Mick Rhodes refuses to let his dream of a waterfront park die.
He appeared at the last meeting of district council with a presentation that echoed his impassioned call for the municipality to create a waterfront park; a call that was central to his failed run for mayor during the last election.
And although the new council listened to his presentation, it has not acted on his concept, nor, said Mayor Maya Tait, are they likely to adopt Rhodes’ proposal.
“No one is jumping on this bandwagon at the moment, but the council, in general, is not averse to the concept,” Tait said.
“There are aspects of it that are important to maintain.”
One of the failures of Rhodes’ proposal, said Coun. Tony St-Pierre, is that it hinges upon swapping Lot A for the land at the former Mariners Village development site at the corner of Sooke and Goodmear roads.
“We’re too far along with Lot A for this to be practical, and Lot A is a hub of development for the community,” St-Pierre said.
“We need to hang on to Lot A but either work with developers or find another way of getting access to the waterfront. Every community needs a dreamer, and I actually think he might be on the right track as far as having a waterfront park goes. It’s just that his plan won’t get us there.”
Tait agrees that the land swap proposed by Rhodes is not feasible and added that, even if the municipality were to consider buying the land, it would mean that they would have to borrow the money for the project at a time when they are dealing with infrastructure that is in need of repair.
“They (Rowanwood Capital Corp) wouldn’t sell it to us at a bargain rate – that’s almost certain.”
But Tait added that the municipality has long had a vision of access to the water and that past conversation with Mariner’s developers has addressed the possibility. She said that there has also always been a long-term plan of continuing the boardwalk and that the OCP will be central to how all this is achieved.
“Even if this is not immediately achievable, it’s people like Mick Rhodes whose opinions and dreams help to keep the vision alive,” Tait said.
But for Rhodes, the time for action is now.
“It’s a dream but I look out at that view and think that, if people would just visit the spot and visualize sitting on a bench, eating their lunch and watching their children play, they might share that dream,” Rhodes said.
“[Council] is being cautious, but they have to realize that once this is gone, it’s gone. There’s always something you can do. We need to have the foresight to give something to future generations.”