The Ganges Harbour Walk project has some spring in its step with a project charter recommended for adoption by its Capital Regional District (CRD) steering committee last week.
The document outlines a process that will hopefully lead to construction of a walkway on the foreshore from Rotary Marine Park to the CRD park area near the intersection of Upper and Lower Ganges roads.
A request for proposals for a consultant to gather public and stakeholder input in order to develop detailed designs and cost estimates is expected to go out in January, said CRD Salt Spring senior manager Karla Campbell at a Nov. 9 meeting. It was the first time the harbour walk committee had met since October of 2020.
The Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) was set to approve the plan at their Nov. 15 meeting (after the Driftwood went to press) and the transportation commission at their next meeting on Nov. 28.
CRD staff have recommended getting feedback about and designs for upgrading the CRD park at the north end of the project area, the harbour walk structure on the foreshore and a roadside pathway along Lower Ganges Road. The latter was originally envisioned as part of the CRD’s North Ganges Transportation Plan a decade ago.
Campbell said the consultant will look at all of the options, and then work with the community on a vision for the project.
“We’re going to get cost estimates for different sections and for the whole construction, and you can extract out what the boardwalk will be, what the park construction upgrade is going to be and what the road right-of-way construction is going to be.”
CRD director Gary Holman stressed the importance of contacting upland owners as soon as possible to advise them of the CRD’s plans to proceed.
Once designs and high-level cost estimates are set, grant funding can be applied for, said Campbell. The transportation commission has some — but not all — funds for the roadside pathway. A referendum would likely be required to cover the rest of the costs. First Nations consultation and an archaeological impact assessment will also be done.
Darryl Martin, who represents the Salt Spring Chamber of Commerce on the committee, said the chamber board felt strongly that the harbour walk should continue along the foreshore to Moby’s Pub.
At the very least, he said, the design should anticipate a continuation of the structure beyond the park (which has been known as Peck’s Cove Park and is now being called Ganges Harbour Community Park by the CRD).
Committee members agreed it would be ideal to have that connection at some point in the future, but to not include it in “phase one” of the harbour walk project. Adding another section would just delay the process, said Campbell.
She stressed that what is eventually built will be up to islanders.
“That’s a decision in the future, and how the public wants to fund it, because they’re going to be the ultimate decision makers.”
The project will proceed under the new local community commission once it is established and PARC is dissolved.
The harbour walk — previously known as the Ganges seawalk or boardwalk — was undertaken and partially constructed in the late 1980s. Attempts to revive or complete the project have faced numerous roadblocks over the years.
A project charter can be read in the Nov. 9 Ganges Harbour Walk Project Steering Committee agenda package in the Salt Spring Island Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission section on the crd.bc.ca website under the Agendas & Minutes tab.