Emilie Bourque disco dances to local business news
Everything’s waiting for you
The Downtown Development Commission (DDC) is pairing up with the city to undertake a parking study of the downtown. It will give them recommendations on parking trends and needs for the next five to 15 years. This week, the DDC put out a call for proposals from private consultants interested in conducting the study, and the tender will remain open until the end of April. The data collection period will take place over the spring and summer, and by early fall they’ll have a final report to start making changes for 2009.
Executive Director of the DDC Scott Cluney says the last study of this kind on the books at City Hall dates back to the late 70s, and obviously many things have changed since then. He says although the city studies traffic and traffic flow closely, issues related specifically to parking definitely need to be assessed.
“They’ll be delving into things like the creation of additional parking, whether that be meter spaces, or parking structures and facilities, transportation and movement of vehicles through the downtown, and alternate means—those sorts of things.”
In addition to the parking study, Cluney says the DDC is preparing to conduct a few surveys. The first will be of their own membership—of approximately 545 downtown businesses—to try to get some feedback on their knowledge of the DDC and what they do, and what their issues and concerns are in the downtown. It’s the first survey of their membership they have done, and the feedback will be used to plan new projects and programs.
What’s in the box?
It looks like more big box stores are on the way. Ken O’Brien, Manager of Planning and Information with the City of St. John’s, told me about a few developments in the works.
One of them is called “The Torbay Road North Concept Plan.” It’s still only in the re-zoning stage, which means no development permits have been granted quite yet, but applications are being considered. The area would include both sides of Torbay Road from Stavanger Drive, north to the municipal boundary of the town of Torbay. O’Brien says developers are quite secretive about who they’re dealing with, but there are a couple of national chains that might be looking at installing there. He says what needs to be assessed first are concerns about storm water runoff after that area is paved and developed, and particularly what will happen to that water as it goes down through the town of Logy Bay. Some bridges will need to be upgraded to accommodate this and, he says, Torbay Road will eventually need to be widened in some areas to accommodate higher traffic flows. Municipal water and sewer will also need to be extended for the plan.
O’Brien says although the city doesn’t subsidize private developments, in this case they may put some public money forward and cost-share upgrades as a way to increase the tax base in that area and, he says, in turn make public revenue back.
One farmer, please
For those of you waiting to find out where you can buy your fresh local veggies when winter really ends: the location for a regular farmers’ market this spring and summer has just been announced. It will be at The Lion’s Club—behind the Curling Club on Bonaventure Avenue—on most Saturdays from 9 am to 2 pm, starting June 7.
Just a couple more months…
The International Food and Craft Fair, hosted by our province’s Multicultural Women’s Organization (MWONL), has grown so much in popularity over the years that it is now being held more than just annually. Ayesha Fiech, co-ordinator of the fair, says “there’s a huge demand for it,” and retailers report excellent sales each time, so they’re going to try to keep having as many a year as they can. This time it’s happening on March 30th at The Holiday Inn from 11am to 6pm, and you can expect great food, crafts, as well as Greek music, Indian dance, and a children’s international fashion show.
Come once again
Greensleeves has done a changeover in ownership, and is now actually owned once again by some of its previous owners. With this change has come some renovations, including brand new floors, chairs, tables, and bar stools. It has also been completely repainted in new colours. Manager Tina Kielly says they are trying to get back the feel it had 10 years ago.