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Two tall buildings should be built in Duncan and Chemainus

Let’s build a 30-storey-plus apartment building at the Legion and market site
Letter-writer thinks the current Royal Canadian Legion, Chemainus Branch 191 site would be great as part of a tower complex. (Photo by Don Bodger)

What does one see when viewing the Eiffel Tower, the Washington national monument or the Statue of Liberty?

You see a grand solitary structure reaching way above its surroundings and looking majestic for it. Tall buildings can also evoke this response, especially when they soar above their surroundings and are not all crowded together such as one unfortunately sees in downtown Vancouver. One can see this effect on the Nanaimo waterfront, solitary apartment buildings looking rather elegant because they don’t share space with similar structures.

Let’s build a 30-storey-plus apartment building in Chemainus. Build where the present Legion and old Bruce’s Grocery are. Once the building is finished the Legion can occupy the lower floors along with retail space. The building will have a tourist external glass elevator on the northeast corner that takes one (for a fee) to a viewing platform on the roof. The elevator would be in addition to the interior ones. On completion of the tower, the occupants of Duncan Manor would move in. They would use the lower floors. The upper floors would be rented or become condominiums. Temporarily a kitchen, dining and meeting area would be shared with the Legion.

Next, the old Duncan Manor would be demolished to be replaced by a similar tall apartment building to the one in Chemainus. Remember, one super tall structure by itself is awe inspiring; for this reason local ordinances about building height would be waived. The new Duncan Manor would mostly then house the former residents but the upper floors would be rented. The apartment building in Chemainus would now become a fully earning rental property, the Legion would now have their own meeting area, pub and kitchen again.

Centennial Park stays as it always was, well maybe getting a bit more shade at certain times of the day, surely a welcome thing on a hot summer’s day. Duncan and North Cowichan would now have two tourist draws, people looking in wonder at these two solitary spires.

This proposal would pay back many dividends in the long run. I hope investors and brave councils will strongly consider it.

Jeremy Barnes,