The City of Victoria has passed an amended motion to ban vehicles from travelling through some roads in Beacon Hill Park this summer, in an effort to free up more space for pedestrians during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The motion, put forward by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and councillor Jeremy Loveday, was passed unanimously on Thursday.
They also recommended the city implement a pedestrian-only approach to Beacon Hill Park, while leaving the main parking lot open to allow access for people with disabilities.
Parking lots will remain open at Heywood Road, Circle Drive, and Nursery Road to allow access for seniors, and people with disabilities.
This new arrangement takes effect Saturday and will continue through the summer.
The decision followed public criticism of an earlier proposal that would have immediately banned cars from the park’s primary roads on a permanent basis.
Primary roads within the park have only been open to first responders’ vehicles since April 10th, which was introduced as a temporary measure to decrease the number of visitors at the park in accordance with physical distancing guidelines.
Additionally, city council is seeking input from accessibility organizations on how to further extend a “pedestrianized approach to the park.”
Mayor Lisa Helps said the changes will allow for proper physical-distancing during the pandemic, and permit people of all ages and abilities to use the park.
“It’ll give us a sense for the summer to see what works and what doesn’t work,” Helps said.
“It will allow us to keep the measures that staff have already put in place, while opening up some parking lots.”