Crews have begun work on the second phase of the Mission Downtown Improvement project. / Kevin Mills Photo

Second phase of Mission downtown improvement project begins

District says project is on time and within budget

Mission’s downtown improvement project has moved on to its second phase and the renovation work is running smoothly, on time and within budget.

That’s the message delivered to downtown businesses by Jay Jackman, the district’s manager of development, engineering and projects.

Speaking at the downtown business association’s AGM on Wednesday night, Jackman told the crowd the project is about 30 per cent complete.

“Today we did the last concrete pour on the first block,” Jackman told the crowd, who let out a cheer.

The first phase of the project focused on the block from Horne Street to Welton Street.

Cutting of the pavement on the second block – Welton Street to James Street – has already begun.

Jackman also took questions from the crowd and cleared up some misconceptions regarding the project.

He said the street lights put in on the first block are “just temporary” in order to light the highway.

“We will, in five to six weeks, bring in the very nice, very decorative lights and they will start going in, in a phased process.”

Jackman also addressed concerns he has received about the soil being used as fill on the project.

Crews are using structural soil, a dirty-looking product, that provides structural support for the sidewalk, but also provides nutrients for the 66 trees that will be planted along First Avenue.

“We took out roughly eight (trees) so there will be a lot more trees and they are going to thrive because of the structural soil.”

Planting will begin in August. Also in August, people will see the new benches, planters, bike racks and garbage cans installed.

While the project is moving along at a quick pace, Jackman said digging up First Avenue has resulted in a few interesting finds.

Crews discovered what they believed to be an old feed shoot for dumping items from the road into the stables below. The shoot was well out into the highway corridor.

But that wasn’t the most interesting discovery.

“Under the road we found the basement of the martial arts dojo.”

When crews were excavating a portion of the road, the martial arts instructor came out, saying, “You’re pulling apart my ceiling.”

Jackman said that couldn’t be right, but when they took a look, the basement did extend out into the road corridor.

After that, staff went knocking on businesses’ doors and investigated their basements.

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