It was described as unsightly, industrial, and dirty, yet it is the first impression many travellers get of Golden.
The Highway 1 corridor is not the most inviting part of the community, but thanks to some Resort Municipality Initiative funding, it is about to get a makeover.
“Right now it exudes gas up, eat, and get out of here,” said Town of Golden Chief Administrative Officer Jon Wilsgard.
There is an average of 5,000 vehicles driving through Golden every day, and in the summer there are about 10,000. The goal of this RMI project is to get more of those vehicles to stop and stay in Golden.
The Town organized a stakeholders brainstorming meeting with the engineering firm that is going to be undertaking the $1.1 million project. All business owners from the frontage strip were invited to the meeting to talk about what like and don’t like about the corridor as it is, and what they would like to see out of this project.
“The entire goal here is visual enhancement,” said Davin Shillong, the project manager with the engineering firm MMM Group. Safety and functionality will of course be priorities as well, but the firm was relying on the stakeholders to determine what visual enhancements they would like to see.
A more pedestrian-friendly environment was high on the list of wants. Pedestrian access from one side of the highway to the other, as well as down into town was determined to be a priority. It would give the impression that there’s more to explore, which would be valuable to the community’s tourism industry.
Also on the stakeholders’ “wish list” was better landscaping, better parking (particularly for truckers), a tree-lined corridor, better signage including signs that showcase local activities, Hospital Creek beautification, and some sort of information centre or hub.
The Ministry of Transportation was also represented at the meeting. Highway improvements around Golden are being planned, but it was indicated that since that project is so far into the future, that they would accommodate any changes made in the corridor into their plans.
MMM Group is now going to take the suggestions made in the stakeholders’ meeting, and come back with plans totally about $3 million.
The stakeholders will then meet again, identify priorities, and whittle down the plans to the $1.1 million budget (which will ideally be the first phase of a long term corridor project).
MMM Group is hoping to have a tender package ready by the end of the year, and would like to break ground on the project in 2014.