The picture painted by Michael von Hausen, President of MVH Urban Planning & Design Inc. and an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser and Vancouver island universities, was one of sunshine and rainbows.
No doubt about it, this is a makeover that would go a long way to making the Osoyoos community’s downtown spectacular — one where the pedestrian is king, business would flourish and there’s even room for some after-hours living.
There’s still some work to be done to include the building owners and merchants along the north-south corridor of Main Street — those directly west of the bridge and back to AG Foods — but overall Mr. von Hausen’s presentation to Council Monday morning delivered notable made-at-home solutions for the downtown core that are both impressive and achievable.
The vision includes an 85-Street plaza — complete with a village clock, lots of seating and shade and perhaps even a fountain — that would serve as a gathering place for visitors who have parked their vehicles for free in a nearby lot and will spend the rest of their time downtown on foot.
There’s a landmark — an abstract teepee in desert colours and illuminated at night — at the Town Centre. It tells travellers they’ve arrived in Osoyoos as they make the turn at the bottom of Main Street.
And there’s plenty of small parks, conversation spaces and ample locally-owned shops and other businesses to engage the expected increase in foot-traffic.
Best of all, the plan envisions living space — infills of four-storey buildings that provide apartments and condos on the upper floors and keep the community downtown busy for more than the meagre eight hours a day currently served in the community.
We applaud the concept — and the effort.
Coupled with ongoing waterfront work — and a masterpiece pier as a signature piece — the community is on the cusp of emerging from Canada’s warmest welcome to world-class destination — complete with a modern presentation that better complements the staggering natural beauty and climate for which Osoyoos is already world-renowned.
If you haven’t yet seen the vision, we encourage you to download the report and wander through it. As Mayor McKortoff states in a foreward attached to the report, the “action plan for our Town Centre invites your participation to help in some way.
“It will take the entire Osoyoos community to truly make the Town Centre our meeting place. Let’s do it together!”