Vancouver Island University, City of Nanaimo and residents are teaming to beautify Cottle Creek Park.
The city granted $35,000 to the Cottle Creek Park fundraising committee through the Partners in Parks program and the university’s heavy equipment operator program will clear the land on Nottingham Drive at no cost. Cheryl Headey, committee spokeswoman, said the vision is to have a gathering place with playground picnic tables and benches.
The park was previously populated with invasive plants and garbage, Headey said.
“We want something down here where it’s desirable for people to gather bring their kids to or for people to come and enjoy the scenery,” said Headey. “It’s a beautiful setting. We’ve got the Cottle Creek Park in our background and a nice pond area where there’s bird watching.”
Kevin Levins, university heavy equipment operator program instructor, said his students began digging Thursday with excavators. In addition to clearing the site, it provides a training opportunity as well.
“Our goal is to train our students to become more employable in industry and to do that we need to go out to areas like this, but we want to make sure it’s a non-profit organization … they had to raise their [money on their own].”
As long as the university doesn’t take away work from local contractors, it’s a win-win situation, Levins said. Students get training and become more familiar with industry training.
Headey said approximately $70,000 will be needed for the project and the group is currently fundraising. Along with money from the city, the group is applying for numerous grants and has received some donations – there is about $30,000 more needed, Headey said.
The Partners in Parks program has been utilized by a number of community groups and is successful, said Ian Thorpe, Nanaimo city councillor and parks and rec commission chairman.
“I looked at the (Cottle Creek) site when they made their proposal and it looks like the perfect place for a playground and so I’m really hoping they’ll be successful with their efforts and we’re happy to support them,” Thorpe said.