While construction crews tend to multiply on Greater Victoria roads in the coming months, Saanich residents looking to hit the beach for a bit of local fun in the sun will also come face-to-face with these crews construction.
Work is now underway to improve Gyro Park at Cadboro Bay, making it more accessible to all park users and to help deal with some of the drainage issues that surface when the water level rises in the winter months.
Expect work crews to be on site until October, as the park undergoes a big transformation, with the addition of new swing sets, a zipline, a new playground and the relocation of the concrete octopus and salmon figures.
Access to the beach won’t be impacted, but machinery and trucks will be on site throughout the course of the construction.
Key to the upgrades is making the popular park more accessible. To complement last year’s addition of a wheelchair ramp and mats that allow wheelchair and scooter users onto the sandy beach, the park upgrades will be even more inclusive.
More ramps will be added to the play areas, and a sensory garden is being built to give all visitors a chance to enjoy the site.
“Plant selections to be made will be sensitive to the conditions of the site and provide interesting sensory attributes for touch, smell and visual interest,” reads information from Saanich parks and recreation. “As part of the sensory garden, three panels that include a sign language panel, a Braille panel and a musical chimes panel to encourage inclusion for all children and adults with varying degrees of ability.
“A separate sensory play centre is also going to be nearby as a standalone feature that includes a marble panel that offers a visual, auditory and tactile experience with its brilliant wall of marbles and a rain sound wheel that offers auditory and visual input while developing dexterity.”
Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard says accessibility is an issue that the municipality is becoming more aware of every year.
“Gyro is our first park upgrade that has this much more aggressive approach to making it accessible from the beach to everywhere else in the park,” he said. “(The sensory garden and play centre) are far and away more than anything we’ve done in any other park. We’re going to be proud of it. This is something I want us to get really good at.”
For more info on the park upgrades, visit saanich.ca/parkrec/parks/projects/current/cadboro.html.