Victoria Invests $11 Million to Create New Downtown Park on Blanshard Street
The City of Victoria has made an $11 million investment to transform two adjoining properties, totaling 25,000 square feet, on Blanshard Street into a new downtown park. The properties, located at 1703 and 1725-1745 Blanshard St., were formerly occupied by the closed Romeo’s restaurant and Urbana Kitchens, along with their parking lots. The new park will encompass the area around the Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre at 1709 Blanshard St.
Deputy City Manager Thomas Soulliere expressed satisfaction with the acquisition, emphasizing the integration potential with the community centre. The community centre will be actively involved in the park’s planning process.
The move aligns with the city’s longstanding quest for green space in the downtown area. The park site is strategically positioned across from the Hudson District’s 950 rental and condominium units, contributing to the city’s goal of expanding green spaces and recreational facilities.
Mayor Marianne Alto views the $11 million expenditure as a strategic investment, enhancing the city’s commitment to improving public, social, and outdoor experiences. The acquisition represents a significant step in realizing the city’s official community plan, prioritizing the creation of a new downtown park to enhance the quality of life for residents.
The demolition timeline for existing buildings is yet to be determined, with discussions to take place with the council in the coming months. While the specific design of the new park is a longer-term project, Soulliere mentioned it would incorporate natural elements and play features based on public feedback received over the years.
Funding for the land purchase comes from a reserved pool of money designated for acquiring land for parks and open spaces. Soulliere indicated a potential need for more green spaces as the downtown continues to grow and densify, with a commitment to being mindful of the city’s financial capacity while seeking opportunities to enhance public spaces.