It’s a jewel of real estate: Ship Point — located in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
But this potential paradise is nothing more than just paved parking, at least at the moment. Councillor Dave Thompson believes it’s time for the city to start redeveloping this parcel into something much more.
“Every time I come down here, I’m really struck by how we’re not taking advantage of this great opportunity we have with this harbour front. And so I think we need to put a higher, and better use to this land,” Thompson said.
For decades, it’s been talked about.
Six years ago Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps described the changes to the blacktop that were supposedly just around the corner.
“It’ll be replaced mostly by green space. A small commercial pavilion over on that side. An urban beach right down there. That’s the part that I think is most exciting,” Helps said to CHEK News on July 21, 2017.
The city even drafted a master plan that came together after many public meetings.
Time and money was spent designing an amphitheatre, adding more green space, and moving the parking underground.
Fast forward to today, and the only thing that has changed is the addition of a big, black, floating spa business.
Surface parking lots still dominate, even with world-class views within reach.
While there are dates on the calendar where people outnumber cars, they’re few and far between.
“That never got past the draft stage. And we definitely need to go back to that, look at whether it’s still the best plan for this land, and for the harbour. And improve it if we need to. And I think we need to get onto implementing it. I’m hoping during this term,” Thompson said.
And tourists agree, they’d like to see changes.
“Green space. Absolutely green space. More like the trees that go over in there.”
“More open spaces, garden area. And green. Green space.”
“I can see instead of a parking lot, more of a park setting would probably be nice.”
Thompson says the redevelopment likely needs the financial assistance of both the federal, and provincial governments.
But he’d like to see it happen sooner, rather than wait another term.