By Steve Hubrecht
The District of Invermere will see some significant downtown revitalization work this coming fall.
The work is part of the district’s vision for community improvement, tying in with the Official Community Plan (OCP), work on which has been ongoing for a number of years.
“It’s pretty exciting stuff,” Invermere planner Rory Hromadnik told the Pioneer.
Downtown revitalization efforts began years ago with the refresh of Pothole Park and the improvements along 7th Avenue (Invermere’s main street) between Pothole Park and the three-way intersection of 7th Avenue and 9th Street (the corner by AG Valley Foods), and continued with the revamp of the Cenotaph Plaza.
The latest phase in the downtown revitalization work involves street improvements along 7th Avenue from the AG corner down to Cenotaph Plaza, and will essentially ‘connect’ previous phases. Residents will see many of the same features of 7th Avenue north of the AG corner (such as improved sidewalks, trees, and flowers) ‘stretched’ further along 7th Avenue, south to the Cenotaph Plaza. Once this latest phase is complete, Invermere’s main street will have a consistent look from Pothole Park to the Cenotaph.
“The goal has always been to drag that concept through the community as money became available,” said Hromadnik.
The funding from the current phase of revitalization work comes from two sources: $500,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) and $700,000 in resort municipality initiative (RMI) funding.
The work will begin later this fall.
Hromadnik explained the fall timing is done purposefully in order to keep the downtown undisturbed during the summer high season, when most local retail stores are at their busiest. Even when work happens in the fall, “there will always be parking, there will always be access,” he said.
The work will include a new sidewalk design with pavers, street trees and new street lighting. A proper irrigation system will be implemented, so district staff no longer need to water street trees and flowers by hand. Pedestrian scale signs will be added, and a new visitor information kiosk will be built.
Intersection nodes will be reworked, making them bigger and adding more seating options, and the sidewalks will be reworked in such a way as to make walking down the main street both easier and more pleasant. The new street trees will be lit (as they are on 7th Avenue north of the AG corner).
“It’ll be a little bit nicer ambience, safer, you could almost say more romantic,” said Hromadnik.
Updates on the work will be posted on the district’s website and Facebook page.