After weeks of debate, hours of meetings and immense feedback from the public, Victoria City Council has decided on the new design plan for Clover Point.
There were three main proposals on the table, and after more than two hours of discussion during Thursday’s meeting, the mayor and council landed on Option 2 — a compromise.
Option 2 includes plans to partially close the loop to vehicles while increasing pedestrian priority space. The part of the loop that will remain open will become a two-way road, with a round-a-bout at the bottom.
Accessibility advocates pushed back as the original plan would see the entire point closed off to cars.
The debate before the vote Thursday was still on.
“I do not really feel like I want to spend the rest of my day sitting at this council making amendments to a design, none of us at this table are parks designers,” said Victoria Councillor Stephen Andrew during the council meeting.
Eventually, all but Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe voted on the compromise.
“A lot of activity already happens there,” said Thornton-Joe. “I don’t think this is a space we need to create activity.”
Andrew was vocal against the project, outlining that he was flooded with concerns from seniors and those who face accessibility challenges.
The project is described as an interim solution until future plans and possibilities can be developed.
“It’s not the perfect compromise, but it certainly does address many of the issues. I think there is a better option for Clover Point. I think we can expand it and make something really dynamic,” said Andrew.
The total area within the space designated for walking, cycling, and play will be increased by 2,400 square metres. Part of the existing road will be painted and picnic tables and benches will be installed, while a designated food truck and vendor area will be created.
“If we had pushed ahead with the pedestrian-only plan it wouldn’t have benefited everybody,” said Mayor Helps, who originally supported the full closure.
“I think you saw council working really hard this morning and staff working really hard to come up with a compromise.”
Twenty-five parking spaces will remain, with 10 of those designated as accessible parking spaces.
This was the most expensive option, totalling $275,000, which will be funded from the Buildings and Infrastructure Reserve.
“The higher cost of this option is due to the additional traffic control infrastructure required, such as signage, pavement markings and bollards, as well as additional split-rail wood fencing,” reads the agenda from Thursday’s council meeting.
Advocates are still concerned.
“The active view of Clover Point is on the west side and they put us on the east side,” said David Willows.
“You see, very often, that the wheelchair-accessible seats are in the back of the theatre. So it’s time to start taking a more a deeper look into inclusion in the community.”
He adds that the city failed to properly consult seniors and those facing accessibility challenges.
Over the past week, city staff presented two options to council that included change and expansion.
A third option was also on the table that included making zero changes at all, but council spent most of its time discussing the other options.
The plans for Option 1 included completely closing off the loop to vehicles, except for four accessible parking spaces, and adding 3,600 square feet of pedestrian and cycling space. This would have cost slightly less than Option 2, coming in at $260,000.
Option 3 meant keeping the loop as is, looking at making any adjustments later in the future.
The full design plan is laid out in the figure below.