New boardwalk part of long-term Victoria Park plan

The City of Charlottetown unveiled a strategic plan for its largest park at a public meeting Wednesday night.

The City of Charlottetown unveiled a strategic plan for its largest park at a public meeting Wednesday night.

This was the first draft of a plan that could guide the use of Victoria Park for decades to come. The city hired Ekistics Planning and Design, at a cost of $80,000, for the project. It has taken six months of public consultations and surveys to get to this point.

The public meeting was the first opportunity for residents to comment on the draft plan for Charlottetown's Victoria Park. (Julia Cook/CBC)

Jill Robertson, Ekistics' director of planning, said the plan accommodates many activities inside the 16-hectare waterfront park.

"From what we heard, people are really just interested in having that balance of uses," said Robertson.

One of the bigger proposed changes is for the roadway and boardwalk that runs around the park. It suggests a larger, paved boardwalk that could accommodate bicycles. Currently, one of the lanes in the roadway is closed to motorized vehicles to make way for bicycles during the warmer months. The new boardwalk would allow for year-round, two-way traffic, and provide a more comfortable surface for wheelchairs and strollers.

The study cites the declining use of the park for baseball, and suggests eventually removing the smaller baseball diamond.

It also addresses space rented by the P.E.I. Pottery Studio Co-op. The report does not suggest removing the studio, but does recommend not allowing the space to grow.

That disappointed the group's vice-president, Barb MacDonald.

"It seems that they don't feel that it has place in the park in the future," said MacDonald.

"They're not saying you have to leave right away. I think it would be a shame if that was not pursued further."

Sue Fraser, manager of parks and recreation, said it could take a few decades to make all of the changes.

"If we look at the big picture, I mean, it's probably millions of dollars," said Fraser.

"For this fiscal year we have allotted $100,000 to do a get-out-of-the-blocks project."

The city will be making the report available so residents can comment further. The final draft will be done by the end of June.