City considers Caledonia Park upgrades

Nanaimo city council, at its regular meeting on Monday, asked staff to prepare a report on potential upgrades to the park.

V.I. Raiders mascot Shank Show fires up the crowd at Caledonia Park during the B.C. Football Conference championship last month.

V.I. Raiders mascot Shank Show fires up the crowd at Caledonia Park during the B.C. Football Conference championship last month.

Changes could be coming to Caledonia Park, just not quite yet.

Nanaimo city council, at its regular meeting on Monday, asked staff to prepare a report on potential upgrades to the park and voted that any firm decisions will be made at budget deliberations.

Richard Harding, the city’s parks and recreation director, said that doesn’t necessarily mean that park improvements are being delayed.

“If anything, I think that council is saying, ‘we want you to bring some more detail for us so we can start moving forward,’” he said.

Council members generally spoke in favour of interim upgrades to Caledonia Park, to at least bring it up to Football B.C. standards. Mayor John Ruttan said he totally supports spending $250,000 on portable changerooms, washrooms and bleachers at the site, suggesting the city would be pleasing “the tenant we have and encouraging more use at Caledonia with, I think, a reasonable investment to do so.”

Coun. Diane Brennan, though, wondered why nobody was calling for a cost-benefit analysis.

“We’re not subjecting this to the same kind of scrutiny that we are subjecting other asset improvements to,” she said.

Coun. George Anderson said it would be “premature and unfair” not to subject the park upgrades to the budget process.

The football stadium issue was brought before city council this week because Nanaimo school district is working on the master planning process at Nanaimo District Secondary School and is in consultations with the municipality on joint use of its properties including Rotary Bowl.

A 1,500-seat football stadium, with lights, artificial turf and other amenities would cost about $6 million at either Caledonia Park or Rotary Bowl, according to a City of Nanaimo staff report.

“I’m not interested in spending $6 million on Caledonia so that we can play six games a year on it,” said Coun. Bill McKay. “I want to see if we can make whatever field we choose the capital for football in Nanaimo. Be it high school, be it the [Vancouver Island] Raiders, be it perhaps even a university team.”

Ruttan suggested Caledonia Park was the better choice because the site belongs to the municipality. Coun. Bill Bestwick didn’t like the idea of having to purchase Rotary Bowl.

“That was built on the blood, sweat and tears of the volunteers of our community and the corporate community,” he said. “Now we’re talking about maybe having to buy it back?”

Any planning at the NDSS site is preliminary, which is why city staff recommended council consider the $250,000 fix at Caledonia Park.

“This joint-use plan for Rotary will take some time, if not years to actually come to fruition,” said Ted Swabey, city manager. “So there’s temporary means that need to be done now.”

Harding said parks and rec budgeting is already underway, so staff will prepare a report and present it at an upcoming budget meeting.

“We’ll work closely with the Raiders, work closely with the B.C. Football Association and make sure that what we do propose will meet their needs,” he said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens between Port Alberni and Tofino

Multi-vehicle accident temporarily closed highway in both directions

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-staff as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Most Read