New ‘Patio Portal’ planned for Cowichan Bay

New ‘Patio Portal’ planned for Cowichan Bay

Project will improve public access to the Cowichan Bay waterfront

Work on a new ‘Patio Portal’ which will be located at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre is expected to begin early next year.

Led by the Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society, with support from the Island Coastal Economic Trust and other funders, the 800 sq. ft. Patio Portal is intended to improve public access to the Cowichan Bay waterfront.

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The portal will also create a connection between the pier, the Maritime Centre and nearby businesses, establishing a new waterfront gathering place.

Once complete, the structure is proposed to provide an inviting area for residents and visitors alike, with large sail-mast shades, a wooden boat play set for children, and interpretive panels to learn about Cowichan Bay’s maritime history.

The portal will also provide a venue for new events such as live entertainment, outdoor art and other special events.

Completion of the project is anticipated in the summer of 2020, and the cost has yet to be released.

“The Patio Portal has been designed in a way that blends into the existing structures of the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre while giving it a maritime feel, reflecting the community’s unique history and culture,” said Ion Barnes, president of the Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society.

“It will become a focal point for tourists and residents, providing another great reason to visit Cowichan Bay.”

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Josie Osborne is the chairwoman of ICET, a provincial organization that has been at the forefront of economic diversification, planning and regional revitalization for the past 13 years.

She said the Patio Portal project 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.

“Built at street-grade level, it will provide increased accessibility for all ages, and has the potential to be the catalyst for other community-based projects,” Osborne said.