The Parksville water tower, which was set for demolition this year, will be donated along with $35,000 to the E&N Division Canadian Railway Historical Association (CRHA).
On Nov. 2, the vice president of E&N Division CRHA, Jack Peake, went before Parksville city council to ask if the city would gift the water tower, currently located at 600 Alberni Highway, along with the sum of $35,000 in order to relocate it to Island Corridor Foundations (ICF) property.
“We want to look at this as an oppotunity now to preserve the structure but also to have it preserved in such a way that it can actually work and be used,” Peake said.
He initially asked council for $50,000, as this was his estimate to retain and restore the water tower and would help “defray the costs.” After deliberation with council, and stating the organization did have $20,000 put aside for this project, he said he “could work $35,000.”
According to Peake, E&N Division CRHA are interested in keeping the water tower as “it’s the last fully intact, original style tower on the E&N railway.”
“It has heritage status written all over it, which attracts money.”
The organization also sees this as an opportunity to bring tourists to Parksville, should they someday have a steam locomotive tourist train operating on the rail corridor.
“We are firmly in the position of believing that at some point in time in the future, this railway will be up and running and (Parksville) is a prime candidate for tourist trains.”
Peake said he would be “mighty surprised” if the railways did not come back to life.
The final resting place of the tower would be approximately 150 feet south of its current location.