Osoyoos candidates in next month’s municipal election were keen to get to work solving the community’s woes, many of them turning up at a workshop Monday evening to help build the downtown core.
“Last night was a great meeting. I would guess that we had about 70 people at the Sonora Centre to take part in the Town Centre renewal meeting,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff. “Each table of six or seven completed a chart listing their top 10 things to do, mostly based on a list (of 20) that had been recommended at the last meeting.”
Mayor McKortoff was among a half-dozen local candidates who attended the Town Centre Renewal Action Plan Workshop, promoted as offering Osoyoos residents, business owners and others an opportunity to participate in a reshaping of the downtown core.
The ideas delivered were as innovative as they were diverse.
“There were a few interesting (ideas) not on the list of 20 provided such as to change the Main St business focus to higher quality store fronts, pop-up green spaces in undeveloped lots and get a Hwy 3 bypass or at a minimum make Main (Street) one-way eastbound and 74th one-way westbound,” said Council candidate Brian Harvey.
Another idea that gathered some momentum was to close off 85 Street between Main Street and 78 Ave and create a pedestrian space.
“It would be an outdoor green space with benches, tables, maybe some food truck events,” said school trustee candidate Brenda Dorosz, who took the time away from campaigning to participate in the event.
A big focus was building local business and making it easier for new business to get a footprint in the downtown core. Activities — including busking and creating more gathering spaces — were also seen as important.
Several candidates spoke of the positive feel of the session.
“The mood was upbeat and everyone was genuinely interested in making this project work,” said Counc. CJ Rhodes.
Added Sherani Theophilus: “I am encouraged by this process and excited to see the action plan take effect, especially as many items can be accomplished in the short term.”
The session was sponsored by the Town’s Planning and Development department.
“I think the process was great,” said Council candidate Jane Long. “(The facilitators) asked for true opinions and good discussion among the groups. When it was done and everyone presented their 10 items, you could see a lot items that were the same across the board.”