sč̓əmaθən | Peter Pollen Waterfront Park Remediation Project

Right now, neighbours, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the entire community are involved in designing the new park and its amenities in keeping with the vision and objectives of the City’s Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan.

The goal is to create a high quality waterfront park that will provide health and wellness benefits and deliver key objectives identified through engagement, including:

  • Creating a welcoming and inclusive space
  • Acknowledging Indigenous connections to the land
  • Strengthening pedestrian connectivity within the site and to adjacent sites
  • Supporting recreation and play
  • Supporting ecological health

We are currently in the process of developing a concept design for the park. After Council approval of the concept design, the next steps are detailed design and then to construction. In the meantime, the site remains open for public access.

 

How to get involved

There will be another opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed concept design for the park prior to it being presented to Council for approval. Learn more and sign up to receive project updates.

 

Background

The Peter Pollen Waterfront Remediation Project is a partnership project between Transport Canada and the City of Victoria. The remediation area includes the City-owned park and sections of the David Foster Harbour Pathway.

 

Work to remediate the site and adjacent areas of the harbour occurred between fall 2018 and summer 2019. Contaminated soil was removed to be treated off-site, clean soil was placed, and turfgrass was installed.


Site history

This site has important and rich cultural history and is a central feature in the Inner Harbour. Located in the Lekwungen Homeland, the site and surrounding waters are of cultural significance to the Lekwungen. A Lekwungen burial ground with mortuary poles and burial sheds was observed in 1854 at the northern tip of the point, which was then a narrow, rocky peninsula.

The point has since been extensively modified by development and was greatly expanded by infilling of the land. Between 1906 and 1975, the site was home to a paint factory operated by the British American Paint Company. The site was also periodically infilled with unknown materials during this time. 

 

 British America Paint Co. (BAPCo) at Laurel Point. (City of Victoria Archives M06564)

 

Why is this remediation project important?

Following a multi-year investigation and environmental assessment, the Government of Canada classified the Victoria Middle Harbour Fill Site (which includes the park) as a contaminated site. Although the contaminants do not pose a risk to park users, it was important to remediate the site in order to mitigate risks to marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Transport Canada completed Phase One of the remediation in February 2018 and successfully remediated the underwater contaminated sediments in areas adjacent to the park. The remaining remediation work was completed in summer 2019. The work undertaken is important for the well-being of marine wildlife as it will improve the overall health and function of the harbour and reduce the risk of recontamination in the future.

 

Timelines

Transport Canada began the project in September 2018 and completed the remediation as quickly and sustainably as possible to minimize disruption to this public space.

The site was restored for public access by late 2019. The City is now undertaking a separate park development process to determine the future design of the park.

  • September 2018: Site preparations including the temporary removal and off-site storage of benches, public art, and other assets to be reinstalled at a later date
  • October 2018: Remediation project starts and all existing trees were removed from the site to complete the soil remediation
  • Summer 2019: The construction phase of the remediation project was completed and gravel pathways and turf were installed
  • 2020/2021: The City is leading the development a park improvement plan for the site which is currently in the concept design stage - this process includes public engagement and collaboration with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations and will include new trees and plantings, lawn areas, paved pathways, site furnishings, lighting, art, interpretive elements and other improvements