A new boathouse is being planned for the shores of Nanaimo’s Long Lake.
The City of Nanaimo has released plans to build a boathouse at Loudon Park by 2023. The proposed 5,500-square-foot facility would become the new home for the Nanaimo Rowing Club and the Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club. An existing facility at Loudon Park currently used by both clubs was built in 1967.
According to a staff report, the Loudon Park boathouse would feature boat storage, a multi-purpose room, kitchen, two offices, mechanical and electrical rooms, washrooms and showers.
Staff have estimated the project to cost anywhere between $1.35 to $2 million, according to the report, which notes that architectural designs would cost $123,750 while construction costs, including geotechnical and civil engineering work, would cost between $1.22-1.9 million.
During a finance and audit committee meeting on Oct. 16, councillors voted unanimously in favour of recommending allocation of $123,750 in the 2020 financial plan for design work for the boathouse project. They also agreed to have staff work with the Long Lake Flatwater Training Centre Society, which represents the rowing and canoe and kayak clubs, and the Rotary Club of Nanaimo North on the project.
The Loudon Park Improvement Plan, which was adopted by council in 2007 and updated in 2010, calls for the replacement of the 52-year-old facility because it does not meet the needs of the padding organizations and the “community as a whole.”
“It has been in the budget for a number of years … but we just couldn’t get to a point where there was enough momentum with either the paddlers or the rowing club,” Nanaimo parks manager Richard Harding said.
Craig Rutherford, president of the training centre society, told councillors that both the rowing and canoe and kayak club have been working together for years.
“We’ve always wanted to have a joint facility; we had ideas going back to the mid-1990s and some old plans and conceptual drawings, so this plan has been around for a long time,” he said.
Rutherford explained that the society was created in 2015 in order to develop and operate facilities that support training and operational needs of rowing and paddling sports on Long Lake as well as to create a “financial separation” between the clubs and the boathouse project. He said the current facility is aging, is too small for the needs of both organizations and prone to damage from fallen trees and theft because boats have to be stored outside.
“Nanaimo Rowing Club has had three outboard engines stolen; Nanaimo Canoe and Kayak Club had three outboard engines as well as 13 kayaks stolen,” Rutherford said.
Having a new facility, he said, would also give both clubs the ability to host bigger competitions and events.
Ed Pollie, treasurer of the Rotary Club of Nanaimo North, told councillors his club would provide the city with a donation of $100,000 toward the project and will work with other organizations to raise money. He said the club will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Nanaimo in 2022 and wanted to do something that will have a lasting impact.
“We’ve chosen to support this project for a number of very good reasons. It will result in a significant improvement to Nanaimo’s recreational infrastructure and, for us, it will provide lasting visible evidence of our contribution to the community,” he said.
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