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Next Phase of the Kicking Horse River Dike Project Set to BeginTown of Golden
GOLDEN - The design for the downtown riverfront area as part of the Kicking Horse River Dike Improvement Project has been completed and construction for phase two is set to begin in early August.
“This is very exciting for our community,” said Mayor of Golden, Ron Oszust. “We asked residents last fall about their vision and ideas for the area to include in the design. In addition to protecting Golden from the risks of river flooding, this project will transform the riverfront space between our downtown core and the Kicking Horse River, making it a place where residents will come to work, play and connect.”
The Town of Golden provided both in-person and online public engagement opportunities to residents in September 2019, receiving feedback from over 200 people. The information collected was used to help guide the engineers and landscape architects on the design for beautification of the area in phase three of the project. The beautification component, valued at approximately $1 million is being funded through the Resort Municipality Initiative.
Overall, public engagement participants described their vision for the area as a place to walk along the river, visit and shop at local businesses, connect with the community and come to enjoy the space and surrounding natural environment. The following key themes were identified through the public engagement process:
- Making the space more people-focused: when asked what types of access is important, the majority of respondents agreed that pedestrian and cycling access is the most important and that vehicle access is not important at all. Respondents mentioned making the area more people friendly and transforming it into a public space that is pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Feedback highlighted a desire to incorporate seating and lighting, bike parking, more access to patios; and restricting/limiting access for vehicular traffic.
- Enhancing natural spaces: words such as natural, green space, trees, water, flowers and natural rock were used to describe how respondents would like the area to look and there was an emphasis on maintaining views of the river and surrounding area.
- Providing riverfront retail/dining opportunities: respondents mentioned wanting a reason to stop and spend time and money in the area with opportunities to visit local businesses along the river. This included mention of increased business opportunities facing the riverfront and opportunities for current businesses to improve/create a riverside frontage in the future.
- Incorporating programmable spaces: participants expressed that they would like to see the creation of a public space for community gatherings, activities, live music, events, vendor opportunities and a place to have some fun. Some participants also mentioned the space would be appropriate for mobile/pop-up vendor opportunities.
- Relocating garbage bins: although many respondents understood the need for local businesses to access garbage bins, many agreed that the commercial garbage bins need to be relocated or improved.
To learn more about the feedback collected, read the What We Heard Report at golden.ca/whatweheard.
“The team at Urban Systems did a fantastic job balancing the desires and feedback of residents and property owners, with the constraints and challenges of the location,” said Jon Wilsgard, Chief Administrative Officer with the Town of Golden. “We are excited to finally share the design with the community.”
The overall design includes the flood protection wall, the addition of seating areas, lighting, vegetation and landscape elements, as well as the relocation of garbage bins. To accommodate the needs of some local property owners, some vehicular access will be permitted along the river, but will be restricted to local deliveries and perhaps more limited and seasonal parking.
“The Kicking Horse River Dike project will help both locals and tourists alike take advantage of Golden’s waterfront area by creating space for businesses and outdoor activities. It will also improve the waterfront by controlling flood risks and making the area more sustainable, which are critical as we address the effects of climate change. Canada's Infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds stronger communities,” said the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.
The Kicking Horse River Dike Improvement Project is funded through the Federal Gas Tax Fund as administered by the Union of BC Municipalities, and represents the largest infrastructure grant the Town of Golden has ever received at $5.87 million. Over 65 per cent of this amount is allocated for this specific area with the rest being used to heighten dikes elsewhere in the community.
“This community improvement project in Golden will not only keep people safe, it will bring families and businesses together to enjoy everything a riverfront public space has to offer, from multi-use trails, gathering spaces and dining and retail opportunities,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Once complete, this partnered investment will enhance the livelihood of this community while building critical infrastructure that can withstand future natural disasters for generations to come.”
TYBO Contracting Ltd. will kick off construction in early August with riprap work and the construction of the flood protection wall. Work will take place six days a week from August to November with TYBO returning in spring 2021 to complete the landscaping and beautification elements of the project. The project is set to be completed by July 2021.
During construction there will be traffic closures and no parking access in the back alley along the river. The parking lots on the north and south side of the alley will be used as staging areas and will be closed during construction.
For more details on the project, including the construction taking place this summer and fall, visit golden.ca/dikeproject.