Pedestrians make their way across a newly painted crosswalk at the intersection of Douglas and Yates streets. The art was part of a pilot poject called stART on Douglas

Pedestrians make their way across a newly painted crosswalk at the intersection of Douglas and Yates streets. The art was part of a pilot poject called stART on Douglas

Douglas Street beautification project gets mixed reviews

It’s a project that left many residents either scratching their heads or excited about the increased vibrancy of the downtown.

It’s a project that left many Victoria residents either scratching their heads or excited about the increased vibrancy of the downtown core.

Earlier this year, the Downtown Victoria Business Association launched the Douglas Street Improvement Project, which included the painting of multi-coloured puzzle pieces at the intersection of Douglas and Yates streets, a bike rack, retail kiosk and the installation of a colourful wrap and animation around the two-storey office building at 1280 Douglas St.

When it was unveiled, Fran Hobbis, past chair of the business association and project lead, said it generated many comments from people both for and against the $180,000 project.

“There were lots of mixed reviews, no surprise there,” said Hobbis. “That’s perfectly okay. We heard this was a colourful, fun, cool thing, and makes the area vibrant. But we also heard it was a waste of money and that people don’t get it.”

The pilot project was meant to both enhance Douglas Street, which was once a vibrant space for people to meet, and generate discussion about how to revive the area.

Overall, the project achieved both goals and served as a learning opportunity when it comes to collaborating with multiple organizations on one project, Hobbis told Victoria city council during a meeting Thursday.

“It was definitely a labour of love, it took a lot of time,” said Hobbis, adding they ran short on money to establish a lighting canopy, which would enhance lighting in the area.

Most councillors praised the business association for their work on the project.

Coun. Marianne Alto called the project a “spectacular success,” while Margaret Lucas said she heard from many young people downtown who thought it was a cool idea. However, not all councillors were happy with the final product.

Coun. Ben Isitt believes the $60,000 the city kicked in could have been used to do more.

“When I look at value for money, I’m not sure we got it. There’s paint on the roads, paint or stickers on a building and a very nice bike shelter,” he said, adding he hopes the overall governance of the project will be improved next time with the final product coming to council for approval before it’s implemented.

“I’m just thinking of other projects of a similar nature and I’m not sure how this project crept up to the budget that was approved.”

Hobbis hopes to continue working with the city on such beautification projects around the city. She also hopes to paint more puzzle pieces at other downtown intersections.

“There’s lots of empirical evidence, when you create places where people can draw on the walls and sidewalks, you create safer, more populace areas. People want to go there. Those are things we can easily do,” she said.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read