This past week members of the community have been working alongside Invermere council and the National Trust for Canada for a special regeneration project. Its called Main Street Boost, a program that aims to enhance the downtown core of the community. Jim Mountain, director of regeneration projects at National Trust for Canada was in Invermere B.C. last week meeting with the community to work through the beginning stages of planning.
Regeneration is a name we use for taking the assets of the community, the natural, cultural, human aspects, and really helping that community become sustainable over time. You have to work with the community in order to sustain buildings, theatres, a healthy downtown. Its all integrated, its an ecosystem. My job is to help communities learn methods on how to do that, said Mr. Mountain.
Every community has a community development plan but the Main Street Boost project builds on what the community needs now in the present. The project allows for all members of the community to bring forward what they believe the community needs and develops an action plan based on the resources the community has available.
Our approach is to come in and just kinda spark the conversation, contribute some ideas but listen a lot to try and sort out and organize what youre hearing from the community from all the different perspectives, said Mr. Mountain.
On Thursday June 2nd, members of the community and business owners of downtown met with Mr. Mountain along with some of council to work in focus groups developing ideas for the community. The main ideas that came out of these focus groups were to create better signage into downtown, more promotion possibly in the form of an app, as well as bringing more performances into the area. Each focus groupshad to work together to choose a project to develop assessing the strength, the development and a feasible timeline for each project. These focus groups represent what the Main Street Boost project has been working on for the past week looking at potential projects to enhance the community, while looking at a timeline for completion and resources needed to successfully implement the project.
What Im hearing and sensing is that people like it (Invermere) so much they just want to make it (better). Its the Canadian way, we just want to make it better all the time, always strive for that,said Mr. Mountain.
The regeneration project has also been working with the future leaders of the community by including student in Grade Five to Seven. The students had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Mountain to express what they think the community needs. At first the students spoke of big city things such as big box stores and a space for laser tag. After a second round of assessment the students began to build ideas based on things that the community already possessed and things that the kids value, such as the lake, Toby theatre and the bike trails in the area.
From here Mr. Mountain will take everything into consideration with his team, they will design a project proposal and come back to work with the community to make any changes to the proposal before projects get underway. Mr. Mountain will work with photos of the downtown buildings to create special design elements for some of the businesses, plans to highlight the community and plans to strengthen the communication of the community. The report will be largely visual with maps, aerials, photos with notes on them to be completed in the next 30 days.