Colwood residents will soon have the opportunity to share their thoughts on the city’s ambitious plans for the future of its waterfront.
But before the council discusses tentative options for the waterfront improvement plan at its July 12 meeting, Mayor Rob Martin will advocate closing a 400-meter stretch of Ocean Boulevard along the Esquimalt Lagoon on June 28 becomes.
Martin’s motion calls for the stretch of road on the beach to be closed to vehicle traffic from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening in July and August to accommodate special events and food trucks.
“If the application is approved, motorists will still have access to the beach in all common areas from either end of Ocean Boulevard,” said Martin. “The weekend closure would allow for a small, 400-meter, secure, walk-in car park halfway along the beach that people can enjoy without cars speeding by.”
On July 12, the city council can also address the long-term future of the two-kilometer stretch of shore of Ocean Boulevard as part of the city’s vision for the 4K stretch of water from the north end of the lagoon to the Royal Beach area.
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Preliminary concepts released last week include multipurpose walkways, hangouts, and other amenities. Concepts discussed include a sea access mat halfway along Ocean Boulevard, a boat launch in the lagoon, an event and information center, viewing walkways and improved access for people with disabilities.
Martin pointed out last week that safety, accessibility and the protection of the unique ecological features along the waterfront are important considerations. He believes the 10 Year Plan will generate a significant response from Colwood residents.
The controversial topic of traffic along Ocean Boulevard will be the focus of these discussions, as issues of safety, speed, wildlife and the ecosystems along this stretch of road have been hot topics in recent years.
Although the road was closed to vehicle traffic at the beginning of the pandemic, it reopened in the fall of 2020 after an online survey found that more than 60 percent were in favor of reopening, while just over 20 percent opted for seasonal closures.
For more information on the Waterfront Improvement Plan, visit bit.ly/3zKL7ru online.