After receiving pushback from the community, Victoria city council is providing more options on what to do with Clover Point.
Accessibility advocates and seniors said changes proposed to Clover Point’s parking loop earlier this month would severely limit their access to the popular waterfront destination.
The original recommendation, to close the parking loop to traffic, is still on the table. The option would cost $260,000 and would create 3,600 square metres of additional waterfront space. City staff has also released additional options for the loop.
One of them would see the original 17 parking spaces, including four accessible stalls, bumped up to 15 parking spots within the park — 10 of them accessible. The second option would cost slightly more at $275,000 and create less waterfront space, 2,400 square metres.
Staff now also have an interim design option that would see the east side of the park used for parking, and the west to be pedestrian only.
Another option is to leave the point as it is and wait to create a more long term plan.
“I would say lots of feedback on both perspectives and I think what staff have come up with is a compromise that will hopefully work with everybody,” said Mayor Lisa Helps.
“I am willing to go in that direction and we will see what council decides.”
Coun. Stephen Andrew says he got flooded with comments from people who were against the full closure of the loop.
“We need to listen to those and we need to come up with a comprehensive plan, to really find a cohabitative way of doing this,” he said.
“When we closed off Beacon Hill Park before I got on council that causes a tremendous uproar. We need to listen.”
Andrew says weather is also a major factor in any design because of strong winds.
“I don’t think the vision of picnic point is actually going to appear,” said Andrew, referencing the strong winds Tuesday. He says more days than not winds are blowing at the point.
Accessibility advocates say it’s a popular spot, and city staff dropped the ball when it came to thinking about everyone.
David Willows is one advocate. His child lives with a disability.
“Being able to come down in the van and have a place were open the windows… just being able to sit and watch the waves can be very good for their mental health,” he said.
“They have updates the accessibility impact statement, they do address standards… but they are not applying it to context, the actual human impact.
Victoria’s mayor says the dialogue is getting ugly and is even sparking personal attacks.
“That is not healthy public dialogue on what we do with our public spaces, change is hard but it’s necessary,” she added.
The options will be in front of council on Thursday.