Rejuvenation of Downtown Oakville

Proposal comes with a $9.5 million price tag

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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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Town Hall meeting rooms held 80 plus people, who came out to hear what town planners were proposing for the revitalization of Downtown Oakville. By the end of the evening a round of applause by the audience provided reassurance that the overall direction of the plan was going in the right direction.

Overview of Downtown Oakville Option 2

Overview of Downtown Oakville Option 2

Anne McIlvory started off the evening by giving a brief overview of how the evening would roll out. The meeting was the culmination of a total five meetings held between the public, business owners, and the planning department. It was re-iterated that Lakeshore Road East between Allan and Navy Streets had reached the end of its life span, and this provided a wonderful opportunity to improve Downtown Oakville. Several studies clearly indicate that an improved downtown area does improve the viability and vitality of the area. Much like when a shopping centre is renovated.

Four topics were discussed which included how traffic from pedestrians, bikes, cars and delivery trucks would navigate downtown; how would downtown Oakville businesses thrive during construction; what are the plans for Towne Square; and finally how is the streetscaping going to appear. Planners and consultants indicated that everything being proposed was still in the draft stage and the public is encouraged to provide more feedback hopefully prior to Christmas. The proposal was planned to go before council in February 2015.

All the proposals were looked through a lens that had five views which were: Economic Impact, Cultural Function, Infrastructure, Environmental, and Cost. Each of the macro lenses were then broken down into mirco elements, that were given points. This system provided the basis for which proposals were adopted.

So here what is proposed for Downtown Oakville:

Downtown Lakeshore Traffic would have several changes. Sidewalks along Lakeshore Road East would widen to six meters from 4.5, which would eliminate the centre lane. Bicyclists would share Lakeshore Road East, and dedicated bike lanes would be available on Robinson and Church Streets. All the streets would be two way, and at major intersections there would be dedicated turning lanes. Dedicated loading zones for deliveries would be available on cross streets, and there would be one on Lakeshore.

Road Network of Downtown Oakville for Proposal 1

Road Network of Downtown Oakville for Proposal 1; Image Credit: Town of Oakville

Working with the businesses of Downtown Oakville during construction is of considerable focus for planning. After speaking with several communities which have recently rejuvenated their downtown cores, it was determined that the town would issue a Request For Proposal or RFP, which will be a first. The reason for an RFP will ensure a broader overview of what contractors will provide and how they plan to implement the project. Up to this point, the town has generally provided contracts to the lowest cost provider. This may not be necessarily the most important factor for this major project. Implementation could take many forms such as working on separate sections in order to create the least disturbance, having ambassadors who help guide consumers to retail locations, creating an on-site planning office, and having a working committee. All these elements and more will be considered prior to construction taking place.

A proposal was also put forward for the revitalizing of the Towne Square. After much consideration and feedback, it was determined that the square would remain as is, and may be looked at during other studies.

Contemporary Design for Furnishings in Downtown Oakville

Contemporary Design for Furnishings in Downtown Oakville; Image Credit: Town of Oakville

Finally streetscaping provided guidance as to what types of materials would be used, the highly regarded planter program for trees which creates a healthier environment. The general gist was that higher quality products would be used to ensure longevity. Other elements would see the elimination of parking on George Street to Church Street, and Navy Street from Lakeshore to Randall. The sidewalks would be widened and two rows of trees would be planted. This change is to provide visual guidance to the prospective cultural areas at Centennial Square and the Old Post Office. The most contentious issue was the furnishing such as benches, street lights, and garbage/recycling bins. According to the planners the community was indicating a desire for more contemporary designs. Several audience members had issues with that.

However, the reception to the proposals was extremely positive. According to town planner Dan Couzzi the price tag is likely going to reach $9.5 million which is a considerable amount of money.



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