Parksville council has voted to issue a development permit for the Gathering Place project in the community park.
The Gathering Place project will include a plaza next to the beach washroom building and Parksville Beach Festival sites, according to a report by Blaine Russell, director of community planning and building.
The project will feature an accessible pedestrian plaza space, seating areas formed out of raised planter beds, 11 pocket gardens, a deck raingardens, permanent umbrellas and outdoor park furniture.
The Gathering Place is expected to improve cultural vibrancy by creating opportunities for additional performances and events, as well as improve foot traffic in the area, according to Russell’s report.
A raised crosswalk is proposed to slow vehicle traffic and improve safety. The design includes spaces for food trucks and festivals, with opportunities for electrical power anticipated at three or four locations.
A 2021 archaeological assessment report of the community park was indicates the project area is low on archaeological potential and is outside of any known sites.
Pervious pavers and raingardens are part of the design to collect and filter water back into the ground.
Two trees will need to be removed to complete the project, according to the report, but this is will be offset by planting 12 to 13 trees, plus additional plant and shrub species.
The proposal was designed by landscape architecture firm The TULA Project, with project oversight from the city’s manager of special projects.
$770,000 has been allocated in the city’s financial plan. That figure includes $420,000 in grant funds from the federal and provincial governments and $171,385 in funds bequeathed by late Parksville resident Johanna Irmgard Charlotte Szepat.
The Gathering Place will replace an exiting lawn area. Russell said it’s hoped the project will be completed by the summer.
Council voted unanimously during its Dec. 19 meeting to issue the development permit.