Developed by Urban Systems, Houston’s Downtown Beautification Plan plan aims to increase activity downtown by attracting and encouraging new local businesses and making the downtown area more attractive for people passing along the highway. (Urban Systems image)

Houston’s Downtown Beautification Plan approved

Modular seating, community barn and decorative crosswalks recommended

Houston is one step closer to receiving a makeover now that council has adopted the district’s much-anticipated Downtown Beautification Plan.

Developed by Urban Systems, the plan aims to increase activity downtown by attracting and encouraging new local businesses and making the downtown area more attractive for people passing along the highway.

READ MORE: Downtown beautification plan moves forward

It builds on the need to diversify the district’s economy in light of the challenges facing the local forest products industry.

The plan identifies a number of challenges facing downtown, including the lack of a cohesive identity, the number of empty lots and spaces, the lack of places attractive enough to entice people to linger and stay downtown, and the fact that visibility of the downtown area from the highway – despite its proximity to it – is poor.

But according to the plan, these same problems present opportunities. The district’s best bet is to encourage the development of already vacant lands scattered throughout the area. These empty spaces have the highest potential for development in the downtown – either as new businesses or as plaza space.

The plan proposes a community barn and plaza space that would be visible to highway motorists, and would act as a landmark anchor to the Poulton Avenue corridor. Other recommendations to improve Houston’s appeal include modular seating, decorative hanging baskets and wall screens.

In addition, the plan envisions utilizing decorative crosswalks and thematic patterns sandblasted into the sidewalks as tools to enhance visitor experience in the downtown, as well as a way to lead pedestrians to key locations in Houston.

When it comes to managing highway intersections on 9th Street and Butler Avenue, however, the plan conflicts with the district’s existing Hwy. 16 Improvement Project. After completing upgrades to the north-side sidewalk of Hwy. 16, the district is seeking funding to upgrade the south side of the highway, which is estimated to cost $1.5 million.

As a next step, council has requested that district staff review the contents of both plans.

“Staff will be presenting information to council and seeking direction on council’s preference for traffic management prior to proceeding with highway sidewalk and intersection upgrades,” said Gerald Pinchbeck, the district’s chief administrative officer.

It is anticipated that sidewalk and intersection upgrades on the south side of Hwy. 16 will occur no sooner than 2021, he adds.

The District of Houston also continues to seek funding to implement the Downtown Beautification Plan.

READ MORE: Houston seeks funding to complete projects

READ MORE: Houston residents weigh in on downtown revitalization



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

Houston property assessments nudge up

District now working on 2019 spending plans

Houston youth turns himself in after arrest warrant issued for failing to appear in court

The youth is expected to plead guilty or not guilty in January

Most First Nations in northern BC support LNG pipeline

Despite the headline-grabbing news coming from the Gitdumt’en anti-pipeline site, most First… Continue reading

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Condo rental bans on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after knee injury

Pettersson said he wasn’t feeling any pain during Wednesday’s skate

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Most Read