Nanaimo’s Italian Fountain to receive improvements

NANAIMO – City landmark needs updating as downtown core continues revitalization.

The city will make improvements to the Italian Fountain in front of Port Place Shopping Centre. Some landscaping has already been done to thin out and sculpt nearby bushes and clean up garden beds

A downtown landmark donated by Nanaimo’s Italian community 50 years ago will get a facelift.

The Italian Fountain, located on Terminal Avenue by the Port Place Mall and Nanaimo Casino, was completed in 1961 and given to the City of Nanaimo to recognize the province’s 100th anniversary.

As downtown revitalization occurs around the fountain – Port Place is undergoing a massive renovation, the casino is expected to be revamped and the Vancouver Island Conference Centre opened a few years ago – little updating has been done to the fountain itself.

As a result, it’s become a place where drug paraphernalia is discarded and there’s an increasing number of complaints from the RCMP, nearby merchants and parks staff.

“Improvements will be made over the course of this year as it’s really getting quite dilapidated,” said Coun. Diana Johnstone. “It’s been a landmark for some time, so we’ll work with [Port Place owner] First Capital to make those improvements. First Capital has indicated it wishes the fountain to remain because it has been a landmark and a gift from the Italian community.”

Improvements will include updating the fountain structure, as well as mechanical and electrical components, and improving the green space around it to add esthetics and reduce places where crime can occur.

A design draft plan is expected to go before the Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission this month, and the city will work with stakeholders to seek funding for the project.

Mansfield Park, located in the city’s hospital district, will also get an update. The seldom-used wading pool we be removed and replaced with more modern spray equipment. Public consultation will take place beginning in September and, if approved, improvements will be carried out in spring 2013.

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