Parksville council debates location for proposed aquatic centre site

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Council voted to begin forming an expert advisory committee for the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre. 

The Advisory Technical Working Group (ATWG) is meant to provide neutral expert advice on studies and consultant reports, according to the city. 

Coun. Doug O’Brien, the only member opposed, said he could not support forming the committee yet because he wants to see more public consultation, particularly regarding the centre’s proposed location on Despard Avenue.

“I don’t want to be railroaded into this being the only site,” said O’Brien. “There’s other sites that have to be considered.”

The city’s website, Let’s Talk Parksville, lists six potential sites including Parksville Community Park, Island Highway and Pym Street, Wembley Mall, Parksville Elementary School, Tuan Road and Despard Avenue. 

Mayor Ed Mayne said council voted on the site’s proposed location at a previous meeting.

“Unless this site is proven that it’s not going to work through the consultant and through the advisory technical working group, this is the site we’ve proposed,” he said.

He added once the ATWB finishes its work, the city will present its findings to the community and let people decide what they want. 

O’Brien said he wanted more public consultation before the committee was formed so the city would know how big a site will be needed. 

The group will be between five and 10 members and will be appointed by council. It will be made up of experts from fields including geotechnical engineering, civil engineering, hydrogeology, environmental biology, traffic engineering, architectural design, construction, project management, public communications, financial management and land use planning, according to the city.

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