Banfield Park is one of the city’s best-loved summer swimming spots, and a timeline is in place for upgrades and amenities to the area.
Victoria Councillor Jeremy Caradonna says the expansion for the Vic West park will include a second floating dock, a designated swimming area off-limits to motorized crafts, and the development of a beach area.
Permanent bathroom facilities are also being considered, as an influx of sun-seekers has been problematic at times.
“Banfield Park has been a victim of its own success,” says Caradonna. “One of the things we did is put in a porta-john at the dock because people were doing their business in the bushes.”
Clean-up efforts, including the removal of derelict boats have led to a healthy increase in sea life.
Jacques Lacoste has been snorkelling at Banfield several times a week for five years and has seen a dramatic difference beneath the surface.
“Last week I had a seal come and swim under me,” Lacoste said. “She passed me because I was too slow, but it was quite something. I’ve never seen a seal here before.”
The improvements are a nod to the swim culture in the Gorge Waterway in the 1920s when the area was home to swimming and diving competitions. Caradonna says safety standards are higher a century later.
“One thing we won’t be putting in is a hundred-foot diving platform,” he said. “That was not safe.”