McBurney Lane's last facelift was 15 years ago, and the City has decided it needs three quarters of a million dollars in refurbishing.
But that's for phase one. The plan is to eventually eliminate all parking on the lane between Fraser Highway and Douglas Crescent to create a pedestrian corridor.
"This speaks to the future of what we want for downtown," said Councillor Teri James
The elimination of the 22 parking stalls prompted downtown businesses to start a petition, so City council has modified the plans to allow some parking to remain with the intention of getting rid of it down the road.
Councillors debated which of several proposals under consideration to go with, during the July 9 council meeting.
The suggestions ranged from spending $50,000 to spruce up the existing McBurney Lane, to complete overhauls all costing more than $700,000.
Council picked that plan that features a redo of the entire strip from Fraser to Douglas, 10 angled parking stalls on the west side of the southern half and pedestrian space on the eastern side.
Coun. Dave Hall said this idea of redoing McBurney came up after the information kiosk was destroyed but a small project became a large one, just like how a stage at Douglas Park turned into a big project resulting in a bandshell.
He said the City should refurbish the north end and leave the parking on the south end so that money can be redirected to the Timms Recreation Centre. The centre was torn down and the City is working on plans to rebuild, including making it a community hub with other partners.
He added that the merchants aren't going to go for phase two (the elimination of parking) down the road.
McBurney's north end was refurbished 15 years ago and is "already tired and dated," Hall said.
He wondered whether this project will be more timeless but noted the design doesn't seem to fit in with the styles of other downtown public spaces.
Mayor Peter Fassbender said that his hope is that the lane will be entirely pedestrian and that the buildings on both sides will be redeveloped with their parking integrated on their own sites. He noted that while the City understands the importance of parking, it's not the municipality's responsibility to provide parking for businesses.
To be able to start construction in January, when it would have a lesser impact on neighbouring businesses, the staff said the project must be put out for tender soon. The projected completion date is March or early April 2013.
The proposals are available in the July 9 council agenda on the City website.