Ben Haeusler, project manager with Stantec, recently spoke to Town Council about options for the Centennial Street redevelopment project.
Because those working on the project did not know the full scope of the project, the company developed two options for Council to consider for the redevelopment project.
The options were created after a detailed analysis of Centennial Street from 48 Avenue to Lakeshore Drive. According to Haeusler there are a lot of positives already working in favour of the town.
He noted having bollards for pedestrian crossings is a huge plus, but noted the current ones need to be fixed up as they are a little worse for wear.
Haeusler also mentioned the decorative lighting and mature trees along the street are definitely a positive.
“You don’t see many places that already have nice decorative lights in place. It is something [they] are just now looking at changing,” Haeusler said.
While there are some good things already in place, Haeusler was quick to add there are areas that need to be upgraded or redone. The areas he suggested need to be looked at include the uneven sidewalks, bad drainage and the discontinuous sidewalks, particularly around the train tracks.
When examining the traffic flow at the 50 Avenue and 50 Street intersection, it was determined the street does not need to be realigned, as the traffic flow there is good and steady. It was also mentioned that the intersection “does not warrant signalization” at this time, but it would be needed within the next 20 years.
“It may look and feel a little awkward but there isn’t anything particularly bad with it from a technical stand point,” Haeusler said.
Overall Haeusler suggested more of a face-lift to the street, one he said could be done over the course of 2018.
“This would be something that would last for the next 10-15 years and give you the ability to build off of it and add pieces as you go,” explained Haeusler.
Town administration suggested council approve an “option one” which would be limited improvement plan on the street. This would not be a complete overhaul and would include replacement of stamped and deficient sidewalk, replacement of deficient/damaged curbs and the installation of new drainage grates.
This option would cost the Town an estimated $1.33 million, plus or minus 25 per cent depending on tenders.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it go to the minus side,” said Betty Osmond, chief administrative officer for the Town. “It is best to prepare for another 25 percent on top of the estimate.”
However, Council did not approve option one, saying it wasn’t as close to what they envisioned as they had hoped.
Council had originally envisioned overhauling Centennial Street into a “festival street” with overhead lighting and music.
“This isn’t what we had originally envisioned, it’s really more of just a face lift, and I just can’t get behind that,” said Coun. Megan Chernoff Hanson.
Council was given a list of additional work that could be added to the work proposed in the first option.
On top of the work proposed, Council could add on the option of removing and replacing current street lighting to facilitate overhead decorative features for a cost of $280,000. They could also add on overhead illuminated features which can cost between $8,000 — $12,000 per location.
“The purpose of this redevelopment is to create a sense of place,” explained Mayor Sean McIntyre.
Council chose to seek a new proposal from Stantec to build on option one; what McIntyre dubbed “option one-A.” Council wants to see a more fleshed out version that will get Centennial Street closer to what they originally envisioned.
According to administration there is roughly $1.3 million remaining in the budget for the Centennial Street project.
Council asked to have the new options to consider prior to the capital budget deliberations.