On Monday, Bridge 13 (Welland’s Main St. Bridge) will be closed to traffic for restoration work. Though the region’s decision to re-route traffic away from the downtown has been an unpopular one, the restoration of the bridge is necessary. It is also an opportunity to consider the City of Welland’s plans for community improvement.
On 4 May 2010, the City of Welland adopted a comprehensive plan for long-term growth and development. The Official Plan of the City of Welland was approved by Niagara Regional Council on 15 September 2011 and set into effect on 21 October 2011. The plan, which can be viewed here, identifies two areas of focus (the Downtown area and a Health & Wellness Cluster) as prime opportunities to “revitalize the City, diversify the economy and improve quality of life.”
In 2013, the city retained a consulting firm to help prepare a Community Improvement Plan (CIP) for these two areas. Public meetings were held in July 2013 and January 2014. Details from the reports and studies can be found here. The consultants are currently working on a Draft CIP, before holding meeting #3 later this year, after which the final CIP and design guidelines will be released. Below, are just a few of the visuals from the January presentation:
It is important to note that the images above and the details in the linked reports are primarily the work of consultants. Action on these ideas will depend on the people of Welland making their thoughts known at community forums and when we elect our next city council this fall. If you think downtown revitalization is an important issue, then make it an issue during the municipal election campaign. Don’t be a rust-belt fatalist; play a constructive role in revitalizing the Rose City.