Interim solutions considered for Nanaimo’s Caledonia Park

NANAIMO – Park upgrades part of Nanaimo’s budget discussions.

Caledonia Park is a bit of a fixer-upper, and the city could be getting to work soon.

The City of Nanaimo’s parks and rec department will present options regarding the football field to councillors in the next few weeks as part of budget talks.

Richard Harding, parks and rec director, said staff are focusing on interim solutions at Caledonia Park in the $250,000 range. Movable bleachers and renovations to the locker rooms are priorities.

“We’re still [working] on a long-term improvement plan for Caledonia,” Harding said. “City council’s asking, ‘well, what can you do interim?’”

The Vancouver Island Raiders play home games at the Wall Street venue, and the Canadian Junior Football League and the B.C. Football Conference have asked the junior football team to get its facility up to standards.

Raiders president Chris Cross has been working with city staff on plans for upgrades.

His company, Palladian Developments, has offered to partner with the municipality on the project, providing machinery and manpower.

“We’ll try to save some money by doing some in-kind stuff and I’ve got some other corporate sponsors that can help out in various ways, hopefully, when we get the word,” Cross said. “It’ll be working together and trying to help out so it takes the burden off the taxpayer.”

The Caledonia Park upgrades issue came before council two months ago, but councillors voted to delay any decision-making until budget deliberations. With that process now underway, parks and rec needs to ready its report.

Harding said a couple of different options exist for the locker rooms.

“Most of the complaints from junior football is that a visiting team should have similar amenities,” he said. “We’ve got some ideas that we’re going to look at, possibly some renos to the existing buildings there. Another option is, do we bring in a temporary building?”

There has been talk of demolishing the bleachers, which might be a likely recommendation of the report. Harding suggested that the city might purchase aluminum bleachers similar to the ones that were installed last year at Merle Logan Field.

“[They] could either stay there for the long term or be moved to another location,” he said.

Those sort of bleachers might mean that the entire existing grandstand – bleachers, walls and roof – would have to go, a tradeoff of shelter for sightlines. “Sometimes with the new bleachers you can actually get yourself up higher. You are more exposed to the elements, but that’s part of football,” Harding said.

He said the report will present a few different choices and will come before council no later than next month. The Raiders, for their part, are holding their breath that something will finally be done about their home field.

“I’m hoping that the city will make a decision this month that we can go ahead and start doing some renovations, just to get us through until the big picture gets decided,” Cross said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Help keep customer service workers safe

Remember that people asking you to respect health guidelines are still people, says retail worker

Paul Manly reacts to Liberal throne speech

Manly says the Liberals need to back up their promises with action

Best of the City: Greek taverna takes top spot

Asteras in the Old City Quarter chosen Nanaimo’s Best Restaurant Overall

Best of the City: Making a house a home

Dodd’s Furniture, voted Best Furniture Store, settles into new location in Nanaimo

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Best of the City: This year’s winners

Nanaimo News Bulletin presents full results of our 2020 Best of the City readers’ survey

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Snuneymuxw artist brings aquatic designs to Nanaimo’s Beban Park pool

Work by artist Eliot White-Hill is being installed at the pool this month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read