The City of Victoria’s Laurel Point Park will now bear the name of former mayor Peter Pollen.
A new sign that reads “Peter Pollen Waterfront Park” was unveiled on Saturday at the west end of Laurel Point.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, members of council, First Nations representatives, the Pollen family and other guests gathered to celebrate the new sign and remember Pollen’s vision of making the harbour accessible for all residents.
Pollen and the City of Victoria council established the former Laurel Point Park in 1975. The British American Paint Company that used to be there from 1906 to 1975 closed down and moved so council made sure a wide strip of waterfront property could be set aside to be used as a public park.
The three-acre waterfront park will now honour Pollen and his desire for Victorians to enjoy the harbour views that can be seen from the waterfront.
The area has cultural significance to the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations as well and the City has been working with representatives of the Songhees Nation to learn more about the land around the harbour.
According to the City, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations used the area for traditional harvesting and access.
The Lekwungen name for the land has been incorporated as part of the park signage as well.
A multi-year investigation and environmental assessments led to the Government of Canada classifying the Victoria Middle Harbour Fill Site – which includes the park – as a contaminated site. Transport Canada successfully remediated the underwater contaminated sediments adjacent to Laurel Point in 2018.
This past summer, final restoration activities at the site took place. Now, the community will be involved in designing the new park and its amenities. The concept design phase is anticipated to be complete by February, 2020. After council approval, detailed design and park construction will begin.