Terrace Chamber pushes for a spiffed up downtown core

The Terrace B.C. and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased the city is listening to its requests and cleaning up the downtown.

Addie Ippel poses by the flowers she planted next to Vanderhoof & Districts Co-Operative Association where she works on Keith Avenue. Natural flourishes like this are exactly what the judges for the Communities in Bloom competition were looking for when they rolled through Terrace on July 21

The Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased the city is listening to its requests that more be done to clean up the downtown, says its president.

Val Gauvin made the comment following an Aug. 5 committee of the whole session at which city officials said they had consider the chamber’s clean up requests when preparing the city’s 2017 budget.

A brief summary of the requests made by the chamber included increasing the frequency of sidewalk sweeping and cleaning, ensuring boulevards were well-maintained, increasing anti-weed efforts and increasing the number of garbage cans downtown.

There were also several requests regarding the 4600 Block of Lakelse Ave., including repainting the downtown crosswalks and possibly revamping the canopies along the block.

“One of our board members actually took a trip to Smithers and was just taken aback by how clean and beautiful it was in their downtown core,” Gauvin said.

“That started the conversation that we could do a lot better than what we were doing.”

These recommendations were brought forward to the city because Terrace was starting to get the reputation of being slightly dirty and ugly downtown, Gauvin said.

The chamber, after seeking opinions from a variety of groups and chamber members, first expressed its position in the spring.

City economic development manager Danielle Myles, who spoke at the last week’s committee of the whole meeting,  said the city had considered the requests, which have already netted some improvements in downtown Terrace, such as repainting the lines on some parking spots.

While the city said it was happy to include the chamber’s requests in its 2017 budget considerations, staff will have to prepare detailed costs for each item to see how feasible it will be.

“We are happy that they continue to take some of our suggestions and move forward with them,” Gauvin said. “They are doing what they can. It would be nice if it could move faster, but we’re just happy to see it moving forward.”

Myles said the road portion of the 4600 block of Lakelse Avenue will have to be rebuilt at some point, so right now it wouldn’t make sense to just fix the sidewalks there.

“It doesn’t make sense to repair sidewalks and then have to rip up the road,” Myles said.

She added that in 2020 the city will have a budget for 200 metres of new downtown road  that could be considered for the 4600 block.

But demand for that would have to be examined at the time, as there are other areas that could potentially benefit from a new road surface as well.

There are 15 sections of grassed boulevard between Emerson and Eby streets that are in need of renewal, Myles said.

Boulevards here are maintained here by a contractor  typically every two or three weeks. Each call out is $400.

Myles said the city could consider increasing the frequency of service but would have to measure the additional cost.

She added that in 2018, there will be $100,000 budgeted for boulevard upgrades.

The chamber was also calling for upgrades to the canopy on the 4600 Block.

In 1983 the city paid for 25 per cent of the downtown canopy project. Merchants covered the remainder of the cost.

City council has the option to consider partnering with business owners in an effort to replace or revamp the canopy infrastructure.

Gauvin said the cleanliness of downtown should be a priority in order to keep building Terrace up as a brand and destination area for investors, such as potential energy companies.

The city and chamber have also decided to set up monthly meetings in order to improve communications.

 

 

 

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