Nanaimo city councillors had mixed views on designs for a new boathouse at Loudon Park. At Monday’s regular council meeting, council voted to put the designs out for public review. (Iredale Architecture image)

Nanaimo city councillors had mixed views on designs for a new boathouse at Loudon Park. At Monday’s regular council meeting, council voted to put the designs out for public review. (Iredale Architecture image)

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

City presenting options for public review, with cost estimates ranging from $2.5-3.2 million

Nanaimo councillors have different visions for the design and scale of a boathouse project at Long Lake, but in the meantime, the city will pose those questions to the public.

At Monday’s meeting, council voted to ask for public feedback around design proposals for a new Long Lake Paddling and Rowing Centre at Loudon Park. The decision followed a governance and priorities committee meeting May 10 which revealed disagreement over the centre’s appearance, amenities and intended role in the community.

Council was presented with three design concepts by architect Michael van Bakels of Iredale Architecture, Richard Harding, Nanaimo’s general manager of parks and recreation, and Art Groot, city director of facility and parks operations. The new design options, estimated to cost $2.5-2.9 million, were aimed at lowering construction costs from the initial design, estimated last year at $3.2 million.

The centre, in its conceptual stage since about 2005, would be a new facility for the Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club and Nanaimo Rowing Club to hold meetings, train, and store watercraft, Harding said, and would also include upgraded public washrooms for Loudon Park users. The building would replace the existing structure constructed in 1967.

Of the designs presented, Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog and Coun. Tyler Brown preferred the most expensive, which features a large meeting space and completely enclosed watercraft storage area. Two other designs featured smaller meeting spaces and a storage area enclosed by a chain link fence, which Krog remarked looked “like a high-class kennel for dogs.”

Coun. Don Bonner said the building had a “very Oriental temple type of look to it” and wondered if the architect had been asked to incorporate Indigenous design elements into the building.

Van Bakels said the design incorporated natural elements and the shape of the roof was an expression of a wave form.

“There wasn’t a direct attempt to look at anything Asian … or anything of that nature,” van Bakels said. “Strictly the timbers and the wave form of the roof was driving things for us.”

Bonner argued the building will shelter canoes, so it should have Indigenous design elements.

“This is a building that will be used for canoes Indigenous nations and people across Canada have used for centuries, if not tens of thousands of years, and I’m a little concerned that we’re about to build a building that could last 50 to 70 years, at least, with extremely little Indigenous design elements into it and without partnerships with Indigenous organizations…” Bonner said. “I don’t think we should be building buildings, specifically ones that are built to house canoes, without a very significant Indigenous design in them.”

Bonner said the city should explore partnerships with Indigenous organizations that could be leveraged for federal funding, for example.

“When this first came to council, I thought we were chipping in $100,000 to do up a design so we could go after the feds and get some funding…” Bonner said. “Of all the things that we should be partnering with Indigenous people, it would be building a building to house canoes. I’m just flabbergasted we’re not going down that road because I can tell you right now, if we want to talk about reconciliation, this building isn’t doing it for me.”

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo seeking infrastructure grants for running track and boathouse

READ ALSO: City of Nanaimo planning to build new boathouse at Long Lake by 2023

Councillors discussed which paddling and rowing centre design represented the best value for the community.

“I think when we’re looking at these type of civic buildings we should be looking to the long-term community value … I would much rather spend a little bit more money to have a far more attractive and functional building, not just for the active users – those that are paddling – but also those that want to use community space,” Brown said.

Coun. Erin Hemmens said council needed to reconsider what the building’s role should be.

We’ve gone from a paddling centre … to now I’m hearing full-on community centre and I think we need to have a clear understanding of what we want out of this space and what the community would like out of this space,” Hemmens said.

Krog expressed his interpretation of the discussion.

“The old saying, too many cooks spoil the broth, seems to apply here,” Krog said.

On Monday, council voted in favour of the recommendation to ask for public feedback on the designs and have staff come back with a finalized design and costs in time for budgeting for the 2022-2026 financial plan, and consider further park development in the same project year to minimize disruption for users.

The motion passed 8-1 with Bonner opposed.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City HalllakesPaddlingparksRecreation

Just Posted

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

A section of proposed Harbourfront Walkway between White Eagle Terrace and Battersea Road. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s proposed walkway extension project estimated at $25-30 million

City asking for feedback on concepts to connect Departure Bay Beach and ferry terminal

City of Nanaimo council has approved amendments for an animal control bylaw requested by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. The bylaw includes language related to quail. (Wikipedia Commons photo)
Province asks for tweaks to Nanaimo’s animal responsibility bylaw

Ministry concerned bylaw wording could create municipal and provincial jurisdictional overlaps

Most Read