The public will soon have access once again to a popular Victoria waterfront walkway that has been closed for six months due to repair work.
The $1.8-million Ship Point repair project, that began in late October 2018, will be fully complete by Friday, just in time for the busy summer season.
“Ship Point is an integral part of the Inner Harbour, providing a platform for dozens of community events, celebrations, and fundraisers each year,” says Ian Robertson, CEO of GVHA. “We are pleased to have Ship Point back in service prior to the busy summer season in time for events such as the Victoria Cool Aid Society Homecoming Gala, Northwest Deuce Days, the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival, and weekend artisans’ marketplace.”
The repair work, which was a joint project of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) and the City of Victoria, replaced some of the original timber piles to the structure that was built in 1949 with new steel piles and replacement timber beams.
The repairs came after a detailed structural analysis of Ship Point was undertaken in 2017, in which it was determined the structure needed critical repair work. A portion of the original pier was closed at that time.
Salish Seas Industrial Services was awarded the project, which came in under the initial budget.
“It’s heartening to see the City of Victoria, GVHA and our two Lekwungen Nations – Songhees and Esquimalt – come together in the best interests of the harbour and all its citizens to refurbish this pier, and in doing so, revitalize this public space for all to enjoy,” said Karen Tunkara, director of Salish Sea Industrial Services Ltd. and councillor of Songhees Nation. “The harbour was once the transportation highway of our ancestors. It was our food basket, the heart of our share-economy and our sheltered village site. Returning to the harbour with our own enterprise to earn our livelihoods once again today as colleagues and equals feels very good indeed.”
While the project was expected to be complete and the pier reopened by April, the unusually snowy winter created short delays.
The City is working on a long-term vision for the entire Ship Point site, in consultation with residents, local business, the Downtown Residents Association and other community stakeholders.
A master plan is being developed that aims to transform the area long term into a pedestrian-dominant series of plazas and connective causeways.
Highlights of the plan include layered green terraces, a grand staircase, a pavilion building along Wharf Street, food and beverage patios, a festival pier, picnic areas, an elaborate plaza for Harbour Air, large promenades for ships and a connective pathway to the lower causeway at the Inner Harbour.
To see the plan in more detail, visit victoria.ca/shippoint.