A floating spa facility being pitched as a one-of-a-kind attraction in Victoria’s Inner Harbour will either sink or swim after members of the public have their say in a hearing this week.
The City of Victoria is considering a proposal from Havn Experiences to build the nordic-style spa on a barge that would occupy the Inner Harbour Ship Point South District. Council is holding a public hearing on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to gather feedback on the plans.
After the hearing, councillors are expected to vote on whether or not to give third and final approval to a proposed bylaw rezoning the area to allow for recreational facility use.
If the rezoning is approved, city staff are recommending that council then approve a development permit for the floating spa.
Nicholas Van Buren, CEO and co-founder of Havn, has previously said that the proposal aligns with the city’s Official Community Plan and aims to make the Inner Harbour a more inviting, year-round space that connects the city and the harbour.
Van Buren also claimed that Havn will add a year-round economic boost to an underutilized waterfront space, especially during the harbour’s off-season, by attracting people to the downtown core.
The company plans to use 90 per cent reused and recycled materials for construction, including energy-efficient heaters, salvaged ocean logs, repurposed water for landscaping, and more. The barge has already been purchased and will be refurbished to create the sauna.
Council has also requested that the applicant ensure full accessibility to the structure for people with disabilities.
The development permit, if approved, would be valid for two years from the date of the motion passing.
Those who would like to provide feedback in the public hearing can submit comments or pre-recorded videos by email to [email protected], by mail to Legislative Services at City Hall or drop them off at the Ambassador in City Hall Lobby.
Anyone wishing to speak live must register at the same email, and the public can watch the livestream on the city’s website.