Three main ideas emerged from a design charrette process last month at Native Sons Hall: create the heart of downtown; improve the core streets of Fourth, Fifth and Sixth; and make better connections, especially to the Courtenay River.
In a charrette, the public and design professionals work together on visions and goals for future development. A series of events — led by Michael von Hausen, who facilitated a downtown forum last year — drew 240 people over the course of four days.
In terms of a social and cultural heart of downtown, one idea is to create a ‘Duncan Commons,’ a central location framed by the library and art gallery.
It would include a multi-use area closed to traffic, and a plaza at the south end spilling onto Sixth Street to the edge of the library.
The next steps in the process involve working with the pubic and the business community to work through detailed designs, and to explore opportunities for partnerships and funding sources.
Courtenay council has authorized $100,000 towards the process.
To date, the City has paid $33,587 to MVH Urban Design, and $20,000 to Rollo Associates for a Market Demand and Opportunity Study as background research.
The City has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the Real Estate Foundation, B.C.
The money will be spent on proposed downtown public consultation tasks, which include the charrette and the study.