Letters to Council: Ship Point-Concept Options Workshop Findings

Posted on June 5th, 2017 · Posted in Land Use, Letters

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.

Sincerely,

Ian Sutherland
Chair Land Use Committee
Downtown Residents Association

PDF copy