The St. James area will be getting 10 new plazas by next spring.
Partnering with the City of Winnipeg and the Government of Manitoba, the St. James Village BIZ’s Living Canopy Streetscape project is being constructed on the north side of Portage Avenue from Queen Street to Inglewood Street. In between those two streets will be 10 resting areas on the sidewalks.
Metcalfe said the project will cost about $500,000. At the moment, there is enough funding for seven North Portage street corner locations, which include King Edward Street, Brooklyn Street, Hampton Street, Parkview Street, Roseberry Street, Inglewood Street, and Collegiate Street. The St. James Village BIZ is working on additional funding for three more corner plazas for Marjorie Street, Rutland Street, and Ferry Road.
"The plazas are going to have benches and 25-foot tall living trees built into the sidewalk," St. James Village BIZ executive director Bryan Metcalfe said.
Metcalfe said there were two reasons for implementing the project: to work on the beautification of the St. James area and to take down the existing metal trees that have not been functioning.
"When the project is all complete, we’re going to add lighting for seasonal displays and such," Metcalfe said.
Construction on the plazas has stopped for the winter months.
"They did whatever they could until the ground froze, so now they’re just closing up the holes. The rest of the project will resume when the ground thaws in spring, and then they’ll continue with the rest of the construction," Metcalfe explained.
The holes dug out by construction workers are to hydrate the live trees.
"When you put trees into sidewalks, they have to get the right amount of hydration, so we’re putting a water system underneath them," Metcalfe said.
Workers have also installed insulation and packed the ground.
Metcalfe said the project has been generally well-received by surrounding residents.
"People have been wondering what the construction has been about. It’s a way to add a new dimension to St. James," Metcalfe said.
For more information, email Metcalfe at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-889-9628. More information about the project can also be found at stjamesbiz.ca