The Regional District of Nanaimo board will vote on whether to spend $527,000 for a parking lot at Mount Benson Regional Park at its Jan. 22 regular meeting.
Currently there is parking for 24 vehicles on Benson View Road, but the RDN heard traffic complaints from residents and based on information collected by staff in summer 2016, it was determined an average of 54 people use the park a day. The board subsequently sought a long-term parking solution and a request for proposals for contractors took place between November and December.
RDN’s committee of the whole recommends awarding the contract to Milestone Equipment Contracting and directors will vote on final approval at the meeting. Milestone was one of eight contractors bidding and according to an RDN staff report, was selected as it was “the lowest compliant bidder.”
The RDN will keep an $80,000 contingency fund due to uncertainty of rock removal, as per a recommendation of McElhanney Consulting, which assisted with design and RFP. The regional district will also spend $40,000 on trail work to connect the parking area with nearby Witchcraft Lake Regional Trail.
Wendy Marshall, RDN parks services manager, said work will have to be done to clear the route through and possibly put in drainage, adding that it won’t be a huge trail, but rather a natural footpath.
Maureen Young, RDN director for the area, said her constituents have complained about congestion and the majority are in favour.
“I’d say a consensus of them are happy that there’s going to be a parking lot there, I think they are,” said Young. “We certainly had meetings with them and spoke to them … I really can’t say if everybody’s totally happy, but I think the majority are.”
According to the report, it is anticipated the lot will require $16,500 a year to maintain with snow plowing, line mark painting, toilet servicing, garbage collection, trail repair and signage, in addition to a fence and gate.
If approved, the project is anticipated to be completed by May 31. Marshall said there will be over 100 parking spots and it could vary once construction occurs.
The regional district set aside $1.1 million in its 2018 regional parks capital budget for the project.
In October 2017, the RDN announced it had acquired the land on Benson View Road for $580,000.