The District of Chetwynd is looking to revitalize their downtown and have drafted a plan of what that could look like. The last revitalization project was completed 30 years ago, in 1992.
District engineering intern Leah Labarrere submitted the plan to district council on Jan. 10, crafted from input from 200 residents through online surveys and community engagement events through 2021, which began in July.
“A thriving downtown adds a tremendous amount of value to our communities,” reads the report. “The downtown is the economic, social, and cultural heart of Chetwynd and an important part of the community’s overall identity.”
Ease of walkability, green areas, uneven sidewalks, poor road conditions, no public washrooms open 24/7, lack of accessibility options, lack of lighting, and lack of seating, were identified as the top concerns by residents who provided input.
Additional lighting, gateway entrances, enhanced sidewalks and crosswalks, bike lanes, increased seasonal landscaping, and a redevelopment of Windrem Creek Trail are all being suggested as remedies in the plan.
Mayor Allen Courtoreille says he’s looking forward to seeing the plan move ahead.
“There’s so much in there that would be great for anyone who enjoys the outdoors,” he said.
The district’s 2017 and 2021 Official Community Plan indicated that a refresh on the downtown was wanted to create more pedestrian-friendly spaces.
The majority of sidewalks and pedestrian paths remain in good condition, though the South Access Road between 52 and 50 Street needs resurfacing, with paving stones along 51 Ave starting to separate.
“Uneven paving can prevent people with mobility difficulties from accessing key areas of the downtown, especially when it comes to using crosswalks to cross the street safely,” states the report.
By September 2021, a collaborative plan between the community and the district took shape, adds the report.
Expanded commercial zoning is included in the plan, extending from the local hospital to 48 Ave.
The downtown are currently offers access to two grocery stores, retailers and restaurants, pharmacies, healthcare, hotel and motel, other services, and two parks – all within a 400 to 800 metre reach or ten minute walk.
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