Plans for the Village of Burns Lake’s downtown core revitalization project are set to take on a phased in approach.
The announcement was made last week when council agreed to pay $3,000 for the study that, when completed, will serve as a guide to phase in components of the project.
Chief administrative officer Sheryl Worthing said the project is an important part of the village’s 2012 budgeting process. “The phase in will be helpful as we can’t afford to complete the entire project in 2012,” she said.
The original study was completed by the Boulevard Transportation Group in 2010 and was subsequently presented to the public during a number of meetings.
The plan aims to create a downtown core that is not only pedestrian friendly, but is aesthetically improved.
Since this time a number of local business owners have expressed their concerns about various components of the plan, saying they feel that the proposed changes will have a negative impact on their businesses.
The plan recommends a round-a-bout should be placed at the intersection of Third Avenue and Government Street and the intersection of Hwy. 16 and Government Street [near the New Leaf Cafe] to be closed off completely.
Changes were also proposed for Government Street whereby the road would be closed off as a thoroughfare, instead consisting of a drive in parking area for the Canada Post outlet and the businesses in this area.
A complimentary paint colour palette was also suggested for the businesses in the downtown core.
According to Worthing, the village has allotted $345,000 in the budget for the project to be completed over a four year span however she said to Lakes District News that they will have to wait for the results of the phase in study to determine exactly how to budget for the project.
She added, “$20,000 [of the $345,000] is in this year’s budget for refurbishing the Gateway to Tweedsmuir Park sign.” The Heritage Committee are currently working on the design for the sign and work is expected to be competed this year.
During the meeting Coun. John Illes said he is in support of paying for the phase in study as it will allow council to move forward with their original plans and phase in the parts of the plan that are publicly acceptable.
“Some things have more public support than others so we will phase those in first,” Coun. Illes said.
Councillor Eileen Benedict asked if the completion of the study would still allow changes to be made to the plans as there is ongoing consultation with local businesses?
Councillor Illes explained that the study will set out sections of work and the costs associated, but that council could phase in the stages as they see fit or make any necessary changes.
“It is important that we don’t lose sight of the project, this way we are continuing on with the project and we don’t loose the money that we have already spent on the project,” mayor Bernice Magee said.
Worthing also said that to move forward with the downtown revitalization plans in 2012 something else will probably have to be dropped from the budget.
“The phase in plan and more discussions with the public will determine the scope of the project and we will know more once the report is complete. The budgeting process along with the phase in plan will determine what we can accomplish in each of the next few years,” Worthing added.