Imagine plunging into a pool while floating atop Victoria’s Inner Harbour.
Varm Experiences Ltd. has submitted an application to the City of Victoria to install a floating Nordic-style harbourside sauna moored at Ship Point, along Wharf Street and steps from downtown.
The 144-foot facility, called HAVN, has developers planning for a year-round “waterfront destination” featuring four saunas, three hot pools, two freshwater cold pools and one ocean water pool, as well as “an abundance” of green space.
The application finds HAVN aligns with the city’s plans, as outlined in documents including Victoria’s Official Community Plan, Downtown Core Area Plan, Ship Point Master Plan, and Harbour Vitality Principles.
The proponent says HAVN comes in the wake of COVID-19 and will help “push back and boost economic prosperity” by attracting new visitors and revitalizing a site that’s “largely sterile and uninviting.”
“HAVN contributes to building back in this way through financial investment in our working harbour and by generating new jobs and attracting new visitors,” said the application.
“Destination Greater Victoria and the Victoria 3.0 Economic Action Plan provide guidance for the ‘rescue and recovery’ of the local business/visitor economy,” it continued.
“HAVN uses the plans and policies from these organizations to provide an effective and impactful way to push back against the pandemic and recreate a thriving Victoria economy.”
In its application, Varm Experiences Ltd. pointed to the success of existing harbourside saunas, including Bota Bota in Montréal and SALT in Oslo, Norway.
“In Canada, saunas are seeing a surge in popularity as a health and wellness activity for physical, mental, and social well-being,” it added.
Varm Experiences Ltd.’s application, together with Havn Experiences Ltd., petitions city officials to expand permitted zoning within the Inner Harbour Ship Point South District.
Festivals and temporary structures, open markets, and docks for pleasure boats, among other uses, are currently allowed in the district. However, docks for floating saunas and ancillary personal services are not.
More to come…