What to do with Willow Point’s Frank James Park?
That’s the question the City of Campbell River is wrestling with. But the city is not alone when it comes to deciding on a future vision for the park, which is home to the popular Transformations on the Shore carving competition.
Recently, the city brought forward two concepts at a public open house. The options, complete with illustrations, were fleshed out and presented to those in attendance. Participants were given response forms where they could rank their priorities and circle their choices for the different components contained in the two concepts.
The first option envisions Frank James Park as an interactive waterfront journey, complete with a new trail near the Sybil Andrews and Walter Morgan Studio that would provide an interpretive storyline about Andrews and Morgan as it passes the cottage. The first concept also involves the addition of a new Celebration Space near the existing parking lot, in the northeast corner of the park. The space would include a waterfront gazebo and gardens and cater to small weddings and the Day of Mourning ceremony. The greenspace that currently accommodates the carving competition would be improved and irrigated and used for Transformations on the Shore and other festivals or events.
Concept number two envisions Frank James Park as a waterfront destination with multi-use open spaces and a more urban feel. The pièce de résistance would be an urban-style plaza, with a combination of paving and lawn, in the middle of the park to accommodate events such as the carving competition, Day of Mourning ceremony, art events, markets and dancing in the park.
Included in the concept plans for option two is a park wall or berm to provide a feeling of separation from the park and the Island Highway as well as a picnic area near the Sybil Andrews Cottage, and a Sybil Andrews Story Walk with art reproductions and/or story etched into a paved walkway.
Both concepts involve a new washroom, with the first having a standard park washroom with flush toilet and water and the second containing an enhanced washroom building with a modern design. Both options also involve the Sea Walk. The first concept calls for the Sea Walk to follow a similar route to the existing one while the second option involves extending the Sea Walk along the shoreline through Frank James Park, behind Sybil Andrews Cottage, connecting to the highway at Adams Road.
Concepts one and two also both include new parking spaces, including six or eight parallel parking stalls along the highway but option two calls for more additional stalls in the park – plus or minus 28 –while option one envisions plus or minus 14 spots.
The city is now in the process of gathering feedback from the community and consolidating it into a single, preferred concept. Once that is complete, it will be presented to the community for further review in June, before going to city council for consideration.
Grant Parker, the city’s parks operations supervisor, said the city will then explore potential funding and grant sources and develop a timeline for the development of the park which he said is in obvious need of an overhaul.
“Public input to date shows that people value the roles that Frank James Park plays today and that there is room for improvement with more park amenities, beach access and open spaces to make Frank James Park an appealing space in all seasons,” Parker said.
The city has been working on master plans for not only Frank James Park, but also Nunns Creek Park, since the spring of 2016. The first public workshop was held last June for both parks, with more than 50 people in attedance and 150 questionnaires completed and submitted. Options for improvements at both parks were then based on that input.
For more information about the masterplans visit, campbellriver.ca/NunnsCreekFJ