Parksville council pauses studies on Despard site for proposed aquatic centre

City of Parksville image showing one proposed site for the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre.
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The city will reallocate funds to alternative location site assessments for the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre and pause studies on the controversial site at the end of Despard Avenue.

The decision followed a verbal report on preliminary findings by Golder-WSP, hired by the city in May.

“Based on initial site visits and discussions with the city staff, WSP has identified potential valuable ecological communities at the site that may present constrictions to the proposed development,” said Christie Lucas, environmental scientist.

Lucas’ recommendation to council was that reports be completed on the preliminary findings before any more assessments are conducted at the Despard site, to determine whether mitigation measures are ecologically or financially feasible.

Mayor Ed Mayne made a motion that council reallocate funding from further Despard site assessments to land site analysis and site condition assessments for alternative locations. 

“When we took on this project, we said we would look at it and if there was something that comes out of the woodwork, we would stop and reevaluate,” he said. “Right now we’re not 100 per cent sure one way or another, but until we are, we’re better off to put this on hold until we get the final report.”

He added he believes the best option is to pause the Despard site studies until Lucas’ report is finalized before spending any more money. Lucas said she anticipates the report will be completed within a month.

Mayne’s motion also stated city staff be directed to move forward with the planned public engagement, to begin later this month. The motion was carried unanimously.

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