In 2017, temporary wooden stairs were installed on the west side of the parkade ramp at Fourth Street, creating a north-south pedestrian connection from Columbia Street to the east end of the Front Street Mews. Following installation of the stairs, City staff engaged various stakeholders in the design process for plans to install permanent concrete stairs and ideas for a programmable community space underneath the parkade structure.
The permanent design was further developed in 2018/2019 by a consultant team. The project cost estimate was recently updated and included in the City’s proposed 2023 capital budget for construction this year. Goals of the project include:
- improving an important north-south pedestrian connection in this area of the downtown;
- providing a safe and inviting public space; and
- transforming an under-utilized, outdoor weather-protected space into a valuable amenity for community events, gathering and day-to-day use.
The City is aware that the temporary stairs are approaching the end of their serviceable life. We have also heard from business operators and residents in Downtown New Westminster that this area of Columbia Street and Front Street could use some aesthetic improvements. Click here to read more about the City’s work to make improvements and address concerns in the Downtown.
The scope of this project will include:
- Cast-in-place concrete stairs, complete with guardrails and viewing/resting platform;
- Pedestrian lighting;
- Treatment of the hillside to mitigate invasive species and improve sight lines;
- Stormwater drainage improvements; and
- Structural repairs to the existing retaining wall along Columbia Street.
A project consultant team has now been retained to update the project drawings from 2019 to meet the new BC Building Code requirements and to develop tender documents. We anticipate invasive plant removal and archeological investigation to commence in August 2023.
While a contractor has not yet been hired; the consultant team anticipates that construction will commence in Spring 2024. The City will share further updates with residents and businesses as they are available.