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City To Re-Design Downtown Square

Web posted on July 28, 2014

Guelph, ON, July 28, 2014 A report that brings together three key urban design documents was delivered to Council on July 25, 2014 and will go before the Planning, Building, Engineering and Environment (PBEE) Committee on August 5, 2014.

The proposed concept for St. George's Square, the Downtown Streetscape Manual and the Built Form Standards are central to transforming Guelph's downtown and crucial in achieving the city's long-term City-building vision.

The documents set the stage for tangible change and significant enhancements for Guelph's downtown:
--> a central square that is a lively year-round destinationa place that offers a broad range of activities, experiences, and entertainment; connectivity; and anchors downtown Guelph

--> a road ringing a central squaredifferent from a roundabout which is a traffic device intended to move carsthat enhances the pedestrian culture

--> attractive, accessible and safe spaces for all modes of transportationwalking, cycling and vehicular

--> a more accessible downtown that removes barriers for people with disabilities

--> more patio space

--> more parking spaces

--> better traffic flow

--> conveniently located bus stops

--> well-placed commercial loading zones

Doug Minett, Chair of Guelph's Downtown Advisory Committee, says an investment in transforming St. George's Square has tremendous long-term value. "The Downtown Advisory Committee feels the design concept for St. George's Square represents a level of excellence comparable to Market Square which is appropriate for Guelph's major historic public space." Minett says the committee "supports the vision and principals embodied in the Streetscape Manual and related documents and looks forward to their evolution through more consultation with all parties as they move to detailed design."

A 16-month consultative process led to the finalization of the design documents.

The redesign of St. George's Square is proposed now as the City prepares to reconstruct Wyndham, Quebec and Baker Streets to replace aging underground infrastructure and provide servicing to the Baker Street redevelopment.

The planned work presents a logical opportunity to renew St. George's Square. Taking that opportunity would be a more holistic approach to renewing Guelph's downtown within the existing $18.5 million, 10-year capital envelope.

While these proposed documents establish direction for future projects, staff will continue to engage the public as they advance through the detailed design phase to make refinements and improvements to design.

"The documents going before PBEE in August are part of the continued implementation of the City's plans for significant residential and employment growth downtown," explains Guelph's corporate manager of downtown renewal, Ian Panabaker. "They're part of the planning for the significant renewal of the downtown to create a more socially and economically vibrant place, and to reinforce its role as a major destination and an emerging urban neighbourhood."