Changes are coming up for Centennial Square, and the City of Victoria is looking for public input. Don Denton/BLACK PRESS

‘Refreshing’ changes in store for Victoria’s Centennial Square

City looking for public input on how to make 52-year-old plaza more vibrant, comfortable

The City of Victoria is looking for public input on upcoming changes to Centennial Square.

The city hub, located next to City Hall between Douglas and Government streets, and Pandora Avenue and Fisgard Street, was officially completed in 1966. It’s most recent upgrades happened in the southwest corner in 2009, resulting in what is now known as Spirit Square, marked most notably with two totem poles.

However, City staff want the space to be remodeled to create a more creative and accessible, interactive space.

Top goals include increasing ground-level commercial and cafe/restaurants space, facilitating temporary installations like food trucks, improving the square’s connections with Douglas Street, incorporating play elements for kids and introducing new surface materials to complement the existing heritage brick.

The City’s senior urban planner, Joaquin Karakas, said it’s all about “embracing and enhancing the original intent of the square as the city’s civic heart.”

Not only is downtown’s residential population increasing, he said, the soon-to-be completed commercial building at 1515 Douglas St. and its finished sister building on Pandora Avenue are further adding people to the area. The objective, he added, is to refresh the square by finding ways to increase activities, heighten people’s sense of comfort and safety and boost its daily use year-round, not just during the busy festival season.

Among the considerations is a terraced greenspace, along with the removal or moving of trees and a redesign of the existing performance stage.

ALSO READ: Victoria mayor hopes ninth attempt to redesign Ship Point will go through

An online survey has been created to gauge what the public feels is most important. Questions include:

• When you think about Centennial Square as a heart for downtown, what gives it that ‘heart?’

• What types of celebration would you like in Centennial Square?

• When you think about Centennial Square as a playful space, what types of play would you most like to experience?

The survey closes on Aug. 6 and in the fall the City plans to bring out a draft proposal for the area. The plan will take place in short term (one to two years) and medium term (two to five year) stages, with long term options being considered for the future.

For more information, you can head to victoria.ca/centennialsquare.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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