The City of Cranbrook is undertaking a full comprehensive look at its downtown, approving funds for a detailed plan that will look at infrastructure, design, and future development in the City’s downtown core.
Originally budgeted for $50,000, Cranbrook City Council approved $300,000 for the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan on Monday, all of which is coming out of the Downtown Parking Reserve. The funding increase does not directly impact taxpayers.
Last week, City Council heard staff’s plans for the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan. It would serve as a guiding document for years to come that would be incorporated into Cranbrook’s Official Community Plan.
“If we’re looking at downtown, it makes sense to look at it comprehensively,” Rob Veg told Cranbrook City Council last week, Cranbrook’s Manager of Planning. “We know we’re going to be tearing up the roads to do infrastructure, so we’re going below ground anyways – start to look at above ground.”
“We’re seeing new development pressures and new development forms being considered for downtown.”
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With the funding adjustment formally before City Council on Monday, the increased budget was unanimously approved by all City Councillors.
“I think this is a long overdue need for our community,” said Councillor Ron Popoff. “What we know when you look at other communities is you want to live in a community where there’s vibrancy – vibrancy downtown. How do we get there? We need to have urban density downtown, we need to have that leisure, that boutique shopping, that space and place for people – both local and our tourists to enjoy downtown. To get there, we need lots of engagement from our public.”
“This is long-term planning,” added Councillor Wayne Price. “20 years, what’s our downtown going to look like? Well, I don’t think it’s going to reflect what we had in a previous plan, however, some of that previous plan can certainly be used for consideration.”
For Price, another key point was the fact that the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan will also be looking at infrastructure above and below ground.
“One of the biggest things I think is overlooked in previous plans and a lot of these types of plans is the infrastructure,” Price told City Council. “We’re looking at some major change possibly downtown, there is a lot of interest downtown. Right now, our infrastructure will not support most of the projects – the bigger projects that we’re seeing interest for that downtown area. We need that more comprehensive look right from the underground right through to the top.”
Back in 2020, Cranbrook City Council identified that the creation of a Downtown Revitalization Master Plan was a top priority. City staff came back with a $50,000 request to complete the work. However, the funding ask was expanded to $300,000 this year to increase the plan’s size and scope. That would allow for a contractor to fully allocate their time to robust public engagement, consultation and planning discussions in order to develop the document.
With approval on Monday, the plan will now move to RFP (Request for Proposal) for a contractor to begin work on the plan. Hoping for an approved contractor in April, the intention is that the plan would be completed by the contractor and be presented to City Council in early 2022.
Watch the full Cranbrook City Council meeting from Monday, March 9th below. The discussion on the Downtown Revitalization Master Plan begins at 58:21.