Victoria looks to revitalize Inner Harbour parking lots

Revitalization plans earmarked for three key sites: Ship Point, lower Wharf Street and Belleville terminal

The City of Victoria is creating revitalization plans for three key sites: Belleville Terminal

Parking lots along Victoria’s Inner Harbour have puzzled visitors for decades, the enviable waterfront land paved and left undeveloped by council after council.

But now, the city could finally be taking action with revitalization plans for three key sites: Ship Point, lower Wharf Street and the Belleville terminal (see map).

Tom Mitchell, manager and boat captain at B.C. Whale Tours near the lower Wharf Street parking lot, said the space is ideal for a public market.

“You’ve got the little market in the summer in Bastion Square, but if you had it down here, you could bring in so many more vendors and farmers,” he said.

Turning the space into a park is a bad idea, he said, as it’s removed from the street and would be difficult to police at night.

“I’d love to see a ferris wheel,” said Mitchell’s co-worker, Charlotte Blundell. “Food trucks should be brought down here, too.”

Steve Jackson has been operating a waterfront patio and small restaurant, Lido Bistro, beside the lower Wharf Street parking lot, for the past five years.

He said tourists regularly comment how the area is the “most expensive parking lot in the world” for its land value.

“There’s just so much under-utilized space there,” Jackson said. “Even if they put in underground parking, you’d still have at least 25 feet to put in buildings before you came up to street level.”

Jackson said he’d love to see the city install green space on the roof of any new building and extend the public realm from Bastion Square outwards towards the Inner Harbour.

“Obviously, you’ve got to pay the bills, so they need some sort of retail scenario,” he said. “Parking is still an issue down here, but like any other parkade, why can’t it be covered?”

A look back at the Inner Harbour in 1907 (jump to 1:45 for the corner of Government and Humboldt):

Up in Bastion Square, manager Louise Olsen looks out at the water view from Paradiso Di Stelle, a gelateria and cafe.

“We’re completely dependent on tourists, and they’re drawn up here by the view,” she said. “As long as we don’t lose our view, we’re happy.”

The city launches its Harbour Dialogue open house on May 9, from 3 to 7 p.m. at Ship Point. City staff will be on hand to discuss project information and accept ideas for the three sites. Representatives from Tourism Victoria, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Downtown Victoria Business Association and the Royal BC Museum will also be available.

Two-hour ideas forums will also be held on May 10 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the Victoria Conference Centre. Preregistration is required by emailing or by calling 250-360-0286.

For more information, visit

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

City of Langford rebrands, announces several projects

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Fiddler on the Roof brings timely message to Oak Bay stage

Musical starts Friday in Dave Dunnet Theatre

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day in Victoria

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read