Downtowns are the heart of any community: a place to shop, dine at a restaurant, obtain services, attend cultural events, meet people, and for many, a place of employment. A vibrant and healthy Downtown is especially important for Osoyoos’ continued success as a service and tourist centre, and for attracting new business and residential growth.
Recognizing this importance, Osoyoos Town Council provided a budget to retain the services of qualified consultants to work with Town staff in the preparation of a Town Centre Renewal Plan (TCRP).
The Town Centre Renewal Plan attached to this report was prepared with community engagement and guidance from a stakeholder advisory Task Force. The Plan applies to the commercial area (currently zoned Downtown Commercial-C1), the adjoining Comprehensive Development C-6 zone (Watermark Resort) and the adjacent community parks.
The Renewal Plan is intended to guide decisions by the Town of Osoyoos, private businesses, non-profit organizations and the community for twenty years. It provides a practical framework to move forward and solidify the Town Centre’s role as the heart of the Town and the Region. The goals of the plan is to:
•Create enduring business vitality throughout the entire year;
•Make the Town Centre the social and cultural destination with local meaning;
•Organize the Town Centre community for success; and
•Develop physical improvements with the community.
The plan includes a number of illustrated concept plan ideas. These ideas came from discussions at the community workshops and through analysis of the Town Centre. Illustrated concepts in the plan include (for example):
•Potential 4 storey mixed use building to increase residents and activity on Main Street.
•Potential back lane improvements to activate the lanes in the Town Centre.
•Potential street tree planting program to cool the streets, add amenity, and contribute toa healthy green Town Centre.
•Potential 85th Street Plaza as a meeting place on the half-block north of Main Street
The Town Centre Plan also includes a number of renewal strategies. These strategies are aimed at retaining, expanding and improving the Town Centre based on the important premise that local business should come first. Business improvement strategies identified in the plan include:
•Establishing a committed staff position as a key driver for business recruitment and retention activities as well as events planning and project implementation.
•Creating a Business Improvement Association (BIA). Membership fees can be charged and revenues put into Town Centre events/programming.
•Think of bringing more civic activities and destinations into the Town Centre beyond the proposed new museum location.
•Provide opportunities for roof-top patios, pop-up businesses and food trucks during special events, and even work/live opportunities on 74th and 78th Avenues.
The projects outlined in the TCRP can be implemented at the discretion of Council
Presentation by Michael A. von Hausen, President, MVH Urban Planning & Design Inc. – Monday November 19 9am in council chambers
Source: Town of Osoyoos report to Council