Victoria city council to vote on makeover of coastline park

·2 min read

City councillors in Victoria will consider turning a parking area with some of the best ocean views in the city into a car-free waterfront picnic area.

In a report, city staff recommend that councillors agree to spend $250,000 to transform the parking loop at Clover Point Park into a pedestrian-focused picnic area in the short-term as part of a longer process of renewing the park overall.

Clover Point Park is located off Dallas Road, between Ross Bay and Beacon Hill Park in the Fairfield neighbourhood. Open areas of the 10-acre park are popular for flying kites, walking dogs and for fitness.

The park also serves as the western terminus of the Trans Canada Trail and its shoreline and surrounding waters are part of the Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary.

"Transitioning the southern area of the park from a parking lot to a pedestrian priority space will greatly improve the value of this recreational area," said the report.

Since November 2019, the parking loop has been closed to vehicles due to an upgrade to the regional wastewater treatment facility located within the park. During that time, the city says the loop has been well used by pedestrians, with access extended in April 2020 as part of pandemic measures.

The wastewater upgrade includes new public washrooms, a drinking fountain, bike racks, Indigenous art, seating, and improved lighting in the park.

If councillors approve additional plans for the area, temporary seating and tables would be added to the space. The report says the space would be an "excellent venue" for special events.

City of Victoria
City of Victoria

Mayor Lisa Helps said she likes the plan.

"I'd love to rename it 'Picnic Point,'" she said about the parking loop area. "This is the final piece of a seamless waterfront feature."

CHEK News
CHEK News

Closing the point permanently to vehicle traffic would reduce parking capacity within Clover Point Park from 90 stalls to 17.

According to the report, closing the parking area will create extra demand for the 115 available parking spots on adjacent streets.

To accommodate people with mobility needs, the plan calls for four designated accessible parking spaces at the southernmost end of the road leading into the park, as well as an oversized passenger loading zone for dropping off people or supplies.

CHEK News
CHEK News

Some people with disabilities or mobility issues are critical of the plan, saying it will make it harder for them to access the area.

Sheenagh Morrison, a Victoria resident and Special Olympics athlete, said the four accessible parking spaces aren't enough and that forcing people to park on Dallas Road could be dangerous.

"If you park anywhere else on Dallas Road, it is not safe for people that use walkers and wheelchairs to get out of a car safely, without almost getting hit," she said.

City councillors will consider the report on Thursday.