After more than 100 supporters weighed in, the federal government approved a swim platform installed in the Gorge Waterway this summer.
In mid-July, a wooden floating dock with a Japanese Katsura tree in the middle appeared in the Gorge Waterway. The floating platform was quietly installed by Aryze Developments as part of a placemaking strategy called Project Albero – meaning “tree” in Italian.
The platform was anchored near Bamfield Park and was intended to act as a place for swimmers to rest and admire the views.
In September, Aryze Development was contacted by the federal government and told they needed a permit.
The company applied and, once the application reached the public feedback phase, called on the community for support, said Luke Mari, Aryze co-owner.
Guess what?!— Talk to ARYZE (@TalktoARYZE) December 4, 2020
The Federal Government approved Project Albero!!
Thank you to the 100+ ppl that wrote in to support 🥳
Our apologies to the 9 people who opposed the dock, perhaps a nice swim in the Gorge will help 🏊🙂 pic.twitter.com/OpCWVgZgt0
Public feedback was collected on the government website until Oct. 10 and more than 100 community members weighed in – nine respondents opposed the installation.
The City of Victoria added its support in mid-September.
After working closely with the Aryze team, the federal government officially approved it on Dec. 4.
“We’re golden,” Mari said after the news came in. “We’re no longer rebels of the law.”
He noted that the decision was made based on a number of factors including the community feedback, the technical merits, safety and impacts on navigation and the environment.
The platform was not thrown together or randomly placed but was carefully designed with input from architects and engineers and thoughtfully installed to ensure “it will be there in 100 years,” Mari said.
He said the support that the community showed was “the cherry on top.”