The Canadian Pacific lands that run between Centre and First Streets in High River could be in for a major make-over.

A Senior Landscape Architect with O2 Planning and Design, Michael Magnan presented a report to town council Tuesday that outlines what residents want to see the area become.

The plan calls for more parking, walking and biking areas, more trees and greenery and an amphitheatre area across from the library.

Magnan says the area acts as a barrier cutting off part of the town from downtown, but they want it to act as a link, connecting the downtown with surrounding communities.

He says council wants to make High River one of the most walkable communities in Alberta, or even western Canada and a big part of the design includes walkability.

"Businesses do need parking and we have to provide it so it's finding that nice even balance between it and then just really seizing the opportunity of what's currently, sort of, a blight on the landscape, it's not the most attractive space and really try to make it as beautiful as possible," he says.

A lot of the parking would be kept behind the buildings that would face Centre Street so there's a need to build a lane way to get in and out of the parking areas.

"We didn't want it to be just a lane way so we wanted to add in the sort of unique pedestrian mews that you have, put that layer on top of it so you can have cyclists on there, you can have people walking on them, they're really a space for everyone," Magnan says.

cp lands oct 11 2017Phase 1 of the CP lands are in yellow

The design also includes area that could be used year round like a small skating surface and a bandstand and fire pit across from the High River Library.

Magnan estimates the first phase of the work could cost between $1.1 million and $1.7 million.

Phase 2 could cost between $275,000 and $450,000 with Phase 3 estimated at $1.7 million to $2.85 million dollars.

The next steps are up to council.

"The Town has some work to do to find the best way to fund it, and just keep the momentum going that you already have, there's been excellent work done in the last three to four years in High River and I think that momentum should carry forward," Magnan says.

Council voted to accept the report and directed Administration to prepare a report to support an amendment to the Downtown Redevelopment Plan to align with the results of the study.


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