A plan to integrate green space into downtown Sudbury, offering eco-friendly transport options while enhancing the downtown’s aesthetics, is set to get underway this year.
Part of the city’s downtown master plan approved last August, the $3.7-million Elgin Street Greenway is a one-kilometre corridor that will run alongside the rail lands, incorporating greenery alongside space for pedestrians and cyclists.
Jason Ferrigan, a senior planner with the city, said one of the objectives of the greenway is to connect Sudbury to Bell Park, Ramsey Lake and Science North—city attractions situated at the heart of the city, which draw residents and visitors for their green space, proximity to beaches, and opportunities for recreational activity.
The project will also improve the look and feel of the downtown.
“Really what you’re doing is you’re improving the way that the face of the downtown looks, so how it looks and how it feels,” Ferrigan said. “When you do that, you’re building a healthier community by supporting alternative modes of transportation.”
Starting at Elm Street, a busy Sudbury thoroughfare, the corridor will run through the site of the new School of Architecture, run along the rail lands, and meet up with a footbridge that connects to a path leading to Bell Park and the other attractions.
Toronto-based firm EDA Collaborative won the contract for the $150,000 design phase. The project has received $45,000 in funding from the Ministry of Tourism, the city is providing $85,000, and additional funds are coming from the Downtown Sudbury Business Improvement Area and the Greater Sudbury Development Corp. Other partners on the project include Rainbow Routes and the Downtown Village Development Corp.
Details about what will be included in the greenway are still in flux, although part of the plan includes widening Elgin Street from 20 metres to 26 metres.
In March, the city held the first of three planned public consultation sessions to determine what residents want to see in the project. Ferrigan said the city will work with EDA to incorporate those ideas into a conceptual idea for the greenway, which it’s aiming to have ready by May. After fine-tuning the design, the city will return in late May or June with an updated version for more public input.
“Hopefully at that time we will have consensus within the community in terms of what actually goes into the greenway,” Ferrigan said. “Once we achieve that consensus then what we do is we go into detailed engineering and design and start preparing the construction documentation so we can begin to build the greenway as soon as funding emerges.”
The estimated $3.7-million cost of the project includes the road widening, creating the greenway, upgrading a pedestrian tunnel, and $1 million worth of road resurfacing work. Ferrigan said the city will look for funding from various levels of government and the private sector.
Part of the project should get underway this year; there is money in the budget to start upgrades on the Elgin Street underpass. Ferrigan expects to have a more definite timeline for the overall project once the design process is complete, but said the project could be completed in phases, and that option is being built into the plan to offer the city more flexibility.
Although it’s still early, the majority of Sudburians seem excited about the project, said Ferrigan, who believes it will be an important project for the city. Feedback given so far indicates any elements included in the project shouldn’t take away from Sudbury’s unique character.
“(People) don’t want it to feel like another place in Ontario or Canada, they want it to feel like Sudbury,” Ferrigan said. “So when we go through the landscape design process, we’ll begin to take those things that define the essence of Sudbury—the culture, the history, the geology, the climate—and we’ll begin to build those concepts into the design so that it does look and feel like the city.”