Should $50,000 be spent to ‘beautify’ downtown Victoria? City staff think so

Should $50,000 be spent to 'beautify' downtown Victoria? City staff think so

When you ask if downtown Victoria needs a little sprucing up, the responses vary.

“I think it’s very clean especially compared to San Francisco,” said Angel More, who was visiting for the weekend.

“Flowers and stuff would make it beautiful, but we need to focus on like the core of cleanup,” said longtime Vancouver Islander Cherie.

If you ask Victoria city staff and the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), some blocks need a freshening up.

“Really anything that would improve the facade, the look, the feel of that block would be considered in this program,” said Jeff Bray, CEO of the DVBA.

Four months after paid parking hours in Victoria were approved to be extended, Victoria city staff are now hoping to use some of those earnings (earmarked at $50,000) towards beautifying B.C.’s capital.

“The DVBA will match that, so that’s 100,000 and it would be on a cost-sharing basis with businesses and property owners. So that’s $200,000 that’s on the table to really improve the look and feel of downtown.”

Think of a splash of fresh paint, power washing seagull poop from awnings, or maybe more hanging baskets, or even adding street furniture.

The DVBA says they will be doling out the funds to businesses and coordinating the upgrades, for which they also say they already have businesses interested. If the beautification is backed, it would bring city council’s spending on downtown to almost a million dollars this year.

If the downtown needs a facelift though, is up for debate.

“I feel like it’s already a really clean place, the fact that we’re making it more cleaning is a bit ridiculous,” said Chantal Conti, who lives in Victoria.

“I go to school in Philadelphia. Not to hate on any city, but I think Victoria’s got it right,” said Justine Orgel, who was visiting for the weekend.

The opinions rolling in to CHEK News are relative. Visitors seem to appreciate Victoria’s small-town, big-town feel, while longtime locals are mourning the changes coming with the growing city.

“People don’t feel safe walking downtown Victoria anymore,” said Cherie.

With perception differing from person to person.

“I’m from Nanaimo, we have our own problems, you know?” said Peter Hudson.

Whatever your perspective, Victoria’s city council will consider the facade improvement motion Thursday.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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