Plans are still in the works to create two community green spaces near downtown Thornbury.
“Each area has been planned based on guidance from the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit (GBHU), and offers a way for residents and visitors to safely enjoy the downtown Thornbury area while promoting and enhancing public health measures,” said Shawn Carey, director of operations for the Town of The Blue Mountains (TBM).
Last year, TBM installed jersey barriers on both sides of Bruce Street South in its downtown area to facilitate larger pedestrian walkways and aid social distancing measures.
This year, the town will not be installing the barriers, but has opted to create two community green spaces in close proximity to the downtown core instead. The green spaces will be located at 15 and 17 Arthur St. W. and at the Hester Street Parkette.
“Staff expect the temporary community green space to be open for public use in accordance with the province’s reopening framework and following guidance from the GBHU,” stated Carey.
The provincial stay-at-home order is slated to lift on June 2, with some restrictions staying in place until the province moves into the first stage of its Roadmap to Reopen, which is anticipated to begin on June 16.
Carey added that as the province moves forward with the safe reopening of additional services and businesses, these spaces will offer a place for residents and visitors to enjoy the downtown core safely.
“Once both community areas have been open for public use, residents and visitors can expect additional seating areas and tables that will ensure physical distancing protocols can be maintained,” Carey continued.
Along with receiving the appropriate public health approvals, town staff are also in the process of working with Grey County on the Hester Street Parkette to determine the applicable permit to facilitate the occupation of the roadway that is under the county's jurisdiction.
“These areas will also increase the amount of sidewalk space available in key areas that will assist and promote physical distancing and will focus on reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19,” Carey said.
In June of last year, TBM purchased 15 and 17 Arthur Street West, with the intent of transforming the plot of land into a permanent paid-parking lot.
While the site will be used as a temporary community green space this summer, the town continues to pursue its overarching plan to convert the lots into parking space. Town staff are currently working through the request for proposal process.
The public consultation for the Arthur Street West parking lot project is expected to take place throughout the summer months, with construction anticipated to begin in late 2021, early 2022.
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca