WINDSOR, N.S. – Pedestrians may soon have another way to access Lake Pisiquid from Downtown Windsor.
The Windsor Business Enhancement Society is finalizing plans to build a walkway, or waterfront connector, from Water Street near the Avonian Place building, which contains Daniels Flower Shop, T.A.N. Coffee and more, directly to the waterfront.
WBES co-chairwoman Adrienne Wood said the connector will help incentivize pedestrian traffic throughout the downtown and will come in handy during busy festivals, such as the pumpkin regatta.
“We’re really hoping to open up access to the waterfront, so if you’re walking down Gerrish, we don’t want your eye line to be cut off at Water Street, but for it to continue down and be able to see the beautiful waterfront we have,” Wood said. “There are gardens there now, and we plan to keep as much there as possible.”
“We’ll repurpose some of those bushes and take out part of the rock wall to have the pathway wrap around the Christmas Tree and continue down towards the waterfront, with a pathway, some grass lining it, ideally some benches,” she said. “As the years go on we’ll be able to keep adding to it, so maybe some lights, extra trees, just an inviting connection.”
The connector will be located on the left-hand entrance of the Avonian Place parking lot and continue to the walking path along the waterfront. Currently there is no accessible way to reach the waterfront from the parking lot.
How will it impact parking?
“We and Public Works are working with T.A.N. to make sure that they still have all available parking and will be able to extend the parking lot a bit towards the back, closer to the water side,” Wood said. “They’ll gain more parking at the back and likely have angled parking along the side.”
“They really shouldn’t lose anything parking wise and ideally will see a better flow of traffic and be more effective,” she added.
The town is expected to initiate a land swap with T.A.N. Coffee, the owner of the building, to facilitate the construction of the connector.
“It’ll be a deed swap, the town will officially own the land (where the walkway will be) and T.A.N. will own the land in the back,” she said. “Nobody’s taxes are going to increase for this.”
Wood also said the town will likely help to fix up the parking lot, relining and restructuring it.
She also said the town will enforce a two-hour parking limit on the lot.
Who’s paying for it?
The WBES is planning to pay for the majority of this project, re-allocating $10,000 they normally spend on landscaping and town beautification (flowers, planters), their largest annual expense, to focus on this.
“We knew we would find money in our budget to do this, because it’s important for this to happen,” she said. “We want the public to see that tangible things are happening here.”
“People will notice a change this summer, we’re not going to have as many flowers, hanging baskets, it might look a little less colourful this summer,” she said. “But that money is shifting from the flowers to this walkway.”
Wood said the project could cost anywhere between $8,000 and $20,000.
The WBES is planning to apply for grants to help make this project happen, including the Connect2 program from the government of Nova Scotia, which supports community driven projects that improve connectivity.
“The town would be contributing the labour,” she said.
It’s a project that has been talked about for decades, Mayor Anna Allen mentioned in a recent council meeting that she wanted something like this during her earlier term as mayor.
The land swap still needs to be officially approved by Windsor council before it can proceed.
Wood said she’d like to see the connector completed in time for the summer of 2018.