Daily destruction in Beacon Hill Park
I’m frustrated that Victoria city council has already approved a partial closure of Clover Point.
Other than two councillors it appears that the mayor and the rest of council are operating on their own agenda and not listening to the public who pay taxes.
With the daily destruction in Beacon Hill Park, if the city has money to spend on Clover Point, why not leave Clover Point the way it is and use the money to get Beacon Hill Park back to the way it used to be.
Mayor Lisa Helps says Beacon Hill Park is safe. We’ve witnessed the campers giving people the finger, urinating and shouting obscenities. We don’t call this safe.
It is very frightening to say the least. We refuse to drive through the park anymore, let alone go for a walk. It is not safe.
Driving down to Clover Point to sit in the car and take in storm watching is something a lot of Victorians love to do. Why does Clover Point need to be changed?
In all the years growing up in Victoria, we’ve never seen such destruction. What is most frustrating is that city council will not listen to concerns of the public. It dates back to the removal of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue.
A decision process that is beyond tragic
Let me offer a summary to the Clover Point fiasco and decision-making process.
1. Victoria city council creates a problem that doesn’t exist!
2. Council offers a solution to the problem that doesn’t exist!
3. Council offers a compromise solution to the problem that doesn’t exist!
4. Council then votes to support the compromise to the problem that doesn’t exist!
Now — wait for it — the $275,000 solution to the problem that doesn’t exist, is a partial closure, an interim measure and that the public will have a chance to influence the park’s permanent design during a future planning process.
A future planning process?
Give it back to the First Nations
“Let’s give it back” is a line from Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil. The song is about the plight of the Aboriginal peoples in Australia.
In 2017, the City of Victoria began a journey of Truth and Reconciliation with the Lekwungen peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, on whose homeland the city stands.
If the City of Victoria began their council meeting with an acknowledgement that they were on the unceded territory of the Lekwungen peoples, Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, then their decision to go forward with their vision of the development of Clover Point is hypocritical.
As I see it, Clover Point should be given back to the Lekwungen peoples, Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.
If they decide to leave Clover Point as is, or let it revert to its natural state the decision should be up to the Lekwungen peoples, and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.
If they let vehicle traffic access the site and allow the elderly and physically challenged to enjoy the vistas from all sides of the site, it should be their decision. If they decide to build a longhouse or install information kiosks, again, up to them.
I believe that we missed an opportunity for reconciliation.
New configuration and a pointless name
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and her merry council have done it again, defending the public against those who have the audacity to drive motor vehicles.
Coun. Geoff Young argues that Clover Point is “disgracefully biased towards motor vehicles and against non-motor vehicle users.”
Yes, disgraceful indeed! Let’s reduce motor vehicle parking from 90-ish to 25 to teach those motor vehicle users a lesson!
If you live outside of Greater Victoria, pile your kids on a bicycle and cycle down to Clover Point to enjoy huddling at a picnic table as the frigid sea wind whistles through your bones.
And congratulations to newly elected Coun. Stephen Andrew for getting on board to approve the spending of $275,000 to help combat motor-vehicle users from experiencing Clover Point!
With the new configuration, perhaps mayor and council should also consider a name change to “Clover Pointless.”
After Clover Point, let’s fix Cattle Point
Maybe Oak Bay should follow the lead of Victoria and close almost all of the parking spots at Cattle Point. It seems enjoying the natural splendour of nature by the water is insufficient today.
The closed parking spots could be used to set up play features, floor games and event space. Maybe they might even want a ping pong table like Victoria has at the intersection of Humboldt and Douglas streets.
And, of course, don’t forget the indispensable food trucks.
The local residents won’t mind because they can walk or cycle to Cattle Point and they wouldn’t want too many outsiders driving there to enjoy nature.
Clover Point plan is hardly a compromise
I have resisted the urge to jump in on the controversy over Victoria city council’s plans for Clover Point, but with the publication of the “compromise” I can be quiet no longer.
My wife and I have been visiting Clover Point for many years and it has always been a favourite pastime of ours year round to pick up a coffee or ice cream at the Beacon Drive In and park on the south or west side of the Point and watch passing ships, wind surfers or the beautiful sunsets. Not always something you can do when the ever-present wind is blowing. The proposed compromise has the parking on the east side, nowhere near the same experience.
Nowhere on the Victoria waterfront can you get as close to the action as you can at Clover Point. By all means create a pedestrian-only path around the perimeter, add more benches and picnic tables and speed bumps, but please, leave the ability for people in their cars to enjoy up close one of Victoria’s favourite waterfront jewels.
Years of crutches and enjoying Clover Point
I walk with crutches, have since I was 12 years old. I am now in my 60s.
This idea of taking away 65 parking spots, reducing the amount to 25, makes my blood boil.
When we are downtown and in the area, I always love stopping at the Clover Point loop and enjoying 20 minutes or so watching the ocean inside the car.
It’s lovely hearing the crashing of the waves all around us, it is peaceful and takes away any stress. Not ever has it been calm enough for me to get out of the car due to the winds, as I may be the next kite in the air without a string attached.
But really do we need to mess up the point with benches and picnic tables and food trucks and zone seating scramble zones? I don’t think so. That is all too distracting.
Do we need another point for pedestrians to walk? There is the breakwater further down and a very safe and lovely walk for everyone including those like myself with difficulties.
Change is not always necessary, because once you do it for an interim time it will probably never go back because council will be happy and will have already spent the $275,00o on the park.
That is a lot of money that could be used towards our rising issues.
Obviously I am very disappointed. Just another area with limited parking for someone like myself, driving around and around a couple of times to finally give up and try again another day.
Lifelong resident of Victoria
Views are to the west, so you must look east
I have to wonder how much time the planners of the newly designed Clover Point Park have actually spent on the site and whether they have considered the prevailing wind patterns.
With the westerlies often close to gale force, particularly on lovely summer evenings, the views and the activity is to the west, the sunset, the kite surfers, the white water, the waves breaking on the shore.
What a glorious sight. These are all available to the elderly, the frail and their caregivers as they sit in their vehicles, coffee or tea in hand.
Sadly, the plan suggested will force these people to look east to Ross Bay, thus no weather, no activity, no waves, no sunset.
If forcing people out of their vehicles, even on warm summer evenings is the goal, mission accomplished. I suspect car traffic will dwindle very quickly.
Meanwhile those on foot, bicycle or trying to enjoy a picnic will be discouraged by the high winds, a cold onshore reality. There goes the paper plates, the tipped drink, the fried chicken.
The hardy, who remain, will be forced to turn away from the view to stay warm and be able to enjoy their picnic.
A rethink is required if, as I know is desired by the planners, a wide range of Victorians can enjoy the majesty of Clover Point.
Headless in Victoria, and a park in crisis
What once was a calming respite from the surrounding city, a place of beauty and quiet reflection for both visitors and citizens, has become under thoughtless city leadership, a cultural disgrace and insult to all those who first envisioned such a grand urban oasis, to all those who laboured though the centuries to maintain its beauty and convalescent environ, and to all those Victorians who finance and have lost this once-lovely safe city solitude.
The now-headless statue is but another manifestation of the deterioration of once-lovely Beacon Hill Park under its mayor and council.
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