Progress on the downtown face lift continues

Village of Burns Lake has started work on the downtown parking lot. (Laura Blackwell photo)

Last week, the Village of Burns Lake posted an update on its Facebook page saying they would be resuming work on the downtown parking lot project in the week of April 20. The downtown parking lot redevelopment plan’s permit was approved last year at a July 23 council meeting and the work is expected to go on till mid-summer this year.

The crew started work on several portions of the lot last week. Sheryl Worthing, the Chief Administrative Officer of the village informed that the fencing has gone up and hydro has been shut down. She also said that the installation of concrete retaining walls and curbs would be next on the plan. The exact completion date for the project would however be dependent on the paving contractor’s timeline.

“The purpose of the project is to beautify the downtown core, add much needed lighting, wheelchair accessible parking stalls, three EV charging stations, more parking stalls and beautification,” said Worthing. She also added that the parking lot will prove to be a good addition for the businesses downtown, their customers and for the visitors.

The project’s total cost is coming out of the Northern Capital Grant Reserve estimated to be $340,000. Last year in March, Burns Lake received the $3.4 million provincial northern capital and planning grant.

The project combines the parking lot with the newly renovated Tweedsmuir Hotel’s parking lot. Worthing mentioned that both projects needed under ground services and hence, combining the two lots made more sense for the contractors enabling the completion of both projects together.

The designs for this joint project were prepared by the village staff and the Skin Tyee First Nation (STFN), who own the Tweedsmuir Hotel.

While the work on the parking lot has already started, the village would start filling up the potholes and pave the streets beginning somewhere between mid-June to mid-July. However, Worthing didn’t have a specific timeline to offer for the completion of this and said that it depended on the paving contractor’s timeline.

As a part of this $640, 000 paving program, Worthing informed that the year 2020 would see paving of First, Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenue from Hwy. 16 to Centre Street. The paving program would also include an addition of a sidewalk to First Ave.

The village is working on other improvement projects as well, like the Seventh Avenue lift station, the water treatment plant and the construction of the splash park at Spirit Square.

The Splash Park project that is estimated to cost the village $400, 000, has progressed quite a lot. According to Worthing, the site was excavated, geotechnical engineer has completed the ground assessment, sub-grade drainage has been installed and one meter of gravel has been backfilled and compacted to specifications. The next steps are to install the water line to the site and the electrical line to the kiosk.

There however, has been a delay in the project as some parts for the splash park that are built in Ontario are facing delay in their construction due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“[The project is] expected to be completed this summer however, the completion will be contingent on parts from Ontario,” said Worthing.

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