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Knight recommends park rezoning

Town clock and urban park proposal moves one step closer

A small park with a town clock is one step closer to becoming a reality for Marine Avenue, and if it goes ahead it could be the first step to redeveloping the whole commercial district.

For the past seven years, Marine Area Business Association (MABA) has been working to have a park created on the city-owned vacant lot on the southeast corner of Marine Avenue and Alberni Street. The park would include a town clock and help redefine Marine Avenue.

At a committee of the whole meeting in October Thomas Knight, City of Powell River director of planning services, presented a report to have the parcels of land, legally described as Lot A & B District Lot 5306 Block 35 NWD Group 1 Plan LMP 13727, rezoned from MX (mixed use) to PK (Parks and Playing Fields.) The rezoning requires council to pass a zoning amendment bylaw.

Over the summer MABA worked with design consultants to determine the urban park’s main attributes.

Knight noted in his report to council that the signage announces the area and provides visitors to the commercial district with “a sense of arrival” which can be considered the “first step to economic enhancement of Marine Avenue by the city.” He suggested that further work will need to be considered on how the city can help enhance the area.

Conceptual plans which MABA and designers came up with this summer includes a sidewalk that brings pedestrians across the urban park that includes four wooden slab benches going up the terraced slope with a small performance area at the bottom. The designs envision small trees and shrubs growing around the sign at the corner of the park. Knight added that there is still work to be done where the town clock will be located, but it is proposed to be located adjacent to Marine Avenue.

Knight added that the city might want to consider holding a second consultation meeting with a broader spectrum of Marine Avenue business owners.

“While a public hearing will suffice in bringing out the old concerns of not enough parking along Marine Avenue—particularly from those who have been using the two vacant properties for unpaid parking for years—a consultation meeting would be beneficial in starting a discussion on how to enhance the Marine Avenue commercial district,” Knight said.

As the committee accepted Knight’s report, the rezoning bylaw will be given first and second readings at the November 5 council meeting. A public hearing will be scheduled before the bylaw receives third and final reading before it is adopted.