Wait is almost over for Manitoba Avenue East improvements

The Garry Theatre in Selkirk is located along Manitoba Avenue. The local avenue is set to under go a major overhaul. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network)

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During a public open house, on April 4, the city will unveil plans for the redevelopment of Manitoba Avenue East into a pedestrian friendly destination for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Mayor Larry Johannson said it’s exciting to know years of planning are about to become reality when work begins this summer on the re-design on what is arguably Selkirk’s most iconic avenue.

“The Downtown Selkirk Renewal Strategy was adopted in 2016 and put the wheels in motion for a rebirth of Manitoba Avenue East, but the thought process began long before that, and it’s special to be on the cusp of seeing that long-term vision come into focus,” Johannson said.
“I’m really proud of our team that’s worked so hard on this to get it right, and I’m equally proud of the citizens of Selkirk who embraced this idea and owned their right to have a say in this plan.”

In June 2018 the city adopted a concept design for Manitoba Avenue East (from Main Street to Eveline Street) and then applied for, and received, funding through the Building Canada Plan from the federal and provincial governments to finalize and re-construct the new design.

That design will be on display at the Gordon Howard Centre multi-purpose room (lower level), 384 Eveline St., from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Storyboards will reveal the new Manitoba Avenue East and project leads, city staff and council will be available to provide further information.

Through collaborating with design partners and engaging the public at open houses, the concept for Manitoba Avenue East was developed.
There are significant changes planned for Manitoba Avenue East, all with the goal of creating a vibrant downtown area that is both vehicle and pedestrian friendly.

Two of the biggest improvements will be Manitoba Avenue East will be converted from a one-way to a two-way street for vehicle traffic and angle parking will be replaced by parallel

“This investment supports the private sector investment we’ve seen into our historic business district in recent years and it represents the next stage in Selkirk’s evolution into a modern, progressive, urban-hub for commerce, culture and recreation. While this work will never be done, this project is a major milestone in the fulfillment of a vision our citizen have had for decades” said Selkirk CAO Duane Nicol.

The redevelopment of Manitoba Avenue East hits on almost all points in the city’s Strategic Plan, including Priority 1 — a vibrant, safe and healthy community, achieved through continued development of the city’s natural features and outdoor spaces and a revitalized downtown.
Priority 2 of the Strategic Plan is a strong and stable local economy, which will be sustained by building on the city’s status as a regional service centre and building on Selkirk’s tourism potential.

As a one-way street, vehicles travelling on Manitoba Avenue East were all directed towards the Waterfront, limiting connectivity with Main Street and Manitoba Avenue West. As well, one-way traffic encourages higher traffic speeds, making it difficult for Manitoba Avenue East to be pedestrian friendly.
Switching parking from angled to parallel will provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists. There will be about 40 parallel parking spaces on Manitoba Avenue East.

The new Manitoba Avenue East will include decorative paving and pedestrian scale lighting as well as active transportation infrastructure like an off-street bike lane. Planters and landscaping, space for public art along with two pocket, or mini, parks will enhance the avenue.

Construction on Manitoba Avenue East will begin this summer and be completed in phases to allow for traffic flow and access to businesses is maintained throughout the project.

If you are unable to attend the open house and would like more information, visit the city’s project web page MySelkirk.ca/MyDowntown.