Royal Beach reopens to the public, plans to rezone for waterfront hub

Royal Bay Beach owners, Seacliff Properties, plan to dedicate around 50 acres of ocean view land to Colwood, including 10 hubs of interest and a trail network connecting to Esquimalt Lagoon. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Royal Bay Beach owners, Seacliff Properties, plan to dedicate around 50-acres of ocean view park land to Colwood, including 10 hubs of interest and a trail network connecting to Esquimalt Lagoon. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

The reopening of Royal Beach lands brings Colwood one step closer to building its ideal seaside community, which Mayor Rob Martin hopes will become a destination hub.

A handful of city councillours joined Martin and land developers Seacliff Properties to reopen the land June 25 after hit had been closed to the public since mid-March.

According to Martin, council has been working with Seacliff to dedicate around 50-acres of ocean view land to the City of Colwood, including plans for a waterfront pub, commercial space, and residential properties.

Martin pointed out that Royal Beach property is designated land for a potential West Shore ferry.

“It would be the cherry on top,” said Martin. “I recall the last survey said around 70 per cent are in favour of the ferry landing here. We’ve been told the South Vancouver Island Transportation Initiative will be coming later this June, so we’re waiting on them.”

READ MORE: Colwood passenger ferry plan makes small waves

BC Ferries has previously expressed their interest to provide a passenger ferry service from Colwood’s waterfront to downtown Victoria.

A pre-feasibility study from SNC-Lavalin highlighted that a solution to traffic jams – commonly known as the Colwood crawl – could be a fast-catamaran ferry that could carry about 300 passengers and maintain a speed of 25 knots. The study also recommended the ferry terminal would need to accommodate parking for about 250 vehicles as well as a bus platform.

READ ALSO: The ‘Colwood Crawl’ doesn’t go through Colwood

“In an ideal world, we would have the approval process done by the end of the year and see shovels in the ground at the start of next year,” said Georgia Desjardins, project manager with Seacliff Properties.

“We’re so excited to make Royal Beach a reality as soon as possible. We want to make this the new heart of the City of Colwood. The City calls themselves a seaside community and we’ve got the perfect 1.4 kilometres of unobstructed seaside to make it happen.”

– with files from Shalu Mehta

ALSO READ: Colwood approves pop-up coffee shop made of shipping containers

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