Pawson Park renovations attract more users

Old City Quarter area residents are reclaiming their neighbourhood park with renovations and a community art project that’s creating a sense of ownership.

Veronica Buck and her daughter Sessaly

Veronica Buck and her daughter Sessaly

Old City Quarter area residents are reclaiming their neighbourhood park with renovations and a community art project that’s creating a sense of ownership.

Renovations to Pawson Park, located at the corner of Franklyn and Machleary streets, began in early spring. The City of Nanaimo consulted with neighbourhood residents and invited Yvonne Vander Kooi to become an ‘artist in residence’.

Residents are celebrating Phase 1 of the park revitalization today (Aug. 4) from 4-7 p.m. The Nanaimo Old City Association also hosts an event Aug. 11 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

The project has engaged the neighbourhood and residents now feel more invested in the space and recognized by the city, Vander Kooi said.

She began her project, painting a mural on the washroom and storage building, in early July. She gathered community stories and incorporated them into her art piece. She wanted residents to have more connection to the renovated space and invited them to help create art pieces, adhering to a flora and fauna theme.

“It’s been a brilliant project to be involved in. It’s been a real privilege,” said Vander Kooi.

The $70,000 revitalization project was covered through the city’s capital plan. Upgrades include removing an old wading pool, renovating the washrooms, creating more storage for parks and recreation summer drop-in programs, creating a community garden, planting grass, installing new playground equipment and making it wheelchair accessible.

Area resident Veronica Buck said the transformation has restored the community feel and made the park functional.

“It’s just a real blessing now. It’s really heartening to see this happening,” said Buck. “It is now becoming an exceptional park. It’s inviting positive attitudes and inviting positive input.

Prior to the renovations, there was graffiti and parents would find used needles and condoms, Buck said. But now there are always people using the park and those elements are being eliminated. Whenever she goes past, she sees families using the park, she said.

Doug Creba, a Nanaimo Old City Association director, said when people use the park, it becomes a more comfortable and safe place.

“Public space is only valuable when people use it,” he said.

With accessibility issues addressed, the park is attracting people from different generations.

Jeff Ritchie, senior manager of parks and civic facilities for the city, said because the park is across from Malaspina Gardens and wheelchair accessible, it’s becoming an inter-generational space.

“It’s a big improvement from what was there. It’s a real amenity for the neighbourhood,” he said.

The Pawson Park opening celebration will feature the unveiling of the mural and permanent art display created by community members. There will also be live music and a potluck – residents are encouraged to bring a dish to share.

The Nanaimo Old City Association picnic and barbecue is Thursday (Aug.11) from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

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

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read