Victoria to remodel harbour parking lot into waterfront park

A loss in parking is an acceptable price to pay for a "signature waterfront destination," says city planner.

Harbour lot to become a 'signature waterfront destination'

Ship Point provides important access to the sea plane terminal as well as parking space. (City of Victoria)

The City of Victoria is looking at transforming a waterfront parking lot into a signature feature along its famous Inner Harbour.

Planners for the city are currently holding public consultations around its redesign of Ship Point — a large parking lot in Victoria's Inner Harbour that is often used as a festival and events space.

The area also provides access to the sea plane terminal.

Joaquin Karakas, the senior urban designer for the City of Victoria, says the current vision is to convert the site into a waterfront destination and make it a year-round festival and cultural site.

Some of the design ideas include incorporating a plaza and an amphitheatre-shaped lawn, he explained, with sloped features to make it accessible.

The redesign would mean a loss of parking, although Karakas says they are looking at ways to retain some parking through creative design.

He says the local businesses — namely Harbour Air — are supportive of the plan and the resulting reduction in parking. 

"They really get that this site needs to be something better than it is today and more than that, it really has the opportunity to be a signature waterfront destination and a key amenity for the city," he said.

An open house takes place Monday night, July 24, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. PT at the site, but Karakas says it will still take time before shovels hit the pavement.

A draft design still needs to be presented to council. Then, costing and a phasing strategy will have to be developed.

It could be early 2018 before council approves the final plan, he said.

With files from On the Island