Esquimalt council voted to move forward with waterfront changes. (Black Press Media File Photo).

Esquimalt council approves building, dog areas for Gorge Park

$7 million in funding for waterfront improvements goes to multipurpose building and dog park

Esquimalt council has voted to approve the construction of a multipurpose building and a three-zone fenced dog park in Esquimalt Gorge Park.

In a special council meeting, council voted to prioritize the dog park and multipurpose building over an elevated boardwalk at Saxe Point Park, which will be reconsidered if any funding remains. The $7 million in funding for waterfront improvements comes from the Capital Regional District (CRD)’s one-time $17 million grant offered for the use of McLoughlin Point for the region’s new wastewater treatment plant. Of that, $5 million will be reserved for downtown recreation facility improvements, and another $5 million to downtown emergency services and public safety facilities improvements.

Decisions were prompted by the fact that council must have construction completed, or commitments in place for development, before next year, otherwise the CRD has the right to take the funding back.

Coun. Ken Armour felt uncomfortable with the pressure to use the funding for a multipurpose building, saying that he’d rather leave the area as a greenspace.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt seeks resident input as it peruses park options

“I’m fundamentally opposed to the concept of putting a man-made structure into a public park in a place where people should be able to enjoy nature without a public building there,” Armour said. “During a time when we’re declaring a climate emergency we’re putting in a building and more parking.”

Armour also expressed concern for the annual costs of the building, which could amount to $110,000 per year for janitorial, maintenance and set-up and break-down costs for special events.

He suggested forgoing the building altogether, which would result in forgoing $3.6 million in funding.

Coun. Meagan Brame offered another opinion.

“There’s a flip side to every coin,” she said. “One of the things I look at is we have many more residents moving into our community and to that part of the community with very little programming space. … Now, people could walk to those facilities and not always drive over to the rec centre.”

ALSO READ: Esquimalt considers different ways to spend $17-million amenity fund

Coun. Lynda Hundleby was adamant about the importance of cultural recognition in the area which the multipurpose space could offer.

“I like the idea also that we will somehow commemorate the Japanese influence in that park,” Hundleby said. “I also feel that we need to honour our First Nations heritage that’s gone on there.”

Council voted to go ahead with the multipurpose building and a three-zone dog park. Now, staff will put out a request for proposal (RFP) for architectural service for building design and construction. Staff anticipate to award the contract by the end of the year.

Council also voted for staff to integrate an emergency coordination centre, commercial space and housing into the public safety building going in behind municipal hall. An RFP for consultation and design for this building has been put out and will be awarded this week, with a recommendation for architectural services likley to come forward on Feb. 24.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Victoria resident catches, cleans pigeon feet to help fight stringfoot

Hair, string tangled around birds’ feet can cut off circulation to toes and whole feet

Cyclists rejoice as the Christmas Lights Parade returns

Family-friendly 10km ride visits big Christmas displays, Dec. 21

Victoria residents advocate for funding for neighbourhoods without community centres

North Park Neighbourhood Association hopes to see $75,000 to bolster nearby staff

Single dad reaches out to Greater Victoria community to help kids celebrate Christmas

A young family was overwhelmed with the warm response from strangers

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

POLL: Do you have a real or artificial Christmas tree?

The lights are up, holiday shoppers are bustling through the streets and… Continue reading

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Most Read