Plan calls for $10.5M in im­prove­ments to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Syd­ney

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY NANCY KING

Cape Bre­ton Re­gional mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors have en­dorsed in prin­ci­ple a plan to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Syd­ney that calls for $10.5 mil­lion in in­vest­ments for the area.

The next step will be for a steer­ing com­mit­tee in­clud­ing CBRM staff to come up with rec­om­men­da­tions to im­ple­ment the plan that will be con­sid­ered when coun­cil meets to de­ter­mine the 2018-19 bud­get.

Rob LeBlanc, pres­i­dent of Ek­istics Plan+De­sign pre­sented the

Syd­ney ur­ban core plan to coun­cil at its reg­u­lar meet­ing Tues­day evening.

The $10.5 mil­lion fig­ure in the Ek­istics plan wouldn’t in­clude the cost of any land ac­qui­si­tions that would be re­quired. It would in­clude just over $7.5 mil­lion to re­design Char­lotte Street from Dorch­ester to Townsend Street. It also out­lines about $973,000 for park­ing lot en­hance­ments at the Capri Lounge, $585,000 for two-way street con­ver­sions and in­ter­sec­tions, al­most $744,000 for Ge­orge Street lin­ear parks, $327,000 for sig­nage and wayfind­ing, $285,000 for a façade pro­gram and just over $100,000 to in­stall mod­ern park­ing me­ters.

LeBlanc said the plan re­ally fo­cused on Char­lotte Street, par­tic­u­larly mak­ing it friend­lier to pedes­tri­ans and try­ing to re­con­nect the wa­ter­front to the down­town.

“We think it’s im­por­tant to look at cre­at­ing a plan that will craft an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment strat­egy which has a much larger reach than just the down­town it­self,” he said.

“We were asked to deal with is­sues such as park­ing and trans­porta­tion and ac­tive trans­porta­tion, tran­sit, those sorts of is­sues.”

Deputy Mayor El­don MacDon­ald, who rep­re­sents the area on coun­cil, said the process fol­lowed by Ek­istics was well-re­ceived and elicited a good amount of pub­lic feed­back.

“There are some op­por­tu­ni­ties that we’re go­ing to have in the coming years with in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments that are go­ing to have to be made to our down­town,” MacDon­ald said.

Grow­ing a down­town area re­quires lur­ing peo­ple back into the area, LeBlanc noted.

“If you’re go­ing to grow your re­tail, you’re go­ing to grow com­mer­cial and of­fice, if down­town is go­ing to be a new vi­brant space, the only way to do that is to grow the hous­ing stock in the down­town,” LeBlanc said.

In the case of Syd­ney, the tar­get would be 300 new res­i­den­tial units in the down­town area.

An en­tire chap­ter of the plan ad­dresses park­ing. LeBlanc said in Syd­ney park­ing is re­ally more of a dis­tri­bu­tion prob­lem than a quan­tity is­sue, and how it is ad­min­is­tered and paid for. It’s also im­por­tant to keep rev­enues from park­ing in­vested in the down­town, he added.

LeBlanc de­scribed Char­lotte Street as be­ing in “great dis­re­pair.” The street is due to have a new wa­ter line in­stalled and as a re­sult will be dug up and re­con­structed in the next few years.

Sev­eral mem­bers of coun­cil stressed the im­por­tance of re­mem­ber­ing that while this process was par­tic­u­lar to down­town Syd­ney, there are other ur­ban cores in the CBRM in need of at­ten­tion and there will be lessons learned from the Syd­ney project that could po­ten­tially be ap­plied in those ar­eas.

“If we see this come to life, what can hap­pen there?” Dist. 11 Coun. Ken­dra Coombes said.

LeBlanc

Shown above is an artist’s con­cep­tion of what Char­lotte Street where it meets Went­worth Street would look like if a plan to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Syd­ney goes through.

Show above is the bump-out at the gate­way en­trance to Char­lotte Street if a plan to re­vi­tal­ize down­town Syd­ney be­comes re­al­ity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.