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Survey: 61% want through traffic back along Ocean Boulevard

Sixty-one per cent of those who responded to an online survey were in favour of maintaining through traffic along Colwood’s Ocean Boulevard.
photo Ocean Boulevard
Ocean Boulevard in Esquimalt

Sixty-one per cent of those who responded to an online survey were in favour of maintaining through traffic along Colwood’s Ocean Boulevard.

The rest supported some form of closure of the oceanside route, with 22 per cent backing full closure, 10 per cent wanting seasonal closure and seven per cent backing weekend closure.

Survey results are contained in a report to Colwood council that will be up for discussion at a Monday meeting.

After Ocean Boulevard was closed to through traffic as a preventive measure against large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, some called for the road to remain closed and the area turned into a park.

The barrier that was put in place is scheduled to be removed July 3.

There were 3,807 responses to the survey, which closed this week, with 46 per cent coming from Colwood residents — 11 per cent of those from the Esquimalt Lagoon neighbourhood, adjacent to Ocean Boulevard.

Among lagoon-area residents, the results showed 59 per cent favoured some form of closure and 41 wanted through traffic.

Residents of other West Shore communities accounted for 32 per cent of responses, while those in the rest of Greater Victoria made up 20 per cent.

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said he expects council will continue to look at the future of Ocean Boulevard, whether the community wants to see it closed or not.

That would mean holding public-information events, he said.

“The message is clear that people want a safe opportunity to be able to use modes of transportation outside of a car,” Martin said. “And we need to figure that out.”

He said one possibility is creating a nearly five-kilometre path from the Ocean Boulevard area to Royal Beach.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents to the survey said they use the area as a destination for activities such as walking, bird watching, playing on the beach and parking to watch the ocean. The other 14 per cent said they drive through the area while commuting and doing errands.

Most reported awareness of the importance of the area as a bird sanctuary (79 per cent) and archeological site (55 per cent).

In response to a survey question about desired amenities for the area, washrooms topped the list at 20 per cent. Trails and seating were next at 17 per cent, followed by no changes at 15 per cent.

Food trucks are set to return to the popular Colwood spot today, Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 7 p.m.

The trucks, a pilot project for the rest of the month, will be set up about halfway along the road near the barrier. Vehicles can reach the food trucks from either end of Ocean Boulevard.

Food vendors will be suitably distanced and distancing markers will be in place for customers. There will be no tables and people will be encouraged to find a spot on the beach to eat.

Vendors today are Grilled to the Mac, Molly’s Fish & Chips, Indecent Risotto and Road Treasure Treats.

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