Victoria city council has given the okay to build two pedestrian bridges

Victoria city council has given the okay to build two pedestrian bridges

Council gives thumbs up to Heron Cove bridge

Plans to build two pedestrian bridges to improve connectivity along the David Foster Harbour Pathway are moving ahead.

Plans to build two pedestrian bridges to improve connectivity along the David Foster Harbour Pathway are moving ahead.

Victoria city council recently passed a motion to begin construction on two pedestrian bridges — one at Raymuir Point and the other at Heron Cove — along with the completion of a special place at Heron Cove, a pathway at Reeson Park and permanent wayfinding signs at a cost of $5.1 million.

Staff originally proposed completing the Raymuir Point Bridge, which stretches from the WorldMark property on Kingston Street to Laurel Point, and deferring the construction of the Heron Cove Bridge and special place in order to reallocate funds to the construction of higher priority projects such as the design of the Johnson Street Bridge underpass, public realm improvements on Belleville Street and improvements at Ship Point.

However, that would mean the loss of $400,000 in federal grants for the project — something some councillors were not willing to let go.

“The whole purpose (of the David Foster Harbour Pathway) was to get closer to something that functions as a proper waterfront trail,” said Coun. Ben Isitt. “If council is serious about creating a high quality pathway, I don’t think we should abandon that $400,000 in federal funds that will be completely gone.”

Coun. Geoff Young agreed. He said the primary objective of the pathway upgrades were to improve connectivity and the Heron Cove Bridge is “vital” to that, noting it will be something tourists and residents will be able to see from Fisherman’s Wharf.

The project hasn’t been without challenges. Some float home residents living at Fisherman’s Wharf have spoke out against the proposed 39-metre-long, four-metre-wide Heron Cove Bridge, saying it will cause harm to wildlife in the area.

Since then, staff have modified the design of the bridge to include a timber platform with low level lighting to reduce impacts on wildlife.

Funding has not yet been identified to construct the Johnson Street Underpass, which will create a link for pedestrians from the south side of the bridge to downtown.

Once complete, the $27-million David Foster Harbour Pathway will be a continuous, five-kilometre public route along the waterfront between Ogden Point and Rock Bay.