The Township of Esquimalt held an online survey and two open houses to discuss waterfront park enhancement options. Pictured, concept 1 for a multi-purpose building at Esquimalt Gorge Park, which received more positive feedback than concept 2. (File contributed/ Township of Esquimalt)

Esquimalt to discuss feedback to waterfront park designs

The Township is one step closer to making final decisions for a $7 million investment

The Township of Esquimalt will be reviewing the feedback from more than 1,000 people as it makes its final decisions for spending on its waterfront parks.

At the end of September, the Township launched an online survey and scheduled two open houses to get public feedback on design options at the Esquimalt Gorge Park and Saxe Point Park.

The township received $17 million from the Capital Regional District in exchange for the use of McLaughlin Point Park for the location of the upcoming wastewater treatment plant. The funds are divided for use so that $7 million goes towards waterfront parks, and $5 million respectively for recreation facilities and public safety.

The Township is exploring the waterfront parks option first, with the intention to explore the other options in the future.

According to a staff report going to council Tuesday night, a total of 1,018 people responded to the online survey, and more than 200 people attended the open houses.

READ MORE: Esquimalt seeks resident input as it peruses park options

A majority of respondents selected the first of two building designs for a multi-purpose building proposed at Esquimalt Gorge Park.

Respondents noted the size was a bit large, and that more Japanese elements should be incorporated into the design in homage to the former Japanese Tea House in the area.

Additionally, people prioritized four elements internally: a banquet/rental hall/ceremonial space, a community program space, a food preparation space, and an interpretive/educational space.

Other elements for the Esquimalt Gorge Park included beach enhancements, a picnic shelter and a paddle boat ramp/dock, with suggestions that the dock location be moved for easier access.

ALSO READ: $775-million wastewater project on track to be completed on time, within new budget

The Township had also proposed different ideas for a designated dog park, though participants were divided nearly equally between supporting a two-dog-park concept (for large and small dogs) or no dog park at all. A small number of people also supported a three-dog-park concept (for large, small, and mixed dogs).

For Saxe Point Park, a majority of respondents liked the idea of developing a boardwalk and lookout area, though concerns were raised about preserving wildlife species as well as accessibility.

The report will be presented to council for discussion Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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