Back in April of 2009, Saanich Parks staff launched an initiative to involve the community in a planning process to develop a Gyro Park Masterplan to help guide development of the park and its facilities over the next twenty years. A number of stakeholder meetings and two public open houses were held during the following two years, resulting in a draft Master Plan presented in March 2011.
For the remainder of 2011, both Saanich and CBRA became involved with other pressing issues, and the Master Plan lay dormant without undergoing a final review and approval by the community or Saanich. The process was rejuvenated in February 2012 when Saanich Parks staff was invited to make a presentation about the Gyro Park Masterplan at a CBRA general meeting. A new CBRA Parks Committee was formed soon after, to review the draft Master Plan and to work with Saanich staff to determine the way forward.
In October, the CBRA Parks Committee asked Saanich Parks to provide a facilitated workshop to assist the Committee with development of an underlying vision of the park – a foundation statement that would guide the review of the proposed Master Plan. Saanich staff agreed to the request, and is currently organizing a workshop that will include all the major stakeholders who have contributed to the process during the last three years. It is hoped the workshop will take place by January, and revisions that arise from that session will be incorporated into a revised concept plan. The revised plan would be presented at a public open house to solicit community feedback, possibly in February or March.
Though the end result will be a long-term (20-year) plan, Saanich is hoping to complete and seek approval for the Gyro Park Masterplan before the summer of 2013. Last year, Saanich Parks was awarded a Community Recreation Program Grant application for playground and promenade improvements in Gyro Park, and it is important to have the long-term plan in place before any work begins.
There are some exciting proposals in the current plan – improved drainage through the use of rain gardens, enhanced wildlife values through creation of a natural wetland, improved promenade and fore-shore protection measures, and the like. There are also some potentially controversial components – re-orientation of the parking area and traffic flow, and elimination of the tennis courts, for example.
You are encouraged to view the current plan and the overall history of the consultation process at on Saanich’s web site. The Cadboro Gyro Park link under the heading “Planning Process Overview 2012” provides background on the process to date, and the Draft Masterplan link under the heading “March 2, 2011 Open House” will display a detailed drawing of the proposed plan.
On October 16, the Parks Committee met and undertook a design ‘charette’, a planning exercise to develop a common vision of the park and its functions and facilities. Thanks to Dennis Moore for guiding the process to a successful conclusion. The resulting list of main points is attached below.
This exercise was carried out in preparation for a larger planning session, to be held in December or January, organized by Saanich Parks and led by a facilitator experienced in park planning processes. The workshop will include a number of stakeholders who have a history of involvement in the Gyro Park plan development during the last few years, as well as the current Board members.
We would love to hear your thoughts about this very important project – we are about to embark on a plan that could shape the future of this amazing and unique waterfront community park. You are encouraged to forward comments regarding the plan to CBRA Board member and Parks Committee Liaison Terry Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment at the bottom of this posting.
Comments received before the facilitated workshop will be incorporated into information presented at that meeting. Keep in mind there will be another opportunity to be heard at the public open house, anticipated in the spring of 2013. Watch for notices of upcoming meeting dates.
CBRA Parks Committee Liaison
MAIN POINTS FROM THE DESIGN CHARRETTE
CBRA PARKS COMMITTEE
1. A main “Focal Point” is created at the intersection of the site lines down the middle of Sinclair Road with the access path from Cadboro Bay Road. This focal point is where gatherings and events concentrate. Various functions happen around the Focal Point but this place acts to provide an identifiable anchor to the park. The character of this place may be less “urban” and not necessarily hard surfaced. Sitting places, opportunities to watch and listen to performances, or staged gatherings i.e. Sun Fest happen around and spread from this area. The area would have a strong connection to the promenade and the Beach.
2. A second focal point would exist at the intersection of the centre line down Penrhyn Street towards the beach access point with the path from Cadboro Bay Road. This is a secondary focus of the park and may be where First Nations, Historical, and or Ecological information may be found.
3. The children’s play area is one of the activities around the perimeter of the main focal point. This includes the existing concrete play structures with the swings and slides relocated to be a closer grouping nearer to the play structures. The Octopus and possibly the Salmon will be removed or relocated.
4. A multi-function grass area is provided close to the Main Focal point and close to the play area. It is also accessed from the parking. This is an open grass space with some picnic tables for family gatherings, staged events etc.
5. The Parking area is rotated from its current position to be half and half either side of the Sinclair Road access point. A landscaped buffer area is created between the parking area and the neighbouring homes. A raised and planted berm is created between the parking surface and the park proper. There is no provision for tour buses.
6. The Sinclair Road entrance should reinforce a pleasant entry when walking or driving into the park and a de-emphasize the parking lot function, through the use of road surface textures, plantings, signs etc.
7. A Rain Garden is created in the west corner of the site, where the Scout Hall exists.
8. The Tennis Courts remain and are improved.
9. The Boat Storage remains as is. A boat drop-off stall is created at the corner of the parking area with a hard surface path to the Boat Storage. The existing boat access to the beach would be maintained.
10. A community “Beach House” is located between the Boat Storage area and the Main Focal Point. This would house, at least, washroom/change rooms and a heated gathering room for scout or community use. The interface between the Beach House and the Main Focal Point should be encouraged so that the building contributes to the functions of the Focal Point.
11. The promenade would be re-built with handicap access and increased seating locations.
12. The Penrhyn to Beach access path would be the interface between the more “structured” play and multi-use area to the south and the “natural” landscaped area to the north. Saanich should endeavor to obtain the existing private land, currently as a wetland, along this route.
13. The entire area north of the Penryhn pathway is devoted to a created “natural” landscape with integral wetlands. All existing large trees would remain and be incorporated into the pathway design. Native landscape species would be re-introduced. This area would extend up to Cadboro Bay Road. It would have site lines through it to the Focal Points of the park beyond, plus provide winding paths around the wetlands.
14. A wetland system would be designed such as to provide for stormwater treatment and surge control and that the existing concrete stormwater outfall on the beach would be removed.
15. The access point at the Cadboro Bay Road entrance would have bicycle racks, benches, and signage. There is no parking provided in this part of the park.