Jack Bagley Community Park in Nanoose Bay will see significant improvements as early as this fall.
Thanks in part to $500,000 in Canada Community Revitalization Fun (CCRF) funding, the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will be able to construct five pickleball courts and one tennis court, a paved plaza with picnic tables, a new washroom building and accessibility improvements.
Many of these amenities were already funded and are already under construction, but the washroom building and covered picnic area were dependent on the CCRF funding, which was announced July 19 by Harjit Sajjan, minister of international development and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan).
“We have helped put small and medium sized businesses on the road to recovery,” Sajjan said. “Now it’s time to invest in the shared public spaces and tourism experiences that will bring people together and help communities in our province grow and thrive well into the future.”
The sports courts, plaza and accessibility improvements are set for completion this fall, according to Yann Gagnon, RDN Parks Services manager. The washroom building and picnic shelter should be done by mid-2023.
The funds are part of a more than $4.3 million investment through the CCRF for 13 projects in central and northern Vancouver Island, as well as $406,647 through the Tourism Relief Fund for five projects in the region.
“Jack Bagley Park is another great example of how a community can come together as an asset,” Sajjan said. “And pickleball, I was just told how popular it actually is, so I look forward to coming back one day and giving it a little try myself a little down the road.”
The project will support community engagement, encourage sport tourism in the region and create a hub for outdoor recreation programming, according to a news release by PacifiCan.
Snaw-naw-as chief Gordon Edwards welcomed Sajjan to Nanoose Bay.
“It’s appropriate, in a way, that this is occurring here,” Edwards said. “This was our original settlement. This area was where our people first were a thousand years ago, two thousand years ago. When you consider our nations up and down the province, you always find that they’re near a river, or at the end of a river for the harvesting, for the hunting, for the ease of transportation.”
The CCRF funding will also go towards the $300,000 Lions Ventureland Playground upgrade in Parksville and $90,000 to construct a new entrance pavilion at the Parksville Museum, according to PacifiCan.
The CCRF and TRF programs were launched in summer 2021. The CCRF includes $500 million over two years for regional development agencies and Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada to support tourism businesses and organizations with adapting operations to meet public health requirements while investing in products and services to facilitate future growth.
— NEWS Staff