Remaking Ship Point

A 2014 land swap with the province that gave Ship Point to the City of Victoria could turn a waterfront parking lot into an attractive public space.

In late July, the City revealed the emerging conceptual design for Ship Point, which envisions the area as a high-quality waterfront park and signature events and festival site.

“The existing site has challenges with the structural aspects of the land, and some work needs to be done to shore up the sea wall and ensure that the area is stable into the long term,” says Jonathan Tinney, director of sustainable planning and community development for the City of Victoria.

“We can rebuild it as a parking lot or we can rebuild it as something more ambitious. Given how valuable that piece of land is on our waterfront, our goal is to do something that really remakes our waterfront.”

Working with landscape architecture and urban design firm PWL Partnership, the City engaged with stakeholders — including the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and residents — to create three preliminary designs based on 2014’s Harbour Vitality Principles.

Feedback received will be used to shape further refinements to the conceptual design, which will be presented to Council this September. The final master plan will be presented to Council in January 2018.

“That final design will have costing as well as a phasing plan,” Tinney says, adding that the consultant team has also been conscious of enhancing and retaining views.

“Council has asked us to look at options that include a bit of development that comes up above the Wharf Street level,” says Tinney, “but there are ways to do that … while enhancing the views in others. We are potentially creating more space for people to enjoy the view, not just walking on the sidewalk, but being in a park-like space.”

Paul Nursey, president and CEO of Tourism Victoria, believes the redesign “will be a big improvement over the current state and a rare example in the world of marine industry and local amenities intersecting effectively.

“The whole design concept allows residents and visitors to get close to and celebrate a working harbour.”