In the spring, the Nanaimo Fish and Game was contacted by Jean Chandler with regards to refurbishing the fishing float at Westwood Lake. The lake was a favourite spot of Mrs. Chandler’s son, who had passed away a few years earlier, and her thought was to provide partial funding to restore the float to its former glory in his memory. The Fish and Game had originally built the float over two decades ago for donation to the City and the enjoyment of the residents of Nanaimo and, as such, was more than happy to take on the project. Initial measurements were taken with the help of Steve Corscadden and, after some discussion, it was decided to replace the decking, benches and ramp with yellow cedar and pressure treated plywood with Duradek (donated by Greg Stevens) covering. On October 27th and 28th, John Noble, Ron and Mark Tuson, Doug Miller and myself put in roughly fifty hours of work and completed the project Sunday afternoon (wow 20’ 2”x8” boards are a lot heavier than they look!). Mrs. Chandler and her son Joel also pitched in and helped with site clean up, which was very much appreciated. Fortunately, the weather cooperated for the better part of both days and the crew got away with only a moderate soaking. With the restoration of the float complete, all those who enjoy Westwood Lake will have an excellent spot to take in the views and do a little fishing for decades to come.
Article and photos by Chris McFarlane
Dear Nanaimo Fish and Game Protective Association members,
I would like to express my gratitude to your club and in particular to your volunteers: Chris McFarlane, John Noble, Ron Tuson, Mark Tuson, Doug Miller and others who participated in planning the fishing wharf replacement at Westwood Lake.
My son, Luke Chandler passed away February 27, 2017 when his canoe flipped in the icy waters. He succumbed to the cold and was unable to right the canoe, jump back in, and return to shore. Although people on shore called for help, he drowned before there was help available to him. This accident was in the waters visible from the fishing wharf. This wharf is the place that I, my family, and many of Luke’s friends go to remember Luke.
I contacted Chris who asked the executive if the club would be willing to split the cost of refurbishing the wharf with me. I proposed that I would replace the NFGPA plaque with one to match a memorial plaque for Luke. With Chris and the executive’s support, the club agreed to this plan. Chris worked with the city of Nanaimo and with other volunteers to determine the condition of the existing wharf parts and to develop a list of material requirements for the refurbishment.
On the weekend of October 27 and 28, your club volunteers spent their weekend time taking off the old, replacing the new, and installing the plaques. By the way, please note that this was the weekend of rain that the news media shared so many pictures of floods across BC and the lower mainland. When I asked if an umbrella would help, the hardy NFGPA guys replied that it is only water. (What is water amid slime and sawdust anyway?)
I’ve shared the plaque location and pictures with many of Luke’s friends and with family. Feedback has been tremendous. People noticed how new it looks without my telling them about the funding and work from your club. There is a Facebook site for memories of Luke that people continue to share thoughts and memories of Luke. I’ll be putting a link on it to your website so that Luke’s friends and family can see Chris McFarlane’s write up on the NFGPA home page about the work on the dock.