The City of Kimberley is applying to the Columbia Basin Trust’s new Community Outdoor Revitalization program which, if successful, could see a few exciting upgrades to Kimberley’s Platzl.
City CAO Scott Sommerville says the opportunity is both exciting and rare since the program’s focus is strictly related to multi-use outdoor public spaces.
“The program does not mention recreational spaces, it’s purpose is meant for downtown spaces like the Platzl,” said Sommerville at a regular council meeting on Monday. “There is also a component of the grant that will match funds for businesses, which is a rare opportunity.”
He adds that there has been much public consultation on the grant application, and feedback is still rolling in.
“There will be more to come as far as the budget goes but CBT says the sooner we apply, the better. The city is expected to contribute 25 per cent of the funds, which would be around $116,000. We’ll come back to council with a more detailed application.”
If the city is successful in receiving the grant, Sommerville says one of the main projects will be the addition of public washrooms.
“Businesses in and around the Platzl have been very hospitable, and right now we’re looking for potential locations and researching the budget for public washrooms,” he said.
Another attractive feature of the grant is the fact that there is up to $30,000 available, $5,000 per property and/or business owner, for upgrades to their facades, wheelchair accessibility, doors and windows, signage, lighting and landscape features.
“The gazebo could use some refurbishing (non-slip surface and the installation of PA speakers),” Sommerville explained. “We’re also looking at installing bike racks to encourage everyone to cycle downtown.”
There’s also potential for an upgrade to the Platzl’s walkway and lighting, and the addition of picnic tables.
The city has reached out to the chamber to see what Platzl businesses want. The feedback included public washrooms, an enhanced business directory, a public-address system in the gazebo, way finding signage, bike racks and accentuated entrances.
Councillor Sandra Roberts says that these potential projects are ongoing issues that have been identified and it’s “awesome” to see this opportunity through CBT.
Councillor Jason McBain said it would be nice to highlight those businesses that are on the periphery of the Platzl to help drive traffic to places such as Centre 64, the library, and stores on Howard Street etc..
“I think with some signage we could expand the tentacles of the Platzl to help those businesses that aren’t in the centre core,” said McBain.
Sommerville says that the city is simultaneously working on a signage strategy included in this year’s budget, so those upgrades can happen with or without the grant.
There is also the possibility of removing the map that is located in the main parking lot, which would free up two wheelchair parking spaces. Sommerville says if the grant is received and some extra funds remain, the city is going to look into the possibility of electronic (LED) maps that are easier to update, more modern and could publicize events.
Councillor Darryl Oakley says there has been a number of great public responses to the application, many of which focus on recreational spaces.
Sommerville agreed and in a report to council said, “not to be forgotten were ideas submitted by several residents hoping for improvements to McDougal Park, Townsite Rink, Rotary Park and the flume wall. These suggestions should be retained for future recreational or public art grant opportunities.”