The water tower on the Alberni Highway near the entrance to Parksville will be moved to the east side of the train station this summer.
City council voted to donate the tower to the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Division of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (ENCRHA) last year. It also approved $35,000 to assist with its relocation and restoration.
The tower is a timber structure, which serviced the E & N Railway until it was decommissioned in the early 1950’s, the city said. It was set to be removed in 1996, but was saved from demolition by the Vancouver Island Water Tower Preservation Society.
It was moved about 100 metres along the track to its current location and some restoration was completed by community volunteers.
The city had an engineering firm assess the structure in 2019 and found it to be in poor condition. It was concerned with the structural stability of the tower and the extensive effort it would take to restore.
The cost to demolish the tower was estimated to be $35,600 and the cost to remediate in place would be $273,000. It was determined it would cost $321,000 to deconstruct, move and restore it.
The city decided to have it demolished in 2019, but changed its decision in November 2020. It was donated to The East End Track Gang of the ENCRHA.
“We recognize the water tower has been a landmark on Alberni Highway for years and are pleased The East End Track Gang, as the new caretakers, will restore the water tower,” said Deb Tardiff, manager of communications for the city, in a news release.