Drawings of the layout of a Rotary Centennial Garden at Maffeo Sutton Park. VICTORIA DRAKEFORD/City of Nanaimo image

Rotary gets the go-ahead for a peace garden at Maffeo Sutton Park

Club will fully fund $200,000 project in a corner of the park looking out on Newcastle Channel

The Rotary Club of Nanaimo has been granted the go-ahead to create a sort of park within a park on Nanaimo’s waterfront.

Nanaimo city councillors, at a committee of the whole meeting Monday, voted unanimously to approve the Rotary Centennial Garden project in the northeast corner of Maffeo Sutton Park.

Nanaimo Rotary is fully funding the $200,000 garden, with city staff to manage the project and construct it, in co-ordination with Rotarians, in time for a May 2020 opening. The garden is a legacy project for Rotary’s coming 100th anniversary.

Victoria Drakeford, landscape architect, told councillors that the work and values of Rotarians include promoting peace.

“So we interpreted that as being a place to reflect and sort of sit and enjoy the view and the park,” Drakeford said.

The garden will be circular, with a circle of patterned pavement bordered by a benches and a trellis, “expanding rings of vegetation” with pathways, and interpretive signs, said the landscape architect. She said the design is inspired by Nanaimo’s intertidal coastline, with wave patterns in a few elements.

Mayor Leonard Krog thanked the Rotary members for their support of the project and expressed that he’s pleased it will happen, and other councillors also praised the plans.

“I think this is a beautiful project and I’m really pleased to see this corner of the park be used for something so beautiful,” said Coun. Erin Hemmens.

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In the fall of 2017, Nanaimo Rotary came before city councillors and expressed interest in a legacy project at Maffeo Sutton Park, indicating they were interested in working with a group called the Socially Inclusive Park Project on an accessible playground and an adjacent peaceful area.

“While the Nanaimo Rotary support the inclusive playground project in priciple, their focus site for [a] Rotary recognition and contemplation project has now moved to a proposed site adjacent to the playground,” noted this week’s staff report.

Richard Harding, city director of parks and recreation, said the accessible playground has been in the budget for a few years and construction on Phase 1 is expected to begin at the end of 2019 at the same time as construction of the peace garden. Harding said the city will spend about $500,000 on Phase 1 of the playground, with the Nanaimo Child Development Centre providing an additional $100,000 thanks to a successful grant application to the Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.


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