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CITY BUDGET: Downtown to get spruced up

Part of the downtown core will get an overhaul, council decided at Monday’s budget planning meeting.

The $4.08 million city project, aimed at transforming the St. Ann’s block, will complement work being done by Seymour Pacific to build a new five-storey head office building on five lots that border Alder, Dubeau, and Beech streets as well as St. Ann’s Road.

Coun. Claire Moglove said the project is vital to community’s success.

“This is a game changer for Campbell River,” Moglove said. “If we’re going to change our downtown, if we’re going to revitalize our downtown – and our downtown is the heart of the city – then this project has to go forward and this will change Campbell River for the better.”

The project involves upgrades to underground services such as sewer, water and storm systems as well as above ground components like sidewalks, streetlights, trees, walkways and public open spaces.

The city’s goal is to connect the waterfront at Robert Ostler Park to the park space at City Hall. Conceptual plans call for the transformation of Dubeau Street (the lane behind Shoppers Row) into a pedestrian boulevard and turning parking spaces into public spaces for things like farmers markets and community events.

The project will be funded within the 2013-2017 financial plan as follows (costs are estimates):

  • Water main upgrades-$517,000 through the water operating accumulated surplus
  • Sewer main upgrades-$365,000 through the sewer operating accumulated surplus
  • Storm drain upgrades-$767,000 through the Storm Drain Parcel Tax reserve and Capital Works Reserve
  • Roads-$599,000 through the Capital Works Reserve
  • Parks/Green space-$550,000 through the Parks Parcel Tax Reserve and Capital Works Reserve

n Lighting upgrades, walkways and heat recovery lines-$750,000 through the Community Works Fund

n Hydro/Telus upgrades and region beautification-$500,000 through the Capital Works Reserve, formerly from the Gaming Reserve

The project goes hand-in-hand with council’s newly created Downtown Revitalization Tax Exemption bylaw which provides a tax exemption for new commercial  developments in the St. Ann’s block.

“This project represents the culmination of a lot of work previous councils have done,” Moglove said.

“Downtown revitalization was recognized as the number two priority in our strategic session and was identified as a priority by the previous council and the council before that.”

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