The City of Duncan turns to online process to get public feedback for two sites, including the site of the old Red Balloon store (pictured) downtown. (File photo)

City of Duncan to go online to gather public feedback on projects

Health crisis has caused the cancellation of workshops

The City of Duncan will switch to an online process to gather public feedback on concepts for the Whistler Street area and the old Red Balloon property at 85 Station St.

The city undertook a public “placemaking” project for the two locations earlier this year with Mark Lakeman and his Portland-based design firm Communitecture.

The project kicked off with a public presentation at the Vancouver Island University on Feb. 28, followed by two public workshops on the two sites in the following days.

RELATED STORY: CITY OF DUNCAN LOOKS TO PUBLIC FOR IDEAS FOR WHISTLER STREET, DOWNTOWN PARK

In a report to council, Duncan’s CAO Peter de Verteuil said participants had an opportunity to voice their interests, and

identified issues and strengths at each site.

“Collectively in groups, they developed strategies, design elements, and a range of activities that they felt would help transform the sites into positive places to welcome the community,” de Verteuil said.

The next step in the process was to hold another round of workshops on the weekend of April 25-26, to present and gather feedback on the preliminary options that the consultant developed based on public input from the first workshops, develop a final concept for each location and present them to council on June 15.

RELATED STORY: DUNCAN LOOKS FOR PLANS FOR WHISTLER STREET, OLD RED BALLOON STORE SITE

But the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has caused the postponement of the workshops.

“It is potentially advantageous to proceed with development of the concept plans at this time, which includes high-level cost estimates, as it is anticipated that after we come through the COVID-19 pandemic, there is likely to be federal and provincial stimulus funding that these concepts may qualify for,” de Verteuil said.

“Our development services staff have been working with the consultants to reconsider how to move the process forward. Preparations have been made to create a PlaceSpeak page for each location. Staff considered developing an online webinar in lieu of the workshops, but were concerned about the ability for people to participate.”

After council gave the go-ahead for the change in plans at its meeting on April 20, the city is expected to post preliminary designs on the PlaceSpeak pages within the next couple of weeks.

RELATED STORY: SECURITY FIRM CHOSEN FOR HIGHWAY CORRIDOR

De Verteuil said if the amount of feedback garnered through the use of PlaceSpeak on the draft concepts is determined to be insufficient, staff could still arrange in-person workshops in the summer or fall if the public health emergency has abated.

“It is noted that this design project was intended to be a participatory, collaborative project with the public,” he said.

“Limiting the feedback to an online platform, especially in this sensitive time, may limit the amount of feedback and will not allow the interactive discussions that would occur at in-person workshops.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Land purchase brings early treaty benefit to Halalt First Nation

Ownership taken of Crofton Corners and Chemainus River Storage

RCMP remind drivers of school zone safety as classes resume

Keep your foot off the gas or police might get their hands… Continue reading

Centennial Hall upgrade, parking lot paving among postponed capital projects in Lake Cowichan

Council lowers tax increase for the year due to COVID-19 crisis

Mill Bay students petition for formal graduation

“We have a few realistic ideas in mind that could provide a safe and healthy grad celebration”

800 meals donated for Cowichan frontline workers

They were at Cowichan District Hospital on May 25 handing out prepared meals to grateful workers

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Most Read