Mayor Helps and Council c/o Robert Batallas, Senior Planner City of Victoria No.1 Centennial Square Victoria, BC V8W 1P6
June 5, 2017
Re: Ship Point-Concept Options Workshop Findings
Dear Mayor Helps and Council,
The DRA Land Use Committee has reviewed the proposed options for Ship Point. Referring back to the Downtown Livability Workshop held by the DRA in 2014 and attended by approximately 75 Downtown residents, one of the major livability priorities for downtown residents is the provision of additional “usable” green space Downtown. The priority therefore for the DRA regarding Ship Point is that the design reflects a maximising of opportunities to provide additional greenspace to the lack of existing inventory found in our community. We understand there are several uses and priorities identified for this site. However, we trust that the design option ultimately selected for design by the participants of this process will include a focus on creating usable green space for people that optimizes accessibility and the interrelation of Ship Point with the surroundings.
Other comments regarding aspects of the design options were identified as follows:
• Viewscapes should be preserved and exploited from Wharf Street rather than constructing unbroken building facades which will “privatize” the viewscape • Additional flat greenspace level with Wharf Street be provided over proposed structures that would create a wide “promenade” along Wharf that will draw people northward • There are opportunities to provide additional greenspace areas adjacent to the waterfront especially around the Harbour Air drop off area. • Victoria is most famous for its gardens but there are no notable gardens downtown. There is an opportunity to create a Botanical Garden on this site. • The proposed stair case on Concept A appears to cut the site in half and limit the size of structures. Consider extending structures level with Wharf Street and moving the “Grand staircase” to Homecoming Plaza across from the old post office to the south. Grand Staircase (Spanish Steps) concepts need an upper and lower plaza area to be successful. These steps could be successfully integrated into the “Concert Bowl” proposed below the Homecoming Plaza of Concept B in combination with accessible ramps. Centering the stairs on little used Courtenay Street does not provide the necessary focus and limits the site’s potential • The access road next to Tourism Vic appears seldom used and currently isolates a smaller existing green space that should be integrated into a larger concert bowl area • Removal of existing shoreline to create a soft shoreline subtracts from usable area and is not itself likely usable • The floating Island concept is interesting but was identified as costly by several stakeholders
There are significant Geotechnical constraints present on this site that have apparently not been yet thoroughly identified or solutions costed. As these costs will almost certainly determine the practical and successful implementation of any design, it is recommended that these constraints and their costs be determined before any final design is chosen or refined.
Ian Sutherland Chair Land Use Committee Downtown Residents Association