City of Yellowknife has new vision to revitalize downtown core
Goals include supporting new visitor's centre, adding pedestrian pathways, reducing bus fares
The City of Yellowknife has a new vision to revitalize the downtown core.
The plan, unveiled at the city's municipal services committee meeting on Monday, outlines five goals for revitalization, including jumpstart development, provide more housing downtown and "create a downtown for all."
Some initiatives to meet those goals have already been rolled out, including the city's Win Your Space contest, funding for businesses to set up sidewalk patios, and supporting a street outreach program.
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Other ideas include supporting a new visitor's centre, sobering centre and day shelter, creating pedestrian and cyclist pathways through downtown, and reducing or even eliminating bus fares.
But city councillors have a range of opinion on some of the proposals.
"I don't think fees and fares are actually really the problem," said Coun. Julian Morse on Monday.
He said transit in the city takes too long to get people, including himself, around. He said in some cases it takes him just as long to take the bus as it would to walk.
"Perhaps instead of just saying 'reduce/eliminate fares' we could say 'Investigate ways to improve transit in the city,'" Morse said.
"[Downtown is] quite a vibrant and active space, but it's a space that empties out at different times of day," he added.
"What creates vibrancy in the city is people being there, and so when we're talking about increasing residential areas, I think that's really hitting on a point, but we also need anchor tenants that will bring people into the downtown and keep it vibrant throughout the day and evening."
Coun. Niels Konge took issue with one proposed initiative that would limit the development of high density residential land, such as apartment buildings, outside of downtown for the next 10 years.
Konge, who also owns a construction company in the city, said he doesn't think it's the City of Yellowknife's place to limit development in certain areas.
"If we want to see some development in the downtown ... we should be encouraging density there, not limiting it in other places," he said.
"Not everybody wants to live downtown, and I think that's what we need to realize as a council ... It's our job to ensure that we have something for the vast majority of folks."
The plan will go before city council for debate. If it's adopted, a three-year action plan will be created.