Paul Winn

Paul Winn

Departure Bay walkway upgraded

NANAIMO – Walkway upgrades include benches, picnic tables and electrical outlets.

When Paul Winn stepped foot on the newly renovated and improved walkway at Departure Bay, he was thrilled.

“I was very impressed,” Winn said. “It was beyond what I thought it would look like.”

For the last five months, the Departure Bay walkway has undergone major renovations and is nearly complete, with only a few minor repairs needed.

The original walkway was constructed in 1969 and was nothing more than a pathway divided by an asphalt barrier. Plans to renovate to the walkway date back to 2006, after the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Plan was adopted by city council.

After roughly nine years of planning, the city approved the $964,000 new walkway in early 2015 and hired Knappett Industries to build it. Construction costs also include storm sewer work and installation of electrical kiosks for events and vendors.

“They really followed the people’s wishes and made it a comfortable and inviting place to want to be,” Winn said.

The new walkway addresses the issues such as the uneven slope of the pathway and the lack of amenities. The walkway comes with LED lighting, bench seats, picnic tables, hand rails, a designated place for a food truck and is wheelchair accessible.

“They preserved the plaques from the old benches that were dedicated to people,” Winn said.

Departure Bay’s history runs deep. The area was long home to the Snuneymuxw First Nation and was discovered by Spanish settlers in the 1700s. It became a popular harbour, particularly during the coal era.

The new walkway will pay tribute to the area’s history, as concrete bases have been installed for a potential First Nations monument. Information signs are installed along the walkway.

Winn, a board member with the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association, said members are pleased with the result.

“Everybody was very pleased with the work that the city did and the construction company,” he said.

Winn said one day he would like to see the walkway extended out to the Departure Bay ferry terminal.

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