A screenshot from a Parksville city council meeting where a team from HDR Inc. presented to council an example of a community mapping exercise conducted during a public engagement workshop. (Submitted photo)

A screenshot from a Parksville city council meeting where a team from HDR Inc. presented to council an example of a community mapping exercise conducted during a public engagement workshop. (Submitted photo)

Survey: 3 popular areas indentified for proposed Parksville aquatic/rec centre

Public engagement workshops cited Wembley Mall area, downtown core and industrial park

According to a public consultation study on the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre, three key areas have been identified as viable locations for the facility.

A team from HDR Inc., an engineering and architecture design firm hired by the City of Parksville to hold public engagements events to discuss the proposed centre, went before city council recently to provide an update.

During the presentation, Pierce Sprague, public consultation lead, explained a community mapping exercise conducted during the workshops to determine what was important to participants.

“Identifying preferences for citing for the facility was a big topic of conversation,” he said. “We specifically did not ask people to drop a pin on exactly where they wanted the facility to be located. We were trying to get them to think about connectivity to existing amenities or proximity to residences or schools or whatever they thought was important for adjacencies for this facility.”

Sprague said they were asked where in Parksville they lived, where they typically go for recreational activities, where they run errands and why they might leave city. The questions were asked to get a better understanding what the city has to offer now and what it could potentially offer with the new facility and how it could fit into the community.

The workshops determined three primary areas; the Wembley Mall area, the downtown core and the industrial park area.

READ MORE: Survey: 61 per cent willing to pay more taxes for proposed Parksville aquatic/rec centre

Participants indicated the Wembley Mall area would tie into other existing amenities, such as the ice rink, that it would be close to residential areas and school, that it would be accessible via public transit and could appeal to less serviced areas such as French Creek.

The downtown core was also a favourite, as it could provide a central location to better service the residents of Parksville, it would be located to other existing services and would be accessible via public transit. One significant challenge to the location, however, would be finding a space large enough to accommodate the new facility.

The industrial park area could provide plenty of space and would be far away from tourists and possible traffic congestion, but would be a considerable challenge to access without a vehicle.

“We also heard a number of recurring comments in our workshops, primarily about accessibility concerns,” said Sprague. “They spanned all aspects of the facility; whether that means having easy access to all of the amenities for those with disabilities or mobility challenges.”

He said workshop participants indicated accessibility would need to be integrated into the facility’s design and not built as an afterthought.

“And externally, as well. Being able to have alternative access to transportation such as bus routes, bicycle lanes, walking trails – that sort of accessibility. And not limited to driving up and parking your car in a lot. That was also pretty key to a lot of people’s concerns,” he said.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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