Many people have weighed in on the best use of Clover Point Park in Victoria. All sorts of elected officials throughout B.C. are engaged in this kind of debate. You cannot please everyone, but at least there should be an attempt to accommodate people with disabilities and those with other ambulatory challenges.
The whole situation at Clover Point is a classic example of people going looking for a solution where no problem exists. Why not leave well enough alone?
There seems to be such a hatred of the automobile by Victoria city council that all other considerations fall by the wayside. With the notable exception of the newest member of the group, and possibly one or two other councilors, there is to be no consideration whatsoever of any motorized transportation.
The lack of accommodation for visually impaired pedestrians at traffic intersection crosswalks is a recent oversight by this same city council.
Modest changes to Clover Point can be made so those with ambulatory problems can gain access and have the same enjoyment of this jewel of an observation location. Some drivers use hand controls and are quite capable of driving their vehicles to the outer reaches of the point and disembarking independently. Why deny them access?
People with disabilities are not always passengers. To assume so does a disservice to those seeking to perform their daily tasks with vigor and independence.
David Willows did an independent report on the accessibility of handicapped parking in Victoria in 2018. He noted the same woefully inadequate parking spaces available to the physically challenged. The City of Victoria has taken little to no action since. Shameful!
Clover Point is a great place to do all sorts of things. Some people storm watch. This is best done from the comfort and safety of a car, truck or SUV.
Surely there is a way of reserving some space for this type of activity close to shore. Others like to do kite surfing, which can draw quite an audience. It is likely the least-expensive show in town.
Go fly a kite is an expression that some people take literally, to the entertainment of the Clover Point faithful.
Many people use Clover Point as an access to the beach. This allows for a long walk or a stationary appreciation of a natural setting. Some people go for a swim and others a short but refreshing dip on a hot or even a not-so-hot day.
The improvements to the pedestrian and bike path have been duly recognized as a raving success. City council should be congratulated for this success. It was a long time coming, but the co-ordination with the sewer construction was an opportunity for action.
Here is a chance for this elected group to shed its car-hating-council label. There is room for every type of ambulatory and non-ambulatory resident and non-resident to embrace the Clover Point experience.
Victoria is a core city with all its advantages and disadvantages. The more people use the point, the safer it will become. With the relatively disastrous recent goings on in Beacon Hill Park, is it not time for a good news story?
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Some minor adjustments may be in order, but a disenfranchising of groups is not the answer.
At the time of writing, an interim action has been taken, with a re-addressing of the plan for Clover Point to be done soon. Let’s hope city council gets it right.
It does not have to be a winner-loser type of decision. Can’t we all just get along?
Steve Wallace is the owner of Wallace Driving School on Vancouver Island. He is a former V.P. of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas, a registered B.C. teacher and a U of Manitoba graduate.