Henry Morgan Community Park in Electoral Area H is one of the parks Regional District of Nanaimo staff looked at for ideas and options for the natural playground that is being planned for the Nanoose Bay community. — RDN photo

RDN set to work on Nanoose Bay natural playground

Staff lists course of action it plans to undertake this year for the project

Regional district staff have outlined anticipated project tasks to begin the planning and design for a natural playground at Stone Lake Drive Community Park.

Last October, the Regional District of Nanaimo board moved and seconded that Stone Lake Community Park be pursued as a pilot project for a natural playground. This was decided after staff looked at other potential park development areas.

The project was requested by Nanoose Bay residents after the playground infrastructure at the Nanoose Community Park was dismantled. The residents felt that a natural playground would be a good replacement at a new location.

Stone Lake Community Park is a 2.96-acre area that has trails, fenced retention ponds, a park entry sign and RDN water services. Staff indicated it is an ideal location that people can easily access either by walking or biking.

Staff has already reviewed other natural playgrounds in RDN jurisdictions, such as Meadowood Way Community Park in Electoral Area F and Henry Morgan Community Park in Electoral Area H, for ideas and options.

Among the expected work RDN staff will be looking to undertake this year are a site survey and coming up with preliminary concepts.

At the regular Electoral Area E Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee meeting, scheduled for June 13, staff will work on the date, venue and format for public engagement to be held either in the last week of September or first week of October.

Park staff will begin working on engagement materials, write invitation letters, and prepare presentation materials, comment forms and a sign-in sheet.

Based on the input collected at the public engagement, staff will prepare a summary of comments, pursue a preferred concept plan based on the feedback received, and seek design-build quotes from playground installation companies.

A report will be presented to the RDN board for direction to retain a firm and allocation of funds in the 2019 budget for the project. It will be funded by the Community Works Fund.

The anticipated cost of the project at this time is $1,500 for the site survey. The preliminary design, as well as the public engagement materials and planning, will be done in-house. Following the public engagement and budget for 2019, quotes for the design-build fees will be obtained.

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