The pathways surrounding the Smith Hill Reservoir next to Summit Park in the Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood have moved a step closer to receiving long-overdue upgrades.
Victoria City Council has voted unanimously in favour of a proposal I put forward with Mayor Dean Fortin calling on the City to work with the Capital Regional District (CRD) to improve the pathways for safety and the enjoyment of the public.
The reason for the current state of disrepair is that the CRD owns the reservoir, which has not been used for water supply purposes in nearly 100 years. The land is being retained for future water infrastructure, but since it is designated for water services rather than park, the CRD has not invested any money on the pathway around the reservoir or trail connections.
Victoria City Council and many Hillside-Quadra residents believe this situation is unacceptable. The motion approved on August 28 therefore calls on City of Victoria staff and regional directors to engage the CRD to undertake improvements to the pathway.
This would complement work that the City has undertaken in the last few years to improve trails and stairways in Summit Park, which the City owns next to the reservoir, as outlined in the recently approved Summit Park Master Plan.
Summit Park is a real jewel in our neighbourhood and city, a large and rare Garry Oak ecosystem in the heart of an urban area that offers vital habit for wildlife as well as a quiet oasis for residents.
Smith Hill Reservoir is also a very interesting heritage feature that can be enhanced for public enjoyment and safety with modest investment to the perimeter pathway and connecting trails to the city park.
I would like to acknowledge the work of residents of the Spencer Castle building who helped to bring this matter to the attention of City Council and convince the Council of the need for action.
This model of residents identifying improvements in their neighbourhood and then working to encourage City Council to take action is a formula for success. If you identify an improvement to parks, walking or cycling routes, or other infrastructure in Hillside-Quadra or elsewhere in the city, please be in touch.