Stairwell 5 at the Broughton Street Parkade has been intermittently closed over the last few weeks. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Downtown Victoria stairwell remains closed six weeks after renovations began

The stairwell is a popular spot for loiterers and a main artery for the parkade system

For many downtown workers the day starts with looping around a parkade before parking and walking to work. For those using the Broughton Street Parkade, however, an extra lap –and locating the nearest stairwell or elevator– has been necessary since a main stairwell has continually closed and reopened over the past six weeks.

Stairwell number five opens to a plaza off of Blanshard Street. In October, extensive renovations of the plaza saw the installation of a garden and new benches, but the stairwell remained closed.

ALSO READ: Needle found on handrail in downtown Victoria parkade

The week after the garden opened, the stairwell finally opened. Fresh paint and patches along the wall could be observed, but within 24 hours the familiar stench of urine and garbage were back on scene.

Since then, the stairwell has closed and opened several times, with a sign posted that there was “wet paint”, and a map indicating the nearest alternative route.

“The stairwell was closed for an extended period recently to effect repairs as part of the overall project,” said Bill Eisenhauer, head of engagement at the City of Victoria, which manages the parkade though the province owns it.

ALSO READ: Musical stairs drawing attention to Bastion Square Parkade

“The wet weather earlier in the month caused some delays. Progress continues to be made, and it’s now quite close to completion.”

Last week the stairwell was closed for two days for “painting, cleaning and other deficiencies,” and this week it is closed to apply “waterproofing” material at the head of the stairs.

Eisenhauer noted that there have only been three closures; the main one and the two sets of days in the past two weeks.

“It’s possible it may have appeared to folks that there were more closures or been confusion, when the project team opened the stairwell during the project on weekends,” he said. ” The work was not always done Monday-Friday, so the stairwell may have been open some weekdays and then closed on weekend.”

The project will apparently wrap up in the near future, though no official date was available upon publication.

Until then, a few more steps can be logged for downtown workers.

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