Last year, the City received an outstanding report that carefully evaluated a range of options for the development of Davids Island. Produced by a Task Force of citizens and experts, the report will be an invaluable guide for our community as we consider the best means of realizing the Island’s environmental, economic, and civic potential.
This month, our staff presented to the Council a general framework for phasing Island improvements and for implementing an environmental clean-up plan. As this charmingly hand-drawn map illustrates:
- Phase I would focus on the central portion of the Island, including the former parade grounds, an area that requires relatively light environmental remediation. It would feature open space, parkland, and small watercraft access.
- Phase II would cover the western portion of the Island, including the western shoreline. This area would also feature open space and parkland, as well as interpretive signage and a more substantial dock. The Phase II zone would require somewhat greater environmental clean-up.
- Phase III would cover the northern and eastern portions of the Island. This is where any commercial development could be concentrated. It would also require environmental remediation.
- Lastly, Phase IV would cover the southeastern portion of the Island. This is the most heavily contaminated area — a former incinerator zone — and it is likely that the overall remediation plan would transfer contaminants to the southeast and then cap them. Once capped, this would be an ideal site for renewable energy generation, perhaps photo-voltaic cells.
As for the nature of commercial development, the Task Force Report suggested that the most viable and appropriate option would be a research and conference facility, paired with a hotel, with employees housed on-site. Access would be water-borne. Sustainable design and operation would govern any construction. While far from making firm commitments, the City Council has endorsed this concept as a preliminary working plan.
Achieving the potential of Davids Island will take a long time, but I am excited to have a community-based plan of action that points a promising way forward.