The flowers bloom all year round in Victoria.
But for some locals, the downtown core has become a sea of cement instead.
“There’s too much construction. Not enough green space,” Sarah Tidsbury said.
In the current housing crisis, the pressure is on to build. And with the rush, many residents say green spaces are being forgotten.
“The city has already identified the need, it’s just when it comes time to ask the developers for contributions or when it comes to decide what to do with whatever piece of land, it’s just getting lost in the shuffle,” Paul Grandall, president of the Downtown Victora Residents Association, said.
Bastion Square has flowers — the metal kind. There are patches of grass at Reeson Park and Centennial Square.
Residents say Janion square, at the base of the Johnson Street Bridge, and the new outdoor plaza are missed opportunities.
“It’s those basic human needs for interaction and green space and for play and I think we really need to drill down and make sure we have that as a foundational element of the community we’re trying to build,” Grandall said.
“We need more of those spaces, and we keep forgetting downtown is a neighbourhood of its own and should have those amenities as well,” Victoria Coun. Charlayne Thorton-Joe said.
And as the downtown core densifies, with population growth surging way ahead of projections, some locals say it’s time to turn that around.
“I think the solution is to utilize some of the underused lots that are sitting in the downtown core. The rooftops of buildings, you could look at the city’s parkades, but beyond all that, there’s also a whole bunch of empty lots or underdeveloped park spaces that could see some regeneration or more activity,” Grandall said.
Ship Point in the inner harbour is next up for a revamp, and locals say, along with it, is an opportunity to regrow and regreen.