The town is hoping to make a more inviting, exciting downtown core which will likely involve extensive construction on Holland Street from Bridge Street to Melbourne Drive.
The idea is to transform Bradford's downtown into a walkable, inviting space for both residents and visitors.
"The transformation of Holland Street is so important to our community members," said MPP Caroline Mulroney in a recent Downtown Revitalization Committee meeting. "We have the potential to turn Holland Street into a hub for shopping, restaurants and business right here in our very own community."
"No longer will it be necessary to drive to other towns or cities to take advantage of amenities. The opportunity now [that the Bypass is moving ahead] and together we're revitalizing Bradford West Gwillimbury."
In order to begin the work of transforming the downtown, a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment Process must be completed.
In Tuesday night's meeting of town council, Mayor Rob Keffer said "We are fortunate that a large part of this Holland Street reconstruction will be funded from the development community...It's just a matter of proceeding, getting the right design, and getting construction underway."
The Holland Street Project budget is $17,483,500. The cost is part of the town's 2018 Development Charge background study, the Third Early Payment Agreement, and has an approved budget under project code 2001, Holland Street East & West (inclusive of EA and detailed engineering design costs).
The scope of the project includes road and underground works on Holland Street from Bridge Street to Melbourne Drive.
The EA process is used to identify any potential adverse impacts of the project on the environment.
In 2012, the town started the EA process with public consultations, identified alternatives, and a presentation to council, but never completed the full process.
But it was never completed.
Eight years later, the town says there is a risk if there is no update to the EA study and that further public consultation would be needed to include new Bradford residents.
The project is projected to be completed by end of 2025, with the following timeline:
- June 15, 2021 – Report to Council and authority to commence the refresh of the Holland Street Environmental Assessment;
- Late July 2021 – release of the Request for Proposals from interested consultants;
- Early October 2021 – award and commencement of the EA;
- December 2021 – First public consultation (PIC #1);
- March 2022 – Second public consultation (PIC#2);
- April/May 2022 – Update to Council on the preferred alternative;
- June 2022 – Third public information session;
- August/September 2022 – Completion of and filing of the environmental study report;
- March/April 2023 – Tender of the works;
- May/June 2023 – Construction commencement;
- November 2025 – Construction completion.
Coun. Peter Ferragine questioned the timeline of the work.
"Is that the longest time frame we would be looking at, or if we chose a different option could it be done quicker?" he asked.
Mahesh Ramdeo, manager of capital projects for the town responded that it is the outside limit of the options they are looking at.
"I would leave it to the EA process and get the business community's input for the best implementation strategy," he said, noting the timeline could be quicker depending on the business community's feedback.
Mark Contois said the work was a long time coming.
"My view is simple. This is moving forward," he said.
"The vision of walkable, tree-lined Holland Street with wide sidewalks for people to shop and dine is exciting -- and now we have a clear timeline for consultation and to construction in spring 2023," said Coun. Jonathan Scott.
"Revitalizing downtown Bradford is a major priority to support our small businesses, and to bring good community-building principles, good urban design and sustainable development principles for a liveable downtown. This critical and transformative project can now proceed thanks to our MPP's work to deliver the long-awaited Bradford Bypass after decades of studies."
To view the full report, click here.