Memorial Avenue plaza project gets green light from Parksville council

Screenshot from Parksville council's July 19 regular meeting.
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Parksville’s Memorial Avenue will soon be getting a facelift, after council voted to award a contract for infrastructure upgrades, streetscape enhancements and the construction of Memorial Plaza to Knappett Industries.

The space will include benches, a water fountain with bottle filler, hook-ups for food trucks or market stalls and a classic design aesthetic, according to a report by Joe Doxey, the city’s acting director of engineering.

“I think this is a really exciting opportunity for the city. We have designed this plaza to be really good in keeping with the feedback that we received from the community during our public engagement sessions,” said Michael Lonsdale, senior engineering technologist for the city.

Memorial Avenue will become a one-way street and will be rerouted to Hirst Avenue through a city-owned parking lot, according to Lonsdale. Its east end will become Memorial Plaza.

“The design for the reconfiguration of that city-owned parking lot was done with the intent to make it look like a street that people are used to driving down and making it a very natural feel for people,” he added. The four-way stop currently located at the intersection of Memorial Avenue and Alberni Highway will be decommissioned. 

City of Parksville image showing the new layout planned for Memorial Avenue and Hirst Avenue.

Coun. Doug O’Brien said he hopes to see cafes and restaurants in the plaza in the future, instead of food trucks. The plaza was designed to be flexible and responsive to whatever the city and community desire, Lonsdale said. 

The city removed several elm trees on Memorial Avenue in the spring due to immediate safety concerns. The remaining trees were pruned and prepared for the construction project. The trees that were removed will be replaced following construction and irrigation will be installed to enhance the health of remaining trees, the city said.

The project will also include upgrades to Hirst Avenue, including replacing asbestos-concrete water, storm and sanitary water mains with modern PVC mains. New photometric-based streetlights will be installed, as will new fire hydrants. The intersection of Hirst and Alberni Highway will become a four-way stop — currently it is right turn only.

The new streetscape configurations for Hirst and Memorial will feature traffic calming measures such as parking pockets, a raised crosswalk table and separated sidewalks to enhance pedestrian connectivity and safety.

Work on the project could begin as soon as this month and is expected to be completed in May 2022, according to Knappett Industries.

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