Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

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Public Consultation – Engage with Us!
Phase 1 - Feasibility
Phase 2 - Detailed Design Phase
Despard Test Site
Financial Information

Do you have a question or comment?





For the past twenty years, there has been considerable discussion about the need for a new swimming pool and more indoor recreational and community space in the Oceanside region. The concept for construction of a new swimming pool in Parksville arose from the Mayor’s Roundtable event and community engagement sessions in 2019. Through in-person meetings and resident surveys, Council determined five strategic priority areas for their term of office. Recreation and economic


Public Consultation – Engage with Us!
Phase 1 - Feasibility
Phase 2 - Detailed Design Phase
Despard Test Site
Financial Information

Do you have a question or comment?





For the past twenty years, there has been considerable discussion about the need for a new swimming pool and more indoor recreational and community space in the Oceanside region. The concept for construction of a new swimming pool in Parksville arose from the Mayor’s Roundtable event and community engagement sessions in 2019. Through in-person meetings and resident surveys, Council determined five strategic priority areas for their term of office. Recreation and economic development were identified as two of the key priorities approved in the 2019-2022 strategic plan.

Council believes there is strong public support for investment in a swimming pool within Parksville boundaries to enhance community well-being, local recreational and fitness opportunities and attract and retain young families. Council is interested in the economic benefits of developing sports tourism facilities to serve residents and visitors; however, the primary focus is a pool and multiplex facility. The community activity centre or multiplex would also serve as a meeting or gathering space, becoming the hub for both sports and non-sports activities.

A new multiplex facility would create synergy between all ages and provide a place to bring people together, young families as well as active seniors. New rental housing and multi-family housing development now underway in Parksville will provide much needed housing for families with young children encouraged to move to our region.

There will be many steps in this process as the City moves this exciting project forward; steps which include developing the concept design further, defining a location as well as public engagement to facilitate input from the Parksville community.

Feasibility study
In 2019, Parksville Council directed staff to prepare a request for proposals for a feasibility study for a swimming pool and multiplex facility in Parksville. The feasibility study final report for the development of a modern, multi-purpose community recreation complex was presented to Council in late 2020 and included these elements:

  • Aquatics - six lane, 25 metre swimming pool, separate leisure water with zero entry, therapeutic swim channel, hot tub and play amenities/spaces.
  • Community recreation centre multiplex with public and multi-purpose space designed to meet flexible community needs and accommodate small, medium and large public events.
  • Gymnasium and indoor fitness track, roof top amenity.
  • Accessible change rooms.

In July 2019, Council directed staff to prepare a business case for the construction of a swimming pool, recreation centre and multiplex for the City of Parksville and in September 2019, directed staff to proceed with a request for proposals. HDR Architecture Associates, Inc. was chosen as the consultant tasked to examine the feasibility of a swimming pool and multiplex within City limits. This work included identifying funding models and a range of options for size and scale of use of the facility. Consultants were engaged to provide expert input and recommendations. Construction budgets were provided for the concept design options. Through consultation with an expert in recreation centre operations, several strategies and key insights on operating costs for this type of facility were also provided. The feasibility study which built on consultation with sports and recreation groups and the public, concluded there is a need for a new centre in Parksville.

  • Next Steps in Multiplex Engagement

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    Since early summer, a team of public engagement specialists from HDR Corporation has been facilitating consultation on the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre, or multiplex. This consultation will help gauge the community’s interest in a new facility, identify potential programs and amenities and help determine a suitable site for the proposed multiplex.

    HDR is receiving comments and ideas from the community through our Let’s Talk Parksville site, via email directly to HDR, and from popup events in August and a virtual listening event last month. Here are next steps; HDR is also making plans for youth and student engagement.

    Virtual Workshops on October 27
    Originally scheduled as in-person, the two workshops will now be held virtually. The ninety-minute workshops, scheduled for 1 pm and 6 pm, will include facilitated discussions, small-group exercises, and activities that will help determine how and where the multiplex could most benefit the community. There are three major goals to the HDR facilitated workshop:

    • Input will help to understand the Parksville community by identifying key locations, points of interest, or features in the City.
    • In small groups, participants will spend a few minutes in their neighbour’s shoes as ‘personas’ are used to help understand the various needs of everyone in the community.
    • At the end of the workshop, participants will use this information, community values and community needs, to help identify the types of locations for the multiplex and what amenities/programs should be prioritized.

    To participate in one of the workshops, RSVP to hdr@parksville.ca. Space will be confirmed, and instructions will be emailed a few days before the workshop. Enrolment is limited and another workshop may be added if interest is high. The last day to register is October 25. Please do not sign up unless you plan to attend.

    Display at Parksville Civic and Technology Centre, Atrium
    For the next few months, the atrium in the PCTC will feature display boards to help understand the engagement process. The PCTC is open 8 am to 4 pm, Monday to Friday with an entrance from Jensen Avenue East. Masks are mandatory when in the building.

    Survey Questions
    A series of questions have been created for your response. Questions are available as a paper copy in the PCTC and also on Let’s Talk Parksville to complete out online. We hope you will take this opportunity to provide your comments and ideas. The survey questions are available at this link.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • Engage with Us! Multiplex Engagement Continues

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    October 5, 2021

    On behalf of the City of Parksville, a team of public engagement specialists from HDR Corporation are leading public consultation events to discuss the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre or multiplex. Consultation will help gauge the community’s interest in a new facility, identify potential programs and amenities and help determine a suitable site for the multiplex. In August and September, HDR spoke with people in the community to gauge their interest in the proposed project. Next steps will feature virtual workshops on October 27 as well as youth and student engagement later this fall.

    Originally scheduled as in-person, the two workshops on October 27 will now be held virtually. The ninety-minute workshops, scheduled for 1 pm and 6 pm, will include facilitated discussions, small-group exercises, and activities that will determine how and where the multiplex could most benefit the community.

    Specifically, there are three major goals to the HDR facilitated workshop:

    1. Input will help to understand the community’s Parksville by identifying key locations, points of interest, or features in the City.
    2. In small groups, participants will spend a few minutes in their neighbour’s shoes as ‘personas’ are used to help understand the various needs of everyone in the community.
    3. At the end of the workshop, participants will use this information, community values and community needs, to help identify the types of locations for the multiplex and what amenities/programs should be prioritized.

    To participate, RSVP to hdr@parksville.ca. Your space will be confirmed, and instructions emailed to you prior to October 27. There is limited enrolment in the workshops and another workshop may be added if interest is high. Please do not sign up unless you plan to attend.

    Starting October 13 through early November, the atrium in the Parksville Civic and Technology Centre will feature a series of display boards to help understand the engagement process. On this self-guided tour, participants will learn about the project’s history, review the feasibility study results and recent field studies, and catch up on engagement efforts to date. There will be many opportunities to provide your input, including polls, surveys, and open-ended prompts. These materials and engagement tools will also be available on Let’s Talk Parksville. We hope you will engage with us.

    Get Involved
    We encourage residents to be part of the conversation; please email HDR@parksville.ca to be added to the mailing list for project updates, upcoming events, responses to frequently asked questions, and more. You may also submit your comments or ideas about the project to HDR@parksville.ca. Please note comments received by HDR will be shared with the City to assist with decision making and will form part of the public record.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • City to Create Ecological Reserve Zone on Despard Avenue

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    September 21, 2021

    At the September 20 meeting, Council unanimously approved a resolution which will ensure an area on Despard Avenue identified in the WSP Canada report, is protected and that this information be included in future City plans. The resolution is as follows:

    That staff be directed to work with the Ministry of Environment to properly classify the area and document its ecological values and enter into a joint covenant, which prohibits disturbance of the Blue Listed ecological features without prior approval from the Ministry and Council and that the area be added to a newly created Ecological Reserve Zone that provides regulations to protect the environmental values identified on the property and balance appropriate public access for passive recreational purposes.

    There have been misunderstandings about the exact location of the site and status of the lands. The area where this ecological feature was identified is currently fee simple lands, not within a park, not affected by any covenant, not protected in trust with an agreement with a First Nation or any other party. This is not the wetland feature already mapped and identified 400 metres northwest of the area.

    For phase 1 of the feasibility study, the Despard Avenue location was initially chosen as a test site for conceptual design purposes. Council stated it would not pursue this site if there were technical reasons which precluded the site from being developed for the intended purpose or if the costs to remediate the site were expected to be onerous. Following assessments completed by WSP Canada in 2020 and earlier this year, Council agreed the Despard site is no longer a consideration for the multiplex project location. About $70,000 was spent from the $125,000 allocated to the full technical analysis. The balance of this grant money will be reassigned to studying alternative sites.

    QUOTE – Mayor Ed Mayne
    “It is important to note the site was chosen based on multiple planning criteria and preliminary independent technical reports which stated the site was feasible but required additional study to confirm constraints. Council voted to investigate the site fully to determine suitability, before committing residents to potentially paying millions of dollars for the acquisition of a new site. Council used grant funds to undertake the detailed analysis and regardless of whether the site was suitable for the pool facility, the technical information is valuable as this and future Councils prepare long-term plans for public lands.”

  • Engage with Us! Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

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    September 7, 2021

    On behalf of the City of Parksville, a team of public engagement specialists from HDR Corporation are leading public consultation events over the next few months to discuss the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre or multiplex. Consultation will help gauge the community’s interest in a new facility, identify potential programs and amenities and help determine a suitable site for the multiplex.

    In August, HDR spoke with people in the community to gauge their interest in the proposed project. Next steps will include facilitated public engagement events in September and October as well as youth and student engagement.

    Virtual Public Meeting - Wednesday, September 29, 6-7 pm
    In this virtual listening session via Zoom, the project team will provide a brief history of the project, overview of studies conducted to date and describe the status of the proposed project. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback, and share ideas for the facility. If you wish to participate, RSVP to hdr@parksville.ca. We will confirm your space a few days before the meeting and email the Zoom instructions to you. The meeting is a closed event; however, your screen name will be visible to other participants.

    In-person Workshops – Wednesday, October 27
    Should it be safe to do so, in-person workshops will be held for the community to provide input on the amenities, programs, location, and more. One workshop will in the afternoon and the other in the evening. More details early October.

    Get Involved
    We encourage residents to be part of the conversation; please email HDR@parksville.ca to be added to the mailing list for project updates, upcoming events, responses to frequently asked questions, and more. You may also submit your comments or ideas about the project to HDR@parksville.ca. Please note comments received by HDR will be shared with the City to assist with decision making and will form part of the public record.

    We hope you will engage with us.


  • Engage with Us! Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

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    August 4, 2021

    On behalf of the City of Parksville, a team of public engagement specialists from HDR Corporation will lead public consultation events over the next few months to discuss the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre or multiplex. Consultation will help gauge the community’s interest in a new facility, identify potential programs and amenities and help determine a suitable site for the multiplex.

    HDR’s consultation approach will now prioritize which features and amenities the community would like to see at an ideal site. The Despard Avenue location is no longer an option for the multiplex. HDR has engagement opportunities planned for residents this summer and fall. We hope you will engage with us.

    Popup Engagement - Wednesday, August 18
    HDR team members will hand out informational postcards at various locations in Parksville, listening to comments and suggestions from residents about the proposed multiplex. Nothing formal, just an opportunity to share your thoughts on the project with HDR.

    • The HDR team will be at the Thrifty’s shopping centre from 11 am to 2 pm.
    • From 5 to 8 pm, you will find them in the Parksville Community Park, on the waterfront walkway and at the gazebo.

    Other engagement opportunities will include a hybrid in-person and virtual public presentation and listening session in late August, youth engagement in early October, and in-person public workshops in late October.

    Get Involved
    HDR will also be distributing newsletters with project updates, upcoming events, responses to frequently asked questions, and more. To sign up, send an email to HDR@parksville.ca. You may also submit your comments, thoughts, or ideas about the Parksville multiplex to HDR@parksville.ca. Please note that comments received by HDR will be shared with the City of Parksville to assist with decision making and will form part of the public record.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • City Residents to Inform Next Steps for Multiplex Project

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    July 5, 2021

    In fall 2020, WSP Canada Inc completed an initial environmental assessment of the proposed Despard site and submitted a report to Council in February that recommended further study, highlighting areas where more in depth environmental assessment should be done.

    At the July 5 meeting, Council was advised by WSP that preliminary assessments completed in June identified potential valuable ecological communities at the proposed site which may present constraints to the proposed development. The following motion was approved by Council:

    1. THAT WSP finalize their current ecological assessment of the Despard site.
    2. THAT no further studies in relation to the development of the Despard site be initiated and that WSP be retained as the technical consultant and the balance of the budget reallocated to land analysis and site condition assessments for alternative potential sites.
    3. THAT staff be directed to move forward with the planned public engagement to commence later this month and into the fall.

    On several occasions, Council stated decisions would be based on the studies and before asking residents to consider the additional costs of acquiring land, wished to investigate site conditions on land already owned by the City. The Despard site was chosen by Council as the preferred site for several reasons: the size of the area and buffering from nearby residences; no additional cost to purchase the land; proximity to existing services; walkability from a large portion of the population and compatible land use regulations. Council agreed they would not pursue any action that would cause irreparable damage to the area. It is important to note this location is not the same as the identified wetland in the park property to the northeast of the proposed location but represents a different valuable feature on fee simple lands not currently designated as park.

    Along with the services of a public engagement consultant, the cost of the WSP site condition assessments were allocated from a provincial COVID grant. The assessment of the Despard site is extremely valuable as the City looks to manage and protect this site in the future. WSP will complete the assessment and following peer review, present the final report to Council as soon as possible.

    With the new information provided by WSP today, Council appointed six members to the Advisory Technical Working Group for the project and extended the application process for a further few weeks. Please refer to the City’s website for more information on the working group.

    With COVID restrictions easing, a robust public engagement effort will begin to discuss the community’s input on the size, location and features for a pool and multiplex. We look forward to hearing from residents throughout the summer and fall. Public engagement consultant, HDR will be asking residents questions such as:

    • Do you want a pool in Parksville? If so, what features/amenities should be included in the facility?
    • What siting conditions are important - e.g. walkability, access to transit, proximity to other amenities, servicing, etc?
    • Would you be willing to see taxes increase to support this project and how much would be acceptable? Would you support borrowing funds to build the facility?

    We encourage residents to be part of the conversation on next steps; please email HDR@parksville.ca to be added to the mailing list.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre Update

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    June 24, 2021

    In May, Council approved the hiring of consultants to conduct formal public consultation and site condition assessments for the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre, also known as the Multiplex. To that end, we have brought in a team of public engagement experts from HDR, Inc. to spearhead renewed public consultation efforts and ensure everyone in Parksville has a seat at the table. Starting in July through to the end of October, HDR will lead a campaign to inform the public about project development to date, gather feedback and ideas from the public, host in-person open houses or workshops, and more.

    WSP Canada Inc, a professional environmental and technical consultation firm, will supplement last year’s feasibility study by conducting a thorough land analysis and site condition assessment to evaluate current site plans and conceptual designs. HDR will work closely with WSP to include regular study updates and technical results in public engagement materials.

    We wish to thank residents for your continued interest in the proposed project. We’ve been monitoring the discussions online and in our community, and there have been some great conversations about the project, including the location of the facility, concerns about our forests and wetlands, the potential financial burden on our residents, whether we even need a Multiplex, and much more. It is very early in the process and we know people want more details.

    We hear you, and it’s time to start an active dialogue about the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre. A degree of misinformation is causing confusion about the project, and we want to set the story straight. HDR is looking forward to working directly with the community to address concerns, hearing your thoughts and ideas, and bringing the public vision of this project to fruition. HDR is also looking forward to reviewing the results of these public engagement activities with Parksville Council to help with future decisions on the project. All comments received to date have been provided to HDR.

    We also wish to be clear that no final decisions have been made about the Multiplex. This project came from you -- it was borne from the Mayor’s Roundtable centred around community priorities in 2019, which led to a resident survey later that year and stakeholder engagement sessions with community representatives in March 2020. We had always planned to follow up with comprehensive public consultation activities throughout 2020, but plans were put on hold due to the pandemic. Now, it’s time to pick up where we left off. This is your aquatic and recreation centre, and we want to collaborate with you to make it a true community centre for everyone in Parksville.

    As a reminder, detailed information about the project lives on the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre page of Let’s Talk Parksville, where you can read a summary of the project’s feasibility study, learn about where the idea originated, view some conceptual ideas about what it could look like, review the phased approach to public consultation and design, and more. If you wish to be added to the HDR mailing list to receive project updates and notices of upcoming public consultation opportunities, please send an email to HDR@parksville.ca. Stay tuned, you’ll be hearing much more from HDR in the coming weeks.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • Proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre - The Facts

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    June 7, 2021

    The City wishes to provide information about the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre; these facts will address the inaccuracies presented on social media.

    • The proposed multiplex site is not located on the wetland feature, about 400 metres to the north. We do not expect the proposed project to impact the wetlands which is 35.4 hectares or 90 acres.
    • Most of the facility is envisioned to be located on non-parkland parcels owned by the City.
    • A small section of park, about 0.8 hectares or less than two acres is shown as providing potential parking and access for the multiplex facility as well as the Parksville Wetlands.
    • The wetlands will not be logged. The proposed location assists with preserving second growth trees to the south of the site as noted in the environmental overview assessment report prepared by WSP Canada, and along with all reports, available on Let’s Talk Parksville.
    • The preliminary environmental assessment indicates the watercourses in the project area do not interact with the wetland features; channels enter the City’s storm system at Despard Avenue.
    • Further environmental and hydrogeological assessments will be done to address water flow on the project area. The intent is to enhance the watercourse features and explore options to enhance the wetland features to the north.

    For phase 1 of the feasibility study for the multiplex, the Despard Avenue site was selected by a majority of Council as the test site for conceptual design and further consideration. Council can reconsider its decision if there are compelling technical reasons, and if community input suggests a willingness to incur extra costs for acquiring private lands or upgrading offsite infrastructure to serve alternate sites.

    An advisory technical working group will assist the public and Council by reviewing the technical aspects of the design construction and operation of the project and to provide neutral expert advice on the recommendations contained in the consultant reports.

    Project consultants have started their work on the next phase of the project and over the next two weeks, details will be provided which will include timelines for assessments and public engagement. Please refer to Let’s Talk Parksville for information about this project.

    For more information:
    Deb Tardiff, Manager of Communications
    dtardiff@parksville.ca; 250 954-3073

  • Requests for Proposals for Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

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    April 27, 2021 - now closed

    The City of Parksville has issued two requests for proposals related to the proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre:

    • Land Analysis and Site Condition Assessments
    The City proposes to engage the services of a lead consultant to coordinate detailed site condition assessments including environmental, geotechnical, hydrogeological and other construction related assessments for the proposed location of a new swimming pool and community recreation centre.

    • Public Consultation Strategy
    The City of Parksville requires a consultant to conduct comprehensive public engagement with the community on the siting, costing and design of a new swimming pool and community recreation centre. Council has identified a preferred site and its initial reasons for choosing this location. The City has identified expectations for the public engagement process, which should be reviewed when preparing a response to the RFP.

    Deadline to submit proposals is 4 pm on Friday, April 30. The requests for proposals are available on BC Bid and from the City’s website. All queries relating to these requests for proposals should be directed to:

    Keeva Kehler, MPA
    Chief Administrative Officer
    City of Parksville
    Phone: 250 954-4660
    Email: kkehler@parksville.ca

  • Location of Proposed Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre

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    February 4, 2021

    We wish to clarify information provided on Let’s Talk Parksville and address concerns expressed by residents about the proposed location for the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre.

    For Phase 1 of the feasibility study for the Parksville Aquatic and Recreation Centre, the Despard Avenue site was selected as a test site for conceptual design and further consideration. Most of the facility, as shown on preliminarily conceptual plans, is envisioned to be located on non-parkland parcels owned by the City. A small section of park is shown as providing potential parking and access for the multiplex facility and Parksville Wetlands. This section is about 0.8 hectares (less than 2 acres) of the 35.4 hectares (90 acres) Parksville Wetlands property. The proposed location is expected to have no impact on the wetlands, located some distance away, and the proposed location assists with preserving second growth trees to the south of the site (as noted in the environmental overview assessment report prepared by WSP Canada and available on the project site).

    The map included with this release is intended to better show the location of the proposed facility in relation to the surrounding land. It must be noted that these are early ‘proof of concept’ plans and further adjustments should be anticipated. The preliminary environmental assessment indicates the watercourses in the project area do not interact with the wetland features, but enhancement work for the watercourses could be designed to benefit the ecology of the wetlands and other features to the north, located on the parkland.

    In 1997, the Wetlands property was privately owned and the City registered an agreement to allow for public recreation access to the land; this covenant area is wholly unaffected by the proposed project.

    The information provided to the public in the phase 1 feasibility study is intended as a starting point and opportunity for public input and to finetune the concepts presented. We will engage in in-person community consultation as soon as it is safe to do so. In the interim, we encourage public input through the Let’s Talk Parksville site and via email at Letstalk@parksville.ca

Page last updated: 19 October 2021, 10:27