The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will proceed with the next phase of design and planning for the Ravensong Aquatic Centre (RAC) expansion project.
The RDN board has identified two preferred options. Both include a new four-lane, 25 m pool with ramp entry, renovated sauna and steam rooms and new, or mostly new, change rooms, reception, lobby, public washrooms, staff support spaces and multipurpose room/classroom. Also included in the project will be seismic, electrical and mechanical upgrades and sustainability measures to meet current provincial code requirements and the RDN’s Green Building Policy.
“As the only indoor pool in a 45 km radius of its location and the most used indoor recreation facility in the Oceanside region, this expansion will help meet the recreational needs of Oceanside residents for many years,” said Brian Wiese, Oceanside Services Committee (OSC) chair. “The committee is looking forward to receiving more information from the project team and putting forth a recommendation to the board.”
The target start date under consideration for the multi–phase project is late 2023/early 2024. With direction provided by the OSC and RDN Board, the expansion will occur in two phases to minimize disruptions and closures to the public as well as allow more planning time to consider what pool aquatic space the community may want.
“During the master plan community engagement process that was completed in 2019, RAC stakeholder groups shared their support of an expansion to the aquatic centre,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chair. “An expanded RAC will provide more opportunities for residents to participate in recreational activities they identified as important to their quality of life.”
The OSC will receive a recommendation for the RAC expansion at their Nov. 17 meeting. The report will provide refined timelines and any implications stemming from the City of Parksville’s progress on an aquatic centre in Parksville. If approved by the committee, the recommendation will then be put forward to the board for review and approval.
Constructed in 1995 and located in Qualicum Beach, RAC has served Oceanside communities for over 25 years. With more people moving to the area every year and insufficient space to meet the growing demand for recreational services, however, the facility needs an expansion, according to the RDN. The addition of a second pool and other amenity improvements at RAC will provide residents with greater access to aquatic, fitness and wellness programming.