Monday, January 6, 2014

Review Designs for Downtown Fenwick Revitalization

Just before the Christmas break, residents and business owners were invited to see the latest plans to revitalize Downtown Fenwick.

You will recall that while Council budgeted funds to revitalize Downtown Fenwick in 2013, staff ran into delays with design, with added work (properly attaching the storm sewer to Church Street) and with coordinating with the utility’s schedules. Last September, because of these challenges, Council decided to postpone the revitalization until 2014.

Council made this decision after receiving a staff report outlining the project’s complexities. In essence, to properly deal with the storm sewers and to tie them correctly into adjoining streets, construction crews will have to dig fairly deep. Second, the requirement to bury the hydro lines and other overhead utilities meant that the Town must work closely with Ontario Hydro; Hydro had said they could not undertake that work until 2014.

In early December, Council approved $4.0 million budget to reconstruct the roads, bury the hydro lines, and make the Downtown more pedestrian friendly.

The consulting engineers met with the public on December 19 to review the nearly-final designs. While the event was well attended for the time of year (just before the Holiday) I spoke to a few people that would have liked to attend the open house and review the plans.

Well, now the Town has posted the plans on our new website at What do you think about the streetscaping elements? What are your thoughts about the proposed locations of the hydro transformer boxes? Do the road sections make sense?

While there is still another, final stage of design work to be completed, now is the time to suggest any last improvements.

The tenders for the general contractor will go out in February; I hope that the first stages of construction can begin in March or April.

Council has directed staff to ensure as little negative impact on Downtown businesses and on traffic as possible. And, having learned from other major projects in recent years, Council is also looking for a clear process to keep businesses and the public informed about construction progress and a clearly defined person in charge to approach with any concerns.

We look forward to your feedback on the latest designs. With your help, the Town can ensure that the revitalization of Downtown Fenwick can be the best possible for now and for many years to come.