A revitalized McBurney Lane has come with its hiccups - without question.
But at least part of the redeveloped park is expected to be "unofficially" unveiled during this weekend's Arts Alive, said Teri James.
The City councillor and executive director of the downtown business association admits there have been some unexpected hurdles in the refurbishment of the public space known as McBurney Lane - a strip of land stretching between Fraser Highway and Douglas Crescent and sandwiched on each side by businesses.
The project, which was conceived about three years ago, is intended to provide a park-like channel - complete with walkways, seating, and stage that invites people to enjoy the downtown core. It was also intended to create a more seamless link between the shopping hub on the one-way to the bandshell in Spirit Square and the rest of Douglas Park.
Brainstorming began shortly after an arson fire destroyed the kiosk at the junction of the one-way and McBurney. But work began in earnest about a year and a half ago.
"Now it's coming to fruition," said James.
The frustrations along the way, however, have included a series of unexpected delays and most recently the abuse of the new area by skateboarders.
The eventual inclusion of plants, affixed furnishings, and even a security system are expected to help alleviate some of the woes about vandalism and misuse, James said.
As well, initially the entire project was scheduled for completion in early July.
"Unforeseen circumstances, including a gas tank from an old taxi stand and substantial chunks of concrete - some 15 feet long - had to be removed_ Due to these and a few other little things, completion was delayed," she explained during a recent visit, walking around the site.
She still holds out hope that the north end will be complete for the weekend.
The south end is still a virtual gravel pit and, James said, she's unsure when that will be finished.
The delays, she said, are hardest felt by the merchants located along the lane. They've been "incredibly" understanding, and realize the future potential, James said, but the delays have hurt.
Along with all the delays, the City has also faced increased costs.
All in, including outdoor furnishings and garbage receptacles, she said the new park will cost $850,000. One silver lining, James said Wednesday, is that this project is on budget.
James sees this weekend's festivities as an opportunity to test drive at least part of the park.
She sees the eventual completion of the McBurney Lane redevelopment as great news for Arts Alive.
A few years ago, the Arts Alive organizers tried to expand the festival into Douglas Park. But because there was no obvious and convenient link between the one-way and the park, most festival goers didn't visit the park.
"This will open it right up_ I love it. I'm very anxious to have it done," said James.
"I think it's going to be stunning when it's finished," she said, noting it's the City's hope to host a series of small events - such as concerts and fashion shows - on McBurney Lane that would start in 2014.
"We've got our thinking caps on_ We've never had a nice space like this before," James added.
"It's going to create a new sense of place in the downtown, that will be used by young and old alike," she added.
She noted that the downtown business owners share her excitement to see at least part of it ready for this weekend's festivities.
@ Copyright 2013