Brant County councillors have voted in favour of moving forward with the proposed Downtown Paris Master Plan.
The major project includes a face-lift to the main street, updated infrastructure, pavement better suited to use in a flood zone, updated sidewalks aimed at being more accessible, as well as, a three or four level parking garage. The plan would see the parking structure built at the site of the current municipal parking lot directly behind the Brant County offices. It also includes plans for the first floor to be used as retail or commercial space.
Prior to the vote, Ward 2 Councillor, Marc Laferriere requested clarification from city staff regarding the length of public consultation, as well as the location and plan for the proposed parking garage. Laferriere says, the most controversial part of the plan is the parking garage, for which details will be finalized only after public consultation.
“Every single phase, because this is happening in phases, there will still be consultation in between to inform people of what’s happening but also to get their input on some of the specific details.”
“The piece with the parking garage I think is really important to talk about. People look at Brantford’s parking garage, which is different, it’s on the outskirt of the downtown, it’s very very large, but this one would be a structure over the existing parking lot.”
“We’re nestled between two rivers. We can’t develop out. We can only develop up. Plus, we’re looking at some walkways. Those businesses that are on Grand River Street North, Mechanic and William, they could have their backs open, so they could have back patios. It would be interesting to change the downtown from a line to a district, which will also help with traffic flow.”Marc Laferriere, Ward 2 Councillor
The timeline proposed for the plan calls for the parking structure to be built within the next five years. Once the parking garage is complete, the reconstruction of Broadway Street West would begin.
“The estimate we have right now is this could take up to fifteen years, but we would be doing it in phases. The phases are helpful so we’re not shutting down the entire downtown at any given time. At no point, because of the phasing, will there be less parking than there currently is.”Marc Laferriere, Ward 2 Councillor
The second phase includes the reconstruction of Mechanic Street and Grand River Street North. A third phase of the plan includes the reconstruction of William Street.
There are two options on the table for the reconstruction of Grand River Street North. Laferriere says he prefers the option to maintain angled parking on the street rather than moving to a parallel system.
Public consultations on the plan began in 2017.