'It's a worthwhile investment': Council set to vote on $129 million plan to revamp ByWard Market
OTTAWA -- While the COVID-19 lockdown has quieted the usually bustling ByWard Market, according to Councillor Mathieu Fleury, that's not the only reason.
“For an area like the ByWard Market that's so iconic and so important for our local economy, it's a worthwhile investment," says Fleury.
In preparation to one-day welcome visitors back to the market, the Rideau-Vanier councillor says it’s a perfect opportunity to revamp the downtown hotspot.
"The best way the city can support it is in terms of beautification. In terms of renewal. In terms of having one look and feel in the public spaces. The sidewalks, the streets, the street furniture, the lighting, the benches, the trees," says Fleury.
Council votes Wednesday on a $129 million proposal to revamp the ByWard Market, including the roads and sidewalks.
"When you look at that you say, 'well, OK that's a big number', and it is," says Fleury. "But it's really like redoing two main streets. Elgin street was $60 million, so redoing two Elgin streets."
Restaurateaur John Borsten also serves as a member of the ByWard Market BIA, and says there’s no place in Ottawa worthier of an investment.
"If your family comes to visit you, from Toronto or Montreal or wherever, you’re going to end up in the market," says Borsten. "It’s just a whole neighbourhood of activity there. You’re connected to the canal, you’re connected to the Rideau Centre and Rideau Street. It’s really the crux of the city there.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges, Bornsten tells CTV News Ottawa it also highlighted where the market needed to make improvements.
"The amount of support from all angles, from the little stores, to the restaurants. People want to tweak it and they have some issues with parts of it. But far and away it's got full support, which you never see," says Borsten.
Fleury maintains this heart of Ottawa is in dire need of a facelift. Council though will decide with a vote Wednesday.
“We really hope to see an entire district where there's one common look and feel," says Fleury. "It’s a welcoming space. All storefronts are occupied, and it's friendly for everyone."
Borsten adds, "I think it’s going to happen. It’s just a question of how quickly.”