Esquimalt council voted to move forward with waterfront changes. (Black Press Media File Photo).

Esquimalt council approves building, dog areas for Gorge Park

$7 million in funding for waterfront improvements goes to multipurpose building and dog park

Esquimalt council has voted to approve the construction of a multipurpose building and a three-zone fenced dog park in Esquimalt Gorge Park.

In a special council meeting, council voted to prioritize the dog park and multipurpose building over an elevated boardwalk at Saxe Point Park, which will be reconsidered if any funding remains. The $7 million in funding for waterfront improvements comes from the Capital Regional District (CRD)’s one-time $17 million grant offered for the use of McLoughlin Point for the region’s new wastewater treatment plant. Of that, $5 million will be reserved for downtown recreation facility improvements, and another $5 million to downtown emergency services and public safety facilities improvements.

Decisions were prompted by the fact that council must have construction completed, or commitments in place for development, before next year, otherwise the CRD has the right to take the funding back.

Coun. Ken Armour felt uncomfortable with the pressure to use the funding for a multipurpose building, saying that he’d rather leave the area as a greenspace.

ALSO READ: Esquimalt seeks resident input as it peruses park options

“I’m fundamentally opposed to the concept of putting a man-made structure into a public park in a place where people should be able to enjoy nature without a public building there,” Armour said. “During a time when we’re declaring a climate emergency we’re putting in a building and more parking.”

Armour also expressed concern for the annual costs of the building, which could amount to $110,000 per year for janitorial, maintenance and set-up and break-down costs for special events.

He suggested forgoing the building altogether, which would result in forgoing $3.6 million in funding.

Coun. Meagan Brame offered another opinion.

“There’s a flip side to every coin,” she said. “One of the things I look at is we have many more residents moving into our community and to that part of the community with very little programming space. … Now, people could walk to those facilities and not always drive over to the rec centre.”

ALSO READ: Esquimalt considers different ways to spend $17-million amenity fund

Coun. Lynda Hundleby was adamant about the importance of cultural recognition in the area which the multipurpose space could offer.

“I like the idea also that we will somehow commemorate the Japanese influence in that park,” Hundleby said. “I also feel that we need to honour our First Nations heritage that’s gone on there.”

Council voted to go ahead with the multipurpose building and a three-zone dog park. Now, staff will put out a request for proposal (RFP) for architectural service for building design and construction. Staff anticipate to award the contract by the end of the year.

Council also voted for staff to integrate an emergency coordination centre, commercial space and housing into the public safety building going in behind municipal hall. An RFP for consultation and design for this building has been put out and will be awarded this week, with a recommendation for architectural services likley to come forward on Feb. 24.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

CRDCRD sewageEsquimaltTownship of EsquimaltWastewater treatment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian warship HCMS Regina sails past Sidney

The vessel recently returned from the world’s largest naval exercise

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket Greater Victoria again

Conditions expected to worsen Wednesday afternoon but not approach levels reached a few weeks ago

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

Reader photos: Sun rises and sets over Oak Bay

Sunrise from an early morning yoga session at Oak Bay Beach Hotel… Continue reading

Former Victoria Royals manager celebrates Stanley Cup win

Grant Armstrong is now an amateur scout with Tampa Bay Lightning

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Shoplifting suspect allegedly spits on worker at store in Nanaimo

Suspect became aggressive when confronted by loss prevention officer at Walmart, say RCMP

Survey finds doctors worry supplies of flu vaccine, PPE will lag demand

Canadian health officials have said additional flu vaccines have been ordered to meet expected demand

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Most Read