A much talked about improvement to the west end of Esplanade in Harrison is getting closer to a reality, thanks to an RMI payment of $160,423.
Since the Resort Municipality Initiative was launched in 2007, Harrison has received more than $2.1 million in funding to enhance services and improve tourism-based infrastructure.
Mayor Leo Facio said the improvements will be underway beginning this spring.
“We are excited to begin phase one of the Village Centre Renewal Project in early March of this year,“ Facio said. “Phase one of the project will improve the street scape along a portion Esplanade Avenue by widening sidewalks, installing new street furniture and improving on-street parking which allows visitors and residents to enjoy the amenities and all the natural beauty that Harrison Hot Springs offers.”
The plan was unveiled at the beginning of 2013, as a means to improve the image of Harrison, and increase enjoyment for tourists along Esplanade. In addition to the tourism benefits, the improvements are expected to be a boost for the businesses in the area.
Key changes mentioned in the unveiling last year involved a narrowing of the roadway to allow for growth of user-friendly sidewalk space, increasing pedestrian flow and allowing for “contemplative areas” for benches and trees. It would also allow for restaurants and cafes to expand their business onto the sidewalk with chairs and tables.
Landscaping, concrete pavers similar to the ones in Spirit Square, public art, bike racks, benches and wayfinding signs were all a part of the conceptual redesign.
The improvements will also address current drainage issues.
The total cost quoted last February was $515,000. The remainder of the project was expected to be paid for with gas tax funds.
“The Resort Municipality Initiative allows resort communities like Harrison Hot Springs to improve tourism infrastructure and continue to grow our tourism economy,” Facio said.
“It’s so important for resort-oriented municipalities like Harrison Hot Springs have the resources to develop their local tourism-related infrastructure to support regional tourism economies,” said Laurie Throness, MLA for Chilliwack Hope. “The Resort Municipality Initiative provides targeted funding for just such a purpose and I look forward to following the progress of this year’s projects in the village.”
Across the province, $5.97 million was invested in the province’s resort municipalities, which include 14 communities along with Harrison Hot Springs. The others are Fernie, Golden, Invermere, Kimberley, Osoyoos, Radium Hot Springs, Revelstoke, Rossland, Sun Peaks, Tofino, Ucluelet, Valemount and Whistler.