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Downtown Terrace gears up for renewal

4600 Block plan unveiled
Construction underway outside 4600 block of downtown Terrace on Feb. 15, 2024. (Prabhnoor Kaur/ Terrace Standard)

In a recent city council meeting on Feb. 15, the Terrace Downtown Improvement Area (TDIA) unveiled an ambitious plan to revamp the 4600 Block of Lakelse Ave., marking the start of a long-awaited downtown revitalization.

Since the removal of a potentially hazardous canopy overhanging the block’s sidewalks, the area has opened up so that there is more light and space, prompting positive feedback from local businesses and setting the stage for the proposed revitalization.

The TDIA enlisted the consulting and engineering firm of Urban Systems which suggested a tentative $5 million budget, $1.5 million of which would form a cushion should unexpected expenses arise.

The plan envisions a green infrastructure, outside lighting, wayfinding signage, public gathering spaces, and a designated area for food trucks.

TDIA president Alex Pietralla said local talent could be used to construct street furniture, adding that local artists are eager to incorporate a cultural aesthetic. Traffic related changes were also proposed with proposed speed reductions to 30 km/h and safer pedestrian crossings.

Mayor Sean Bujtas supported the introduction of outside lighting stating an example of similar lighting in downtown Fort St John.

“Urban Systems is a good group to work with. They’re based out of Fort St John and know our climate pretty well,” he said.

He advocated using excess downtown parking for more beneficial use. “When you’re in downtown Vancouver and you get [parking] five blocks from wherever you want to go, you’re happy,” Bujtas said.

Councillor Dave Gordon sees the plan as a spectacular opportunity for Terrace’s revitalization but raised concerns about seating numbers, treatment of downtown trees, and gardens.

Councillor Downie emphasized the need for shelter during inclement weather.

TDIA president Alex Pietralla said the group has a commitment to communicate with businesses as the plan evolves.

Councillor Sarah Zimmerman expressed support for the initiative, anticipating there could be money in the provincial budget introduced this week.

That would be crucial because neither the TDIA nor the city has the money to undertake the work.

At the same time, the city needs to replace the utilities running underneath the 4600 Block and views doing that and revamping the surface amenities at the same as being more efficient and effective. It also does not yet have the money for that work.

“[The] reality is I need to go find you the money to do all this,” Bujtas said.

Bujtas concluded the meeting by declaring the 4600 Block as the starting point for downtown revitalization.

“Sometimes I hear some of the businesses complain that we focus too much on the 4600 block, but I think it’s a good place to start. It’s a iconic piece of our downtown,” he said. “The exposure of the front, the facades of those buildings has been excellent and it really just that old school look back which I really like.”

About the Author: Prabhnoor Kaur

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