Two weeks before Council rubber-stamps it’s first-ever multi-year budget, city politicians have voted to dramatically change the landscape of downtown London.
The $15.9 million plan to transform a downtown stretch of Dundas Street into a pedestrian-friendly “flex street” was approved during Wednesday’s budget deliberations.
The proposal would make pedestrians the top priority over vehicles on a four-block stretch of the street to be renamed “Dundas Place.”
Poles would replace curbs, creating sidewalks when vehicles are moving through or a wide-open space for live events and performances during car-free times.
The project will take several years to complete, and cost $5.8 million for road construction, $2.1 million for water and sewer upgrades, and $2.4 million for street-level beautification.
There’s an impact on the bottom line for taxpayers. Following Wednesday’s deliberations, the proposed property tax increase stood at 2.45 per cent.
That adds an extra $66 a year to the property tax bill for homeowners with a property valued at $221,000.
However, supporters of the plan feel that’s a small price to pay for bringing more people to the core, and increasing property values in the area.
Council has several big ticket spending projects left to debate, after solidifying the operating and capital budget talks earlier this week. The Dundas “flex street” proposal is the priciest project on that list.
City politicians were debating the proposed Back to the River redesign when they decided to put a pin in their discussions until Thursday afternoon.
Before the discussion came to a close, the group debated using a one-time $10 million dollar dividend from London Hydro to pay for the project.
That would allow city politicians to approve the project without impacting the proposed property tax increase, but no decision was made.
Multi-year budget talks resume at City Hall at 4p.m. Thursday.