City seeks input for parks master plan

The City of Victoria is looking for input on what taxpayers’ dollars should be spent, as part of a new parks master plan.

The City of Victoria is looking for input on what taxpayers’ dollars should be spent on over the next decade, as part of a new parks master plan.

The parks and open spaces master plan will help guide decisions and investments across the city’s park system for the next 25 years, as well as options for the renovation, expansion or replacement of the 45-year-old Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre.

“Victoria is celebrated for its parks and recreational opportunities, this is an opportunity to learn what the community wants more of and where we should focus our programming and investments in the coming years,” said Mayor Lisa Helps in a release.

Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities with the city, said there have been plans related to specific parks and neighbourhoods in the past, but never a master plan that will be used to identify a list of priorities for the roughly 132 parks in the city’s system.

However, Soulliere was quick to note it is not an exercise to re-design each park, but an opportunity for the public to identify key amenities to improve the quality of the park from a strategic lens.

So far, staff have been pleased with the amount of engagement and input they’ve received that will help inform city council’s decisions on what to spend taxpayers’ dollars on.

“Folks are clearly very passionate about the value that parks and open spaces provide to their community,” Soulliere said. “We’re really trying to get as much input from every corner of the community to help inform this plan. We’re off to a good start. It’s a major undertaking and we want to get it right.”

The city will be looking for feedback over the next few months through a number of pop-up kiosks in parks and at events, along with community working groups, focus groups and an online survey.

Staff hope to have a draft plan before council in the fall, followed by further engagement before finalizing the master plan in early 2017.

For more information or to take the survey visit haveyoursayvictoria.com.