The initial intent of the Society, when it was created in the 1980s, was to be a wooden boat building workshop. Its has since expanded its role to become a museum.
The Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre is a living museum of local maritime heritage, home to boat displays, model ships and, most notably, an 89-metre historic pier located at the foreshore of the museum. The pier is an iconic attraction in Cowichan Bay Village. However, a derelict and unsafe waterfront provided limited opportunities for resident and visitors to take advantage of the community’s limited waterfront access and amenities. A recently completed community Vitalization Strategy, aimed to enhance community vibrancy and visitor attraction and prioritized the creation of “portals” that would increase public access to the waterfront at opportune points.
This project, led by the Cowichan Bay Wooden Boat Society, will construct an 800 square foot “patio portal” at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre waterfront, creating a new public gathering place and venue for outdoor events. Built at street-grade and wheelchair accessible, the patio will blend into the surrounding marine heritage with large sail-mast shades, a wooden boat playset for children and interpretive panels to learn about the unique maritime history of Cowichan Bay.
Upon completion, the project will provide a space for residents and visitors to take in the waterfront, and serve as an important connection between the pier, maritime centre and nearby businesses. Beautification of the waterfront, alongside other community enhancements, are anticipated to drive increased visitor traffic into the Village core, benefitting the surrounding businesses. By providing a dedicated space for pedestrians to gather, the project will also alleviate congestion concerns in the Village.
The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2021.