During the latest Parksville city council meeting on Monday, April 11, Michael Lonsdale, a manager of special projects for the city, provided a brief update on ongoing renovations to the longtime Parksville Community Centre facility.
“Within this project we’ve been working really hard to try and make the community centre available for public use whenever possible,” said Lonsdale. “That’s definitely been a challenge along the way, but it’s something that I’m really proud to say we’ve been able to achieve.”
Since the contract for renovations was awarded, Island Health has had a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the site, BGC held a March break ‘teen’ event and PASS/Woodwinds have held weekly culinary arts program classes.
Behind the centre, there will be three outdoor play space areas; one for children aged two-and-a-half to five years old; one for children from birth to three years old; and one for out-of-school and community use.
According to Lonsdale, the focus for the play spaces have been on using natural play elements such as sandboxes, stump tables and stools and stepping stone paths.
Inside towards the back of the centre will be two main childcare spaces. A former meeting room will provide space for children from birth to three years old and include a large nap room, a new washroom and change area.
A former executive director’s office will be converted into a universal washroom with five regular and one accessible private stalls.
Within the gymnasium, a central roll divider will be installed to provide a barrier down the middle and to allow for different activities to happen at the same time.
Along the perimeter of the centre, a ‘book nook’ will be installed with benches and low bookshelves to provide an area for people to sit and relax.
To the left of the gymnasium, a former storage area will be made into a meeting space with two tables and a ‘fire-pit’ style conversation area.
“This can get used as rentable space for the community. And I also believe the new operators of the community centre are planning on hosting ‘teen groups’ in this room,” said Lonsdale.
Alongside renovations, the community centre will also have two 24-passenger shuttle buses to transport children from before-school care to schools, and then back at the end of the day for after-school care.
Since the start of demolition in February, work crews have added plumbing, electrical work, fire alarms, HVAC and drywall.
“As part of the project, we are replacing the entire fire detection and alarm system within the community centre. That is to bring it up to the new B.C. building code and make it compliant,” said Lonsdale.
Renovation completion is expected for the summer of 2022.
Activities that will continue at the centre, according to Londsale, will be the Canadian Blood Services blood drive, municipal elections, provincial and federal elections, town hall meetings, sports groups, performing arts, community groups, private parties and celebrations, fundraising banquets and meeting and public engagement events.