Departure Bay Beachfront Accessibility & Utility Improvements Project

In 2016, the City of Nanaimo completed upgrades to the existing Departure Bay Beachfront to improve accessibility and enjoyment opportunities of this recreational area.  These improvements supported the Waterfront Enhancement priority of Nanaimo’s Strategic Plan.

This project also supported objectives identified in the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Plan such as:

  • improve walking opportunities,
  • maintain and improve existing parking, and
  • ensure maximum pedestrian accessibility and safety

The steepness of the walkway and car park area before the upgrades were uncomfortable for many users and challenging for people with added mobility needs.

The image below highlights the steep grade of the walkway before the upgrades as well as rendering of the area showing all the issues we were trying to resolve with the improvements. 

before and construction design

The overall project included several improvements to enhance the area including:

  • levelling parts of the seawall walkway
  • installing new pedestrian access ramps
  • installing new street lights & walkway lights
  • improvements to parking facilities
  • replacement of old storm drain on Loat Street

Due to the cultural and heritage significance of the area, the City worked with the Snuneymuxw First Nation and an archaeological consultant to complete monitoring during construction.

2016-03-18 (9)
  • Progress
    This project was completed in 2016.
  • Documents
  • Details

    Here are some photos from the construction jan6














    2016-03-17 (8)


    2016-03-18  (7)




    2016-04-21  (15)


    2016-04-21  (17)


    2016-04-29  (37)


    KNoble - New Lamps and flags at Departure Bay
  • Background

    Project Area History

    Departure Bay lies within the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation and historically was the site of a Snuneymuxw winter village and burial ground. 

    The Kin Hut was built as a Centennial Project in 1967 and was originally designed as a change house for swimmers.  The present day seawall and promenade dates back to 1969.

    Below are a few historical photos of the area courtesy of the Nanaimo Archives.

    Today, the beachfront and adjacent foreshore area is a provincially designated archaeological site.  At the south end of the project area near the Kin Hut is a designated unpatrolled swimming area and Kin Park.  The park has a grassy area with picnic tables and benches that overlook both the beach and playground.


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