Cenotaph Park in downtown Invermere is finally set for renovation this summer, after District of Invermere (DOI) council voted at its most recent meeting to authorize a local construction company to begin the work in August.

Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday, June 10th council meeting in favour of giving the revitalization work to Max Helmer Construction Ltd. for $315,000 with the work to start on August 18th of this year and be finished by May 15th, 2015.

“It took awhile to get here, but I’m quite comfortable with where we’ve landed it,” said councillor Greg Anderson.

The district had put the cenotaph renovation work out to tender in 2013 and all the bids had come back far higher than the district had hoped, so the district worked with one of the bidding companies, Max Helmer Construction, to reduce the scope of the project and secure a new quote.

The money to revitalize Cenotaph Park comes from the provincial Resort Municipality Initiative funding program and must be used for pre-approved projects beneficial to tourism.

“We are aware that it’s not a good idea to start construction downtown in summer, but that’s one of the reasons the bids came in high last time,” said councillor Justin Atterbury. “If they start working too late in the summer or into the fall, it becomes difficult to get all the work done before it gets too cold.”

DOI chief administrative officer Chris Prosser pointed out that district staff will begin site preparation, such as removing benches, prior to the August 18th construction start date.

“We are consciously revitalizing the downtown bit by bit,” said mayor Gerry Taft, noting previous downtown renovation projects such as the revamping of Pothole Park and the touching up of the area in front of Valley Foods.

“It’s important work to do, but July and August are the high season for so many businesses and just revitalizing the whole downtown in one summer would really hurt them,” said Taft. “It’s much more manageable to do it this way (bit by bit).”

He also expressed concern about the potential for changes to the Resort Municipality Initiative funding in the near future, and added that it’s wise for the district to use the funding as much as it can while it’s still there.

Several parking spots in the immediate vicinity of the park will be lost as part of the renovation, he added, but more parking spots will be added elsewhere in the downtown to compensate.