The results are in and the majority of survey respondents say they want Esquimalt Lagoon to remain open to vehicles.
In total, 61 per cent are in favour of keeping traffic flowing through Ocean Boulevard while 39 per cent want some form of closure, according to more than 3,800 submitted responses to a City of Colwood survey on the future of the popular destination. Notably, 22 per cent want a full closure, 10 per cent are in favour of a seasonal shutdown and seven per cent want the road closed only the weekends.
While most agree with keeping the road open to vehicles, 59 per cent of the Lagoon neighbourhood preferred some type of closure. These residents made up 11 per cent of the respondents.
While 28 per cent of visitors who drop by the Lagoon come to sit and play on the beach, 25 per cent park to watch the ocean from their vehicles. According to the survey, 75 per cent of respondents want to see more improvements to the park. In fact, the top three requests are more washrooms, trails and seating.
Some residents pointed out their concerns that if Ocean Boulevard were to be closed, there would be more traffic on Sooke Road. Others offered ideas such as changing the route to one-way traffic only, adding counterflow lanes or frequently changing the times when the road would be closed.
According to the survey, only 14 per cent of respondents use the area to drive through while running their errands or during their commute, while 86 per cent said the Lagoon is their destination to enjoy the beach and its surroundings.
On Monday, June 22, council voted to keep a 400-metre section of Ocean Boulevard along the Lagoon closed until September as the City continues to explore its best options to improve the area.
Council hopes to speed up the creation of design concepts for waterfront public improvements for 2020 instead of 2021, with an existing budget of $100,000 to look into the proposal for an improved trail running from the bridge to Royal Bay Beach.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the reopening date for Ocean Boulevard. The roadway will be closed to traffic until September. We apologize for this error and any confusion it may have caused.