Victoria has expedited public engagement on the future of Clover Point Park, with councillors unanimously voting to move the process from 2024 to 2023.
The amended project timeline was passed at the Feb. 3 committee of the whole meeting.
Staff told councillors their vision has looked to treat the continuous green space south of Dallas Road – including Holland Point Park, part of Beacon Hill Park and Clover Point – as one project.
Thomas Soulliere, director of parks, recreation and facilities, said a shoreline and coastal impacts analysis – being done by the city’s engineering department this year – will be critical to determine what can be included in the project.
Preliminary conversations with the federal government have identified the area as a good fit for potential public space and climate adaptation funding, Mayor Lisa Helps said. Before the vote, she called Clover Point an area of “high public interest,” adding the city would be taking a comprehensive look at the two-kilometre stretch from Clover Point to the far end of Ross Bay, where planning for replacement of the deteriorating seawall is already underway.
While the project timeline for the larger, more permanent changes to Clover Point was sped up, councillors rejected exploring short-term seasonal alterations before the long-term revamp is complete. The latter proposal, brought forward by Couns. Charlayne Thornton-Joe and Marianne Alto, sought to have staff report back on the implications of adjusting the site’s use, including allowing additional vehicle access, during colder seasons.
Some groups, such as seniors and those living with mobility issues, would get more use out of the site if they could stay in their vehicle or be sheltered during cold and windy months, Thornton-Joe said.
“We’ve heard it very clearly by all the emails we’ve received that we are now excluding a certain population,” she said, adding she’s not comfortable with the current compromise.
Helps said the temporary layout isn’t working perfectly, but the public should have their say on seasonally-adjusted use during the now accelerated long-term planning process.
“There’s still room for people to park, there’s room for people to park very close by on Dallas Road and there’s room for people who are not in vehicles to access the space safely year-round,” she said. “Even asking for a report back takes staff away from doing work we’ve mandated them to do in 2022.”
Coun. Geoff Young, among those who opposed the seasonal alteration proposal, said changing the site’s use seasonally is a good idea, but achieving a temporary dual-use design would be complex.
Coun. Ben Isitt said the temporary Clover Point design deserves more time so the public can see the temporary changes.
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