The City of Kamloops plans to revitalize 1.5 kilometres of Tranquille Road with new trees and sidewalks, at an estimated cost of $3.5 million.
The project would span from Larkspur Street to Elm Avenue and is one that has been championed by the North Shore Improvement Association in the past year, with two failed grant applications in the process.
City council has approved a resolution supporting the municipality’s grant application to the Canada Community Revitalization Fund that, if successful, will enable a first phase of the streetscape project to begin in 2022.
That phase would consist of sidewalk and landscaping improvements between Larkspur and Knox Street — about a 650-metre stretch of the road at a cost of $1 million. The $750,000 grant would cover three-quarters of the project’s budget. The Tranquille streetscape project is included in the city’s five-year plan.
The project is proposed to be completed in three phases and the city’s portion of costs would be included in regular budget expenses.
The work involves replacing every tree in planter boxes along the 1.5-kilometre span. Many of the trees are dying, decades after being planted. The replacement will also involve new irrigation and sidewalks, according to the city’s capital projects manager, Darren Crundwell.
The sidewalks are generally in good shape, but would be changed to brick, similar to what is seen downtown.
The project’s sole focus is replacing existing trees, sidewalks and irrigation, not adding bike lanes.
“That was all we looked at here. We could look at other improvements and I believe we would and should, but this focused on that alone,” Crundwell said.
The streetscape project will also include other miscellaneous improvements, such as new letdowns, benches and signage. The above-ground planter boxes are considered outdated and have been doing more harm then good to the trees they house.
According to a city report to council, the trees that are dying have limited root growth in the boxes, which restrict further growth and will eventually kill them due to confined space and lack of irrigation. If the wooden planters are removed, the trees will die due to root exposure, the report reads. The boxes also restrict pedestrian movements and parking by preventing car doors from opening.
The city expects the improvements to encourage more pedestrian traffic and provide safer access to businesses along the corridor.
According to a letter to the city from NSBIA executive director, Jeremy Heighton, the streetscape project will serve the neighbourhood by underscoring a commitment to revitalize the area.
“The area features new, historic and social building components, which make it a unique and eclectic area of the city. Our goal is to build upon this uniqueness, embrace our social paradigm in a positive way and create a more vibrant community,” Heighton wrote.
The 1.5-kilometre span of Tranquille Road has been the focus of a variety of improvement projects in recent years.
The city only recently completed sidewalk improvements at Tranquille Road and Yew Street, adding brick pavers to that area. New, higher-grade lampposts were added along the route years ago, as was a sidewalk bump-out in the 200-block and a sidewalk extension and landscaping on the south end, near Dot Street.