Walking along Swan Lake, it’s hard to tell if architect Bradley Shuya is more excited about the next phase of floating boardwalk than he is about the brand new section he’s standing on.
Shuya donated $15,000 worth of billable hours for the newly completed stretch of boardwalk, his first foray into a sensitive riparian area. Shuya is better known for building design, as well as the Na’tsa’maht, or cedar hat structure at Camosun College’s Lansdowne campus.
It’s also the first major project for the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary under new executive director Kathleen Burton.
“It’s incredible what [Shuya] did for us, we’re so grateful,” she said. “He’s very humble, he did a lot of work.”
The project demanded a great amount of fundraising from the community to replace a section of run-down boardwalk on the north end of the lake.
The new fabricated floats sit on a ballast of encapsulated foam inside plastic. On top is a rigid, non-slip plastic decking surface reinforced with fibreglass. The railings are aluminum with steel cables topped with long cedar planks as hand rails.
“It’s all designed as no-maintenance, long-lasting materials,” Shuya said.
The architect donated his time for the same reason as most of those who contributed to the project, because he lives down the street and is an avid user of the park’s trail system.
Because the boardwalk floats it is actually anchored by cables in case of high winds. It also has a unique ramp and hinge system as it curves through the tall marsh and trees that live in the shallow, sometimes dry edges of Swan Lake.
The labour was done by Knappett Construction who literally used a crane and, at one point, ATVs to bring materials into the site.
“We are very pleased to have finished on budget and on time,” Burton said.
WIth phase one complete, the Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is starting on the fundraising for phase two, an $800,000 project which will extend from the new section of boardwalk right across the lake.
Saanich provided $100,000 for phase one, with the Victoria Natural History Society giving another $75,000, as well as many one-off donations coming from sanctuary members and the public.