Having received feedback from more than 600 people, Oak Bay council and staff have begun to weigh public priorities and the merits of two proposals to redevelop Oak Bay Marina and Turkey Head.
Input came via an online questionnaire and submissions to the committee of the whole in March. The winning proponent is expected to be selected by council in late spring.
Mayor Kevin Murdoch was impressed with the level of engagement from residents and others interested in the site’s future – 22 per cent of respondents live outside Oak Bay.
“I can’t remember having more than 600 responses to a public consultation in Oak Bay, ever,” he said. “We were very pleased by the quantity and quality of the public input we received.”
Council went through all the responses to get a good sense of what the public wants for the site and make sure they don’t miss areas of concern, Murdoch said. The properties will be subject to a formal request for proposal (RFP) process, and the mayor said the district has until this fall to wrap up lease negotiations with a successful proponent.
Among other elements for Turkey Head, Proposal 1 includes a bandshell in a more developed Spewhung Park central area – Turkey Head was formerly Spewhung Point – a circular waterfront pier; a welcome circle, Songhees house post and First Nations interpretive signage; an adaptable parking/event area capable of hosting markets, festivals or seasonal celebrations; expanded green spaces, a new play area and landscaping improvements.
The proposal also calls for improvements to the marina, the existing buildings and common areas.
Favoured elements about Proposal 1 ranged from a comprehensive and inclusive design, additional green space and walkways to the pier, bandshell and extra bike parking, and the continuation of marine-based industrial and recreational activities.
Dislikes included too much parking space, lack of rowboat storage, the exposed location of the pier, the potential for excessive musical noise and the presence of a tourism kiosk.
Proposal A focuses more on upgrading or replacing existing buildings. The anchors are a new 4,000-square-foot Marina Cafe and retail building next to a revitalized restaurant, and a floating market space housing marine-based retail, culinary and tourism operations, including Songhees canoe eco-tours.
The design would transform the office, gift shop and boat works building into an ocean activity centre, and would replace much of the water’s edge parking with green space, walkways and interpretive signage.
Respondents liked added representation from First Nations, enhanced access for kayakers, the new cafe, improvements to existing buildings and the floating market, among other elements.
Dislikes ranged from no overnight parking for kayakers, the sweeping changes proposed, and the lack of a pier, to the underwhelming treatment of the float area and relatively small range of commercial activities.
Find detailed plans at oakbay.ca; click on municipal hall, plans and reports then marina lease negotiations.