The Nechako Concept Plan is collecting information about how to better utilize the space with ultimately the hopes of revitalizing the area. (Christian Apostolovski/Black Press Media)

The Nechako Concept Plan is collecting information about how to better utilize the space with ultimately the hopes of revitalizing the area. (Christian Apostolovski/Black Press Media)

Nechako Centre plan hopes to revitalize underused area in Kitimat

The Nechako Centre has a few vacant buildings but is still home to some businesses

Survey results as part of a plan to revitalize the underused Nechako Centre were presented to council at the Dec. 6 meeting, showing that people generally dislike the appearance of the buildings and travel to Terrace for goods.

The Nechako Centre has a few vacant buildings but is still the home to some businesses including the Kitimat Fitness Gym and Tony’s Corner Store.

Samantha Lahey, who is the consultant on the Nechako Concept Plan, gave the presentation for the project now in its second phase.

Engagement meetings were held with Coast Mountains School District 82 along with the Nechako Elementary School staff. Both parties were consulted as they are stakeholders in this project.

“At both meetings, we provided an overview of the project including goals and timelines, we expressed interest in working with the school given the proximity to the site,” said Lahey.

“We received feedback and potential uses for the site, how to make it safe and functional for students and potential opportunities for partnership.”

The bulk of the data that council heard was in relation to the survey that was recently completed. The primary reason that people visit Nechako is to use services including the doctor or dentist.

Residents that were surveyed were also asked why they don’t currently shop there. The highest response to this question is, current services don’t interest those surveyed or meet their needs.

Most of the residents surveyed did most of their daily shopping in downtown Kitimat which includes City Centre and Mountainview Square. The question was also broadened as residents were asked where they conducted shopping for household needs.

“Most respondents are currently travelling to Terrace for household needs, online shopping was the next largest category,” said Lahey.

When asked about what they like most about the Nechako Centre respondents cited they enjoyed the local shops and specifically mentioned Tony’s Corner Store.

On the other hand, the thing that people disliked was the appearance of the buildings. The priorities for those surveyed included neighbourhood safety as well as the diversity of commercial services.

When questioned about what commercial services the most popular responses included wanting restaurants including cafes and quick-service.

The majority of those surveyed were interested to see general improvements that could include a rebuild.

As the first engagement round comes to an end it’s time for the project to move into its next stage. A draft concept plan and recommendations will be drafted in the new year.