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Victoria Avenue ‘really needs some attention’

Victoria Avenue ‘really needs some attention’

Long-awaited streetscape improvements along Victoria Avenue are set to begin.

City council awarded a $3-million contract to Rankin Construction this week for the first phase of the project, which will go from Highway 420 to Clifton Hill/Centre Street.

It will see new sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, as well as sewer repairs, road resurfacing and tree planting.

David Antonsen, landscape architect and project manager for the city, said the project is scheduled to start during the week of May 9.

Council approved the project, at the request of the Victoria Centre business improvement association, during its Jan. 26 meeting, and awarded the construction contract to the St. Catharines company on Tuesday night.

The BIA will contribute up to $600,000 on the condition that construction start this spring, and that no work be done during the peak tourism months of July and August.

“What we’ve put into the contractor is they need to be out of there by the end of June,” said Antonsen, adding the area will be cleared for motorists during the summer months.

“It’s going to be left in very good condition.”

He said the project is expected to start with streetscape work between Highway 420 and Bender Street.

“We’re also looking to be doing some underground sewer work between Bender and Clifton Hill/Centre Street in the spring as well. We’re looking to have all that completed before the summer.”

Antonsen said the contractor will be back on site after Labour Day “finishing off what was left from the spring construction and taking it right through to Centre Street/Clifton Hill.”

The first phase will actually cost $3.8 million. An additional $824,926 is needed for underground infrastructure improvements, as well as expenses to meet the project scope and timeline constraints.

The $824,926 will be taken from the $5.2-million fourth-quarter payment the city received from Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation earlier this month for hosting Fallsview Casino and Casino Niagara.

In a letter to city hall supporting the project, Victoria Centre BIA chairman Frank LaPenna said the BIA consists of about 60 property owners operating or leasing more than 120 businesses, employing more than 3,000 people.

He said the BIA has invested close to $100,000 in consultation and engineering costs related to the streetscape improvement process.

In addition to the $600,000 from the BIA, HOCO is contributing $400,000 for improvements to its frontage on Victoria Avenue.

LaPenna said the original street improvements to Victoria Avenue were done in the early 1980s and Ellen Avenue has been “virtually untouched.”

“For sure it really needs some attention,” Antonsen said of Victoria Avenue.

He said most of the first phase work will be done in November.

“There will be some outstanding things that we’ll be working with the BIA on, like street furniture. But I would say the vast majority of impact should be wrapped up in November.”

Pending future approvals by council, the five phases would eventually cover improvements along Victoria Avenue, past where Victoria Avenue turns into Ferry Street. Work will also be done on Ellen Avenue and Centre Street.

By Ray Spiteri, Niagara Falls Review
Original Article