Open house session to tackle St. Albert Trail
Committee wants to hear from anyone about vision for St. Albert Trail
By: Peter Boer
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012 06:00 am
The committee responsible for suggesting improvements to St. Albert’s main economic and transportation artery will set up shop in St. Albert Centre Saturday to entertain suggestions from both business owners and the public on what improvements they would like to see going forward.
Members of the St. Albert Trail improvement committee will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to discuss anything and everything with anyone who attends.
“Basically we just want feedback,” said chair Chris Creran. “We don’t want to direct the discourse. We want to compile it, put it back together and discuss it, all aspects.”
This represents the first “coming out” for the committee, approved in January and tasked with examining the whole length and breadth of St. Albert Trail. Its terms of reference are vast, encompassing everything from transportation and recreation to signage and aesthetics.
“This thing is so broad. You look at the terms of reference and there is so much there,” Creran said. “We want to take all the information we possibly can and try to work with it in that manner.”
The open house comes after the committee presented its required update to council on Monday. While the committee’s final report won’t be ready until June, it has already begun striking subcommittees on some issues, such as signage, as well as tackling both philosophical and “meat and potatoes” issues.
To date, the committee has worked with administration to remove dead shrubbery, address the issue of utility boxes and bring businesses along the trail together. John Engel, owner of Mission Fun & Games, which recently relocated to St. Albert Trail, has formed the “Trailblazers,” a series of captains responsible for different sectors along the trail who communicate regularly about issues of concern. A similar program already exists in Riel.
“We want to try and get all the businesses and stakeholders on the trail in a way to empower businesses to maintain aesthetics,” Engel told council. “This will lead to other opportunities and improved communication, which is all done by email.”
So far there is no price tag associated with any of the committee’s suggestions, Creran told council Monday, pointing out most of what it can do is relatively simple and straightforward, like replacing dead shrubs or just sending out letters.
“Those are really quick fixes, easily done, easily capturable and easily seen immediately. They don’t have to have a dollar value associated with them.
More philosophical issues the committee is dealing with include its future in conjunction with the expansion of Ray Gibbon Drive, how to make it more friendly to different modes of transportation, even pedestrians, and helping incorporate the botanical arts brand into the corridor.
Creran said interest from businesses on the trail has been good and he wants to build on that.
“It’s been positive all the way through and the feedback we’ve gotten is, ‘It’s about time,” Creran said. “I haven’t seen anything negative.”