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Floating spa proposed for Ship Point

A City of Victoria staff report said the facility fits with the city’s goals for diversifying waterfront activities, providing a connection between land and water and creating vibrancy in the area

The public will get the chance to weigh in on plans for a floating spa at Ship Point, after the City of Victoria sent the proposal to public hearing.

Havn Saunas has proposed a Nordic-style sauna facility to be built on a barge to be moored at Ship Point, where it would offer saunas, hot and cold-water pools, event space, a salt-water pool and green space to relax and take in the waterfront.

Mayor Lisa Helps said it’s an unusual application, but it would be more of a community amenity than having a massive yacht tied up at the dock. The site is currently used for moorage by the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority.

“It’s a community-rich amenity that’s going to be built out of 90 per cent recycled materials and will serve our community,” she said.

“This is what the vision for the future of the city looks like. This is the kind of thing that I think our residents want.”

Coun. Jeremy Loveday added the unique offering would be a great addition to the Inner Harbour and likely a year-round destination.

“It will provide activity in the harbourfront even during the off-season. I think the fact it’s on an old ship and made of recycled materials aligns ­environmentally and will look beautiful while fitting in with the surroundings,” he said.

Several councillors asked the proponents to ensure the ­facility is accessible for those with mobility challenges.

A City of Victoria staff report said the facility fits with the city’s goals for diversifying waterfront activities, providing a connection between land and water and creating vibrancy in the area.

“While novel to Victoria’s harbour, floating sauna structures are not new and can be found in other waterfront metropolitan areas,” the report said. “They help to bring people to the waterfront, create a potential tourist attraction and serve a wellness function for community physical, mental and social well-being.”

It also concluded that the facility, as part of a floating barge, is consistent with the harbour aesthetic and would provide extensive landscaping in an area generally devoid of green space.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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