Petition calls for Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre to save its water clock

NANAIMO – Removal of Woodgrove Shopping Centre's 6.3-metre high water clock has not been confirmed.

A new petition is raising the alarm on the potential removal of Woodgrove’s 34-year-old water clock.

Ivanhoe Cambridge, owner of Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Shopping Centre, announced a $17-million renovation to the north-end mall, which will include the space surrounding its 6.3-metre water clock.

A petition, launched last week on, claims the clock, an “iconic piece of Nanaimo’s history,” will be removed as part of renovations and calls for it to be saved. It’s collected close to 1,300 signatures.

Julia Dow, general manager of the mall, told the News Bulletin the location where the water clock stands will be part of the renovation and in the beginning, the vision for that space was an open concept, which is modern and can host community events. Design options are being looked at and it’s too early to speculate what’s being considered in regards to the clock, according to Dow, who said once options have been finalized they would take a look at the whole picture and what its future may hold.

“We’re definitely hearing what people are saying. There’s very consistent messaging in the petition,” Dow said. “It’s interesting that it’s coming all over, not just Nanaimo.”

Mark Robinson, a Nanaimo resident who’s added his name to the petition, says the clock is part of our culture and heritage. He’d like to see it left in its original spot, or given to the City of Nanaimo.

“It’s private property obviously – we can’t just force someone to not renovate their building when all the bylaws are in order,” he said. “But certainly it has … a strong emotional connection to a lot of people who grew up in Nanaimo, lived in Nanaimo, moved to Nanaimo and people who are not even from Nanaimo.”

The water clock has been in the mall since it opened in 1981, according to Chief Straight Tongue, a book on developer Deane Finlayson by Donna Dash.

The recent renovation announced in September is the first major revamp since Woodgrove was expanded and updated in 2000, and will include a larger guest services location, updated food court amenities and new flooring.

– With files from Chris Bush


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