The Qualicum Beach Memorial Avenue upgrades will be getting a boost from the provincial government.
Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell announced Tuesday in a news release that the federal and provincial governments are investing about $1.4 million toward phase three of the Memorial Avenue upgrades through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
The third phase of the Memorial Avenue upgrades is the last phase of the project that started in the summer of 2016. The project includes several components, including greenshore and beach restoration, wastewater infrastructure replacement, a roundabout at Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A, active transportation upgrades and beautification in line with the town’s Waterfront Master Plan.
Qualicum Beach engineering director Bob Weir said most of the construction for phase three will take place in 2018, adding it could take the rest of 2017 to get in the application with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) on anything waterfront-related for design approval.
As for the timeline of phase three, Weir said it’s hard to tell until the town gets the contractor’s schedule, but it would be a multi-month project.
Key elements for phase three of the Active Transportation and Utilities Upgrades project — which includes Memorial Avenue — are the waterfront, infrastructure, Beach Creek Estuary and a heat-recovery system.
At the waterfront, there are plans for green shore beach restoration in front of the seawall to accomodate the impact of rising tides, and introduction of a green space and a roundabout at Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A to calm the traffic flow. For infrastructure, there are plans to complete the separated path connecting the waterfront with the town core. It would include curbing, gutters, storm and sewer improvements and stabilization to the hillside between Sunningdale Road and Village Way.
In a news release, Mayor Teunis Westbroek said the town will be working closely with the Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers, the DFO and the Qualicum First Nations to enhance the Beach Creek Estuary and improve fish access and cleanse storm water. The project includes the construction of a roundabout and the development of a heat recovery system for extraction of thermal energy from a sanitary sewer.
The town is currently working on the second phase of the Memorial Avenue upgrades, which includes changes to the intersections at Memorial Avenue and Village Way and Memorial Avenue and Highway 19A. Weir said phase two is making good progress.
In February 2016, the town received $600,000 from the federal Gas Tax Fund to support upgrades to Memorial Avenue. The town is contributing $1,250,000 in taxpayer funds to the project, which is financed by the town through utility reserves and general revenue.
The upgrades are in response to challenges such as a deficient storm utility that overloads the fish-bearing Beach Creek with polluted downtown runoff in periods of high intensity rain; lack of a safe and usable pedestrian and cycling route between downtown Qualicum Beach and the waterfront; high crash statistics from a poor intersection design; and the threat of water and erosion damage to public and private infrastructure and key tourism resources.
— with files from Town of Qualicum Beach news release