Victoria’s parks and open spaces master plan taking shape

When Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is 70, she hopes to be able to walk around local streets and feel like she’s a part of a living city.

When Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps is 70 years old, she hopes to be able to walk around local streets and feel like she’s a part of a living city.

A city with open spaces, playgrounds for children, naturalized areas, and green spaces that serve as vertical parks to connect neighbourhoods to the downtown core — a city within a park rather than a park within a city.

While Helps’ vision is one of the future, the city’s parks and open spaces master plan is beginning to take shape now.

The plan will be used as a roadmap to help the city in planning and managing parks and open spaces over the next 25 years, including identifying investment priorities.

Over the past few months, more than 1,200 residents have provided feedback through online and phone surveys, open houses, and focus groups on what priorities they hope to see identified in the plan.

So far residents have identified natural areas, sensitive ecosystems and climate change as top priorities. Other priorities include accessible parks and open spaces, access to waterfronts and beaches, and more flexible, unprogrammed spaces and play spaces.

“We’re thinking 30 years out. That’s our job as elected officials. I expect when I’m 70 anywhere in Victoria I’ll feel like I’m in a living city…it’s going to save us money in the long-run. That’s what this plan should reflect, I think,” Helps said recent meeting. “It has to be sustainable.”

Other topics residents brought up include the importance of community gardens, incorporating arts and culture into parks, and creating more diverse parks to be used for various activities such as pickleball, chess, parkour or pop-up events.

Another issue was that of food security and re-establishing natural areas on boulevards, issues Coun. Ben Isitt agreed should be top priorities in the master plan.

“Natural areas are a top priority, that involves protecting natural areas within the parks system and a transition to more native species,” he said.

“Looking at food systems …when we look at how vast they city’s land-ownings are, there’s the possibility within the parks system for people to harvest nuts and fruit.”

Councillors Marianne Alto and Jeremy Loveday said the accessibility of parks for all residents is also a crucial element.

“As we increase the number of residents downtown, it’s critical that we invest in the public realm, including new parks,” Loveday said. “We need to be reinvesting wealth to make sure those people that live here have a chance to make the community the backyard that they don’t have.”

Helps added it is important to find a way to get volunteers involved to help maintain, enhance and build the city’s parks system.

“People love our parks, they’re their parks,” she said.

Public consultation for the plan will continue in October and the final plan will be presented to council in early 2017.

There are currently 132 parks and open spaces varying in size from 0.025 to 183 acres, 12 off leash-dog areas, 40 playgrounds, a bicycle park, 25 tennis courts, five outdoor fitness locations and 32,753 city-owned trees within Victoria.

 

 

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

Just Posted

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Patrol officers from VicPD’s Esquimalt division responded to a call about hateful graffiti in Macaulay Park Wednesday evening. (Black Press Media file photo)
Anti-Semitic, hate-based graffiti found in Esquimalt park

Police seek suspects after fresh hate-based graffiti found Wednesday evening

Alyssa Gerwing, executive director of the Sidney Museum and Archives, gets into the Halloween spirit with a lit-up jack-o-lantern. With Treat Street cancelled, the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society has organized a series of other events and activities under the heading of Halloween Spooktacular. (Wolfgang Depner/News Staff)
Sidney serves up ghoulish spills and thrills during Halloween

A virtual Halloween treasure hunt and scary drive-in movies among tricks and treats

Artists, activists and supporters stand at the ‘More Justice, More Peace’ mural in Victoria’s Bastion Square after the letter ‘S’ was painted over in black. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
ACAB removed from Victoria’s More Justice, More Peace mural

New message points to VicPD, City of Victoria for silencing BIPOC voices

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

Pilot Kevin Maher participated in a flyover of a ceremony at the Cobble Hill cenotaph on Oct. 22 in a 1940 North American (Noorduyn) Harvard aircraft. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cobble Hill remembers lost military members with ceremony, flyover

Annual event commemorates those who died in non-combat roles

Most Read