Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

New dock proposed for swimmers and boaters on the Gorge

Proposal points to park where the land is in Esquimalt and water falls under Victoria’s jurisdiction

By Brishti Basu
December 30, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

New dock proposed for swimmers and boaters on the Gorge

Proposal points to park where the land is in Esquimalt and water falls under Victoria’s jurisdiction

By Brishti Basu
Dec 30, 2022
One possible design for a ramp and dock at Arm Street Park, included in a report by the Gorge Swim Fest Society. Concept image by Lori Garcia-Meredith / Submitted
One possible design for a ramp and dock at Arm Street Park, included in a report by the Gorge Swim Fest Society. Concept image by Lori Garcia-Meredith / Submitted
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

New dock proposed for swimmers and boaters on the Gorge

Proposal points to park where the land is in Esquimalt and water falls under Victoria’s jurisdiction

By Brishti Basu
December 30, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
New dock proposed for swimmers and boaters on the Gorge
One possible design for a ramp and dock at Arm Street Park, included in a report by the Gorge Swim Fest Society. Concept image by Lori Garcia-Meredith / Submitted

Esquimalt and Victoria are both in support of building a new dock on the Gorge Waterway at Arm Street Park, which lies on the border of the two municipalities. 

The idea was brought up by Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins at council’s last meeting on Dec. 19, after she received an email about it from Victoria councillor Jeremy Cardonna. 

“I did have a meeting with the Selkirk area community, and…one of the things that came up very strongly is that the community would really value a dock down at the Arm Street Park,” Desjardins said.

Any dock that is built there would have to be constructed on Esquimalt’s land and extend out into Victoria’s waters, Caradonna explained in the email to Desjardins and Rick Daykin, the township’s manager of parks and recreation. So, the municipalities must coordinate. 

“This email is to signal Victoria’s interest in considering this proposed park upgrade, should there be interest from Esquimalt,” Caradonna wrote. 

“I have confirmed that this idea has been considered before, in Victoria, and generally aligns with our Parks Master Plan and immediate focus on improving Gorge water access.”

The idea for building a dock at that park—and a report about what it should look like—has been in the works at the community level since 2019. 

Jack Meredith, president of the Gorge Swim Fest Society, said the organization and the Vic West Community Association had received a ‘My Great Neighbourhood’ grant from the City of Victoria for a project on improving access to the Gorge waterway. 

Using this grant, the group convened sessions that drew around 100 people—everyone from swimmers to government officials, and community groups to environmentalists—to share their opinions. They narrowed down a list of seven sites which could be developed into access points to the Gorge.

A report was compiled and sent to Victoria, Esquimalt, and Saanich, Meredith said. The top priority for Victoria was installing a dock at Banfield Park—a project that was completed last summer and considered a success.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, both from the city and from the swimming community,” Meredith said. “The dock enables people to get further out into the Gorge and into deeper water… As the sun is rising or setting, you’re able to be out on the dock in sunnier conditions.”

Arm Street Park was chosen as a priority for a dock in Esquimalt because of its seawall, large size, and flat picnic area. The only thing it’s missing is a way for people to get into the water—the park and seawall stand about 10 feet above high tide. A dock at that location would be ideal for next summer but not expected to be ready in time. 

“I would love it to be able to be installed in the summer of 2023, but I’m not sure that’s very realistic,” Meredith said.

In Esquimalt council, Desjardins pitched the dock as a project that could be added to the township’s climate mitigation strategy, “because people can now access, safely, a cooling facility,” and as a transportation infrastructure—“there would be increased safety for Gorge waterway transiting by kayak and by swimming.” 

She and councillors were told that city staff would first have to draw up a report on what this project entails—is it one that doesn’t need much time, money, and/or consultation with First Nations, or a bigger undertaking with more of all three? 

“The next step would be to come up with a design that would satisfy all the various users,” Meredith said. “Both swimmers and people that might go on to use it as a launching spot for various watercraft.”

Meredith anticipates that an environmental assessment might not take too long, “since it's not in an eel bed area or estuary kind of situation.” What could hold up the project, though, is the availability of a contractor to take it on—he remembers it taking Victoria almost a year to find one.

For now, Esquimalt council unanimously agreed to get staff started on researching this project. They also decided to write a letter to Victoria informing them of their interest in collaborating. 

“It might be opportune for us to seek a meeting with the new Victoria council and just talk about that overlap between Vic West and the relationship with Esquimalt and all the things that we could kind of be doing together or partnering and seeing mutual benefit from,” Coun. Tim Morrison added. 

“This is just one example, but there's many in that whole geography of Vic West slash east Esquimalt.”

The topic is expected to show up on both councils’ agendas when they reconvene in the new year.

contact@capitaldaily.ca

Related News

Durkin lied to Sooke Harbour House investor, securities commission finds
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.