Nanaimo’s waterfront walkway is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

On a sunny day like Wednesday, hundreds use it to talk a stroll, go for a run or just soak in the views.

“This kind of project is good for cities around the world,” said Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.

McKay says it’s a project council fully supports.

“People want to get out. They want you to create people places where they can relax, where they can enjoy the sun, the scenery, the activities that might be going on in a city.”

The walkway is currently four-and-a-half kilometres. These renderings show what’s in the plans. The city expects to work on five sections next year with the full, more than 13 kilometres between Departure Bay and the Nanaimo Estuary, completed in the coming years.

The goal of the trail is to be accessible and to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists and be an asset for recreational uses as well as for tourism,” says Bill Corsan, Nanaimo’s deputy director of community development.

Extending the walkway has been in the plans for years but following the defeat of the proposed Nanaimo Event Centre, the city has been focusing on this project which the mayor says has way more support.

“This has been probably the greatest amount of positive feedback and participation from the community from any initiative we’ve ever been involved with,” said McKay.

But it won’t be cheap. The cost is estimated at $30 to $41 million dollars. Those on the walkway today had strong feelings either for or against.

“The extension is just what we need. it gives you a good time to explore the whole area of Nanaimo waterfront so I think it’s a worthwhile investment,” said Nanaimo resident Syd Langhelt.

“I like it. I’ve been waiting a long time,” said Nanaimo resident Margaret Savage.

“I think at this time it’s unnecessary when you look at the problem we’re having with homeless people,” said Nanaimo resident Tammy, who declined to give her last name.

The city is still collecting feedback on the project. One that will ensure a large section of Nanaimo’s waterfront will be accessible to all.

Kendall Hanson