February 20, 2013 - 4:03 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
Martin Street will get some road TLC from the City of Penticton if everything goes according to a downtown improvement plan.
More flexible parking between Westminster Avenue and Nanaimo Avenue would mean more space for street events, says Barb Haynes, chair of the Downtown Revitalization Project. She was before city council on Monday night to paint a picture of the downtown's future. The Martin Street parking spots would open up and become available for larger crowds or kiosks as warranted. This improvement will cost $684,000.
And while no lane changes will be made to Westminster Avenue it could get much prettier, says Haynes. Matching bricks, more trees and more benches could be added. The city put aside $318,000 for those improvements.
Construction for the projects could start in September provided council doesn't run into any potholes. There was one speed bump about Martin Street though after Haynes' presentation.
“I've been against it from day one,” says Coun. John Vassilaki, who voted against the $684,000 improvement to Martin Street.
“I think (it's wrong) to spend over half-a-million dollars (on Martin) that could be put to better use on Main Street or maybe do a better job on the market building on Ellis Street.”
There will not be enough foot traffic in the areas to be improved he says.
“I would spend the money on where you have more people... more of an exciting area.”
Coun. Andrew Jakubeit says this is just the start.
“Once we get that going people will see the progress and get excited and help push us to the next phases,” he says.
“If we want to continue with our downtown priorities Martin Street is an easy win.”
This latest step to improve the downtown area is one of many the city has climbed.
In its 2013 budget, which had a zero per cent tax increase, Penticton transformed an old bus maintenance facility into an grocery market for $160,000, booked $1.26 million for downtown refurbishing and earmarked $75,000 on consultation, traffic analysis and design work.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-488-3065 or send a Tweet to @shannonquesnel1
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013