It’s a project Brad Dellebuur remembers working on in the early 1990s.
Now, nearly three decades later, the pieces are finally starting to fall into place as council gave the go ahead to create a plaza at the intersection of Belleville and Menzies streets.
The Complete Street improvements project aims at improving pedestrian connectivity along Belleville, as part of on-going improvements to the David Foster Harbour Pathway.
According to a staff report, there are currently a number of issues within the 400 block of Belleville Street, including poor sidewalk conditions, limited right-of-way and the retaining wall, which supports the sidewalk and the road, is near the end of its life.
The area also sees some of the highest pedestrian concentrations in the city, which is only expected to grow with increased tourist activity in the coming years.
The $3-million project will include the construction of two new retaining walls near the Belleville Terminal, widening sidewalks, adding 12 boulevard trees, a mid-block crosswalk, re-paving the streets between Oswego and Menzies streets, marked on-street bike lanes and redesigning the plaza space at the intersection of Belleville and Menzies.
“It’s the primary entrance to the Inner Harbour. It’s for every one of the tourists, passengers that get off the Clipper or the Coho and come into the city. It’s the first point of contact with the City of Victoria,” said Dellebuur, the city’s manager of transportation.
In the coming years, the plaza is expected to improve pedestrian and cyclist connectivity and sightlines from Belleville Street to the Lower Causeway, allow for better programing for arts and culture events, and create a simpler, more open and classic design to complement the Steamship Terminal building and the Lower Causeway.
Coun. Margaret Lucas has heard from many James Bay residents who are in favour of the project.
“I have yet to see one (comment) that isn’t in support of this,” she said. “They’re looking forward to having that linkage all the way down to Ogden Point … they’re very excited about it.”
Construction is expected to begin in the fall and be complete in April 2018.