Work began Wednesday afternoon on a new covered picnic shelter for Canal Waterfront Park in Port Alberni.
A foundation has been laid and the framework has begun between the parking lot and beach access.
City park operations supervisor Rob Gaudreault said he hopes the work will be finished before Christmas “weather permitting.”
The picnic shelter is part of the Kiwanis Club of Port Alberni’s vision for the former Canal Beach, now referred to as a waterfront park. “It’s a gazebo, picnic type shelter where people can sit undercover. We’re going to have picnic tables so people can sit out of the rain,” said Greg Holland, president of the Kiwanis Club.
“There will be a telescope put up on the waterfront, there are the sand courts, the (field) box…that’s part of what we call phase one.”
The first part of development cost between $90–95,000, most of which is already funded, Holland said.
The Kiwanis Club, which puts on the Port Alberni Salmon Festival every year, has been looking for a large project for some time, he said. When plans for Canal Beach surfaced, the club took a hard look at it.
“We’ve been interested in it before, when past mayor John Douglas was promoting it,” Holland said.
“We wanted to do a big project in town. Our profits from Salmon Fest, we disburse them (to numerous groups). We decided we wanted to take on something and give Port Alberni something.”
The picnic shelter will have logs for corner posts, similar to the style of a shelter outside of North Island College. The rest of it will be a wooden structure. “What we’re trying to do is keep it green,” Gaudreault said.
“It’s really neat. I’m pretty proud.”
City crews will also be installing irrigation at Canal Waterfront Park this fall, Gaudreault added. Then he will turn his focus to restroom facilities, which will likely go where a porta-potty and a small shed are located on the property right now. Although the washrooms are still proposed at the moment, Gaudreault would like to install waterless toilets similar to those found in provincial parks.
The toilets and solar panels for the picnic shelter—for lighting and an electrical outlet for groups to use—will be a small part of the next phase, Holland said. “The next phase we’ll go the way the public wants us to go.”
The Kiwanis Club is planning to donate a cheque for $65,000 to the City of Port Alberni on Oct. 14 at the Salmon Festival volunteer appreciation dinner.