Victoria councillor Geoff Young.

Burnside Gorge plan improves livability of neighbourhood

Expansion of an urban village, improving pedestrian connectivity, and supporting the viability of industrial businesses are proposed.

Expansion of an urban village, improving pedestrian connectivity, and supporting the viability of industrial businesses are proposed in the city’s Burnside Gorge Neighbourhood Plan.

According to the latest round of consultation, one of the key issues to Burnside Gorge residents is the expansion of the current Selkrik Village into Jutland and Cecelia Road areas, alongside a smaller village on Gorge Road and Irma Street.

The development of a Selkrik and Cecelia Village is based on improvements to pedestrian connectivity with the residential areas to the west, as well as consideration of the impacts of heavy truck traffic on Jutland Road and investigating alternative routes. Residents also supported waterfront improvements and pathways and diversity of housing in the neighbourhood.

Some residents voiced concerns about clarifying and simplifying zoning in Rock Bay to allow for a number of uses in the area, as well as concerns about building heights in the Mayfair Town Centre area, according to a recent report to council.

Geoff Young, council liaison for the neighbourhood, said the plan has generally been well received by residents and has outlined the improvements that will help the livability of the area. However, finding city funds to achieve those goals is another story.

“The plan indicates a lot of potential advances in the neighbourhood that will make it more liveable and maintain its job creating status, but with any plan, a lot will depend on people wanting to make investments in the neighbourhood,” he said, noting there will have to be some investment from the private sector.

“Those things require city spending and of course, dollars are in short supply. It’s hard to know when some of those things will take place.”

Thus far, two rounds of consultation were held in April 2016 and February of this year, with more than 1,500 participants attending more than 40 events or participating in an online survey. Public engagement also occurred in October and included four events attended by roughly 70 people, as well as an online survey.

The Burnside Gorge community plan is the first of 10 new neighbourhood plans that will be created for Victoria in the next four years. The city has 13 neighbourhoods, but many of the plans were created more than 20 years ago.

New neighbourhood plans for Fairfield, Gonzales and Victoria West will begin in 2017.

The Burnside plan goes to council for approval next year.