Nanaimo's Seawall - Downtown to North End
I was at Neck Point the other day and noticed the new land that was acquired from private interests and is now a part of the park (Neck Point is so awesome now!). Then, I was near Beacon Hill Park in Victoria today, walking above the ocean on that wonderful seawall they have (and which everyone seems to use).
In both locations, I kept wondering the same thing: How impossible would it be for Nanaimo to exploit its own phenomenally long and beautiful shoreline, by finishing the seawall pathway beyond its current meager dimensions?
I know there was a recent effort to approve the continuation of the pathway north from the Departure Bay ferry terminal to Kin Park - but that proposal was quashed by pressure (or so I heard) from the neighbourhoods whose borders would be affected. I have sympathy for "NIMBY's" (I don't use the word as an insult), but I think that this seawall idea (which is nothing new, I know) would represent such an enormous upgrade for our city, that nobody's localized concerns should get in the way so easily. I think our coastline is our greatest asset and that it could be used far more effectively.
I am in favour of compensation for landowners who are significantly affected by the development, insofar as compensation is feasible. I'm curious how the Parkway's construction was achieved....
Riverrat, I share your enthusiasm for an extended waterfront walkway, I think what we have is a tremendous amenity for residents and acts also as a draw for tourists. At the very least it would be fantastic to see the walkway completed along Stewart Avenue (there are spots where yous till have to come back up to the road) and then extended from the ferry terminal to Departure Bay. I had heard the concern here is not so much with the impact on landowners, as they are quite a long way up the slope, rather the concern was the environmental impact. For this reason, rather than doing the fill / rip-rap base with trail built on top, I beleive they had contemplated an elevated boardwalk type structure on piles that stays up above the shore and does not impact the upland properties above the natural boundary of Departure Bay.
Originally Posted by riverrat
I work in a related field so I can comment on some of the technicalities....
The greatest challenge, outside of cost, to this concept is the requirement to deal with the upland property owners, who each have what is referred to as "riparian rights". Effectively what this means is that anyone who owns property adjacent to a body of water (i.e. the ocean) also has a legal right to uninterrupted access from their property to the foreshore. A trail, or boardwalk impedes that uninterrupted access, therefore you have to receive agreement and potentially compensate everyone of those owners whose rights are impacted by the construction of this feature.
So, this is where the folks in the Cilaire neighbourhood come in to play - even though they live way up above the beach on the top of the bank, their properties legally extend all the way to the natural boundary (roughly the high tide mark). Therefore each of those proeprty owners would have to agree to grant a SRW, easement or enter into some form of long-term license of occupation for any sort of structure to be constructed. Of course that scenario continues all the way along the shore heading north as +/- 99% of lands adjacent to the waterfront are held privately.
So, is it doable? - absolutely. Will it be challenging and extremely expensive? - absolutely.
But hey, why not dream big..... Wouldn't it be great to get off the ferry at Duke Point, be able to walk run or cycle along an elevated boardwalk (so there is no environmental impact) through the Nanaimo River estuary, in to downtown, along to Departure Bay, and all the way out to Neck Point and beyond. What a fantastic resident and toursit amenity that would be!!!
As for the Parkway, the province came in and negotiated for the purchase of the right-of-way from affected proeprty owners. Where they couldn't negotiate a purchase they expropriated.
I've always thought it would be really cool to have the Nanaimo seawall extended to the north.
The extent of today's seawall are fairly limited as compared to what it could be and I believe it should be extended.