The public was able to get a glimpse of the proposed design for Rossland’s infrastructure upgrades to its main street. Monday’s open house was a similar presentation to the one engineering firm ISL, Ministry of Highways and city staff put on for businesses earlier in November.
The one concern that kept popping up at both meetings was the issue of parking, namely that with the parallel parking on the north side of Columbia Avenue would leave insufficient parking for the high traffic areas around the post office, credit union and pharmacy.
There was also a feeling by businesses that the north side of Columbia would be getting an unfair advantage with its wider sidewalks and central foci point.
City staff confirmed that this was the same proposal as Nov. 8, with the inclusion of the general public, not just concerned downtown businesses. There were a few new illustrations that weren’t there at that time, but for the most part no new information was added.
The proposal puts forward a general work schedule that would include some night work, though that could be changed prior to going to tender.
There is no money yet for any of the project except to put together the engineering and the drawings as the city is waiting to hear back about federal loans that were pushed back until late December.
At the last meeting, ISL made a questionnaire on scheduling for businesses to get information and attempt to work around businesses schedules. That way, when the project does go to tender, the framework for less intrusive construction times for businesses will be there.
Parking is the main concern, but city staff said that overflow parking is being secured.
The city has already secured one alternative parking area in the lot next to the thrift store. The lot has a drainage problem which the city plans to fix and resurface. It would then be able to house around 30 cars, according to city staff.
There are other areas, like the land behind B.C. Liquor and Credit Union, and some land behind Shoppers, which would need to be landscaped for parking.
Renee Clark, who was representing the businesses as the chamber of commerce executive director, reiterated the concern that businesses had for parking.
“The whole parallel parking thing is a bone of contention,” Clark said.
She also noted concerns from businesses that the one section of the block on Columbia will be getting all the attention, since it will allow more room for restaurant outdoor seating than other sidewalk sections.
“It looks really nice, the ideas really nice, but people are quite concerned about the extras,” she added.
The city and ISL’s plan would be to have the project up for tender in February or March, with construction beginning in late March or early April. Then Ministry of Highways would come through in September or earlier and pave the Columbia Avenue.
ISL outlined plans on how traffic would be managed during construction. The plan calls for single lane traffic in both directions when possible, as well as single lane alternating traffic with a maximum five minute wait times.
Parking on Columbia and Washington will be restricted during construction with alternate parking on side streets
Stores will be provided access with fencing which is to protect pedestrians from construction while keeping access to stores available. The fences can also be used to post signs that inform people that stores are open.
ISL and the city are also keeping the option for night work open, and will weigh it against impact to residents.