023 draft budget for Loudon Park Activity Centre and other park improvements
An artist’s rendering of what the planned Loudon Park Activity Centre might look like. (Iredale Architecture image)

The city is finalizing designs on its long-awaited boathouse project on the shore of Long Lake.

The City of Nanaimo’s design advisory panel, at a meeting Thursday, Nov. 24, recommended that the Loudon Park Activity Centre advance to the next stage of development.

Art Groot, the city’s director of facility and park operations, said at a city finance meeting earlier in the day that the project, which has been on the city’s radar going back to at least 2006, could have its design finalized this year and then go to the “value engineering” stage prior to tendering.

There is $3.8 million in the draft budget in 2023 for Loudon Park renewal and improvement projects.

Groot told the design advisory panel that over the years, the project has evolved into more of a park redevelopment project than just construction of a new boathouse. Some of the plans include improving accessibility to the facility and the beach, new washrooms, a multipurpose room available for rental, office and training space for user groups, secure storage, playground equipment replacement, and even sewer line replacement and realignment.

The 9,300-square-foot activity centre will be one storey, with “generous glazing on three elevations,” according to a city staff report, and a curved roof form “to represent the waterline on the sides of boats as they move through the water.”

Michael Van Bakel, associate principal at Iredale Architecture, told the design panel that the size of the boats requiring storage dictated some aspects of the building’s size and shape.

A development permit isn’t required for civic institutional buildings, but the plans were presented to the city’s design advisory panel nevertheless in order to seek the panel members’ expertise, the staff report noted. The panel made half a dozen recommendations, most notably the consideration of shoreline remediation throughout the site.

At the city finance meeting table, Coun. Hilary Eastmure said the Nanaimo and Area Land Trust had expressed concern to council about the trees that would be cut down for the boathouse. Groot said in addition to the more than 60 trees that would be re-planted around the site, there would be another 100 planted in other areas of the city. He said with tree removal, “we’ve really tried to keep it at a minimum while still providing the improvements for the community as well as the user groups.”

Coun. Erin Hemmens said she appreciated the activity centre’s rebranding as more than just a boathouse, and Coun. Thorpe echoed that sentiment and said he’s pleased to see the project moving ahead.

“I think it’s going to be a beautiful expansion of a facility which is really outdated and such a popular spot, especially in the summer, for so many users,” he said.

READ ALSO: Voyageur canoes used in Canada’s centennial celebrations destroyed by fire in Nanaimo

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo hasn’t made up its mind on scale of Long Lake boathouse project

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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