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Parksville society requests shuttle buses for special events at community park

Mayor sends letter of support to RDN transit committee
Events organized by the Parksville Beach Festival Society at Parksville Outdoor Theatre can draw a high volume of visitors during summer. (PQB News photo)

The Parksville Community Park will be a hub of activity come this summer.

Leading the way are two special events lined up by the Parksville Beach Festival Society at the Outdoor Theatre for the Performing Arts located on Ravenhill Road. A concert from the band Trooper takes place on July 13 and the Rock the Park Music Festival goes Aug. 9 to Aug. 11.

Parking at the park and surrounding areas near the theatre will be at a premium and can lead to concerns about traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and increased vehicle emissions.

As way to mitigate these issues, the PBFS has approached the Regional District of Nanaimo with a request to provide more transit buses to shuttle visitors and residents to the special events.

The request was also endorsed by Parksville Mayor Doug O’Brien, who provided a letter of support that was presented at the the RDN transit committee meeting on Thursday, May 23.

“Increased service levels at Parksville bus stops throughout the city during the days and hours of these events, or the provision of a dedicated transit shuttle service, has the potential to greatly decrease the volume of vehicle traffic in the downtown core during these events,” O’Brien stated in his letter.

“This would result in fewer vehicle emissions and a lower carbon footprint for the event and would greatly improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, both in the park and beyond. Furthermore, local businesses may also benefit from the high volume of visitors downtown, without the adverse effects of their parking being negatively impacted.”

O’Brien also indicated the success of the special events is highly dependent on how easily visitors and residents can get to the venue.

READ MORE: BC Transit approves bus link between Deep Bay and Courtenay

“If visitors find events difficult to access, it can deter future attendance at a particular venue,” said O’Brien, who added that “support of this request could also represent benefit to the regional transit program as well. Residents who access transit during special events may be encouraged to use transit more regularly once they experience the comfort and convenience.”

RDN staff members indicated the two events meet the regional district’s policy regarding the use of buses. They determined designated transit shuttles would provide the ideal option. Two buses will be allocated for the two events.

Pick-up and drop-off locations are still being determined between the society and the RDN and they include the Ravensong Aquatic Centre, Ballenas Secondary School, the Parksville Transit Exchange (on Jensen Avenue), and the Heritage Mall. Two buses would be allocated to each event, running over four days on July 13, Aug. 9, 10, and 11.

The transit committee endorsed staff recommendation to ask the RDN board to approved the PBFS request for shuttles.

The PBFS plans to run the shuttles by donation to help recover the costs of the service. RDN staff members will also consult with BC Transit to look at any potential cost-saving measures that would benefit the society.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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