I am writing to express my disagreement with the recommendation that council approve the proposal to close the Clover Point Loop to traffic. I understand this is not currently open for public consultation, a point which I also strongly disagree with. The promise of public consultation at a later date, after the changes have already been made and paid for, also stings quite a bit.
The city has done an impressive job of refreshing the walkway along Dallas Road as part of its Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan. The opportunities for pedestrian and bicycle use along this stretch of Dallas Road, already ample, are now in abundance. The opportunities for parking are not. My friend and I walk here every week and talk frequently about how we can’t wait for the parking lot to reopen. The loop at Clover Point provides plenty of parking and a central meeting spot when enjoying the area. It also feels much safer parking there, as visibility reversing out of the stalls along Dallas is an exercise in trust of your fellow drivers to see you and slow down.
Since I was a child, and now with my own child, this has been a place that we would drive to as a family for a quick stop or stroll. It is a beautiful spot to just park for a few minutes (because it is often too windy to get out of your car), maybe eat an ice cream cone, listen to the waves, watch the birds, and enjoy some nature. Having the parking lot right there makes this easy and accessible.
My mother has mobility issues limiting her movement to the point that she can’t get out of the car, as do many seniors in our community. This is one of her favourite places to be driven to so that she can sit in the car and enjoy the surroundings. I appreciate that your report considers the senior population, but four parking stalls are not going to be nearly enough. Our aged population is only going to grow.
In Vancouver, every space that can be capitalized on, is: food trucks, vendors, shows, displays, fairs, markets. While those things are fun, and I completely support them, one of the nice things about Victoria is that there are places without them. That we had left some places alone that were beautiful and being enjoyed just as they were. Clover Point was just that – there’s nothing there but a parking lot and a stunning view, with access to a beach or park in every direction. It doesn’t need food trucks, vendors, and picnic tables for people to enjoy it.
Would a pedestrian area instead of a parking lot be a good addition? Many would say yes. I would say it’s great just the way it is. The space along Dallas Road provides opportunity to “Foster Engaging Experiences for Everyone” already. The area is beautifully maintained, with beaches, trails, bike, walking, and animal access. I propose that the parking loop at Clover Point ain’t broken – so don’t fix it.