The floodgates were opened on the city’s fledgling Gateway project as council approved tripling the budget for this year.
In a Thursday meeting of the general government and finance committee, city council moved and approved bumping the cash available for the entrance way into the city’s downtown at Bay Avenue to $300,000.
When it was presented with a detailed list and cost estimate on what needed to be done this year to take advantage of a Ministry of Transportation (MOT) plan to repave Highway 3B (Victoria Avenue) in the Trail and Warfield area, council stepped up to the plate and delivered.
The issue the city is facing this year with respect to execution and development of the project is the opportunity to work with the MOT and save on the cost of paving, said city chief administrative officer David Perehudoff in the meeting.
“What Highways is saying is once they have done the overlay they do not want the city to go back and start cutting and pasting the road back,” he said.
Council had approved an initial budget of $100,000 for the project this year, but at the time it was not apprised of what may or may not be realized through the downtown plan.
Although the total plan comes in at a weighty $1.4 million, Perehudoff felt at least $250,000 would suffice to dovetail into what the MOT was doing “in order to get some real good work done this year.”
The Bay Avenue intersection was felt to be the highest initial priority and if aspects of the project in this corridor were selected the construction estimate with the contingency approached $240,000.
“When the design work referenced above is added it equates to a total budget in the order of $270,000,” said Perehudoff.
However, the time frame was short as the MOT has to obtain and approve the city’s plan before submitting it to the contractor at the end of July when paving would begin.
Committee chair and councillor Kevin Jolly said council was quick to put its approval on the new budget with the detailed information in hand.
“Now that we have much more information we can formulate a better plan and put some numbers to it and actually get going,” he said.
Although the MMM Group—which authored the city’s Downtown Improvement Plan—is now in discussions with the MOT on what can’t be facilitated this year, the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee (DOAC) is driving the process from the ground up, and it will narrow the focus of what will be done next.
DOAC will take its decisions to city council for the final stamp on the exact projects.
“But now we have an allotment of funds that is commensurate with the work that has been put together in terms of the detailed design work,” said Jolly.
The realm of the Victoria Street opportunities include curb bulb-outs, removal of existing sidewalk and expansion to two metres wide, new decorative paving, trees, accent lighting and relocated street light to an island.
Irrigation and island plantings, a thermal plastic crosswalk pattern, new decorative paving sidewalks and planted medians could be created from Cedar to Bay avenues, Pine to Cedar and Tamarac to Pine.
The Bay Avenue major gateway feature is estimated to cost $50,000, with the four medians in the range of $100,000, and the Bay Avenue plating cost around $24,000.
Part of the proposed plan is to four-lane the first block of Bay Avenue, meaning the elimination of seven parking spots.
“It would greatly alleviate some of the issues because you would have a holding lane and a through lane,” said Perehudoff.