Funds in place for upgrades

Work at Parksville's Nicholls Park underway after the good work of local students involved in the Civic Action Group

With the fundraising goal met and city work underway, The Ballenas Civic Action Group is ready to upgrade Nicholls Park.

“We have achieved our fundraising goal of around $20,000 towards the park, from generous contributions from the City of Parksville, Ballenas Secondary School and the Parksville-Qualicum Beach Foundation,” said group president Nic Annau by e-mail.

“A large portion of our fundraising has come from (principal) Mr. Boyd and (vice principal) Mr. Bold of Ballenas Secondary School, and they gave us the final push that we needed in order to start construction.”

The major revitalization work of what is currently little more than a grass field beside the high school was initiated by the previous year’s Civic Action Group and carried on through last summer and the school year.

The students surveyed 300 residents in the area last year to develop the proposals, designed plans, lobbied city council for support and raised the funds to upgrade the park named in 1979 in honour of John Leonard Nicholls, a long time teacher, administrator and dedicated community member.

“One of the main ideas of the Nicholls Park Revitalization Project was to try and engage students, city workers and community members in a project that would benefit the community as a whole,” Annau said, explaining “The Civics Action Group is a great example of the good that can be done in your community when individuals and groups of various disciplines work together towards a common goal, and it encourages students to become involved in similar projects in the future.”

“I’m completely blown away,” council liaison Carrie Powell-Davidson previously said of the group. “I was speaking to the OAP (Old Age Pensioners group) I was telling them how impressed I am and I said: ‘you guys you don’t need to worry. If these kids in this Civic Action Group are any indication of our leaders tomorrow, we’re in good hands’.”

The group, which grew out of a Civics 11 class worked on other project this year including a soft plastics recycling program, presentations on environmental issues to elementary students and a mock election.

Annau — who won the won Youth of the Year at the 2012 Glassies — said he’s proud that the project will be part of the legacy of the group and the entire 2013 grad class including a commemorative oak tree being provided by the grad class.

The park work includes the addition of a gravel path through the middle, new benches, picnic tables, garbage cans and shade trees.

City staff were installing underground irrigation last week, with up to $9,500 in city funding supported by council and though the group has secured a lot of volunteer help, donations and in-kind services, they are calling on all the community for all help they can get this week.