The Cowichan Wooden Boat Society has officially opened its new patio portal.
Approximately 50 society members, friends and supporters gathered at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre to celebrate the completion of the project, which cost approximately $200,000 to construct, on Nov. 19.
The new space sits along the maritime centre’s foreshore, adjacent to its heritage pier, and blends in seamlessly with the existing structures of the centre.
Built to be fully accessible, it includes an 1,100-square-foot patio, a large shade sail, tables and chairs, interpretive signage and a children’s play tug boat structure.
“The patio portal has been several years in the making,” said Sharon McLeod, project coordinator.
“We are so glad to see it all come together and to now have this wonderful space for the benefit and enjoyment of the community.”
The portal project began in 2019 by the society, and was completed with support from the Island Coastal Economic Trust, the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program and Gaming Capital Projects Grant Program, David Coulson Design Ltd., the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Lazenby family.
It is a direct outcome of the Cowichan Bay Village Vitalization Strategy, which noted that the waterfront could become a more valuable tourism asset with better infrastructure.
The portal is intended to create a connection between the pier, the maritime centre and nearby businesses, establishing a new waterfront gathering place.
In addition to thanking the funders, society president Judy Barefoot acknowledged the many people who played a role in making the patio portal a reality at the official opening.
She thanked Cowichan Tribes for their input and collaboration during the early planning stages and beyond, as well as the many volunteers and staff who worked diligently on all stages of the project to ensure its completion.
The patio portal is dedicated to the memory of Paul Lazenby, a long-time Cowichan Wooden Boat Society member, mariner and community supporter.
Lazenby’s widow, Rhoda Taylor, their children and grandchildren cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the new patio portal.