BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Recently the City held a number of workshops for downtown business owners and landlords regarding the upcoming Main Street Improvement construction.
During these workshops, Engineering Services Manager Jordan Thompson engaged with the community about their concerns and expectations regarding the project.
Thompson said there was one issue in particular that was brought up in each of the three workshops – the issue of parking downtown during construction.
“Many of the businesses downtown have parking behind their buildings for staff. Some businesses owners have elected to give that up for their patrons during construction while the streets are closed. The question from them was then, where do they send their staff to park? They don’t want that to negatively impact other businesses in the area by asking their staff to park elsewhere,” Thompson explained, adding the City will be exploring options for downtown businesses.
He explained that there may be the option to park at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, as well as the Provincial Building that the City now owns.
As well, Thompson said the City would investigate some of the “nooks and crannies” around the City’s downtown core in order to accommodate the needs of the business owners, staff and the public.
Thompson said the most challenging part of the Main Street Project is not the technical construction, but communication with downtown businesses.
Further to that idea, it is important that residents access and maintain use of the lacombe.ca/mainstreet web site to follow along with necessary information.
“It’s important for us to be able to share everything that we know as much as we can with the downtown business community. When I shared my update with council, I certainly highlighted the importance of communication between administration and the public, and council responded positively to that,” Thompson said.
“I think it’s something we need to continue to do leading up to construction, and naturally, during construction.”
The detailed constriction drawings and contract documents are scheduled to be completed by the end of March.
At the first meeting in April, administration will be seeking Council’s approval to convert the construction documents to a unit rate construction contract.
Construction is expected to commence immediately following Council’s approval.
“The big impact on the public at large is when the road is actually closed. We’re going to see the impact and see where people park. If there is going to be any moment that people realize the impact of construction, it’s going to be when the fencing goes up. We’re trying to anticipate that as much as we can, and get as much feedback as we can,” Thompson said.
“We’re doing that through sessions with the community, but also with follow-up surveys. That information will help to continue the dialogue and reduce the impact of those road closures.”
The follow-up survey is available at lacombe.ca/mainstreet near the bottom of the page. As well, there are a number of documents available for the public to view.
Thompson said there have been a few survey responses so far, and he is asking those who attended the workshops to please provide their input to better help the City communicate with and facilitate the needs of the community.