Council updated on modernization public consultations

Council was provided an update into the public consultation process for projects pertaining to modernization

Council was provided an update into the public consultation process for projects pertaining to modernization in the Cottage Area and the West Village during Monday night’s regular meeting.

Open houses held Aug. 23 and 26 were well attended with no shortage of feedback provided, according to Town administration. Results from questionnaires provided online and at the open houses will allow administration to develop concepts even further before presenting them again at an open house scheduled for Sept. 20.

“We’re looking for (residents’) input, and whether they want parking or if they don’t want parking, and whether they want a sidewalk or if they don’t want a sidewalk,” said project manager Dave Kelham in an interview last week. “We’re just trying to figure out what they would like to see.”

Fourteen responses were submitted regarding modernization in the West Village. A council report noted those responses were “divided amongst the design options presented.”

Modernization in the Cottage Area was the catalyst for more than 100 responses — 80 per cent of which outlined a desire to not see a sidewalk installed. Further, 68 per cent were against on-street parking.

Some respondents felt redevelopment in the area should be accompanied by upgraded infrastructure, while some comments noted a desire to maintain “cultural” and “heritage” aspects of the area.

The purpose of the questionnaire was to gather input from stakeholders, according to administration, and not to provide any statistical representation. A council report notes that “no decisions will be made based solely on the questionnaire.”

The questionnaire has attracted criticism from some who found its questions to be leading in nature, and others who feel a ‘none of the above’ answer should have been included in it.

Improvements will be made accordingly on future questionnaires, administration noted.

The purpose of the modernizations, it says, are to “address concerns regarding surface drainage, parking, and integrity of the sanitary sewer collection and water distribution systems … concepts also include the addition of sidewalks and street lighting in alignment with typical Town standards for residential areas.”

Following the final open house, the projects will return to council before design is completed, and construction ultimately carried out — likely not until after 2015.