Illustration of proposed 10-storey, mixed use building for 325 Beech Street. the city will upgrade the street running in front of it. City of Campbell River

Illustration of proposed 10-storey, mixed use building for 325 Beech Street. the city will upgrade the street running in front of it. City of Campbell River

Empty section of downtown Campbell River to get makeover

Beech Street revitalization to get underway this summer

Construction of a mixed use residential/commercial building this summer will spur the revitalization of what could be considered an unsightly and unused corner of downtown Campbell River.

The city will complete an upgrade of Beech Street this summer in an area of open parking lots that aren’t heavily used and back onto the 9th Ave./Alder/Dogwood hill. The work is the result of an opportunity presented by the proposed construction of a mixed residential-commercial building on a currently-undeveloped lot at 325 Beech Street.

The upgrades to the street will be an extension to upgrades that have been completed in earlier phases nearby. It will include traffic calming measures, improve pedestrian infrastructure and offer opportunity for active transportation modes, a city press release says.

“By expanding our revitalization work throughout downtown, we further our goals of a more vibrant and accessible city centre that encourages use by our residents as well as visitors,” Mayor Andy Adams says in the press release. “This renewal project provides for increased residential living downtown and improves the area for a range of users.”

The work will include:

– Infrastructure updates: New water, sewer and storm mains and services.

– New roadways: Roadway constructed to meet Urban Local Commercial Standards.

– Pedestrian-friendly upgrades: Improved lighting, crosswalks and boulevards.

– Aesthetics: Upgraded surface finishes matching the adjacent Downtown Revitalization Project (including new tree planting and landscaping).

This stage of the downtown upgrades is the result of an opportunity presented by the proposed construction of a mixed residential-commercial building on a currently-undeveloped lot on the street (325 Beech Street).

The Beech Street Renewal Project can be delivered in a short timeframe, thanks to the Refresh Downtown Strategy which was completed in 2017 to prepare advanced plans for upgrades through the downtown core as opportunities arise.

Work is expected to begin in early summer 2022, and be largely complete by fall. Some finishing work, such as planting, may be required in 2023.

The Beech Street Renewal Project and development of 325 Beech Street will displace 70 public parking spots, an information page on the city’s website says.

The city monitors parking capacity regularly and has continued to review usage rates in the area.

Currently, on average, parking is used at 63 per cent capacity in the downtown area – of 1,441 spots in the downtown area there are approximately 500 spots regularly available within a short walk.

Approval of the work generated some excitement among city councillors.

“I see this as an absolute game changer for downtown Campbell River,” Coun. Moglove said at the April 25 city council meeting where the development permit was approved. “I was on council when the Seymour Pacific building was built on St. Anne’s and Alder, and I remember what it replaced. And I remember how important that development was to downtown Campbell River.

“I also remember when I first got on council, talking about trying to revitalize downtown and how I always said – many people on council said – you need to have people living downtown in order to revitalize downtown.

“And this is a project that is long time coming. I see it as an absolute game changer for downtown Campbell River. I’m just so excited about this one.”

The project is currently estimated to cost $4.2 million, with funding allocated within existing budget that will not result in increased taxes for the community, a city informational document says. This cost will be refined and confirmed as the work approaches, reflecting rapidly changing costs of construction worldwide.

For more information and renewal project updates, visit www.campbellriver.ca/beech-street-renewal.

Campbell RiverMunicipal Government

 

Conceptual drawing of Beech Street revitalization. City of Campbell River

Conceptual drawing of Beech Street revitalization. City of Campbell River