The site of the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre will be determined by the next city council, following the Oct. 15, 2022 General Local Elections.
Parksville council received, during its July 18 regular meeting, a preliminary site suitability report by Keeva Kehler, chief administrative officer, that identified three potential locations at Tuan Road, the corner of Alberni Highway and Despard Avenue, and the Parksville Community Park.
The site located at Alberni and Despard Avenue is privately-owned and there does not appear to be a willing seller, so the cost is unknown, according to Kehler’s report. It is located adjacent to some high-density residential and well-positioned to nearby commercial and medical services, the report stated.
The community park site is owned by the city, but a number of competing activities within the park could affect a preferred design configuration and this is anticipated to limit future expansion, the report found. This site is well-positioned to Parksville’s downtown core and easily accessed by vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. The preliminary report does not consider factors such as archaeological and floodplain concerns.
The third potential site on Tuan Road is owned by the city, but may be contaminated due to formerly being a municipal garbage dump.
“We’re struggling to get some answers from the province with respect to the process we would have to go through to remove the covenant that precludes building on the site,” Kehler said.
The site is not close to any residential areas, has limited access to amenities and is located in an industrial area, according to the report. It is reasonably close to some resorts, but they are separated by the Island Highway.
A portion of the site appears to be within the Eagle & Heron Nesting & Perch Tree development permit area, the report said. The lower portion of the site could require clearing of trees and foliage.
Staff have been communicating with Regional District of Nanaimo recreation representatives to share information on the Parksville project and Ravensong expansion project.
Staff believe coordination will be important for both projects.
An advisory scientific working group was established to review technical reports and provide advice to council throughout the process. This group has not yet been activated, according to Kehler’s report.
Staff have reached out to neighbouring First Nations and will continue to engage as the project evolves.