Council moves Downtown Plan into its next phase

Next steps defined for downtown cultural hub and streetscape

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Council moves Downtown Plan into its next phase
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Mary Jo Milhomens

Mary Jo Milhomens

Senior Communications Advisor for the Town of Oakville, and has worked for the town since 2000. She graduated from Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology with High Honours, Creative Advertising & Marketing.

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At last night’s meeting, Council was presented with updates on the Downtown Plan project including the Downtown Transportation and Streetscape Study and the Downtown Cultural Hub Study. In reviewing the staff reports, Council gave staff the go ahead for the next phase of the Downtown Plan.

“Revitalizing the downtown with a cultural hub and a redesigned streetscape is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create something wonderful that will attract people to the area for generations to come,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Downtown Oakville will continue to be the cultural, social and economic heart of our community, and a central piece in our vision of creating the most livable town in Canada.”

The total cost is $1.7 million for the downtown Oakville cultural hub and streetscape studies.

The Downtown Transportation and Streetscape Study staff report outlined three options for Lakeshore Road ranging from keeping the roadway and boulevards the same size as they are today, to adding bike lanes to Lakeshore Road, or creating wider boulevards to accommodate patios and outdoor merchandise space. The study focused on redesigning Lakeshore Road first.

“Lakeshore Road is nearing the end of its service life and will need to be reconstructed in the near future,” said Dan Cozzi, director, Engineering and Construction for the town. “Developing a Streetscape Master Plan for all of the downtown streets and a concept plan for Towne Square is included in this next phase of the Downtown Transportation and Streetscape Study.”

The preferred Lakeshore Road option will be presented to Council in early 2015 with the potential for construction during the next term of Council.

The cost to implement the downtown cultural hub is between $32 million to $126 million according to town planners.

The Downtown Cultural Hub Study looked at opportunities to create a downtown cultural and performing arts space including: a performing arts centre, art gallery, library, outdoor program space, and indoor cultural space or digital hub. The staff report defined the cultural needs and wants of the community and set parameters around size and possible locations for the cultural facilities. A new outdoor riverside park was also illustrated in the theme drawings. Additional residential and office space also played a role in the cultural hub layout.

Town staff will continue to define the cultural facilities and outdoor programmable spaces and take them through evaluation criteria to present options to Council in 2015.

“We need to ensure we have the right facilities not only for today, but for all the users of tomorrow,” said Jane Clohecy, commissioner of Community Development for the town. “We still have a lot of work to do over the next year and we’ll be going back to the public and to Council before we finalize a preferred option on the cultural hub.”

The Lakeshore Road options and the cultural hub themes are included in the staff report online.

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