By Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins
After several years of planning, studies, and creative input from our residents and consultants, Esquimalt Town Square (ETS)construction is well underway.
It is so gratifying and exciting to see the transformation of this land, located just to the west and south of municipal hall.
Esquimalt Town Square is part of the Esquimalt Village Project (EVP), a wider planning area that extends outward frommunicipal hall. The goal of the EVP was to create a lively town centre and distinctive public space for our community. It will bea catalyst for future economic development and become a relaxing and inspiring space for the community.
All of the information gathered over the years through EVP planning added to the knowledge base necessary to create thework we are seeing today. This project reflects much hard work by staff, consultants and members of the public who took thetime to provide their input.
Our community development partner Aragon Properties will be developing the ETS site, with architectural design expertisesupplied by D’AMBROSIO architecture + urbanism.
The concept plan features civic, residential and commercial uses and includes a public square and a through-block art walk,as well as the proposed relocation of the Esquimalt Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library.
Sustainable features of the development include alternative management methods for rainwater and energy, bicycle andpedestrian-friendly spaces with easy access to transit, and green building concepts in all buildings and infrastructure. Thetwo heritage Garry Oak trees adjacent to municipal hall will be maintained and will become a part of the new plaza area alongEsquimalt Road.
Local residents, businesses and those travelling on Esquimalt Road are seeing how quickly the site is changing. Excavators aredoing site remediation work and infrastructure that was on the site has been relocated.
Yes, there will be some short-term pain as we take this next step in the evolution of our community, but it will be worth it. Iwant to thank everyone for their patience during the construction process. Most importantly in the short-term, parking in thevicinity of municipal hall has been severely reduced and we encourage visitors to the hall and the library to park south of theArchie Browning Sports Centre. For those with mobility challenges, handicapped stalls have been designated at the smallparking lot across from the hall on Esquimalt Road.