Days numbered for dreary downtown canopy

Business and building owners hatch plan for face-lift-project with a west-coast feel

The look and feel of the city’s core is in the cross hairs of a much-needed improvement project.

Downtown business and property owners have partnered with the City of Terrace to form a new committee to oversee what’s called the Downtown Renewal Project. It will specifically target the metal canopy along the entire length of 4600-block Lakesle Avenue. The corrugated structure was built in the 1980s and is arguably the most predominant feature in the area, second only to the Days Inn. With sections jutting out to the street, the canopy’s bulk, heavy shadows and brown paint have come to define the aesthetic of downtown Terrace.

The project committee had considered replacing the structure completely, but due to cost-constraints settled on trimming back the sections projecting out to the street, and then redesigning what remains.

“It will let in a little more light and make it feel less heavy,” said committee spokesperson Lawrence Stella, a co-owner of the building housing All Star Shoes. “It’ll be a face lift, more or less, and go for that west coast feel.”

That feel will likely include a lot of natural cedar wood, stone work and iron highlights, he added. “We hope to have the proposal ready early this year so we can get it out there. We want it to be well done, presented properly, so we can put a good vision forward that’s not rejected.”

The project committee is now in the process of retaining a consultant to develop a conceptual design, and hopes to see it through to completion within 18 months as the owners find and secure grant funding to offset the costs. The city is not contributing directly to the cost, but providing only its expertise and input on such matters as building and bylaw requirements.

The consultant is also being asked to present recommendations for sidewalk improvements, which the business and property owners will not finance, but rather submit to city staff for consideration within future projects in the five-year plan.

As the project moves forward, Stella said there will be opportunities for public input.

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