Visionary concepts for village

Editorial

Tuesday, September 13 2016

This past week, the Village Visioning Committee held an amazing three-day workshop to finish off an 18-month process - where the community was able to give input in various forms on what the heart of Gabriola could look like. From Agi Hall to Tin Can Alley, and all parts in between.

With the help of the students in the Master Planning program at VIU, amazing concepts were drawn up over the three days.

The proposals were creative. They were optimistic. The four teams worked within different rules, some within what current regulations (Islands Trust/RDN/Ministry of Transportation) would allow - one team was given a wide open slate, no restrictions.

One team had a new community centre built on the undeveloped portion of Folklife Village. Another placed a similar concept where the Agi Hall currently sits.  A common element, from the start of the process to the end, was what could be done with “the Lockinvar Triangle.”

It should be noted, other than the Post Office and Arts Centre property, the entire triangle is private property. And none of it is currently zoned as commercial. (Not that a re-zoning is out of the question).

Creative ideas for the triangle, creating a year-round public space, with performance space, an area for the Farmers’ Market, and additional village area parking. 

The question though - once the optimism starts to wane - is how to make it happen. And that includes asking if it should happen. If the answer is yes - who pays for it will be the topmost question. The Regional District of Nanaimo seems most logical, as the local government in control of parks and public property on Gabriola. 

But these are the practical questions. For now, the dream, the concepts, the start of getting there - was visionary.