An excited group, including some furry four-legged Nanaimo residents, gathered to celebrate the formal opening May Richards Bennett Pioneer Park. Part of the 11 hectare park at 6700 Dover Road was once owned by the Nanaimo Ladysmith School District. There were concerns that if they didn’t need it, and ever decided to sell it, it could be developed.
A group called Friends of Pioneer Park, which has now been dissolved, pressured the City to get the property back and preserve it as park land. Former member Mike McCamon says they’re very pleased, because it’s an area that was long been enjoyed by residents and their dogs.
SD68 Trustee Jamie Brennan says they were hanging on to the property in case they ever needed to build a school in the area. But with declining enrollment, they realized it wasn’t necessary, so they gave it back to the City as part of a land exchange.
Mayor John Ruttan says working with SD68 to get the land back and preserve it was the right choice, and it should be considered a victory for the community.
The park is home to the Rotary Skate Park, tennis courts, walking trails, a playground, and a couple sports fields. It includes an off-leash area for dogs, tennis courts, walking trails, a playground, and a couple sports fields. It’s also home to the Rotary Skate Park.