Columbia Avenue rebuild: What does your ideal downtown look like?

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
May 20th, 2010

Ever walked around Rossland and thought, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a bench here, maybe some flowers over here, a nice sidewalk cafe on this side of the street and maybe rearrange the parking on the other?’ Of course you have. Well, it’s not every day that Joe and Jill Canuck get the opportunity have real input on the design of their community’s downtown area, but Rosslanders will have just such a chance next week . 

Spurred on by the complete tearing up and re-design / re-construction of Columbia Avenue scheduled for the summer of 2011 the City of Rossland is beginning a planning process to engage residents and get their thoughts on the project in a design charette. A charette is defined as ‘an intense effort to solve any architectural or design problem within a limited time’. Rossland’s charette will take place as a series of planning input and workshop events that will allow the public and city staff to have an exchange of ideas on the process.

While not known for certain, it is believed the last resurfacing of Columbia Avenue happened sometime in the 1980s. Thirty years of wear, tear and truck traffic has left their bumpy marks on the downtown strip and with our OCP (Official Community Plan) now in place, we’ve got community-generated guidelines for improving it further.

The charette will open with a four hour drop in session at the Prestige Hotel on May 27th from 3:00-8:00 PM. Much of the discussion will be similar to what’s already been discussed in the generation and adoption of Rossland’s OCP bylaw.

The OCP, through a six month process of public engagement,essentially laid out the future path Rossland residents would like to see their city follow. The OCP itself, while a bylaw, does not commit the city to undertaking all of the various projects and goals outlined therein, but it does allow the city to move forward on some projects without further public input. In other words, the OCP tells the city what it should be doing when it gets the opportunity to do it, rather than what it must do. 

The Columbia Avenue rebuild has provided the city with an opportunity to move forward with some of the language in the OCP to improve downtown.

In section 19.2.7 of the OCP there are a series of points to be considered when undertaking a project like the Columbia Avenue rebuild:


  • 7. Collaborate with Ministry of Transportation to encourage Best Management Practices and Standards for Highway upgrades through the Downtown Core, which encourage pedestrian movement and safety and mitigate wherever possible, negative impacts from truck traffic.
  • 8. Collaborate with Ministry of Transportation on the proposed Columbia Ave resurfacing in order to introduce natural landscape features, traffic calming designs, improved parking and a designated, separated bike lane.
  • 9. The Downtown Core shall be as pedestrian and bicycle oriented as possible. .10 Further develop Washington St and nearby lanes as the location of mixed use retail, service, restaurant and medium density residential development.
  • 11. Continue to support a downtown and street-scape revitalization program.
  • 12. Supports capital investments in Downtown, including street-scape improvements, street furniture, public art and landscaping to increase the attractiveness of Downtown.
  • 13 Comprehensive trail connections and cyclist/pedestrian routes to and within the Downtown are a priority in the downtown transportation system.
  • 14 Encourage outdoor seating for restaurants, cafes and bars provided that surrounding residential neighbourhoods and pedestrian movement are not adversely affected.
  • 15 Investigate possibilities for parking areas adjacent to the Downtown Core.

Think about it. Play a little mental Sim-City and ask yourself what you’d like to see on a re-designed Columbia Avenue. Then, when you’ve got some thoughts together, do your civic duty and attend the first session on May 27th.




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