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

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 harbourdialogue@victoria.ca or by calling 250-360-0286.

For more information, visit victoria.ca/harbourdialogue.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Victoria police responded to a vehicle where this dog was found in distress due to the heat after being left inside. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Hot cars can be fatal to dogs left inside, Victoria police reminds public after distress calls

Victoria police found two dogs in a car with an internal temperature of 47 C on Friday

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read