Town square could be completed by end of June

There could be a new place for friends to meet and pedestrians to rest downtown by year’s end.

The district wants to create a town square near Grand Street and the junction of First Avenue and Lougheed Highway to help stimulate growth in the municipality’s core.

It’s one of council’s strategic goals, said Mayor James Atebe, who also added the project has been discussed for years.

“What I love about this is it’s city property,” offered Coun. Paul Horn. “I go downtown many times and never thought of this area, but it makes sense. For many people this is the gateway to downtown.”

Coun. Heather Stewart was impressed with staff’s creativity in the project, but not all councillors were pleased with the presentation.

“I was disappointed when I saw this,” said Coun. Danny Plecas. “A town square is critical, but … I think the location has [traffic] problems.”

It should be a pedestrian area, he added.

Coun. Terry Gidda envisioned a gathering place closer to the middle of the business centre.

“Maybe on James or Welton,” he suggested.

We’ve known for years this area needs something, said Horn. “This can be done now.”

“If we start in the middle, we need to acquire land,” Atebe pointed out.

The proposed square is nearly 700 sq. m and would not interfere with businesses during construction.

Mission’s planning director, Sharon Fletcher, suggested traffic concerns could be dealt with through the square’s design.

If council approves a design by the end of March, construction could finish before the end of June.

Council voted 4-1 to proceed with the plans last Monday, with Plecas opposing. Couns. Mike Scudder and Jenny Stevens were absent from the meeting.