A screenshot from a presentation by Michael Lonsdale (senior engineering technologist with the City of Parksville) to city council on July 19, 2021, which shows the planned changes for Memorial Avenue and Hirst Avenue in the city’s downtown core. (Submitted photo)

A screenshot from a presentation by Michael Lonsdale (senior engineering technologist with the City of Parksville) to city council on July 19, 2021, which shows the planned changes for Memorial Avenue and Hirst Avenue in the city’s downtown core. (Submitted photo)

Public plaza, roadway changes in downtown core approved by Parksville city council

$3.5M construction contract for project awarded to Knappett Industries

A project that includes the installation of a public plaza on Memorial Avenue in Parksville will proceed with city council approval.

The senior engineering technologist for the city, Michael Lonsdale, went before city council on July 19 to present the Hirst Avenue West and Memorial Avenue Renewal Project, which includes an open concept plaza on Memorial and roadway changes on Hirst.

The project will include underground infrastructure such as the storm, sanitary and water mains. The city plans to update the predominately asbestos concrete mains with modern PVC pipes in order to extend the life of both avenues.

For Hirst Avenue West, Lonsdale said the configuration of the street itself will remain similar to its current layout.

There will still be two-way traffic, but with full sidewalks on both sides of the road and a four-way stop at the intersection of Hirst Avenue West and the Alberni Highway.

Lonsdale said the four-way stop will allow motorists travelling eastbound to continue in any direction instead of being restricted to a right-turn onto the Alberni Highway.

“On Memorial Avenue, that is getting a bit more of a dramatic change to its streetscape configuration.”

READ MORE: $60K in funding approved to plan public square in Parksville’s Memorial Avenue

The project will introduce a one-way roadway that will flow from McMillan Street going east towards the yet to be constructed plaza, and then rerouted south towards Hirst Avenue through a city-owned parking lot.

Lonsdale said the vehicular intersection at Memorial Avenue and the Alberni Highway will be decommissioned for traffic use, with pedestrian crossings added.

“The Memorial Plaza, I think, is a really exciting opportunity for the city. We have designed the plaza to be in really good keeping with the feedback we received from the community during our public engagement sessions. And have really tried to design this to be a place for Parksville to come together.”

During his presentation, a digital representation of what the plaza would look like showed the elm trees still in place amid defined green spaces. The representation also showed the open concept plaza with curved seating arrangements along the base of the trees.

Lonsdale said the plaza could be utilized for market stalls, cultural events, or “whatever the city and community desire’” the space to be.

In keeping with the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principle, the plaza will be designed with clear sightlines and enhanced lighting.

After the presentation, Coun. Doug O’Brien’s motion, seconded by Coun. Mark Chandler, to follow through with staff recommendations was favourably passed.

Council awarded the construction contract for the renewal project to Knappett Industries in the amount of $3,518,595.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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