A design sketch from the Osoyoos Town Centre Renewal Plan from 2018. (Town of Osoyoos)

A design sketch from the Osoyoos Town Centre Renewal Plan from 2018. (Town of Osoyoos)

Osoyoos looking at permanent pedestrian plaza

The town closed off a portion of 85th Street in May 2021

The Town of Osoyoos is looking to make 2021’s pedestrian plaza a permanent feature.

Council voted on Jan. 25 to approve spending $50,000 to design the permanent plaza, which will be located on 85th street north of Highway 3.

The stretch was closed temporarily in May, as a trial and residents were surveyed for feedback on how well it worked.

Three of the major improvements that Mayor Sue McKortoff spoke about included more shaded areas, windbreaks and lights. She also noted that others had spoken about their worries.

“I like the ideas that we can have this to use it more often, and I’m sure this coming year it will be used more often,” said McKortoff. “I think it will be a good addition to the town.”

Councillor Brian Harvey was the lone vote against the proposal and he expressed his concerns over the potential costs for a permanent plaza, as well as the number of people who completed the survey.

“In here I see an estimated $50,000 for design, but no anticipation for the capital required to implement,” said Harvey. “I would anticipate we are committing the taxpayers of this community for millions of dollars for something that’s not clearly desirable with a response rate of 70 people.”

Mayor McKortoff and town staff noted that there were a number of people who spoke to their enjoyment of the plaza who didn’t necessarily fill out the survey.

When the survey closed in October, the majority of the respondents favoured a permanent plaza, according to the report on the proposal presented to council.

READ MORE: Main Street Osoyoos redesign seeks public input

With the design scheduled to be completed in 2022, the idea is to begin construction of the permanent plaza in 2023. At the moment, in the five-year financial plan, $500,000 is included as a line item for such a project in 2023.

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