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Downtown Rehabilitation

Downtown Rehabilitation

This week, Downtown Rehabilitation was discussed at a council committee. The Downtown Association wants to see this project move forward. I thought I'd take the opportunity to re-post and clarify my opinion.

During budget deliberations, Council was presented with options to undertake Phase 4 of this project in 2019. The presented options would’ve seen the City spending up to $28,000,000 this year. The large majority of that would’ve been financed through debt.

Council chose NOT to go ahead with this work for now. However, it also directed administration to come back with options to improve the surface looks of 100 Ave without tearing up the roads. I supported this course of action. I do believe some modest investment in improving the looks of the east end of 100 Ave is worthwhile. But with the information I have right now, it would be irresponsible to support borrowing tens of millions of dollars to go ahead with Phase 4 at this time.

Budget 2019: Downtown Rehabilitation

Budget 2019: Downtown Rehabilitation

Budget deliberations are this week. Council will be debating whether or not to proceed with the next phase of the Downtown Rehabilitation….

Phase 4 centers on 100 Ave and 100 St. Council will be presented an option to do just 2 blocks of 100 Ave (from 100 St to Resources Road which is from CIBC to Co-op) or to do that plus two blocks of 100 St (from 99 Ave to 101 Ave which is from Wendy’s to Titos).

Aquatera would likely fund a portion of this cost, but at this time most of it would likely need to be financed through borrowing.

Maximum Impact Projects, Art in the Alley

Maximum Impact Projects, Art in the Alley

Tomorrow Council will be debating whether or not to fund Art in the Alley with $20,000.

This project was proposed by the Downtown Association. It would see businesses along 100 Ave putting pieces of art on their buildings in the rear lane ways. If their piece got approval from a committee appointed by the Downtown Association, it would be eligible for up to $5000 in matching funds.

I’ve had several conversations about this proposal, both from people who support it and from people who are opposed. These discussions were great. They got me thinking a lot about what types of projects are worth supporting. What is it that gives an initiative high or low possible impact?

Following is more information about my thoughts on Art in the Alley. I use it to discuss what I think makes for a good investment in community enhancement. After you read my thoughts, I’d love to hear yours.

Downtown Rehabilitation: Bids are Open

Today the City released a tender for the next phase of Downtown Rehabilitation. This summer we will be doing 100 Ave from 100 St to 102 St. What was released today will allow companies to bid on the work.

You may be interested in this blog post: I wrote it shortly before we voted on Downtown Rehabilitation. It gives some background information and explains why I voted in favour of going ahead with the next phase this year.

The earlier phases of this project provided many learning experiences. To approve continuation, Council had to be confident that the future phases would go more smoothly. Administration is making many process changes. However, there are five in particular that give me confidence this work will be done as painlessly as possible:

  • Getting the tender out now. Our current timeline should allow work to begin as soon as the ground is thawed. An early start is key to success.
  • A communications budget. Council added $125,000 to the project to go towards communications. Staff will be well resourced to communicate with effected businesses and to let the public know businesses are open and how to access them.
  • A City point person. Administration will have a full-time person tasked with overseeing this project. This person will be given authority to direct contractors and to speak on the City's behalf. They will be given responsibility to implement great communication plans. And they will be mandated to be a single point of contact for effected businesses.
  • City participation at Downtown Business Association (DBA) meetings. Senior members of our staff will be attending DBA meetings throughout the project. This will ensure that they are receiving real-time feedback about any problems that arise.
  • Regular Council updates. Progress updates will be given to Council every two weeks via the Infrastructure and Protective Services committee. This will allow us to properly monitor the project and to pass on feedback we have received.

I've heard many ideas from our staff and from downtown businesses about how to make the best of this summer. Many of them are common sense. But some are really smart and some are lots of fun. I'm looking forward to seeing how our downtown community comes together. I'm also really excited to walk on a beautiful street knowing that I am a few feet above proper underground plumbing.

As always, I welcome any thoughts, feedback, or questions.

Thanks for reading;