About 50 people attended a meeting to gather public input on a main street beautification proposal at the Beiseker Community Centre, June 21.
“We need to do something for our main street,” said Mayor Bruce Rowe. “We want some trees, some energy efficient lighting...just make it look nicer. We are here to get your viewpoint on this, that is what this meeting is about.”
The proposal, which deals with 6 St. from 1 to 3 Ave., includes new sidewalks with elm trees and a centre meridian complete with shrubs and new light standards.
The meridian would be open in front of the grocery store, allowing access. A pedestrian crossing is planned for the middle of the block.
Underground water, sanitary service and electricity will be placed under the centre median. An irrigation system, which will use water from the reservoir, was proposed to keep the trees healthy.
Total cost of the project is estimated at $1.3 million, and will funded in part by federal and provincial tax grants.
If approved, construction will take place in two phases over two years. The first phase will include the meridian and north sidewalks and will be completed this fall.
“We don’t envision any impact on business, commercial or residential tax rates,” said Rowe.
The street, when completed, will accommodate the existing angle parking.
Although residents agreed that the sidewalks needed to be fixed, the large majority opposed the centre meridian, citing cost, access, drainage, sight lines and snow removals as concerns.
Residents felt the money could be better spent on improving roads and sidewalks in other areas of town.
“We don’t need it (the centre meridian),” said 10-year resident Val Morris.
“We don’t want it. It is a big detriment for snow removal and our views. It is not necessary, the cost could be put towards fixing other things.”
Resident Laura Tabinsky agreed, saying that the sidewalks and roads in her area are in poor condition.
“Don’t waste our money on putting in trees and shrubs,” said Tabinsky. “First, we need new sidewalks and to pave our streets, then we can beautify it later.”
Main street beautification has been an ongoing concern for the village, but the idea was brought to the forefront about a year ago because of the state of the sidewalks, which have fallen into disrepair.
The Village started planning the project in earnest this spring.
“It started with the knowledge that we have to do something with the sidewalks,” said Rowe, adding council considers this an opportunity to make the area more attractive.
Council will vote on the proposal at its meeting, June 28.
“I think the meridian is a good idea, but if a majority of people don’t want it, it won’t happen,” said Rowe.
“We are here to represent the people, we will do what they want.”